Interest Rates on the Rise. Don't wait to buy!

Mortgage rates were on the rise last week.  Not only did the average rate move above the highest seen in 2013, but rates haven't been this high since May 22nd of 2012!

Of course, there is the "everything is relative" perspective, whereby we can attempt to appreciate the fact that best-execution is still around 3.75 - 3.875%; the fact remains that the day to day movement was devastatingly swift, and on the most aggressively negative end of the spectrum of possibilities heading into the day.

Despite the recent jumps and fluctuations in mortgage rates, the Fed's $85 billion monthly stimulus program has kept rates low. But this bond-buying quantitative easing program, known as QE3, will have to end at some point.

The Feds will continue the stimulus "until the outlook for the labor market (has) improved substantially," said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in testimony to Congress Wednesday.

"A premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily but would also carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending the economic recovery and causing inflation to fall further," he says.

But the Feds may adjust the size and pace of the stimulus, Bernanke told Congress. When pressed for more specifics during the hearing, he didn't rule out the possibility of tapering QE3 by Labor Day, adding that if the employment market improves, the Feds could prepare to "take a step down" in the next few meetings.

The markets immediately reacted to Bernanke's comments, putting upward pressure on rates.

Rates had just started adjusting back down after the recent spikes, but now it may take longer for rates to drop back to the lows, if at all.

In this time of investment  uncertainty in home mortgage interest rates, one thing is certain; they will rise. Take advantage of low interest rates and excellent home prices. This combination makes "now the time to buy".



HARP Refinance Program is extended through 2015

Want to take advantage of the lower interest rate and worried you would not qualify or your home won't appraise?

The Borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will have until the end of 2015 to obtain new loans under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

HARP previously was scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. The program allows borrowers to cut their loan payments by refinancing at lower interest rates even if they are stuck in homes that have lost value.

This program can be the answer to many homeowners' prayers.  More than 2.2 million borrowers have used the program so far. To qualify, homeowners must be current on their payments and have loans originated before June 1, 2009.  This program is not only useful to property owners who find themselves underwater but owners who have less than stellar credit scores or have reduced income can benefit from the HARP Refinance.

  • The basic requirements to qualify are:
  • Your current mortgage must be Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned.  ( 1 phone call to your mortgage company can get this questions answered)
  • You must be current with your loan payments
  • You must have had "no late" mortgage payments within the last 12 months.
  • Loan must have originated prior to June 1 2009.

Pick up the phone and call your mortgage broker today and ask if you can get start today!

What Waterfront owners should know about Bill H-223!

 Recently Bill H-223 was introduced to The House seeking to regulate shoreline development. This Bill, as written would require the Secretary of Natural Resources to adopt standards for the permitting of disturbances and development in lakeside and protected shoreline zones within the state.

Among other things it would require homeowners to obtain permits for shoreline development.

Owners of waterfront property who are considering expansion or renovations should pay close attention to this Bill.

If it passes as written, property owners would face serious restrictions to development of their water front properties here is Vermont.

While the intention of the Bill is to enact shoreline protection requirements to ensure clean waters for the future, opponents express some concerns that it is "overkill".

Waterfront property owners may want to keep an eye on this Bill's progression. You can find outline of the Bill at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/bills/Intro/H-223.pdf.

Searching for Real Estate in the Okemo/Ludlow Vermont Area?


Recent studies reveal that 90% of all real estate shopping begins online! The internet has changed the face of industry and how buyers shop for real estate is right up there offering huge amounts of sales data available to the general public.

Take a hint from a professional...not every website is easy, accurate or reliable. Every market is different and unless you have a good source for information you can spend precious time browsing either old inventory or unreliable sites.

www.vtprop.com is your trusted source for up to date information on the Okemo real estate market. Our new site gives you the convenience of using a reliable website backed by personal attention from a local real estate team.

To best serve today's buyers and sellers, our site has undergone a huge revision. You can now register online, set up your own search criteria and choose to receive automatic updates as new listings become available that match your criteria.

As a member of MLS our team is dedicated to educating our buyers and sellers about the market. Our cooperative agreements with all area agencies give us access to all listings and we have no problem showing you other brokers' listings along with our own.

Not all agencies and Realtors® work with the same service related philosophy as Vermont Properties & Development, which is part of what sets our sales team apart from the rest!

Here at Okemo Mountain ... the snow just keeps coming!

It seems that our collective prayers have been answered and the snow GODs have blessed us with the best snow for the Christmas Holiday than we have seen in years!

The Real Estate in the Okemo Valley is "in use" evidenced  by the smoke seen from nearly every chimney and house lights so bright it looks like a festival of lights from the top of Okemo's peaks cascading  down through the valley and up again to the nearby hills of the Ludlow Valley.


Cheers to a snow filled winter and a happy healthy New Year!

Now get out and play!

Thinking of selling and don't know where to start?

Selling a home can be overwhelming, whether it is your primary home or a family vacation home. Many sellers don't know where to start. Your first call should be to a local Realtor® preferably one that comes recommended to you from a family member or friend who had a positive experience or a Realtor® that you have done some diligence in researching their area of expertise.

Every market is different and finding the Realtor® that is best suited to sell your home is an important factor to consider. The bottom line is you may like a Realtor® as a person and they may be successful but are they successful in the market which your home will be placed? Inviting a Realtor® into you home to give you a fair market analysis is a great start but it is equally important to listen to what the professional has to say about what you need to do in order for your home to shine and show at its best. A Realtor® can give you a list of service people that can help you get projects done as well as help you to prioritize those projects according to your budget. It is not a bad idea to meet with two or even three Realtors® before listing your property. When interviewing a Realtor® it is important to take the time to look at their advertisements, website and how their listings look on line. Are the pictures clear or blurry? Are there pictures of rooms with un-made beds or clothes on the floor? Are the exterior pictures taken on a blue sky day and from the best possible angle? You may be surprised by what you can learn when you look at a Realtor's® pictures. Buyers are easily turned off and will ignore properties that do not present well on-line no matter how low the price may be. If their listings do not grab your eye, how will your listing appear to other consumer? Remember a picture may be worth more than a 1,000 words, when it comes to selling your home, it may be worth $$!

Okemo is the difference when it comes to snow making!

Living and working at the foot of Okemo Mountain is a reminder on a daily basis of the true effort and persistence required to get our gentle giant up and running.

With the start of Christmas vacation week a mere 10 days away Okemo and its staff is a buzz with activity.  Cooperating low temperatures have made it possible for the snow making team to transform the mountain into a winter wonderland.   This weekend the mountain will be operating 40 trails and 8 lifts. Amazing right?

Selling real estate on Okemo means we are driving up and down the mountain several times a day.  This morning I drove up Okemo Ridge Road and noticed the snow guns working the kiddie poma area and this afternoon the area was completely transformed and ready for action.

We are ready for Mother Nature to blow some snow our way but in the meantime .... have no fear Okemo is HERE!

Happy skiing & riding!

Yukon Kornelius Okemo Mountain Resort

Your Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Under Fire!

Homeowners everywhere should pay close attention to the changes our government is proposing to the Mortgage Interest Deductions. The Federal government is once again looking for ways to generate additional revenue; it is no secret that in the past legislators have put this sacrificial lamb on the chopping block and it seems they are at it again.

While the benefits of home ownership are many, the interest deduction is very important to homeowners.  It seems that some people even think that doing away with the deduction with help jump start the housing market. Some people will want to beat the government to the finish line by buying now assuming there will be some kind of clause for existing owners.  Really?

The National Association of Realtors® recently conducted a survey asking the following question:

How do you plan to use your mortgage interest deduction tax savings this year?

  • 35%    Home improvements
  • 32%    Pay off bills
  • 23%    Deposit in savings
  • 8%      Family trip

This potential change affects buyers, sellers and current owners.

We all need to pay attention!

Spring is the time to buy

We are experiencing quite a bit of traffic as buyers look for value.  Timing is everything.  In my previous blog post, I mentioned the sharp price reductions and aggressive offers being made.  We believe the time is right and Okemo proved again this winter the value of a great mountain.  If you are in town, stop by and visit us. If not, our website makes it easy to start the search from wherever you may be. We are here to help, just give us a call. Happy hunting!