Vermont Real Estate

Spring Brings Showers, Showings, and Closings in Vermont this Year!

The sun is shining as I type this. Thank god. This Spring has been the "rainiest" Spring on record for Vermont, and I know I'm not the only one ready for Summer. Thankfully this hasn't stopped home buyers in Vermontfrom getting out into the marketand seeing properties, making offers, and closing deals! We at Dousevicz Real Estate have seen RECORD activity inNorthern VermontReal Estatefor our office this year, thanks in no doubt to:
  • Still record low interest rates. Rates are still hovering in the mid 4's, which are phenominal!
  • A very nice housing stock in northern Vermont. Sellers are prepping their homes how they need to- making those improvements that have been needed, keeping their homes clean and lawns kept, and eliminating clutter whenever possible. Our clients LIKE WHAT THEY SEE when visiting most homes, which is sure to generate more offers!
  • Sellers and Buyers are willing to COMPROMISE. We've worked on a few deals this Spring where both the buyer and the seller were willing to give something up, in order to get the deal done. The great deal is where everyone wins, and everyone is happy around the closing table. We're seeing this more and more- keep up the good work buyers and sellers!
Prices in Northern Vermont remain stable when compared to the previous year. What we ARE seeing is that homes in certain areas are on the market for LESS TIME. Much less than what we have seen in the previous 12 months. Specifically, we've experienced two deals for condominiums in South Burlington and Burlington where the deal we put together the condo's were on the market for less than 10 Days, and sometimes they had MORE THAN ONE offer! The lesson here? Be ready to negoatiate, come as a pre-qualified buyer, and try to make offers with minimal contingencies. Do these things and you can WIN the home and condo of your dreams in Burlington, South Burlington, Williston, Essex, or wherever your search takes you. Contact Brad Dousevicz of Dousevicz Real Estate today for the latest market data, your free market analysis for your home, or just to chat about your options. 802-879-4477 or 802-238-9367. Brad@dousevicz.com

What Taxes Should I Expect to Pay When I Buy or Sell a Home In Vermont?

We get this question quite a bit. Especially from Vermont 1st Time Homebuyers, or buyers moving to Vermont from another State. Today, we'll take some time to dive into what you should expect to pay at closing when buying a home in Vermont. In Vermont, the buyer of real estate pays the "Vermont Property Transfer Tax." (This differs from State to State, so there is the possibility you may sell a home in one state, pay your tax, and then pay a tax when you buy in Vermont!) If the buyer is going to have the residence as their primary residence, the tax is calculated as follows:

  • .5% of the first $100,000, then 1.25% for that portion of the sales price over $100,000.
The law allows for a few exemptions from this tax, and they should certainly be explored with your attorney:
  • a transfer directly to a creditor to secure a debt.
  • tansfers to a corporation
  • transfer without payment to a spouse, child, or grandparent
Usually the property transfer tax form is filled out by the SELLERS attorney, and signed by each party at closing. For Sellers, if you are selling your primary residence, and it has been your primary residence for at least 2 years, you will avoid a capital gains tax. As for property taxes, see the following link for information from Town to Town: http://www.vermontrealestatetoday.com/newsletter/2009effectivetaxrates.pdf You will notice that property tax rates vary greatly from town to town. In conducting your Vermont home search, be sure you have a firm grasp on how taxes may differ from each town you may be looking. You may be surprised at the differences from one town to the next! For more information, or to ask about your options in buying Vermont Real Estate, contact Brad today at brad@dousevicz.com!

Is it a good time to buy real estate in Vermont?

The recent economic "meltdown" has effected the housing market in various ways in the last few years. We can't seem to escape the constantflow of bad news coming from our televisions every night on the evening news, can we? Today we'll explore why it's a great time to buy real estate in Vermont, and the Burlington and surrounding areas of Chittenden county, specifically. The first thing I always remind buyers and sellers is this; Vermont real estate, like politics is first and foremost LOCAL. What's happening in Miami, Las Vegas, or Southern California doesn't really affect us up here in Vermont. Here are some major reasons why:
  1. Vermont did not experience the "Boom" those other areas experienced, and we hence have not experienced the "Valley" either. Vermont's home values, even in the growing of the housing boom, staying fairly level. Vermont has laws that prevent speculative buying, and our building community to did not over-build the available inventory to sell. This has helped maintain home values in Vermont and the more localized areas of Burlington, South Burlington, Williston, Essex, Charlotte, Colchester, and Shelburne.
  2. The current national unemployment level is hovering at around 9%. The unemployment level in Vermont, and more precisely Chittenden County, is nearly 1/2 that amount. The bottom line is that jobs in Vermont have not been nearly as affected as they have in other parts of the country. Employers like UVM, IBM, and Fletcher Allen Health Care have a long employment record in and around Burlinton. There's no reason to believe they'll go anywhere in the time-being, either. If jobs are the key to the economic recovery, and an improved housing market- we're already where we need to be.
  3. Mortgage rates remaining remarkably low. In fact, you can STILL qualify for a low rate of 4.9% for a 30 year fixed rate. This low rate, coupled with the relatively flat but somewhat lower prices than what we have seen in recent years means that homes in Vermont are more affordable than ever. See the link here to a recent Vermont affordable housing study: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20110315/NEWS01/103150303/Study-Vermont-housing-more-affordable
Simply put, it's a great time to buy- and there are plenty of great homes to chose from. Contact Brad or begin your home search today!

Dousevicz Real Estate Featured on FOX 44 for the "Real Estate Minute"

Fox 44 Has Paired Up with Dousevicz Real Estate to offer the "Real Estate Minute"

Dousevicz Real Estate is pleased to announce that Brad Dousevicz, Managing Broker, will be featured on FOX 44 for a weekly segment called "The Real Estate Minute." The segment will air every Wednesday during Fox 44's news segment at 7:25 am, 8:25 am, and 10:10 pm.
Each "Real Estate Minute" will explore topics that buyers and sellers alike will need to know to buy or sell a home in the local Vermont real estate marketplace, such as:
  • Steps for the 1st Time Homebuyer
  • Buying New Construction
  • Prepping your home for a quick and profitable sale
  • Buying Green Construction
  • Tipsfor Buying a Condo in Vermont
  • Is it a good time to buy a home in Vermont?
  • Much More!
The "Real Estate Minute" is co-sponsored with Dousevicz Real Estate, the Law Offices of Fred Peet, and Peoples United Bank. Do you have a topic you would like to see covered on the Real Estate Minute, or have a question about local Vermont Real Estate you would like to have answered? Contact Brad today at 802-879-4477, or email him at brad@dousevicz.com!

The Art of Negotiation- Buying a home in Vermont

Successfully Negotiating the Deal Negotiating the transaction is usually the most complex aspect of buying a home. At the same time, it's the one that can involve the most creativity. That's why it's important to have an experienced and savvy REALTOR, like Brad Dousevicz, who has successfully worked through MANYdifferent transactions scenarios. That said, what follows are a few strategies for negotiating a good deal in a market like this one, all of which involve; presenting yourself as a serious buyer while at the same time, keeping your emotions in check; trying to understand and respect the priorities of the seller; being creative and, where necessary, willing to compromise to get the deal done. Strike a balance- Motivated but not too eager For you, as a buyer, it all starts before you even make an offer, the first time you see that home you think might be THEONE. It's important that you not give yourself away to the listing agent by getting too excited about your "Find." If anything, ask a few questions, maybe take a few notes, and let Dousevicz Real Estate do most of the talking. The point is that ideally you're trying to strike a balance by appearing, on the one hand, to be a qualified and motivated buyer, while on the other hand, not appearing to be too eager. You'll demonstrate that you're a serious buyer- the kind sellers look for- at the time you make the offer, particularly if you:
  • Make it clear that you're not dependant upon selling in order to buy
  • Make an all- cash offer or show that you've been pre-approved for a loan
  • Provide an attractive "earnest" deposit with the offer
  • Make a reasonable offer that still gives you rom to negotiate your price
Not only will this approach show that you're qualified and motivated, it will place you in a stronger negotiating position overall. The sellers won't want to lose you and so will be more inclined to reduce their price a little and/or make some concessions with resepect to term. Understand and respect the Seller's priorities If, through the negotiations, you can find out more about the seller's situation and priorities you'll not only improve your position, but you'll also be able to resolve any obstacles more creatively and sensitively. For instance, if a seller is adamant about the sale price they might be more flexible about taking care of a few repairs or part of the transaction costs. Or if they need a certain closing date, you might be able to get them to concede some other terms. There are no "one size fits all" approaches to negotiating. In principle, thought, the more you know about the seller's priorities, the more you'll be able to work with them in order to achieve your own priorities. Look beyond the price While a home's sale price is generally the focus of negotiations, often sellers will have needs such that the terms of purchase can significantly influence the final deal. Additionally, it is in relation to the terms- which can represent thousands of dollars in value- where you can get most creative when it comes to resolving the obstacles to transacting. Here are some elements in the purchase agreement that you might put on the table for discussion:
  • An all cash offer by you
  • The amount of earnest money deposit you provide
  • Closing and Possession dates
  • Inclusion of furniture, fixtures, etc, not considered part of the property (examples; hot tub, pool table, washer and dryer, etc.)
  • Payment of repairs required by your lender
  • Payment of taxes, utilities, and rents
  • Payment of title search and insurance
  • Payment of attorney fees
Along these lines, the key is to get all terms of purchase in writing within the agreement. These terms should then be carefully reviewed and clearly understood by both you and the seller so that you're on the same page and the negotiations move forward. Is it really THEONE? If so, Make it So! If you're really interested in buying the home you're negotiating over- if it really is THEONE- you should be willing to make some compromises to make the deal happen. If that's not the case, then you should listen to your heart and consider looking for another home- it just might be out there waiting for you... That said, here are a few basic principles of successful negotiation to consider if you're committed to completing your purchase:
  • Remember your priorities and respect the sellers- don't let the small thinkgs get in the way of your better judgement.
  • If necessary, defer until "later"- if small issues do get in the way in the midst of big ones, focus on and consolidate your agreement on the big issues and come back to the small ones later.
  • At the end of the day, if there are disagreements about relative small expenses, split the difference and smile.
The reality is that most negotiations that Dousevicz Real Estate has dealt with proceed without much problem. In the event that there are difficulties but you're committed to buying the home, remember; where there's a will, there's a way.

Village Haven- Vermont and Chittenden County's Newest GREEN Community

Our Latest Sale- the sought after "Strafford" Design

Dousevicz Real Estate is proud to announce their latest real estate development project in Chittenden County, VT- Village Haven. Conveniently located minutes from Burlington, South Burlington, Williston, and Colchester, Village Haven is situated in the heart of the quaint Village of Essex Junction. Enjoy the ultra convenient location, and non-through street design! Walk to your favorite shops, restaurants, grocery store, and much more. As a unique benefit to those with young families, Village Haven is within WALKING DISTANCE to arguably some of the best school systems in the State of Vermont! All homes at Village Haven will be part of the National Association's Green Building Program, as well as certified with Efficiency Vermont. Dousevicz Real Estate is proud to offer our home buyers GREEN CERTIFIED homes at Village Haven. The benefits don't stop at Green Building and a Great Location! Step inside our model and you will notice the open floorplans, quality construction throughout, and extensive attention to detail. Every home offers a private master bath, a large walk in closet, and plenty of storage space above the garage. An extensive upgrade list is available including- Granite Countertops, Stainless Steel Appliances, 3 Season/ Screen Porches, and much more!

"Our Buyers are realizing they can make their home buying dreams a reality at Village Haven. With prices starting in the mid- $260's, people quickly find they can build their very own newsingle family house for the price of an existing condo at Village Haven, and save money on their maintenance costs because they are Green Certified! You won't find a unique product like this anyplace else in the greater Burlington area of Chittenden County. I guarantee it." - Brad Dousevicz, Dousevicz Real Estate

Homes at Village Haven located in Essex Vermont are selling quickly! Why buy a condo when you can have a single family home for the same price-- and the luxury of your own private yard and quality built Green Construction?

Our Latest Sale- the sought after "Strafford" Design

Contact Brad Dousevicz of Dousevicz Real Estate for more information. 802-879-4477.

Dousevicz Real Estate Launches it's exclusive "Buyers Advantage Program"

Dousevicz Real Estate is proud to launch an exclusive offering to Vermont Real Estate- the "Buyers Advantage Program."

The Community of Autumn Knoll in Essex was recently developed by Dousevicz Real Estate. Use their experience in construction and real estate development when you buy a home!

Frankly, it's a program that's been years in the making. It's a program based on the core values of the Dousevicz Family, and ultimately Dousevicz Real Estate. Rule Number 1: Dousevicz Real Estate is not your typical firm! When you work with Dousevicz Real Estate to buy a home in Chittenden County, you do so with an understanding that you will have a life long relationship with us, similar to that of your physician or accountant. YOUR quality of life and best interests are ALWAYS our priority. You will not receive any pressure to buy from Dousevicz Real Estate. In fact, having a builder and broker on your side will provide you with the unique benefit of finding issues that the "typical" agent may not even know to look for. Experience will be on your side. Rule #2: We Get Paid from the Selling Firm, Not You! That's right- working with Dousevicz Real Estate will cost you, the buyer, nothing to help facilitate your home purchase! We even put it in writing. Feel confident that we will not have you enter into any long-term contracts, or have you pay our fee. Ever. It doesn't work that way at Dousevicz Real Estate. We are fully committed to make your home buying experience a pleasant one, and it won't cost you a dime. It's one of the many benefits of using our exclusive "Buyer's Advantage Program."

The Community of Autumn Knoll in Essex was recently developed by Dousevicz Real Estate. Use their experience in construction and real estate development when you buy a home!

Rule #3: It's Like You're Working with Family when you use our Buyers Advantage Program! Dousevicz Real Estate is a family business, and always has been. We will apply the same attributes which made Dousevicz Real Estate the successful real estate development and brokerage firm it is, to your individual home purchase:
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
Using these core principles, we are committed to:
  • getting to know you, and your family
  • actively seek property which meets your criteria
  • not wasting your time with showing you unsuitable property
  • using our extensive list of qualified suppliers, attorneys, accountants, etc, to give you the best possible people in the area to work with
  • helping you match with a lender that can build you the right package for your home purchase
  • pointing out issues that may potentially cost you more than you wanted to spend
  • being your personal real estate guide, and will answer all of your questions-- available any time of the day
  • Assisting and providing guidance in the sometime complex negotiation process
  • using our expert knowledge to make your home purchase a successful one!

Making Buying a Home a Reality with FHA Loans

Have you thought about buying a home, but think the possibility is just too far out of reach?

Do you think the only way you own your own home is with 20% down? If you have thought this, don't worry, many people have. In fact, there is a general misconception that owning a "piece of the American dream" is simply out of reach for many Americans. Not true! With an FHA loan, you too can qualify for the purchase of a home...now!

What is an FHA Loan?

FHA is the Federal Housing Administration, which is a member of HUD. Essentially, an FHA loan is a federally insured loan, so your local lender can offer you a great deal on a loan. There is minimal risk for the lender.

So what does this mean for me?

Well, first it means that you may qualify for a low down payment- 3.5% of the purchase price in fact! Also, most of your closing costs (attorney fees, mortgage origination fees, etc) can even be rolled into your loan, so you will need even LESS money at closing. This is one of the reasons that makes FHA loans so attractive to most home buyers with little cash on hand.

So What's the Catch?

Really- nothing in particular, however there are two specific things worth mentioning:

  • There are limits on the value of the home you can purchase. In Chittenden County of Vermont, for example the limit for a single family home is $318,750.
  • You will have to qualify for the loan, just like any other "traditional" loan out there. As long as you have had a steady job and a good credit score, you should have a good opportunity of qualifying for an FHA loan.

The fact is, the FHA program is a great program for people looking to purchase, although they may not have the typical 10-20% down payment available. You can qualify for a very low 3.5% down payment, and be in the home of your dreams earning equity instead of paying rent. For more information on the FHA program, visit: https://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/fhahistory.cfm Contact Brad Dousevicz of Dousevicz Real Estate for more information, or to discuss your options- 802-238-9367

Unlocking the Mysteries of Mortgage Rates

If you have been shopping for a home recently, or looking to refinance for that matter, you have probably been looking at mortgage rates pretty closely. The fluctuating rates can seem over-whelming at times. Rates can drop .1-.3 points in a matter of days if not hours. So what does it all mean? Who determines rates? How can I ensure I will get the best rate when I buy my home? These are a few of the questions we will explore today in hopes to shine some light in this somewhat mysterious segment of the marketplace. In it's simplest form, mortgage rates are tied to the US Treasury, and the amount (and rate) for which they are purchased and sold. The Federal Reserve dictates monetary policy in the US, and a subset of the reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) regulate the buying and selling of treasury bonds. The main goal of the FOMC is to keep prices stable, and the economy growing. Pure and simple. The main tactic they have to control this is to set the Federal Funds Rate- or, the rate that banks charge when they make a "sale" of money to a bank, for example. This rate is at the lowest level it can be- zero. This obviously contributes to the interest rate for which banks charge the consumer for such loans as home mortgages, etc. Mortgage rates get a bit more interesting when we start looking at their relationship to the overall economy, and the actions of the open market. Simply put, investors in mortgage backed securities (not bankers or mortgage lenders) are in the drivers seat when it comes to setting interest rates. In a down economy, like we are in today, investors search for bonds because the assume the Federal Reserve will cut, or keep it at zero for example, to keep the economy going. If they wait too long, they'll end up with lower yeilding bonds. Demand for these types of bonds are fairly strong right now, therefore the lenders that offer them can offer lower yields. Why would they offer higher yields if everyone wants them? They are going to pay as little as they can. This, in turn, results in lower rates for consumers. Simply put, if you want to know what may happen with interest rates, keep an eye on the Federal Reserve. If the market starts to expend, the reserve is bound to raise their rates, which will push mortgage rates for all us higher. An even better indicator for the short term is to watch the financial news, and be mindful of a return to a growing economy. If you have been on the fence with making a move to a larger home, now may be the best time to make such a move. Your dollar goes a lot longer now than it will when the economy improves. Also, any reduction in price you may take in the sale of your existing home, you are sure to make up for in the purchase of another home. A down market can work in your advantage if you stay in the market, expeciallywith mortgage rates at the historic levels they are today. Contact Brad Douseviczat 802-879-4477to explore your options.

Finding Great Views from Vermont Real Estate

Vermont Mountain View Homes

A Spectacular view of the Adirondack Mountains

Hands down, Vermont's most notable resource is it's beautiful landscape. Whether you are driving on a country road in Essex, Shelburne or Charlotte, or visiting a beach on the shore of Lake Champlain in Burlington, Colchester, or South Hero-- it is undoubtedly the views that you first notice. It's one of the many things that makes Vermont special to us all, and we are so very fortunate to have such a landscape to enjoy day in and day out. Buyers frequently contact my office looking for a "piece" of their own landscape - something they can enjoy from perhaps their own front porch, bedroom window, or yard. After all, a house is only as good as the location for which it is placed, and in Vermont, great views can always be related to a great location.

So where are buyers going to find great views of Vermont?

I'll explore some of those areas today.

Downtown Burlington

In addition to being the vibrant epicenter of the State, Burlington offers some of the most fantastic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains. As the marketing agent for the recently completed Westlake Condominiums in Downtown Burlington, I constantly met with buyers from all over the world and the feedback was always the same- the views from the building were perhaps the BEST they had EVER seen! Surely, the lake coupled with Burlington's beautiful waterfront park and the neighboring Adirondack Mountains all contribute to this unique view. There are a variety of properties that enjoy such views in downtown Burlington. The first that comes to mind are a few of the luxury condominium projects- Westlake and College and Battery, for example. You can also find views on select homes within the Hill Section as well.

Shelburne and Charlotte

If you are looking for a mix of country living, and perhaps the finest views in the state, then you'll find them in either Shelburne or Charlotte. Located a short drive from downtown Burlington, Shelburne and Charlotte are conveniently located destinations where you can find rolling country landscapes, and perhaps the finest lake front in Vermont along Lake Champlain.

Essex and South Burlington

View of Lake Champlain Vermont

A Spectacular view of the Adirondack Mountains

If you are looking for a property that is located a short distance from Burlington, but with easy accessibility to local shopping and other services, AND want a view, then look in South Burlington and Essex. The main "view corridors" for these areas are easy to find, but they sometimes go unnoticed by the general public looking for real estate with a view. For example, South Burlington has great Lake Front property off Shelburne Road, and wonderful mountain and lake views from Spear and Dorset Streets. Essex is a great country community that has some of the best Mountain views in the State. Try your search for land or homes near the Route 15 Corridor, specifically the areas near Old Stage Road, or Towers Road for example. You will find great views of Mt Mansfield (and easy accessibility to skiing) and a convenient location near local shopping, schools, and restaurants. Vermont is known for it's beautiful landscape, but it is important to know that you can find your own "piece" of the beautiful countryside in many properties throughout the greater Burlington area- you just need to know where to look!