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Top Five Inspection Issues

Every house is unique, and there's no such thing as a "passed inspection" as deemed by inspector.

But we've been in enough (hundreds and hundreds) inspections, and worked through the post-inspection negotiations to come up with some guidelines. Here are the most common items that get called out at an inspection. Which means these are also great things for sellers to tackle early in the process.

 

Sellers: This is exactly the kind of advance knowledge and planning that will help reduce the stress of selling a house, even in this market. Call or email Green Light Real Estate for more info and a detailed selling plan.

 

1. GFCI Outlets

You know, those annoying outlets that have a test/reset button, and they click off at inconvenient times. Well, turns out those are safety features. Inspectors look for ground fault circuit interrupter outlets in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, unfinished basement, and exterior. So, look around. If you don't have them, get an electrician, or if you're handy, start installing them yourself. 

You can also use GFCI breakers in the circuit panel. Before you head to Barre Electric or pick up the phone, double check the panel itself to see if those circuits are already GFCI protected.

 

2. Handrails and Rail Systems

There are more places that need handrails than you might think. And there are more rules about them than you probably want to know about.

Basically, anytime you have more than two steps, you're going to want a handrail. Your handrail should be "graspable", which means you can't be a cheapo and just use extra lumber you've got lying around. It's safe to use "breadloaf" style handrails. Look at porch steps, including the back porch, as well as stairs to different levels in your house. You may not want a basement handrail, but the inspector's going to call it out.

Along the same lines, deck rails and balusters should follow certain guidelines. They should be spaced such that they're not more than four inches apart, and they should be a certain height. This goes for interior and exterior railing systems. 

 

3. Peeling Paint

Anywhere you've got cracked, peeling, or deteriorated paint, plan on touching it up. Common areas that come up are windows and window trim, fascia, soffits (the horizontal and vertical faces around the roof), porches, porch floors, garages, and even fences.

Remember that if your house was build before 1978 there's probably lead paint under all the newer paint layers, and you should use lead-safe practices. In a nutshell, scrape, prime, and paint anywhere your paint is falling apart. I can see you rolling your eyes. But really, if you think about it for a second, that paint's been bugging you anyway.

Email Green Light Real Estate with questions about selling or buying your house. Let the experts "Green Light" your house.

4. Furnace and Boiler Service

We all know that boilers and furnaces are supposed to be cleaned every year. But at a sale, it's actually, going to get done. We see it happen all the time where a buyer asks for a seller to have the heating service serviced after the building inspection.  The negotiations go either way.

One argument is that servicing the boiler/furnace is just regular maintenance that a homeowner should do, and the seller should do it. Another argument is that it's part of the inspection process, and the buyer should pay for it. How about this for a solution: Sellers--get your systems serviced before every heating season because that's regular safety and maintenance. That takes care of 80% of any negotiation on this item.

 

5. Oil Tank Inspection

Every three years an oil tank needs to be inspected by a fuel company or other qualified professional. If it doesn't pass, the fuel company won't put oil in it. Which is a bummer when you want a house to be heated. They'll leave a statement showing that who inspected, when it was inspected, and the results. Tape that right to the oil tank so it's there for the whole world to see.

If the tank hasn't been inspected, pick up the phone and get it inspected. Sometimes it takes weeks for a technician to be able to do the inspection. 

Oil tanks aren't cheap. If you have to replace one, plan on it costing $2000 or more. Side note--if your furnace/boiler is pretty old, and if you don't have a metal chimney liner, replacing the whole system with one that burns propane might be something to consider. A tank and a liner could easily run $4000, and a new boiler/furnace might not be too much more than that.

 

6. Bonus! Water Supply Hoses

At your washing machine, replace the rubber supply hoses with braided metal supply hoses. You can buy those at Aubuchon, and they're actually very easy to replace.  Those rubber hoses aren't designed to constantly have pressurized water in them. And, unless you're the one person in Vermont who turns off the valves when not doing laundry, you're constantly pressurizing the hoses.

 

7. Double Bonus!  Steel Lally Columns

We see them all the time. Those steel screw jack columns in the basement. Well, those are technically supposed to be temporary. Inspectors are going to call them out. They really want to see those columns be concrete filled metal columns (without rust at the bottom, achem), and on a proper base,  or pressure treated lumber on a proper base. "Proper base" does not mean "the dirt floor".

 

 

One of the kind of sneaky parts is that even if there's no inspection, if there's a loan, an appraiser might look at many of these items, especially 1-5. Low down payment loans such as VA, FHA, VHFA, and Rural Development will specifically task the appraiser to look for these items. And, if found, repairing/replacing these will be required before the loan is issued. There are no requirements for which party has to pay for repairs.

 

But gee, wouldn't it be nice if, since we know what's going to come up anyway, that sellers knock some of the list down, and that buyers understand they're going to have to put some money into the house before purchase too?

 

Email Green Light Real Estate with questions about selling or buying your house. Let the experts "Green Light" your house.

 

 

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    April 2021 Real Estate Market Report

    April 2021 Real Estate Market Report

    Also known as..."So, How's the Market?"

     

    Well, in a nutshell, the market is fast moving and prices are up. So, if you're selling, the market is good. If you're buying, you're working harder, making quicker decisions, and you probably have a little more stress in your life. 

     

    By the Numbers

     

     

    On the Market (Active)

    Sold Last 12 Months

    Median Sale Price

    Barre City

    6

    91

    $173,000

    Barre Town

    10

    113

    $225,000

    Montpelier

    5

    86

    $269,500

    U32

    10

    130

    $314,000

    Nfld/Wmst

    11

    96

    $212,750

    Waterbury

    3

    65

    $437,500

     

    Which means that everyone out there who's saying "There's no inventory" is right. Six houses for sale in Barre City? That's for sale without a contract on them. Meaning that if you want to buy a house in Barre, you have a grand total of six from which to choose. I looked back at a similar report I wrote in 2018, and there were nearly 30 houses for sale in Barre. Let's not forget that 2018 was a pretty good housing market. As my daughter says, so...yeah.

     

    Don't lose heart, buyers! Green Light Real Estate is really good at helping our buyer clients win multi-bid situations. You certainly don't want to go it alone as a buyer in this market.

     

    Email Info@GreenLightRealEstate for more info, or with any questions.

     

     

    Days on the Market

    Most homes are just not staying on the market long. I took a look at closed sales in March 2021 and compared them with March 2020. Homes are selling in roughly a third of the time it took in March 2020. Again, let's have some perspective. March 2020 sales went into contract in January-ish. So, that was pre-pandemic. That was "normal". And now we're seeing many properties go on the market in days.

    Here's kind of a typical situation. We list a house for sale, and showings begin on Saturday. We might see anywhere from 5-30 showings scheduled for the weekend. And then, we might get 1-5 offers. These are not made up numbers. We had over 40 showings on a Montpelier listing, and over 30 on a Barre City listing. Then, by Monday or Tuesday there's an accepted offer.

    But that's really only if all the work is already done. That's if a detailed, personalized valuation was completed (as opposed to say, taking a price off the internet, or multiplying some goofball factor times the assessed value). I mean real math, based on real experience, and using comparable sales that we've actually been in. It means having quality photography. It means having a well-documented listing. It means preparing sellers for what they need to do and what they can expect. 

    There's actually a LOT of work, planning, and expertise involved in getting a house ready to be on the market, and to get that kind of action.

     

    Seller Tip

    It's pretty common for buyers to have a radon test done as part of the inspection process. But we're recommending that our seller clients have radon tests done either before listing, or while their home is listed. Why? Because a radon test needs a "closed environment" for at least three days. That means doors and windows stay closed. That's fine now. It's a balmy 43 degrees as I write this. But in another month, it's going to be hot. 

    So, to keep your sanity, and to keep turning into a wilted mess, do the radon test now. Then, you can simply give the results to a buyer while you live in lovely comfort. 

    These are the little things that are really good to think about when you're selling your home in Vermont.

     

    Thinking of selling? Email Info@GreenLightRealEstate,com or call 802-225-6425

     

    Investing in Real Estate

    We've been collecting really interesting numbers about average rents, particularly in Barre. You can get the full, detailed breakdown of rents for one, two, and three bedroom apartments (heated and unheated) by address at www.BarreMultiFamily.com, or just email Green Light Real Estate and we'll send it to you.

    1 bedroom heated: $837

    2 bedroom heated: $928

    3 bedroom heated: $1098

    However, lest you think that the rental market is uniform, the rents vary pretty widely based on location and condition. Location, location, location matters just as much for apartments as it does for houses.

    Many investors have been reaching out to us to help them add to their holdings, and many have also asked us to help them value, market, and sell their multifamily properties. If you or a friend wants to buy or sell multifamily, send them our way. We can definitely help.

     

    Here's a link to recent multifamily sales.

    And here's a link to multifamily properties that are currently for sale. Yep, you can buy these!

     

     

    Green Light Real Estate News

    Two big moves that have always been part of the intermediate plan have taken shape over the past couple of months. We opened our Northfield office right on the Common, between Subway and Carrier Roasting Company, and two doors down from Good Measure Brewing. Lindsay Ericson is the managing broker of the Northfield office. 

     

    We also opened our Barre office. Located on the second floor of the Blanchard Block overlooking Youth Triumphant, and right next to City Hall and the Barre Opera House. If you haven't spent time in the renovated building, you really should. It's a beautiful space, and we've got great neighbors. Kate Root is the managing broker of the Barre office.

     

    Honestly, with both of these, the locations are tough to beat, and we know that Lindsay and Kate are going to do great things! 

     

     

     

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      2020 End of Year Report

      2020 End of Year Report

       

      Ok, I’ll just say it. 2020 was a strange year, in nearly every imaginable way. Happy to talk about the thousand other things that are on people’s minds. But, here, we’re just going to talk about real estate. Mostly.

       

      Sales were up. Sale prices were up. Land sales and $500,000 property sales were way up. It’s true that there were a lot of out of state buyers. But there were also a LOT of in state buyers.

       

      Median Sale Price

      Here’s what everyone wants to see. What the heck happened in 2020, compared to 2019. Well, it was kind of bananas. Median sale prices, and the change from year to year were through the roof.

       

       

       

      % Change 2019-2020

      Barre City 12.82%
      Barre Town 14.11%
      Montpelier 7.42%
      U32 16.42%
      Northfield/Williamstown 15.24%
      All Towns 15.53%

       

       

      The numbers round out considerably when we look at the number of sales over the past five years. In every submarket, there were more sales in 2020 than in 2019. U32 and Barre Town saw a LOT of action. For fun here, we can compare the five year trend as well as the one year trend.

       

        2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

      Barre City

      89 90 89 88 93
      Barre Town 79 109 89 86 111
      Montpelier 87 94 73 73 81
      U32 76 84 83 94 114
      Northfield/Williamstown 61 68 77 88 90
      All Towns 392 445 411 429 489

       

       

      Median Days on Market

      We thought 2019 was a great year for shorter days on the market. And it was. But 2020 sped things up even more. With the exceptions of Barre City and Montpelier, every other market saw shorter days on market in 2020 than in 2019.

       

       

      % Change 2019-2020

      Barre City 25.00%
      Barre Town -41.46%
      Montpelier 20.00%
      U32 -52.17%

      Northfield/Williamstown

      -25.71%
      All Towns -35.90%

       

      And, in real terms, this is what the median days on market numbers looked like. I find it interesting that Barre Town, U32, and Northfield and Williamstown are all so closely clustered. I’m not reading anything into that. It’s just interesting.

       

        2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

      Barre City

      88 67 42 44 55
      Barre Town 49 75 29 41 24
      Montpelier 43 35 40 10 12
      U32 68 49 60 46 22
      Northfield/Williamstown 66 54 45 35 26
      Total 61 55 43 39 25

       

       

      Multi-Family Report

      2020 was an active year for residential multi-family properties. Here we’ll focus on Barre City and Montpelier, which are the two most active multi-family towns in Central Vermont. And, truth be told, the bulk of the activity is in Barre City.

      Here the number that jumps out is the number of sales. It increased steadily from 2016-2018 and then almost doubled from 18 to 35 sales in 2019. The market held that elevated number of sales in 2020.

       

        Total Number of Sales
      Barre City

      15

      Barre Town 18
      Montpelier 18
      U32 35
      Northfield/Williamstown 31

       

      Looking only at duplex sales, there’s a clear increase in per unit sale price over the past five years. Barre City’s price per unit saw a really nice bump in 2020.

       

        Barre Price Per Unit (Duplex) Montpelier Price Per Unit (Duplex)
      2016 $66,225 $95,000
      2017 $67,750 $124,000
      2018 $41,750 $113,375
      2019 $52,500 $135,000
      2020 $63,250 $115,000

       

       

      Land Sales

      This is the first year that we’ve included data on land sales in Washington County. And, yes, it’s because 2020 was just a weird year. Historically, land sales are pretty stable. But not in 2020!

       

      Washington County  2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   % Change 2019-2020
       Number of Land Sales 85 85 85 90 151 67.78%
       Median Days on Market 176 194 223 139 137 -1.44%

      Look at the massive jump in land sales. 67%? Are you kidding me?? I figured you wouldn't need a graph to drive this point home. But you know what, why not.

       

       

       

      $500,000+ Sales

      And what would the real estate world of 2020 be without yet one more oddball data point. In Washington County, in 2020, the number of sales of properties $500,000 or higher more nearly doubled. The number of sales of $1 million properties increased by almost 50%, but that was only from 7 sales to 10 sales.

      Washington County 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 % Change 2019-2020
      Number of Sales 30 28 39 55 104 89.09%

       

      Again, can you picture something almost doubling? 

       

       

      Gratitude

      And last, thank you to all of our clients, past clients, friends, and supporters. In 2020, Green Light Real Estate helped with more than 190 sales (not quite 200) and more than half of those came from past clients, people who know us personally, and referrals. It means a lot when people make the effort to recommend that their friends work with Green Light Real Estate!

       

       

      Breaking News: Green Light Is Opening a New Office in Northfield

      After years of being one of the leading real estate brokerages in Northfield, the time was right for us to expand and open an office in Northfield. 

      Green Light Real Estate's Northfield office is right between Subway and Carrier Roasting Company, and a couple doors down from Good Measure and Cornerstone. So, basically, we're right next to a lot of wonderful food and beverage.

      Lindsay Ericson, who has been with Green Light Real Estate since 2016, and a broker since 2018 will lead the office. She's sold more than 140 properties in that time, and has the experience and know-how to help buyers and sellers navigate transactions. In 2020, Lindsay also took an additional leadership role at Green Light Real Estate as a trainer for new agents. Her professional designations include Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Military Relocation Professional (MRP), Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA), and At Home With Diversity (AHWD). We love having her on the team, and we know she's going to be successful as the "broker in charge" in Northfield.

      Northfield's real estate market is unique among Central Vermont towns. Norwich University staff and faculty, as well as students are a big component of the market. The schools, local businesses, and the proximity to Barre, Montpelier, and even the Mad River Valley also play into the desirability of living in Northfield.

      We expect to be open and running full steam by the end of January. In the meantime, we're busy helping buyers and sellers in Northfield as well as throughout Central Vermont. Whenever you have questions or just want to talk about real estate, give us a call.

      Green Light Real Estate is locally owned, and not a franchise. We're a team of highly skilled, energetic, fun, and smart real estate professionals who really like what we do. The team includes Ray Mikus (owner, principal broker), Lindsay Ericson (broker), Hannah Dawson (broker), Kate Root (broker), Lauren Gould (agent), Mattie Dube (agent), Jacob Goss (agent), Marina Carleton (agent), Kevin Casey (agent), and Maria Lamberti (office manager). Plus, there's Pistachio (our team mascot, who happens to be a wooden dog).

       

      18 Liberty Street in Montpelier For Sale Under $300,000!

      There aren’t too many houses like this, and under $300,000 is even more rare.

       

      This three bedroom, two bathroom Montpelier cape is right in the heart of the town. It’s in a desirable neighborhood where neighbors are more like friends. Liberty Street in Montpelier is super convenient to downtown, to the library, shopping, the elementary school, and the middle school.

       

      Yes, the lot is small, at .06 of an acre. But it sure seems bigger than that. It’s surprisingly private for being tucked back off the road, and the yard is level, landscaped, and gets lots of sun.

       

      Plus 18 Liberty Street has a gorgeous covered front porch, so you can hang out and enjoy the outdoors even when it’s raining. Great for morning coffee or tea, an evening socially distanced hangout with friends, or just reading a book and catching a few moments of quiet.

       

      The house has been nicely renovated, and has an open first floor layout with kitchen, dining area, and living room all flowing together. The kitchen isn’t huge, but it has new Corian countertops, new cabinets, and new appliances. Plus, it opens into the rest of the first floor, so the cook can still be part of the conversation.

      For more information, email Ray@GreenLight-RealEstate.com

      A first floor bedroom and a bathroom round out the first floor of 18 Liberty Street.

      View on Google Maps - 18 Liberty Street.

      Upstairs are two nice bedrooms, one larger than the other, a laundry room, and a flat out gorgeous full bathroom. The bathroom is bigger and nicer than you’d think, at this price point of under $300,000 in Montpelier.

       

      And of course, there’s the finished third floor! Lots of uses for this space. It could be a learning room, a studio, an office, or it could just be great storage. However you use the space, just having it is huge.

       

      18 Liberty Street is tucked between 16 and 20, and is accessed via a right of way.


      We all know that there hasn’t been much for sale in Montpelier, that’s in good condition, is in a good location, and is under $300,000. For more information or to schedule a private showing, email Ray@GreenLight-RealEstate.com, or call/text at 802-279-2403.

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        Impact of the Pandemic on the Housing Landscape in Vermont

        Impact of the Pandemic on the Housing Landscape in Vermont

        August 2020

        Photo by Mika Baumeister

         

        I was recently asked to be a presenter to Governor Scott’s Community Solutions and Local Recovery task force.  A version of this detailed report was shared with many state and local leaders, including regional planning directors, leaders of non-profits, leaders of statewide businesses, and more. 

        Figured everyone else might be interested in it too.

         

        Methodology

        First, These numbers are statewide, and come only from sales reported through the New England Real Estate Network (the MLS), and they reflect only Realtor-assisted transactions. They do not include FSBO data, as that data is VERY difficult to come by. The latest statistics, published by the National Association of Realtors, show that nationwide 89% of all sales are Realtor-assisted, so this should be representative.

         

        Second, we’re not talking about SALES here, but rather CONTRACTS. This is so that we examine market conditions in the very near past.  Similarly, we’re not talking about SALE PRICES, but LIST PRICES. It can take two months or longer for the close of escrow. Looking only at sale prices would only allow us to study buyer and seller behavior going back to April or May. Using Contracts, we can see what is happening through the end of July.

         

        And last, these numbers are for single family homes (except one section about land). It’s not commercial or multi-family properties. However, it was not possible to determine if these are going to be owner-occupied, if they will be primary residences, if they were bought by people from out of state, or why buyers bought them.

         

        Number of Single Family Homes AUC (Active Under Contract) 

        Looking at Jan-July over the past five years, the 2020 numbers aren’t unheard of. But they are significantly higher than we’ve seen since 2017. The 40% increase over Jan-July 2019 is remarkable.

         

        Drilling down a little deeper, let’s talk about what happened month by month. Comparing to 2018 and 2019, January and February 2020 contracts were up almost 20%, signalling a busy market, with lots of activity. As Realtors, we were getting ready for a great spring market.

         

         

        2020 looked exactly like the average of 2015-2019 for January and February, in terms of new contracts on single family homes in Vermont.

         

        March and April saw significant decreases in the number of contracts. In May, enough ground was gained that we were in the exact place as we were the past few years.

         

        But that steep growth curve just kept continuing. In June we were 58% ahead what we would have expected for a “normal” June. And in July we had 136% more contracts than a “typical” year.

         

         

        New Listings

        The astronomic increase in the number of contracts in June-July coincided with a dramatic decrease in the number of new listings (homes that are newly available for sale).

        January through March 2020 looked similar to the previous five years in terms of new listings. That curve is relatively flat, ranging from 1600 to 2300 new listings.

         

         

        Again, the April-July period was starkly different, representing a 74% decrease compared to the five year average. See the graph below.

         

         

        So, we had much fewer houses coming on the market for sale. And simultaneously we had many more houses going into contract for purchase. Supply and demand is doing what it does, and buyers are having a hard time finding houses. Multi-bid situations are very common, and we have a lot of frustrated home buyers.

         

        Remember that when someone sells, they usually still need to live somewhere else. So the sellers who are happy to get multiple bids often experience the same frustration and friction when they try to buy their next house.

         

        Sales by price range

        I looked at contracts written across $50,000 intervals. Over the past three years, the number and the percentage of sales across different price ranges. Across the board, the activity appears consistent.

        Until you get to properties listed at $1 million and above. Since 2015, those sales have been between .5% and 1.5% of each month’s sales (Jan-July). In June 2020, that moved to 2.2%, and in July a whopping 5.16% of contracts were for single family homes listed at more than $1,000,000. (43 out of 833).

         

         

        Another way to look at the data is that since March, the percentage of million dollar contracts has increased by nearly 300% as compared to the previous five years. Again, without going through each town’s land records, it’s not possible to say where these buyers came from, or whether they are the buyers’ primary residences. Additionally, this market activity is unlikely to be spread evenly throughout the state.

        Land sales

        The number of parcels of land that went into contract in the period Jan-Jul increased by roughly 65% in 2020 compared to the same period in 2015- 2019.

        In 2015-2019, January through July, the average number of pieces of land that went under deposit was 649. In 2020, there were 1068. Without going to each town clerk and reviewing the property transfer tax returns, it’s impossible to say if these were bought by Vermonters or out of state residents, or if they were bought by people planning on moving here.

         

         

        I also want to make clear that there’s no way of determining why there was this huge increase. There are infinite motivations. Those motivations have existed over the past five years as well. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has coincides very neatly with several huge changes in the Vermont real estate market.

         

        Out of state buyers? The elephant in the room.

        As a broker, nearly everyone I’ve talked with over the past few months has wanted to talk about out of state buyers. Everyone has a story, and there have been several articles full of anecdotes and one-offs used as examples to prove a point.

         

        The only way to know with certainty is to go to the town clerk in each town in Vermont, and search through the Property Transfer Tax Returns, or alternatively, for each town to digitize or otherwise collate that data. Incidentally, digitization of land records would reduce the need for Realtors and attorneys to do in-person title research, perhaps reducing the chances for spreading viruses.

         

        While we can’t say with certainty that there has been a surge in out of state buyers, we can say that since 2015, the average number of contracts from May-July has been 1087. In 2020, there were 1844 contracts, which is an increase of nearly 70%. This number is not explained by “pent up demand” of buyers deciding not to purchase in March and April.

         

        Anecdotally, our office in Montpelier has not seen a “surge” in out of state buyers. We always have out of staters. Now, as in the past, they remain people who had been planning a move beforehand, are moving for work, to come back to be closer to family, etc. 

         

        But all of these new buyers are coming from somewhere. It could be that they are Vermonters buying second homes, or buying single family homes as investments. It could be that there is a surge in apartment vacancies as renters are deciding to buy. But clearly, the most logical reason appears to be that there has been significant out of state activity.

         

        Further Observations and Questions

         

        Internet access as critical

        In March, when schools shut down, and people who could work from home had to work from home, it became very clear, very fast, that having reliable high speed internet was critical. We’ve heard the stories of the “digital divide” between those areas and those houses with these utilities, and those without. Often those stories describe, or allude to rural areas. Poorer areas, remote areas, and the “colder hollows” that The Eye on the Sky talks about. It’s important to remember that there are households across all income lines that either don’t have reliable cell service or high speed internet.

         

        Lack of high speed internet is actually preventing some home sales. Many buyers are immediately dismissing houses that don’t have reliable high speed internet.  Buyers are now very attuned to the present and future realities of working and schooling remotely, and are not settling for subpar internet. Gone are the days when buyers were satisfied with, “Yes, you can usually watch Netflix, except it’s a little spotty when there are clouds, or when other houses are already on.” 

         

        Now, they know they want (or need) the ability for each adult in the house, and each child in the house to be on a Zoom call at the same time. Our brokerage has started using “Zooms Per House” as an informal measurement of internet quality. And “one” or “zero” isn’t cutting it. This effectively decreases the value of property, as a direct result of the pandemic. This forfeiture of value (equity and net worth) affects the affluent who have second homes as well as the working class and poor whose only avenue for homeownership (or renting) was outside the areas with reliable, high speed internet. Property owners in communities and areas that have worse internet connectivity are going to pay a very real monetary penalty in terms of equity and when they sell their homes.

         

        Housing Market as an Ecosystem

        What will happen if the economy doesn’t recover? Will it be more difficult for purchasers in the lower ranges to qualify for loans? Will $150,000 starter homes be able to be sold? Those $150,000 sellers are the $250,000 buyers. Which free up the $350,000 buyers. But if the lower priced homes can’t sell, that will ripple through the housing market.

         

        How Will Landlords Respond to the Effects of the Pandemic?

        How will landlords respond? If economic uncertainty continues, or worsens, how will landlords weather non-payment of rents? Will they increase dependency on tenants with housing assistance to get what looks like guaranteed rent? Will they look to improve their units to attract higher income tenants (who are often information workers who can work remotely), and increasing rents?

         

        Will this change the way people think about entering into nursing homes?

        Will this change how people think of nursing homes and assisted living? If seniors are uncomfortable going into nursing homes, will they stay in their houses? How will they get the care that they need? Will that cause a choke point in the real estate market? Any choke point ultimately affects first time buyers.

         

        We know that nursing home facilities are doing great work in providing safe, comfortable care for seniors. I would be interested in knowing if there are any changes in the number of people entering into nursing homes, since the pandemic began in March. If the number has declined, then where are these seniors living? Most likely still at home. If concerns over the safety of nursing homes exists (and/or continues), and seniors put off selling their homes, that could disrupt the “normal” cycle of home sales and apartment vacancies, decreasing the supply of housing at different price points.

         

        Closing Thoughts

        Data shows us that contracts are at very high historical rates and that new inventory is coming on very slowly.  Data shows us that the number and percent of million dollar homes going into contract is three times what it has been in recent years. Contracts for land have also spiked. It’s getting harder for everyone to be able to buy a house in Vermont. As with most troubles in this world, what is an annoying inconvenience to those at the top can be catastrophic to those at the bottom.

         

        Buyers are focusing on internet access and cell coverage, which is a trend I firmly believe will continue long past the pandemic. Very few people in transactions seem to be concerned about what the near future will bring. Confidence and trust are very high, which is great for business. That also shows that people tacitly have faith that policy makers, business leaders, and community leaders can keep the economy, the housing market, communities and families and individuals strong and healthy.

         

        That was a lot of information! Any questions? Want to discuss? Get in touch.

         

        Call 802-225-6425 and speak with any of our awesome agents and brokers

        Or email Info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com.

        Make sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram and check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

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          How Does a Buyer's Agent Get Paid?

          How Does a Buyer's Agent Get Paid?

           

          Photo by Jesus Kiteque

           

          There are two main ways that I get paid for the

          professional services and solutions that I provide.

           

          Buyer Broker Fees Paid By Seller: 

          First, when you buy a house, I get a commission. The commission is usually a percentage of the sale price, and I get that at the closing at the same time that you get your keys to your new home.If a property is listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, then that seller has almost always agreed to pay my fee themselves. 

           

          With a house that’s a “for sale by owner” we always start by asking the seller to pay the buyer brokerage fee. Most of the time they do. If they don’t, then you may be asked to make up a difference. Most importantly, none of this will surprise you. We’ll know what terms we’re dealing with before we have you in contract on your new home.

           

          Introductions and Referrals:

          The second way that I get paid is through introductions to people you know who are looking to buy or sell real estate. The numbers change from year to year, but on average 65%-70% of my clients come to me by word of mouth and by personal or professional referral.

           

          Benefits to You:

          When you introduce me to those people, and recommend me, then that frees me to spend more time providing top tier professional solutions to my clients, and less time calling and emailing internet leads (it might surprise you to know there are so many people named “Mickey Mouse” in Central Vermont).

           

          The more time that I’m able to spend scouting properties, negotiating, and problem solving for my clients, the happier they are.  It also shows that you care, that you wanted them to have the best experience, and not just pick someone off the internet and have them show a house.

           

          So, I’ll ask from time to time who you know that I should talk with, who could use my help.

           

          Benefits to the Community:

          Green Light Real Estate will also make a contribution to a group, charity, or organization of your choice when you introduce your friends, family, and coworkers to us. We’ve made donations to school PTOs, child care centers, the food shelf, the American Cancer Society, domestic violence relief groups, little league baseball, and many more organizations.

           

          When you recommend me, I’ll send a reminder note asking which group you’d like Green Light Real Estate to support.

           

          Have more questions about the home buying process?

           

          Call 802-225-6425 and speak with any of our awesome agents and brokers

          Or email Info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com.

          You can also follow us on FacebookInstagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

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            Buyers: Here's What To Expect At The Inspection

             

            Buyers: Here's What To Expect At The Inspection

             

            Congratulations! You’ve done it! You found your house, you made a solid offer, and you won the contract. 

             

            Photo by Tierra Mallorca

             

            Now, it’s time to really focus on the inspection.

            As a buyer, you may have gone through the inspection process before, but it never hurts for a refresher. And if you’re a first time buyer, you definitely need to know what to expect.

            1. The‌ ‌inspector‌ ‌is‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌go‌ ‌over‌ ‌everything‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌house--the‌ ‌roof,‌ ‌the‌ ‌attic,‌ ‌the‌ ‌electric,‌ ‌the‌ ‌plumbing,‌ ‌the‌ ‌windows,‌ ‌the‌ ‌basement,‌ ‌the‌ ‌heating‌ ‌system,‌ ‌and‌ ‌more.‌ ‌Everything.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌opportunity‌ ‌to‌ ‌really‌ ‌get‌ ‌to‌ ‌know‌ ‌the‌ ‌house‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌buying.‌ ‌And‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌opportunity‌ ‌to‌ ‌ask‌ ‌questions‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌professional.‌ ‌

            2. Plan‌ ‌on‌ ‌it‌ ‌taking‌ ‌three‌ ‌hours.‌ ‌Smaller‌ ‌houses‌ ‌may‌ ‌take‌ ‌less‌ ‌time.‌ ‌And‌ ‌houses‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌in‌ ‌really‌ ‌good‌ ‌condition‌ ‌tend‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌less‌ ‌time.‌ ‌But‌ ‌still,‌ ‌plan‌ ‌on‌ ‌three‌ ‌hours.‌ ‌Maybe‌ ‌even‌ ‌bring‌ ‌a‌ ‌snack!‌ ‌

            3. Some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌inspection‌ ‌is‌ ‌outside,‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌basement.‌ ‌Wear‌ ‌appropriate‌ ‌footwear‌ ‌and‌ ‌clothes.‌ ‌Also,‌ ‌it‌ ‌never‌ ‌hurts‌ ‌to‌ ‌bring‌ ‌a‌ ‌flashlight.‌ ‌

            4. Write‌ ‌down‌ ‌specific‌ ‌areas‌ ‌of‌ ‌concern‌ ‌beforehand.‌ ‌Even‌ ‌better,‌ ‌talk‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌Green‌ ‌Light‌ ‌Real‌ ‌Estate‌ ‌agent,‌ ‌and‌ ‌put‌ ‌a‌ ‌list‌ ‌together.‌ ‌That‌ ‌way‌ ‌you‌ ‌won’t‌ ‌forget‌ ‌what‌ ‌you‌ ‌really‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌ask.‌ ‌

            5. Much‌ ‌of‌ ‌what‌ ‌you’ll‌ ‌hear‌ ‌during‌ ‌the‌ ‌inspection‌ ‌are‌ ‌“problems”.‌ ‌That’s‌ ‌completely‌ ‌normal,‌ ‌inspectors‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌tendency‌ ‌to‌ ‌focus‌ ‌on‌ ‌things‌ ‌that‌ ‌aren’t‌ ‌perfect.‌ ‌Don’t‌ ‌freak‌ ‌out!‌ ‌

            6. And,‌ ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌get‌ ‌your‌ ‌report,‌ ‌usually‌ ‌in‌ ‌2-3‌ ‌days,‌ ‌also‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌freak‌ ‌out.‌ ‌The‌ ‌report‌ ‌will‌ ‌have‌ ‌dozens‌ ‌to‌ ‌hundreds‌ ‌of‌ ‌photos,‌ ‌and‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌100‌ ‌pages‌ ‌long‌ ‌or‌ ‌longer.‌ ‌They’re‌ ‌thorough.‌ ‌But‌ ‌stay‌ ‌calm.‌ ‌There’s‌ ‌rarely‌ ‌anything‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌report‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌didn’t‌ ‌see‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌actual‌ ‌inspection.‌ ‌

            7. You’re‌ ‌the‌ ‌only‌ ‌person‌ ‌who‌ ‌gets‌ ‌the‌ ‌report.‌ ‌The‌ ‌seller‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌get‌ ‌it.‌ ‌

            8. After‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌report,‌ ‌there‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌some‌ ‌re-negotiation‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌seller.‌ ‌There’s‌ ‌nothing‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌seller‌ ‌‌has‌‌ ‌to‌ ‌do.‌ ‌But‌ ‌if‌ ‌there‌ ‌are‌ ‌items‌ ‌that‌ ‌came‌ ‌up‌ ‌that‌ ‌were‌ ‌surprises,‌ ‌then‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌common‌ ‌for‌ ‌buyers‌ ‌to‌ ‌ask‌ ‌sellers‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌minor‌ ‌repairs‌ ‌or‌ ‌concessions.‌ ‌Remember,‌ ‌that‌ ‌if‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌hot‌ ‌market,‌ ‌and‌ ‌properties‌ ‌are‌ ‌selling‌ ‌fast,‌ ‌you‌ ‌might‌ ‌have‌ ‌less‌ ‌leverage‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌buyer‌ ‌than‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌slow‌ ‌market.‌ ‌ ‌

            9. Sometimes‌ ‌inspectors‌ ‌recommend‌ ‌bringing‌ ‌in‌ ‌additional‌ ‌professionals.‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Green‌ ‌Light‌ ‌Real‌ ‌Estate‌ ‌agent‌ ‌may‌ ‌have‌ ‌already‌ ‌talked‌ ‌with‌ ‌you‌ ‌about‌ ‌this.‌ ‌If‌ ‌the‌ ‌boiler‌ ‌looks‌ ‌really‌ ‌old,‌ ‌then‌ ‌you‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌need‌ ‌an‌ ‌inspector‌ ‌to‌ ‌tell‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌it‌ ‌investigated‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌heating‌ ‌contractor.‌ ‌

            10. Inspectors‌ ‌won’t‌ ‌usually‌ ‌give‌ ‌estimates‌ ‌for‌ ‌repairs.‌ ‌However,‌ ‌we‌ ‌know‌ ‌from‌ ‌experience‌ ‌what‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌more‌ ‌common‌ ‌repairs‌ ‌cost.‌ ‌And‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌always‌ ‌get,‌ ‌or‌ ‌help‌ ‌get‌ ‌estimates.‌ ‌

            11. If‌ ‌the‌ ‌house‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌any‌ ‌surprises,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌ok‌ ‌to‌ ‌simply‌ ‌accept‌ ‌it‌ ‌as‌ ‌is,‌ ‌and‌ ‌move‌ ‌forward.‌ ‌There’s‌ ‌no‌ ‌such‌ ‌thing‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌house.‌ ‌Just‌ ‌like‌ ‌there’s‌ ‌no‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌car‌ ‌or‌ ‌no‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌job.‌ ‌At‌ ‌Green‌ ‌Light,‌ ‌we’ve‌ ‌been‌ ‌on‌ ‌hundreds‌ ‌of‌ ‌inspections.‌ ‌Something‌ ‌‌always‌ ‌comes‌ ‌up.‌ ‌But‌ ‌they‌ ‌usually‌ ‌aren’t‌ ‌deal‌ ‌killers.‌

             

            We’re‌ ‌here‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌point‌ ‌out‌ ‌what’s‌ ‌really‌ important, what you can probably live with, and what’s not a big deal at all. Remember, the goal is to get you into the house that you love, and protecting you along the way.

             

            Call 802-225-6425 and speak with any of our awesome agents and brokers

            Or email Info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com.

            You can also follow us on FacebookInstagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

             

            Can't get enough? We get it, that's why we also made this easy to digest Youtube video on the topic. Enjoy!

             

             

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              Kylie Klopchin: Success Story

              • By
              • Posted

              Success Story

              Photo by Ted Dawson

               

              Being a Realtor can be a stressful job that demands your attention at almost every hour of the day. because some things will need your immediate attention, sometimes it can be hard to be a great on-demand agent when you are at home having family time, or just even just relaxing. That being said there are times that you get a phone call that is not just a potential client, but is also a cry for help. I know that “cry for help” sounds a bit extreme for a real estate related situation, but this story is in fact about a cry for help.

               

              I picked up my ringing phone and answered with my pleasant office greeting “Hello this is Kylie. How can I help you?” The voice I heard back was a woman’s voice that sounded confused. She needed help but didn’t really know where to start. So she called me. “I need help selling a house… I have a buyer but the bank is telling me it needs to be listed with an agent before I can sell it.” 

               

              She was definitely right to call Green Light Real Estate. But if she had a buyer, why would she need to list the house? Well that’s where it gets complicated. The family had filed for bankruptcy and thought for the past two years they were caught up. They thought the mortgage had been part of the bankruptcy. Turns out that there was a misunderstanding, and they were still responsible for the mortgage, but hadn’t been paying for the last year. They had no knowledge of this, and their home, which was also the childhood home, was at risk of becoming a foreclosure. 

               

              I asked them how I could help and what they needed me to do. They explained that they didn’t want this to linger any longer and that the bank needed an agent to price it at fair market value so it could receive as much as possible for the property. The home was officially in a short sale status. 

               

              I met them at the house a few days later and we talked about the hardships they had faced. This was a sad turn of events because that it is a family home, and their hopes of finally getting this off of their shoulders were fading. We agreed to stop wasting time, to get it listed, and to get going on it! 

               

              After a few days of running to the Town Clerk’s office, taking photos, pricing the home and the talking to different contact people at the bank, we were ready to get it listed. As soon as it was listed, the calls started to come in. The house was in rough shape because no one had lived there in a long time. There was definitely investment potential and flippers were interested. Because she had a buyer who had been trying to buy for a year, we received an offer almost immediately and submitted it. I was working with the sellers as well as helping the buyer, but the bank wanted the buyer to be represented. I have good working relationships with lots of area Realtors, so I was able to connect the buyer with a different agent, one whom I know, like, and trust. After a few rounds of negotiations, we were in an accepted contract. 

               

              A short sale is an entity all its own, and a complex transaction. The amount of paperwork to confirm everyone is who they are, the number of people involved, and the sheer number of documents to be precisely prepared, signed, and notarized took massive chunks of time. It took multiple trips around several towns to collect paperwork and signatures to keep the transaction on track. We were in the final process to closing. 

               

              To make a long story short, we went to closing after several months of waiting for the bank to work the numbers, hundreds of emails and countless miles driven to make this all come together. After the closing I received a huge hug from the seller. She told me that I had no clue how relieved they were and that they couldn’t have done it without me. The weight of the last few years had been lifted. They needed to work on getting their lives back on track, and now they had the opportunity to do so!

               

              Here’s what the sellers had to say following the transaction:

              “Kylie is amazing! We were in a kind of complicated situation and had pretty much lost hope but then we found Kylie. She was always very helpful and went above and beyond to help us get our house sold. I highly recommend Kylie for whatever your housing needs or situation might be. She will get the job done and will do it with a smile even when things look bleak. Kylie and her colleagues are absolutely wonderful!”

               

              Sometimes my job can just be fun finding someone a first home or selling their home to move into their forever home. However, sometimes I can actually answer a literal cry for help and get people get their lives back on track. And that feels good.

               

              Who do you know who’s thinking of making a move? They can be as complicated as this one, but they don’t have to be...Give me a call or email, and I promise to take great care of them!

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                Green Light Core Value #2

                Core Values: #2

                 

                At GLRE we have a set of core values that keep us focused on why we’re Realtors, how we treat our customers, and what the community means to us.

                 

                 

                When I first started as an agent, in 2009, I asked a colleague, friend, and veteran Realtor (Charlie Clark) what did he like best about being a Realtor. Without missing a beat, he said it was the friendships. At the time, I thought that was just a friendly thing to say over Manhattans.

                 

                But it’s true. At Green Light Real Estate, we’re not only friends (family even?) with each other, but we’ve become friends with lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, Rita who delivers the mail, Sam at Pho Thai Express, and more.

                 

                It’s really common for our customers and our clients to become our friends too. During a transaction, we get to know a lot about people’s lives. Which makes sense when you think about it. For those couple months, buyers and sellers spend more time with and more time talking to their Realtor than just about anyone else in their lives.

                 

                Here are some recent examples of sincerely caring about the people in our community:

                We recently had buyers who were interested in keeping an AirBnB gig going, but they couldn’t because they didn’t have a property manager. Well, I happen to know someone who does just that. So, we made the introduction. That helps the buyers, the sellers, and the manager. And it comes from sincerely caring.

                 

                We have another transaction where the seller’s situation changed dramatically from when she got into contract. The best thing for her to do was to not sell the house. While some real estate brokerages might have tried to talk her out of that, we changed gears and, in our client’s best interest, worked at unraveling the sale so she wouldn’t have to sell.

                 

                Our company holiday party this year was at Twin City Lanes. Why? Because with kids, bowling, laser tag, and the arcade is more fun than just dinner! We’re all a big family, and all ages of the Green Light family had a great time. 

                 

                Just this week we even had a company virtual happy hour. I know everyone’s lives are busy and unpredictable. Even so, many of the Green Lighters took time out of their days to have a social hang with our colleagues.

                 

                The list goes on and on. It’s great to keep “good news” in mind. At Green Light Real Estate, our core value of “sincerely caring” makes sure we’re doing the right things, and we hope, makes people’s lives just that much better. 

                 

                Call Green Light Real Estate at 802-225-6425 and speak with any of our awesome agents and brokers

                Or email Info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com.

                You can also follow us on FacebookInstagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

                 

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