Thursday, December 28, 2006
Rates were effected by increased consumer spending in November along with a increased new home sales causing concern over inflation. Read the full story...
Friday, December 22, 2006
If you would like to talk with a reputable lender about how much of a home you quailify for, please contact me. I am glad to put you in touch with a person who will provide you with excellent service and products. Also, visit my website for Ludlow, VT real estate.
Tags: bankrate.com, mortgage tips for 2007, ludlow vt real estate, irene gaffigan
Saturday, December 16, 2006
If youo are thinking of buying a home in Vermont or would like more information on how this new law effects your buying powewr, visit my website or give me a call. I'm here to help!
Tags: mortgage insurance, mortgage insurance tax deduction, ludlow vermont real estate, irene gaffigan
Friday, December 08, 2006
The National Association of Realtors has reported that the cost of renovations climbed in 2006, while the resale value of those renovations declined. Last year, for example, adding a master bedroom suite to a house cost an average of $75,959 nationwide and boosted the home's resale value by $64,419 - that's 84.8 percent of the cost recouped. The same job this year cost a lot more - $94,331 - and returned just $68,458, or 72.6 percent.
With the current leveling off of the real estate market, it may be time to rethink a remodel project vs buying a new home. Home sales have slowed causing inventory to increase and making it easier for buyers to negotiate contingency contracts. It used to be, a seller wouldn't think twice if you needed to sell a house prior to purchasing. But these days, sellers are thinking long and hard about working with a buyer who is also selling a home.
If you are considering a remodel vs buying, give me a call. I am glad to discuss your options with you so you can make the best decision for you and your family. Also, visit my website to view all Ludlow real estate listings.
Tags: ludlow vt real estate, irene gaffigan, home renovations costs,cost vs value
Friday, December 01, 2006
Rates like this make buying a new home for Christmas a great idea. Visit ISellVermontRealEstate to view all Ludlow and Okemo Mountain homes for sale.
Tags: ludlow vt real estate, okemo mountain, irene gaffigan
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Just as an orchestra warms up an audience with a taste of the music to come, so does the town of Chester with its annual "Overture to Christmas."Now in its 21st year, the event has grown to accommodate a number of holiday-themed events taking place locally. Details...
And if you are thinking you want to make Chester your new home, give me a call or visit my website. Here you can view all homes for sale, get current market values and more.
Tags: chester vt real estate, irene gaffigan
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thinking of buying or selling a vacation home in Vermont? Visit my website to view all real estate listings, get the current value of your home and more!
Tags: okemo mountain, ludlow vermont real estate, irene gaffigan
Monday, November 13, 2006
10 reasons why you should list your home during the holidays
1. Most November and December buyers are particularly serious and very likely facing some sort of deadline.
2. January is the biggest transfer month of the year and job transferee’s use the holidays to house hunt.
3. Many people want to buy before the end of the year for financial and tax reasons. Investors usually want to close escrow by year-end for tax purposes.
4. Most sellers wait until spring or summer to list their home. This means that during the winter months your property will have far less competition versus any other time of the year.
5. Homes show well when decorated for the holidays creating a sense of family and people are much more emotionally drawn to the house, emotion sells.
6. Many people take vacation around the holidays allowing more time to look for a home.
7. Remodeling, decorating, appliance installation and other services are more available and at less of a premium.
8. There is plenty of mortgage money available for buyers.
9. Lenders aren't as busy and can process loans faster.
10. Showings will be fewer and less intrusive, but more likely to be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.
Visit my website if you are thinking of selling your home.
Tags: ludlow vermont real estate, okemo real estate, irene gaffigan
Thursday, October 26, 2006
231 Lindberg Dr, Cavendish, VT
Small but in move-in condition...and room to expand, as this secluded one bedroom cabin sits on 2 wooded acres and is surrounded by 197 acres and which is part of the Vermont Land Trust.
There is a full basement with a partially finished room. A laundry room on main level big enough for small office. Also included are two out buildings...barn 48x22 with full loft storage and a 33x31 storage building.
Only 15 minutes to Okemo Mountain and close to the Black River.
Cavendish is located in the Okemo Valley and is made up of two villages, Cavendish and Proctorsville. Cavendish was created by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth when he granted the land of Cavendish to sixty-six proprietors in 1761.
Cavendish population is approximately 1,500 and is a mix of residential and vacation home owners. It is the perfect spot for your "cabin in the woods." Contact Irene Gaffigan, 802-226-8022, for more information on this home. Or visit my website to view this home and all Vermont listings.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
State permit and septic design is approved for a duplex with 3 bedrooms each, plus a hot-tub.
Just under an acre of wooded seclusion. A place to enjoy nature at it's best and the opportunity to own Vermont real estate! For more information visit, ISellVermontRealEstate.com.
Friday, October 20, 2006
There are also tax advantages to owning Vermont real estate. The interest you pay on the mortgage for your personal residence is tax deductible. Are you thinking of buying central Vermont real estate? Visit ISellVermontRealEstate.com to view all Vermont real estate listings.
Tags:vermont real estate, central vermont real estate, central vermont real estate listings, irene gaffigan, land rover tax advantages
Saturday, October 14, 2006
It is an honor and a privilege to be on such a list!
And don't forget, visit my website and contact me when buying or selling a home in Okemo Vermont and the surrounding areas. On my website you can view all Vermont real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more!
Tags: pittsburgh homes daily, 500 real estate blogs to watch, vermont real estate, okemo real estate, okemo homes for sale
Friday, October 06, 2006
In it's annual Top 50 Reader Resort Survey, SKI magazine named Okemo Mountain Resort one of the top ten resorts in the East, and one of the best in North America for Grooming, Family Programs and Terrain Parks. Ranked eighth in the East, the popular southern Vermont resort also made the top-ten list in ten of the Reader Resort Survey’s categories: Grooming, Snow, Family Programs, Service, Lifts, Terrain Parks, Weather, Lodging, On-Mountain Food and Overall Satisfaction. Read more...
Thinking of buying or selling a vacation home near Okemo? Visit my website to view all Okemo real estate listings, get the current value of your home and more!
Tags: okemo ski resort, buy an okemo home, okemo real estate, vermont real estate, okemo home for sale, vermont home for sale
Saturday, September 30, 2006
It is often said the American Dream is owning your own home. But, is it right for you? There are risks involved and understanding these will help you make a good decision for you and your family.
1. Increase in monthly housing expenses. Taxes and insurance costs related to your home are sure to increase overtime, but usually these increases are off set by tax advantages and a pride of ownership.
2. You are your own landlord. No more calling the landlord when something breaks down. Maintenance and upkeep are yours. but, youo can also decorate anyway you want!
3. You must sell to move. No picking up and moving with a 30 day notice. You must plan ahead and give enough lead time to get your home sold before relocating. However, you benefit from the equity buildup since you first purchased your home.
4. Property values can go down. Over the long term real estate appreciates, but markets are cyclical and in the short term there is a possibility for your home's value to go down. Take into consideration how long you will live in the home prior to deciding to buy a home.
If you would like to discuss if buying a home is the right decision for you, contact me. I'm glad to help. Also, visit my website to search all Vermont real estate listings.
Tags: risks of home ownership, vermont real estate listings
Friday, September 22, 2006
No need to learn Fedspeak, it has been translated for you!
Tags: bankrate.com, federal reserve, fedspeak, interest rates
Friday, September 15, 2006
Identity theft is a serious crime impacting more than 10 million victims each year. Often, consumers first learn they are identity theft victims when they are in the process of buying or renting a home. The National Association of Realtors is working with the Federal Trade Commission to educate comsumers to minimize the risk of identity theft. This new initiative, Deter-Detect-Defend is focused on empowering consumers to protect themselves against identity and to minimize its impact.
‘Deter’ Tips to Share with Consumers
1. Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
2. Protect your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is the key to your identity and must be closely protected. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
3. Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
4. Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a Web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
5. Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
6. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
‘Detect’ tips to share with consumers
Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
1. Mail or bills that do not arrive as expected
2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements
3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason
4. Calls or letters about purchases that were not made
1. Your credit report. This contains information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.
** The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
** Visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit reports each year. You also can write: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.2. Your financial statements. Review financial accounts and billing statements regularly, looking for charges you did not make.
‘Defend’ tips to share with consumers
1. Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports. A fraud alert on your credit report tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open any new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. Each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies has a toll‑free number you can use to place an initial fraud alert. Only one call is necessary; the company you call will notify the other two. An initial fraud alert is active for 90 days. If you want to place an extended (seven-year) fraud alert, you must follow additional procedures.
** Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
** Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
** TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
2. Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
* Start by calling the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your authorization. Follow up in writing and include copies of supporting documents.
* Use the "ID Theft Affidavit," available at ftc.gov/idtheft, to support your written statement.Get written verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts have been discharged.
* Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
3. File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials – for example, state or local police. It will help you work with creditors who may request documentation that a crime has occurred.
4. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your information helps law enforcement officials across the country with their investigations.
** By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338), or TTY,1-866-653-4261
** By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20580
Tags: identity theft, national association of realtors, federal trade commission, deter-detect-defend,annual credit report
Friday, September 08, 2006
In medieval days, a father would send an entire herd of cattle as a not-too-subtle hint that his daughter be married into a certain family. Nowadays, when you've decided a particular home is "the one" for you, you can, thankfully, leave the cattle at home. You are asked, however, to deposit a small percentage of the sales price of the home you want to purchase--it's called "earnest money.
"Your earnest money is a good faith deposit that accompanies your offer. It is usually a personal check, but a short-term promissory note is sometimes acceptable. A sizeable earnest money deposit indicates financial strength and assures the seller of your commitment to purchase the property.
Once your offer is accepted, your earnest money check is cashed and deposited with the title company, attorney or with the listing broker. Your funds are held in a separate trust account reserved only for earnest money deposits. In most cases, everything proceeds smoothly to the closing day when the total amount of your earnest money is credited to you as a portion of your down payment.
Your earnest money is totally refundable if the offer is not accepted or if some condition in the contract is not satisfied. For example, your earnest money is refundable if financing is not approved with the terms specified in the contract.
If you're thinking of buying a home in Vermont, give me a call or visit my website., were you can view all real estate listings, get the current market value of your home and more. It would be a pleasure to assist you in finding "the one" that you'd like to call "home." My knowledge of today's real estate market will aid you in making wise decisions in every step of your transaction.
Tags: earnest money, vermont real estate, vermont market values
Friday, September 01, 2006
161st Vermont State Fair To Open Today
The 161st annual Vermont State Fair opens today and runs through September 10.
1. The first Rutland Fair took place in 1846.
2. In 1859 the first Rutland Fair was held at it's present location.
3. The Fair was closed for the first time in 1917 due to an influenza epidemic.
4. The Fair started as a one day event.
5. In 1926 the Rutland fair was rated the third largest in New England and among the top 10 in the nation.
6. On June 17, 1939 the great fire completely destroyed the grandstand. The reconstruction of the grandstand took just 40 days.
7. In 1972 The Rutland Fair became officially the Vermont State Fair.
The Fair today offers 10 days of fun and entertainment for all ages. Hope to see you there!
Tags: vermont state fair, Rutland fair, vermont state fair opens
Thursday, August 24, 2006
BankRate.com is reporting a drop in mortgage rates for the 5th consecutive week. Rates are now the lowest they have been since the end of March. The gap is narrowing between the fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages, making refinancing a sensible option for many homeowners.
If you are thinking of buying a Vermont home and would like to learn more about interest rates and how they effect your buying power, contact me or visit my website. I'm here to help!
Tags: BankRate.com reports drop in interest rates, buy a home in Vermont, buying power
Thursday, August 17, 2006
This rustic post and beam home has it all!
You'll enjoy the privacy of your own secluded 43 acres. You'll bask in the sunlight while enjoying coffee on the south-facing front porch. You'll be able to unwind while listening to sounds of the babbling brook and gentle waterfall. You'll be comforted by the warmth of exposed wooden posts and beams and hardwood flooring.
Get more details on this home and view a virtual tour on my website, www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com. Here you can also view all real estate listings and get the current market value of your home.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Is it time to retire and move to the country or are you ready to build a second home for weekend skiing in Vermont? If so, you'll want to take a look at this prime 10 acres in Rockingham, VT. Located just off I-91 ( close to the proerty in my last post), it is an easy weekend commute from New York or Connecticut. The property is flat with a spring running through it and has just been reduced from $99,900 to $69,000. Don't miss the opportunity for Vermont land at a dscount price. Contact me today for more information.
Tags: Rockingham, land for sale in Vermont, build a home in Vermont, skiing in Vermont, Vermont retirement, prime acerage in Vermont, Rockingham land for sale
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Build your dream home on 15 private acres with winter views of the Connecticut River and it's babbling brooks. Just off I-91, this property is perfectly located for weekend get-aways of skiing, antiquing or just relaxing in the country. Enjoy watching the fall colors from your own little piece of heaven.
This property has just been reduced over $30,000, so don't hesitate. Contact me today for details or visit my website, where you can view all real estate listings.
Tags: acerage for sale, Vermont land for sale, views of Connecticut River, land in Rockingham, VT, land for sale in Rockingham
155 Church Ave, North Westminster Village, VT, 05101
Say goodbye to city living when you say hello to this Vermont farmhouse. This 4 bedroom home is the epitome of country living with it's cozy front porch, acre of land for privacy, classic stone wall surrounding the yard, and private swimming hole on the Saxton River. It is the perfect weekend or second home, close to various ski areas in southern Vermont.
For more information contact me or visit my website, where you can also search all real estate listings.
Tags: Vermont farmhouse, 155 Church Ave, farmhouse for sale, farmhouse on Saxton River, second home in Vermont, Vermont second home
UNITED is the industry's only national company which specializes in advertising local brokers' actual listings by showcasing properties in their exclusive real estate publications, on the web and in major magazines and metropolitan newspapers nationwide.
UNITED'S advertising reaches millions of prospective buyers each year. This exposure, provides sellers with a unique alternative to dependence on the local marketplace.
Visit the offices of UNITED COUNTRY FARM TOWN REALTY today at 231 Depot Street, Proctorsville and let the Farm Town Team show you how to take advantage of UNITED COUNTRY'S international advertising program.
Tags: Farm Town Realty, United Country, United Country Farm Town Realty, United Country's international advertising program
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Not according to BankRate.com's annual closing cost comparison survey. In this year's survey, Vermont ranked 28 in comparison to the other states. Good faith estimates were obtained from 10 lenders in all 50 states. Total cost comparions were based on lender, title and settlement fees.
New York ranked #1 for the second year in a row with costs totalling $3,887. Missouri was last with $2,713 in costs. Vermont's settlement costs totaled $2,950. Vermont's 28th place ranking is up from 38 in 2005.
Getting the lowest settlement costs possible is a matter of shopping around. Contact me if you are in the market for a home. I am happy to counsel you as to the questions to ask a lender to get the best possible deal.
Thinking of buying or selling a home in Vermont? Visit my website to view all real estate listings, get the current market value of your home, free reports and more.
Tags: BankRate.com, closing costs, mortgage, loan, New York, Vermont, buy, sell, home
Thursday, August 03, 2006
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) is beginning a new $10 million program making owning a home in Vermont a reality for many buyers.
The program will offer 4.75 percent interest rates to eligible applicants. Contact me for eligibility requirements. Also, visit my website to view all real estate listings. I'd like to help make your dream of home ownership come true.
Tags: VHFA, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, buyers, listings, homes for sale, Irene Gaffigan
Friday, July 28, 2006
The Expanding American Homeownership Act has been passed by the House Of Representatives bringing FHA into the 21st Century and offering hard-working Americans a variety of safe homeownership options at a fair price. This legislation will:
1) Eliminate the current statutory three percent minimum down payment, reducing a significant barrier to homeownership. FHA's existing down payment requirement does not meet the demands of today's marketplace, where most first-time homebuyers put down two percent or less. The "new" FHA would offer a variety of down payment options.
2) Create a new, risk-based insurance premium structure for FHA that would match the premium amount with the credit profile of the borrower. It would replace the current structure, in which there is standard premium amount for all borrowers, while still protecting the soundness of its Insurance Fund. FHA would have the flexibility to charge a lower premium for low-risk borrowers, and to charge higher-risk borrowers a slightly higher premium.
3) Increase and simplify FHA's loan limits. FHA's loan limit in high-cost areas would rise from 87 to 100 percent of the GSE conforming loan limit and in lower-cost areas from 48 to 65 percent of the conforming loan limit. This change is crucial in today's housing market. In many areas of the country, the existing FHA limits are lower than the cost of new construction, eliminating FHA financing as an option for buyers of new homes in those markets. FHA has simply been priced out of the market in other areas, such as California, where FHA insured only about 5,000 home mortgages in all of 2005, down 95 percent from 109,000 in 2000.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov.
If you are thinking of buying or selling Vermont real estate or have questions about FHA loans, visit my website or send me an email. I can help!
Tags: vermont, real estate, FHA, HUD, financing, loan, home, buyer, legislation, insurance
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Parents helping a child prepare for that first post-summer-vacation reading quiz often find themselves wondering if he has forgotten everything he learned the year before. Research shows that the "summer brain-drain" phenomenon is no figment of the imagination. Over summer vacation, children can forget more than two months worth of school instruction.
"Research by experts verifies what parents and teachers have long known - over the three short months of summer vacation, most children forget a significant amount of what they learned during the previous school year," says Ron Fairchild, executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning. In fact, Johns Hopkins research shows that teachers typically spend four to six weeks reteaching last year's lessons. "Parents can help children stay in shape academically by making learning a year-round habit," says Fairchild.
So how can parents help children keep their brains in top condition for back-to-school excellence?
"First, make it fun," advises Wendy Bronfin, vice president of education and product development at Educate Products, makers of Hooked on Phonics, the brand that over 2 million families have turned to for teaching their children reading, math and study skills. "There are a lot of great ways to integrate learning into your everyday activities, even while on vacation. Summer is a great time to spend with your child and foster a lifelong love of reading."
Bronfin suggests coaching your child through the following year-round fun brain exercises:
* Keep kids reading. Before school starts, help your child choose a short list of books to read. While you can suggest a book, author, series or subject you think your child might enjoy, let the child choose what he wants to read. Reinforce the idea that reading is fun.
* A library visit is a great way to occupy a rainy summer afternoon. Suggest that your child invite a friend. Make sure everyone in your library party checks out something new and begins reading it that day. Make trips to the public library a regular family outing!
* Help your child prepare for the inevitable "What I Did on Summer Vacation" report he'll have to give when he returns to school. Before taking a family vacation, read with your child about the destination.
* Help your child look up online the lyrics to fun summer-themed songs. Kids find computers fun and the technology can be a great way to boost their interest in reading.
* With summer comes a host of children's movies. Before you take your child to the latest hit, sit down with him and read the book version first. Then see the movie and discuss which version he liked best and why.
* Make reading aloud a family experience. At the end of a long summer day, take turns reading from a classic book the whole family can enjoy. Set aside a regular family read-aloud time, usually 20 to 30 minutes, or as long as it takes to read a certain number of pages or chapters. This can become a favorite family tradition.
* Demonstrate that reading is part of everyday life by encouraging your child to read things found on summer vacation, like a newspaper from a new town, travel magazines, barbecue recipes, maps and game instructions.
* Play games that encourage reading and learning, like the classic I Spy game or a letter-sound treasure hunt, during which you hide around the yard treats or toys that all begin with the same letter.
* Try an activity kit. The Hooked on Phonics Super Activity Kits are filled with hours of brain-building, fun activities. The kits use a DVD loaded with MP3 songs, music videos, cartoons and adventures with Lou the Hippo to help keep kids educationally active during the summer. Each kit includes an activity pad, write-on/wipe-off journal and special erasable crayons and stickers, all in a convenient resealable package. Hooked on Math products are also especially relevant since research shows summer learning loss is more pronounced with math.
Hooked on Phonics products can be found at participating retailers or online at http://www.hookedonphonics.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in southern Vermont prior to school starting this fall, you have just enough time. Visit my website to view all real estate listings, get a FREE home valuation, free reports and more.
Tags: vermont, buy, sell, home, real estate, reading, summer, kids, school, reading, hooked on phonics
Friday, July 14, 2006
An annual Music Festival and Fundraiser. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and a frisbee! A great way to spend the day! Live music from talented musicians, food vendors, crafts, a pretty country setting and friendly people. All proceeds benefit the Race For The Cure.
Sponsored by: Motel-in-the-Meadow, Chester Music Shoppe & Flying Under the Radar.
When? July 15, 2006
Where? Motel-In-The-Meadow, Chester, Vermont
Thinking about buying or selling a Vermont home? Visit my website for all real estate listings, get the value of your home and more!
Tags: music, chester, vermont, fundraiser, race for the cure
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has just revealed a study of first-time home buyers and just what they are willing or not willing to compromise on when buying a home.
Both buyers and sellers may want to take note of the findings:
40% are unwilling to buy a home smaller than the'd like.
40% are unwilling to buy a home needing significant improvements.
46% will not buy further from work than they would like.
70% will not move to a less desirable neighborhood.
97% of first-time home buyers would never go back to renting.
77% believe buying their home is the best investment they ever made.
Nearly 75% of first-time buyers believe that the value of their home will go up in 2006.
78% of renters believe that it is generally true that people cannot obtain mortgages without perfect credit, and 52% of renters believe that they personally can't get a mortgage because of credit issues. But 46% of the first-time buyers surveyed didn't believe their credit was "excellent" or even "very good."
56% of renters believe that a downpayment of 15 percent or more is required when buying a home, and 55% believe that size of a downpayment is a personal barrier for them. But 74%reported they put less than 15 percent down.
I believe "picky" is a good thing. Buying a home is the largest investment most of us make and it needs to be right for you. Contact me, or visit my website, if you are thinking about buying a home near Okemo Mountain in Vermont. I am glad to work with "picky" buyers!
Friday, June 30, 2006
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates yesterday to 5.25% which is the highest level in more than 5 years.
What does this rate hike mean to you if you are in the market to buy a home? Give me a call or visit my website. I can introduce you to a well-qualified, knowledgeable, experienced loan officer who can answer all your questions.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Money spent sprucing up the yard with trees, shrubs, lighting, and patios is well worth it — especially when it comes time to sell the home, a new study says. The report, by Arbor National Mortgage, found that 84 percent of real estate professionals believe a house on a treed lot would fetch at least 20 percent more than one on a lot without trees.
Another of the company’s surveys suggested that while shelling out for top-of-the line landscaping may only bring in an additional 4 percent to 5 percent, spending minimal amounts has a penalty. Homes swith average landscaping sell for 20 percent more than homes with just fair landscaping.
The American Society of Landscape Architects suggests budgeting 5 percent to 10 percent of a home’s value for its initial landscaping.Before launching into a landscaping project, keep these pointers in mind:
1. If you can't afford to hire a landscape architect, check out the services offered by nurseries and big-box home improvement retailers, such as Home Depot. Many offer design services — sometimes without charge — if you are buy plants there.
2. You can save about half the cost of landscaping if you do the work yourself. But keep in mind that large trees are often killed when carried uncovered in the back of the buyer's SUV from the nursery to the house, not because they are planted poorly. Also, most nurseries won't guarantee plants they don't install.
3. If you're trying to stick to a tight budget, remember that a few larger plants will have a greater visual impact than many small ones.
4. Before planting trees, determine how large they will become and what leaf pattern will develop. If you plant a big tree too close to the house, the growing roots could cause the foundation to crack. And if you place it too near a sidewalk or driveway, root expansion could cause the pavement to buckle.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, Lew Sichelman (6/11/06)
Want to know how your landsaping has increased the value of your Vermont home? Visit my website for your Free home evaluation.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
School is out! And this means family vacations. When preparing to leave home on vacation, we all put much time and effort into what we are taking with us, but not much thought to what we are leaving behind...our home.
Vacation time is prime time for burglars. Most communities experience a 10-18% increase in burglaries during the summer months. So, you will want to do everything you can to protect what is yours while you are not at home.
It surprised me to learn that most burglaries occur during daylight hours. CNN.com has 5 commom sense tips to make it hard for thefts to get into your home. Follow these tips and be safe!
Thinking of buying or selling a home? Visit my website to view all central Vermont real estate listings and to get a Free home valuation.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
A property survey is a map of a property showing where structures, easements and boundaries are located. To most buyers, being required by the mortgage company to have an updated survey for closing just seems like a waste of money. And, who wants to spend more money than absolutely necessary?
But, a survey is like insurance. The chances of you ever really needing it are slim, but if you ever do need it, you will be glad you have it. CNNMoney.com has a great article about folks who wished they had a survey. Be sure to take a look.
Thinking of buying or selling a home? Visit my website. Here you can look at all homes listed for sale in Hampton Roads and get a Price Valuation.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Sandra Nickel, Realtor in Montgomery, AL, has an excellent post on contingency contracts. What are they and should you as a seller accept one. It is short, sweet and informative.
Please contact me with any questions you have about contingency contracts or real estate in Vermont.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Tis the season for do-it-yourself projects. The honey-do- list at our house is a mile long and I am always looking for a way to make the job I am tackling easier. Sam Miller, an excellent Realtor in Mount Vernon, OH has a post with interior painting tips. If painting is on your list of projects, take a look.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, visit my website. Here you can view all local real estate listings.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Orange County Realtors, Drew and Linda Hartanov, have a great post on their Blog... 4 Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make and How To Avoid Them.
Take a look and then contact me, 802-226-8022 with any questions you might have about how these mistakes relate to the Vermont housing market.
You can receive a Market Valuation of your home by visiting: www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com
Thursday, May 25, 2006
A post on Hampton Roads Real Estate Blog by Realtor and friend, Dave Macklin in Virginia Beach, Virginia gives 5 Powerful Buying Strategies for today’s buyers. These strategies include:
1. Don't Get "Pre-Qualified!" Get "Pre-Approved"
2. Sell First, Then Buy
3. Play the Game of Nines
4. Don't Be Pushed Into Any House
5. Stop Calling Ads!
Read this important post and put yourself in the best possible position to buy a home. Then contact me, or visit my website, so I can represent your best interests when buying your Okemo Mountain home. I will take care of you just like family.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® announced a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity encouraging each of the nation’s local REALTOR® associations to sponsor and build a new Habitat home in the Gulf Coast region.
NAR will hold its annual convention in New Orleans this fall, at which time, approximately 30,000 REALTORS® will deliver hands-on help to clean up damaged neighborhoods, build 54 new Habitat for Humanity homes.
Realtors have always believed in giving back to the community and I am especially proud that the focus of this year's national convention will be serving the community we are visiting.
Thinking of buying or selling a home? Visit my website. Here you can view all real estate listings.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I though you might appreciate a reminder that Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 14. You have probably given flowers, candy, cards and all the other traditional gifts. A new idea is to give the important mothers in your life a Vermont Teddy Bear.
These adorable bears are hand-made in Vermont and guaranteed for life. I don't know a woman who doesn't like a Teddy Bear...doesn't matter what age we are.
You can purchase you Teddy Bear by clicking here.
Thinking of buying or selling a home? Vist my website for the current market value of your home or to view all local real estate listings.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Selling a home is like climbing Mount Everest – getting a signed contract is a great accomplishment, but that's only half the journey. The typical home sale today involves more than 20 steps after the initial contract is accepted to complete the transaction.
Much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of appraisers, loan processors, attorneys, and inspectors — my role, as your REALTOR®, is to coordinate those responsibilities, helping to ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly and that the closing isn't jeopardized.
Many steps between contract ratification and closing involve the cooperation of both buyer and seller, and it takes attentive REALTORS® on both sides of the transaction to troubleshoot and keep everyone on track. When things go wrong, closing can easily fall behind. Here's how much time to expect on particular delays:
1. Buyer submits incorrect information to lender.
2. Source of down payment changes.
3. Escrow fails to notify parties about missing documents.
4. Principals leave town without signing all necessary papers.
5. Unknown defects are discovered in the property.
6. Last-minute liens discovered.
7. Cloud on title.
8. Move-out date changes.
1. Lender decides at the last minute it doesn't approve of the borrower or the property.
2. Lender raises interest rates.
3. Lender requires last minute reappraisal or repairs.
4. Appraisal too low.
I have extensive experience in handling problems that may arise during the time between contract and closing; I can anticipate difficulties and address them in time to ensure a smooth settlement for all involved.
To ensure a smooth settlement when buying or selling your home, give me a call, 802-226-8022. I'm here to help!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
If your family has to wait in line to take a shower, or if you're storing pots and pans in the laundry room due to lack of cabinet space, it could be time to consider a home remodeling project. Not only will an updated space make your house more pleasant for you and your family, it can pay off in higher resale value.
To find out if your project will add to the resale value of your home, take stock of other houses in your neighborhood. Have many of them been upgraded in the past few years? If everyone on the block has added a bathroom or upgraded their master suite, these projects would be worth considering. On the other hand, you may not want to price your house out of the market by adding a third or fourth garage if that's not the standard in your area.
Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey that compares construction costs with resale values. Over the past four years, bathroom and kitchen remodeling have consistently shown good returns on investment. In 2005, a kitchen remodel that included updating cabinet fronts; replacing the oven, stove, sink and faucet; adding new paint or wall coverings; and replacing existing flooring recouped 98.5 percent of the job cost at resale time as a national average.
Bathroom remodels pay off even better. Updating a bathroom that is 25 years old with new fixtures, tub, and toilet; adding new tile, a solid surface vanity counter, ceramic floor and wallpaper recoups on average 102.2 percent.
Of course, you won't want to tackle a home improvement project solely for the resale value, especially if you intend to stay put for a while. A remodel can contribute to a better quality of living for your family while your house increases in value. "Choose an improvement that makes sense for you and your family and one that you can afford," says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian, a global information solutions company.
To decide if a home remodeling project is right for you, make a list of features that you would like in the room to be renovated, taking into account how you and your family use the space. Consider traffic patterns, lighting and special features you'd like, such as a wet bar or walk-in shower.
Next, figure out how much you can spend on the project. You might want to consider taking out a home equity loan to finance the remodel. Because the loan is secured by your home, it will likely have a lower annual percentage rate, and you may get some tax breaks, too. The amount you can borrow is limited by the equity you have in your home. Other factors that may influence the amount you can borrow include your credit history, income and current financial responsibilities. Also, be sure to have a plan for how you will repay the loan. You don't want to put your home at risk or add too much stress to the family budget.
To make sure your financing is ready when you are, visit a credit reporting company online such as www.experian.com to quickly and easily access your credit report. "If you notice anything questionable, such as accounts you don't recognize, or payment disputes, deal with those issues before applying for a home equity loan," says Sweet. "It can also be helpful to have your credit score which will tell you specifically the factors in your credit history that could be considered risky by lenders."
Finally, get bids from several contractors to see how your budget and the cost of your dream remodel compare. Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations, or ask your lender if they're familiar with the contractors you're considering. Another great way to check out a company is SmartBusinessReports, also available through Experian. These business credit reports provide consumers with background information, comprehensive financial information and credit risk facts about the business they are considering using in an easy-to-read, online format.
As with any big project, you'll need to be flexible and not let the inevitable glitches get in the way of the big picture - when you're done, you'll have a beautiful new space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. (ARA)
If you would like input from a real estate professional as to whether or not your home improvement project will add resale value to your home or if you are over-improving for the neighborhood, just give me a call at 802-226-8022. I am glad to help.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The National Association Of Realtors predictions that the housing market will remain on a high plateau (see previous post) is holding true for Central/Southern Vermont.
The March real estate sales report is in and though March 2006 is not quite what March 2005 was, the market remains strong.
The number of New Listings for March 2006 is down by 17% from the March 2005 numbers. The Sold Listings in March 2006, however, are up 67% over the same time period in 2005. The Average Sales Price is also up by 5%.
What does this mean for Vermont buyers and sellers?
For buyers, it means there is less inventory or less homes to choose from. There is stiff competition among buyers for the good properties. This is a market that you want to have an experienced Realtor representing you who knows the nuances of a competitive market.
For sellers, it means you need the advice and counsel of a Realtor who is knowledgeable and the has experience needed help you price your home neither too high or nor too low.
I have earned my CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation. This is the highest designation in the real estate industry. The CRS is held by only 2% of all real estate agents nation-wide. This designation is held by the best!
So choose the best to represent you in your next real estate transaction. Give me a call, 802-226-8022. Don't settle for anything less!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Home sales should remain strong this year according to a report just released from the National Association of Realtors. The association expects sales to move up and down somewhat over for the rest of the year, but are predicting 2006 as being the third strongest year in history.
NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said home prices are expected to cool, but not as much as in earlier projections. Click here to read the full report.
So if you were waiting for the real estate market to go bust before you buy, you probably shouldn't hesitate any longer. Visit my website, www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com, or contact me by phone, 802-226-8022, or e-mail. I will show you how you can take advantage of this strong market and low interest rates.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
The April 18 tax deadline is only a few days away and hopefully you are well on your way to completing your tax return and you won’t be one of those people in line at the post office late at night on April 17!
If you purchased a home in 2005, you will need the HUD-1 Statement from the closing on your new home, when calculating your taxes. This is the document itemizing the monies at closing. Your accountant or tax advisor will be able to tell you which of your closing costs are tax deductible.
The mortgage interest that is reflected on the HUD-1 is not calculated in the interest reflected on your year end statement that you will receive from your mortgage company. So, be sure to add the interest in the HUD-1 to other interest paid for the year.
If I can help with any other questions concerning the purchase of your home last year or if you are considering buying a home this year, give me a call, 802-226-8022. I’m glad to help. Or visit my website, www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com. You will find a wealth of information there.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
A friend of mine was just a victim of Identity Theft. Someone got her my credit card number. They made 2 credit cards with her number on it and used these cards to charge $500 at Bed Bath and Beyond in Rockville, Md. At the same time (within 2 hours), they spent $500 at Walmart in Lakeland, FL. My friend discovered something was amiss when she went to use her card and it was declined.
The following is a memo from my friend’s attorney to his office staff:
1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED."
3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address.
5. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
6. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when travel either here or abroad.
We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards. Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.
But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away. This weekend someone turned it in. It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
This all makes good sense and we are glad to be able to share it with you. So, please protect yourself!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
A new website claims to give the numbers in Okemo Mountain and beyond. Wherever you live, if you plan to buy or sell a home, one of the most important pieces of information you will need is the home's current value in reasonably accurate terms. Zillow.com is a new national website that purports to be able to tell you that so that you - uh - won't need a Realtor like me.
Well, I just read a good post on this by my friend Margaret Rome in Baltimore, Maryland and want to share it with you. It really says it all: "In the last few days, a new Web site launched with great fanfare but spotty performance. When CNN included a story about it on their evening news, the site couldn’t keep up with the hits. Why all the fuss? Zillow promises to give homebuyers and sellers up to date and complete information about the value of their home and comparables in their area.
Some have suggested this will make real estate agents obsolete because people will be able to price their own homes to be competitive. The early returns are that the site’s information is incomplete and sometimes wrong, which makes the suggested price ranges they give hard to justify. In some cases, the range is optimistically high, and for others, I’ve negotiated sales higher than their top amount.
The site depends on public records for its data. But public records will not show factors, like recent additions and improvements or the condition of the interior, that affect price. Public records can also be wrong; a friend of mine checked her house and said she wants that fireplace she’s supposed to have, but will not give up the second bathroom they didn’t count. If the information about a house is wrong, how valid is the price estimate? In time, the site will undoubtedly improve, but for now – caution.
There is no question about real estate agents becoming an endangered species because of this or any other site. Price is only one factor in buying or selling your home, and getting to the settlement table means avoiding traps and overcoming obstacles. A top agent will be experienced at:
negotiating the terms of your contract,
making sure only qualified buyers troop through your home,
meeting and dealing with appraisers, and
working with home inspectors and title companies to be sure you are protected from start to finish.
Buying or selling a home is an emotionally-charged transaction. Now more than ever it pays to have an experienced professional on your side. Embrace the benefits of new technology, but don’t fall into the trap of believing it will replace market knowledge and personal service.
The end of real estate agents? Not any time soon. Margaret"
Visit Margaret Rome's Blog here.
I am glad to provide you with a complete, accurate home evaluaton. Click here for your no-obligation report.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
Buying A Home…Investment or Emotion?
Hi. I have exciting news that I couldn't wait to share with you! Industry experts are reporting that right now, we as a people are optimistic about the future, and our confidence is reflected in the ongoing health of the residential real estate market, especially in Vermont. What this means is that this is a perfect time to be buying or selling a home.
Robert J. Bruss, nationally recognized Real Estate attorney and syndicated columnist, in his article "12 Ways To Earn Your First Profit When You Buy" says, "Treat every real estate purchase, especially houses, as an investment rather than an emotional purchase. ...it is very difficult to buy your personal residence without becoming emotionally involved. But the smartest homebuyers treat home purchases as both a place to live and a long-term investment."
I am pleased to be able to share my experience with my clients. I have developed expertise in finding sound investment properties that can also feel like home. My clients have found it helpful to have someone to guide them in their process of buying and selling homes.
I would like to be your REALTOR for life. To do this, I have to be at the top of my profession. I believe that you will find this to be the case.
As always, if I can answer any real estate questions for you, I would be happy to have you call, 802-226-8022 or e-mail, Irene@ISellVermontRealEstate.com. And please visit my website for all your Vermont real estate needs.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
In medieval days, a father would send an entire herd of cattle as a not-too-subtle hint that his daughter be married into a certain family. Nowadays, when you've decided a particular home is "the one" for you, you can, thankfully, leave the cattle at home. You are asked, however, to deposit a small percentage of the sales price of the home you want to purchase--it's called "earnest money."Your earnest money is a good faith deposit that accompanies your offer. It is usually a personal check, but a short-term promissory note is sometimes acceptable. A sizeable earnest money deposit indicates financial strength and assures the seller of your commitment to purchase the property.Once your offer is accepted, your earnest money check is cashed and deposited with the title company, attorney or with the listing broker. Your funds are held in a separate trust account reserved only for earnest money deposits. In most cases, everything proceeds smoothly to the closing day when the total amount of your earnest money is credited to you as a portion of your down payment.Your earnest money is totally refundable if the offer is not accepted or if some condition in the contract is not satisfied. For example, your earnest money is refundable if financing is not approved with the terms specified in the contract.If you're thinking of buying a home, give me a call. It would be a pleasure to assist you in finding "the one" that you'd like to call "home." My knowledge of today's real estate market will assist you in making wise decisions in every step of your transaction.