VT Properties News

Right Time for First Time Home Buyers

As we watch the economy rebound, real estate sales have been a strong indicator of overall economic health.

As we anticipated, fast, cash only sales are declining. As the real estate market improves and inventory declines we are poised for rising home prices just as interest rates are increasing. With this in mind it may start to look like you could be priced out of the housing market. However, some believe now is the perfect opportunity for first time buyers to get their foot in the door before the end of 2014.

Home prices are still off their high

Home prices are rising, but considering how far they fell in 2008 there is still some great deals to be had. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, average U.S. home prices are currently at summer 2004 levels.

As the economy improves, first time home buyers will likely see significant appreciation in the years to come if they are able to get in now before both prices and rates increase.

Interest rates are expected to keep rising

Although interest rates are still very low, they are rising. Some experts believe that rates could reach 5% by the end of 2014. A percentage point here and there may not seem like a lot but even a small bump in interest rates can mean a significant jump in your monthly payment.

A good example: consider a $400,000 mortgage at 4.2%. You will pay about $300,000 in interest on a 30-year mortgage. Increase that by a mere .7% (4.9%) and your overall payback increases by more than $60,000 over 30 years, that is more than $360,000 in interest alone!

Rental costs are also rising

This is where the first time home buyers need to really think about the costs of home ownership. While there are compelling reasons to rent rather than buy, these reasons are usually personal in nature, i.e. you move around a lot, your job location changes, etc. A good rule of thumb when you feel like it is time to put down roots is to consider the price/rent ratio, your buying power and the local housing market.

Overall, you should look at your personal finances and really consider if buying is right for you. It may not be, but consider that experts believe that it is unlikely the housing market will be as appealing next year. Interest rates and home prices are both likely to be considerably higher and you may indeed find yourself priced out of the market in more ways than one.

If the time is right for you to buy a home Vermont Properties can help you find your home on or off Okemo Mountain, in the Lakes Region and the Okemo Valley. Stop by and say hi!

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A fresh coat of paint! A fresh look for your home

Thinking about selling your house? Paint your house! Your Realtor ® can be a trusted advisor, suggesting any changes that you should make to sell your home.

What is the one thing 94% of all real estate agents agree will help sell a house? A fresh coat of paint! Sellers who invest in an interior paint job may find their homes are on the market for a shorter time and may get higher offers. It sounds easy enough but careful consideration of colors is important. Remember, you are not painting to suit your taste. Rather, finding colors that appeal to the broadest array of buyers is key!

Buyers need to mentally "move in" to your home. Depending on the impression you want to give, consider the following information.

Enlarge a space

Cool colors reflect light and can appear to recede, enlarging small areas. A monochromatic color scheme can also make a space feel larger. To really create a feeling of spaciousness in a room, choose a soft blue, spa like green or cool gray.

Create calm

Organic shades of green, brown and blue elicit a positive response from most people and are a great choice for personal spaces, like bedrooms. They're neutral to live with and aren't likely to result in a "Get me out of here!" reaction during home showings.

Embrace intimacy

Warm colors, like sandy beiges, rich browns and muted reds or plums, will give a cavernous space a sense of intimacy. These cozy colors work well with wood floors, bronze finishes and some period.

Highlight a feature

Create an accent wall to highlight a special feature - like a fireplace or built-in bookshelves - but don't overdo it. Avoid choosing a bright or dramatic color. Instead, select a color that is 2 or 3 shades lighter or darker than the one on adjoining walls.

Camouflage the unwanted

Paint heater vents and other unavoidable fixtures the same color as the walls to minimize distractions - they should not be the first things buyers spot when they visit your home.

What colors get the most favorable reactions? Depends on the room.

Kitchens should invite you in

In the kitchen it's good to stay in the orange, red and yellow families. These work well because they're food related, but it's important to still make them soft, appealing and neutral.

Bathrooms can be tricky

Bathrooms tend to be smaller so keep it light colored. Keep it in the light yellows or tans. Perhaps you can pick up colors from the tile floors. A favorite color idea is the "spa" colors like muted greens and lavenders. You can always use accessories or soaps to give it a pop of color.

Bedrooms are your haven

Ahh, the sanctuary of the house; especially important to stay away from bright colors. Choosing something neutral in tone that will work with the flooring and flow in to the master bath. You do not have to match the master bath but do keep them coordinated. You want people to have a sense of flow.

Home Offices should be cozy

For all us "old school" people who like the traditional colors. This is the space. In the home office warmer, richer colors are welcomed. People often expect an office to be painted with cinnamon, dark brown or even dark blue. These colors make the space an area to work and relax and impart comfort in the familiar.

The color to avoid may surprisepaint cans

What color should you avoid? Seems like this is an easy one but most people don't even consider it.   Surprisingly, white is the color to avoid. Many people will paint everything white thinking it is neutral; in fact it is a bright color.



Decisions about paint colors can seem overwhelming. Just stick to a few solid rules and stay away from trends and you will be fine. Select muted colors for the most universal appeal. Avoid dramatic darks or brights that may cause buyers to react negatively. And of course, avoid white, the brightest color of them all! Choose a warmer or cooler tint instead.

Happy painting!

Real Estate Sales a Good Indicator of a Recovering Economy

It is difficult to keep track of the recovering economy and all the factors that come in to play. One clear indicator of our economic state is real estate sales. Quite often the state of real estate sales are a clear indicator of an economy's strength (or weakness). Sales have been strong across the board with the northeast leading the way. A report in May shows that buyers swarmed builder lots allowing the real estate market to experience the biggest gain of new home sales in 22 years.

While demand for new homes climbed in all four regions of the country, the Northeast led these sales with a 54.5% jump. Sales of existing homes also increased by their largest gain in three years, up by 4.9%

Growing demand for new homes will give a much-needed boost to the construction industry, which in turn will boost economic expansion.

"Confidence is percolating up through the economy, making people reach for big purchases like new homes," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York,"

As confidence in the economy increases, potential buyers finally feel as if they are in a position for long-term stability. This feeling of economic stability coupled with still low interest loans and slow home price increases continue to support home ownership affordability.

This frenetic pace has been felt here at Vermont Properties and Development. The traditional "slower season" did not materialize this year and we expect to remain just as busy. We have both the staff and  listings of existing homes and building lots both on and off the Mountain. We can meet your needs in the Okemo Valley on Okemo Mountain and in the Lakes Region.

Check out our website for details. Or stop by our office at 29 Locust Hill Rd in Ludlow, VT. We are across from the Okemo Golf Club.

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Real estate apps-home hunting at your fingertips

If you haven't bought or sold a home recently, prepare for a culture shock!

Nothing has changed the home buying/selling experience in the past few years as much as the rise of smartphones and tablets. In the past three years, these technologies have transformed the way people hunt for, buy and even sell homes. House hunters have access to more information than ever before; home sellers and their real-estate agents have more tools to reach those buyers. Fortunately, the most popular real estate apps work well for both sides.

Popular real estate sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia offer their own apps for smartphones and tablets that allow people to search for homes, find specific information and narrow the search. You can stand in a neighborhood that you like, conduct a search and see homes for sale pop up all around you on a map. Relying on GPS technology, these apps provide real time information in your current location.


In a time when people are expecting the world to be at their fingertips, it truly is. Using Zillow's app,  you can walk around a neighborhood, see a "house for sale" lawn sign, pull out your smartphone and see how long the home has been on the market and how many times the price has been reduced.

Realtor app features the adult's version of "Etch a Sketch". You can highlight an area by drawing a shape with your finger; the app will show any homes for sale within that highlighted area.

Like the others, Trulia's app allows you to search for homes using filters like price, number of bedrooms and baths, location etc. Save your searches and be notified when new houses come on the market.

While these apps provide the initial tools to start your search, they also allow you to quickly contact a trusted Realtor®. Local agents are be experts in the area and can provide insight and guidance for a successful transaction. The brokers and agents at VT Properties and Development have been your local experts in the Ludlow/Okemo valley for more than fifteen years. We are proud to be a leading real estate agency in this unique Vermont market.

Our mobile website option allows you to take full advantage of these most popular apps. Check it out today at www.vtprop.com. You can search for properties, create a favorites list, save searches and sign up for automatic updates on properties that match your criteria.

Happy mobile house hunting!

After the sale

soldAll of your hard work has paid off. You've sold your house!

Definitely pop the champagne cork and celebrate but there are a few things the authors of "House Selling for Dummies" recommend after the sale:

Keep copies of all paperwork related to the closing.  You may be tempted to put these in storage, especially if you are buying another property and will be moving around. If you do, be sure all this paperwork is handy for April 15th. When you file your taxes, you'll need documentation for the expenses and proceeds of the sale.

Keep proof of improvements and prior purchases. Even though the property is sold, remember that the IRS may still allow you to the cost of improvements to your home's cost basis during the time you owned the home. This can be especially useful if you have a sizable capital gain. But to use this tax provision, you need to keep receipts for everything you spent on home improvement. Consult your tax preparer or attorney for specific guidance

Choose your next home carefully and take your time. We know, once you have sold your home there may be some sense of urgency to buy another and get settled. Now is the perfect opportunity to take your time, look at a variety of areas and housing options that meet your family's needs. Who knows, you might even find something unexpected! If you need more time, rent for a while.

Think about what you need from an agent to help you buy. Can the agent who helped sell your house meet your needs when you're buying? Generally yes, but buying and selling require different skills. If moving to a new area, you may want someone familiar with the area; your trusted Realtor® can refer you to another agent.

Remember to send change-of-address notices. The Postal Service recommends you complete your change of address forms 30 days before you move.

Your Realtor can be an excellent resource even after this complex transaction has been completed.

You can trust Vermont Properties and Development to help you buy or sell your home. Visit our website www.vtprop.com for a variety of information or to look at listings in your area. Or give us a call at 802-28-8877 we would love to speak with you about your real estate needs.

VT Properties...Where everybody knows your name!

Buying or selling a home is a huge decision and often one of the largest purchases most will make. Technology is playing a greater role in today's real estate process. In fact a recent study by the National Association of Realtors® found that 94% of consumers are using the internet when considering a home purchase. Potential home buyers are doing a majority of their research before ever contacting a Realtor®.

VT Properties has embraced changes in the way people approach buying and selling, but it has not been at the expense of exceptional and personalized service.

Our exceptional customer service and local expertise will enhance your home buying experience and provide peace of mind during this complex process. We believe that every customer who walks through our front door is walking into our home and define success by the relationships we have built and will build for many years to come.

The next time you are considering buying or selling real estate, don't just Google(TM) a Vermont Realtor®.

Find your trusted Realtor® at Vermont Properties and Development or call us at 802-228-8877. We are your local experts for properties in the Okemo Valley, both on and off Okemo Mountain and in the Lakes Region. Stop by and see us at 29 Locust Hill Rd across from the Okemo Valley Golf Club.

At Vermont Properties and Development...we know your name!

Vacation home sales on the rise

With an improving economy, low but rising interest rates and a boost in the stock market, vacation home purchases continue to increase. According to National Association of Realtors' ® 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, vacation home sales rose by as much as 10%, while the median sales price rose by 24%.

While there are many reasons for this upswing, the primary factor is often value. Vacation properties are still priced well below pre-recession highs. As the recovery continues, buyers will begin to see higher prices coupled with decreasing inventory and may find themselves squeezed out of the vacation home market.

One specific sector that has seen more action is the higher end market in resort areas. Properties that may have been on the market for a year or more are suddenly seeing increased activity. In many cases, these properties can sell very quickly. The savvy buyer knows what he or she wants and when they see it, they buy it.

We may be sitting on the cusp of opportunity in the vacation home market. As often happens in real estate, when the opportunity has passed we are often left wishing we had "jumped on the bandwagon".

Vermont Properties and Development specializes in properties in the Ludlow/Okemo Valley, both on and off Okemo Mountain. Two of our agents are certified as Resort and Second Home Property Specialists allowing us to better service the second-home and resort area real estate market. Give us a call at 802-228-8877 or stop by our office at 29 Locust Hill Road.

We look forward to meeting you.

Construction continues at Vermont Properties and Development

Construction continues at Vermont Properties and Development. As we move closer to the end of our renovation, excitement builds. The new space will include a conference room and we look forward to welcoming you in our new reception area. In the meantime, office hours continue as usual without disruption in services. With so many improvements to the offices and our expanded website, we continue as one of the leading real estate agencies in the Ludlow/Okemo Valley.

Many of you have already commented on these changes. We enjoy hearing your feedback and excitement. Stop by the office if you are in town and check out the progress through the summer. We would love to show off our plans!

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New Certifications and Designations for VT Properties and Development

As real estate transactions become increasingly complex, it is critical to be represented by a skilled Realtor®. Professional designations and certifications represent an agent's high level of expertise and commitment to their real estate profession.

Agents who have earned advanced designations and certifications are better prepared to service the needs of today's savvy consumers in a market with evolving technologies and changing legalities.

Vermont Properties and Development, Inc. understands the importance of continued professional development. In an effort to remain at the top of their field, Kathy Burns and Alyson Blodgett have both earned new designations and certifications.

Kathy Burns recently received her Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) certification. The RSPS is an education-based certification program with 1,700 elite members. RSPS is recognized as an official National Association of Realtors certification which allows consumers to have confidence in the expertise of a REALTOR® who demonstrates excellence in handling resort and second home real estate investments. Kathy currently holds ABR®, CRS®, GRI designations and RSPS certification.

Alyson Blodgett recently acquired two recognitions. Earning her Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) certification puts her in good company with 1,700 elite members. RSPS is recognized as an official National Association of Realtors certification, which allows consumers to have confidence in the expertise of a REALTOR® who specializes in resort properties and second home real estate investments. Alyson has also worked to earn her Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR) designation. This designation is considered the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation. Brokers who receive this designation demonstrate a unique understanding of homebuyers needs and are committed to the best interests of buyers in real estate transactions. Alyson holds ABR® designation and RSPS certification.

Vermont Properties and Development, Inc. specializes in properties in the Ludlow/Okemo area, both on and off the mountain and in the lakes region. Our sales team continues their professional development in order to fully represent both buyers and sellers in this ever-changing market. You can learn more about Kathy and Allyson here, and are welcome to call Vermont Properties and Development with any questions at 802.228.8877.

Vermont Properties and Development, Inc Check out our new website

Now that a particularly busy spring is winding down, we would like to take the opportunity to tell you about our new Vermont Properties' website and blog.

The new site provides us with enhanced tools to market properties as well as the ability for consumers who register to set up an account and enter property criteria and track the market activity.  Not only will consumers have our in-house listing information but the entire MLS is accessible from the Vermont Properties site!

Some of the features and tools available once an account is set up:

  • Keep an eye on favorite listings by saving them to their account
  • Receive email alerts the moment a listing matching their criteria hits the market
  • As goals change,  consumers can refine searches with the touch of a button

Our blog provides timely information about our real estate market for both buyers and sellers. Join the conversation or send us topics you would like to hear more about.

We invite you to take a look at both the new website and become a follower of our blog.