Blog :: 2012

Welcome to our blog!

Below you will find information on real estate, our local area, and the community. Please feel free to comment on any posts, we would love to hear what you think! 

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.

WinterWonderland_web

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

What you should know about real estate appraisals

An appraisal isn't an exact science

When appraisers evaluate a home's value, they're giving their best opinion based on how the home's features stack up against those of similar homes recently sold nearby. One appraiser may factor in a recent sale, but another may consider that sale too long ago or the home too different, or too far away to be a fair comparison. The result can be differences in the values two separate appraisers set for your home.

An appraisal is a snapshot

Home prices shift, and appraised values will shift with those market changes. Your home may be appraised at $150,000 today, but in two months when you refinance or list it for sale, the appraised value could be lower or higher depending on how your market has performed

You can ask for a second opinion

If your home appraisal comes back at a value you believe is too low, you can request that a second appraisal be performed by a different appraiser. You, or potential buyers, if they've requested the appraisal, will have to pay for the second appraisal. But it may be worth it to keep the sale from collapsing from a faulty appraisal. On the other hand, the appraisal may be accurate, and it may be a sign that you need to adjust your pricing or the size of the loan you're refinancing.

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!

The Fair Deal and the "Steal of a Deal"

Prices have come down along with a slight decrease in our market inventory. This pricing change reflects a "meeting of the minds" between buyers and sellers. It seems that sellers are tired of waiting for a better deal and in some cases, so are buyers.

As a seller, it isn't easy to "cut your losses" and take the deal but carrying costs are a significant factor and need to be considered when looking at the big picture.  The question becomes; "How long will I carry this property if I do not take this deal?"  In this second home/ vacation market that question is answered one of two ways. The seller will decide to hold on to and even rent the property to recoup some carrying costs or they will calculate future expenses and decide to take less and close the deal.

Here at Okemo many owners do not "need" to sell.  This is a hard concept for some of our buyers who have been watching the market with diligence waiting for the right time to get a great deal. Many are disappointed when a seller will not let a property go.  A fair deal may not always be the bargain you hoped to get; but before walking away from a fair deal consider some important points.

How long will I own this property?

How often will I use the property?

Is this location going to make life easier for my family when we arrive on a Friday night after a hectic week?

What are you really saying "no" to when you walk away from negotiations?   If it isn't right, don't' try to make it work. However if it is the right property for you, finding a "steal of a deal" isn't more important than a fair deal.

Both on and off the mountain, short sales and foreclosures are few. The entire state of Vermont is 50th in the country with the least number of short sales and foreclosures; this has translated to a more stable market than in some of our other New England states. Although we know the market isn't going to fully recover back to 2005-2006 pricing any time soon, we do believe that we are seeing an upward turn.

Consider the fair deal. Even if you do not come across the "steal of a deal", now is the time to buy at Okemo.

Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don't forget to clean out the garage, too. 2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home. 3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It's worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it. 4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help. 5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint. 6. Don't disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they'll give buyers the impression that the house isn't well-maintained. 7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway. 8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable. 9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa. 10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently. 11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers. 12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress. 13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one. 14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it's not in use. 15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight. 16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that's not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they will be to eliminate surprises. 17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it's impossible to watch everyone all the time. 18. Leave the home. It's usually best if the sellers are not at home. It's awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

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Say The Right Thing

The right description can get your home a second look; the wrong one can sour buyers on the property in a matter of seconds. So choose those words wisely. Photos provide a stunning visual, but you can truly capture your audience by showing them the "unseen"

1. Highlight amenities. Data fields on a listing convey the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a house, but they won't tell you the whole story. The description is the place to provide the extras that are not provided by data field info. Key details such as "heated garage" or "stunning views" should be played up in the description. Is there a picturesque vista from almost every room in the house? Does the house have direct access to the ski slopes? Say so. Give potential buyers a reason to take a closer look.

2. Be specific. Phrases such as "beautiful remodeled kitchen" are abstract; instead, point out features that prospective buyers desire. Identify granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Mention appealing features such as pullout shelves in the kitchen cabinets or the walk-in pantry with plenty of storage.

3. Use the right adjectives. Buyers are savvy; too much fluff can be off-putting. Use descriptors sparingly and choose the words that pack the most punch. "Spacious" is a relative term but "open floor plan" is understood by everyone

4. Advertise lifestyle. Buyers are often motivated by emotion. A home, whether primary or secondary, is a place where memories will be created. Suggestions such as "Relax with a glass of wine in the hot tub" or "entertain friends in the gourmet kitchen" provide buyers with some ideas about what those memories might be. Don't forget to mention the surrounding community. Buyers are looking for a home, not just a house. Seasonal activities like golf or skiing, proximity to a lakes region or quaint village are all reasons to consider buying in a specific location.

Convey the biggest selling points of a house in the first couple of lines. Don't feel the need to point out flaws. Buyers will discover a home's quirky floor plan or tiny garage once they visit. For some it will be a deal breaker; for others, maybe not.

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A great deal that doesn't close is no "deal" at all.

Yes, as a seller you care about getting top dollar for your home, so offer price is the primary factor that can make or break the deal. However, as a seller you need to be aware of some other factors. The last few years of very high contract cancellation rates have put sellers on high alert, the offer may be great, but can you close? With these conditions top priority should be given to offers that have both (a) strong price and (b) a strong likelihood of closing.

Be aware of the most common deal killers:

  • Low appraisals
  • Mortgage approval failures

  • Condition problems revealed by inspections

Though some of these potential deal killers are beyond your control, as an informed seller, you can make smart decisions that can lead to a successful transaction.

Look beyond the buyer's offer; a great deal that doesn't close is no "deal" at all.

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Realtors Care about Community

We work hard to achieve excellence in all real estate transactions with our buyers and our sellers and to cooperate and maintain healthy relationships with our competitors and other fellow REALTORS 

Recently our office participated in the Crown Point Board of Realtors' 5th Annual Tag Sale.  Over the past 5 years this single day event has raised more than $8,000 benefiting various needs. In the past, this event has given funds to the 5 area food shelves and a local family whose home needed to be made handicap friendly when their son suffered a head injury while snowboarding. This year we were able to raise over $1,500 with the proceeds going to a local family that lost their home in a recent fire.

This community event is held on the Saturday of Memorial weekend.  It is organized and staffed throughout the day by area Realtors coming together with donations from customers and clients. Vermont Properties is proud to be a part of a local Realtor board that continues to value its communities by serving them with care and integrity. Mark your calendar for next year and join us for the 6th Annual Crown Point Board of Realtors' Annual Tag Sale.