Blog :: 2013

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!

Vermont's Sweetest Treat, Maple Syrup

Vermonters are a pretty easy-going bunch, but when it comes to maple syrup you will be hard pressed to find ones who use anything less than high quality Vermont maple syrup. Sweet, sticky and able to improve just about every breakfast food, it is no small wonder Vermonters practically consider it a necessity. In fact from maple cotton candy, to maple popcorn, to maple creamies (our term for soft-serve ice cream), Vermonters have found ways to incorporate the delicious taste of maple syrup in many different ways. Maple sugar houses are great places to find diverse selections of maple products, but also locally made jams and spreads. If you are looking for a great family-friendly way to spend a summer day, find a local maple sugar house and sample a taste of Vermont.

East Montpelier, VT- Bragg Farm: With eight generations of experience making Vermont maple syrup, Bragg farm offers an extensive variety of maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar and maple cream. In addition, they also sell cheese, pancake mix and an excellent assortment of gift boxes. Open year round, with free guided tours where visitors can see the traditional techniques this family operated business still uses. With an ice cream parlor, gift shop and friendly farm animals, the Bragg Farm is accommodating to visitors of all ages.

Montpelier, VT- Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks: One of Vermont's award winning maple sugar houses, Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks offers free sugarhouse tours and tastings to visitors. When you visit you can see the multimedia displays in their authentic woodshed theater, walk along their peaceful nature trail, drop in on their country store, and tour their outdoor Vermont farm life museum. While you are there, make sure to taste their wide variety of delicious maple products and try free samples of maple syrup. Be sure to try their maple creamies, named by the Food Network magazine as the best ice cream in VT and add maple syrup on top for the best experience! Morse Farm Sugarworks is open all year round.

Northfield, VT- Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks: During the spring sugaring season, make sure to visit the Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks for their wonderful, pure Vermont Maple Syrup. With both custom Pure Vermont Maple Syrup jugs and elegant glass bottles that can have tailor-made etchings carved into them, visitors can pick up maple syrup for both themselves and as stylish personal or corporate gifts.

Cabot, VT- Goodrich's Maple Farm: For seven generations since 1840, the Goodrich's Maple Farm has been a family owned and operated business. Visit their gorgeous post & beam building where guests can enjoy free educational tours and make sure to visit the sugarhouse during the springtime boiling season in order to try a local favorite, maple sugar on snow! With year round tours full of Vermont humor and a well-stocked gift shop be sure to stop by and pay them a visit.

Where to Watch the Best Local Sports

Vermont may be a small state, but if you're looking for big time sporting action Vermont has plenty of local teams to root for. If high school sports are your idea of a good time, you can find a plentitude of local teams in your area to support, however if you would like to watch higher levels of competition, there are a number of college and minor league teams in Vermont as well.

The Vermont Lake Monsters:  A minor league baseball team based out of Burlington, Vermont, the Lake Monsters are a Class-A Short Season affiliate with the Oakland Athletics. The Lake Monsters team plays at Centennial field in Burlington, Vermont. The Lake Monsters are very popular in Vermont and their games draw fans from all over the state. The team has produced many notable alumni including Jordan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Jason Bay and Milton Bradley. If you are looking for great baseball, look no further than the Vermont Lake Monsters. For more information, please visit their website.

The Vermont Mountaineers: A collegiate summer baseball team based in Montpelier, Vermont, the Vermont Mountaineers have one of the most dedicated fan bases of any Vermont sporting team. If you live in central Vermont, going to see at least one game is a must. The Mountaineers play at the historic Recreation field in Montpelier, Vermont. With excellent food options, plenty of great seating and a positive atmosphere, watching a Mountaineer's game is a fantastic way to spend an evening. Positioned in one of the top spots this year in their league, a Vermont Mountaineers baseball game is experience that shouldn't be missed. For more information, please visit their website.

The University of Vermont Athletics:  Based in Burlington, Vermont, the University of Vermont offers a wide variety of sports to meet the needs of any kind of sports fan. These Division 1 College athletes are a blast to watch and many are at the top of their respective conferences.  The Men's basketball team has consistently made the NCAA basketball tournament, while the Men's Hockey team has also done well over the past couple of years and the past graduated such well-known names as Martin St. Louis and Tim Thomas. The University of Vermont also hosts a wide variety of women's sports including women's soccer and lacrosse. For more information on UVM athletics and team schedules, please visit their website.

Norwich Athletics: Based in Northfield, Vermont, Norwich University has over a dozen division 2 college level sports teams.  Whether you are a fan of men's or women's sports, Norwich Athletics has you covered. Norwich Men's and Women's hockey teams and the Norwich rugby team fell just one game short of winning the division II series.  Recently, the school has renovated Sabine field to include a track and walking sidewalk circling the field, a new grandstand, and a state-of-the-art press box. For more information on teams and yearly schedules, please visit their website.

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      Central Vermont Events in August

      Events in Central Vermont

      Click to enlarge the calendar of events for Central and Northern Vermont

      At Heney, we care about more than real estate. Here's a handy calendar filled with all of the events going on in Central and Northern Vermont this August.

       

      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

      How do I prepare my Central Vermont Home for a sale?

       

      When someone contacts Heney Realtors to sell their Central Vermont Home there is a question that typically comes up.  "What can I do to prepare my home for sale?"  The answer varies depending on the seller's budget and time frame.

      No matter what, when selling a house, you want to keep everything, clean, neat and organized.  Minimize clutter to make the rooms look bigger and brighter.

      Gorgeous Colonial Barre Home This kitchen has been completely redone with new appliances, tile splash guard and refinished floors.

      This kitchen has been completely redone with new appliances, tile splash guard and refinished floors.

      Keep the lawn mowed, hedges trimmed and power wash the siding.  Of course, if you're putting your Central Vermont home on the market in February or March in anticipation of the market heating up with Spring, the lawn mower won't do you much good.  In that case keep the entrances to the house shoveled and sanded so buyers can get in and out safely.

      If you are able to put some money into the house to prepare for a sale you have to decide where to start and how far to go. One thought is that you get the most bang for your buck from updating kitchens and bathrooms.  If that's the route you want to go, be careful not to over improve.  Your house should sell faster and hopefully for more money with updated kitchen and bath, but you may not get out what you put in if you're covering all the surfaces in marble and installing copper sinks with brass hardware.

      Gorgeous Colonial Barre Home These sellers have done everything to prepare their Central Vermont Home for a sale. The fresh paint and redone floors make the house "pop"in the buyer's eyes.

      These sellers have done everything to prepare their Central Vermont Home for a sale. The fresh paint and redone floors make the house "pop"in the buyer's eyes.

      A fresh paint job does wonders to give everything a nice, clean look.  If you are going to paint, pick neutral colors.  The idea here is that mild colors please the largest number of people.  You may have let your teenager paint the room black, or toddler sponge paint any color they wanted, but you never know who will end up buying your home.

      Another thing that really makes a room "pop" in the eyes of a buyer is refinished floors.  Today, hardwood floors are in.  Old carpet? Tear it up, sand and finish. If your floors are in pretty good shape mopping and waxing can go a long way to make them sparkle.  For a lot of sellers these updates aren't an option financially.  Don't worry, that's where your buyers will see potential.

      Wondering what your house is worth?  Want to know how to get the most out of a sale?  Give us a call and we'll come take a look!

      Jackpot of Fabulous Prizes

      Negotiating and personal property with buying real estate in Barre

      But wait, there's more!

      By Ray Mikus

      In addition to an actual house, when you buy real estate in the Montpelier/Barre area, you may be interested in some additional personal property. Personal property are items such as appliances, or furniture that may or may not be included in the transaction.

      Many items of personal property are commonly included (at no monetary value) in the sale of real estate.

      Sometimes other items come up during negotiations. Common examples are lawnmowers, snowblowers, tools, and yard equipment (including tractors). I've even seen a buyer ask for a canoe that was being stored in the garage.

      Everything's open to negotiation when you're buying a house in the Montpelier/Barre area. The glitch is that if a lender feels as if the value of the personal property is, well, some real value. Banks make loans collateralized on real estate. So if the canoe comes with the property, it's sometimes better to make a separate purchase between the buyer and the seller.

      On occasion, sellers are happy to get rid of things they won't need anymore. A few hundred dollars might set up a new homeowner with dining room furniture, bedframes, televisions, or more. Just make sure that everything is in writing, everything is on the level, and that the jackpot of fabulous prizes doesn't get to be more of an important factor than the real estate itself.

      Tax Time and Closing Statement

      Real Estate Tax timeTax Time (YAY!) and Your Settlement Statement

      If you bought or sold real estate during the 2012 calendar year, you may be able to deduct some of the closing costs for tax purposes. You may also have a gain or a loss to declare. Either way, you'll need the HUD-1 settlement statement.  Of course, you'll want to talk with your tax adviser for the specifics.

      In order to deduct any closing costs and expenses, you'll need a copy of the HUD-1 settlement statement. That's the closing statement that looks like a long ledger. One side showed the buyer's closing costs and sources of funds. The other side showed the seller's closing costs and funds received.

      For accountants and closing attorneys, it's super fun. For most people, it's interesting at best, and dreary at worst.

      You took a copy of it home after the closing, although it's not uncommon for those documents to get filed and then misplaced during the ensuing move.

      So, if you need a copy, you can get one from your Realtor's office or from your closing attorney. If you bought or sold property using Heney Realtors, you can call either the Montpelier or the Barre office. You can also email your agent.

      If it helps make things easier for you, you can also shoot me a quick email, and I'll get a copy of your settlement statement to you.

      By Ray Mikus, Heney Realtors

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