Blog :: 03-2014

An elegant evening out at Guild Tavern -- On the house!

Win a night out

The Signature Properties of Vermont agents value every opportunity to interact with our community members. It is our honor and privilege to serve as your real estate professionals. Your trust is not taken lightly.


We would like to show our appreciation by offering you a fabulous evening out at one of our favorite restaurants in the area - Guild Tavern!


Entering to win is simple! 


1. BECOME A MEMBER of our website. (BENEFIT: Be the first to see new listings that match your criteria, save your favorites and have immediate access to Signature Agents)


2. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK . Stay current with Vermont real estate and area news, home trends, fun tips and more! Join the conversation! (Already a Facebook fan? Check our page for other opportunities to enter!)


3. INCREASE YOUR ODDS by doing both!

*One winner will be drawn each month beginning in April 2014

Thank you again for your continued loyalty and support. It means the world to us.



Life Hacks: Moving Edition

Starting fresh in a new home or apartment is very exciting...and can also be a daunting amount of work and preparation. Moving doesn't have to be a hassle! Check out these shortcuts and you'll be amazed by how smooth your transition is.


Have a bag ready with everything you'll need for your first night at your new place so you won't be searching through every box after a long day of moving. Include: Toiletries, a change of clothes, phone and computer chargers, laptop, a towel etc.


Your items will be easily spotted and easy to retrieve. Include: box cutter, tools, trash bags, essential cookware, power strips, cleaning supplies etc.


You'll save money on tissue paper and bubble wrap, while putting your towels and clothing to work! Tip: Use socks to pack stemware.


When you get to your new home, bring each box to the room where it belongs. Tip: Label boxes " 1 of x " so you'll know you have them all -- make sure to label boxes on their sides and not their tops!


If possible, see if you can have access to the home before the closing to clean the kitchen and bathrooms before moving in. Having them stocked with paper products and ready for unpacking will safe a lot of time on the day of the move.  If you can, hang your shower curtain and have towels ready so showering will be easy after a long day of unpacking.



Wrap the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap and screw the tops back on to prevent messy spills (especially helpful for pump lotion bottles!).


When you take anything apart, label and organize the pieces in sandwich bags and tape them to the item for easy re-assembly.


Save yourself the aggravation of trying to remember how everything fits together by snapping a few quick pictures on your phone before unhooking your electronics.

Unpacking will be a snap! Tip: Go through your closets first and take out any off-season items to store away immediately after your move. If you can, vacuum seal them to save space.


Remember: The more preparation you do in advance, the easier your move will be.

The 3 Most Important Real Estate Documents

There is plenty of paperwork associated with a real estate transaction that may seem unfamiliar. Your agent will simplify the legal jargon and make it more relatable as you go along, but in the meantime there are a few documents you should be familiarized with.

Let's go over those now so you'll know which points to pay closest attention to.

Purchase and Sale Contract

Of course, an agreeable contract is the ultimate goal for buyers and sellers alike. The first question a seller will ask is "how much are they offering" which of course is incredibly important. However, the price isn't the only piece of the contract that could make or break the deal. Pay special attention to these clauses:

1. Earnest Money Deposit: Sellers will want the initial deposit to be high to show the buyers are serious. Buyers, on the other hand, will usually prefer to put down a smaller deposit (around $1,000) so as not to tie up their funds. The amount of the deposit not only clues sellers in on the seriousness of the buyers, but also serves as evidence that the buyers can afford the purchase. If a prospective buyer can't come up with $1,000 for a deposit, they may be wise to take a closer look at their finances to make sure a home purchase is in their best interest.

2. Financing Contingency: The financing deadline is the date by which a buyer must have proof of a full commitment from their lender stating they will be lent the amount needed to purchase the home. This decision depends on the underwriters at the bank and differs from a pre-approval which is more of a theoretical qualification. If the buyer's financing is not proven by the date in the contract, either party may exit the deal without penalty if an extension is not a satisfactory solution.

3. Dates: Contract and addendum dates need to be adhered to in order to ensure the validity of the contract. Pay close attention to the closing date, financing date, inspectino date and any other dates outlined in subsequent addendums. If a date falls through the cracks, an addendum to the contract will be needed to extend that date, or the contract may not be airtight. Your agent will be on top of all dates and keep you aware of what is coming up throughout the transaction.

Sellers Property Information Report

Commonly referred to as a SPIR, this document fulfills the sellers obligation to disclose any information which may effect the value of the property. This document gives prospective buyers a thorough history of the property and clues them in on any possible repairs or issues they could face in the future. If you are a seller, it's crucial that you fill the SPIR out with as much detail as possible to protect yourself from any future liability due to lack of disclosure. If you're a buyer, be sure to read through the SPIR closely with your agent and ask lots of questions. It's better for both parties to know all of the details up front than to face a problem in the future.

Bylaws & Association Documents

If you are buying a condo or a home in a development with an association, you will be presented with a large amount of documents outlining everything from rules and regulations to dues and budgets. The association may dictate your property maintenance, ability to have pets and parking regulations just to name a few. in an association, although you own the home, your usage of it and the associated property may be dictated in their individual regulations. Pay special attention to the budgets and financial statements provided as well--if you see that the association is in trouble, beware! That could mean if a major repair is needed the association will collect extra dues (on top of monthly or annual fees) from members to cover the expenses. If you are unwilling or unable to pay, the association may be able to impose fines or liens against your property. There will be a lot of documents to cover, but it's important to take the time to read them all over carefully and be sure you will be able to comply with all of them long term.

Your agent will be well versed in all of these, and every other document presented throughout your transaction. It is always advised that you seek the counsel of an attorney who specializes in real estate to go through every item ensuring compliance. Remember to ask questions about anything that concerns you; your agent and attorney are there to help!

Spruce Up Your Home For Spring

Spring ChecklistSpring is a season of invigoration and after a long, cold winter, most homes could use a touch up or two. Now is the time to give your home a thorough once over; follow these simple, effective ideas to get your home ready - inside and out - for the busy months ahead.

Deep Clean Carpets and Rugs

Rent a steam cleaner, or hire a professional to give your carpets a good cleaning. You'll notice a huge difference! Maintain the freshly cleaned floors with regular vacuuming and spot treatments as needed.

Clean Window Treatments

Take down drapes or curtains and wash or dry clean them. Dust your blinds and clean with a damp sponge to remove dust build up and keep allergies at bay. While you're at it, wash the glass inside and out and put screens back on the windows to let the fresh air in.

Replace Doormats

Winter takes a toll on doormats both inside and out. Give your entryways a fresh new look for the warmer months and replace those worn out mats.

Check Smoke Alarms

It's important to test smoke alarms every six months and replace batteries as needed. An easy way to remember is to check at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Throw out (safely) old prescriptions and discard any expired products. Be sure to stock up on first aid supplies and anything you'll be using in the warmer months like sunblock, bug spray and aloe.

Prevent Insects

Unfortunately, with warmer weather comes an influx of bugs and pests. Remember to store all food in airtight containers. Wash out your trash cans and recycling bin and remember to rinse all recyclables before tossing them.

Clean Siding

Use a pressure washer or garden hose to remove built up dirt and grime on the outside of your home. If needed, use a stiff bristled brush for an even deeper clean.

Clean Up Outdoor Living Spaces

Spray down and sweep off your deck or patio and bring your outdoor furniture out of storage. After a long winter it will seem nice to relax in the warm sun! deck furniture

Ready, Set, Grill!

Make sure your barbecue is firing properly. If it's not working to its full potential, use a sewing needle to clear out any clogged burner holes. Using a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water, spray down the grates, close the lid and let sit for an hour before scrubbing off any residue. Don't forget to fill the gas tank so you'll be ready for the first barbecue of the season!