Blog :: 11-2018

Four Reasons Why Winter is the Perfect Time to Buy a Home in Vermont

Four Reasons Why Winter is the Perfect Time to Buy a Home in Vermont

We've all heard it. "No one buys a home in Vermont in the winter." Well, then apparently we've all heard things that aren't true. I believe Kellyanne Conway has a term for that sort of thing, but that's a different topic altogether!

First, the facts. From December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018 (so, last winter), 51 homes went under contract in Washington County. 51 homes sold in Vermont in winter 2017That means that 51 buyers and sellers got together with a contract and said, "Yep, we've got a deal." I want to make a fine point here--that's not 51 sales. Those properties would have closed a month or two later, after the close of escrow. But buyers and sellers came together to reach agreement in winter. (And, anecdotally, Green Light Real Estate just put one seller client in contract  in Duxbury on 11/27/18, and one buyer client into contract in Montpelier on 11/28/18. 2017 wasn't some weird flukey winter.)

Granted, spring and summer are busier. But if you were one of those 51 buyers, you were psyched. Same as if you were one of those 51 sellers! Psyched.

Now, the four reasons why winter is the perfect time to buy a home in Vermont


1. Motivated Sellers. Some sellers are actually more motivated to strike a deal in the winter. It can start to feel like a real drag with heating, plowing, and maintaining a home in the winter. Especially if the seller doesn't want to be there or the house is vacant. Someone selling a home in Vermont can do some quick calculations as to what it costs to carry the house each month, and that caBuying a home in winter in Vermont with less competitionn be motivating!

2. Less Competition. All those other buyers who think that no one buys in the winter may have removed themselves from the game. Fewer buyers means less competition, which again can lead to lower sales prices or some other concessions that a seller might make to entice a buyer.



3. Faster Closing. With fewer transactions working through the system, lenders, inspectors, and appraisers tend to have more time on Can Close Faster Buying a Home in Vermont in Wintertheir hands. Where it might have taken two weeks to get an inspection in June, it might only take three or four days in December. Same with appraisals. In the summer, it can take three weeks for an appraiser to get to the house, and another week or two to get the report to the lender. When there's a litttle more wiggle room in the calendar, that can take much less time. Which means that it's realistic to actually close on your Vermont home in less time!


4. Getting the Real Story. Seeing a house in the winter might show you the house at its worst. The driveway, the walkway, the road up to Buying a house in winter in Vermontthe house. In May when everything is warm and dry, that perfect home at the top of the hill looks dreamy. Covered in snow, it might look a little different. It can be helpful to at least think about that. True story: My wife and I made an offer on the house we live in now at the open house in May. Turns out the road had just beeng graded. We didn't think anything of it. After that first winter and mud season, we realized we needed to get rid of the two wheel drive car and get four wheel drive. 

Check out this video that I took a couple years ago going down our road in Middlesex in Mud Season. If we had looked at the house in March, we may not have bought it. But we're 100% glad that we did buy it!


And yes, we would have bought the house anyway, cuz it's awesome and we loved it . But we maybe would have had one less surprise!


There you go, four reasons why it's ok, and perhaps advantageous to buy your home in Vermont in the winter.


For more information, details about properties currently on the market, or those coming onto the market soon in Montpelier, Barre, Northfield, or other towns, call or email.




Three Things Your Listing Agent Should NOT Do


Three Things Your Listing Agent Better Not Do

Ray Mikus, Green Light Real Estate


Actually there are more than three things a good listing agent won’t do. That number approaches infinity, but we’ve got to stop somewhere. Three sounds right.


1. Use the wrong comparables. Seriously, you just can’t value a property correctly in Barre or Montpelier, if you’re using comparable sales from a different town. I will argue that the school district is the defining geography. Meaning, I’ll give homes that have sold in East Montpelier, Middlesex, Worcester, Berlin, and Calais a wider berth. They’re all in the U32 school district.


But I’d be hard pressed to use a house from Barre or Plainfield or Northfield or Moretown even though geographically they’re right next door to those U32 towns.





That’s where having a listing agent who knows the area and works it consistently is at an advantage. Someone who lists primarily in Burlington is just not going to have the personal or institutional knowledge of homes for sale in Montpelier or Barre. I know that’s gonna make some people upset, and I’m ok with that.


And while we're at it, no fair using an online valuation. Just because Zillow, CRS, or says your house is worth $200,000 doesn't mean that it is. What if it's $208,000? $8000 is real money to most people. Plus, a buyer's going to have an appraisal anyway, and it sure is comforting to know that a person has already done valuation methodology similar to that of an appraiser.


2. Skip the brokers caravan. This is one of the arrows in a listing agent’s quiver. Once a month, the new listings in some towns Montpelier and Barre Brokers Caravan(that would be new listings in Barre City, Barre Town, Montpelier, Berlin, and East Montpelier) are eligible for the brokers caravan.


On said caravan, new listings are toured, quickly, one right after the other. Picture a dozen or so brokers and agents driving from one property to the next for previews. Hence, “caravan”. It’s a fantastic opportunity for local agents to see a ton of the inventory, and then be able to go back to our qualified buyers and tell them what we saw. Because as great as the internet is, there’s no substitute for a person going into a house and describing what it’s like.


I can’t tell you how many times one of our Green Light Real Estate agents comes back to the car and says, “Oh, the Ryansons have GOT to see this one, I don’t care if it’s on their list or not, it’s exactly what they want!” That means it’s a huge benefit for the sellers of that property. Who knows when or if the Ryansons would have ever even considered the house. But now maybe there’s a showing. And maybe an offer. And maybe a sale. See how that works?


So if your listing agent has a reason for not getting that exposure to buyers agents and to buyers, throw the flag. Yes. It does take some work. And yes, the listing agent has to go on the caravan, which means they have to be nice to people. Working hard and being nice are good traits to look for when selecting a listing agent in Montpelier or Barre (or anywhere).


3. Only ever rock the iPhone for their photos. That smart phone can take good photos. But can it take great photos? And is the photographer a professional. Our listing agents at Green Light Real Estate are good at lots of things. They’re great at a few things. But professional photographers have the skills, eye, technique, and equipment behind the lens to make your property look that much better.

In a world where you can have great photos, you should. Check out the photos of different listings. Do you see dark photos? Crooked or out of focus photos?My other favorites are the ones where the agent is in mirror, and the one where the car’s rear view mirror is visible on an exterior shot. It’s true. It is difficult to get out of the car to take a photo. Now, to be fair, sometimes the houses just don’t photograph well. In those cases, even the best photographer is going to be hard pressed to alter reality.


If your house is one of those, then you’ll love Bonus #4!


4. Don’t give sellers any advice. As top listing agents in Montpelier and Barre, we have to give people advice. We have to tell them things they don’t want to hear. Clean your place, get an inspection, put some money into repairs, hire a cleaner. We’re not going to be rude, but we have to be honest. You wouldn’t go to a mechanic that tells you your car is fine, it’s unique, and then they don’t know why it breaks down in three weeks. Or an accountant who tells you you’re doing everything great, just keep doing it...until you get audited.


You want someone who’s going to tell you what they think is needed to sell your house at the best price and in the shortest time. That’s it in a nutshell.


There you go. Three plus one things to make sure your listing agent doesn’t do when you’re selling your home in Montpelier or Barre.


Call, text, or email to connect with a top agent who can help you make a strategy for selling your home. Even if you’re a year or two away from selling, the sooner you get good advice, the happier you’ll be!


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    For Investors: Run the Numbers On Your Flip!


    Flipping Houses? Know Your Numbers!

    We regularly get calls and emails from real estate investors who are looking to flip houses. And what a great idea that is. The trick is to buy at the right price and in the right location.


    In 2018, our office has worked with several investors who are flipping houses. Our investor clients range from those who only want to do one a year to those that are pushing through several homes each year.  Before


    When you’re thinking of flipping a house, there are a few big numbers you have to have a good handle on. We advise our clients to do some backward thinking. If you want to make $30,000 profit on a house, then add that to the estimate of the renovations. You’ll want to have a good handle on the after repair value (ARV). Then, it’s a matter of subtracting the renovation cost and the desired profit from the ARV to come up with a maximum purchase price.


    As an example, if the ARV of a property is $225,000, and it’s going to take $30,000 in renovation then you have your starting point. If you want to make $25,000 in profit, then your maximum offer would be $225,000-$30,000-$25,000 = $170,000.


    Except you need to factor in your carrying costs, acquisition costs, and divesting costs.


    AfterNone of those numbers are frighteningly difficult to figure out, but they do need to be figured out.







    Acquisition costs include:

    Attorney fees

    Loan fees

    Prepaid insurance and taxes

    Property transfer tax


    And more

    Of course, if you’re paying cash, you can avoid loan fees, possibly appraisal fees, and even some of the prepaids.


    Divesting costs include:

    Realtor fees

    Post-inspection repairs/concessions

    Attorney fees


    Carrying costs include:


    Property taxes







    So, if you want to get into or get deeper into flipping houses just make sure you’ve got all the numbers.  Let us know what types of property float your boat, and we’ll keep our eyes open for you. And, if you’ve already run your numbers, maybe it’ll be helpful to get a professional second opinion.


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