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Tips for Creating the Perfect Atmosphere for a Winter Home Sale

Posted by nelrealty

Nov 18, 2014 9:16:23 PM

winter_house

To successfully sell your home, you must take advantage of every showing. This can be especially hard in winter when the light is poor and your yard is not looking its best.

Luckily there are a few simple things you can do boost your home's charm offensive.  

1. Turn up the heat Impressing buyers in winter means literally turning up the heat. Pop on the heaters at least an hour before potential buyers come round. The warmth will give them a good feeling as they step in from the cold. If you have an open fire, light it. Nothing screams warm and cozy like a beautiful fire.  

2. Banish the gloom Nobody likes dark places. If your property looks good in daylight, try to schedule your viewing when daylight is at its strongest. For evening viewings, switch on the center lights and add table lamps and up-lighters to brighten gloomy corners. A few scented candles in strategic places like the bathroom, the living room or the bedroom can add a homely, romantic feel.  

3. Clean light sources No seller should underestimate the power of a good clean. But if you are selling in winter, you need to pay particular attention to your light sources and window dressings -- window glass, curtains, blinds, shades and light bulbs. A dusty light bulb or dirty shade can obstruct as much as half the light, which will make your home look gloomy.  

4. Exploit the season Christmas is just around the corner and with it comes lights, ornaments and the smell of mulled wine! By using these decorations wisely, you can really sell a lifestyle to potential buyers. Remember that you want to create the illusion of space, so don't go overboard. Buyers want to imagine family celebrations in your property, not get trapped between the sofa and a ten-foot Christmas tree.

5. Reduce noise for a soothing atmosphere A house is a shelter from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Would-be buyers want a home that will make them feel comfortable and relaxed, especially in winter, when they are more likely to curl up with a book in front of the fire than kick a ball around the park. Create a soothing atmosphere by limiting the noise. Do not start the washer, dryer or dishwasher before receiving visitors. Turn off the TV. Background music is fine, but  keep it soothing.    

6. Pay attention to your outdoor space A winter garden need not be a neglected garden. Keep it tidy by deadheading old flowers, raking leaves and mowing your lawn. Consider planting some evergreen or winter flowering shrubs to add a splash of color to a yard or patio. A fire pit or patio heater is a great way to open up you outdoor pace if you are still getting some last-minute winter sun.   

If you make your property as welcoming as possible, you will stand the best chance of selling your property during the quieter winter season. Good luck!

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Topics: VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement

What's Wrong With Modern Home Design?

Posted by nelrealty

Apr 22, 2014 3:47:00 PM

To Keep Or Not To Keep..
commons_blue_print_framed

Home designs have traditionally been as diverse as the people who inhabit them. From log cabins of the frontier to stucco villas of the southwest, houses were usually influenced in style and design by the building materials readily available in the environment. A few features, however, were universal. Efficiency, room usability, and utilization of outdoor space were a few concepts instinctively considered when building a home.

Today, a home is often built en masse along with dozens of others. Developers are business people whom have contributed positively to the home experience by providing affordable and available homes, but their priority is cost-effective quantity. Even
custom built homes are subject to influence from the neighborhoods and homes already in existence. Property owners take cues from existing homes, thereby perpetuating home features which may not even meet their needs.

Certain home features of the last few decades have served their purpose but are outdated, while others from the past need to be resurrected. With these topics in mind, let's explore some of the possibilities for improving homes.

 

1. The Walk-Out Basement. Get Rid of It.

The walkout basement became a pervasive feature of many homes in the 1990s and 2000s. Finished basements in the 1970s and 1980s were often unavoidably dark or claustrophobic no matter how luxuriously they were finished. Walkout basements with direct access to the outside and possibility of large windows seemed like an ideal way to make the basement not only an extra living area, but a prominent and comfortable one as well.

This design logically meant putting the main floor of the home a story above the ground
in back. Therefore, with the exception of a deck and a steep flight of stairs, it eliminated the main floor access to the backyard. The habits of people, however, did not change. The basement still felt disconnected and navigating down several stairs to reach the yard took effort. The family backyard traditionally an extension of the home directly off the main living areas -became a thing of the past. Many backyards of homes with walkout basements are barren and underutilized. It is not uncommon to see homeowners trying

to create a backyard atmosphere in their front yard, complete with lawn chairs near the curb and the family pet tied up next to the car. This is based on a natural tendency to walk out the door with the quickest, most level access to the yard.

There is simply little reason for a walkout basement. Basements are meant to be disconnected, and window designs and lighting have evolved to help create a more comfortable space underground. Homes built with easy, direct yard access add to the enjoyment of the property.

2. The Front Porch. Bring It Back.

Regardless of the home style, most homes until the 1980s featured a front porch. Social and outdoor connection was so important that people often used valuable square footage for porches rather than indoor rooms. Front porches present a welcoming image that encourages others to visit. They promote neighborly interaction and allow a comfortable place from which to watch the children and enjoy the fresh air.

At some point in time, homeowners made privacy a top priority in home design. Front porches were eliminated and entrances are often indented into the house footprint rather than built as a central focal point. This discouraged visitors from feeling welcome to spontaneously knock on the door. Screen doors and sidewalks were also eliminated, lending more uninviting aspects to neighborhoods.

The demise of the front porch and the buried front entrance may be the saddest changes in home design. They create an aura of isolation and unnecessary privacy. Bringing back the front porch, repositioning entrances prominently, and creating connecting sidewalks should be strongly considered in new home design.

3. Garages as the Prominent Focal Point. Get Rid of It.

The current trend of garages being the dominating feature of the front of the home is outdated. Entire neighborhoods are built of homes where an enormous garage door juts out from the house footprint and often times nearly hides the home. This feature strongly connects to the problem previously listed in which home entrances are indented into the house footprint while large garages are given prominence.

Garages should ideally be regulated to the side or back of a home and should fit into the main house footprint rather than dominate it. If circumstances demand the garage entrance be in front, then it, rather than the front door, should be built to appear as noninvasive as possible.

4. Architectural Detail. Bring It Back.

Getting the most square footage for the money is a defining factor for most builders. This is an understandable viewpoint, but it often comes at the expense of features than make a home unique. These features are aesthetically pleasing and can add efficiency to a house. Builtin book cabinets with glass doors, strategically placed shelving, or small closets built into "dead space" are some examples of architectural details that were standard in older home designs. These types of features were often whimsical yet functional. Window details or pretty banisters may not have been necessary, but in many older homes they were considered just as important as square footage. Architectural details contribute beauty and functionality to a house and often pay for themselves by using space that would normally be forgotten.

5. Open Floor Plan. Get Rid of It.

By the 1990s and continuing today, one of the top requests for home design is the open floor plan. The open floor plan has become a substitute for good room flow. This plan consists of a large, totally open space that includes all or most main living areas: kitchen, dining, living room, den, and entrance. The design was initially sought after in the hopes it would encourage family interaction, make a home feel lighter and larger, and not isolate those working in the kitchen. It was also a feature intended to promote entertaining.

While the open floor plan might have enabled a few nice parties and created the illusion of a bigger house, there were better qualities it made obsolete. It made privacy impossible. People could no longer mingle in small gatherings without the drone of the entire house. Turning on the TV meant the all main areas were subjected to it. Kitchen smells and messes permeated the entire home. Every inhabitant or guest automatically became a part of what every other inhabitant or guest did or said, whether it was the TV, a conversation, or a sink full of dirty dishes.

Homes are better served by separate rooms, each one with it's own purpose. The light and open effect can be achieved with wide hallways, tall ceilings, large doorways, and ample windows. These features respect the purpose and privacy of each room and still maintaining an easy, unencumbered flow between areas.

 

6. The Garden Shed. Bring It Back.

Older homes often featured a shed to store items like lawn mowers, garden tools, and yard furniture. They were not only functional but often a charming, outdoor feature. However, at some point in the evolution of America home design, all things outdoor
were relegated to the garage. In some ways this made sense the car is an outdoor thing
so why not store everything outdoor related with it? The problem was the garage became cluttered and inefficient. Some homeowners not only built garages big enough for three cars, but also expanded them in order to store seasonal items. This is a factor that resulted in the enormous garages that contributed to some of the previously mentioned home design mistakes.

Homeowners associations have contributed to this mistake. Many home associations forbid outdoor sheds and other structures. There is no reason for this type of neighborhood rule when common sense guidelines can be followed. Hopefully, homeowners associations will eventually ease up on these restrictions. Small, inexpensive, garden sheds need not be an eyesore. They can free up valuable home square footage, provide easy access to outdoor items, and lend charm to the property.

Home design is a constantly evolving art form. Functionality, efficiency, longevity, and aesthetic appeal must always be considered when creating something as permanent as a house. Today, potential home builders can be better served by adapting a fresh perspective on features that are outdated trends and home characteristics from the past they may wish to revive.

Ask Us About Waterbury's Next Great Neighborhood!

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Topics: VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement

Jawdropping views of cozy homes built in an abandoned office tower, a lagoon, a recycling heap and more

Posted by nelrealty

Oct 16, 2013 8:58:46 PM

Home can mean so many different things to different people around the world. What does home mean to you? What does it look like?

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Bringing Fall Into Your Home

Posted by nelrealty

Oct 14, 2013 9:16:53 PM

With over half of all homeowners planning to make some type of improvement to their home this year, the question is, what exactly are they changing? Homeowners are choosing to wait until the high temperatures break and cooler weather hits to begin outdoor work, and home improvement companies are looking to unload new products to prepare for the new season, allowing homeowners to grab some great deals as autumn begins.

The most common fall home improvement projects include fencing, interior and exterior painting, window work, flooring, and roof repair, all of which are in preparation for the cold winter weather when home improvement projects are not at the top of your priority list. By getting these projects done before winter, you can put your home improvement projects to rest until spring without worrying about leaky roofs, cold air coming through cracks in the windows, and maintaining the value of your home with fencing and a fresh coat of paint.

"The cooler autumn temperatures make for the perfect time to focus more on the home and any remodeling projects," says Jeremy Floyd of Fence Center. "Such projects like adding in bamboo or aluminum fencing, not only increases your family's security, but the value of your home. Now that autumn is officially here, people are likely beginning to get these home improvement projects rolling."

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When the weather begins to turn cold, take cues from fall to warm up your world. Think about the decorating styles that appeal to you and use the following tips for guidance:

Look to Elemental Colors: Air, Earth, Fire and Water; nature inspires the most beautiful colors. Colors reflecting air will make your home breathe. Earth inspired colors will ground and calm a room. Colors pulling from water inspire playful fun, and lastly those reflecting fire will say bold confidence.

Take Natures Cues: As the air turns cool, nature gives us clues as to which colors make your home feel warm and cozy in the fall. Look around at the fall foliage and you'll see vibrant golds, rich reds, deep chocolate browns and toasty oranges. These colors inspire life and energy as the days get darker and cooler. Look for ways to incorporate these colors and scenes into your room decor. National Geographic Wallpaper or wall murals can help create this inviting nature setting.

Go Natural: With the increasing focus on the environment, there are abundant products available today that reflect and are good for nature. These products often incorporate earthy colors and textures; a perfect theme for fall. Choose eco-friendly shades which are PVC-free and 100 percent recyclable.

'Tis the Season: Carve out a tall pumpkin and use it as a flower vase or use small pumpkins for candles. A throw pillow, bowl of fresh citrus fruit or a bouquet of cut flowers are inexpensive ways to provide some color pop while welcoming your guests with the feel of nature.

Come Together: Gather around the fireplace. Rearrange your furniture to set your fireplace, instead of the TV, as the focal point of the room. Footstools, ottomans, and floor pillows by the fire create an inviting, warm atmosphere that will get you through the harshest days of winter. If you don't want the hassle of starting and maintaining a fire, try placing tall white candles in the fireplace for a similar glow.

Go Vibrant: Add a few splashes of vibrant color. They enrich any look and keep you from feeling drab. Deep colors also inspire confidence. Use an area rug to add warmth and personality to any room.

Go Circular: Designing a wreath is one of the easiest DIY projects you could hope for. And this time of year there is an abundance of colorful items to choose from at your local craft store or around your home. Get the kids involved and make it a family project.

Prepare for Winter: Now is the time to prep your home. There are several easy steps you can take. Consider insulating cellular shades or lined window treatments such as thermal curtains or foam-backed draperies for older, drafty windows. Insulate your water heater with insulation wrap. Seal leaks and drafts with caulk or weather strips. Clean your furnace and change your air filter. And lastly, but certainly not least, install a programmable thermostat. This allows you to conserve energy during the day while you're at work and at night while you sleep, but still come home or wake up to a warm, cozy home.

 

A fun fall project: Create an indoor play area

John Powell (powellrenovations.com) at Powell Custom Homes and Renovations of Des Moines, Washington provides these tips:

play-areaImage source: happytobeathome.net

Choose a theme - Plan the entire room around a single thematic element based on a child's favorite subject, game or character. Or use the theme to create variety, such as a “story time” theme with your child’s favorite storybook characters incorporated into the decor. A themed, “special” room will give your child more incentive to spend time there, and will even help him or her to keep it clean.

Go crazy with colors - Neon paint colors are just fine here; don’t worry about matching or clashing.  Think about the fantasy worlds your children are seeing on television - the more outlandish, the more tempting the space will be for them.

Think small - Kids love spaces that are sized for them. Plan the space for smaller people, but think ahead so your kids don’t outgrow the space within the year.

Kids play rough - No matter how bomb proof you make the space, someone is bound to knock his head against the side of any piece of furniture or anything built into the space. Try to find things with rounded edges. If you buy a piece of furniture with hard corners, ask your contractor to sand it down.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Feature image: thetutorializer.com

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Topics: National Real estate trends, VT Real estate trends, Home Improvement

The Ups and Downs of Interest Rates

Posted by nelrealty

Oct 4, 2013 4:29:24 PM

We all know interest rates go up and down. But do we know why or how that affects each of us on a personal level?

In the last 12 months we have seen interest rates as low as 3.375% on a 30-year fixed mortgage and as high as 5.00% on the same loan. Currently (9/30/13) the interest rates are sitting around 4.50%.  What has caused the large shifts in rate?

Mortgage interest rates typically inversely follow bonds, specifically the 10 year T-bill.  As the cost of the 10 year T-bill goes up and the yield on return goes down, so do interest rates.  As the price of the 10 year T-bill goes down and yields go up, interest rates typically go up.  Over the last few years you may have heard the term QE (quantitative easing).  This is an economic stimulant program from the Federal Reserve (The Fed) with which they have been putting “cash” into the market by buying assets such as mortgage back securities (MBS).  By purchasing mortgage back securities The Fed has been able to artificially drive down the mortgage interest rates.  The private investor purchasing MBS is looking for a higher return, while the Fed is more concerned with driving the economy as a whole, not padding their pocket.

As the economy struggled, the Fed continued to purchase assets, thus we had QE 2 and QE 3.  The Fed has been buying billions of dollars of MBS per month, continuing to drive the interest rates down.  As the economy has slowly improved, the Fed has threatened to slow or stop completely their asset purchasing program.  In August, there was discussion that the Fed would begin pulling back as early as the 4th quarter.   Interest rates jumped up to most recent highs of 5.00%.   In September they reevaluated the economy, jobs and the GNP to realize they may have overestimated the economic growth.  At which point, the Fed announced that they did not plan to stop or slow their asset purchasing program and rates began to drop again to our current rate of 4.50%.

How does this affect you, the home buyer?

Here is a quick example:
On a $200,000 loan at 4.50% you will pay $1,013.37 / month for principal and interest. At an interest rate of 5.00% you will pay $1,135.58 / month for that same $200,000.  That is an increase of almost 11%.
To look at this differently, at a 5.50% interest rate, if you borrowed 10% less or $180,000 you would have a monthly principal and interest payment of $1,022.02.  With a 1 percent increase in rate you have reduced you borrowing power by approximately 10%.
As the price of houses go up and interest rates go up you have reduced your buying power by over 10%.  My suggestion, get out there and buy now while your purchasing power is still really strong.

Article written for NELR by Jeff Teplitz, Mortgage Loan Officer, EverBank - Dedicated to helping clients throughout the mortgage process, with over 8 years of mortgage experience and a thorough knowledge of the Vermont and Northern New England markets.

Featured image: homesolid.com

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Topics: National Real estate trends

Vermont Life Magazine Youth Exodus? » Vermont Life Magazine

Posted by nelrealty

Sep 27, 2013 4:28:38 PM

Vermont Life Magazine Youth Exodus? » Vermont Life Magazine.

For a long time the myth has been that young people are leaving the state, leading to economic, social, and cultural downfalls. Recently, Vermont Life Magazine has painted a different scene and with ample research found that, "Universally, the young people we spoke to said they prize Vermont’s intimate scale and interconnectedness, its natural beauty and easy access to the outdoors, its down-to-earth priorities and its indefinable vibe. Vermont has a bright future. Vermont is also admired. People want to live here, and with the Web and telecommuting, more and more of them can." They do point out that indeed many young people are leaving, but they are also returning to the state with the wealth and knowledge gained from travel and life experience. They said, "The youth-flight narrative, with its aversion to nuance and context, overlooks the flow of people who return in mid career."

If more young people are going to stay in the state, they need to be able to thrive in their career and find a home to match their lifestyle. Vermont Life Magazine looked at the case of Dealer.com, "everybody’s idea of what Vermont needs to stop young people from leaving the state." Dealer.com is, "a fast-growing business that provides digital marketing systems for the automotive industry, in a setting, with about 750 other employees, that has all the toys and perks of Silicon Valley culture: brightly colored warrens of open cubicles, organic café with espresso, on-site gym, rooftop solarium with putting green and a renovated building that, it almost goes without saying, is a model of green design." Sean Hurley, director of advertising and social products for Dealer.com said that, "It’s a mistake for anyone to think that there aren’t real businesses here making real money." In fact there are many examples of thriving local business in Vermont in order to keep young people in the state engaged and challenged within their careers. Luckily, there are also many opportunities to help first-time home buyers settle in the state.

With all of these opportunities at an arm's-length away, what young person wouldn't want to make a home in Vermont?

 

Please contact us for more information on buying a home in Vermont or consult the following information meant to educate first-time home buyers.

 

Further information for first-time home buyers:

"First-timers now represent nearly 30 percent of all existing home purchasers," said Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of a nationwide lender. "That's a big percentage, but it could be a lot higher because there are many ways first-time purchasers can finance with little down and little hassle."

The big barrier for many first-time buyers is cash. It takes cash for a down payment, and it takes cash to close. Lenders are generally looking for buyers with 20 percent down, but given that the typical home sells for more than $200,000, there are a lot of first-time homebuyers who have not accumulated the $40,000 or more that lenders prefer. The good news: There are many ways around the 20 percent requirement with traditional loan options. "It doesn't take a lot of up-front cash to buy a home today," said Brousseau. "FHA and conventional financing are all available with little down, while VA borrowers can qualify for mortgages that require no down payment." The way such programs work is that they substitute insurance for the 20 percent down that lenders would otherwise want.

Mortgage Assistance Plans

According to DownPaymentResource.com, there are more than 1,500 assistance plans administered by more than 1,000 agencies nationwide for would-be buyers, many aimed specifically at first-time purchasers. In looking at these programs it's important to understand what the term "first-time buyer" means. It typically does not mean someone who has never owned a home; instead the usual definition for program qualification purposes is someone who has not had title to a home during the past three years. This definition is important because it provides a way for people to re-enter the housing marketplace.

"Another important point about mortgage assistance programs is that many are specifically designed to encourage local home purchases by public-sector employees such as teachers, police, firefighters, nurses, and corrections workers," said Brousseau. "There are millions of people who qualify for such assistance."

The benefits available through mortgage assistance plans vary. For instance, borrowers may be able to get financing at below-market interest rates. Down payment grants may be available, essentially meaning that little or nothing down will be required. Another approach includes programs that offer tax credits. Mortgage interest is generally deductible, but a "tax credit" is arguably more valuable. With what are called "mortgage credit certificates" or MCCs, borrowers can deduct directly from their actual tax bill. For instance, if you have $8,000 in mortgage interest you might be able to directly reduce your taxes by $1,600 while the remaining $6,400 can be treated as an itemized deduction.

"Given low interest rates and a firming housing sector, this is a terrific time to consider entering the real estate market," said Brousseau. "With today's financing choices, many buyers can own their own home a lot quicker than they might have thought."

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

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Topics: Business, Vermont culture/events, Travel

Dream Green Kitchen

Posted by nelrealty

Sep 21, 2013 12:38:05 PM

Create Your Dream Green Kitchen

Family Features--Today’s newly remodeled kitchens boast more than just rich hues and shiny appliances – they have an eco-conscious ambiance that marries great style with respect for the environment.

Dreaming of a fresh, modern kitchen that is also eco-friendly and strikingly beautiful? Achieving this transformation is more attainable than you may think. Environmental lifestyle expert, Danny Seo, provides these helpful tips on how to add earth-friendly updates to your kitchen:

Refrigerator

When searching for a new refrigerator, be sure to look for more than just the Energy Star label to ensure maximum energy efficiency. It is also important the new appliance fits your needs and the size of your kitchen. A larger refrigerator uses more energy. If the one you select is too big for your needs, you will be wasting energy and money.

Blocked wood countertops

With their rugged durability and timeless style, butcher block countertops are making a huge comeback. Though typically made from cherry, walnut and oak, greener options, such as high pressure laminate designs made by Wilsonart, can contribute to US Green Building Council LEED accreditation as an eco-friendly material to use in your home. For more information on their new Blocked Wood designs – Old Mill Oak and Truss Maple –visit www.wilsonart.com.

Flooring

For a more sustainable approach to kitchen flooring, there are several options available. If you love the hard, classic appeal of wood, look for reclaimed, recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Bamboo is also a beloved choice among eco-conscious remodelers for its biodegradable nature and high renewability.

“Going green at home can be overwhelming, so I always advise people to not sweat the small stuff and focus on the one room of the house where it matters the most: the kitchen,” says Seo. “Being kind to the planet in the kitchen can also be kind on your wallet over time, so it's worth it to invest in sustainable upgrades.”

Backsplash

Recycled materials are the star of the show when looking to add green touches to your backsplash. There are three main types of recycled materials: ceramic, metal and glass. Old bottles and windows make up the materials in glass tile; old plates and clay vases are recycled to become ceramic tile; and those old soda cans become aluminum metal tile. All of these materials come in a variety of shades and styles to fit the look of your dream kitchen.

Dishwasher

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, using an Energy Star labeled dishwasher is the most efficient use of energy and water, even more so than hand washing. When looking to update your dishwasher, pay close attention to the EnergyGuide labels, which include the annual estimated costs to run them. This valuable information can help you compare models to find the best fit for your family’s needs.

A dream kitchen that is both eco-friendly and chic is easier to attain than you think. With a few changes not only will you be smiling, but so too will Mother Earth.

 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

For further information about creating your green home in Vermont: http://www.vermontgreenhomealliance.org/

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Topics: Energy

Closing the Deal

Posted by nelrealty

Aug 30, 2013 6:38:27 PM

You spend months marketing your property, cleaning the house for showings and then you get an offer and work through all details (negotiating, inspection, appraisal, financing, other contingencies), looking forward to closing. Or, you spend months looking at multiple properties, reconfiguring your expectations, narrowing down the prospects, making an offer and working through the same details as above.

Everyone patiently waits for that hopeful “Clear to Close” from the lender. You are thrilled when you get it and usually it is clear sailing from there. But that is not always the case. What can go wrong at the closing table? Let’s see…

Some unexpected things can happen either at closing, or the days just prior. There are some things you can do to avoid a delay.

Take care of all inspection items early on. You may find yourself at the mercy of contractors’ schedules or waiting on ordered parts. If you are the Buyer, do not wait until the walk-through to make sure the items have been done.

Look over your closing statement very carefully. You want to make sure all pro-rations, commissions and deposits are accounted for. Were the utilities, association fees, and taxes (town and/or village) all taken into account? A missing item can cause disruption at the closing table.

If you are wiring money, make sure the process is started in a timely manner in relation to your closing day and time. If the money is not there, you won’t close.

If needed, set up a Power of Attorney (POA) ahead of time, so your attorney (or other appropriate person) can sign the papers for you if you cannot be there. If you are the executor of an estate, make sure you qualify to have POA to sign the paperwork. Recent laws preclude those who benefit from a sale to have POA to sign the closing documents.

All Buyers should do a final walk-through to ensure all personal property has been removed, all appliances/items that were to remain are still there, and the home is broom clean. This is also an opportunity to make sure all work that was promised to be done has been completed.

If you are the Seller…don’t save your packing for the week before closing. Moving always takes longer than you think and Buyers rightfully expect a final walk through with the home cleared of all the Seller’s personal belongings and clean. It is in the contract.

One last tip. It is not advised to allow a Buyer to move personal property into the home prior to closing. If the closing is held up or does not happen, it can lead to a very awkward and possibly contentious situation. We all want to play nice…but it is still really good advice to heed!

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Topics: National Real estate trends, VT Real estate trends

A Home's Material Facts: Let us Ask and Disclose

Posted by nelrealty

Aug 21, 2013 3:18:02 PM

Today’s real estate climate is not the “Buyer Beware” of decades ago.  No longer do you hide the facts and hold your breath that the Buyer doesn’t ask the right questions.

Even with the most honorable intentions, issues can arise. Typically, the more serious issues that come up between buyers and sellers are questionable boundary lines (location of, easements, rights-of-way), septic problems (failing system), and moisture issues around rot and mold. These can become contentious, leading to terminated contracts or legal battles.

Disclose, disclose, disclose. That is the key to keeping things moving forward and avoiding the post-closing litigation. A property owner who lists with a professional will be asked to fill out a 6-page Seller’s Property Information Report. This facilitates full disclosure of material facts regarding the home. It encompasses 7 sections: Land, Mechanical systems, structural components, water supply, sewer/septic wastewater system, additional information, and condo/homeowners’ associations.

Sellers are expected to fill this out accurately and to the best of their knowledge. Such disclosures protect both the buyer and the seller.

If a home is not listed with a professional, a buyer needs to ask all the right questions, and a Seller needs to come clean about everything related to the house. This includes, but is not limited to, information regarding flood areas, underground storage tanks, accurate boundary lines, rights-of-way/easements, condition of appliances, septic maintenance, and results of radon and water tests. Getting this information in writing is essential.

This is not a don’t ask, don’t tell situation. If you are aware of or should be aware of material facts about the home, you need to disclose.  There is no perfect home and buyers understand this.  They just want there to be no surprises after the fact. They want to be aware of everything before jumping in.

The home inspection is a time when the unknowns should come to light, including home issues that the seller was not aware of. If an inspector’s list of issues includes a handful of things the buyer was told about pre-inspection, those things are not deal breakers. It’s the surprises that tend to slam the breaks on a deal, or at least make everyone head back to the negotiation stage.

So, whether you are using a real estate professional or going it alone, make sure you disclose everything about the home. If you are on the buying side, ask lots of questions. When it comes to the material facts of the home, nothing is off limits.

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Topics: National Real estate trends, VT Real estate trends

Financing Your Vermont Home

Posted by nelrealty

Aug 14, 2013 3:21:28 PM

If you’ve been following home-buying news and trends over the past four years, you have heard that lending is tight and it is hard to get a home loan. With expertise in the Vermont market, I have to say this is not the reality of the situation.  Mortgage underwriters are requiring more verification’s than the pre-2008 era and you may need to provide a bit more documentation, especially if you are self-employed, but loans to purchase Vermont real estate are still readily available.

If you are a first time home buyer looking to get into the Vermont real estate market you are in luck.  This is a great time to purchase a home, especially in the Burlington, Richmond, Waterbury, Stowe or Morrisville area.  Mortgage interest rates are still low, home prices are beginning to recover, and there are plenty of good lending programs to allow you entrance into the market.

One such lending program is the FHA program, allowing you to purchase a home with as little as 3.5% down-payment, possibly a gift from a parent or grandparent, and the seller can pay your closing costs.  FHA will allow as low as a 640 credit score and a debt-to-income ratio as high as 50%.

Another great program available to interested buyers in Vermont is Rural Development. This product allows 100% financing, though it does have a few more restrictions, such as income limitations and geographic restrictions. Luckily, most of the Vermont real estate market will allow buyers to qualify for such financing. In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have low down payment programs, with as little as 5% down on a primary residence or 10% on a second home.  For the most success using a conforming loan such as this one, you will want to have a stronger credit score.

The best thing to do is to meet with a loan originator to go over your situation, see which programs you qualify for, how much you can borrow, and decide how much you are comfortable paying each month. Then you will be ready to go out and shop in whichever Vermont real estate market you choose. So, get pre-qualified and happy house hunting.

Article written for NELR by Jeff Teplitz, Mortgage Loan Officer, EverBank - Dedicated to helping clients throughout the mortgage process, with over 8 years of mortgage experience and a thorough knowledge of the Vermont and Northern New England markets.

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Topics: VT Real estate trends