Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Interest Rate Cuts – What Does It All mean?

When the Fed lowers interest rates, as it continued to do this week, everyone gets excited and there is a lot of buzz about the real estate market. But – when it comes to you and me – what do these lower interest rates really mean? Here are some examples:

Homeowners: If you already have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) on a home, you could save hundreds of dollars a month if your loan is pegged to Treasury rates, which have fallen considerably thanks to the Fed's recent cuts. The catch is that many buyers in more expensive areas resort to “jumbo loans,” which are typically pegged to slower-moving indexes that remain elevated. If you have a fixed-rate mortgage (not a jumbo loan), you could consider the cost of re-financing (think origination fees, appraisal fees, closing costs) against the savings of a lower interest rate for your monthly payment.

Borrowers: Several banks lowered their prime rate, which forms the foundation for car loans, home equity lines and other loans. But you must carry a whopping $5,000 credit card balance to save just $12.50 annually from a quarter-point rate cut.

Consumers: Lower rates threaten to boost inflation and the price of imports. So far, inflation has been held in check, and foreign companies generally are holding the line on prices.

Savers: Falling interest rates normally would whack rates on CDs and other savings. But the cash crunch has spurred many banks to prop up such rates.

Travelers: International vacations and business trips cost more because the dollar has sagged in the wake of the Fed's cuts. But it could be buoyed if other central banks trim rates.

In short, unless you are about to purchase a new home and can take advantage of the new lower interest rates by locking in a fixed-rate mortgage now, you may not end up seeing a whole lot of benefit to the interest rate cuts.

To learn more about Ludlow VT real estate, please call me at 802-353-1983 or visit You may also begin searching the MLS here!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Okemo Mountain VT Vacation and Investment Home Taxes

Continuing with last week’s discussion about preparing for tax season, I wanted to spend some time this week covering issues related to paying taxes on vacation homes. Many homeowners in the Okemo Mountain area use their property as a vacation home – but can these homes truly be claimed as vacation properties?

This article from answers this and other important questions, such as:
When and under what circumstances do I have to pay taxes on rental income?
What sort of deductions can owners of rental properties take?
If my vacation home is considered a secondary home (not a rental home), what deductions can I take?

Once you have determined which category your property qualifies as, there is a helpful chart in the article that will give you an idea of what to expect as far as property taxes this year.

Other helpful links on this topic:
IRS Publication 527: Residential Rental Property
IRS Tax Topic 415: Renting Residential and Vacation Property
IRS Publication 925: Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules

To learn more about owning an Okemo Mountain vacation home or Ludlow VT real estate, please call me at 802-3531983 or visit You may also begin searching the MLS here!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Ready for 2008 Tax Season

It’s official – tax time is upon us. If you are like many Americans, just the thought of getting organized enough to start the paperwork can be overwhelming.

This article from details 7 steps to help get you ready to file your 2007 taxes. I’ve listed the steps below, but please check out the article for more helpful hints!

- Prepare for the arrival of your records (designate an envelope or folder to store all of the records you’ll receive in the mail)
- Track down social security numbers (make sure you have the correct SSN’s for everyone in your family)
- Find your forms (if you are not filing electronically, download the necessary forms or pick them up at a post office)
- Decide how you want to do your taxes (Do-it-yourself or hire a pro? Paper and pen or computer software?)
- Consider electronic filing (find out if you qualify for Free File!)
- Use direct deposit (it may not be as exciting as receiving that refund check in the mail, but it’ll save you a trip to the bank!)
- Don’t panic!

I’d like to add my own advice: if you bought or sold a home in 2007, pull out those closing documents and start making copies! You will need to provide proof of your purchase or sale (usually a closing statement will suffice), along with any loans that were taken out or paid off in 2007. If you have lost any of these important documents, contact your Realtor who can help you track them down.

If 2008 is going to be the year for you to invest in a home of your own, please visit and begin searching Ludlow VT real estate here. You may also call me at 802-353-1983.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Get The Latest Okemo Mountain Ski Conditions!

Ski season is in full swing here in the Ludlow VT area. Whether you live here or are visiting Okemo Mountain, chances are you want to know the latest details about the snow conditions on the slopes. This snow report is updated regularly and – best of all – you can even sign up to have the report sent directly to your cell phone or email! You’ll be the first to know when the powder’s fresh or when the slopes are closed.

To learn more about Okemo Mountain or Ludlow VT real estate, please call me at 802-353-1983 or visit You may also click here to receive one of my complimentary eBooks on buying or selling your home.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 Ludlow VT Real Estate Predictions

Happy New Year, Ludlow! I hope that everybody enjoyed a very happy holiday season and that 2008 is off to a great start for you and your family.

National Association of Realtors has published its predictions for the 2008 housing market, and the data looks positive so far. Most noteworthy is the trend toward improving existing home sales.

Lawrence Yun, senior NAR economist, said “Now that mortgage conditions have improved, some postponed activity should turn up in existing-home sales over the next couple of months, and I expect sales at fairly stable to slightly higher levels.”

Existing home sales are expected to rise to $5.7 million in 2008 – making it the fifth highest year on record. Existing home prices, which declined 1.9% to a median of $217,600 in 2007, are expected to go back up about .3% in 2008. As Yun noted late in 2007 “even with a modest decline in the national aggregate price this year, it’s important to keep in mind that nearly two-thirds of the metro areas in the US are showing price increases … the apparent disparity results from fewer sales in high-cost areas, so a change in the mix is dragging down the national median home price.”

To find out the latest trends in Ludlow VT real estate, please call me at 802-353-1983 or visit To begin searching for Okemo Mountain VT homes, please use my
complimentary MLS search.