Selling Your House This Winter? The Weaver Team Is Your “Winter Team!”

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. After all, we do live in the Northeast where winter means snow, ice, and cold weather. But, does it mean you will be miserable if you have to sell your house before April?

There’s a reason that most sellers wait until spring to put their houses on the market. Most sellers would rather not deal with salting and sanding walkways, plowing driveways, and gathering kids, dogs, boots, shoes, and mittens, to leave a warm, cozy house to accommodate a showing. Should you wait until the snow melts?

What if you have to sell? Don’t bother jumping online and googling “selling house in winter” or “should I wait until spring to sell my house” instead, follow our 3 steps:

You Need our “Winter Selling Strategy.” We both love the cold and snow. Get out a calendar and strategize with us. We know the ideal times to put your house on the market in any month.

Identify your goals and we will get it done. Need to be in another house by March? We will outline the process to get you there.

Don’t worry about winter showings. Because we list and sell houses in all types of weather we will share our tools, tricks, and tips to make it easy on your lifestyle and your household.

We look forward to helping you in any season. Don’t despair if you find yourself moving in the winter, we’re here to get you into your next home no matter what the weather.

3 Things That Happen in the Real Estate Market After Labor Day

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Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

Labor Day Weekend heralds the end of summer fun and vacations for most people. It’s back to school, back to business, and goodbye to the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer. What does this mean for our local real estate market? There are 3 things that happen as the weather cools in our region:

Buyers jump back into the market, making looking for a home a priority. With the kids back in school, parents are able to look during the day without having to juggle swim lessons and camp pick-ups. While some families may want to wait until the end of the school year to make a move, many families are ready to transition during this season. Buyers who have been on “hold” due to vacations and trips to the beach are now committed to looking full-time.

Sellers concentrate on repairs, painting, and landscaping. Taking advantage of cooler temperatures and after-work daylight hours, sellers begin to focus on sprucing up their landscaping and the exterior of their homes.

Homes are priced realistically. Sellers who have their houses on the market in the fall are “ready to go” before the snow flies. Buyers, too, want to be settled in time for the December holidays.

For all of these reasons the “Fall market” continues to be one of our favorite times to help buyers and sellers. Many real estate agents tell you that “anytime” is a good time to buy or sell, but, is it? When it’s time for you to jump into the market be sure to contact us for an overview of the current market conditions.

“What? A Radon Test? I Have To Keep My Windows Closed? It’s August!”

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Everyone looks for ways to cool off from the “dog days” of summer that settle upon Vermont in August. Whether it’s a trip to the Waterbury reservoir, a dip in a quarry, or a leisurely canoe ride down the Mad River, everyone has their own way to beat the heat. And, New Englanders know that it “cools off at night” so many of us forego air conditioning in the evening and throw open the sashes to enjoy summer evening breezes and fresh air.

If you’re selling your house this summer the heat and humidity pose another challenge – a radon test. When the buyer orders a home inspection as part of the contract they may add a radon test. The inspector instructs you to close up your house 24 hours prior to the radon inspection. Inevitably this will happen during a heat wave or during the hottest, most humid days of summer, called “dog days” as ancient Romans associated the steamy temperatures with the dog star, Sirius.

If you’re not ready to pack up and go camping prior to your radon inspection the here are some tips:

Get your Radon tested in January. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chose January as it’s Radon Awareness Month for a reason, having your house closed up in January usually is not a problem.

Contact the Vermont Department of Health to request a free kitTesting Your Home for Radon. The use of a long-term radon in air test kit is best because radon levels can change daily, weekly, and seasonally. We recommend that you test your home for 3 to 12 months (ideally including a heating season). Longer test periods ensure the most accurate measure of actual exposure. Free long-term radon in air test kits are available to Vermont residents. You can request one from the Radon Program by calling 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont) or emailing radon@vermont.gov.

On the Weaver Team we are committed to help you prepare your home for sale and to help you throughout the process. Contact us for more tips and information, we are happy to help!

Sunday Open Houses or Private Showings?

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p: Enid Buzz

If you are selling, do you really want the public tromping through your house on a Sunday afternoon? If you are buying, do you really want to leave your shoes in a pile at the front door and hope no one slips into your shoes by accident on the way out? Some of the Weaver Team buyers frequent Open Houses with our approval as they are “scoping out” the area, so, they are helpful in that circumstance. Most of the time, though, beware of the pitfalls of this Sunday afternoon activity.

Based on my recent experience visiting a Sunday Open House, I now encourage buyers to call me for private showings. Bumping into other people in the hallway and stepping around toddlers in a basement rec room detracts from the overall house-viewing experience.

First, let’s look at it from the buyer perspective. Serious buyers typically sign Buyer Agent contracts with real estate agents. While most buyers say, “I will know it’s the right house when I see it,” that is just the beginning. In fact, the decision to buy property hinges on many factors including location, price, and condition. Material facts and information concerning major systems and components of the property weigh heavily in the completion of a purchase. Questions like, “Has the house been tested for radon gas?” and “What are the options for Internet?” simply cannot be answered thoroughly at an Open House.

Next, let’s look at it from the seller perspective. If you think that Facebook or Google is invading your privacy, that’s nothing compared to having the public crawling through your house unsupervised. Do you want strangers viewing your house and pawing through your linen closet and medicine cabinet? The contents of your medicine cabinets, closets, drawers, refrigerator, etc. are now exposed to random strangers. Alcohol, medication, jewelry, and small electronics provide temptation to some people, even if they look like honest, upstanding citizens.

In our opinion the “awe, c’mon in and look around” days of real estate are over. Buyers deserve more than a quick run through on a Sunday afternoon and sellers deserve more than random people pawing through their personal belongings. Reach out if you want to start the process of buying a home. We are happy to schedule private showings.

3 Reasons Why Your Listing Agent Isn’t Showing Your House

realtor_showing_house_451242040Every once in a while a seller client will ask, “Why aren’t you ever showing my house?” It’s a very good question. Shouldn’t the seller’s real estate agent, the one who listed the house, the one whose sign is in the front lawn, be the agent that shows the house the most? Just a common sense, right? Actually there are 3 reasons why your listing agent isn’t the one showing your house.

1. Buyers are represented by Buyer’s Agents who represent the buyer, not the seller in the transaction.

2. Your listing agent may get inquiries on your property, but when the buyer finds out that the listing agent can’t represent them in the transaction they seek out a Buyer’s Agent.

3. The listing agent’s marketing is reaching buyers who are just entering the market and will eventually sign up with a Buyer’s Agent.

Over the last few decades Buyer’s Agents have been able to represent buyers in many markets. Years ago, all agents where agents of the Seller. No agents were looking out for the buyers.

Realtor Showing Hispanic Couple Around New HomeAs state regulations on the real estate industry evolved it became part of real estate law to recognize that buyers may need protection in the real estate industry. In today’s real estate world most of the activity occurs on the internet. Real estate agents “buy” leads. When a prospective buyer finds your house on a website the inquiry to show the house goes to an agent “other” than your listing agent. As listing agents, we make sure that we promote our listings to all real estate agents, our friends, past and current clients.

When there is a request for a showing we make sure that the “showing agent or buyer’s agent” knows all of the features and amenities of your property to show it in its best light.

Home Inspections – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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p: lasvegasrealproperty.com

If you are buying or selling a house in Chittenden County, Vermont then heed this warning, “The house may not pass a building inspection.” What do you mean, “pass an inspection?” Are inspections now pass or fail? The short answer is “yes.”

Your Purchase and Sale Contract may include an Inspection addendum, with the caveat “Inspection report shall be to Purchaser’s satisfaction.” Satisfaction? Like a Yelp review on a restaurant? Does satisfaction mean a 5-star review? Or just, yeah, okay, satisfactory, like a 3-star review. Or satisfaction like the Rolling Stones, “Can’t get no satisfaction?”

And finally, is it a case of, there are no bad inspections, just buyers with high expectations? Let’s explore.

Let’s dive into the good, a 5-star inspection. Congratulations, the house you are buying has no significant structural, mechanical, electrical or plumbing defects. You may move along toward closing, this contingency is satisfied and the purchase price on the original contract remains intact. Or, maybe the house needs some GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) and a mixing valve on the hot water tank. Oh, and the smoke detectors are over 10 years old and now need to be photoelectric. As the seller you will have to sign a document that states the smoke/fire/co2 detectors meet the current electric code. Most sellers will concede to some electrical updating along with the smoke/fire/co2 detectors.

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p: thebalancesmb.com

Let’s look at a bad inspection, one that produces a laundry list of items that includes every historical leak (darn it, we knew we should have repainted the ceiling after the tub overflowed 5 years ago), creak, nail pop and flaw in the house, interior and exterior. The exterior suffers from peeling paint on the trim, curling asphalt shingles on the roof, gutters that are full of leaves and a driveway with potholes.

Now, let’s look at a plain old ugly inspection. This one has an active leak, usually a sewer pipe in the basement (don’t step in the puddle), mold (dead or alive?) in a poorly ventilated attic, and, everyone’s favorite, an old oil tank in the basement or an old furnace.

The issues that arise at inspection range from good, bad to ugly. That is why you want to hire an experienced real estate agent to walk you through the different scenarios. As a buyer, your agent can tell you which items you should ask the seller to take care of, if you should ask for money back, or if you should back out of the deal all together. As a seller, your agent will be able to advise you on which items are typically taken care of and what you can say no to.

6 Reasons to Sell With a Realtor®

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p: MarketWatch

If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, you’ve likely thought about selling on your own to forgo the cost of commission. Listing your home on your own can cost your time, stress, and in reality, it can end up costing you money – research shows that FSBO (for sale by owner) listings sell for about 5.5% less than comparable properties sold through the MLS.

Before you decide to go the do-it-yourself route, consider 6 of the invaluable benefits listing with a Realtor® offers:

Knowledge – A Realtor’s knowledge is priceless, we can provide insight that you cannot get online. We know how to make sense of the data and the entire selling process so that you and your home are fully prepared before hitting the market.

Time – Do you have time to play the Realtor’s role? Are you available to show your home at a moment’s notice? How will you handle showing requests if you are away? Are you able to respond to buyer’s questions, concerns, and/or objections in a manner to help overcome hesitation and move forward? Are you able to offer solutions to buyer-perceived obstacles with the property? Are these questions stressing you out? Uncertainty in any of these areas could translate into a lost opportunity, thankfully, we handle everything.

Presentation – Image is everything when it comes to real estate. Do you know how to prepare your home for sale? We can tell you what your home needs, what you need to get rid of, what needs to be fixed, and how to stage it to appeal to potential buyers. We also take professional photos and video to show your home in the best light.

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p: Zillow

Marketing – How are you going to market your property? You can post your listing yourself on Zillow, FSBO sites, or Craigslist, but you’re not going to reach all of your potential buyers. We have a network of agents that we pre-market your property to, sometimes selling a property before it even hits the market! We also enter your listing in the MLS that sends the listing info to all of the top real estate sites that buyers are searching.

Negotiation – So you’ve received an offer, how do you respond? What do you look for in a purchase agreement? Are you prepared to take multiple offers in a hot market? Do you know how to negotiate to keep the buyer in the game versus walking away? What costs should you and shouldn’t you incur? We negotiate on your behalf to ensure you are getting the best deal possible, while still working with the buyer to put the deal together.

Inspection – How should you handle items that are flagged as needing repair or replacement by a home inspector? Who do you contact to take care of the repairs? We will negotiate with the buyer’s agent to only take care of necessary items, and once the list is nailed down, we have a roster of professionals we recommend for the work.

This post was adapted from “8 reasons selling without a real estate agent is a recipe for disaster” by Cara Ameer, inman.com.

5 Ways to Stage a Home on the Cheap

At The Weaver Team, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of staging. Staging will create a more buyer-friendly space that will help your home sell faster and for a higher price. Here are 5 staging tricks you can implement that cost little to no money:

Langlais SummerCurb appeal – The exterior appearance of your home should entice buyers to come in and see more, so keep it neat and tidy. Make sure to mow the lawn, trim the bushes, weed the flower beds, and add a new layer of mulch to really freshen up the landscape. Add some flowers or plants in colorful pots to the porch and dress up the front door with a seasonal wreath to add warmth and a ‘welcome’ vibe.

Declutter – If there is only one thing you do before putting your home on the market, get rid of the clutter! Buyers cannot see past your personal items. Use the 90 day rule – remove anything that you will not need for 90 days. This applies to every area of the home, even closets and cabinets. Think of it as preparing for your move, you won’t have to pack these items again when your house sells! If you do not have storage space in a basement and garage for the boxes, rent a small storage unit.

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P: Houzz

Stage rooms with a purpose – If you’ve been using your dining room as an office, it’s time to get rid of the desk and bring in your dining table. If you’ve got a spare bedroom that you’ve been using for storage, remove the boxes and bring in a bed and side table, or stage it as an office with a desk and chair. Make sure each room has a single purpose, if it’s not clear to the buyer they may be confused as to how they could use the space themselves.

It’s all in the details – Go beyond your every day cleaning routine and really make your home sparkle. Detail each room – dust every surface, wipe down all baseboards and trim, and shine any fixtures. Replace any broken or worn outlet covers and switch plates with contractor grade plates that are inexpensive, but will make a world of difference. Fix any dripping faucets, squeaky hinges, or loose fixtures.

bright-living-room-on-living-room-pertaining-to-bright-colored-design-ideas-9Light it up – Clean all of the windows to let the light shine in! If you have heavy drapery that blocks the light, opt for a lighter or sheer curtain to ensure light fills the room, or remove the drapery all together. Make sure all of the light fixtures have working bulbs, and all at a similar wattage so that they all glow evenly.

5  Inconvenient Truths About Finding a Good Real Estate Agent

Finding a good real estate agent may not be as easy as searching Google or Yelp, read on to learn why you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet when it comes to real estate.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.05.40 PM1.     The “Premiere Agent” on Zillow has paid to be in that #1 position. Many agents pay third party search engines to pop up at the top of the list of real estate agents in your area. This truth extends to Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Yelp.com. Many times, your top local real estate experts who provide exceptional service and results stay in business through repeat clients, past client referrals, and general “word-of-mouth” networks. Ask your colleagues, friends and family who they recommend before jumping on the internet to look for an agent.

2.     All “public” websites that provide house searches include “for sale by owner” properties. Many buyers are thrown off guard when they find out that the house listed on Realtor.com and other real estate websites may not necessarily be offered through a real estate agency. Buyer beware as dealing directly with the owner may result in a “lopsided” transaction where the buyer is not aware of traditional real estate practices in their local area and many times is at a disadvantage dealing with the seller.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.34.09 PM3.     Internet sites that promote “We will match you with a Top Agent” usually send your information to several agents that have signed up for that websites services. These agents scramble to be the “first” to contact you and the agents pay a hefty “finder” fee to the service.

4.     Reviews may not tell the whole story about an agent. While it’s interesting to read the 5 star reviews, sometimes when you see a “plethora” of them you may need to ask “Why are there so many reviews for this one agent?” There are no rules or regulations governing the procurement of these reviews from previous customers. Let that sink in.

5.     Sometimes your “marquee agents” burn and churn their clients. Again, the agents that pay to show up on searches may not be the type of agent that you are looking for. Many so-called “top” producing agents are working with multiple agents on their team who are doing most of the work with the buyers and sellers. You may not have access to the “top agent” at all.

 

Hurricane Season in Vermont?

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P: Mashable

This year, as Texas and Florida recover from Harvey and Irma, respectively, we are reminded how the weather effects the real estate industry. Yes, occasionally there is a rogue hurricane that whips through Vermont and causes flooding havoc like Hurricane Irene in 2011. But, for the most part, Vermont’s weather tends to be best known for cool autumn evenings and long, cold winters.

If you’ve lived in New England you know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather wait a minute and it will change.” Now, more than ever this seems to be the case. On the heels of a few weeks of cool, fall weather early in September many of us removed our window air conditioner units. Now, since the air conditioners are safely tucked away until next season, we are experiencing high humidity and summer-like temperatures that reach 80+ degrees during the day. It’s tough to think about mums and pumpkins when your annuals are still blazing with color.

What does this mean for Vermont real estate? It means that our local market is sensitive to changes in the weather. When it’s hot and humid few people find it appealing to look at houses. When it’s raining and snowing buyers like to look on-line rather than “in person.”

Roberts FallBut, does the real estate market slow down in the fall? How about winter? Years ago, real estate was more of a “seasonal” business, and, in some parts of the country it still is. Real estate market statistics are useless unless you see a “seasonally adjusted” number along with the monthly charts.

On the Weaver Team we have experienced the ups and downs of the years and the seasons, though none of our “trends” seem to hold from one year to the next. On one year we can have a record breaking December and the next year, not so much. A “January thaw” can jump start the next year’s sales. Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather and the market, it seems like real estate is turning into a year-round business, no longer dependent on the infamous “spring market.”

Many of our sellers decide to keep their houses listed and on the market through the holidays and winter months as the competition tends to drop off. We have sold houses right after major Nor’easter storms. You never know when a family will make a decision to make their home here, Home Sweet Vermont.