Real Estate Tips for Buyers and Seller

  • Throughout the buying or selling process ask lots of questions. If you’re not sure, ask. This is a major event in your life and you should understand every aspect of it.
  • Who is representing whom? Before you share confidences with your agent, be sure that he or she is truly working in your best interest. (See Agency Disclosure on bar at left)
  • Before you purchase, have your financing in order. A real estate sale is a very emotional process. If the credit report turns up long forgotten problems or erroneous information it could delay or derail the whole process.
  • Assemble a team of professionals you have confidence in, including your broker, banker, home inspector, and attorney. It will be a lot less stressful for everyone if you are comfortable with your team
  • Sellers as well as buyers should plan on having an attorney represent them. If a problem is revealed during the buyer’s title search it is pretty late in the transaction, The Seller may have difficulty finding an attorney whose schedule has an opening. Delays may threaten the sale.
  • Buyer and seller alike should use the services of a Vermont attorney. Vermont has taxes and title issues that are unique to this state. A Vermont attorney is best suited to deal with those issues.
  • When shopping for a mortgage, consider how long you plan to own the property. If you plan to own the property for a few years it may make sense to pay a point or two for a lower interest rate.
  • Are you considering running a business from the property at some point? Better speak to an attorney now. State and local zoning may make your future plans costly or impossible.
  • Buying raw land to build that vacation home? Regardless of the size of the parcel get it perc tested. The perc test will cost a few hundred dollars but you will know roughly how much the septic system will cost as well as where it must be placed. This may effect the placement of the home and your feelings about the land.
  • Mound type septic systems are costly and they are the rule not the exception. An engineer recently told me that 70% of the systems he sees in this area are mound type systems.
  • Most inspection clauses in a purchase and sales agreement are designed to give the buyer the opportunity to find any hidden problems or the source of an existing problem. Be sure to have a structural/mechanical inspection done on any buildings on the property that you are purchasing
  • Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) was once the rule in the sale of residential real estate. Now a seller must disclose to a potential purchaser everything he knows about the true condition of the property.
  • Be aware that in Vermont real estate agents draft the actual Purchase and Sales contract. It should spell out in unambiguous terms all of the conditions of the sale. All parties to the agreement should understand the agreement completely. Upon its execution it is a legally binding contract.
  • The sale of real estate has tax implications for both Buyer and Seller. Consult with a Vermont attorney or accountant to better understand Vermont regulations and prepare for the event.
  • In Vermont Buyers pay the Vermont Property Transfer Tax. For Non-Resident Buyers it is calculated at 1.25% of the sale price. Residents pay .5% on the first $100,000 then 1.25% above that.
  • It is important to keep in mind that the real estate commission is a contingency fee similar to that charged by some attorneys, with no cost to the seller unless and until the property sells.
  • The sale process can be an emotional time for everyone. It is best to respond promptly to proposals and counter proposals. A little courtesy can go a long way to improve the negotiation process.
  • It is important to remember that a significant change in the use of the property can tax the systems of your new purchase. Increased use means more water used, sewage generated, more demand on the electric service, etc. Plan Ahead.

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