Blog :: 09-2013

What to Expect from an Open House as a Seller

open house You de-clutter, sign your listing agreement, have wonderful pictures taken and put your house on the market. You ask your agent foran Open House right away and bake the brownies. Two hours lateryou are toldthe property was not sold and the brownies weren't eaten because no one showed! WHY?

The real estate market is ever changing. People are busy and free time is a coveted treasure. Having an un-scheduled Sunday afternoon to drive around and look at open houses is a luxury many of today's buyers do not have. More and more buyers are looking to the internet to preview and prioritize their time in viewing properties. With virtual tours, digitaltown records,and 360 degree images, buyers can get a tremendous amount of information on line.

Open housescanwork and should not be completely taken off the table, but sellers need to be realistic about what to expect.


  1. First, make sure the home is priced well. If you're over priced, thenthe open house is just missing the target completely.
  2. Consider having the open house targeted toa group of people. For instance maybe inviting all the neighbors so they can spread the word, or a book group you belong to. Many agents will choose to host a Broker Open House where agents from that geographic areaonly are invited to come preview your home usually duringa weekday whilethe seller is at work.These Broker Open Houses are a great way to get realistic feedback on your home from other professionals!
  3. Nationally, less than 7% of homes are sold through open houses,as stated in arecent article from the American Homeowners Association.
  4. Lastly, wait at least 2 weeks before hosting your open house. If your home is priced well, you'll have some activity as soon as it goes on the market. If it doesn't sell right off, then you should be able to glean some good information on why buyers aren't acting and can incorporate that information into your open house. Maybeproviding money back at closing for new carpet, or changing the layout of a living room to make it feel more open could impact a buyer's experience at your open house.

So keep baking the brownies but keep in mind these helpful notes when asking your agent for an open house! We're all here to work together to get your home sold!

Property Tax Adjustment

If you have purchased a home recently and you discovered that the town you live in has your property's assessed value at GREATER than what you paid for it, there is a chance you can get your property taxes reduced. A few local towns did their periodic assessments at the height of the market, so some buyers are purchasing homes in this current market with tax assessments at much higher values.

Now every town in Vermont does things differently (we all know that!) but the process is generally quite simple. 1. Contacproperty tax imaget your town treasurer to find out the how and when to file a grievance. Many towns do it in the spring, others are on-going. 2. Contact the Realtor you used and ask them to provide you with a few comparables - these are homes that sold around the time you purchased yours that support the reduced assessed value you wish to obtain. For instance, if you purchased a home for $350,ooo and the tax assessment is at $425,ooo, you would want to have some property closures of similar style homes that fall into that $350K range. 3. Make sure to have a hard copy of your purchase and sale contract and any closing documents - some towns will request that. Some towns will also request a letter in writing stating what you are looking for, or possibly have a form for you to fill out, but that's about it. Let us know if you've had experience with this or have anything to add!

Don't Forget the Septic!

We get very comfortable doing "our business" in our home bathrooms and just assuming that little flusher is going to work every time....until it doesn't! Maintaining your septic system can easily get put to the back burner, but we're here to remind you that maintenance every 3-5 years is a MUST! Now if you live in a city center and are serviced by a public septic system, then more power to you. But for country folks on private systems, which is a majority of the state of Vermont, you need to take care of these things! Maintenance includes having atrained professional comeandboth pump yourseptic holding tank as well as inspect the tank and lines. Inour area, this can run from $200-$300 on averageand well worth the investment.Therecommendation of 3-5 years depends on the number of people living in the home and the amount ofusage the system is getting. Now even with private systems, there are still many different types such as conventional, mound and alternative, and a trained professional will know what's best, but here are some basic DON'Ts that we think any home owner can follow: 1) Garbage disposals are NOT recommended and please don't pour food or grease down the drain. 2) Bacteria additives such as yeast and RiD-X are not needed. Some additives will do more harm than good. (Yeast will only break down starches.) 3) Don't overuse cleaning chemicals -- it will kill the good bacteria in the system. 4) Above ground swimming pools or ice rinks should not be installed near or above your septic tank or leach fields. 5) Non-biodegradable items such as wipes, diapers, cigarette butts or feminine hygiene products should not be disposed of in the toilet. 6) Engine oil, gas turpentine or other non-biodegradable chemicals should not be poured down the drain. 7) Water softeners should not back flush/empty into the septic tank to self clean. This will add sulfides and chlorides to the septic system that will kill good bacteria. We hope these tips help and if you can't remember the last time you've had your septic pumped, call your local provider now before the ground is frozen. As an owner in the industry use to tell me, "A straight flush beats a full house anytime!".