Blog :: 05-2016

6 Essential Things to Look for in a New Home

There are some basic things to look at when looking for a new home. Waterbury and Stowe offer a variety of housing needs with homes coming into the market frequently. Never settle for less than what you want in a home. We found an article by Kara Masterson about some basic tips for first time buyers.

Investing in real estate is one of the most financially sound things you can do, but buying a new home might feel intimidating when it is your first time. It is understandable that you'd want to make the best decision possible. Here are six things to look for that can help with your decision.

Efficient HVAC System

Heating and cooling count for a large percentage of a home's monthly operating costs. An outdated heating and air conditioning system will drive up your bills and decrease your comfort. Make sure the HVAC system is one of the newer efficient models and has been well maintained.

Good Layout

Decorating a home is easy and inexpensive, but big renovations like knocking out walls or adding rooms can drive up your costs later on. It is better to start with architectural details that you already enjoy. Pay attention to how one space flows to another, ceiling height, number of rooms and the amount of natural light.

A Sturdy Roof in Good Repair

Many homebuyers forget to check out this important home feature. A damaged roof can indicate water damage and mold problems elsewhere in the home. Your real estate agent can supply you with information about any recent upgrades to the structure and a professional home inspection can supply you with any other data you need to know before making your decision. These agents can also help you find solid listings of homes that have recently been repaired.

Upgraded Plumbing

Old homes can possess a lot of charm, but if you are considering buying a piece of vintage real estate, make sure you have the plumbing checked. Old metal pipes can leak or might be corroding and adding visible sediment to the water supply. Upgraded plumbing helps you avoid problems such as burst pipes and high water bills from inefficient plumbing features.

A Great Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. Even if you don't plan to spend a lot of time there, you will want to make sure the kitchen adds a lot of value to the home in case you put it back on the market in the future. Renovating a kitchen can be costly, and so it is better to start out with a kitchen you know you can live with and enjoy.

The Right Number of Bathrooms

Adding a bathroom is not a simple task. Don't settle for a home that lacks the right number of bathrooms to match your family's needs. Two bathrooms at minimum are ideal.

Remember that details such as cabinet color, carpeting and other decorative features can be changed when you tire of them, but the architectural bones of the home is another story. Put more worth on a sound structure that you can do a lot with, and features such as a stone mantel, rather than easily replaced incidentals.

See the original article here.

Curb Appeal - A Home's Smile and Handshake

Sellers think once their home is listed online there's little left to do but wait for offers to pour in. Wrong! We found this article by PJ Wade with 5 great tips to working on your home's curb appeal.

Especially if you're selling your home in the Perry Hill, Blush Hill, Shaw Mansion, Kneeland Flats, Loomis Hill, and many other Waterbury/Stowe neighborhoods, curb appeal is king. The work of drawing prospective buyers out of their cars and through the front door has just begun. Most buyers want to get inside a property before they'll make an offer, but if they don't like the home's exterior, they won't easily be enticed inside.

Properties that look great online — descriptions, dimensions, and video — still have to deliver curbside to be sold.

Homeowners must become their own "Curb Appeal Police," ready to be hyper-critical of every detail so the house shines in all respects — from the buyer's perspective!

#1. Target Buyers

Sellers want to attract those who will pay the most, but sellers do not automatically have a clear picture of this "who" they must win over. Ask your real estate professional to provide a profile of the buyers they are targeting in marketing and advertising campaigns. These details should help with curbside decisions of what to accent/minimize, and how to accomplish both efforts on a budget and timeline.

#2. Forget Your Personal Style

This can be a challenge for sellers who used their home as a canvas for their creative expression. Real estate professionals have learned that to attract significant interest, buyers must see the home as a welcoming canvas for their own creative expression — often very different from the current sellers'. Input from the listing and staging teams will help transform exterior surfaces and landscaping into a "buyer magnet." Check out design publications and sites, and drive by new homes and you'll discover that it's all about neutral shades, clean lines, and mimicking luxury properties.

#3. Not "Tart Up" But "Smarten Up"

Curbside views should not be cluttered or over-grown. Garish colors and over-done front gardens send the wrong message. Striking a balance between standing out for buyers and not being radically different from the neighborhood is key. Enticing buyers out of their car and in the front door is the objective. Which curbside details or impressions will speak to the quality and opportunity of the house? Understanding the target buyer viewpoint is key here.

4. Squeaky Clean Impresses

Particularly in grimy urban areas, sparkling clean building facades and windows are impressive. Manicured gardens and well-maintained driveways are also stand-outs. Keep touching up and polishing until a firm offer is signed and sealed. Until then, there’s no such thing as being too clean and fresh.

5. Curb Appeal: Up To and Thru The Front Door

The curbside first impression should continue to impress and welcome up to and through the front door to open on an immaculate, well-presented foyer.

The welcoming first view into the home should speak to the home's quality and to the loving-care the home has received.

With a clear idea of the "who" you wish to attract and professional knowledge of how to make your home appear a welcoming creative canvas from curbside, you and the property are now ready. Ideal buyers will want to make an offer on real estate that reflects their dreams — not the sellers'.

Click here to read the original article.

Green Mountain BBQ & Music Festival

The Waterbury-Stowe area is a great place to live. Wonderful shops, restaurants, great outdoor adventures/activities, but one of the biggest reasons, are the events.

Waterbury likes to start celebrating July Fourth a week before the rest of the country. We call it Not Quite Independence Day. It comes with a parade, fireworks, and the Green Mountain BBQ & Music Festival!

Put on by the Rotary Club of Waterbury, the event features authentic barbecue, food trucks, craft brews by von Trapp Brewing, kids' activities and live music.

  • Authentic Barbecue: More than 3,000 barbecue enthusiasts will gather to watch 35+ pit masters from across the region compete at the Green Mountain BBQ Championship. Events are sanctioned by the New England Barbecue Society & Kansas City Barbecue Society.
  • Kids' Activities: Carnival-style games that aren't rigged; climbing wall, provided by the Vermont National Guard; a large sandbox; lawn tractor jousting, sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts; a roaming railroad; inflatable obstacle course, provided by the Waterbury Mission; pie baking contest; face painting; baby animals; and fun photo opts to remember the occasion.
  • Live Music: Bands such as Tim Brick, Dark Hours, Mellow Yellow, The Pilgrims, Prydein, and Jimmy T Thurston grace the stage at Farrs Field on Route 2 West.

On-site ticket prices $12 adults, $5 kids ages 5-12, $25 pass for a family of adults and two kids. Tickets are also available online at at a reduced rate.

This year, the schedule is as follows:

Saturday, June 25 11 am:

Not Quite Independence Day Main Street Parade, starts at the Ice Center and ends at Stowe Street. This year's parade theme: Kid's Favorite Characters.

Noon to dusk: The Green Mountain BBQ & Music Festival, at Farr's Field. At dusk, fireworks at Farr's Field, weather permitting.

Sunday, June 26 11 am - 5 pm:

Green Mountain BBQ & Music Festival resumes. 

Being Credit Wise

Your credit score is one of the most valuable things you own and it can quickly turn into a nightmare for you. A low credit score will directly affect your ability to borrow money and may get you turned down for that mortgage loan you have applied for. Or, you may be offered a higher interest rate because the lender sees you as a risky borrower. This may prevent you from buying your Waterbury or Stowe, Vermont dream home!
Many people either don't understand the ins and outs of their credit score, or they have inaccurate information on the subject. If you are currently looking for real estate, you should prepare yourself ahead of time and work to increase your credit score. Hopefully, this will enlighten you! 

1. Credit reports aren't always accurate. Most have a big error or mistake: 80 percent, actually. Regularly check your credit report. Every day we hear about thousands of credit cards being compromised through the hacking of large retailers' security and payment systems. These breaches can ruin your credit and be a large and seemingly endless headache for you. 

If your personal information gets compromised, a thief will open up financial accounts in your name. However, they will not pay the bills, and this will ruin your credit. Those unpaid bills will be reported to the credit agencies and will affect your ability to buy a car, rent a nice place, purchase a home or even get employment. So keep a close eye on your credit scores and your credit card accounts and report suspicious charges and credit cards immediately.
2. Pulling your credit score may lower it. A "soft" pull is done yourself for personal reasons; it will have zero effect. A "hard inquiry" is when a lender pulls it up for loan approval. It will have a negative impact, but small.
3. A higher income does not equal a higher credit score. Income is not relevant to credit score; paying bills on time (or not) is what matters.
4. Credit scores and credit reports are not the same. Credit reports are just one piece of the equation. Many factors go into calculating your credit score. What matters is your credit managing skills and making sure all three large credit bureaus have similar information and scores. The three big credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, and you can get one free credit report a year from each. Take advantage of this to protect yourself.
5. Debt settlement will not remove debt from your credit report. Debt settlement doesn't fix bad credit. Late payments, bad information, and other smears remain for up to seven years following the first "infraction" date.
6. Cash-only payments will not help you build credit. You can't build good credit unless you use credit, and use it wisely. Get a couple small loans or credit cards and pay them off as you use them.
7. Closing your credit card accounts will not improve your credit score. Closing a card lowers your amount of disposable income: the ability to pay off other debt. You don't want to lower "credit utilization" by closing out a card.
8. Smart management of your various banking accounts is not reflected in your credit score. These are not reported to credit bureaus and thus have no impact. But hopefully, your smart management means you are paying your bills on time!
9. Dispute inaccurate information to remove it from your credit report. You can dispute only mistakes. A valid dispute will result in deletion of inaccurate information. A dispute of negative, but accurate, information will be a waste of time.
10. Missed payments will affect your credit score. Any missed or late payment can be reported to a credit bureau and probably will be.
Based on an article By Robert Siciliano
Real Estate Services with Inc