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Lauren Gould: Success Story

A Job Well Done

Photo by Ted Dawson

 

When Ariana contacted me with interest in a sweet little house with a beautiful location I was very excited.  The house spoke to me as soon as I saw it appear on the MLS, and I hoped that I’d have the opportunity to show it to a buyer.  

Little did I know that I’d be helping a young family move from across the country and start a new life; introducing them to a new community, showing them the house 100% virtually, putting in an offer and getting it accepted- all before meeting in person.  

I was careful and deliberate to describe not only the property in great detail,  but the community they would be moving into.  I wanted to give them an idea of the life they could have in our little part of Vermont, from winter driving to summer farmers’ markets.  We created not only a great working relationship but really connected on a personal level and I enjoyed every moment of getting to know her and her family.

 We worked through the logistics of time differences, spotty internet service at the property, timing inspections with cross country visits and everything came together.  There were lots of Facetime meets, text exchanges and family email chains but we kept our “eyes on the prize”.  

Three months after we closed, and they had completed their move, we crossed paths and they filled me in on how happy they were in their new home. It was such a joyful reunion, like friends who had shared a common story with a happy ending. They even referred a neighbor of theirs who wanted to sell his house.  I smiled as I walked away, thinking

This is exactly what I love about being a Realtor”.

 

Who do you know who’s thinking of making a move?

They can be as complicated as this set of transactions, 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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    How Does 2020 Stack Up?

    How Does 2020 Stack Up?

    The last few months have been, shall we say, unusual.

    Let's see how 2020 compares to years past.

     

    Photo by Francesca Tosolini

     

    Why does it seem like the market is so hot? Because it is. The number of new listings is way down. But the number of houses that have gone under contract is way up. Supply and demand!

     

    Side note: Hey Sellers! We have been hired by MANY buyers to help them buy a house. Call us, and we can play matchmaker.

     

    Almost all of that shortage in new listings has taken place in April and May:

     

     

    And, almost all of the runup in houses getting into contract has taken place May 1-June 15:

     

     

    You're not going crazy. It's a REALLY tight market right now in Central Vermont. The best thing to do is to get an expert from Green Light Real Estate to help you find, negotiate, and buy in this market. And don't worry, should you get stuck in a multi-bid situation as a result of this hot market, we've got your back.

     

    Call our office at 802-225-6425, email Info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com or get in touch with any of our awesome agents and brokers

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

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      How to Win a Multi-Bid Situation

      How to Win a Multi-Bid Situation

      When the market is hot, which it is right now, buyers have to have a few extra tricks up their sleeves to get the house they want.

      Photo by Scott Graham

       

      Here are some good strategies to use to help when you’re in a good old fashioned bidding war:

       

      • Be prepared! Have your pre-approval letter in place. You can even get a couple letters, say in $25,000 increments. Then you can give whichever one makes the most sense with your offer. Also, it can help to be working with a local bank. Many sellers and listing agents would prefer to be working with a lender they actually know and not a cog in a wheel in a massive lending operation in Michigan or Texas (and yes, I’m talking about you--Quicken and USAA).

       

      • Come strong and come hard. Make your best offer, knowing that you may have to pay above the asking price. When you go on a first date, do you dress up and plan just enough to keep someone interested? Or do you go above and beyond? This not the time to do the bare minimum.

       

      • Reign in those contingencies. In a multi-bid situation, the fewer contingencies, the better your offer looks. You don’t have to get rid of the inspection contingency, but you could limit it in terms of the items to be “contingent”, a dollar figure, shortening the time frame, or more. 

       

      **Bonus tip! Don’t think that you’ll be able to do significant post-inspection negotiations. If there were three offers, it’s pretty likely that the other two are still looking for a house.**

       

      • Write a love letter. Hey, it helps sometimes. Tell the seller what you love about their house, and a little about yourself.

       

      • Show them the money. Make a big deposit. Or, make it non-refundable at a certain point. Or, how about sharing your credit score, your employment history, even some of your financial records with the sellers so they know that you’re able to buy their house. For that matter, give them your resume. They’ll get to know you. And maybe that professional network will help you.

       

      • Use an escalation clause. Promise to pay more than another offer. Best to talk this strategy with your Green Light Real Estate agent, because sometimes this confuses sellers and sellers’ agents. It’s not really that complicated, but still.

       

      • And the best...don’t have a bidding war! Your agent can just call the sellers’ agent and ask “Hey, these people want to buy the house. What will it take for the sellers go with them?” Honestly, it might be another $5000, or that the seller gets to leave the basement furniture. Big deal! If you get into a bidding war, you’re easily paying that much more anyway. Plus that bidding war is a zillion times more stressful.

       

      These are just a few ways to help buyers get the house in a hot market.

       

      For more details, more strategies, and more ways to make sure that you get your house,

      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 of this multi-bid info? We get it, that's why we also made this easy to digest Youtube video on the topic. Enjoy!

       

       

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        FAQ: Are you on Zillow?

        FAQ: Are you on Zillow?

        One question that sellers ask us from time to time is “Are you on Zillow?”

         

        The short answer is yes.

         

        Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Homesnap, and countless other real estate sites get their information directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). 

         

        Green Light Real Estate participates in the MLS. If you really want to go deep, the MLS that Vermont is in is the New England Real Estate Network, or NEREN. That means that all of our listings can be found on sites such as Zillow, as well as any other real estate site that buyers use.

         

        We know that many buyers like to use Zillow to look for homes. We post all of our listings and our past sales on Zillow, as well as all of our reviews from past clients, because this is the type of information that buyers like to see.

         

        And when your house is for sale, you want your real estate brokerage to do the things that buyers like!

         

        Last, we have just a couple of cautions about using real estate portals such as Zillow.

         

        First, they’re not always accurate. Sometimes they show a house is for sale when it really isn’t. If you’re ever unsure, just call, text, or email Green Light Real Estate and we can verify. 

         

        Second, their estimates of value are not always very accurate. The value of a house is not simply an algorithm. It’s not just a mathematical function of the square feet, zip code, number of bedrooms, and lot size. Condition, layout, micro-location, updates and much, much more factor into the value. 

         

        We recently listed a house for sale at 174% of the Zestimate, because that’s what the local market and recent comparable sales indicated.  

         

        It went under contract in two days. At full asking price.

         

        Yes, we do put our listings on Zillow.

        Yes, we do get inquiries from buyers through Zillow.

        And yes, we do everything we can to get our sellers’ houses sold. 

         

        For more information, 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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          Mortgage Help: Fannie and Forbearance

          Mortgage Help: Fannie Mae and Forbearance

           

          There is no denying that the slowdown / shutdown from COVID-19 is goinig to have very real impacts on people's finances. Loss of income and drawing down of savings may make it challenging for some to make their mortgage payments. And for others, who are at risk for foreclosure, the fears can be even greater right now.

           

          Here's a link to Fannie's website with the hows and whats of mortgage forbearance.

           

          Fannie Mae has made it possible to get some help with paying your mortgage. No, they won't pay it for you, but you may be able to postpone payments for up to 12 months. You actually have to be proactive to use this resource.

           

          Here's a link to more information and directions on what you need to do.

           

          The gist is that if, due to economic hardships related to COVID-19, you may be able to delay making mortgage payments, and that might really take a lot of stress out of an otherwise stressful time.

           

          Have further questions? Feel free to contact us via email at info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com or via phone at 802-225-6425.

           

          From all of us at Green Light Real Estate,

          be well, stay safe, and take care of those around you.

          We're getting through this together.

           

          Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

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            COVID-19 and Foreclosures

            COVID-19 and Foreclosures

             

            It's always been true that one of the leading causes of foreclosure is getting sick. Another leading cause is losing one's job. 

             

            Combining a pandemic with an economic shutdown can cause massive strain on a family's financial position. And adding the fear of losing your house to foreclosure in the midst of all of it might just be too much.

             

            To help, Fannie Mae has made changes in how foreclosures are being handled: They're being paused for 60 days. We're not completely sure what the economy will be like in 60 days (for the country or for any individual household), but this can at least give some temporary assurance that people aren't going to be kicked out of their homes.

             

            Here's a link to more information and details from Fannie Mae.

             

            This doesn't mean that you don't have to pay the mortgage eventually, or that if you're on the path to foreclosure during those 60 days that foreclosure proceedings won't pick back up.

             

            If you think you're on the path to being foreclosed, PLEASE contact Green Light Real Estate. There may be things that can be done to help. Maybe your house is worth more than you think. Maybe there is a buyer who could move quickly with the price you need. Maybe your house is a good candidate for a short sale. We help people in situations like this all the time. You just have to ASK. And, maybe there isn't anything that can be done. Maybe the house is going to be foreclosed on. But you'll at least have done everything you could.

            You can contact us via email at info@GreenLight-RealEstate.com or via phone at 802-225-6425.

             

            From all of us at Green Light Real Estate,

            take care of yourself and those around you.

            We're getting through this together.

             

             Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

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              Workaround for COVID-19

               

              Fannie and Freddie Give Appraisers

              a Workaround for COVID-19

               

              In a move to help move purchases, sales, and refinances through the system, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued new options for appraisers. Here's a video explaining some of the workarounds:

               

               

               

              Typically, appraisers would need to do an interior and exterior inspection of the house that's being bought or refinanced. The new rules allow for exterior only inspections so that appraisers don't need to go inside the house. The inspection is accompanied by "desktop underwriting" in which appraisers use other sources of information and databases to get more information about particular houses as well as the local area.

               

              Here's a link to Fannie Mae's site with more information.

               

              At Green Light Real Estate, we think this is a great idea. It is up to individual banks and credit unions as to whether they will allow this, and individual lenders may have additional requirements for this workaround. In general, this should help move transactions forward, and help prevent the inevitable backlog of appraisals and loan underwriting that will happen when the COVID-19 slowdown has ended.

               

              We are cooperating fully with appraisers and lenders. Honestly, we spend so much of our professional lives researching real estate, and we have several databases at our disposal to help answer questions about property. We also have great relationships with the different town clerks who are keys to getting supplemental property information. The point is, we're doing whatever we can to keep peoples' transactions moving forward. Because at the end of the day, what people really want is to get into their new house, or to finalize the sale.

               

              Be well, stay safe, and take care of the people around you.

              We're getting through this together.

               

               

               Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

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                March Market Report

                So, How’s the Market?

                March 2020

                Photo by Kevin Wiegand

                 

                We’ve just about made it through another winter, and into another mud season. Congratulations to us all--hearty, brave, unflinching Vermonters!

                 

                By the Numbers--Snapshot

                 

                   Sales Past 12 Months   Median Sale Price   Median Days on Market 
                 Barre City  92 $149,450 33
                 Barre Town  93 $191,000 41
                 Montpelier  72 $261,500 17
                 U32  89 $269,000 46
                 Nfld/Wmstwn  88 $177,550 40

                 


                We’re still seeing a strong market in Central Vermont, that’s kind of old news.

                So, with this month’s real estate report, we’re going to look at how these numbers have changed over time.

                 

                Five Year Numbers--Median Sale Price

                3/2015 to 3/2016

                3/2016 to 3/207

                3/2017 to 3/2018

                3/2018 to 3/2019

                3/2019 to 3/2020

                Total % Change Over 5 Years

                Barre City

                $129,950

                $145,000

                $135,700

                $141,250

                $149,450

                15.01%

                Barre Town

                $185,000

                $172,000

                $196,100

                $200,515

                $191,000

                3.24%

                Montpelier

                $216,000

                $210,000

                $245,000

                $245,000

                $261,500

                21.06%

                U32

                $211,000

                $247,500

                $226,375

                $269,125

                $269,000

                27.49%

                Nfld/Wmstn

                $159,500

                $172,370

                $164,950

                $199,000

                $177,550

                11.32%

                 

                Since 2015, sale prices in Central Vermont have risen substantially. It is interesting that every single market had years of increases and years of decreases. On the whole, though, it’s clear that home prices are going up.

                 

                Days on Market

                Home sales in Barre City have very steadily sped up, moving from a median days on market of 96 in 2015 to 33 days by March 2020. That’s an incredible change! Also, the bump up in days on market for U32 towns deserved a little more research. If we take out the two properties that took the longest to sell (770 days and 437 days--both with out of area real estate brokerages), the median days on market greatly improves.

                 

                Aside from numbers…

                The teams from Green Light Real Estate and Stone and Browning Property Management got together at Cornerstone in Barre. It’s always good when we get to know the people we work with at different companies. And not only was it a great lunch, but Tasha Adams won a drawing for a $25 gift card for liking and commenting on Facebook!

                 

                As we get further into spring, the Montpelier and Barre area real estate markets are really going to start heating up. If you or anyone you know is thinking that 2020 is the year to buy or sell a house, give us a call or an email. The experienced team at Green Light Real Estate can help you put a plan together to give you an edge over other buyers and sellers.

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                  February Market Report

                  So, How's the Market?

                  February 2020

                  Photo by Kevin Wiegand

                   

                  The spring market is actually starting to begin! Typically we see an increase in buyer and seller activity beginning in February as a runway to the busier spring and summer seasons. 

                   

                   

                   # Sales Past 12 Months 

                   Median Sale Price   Median Days on Market 

                  Barre City

                  90 $148,450 33
                  Barre Town 91 $195,000 36
                  Montpelier 75 $256,000 19
                  U32 85 $270,000 46

                   Northfield/Williamstown 

                  84 $176,250

                  39

                   

                  We can see that houses in Central Vermont continue to sell relatively quickly. But...I always take these numbers with a grain of salt. They show the results from the properties that have actually sold. The other side of the story is those properties that haven’t sold yet. They’ll become data points, they just haven’t yet.

                   

                  Here’s the grain of salt:

                     Active Listings   Median List Price   Median Days on the Market 
                  Barre City 27

                  $139,000

                  84
                  Barre Town 23 $234,500 142
                  Montpelier 10 $304,500 10
                  U32 27 $339,000 160
                   Northfield/Williamstown  24 $201,000 115

                   

                  The properties that are for sale right now have substantially longer days on market than those that have sold in the past 12 months. I don’t have any grand conclusions to draw from this. I do have a couple observations. Some of the active listings are “unique”, which sometimes causes them to take longer to sell. 

                  Also, being honest, some of the listings that have been on the market the longest are listed with brokerages from outside of the area. For example, in Barre Town, three of the four listings that have been on the market the longest are with firms from outside Barre/Montpelier. Local knowledge and local expertise goes a long way.

                   

                  New Curveball for Transactions:

                  Oil tanks need to be inspected at least every three years. We’re now advising our selling clients to go ahead and get those inspections done, so there are no problems with the sale, or with delivery after the sale. We’re also advising our buyer clients to make sure the tanks are inspected as part of the due diligence process. Your local oil provider will be able to do the inspection for you.

                   

                  And Speaking of Local…

                  Green Light Real Estate is embarking on a local restaurant tour/review campaign. We started by getting the crew together at Ladder One Grill in Barre. Situated in an old fire house, the restaurant is an attractive mix of firefighting mementos and twinkling lights. It’s our way of getting out and supporting local businesses, as well as having a good time together as a team. 

                  Of course, we also had a drawing for a gift card. Next up on our review is Cornerstone in Barre-- Follow us out on Facebook and Instagram to see how you can win next time!

                   

                  The Best Time Is Now!

                  If this spring or summer is the time for you to buy or sell a house, do yourself a HUGE favor, and talk to a real estate professional soon. The listing experts and buyer specialists at Green Light Real Estate can help you make a plan and prepare for success. Nothing’s more frustrating than losing out on your dream home because you weren’t prepared. And nothing’s more aggravating than putting a house on the market without a clear, well-thought plan on how you’re going to sell it. Don’t be those people. Be prepared. Call, text, or email Green Light Real Estate.

                   

                  Have a great February folks, spring is around the corner! Right?

                  In the meantime, call 802-224-6425 or email us to buy, sell or chat real estate!

                   

                  Is your curiosity about the local real estate market still not satisfied? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or check out our listings on www.GreenLight-RealEstate.com

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                    February Art Walk: Bill Barnard

                    February Art Walk: Bill Barnard

                     

                    Friday February 7 is Art Walk in Montpelier! Organized by Montpelier Alive, Art Walk is a fun, free way to see the work of talented local artists. It’s also a great way to see your friends and neighbors as you walk through town.

                     

                    There will be several venues throughout Montpelier showcasing different artists.

                     

                    Green Light Real Estate will be hosting Bill Barnard. Bill will showcase his wildlife wood carvings, which are stunningly life-like. Bill is a retired Norwich University professor. He lives in Northfield which is also where his studio is.

                     

                     

                    Bill is also a member of the Brandon Artists Guild. To see samples of some of his work, here’s a link to his page with the Brandon Artists Guild.

                     

                     

                    Art Walk is February 7, from 4:00-8:00. Stop by to see Dr. Barnard’s work, to talk with him about process, about inspiration, about technique, or just to talk. Light refreshments, including beer, wine, and soft drinks will be served at Green Light Real Estate.

                     

                    Other artists Green Light Real Estate has hosted in the past include:

                    Joe Latulippe

                    Ted Dawson

                    Paul Contino

                    Danny Hendershot

                    Andrew Wible

                    Colleen Flanagan

                     

                    See you there!

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