The Condo Guy Recap: Episode 5

Historical Hideouts and Modern Marvels

There are wonders located in every corner of the Champlain Valley and perhaps no better time to experience many of them then the temperate late days of summer and early Autumn. Labor Day weekend brings traditions of backyard barbecues, The Champlain Valley Fair and preparing for the first days of school. I've had a full schedule of working with sellers and buyers of Vermont Condos, so I was determined to take my free Saturday afternoon to explore. 

Crown Point: Beautiful Bridge and Formidable Fort

About an hour South of of Burlington off of Route 22A in Chimney Point, Addison County, VT you'll find the Lake Champlain Bridge. Constructed in 2011 as a replacement to the dilapitated Champlain Bridge, this 2,200 foot bridge connects New York and Vermont, spanning Lake Champlain and serving as the only fixed link across the lake between it's most northern and southern points. It's a beautiful modern structure framed by a graceful curving arch and a web of white cables contrasting against the blue of our beutiful lake. It's exhilirating to observe from afar or while driving over. 

Once across the bridge you'll be greeted by the Crown Point State Historic Site where you'll find the magnificent ruins of fort constructed by British forces in the 1750's largely destroyed by fire in 1773 and eventually seized by Seth Warner and Vermont's own Green Mountain Boys in 1775. The old remains offer a terrific opportunity to walk through history and the old quarters of officers and enlisted soldiers highlighted with flagstone floors and massive fireplaces. I highly recommend stopping at WAGS country store on your way there to pick up a kite for $3.99. The raised meadow makes for excellent kite flying.

Back by Boat

We wanted to do some exploring in the Empire State so we followed 9N North along the western shore of Champlain. It's cool to see our Green Mountains from a different perspective. When we arrived in Essex, we visited our friend Wayne and had some amazing coffee and ice cream at Essex Ice Cream Cafe  . Once we were filled up we hopped on the Essex-Charlotte Ferry which allows cars, bikes and pedestrians aboard for the picturesque 30 minute journey back to Vermont. A great way to come home!

What I'm Reading 

Millennials Might be the Only Thing Preventing Another Mortgage Collapse Interesting insight into how a generation blamed for their self interest and dependence may be helping avert a crises with their frugality and focus on experiences. 


"Don't just stare out the window; See what's on the other side" 


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    The Condo Guy Recap: Episode 4

    Although the Vermont Condo Market moves ever onward the dwindling final days of summer are upon us. Nights are getting cooler, The College Kids are coming back and the mountains are turning rusty. We're all asking "where did the summer go?" And with any luck you'll be able to summon amazing memories of recent months that answers the question.

    The Kids Are Back in Town: Burlington, Vermont Hotels and People Watching on The Church Street Marketplace

    An old UVM friend of mine was visiting from the west coast this past weekend. He was eager to see what Burlington looked like these days and wanted to be near the action so he booked a room at The Downtown Burlington Hilton Garden Inn . Unbeknownst to my friend, it was welcome week for UVM and Champlain College. Due to the influx of visitors, prices were on the high end everywhere in town and he was happy to find one of the few vacancies left. When living in a town one has little reason to visit hotels. Although the "New" Hitlton has been around for a couple years it was the first time I'd set foot in the hotel on the corner of St. Paul and Main Streets in Burlington. I'll admit that I was surprised when I walked in to find such a Metropolitan Hotel hiding in plain sight in my little Queen CIty. The Lobby, reception and bar offer sophisticated space with a warm variety of textures highlighted by local art. I met my old classmate and we made it up the well worn cobblestones of Church Street to one of Vermont's most famous icons, Ben & Jerry's . The line extended all the way to the entrance, but moved quickly. We chatted as we waited for sweet treets, surrounded by eager new first year college students experienceing a right of passage. By some miracle of time, the students grow younger as I remain the same age. It occured to me as I received my fresh waffle cone filled with Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz that it had been 20 years since our first days at UVM. We sat outside and watch the people pass on a beautiful summer night as we reminisced.

    Over the years whe've had many clients purchasing Burlington Vermont Condos for their student and grad student children. Some of the more popular condominium projects for this use are Riverwatch Condos, Vermont House Condos, Ledgewood Condos, Stratos Condos, Millyard Condominiums in Winooski, among many others.

    To The Woods: A Night at New Discovery in Groton State Forest:

    After an albeit mellow night on the town, I was ready to seize one of the last summer weekends and escape to the woods. My companion and I met with another old College friend and made our way to The Groton State Forest where we'd reserved a beautiful tent site on Osmore Pond at New Discovery State Park an incredible facility on beautiful Osmore Pond. On our short 20 hour trip we packed in fishing by canoe on the pond where we faced numerous, ferocious 2 inch Perch, an amazing campfire meal and a sweet hike to Owl's Head Mountain where stunning views in every direction bring awe and calm. If you look out across the expanse over Kettle Pond, you can see Camel's Hump in the distace. I'd love to spend another night in this beaiutiful place with old friends, but it's time to get on back to school and back to VT Condos.

    What I'm Reading: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris

    A Compilation of lessons learned from interviewing over 200 world class performers in every field imaginable. There's something for everyone in this book and the format makes it easy to skip around. A key takeaway for me has been the prevalance of meditation as a common practice of some of today's best thinkers. 


    "After the solitude of night comes the companionship of morning"


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      The Condo Guy Weekend Recap August 12th & 13th

      A demanding schedule in the dynamic Vermont Condo market requires that I make the most out of all my free time. This past weekend, my wife worked an incredible event to benefit her non-profit organization (see below), so I had the good fortune of spending a full day with my son. It was a beautiful summer Saturday and we were both excited to make the most out of the day.

      Shelburne Museum

      As a Shelburne Native, I made many visits during my formative years to the Shelburne Museum, an incomarable Vermont gem. With a breathtaking and expansive collection of fine art & folk art, a seemingly endless number of historical objects, and bucolic grounds dotted with significant historic buildings transported to the site as if by magic, Shelburne Museum is a must see on any visit to Chittenden County in Vermont. It would be easy to spend an entire week exploring the delights on display, but with so much to choose from a morning or afternoon visit can be very satisfying. We took a ride on the period carousel, made alive with handcarved and painted horses. Afterwards, we explored the circus tents with incredible poster art relaying the significance of the circus in American life. Next we visited the town meeting hall, the carriage house, a jailhouse from Castleton and a one room schoolhouse from Vergennes. The toy shop is a must stop with little ones. We saved the Paddle Boat Ticonderoga for last, wandering it's decks and imagining an elegant Lake Champlain journey in a different era. Many condos in Shelburne are walking or biking distance to the Museum including, The Terraces Condos, Gardenside Condominiums, The Gables Condos and Watch Hill Condos. 

      Magic Hat Artifactory-Wall to Canvas Event-To Benefit The Shelburne Craft School

      After a terrific morning at the museum we stopped by the Magic Hat Artifactory . Magic Hat was one of the pioneers of Vermont's craft brew explosion and remains a must stop on any brewery tour. Each year in August, Magic Hat hosts a live art event called Wall to Canvas in which regional artists transform blank canvases into masterpieces. Influenced by street art and set to a DJ'd soundtrack, the energy of the event is unbelivable. Visitors watch the process unfold and have an opporrtunity to buy a piece of there very own at a live auction capping off the event. Proceeds benefit The Shelburne Craft School: a 72 year old Vermont art/craft institution and integral community resource offering classes in woodworking, clay, metalsmithing, and visual arts to people of all ages. Take a class today! Full disclosure: My amazing wife, Sage Tucker-Ketcham is the Executive Director of the Craft School as well as an accomplished artist in her own right. Magic Hat is located nearby Locust Hill Condos, Eastwood Commons Condos, Harbor Watch Condos, and Overlook Condos.

      Addison County Field Days

      No summer is complete without a trip to the fair. We went down to the Field Days in hopes of launching the iconic RE/MAX hot air balloon, but a raging storm got in the way. We did still make time for cotton candy, a couple rides and the 4H dairy barn where we mingle with some gorgeous prize winning cows. After a long and fulfilling day we headed home to recharge and get ready for a full Sunday of work and the next weekend on the horizon.

      What I'm Reading

      Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins. Mr. Robbins has positively impacted the lives of millions throughout the world. This book offers inspiring advice and a roadmap to transforming your life... in an instant. 


      It's easier to climb hills when you think of them as undulations 








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        The Condo Guy Weekend Recap August 5th & 6th

        Special occasions call for special adventures. This past weekend marked my 10th wedding anniversary, so I entrusted the ever capable Condo Guy Team to help our many buyers and sellers navigate the booming Vermont Condo market and headed north to beautiful Montreal.

        Only 95 miles seperates Burlington, VT from Montreal, QC and the trip can be made in 2 hours by car. The time taken can vary depending on border traffic. In the event increased border traffic is likely, I recommend trying one of the more rural crossings at Morses Line or Alburgh. They'll add miles to your trip, but it's a terriffic way to see more remote parts of Northern Vermont and Southern Quebec. Don't forget to bring your passport! 

        Things to Do: Just Walk/Bike!

        Montreal is alternatively known as "The City of Festivals" and it's nearly impossible to walk around the city without coming across a world class event in progress. During the course of our 24 hour trip, we encountered a triatholon, thousands of immaculately costumed anime super fans, a tremendous fireworks display and stunning public art. I'm a firm believer in in ditching plans when travelling and just walking around interesting places and waiting for happy accidents. If walking isn't your thing, take advantage of Montreal's amazing public bike system, Bixi. Montreal offers easily navigable bike lanes throughout the city offering for ease of travel.

        Places to Go
        Montreal is filled with many varied and distinct neighborhoods and we barely scratched the surface in our short trip, but found a unique flavor in the few that we visited including Old Montreal, The Plateau, The Gay Village, and Downtown .

        There's so much to see and do in Montreal. I can't wait to return to explore more. I could write a whole series of entries regarding the incredible restaurants, bars, hotels, museums and galleries that the city offers. On our short trip we ate a lovely dinner with friends at their home, had a hotel breakfeast and grabbed quick, economical sandwiches and salads for lunch at a couple of the city's great and countless Pret a Manger (ready to eat) spots.

        What I'm Reading

        Influence by Robert Cialdini - A fascinating read on the science of peruasion and what causes we humans to do what we do. Based on empirical evidence yet communicated in an accessible manner. 


        Great things can be accomplished at anytime during the day.


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          The Condo Guy Weekend Recap

          In addition to my devotion to real estate and all things Vermont Condo related, I do get out once in a while to enjoy the incredible sights and experiences that our community offers. Summer affords many opportunities to take in Vermont's natural beauty and vibrant culture. Below are some discoveries made on this most recent quintessential VT Summer weekend. 

          Lemon Fair Sculpture Park | Shoreham, VT  

          Among the beautiful rolling hills of Addison County, you'll find Lemon Fair Sculpture Park. This incredible display of sculptural art is arrayed across an expansive field surrounded by stunning scenery. Along the mile long mowed path, you'll encounter stunning and varied sculptures created by a diverse range of artists. The combination of man made beauty surrounded by Vermont Vistas makes Lemon Fair Sculpture Park a unique and rewarding experience. I can't wait to go back! 

          Dedalus Wine | Burlington, VT 

          As a parent of a young son and as a Realtor, I don't get out to eat very often, but I had the distinct pleasure of dining with old friends visiting from out of town at the Dedalus Wine Bar this past Saturday. The food, service, wine, and ambiance were all out of this world. Every aspect of the meal and setting was incredibly thoughtful, from the wine list and menu all the way down to the glassware. Our knowledgeable and helpful server recommended delicious wines which we paired with nearly everything on the menu all of which we shared. Some of the standouts were bread with ploughgate butter ( I had no idea butter could be so good), Sardines with Chorizo and arugula and Sausage over Lentils. In the heart of Burlington's thriving Pine Street, Dedalus is a great place to break bread with friends and drink in life. Be sure to check out their beautiful retail space with an incredible wine selection and a wide array of cheeses, charcuterie, and sandwiches. 

          What I'm Reading 

          I recently read Ronda Kaysen's article in the New York Times. Her article entitled, Smaller Housing Markets Lure Individual Investors offers a fascinating look at a new trend in real estate investment; Home purchasers priced out of in expensive coastal cities are buying investment properties sight unseen in more affordable markets and contracting out property management.

          Also in the New York Times I found a spotlight on Vermont and Green Mountain Power and how they lead the nation in bringing renewable power into our communities.


          "Pay close attention when the sun is in your eyes"




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            6 Reasons Why a Condo is the Right Choice for You

            modern condo windows

            If you're a prospective home buyer, you have lots of options. Maybe you’re weary of paying rent or have accepted a job transfer. You could be an empty nester planning to downsize. Buyers who don't feel a single-family home is the right choice may find that it's time to consider purchasing a condominium unit, which offers heightened flexibility and higher affordability in a home that serves as part of a larger building.

            A condominium represents a kind of home ownership in which owners share an interest in common areas, such as a yard or a parking area. However, each owner holds a title separately for their respective unit. Here are six reasons why a condo could be the right choice for you.

            Financial Outlay

            When deciding between a single-family home or a condo, the expense is usually a major factor. A condo generally costs significantly less than a single-family residence when evaluating similar locations and might be a better fit for your budget. This means that your down payment, monthly mortgage payments, insurance, and property taxes are lower. You’ll also save money on maintenance since condo owners share the cost of common upkeep.

            In some cases, owners of single-family homes must belong to a homeowners’ association with fees much steeper than those assessed by condo associations. Even when there is no HOA linked to a single-family dwelling, condo ownership costs are usually significantly less.


            A smaller home means less cleaning and interior upkeep. Roof replacement and maintenance of the community grounds and the exterior of units is the responsibility of the condo association, which hires contractors. This frees up an owner’s time for more enjoyable activities. For those who are downsizing, it can be a welcome relief after years of yard work and structural maintenance.


            Condo complexes typically offer amenities that owners of single-family homes don’t enjoy. Think swimming pools and hot tubs. Some have fitness centers, basketball and tennis courts, childcare facilities, and even book clubs. Many larger complexes provide concierges to rent a car or obtain event tickets for residents.


            Does a gated community appeal to you? How about a security guard? The presence of neighbors surrounding you is an undeniable plus for buying a condo instead of a single-family dwelling. Many condo communities establish neighborhood watch groups to look out for each other. Buzzer entries and security cameras are also common.


            Condo dwellers comment on the strong sense of community they experience. This is particularly true when a community plans social events for its residents. A condo community is also the perfect place to gain some new friends who won’t have to travel miles to spend time with you. Whether you’re a single who loves to party or a retired couple, it’s easy to find a community filled with other owners who have similar interests.


            Condominiums are ideal for buyers who love the buzz of an urban environment. Builders often erect complexes in downtown areas near restaurants, transit hookups, retailers, theaters, museums, and other attractions. A condo near a college or university is often far more affordable than a single-family home in the same area.

            Do you have a favorite but pricey neighborhood? Buying a condo instead of a single-family dwelling could be the deciding factor in whether residing in that particular section of town is doable. If you’d love to live in a luxury spot such as near the beach or beside the ski slopes, owning a condo often allows you to enjoy the associated lifestyle at a fraction of the expense of a single-family residence. You might want to buy in a luxury location with an eye toward eventually turning your home into a rental. That represents great investment potential.

            Many benefits of owning a condominium are attractive to prospective buyers looking at real estate. Whether your concern is satisfying financial requirements, social interaction, saving time, or all of them, buying a condo might be the perfect choice for you.

            Start Your VT Condo Search Today!

            Blog post provided courtesy of our RE/MAX Colleague Justin Havre of Justin Havre & Associates at RE/MAX First in Calgary, Canada.


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              Condo Fire Safety Requirements

              In this area, most attorneys require an inspection by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety (or by the city Fire Marshall in some cases) be done and the seller correct any violations, prior to closing. Below are a few things we see come up most often on these inspections. 

              You can also visit the Vermont Fire Safety website for more information on current requirements and code details. 

              Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
              Fireextinguisher Most likely these will need to be hardwired, have battery back-up, and be interconnected. check the current code requirements from Vermont Safety to find out exactly what is needed for your home. 

              Fire Extinguishers
              Most of us have one, but is it new or has it been inspected by a professional in the past year? If not, you may need a new one. There are also specific size requirements and some towns require they be mounted in a specific area of the home. 

              Self-Closing Door
              If you live in a building where your main condo door opens into a common hallway, that door needs to be self-closing. If it’s not already, it’s a pretty easy fix with some special hinges. 

              Ground Fault Interceptor (GFI) Outlets
              Any area of your home considered potentially “wet” (kitchens, bathrooms, basement, patio) need to have GFI outlets. An electrician can install these and should know the areas where they would be required. 

              This can cover a variety of things, from having two ways out in a finished basement, to having windows of a proper size in bedrooms. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and in some cases a variance can be obtained is something doesn’t meet the specific guidelines. It’s best to talk to the Fire Marshall about your options and what is needed for your home. 

              It can take several weeks for an appointment with a Fire Marshall for an inspection. In some cases getting this inspection done early in the process is best. If you have any questions please let us know. 

              Contact Us Today!


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                86 Ways to Make Your Home Show Better

                If you are thinking of selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to improve the overall impression made by your home. But first, you must learn to look at your home through the eyes of the buyer. 

                Here are some tips on things you should be looking for when evaluating your home through the eyes of the buyer. Most of the suggestions are no-cost or low-cost improvements and this early investment in your home’s appearance really pays off when selling the home. Cleaning

                1. Open the draperies, pull up the shades and let in the sunlight.
                2. Create a positive mood. Turn on all lights, day or night.
                3. Install higher wattage light bulbs to show your home more brightly — in its best light.
                4. Remove all clutter from each room to visually enlarge them and create the impact of spaciousness.
                5. If you have a fireplace, highlight it in your decorating.
                6. Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.
                7. Have a family emergency “game plan” to get the home in order quickly, if necessary.
                8. Air out your home one half hour before the showing if possible.
                9. Lightly spray the room with air freshener so that it has a chance to diffuse and air out before the buyer arrives.
                10. Microwave a small dish of vanilla twenty minutes before the showing and place it an out of the way place in the kitchen.
                11. Create a master “suite” effect in your decorating.
                12. Make sure that beds are made and the linens and curtains are fresh and clean.
                13. Organize your closets, remove unnecessary items and put them in storage.
                14. Bathrooms should always be kept spotlessly clean.
                15. Do not leave towels around and wipe down the shower areas after each use.
                16. Re-caulk if the caulking is not sparkling white.
                17. Put out fresh towels and decorative soap for showings.
                18. Set the scene by setting the table! Highlight the potential of your dining room by setting a grand dining table.
                19. The kitchen should always be kept spotlessly clean.
                20. Expand your counter space by removing small appliances.
                21. Highlight an eat-in area in your kitchen with a table set for dinner.
                22. Shampoo all carpets and vacuum them daily.
                23. If the carpet does not clean up well you should replace it.
                24. Improve traffic flow through every room and create a feeling of spaciousness by removing unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks, hobby items, children’s items, etc. 
                25. However, try to avoid creating a “sterile” looking environment. 
                26. Remove all grease from range hoods, ovens, stove tops, walls, etc. 
                27. Clean rubbish out of the fireplace and keep it clean in the winter. 
                28. If you have numerous family photos put them away until your home is under contract. Prospective buyers will feel more like it can be their home if they aren’t aware of your family photo memories. 
                29. Remove all unnecessary items from the attic, basement, garage, tool shed, and especially from the storage area if you have one. 
                30. Rent a storage area for these items or have a yard sale. 
                31. Fix the front doorbell. 
                32. Invest in a new doormat. 
                33. Make sure the front door, storm doors, screen door, etc work wonderfully!
                34. Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorating accents, mirrors, rugs, etc and by removing all unnecessary clutter. 
                35. Wash all windows, inside and out. 
                36. Remove all smoke odors, pet odors, and odors resulting from hobbies. 
                37. Remove all posters and adhesive from walls and doors and putty any holes resulting from nails or other mishaps. 
                38. Depersonalize teenagers’ rooms and decorate in a neutral temperament. 
                39. Clean or paint the basement walls and floor. 
                40. Paint any bright, bold, or dark inside walls with off-white paint (use two or more coats to cover). 
                41. Repair or replace all doors, closet, doors, and/or windows and screens so that they open with ease. 
                42. Repair or replace banisters and handrails. 
                43. Repair or replace broken tiles on walls, floors, or in showers/tubs. 
                44. Repair or replace loose or dangling wallpaper. 
                45. If the basement shows any signs of water or structural damage it may be necessary to obtain a structural engineer’s report. 
                46. Replace all toilet bowls if you cannot get them spotlessly clean. 
                47. Replace shower curtains and keep them clean. 
                48. Replace the washers in faucets and remove rust stains from basins. 
                49. Water and prune all plants. 
                50. Use plants in transitional areas of your home between inside and out. 
                51. Either get rid of dying plants or keep them out of sight. 
                52. Remove any excess extension cords and exposed wires. 
                53. Open doors to areas you want the potential buyer to see such as walk-in closets, pantries, attic, basement, etc. 
                54. Close all other closet doors and cabinets. 
                55. Make the most of your attic’s potential, if applicable. 
                56. Make the attic as pleasant as possible by airing it out, and decorating if possible. 
                57. Add visual appeal to stairways, especially in unfinished stairways to the basement. 
                58. Keep the yard mowed, raked, fertilized and watered at all times!
                59. Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unsightly patio furniture, trash, etc from the yard. 
                60. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. 
                61. Laws and gardens should be weeded at all times. 
                62. Use flowering plants to dress up the yard, walkways, and patio. 
                63. All hoses and garden equipment should be neatly out of sight. 
                64. Outdoor furniture should be kept clean and/or repainted if necessary. 
                65. Firewood should be neatly stacked or out of sight. 
                66. Mailboxes should be evaluated with a critical eye, paint, repair, or replace if necessary. 
                67. Make all those minor repairs to the exterior. 
                68. Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios, and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept and in good condition. 
                69. Paint all entrance doors. 
                70. Shades and awnings should be in good condition. Replace if the color has faded. Remove windsocks. 
                71. Create an outside living/dining area with furniture and plants. 
                72. Highlight your pool area, water garden, etc with lighting, benches, planters, flowering plants, etc. 
                73. Take nighttime photos of decorative yard lighting systems. 
                74. Take pictures of your flowering mature landscaping now if you are planning to sell your home later in the season. 
                75. Display these photos in your home in the winter. 
                76. Clean and shine all accessories (door knobs, knockers, lamps, mailboxes, address numbers, etc). 
                77. Clean, repair, and paint all gutters and downspouts. 
                78. All roof shingles, tiles, etc should be secured or replaced. If the roof leaks — fix it!
                79. Make sure the garage door opens easily. Fix and paint the garage door if necessary. 
                80. Paint the chimney and replace broken bricks or stones.
                81. An investment in painting your home can really make the difference between “turning on” the buyer and sending up a red flag about the condition of the home. 
                82. Don't be afraid to accept the first offer.
                83. Obtain a floor plan of your home if possible. 
                84. Assemble house records for buyer perusal. 
                85. Only consider written offers by lender-prequalified buyers. 
                86. Enlist the services of a professional marketing agent such as The Condo Guy Team to market your home in trade magazines, newspapers, and with extensive online marketing. 

                Ready to Get Your Home Sold?
                Contact Us Today!


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                  15 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Condo

                  For Sale SignBuying a condo can be overwhelming, there are many moving parts. Below are 15 things you want to avoid to help make the buying process a whole lot smoother. 

                  1. Continue to Rent Because it’s Cheaper

                  Actually, right now, in our marketplace, the cost of renting is higher than what homeownership would be at these amazing prices and interest rates. Not to mention the fact that rents go up on average by at least 3 percent per year, so a $1,000 rent today would be $1,344 in ten years. Even more importantly, you’ll be missing out on all of the mortgage interest deductions, which will likely save you thousands of dollars. 

                  2. Wait for Prices to Fall More

                  Guess what — prices are already starting to rebound. But even if they weren’t, there’s a good chance interest rates will be climbing, which means the mortgage payment could actually be higher, even if prices were to fall a tad. 

                  3. Wait for Rates to Get Lower

                  They could, but in my thirty-four years of selling real estate, these are the absolute lowest they’ve ever been. The federal government has put downward pressure on consumer prices to avoid inflation and has artificially driven down interest rates as well. That’s all about to end.

                  4. Can’t Afford Your Dream Home & Decide to Wait

                  Your dream home will be constantly evolving. What works today won’t work for you in the coming years. Your income will change, and so will your standards. Why not take advantage of this opportunity today to have a stepping stone to your dream home tomorrow?

                  5. Decide the Economy is too Scary

                  First, stop watching NBC and CNN and hearing all the doomsday prophets who cover the economic news. They pretend to have a crystal ball, when in fact, they are largely full of hype. Be mindful of the economy, but remember, everything is cyclical, and we are now on course for a new direction. 

                  6. It’s a Fantastic Home, but I need to See More

                  When will enough be enough? If you are clear on what your needs and wants are, and your gut tells you this the “the one”, don’t wait — you might just lose out. 

                  7. It’s Priced Well, but I want a Steal

                  Don’t we all? The reality is, if it’s priced well, another buyer will also appreciate the value and may just swoop it up, while you continue to “play not to lose” rather than “play to win”.

                  8. Buying Direct from a For-Sale-by-Owner Will Save Me Money

                  When it comes to for-sale-by-owners, they aren’t going to be priced lower just because they’re not listed with an agent. In fact, I have worked with many people who bought a for-sale-by-owner property without consulting a Realtor and paid way over market value for the home. 

                  9. I’m Having Cold Feet and Want to Back Out

                  We deal with this all the time — it’s called buyer’s remorse. Did I look at enough homes? Did I pay too much? Will something else better come on the market? Once you’re under contract for a home, stop looking. My suggestion is to breathe and remember why you fell in love with the home in the first place. 

                  10. Backing out Because of the Radon Test

                  Radon occurs in nature; virtually every home (and even the outdoors) has some level of radon. The EPA has set some of the toughest standards in the world when it comes to radon. Don’t panic if the radon level comes in above the EPA guidelines, a mitigation system can be installed. Frankly, one of the safest homes may just be one where you know what the radon levels are and the seller has installed a mitigation system, reducing the radon to nearly zero. 

                  11. Not Trilled with my Real Estate Agent — Yikes, now What

                  I think it’s important that you make a decision to work with just one real estate agent because they can show you every property on the market. They way you show commitment is by entering what can be called a buyer broker agreement. Find out if you have the legal right to exit this agreement if it’s truly clear that your business relationship isn’t working. My team allows termination with 24-hours notice because if the working relationship is strained, there’s no point in continuing down a difficult path. 

                  12. I’m Going to use my Divorce Attorney for Real Estate

                  Different attorneys specialize in different areas of law and rarely do they cross into fields not related to their practice. When choosing an attorney, pick ones that a real estate attorney, rather than a divorce attorney or a litigation attorney. After all, you wouldn’t go to your dentist for open heart surgery!

                  13. Aunt Sally Hasn’t Sold a Home in Months, but I feel I need to Work with Her

                  Aunt Sally may be the sweetest lady in the world, but this is one of the biggest decisions you are going to make in your lifetime. Tell Aunt Sally that you value your friendship so much you don’t want a real estate transaction gone sour to jeopardize the precious relationship. 

                  14. Save Money by not Having a Building Inspection

                  There are a few times when it might not make a lot of sense to have a building inspection, but 95% of the time, I think they’re worth it. In fact, not only will they save you money in the long run, they’ll help educate you on the ins and outs of what it takes to run the home. 

                  15. Bite off More than you can Chew

                  Lending practices continue to evolve. Some lenders allow you to stretch beyond your rational comfort level, so pay attention to it. Living with constant financial stress just isn’t worth it. Try to get most of your needs and wants satisfied, but not if it makes you ill whenever the bills come in. 

                  The biggest mistake of them all is NOT BUYING. 


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                    Choosing the Right Team

                    RealtorBuying a home requires a lot of players; you are likely going to needs a great real estate agent, not a Vanna White who tells you, “Here is the kitchen.” That much you can figure out on your own; you need someone who truly cares about you. Your Realtor has to understand your needs in housing, but more importantly, he or she needs to understand your wants. A Realtor who is worth every penny he or she earns is one who has a serious amount of experience. God forbid you or a loved on ever needs open heart surgery, but if you do, are you going to want a surgeon who has performed a few dozen operations, or would you want one who has done hundreds? You also want that doctor to regard you a human being and not just as another success, a notch in his or her belt; you want a person who truly cares. Likewise, your Realtor needs to have your best interests in mind and not just be concerned with how fast he or she can get more money. You need a realtor who knows how to negotiate in your best interest, one who has been down this road before. 

                    How do you pick the right Realtor for you? Great question — but perhaps the real question is how to avoid Realtors who mainly worry about their bottom line and couldn’t care less about you making a choice that supports who you are. Here are some questions to ask the agent you are thinking about hiring:

                    • How long have you been in business? Look for someone with a minimum of five years — ideally someone who has experienced a variety of real estate markets including boom times and bust times, allowing them to give you a sense of likely real estate trends ahead. 
                    • How many homes have you sold thus far? Anything less than one hundred probably isn’t enough; although he or she might have great enthusiasm, you need more than a cheerleader — you need an advocate on your side, a filter who knows when to push and when to pull back. 
                    • What areas do you serve, regarding both physical locations and types of real estate? If the person is willing to drive much farther than seems normal, or if he or she claims to be able to handle all kinds of real estate, from condos to commercial, run, don’t walk. This is not the time for a jack-of-all-trades. Realtors need to work within a reasonable geographic area as well as a specific housing type, rather than justifying covering the entire state and handling sales from condos to commercial properties. Anything less than that may mean the agent is focused on themselves and not the outcome for you. 
                    • Do you have a team? If so, what does it consist of? Imagine going to a doctor for open heart surgery; do you really want him or her to photocopy your insurance card, weigh you in, take your blood pressure, do the actual lab reports, handle the billing, and sterilize the surgical equipment? No, you want the doctor to do what he or she does best and leave the rest to the others on the team. 
                    • What systems will you be using to discover the right home? Does the Realtor like to work with for-sale-by-owners? Does he or she contact other agents to let them know he or she has a qualified buyer ready to go? Does he or she do mailings to target neighborhoods, when inventory is too low?
                    • Am I allowed to terminate our buyer broker agreement at any time, without penalty, if I am not satisfied with your services? I believe if the agent is as good as he or she claims, he or she will have no problem allowing you to move on and hire someone different, someone more in-tune with your needs and wants. 


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