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!

Nightmare on Elm Street: True Real Estate Stories

nathan-wright-igpwuxZofgo-unsplashCozy up next to a fire and enjoy these strange tales from our real estate travels.

The Hot and Winding Road

It was a hot August day and Jennie was taking photos in a vacant house in the middle of nowhere. She stepped out and the door locked behind her. Unable to access her car keys or phone (left inside) she made the two mile trek to the closest general store to request a rescue. To this day we are not sure who or what caused the door to lock.

The Tale of Two Cats

The sellers should remove all personal property from the house prior to the new owners moving in, but does that include the family’s felines? A fellow Realtor phoned me with the news, “The seller will pick up her two cats later, they are in the yard.” Would they be retrieved or would they wander the neighborhood forever looking for a new home? Rest assured the felines are not haunting their former abode, their owner did return for her pets.

The Reluctant Mover

Sometimes people just don’t want to move. The day before the sale of Mr. Smith’s house I stopped by to see how his packing and moving was coming along. He greeted me with a big smile and told me he had several friends helping him load items into a truck. A cursory glance around the house led me to believe he had not yet begun to pack. Moving boxes were unassembled and the house was chock full of items to be boxed and loaded out. I stopped by the next morning and there he was in the same clothes as the evening before, rumpled and tired and seemingly unaware that he had to move. It looked like he had been up all night playing a poker game rather than packing. Would Mr. Smith pack his belongings and vacate? A few hours before the new buyers would take possession there was no truck. After calling in many favors we finally succeeded in sending Mr. Smith on to his next location. Maybe he wasn’t planning on leaving after all.

We hope you enjoyed our true real estate tales. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Where Have All The Vermont Houses Gone?

Essex neighborhoodVermont is small, our population hovers around 620,000. Yes, that’s the whole state – men, women, children. We have never had a housing “boom” like other states. Demand for housing has outstripped our supply over the last few years. In certain price ranges there are perhaps 40 – 50 buyers looking at the same house.

The housing shortage in Vermont is ongoing. History, regulation, geography, topography, economics, etc. all play a role in the current state of our housing stock. Even in a “normal” year people have a difficult time finding a house. In the not-so-distant past buyers could find 10 houses that would be on their list of potential abodes. Now, there are none. Zip. Zero. Nada. Or, okay, maybe one – but there are 20 showings and all contracts need to be submitted within 72 hours. This causes a frenzy. Houses are popping up on the internet and disappearing – all within a day.

Discouraging? Sure. Now the good news. We have, so far, helped all of our buyers find a home. Through it all — the shortage, the bidding wars, the crazy rush to get in – we have guided our clients through the process.

We are here for you too! Contact us to help you find and close on your new home.

Are My Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms Outdated?

hannah-busing-5we-PtvuCyE-unsplashTruth be told, cooking at my house often involves a smoke alarm. It’s tempting to climb on a step stool to disconnect the pesky alarm, but I have become efficient at opening windows and doors to “fan” the smoke out of the house. Once the smoke clears it’s a good time to check on the rest of the alarms.

It’s also a good idea for you to check on your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure you have the proper alarms installed.

The State of Vermont’s Fire Safety site (https://firesafety.vermont.gov/) provides homeowner information. It’s always good practice to check on the type of smoke alarm. The site states, “Many existing Vermont homes currently have old outdated ionization smoke alarms installed. These old alarms need to be replaced. The division recommends to homeowners that when you are replacing alarms that you update to a photoelectric smoke alarm now and not wait until the time when home is being sold.”

When you do sell your house the attorney’s require a Compliance Certificate to verify installation to comply with Vermont’s requirements.

Here is the form: https://firesafety.vermont.gov/sites/firesafety/files/files/forms/dfs_forms_smoke_co_cert.pdf

As always, if you want more information on getting your house ready to sell, contact The Weaver Team and we will get you set up for home selling success!

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

four colourful houses

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.

The Cold Truth About House Hunting in the Winter – 4 Challenges

winter driveway“Do people buy houses in the winter?” is a question that I often hear since winters in Vermont bring snow, sleet, ice and wind. Well, yes, people buy houses, however there are at least 4 challenges in the winter months:

Challenge #1: Vacant Houses – Get ready to trudge through knee-high snow in an unplowed driveway. I will never forget the buyer that drove to Vermont one year in a snowstorm because he had to buy a house that weekend. By the time he arrived the snow had stopped, but we ended up forging our own trails to the front doors. Even if a seller has arranged for a plow service to maintain the driveway and walkway after a snowstorm, the plow person may not see the vacant house as a priority.

Challenge #2: Chilly Houses – Forget about taking off your coats when you are looking at houses in the winter. With the high cost of fuel to heat houses most people turn down their thermostats when they leave for the day and turn them back up when they get home.

Challenge #3: Wet, Snowy Boots and Shoes – Unfortunately you will have to remove your wet footwear to avoid tracking snow and salt into the houses. Try to wear a pair that is easy on/easy off. Your feet will most likely suffer a bit (see #2, above) so we recommend a pair of Vermont Darn Tough wool socks to get you through these houses comfortably. Feel free to bring your own footwear in a separate bag if you are uncomfortable in stockinged feet.

Challenge #4: Icy Driveways and Walkways – This is a true hazard and best to be avoided. Inquire if driveways are icy. If you must go out, make sure you have proper footwear. One of my clients wore “Yax Trax” on her shoes and took them off when she got into the house. They are a removable “gripper” type contraption for your footwear.

So, yes, you can venture out. Just be ready for a few chills and hopefully no spills! If you are ready to face the elements, we are here to help you find your house, no matter what the weather brings.

Why You Won’t Find Your Dream Home on the Internet

aerial-agriculture-architecture-388830The home you are looking for may never show up on a public website like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, or your favorite real estate site. Over the last several years the public has increasingly become annoyed with searching for houses online. To really “find” your dream home you may need to “phone a friend.”

When I meet with buyers for the first time it is usually because they are tired of searching online. Tired of hearing a “ping” on their phone notifying them that a new house was just listed. Weary, because none of the houses seem to be just right for their needs. “Where are the good houses?” they ask me. By good houses they mean the floor plan, location, and condition that they “know” is out there, somewhere. Isn’t it?

Well, yes, their dream home exists. It is just never available, at least that’s what they are learning after contacting multiple agents online. For example, a house may appear to be available and for sale when, in fact, it may be under contract and not available. In other cases, consumers believe they are contacting the listing agent, when, in fact, their request for more information is sent to several different agents, none of whom represent the seller. The public is confused. Who are they calling? Who is showing me the house? Do I need Buyer representation? How does this work?

What is the answer to this morass? First, to untangle the “mess” of having several agents call and email for days, weeks, and months, it’s best not to click on any links that say “Ask a Question.” Instead, use the “phone a friend” approach. Call one of your friends, ask who they have worked with as a trusted real estate professional. Better yet, if you have a real estate agent as a friend, give that professional a call. Let your real estate contact know your house “wishes.”

Many times, because real estate agents are consistently meeting with buyers and sellers, we have inside information on houses that may be for sale soon. So, reach out, phone a friend, and log off the internet. Your dream house is right around the corner.

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.

What-Is-Section-8-Inspection-FAQs-PictureGarden-The-Image-Bank-Getty-Images-575c30f13df78c98dc23ed5e

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.