4 Keys to Identifying Your First Home

Typically a first time home buyer will be limited most significantly by price. After all, it’s a first home and most young home buyers have not yet hit their prime earning years. This means income and savings will be a driving force in making the decision about what to purchase. There will certainly be compromises – ugly carpet, small living rooms, deferred maintenance and lack of garage to name a few. But having limited resources does not prevent a buyer from making wise choices and paying close attention to the key indicators of a wise real estate investment. Neighborhood – It’s been said that the only thing more important than location is location. Beyond that, location is pretty important too. Get my drift?  The place you buy is almost more important that what you buy in that place. Almost 90 percent of home buyers search online for real estate and identify properties of interest before they ever make an appointment to see a house. This is essential market research and tells you what is available in your price range. Take that a step further and do a drive around. Walk the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon. Talk to the neighbors, ask about the schools, the roads, and town services. Drive up and down the street in the evening and see what it looks like in the evening. Are there people walking around? Are the neighbors friendly? Check things out and see if you can imagine yourself living there. If it feels wrong, you may have already answered the most important question before you even started. Schools – You may...

High Performance Homes

Sounds exciting, right? Well it is if you value efficiency in your life and believe that there are basic things we can do as human beings to decrease our footprint on this planet (oh yeah, and save money in the process). The vast majority of Americans will make the decision to buy their next car based on two numbers – the price tag and the Mileage Rating. Why should buying a home be any different? So I ask what’s hotter than a high performance car? A High Performance Home, of course. A High Performance Home is exactly what it sounds like. A home that has been built or retrofitted to maximize efficiency and minimize long-term costs. New homes are required to meet certain efficiency standards and those that become certified are registered on resnet.org, and the Home Energy Rating Score (HERS 0-200)  is the equivalent of the MPG sticker on your new car. Existing homes, with the help of a Dept of Energy approved Home Efficiency Audit receive a less complicated Home Energy Score (0-10). Both serve to tell you something about the efficiency of your home as cost of consumption is compared to energy use (or loss). Did you know that those ratings also have minimum thresholds that can qualify your home for an across the board increase in appraised value, when documentation is presented to the appraiser? Yes, it increases the value of your home. And banks are taking notice: there is tangible data from CoreLogic that homeowners living in energy efficient homes are 32% less likely to default on their loans, because they have more money...

Millennials are getting a bad rap

I’ve written myself that the Millennial’s are the bane of every Realtors existence; a generation seemingly content to remain in their parents basements or in a group rental in perpetuity, going with the flow and landing wherever the latest relationship or social-media based job opportunity takes them. These are just not the people looking for houses to buy. At least that’s what I believed. Someone recently suggested to me that it was the result of a generation of adults (my generation) coddling their children and never requiring them to make a decision, allowing them to drift and stay at home as long as they needed a soft landing from their latest failed attempt to get out of the house. Seemed harsh, but in an amusing way, somewhat logical. It’s a generation whose family structures consisted of, for the first time in history, more single-parent households than “traditional” households; a generation where nearly 83% of those traditional households had two incomes and struggled to make ends meet. It makes sense that these parents would feel slightly more guilty of the time they spent at work and not with their kids. Naturally those parent allow their kids more freedom, more leeway, a softer landing and more second chances. The Entitled Generation. But a closer look at the data tells a very different story. Research shows that 75% of Millennials interviewed saw home-ownership as a long term goal, and nearly as many felt that it was also a good investment. Of those interviewed, 65% said that they planned to purchase in the next 5 years, and only 16% said that they did...

Mad River Valley Vermont Real Estate – Time to Refinance

We have been talking about historically low interest rates now for so long that homeowners and homebuyers have actually begun to take it for granted that they will remain historically low. Well, if you follow the news, you already know that the Fed will begin putting an end to that some time in June. If you have decent credit and a job, you might as well make the call to your friendly neighborhood mortgage guy and see what bounty awaits for your mindfulness. When I made that call I found that the savings over the life of my mortgage were over $50,000; thats a lot of cake no matter how you split it up, and it cost me next to nothing. When you work in the Mad River Valley real estate industry as I do, you speak with a great many mortgage brokers. And when you listen to what the good ones have to say, you can learn some very interesting things. You might even save a few bucks in the process. Case in point. I started receiving notices from the bank that owns my mortgage about 6 months ago. They were offering me exceptional,  good-looking, super-terrific opportunities to refi my current mortgage, and lower my monthly nut by increasingly significant numbers . Of course they were. I’m one of their best clients, right? It must be because of my exceptional reputation, my obsessive compulsive tendency to pay early and often, all the referrals I give that tiny local bank in the Citi. I’m not a number, I’m a name, for heavens sake. This is clearly my reward. Needless...
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