Blog :: 09-2013

Vermont Life Magazine Youth Exodus? Vermont Life Magazine

Vermont Life Magazine Youth Exodus? » Vermont Life Magazine.

For a long time the myth has been that young people are leaving the state, leading to economic, social, and cultural downfalls. Recently, Vermont Life Magazine has painted a different scene and with ample research found that, "Universally, the young people we spoke to said they prize Vermont's intimate scale and interconnectedness, its natural beauty and easy access to the outdoors, its down-to-earth priorities and its indefinable vibe. Vermont has a bright future. Vermont is also admired. People want to live here, and with the Web and telecommuting, more and more of them can." They do point out that indeed many young people are leaving, but they are also returning to the state with the wealth and knowledge gained from travel and life experience. They said, "The youth-flight narrative, with its aversion to nuance and context, overlooks the flow of people who return in mid career."

If more young people are going to stay in the state, they need to be able to thrive in their career and find a home to match their lifestyle. Vermont Life Magazine looked at the case of Dealer.com, "everybody's idea of what Vermont needs to stop young people from leaving the state." Dealer.com is, "a fast-growing business that provides digital marketing systems for the automotive industry, in a setting, with about 750 other employees, that has all the toys and perks of Silicon Valley culture: brightly colored warrens of open cubicles, organic café with espresso, on-site gym, rooftop solarium with putting green and a renovated building that, it almost goes without saying, is a model of green design." Sean Hurley, director of advertising and social products for Dealer.com said that, "It's a mistake for anyone to think that there aren't real businesses here making real money." In fact there are many examples of thriving local business in Vermont in order to keep young people in the state engaged and challenged within their careers. Luckily, there are also many opportunities to help first-time home buyers settle in the state.

With all of these opportunities at an arm's-length away, what young person wouldn't want to make a home in Vermont?

Please contact us for more information on buying a home in Vermont or consult the following information meant to educate first-time home buyers.

Further information for first-time home buyers:

"First-timers now represent nearly 30 percent of all existing home purchasers," said Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of a nationwide lender. "That's a big percentage, but it could be a lot higher because there are many ways first-time purchasers can finance with little down and little hassle."

The big barrier for many first-time buyers is cash. It takes cash for a down payment, and it takes cash to close. Lenders are generally looking for buyers with 20 percent down, but given that the typical home sells for more than $200,000, there are a lot of first-time homebuyers who have not accumulated the $40,000 or more that lenders prefer. The good news: There are many ways around the 20 percent requirement with traditional loan options. "It doesn't take a lot of up-front cash to buy a home today," said Brousseau. "FHA and conventional financing are all available with little down, while VA borrowers can qualify for mortgages that require no down payment." The way such programs work is that they substitute insurance for the 20 percent down that lenders would otherwise want.

Mortgage Assistance Plans

According to DownPaymentResource.com, there are more than 1,500 assistance plans administered by more than 1,000 agencies nationwide for would-be buyers, many aimed specifically at first-time purchasers. In looking at these programs it's important to understand what the term "first-time buyer" means. It typically does not mean someone who has never owned a home; instead the usual definition for program qualification purposes is someone who has not had title to a home during the past three years. This definition is important because it provides a way for people to re-enter the housing marketplace.

"Another important point about mortgage assistance programs is that many are specifically designed to encourage local home purchases by public-sector employees such as teachers, police, firefighters, nurses, and corrections workers," said Brousseau. "There are millions of people who qualify for such assistance."

The benefits available through mortgage assistance plans vary. For instance, borrowers may be able to get financing at below-market interest rates. Down payment grants may be available, essentially meaning that little or nothing down will be required. Another approach includes programs that offer tax credits. Mortgage interest is generally deductible, but a "tax credit" is arguably more valuable. With what are called "mortgage credit certificates" or MCCs, borrowers can deduct directly from their actual tax bill. For instance, if you have $8,000 in mortgage interest you might be able to directly reduce your taxes by $1,600 while the remaining $6,400 can be treated as an itemized deduction.

"Given low interest rates and a firming housing sector, this is a terrific time to consider entering the real estate market," said Brousseau. "With today's financing choices, many buyers can own their own home a lot quicker than they might have thought."

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved. {C} {C}

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Dream Green Kitchen

Create Your Dream Green Kitchen

Family Features--Today's newly remodeled kitchens boast more than just rich hues and shiny appliances - they have an eco-conscious ambiance that marries great style with respect for the environment.

Dreaming of a fresh, modern kitchen that is also eco-friendly and strikingly beautiful? Achieving this transformation is more attainable than you may think. Environmental lifestyle expert, Danny Seo, provides these helpful tips on how to add earth-friendly updates to your kitchen:

Refrigerator

When searching for a new refrigerator, be sure to look for more than just the Energy Star label to ensure maximum energy efficiency. It is also important the new appliance fits your needs and the size of your kitchen. A larger refrigerator uses more energy. If the one you select is too big for your needs, you will be wasting energy and money.

Blocked wood countertops

With their rugged durability and timeless style, butcher block countertops are making a huge comeback. Though typically made from cherry, walnut and oak, greener options, such as high pressure laminate designs made by Wilsonart, can contribute to US Green Building Council LEED accreditation as an eco-friendly material to use in your home. For more information on their new Blocked Wood designs - Old Mill Oak and Truss Maple -visit www.wilsonart.com.

Flooring

For a more sustainable approach to kitchen flooring, there are several options available. If you love the hard, classic appeal of wood, look for reclaimed, recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Bamboo is also a beloved choice among eco-conscious remodelers for its biodegradable nature and high renewability.

"Going green at home can be overwhelming, so I always advise people to not sweat the small stuff and focus on the one room of the house where it matters the most: the kitchen," says Seo. "Being kind to the planet in the kitchen can also be kind on your wallet over time, so it's worth it to invest in sustainable upgrades."

Backsplash

Recycled materials are the star of the show when looking to add green touches to your backsplash. There are three main types of recycled materials: ceramic, metal and glass. Old bottles and windows make up the materials in glass tile; old plates and clay vases are recycled to become ceramic tile; and those old soda cans become aluminum metal tile. All of these materials come in a variety of shades and styles to fit the look of your dream kitchen.

Dishwasher

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, using an Energy Star labeled dishwasher is the most efficient use of energy and water, even more so than hand washing. When looking to update your dishwasher, pay close attention to the EnergyGuide labels, which include the annual estimated costs to run them. This valuable information can help you compare models to find the best fit for your family's needs.

A dream kitchen that is both eco-friendly and chic is easier to attain than you think. With a few changes not only will you be smiling, but so too will Mother Earth.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

For further information about creating your green home in Vermont: http://www.vermontgreenhomealliance.org/

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