Buying A Home

Just Getting Started? Wondering How Buying a Home With a Real Estate Agent Works?

getting started

Congratulations if you have just made the decision to pursue purchasing your next home. There is a great amount of information available and home buyers are better educated about the real estate market than ever before. However, more information generates more questions. Many people looking to find out about homes that are available for sale search the web and check major real estate websites to start. Some simply search "homes for sale in the area they wish to focus on". Most major real estate sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia download information from Realtor operated MLS (Multiple Listing Service) websites. We recommend that you go right to the source and utilize either our MLS site which is NNEREN.com or if you go to a brokerage website like our own, www.HeneyRealtors.com you will see our listing and a direct link into the NNEREN site. This will give you access to the most current information about most homes in Montpelier, Barre, Waterbury and surrounding communities in Washington and Orange Counties.

Now that you have current information about homes you wish to see, many people out in the hunt for their new home seem to call whichever sales person who has each property that they wish to see. In the end, these potential purchasers seem to bounce between a number of different real estate agents. Using this approach it is likely that none of these agents is working for the purchaser.

We think that the best way for you as a potential purchaser to approach this project is to meet with several licensed real estate salespeople or brokers who are active in the area where you wish to live. Then select an agent as the person that you trust to become educated with your list of "wants" and "needs" as well as your personal financial situation. This person will be in the best position to assist you to find and then purchase the home that you are dreaming of.

Once you select a Realtor to assist you, you will want discuss about how this relationship will work. You have choices about how you structure your business relationship with your Buyer Agent and you should discuss these options as you begin. Please give us a call to talk this over.

Should I do a Radon Test?

Before you make a decision it helps to know a little bit about it:

  • What is radon?

Radon is a gas produced by the naturally occurring breakdown of uranium in rocks.  It is not something that you can see, smell or taste.  According to the Vermont Department of Health it is a class A carcinogen and a leading cause of lung cancer.

  • How does radon get into a home?

Radon comes up from the ground.  Houses act as a partial vacuum pulling gas from the soil.  It can get into a home through dirt floors, cracks in a finished floor, gaps around service pipes, cracks in foundation walls.

  • Are some Central Vermont homes more likely than others to have radon?

According to the Vermont Department of Health, a "radon problem cannot be predicted by a home's style, age, or location".

  • How much radon is okay?

In Vermont it is recommended that radon be mitigated when levels in the air are equal to or greater than 4.0 pCi/L (picoCuries/Liter).

  • How do you test for radon?

There are free kits available from the Vermont Department of Health that takes as little as 91 days and as long as one year to produce results.  Visit their website to order one- http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/rad/radon.aspx   The state will also provide a 2-7 day test for $25.00, which can be ordered from their website.

Most Central Vermont Home inspectors offer radon tests as part of their service.  Prices vary.  Give us a call if you would like a resources list of home inspectors.

  • How do you mitigate elevated levels of radon?

Typically there is a pvc pipe installed from the basement through the roof with a fan to expel the gas.  Whoever installs the system should be able to hide the pipe wherever possible through closets or on the outside of the house.  The Vermont Department of Health has a list of contractors approved for radon mitigation on their website.

Is Radon common in Vermont?

What is Radon and should I be worried about the levels in my house?

If you have questions about radon in homes, buying or selling a Central Vermont home.  Give us a call!

What typically conveys in a Central Vermont Real Estate Deal?

 

what conveys with vt real estate?

Does the seller typically shoulder the fridge on the way out the door?

A question that often comes up in a Vermont home sale is, "what's staying and what's going?".

One answer is that everything is negotiable.  Sometimes the seller will throw in the pool table, put a price on the jungle gym, include the John Deer.  Other times the seller is so attached to that front loading Whirlpool that they leave an empty closet with hookups dangling from where the washer and dryer used to be.

Another answer is that there is an industry standard of things that are typically included in the sale, or "convey".  This is one area where working with a Realtor comes in handy.  When you're negotiating it's useful to know how things typically play out.  As a seller you don't want the deal to fall through over an $800 refrigerator (it happens) only to learn afterwards that it's normal to leave the fridge behind.

No matter what conveys with the house and what doesn't, you want to make sure that it's all in the contract before closing!

Items that most commonly convey with a Central Vermont Real Estate sale:

  1. Stove
  2. Refrigerator
  3. Dishwasher
  4. Washing Machine
  5. Dryer
  6. Built in microwave

Top 3 Picks from Montpelier Caravan

Top 3 Picks from Montpelier Caravan

By: Ray Mikus

Today's Montpelier Brokers caravan was a little shorter (fewer properties on it) than I thought it would be. But still, it was a good mix. This time, we saw homes for sale in East Montpelier and Berlin as well as in Montpelier.

Our office takes pride in strong participation in the local caravans. Six Realtors from Heney Realtors came along today as a way of gaining broader exposure to the housing market. We're still trying to figure out how some folks work out pricing using comparable sales if they haven't been inside the comparable sales.

But I suppose that's another blog post. Another perhaps more cynical blog post.

Here are my picks of the favorites from the Montpelier Caravan:

9 North College Street Montpelier Vermont  9 North College Street, Montpelier--It's hard to find a hidden neighborhood in a state capital, but that's what North College Street in Montpelier is. This house is next to the end, with large maples in the front yard, and a nice level backyard. Totally renovated mid-century split entry with great floors, lots of natural lighting, and great fixtures. This one was a crowd pleaser. Want more information?

 

 

6 Greenfield Terrace Montpelier--This one surprised me. I've been in lots of houses on Greenfield and Deerfield in the past four 6 Greenfield Terrace Montpelier Vermontyears (wow, has it been four years already!). This one has had some "work" done to it. Somewhere along the way someone opened up the kitchen into a VERY large one with an island larger than most kitchen tables. The master bedroom had been bumped out to enlarge it as well. Top to bottom renovation, and listed at $267,000. Email for information or to schedule a showing.

 

 

 

Condos at Mansfield Lane in Berlin, VT63 Mansfield Lane, Berlin Condo--My third pick was a gorgeous (and affordable) condo at Mansfield Lane in Berlin. This three bedroom townhouse has a finished walkout basement suite (perfect for a teenager or houseguests), an open first floor with cathedral ceilings, and a three-season room featuring a bank of windows and fir floors. Attached one car garage, and incredibly energy efficient. Send an email for more information.

 

 

 

All the brokers and agents who came today got a good look at some great Montpelier homes for sale. Remember that you can look at a property with any Realtor you want, so make sure you want to work with someone who wants to see all the comps.  Come on, I couldn't resist.

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      Top 3 Picks from Barre Caravan of Homes for Sale

      By Ray Mikus

      The Barre Brokers Caravan was on Tuesday, and there was a full docket of houses.  Sixteen, to be exact. Then, of course, Charlie Clark and I added one more--a new listing that he has on Richardson Road.

      But I digress.

      The sixteen houses in Barre (City and Town) comprised a wide range, everything from reconditioned 1900s houses with classic woodwork to a high-end log home with dynamite views and an elevator for $725,000.

      My picks as the favorites, or maybe as the properties that got the most interest from the Realtors who came through are the following:

       

      5 College Street Barre Vermont5 College Street--this early century house has gorgeous woodwork, great built-ins, and two levels of deck/balcony. Not the sort of thing you see everyday in Barre, and certainly not for $140,000. Big rooms, lots of space, and a butler's pantry. Cute little backyard too. Jane may have hit the nail on the head when she said, "I could live here." Email for more information.

       

       

       

       

      14 Sheridan Street--similar house, rich with woodwork, and a screened back porch overlooking the 14 Sheridan Street Barre Vermont backyard. The owners are putting some finishing touches on the place, including some paint/paper/plaster work.  Let me know if you'd like more information.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      264 Middle Road Barre Vermont264 Middle Road--From the road, it's hard to get a gauge on this one. And the property isn't quite as big as I thought at first--it's more in the backyard than the front yard.  But the house has been freshly painted, has good-sized rooms, a great full, walkout basement, and a three car  garage. Not bad for just under $200,000. Don't just drive by this one--email to schedule a showing.

      Honestly, there were some great properties on the caravan, and it's always a nice opportunity to network with agents and brokers from other agencies. I'm not totally sure why all the local agencies don't put their listings on the caravan, and I'm not sure why some Realtors don't come on caravan. But you know, it's Vermont, so I'm not going to judge.

      For more info on these or any of the other homes for sale in Barre City of homes for sale in Barre Town, just call or email.

      How Long Does it Take?

      How Long Does it Take to Buy a House in the Montpelier/Barre Area?

      Counting Down the Days

      From the time an offer is accepted, how long does it take for the transaction to complete? Most of the time when people ask that they're using a lender and getting a mortgage. If you're buying a house in the Montpelier or Barre area, it's helpful to know how long it's going to take.

      If that's the case, then you can expect 6-8 weeks of "escrow" in the Montpelier real estate market. It seems like a long time, and it might be different in other parts of the country, but, well, we're in this part of the country.

      Initially, it can take time to work through a home inspection and other contingencies. There are some water tests that take two weeks to get results. Those tests are determined by the lender (and the type of loan), so it's important that when you're trying to figure the time frame you've talked openly with your Realtor about what kind of loan/financing you're using.

      After the inspection contingencies, the biggest chunk of time is in the loan underwriting. It can take 2-3 weeks just to get the appraisal completed and the report to the bank.

      When that's all done, then you should be able to get a finance commitment letter--which is typically the last contingency.  There's got to be some time between the issuance of the commitment letter and the actual closing too.

      So...add it all up, and you're looking at 6-8 weeks. I've seen closings happen in as little as four weeks, but that was something of a miracle. I seem to remember hearing choirs of angels...

      --Ray Mikus

      Buying a House in Montpelier or Barre? Here's a Tip

      Once upon a time buyers could get loans for pretty much however much they wanted, and could buy pretty much whatever they wanted. Those times have long since passed. Thankfully.

      What's important now for folks buying homes in the Montpelier/Barre real estate market is knowing what you can afford. Not just in terms of the total amount of a mortgage, but also in terms of the monthly payment.

      Having a pre-approval letter from a lender makes you a very powerful buyer. You know what you can afford. You know what you can look at. You might also find out that if you pay off that car loan (or even just a little more of it), you can qualify for a different amount. Hey, it's be worth a shot!

      Also, when you find the right house, you're going to be in a perfect position to make a solid offer.

      Sellers want to see that buyers have actually talked with a lender. And while it is possible to make an offer without having a pre-approval letter, savvy sellers will want to see one before they make any sort of counteroffer.

      The beauty is that in the Montpelier/Barre market, there are several very good lenders. If you haven't connected with one of them, let us know, and we can make several solid recommendations.

      Now get out there and get pre-approved!

      The Ageless Question: Rent or Buy

      Rent or Buy?

      Good question. There are a couple ways to think about this.

      Financial: Compare what you're paying in rent with what you'd have as a mortgage payment. But that's just one part of it. You also get to factor in the taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. Honestly, it's going to look like it'll cost more than renting an apartment.

      But...that's not really the true comparison. If you're coming from an apartment in Barre and, say, buying a house in Barre, you're comparing apples and oranges.

      Plus, once you buy your house, you'll likely be able to start itemizing deductions on your income taxes. Oh yeah, I'm talking about deducting your interest and property taxes. I'm talking about lowering your tax bill (but talk to your tax professional to be sure).

      Prices and interest rates are low right now, and, as the principal is paid down on your mortgage, eventually you'll own the house free and clear. That's huge.

      Emotional: Don't discount emotions. If you're thinking of buying a house in Montpelier, think of what it'll mean for you to know that you can stay there as long as you want. To know that you can do whatever you want to the rooms, the walls, the floors, the yard, and the kitchen. Don't like the way that one of the rooms feels? No problem--it's your house, you can fix it.

      Think of what it'll mean to not have to deal with a landlord, to be the boss. Sure, it's more responsibility, but you're the one who gets to choose how things get done.

      I've made enough "real estate is like love" references that I think my wife is starting to look at me kind of funny. But here's another one. Just like there being no perfect time to get married (or civilly united), or no perfect time to start a family, there's no perfect time to buy a house. Just like with relationships, sometimes it just feels right, and you go for it.

      Ray Mikus, Broker

      Using Equity to Buy Property

      It can make sense to use a home equity loan on a property you already own to purchase another property. We've seen buyers use existing equity to make a down payment on a second home, an investment property, or in cases where one person is buying a property for someone else (a child, a parent, etc.).

      Use Your Equity

      Funds are made available at the issuance of the home equity loan, and then turned around and applied to the new purchase. Buyers can use a home equity loan for the entire amount of a purchase. In that case, the transaction can move almost as quickly as a cash (no mortgage) transaction. Almost. The bank will still require an appraisal of the property being collateralized for the home equity loan. Also, and this is important to remember, there is a MANDATORY three business day waiting period from the time a home equity loan is approved and when the funds can be available. The intention of this federally required rescission period is so that people don't rush into things. As a buyer using a home equity loan, it's important to know that if the closing on the second property is scheduled for the 15th, the closing for the home equity loan has to be by the 12th (assuming that's a business week). There's just no way around it.  You can't waive or sign off on that right. You've just got to wait the three business days.

      So, anyone thinking of using accumulated equity in an existing property to purchase, or help purchase another property, just remember to pad in that extra time.

        For more details, call or email.

      By Ray Mikus

      Closing Costs? The Bottom Line

      Buying a house in Central Vermont isn't free. But there shouldn't be too many surprises either.  One question that people often have is "What are the closing costs?"

      Think of it in two parts:  Process costs and the closing costs.

       

      Process costs include home inspections, water tests, loan application fees, and appraisals. $400-$1000 is a reasonable range depending on the complexity of the property.

      Closing costs typically include the Vermont Transfer Tax, loan origination fees, attorney fees (title search and title insurance policy), tax and fuel perorations, and recording fees.  The transfer tax depends on the value of the property. Tax prorations depend on when in the town's tax year cycle the purchase takes place. Fuel perorations depend on how much oil or propane is left in the tank at the time of the purchase.

      Very roughly, figuring 3%-5% of the purchase price for total closing and process costs is a good place to start.   Again, that's a ballpark number.

      Give a call or an email for more detail.

      By Ray Mikus