Blog :: 2013

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! 

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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The "Other" Season in Vermont

Vermont is well known for its winter activities and Okemo Mountain provides some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the state. However, when the snow melts and winter gives way, we are blessed with warm summer days and clear star filled nights. In ski country, many call this "The Other Season".

As with winter, the Okemo Valley is the perfect place to enjoy numerous summer activities. From the Lakes Region to Okemo Mountain there is something for everyone.

If golf is your thing, the Okemo Valley Golf Club, considered one of the most desired golf destinations in New England is Vermont's first heathland-style course. With the Green Mountains as a backdrop, you will enjoy stunning views as you work through this challenging 18-hole championship course.

Looking for a little more adventure? Check out the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster or Sawyer's Sweep Zip line; soon to feature a tree top course called The "Challenge Course" with swinging bridges, cables to walk on and rope bridges.  This is all part of the Okemo Adventure Zone featuring miniature and disc golf, climbing wall and Segway tours.

Every Friday night from June through August, enjoy free live music at the Summer Music Series at Jackson Gore. There is no better ending to another great day in the Okemo Valley.

Who knows, you may even decide to stay! If so, stop by Vermont Properties and Development across from the Okemo Golf Club. We will show you the best homes in the Okemo Valley.

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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.

Come visit the Lakes Region of Okemo Valley

The Ludlow/Okemo area has a dual identity. It is well known for an impressive ski season but when the cold and snow retreats it gives way to some of best summer weather in the country. The Lakes Region is the place to take full advantage of these beautiful summer months.

This is a time to grab your summer toys.... Dust off the golf clubs, grab your hiking gear or hop on your bike. Whatever your bliss, you can find it in the Lakes Region.

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Comprised of five lakes immediately north of Ludlow (Echo Lake, Lake Rescue, Lake Pauline, Amherst Lake, and Lake Ninevah), this area provides the perfect place to swim, sail, canoe, water-ski, or fish. At the end of the day, fire up the grill and have dinner lakeside. If your'relucky, there may even be some fireworks. All around us, the warm days hold a whole new list of activities to enjoy, places to explore and challenges to meet.

The Lakes Region has so much to offer. Come visit us in Vermont, spend some time finding out why we are The Green Mountain State. Should you decide to stay, there are some wonderful Lake Properties available. You can view current VT Lakes Region waterfront home listings here. Imagine owning your own little slice of heaven in a place known for its year round beauty.

If you find yourself near Locust Hill Road, across from Okemo Golf Club, stop by Vermont Properties and say hi!

"You never get a second chance to make a good first impression"...Will Rogers

While sellers can count on the importance of "location, location, location" one of the most important features is a good first impression when it comes to selling their home. When real estate sales were booming here at Okemo, buyers were scooping up properties regardless of condition. Inventory was much lower and buyers needed to move fast when the right property came on the market.

Fast forward and it is a new day!  The Okemo real estate market is improving and we see buyers returning to the market, but they are no longer grabbing up properties regardless of condition. There is still some sense of urgency due to rising interest rates; however, it has never been more important for sellers to put their best foot forward in terms of preparing a clean, well maintained and inviting home.

As a Real Estate Professional, I have seen sellers drop prices, offer selling bonuses and look for other creative ways to get the property sold. But remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression! Pay attention to buyer's feedback, this is gold.

If your real estate agent isn't making suggestions on what you need to do to get your home ready to sell, ask and then....act!

Whether your property is a winter vacation ski home or a primary year round residence it should be dressed to impress in any season. Cut the grass, paint he door, clean the closets, stain the deck... money spent upfront will help grab that buyer the first time through and stand out against the competition.  Just as looks aren't everything....neither is price.

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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.

 

 

 

Vermont Properties and Development Brought the house down.... in this case the office!

Big changes are underway here at Vermont Properties and Development.  Our late 1800s building is under renovation.  We are all excited about our new space and know that we will be able to service our clientele even better with our new conference room and reception area.

If you are in town, stop by 29 Locust Hill Road at the base of Okemo Mountain and check out the progress through the summer. There will be no changes to our office hours or availability while under construction.  We will maintain all aspects of our services without interruption.

Check our blog often to watch our progress. We will keep you posted so stay tuned and watch the progress with our photo documentation!

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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!