Blog :: 2015

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! 

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...

It is the middle of December and we have been waiting with bated breath for Mother Nature or her designee to step up and bring us some snow. She still seems to be slacking but there is some good news. The Snow Gods have decided that enough is enough and have stepped in to answer our prayers. Overnight Friday, the snow began to slowly fall; by Saturday morning there was ground cover. We all woke to find Ludlow and Okemo blanketed in white. We admit, it is not a lot, but it is enough to get us excited and coupled with the colder temperatures, Okemo is able to step in with their upgraded snowmaking system and cover the trails.

We may have gotten a late start this year but having a little taste has reminded us that it is indeed December and the snow will eventually bury us. Vermonters are known the make do with what they have and to make the best of any situation. After all when life gives you lemons, make lemonade; when life gives you cold weather, make snow. Okemo is doing a great job rising to that challenge. As my grandmother would say..."If you don't like the weather in Vermont, wait a minute and it will change".

Don’t let the reports of warming temperatures or El Nino scare you. Okemo will make the best of this situation; we will have snow waiting for you. You have only to show up; Okemo will take care of the rest. Of course if you decide to stay, Vermont Properties will take care of that for you.

If you are in Ludlow and have the time to stop by 29 Locust Hill Road and say hi, we would love to meet you. We are directly across from the Okemo Golf Club in the big red farmhouse. 

6 Best Places to Buy a Winter Home in Vermont... Okemo is One!

Investopedia, a premiere Internet site dedicated to providing information for investing education, personal finance and market analysis, recently posted an article titled

 “6 Best Places to Buy a Winter Home in the US”.

As you can imagine, we were thrilled to see Okemo Mountain make this list. Anyone who has spent time in this area already knows what a special place Vermont and most specifically, Ludlow is. Even through the years of growth, both have maintained a small town feel that many come to Vermont to experience. The team at Vermont Properties and Development, Inc. are proud to be active members of this special community and the premiere real estate agency both on and off Okemo Mountain and in the Lakes Region. Below is an excerpt of the article; you can click on the link above to read the full story.

Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow, Vermont

Why: Okemo topped the list of OnTheSnow.com's “Best Family Resort in America” in 2014 so if you’re looking for a family vacation destination, this might be it. According to Bonnie MacPherson, director of public relations at the resort, Okemo got this No.1 rating because the family who owns the operation understands that “families are looking for activities they can enjoy together on and off the slopes.” Take the Muellers, Tim and Diane. They bought a home at Okemo Mountain Resort in 1982 for themselves and their two kids; they still spend their winter vacation there but now their grandchildren come along, too. The resort boasts “options for every level, available from the top of each chair” with 121 trails, 655 skiable acres and, thanks to snowmaking equipment, a “weatherproof” ski vacation. Okemo is a three-hour drive from Boston, just under five hours from New York City.

What’s Available Now: Well, not exactly now. A brand new development at Okemo called SouthFace Village is not quite finished – it should be fully operational for ski season 2016. It’s in a sun-all-day, ski-in/ski-out location (you can go from your fireplace to your first run in two minutes tops) with homes that come fully equipped “from flatware to the flat screen TV,” according to the marketing materials. You can choose a 1- to 4-bedroom homes with prices that begin in the mid $400,000s.

Winter in Vermont Already? ~ The Snow has Made an Appearance!

It is barely the end of October and the pumpkins and mums have a white coating this morning on the porch of Vermont Properties.

As we sit on the cusp of autumn and winter we know what is in our not so distant future. The Old Farmers’ Almanac is once again predicting a cold and snowy winter for the northeast. Now, I know some of you might be thinking… Farmers’ Almanac? What next, are they watching the wooly bear caterpillars too? The short answer is, yes…yes we are; but before you fall down laughing, know that these two indicators of our winter weather are usually on target. Granted, we Vermonters may have some strange ideas but many have stood the test of time. They have been passed down from generation to generation. And really, isn’t that one of the reasons you love Vermont so much?

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, ”New Englanders will once again experience a very frigid winter”, with lots of snow in the forecast again this year. January and February are being flagged as experiencing some very heavy winter weather (aka SNOW) which is expected to last through to March. So sharpen your skis and boards, the East Coast is gearing up for some ideal mountain conditions.

Of course, Okemo has their fantastic snowmaking upgrades all ready to step in should Mother Nature take a vacation. Either way, we will have you covered…. In snow!

Stop by and see us when you come to Vermont. If you decide to stay, we can help you find your very own piece of winter paradise.

Dig out those long johns or Hot Chillys, whatever keeps you warm. You’re going to need them!

Breaking up is Hard to Do! You Deserve a Great Agent.

Meeting a new real estate agent can be like starting a romantic relationship; the introduction, a whirlwind courtship, followed by the commitment. You start by “hanging out” on the weekends, spending a lot of fun time together as you check out home after home. The rush of something new is exciting as you work together toward a common goal. It’s all good! Until it isn’t!
What happens when the excitement starts to die down and those little things start to bother you? The things you thought were quirky are now just plain annoying. How do you know when it is time to call it quits and move on?

Here are 5 warning signs that tell you it may be time to tell your agent…”It’s not me, it’s you”.

Missing in action
Where is that enthusiastic person you started with? Suddenly you texts aren’t returned, emails are not answered and you are getting sent to voicemail. You finally get an answer or a halfhearted call back 3 days later with no apologies.

High-pressure sales tactics
Each time you find something that might be right for you (or not) you start to feel like your agent is trying to sell you a used car. There are all kinds of reasons why you should buy/sell or rent. But are they your reasons? You come away from conversations feeling anxious and questioning yourself.

They’re not listening
You’ve taken the time to sit down and create your criteria list complete with deal breakers.
You bring these to your agent. Despite this, the agent continues to show you homes without several of your coveted features or homes out of your price range. You grow tired of trying to explain what you are looking for.
It is clear; your agent is not listening to you. Do you really want to spend another weekend with this person?

They stand you up
You leave work early and rush to meet with your agent only to find out they are not at the office or you receive a last minute call to cancel without explanation. Of course agents have other clients in their lives but failing to communicate is not acceptable. Your time is just as important as theirs. Yes, life happens, but when it happens over and over, red flag!

They make decisions for you
You found the place! You’ve submitted an offer. It’s all good but… your agent neglects to ask if you would agree to a later closing date. Instead, they take it upon themselves to reply for you and the sellers accept a different offer. Why didn’t your agent just ask you? Full representation does not mean making decisions on your behalf.

Just like any new relationship it can be easy to convince yourself you’re overreacting or being too demanding. The difference is that this is an important business relationship and should be given priority. If you’ve done your part to communicate openly with your agent and you’re not 100% satisfied, go ahead, move on and find an agent who meets, then exceeds your needs. They are out there!

At Vermont Properties, we will listen, respect your time, work on your behalf and always be available to meet your needs. Our team approach guarantees that regardless which of our 3 agents you reach, that agent can and will take care of you. If you are in town, stop by our office at 29 Locust Hill Road. We would love to meet you and exceed your needs!

Congratulations to Kevin Barnes, newest CIPS Designee


Kevin Barnes of Vermont Properties and Development has completed the requirements to earn his CIPS designation.

Recognized by the National Association of REALTORS®, the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designee has undergone specialized training needed to complete international transactions seamlessly and with reduced risk.

Only agents who have completed the rigorous coursework and demonstrated considerable experience in international business can call themselves a CIPS designee, and use the name and logo.

CIPS designees must complete 5 full days of study focusing on the critical aspects of international transactions, including:
• Currency and exchange rate issues
• Cross-cultural relationships
• Regional market conditions
• Investment performance
• Tax issues

Agents who have the CIPS designation are well-informed and prepared to work with international clients to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for foreign buyers.

Real estate is a complex field, one that requires continual training. The CIPS designation is critical for brokers and agents who want to provide the best possible experience for their international buyers and sellers. Working with a CIPS designee is your best and most trusted resource for navigating the international market.

Vermont Properties and Development, Inc. is proud to have Kevin Barnes as part of our experienced team of Agents. While there are over 2800 CIPS designees worldwide, there are only 7 in the entire state of Vermont.

Congratulations Kevin on your most recent accomplishment, obtaining your CIPS designation! From all of us at VT Prop, we are proud to have you on the team!

Summer Fitness Ideas in the Okemo Valley

Summer is officially here! Unfortunately not only is it here, but it will be gone before we know it. Coming into August, here are some summer fitness ideas to work into your schedule before the warm weather eludes us again for months!

While relaxing in the sun is a wonderful way to de-stress and let your mind wander towards anything other than the usual day-to-day and week-to-week tasks, some of us ignore an incredible outlet for both mental and physical health… exercise! Sure, skiing and snowboarding are awesome exercise in the winter, but what about summer, you may ask? The village of Ludlow has nearly countless options for fun, rejuvenating, relaxing, and exhilarating exercise. We promise there is something for everyone! Just some of the options include: biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and golf.   

Hiking: With Okemo Mountain in the heart of Ludlow, who could ask for a more convenient hiking spot? Okemo offers many trail networks to enjoy and explore, and if you’ve already taken advantage of these beautiful trails and are looking to expand your hiking horizons, there are MANY more breath-taking locations within an hour or two of Ludlow. For more information on hiking at Okemo, please visit Okemo Mountain's website.

Biking: Okemo has an exciting new activity to offer visitors of all fitness levels, ages, and experience at their Evolution Bike Park! The Evolution Bike Park is a lift-serviced mountain biking experience that includes trails for people of all levels of experience. From first-timers to veteran mountain bikers, everyone is sure to enjoy this park! For more information on the Evolution Bike Park at Okemo.

Canoeing/Kayaking: The Ludlow/Okemo area is home to 3 pristine lakes for visitors to enjoy: Echo Lake, Lake Rescue, and Lake Pauline. For more information on boating, fishing, and outdoor swimming, check out Your Place in VT for more information

Stay cool and stay fit out there!

As always...If you are in town stop in and say hi. We would love to see you!

Another Busy Season at Okemo

The 2014/15 ski season is winding down. As we come off one of the snowiest ski seasons in history here in the northeast we take stock of winter and reflect on how busy we continue to be here at Vermont Properties and Development. As real estate professionals we are often asked when the busiest sales time of year is.  Typically the answer is "going in to and out of the ski season"; this holds true again this year!

The number of closed transactions continue be up from previous years and interest rates remain low.  Many buyers we work with are very savvy about this information and use it to guide decisions. What does this mean? People are buying houses to take advantage of these conditions and we are seeing available inventory for certain properties decrease.

Do you have your eyes on a property? Better jump before someone else does and remember, we are here for you every step of the way and beyond!

 

Spring Brings Crazy fun to Vermont

So…looking out the office window and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Snow! Go figure…But there is a benefit to all this white stuff still piling up, spring skiing will be great!

March brings longer, sunnier days and as expected, it has come in like a lion hinting toward some extended spring skiing. We are still accumulating fresh natural snow making for great conditions that are rare this time of year. We begin to see people skiing and riding without their jackets and some so bold as to shed their winter gear altogether and don a bathing suit!

As we cruise through the month, Okemo Mountain pulls out all the stops to end the season with a bang. Jackson Gore will be hosting a variety of events that are worth checking out.

Mid-March, “Spring Daze” brings a free outdoor concert to Jackson Gore, complete with heated tent, beer garden, barbeque and 3 bands rocking the afternoon.

Toward the end of March, a new event will draw the crowds. Hops on the Snow brewfest will be at Jackson Gore. This will be a one-day beer festival where folks can sample 10 new seasonal beers and have some great food at the barbeque while listening to some live music.

As March turns in to April, one final crazy spring tradition will take place. The Slush Cup and Splash for Cash event will bring a smile to your face. Costume-clad Slush Cup competitors take a downhill run toward an 80-foot-long slushy pond and try to make it across without falling in. The most fun is watching the ones who do not make it. Time for an early and very cold swim!

We look forward to seeing you in Vermont for some of the best spring skiing in years and some pretty cool events.

It's been a crazy busy year for the VT Properties team but we hope to break away and join you on Okemo for some spring fun!

 

It's Real Estate Season!

On March 20th at 6:45 p.m. all the snow will melt, the trees will bud, crocuses will bloom and the birds will be singing.  Well… maybe not, but it is the first day of spring.

What we can be certain of are two things. Spring skiing will be awesome and it is the beginning of prime selling season for real estate. The weather is getting warmer and people are getting out there. This is also the time of year when houses will begin their transformation. Green lawns, blooming flowers and bright sunny days draw people out to look at houses. It has been a long dark winter and spirits are high. It is time for a fresh start.

There is an influx of new listings and inventory comes back up. Choices are everywhere, but don’t wait too long. Just like you there are other potential buyers looking for that special place, if you find something you love, you better grab it. If not, other homebuyers are waiting in the wings.

Vermont is a special place year-round but spring brings something wonderful to Vermont. We begin to earn our name as the Green Mountain State. So come to Vermont and find your dream home. Whether you are looking for your primary home or a second home in the Lakes regions or on Okemo Mountain, Vermont Properties can deliver.

Come join us as our State comes alive with the bounties of spring! We look forward to meeting you.

Baby It's Cold Outside - Stay Warm

Brrrr...It’s cold outside!
We prayed for snow and boy did we get it, but with the snow came the freezing temps.
Vermont is famous for its winter activities from skiing and snowboarding to snowmobiling and hiking.
Whatever winter activity you choose, don’t forget to stay safe in these frigid temperatures.

As our mothers taught us, wear your coat, hat, boots and mittens. Stay bundled up. Take frequent breaks and come inside to warm up. While you are staying safe and warm, the folks at Vermont Properties wants to remind you to take some precautions for keeping your furry companions safe and warm too!

When the mercury dips, extra precautions need to be taken:
• Keep your cat inside. Felines can freeze, become lost or injured
• Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice
• Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. Cars act as freezers in the winter
• Puppies and elderly dogs do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, limit the outdoor play time
• Make sure your furry companion has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts

Dogs & cats lose most of their body heat from their paw pads, ears and through respiration, consider a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the neck to the belly. For some, a nice pair of paw booties will keep them warm and free from salt.

By taking some simple precautions, our furry friend will be as safe and comfortable as their human counterparts. At VT Properties and Development, we care about you and your pets. Stay safe out there!