As every South Central Vermont homeowner knows, property insurance is a necessity. The cost of adequate insurance may seem daunting initially, but there are certain steps you can take to reduce your costs to a reasonable level.
1. Shop around for the best value. Check online for quotes from at least three reputable agencies. Be aware that some companies offer a discount of 30% to 40% if you buy online. Other possible discounts can result from insuring both the home and the contents or by insuring your home and your car with the same firm.
Also know the replacement value of your home, taking into consideration any unique features that will be expensive to replace. Keep in mind probable inflation increases at renewal time. Does your insurer automatically adjust your coverage or do you have to request the change?
A) replacing the existing heating system to one which is safer and more cost-efficient.
B) keep plumbing in good working order and protect it from freezing
C) replace fuses. Inspectors are looking for circuit breakers and a safe wiring system
D) install fire detectors or even a central alarm system. Be sure to keep a record of all repairs/replacements and inform your insurance company of each one.
Are you tired of the same old promises you make to yourself every January 1st but forget by February? Not this year! Here’s a 2010 resolution that’s so beneficial you simply must keep it: buy South Central Vermont real estate! Now that the Home Buyer Credit Act has been extended and qualifying income levels have been raised, this is an ideal time to purchase a house. Generally advertised as a tax credit for first-time buyers, the new legislation actually benefits many current homeowners, also.
Changes: Originally slated to end in November 2009, the credit deadline has been extended to April 30, 2010. If you have a binding, signed contract and settle on a South Central Vermont home before July 30, 2010, you are also eligible.
First-time buyers are those who have not owned a home in the last three years. They are eligible for a credit of 10% of the purchase price (not to exceed $800,000), up to $8000. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a prime residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-timer.
Repeat buyers, or those who have owned and lived in a principal residence for at least 5 consecutive years of the last 8, may qualify for a credit of up to $6500.
Income levels have been increased to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for couples.
Although the interior of your home may be lovely, you can’t use that fact to your advantage if potential buyers don’t come inside to see it. The majority of house shoppers are influenced by first impressions, and, according to the National Association of Realtors, nearly 50% of them make their decision about your South Central Vermont home before stepping through the door. Ensuring that prospective buyers will want to see more doesn’t have to be time-consuming or cost-prohibitive; there are numerous ways to strengthen your home’s curb appeal, to capture the interest of buyers, and most likely increase the selling value.
When selling your South Central Vermont home, appearances are important. The exterior of the house should be attractive and in good condition, and the well-maintained grounds should be pleasing to the eye. The first thing to do is to look at the exterior objectively. Assess the color scheme (siding, trim, brick, roof) and determine if the architectural features of your house are in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood.
Perhaps the easiest way to boost curb appeal is to clean.
If you are moving to a South Central Vermont home, you can, with prior planning and these tips, make your move a smooth, less stressful experience. After you have gathered recommendations from friends and checked out moving companies on the web, you should narrow your choices to three or four. At this point you can avoid moving mistakes by using these guidelines to make informed, intelligent choices.
1. Insist on an in-home survey and estimate. Movers have to actually see what needs to be moved and be aware of items requiring special attention, such as pianos or valued art pieces. In addition,, by meeting the mover’s representative in person, you can get a feel for the way customers are treated by the company. It is also important that you disclose at this time any details, such as elevator availability, street restrictions, etc., to avoid unpleasant surprises on moving day.
2. Beware of too low a price. While price is certainly a major consideration in making your selection, you need to question a low-ball estimate, Are there hidden charges? Is the firm reliable? Does it value your business? Is it a licensed, insured mover? Check the web at www.protectyourmove.com for this information and for a record of customer complaints.
3. Avoid the busy season. Good moving companies are especially busy in the summer and in the first and fourth weeks of the month. Plan ahead and reserve early to get the mover and time frame you want. Remember that the best deals can usually be found in the winter and in the second and third weeks of the month.
4. Sign a contract. Do not begin a move without first signing a binding agreement which spells out all the services you are to receive and the total amount you’ll be expected to pay. Do you have insurance options? What is the charge for that? If you’re not comfortable with the document, trust your instinct and don’t sign!
5. Have a budget. Be informed and realistic about your overall moving costs. Be sure to include travel to your South Central Vermont home, any hotel and meals expenses, auto transport, and insurance.
6. Do unto others… Your movers will respond well to smiles and a positive attitude
They also appreciate offers of coffee, water, soft drinks, and tips for quality service.
The city has many reputable and reliable moving companies who want your business and will work with you to make your moving experience as stress-free as possible. By following these six steps, your relocation to your new South Central Vermont home can actually be rewarding!
You are selling your South Central Vermont home and the first Open House only a week away. The house is filled with clutter and things you don’t want to throw away. But the clutter is not appealing to potential home buyers. What do you? Here are staging tips for an Open House.
8 Staging Tips For An Open House
1. Remove the clutter.
Having a garage sale is out when removing clutter because the Open House is only a week away. You don’t want to stuff the garage or closets to the gills either. One solution is to rent an off-site storage facility or stack boxes neatly in a basement or crawlspace.
2. Stage each room.
The first thing to do is clean from top to bottom. Make sure windows and light fixtures shine and are in working order. If the room is crowded, put some furniture in the storage facility. Finally, pick a focal point that will attract buyers when they see the room. For example, the focal point of a bedroom is usually the bed, and for a music room, it’s the piano.
3. Use the rule of three.
The $8000 first-time home buyer tax credit was scheduled to expire in just a few short weeks…Nov 30, 2009. I say ‘was’, because the Senate voted unanimously to extend the credit on Monday and the House of Representatives approved the extension yesterday afternoon by a vote of 403-12. The extension includes an expanded tax credit to repeat home buyers. The bill now goes to the President for his signature which is expected to happen today.
Home Buyer Tax Credit Expansion and Extension
- The $8,000 tax credit will be extended and available for first-time home buyers through May 1, 2010.
- A new $6,500 tax credit will be available for repeat buyers who purchase between December 1, 2009, and May 1, 2010. To qualify, buyers must have used the home sold or being sold as a principal residence consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.
- Prospective buyers with binding contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, will be allowed an additional 60 days to complete the transaction.
- Income limits are expanded to $125,000 on a single return and $225,000 on a joint return.
- Limitation on the cost of a purchased home is $800,000.
If you know anyone looking to buy their first South Central Vermont home at a time when prices and interest rates are still down, or if you are thinking of buying another home and getting the new $6,500 credit please contact me today.
Many South Central Vermont renters are finding that they get more ‘bang for their’ buck if they buy a home rather than rent one. With affordable prices, low interest rates and tax incentives, South Central Vermont home ownership makes more sense than ever.
7 Reasons to Buy Rather Than Rent South Central Vermont Home
1. Buying doesn’t always cost more.
The Associated Press reports the gap between buying and renting has decreased $550 in the last three years.
2. Affordability is at an all-time high.
Nationwide, prices have declined by nearly 20-40%.
3. Tax benefits for home ownership saves money.
The biggest tax break is the mortgage interest deduction. Most of your mortgage payment goes to interest which is tax deductible. Property taxes and mortgage insurance are also tax deductible.
The current economic climate has created an extremely competitive market for South Central Vermont home sellers. High inventories and the abundance of deals on foreclosures puts to pressure on South Central Vermont home sellers to have properties in showing condition and to be priced right. Many sellers want to initially price their property on the high end of the market and underestimate the costs of having a property sit on the market unsold. Maintenance costs, taxes and insurance are ongoing. Another thing to consider is the benefits of having invested the money that can be made with a fast sale vs. the cost of sitting on the market for a long period of time.
The saying ‘time is money’ is never more true than when selling a South Central Vermont home, For example,
In January, you put your property on the market for $500,000. In February, your agent recommends a price reduction of $10,000 to $490,000, but you decide to wait out the market a little longer. Assuming your monthly payment on the property is $4,000-5,000 per month (including mortgage, property taxes, and insurance), and it hasn’t sold in six months, by June you have spent $24,000-30,000. This $30,000 expense has lowered the property value from $500,000 to $470,000. If you had lowered the selling price in February to $490,000 and obtained a faster sale, you would have had ended up with more money in your pocket.
South Central Vermont property values recently have been declining 5-10 percent a month. A property that might have sold in January or February for $490,000, will most likely only sell for $440,000-465,000 in June. So how do you sell your South Central Vermont home faster and for more money?
Selling South Central Vermont Home Fast and For More Money
1. Take a look at comparable home sales in your neighborhood and price at your 5% below the last comparable sale within a three-month prior period.
2. Work with an experienced real estate agent who has market knowledge in your neighborhood.
3. Have your South Central Vermont home is saleable condition. Have your ‘honey-do list’ complete, your yard ship-shape and your home ready to show at a moments notice.
Your efforts will be rewarded!