If you have property along the shore or are thinking of acquiring shoreland property, this is a MUST read!!!
Please contact me for more info!
On this July 1st (Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!), as I was wondering when the town of Williston's 4th of July fireworks were, I decided to put together a list of events in and around Burlington this upcoming holiday weekend! There is so much going on, it is going to be tough to pick and choose where to be!
Happy 4th of July to everyone! May you enjoy it with friends and family. Stay safe!
Many towns have a parade on the 4th - make sure you are aware of when it is to avoid frustration if you need to drive through town!
Looking for a home in Williston with fanstastic views of Lake Champlain and of the Adirondacks? This wonderful home is situated on over 2 acres, with sweeping views of the Champlain valley, yet only a few minutes from the Interstate. The kitchen has been completely remodeled and is a chef's dream!
Come take a look this Sunday!
This beautiful home now has new owners!
I have to say, the closing on Friday was so enjoyable. The sellers were happy, and are excited to be able to move onto their next home. And, above all, they are very happy that the buyers were such lovely people! Hopefully, the buyers enjoy the home just as much as the previous owners have for the past 17 years! :)
Get a prebate on your property taxes!!!
This HS-122 form must be filed each year by all VT residents who own and occupy a VT homestead on April 1st even if a claim for property tax adjustment is not made. The property tax is adjusted for all households with income of less than approximately $105,000. In addition to the HS-122 form, if you are claiming for a Tax Adjustment, please also fill out the Household Income Schedule HI-144.
If this form is filed late, the Town of Williston will apply a late fee.
For any additional information, please talk to your accountant, or contact me.
For those not applying for a tax adjustment:
For those applying for a tax adjustment:
HS-122 and HI-144 forms
I came across a very interesting graphic yesterday and wanted to share it with you. The survey asked 1000 real estate agents what they thought was Sellers' biggest mistakes when putting their house on the market and subsequently not achieving either their monetary or timescale goals.
Here are the results:
Not surprisingly, the top reason is overpricing the house. Of course, I am sure that isn't a surprise to anyone. Even though each home is unique - that's the nature of the business - the asking price must be based on facts only. A good way of understanding that is putting yourself in the buyer's shoes. Look at what is on the market at the time - if you were to visit 4-5 houses in the same ballpark price and size as yours, is yours the highest priced? If it is, then you need to objectively compare it with the others and price it competitively so that buyers are compelled to consider it. The first month on the market is by far the most critical - a common mistake is to overprice the house at first, and planning to lower the price after a month on the market in hopes of getting an offer at the higher end at the beginning but then lowering the price if there isn't any offers after a set time. The problem is that buyers tend to stay away from houses that have been sitting on the market for too long. Even if there is nothing wrong with it, they will tell themselves that there must be something wrong with the house if it is still in on the market. Strike while the iron it hot - pricing your house competitively right from the get go is the best strategy for getting it sold faster and for a fair price!
The second most popular answer is showing availability. Although I have rarely come across this issue personally, having worked with very accommodating sellers so far, I have had personal experience with this while shopping for our home. There is one home that we could just not come to an agreement as to when to see it. The tenants were moving out and even though we insisted that it didn't matter that it would be in disarray, the owners told us that we had to wait a couple of weeks before seeing it. We just couldn't wait that long since we had already seem another house that interested us and couldn't wait 2 weeks before putting in an offer. I think about that house everytime I drive by it and wonder if we would have bought that one instead! We might have - but because we didn't get a chance to see it, it fell be the wayside. Don't be that seller!!! Most showings only take 15-20 minutes - what a great time to go for a walk, or get some errands done. Just try to be as accommodating as possible. It is inconvenient for you, but it could transpire into a faster sale!
The third most popular answer is cluttered space. I have talked about this in an earlier blog entry. It is quite extraordinary just how much you can accumulate over the years. Who doesn't have boxes full of school textbooks, old clothing and sports gear laying around in a closet or in their basement? I always tell my sellers that decluttering before putting their house on the market is a great way to start their packing by sorting through all their stuff and making decisions about what to give away and what to keep. In some cases, renting out a storage unit is a great way of decluttering your living space and getting a head start on your packing. A neat trick that I use is taking a photo of the space as is and showing it to the sellers. It is amazing how your eyes immediately see the clutter instead of the room. Clear all countertops, tables and desks, and remove all fridge magnets, and you will be amazed at how much roomier your house looks.
The next three reasons: unpleasant odors, unwillingness to negotiate and needed repairs are usually not deal breakers unless they are substantial. There is always room to negotiate - if not monetary, then in the form of real property or timeline. Buyers and sellers need to think outside the box when it comes to negotiating - what does the other side want and what can I get in return if I accommodate him or her? Needed repairs can also seem daunting to potential buyers. What if they really like the house, but it really needs a new kitchen or a new roof and they don't have the funds to do the work? With some great renovation loans available, some of these stumbling blocks can now be eliminated by including the cost of the repairs into the mortgage loan. Unpleasant odors, be it tobacco smells or pet smells can really turn off buyers. The sense of smell is almost as important as sight when shopping for a house. It is really hard for a buyer to "see" past certain smells, and I have seen buyers walk away from houses without even looking at them because of foul smells. Sellers must be aware of this and take necessary action to deal with unwanted smells. There are some great products out there which neutralize (not cover!) smells, and that, along with a good cleaning, usually does the trick.
Have you had experience any of the above? I would love to hear your story!
I am starting a monthly series focused on identifying the top 5 entry-level homes that sold in the last month in the greater Burlington area. Why do these make it in my top 5? I am using the following criteria while judging the sales:
1) price point. I am considering anything below 220,000$
2) state of the house. Is it move-in ready? How much work needs to be done. Many first time buyers have already used their cash in order to make a down-payment and to cover closing costs. For many, they cannot afford to start pouring more money into expensive house removations.
3) neighborhood. Granted, this is a little bit more subjective, but I am evaluating ease of commute, and traffic volume.
4) re-saleability. For many, this first investment is not for the long term. How easy will it be to sell in 5-10 years?
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 for December 2013.
Here is a statistic that may shock you: almost 30% of homes purchased are cash deals. Higher than you thought, right?
However, for the rest of the buyers, securing a mortgage is the most popular way to achieve home ownership. Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to a mortgage.
Pay your bills on time and cut down on any debt. Credit scores are crucial. Your credit score will determine if you are able to get a loan and your interest rate. Many loan officers now have the tools to evaluate exactly what you can do to improve your credit score in real time!
Save now for a down payment. It's no secret that the more you are able to put down, the less you have to borrow. However, it is important to note that it may make more sense to pay off high interest debt first. In other words, pay off your credit card debt and settle for less of a down payment because your mortgage interest rate should be less on the property loan.
Shop lenders. Compare interest rates and closing costs, such as application fees and appraisals. Learn about the different types of mortgages before meeting with lenders. You would always get a second opinion when shopping for a car, right? Do the same with your mortgage!
Don't make any large purchases or career changes right before the closing.
Your lender will recheck your employment status and credit profile again shortly before the closing. If they are not satisfied, they can pull the plug just when you are about to close on the house of your dreams.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage, not just pre-qualified. This will expedite the home buying process and give you negotiating strength and credibility. Sellers will sometimes accept lower offers from qualified buyers, who can show they can close the deal.
Don't get in over your head. Borrow what you can afford, not what the lender is willing to lend. Scrutinize your budget and factor in property taxes, utilities and maintenance. For condominiums and planned unit developments (PUDs), do not forget to factor in the monthly association fees!
It seems daunting at first to find out exactly how much you can afford. What if it isn't as much as you thought? I believe that the sooner you know, the better. If your credit score isn't where it should be, you are now in a position to do something about it. Take charge of your finances!
Please contact me if you would like more details on mortgages or on any other real estate related subject! If I don't know the answer, I will strive to find someone who can!
You could be looking to buy your first home, or maybe downsizing after retirement. Regardless of the circumstances, you of course want to be able to negotiate the best possible price for your new home.
The first crucial step of negotiating for homebuyers is getting pre-approved. Not only does it make sense to sit with your lender in order to have an idea of what you can afford, it also turns you into a cash buyer in the seller's eyes. It doesn't feel like you are negotiating, but you really are in a passive way. For example, if you are putting in an offer on a property in a multiple offer situation, even if your offer is slightly less than the competitors, you can see how a solid pre-approval can sway the sellers into accepting your offer instead of a competitor's offer which does not include a pre-approval.
Getting a pre-approval also saves time and can speed up the financing, which can bring forward the closing date and that is usually very appealing to a seller.
Before making an offer, do your homework! Work with a Realtor, who will be able to establish how much a property is worth. Your Realtor will be able to research comparables, the neighborhood and the market, all of which will help you make a realistic offer. If you come to negotiations with facts to back up your offer, the seller may be more willing to meet your price.
A listing agent will not be able to disclose the motivation or bottom line of the sellers. However, do your due diligence to find out as much as you can. Speak to neighbors. Is the property vacant? It might be that the owners are anxious to sell in order to make their next move.
The attitude you bring at the beginning of the process makes a lasting impression. If you go into it with a positive and win-win attitude, then if required, any negotiations needed further down the line will be much easier with both parties being receptive. Using facts instead of feelings also helps defuse a difficult negotiation. Sellers are emotionally invested into their house. Backing up your offer with facts (for instance, a general quote for repairing broken tiles, or a leaky chimney) shows that you are a serious buyer and will help avoid hurt feelings and resentment, which can lead to deals turning sour. And ultimately getting you in your dream home!
Do you have any negotiation tricks? Do you enjoy negotiating?
No, I am not talking about a first date! But, just like in dating, the first impression of your home is a lasting one. Stats show that it takes less than eight seconds for buyers to make up their mind if they are interested in a house or not when perusing the listings online. Eight short little seconds to make a great first impression! We'll all seen some horrendous examples of photos that are posted online. Not to hurt anyone's feelings, here is a typical mistake of a poor photo. I have used my kitchen as an example:
I just sold this lovely condo today. This is an old converted school building - it has retained a lot of the school feel to it, including original classroom doors, and one of the highlights is the great gym!
Should I replace my windows before putting my house on the market? Should I update the bathroom? These are just a couple of the questions I hear almost everyday. Contrary to what people think, the rule of thumb is that you don't get back what you put into your home. There are of course some exemption - aren't there always? I found a most useful guide that crunched all the numbers are put some very pertinent stats together for today's sellers. I love numbers, so you can imagine how excited I was to find this and cannot wait to share it with my clients!
This guide provides a pretty good rundown on what you can expect to get back from some house projects. Please keep in mind that this is the average and doesn't guarantee return when you sell you home! But it does give you a great guideline on where to spend your money!
Top 3 best bang for your buck:
1) minor kitchen remodel which includes new appliances and fixtures, new cabinet doors, replacing laminate surfaces with higher end surfaces, and painting and redoing the moldings. 112% return.
2) new garage door. 80% return.
3) major kitchen remodel. 78%.
What isn't worth your time and money if you are thinking of selling?
1) Home office remodel. 30% return.
2) Backup power generator. 30 % return.
3) And the most surprising: bathroom remodel. 43% return.
If you would like to discuss any projects that you are doing and how they will enhance your home's appeal in today's market, please call me. It will be my pleasure to share my knowledge and learn from your experience as a homeowner, a seller or a buyer.
One of the greatest satisfactions with being a real estate agent is seeing the excitement of buyers when they find the perfect home and get the keys to their place! You really do meet some incredible people along the way, and although the buying process can be stressful at times, I do make sure to have a little fun along the way!
This lovely house in Milton now has a new owner. I am sure that he will enjoy this wonderful neighborhood!
I know. I've been there. That feeling of invincibility when you find the house of your dreams. It can make you overlook so many faults. I definitely do not regret our purchase. However, I might have gone into "it's an old home but it's new to us" home ownership with eyes wide open instead of jumping in quasi-blindly!
You see lists everywhere about what you should and shouldn't do when shopping for a house. Some are common sense. Some, not so much. Here is my personal top 5. . .
1) Be honest with yourself about projects. Figure out how much time you really want to spend on the house. If you find out that you are unwilling to give up every weekend to do house projects, could you afford to pay someone to do it for you? If not, are you willing to spread the work over more years? If not, WALK AWAY. There will be another house out there for you. You don't want to look back at the last 10 years of your life and regret having spent it with a drill and paint brush in your hand.
2) Find an agent who understands your needs. You need someone who will sit down with you and help you figure out what you are looking for. Let us do the work! We spend our lives immersed in real estate so you don't have to!
3) Don't be afraid of change. It's normal. You thought you'd love living in a cape, but after walking through a few of them, realize that it doesn't work for you. Tell your agent! It's perfectly ok to adjust what you're looking for during the process.
4) Do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the neighbourhood you're looking at moving into. Talk to the neighbours. Check out traffic during different times of the day. Is it near an airport? What about train tracks? You're investing a lot of money - don't be afraid to invest a little time too!
5) Don't overspend. Sit down with a financial adviser if you are not comfortable putting together a budget yourself. Regardless of how much your lending institution is willing to lend you, let that not stop you from making sure that you can support not only the new mortgage payment, but also able to maintain the level of lifestyle you want.
What are some other traps to avoid? What is your personal experience? I would love to hear about them!
A fixer upper can be oh so very tempting when you are looking to buy a home, most likely because it seems like the more affordable option. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or real estate veteran, here are some pros and cons to consider before purchasing a property that needs major renovating.
1) A less-than-perfect house often allows buyers to own in a neighborhood they otherwise couldn't afford. A fixer upper located in a desirable neighborhood may often sell for less than the surrounding homes.
2) When redoing a home there is the opportunity to create a space all your own and make it exactly how you would like.
3) There are a lot of variables specific to each property, but often, there is a possibility for profit in resale once the property is renovated.
1)You may be overwhelmed with the amount of work, time and money it takes to renovate. Always have a back up plan to access funds or credit if any unforeseen hurdles are discovered during the renovation.
? Tip: It may be wise to bring professionals with you to walk through the property before you buy to avoid underestimating the work and cost.
2) There is always a possibility that you could lose money on your investment. It is common to go over budget on repairs and renovations. The housing market is another variable that can be unpredictable.
3) Whether you're hiring a contractor or doing the work yourself, the renovation process is often stressful. Consider the commitment before you buy, especially if you plan on living on the property while doing the renovation. If you do want to do the work yourself, consider the time you will spend on it and what you will need to sacrifice in the rest of your life to make time for it.
Looking to buy a fixer-upper? Let me guide you through the buying process so that you can be assured that you are making the right decision! We know there will be work to be done once you move in, but it is most important to get sound advice from knowledgeable people BEFORE buying! You need some recommendations of contractors who could accompany you on your walk-through? Give me a call. I will make sure that you know as much as you can about the property and figure out just how you can achieve your goals.
We hear it all the time: "Make sure you have a good credit score, or else you'll never get a loan!". But what is a good score and how can we improve it?
With the tough economic conditions that we have been through during the last 5-6 years, with job cuts and the slow economic growth, many have found themselves in tough situations. It sometimes doesn't take much to push people over the edge into having no choice but to file for personal bankruptcy. Could have been an unforeseen medical emergency, a job loss or taking care of a loved one. Whatever the cause, if you have had to go through a bankruptcy, you know that depending on which kind of mortgage you would be interested in, the wait is anywhere from 2 to 7 years before you can apply for a loan.
Most lenders can offer mortgages to buyers with credit scores starting at 620. What affects that credit score? Student loans, car loan, unpaid credit card debts are just a few of the factors that affect your credit score. How can you improve it? Consolidate your debt and start paying it off! Pick whichever has the highest interest rate and pay that off the fastest. Scary fact: if you are only making the minimal payments on a 5000$ credit card balance, it will take you almost TEN years to pay it off! And that 5000$ will have cost you almost 8000$.
Something to think about. Maybe our mothers were right all along by telling us to not live beyond our means...
If you would like the discuss how to better your credit score in order to be able to get a pre-approval for a house loan, give me a call or email me. We have a great in-house lender who can get you a pre-approval with no charge or obligation.
Welcome to the SKJ Vermont Homes blog!
Let me introduce myself. My name is Sonia Krajicek. I am a real estate agent with CENTURY 21 Jack Associates in South Burlington, Vermont.