Blog :: 2019

December Market Report

So, How's the Market?

December 2019

Photo by Kevin Wiegand

The numbers are in:

  Active Listings # of Sales Past 12 Months Average Sale Price

Barre City

32 82 $142, 277
Barre Town 26 82 $214, 783
Montpelier 19 69 $278,186
U32 40 89 $271, 783

Northfield/Williamstown

28 84 $192, 437


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

 

Market Slice

How long are homes taking to sell? Different towns tell different stories, but all the information is interesting!

  Avg. Days on Market 2019 Faster than 2018 by:
Barre City 83 -4%
Barre Town 67 4%
Montpelier 69 10%
U32 96 28%
Northfield/Williamstown 68 15%

(Data gathered for dates 1/1/2018-12/1/2018 and 1/1/2019-12/1/2019)

 

Barre City took a tiny bit longer to sell this year, but only a tiny bit. All in all, compared to last year, houses sold more quickly in 2019. 

 

From Our Inspector Friends

Photo by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida

This is an easy tip--Make sure that outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, exterior, and garages are GFCI-protected. Those outlets come up in just about every inspection, and they’re easy to fix. Those are the annoying outlets that click off when you don’t want them to. But, they also prevent shocks, so, probably a good trade off.

 

Investing in Real Estate?

Photo by Maria Ziegler

 

There are lots of good reasons to invest in real estate. Cash flow, appreciation, long term asset acquisition, and tax benefits.

Whether you’re a veteran or a novice investor, we’d love to help. Our agents have lots of experience with everything from foreclosure flips to large multi-family properties. Call 802-224-6425 or email us to discuss the possibilities.

 

 

Core Values

Photo by Nick Morrison

 

Green Light Real Estate has 13 core values that we live and work by.

One of my favorites is:

“We choose to be happy and not to bring troubles to work.”

This ensures that no matter what’s happening in the world, or our worlds, when we work with buyers, sellers, and each other, we choose to be happy.

We don’t let negativity bring us down, and we don’t let setbacks keep us down. That keeps transactions moving forward, and, as importantly, makes it fun to come to work each day!

 

Green Light Real Estate is Locally Owned

Photo by Ted Dawson

 

We don’t have headquarters in Texas, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Um, actually, we don’t have headquarters. But you can stop into our office on State Street, and we’re all over the internet.

We have a team of ten talented, energetic and wonderful people who are ready to help you and your friends when it’s time to buy or sell real estate.

Our core values include being creative, intelligent, fun, and energetic. We’re open minded and we LOVE trying new ideas.

 

 

 

Finish out the year strong! We will see you in January

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

 

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    November Market Report

    So, How's the Market?

    November 2019

     

    Photo by Mattie Dube

     

    The numbers are in for the Central Vermont real estate market!

     

    Active Listings

    Under Contract

    Avg Sale Price Past 12 Months

    # Sales Past 12 Months

    Avg Days on Market

    Barre City

    43

    10

    $146,769

    86

    77

    Barre Town

    31

    13

    $208,982

    84

    70

    Montpelier

    23

    10

    $282,451

    71

    70

    U32

    50

    11

    $267,742

    87

    99

      Northfield/Williamstown  

    34

    22

    $193,320

    73

    67

     

    October saw plenty of sales across all of our local markets. Interesting to note, the average days on market was very similar in all areas, with the one exception being that homes in the U32 towns have taken a little longer to sell than in other towns. Prices remain strong, though.

     

     

      New Listings Oct 2019  

      Sales / Month  

      Months of Inventory  

    Barre City

    11

    7.2

    6.0

    Barre Town

    6

    7.0

    4.4

    Montpelier

    10

    5.9

    3.9

    U32

    9

    7.3

    6.9

      Northfield/Williamstown  

    14

    6.1

    5.6

     

    Those who study residential real estate markets will often refer to an “absorption rate” which is the number of months of inventory in each market. Generally speaking 1-4 months is considered a sellers market, 9-12 is a buyers market, and in the middle is a nice, tasty equilibrium. Which officially makes our local real estate market yummy.

     

    Want to check out a full list of the recent home sales in the Central Vermont market? Keep reading! We have all the juicy details at the end of this blog post.

     

    Screen Time

    Next time you’re in downtown Montpelier, take a look at the brand new Green Light Real Estate TV.  We’ve got info on new listings, recent sales, current events, even the weather. Plus, you can see all of our smiley faces, which is sure to warm your day!

     

    Congratulations!

    Congratulations to Hannah Dawson for passing her broker’s exam and obtaining her broker’s license! That’s a commitment to studying and mastering material, and it shows once again how dedicated she is to providing top tier service to buyers and sellers.

     

    Stop Paying PMI

     

    Photo by Katie Harp

    Here’s a quick tip: If you bought a house even two or three years ago, and if you’re paying PMI (private mortgage insurance), you might not actually have to. Here’s why: property values have risen in the past couple of years. Between that appreciation, any improvements you might have done on the house, and the little bit of principal paydown, you might be getting close to having 20% equity.

     

    Call or Email Green Light Real Estate, and we’ll help by completing a detailed, free market valuation. If you’re close, go for it! If not, try again next year. You might be able to save hundreds of dollars each year. Did I mention it’s free? Even if you didn’t work with GLRE when you bought your house. We’re that nice.

     

    People Are Talking About Green Light Real Estate

     

     Ray Mikus

    "In a market like Montpelier with few properties on the market and few that are truly comparable, you need someone like Ray in your corner. Someone who knows the area inside out, who understands what buyers are looking for, and who can give you a sense of the relative desirability of locations and  home features. Someone who will help you in the home sale process every small and every big step of the way.

    But beyond those basics, with Ray you also get someone who can crunch the numbers, is savvy about negotiating deals, and who will go above and way beyond to make the process easier and more effective for you." (5 Star Review, Peter in Montpelier)

     

      Hannah Dawson

    "We are so glad that we followed up on a friend's recommendation to call Green Light Real Estate when we were ready to find our first home! Hannah's initial meeting with us made it clear that she is a great communicator, knowledgeable and client-centered in her role. Hannah listened to what we were  looking for and assessed the current market with us as we identified houses we wanted to tour. Hannah's professional opinion and experience were invaluable as we looked at homes. When we finally found THE house, Hannah led us through the offer process with ease. After working with Hannah for just a few months we went from actively looking to having closed on our first home! We are so grateful to have had Hannah's guidance and recommend her as an incredible buyer's agent." (5 Star Review, Montpelier)

     

     Lauren Gould

    "Lauren was quick to respond, very helpful when needed and a pleasure to work with.  Everything you look for when you’re making big decisions around home buying or selling." (Five Star Review, Barre)

     

     

    Stay warm, and we will catch you in December.

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

     

     

    PS. Want to check out those recent sales?

     

    All Recent Sales (September 2019)

    Town

    Address

      Sale Price  

    Montpelier

    186 Sherwood Drive

    $215,000

    Montpelier

    301 River Street

    $250,000

    Montpelier

    12 Redstone Avenue

    $350,000

    Montpelier

    28 Sibley Avenue

    $371,500

    Montpelier

    209 Barre Street #C101

    $130,000

    Montpelier

    288 Cityside Drive

    $253,750

    Montpelier

    1428 Terrace Street

    $453,800

    Montpelier

    60 Main Street

    $900,000

    Montpelier

    123 North Street

    $366,000

    Montpelier

    10 Independence Green

    $175,000

    Montpelier

    110 Ledgewood Terrace

    $399,000

    Montpelier

    41 Pleasantview Street

    $175,000

    Montpelier

    231 Main Street

    $277,000

    Montpelier

    12 Charles Street

    $318,000

    Montpelier

    247 Grandview Terrace

    $350,000

    Barre City

    79 Camp Street

    $55,000

    Barre City

    26 Cliff Street

    $129,500

    Barre City

    125 Washington Street

    $72,000

    Barre City

    71 Brooklyn Street

    $105,000

    Barre City

    2 Orchard Street

    $18,000

    Barre City

    8 Cleary Street

    $89,000

    Barre City

    135 Berlin Street

    $118,000

    Barre City

    78 Brook Street

    $45,000

    Barre City

    43 Branch Street

    $134,000

    Barre City

    16 Myrtle Avenue

    $173,610

    Barre City

    47 Westwood Parkway

    $199,000

    Barre City

    111-113 Allen Street

    $777,200

    Barre City

    84 Smith and 39 Berlin

    $562,800

    Barre Town

    661 Graniteville Road

    $139,000

    Barre Town

    17 Chestnut Lane

    $273,500

    Barre Town

    14 Skylark Terrace

    $305,000

    Barre Town

    71 Miller Woods

    $345,000

    Barre Town

    380 East Montpelier Road

    $47,800

    Barre Town

    889 Drury Hill Road

    $157,000

    Barre Town

    92 Church Hill Road

    $38,760

    Barre Town

    15 Garden Street

    $181,000

    Barre Town

    35 Wildersburg Common

    $232,000

    Calais

    6979 County Road

    $90,000

    Calais

    1831 Lightening Ridge Road

    $376,000

    Calais

    335 George Road

    $250,000

    Calais

    5235 Route 14

    $149,000

    Calais

    91 Blackberry Ridge Road

    $180,000

      East Montpelier  

    949 Cherry Tree Hill Road

    $427,500

    East Montpelier

      1320 Horn of the Moon Road  

    $448,000

    East Montpelier

    155 Quaker Road

    $160,000

    Middlesex

    506 East Bear Swamp Road

    $355,700

    Middlesex

    491 Center Road

    $271,000

    Middlesex

    239 Macey Road

    $190,000

    Middlesex

    266 Notch Road

    $325,000

    Worcester

    9 Worcester Village Road

    $150,000

    Northfield

    400 Windy Meadow Road

    $385,000

    Northfield

    571 Route 12N

    $225,000

    Northfield

    39 Winter Street

    $205,000

    Northfield

    9 East Street

    $251,000

    Northfield

    1477 Turkey Hill Road

    $390,000

    Northfield

    1049 Little Northfield Road

    $175,000

    Northfield

    768 Route 12N

    $85,000

    Northfield

    64 Bellmore Road

    $410,000

    Northfield

    22 Cardinal Lane

    $259,000

    Williamstown

    1046 Hebert Road

    $165,000

    Williamstown

    767 Route 14

    $146,500

    Williamstown

    144 Soucy Lane

    $249,900

    Williamstown

    504 Rood Pond Road

    $92,500

    Williamstown

    1489 Baptist Street

    $263,500

    Williamstown

    677 Route 14

    $225,000

    November Market Report for Montpelier

    Montpelier Real Estate Market Report

     

     

    Check out the recent sales In Montpelier real estate:

    Address Sale Price
    186 Sherwood Drive $215,000
    301 River Street $250,000
    12 Redstone Avenue $350,000
    28 Sibley Avenue $371,500
    209 Barre Street #C101 $130,000
    288 Cityside Drive $253,750
    1428 Terrace Street $453,800
    60 Main Street $900,000
    123 North Street $366,000
    10 Independence Green $175,000
    110 Ledgewood Terrace $399,000
    41 Pleasantview Street $175,000
    231 Main Street $277,000
    12 Charles Street $318,000
    247 Grandview Terrace $350,000


    Do you have a home to sell in Montpelier? Looking to become a Montpelier resident?

    Give us a call at 802-224-6425 or email us to get started on buying or selling with trusted Central Vermont experts!

     

    October Market Report

    So, How's the Market?

    October 2019

    Photo by Mattie Dube

     

    The numbers are in for the Central Vermont real estate market (numbers through the end of August).

     

    Active Listings

    Under Contract

    Avg Sale Price Past 12 Months

    # Sales Past 12 Months

    Average Days on Market

    Barre City

    53

    8

    $144,358

    96

    74

    Barre Town

    29

    20

    $205,896

    83

    62

    Montpelier

    26

    10

    $275,597

    78

    59

    U32 Towns

    55

    16

    $249,520

    84

    59

    Northfield / Williamstown

    39

    14

    $199,464

    84

    61

    Totals

    202

    68

     

    427

     

     

    The Central Vermont real estate market is still strong. Average sale prices in Montpelier, over a rolling twelve month period have topped $275,000, while the sheer number of sales in Barre City (96) and Barre Town (83) show that buyers and sellers continue to make each other happy.

     

    Home Valuation Experts

    In September, five team members at Green Light Real Estate completed a day long training on calculating market values for real estate. Which means that when you really want to know how much your house is worth, you can get the best advice from a local, trained, real estate professional. Or, you know, you could trust Zillow (which recently couldn’t tell the difference between Chelsea and Northfield. Just saying.)

    Congratulations go to Hannah Dawson, Lindsay Ericson, Kylie Klopchin, Lauren Gould, and Ray Mikus for completing the training. And then yes, there were celebratory cocktails!

     

    Fun Fact:

     

    Halloween in Montpelier

    Yay, trick or treating! We’ll be handing out candy to zombies, superheroes, fairies, and ironic-costume wearers at Montpelier’s downtown trick or treating on Thursday October 31 from 4:30-6:00. Here’s a link to Montpelier Alive’s site for more information.

     

    Photo by Ted Dawson

     

    People Are Talking About Green Light Real Estate

    Green Light Real Estate focuses on making a complicated and stressful process manageable, and dare I say...enjoyable? It doesn’t matter whether we’re helping someone buy or sell a $95,000 house or a $595,000 house. Here’s what some people have said about us recently:

     

     Lindsay Ericson

    "Lindsay was absolutely amazing, very honest and helpful. She works around you, and makes the stressful buying process 100 times better. I will always go through her." (Five Star Review, Kyra in Northfield)

     

      Hannah Dawson

    "Hannah helped us navigate and better understand the Washington County market.  She is very familiar with this area.  At each walk she would actively point out and describe issues or bonuses with different building systems.  She also was in tune with tax rebates and other financial assistance  programs that are available to many homebuyers in the state.  She is easygoing and a pleasure to deal with on a personal level.  Most importantly she really seems to know her stuff!  Would recommend to others...especially younger homebuyers in the area looking for a “millennial” perspective on the current housing market but also to anyone and everyone looking for a good home buying experience.  Thank you Hannah." (Five Star Review, Montpelier)

     

     Lauren Gould

    "Lauren was great and always kept us in the loop! She was very professional and quick to respond to any questions we had during the home selling process. Easy sale from start to finish!" (Five Star Review, Barre)

     

     

    Call 802-224-6425 or email us to find out what your house is worth in today’s market. Even if you’re a year or more away from selling, let’s start making the plan for a successful sale. 

     

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      September Market Report

      September Market Report

      photo by Ted Dawson

       

      The numbers are in for the Central Vermont real estate market (numbers through the end of August).

       

      Active Listings

      Under Contract

      Avg Sale Price Past 12 Months

      # Sales Past 12 Months

      Average Days on Market

      Barre City

      48

      13

      $144,804

      98

      73

      Barre Town

      36

      15

      $206,679

      88

      62

      Montpelier

      23

      11

      $268,793

      74

      59

      U32 Towns

      52

      22

      $262,218

      79

      98

      Northfield / Williamstown

      39

      16

      $191,485

      70

      66

      Totals

      198

      81

       

      409

       

       

      Sales and sale prices continue to be strong in the Central Vermont real estate market, with Barre City approaching 100 sales over the past 12 months.

       

       

      New Listings August 2019

      Sales / 12 (sales per month, average)

      Absorption Rate (Months of Inventory)

      Barre City

      13

      8.16 sales/month

      5.88 months

      Barre Town

      17

      7.33 sales/month

      4.91 months

      Montpelier

      8

      6.17 sales/month

      3.73 months

      U32 Towns

      12

      6.58 sales/month

      7.90 months

      Northfield / Williamstown

      7

      5.83 sales/month

      6.69 months

       

      We’ve been saying this for years now, but it sure would be helpful to have more houses for sale, especially in Barre Town and Montpelier where the inventory is the lowest. Industry experts tell us that an inventory of six months suggests something of an equilibrium between a buyers’ market and a sellers’ market. Nearly all of the local markets are at or near equilibrium, signaling a healthy local real estate market.

       

      Real Estate Investing

      Investment Properties--Green Light Real Estate offers a full suite of services for investors. For buy and hold investors, we offer valuation, value add opportunities, financial and location analysis and more. 

      For fix and flip investors, we help with identifying good candidates, challenging assumptions about resale and scope of renovation, and more. Sometimes the best advice we give our investor clients is to not buy a particular property.  Check out the blog post “Property Investment With Green Light Real Estate” for more.

       

      Win a Bidding War

      In a tight market, and with desirable and well-priced houses in the Montpelier/Barre area, we’re seeing more and more multiple bid situations. Read our latest blog post for strategies to win a bidding war (whether you’re a buyer or a seller). These are just some of the tactics. Call (802-225-6425) or email Green Light Real Estate to talk with a buyer specialist for more information.

       

      Recent Reviews

      For Lauren Gould:

      "Lauren was a GODSEND! This our first ever house purchase and she went above and beyond in every way. We would send her houses and she would check them out ahead of time to see if they qualified for our loan and get information from other Realtors if there were issues before we even saw the houses.  She saved us a lot of time by doing this. It took us almost a year and MANY disappointments (not from Lauren) to finally find the perfect house! Lauren made an already stressful process seem like a breeze and we appreciate her so much for her patience with our pickiness, enthusiasm for pep talks when we would lose motivation after another rejected offer, and knowledge of the whole process that she shared with us. 10 out of 10 would recommend her." -- Cameo, Barre

       

      For Hannah Dawson:

      "Hannah was a pleasure to work with. She's a very knowledgeable and trustworthy professional. Being first time homebuyers we were unfamiliar with the process but Hannah helped with every step and was always available." -- Jess, Northfield

       

       

      Call 802-224-6425 or email us to find out what your house is worth in today’s market. Even if you’re a year or more away from selling, let’s start making the plan for a successful sale. 

       

       

      Multiple Bids

      Multiple Bid Situations

       

      In this competitive Montpelier, Barre, and Northfield real estate market, it’s pretty common to see bidding wars (or, to be less dramatic, “multiple bid situations”). And it doesn’t matter whether you’re the buyer or the seller, it’s stressful.

      At Green Light Real Estate in Montpelier, we have years of experience, and have navigated countless multiple bid situations with our clients.  We’re good at helping our clients get the results that they want. Our team approach also means that all of our agents work together to help all of our buyer and seller clients develop successful strategies.

      Buyers

      As a buyer, you’ve got to think very hard about what really is your best and final offer. Often it comes down to price. Actually, most of the time it comes down to price. But NOT always. We start by talking with the seller’s Realtor and trying to find out what would mean the most to the seller. You’d be surprised at some of the responses we get. 

       

      Contact Green Light Real Estate to learn more.

       

      For example, one time we had a seller tell us that what mattered most was being able to close after a certain date. Turned out that, yes, in fact, the buyers could wait until that date. We won the contract, and the buyers bought the house.

       

      Another strategy that we use employ when trying to win a bidding war for Montpelier or Barre real estate is limiting the scope of the appraisal contingency. For example, if we’re going to end up paying above asking price, (in a multiple bid situation, that’s very often the result), then we could cap the appraisal contingency to the asking price.  It’s dirty pool to offer $325,000 on a house listed at $285,000. The reality is that the house isn’t likely to appraise for $325,000. So, what, as a buyer, are you then going to lean on your appraisal contingency? Instead, what if you capped the limit on the appraisal contingency to $285,000? That gives the seller much more confidence in your offer, and makes it much more likely that you’ll get the house.

      We can also arrange the inspection contingency such that it excludes certain items, or has a minimum dollar limit on repairs. One time we worked with a buyer who was buying a house that had a tree literally laying across the roof. So, instead of playing games with the seller, we simply acknowledged that the roof was not part of the property inspection contingency. Was that a risk taken by the buyer?  Not really, since they knew they were going to replace the roof right away anyway. 

       

      Learn More, email us!

       

      Larger deposits and larger down payments also sweeten your offer. We’ve used staggered deposits as well as a schedule for making deposits non-refundable. That sounds a little scary, doesn’t it! But if you’re solid on your financing, why not make some of the deposit non-refundable after the inspection resolution? If you’re not so sure about your financing, then you probably don’t want to do that. Which means the other offers might be stronger than yours. A move like this shows confidence and certainty that you’re going to buy the house.

       

      One more idea is to use an escalation clause. With an escalation clause, you agree to pay a certain amount more than any other offer, up to a cap. If you’re bidding on a house for sale in Barre that’s listed at $229,000, you might offer $229,000 and agree to pay $2500 more than any other bidder, up to a maximum purchase price of $240,000. And then, how about pairing that with an appraisal cap of $229,000? Yummy! Your seller is going to LOVE that offer, and you’re really likely to get the house.

       

      Anything that we can do on the buyer side to increase the “probability of closing” makes our offer more attractive to the seller. These aren’t all the techniques we use to win a bidding war. And we wouldn’t several or all of these at once. Each negotiation is different, and we have to be creative and thoughtful. When you buy a house with Green Light Real Estate, you know you’re going to get intelligent, experienced, and creative advice. 

       

      Get started working with a Green Light Real Estate buyer specialist. Shoot us an email!

       

      photo by Ted Dawson

      Sellers

      Basically, you can take all of the ideas above and look at them through a seller’s lens. Wouldn’t it be great to have a limited appraisal contingency, a limited inspection contingency, timelines that you want, a larger down payment, a non-refundable deposit, and more? You bet it would!

      It’s a little different on the seller side. If you’re a seller and you get a multiple bid situation, you have to look very carefully about how you can reduce risk. And of course, get a higher price.

      The same techniques that buyers use to make their offers more attractive are exactly what you’re looking for. We actually talk about three points that make the best offer. Highest price, best terms, and highest probability of closing. 

       

      Contact a Green Light Real Estate listing specialist at info@greenlight-realestate.com

       

      Sellers look for higher down payments as well. Borrowing 100% for a VA or RD loan comes with some appraisal strings that a loan of 90% doesn’t have. So, all else equal, sellers will go with an offer that has a larger down payment.

       

      If you’re selling a house in Montpelier and Barre, get the best advice you can. That advice comes from the experts at Green Light Real Estate. Contact us today info@greenlight-realestate.com

      Property Investment with Green Light Real Estate

       

      Photo by Ted Dawson

      Investing in real estate just plain makes sense. At Green Light Real Estate, we advise investors who want to fix and flip houses, those who want to buy and hold single family, and multi-family investors.

      Each of these strategies requires careful analysis, and deep local knowledge, which our real estate investment clients get when they work with Green Light Real Estate.

      For fix and flip, it’s critical to pay attention to the location. The renovation numbers might be really attractive, and the purchase price may make a property hard to say no to, but if the location caps the after repair value at a price point that squeezes profit, then that’s a real thing.

      Another big component of fix and flip investing in real estate in the Montpelier/Barre area is property layout. On HGTV, they’re forever putting cosmetic renovations on a 1980s ranch or colonial. Much of the housing stock around here, that is suitable for fix and flip is much older, and often has outdated layouts. You really want to make sure that your final product is going to be as universally attractive to buyers as possible.

      At Green Light Real Estate we factor in layout as well as location (and about a dozen other variables) to help our investors get a firm and clear projection for after repair value. We want to help you have a profitable project. Our investors come back to us over and over for help with locating, negotiating, estimating budgets, and final sale price. If you’re serious, or even just curious about fix and flip investing in the Montpelier/Barre/Northfield area, give our office a call at 802-225-6425.

      For our multi-family investors, Green Light Real Estate uses several different databases to get a good handle on values, cap rates, and optimal rents. Often, we can help our investors locate value-add opportunities to increase net operating income, cap rate, and cash on cash returns.

      Cash flow is key with multi-family investing, but appreciation, debt paydown, and tax benefits also need to be factored into your decisions. Sometimes the most important part of our work with our real estate investing clients is to challenge their assumptions. It’s easy to get a project to look like a money maker on a spreadsheet. Having a trusted advisor punch holes in numbers, and then showing that the investment is still sound is incredibly powerful.

       

      Call us at (802) 225-6425 to learn more about our multi-family investment services!

       

       

      What To Do In August To Sell Next Spring

      What To Do In August To Sell Next Spring

       

      Photo by Ted Dawson

      Well, if you’re reading this you’re either super interested in Montpelier and Barre real estate (which is great!) or you’re thinking that you’ve got just one more winter in your home.

       

      It could be that next year is the year your last little bird leaves the nest. It could be that you’ve decided that this coming winter will be your last that you get to deal with snow. It could be you’re just ready to make a change, and you know what, no one needs to know your reasons, so there.

       

      But if you have time and you’re planning, here are some things that you can do in the next few months to get your house ready to rock and roll come next spring.

       

      Inside

      -You knew it was coming...clean and declutter! You’re going to have to box all of it anyway, so go ahead and start getting rid of some of it. Yard sale, thrift store, Front Porch Forum, free pile, or storage unit. Just get rid of it.

       

      -Paint. Paint is one of those things that most homeowners can do on their own. However, if you don’t have the time or desire to paint, you’ve got time to line up a painter to get it done. A word to the wise: Don’t wait until January to get painting done in February. Get in the calendar as soon as you can! Good painters get scheduled out quickly and they book far out into the calendar.

       

      -Talk with a Realtor at Green Light Real Estate and find out what you house is worth, and more importantly get a detailed list of projects that will help you sell it as fast as possible and for the best price. The personal professional advice is SO valuable, don’t pass it up. 

       

      Outside

      -Landscaping and yard cleanup go a long way. As with painting, there’s lead time. Start planning now, and if you use a professional landscaper, get that person to the property this year to start the plan. If you’re going to list in May or June, you definitely need to have the landscaping looking top notch. But even if you’re going to be an early mover (list for sale in February or March), you can still benefit from cleaning up the yard and doing some advance planning.

       

      -Paint any peeling or cracked paint. Trust me, if you wait until June to try to find a painter, you’re going to waiting until September. And that can derail a sale. Get it done soon (your Green Light Real Estate selling advisor can tell you exactly what would need to be painted).

       

      The most important thing you can do now to prepare to sell in a few months is to get professional advice. Once you know what buyers, appraisers, inspectors, and buyer agents are looking for, you’ll know how to present your house in the best way possible.  When you work with Green Light Real Estate, you’ll get that advice. Even if you don’t ever list the house for sale.

       

      Are you in the market to buy or sell? Get in touch! Call us at (802) 225-6425

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        Help! I Still Want to Buy a House This Summer!

        Help! I Still Want to Buy a House This Summer!

        Photo by Ted Dawson

        First, it’s going to be ok.

         

        Second, it might not turn out exactly 100% the way you dreamed it up in your ideal timeline. But, it’s going to be ok.

         

        It does take 6-8 weeks to close on a home after the purchase and sale agreement has been signed. So, you have to add those weeks into your timeframe.

         

        Most of that time is for loan underwriting and inspection resolution. If you’re not using a lender, then that timeframe can speed up. But if the person you’re buying from is using a loan for their purchase, you may still be in that 6-8 week realm.

         

        Finding the right home can be tricky, which I’m sure you’re experienced. That, perhaps, is why you’re reading this post in the first place. Here are some strategies for getting into a house as quickly as you can.

         

        1. In a seller’s market, when homes seem to be selling fast, and there are multiple bids on properties, you first need to acknowledge it. Acknowledge that sellers might have more power in the transaction than buyers do. 
        2. You may have to be flexible on some features that you want. You don’t have to give up on everything, but keep an open mind. If you can get a house that is 80% of what you want, that might be the way to go. Keep an open mind. You can fix or change almost anything in a house.
        3. Speed wins. Be ready to make an offer after seeing the house for the first time. Your night to sleep on it was someone else’s last night that they slept on it. If you like it, move fast.
        4. Make an offer that the seller might actually accept. In a competitive market, buyers aren’t able to make low offers and engage in drawn out negotiations. The house is still being shown and marketed during negotiations, so even though it feels like you’ve moved fast and locked it up, you haven’t.  Also, a drawn out difficult negotiation may nudge a seller to actively seek other offers, using your offer as bait.
        5. Use a competent and qualified Realtor. Sellers and listing agents want to make sure that the sale will actually happen. The better written the offer is, and the more connected your buyer agent is to the local real estate market, the better. Bringing in your sister from Colchester to help buy a house in Montpelier or Barre might not help your cause as much as you want it to. Better to bring in a local, skilled, experienced Realtor. Green Light Real Estate focuses on Central Vermont, and we know the area and the players really well. Listing agents have told us that they really like working with us on the buyer side because we’re collegial, professional, and we work as a team.
        6. Start looking for a Plan B. Maybe you can extend your lease for a month or two? If you’re looking at a hard move out deadline, then you really should think about looking for a different rental. You don’t want to negotiate with your back against the wall. And you don’t want to be homeless.
        7. If you haven’t yet, you really should schedule a free buyer consultation with Green Light Real Estate. When you have a deep understanding of the inventory and the process, and your Realtor really knows what you’re looking for, then the creative juices start flowing. Working together with your buyer agent will really help you refine your search, and give you an advantage over other buyers.

         

        It’s going to be ok. Houses come on the market all of the time, in all months of the year. Sure, it might have been ideal to move the week of July 4 so you could have some extra days to pack, clean, and move. But that doesn’t always work. Be patient, be flexible, be open minded, be prepared, and then be ready to move fast. 

         

        Are you in the market to buy or sell? Get in touch! Call us at (802) 225-6425

         

         

         

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          Does rental income count towards our own income?

           

          Photo by Ted Dawson

          Your teachers always said that if you have a question, you should ask because. You’re probably not the only one with the same question. Well, I have a feeling that holds true even when we’re out of school. Here’s a real question asked by a real buyer:

           

          Question:

          If we’re buying a multi-family rental that we plan on living in, can we count the rental income toward our own income?

          Answer:

          Yup.

           

          Most lenders will count at least some of the rental income from a rental property toward a buyer’s income. One lender I spoke with in person recently told me that they can count 75% of the rent toward a buyer’s income. Even if you don’t have landlord experience. Even if your income comes from 1099 income.

           

          It’s best if there is a lease in place, so you can show the lender exactly what the tenant is supposed to be paying. But if there isn’t (yeah, I asked!), then a lender will have a market rent analysis completed as part of the appraisal.

           

          If you can show that the other half of a duplex is renting for $900, with a lease or rental analysis, then you can count $675 per month as income for you, for qualifying (that’s $8100 annually). But with no lease, an appraiser would have to confirm what market rent would be for a similar unit. Presumably that would be around $900.

           

          Why not 100%? Because we don’t live in a fantasy land, is basically why. That 25% cushion accounts for unexpected maintenance, capital expenditures, and vacancy (incidentally, when I run numbers for investors looking to buy multi-family in Montpelier and Barre, I use a 25%-30% cushion when calculating cash flow, the difference is whether I feel confident that the condition and layout will lower my vacancy to 0%-5%, or whether it’s more realistic to use 5%-10% for vacancy).

           

          Even a few hundred dollars each month can make a difference in the ability for someone to buy a rental property in Montpelier or Barre. An owner-occupant can get an FHA loan on a 1-4 unit, and get in with as little as 3.5% as a downpayment. But, as of this writing, the FHA only allows the ratio of housing payments to gross income to be up to 31%. 

           

          Which means that the extra $675 monthly that counts toward your income could increase your purchase power by $26,000. If you were approved for $150,000 for a single family home, you’d likely be approved for $176,000 for a duplex where you live in one unit and rent the other for $900 each month.

           

          Different banks handle things differently, so make sure to ask your lender what their policy is on handling rental income. Also, loan decisions can be property specific. A straight side by side duplex might be treated differently than a large Victorian with a small accessory unit on the third floor. You’ve just got to ask about them.  And if you don’t get the answers you want, call a different lender. Or call us at 802-225-6425 and let us connect you to a lender who can help you.

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