Greentree News

Vermont Restaurant Week

The end of April brings a lot of rain showers, muddy roads and Restaurant Week to Vermont!  It's the perfect time of year when the season is changing as well as menus, and Vermont's finest restaurants show their stuff.  I've got 3 planned reservations and hope to make a few more!  Here's a link to the detailed website where you can see what restaurants are participating and what prix fixe menu options are being offered.

    

The recap -

What: Vermont Restaurant Week

When: April 24th - May 3rd

Who: Too many restaurants to name --- take a look at the website!

How: Visit http://www.vermontrestaurantweek.com/

Bonus: The event raises money for the Vermont Foodbank so you eat wonderful food and it benefits others.  It's a win/win!

Monkton Town Wide Yard Sale

With warmer temperatures comes that urge to spring clean!  Monkton offers a well attended town-wide yard sale every May.  Start going through those basements and garages - your gently used items could be your neighbor's new prized possession! 

Here's the details:

What:  Monkton Town Wide Yard Sale

When:  Saturday, May 9th, from 8am till 1pm

Where:  3747 States Prison Hollow Road, Monkton (Volunteer Fire Department Building and Post Office)

Questions: Contact Jamie Steadman at: jls_2499@hotmail.com or #802-338-6731

Hosted by: Jamie Steadman, Toni Crosby & Tim Holloway with the Monkton Girl Scouts!

Set up:  At the fire station on Friday, May 8th from 5-7 pm.

General Info: To have a booth at the Fire Station please contact Jamie Steadman via the information above.  Many local homes also particpate at their own location, so grab a coffee and make it a garage sale morning in Monkton!

Does It Stay or Does It Go? The rules of personal property in Real Estate transactions

This question often comes up in a real estate transaction, "What's included in the sale?" or "What's not"? It's very important to ask these questions with your RealtorBEFORE you write an offer, and if you aren't sure, confirm with the Seller. Personal property can get a little tricky, so here's some basics to help you sort through it.

Do they stay or do they go?

Do they stay or do they go?

  • Curtain RODS convey with the home. Curtains themselves DO NOT. As a general rule, if property is fixed to a wall with screws, nails, orbolts, it's part of the structure and will convey with the property. If you love the curtains there is a good chance that the Sellers may not be usingthe exact same ones at their new home, and may leave them as a courtesy if you ask. But you MUST ask for them in the contract, or expect to have bare windows when you move in.
  • In a majority of transactions, some appliances will convey with the property. The most common appliances to be included are stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers. Don't just assume the microwave, air conditioner, dehumidifier, washer and dryer are being left behind for youjust because you see them at the home when you view the property. Be sure to confirm what the Seller is including in the sale, and understand that any other item you wish to have conveyedmust benegotiated.
  • So, what about woodstoves, hot tubs, snow blowers and lawn mowers -- These items are also occasionally included in the sale, with the most common ones being wood stoves and hot tubs. Some lenders prefer to haveaccessory items such as lawn mowers and snowblowers NOT included as part of a purchase and sale contract. So if you are going to ask for them, youmay want to confirm with your lender that it's acceptable prior to writing them in a contract.
  • What aboutthe bedroom set of furniture?When it comes to large amounts of furniture, this MUST be handled outside ofthe real estate purchase and sale contract.You can ask your Realtor for guidance on when theappropriate time will be to negotiate the possible purchase of furnishings that the Seller maybe leaving behind.
  • And as a Seller, what if you wish to dig up Grandpa's rose bush to bring to the new house? Trees, plantings and shrubbery that are in the ground are considered to be part of the property and convey with the property. Occasionally we do have a Seller that will ask to bring a lilac or rush bush, or some special plant with them to their new home. This must be disclosed to the Buyer and written in the listing information. The seller will also need to repair any hole made and re-seed the area if necessary as a courtesy.
  • Lastly...ceiling fans, fancy chandeliers and lighting: Lamps do NOT stay with the home as part of the purchase, but all other lighting fixtures that are afixed to walls are conveyed with the property unless otherwise specified by the Seller. If the seller is taking a special chandelier to hte new house, then they must purchase a replacement light fixture to be included in the sale.
Have fun shopping for homes this spring and remember....ASK FIRST and then WRITE IT IN THE CONTRACT!

Mud Season Staging

I know we are all very excited about the extra sunlight after 5pm as the first day of spring is fast approaching this week. Daylight savings also starts the time of year when more homes come onto the market in our state. Our landscaping efforts take a while to get going in the spring, so our yards can seem a little dull and barren to say the least. If you're like me, and live on a dirt road, the exterior of your home may need a power wash and I guess...the windows will need to be dealt with . And mud. Yes, we're going to have lots of mud in the coming weeks. Daylight Savings + Spring + Vermont = MUD SEASON!
Mud Season Ruts

Mud Season Ruts

If your home is listed for sale in the early weeks of spring as many sellers do to get the jump on the buying season, here's a few tips you can consider to help stage that home even when spring really hasn't quite sprung yet outside!
  • Have a small photo album available for buyers to view that shows your home in the BEST of all seasons. Include pictures of flower beds, a front shot of the home with GREEN grass in front, and maybe a nice foliage and snow shot.
  • Almost everyone takes their shoes off when viewing a home no matter what the season - it's just good manners - but when boots look like this just from walking from the car to the house, provide a place OUTSIDE your entry way for these boots to stay during the showing with maybe a courteous note.
Mud Season Boots

Mud Season Boots

  • Fresh flowers. Nothing says spring like a little bouquet of tulips. They can really add a cheery statement to an entryway or kitchen area.
  • Making cleaning the windows your first spring cleaning priority. I'm sure you're already keeping the house tidy because you want to sell it, but postpone cleaning out the closet....clean the dreaded windows first. It makes such a huge difference when buyers can gaze out the window and actually see what's outside.
  • If you live in a rural area and have a gravel/dirt driveway, keep an eye on those ruts. Sometimes a good steel rake can help even things out before a full grading is necessary. And for those big ruts, keep a bag or two of gravel handy.

Property Inspections - A MUST!

People buy homes year around, but here in Vermont, we do see a surge of purchasesbetween April and October when the weather is more favorable. As we are about to enter into this year's buying season, I would like to give all buyers out there some important advice- Get a Property Inspection! A property inspectionoccurs after a contract has been established andthe purchaserhires a third party inspector whowill review many ofthe home'smajor attributes. This inspection is usually conducted within the first twoweeksafter an offer is accepted. In most transactions, this property inspection is written as a contingency, so that the purchasers must be satisfied with the inspection results before proceeding with the transaction. The inspection may include, but is not limited to: the roof, foundation, heating, plumbing, water, septic, electrical, structural, mechanical, flues & chimneys and other major components together with all appliances included in the sale of the subject property. The inspector may not however do invasive inspections such as drill holes, take off siding or cause damage to the property in any way. A purchaser may choose any inspector he or she wishes as long as the inspector is not related to the purchaser, but as a convenience here is a Partial List of Vermont Inspectors. Occasionally I will have clients or customers that elect not to have a property inspection. In most of these cases, the purchaser is an investor, purchasing a home "AS IS" and will waive a property inspection in lieu of negotiating a more aggressive purchase price. But keep in mind, the property inspection is your only chance to "kick the wheels" of your new home before closing! It's better to find out what's wrong with your new home BEFORE you own it and have no recourse.

New Refreshed Website - www.vermontgreentree.com

We just completed a new design of our website, www.vermontgreentree.com and are so excited to share it with you. We've been a client of Union Street Media for many years and enjoyed the process of updating some elements. Many clients have told us that they truly use and enjoy the content on our site, but as with all technology, we felt that the overall design could be "refreshed" as they say to make the site lookcleaner and easier to use for our clients. Please let us know what you think! We love the new look, the multitude of search options,and how easilyaccessible the new design comes across.

Screenshot (5)

For example, if you're just doing a quick targeted search, you can now use the new google search bar option on the top of every screen where it says "Find Properties". Or if you are starting to do research for a spring or summer purchase, we recommend creating a free account where you can save searches, make comments and even setup appointments to view homes. You can do this under the "Simply and Save Time" feature on the top left of any page. As always, we value your feedback and look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Digital Signatures for Real Estate Transactions

Gone are the days of the pen?

You might not need a pen the next time you sign a contract!

New for 2014formany Vermont Realtors is the software Dotloop, where real estate agents will have access to Vermont Real Estate forms that can be electronically signed by parties involved in a transaction. So how does this impact you, the buyer or seller in a transaction?

Well, according to the ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES IN GLOBAL AND NATIONAL COMMERCE ACT that was signed into law in June of 2000, signing a document electronically is legal and binding. However, in many real estate transactions, there are a lot of papers to review and signing these documents electronically may be quite overwhelming. Especially if you are a first time home buyer or seller, you may need things explained in detail, or just wish for some face-to-face time with your Realtor for such an important decision. This is completelycompletely understandable.

However, if you are an investor who is very familiar with the process, or someone that travels a great deal and really wants to be able to conduct business and keep the transaction moving along, e-signatures can be a true blessing! I personally usually use a hybrid, where I meet with clients first and explain all the documents and have them sign in person if applicable, and then use Dotloop for any additional subsequent addendums or forms that come along that require less explanation. This was very helpful over the holidays where a majority of my clients were traveling and greatly appreciated not having to get to a printer/scanner/fax in between visits with family. Everything could be handled via their devices. Let us know how you feel about electronic signatures! Is this a convenience or something that makes you uncomfortable? Do you have any other experiences with electronic signatures? Feel free to comment on this blog or onour facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VermontGreentreeRealEstate.

Vermont Sweets

Birrn Chocolates of  South Burlington

Birrn Chocolates of South Burlington, Vermont

We all know Vermont is known for it's maple treats, but did you know we have some really good chocolate treats as well? When I am thinking of sweet treats this time of year, a plethora of local options arise to choose from! Lake Champlain Chocolates being the most recognized brand with their wonderful holiday shaped chocolates, cocoa and fudge, but there are many other smaller companies that also deserve your attention.Vermont Cookie Love in Ferrisburg and the Vermont Brownie company in Winooski have very tasty (personally tested!) treats that are easily shipped anywhere you like! Snowflake Chocolates out of Jerichoand Birrn Chocolates in South Burlington...so good! Greentree enjoys supporting local businesses and thesespecific companies make it quite easy! So, if you're looking for a little something to bring to a holiday party...keep it local and keep it sweet.

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!