Blog :: 2014

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! 

Seasonal Rentals on Okemo- A Great Option to Explore

Seasonal Rentals can be a great option for people who do not want to commit themselves to purchasing a second home in Vermont. "The Season" which generally runs from mid-November to mid-April is prime time to experience all the winter fun of the Okemo Valley.

From slope-side ski condos to single family mountain homes or lakeside properties, there is something for every budget. These rentals typically come with many amenities that owners enjoy; these amenities are extended to the renter for the entire season.

If you already own your piece of Vermont and find that you do not use it throughout the season, you may want to consider renting it out. Renting out is a great way to offset costs and having people use your home in your absence helps keep the property in good working order. Just be sure to have a professional agency like Vermont Properties manage the details of your rental.

Many folks who now own their place in Vermont started out doing a seasonal rental. After all, once you experience the Vermont lifestyle, you are called back to the Green Mountains time and again.

So, come to Vermont, find a nice seasonal rental to suit your needs. You will likely decide that you want to stay as often as possible and buy a home of your own to enjoy our four-season area.

Vermont Properties and Development can help you find your seasonal rental or buy that second home you've been dreaming about.

Whether you decide to rent or buy....Come join us in Vermont, we look forward to meeting you!

4-season resort drawing ALL PROPS

Autumn in Vermont- a Norman Rockwell Painting

As I sit on my porch, I am reminded that the dog days of August will soon give way to cooler days and nights here in the Green Mountains. While we mourn the end of summer we look forward to the spectacular display of autumn colors. Our famous sugar maples will paint the mountains in explosive shades of scarlet,  gold and yellow. It is Autumn in Vermont!

Drive along most any road in Vermont and be transported back in time to a Norman Rockwell painting. White churches and small farms dot the countryside. Old time country stores with rockers on their porches invite you to stop and sit a bit, slow down and enjoy the most beautiful time of year in the northeast. Even the locals are not immune to the fireworks like display. Just like any other place we have our four seasons-but with a twist. Winter, spring , summer and foliage seasons all take turns bringing their unique beauty to Vermont.

The best part is that these cooler temperatures invite us to still enjoy many of our favorite summer activities. Hiking, fishing, biking and golf all take on a different feel with the spectacular Vermont foliage as a backdrop.

Soon the snow will begin to fall, the first flakes often pushing out the last of the brightly colored leaves. The reds and golds soon to be a distant memory as winter takes hold of the Okemo Valley. Come to Vermont, stop by our porch at VT Properties, take a seat, enjoy the cooler weather and all the beauty that comes with the changing of the seasons. We look forward to seeing you.

Fall Sign Card

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!

sign with flowers

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.

good office pic summer small

There is more than one way to get to the top of the Mountain

Ludlow Vermont has earned its reputation as a popular skiing destination, but when the snow melts and the temperatures begin to climb summer takes hold of the Okemo Valley. We begin to look at other activities this area has to offer. From Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend, the Lakes Region is in the center of warm weather fun. From fishing and boating to camping and exploring the various hiking trails in the area. There is something for everyone.

The views are still spectacular but in all their summer splendor. We are called the Green Mountain State for a reason. Don't limit your time with us to the winter season alone.

Okemo Mountain Hiking

Okemo specifically has its own hiking trail network. With easy access from both the base of Okemo and Jackson Gore you will find a couple of ways to get to the top. For the more adventurous, take one of the trails. If a more relaxed pace is what you are looking for there is a 4.5 mile road directly to the summit. Many people find themselves taking the "ski" trails to the top; trading in skis for hiking shoes. Just make sure you are ready for some work!

Okemo Mountain hiking trail signsAnother popular hiking location is the Healdville Trail which winds to the top of Okemo's 3,340 foot summit. Almost 6 miles round trip, you will use the better part of your day.  Features along the trail include a fire tower and several lookouts, which offer a bird's eye view of the local ski area.

There are a couple of vista points along the way. The first will give you a sweeping view of Mount Holly and the Green Mountain chain. Just past the next clearing where the trail merges with a work road you will find the reconditioned fire tower which is open to hikers. This hike is considered to be one of the best and most rewarding. Your reward is finding yourself above Okemo Mountain's 3,340 foot summit for a panoramic view of Vermont's Green Mountains, west to New York's Adirondacks and east to New Hampshire's White Mountains.

The idyllic skyline found at the top of Okemo will soon welcome skiers and snowboarders as they come to make their snowy descents. But for now, come explore the Lakes Region on one of many local trails.

If you hear the fresh mountain air call to you, pitch your tent at one of many campgrounds in the Lakes Region and sleep under the star studded skies of Vermont.

Who knows, after a good night's rest out in the fresh Vermont air, 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 Lake's Region, Okemo Valley and Okemo Mountain.

The Lakes Region of Ludlow, 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." When the temperatures warm, the Lake's Region becomes the center of attention

As with winter, the Okemo Valley is the perfect place to enjoy numerous summer activities. Come off the Mountain to take advantage of all the Lake's Region has to offerSummer in Vermont's Lakes Region and Okemo Valley.

The Lake's region is comprised of the five lakes: Amherst Lake, Echo Lake, Lake Pauline, Lake Rescue, and Lake Ninevah, immediately north of town. Enjoy everything from swimming, sailing, and canoeing to fishing.  Have a little more adventure in mind? Power boats are permitted on Lake Rescue, so trade in your snow skis for water skis and go!

Visiting Plymouth State Park

Catch something good while fishing? have a BBQ lakeside in Plymouth State Park on the shores of Echo Lake.  Located on the east side of Echo Lake, Plymouth State Park is a great place to bring the family for swimming, boating, and camping. You can rent a canoe for a day or a mountain bike and explore the countryside.

Free Live Music at Okemo

At the end of a great day in the sun head back up the Mountain every Friday night from June through August to 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 Lakes Region.

Spring has sprung and so should you!

Lowering inventory has been a national headline grabber. Following an exceptionally busy winter selling season, we are anticipating the spring selling season will bring a surge of new properties to market.

This is a time of year when buyers and sellers come out of real estate hibernation. Considered to be one of the best times to list your home, it also becomes a great time for buyers to take a fresh look at what is on the available.

Sellers, if you are thinking about listing your home we are already entering the best time to get your house ready to list and sell.  Typically this process starts in February when the snow is still on the ground. As the snow melts people are venturing out and taking a look around. With a renewed sense of energy the market can take off quickly as the summer progresses.

Although the spring is prime listing season, no need to worry if you weren't ready in time. The most important item in your arsenal is an experienced local Realtor®. These professionals can help you any time of the year get the most out of the real estate market, whether buying or selling your home. We are fortunate in Vermont to have a true four season state and local Realtors® know how to take advantage of all that Vermont has to offer

Stay informed about the local market. Vermont Properties and Development can help you find your perfect home no matter the season. Give us a call at 802-228-8877 or stop by our office at 29 Locust Hill Road, Ludlow; across from the Okemo Golf Club. Heidel-View-Fox Run B-6

Is it a buyer's or a seller's market

People ask us all the time; "is it a buyer's or a seller's market? ".

This is often a difficult question to answer. With that said, all indications point to BOTH! Having all of the conditions come together to create this scenario is rare.

Nationally, the housing market is the strongest it has been in the past 5 years. Indicators in existing home sales, available inventory and median sales price all point to a national housing market recovery.

The question for Vermont real estate buyers and sellers is how the national housing market translates to our market, especially in the resort areas, which can be very different than the primary home market.

While there is a notable increase in home sales in the entire state of Vermont, there are significant variations in the price categories. Homes between $500,000 and $1,000,000 sales increased 36%. Homes in excess of $1,000,000 sales increased 55% in the same time frame. These figures indicate that the luxury and higher end markets are becoming more robust than they have been in years. (Statistics pulled from NNEREN 2012-2013)

This higher end market in Vermont tends to be primarily second homes. The increase in sales in what is considered the luxury market is attributed to gains in consumer confidence, improved economy and improving job market. These factors make more Americans comfortable spending discretionary money on summer and winter vacation homes.

As Vermont's inventory continues to be absorbed, the pressure on the price points will be reduced and the market will continue to improve.

So if you've been waiting for the right time to dive into home ownership, all indications point to that time being now. With a combination of stable prices and low interest rates and reduced inventory, it really should be great for both buyers and sellers.

Give us a call today at Vermont Properties and Development. Representing both buyers and sellers, we are here to help you navigate this complex market to your advantage.

Okemo Ridge-Privacy on Okemo Mountain

As we round out  a spectacular season in the Ludlow/Okemo area let's take a look at the other condo complexes on Okemo Mountain.

Okemo Ridge and other mountain condo complexes

Consisting of two private homes and two duplex homes tucked in the woods, Okemo Ridge sits just a few steps away from the Kettlebrook trail.  These homes have dramatic stone fireplaces and unique architecture, fitting perfectly in this year round mountainous setting.  Enjoy the privacy of a single family home or townhouse in the secluded area of Okemo Ridge, one of Okemo's favorites.

OYukon Kornelius Okemo Mountain Resortkemo offers several other complexes that are not direct ski on ski off.  Many of these mountain communities are serviced by the Okemo Mountain shuttle system. These include Westwoods, Okemo Village, Alpen Meadows, Alpine South and many more.

Check out our Condo Guide  and map for an overall picture of the mountain layout. We are here to answer any questions you might have and are available 7 days a week when you are ready to look at properties on or off Okemo Mountain.