Charlotte Vermont Real Estate

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Why Use a Buyer’s Agent When Buying Vermont Real Estate in 2014?

To answer this question, let me begin by asking a question. When you are in a legal proceeding, would you have the lawyer representing the person sitting across the table from you represent you as well? The answer is so simple. Of course not.

Why then when buying a house or property which for many people represents one of the largest financial decisions of their lives would you utilize the Realtor who represents the Seller(s) to safeguard your best interests as the Buyer(s)?

In Vermont, we do not have “dual agency.” Some states do allow this (where one Realtor represents both sides of the transaction while maintaining “neutrality”) but for the life of me I do not understand why. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. There are simply too many places for conflicts of interest to rear their head.

In Vermont, Realtors must represent only one side of the transaction – either the Buyer(s) or the Seller(s). Often, Buyers aren’t clear on this point. They see a sign in front of a house for sale or a listing online. Call that Realtor and utilize that Realtor to facilitate the negotiations of price, terms and conditions when that Realtor represents the Seller(s). Do you see where this is completely problematic? Be sure to ask if the Realtor you are speaking to is the Listing Agent. If so, thank the Agent and tell them you want representaion, hang up and find another Realtor who can represent you and your interests. Keep in mind, good listing agents are experts in finding out information from prospective buyers without you even being aware of it. They can ask questions that ultimately compromise your negotiating position. Thank them politely. Hang up and find a Realtor to be your Buyer’s Agent.

When Sellers agree to list their property they agree to a commission which is paid to both the Realtor who lists the Seller’s property and the Realtor who brings the Buyers to the table. A typical Realtor commission these days is either 5 or 6%. Thus, this commission is split in half (i.e. with either 3 or 2.5% going to the buy side Realtor). Buyers should not think because I am represented by a Buyer’s Agent I am incurring an additional expense to pay their commisssion. The commission is already taken into account by the Seller(s) in their Listing Agreement with their Listing Agent. All Sellers are willing to split the commission between the Realtor representing them and the Buyers Agent representing the Buyer(s). Sellers do this to facilitate the transaction and in this market they are happy as can be to have buyers brought to them.

Let me further clarify. If there is no Buyer’s Realtor involved, the Listing Agent consumes the entire commission of 6 or 5% with no split whatsoever. Now do you see why listing agents so love it when buyers call them directly? On a house that costs say $300,000 with a 6% commission, the Listing Agent would receive an $18,000 commission. If there is a Realtor representing the buyer(s), the listing agent would have to split their commissions.

There are many other reasons why you would want to utilize a Buyer’s Agent when buying real estate in Vermont. Here they are:

  • Full Access To Our Now Unified, Statewide MLS – Until you have made it clear to your Realtor you want to be represented by a Buyer’s Agent and entered into that Agreement in writing the realtor you are communicating with is ALWAYS representing the Seller(s). They cannot give you information that otherwise comprimises the Sellers ability to get the most money for the sale of their home or property. This could include the number of days on the market as a great example. These days this is a critical number to know. Further, listing agents have this game they play when the “re-list” thier listings it sets the odometer back to zero for “days on the market” accuracy. Only a Buyer’s Agent representing your interest will research the history of the property you are interested in buying to let you know exactly how many days that property has been on the market and with whom.
  • Negotiating Power – As your Buyer’s Agent, I will run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine a prospective home’s Fair Market Value (FMV). In simpler terms, as your Realtor I will look at similar homes in the same neighborhood that have sold recently. This way, you will know whether or not the seller has their home priced fairly. If the home is priced over Fair Market Value, your Buyer’s Agent can present your “under asking price” offer with plenty of firepower – and a greater chance that the offer will be accepted. In addition, the terms and conditions of your offer are important as well.
  • Representation – As your Buyer’s Agent, I am there to make sure YOUR best interests are accounted for. With your Buyer’s Agent in your corner, you can rest assured that you’re on, at least, even ground with the home seller. Similarly, Listing Agents enter into a legally binding agreement that require them to ALWAYS act in the best interest of their seller(s). They are the seller’s “coach” and will make sure that their clients’ best interests are looked after.
  • Industry Contacts – It takes a lot of people to close a real estate transaction – Buyer’s Agent, Listing Agent, Loan Officer, Home Inspector, Property Appraiser, Insurance Agent, General and Sub-Contractors, and sometimes more! A good agent will come with a strong, professional closing team that has performed in the past, and will continue to perform. A transaction is only as strong as its weakest link – with your Buyer’s Agent & their closing team, you can rest assured that you will have plenty of support to make the buying process as smooth as possible.
  • Maximize Your Time – While driving neighborhoods is an excellent idea to help you decide which locations you prefer, it’s not a very efficient way to find your new home. Gas is expensive, and your time is valuable. Your Buyer’s Agent will listen to your needs, make fantastic suggestions based on your likes & dislikes, and provide you with a list of homes and communities that ALL match your wants & needs. Your Buyer’s Agent has helped MANY new homebuyers through MANY purchases, and will help you better organize your search & decision making process – saving you valuable time.

If you are considering buying a home or condominium in or near Burlington Vermont, please visit my website, give me a call on my direct line at 802.238.5256 or email me to discuss representing you, our current market conditions and your needs/wants in a new home and community. I would be delighted to assist you.

Armed with solid numbers, buyers and sellers alike can manage their expectations and the current realities of our local market.

The Burlington Vermont Real Estate Market is Positively On Fire

Burlington VT

Moments ago, I checked the “pending” status for all residential/condo/townhouse listings since the first of the new year. Presently, there are ALREADY 114 properties in Chittenden County that have gone “pending”, also known as “under contract” in 2013. What makes these numbers truly impressive is they are spread across ALL price ranges and there’s strength in these numbers across many local markets. Prices range from $99,900 all the way up to $2,000,000. What makes this VERY Greetings from Burlington Vermont.different is that in the past several years the market was hot for everything under $300,000. Those days appear to be in the past! Let’s add up the numbers: 17 properties in Burlington, 4 in Charlotte, 8 in Colchester, 23 in Essex, 1 in Hinesburg, 1 in Huntington, 4 in Jericho, 8 in Milton, 2 in Richmond, 28 in South Burlington, 5 in Shelburne, 1 in St, George, 4 in Westford, 7 in Williston and 1 in Winooski all “pending”. And we aren’t even into the “Spring Market” yet. It’s still winter in Vermont!

Today, I put a house in South Burlington “under contract”. There were three other competing offers! Four in total including ours! Just amazing…

Interest rates remain at stunning low levels and encouraging news in the economy are helping to fuel confidence not seen so broadly in recent years. 

We are off to an absolutely tremendous start!

If you are interested in buying a home, condominium or other property or considering listing your home or townhouse for sale in and around Burlington Vermont, please give me a call at 802.238.5256, visit my website or reach me by email at Chris@ChrisHurdVT.com to discuss the market and your options. I would be delighted to assist you.

Armed with solid numbers, buyers and sellers alike can manage their expectations and the current realities of our local market.

Day Dreaming Of The Lake Champlain Bikeways Route

Burlington VT

It’s snowing outside my window right now as I yearn for warmer weather and longer days…

Lake ChamplainI was daydreaming my love for cycling and the days when I was in such great shape propelled in large part by strong legs, lungs and heart. In recent years, something happened along that route that took me out of the proverbial saddle. Now that my kids are off to college and I re-evaluate my “me” time, it feels that an old friend is going to come back into my life again.

You see I LOVE riding bikes. I do. It is one of the activities I seriously enjoy. Mountain, touring, racing, tandem-ing, “latee-ing”, being silly, wind in the face, errand-ing, jumping cracks in the sidewalk all of it brings me joy! Great for my health, fun seeing near and far way places, taking one’s time, speeding things up, no gas, insurance and costly maintenance bills. Hell, I can actually handle much of my own maintenance for a guy who’s far from being a do-it-yourself-er. 

Vermont is such a great place to ride and Burlington has made great strides to continue improving upon her bicycle friendliness over the 34 years I’ve lived here. Inter-connected bike and recreation paths between towns has opened up all sorts of possibilities for travel incorporating bicycling into the fabric of daily life. I like this within our communities.

A few local organizations offer various ways to increase and support our love for bikes. Here are just a few:

So many people from outside Vermont look inside Vermont as a mecca for cycling and they’re right. I live minutes from a bike path here in South Burlington and fully intend to consciously start using my bike more and my car less for all sorts of great reasons.

bike vtI’m going to set a goal for the warmer months ahead too. I’d like to ride the Lake Champlain Bikeways route. This circumnavigation of Lake Champlain takes into account Vermont and New York. Meadows, farms, sleepy lanes, bridges, rivers, blooming flowers, and yes a few hills here and there but a few downhills here and there too and funky towns and people all along the way. It’s been on my mind for several years now and I’ve managed to let it slip between my fingers. Until now!

So, I’m setting a goal to ride the entire 363 mile route this summer! I feel good already just knowing, believing and feeling my joy within. The pace will sometimes be fast, sometimes slow depending. But always at just the right pace, whatever that may be. I’d even accept a few intrepid souls to join me. Any takers? Just call or email me via my contact information that follows, so we can discuss. 

If you are considering listing your home for sale or buying a home, condominium or other property in and around Burlington Vermont, please give me a call at 802.238.5256, visit my website or reach me by email at Chris@ChrisHurdVT.com to discuss the market and your options. I would be delighted to assist you.

Armed with solid numbers, buyers and sellers alike can manage their expectations and the current realities of our local market.

Burlington Vermont Gets Its Own Sweeeeet Mobile App!

Burlington VT

How sweet it is! Thank you Seven Days! Thank you Route 802! Thank you!!

burlapp-web

It only made sense that sooner or later Burlington would get an app, all its own, for our mobile devices allowing on the fly access to ALL the AMAZING offerings we have going on in our area. Locals in the know reach weekly for the local rag called Seven Days (e.g. The Boston Phoenix or The Village Voice) with yellow highlighter in hand to organize things to do in and around Burlington Vermont. Without this resource, so much would otherwise slip through our “things to do and know about” fingers.

Well, this task just got a whole lot easier.

Seven Days and Route 802 teamed up to produce a mobile app so that we can access a whole big bunch of info on the fly! Right on boys and girls!! The whole “ya can’t get thaya from heya” just got a whole lot easier :)

For those new to the area or visiting, or diehard locals, go to Itunes to search for BurlApp and download the free app to your IPhone or iPad (Android support is coming so hold tight if you’re a ‘Droidy).

There are two main content tabs: “City Life” and “News/Life”. Under the umbrella of these two areas, there are literally hundreds of listings to check out. The designers put good forethought into design simplicity. Sub categories include: Arts & Entertainment, Food and Drink, Shopping, Lodging, Attractions, Services, Transportation, Sports & Recreation. There’s even a spot to create your own “Itinerary”.

There’s also practical stuff too. Jobs, apartments have a presence so there’s a lot to be happy about here.

For a launch and first to the line, the designers did a GREAT job. Simplicity, Style, Functionality. It’s all there!

Is there room for improvement? Is anything missing? My answer is an unequivocal “Yes!”. I’ve already written customer support asking that a local review section be added and that the, super popular, Seven Days Annual Daisy Award Winners also be added. Yeah, I’m being greedy here but hey let’s make this baby a local standout!!!!

For more information, go to BurlApp’s website. But take my advice, download this little gem to your IPhone now.

If you are considering listing your home for sale or buying a home, condominium or other property in and around Burlington Vermont, please give me a call at 802.238.5256, visit my website: www.chrishurdvt.com or reach me by email at Chris@ChrisHurdVT.com to discuss the market and your options. I would be delighted to assist you.

Armed with solid numbers, buyers and sellers alike can manage their expectations and the current realities of our local market.

How To Measure A Car-Lite Lifestyle: Try Walkscore!

Burlington Vermont

WalkScore

For those of you looking to lighten your carbon footprint upon Mother Earth and have some fun along the way, WalkScore might just be the helpful tool you’ve been looking for. 

Essentially, WalkScore is an algorithm enabling homeowners, would-be homeowners, renters, planners and researchers a methodology measuring the walkability of a particular address/location. It is a patent pending system awarding points based upon the distance to amenities in numerous categories we would include as necessary in our daily lives. It offers a way to gauge how living in a given location can reduce our use of cars and increase and enhance our ability to walk or bike instead. The results, of course, contribute to our reducing emissions from our automobiles into the atmosphere. Better health from increased exercise. Reductions in stress levels. And the joys of being outside in your neighborhoods getting to know neighbors you’ve been zipping past in your cars and feeling those intangible, touchy feely things about where we choose to live.

For some, WalkScore won’t be of much interest. However, the great re-migration back to our city and economic centers is on in a BIG WAY. Walkscore provides a simple and fun way to see how certain locations “rate” in terms of their ease and accessibility propelled by foot power. 

In the lefthand side bar of my homepage of this website (scroll down the page just a bit), you can utilize my WalkScore widget to see how your current address rates and, if you are considering a move in your near future, the widget will help you in finding a great location to meet your needs in this regard.

Every Property Search on my website automatically provides a WalkScore rating within the details of each listing/property. How ’bout that!

In the Burlington area, try focussing upon the following towns to give you greater traction with broader WalkScore reach: Burlington, South Burlington, Shelburne, Richmond, Essex Junction, Winooski, Bristol, Vergennes, Montpelier, Middlebury & Stowe to name a few… 

Armed with solid numbers, buyers and sellers alike can manage their expectations and the current realities of our local market.

If you are considering listing your home for sale or buying a home, condominium or other property in Stowe Vermont, please give me a call or email me to discuss the market and your options. I would be delighted to assist you. I can be reached on my direct line at 802.238.5256 or email me at Chris@ChrisHurdVT.com

As always, please feel free to post any thoughts and comments right here on Hurd’s The Word.

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