Blog

Thanks to everyone who donated to the Vermont Association of Realtors food drive

The Addison County Board of Realtors  dropped off ~ 30 bags of food to HOPE, which turned out to be 357 pounds of food! Thanks to everyone who donated and helped make this such a successfull event!
 

Left to right: Beth Stanway, IPJ Real Estate; Jeff Olson, Addison County Real Estate; and John Snyder-White, Champlain Valley Properties; Raven Billings, Wade Stevens, and Letitia Hodgdon, all from HOPE

Vermont Association of Realtors Food Drive

Vermont Realtors®, in partnership with all of the state’s local Realtor® boards and associations, will host a statewide Food Drive from June 18-29! “We’re very excited about this event and the chance to help Vermonters throughout the state,” said Helen Hossley, VR CEO. “Realtors® truly care about making a difference and are committed to making their communities a better place to live.” The statewide food drive aims to help food shelves in all areas of Vermont. Food and cash donations collected during the drive will support the communities where they are collected. A full list of the food shelves supported by this event will be posted soon. You can drop of non perishable food donations to the Champlain Valley Properties office at 70 Court Street in Middlebury Vermont from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

By: HouseLogic

From finding an inspector to dealing with surprises — this is your guide to getting a house checked out.

 

The first thing you need to know about home inspection: You’ll feel all the feels.

There’s the excitement — the inspection could be the longest time you’re in the house, after the showing.

Right behind that comes … anxiety. What if the inspector finds something wrong? So wrong you can’t buy the house?

Then there’s impatience. Seriously, is this whole home-buying process over yet?

Not yet. But you’re close. So take a deep breath. Because the most important thing to know about home inspection: It’s just too good for you, as a buyer, to skip. Here’s why.

A Home Inspector Is Your Protector

An inspector helps you make sure a house isn’t hiding anything before you commit for the long haul. (Think about it this way: You wouldn’t even get coffee with a stranger without checking out their history.)

A home inspector identifies any reasonably discoverable problems with the house (a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, etc.). Hiring an inspector is you doing your due diligence. To find a good one (more on how to do that soon), it helps to have an understanding of what the typical home inspection entails. 

An inspection is all about lists.  

Before an inspection, the home inspector will review the seller’s property disclosure statement. (Each state has its own requirements for what sellers must disclose on these forms; some have stronger requirements than others.) The statement lists any flaws the seller is aware of that could negatively affect the home’s value. 

The disclosure comes in the form of an outline, covering such things as:

  • Mold 
  • Pest infestation
  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation damage
  • Other problems, depending on what your state mandates.

During the inspection, an inspector has three tasks: To:

  1. Identify problems with the house
  2. Suggest fixes
  3. Estimate how much repairs might cost

He or she produces a written report, usually including photos, that details any issues with the property. This report is critical to you and your agent — it’s what you’ll use to request repairs from the seller. (We’ll get into how you’ll do that in a minute, too.)

The Inspector Won’t Check Everything

Generally, inspectors only examine houses for problems that can be seen with the naked eye. They won’t be tearing down walls or using magical X-ray vision, to find hidden faults.

Inspectors also won’t put themselves in danger. If a roof is too high or steep, for example, they won’t climb up to check for missing or damaged shingles. They’ll use binoculars to examine it instead.

They can’t predict the future, either. While an inspector can give you a rough idea of how many more years that roof will hold up, he or she can’t tell you exactly when it will need to be replaced.

Finally, home inspectors are often generalists. A basic inspection doesn’t routinely include a thorough evaluation of:

  • Swimming pools
  • Wells
  • Septic systems
  • Structural engineering work
  • The ground beneath a home
  • Fireplaces and chimneys

When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, for instance, most inspectors will open and close dampers to make sure they’re working, check chimneys for obstructions like birds’ nests, and note if they believe there’s reason to pursue a more thorough safety inspection.

If you’re concerned about the safety of a fireplace, you can hire a certified chimney inspector for about $125 to $325 per chimney; find one through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Explore More Topics:

Make an Offer & Negotiate

Buy a Home: Step-by-Step

It’s Your Job to Check the Inspector

Now you’re ready to connect with someone who’s a pro at doing all of the above. Here’s where — once again — your real estate agent has your back. He or she can recommend reputable home inspectors to you.

In addition to getting recommendations (friends and relatives are handy for those, too), you can rely on online resources such as the American Society of Home Inspectors' (ASHI) Find a Home Inspector tool, which lets you search by address, metro area, or neighborhood.

You’ll want to interview at least three inspectors before deciding whom to hire. During each chat, ask questions such as:

  • Are you licensed or certified? Inspector certifications vary, based on where you live. Not every state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and licenses can indicate different degrees of expertise. ASHI lists each state’s requirements here. 
  • How long have you been in the business? Look for someone with at least five years of experience — it indicates more homes inspected.
  • How much do you charge? The average home inspection costs about $315. For condos and homes under 1,000 square feet, the average cost is $200. Homes over 2,000 square feet can run $400 or more. (Figures are according to HomeAdvisor.com.)
  • What do you check, exactly? Know what you’re getting for your money.
  • What don’t you check, specifically? Some home inspectors are more thorough than others.
  • How soon after the inspection will I receive my report? Home inspection contingencies require you to complete the inspection within a certain period of time after the offer is accepted — normally five to seven days — so you’re on a set timetable. A good home inspector will provide you with the report within 24 hours after the inspection.
  • May I see a sample report? This will help you gauge how detailed the inspector is and how he or she explains problems.

Sometimes you can find {{ start_tip 84 }}online reviews{{ end_tip}} of inspectors on sites like Angie’s List and Yelp, too, if past clients’ feedback is helpful in making your decision.

Show Up for Inspection (and Bring Your Agent)

It’s inspection day, and the honor of your — and your agent’s — presence is not required, but highly recommended. Even though you’ll receive a report summarizing the findings later on, being there gives you a chance to ask questions, and to learn the inner workings of the home.

Block out two to three hours for the inspection. The inspector will survey the property from top to bottom. This includes checking water pressure; leaks in the attic, plumbing, etc.; if door and window frames are straight (if not, it could be a sign of a structural issue); if electrical wiring is up to code; if smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working; if appliances work properly. Outside, he or she will look at things like siding, fencing, and {{ start_tip 85 }}drainage.{{ end_tip }}

The inspector might also be able to check for termites, asbestos, lead paint, or radon. Because these tests involve more legwork and can require special certification, they come at an additional charge.

Get Ready to Negotiate

Once you receive the inspector’s report, review it with your agent.

Legally, sellers are required to make certain repairs. These can vary depending on location. Most sales contracts require the seller to fix: 

  • Structural defects
  • Building code violations
  • Safety issues

Most home repairs, however, are negotiable. Be prepared to pick your battles: Minor issues, like a cracked switchplate or loose kitchen faucet, are easy and cheap to fix on your own. You don’t want to start nickel-and-diming the seller. 

If there are major issues with the house, your agent can submit a formal request for repairs that includes a copy of the inspection report. Repair requests should be as specific as possible. For instance: Instead of saying “repair broken windows,” a request should say “replace broken window glass in master bathroom.”

  • If the seller agrees to make all of your repair requests: He or she must provide you with invoices from a licensed contractor stating that the repairs were made. Then it’s full steam ahead toward the sale.
  • If the seller responds to your repair requests with a counteroffer: He or she will state which repairs (or credits at closing) he or she is willing to make. The ball is in your court to either agree, counter the seller’s counteroffer, or void the transaction.

At the end of the day, remember to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling about all of this. You need to be realistic about how much repair work you’d be taking on. At this point in the sale, there’s a lot of pressure from all parties to move into the close. But if you don’t feel comfortable, speak up.

The most important things to remember during the home inspection? Trust your inspector, trust your gut, and lean on your agent — they likely have a lot of experience to support your decision-making.

That’s something to feel good about.

    Comments

    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

    Tired of the Cold? looking forward Spring in Vermont?

    Spring Garden Readiness. Really.

    by Elyse Umlauf
    Adapted from a previous edition of The REsource newsletter

    Given the brutal winter many of us have experienced—bitter cold, snow, and more bitter cold—it’s hard to believe that the start of the spring gardening season really is just weeks away. 
     

    The Chicago Botanic Garden offers some ways for those in cold climates to get the garden ready for spring. 
     

    1. As the days warm up, gradually pull back mulch from around perennial crowns. Remove dead leaves from perennial clumps and be careful not to injure emerging new leaves.
     

    2. Cut back to the ground all perennials and ornamental grasses that were left standing for winter interest.
     

    3. Start seeds for annuals and vegetables in a moist, soilless seed mix. They can be started six to eight weeks before May 15, the last spring frost date. 
     

    Click here for more monthly garden tips.

     

      Comments

      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

      Come skate with Champlain Valley Properties at Middlebury's Winter Fest!

      Come Skate with Champlain Valley Properties at the Better Middlebury Partership WinterFest Which Comes to Middlebury February 24th 2018!                                   

      New this year, the BMP is excited to host WinterFest, a celebration of all things winter in Vermont.

      Middlebury Recreation Park (near Mary Hogan) on 2/24 from noon-6:00pm 

      The day will include a mini sledding hill, snow sculptures, snowman building, bonfire, face painting, big trucks, free hot cocoa & cookies, digging for ice gems, snow painting, giant lawn games, mini obstacle course, food to sample and purchase, fat bike demos, relay races & tug of war, free s’mores station and more!

      Plus:
      Noon-4pm Winter Arts & Crafts in the warming hut
      12:30-4:30pm Horse & Sleigh Rides
      1pm the D-8 Accapella Group
      1:30pm MALT-Led Nature Walk (geared toward preschool age)
      2-4pm Free Skating at Memorial Sports Center (with free rentals)
      4:15-5:45pm TaeKwon Do KICKS Demo & Free Class in the warming hut
      3:30pm Snow Sculpture Judging and Awards
      5:30pm MALT-Led Nature Walk at Dusk (all ages)
      After 6pm Downtown Pub Crawl (participating restaurants below)

      Tickets

      Entry: $5
      Children 5 and under: FREE

        Comments

        1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

        Addison County Board of Realtors is Raising Money for the UVM Children's Hospital

        Help Champlain Valley Properties and the Addison County Board of Realtors reach their goal of raising $1000 for the UVM Children's Hospital and lean more about  this great organization at  http://www.bigchangeroundup.org/

         

          Comments

          1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

          7 Tips for Staging your Home

          7 Tips for Staging Your Home

          By: G. M. Filisko

          Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

          The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

          1.  Start with a Clean Slate

          Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

          2.  Stow Away Your Clutter

          It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of Staged Homes in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

          3.  Scale Back on Your Furniture

          When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

          4.  Rethink Your Furniture Placement

          Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

          5.  Add Color to Brighten Your Rooms

          Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

          6.  Set the Scene

          Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home — such as a chess game in progress — to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

          Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

          7.  Make the Entrance Grand

          Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

            Comments

            1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

            Champlain Valley Properties is Proud to Support the Charter House Coalition

             

            Champlain Valley Properties is a proud supporter of the Charter House Coalition, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization dedicated to providing basic food and housing needs in and around Middlebury, Vermont. We will be donating a portion of our commission of every property sold in 2018. For more information, please contact us.

              Comments

              1. No comments. Be the first to comment.