Your Holiday Home: 3 Easy Updates to Freshen Your Space

0f09f3c87f53ec2f15725da17c390eacThe “Decorating Season” is here! If you celebrate any of the holidays in your home you may feel some pressure to get your house “holiday ready,” especially if, like us, you are binge watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.

Instead of decking the halls with the boxes of decorations that are in the attic or basement, we recommend focusing on 3 design elements: Light, Fragrance and Plants.  These small tweaks to your current decor will freshen your space with minimum fuss and easy clean-up in January.

1. Merry and Bright – Indoor String Lights bring unexpected “pop” to windowsills and mantles. Try a string of lights along your countertop or on a windowsill. Or, if you are looking for more of a design change in your living spaces or bedrooms switch out your table lamps. You’d be surprised how a new lamp can create a fresh “vibe” to your room.

2. Fragrance – We are obsessed with home fragrance. There’s nothing like a warm, welcoming scent to cheer us up after a long day. Try a novelty candle like “Buttered Maple Syrup”—- find this and other specialty scents at our favorite local store — The Willow House in Shelburne

3. Indoor Flowering Plants and Greenery – Buy an Amaryllis bulb now and by the holidays you will have a beautiful large bloom that is a great conversation piece. African Violets bloom year round in a sunny window. Bring in some greenery like a Rosemary herb plant that some gardening centers sell during the holiday season. You can have fresh herbs all winter long along with its signature aroma.

Need more decorating inspiration? Follow our Facebook page for Tuesday Tips.  If you try any of these tips let us know, or better yet, send us a photo of your space!

Who Buys and Sells in Vermont in the Winter?

annie-spratt-MMh57gXsTug-unsplashWe do sell houses year-round in Northwest Vermont. Who are these buyers and sellers? Why can’t they wait until the “spring market” when the grass is green and the ice has melted from driveways?

You will most likely encounter two types of winter sellers:

One motivation to sell is to get a “jump” on the market and put their houses on the Multiple Listing System (MLS) and the public websites when there is less competition. Sometimes in February your house may be one of only a handful on the market in a certain price range. This means that you will capture buyers who are focused on your particular location and price point.

Another type of seller has already bought another property and are ready to sell. Their house may be vacant and they are motivated to sell quickly rather than continuing to heat the house and pay for driveway plowing. Savvy winter buyers don’t mind trudging through the snow and ice to find a motivated seller or “jump” on a property themselves that meets their location and pricing criteria. Most winter buyers don’t need to “wait to see what comes up next,” they are ready to go when they find the “almost perfect house.”

The combination of motivated sellers and buyers means that we do sell and show houses in January, February, and March. Some of my favorite clients have bought and sold during the cold, snowy weather and have enjoyed the less frenetic pace of the spring market. If you’re thinking about selling this winter we’re ready to help – all you gotta do is call (or email)!

What Does a ‘Shifting’ Real Estate Market Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

DJI_0736 SMALLWe all hear the news – inflation, fuel, food prices, and mortgage interest rates are rising or higher than before. All of these factors weigh on some buyers who are thinking about purchasing a property.

Here are 3 signs of a “shift” from a predominantly seller’s market to a softening of buyer response:

  1. Price Sensitivity Due to Inflation and Mortgage Interest Rates

Right now mortgage interest rates are hovering around 6%, an increase of approximately 3% since the beginning of the year. What that means is that buyers who still want to buy or need to buy are facing higher monthly payments which translates into modifying their purchase price. 

  1. Less Enthusiasm for Repairs and Remodeling 

Buyers are less inclined to embark on remodeling projects due to the rising cost of goods and shortage of contractors. “Move-in” ready houses will again start to be more desirable.

  1. Seller Must Prepare for Maximizing Value 

It is more important than ever for sellers to be prepared for the buyer response to the current real estate market. From cleaning carpets to replacing wood rot on your house we can let you know which “fixes” will net you the highest purchase price. 

These are just some of the trends that we see today in our encounters with sellers and buyers. For more specific information for your home search or home sale, get in touch to see how we can help! 

How to Get ‘Top Dollar’ in Any Housing Market

mike-gattorna-YqbvabE8AHc-unsplashAre you afraid that you missed out on selling your house for the “highest price ever?” Well, fear not. We have been helping sellers get top dollar long before the meteoric rise in sale prices over the last few years. Our “Prep for Success” program provides a roadmap to maximizing your house’s value.

Here are our 3 top tips to get top dollar:

Take down your pictures and photos and paint your walls. This will make your rooms look large and fresh. 

Turn your dining area or room “back” into an eating area. Let’s face it, most people have turned their dining rooms into toy rooms, offices and yoga rooms. Buyers get thrown “off” when they start looking for a dining room and instead end up in a room of exercise bikes, toys and yoga mats. Move those items to the basement if possible. 

Start packing! You’re moving, right? Instead of rearranging your closets, bookshelves, desk areas, etc. grab a moving box and start packing. Stack the boxes neatly in the corner of the garage or the basement. 

For all of our seller tips and more information on our “Prep for Success” program, give us a shout

We Love Your House! 3 of Our Marketing Secrets for Sellers

Colchester Sitting AreaWhat do you love about your home?  Our marketing program goes above and beyond your average real estate listing. We take the time to research your location, amenities and unique features to attract qualified buyers. We love what you love!

Here are 3 ways we excel at getting you “out there” for maximum advertising impact:

The Great Outdoors – In Vermont it’s all about the outdoors and enjoying nature. Whether it’s mountain view, trail access or even a quaint waterfront sitting area, we highlight all of the features of your home. We feature all of your outdoor space and amenities. Are you near a bike path, VAST trail, walking and hiking trails? Are you lucky enough to have a mountain view or a water view? Do you have a patio, deck, covered porch, hot tub? Does your property have raspberries, blueberries or wildflowers?

Local “Hot Spots” – We love everything about your location. Are you close to a ski area? Do you have restaurants and pizza places nearby? Where is the summer farmer’s market? Does the town band play at the gazebo? We dig into the local culture to spotlight food, music and recreation. And, everyone want to know, “Where is the closest Starbucks?”

Unique Features – Because we see so many houses we get very excited about unique features. A fully fenced yard, an outdoor shower, a porch swing or even a special rock where you sit and watch the stars are a few of the features that we love. We find features that may be part of your everyday routine and bring them to the buyer through our marketing platforms.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook or search our website to check out our latest homes for sale.

Rising Rates & Our Local Market

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How do interest rates impact our local Vermont real estate market? Good question considering that rates have jumped from 3% to 6% over the last few months!

Here are 3 insights about our local market based on our many years of experience in “all” market conditions:

1.     Buyers will adjust to the current mortgage rate. The most important factor for buyers is their “monthly payment” and their comfort level with that amount. We often hear, “I don’t want to be ‘house poor’” meaning that they want to be able to pay their mortgage and have discretionary funds. This may mean that they readjust their “purchase price” down to suit their household budget.

2.     Sellers may have fewer qualified buyers depending on their list price. We have seen more “cash buyers” over the last few years however we predict the new buyer pool will seek mortgage loans. This means that there will be fewer cash buyers in the market. Some properties will be impacted more than others.

3.     In any market there will always be people who need to sell and people who need to buy. Our local real estate market is driven by life circumstances rather than speculation. This means that our market will remain more stable than other parts of the country.

 Making the decision to buy or sell is always stressful and wrought with questions. If you want more information about the current market and how it applies to your situation reach out to see how we can help you!

5 Upgrades That Buyers Love

HGTV Smart Home 2022 in Wilmington, NC

HGTV Smart Home 2022 in Wilmington, NC

If you follow our blogs you know that Carolyn works with buyers and sellers in the Northwestern Vermont market. Buyers are “wowed” by certain features that may surprise you.

Here are our top 5 upgrades that buyers love:

  1. Trex or other types of composite decking – Previously this type of decking was a luxury item but now, due to the rising costs of pressure treated lumber, many houses are opting for composite decking. No more staining!
  2. Gas fireplace inserts – Nothing beats the smell of wood burning in a fireplace on a crisp Vermont evening, but the wood, ash, and family allergies sometimes puts a damper on this scene. Today’s updated inserts and realistic flames impress most buyers. No more chopping wood!
  3. Freshly sealed driveways – Vermont driveways take a beating. Snow, salt, sun, and the inevitable fading and cracking. A freshly sealed driveway upgrades your curb appeal instantly.
  4. Smart thermostats – Buyers love this energy efficient feature that you can control from anywhere with your phone, and helps reduce heating and cooling costs.
  5. Solar panels – Buyers get excited when they see solar panels for an alternative energy source. More people are driving electric vehicles in Vermont and they want to add charging stations to the system.

If you’ve been thinking about selling and want more information on any of these “wow” factor features, reach out! We will help you with everything – from the beginning to closing the deal.

Let It Snow! How Weather Effects the Real Estate Market

Snowy SpringWe are obsessed with the weather. When The Weaver Team works from home one of our favorites is The Weather Channel.  People often ask me, “Does it slow down in the winter?” Well, yes, in normal times. Then, they ask, “When is the best time for my property to go on the market?”

Today, April 19, 2022 we have scheduled a full day of showings for our newest listing. I asked Alexa if it was going to snow last night and she said, “there is no snow in the forecast.” Right now, 4” of snow and increasing rapidly. Our lilac tree split under the weight of the heavy, wet spring snow.

Still, we persevere.  The buyers and Realtors will show up to see the property. But, there will be snow, wet shoes, and wet coats to shed upon arrival. The boundary lines are hard to decipher amid a sea of white.

So, when is the best time? We like May 1st to minimize the chance of snow for photos, showings and other reasons. Who can resist a front porch with a fresh spring wreath and pots of colorful flowers? Ah, but that is still an aspiration here today. We would love to continue this blog but Carolyn needs to find her boots and winter coat for today’s showings.

Stay warm and dry out there, Spring will be here in a few weeks, we are certain!

If you want more information on the seasonality of real estate, reach out – we are always available to help with all of your Vermont real estate needs.

What Does ‘Broom Clean’ Mean for Real Estate Buyers and Sellers?

pexels-cottonbro-4108715One person’s “clean” is another person’s “yuck.” In the realm of real estate there is an ambiguous phrase embedded deep in the purchase contract and it reads something like, “property to be broom clean and free of all occupants and belongings.” What about vacuuming the carpets?

Let’s decipher the legalese for the average buyer and seller. What does “broom clean” really mean? First of all, who has a broom? We vacuum, we Swiffer, we mop, right? I think we have a broom in the garage. Witches have brooms, early colonists used brooms to sweep around the hearth, but in the 21st century we have Dysons, Sharks, and fancy cleaning tools.

So, does “broom clean” mean I need to vacuum and Swiffer the floors? Sure, if that is your idea of clean. Others may go one step further and mop or steam mop the floor. One of my favorite clients introduced me to a steam mop when she was getting her townhouse ready for sale. Wow! Steam mop versus broom, no contest.

Because the purpose of a broom is to sweep the floor many sellers just focus on this when moving out of the house. Other “hot spots” that need cleaning include showers, glass shower doors, tubs, sinks, etc. But what area is overlooked the most? If you guessed the “inside of cabinets and drawers” then contact us right away for a prize.

When you sell or buy with The Weaver Team you don’t have to worry about these pesky cleaning issues. Did you forget to clean the kitchen drawers, no worries! The Weaver Team will head to your house with our hand-held vacuum for last-minute cleaning. We still don’t know how we would use a broom …

Seller’s Market: Do I Really Need To Stage My House?

sidekix-media-t294_ZZP2pg-unsplash“You can’t judge a book by its cover” is a well-known idiom that simply does not apply to real estate. Unfortunately, buyers do judge your house. If you wonder what they say we recommend binge watching Love It Or List It on HGTV.  Your house may be eliminated, or, even worse discounted in the buyer’s eyes well before they ever visit.

On the Weaver Team, the combination of Jennie’s keen sense of style and trends combined with Carolyn’s exhaustive knowledge of buyer mentality benefits our sellers by setting them up for maximum profit potential.

Staging is not just getting your house show ready, it is an important part of the sales process to help you maximize your profit at the end of the transaction.

This is the real reason that you need a professional consultation – Photos.

Yes, the buyers don’t just start judging your house when the cross the threshold, they start online scrolling through photos on their favorite real estate app or site.

Jennie and Carolyn have staged and sold hundreds of homes using our combined knowledge of home trends and current buyer preferences.

If you’ve been thinking about selling, call us for a consultation to see how we can get your home ready for the market.