Ray Mikus

Inspections vs. Appraisals

 

Both an inspection and an appraisal are typically part of the process when you’re buying or selling a home in Vermont. There are some overlaps, but in general, they are two different aspects, performed by two different professionals, for two different purposes.

Inspection

A property inspection is done for the benefit of the buyer. A licensed inspector will go through the property, and look at everything. Roof, insulation, wiring, plumbing, appliances, structure, windows, exterior, etc. Everything.

Well, maybe not everything. You may still want to have specialists take a look. Heating systems, septic systems, roofs, and some other systems sometimes call for a separate contractor to weigh in.

Depending on the size, age, and complexity of the property, this can take anywhere from 2-4 hours. Inspections usually schedule within two weeks of getting into contract, and the reports are completed in just a couple of days. Pretty quick turnaround. Buyers are always encouraged to be present at the inspection. Wear comfy shoes and maybe bring a snack.

You get to pick your inspector, and you get to talk with them.

The inspection will scare the heck out of you. Imagine if your doctor spent four hours running tests and examining. Or if your partner spent four hours talking about everything that’s not perfect about you. Ouch. Take a breath, you’ve got a Realtor to walk you through it. And there’s no such thing as a perfect house.

The purpose of the inspection is to give you information, and to try to uncover any unknown issues with the house.

If you have an inspection contingency, then you can typically either terminate the contract, proceed as planned, or try to renegotiate to get some items resolved. A seller doesn’t have to fix anything, or give any money. Often they do, to keep a sale moving forward. But they don’t have to.

There’s no such thing as a passed or failed inspection. If it’s satisfactory to you, you’re good. Typically the inspection report would not go to a lender. It’s very rare for a lender to ask to see the report, and if they do, you should talk with your Realtor before sharing. It’s unlikely that the lender really wants the whole report.

 

 

Appraisal


An appraisal is done for the benefit of the bank. It seems as if it’s for the benefit of the buyer. But really, it’s making sure the bank doesn’t loan more than a property is worth. A licensed appraiser will go through the property, and then make a valuation based on other recent “comparable” sales. Appraisals are quick, often 30 minutes or less, and buyers are rarely present for the appraisal.. But it can take weeks to get scheduled, and weeks to get the report.

You don’t get to pick your appraiser, and you usually don’t get to talk to them.

When there are delays in closing, it’s almost always because the appraisal couldn’t be completed or the report submitted to the lender on time.

The appraisal will give a valuation. Generally, if the value is at least what you’re paying, then the bank is satisfied. If the appraised value is above the contract price, then the buyer is happy. 

If the appraised value is below the contract price, your Green Light Real Estate agent has several strategies that can help bridge the gap. You’re not in this alone!

While the appraisal seems to be all about the value, there are some gray areas. In the lending world, they’re called “overlays”.

A lender may ask an appraiser to comment on the condition of the house. A common overlay is for FHA, RD, and VA loans. The appraiser will look for particular electrical upgrades, handrails, and the condition of paint. If an appraiser notes those, that’s not informational. Those items have to be repaired/upgraded. Either the seller or the buyer can do that, it makes no difference to the appraiser or the lender.

There seem to be no other hard rules about what can be an overlay, and that can be frustrating. The appraisal report can come in just days before a scheduled closing, and require substantial repairs. That’s almost certainly going to delay the closing, or possibly cause the sale to fall apart.

Our advice for buyers is to have regular contact with their lender, and lean heavily on them to get the appraisal ordered and submitted. Even better is to talk with the lender up front and ask how far out they’re booking appraisals, and how often they have delays. That reduces the chances of a delay. 

Also bigger down payments also tend to have fewer overlays. So, if you can put 10% down instead of 3.5%, you might want to do that.

Nearly every sale that uses a loan will have an appraisal. The more prepared you are for, and the more you know about the process, the more smoothly things go. And of course, having a skilled Green Light Real Estate agent on your side gives you a huge advantage

 

 

Inspection

Appraisal

Required for a loan

No

Yes

Works for the buyer or seller

No

No

Buyer can pick who they use

Yes

No

Determines value

No

Yes

Provides information

Yes

Yes

Provides requirements

No

Yes

Report goes to bank

No

Yes

Easy to schedule

Yes

No

Buyer pays for

Yes

Yes

Can "Fail"

No

Yes

 

When you're trying to buy or sell a house in Central Vermont, it is crucial to have as much information as possible in order to get the best price and prevent expensive surprises. At Green Light Real Estate, our agents assist you with this process every step of the way. Call us today at 802-225-6425 or email us at info@greenlight-realestate.com.

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    We Appreciate You!

    At Green Light Real Estate we love it when people go out of their way to recommend us to other people. When that happens, we know that it comes from a place of trust, confidence, and that there’s a personal relationship.

    We also know we’re not the only Realtors that most people know. And when people like you recommend that your friends, colleagues, and family work with us, that means a lot to us.

    To say thanks, and to keep that good feeling moving forward, when you recommend someone to your Green Light Real Estate agent or broker, we’ll make a donation to the charity, group, or non-profit of your choice.

    Easy as that. If you don’t have a favorite charity, we’ll make a donation, in your name, to one of the many local charities and non-profits that we’ve supported over the years. If you prefer to remain anonymous, we’ll leave your name off the donation. Those groups have included:

    Courtney’s Allies

    Freezing Fun for Families

    Central Vermont Adult Basic Education

    Montpelier Alive

    Montpelier Kiwanis Club

    School PTOs/PTAs

    Middlesex Bandstand

    Central Vermont Little League

    Green Up Vermont

    And more!

     

    This has been a great way to get funding to organizations that are doing valuable work in our Vermont communities. We think it’s meaningful and important, and it keeps resources in the communities in which we live and work.

    So, when we’ve done a great job for you, helping you buy or sell real estate in Vermont, and your friends are talking about buying or selling, have them talk with us. Even if you haven’t actually been a client, maybe we’ve been a valuable resource to you in answering questions, giving advice, or consulting, pass our name on and point your people in our direction. Not only will we give experienced and professional real estate guidance, expert negotiation skills, and  a conscientious client-centered approach, we’ll also contribute to make everyone’s lives a little better.

     

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      53 Warren Avenue

       

      You might look at this home for sale in Northfield and think, “I get it, it’s a turn of the century house. I’ve seen them. I know what’s in them.”

       

       

      You’d be wrong. Well, partly. There’s plenty of the tradition that you’d expect, with some hardwood floors, natural woodwork, and warm character. But the special, fun features of this home really set it apart. 


       

      53 Warren Avenue has a large kitchen with lots of countertops and cabinets for prepping meals and for storing all the kitchen supplies. And, unlike many kitchens today, there’s an area (not far from, but actually part of) that offers some great flexibility. Traditionally, this would be the space for your kitchen table. This would be where you’d have meals with your people, spread papers for planning or homework, carve pumpkins, that sort of thing.

       

       

      Another option for that space would be to put an island. Why not? Give yourself some more storage, and an inviting place to hang out with your people?

       

      Of course, there’s the formal dining room, with hardwood floors and a brick fireplace, for when you want to, you know, be more formal.

       

      **Email Green Light Real Estate for more information or to schedule a private showing.**

       

      The front of the house, opening onto the wraparound porch has a living room that’s just calling for a couple of comfy chairs and a coffee table to gather around. 

       

      For a house built in 1906, the first floor layout is surprisingly open. The kitchen, “bonus kitchen area”, dining room, and living room all flow together and the fireplace plays to the dining room as well as the living room. Well done, 1906 carpenters!

       

      Fun Feature #1!

      This home for sale in Northfield even has an atrium. I know, right? Get your garden starts going right in your own house. Or fill your home with plants. Any way that you use it, it’s great to have all that natural light pouring into the house.

       

       

      Which brings us to…

       

      Fun Feature #2!

      There’s a second living room. A “Super Room”. 20x50 super, with a hand laid stone hearth fireplace and a wet bar. The possibilities for this room are endless. Watch movies, home office, exercise room, play room. 

       

       

      Some of the finishes in this super room are a little dated, and replacing the carpet would go a long way. But these are easy cosmetic updates. And the payoff in your enjoyment is huge.

       

      Upstairs there are three good-sized bedrooms, and a full bathroom.

       

      One of the bedrooms is an en suite, with its own half bathroom and the laundry as part of the en suite. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of carrying laundry up and down flights of stairs, you’ll appreciate the convenience of this layout. And if you don’t want the laundry as part of the primary bedroom, moving it to the Super Room or even the basement would be easy.

       

      Although the attic itself is unfinished (storage!), there is a room which is really close to being finished. Previous owners had used it as a bedroom. With just a little work, it could make a lovely private office or studio if you want.

       

       

      Ready for Fun Feature #3?

      How about two levels of garage parking? The first level has one garage bay door, and TONS of space for yard equipment, a workshop, firewood, and more. And then the second level has two additional garage bays. There’s actually a third level, which is open “barn space” to be used anyway you see fit.

       

       

       

      Fun Features 3a and 3b are the working cupola bell in the garage, and, my personal favorite, the motorized conveyor belt was built to move firewood from the garage to the basement. And yes, it still works. Clark Bothfeld was a genius.

       

      Let’s Be Honest

      This house has been very well-maintained by careful, conscientious owners. But it could benefit from some cosmetic updates. Changing the flooring alone would be a project that would yield huge returns. Maybe you don’t like wallpaper. Removing and painting really isn’t that big of a project. Many homeowners can tackle that sort of thing. 

       

      So no, it’s not your completely renovated HGTV colonial. But any improvements you want to do can be done one at a time while you’re living here and loving life.

       

      Location, Location, Location

      Being so close to Norwich University, it makes sense that 53 Warren Avenue has a connection with Norwich. It was, back in the day, a fraternity house. It’s said that the Super Room was more of a dining hall than anything else (I’ll leave you to draw you own conclusions about what kinds of shenanigans a bunch of college students might have gotten into in that big space).

       

      53 Warren Avenue is right across the street from Norwich University, and just off the Crescent. It’s a paved dead end road, with incredibly easy access to the Shaw Outdoor Center at Paine Mountain, which has hiking trails as well as renowned mountain biking. 

       

      Downtown Northfield is nearby, with a growing scene of restaurants including Good Measure Brewing Company, Carrier Roasting Company, and Cornerstone Burger Company. Northfield is a quick drive to the state capital in Montpelier, Central Vermont Medical Center, and also to I89.

       

      For more information on this or any other house for sale in Northfield, call Green Light Real Estate at 802-485-9000, or email Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com.

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        Who Pays For Closing Costs in Vermont

         

        I suppose technically, the question of who pays the closing costs in Vermont is negotiable. But in reality, there are some closing costs that the buyers pay and some that the sellers pay. We've put together the below for buyers and sellers in Vermont but you could apply some of this information anywhere.

        Seller's Closing Costs

        The seller side has pretty straightforward closing costs.

        • Attorney fee
        • Real estate brokerage fee
        • Wire transfer fee (if wiring funds after the closing)
        • Final water and sewer bill

        Attorney Fee

        The seller's attorney will write the deed, fill out the property transfer tax paperwork, and more. 

        Real Estate Brokerage Fee

        Worth every penny. Pricing, pre-inspection, negotiation, contract writing, problem-solving. If your transaction went smoothly, that's because the real estate professional made it look that way. If it was a challenging transaction, imagine how hard it would have been otherwise?

        Wire Transfer Fee

        Most, if not all, financial charge wiring fees. This closing costs responsibility lies solely on the seller.

        Final Water and Sewer Bill

        Wait. Why is the seller paying the water bill? The seller is paying the water bill from the end of the last statement to the closing. You're giving the buyer the amount that you're responsible for. The buyer will pay the whole amount when the next bill comes out. You've just paid your share in advance.

         

        Buyer's Closing Costs

        Things get way more exciting and confusing when it comes to closing costs on the buyer's side. Get a load of some of these:

        • Appraisal fee
        • Credit report
        • Flood certification (even if the house is at the top of a mountain)
        • Insurance tracking fee
        • Various tax services
        • Legal--settlement fee
        • Legal--title search and examination
        • Vermont transfer tax
        • Prepaid homeowners insurance
        • Mortgage insurance premium
        • Prepaid interest on the loan
        • Prepaid property taxes
        • Document recording fees
        • Title insurance (owner's policy)
        • Title insurance (lender's policy)
        • Prorated fuel
        • Prorated property taxes

        Some of these depend on the loan or the lender. Others depend on the purchase price. As a super rough rule of thumb, we usually tell buyers to expect to pay 5%-6% of the purchase price in closing costs for highly leveraged loans (0%-5% down, 3%-4% for loans with higher down payments, and 2%-3% for cash. These are very rough estimates.

        Appraisal Fee

        It's tough to pin down the cost of an appraisal. Sometimes they cost $400 and sometimes they cost $1000. There are a lot of variables, including the size of the property, the complexity of the problem, and supply and demand of appraisers. 

        You get to pay for the appraisal, but you don't get to pick your appraiser. The lender will do that for you. Also, depending on how cynical you are, you can either consider that the appraiser works for you to make sure you don't unwillingly overpay for a property or that they work for the bank to make sure the bank isn't under-collateralized.

        Credit Report

        You knew the lender was going to "run credit," and they did. You get to pay for that.

        Flood Certification

        It's only $20 or so, and I can see you rolling your eyes. But yes, there's going to be a flood certification to make sure that your house, at the top of a mountain, is not in the flood zone. Truthfully, this is a good thing. No one wants people to be in a flood zone accidentally.

        Insurance Tracking Fee

        Beats me. The last one I saw was $93. Are you reassured that your insurance has been tracked? You should be!

        Various Tax Services

        Again, no idea. Recently I saw $88 for "tax service." So there you go.

        Legal (Settlement Fee)

        You're going to have someone organize all the paperwork, go through it all, show you where to sign, disburse funds, etc. It's actually really fun to watch an attorney go through all that. They turn a three-inch stack of papers into homeownership.

        Legal (title search and examination)--Your attorney will go through the land records to make sure there's nothing mucky in them. What's mucky? Dozens of things. From undischarged mortgages and mechanics liens to unpermitted improvements and open certificates of occupancy. You might even find a land lease from UVM in the land records. 

        The title search will bring those up and then work to clear them out so that it's not mucky when you buy the property. 

        Title insurance (Owner's Policy)

        You can buy title insurance (you should). That's a one-time premium, and it protects you as long as you own the property. If something comes up that wasn't discovered in the title search; your title insurance will work to quiet the issue or pay to make it disappear. 

        Title insurance (Lender's Policy)

        Title Insurance for the lender's policy is pretty much the same as above, but you HAVE to buy it if you have a mortgage.

        Vermont Property Transfer Tax

        This is more or less a sales tax on the purchase of real estate. As of this writing, for a primary residence, it's.05% on the first $100,000 ($500) and then 1.45% on anything past that. For non-primary residences, it's just 1.45% of the purchase price.

        Prepaid Homeowners Insurance

        This is another one that varies wildly. Sometimes you'll be required to have one month paid in advance, sometimes three months, sometimes 12 months. Pay now or pay later, right?

        Mortgage Insurance Premium

        If you have less than 20% equity in the property, you have to have private mortgage insurance (PMI). Not a whole lot you can do about that. But as you make payments and reduce your principal amount and as your house is either improved or the market in general lifts prices, you might be able to get to that 20% threshold way sooner than you think. 

         

        Prepaid Mortgage Interest

        If you have a 30-year mortgage, that's 360 payments. Your first payment covers the period from when you purchase to the end of the month. You pay that in advance at closing. Payments 2-360 are all paid in arrears. It just means that you have a partial month's of interest that you owe at the closing. At Green Light Real Estate, we help loads of buyers get out of paying PMI earlier.

         

        Prepaid Property Taxes

        Different lenders and different loans have varying requirements on this too. You might have to pre-fund your escrow with a couple of months or more of property taxes. You're just paying in advance, which can be comforting.

        Document Recording Fees

        At present, every page that gets recorded in the town clerk's office costs $10 per page. So, a three-page warranty deed costs $30. A 20-page mortgage deed costs $200.

        Prorated Fuel

        You get to reimburse the seller for any fuel that's left at the property. Oil, propane, firewood, pellets. Am I missing anything?

        Prorated Property Taxes

        The buyer is responsible for the property as of the day of the closing. If the seller paid any property taxes in advance, the buyer would reimburse the seller for those prepaid taxes. Fair is fair.

        Vermont Prebate

        Oh, here we go. You really should talk with a Green Light Real Estate professional to go through the prebate calculation. In a nutshell, the buyer will reimburse the seller for any unused portion of the seller's prebate for the tax year. And, the buyer is going to get the seller's lower quarterly tax bill for the rest of the tax year. It's kind of like paying in advance for property taxes. But again, there's more to it. Talk to someone at Green Light, and we'll explain it.

        Whether you're selling a house in Vermont, buying a house or both, the process can sometimes be pretty complicated and confusing. That's why our agents at Green Light Real Estate are ready to help you! Give us a call at 802-225-6425 or email us at Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com.

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          7 Ways to Increase Income From Multi Family Property | Green Light Real Estate

           

          7 Ways to Increase Income From Multi Family Property

           

          When it comes down to it, you own multifamily property so that you can make money. You want to make a profit each month with cash flow. You want to increase the value of the property so you can either sell for a profit, or refinance and pull equity out for other projects.

           

          You’re a nice person. But you’re not investing out of the goodness of your heart. Profit matters.

           

          The best way to improve the monthly cash flow is to increase income, decrease expenses, or both. Here are seven ways that you can increase your building’s income, increase your tenants’ happiness, and increase your building’s value. It’s a win-win-win!

           

          #1: Market Rent

          Are you charging market rent? That doesn’t mean “average rent”. If your property is below average, then you’re not going to get average rent. But you should charge enough so that you’re getting paid what the unit is worth. (If you missed the earlier Barre Multi Family Report about average rents, just email Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com and we’ll send it to you.)

           

          If you haven’t increased rent in a couple years, consider doing so now. Have your expenses gone down? Not likely. I’m willing to bet your property taxes and water/sewer bills haven’t gone down.  How about at least passing along the increases that you’ve been eating. There’s probably room for higher increases than that, but at least it’s something.

           

          #2: Small Improvements Go A Long Way

          Can you do some improvements that make the place more desirable? You don’t have to do an entire apartment renovation to justify increasing rents. How about installing new countertops and new appliances? (Especially if the old ones were nearing the end of their lives anyway.) Or,  installing a new toilet, sheet vinyl, and a vanity in the bathroom. 

           

          Call or email Green Light Real Estate 802-225-6425, Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

           

          #3: Storage! Storage! Storage!

          Lots of apartments lack storage. Can you find or make storage in your units? Even enough for tire storage, holiday decorations, and moving boxes can make a big difference in quality of life for a tenant. And you can charge for it. We recommend making storage safe, secure, and simple. Remember that you might have to pay to have it emptied if the tenant “forgets” when they move out. So, consider adding something to the security deposit to cover for that possibility.

           

          #4: Laundry

          Everyone needs to wash their clothes. What if you added laundry hookups in the units? I’m not saying you even have to provide the machines, although that’s nice. Just having the hookups gives tenants a nice option. Or, if your building lends itself to a common laundry, coin-op might be the answer.

           

          Call or email Green Light Real Estate 802-225-6425, Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

           

          #5: Arf. Purrr.

          Furry friends are more and more popular. There’s an age old debate about allowing pets in rentals. The pros are that you can have more tenants to choose from, and therefore might be able to pick a better tenant. You can also charge a pet premium, and hold an additional deposit. 

           

          Cons are that pets can cause damage, disturb other tenants, and could cause insurance or liability issues.

           

          #6: Delivery Amenities

          Do your tenants shop online?  Do they have packages delivered to their homes? Could you install a secure home delivery mailbox system for the tenants? It would give your tenants peace of mind, and also, perhaps prevent tension between tenants. You and I know that our tenants would never accidentally take a package that belongs to their neighbors. The neighbors, however, might not always think that.

           

          #7: Covered Parking

          Some buildings have the space and the exterior layout to allow for garages or more simple carports.  Check with zoning, and then run the numbers. What would it cost to add covered parking? What rent premium could you charge? Up to you whether the return is worth the investment of time and money.

           

          Call or email Green Light Real Estate 802-225-6425, Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

           

          There you go. Seven solid, actionable ways that you can increase income in your multifamily rentals. Pick one or two, and see what the results are. 


           

          Is it time to stop being a landlord, or to divest some of your holdings? 

           

          Call or email Green Light Real Estate for a free comprehensive property valuation. We always have buyers that are qualified to buy. Our buyer list has people who buy:

          --Turn key, mint condition prime properties

          --Buildings with some deferred maintenance, and are a little dated

          --Properties that are in rough shape

          --Buildings with all ranges of tenants, from dream tenants to nightmare tenants

          May 2021 Real Estate Market Report

          So, How's the Market?

           

          On the Market (Active)

          Sold in April

          Median Sale Price

          Barre City

          6

          5

          $205,000

          Barre Town

          10

          9

          $252,000

          Montpelier

          5

          7

          $315,000

          U32

          10

          7

          $325,000

          Nfld/Wmst

          11

          6

          $234,000

          Which means there's really only a month or so of inventory in most markets. Many properties are going under contract quickly. This really is a strong sellers' market.

          More About April

          Drilling down a little deeper, let's look at properties that listed for sale in April. What happened to them? Did they go under contract? Are they hanging around on the market?

           

           

          Listed in April

          On the Market (Active)

          Barre City

          11

          3

          Barre Town

          16

          4

          Montpelier

          6

          3

          U32

          11

          7

          Nfld/Wmst

          15

          11

          (Single family homes as of 5/3/2021)

          By far, the properties that listed for sale in April have gone under contract. There are always some that linger. Sometimes they're overpriced. Sometimes they're unique properties that appeal to a more narrow band of buyers. Barre City and Barre Town in particular have been smoking hot. 75% of April's Barre Town listings went into contract in April. Wow.

          www.Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

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          New Service Offered

          Do you want to know if there's an actual, real live person out there who wants to buy your house? I mean, someone with a name and an address. Someone who's preapproved (or is a cash buyer). Someone who has made an offer on another house that's very similar to yours. A real buyer.

          You can. We have a detailed and honest list of just such buyers.  Check out www.GLREBuyersLookingFor.com and get the full list of what buyers are looking for. Then, if you or someone you know is thinking of selling, just let us know, and we can match buyer and seller. Which is what we're very good at.

          Buyers who a clear on what they want to buy, and are ready, willing, and able--you can get on this list! Then we can start actively looking for the exact property that you want, instead of just hoping and waiting that it'll come on the market on its own. And don't worry, we're not putting names out there. 

          Call or email Green Light Real Estate  802-225-6425 or info@greenlightrealestate.com to get on this list and to give you an advantage in your home search. 

          Here's an example:

           

          Barre Town

          3-4 bedrooms

          Nothing fancy

          Good “starter home”

          $200,000

          Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

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          Quote of the Month

          "Why can't we just offer the asking price?

          Well, we can. But we're seeing a LOT of multi bid situations, and in those cases, the asking price is really just the starting point for negotiation. The truth is that if you're the only offer, then a great way to get the property is to offer the asking price. 

          Free tip! There are times when we won't know if there's more than one offer. That's when you are overwhelmed with joy that you're working with a Green Light Real Estate buyer specialist. If we can't find out for a fact that there's more than one offer, we can usually piece it together. There are clues, if you know what to look for. And we know what to look for.

          At the risk of being crass, buying a house today is a bit like nature. To get an "offer" accepted in nature, animals use bright feathers, loud calls, big antlers, loud calls, and flashing abdomens. In real estate, successful offers have flexibility, limits on contingencies, easier terms, and higher probability of closing, as well as a strong price.

          Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Green Up With Green Light

          Thanks to everyone across the state who helped clean up our roadways, waterways, and more on Saturday May 1!

          We had dozens of people statewide who took and shared photos with #GreenUpVT21, and Green Light Real Estate is donating over $500 to Green Up Vermont.

          As of this writing, the totals for trash and recycling collected and disposed of isn't published. So, let's just say a lot. There were several stretches of road where there was a bright green trash bag every 200 feet or so.

          Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

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           Speaking of Social

          For the latest information about the real estate market in Central Vermont, you've really got to connect with us socially. Like, follow, comment Green Light Real Estate on Facebook and Instagram.

          That's where we put information about new listings, recent sales, contests, giveaways, helpful tips, trends, and even some funny stories. 

          Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

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          Green Up Day 2021 Contest Rules

           

          Contest Rules 

            

          NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. 

            

           1. Eligibility 

            Green Up Day 2021 (the "Contest") is open to legal residents of Vermont who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. Employees of Green Light Real Estate and other companies associated with the promotion of the Contest, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and advertising and promotion agencies as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible. The Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations. 

            

           2. Sponsor 

            The Contest is sponsored by Green Light Real Estate, located at 17 State St #101,, Montpelier, Vermont 05602. 

            

           3. Agreement to Official Rules 

          Participation in the Contest constitutes entrant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Award of a donation is contingent upon being compliant with these Official Rules and fulfilling all other requirements set forth herein. 

            

           4. Contest Period 

            The Contest begins on April 23, 2021 at 12:00 Eastern and ends on May 03, 2021 at 01:01am Eastern (the "Contest Period"). Entries that are submitted before or after the Contest Period will be disqualified. Submissions will be accepted for the duration of the Contest using any of the following methods: 

            

          Online 

            

           5. How to Enter 

            Online: This method of entry will be tagging a post on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #greenupvt21 and following the directions provided to fill out the entry information, and submit. 

            

            Limit one (1) entry per person, per email address, and per household for the duration of the Contest Period, regardless of method of entry. Entries received from any person, e-mail address, or household in excess of the stated limitation will be void. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. 

            

           6. Prize Drawing 

          On or about May 03, 2021, the Sponsor will tally the eligible entries received 

            

          7. General Conditions 

            In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Contest is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to fraud, virus, bug, worm, unauthorized human intervention or other technical problem, or in the event the Contest is unable to run as planned for any other reason, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either (a) suspend the Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Contest in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules or (b) terminate the Contest and, in the event of termination, award the prize at random from among the eligible, non-suspect entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to damage the website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages (including attorney's fees) and any other remedies from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Failure by the Sponsor to enforce any provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. 

            

          9. Release and Limitations of Liability 

            By participating in the Contest, entrants agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsor, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, other companies associated with the Contest, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, representatives, and agents (the Released Parties) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Contest or receipt or use of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto), including, but not limited to: (a) any technical errors associated with the Contest, including lost, interrupted or unavailable Internet Service Provider (ISP), network, server, wireless service provider, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone, cellular tower or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties; (b) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest; (c) mechanical, network, electronic, computer, human, printing or typographical errors; (d) application downloads, (e) any other errors or problems in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors that may occur in the administration of the Contest, the announcement of the winner, the cancellation or postponement of the event and/or the flyover, if applicable, the incorrect downloading of the application, the processing of entries application downloads or in any Contest-related materials; or (f) injury, death, losses or damages of any kind, to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrants participation in the Contest or acceptance, receipt or misuse of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto). Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Released Parties liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the Contest, and in no event shall the entrant be entitled to receive attorney's fees. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest. Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages. 

            

          10. Disputes 

            Except where prohibited, each entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in Vermont. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrants rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of Vermont, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules, which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Vermont. 

            

          11. Privacy 

            Information collected from entrants is subject to sponsor's privacy policy. 

           

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            Green Up Day News!

            Green Up Day is Saturday 5/1. Now's a great time to start planning for it. 

            I don't have to tell anyone what's great about Green Up Day. Is it fun picking up trash? Actually, kind of. But more importantly, it just gets rid of it. If everyone picks up just a little bit, it makes a humongous difference. I feel like there's a kindergarten clean up song in there somewhere.

             

            This year, Green Light Real Estate is making a donation for every Green Up Day pic that's shared with the social post #GreenUpVT21 or posted to our facebook page. And, if you don't want to be all social, you can also email a pic to Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com.  The lawyers say that rules apply, so make sure to read the previous post about the rules. 

             

            I spoke with Dana Casullo at ABC 22 and Fox 44 (MyChamplainValley.com) about Green Up Day, about why it's important, and about how we're working to support it. Here's a link to the story that recently aired. MyChamplainValley.com, Green Up Day.

             

            There's some great information available to help you start planning. Go to Green Up Vermont's website to find out details about Green Up efforts in your town. You can find out where to pick up bags, how to dispose of them, routes, and more. There's even an app that's super helpful for planning what stretches of roadways are being covered. 

             

            I could go on and on about what's so great about Green Up Day. Maybe I will.

            1. Next time you're out of Vermont, take a look around the roadways. See all that litter? That's what Vermont would look like without Green Up Day. #GreenUpVT21

             

            2. Folks are folks, and I think that Vermonters are just as likely to litter as people in other states. Meaning, that in general, I really think it happens on accident. A receipt blows out the car window. Some recycling blows out of the bin when you're driving to the transfer station. So, actually, I think this is a chance to practice empathy.

            ABC 22 and Fox 44 Story

            3. Let's think about where this all comes from. Last year, on about a half mile stretch of one of the few paved roads in Middlesex, we picked up over 20 coffee cups. It got to be a joke. But what's not funny was thinking about...why? Why is there so much litter/recycling in the first place? Our family got to the question of how people view the waste stream in the first place. Single use containers get thrown away or recycled. And we just saw more than 20 of them on one stretch of road. Instead of cleaning up afterward, maybe efforts could be made to avoid using those in the first place. #GreenUpVT21

             

            4. There's rich irony in the fact that kids will get outside and pick up someone else's recycling and litter from the cold mud, in a ditch on a Saturday morning, but they won't put their clothes in their hamper.

            Green Up Vermont Website

             

            5. It's good for business. We're spokespeople for living in this area. The nicer it looks, and the deeper the sense of community, the better for business, and the better for all of us. Info@GreenLightRealEstate.com

             

            6. Seriously, if people just donate a teensy bit of time, BIG things happen. One person in an hour can make it so that thousands of people don't have to look at litter every single day over the course of years and years. Just get it done, and it's done.

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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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