Blog :: 09-2011

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

Finding that Perfect Home

Your Perfect Home?

Sometimes finding the perfect home in the Montpelier/Barre area is like falling in love. You can't describe ahead of time what you're looking for, but when it hits you, you know. I'm a romantic at heart, but more often, there's some real thinking and list making that goes into finding the perfect house. Usually more than with falling in love. Usually. It's a good idea to go through these lists with everyone who's going to have a say in the homebuying process. Some buyers like to go through this exercise separately, and then see how they compare. It can be interesting to see what's important to different people. (Wait--why do we need a third bedroom??) Here are some key things to keep in mind when looking to buy a home in the Montpelier area. With each of these, think about not only if they're important, but how important. Could you live without a first floor laundry, but simply not even consider a home that doesn't have a master bedroom? Location 1. Town--Which town(s)? 2. Distance--Walking distance to town, bicycling distance, or out in the country? 3. Yard--How much yard or land are you looking for? 4. Schools--Which school districts do you want? 5. Amenities--Is having paved roads, or town water and sewer important to you?

Type of House 1. Construction--wood frame, log home, manufactured, etc. 2. Condition--well-maintained, some deferred maintenance, fixer upper? Another way to think of this is to think of your preferred tools: Sledge hammer and respirator? Paintbrush and screwdriver? Leather sofa and lemonade? 3. Style--single family, multi-family, 1 story, 2 story, cape, colonial, raised ranch, manufactured, farmhouse, Victorian, yurt, etc. 4. Garage--attached, detached, 1 car, 2 car, shop, heated, etc. 5. Basement--finished, finishable, neither? 6. Porch? Deck? Sunroom? 7. Any special requirements for out buildings? 8. Age--new, mid-century, older, very old

Features of the House 1. Size--approximate square footage 2. Lifestyle--what's important to you? Entertaining guests, large bedrooms, separate spaces, etc. 3. Kitchen--eat-in, updated, level of finish 4. Dining Room--formal, informal, kitchen-dining combo 5. Bedrooms--number, size, 1st floor needed, master suite, any special furniture needs 6. Bathrooms--number of full, half, etc. 7. Accessory Unit--in-law apartment 8. Any special storage or closet needs? 9. Laundry/mudroom--1st floor laundry needed? 10. Fireplace/Stove 11. Heating System--oil, gas, wood, hot water, hot air, solar 12. Electrical System--any special requirements? 13. Plumbing--town water and sewer or well and septic tank?

Price Range--Think about a down payment and a mortgage. If you haven't talked with a lender yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, go ahead and get started. We can give recommendations for good local lenders. Price is important. A wise person once said, "The perfect house is the one that's just out of everyone's price range." True! Not knowing what you can and want to pay for housing is going to result in a confused property search. The best thing to do is to run through your numbers, and get a solid idea as to what price range you're looking for.

Time to Buy Real Estate in Central Vermont

Low Interest Rates Mean Great Mortgages

Timing is a critical element in the success of so many things in life. This is certainly the case in real estate. Looking at key variables over time, it appears that this window of time is optimal to purchase a new home, investment property or land. Mortgage interest rates are so low now that we find it hard to believe. A recent survey shows 30 year mortgages with no points in the 4.25% APR range and 15 year mortgages with no points only in the 3.5% APR range.

Prices are competitive and many sellers that we talk with are motivated and ready to sell. As Labor Day Weekend approaches marking the ceremonious end of summer, this is a great time to invest in real estate. For your reference, below you will see a couple of examples of current rates:

People's United Bank as of 9/2/2011

Rate Plan Interest Rate APR
30 Year Fixed Rate 4.250% 4.402%
15 Year Fixed Rate 3.375% 3.632%
5/1 ARM 3.000% 3.029%

 

Kittredge Mortgage Corporation as of 9/2/2011

Rate Plan Interest Rate APR
30 Year Fixed Rate 4.25% 4.35%
15 Year Fixed Rate 3.375% 3.55%
5/1 ARM 2.75% 2.25%

 

New England Federal Credit Union as of 9/2/2011

Rate Plan Interest Rate APR
30 Year Fixed Rate 4.250% 4.270%
15 Year Fixed Rate 3.500% 3.535%
5/1 ARM 3.375% 3.134%

- Tim Heney

Central VT Cleans Up After Irene

Communities share the relief effort 

Volunteers take a break in Moretown. Photo by Phil Scott

Following tropical storm Irene's path through Vermont is frightening. This storm presented in the form of heavy rain and the results of these torrents of water is difficult to imagine. Some communities were left unscathed while others were ravaged, and Montpelier seemed to have only minor damage when compared with nearby towns.

Barre fell on the "unscathed" list this time, which is most fortunate as they are still recovering from flooding at the end of May. Communities that received extensive damage in this central part of Vermont are Northfield, Moretown, Duxbury and Waterbury. Each in its own way is experiencing the members of the community coming together to rebuild. Although the Labor Day festivities have been cancelled in Northfield, the word is out for people to come help clean up instead. Efforts there are being coordinated with the assistance of Norwich University.

In Moretown, one home that we have been representing for sale was especially hard-hit with water flowing through the main floor. The owner said that yesterday some 36 people arrived to help them attempt to save their home.

Waterbury's downtown and several neighborhoods are digging out of the mud and rubble, but a walk down their main street makes it clear that the help on the ground is working quickly to provide services to those in need in as many numbers as they can muster. Thatcher Brook Primary School is the volunteer coordination center for clean up activities for Saturday, September 3. There is a volunteer coordination meeting at 9:00 AM at the school if you wish to join tomorrow.

For more up-to-date information and more ideas about how you can help, please check the #VTresponse blog.

- Tim Heney

Our Recommended VT Home Inspectors

Property Inspection

Most people who buy a house in Montpelier or Barre have a property inspection (or "home inspection"). The inspector will give their opinion of a property in terms of soundness, safety, durability, level of construction, quality, etc. on a detailed level.  The point of a property inspection is to discover any hidden defects or unknown problems in a house.  Inspections are thorough, and if anything comes up that makes you feel like this isn't the right house for you, you can rescind your contract (within a certain number of days--stay in touch with your Realtor) and your deposit may be returned.

There is no "Property Inspector" license. Anyone can inspect a building, although there are a number of highly qualified property inspectors in the area. It can be a very good idea and provide great peace of mind to have someone who has experience in property inspection. Here's our list of trusted names in the Central VT area :

Advantage Home Inspection, Marty McMahon (866) 341-2424

Better Home Inspections, James Breer (800) 335-5544 or onebld [at] aol.com

Construction Consulting Services, Peter A. Snyder (877) 859-5665 or pas [at] sover.net

Covered Bridge Professional, Todd Dukette (866) 388-2692 or todd [at] cbphi.com

Criterium Lalancette Engineers, Richard Lalancette (800) 639-4535 or engineer [at] sover.net

Jourdan Building Inspection Services, Jerry Jourdan (800) 491-6772 or gjour76849 [at] aol.com

Midstate Home Inspection Consultants, Scott Buck (866) 277-5400 or sctbuck [at] aol.com

Mountain Valley Building Inspections, Joel Templeton (802) 893-3344 or mcinspections [at] aol.com

- Ray Mikus