Featured Listing – Lost Lake/Crooked Path Road, Arlington, VT 05250 (MLS # 4189884)

Beautiful corner lot with views and a wonderful neighborhood.
Septic Design and all permits.

Lost Lake/crooked Path Road, Arlington, VT 05250 (MLS # 4189884)

$120,000
Type Land
Zoning Residential
Water Drilled Well
Square Footage na
Lot Size 137,650 sq ft
Year Built na
Taxes $1,240.00
MLS# 4189884

Description Beautiful corner lot with views and a wonderful neighborhood. Septic Design and all permits in place for a 4 bedroom house – underground power.More information regarding this property

Contact Irene Gaffigan

Irene Gaffigan
Broker, CRS, e-PRO
36 VT Route 30
Bondville, VT 05340
Direct: 802-353-1983
Toll Free: 800-659-1819
Fax: 802-779-0152

Visit us at: Southern Vermont Real Estate

Irene Gaffigan - Southern VT Real Estate
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A realtor’s guide to improved client relationships

Do you know what your customers really think about the home-buying process?

According to the 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS, here are the five biggest expectations:

A real estate salesperson should:

  1. Help find the right home to purchase.
  2. Help in negotiating the price.
  3. Help negotiating the terms of the sale.
  4. Determine what comparable homes are selling for.
  5. Assist with the paperwork.

Many buyers do not understand the home-buying process.  Buying a home can be very stressful.  A real estate agent plays many roles during this process – adviser, counselor and friend.  Here are some suggestions to better assist today’s buyers for improved client relationships.

How quick is your response time?  Response time is rated as a very important quality in real estate professionals according to the NAR survey.  It is ranked behind honesty and integrity.  Are you ignoring customer leads?  Are you responding too late?  Today’s internet consumer is expecting a response within the hour. 

Do you have a web presence?  The important determining factors in choosing an agent are trustworthiness and reputation.  With that said, online search is a go-to method to find out more about a real estate practitioner’s business.  Client reviews are important as well as photos and detailed property information.  If you are on social networking pages such as LinkedIn and Facebook, be sure they are up to date and represent your business.

Do you follow the three E’s?  A realtor wears many hats during this process as I mentioned.  You need to be ready to educate, empathize and encourage.

Educate on the area, what comparable homes are selling for, average price per square foot and every stage in the buying process.

Empathize throughout the whole process.  This is a big, scary step where something as simple as the color of the walls becomes a huge obstacle.  Keep calm, listen to them and propose a practical solution or compromise.

Encourage your buyers once they make a decision.  They are looking to you for validation – they want to know they made a good decision.  Review the priorities they stated in their home search and how the home measures up.  This will help lead them all the way to the closing table.

Can you answer their questions?  Of course there are certain questions you can’t answer due to the fair housing laws, but if you ignore the question or gloss over it, you inadvertently make the buyer lose faith in your knowledge about the market or feel like their question didn’t matter.  Keep pertinent data with you, available on your Web site or even in a special buyer packet. 

Are you present through the entire process?  After your buyers have selected a home, don’t disappear until closing day.  They will feel abandoned!  They need your help understanding the entire process and part of that is recommending service providers.  Find an excuse to call – share an article, tell them you drove by and the house looks great.  Help them get information on their new community.

The end of the transaction can be the beginning of a relationship with your clients.  By proving you will be there every step of the way and beyond builds your reputation and a lasting awareness of your services – for the next time they need you, or when their friends and family need you.

 Until next time, Irene

Five Habits of Highly Productive Real Estate Agents

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  You could take the title of this blog and replace “Real Estate Agents” with your profession and you would increase your productivity!  But Real Estate is my business and time management is a real challenge that I want to address from the perspective of being a Real Estate Agent.

With so many distractions, it is a wonder that real estate agents are productive at all.  Working to become a highly productive real estate agent is an ongoing process.  Creating habits that produce consistent results allows you to achieve your maximum potential.  Between phone calls, emails, listing presentations, prospecting calls and buyer appointments, how do I stay productive?

I keep myself focused, alert and on tract with these five habits:

  1. Focus on the Most Important Tasks.  Be mindful to focus on income generating tasks and tasks that produce results.  Schedule time on your calendar and list out everything you will work on.  Number each item and work through your list.  Complete what you can during your scheduled time without any interruptions or distractions (see #2).  Do this every day.
  2. Remove Distractions.  The day can quickly get away from you between the phone, email, Internet and any other interruption.  Turn it all off and stay focused on your task at hand.  Don’t allow yourself a quick vacation on Facebook or getting off track by answering emails.  Cut yourself off from all distractions, work down your list and take a break once you are complete.
  3. Use Positive Affirmations.  Crazy, I know but they actually do work!  They can take a negative attitude and turn it around just by repeating a few constructive, upbeat words. 
  4. Take a Cat Nap.  Making time and grabbing a few z‘s might seem like an odd productivity tip, but studies have shown that feeling refreshed after a nap can significantly improve concentration and performance.  30 minutes is all it takes.
  5. Set Daily Goals.  Wake up each morning with your goals outlined.  These should be incorporated into your daily tasks.  Setting your sites on a goal each day offers clarity and promotes a more sustained drive.

Here’s a bonus.  Break out of the norm.  Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something that makes you a little uncomfortable.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be an amazing place that offers growth potential you never believed possible. Whatever your profession, these habits will contribute to your productivity. 

Until next time, Irene

Is the Economy Encouraging Home Buying?

There seems to be a shift in several key housing market indicators, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2012 consumer attitudinal National Housing Survey.  More Americans now expect both home rental and home purchase prices to increase over the next year.  In addition, confidence in consumers’ views of their own finances is stabilizing.  Are these trends providing Americans with an increased sense of urgency to buy a home?

73% of Americans now believe it is a good time to buy a home.  This is up from 70% in February.  “Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes,” says Doug Duncan, Vice President and Chief Economist of Fannie Mae.  “With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that homeownership is a more compelling housing choice.”

A number of factors seem to be contributing to Americans’ Expectations:

  • Home prices are expected to increase over the next year.
  • Mortgage rates are expected to go up over the next year.
  • People feel “it is a good time to buy”.
  • Home rental prices are expected to increase over 4% – a significant increase.

There appears to be good news about the economy in general and Americans’ household finances.  There was a rise in confidence in the overall economy this month.  35% of respondents think the economy is on the right track.  A very low (12%) of respondents think their personal financial situation will worsen in the next 12 months.  This is good news for everyone.

For more information, visit http://www.fanniemae.com.

Until next time, Irene

Privacy and a View!

3 bedrooms, 2 bath ranch home on 12.30 acres (deed states 19 acres). Wonderful private location in Cavendish with long circular driveway, 2 fireplaces, one in the large basement that can be finished and one car attached garage.  This would make a wonderful primary or 2nd home.  Close to skiing.

Offered for $250,000

MLS# 4148854

Newly Listed in Proctorsville, Vermont

This home was totally renovated within the past 5 years!  Everything except the basement was updated.  There is also a 2 bedroom brand new apt. (never been rented), fully furnished.  There are 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths in main house – with eat in kitchen and family room.  Two bedrooms and 1 bath in apartment.  This would be a great home for a first time buyer with the option of earning extra income from the apartment or a wonderful 2nd home with rental potential.

 Shuttle bus stops here, walk to bakery, post office and Singletons!   This has it all – do not miss out on the opportunity!

Asking:  $250,000.00

MLS# 4148960

Real Estate Agent – or – Expert Advisor

 Real Estate Agent – or – Expert Advisor

Spring is a great time to look at the business landscape.  My business is Real Estate so naturally, I’m interested in what’s happening in my industry – and the real estate industry is changing.  Anthony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues”.  Well, I am determined to follow those clues and remain successful in this business I love – and navigate this changing environment!

Remember when you used a travel agent to book your vacation?  Or walked into your neighborhood Hardware Store and said hello to the owner by name?  How about your local coffee shop?  Okay, I still have a local coffee shop but you see where I’m going.  Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline are your “travel agents”!  There are 2,248 Home Depot big-box format stores that have become your neighborhood Hardware Store.  The same thing that happened in these industries is happening in the real estate industry and it requires all of us to look for the clues to remain successful.  That is good for our industry, good for us and very good for our clients and customers.

A Real Estate sale is more than putting a sign in someone’s front lawn, loading the listing onto the MLS and running an ad.  I was a very early adapter of using the internet to market myself and communicate with others and I continue to use these tools for the common good.  Many traditional real estate agents don’t want to share their best practices, but as an “expert advisor” sharing knowledge and information helps everyone grow.  Sharing best practices, leadership and standards helps build consistency in our industry.  You can be committed to your own success and also to the success of others.

In addition to being committed to sharing and helping others as they help themselves, expert advisors are what their name implies – experts who give good counsel to clients and colleagues alike.  Being an expert doesn’t come easily but being an expert in real estate – understanding people, business, marketing, sales and relationship building is the only true way to create rock-solid and long lasting success.  Expert advisors are 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to get their sellers’ homes the exposure they need to drive up the demand on the home, which will ultimately result in a top-dollar offer.

Expert advisors look to foster strong personal and professional relationships with the agents in their area.  Well-managed relationships help expert advisors collaborate and cooperate with other agents in such a way that they’re able to drive demand up on their listings.  It makes sense that if agents like and want to work with you, more agents will show your listings to potential buyers. 

So I encourage you to find someone who has grown beyond the “traditional” real estate agent role and has become the Expert Advisor.  That person is open to sharing the best and brightest ideas – and has a network of others just like them – and that is good for selling or buying a home.  I will leave you with one last thought:

Compare buying or selling a home with booking a hotel room in Boston.  One decision can be made with a few key-strokes, and one is a significant life decision.  Which one requires an Expert Advisor?

Until next time, Irene

Warren Buffett’s thoughts on Real Estate

Well, spring has descended upon us!  I am trying to enjoy the 70 degree weather here in Vermont in March – and trying not to think about how this over-the-top spring like weather is affecting the local economy. 

While the weather patterns dictate our local travel and tourism based economy, there are some general economic factors that support a healthy real estate forecast for 2012 and beyond.  Recently, Warren Buffett – the so called “Oracle of Omaha” was interviewed on CNBC.  He recommends buying real estate over investing in a diversified group of leading companies. 

It has been a long time since buyers and sellers heard that kind of good news!

Buffett said that along with stocks, single-family homes are cheap and attractive investments.  In contrast, investments in Treasury bills, gold or simply keeping money in cash are not as attractive.  He also said that if he had a way to buy “a couple hundred thousand single-family homes” and easily manage them, he would “load up on them” and “take mortgages out at very, very low rates”. 

In reality, managing “a couple of hundred thousand single-family homes” is an impossibly Herculean logistical task.  In my last blog I mentioned several reasons for the real estate market improvement:

  • Interest rates are at a historic record low.
  • Baby Boomers are nearing retirement and have the ability to snap up high end properties at lower than usual prices.
  • Some people who watch the real estate market feel we won’t see further drops in value.
  • Some buyers who have been on the side-lines for the past several years are ready to re-enter the market.

Let’s face it – it is much easier to buy stocks with a few keystrokes and mouse-clicks.

So while this news is good for investors and Warren Buffett followers – who really will benefit?  When asked if a young individual should buy stocks or his first single-family home, Buffett recommended buying a single-family home with a 30-year mortgage.  “It’s a terrific deal,” he said.  “It’s a leveraged way of owning a very cheap asset now and I think that’s probably as an attractive an investment as you can make right now.”

Are you looking to complete the “American Dream” and own your own home?  Are you interested in the second-home market?  There are great buys to be had out there and interest rates make an attractive investment.  As I’ve mentioned before – if you are thinking about buying property in this area – now is the time to do so!

Until next time, Irene

Improvement on the real estate front!

After several months blogging about the Vermont towns that I know and love and after a reminder about how important your own life should be as we enter 2012 – well, it’s time to get back to business!  Let’s talk about real estate.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that it wasn’t a breakout year in 2011 for residential real estate sales.  In my opinion however, there was slight improvement.  While the percentage increase in residential home, condo sales and second home buyers vary from county to county and town to town, the real estate market has been positively affected by the following:

  • Interest rates are at a historic record low.
  • Baby Boomers are nearing retirement and have the ability to snap up high end properties at lower than usual prices.
  • Some people who watch the real estate market feel we won’t see further drops in value.
  • Some buyers who have been on the side-lines for the past several years are ready to re-enter the market.

This does not mean that we will all enjoy easy and quick real estate transactions.  Clients will be cautious, as they should be.  Many home prices remain depressed and are well below their replacement value that it would take to build a new home – which is not necessarily good for builders – but good for qualified home buyers.  There are great buys to be had out there and with interest rates where they are right now, the average person still has a great opportunity to own the “American Dream”. 

Due to the financial hardships that many of the American people have endured in recent history and the country’s Financial Institution’s past lending policies – in my opinion a good credit score and adequate down payment are most important for your future real estate transactions.  There are programs out there for first-time home buyers who qualify so if you are in the market to buy a home, it would be foolish not to look into it now.

I’m happy to live in Vermont in a 4-season resort area.  I believe we will remain a strong second-home market and also a destination supported by our local tourism based partners who continue to focus on that economy and add to their year-round amenities.  If you’ve been thinking about buying property in this area – well, now is the time to do so!

Until next time, Irene

For all your real estate needs in South Central Vermont, contact me at:

irene@isellvermontrealestate.com

802-353-1983

REDUCED AT OKEMO!

Reduced to $524,900.00. Only 3 miles to Okemo, this spectacular home faces the mountain with views that can almost see forever. Decks just keep going – familyroom in finished full basement  – 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths.  Master Suite with loft, Whirlpool bath. – what else do you need?  Come and see this before it is gone!  MLS #4084804