March 2023 Market Update

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Snowy barn with mountain background and split rail fence

Buyer activity is certainly picking up in Vermont. The start of 2023 saw a lot of prospective buyers returning to the market due to declining mortgage rates. As that rush of activity has leveled off, we have seen sale prices respond with a continuation of their downward slide. There are mixed views as to how much more home prices will [...]

February 2023 Market Update

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Red Dairy Barn with Snowy Mount Mansfield

Winter is here, but there are signs of thaw in the housing market. Across Vermont, we are seeing buyer activity increase. As mortgage rates rose last year, activity in the housing market slowed down. And as a result, homes started seeing fewer offers and stayed on the market longer. Now, however, rates are beginning to level out, bringing [...]

January 2023 Market Update

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Snow covered barn with view of Mount Mansfield

After a rather tumultuous year, we head into 2023 with cautious anticipation. Anyone hoping to buy or sell a home in the new year likely has a lot of apprehension over what awaits in 2023. By and large, last year brought many abrupt changes to the real estate market - mortgage rates rose at a fast clip, bidding wars cooled, home inspections [...]

Charity of the Year: 2022

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The Heney team meet with Meals on Wheels director, Bob Woodward for their annual charity of the year donation

The Heney team meet with Meals on Wheels director, Sarah Lipton, for their annual charity of the year donationAs we head into the new year, we wish to acknowledge people within our community who work tirelessly to make this a better place. Every year, our Realtors vote for a local charity to support. For every home sold, our Realtors donate a portion of their proceeds to the chosen charity of the year. 

For 2022, our team selected Meals on Wheels. Their mission is to improve the health and quality of life of the seniors within the community so that no one is left hungry or isolated. On December 6th, we were honored to meet with both Central VT program director, Bob Woodard, and Montpelier director, Sarah Lipton. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the dignity and independence of our senior community members.

Thank you to our Realtors for their contributions; Michelle Moran-Gosselin, Lucy Ferrada, Monique Payne, Whitney Brown, Josh Gosselin, Kylie Klopchin and Tim Heney. We are grateful for the ongoing support of the community and generosity of our agents, who help make the Charity of the Year program possible.The Heney team meet with Meals on Wheels director, Bob Woodward for their annual charity of the year donation

The Hottest Home Features: What Buyers Want

Beautiful Home in Vermont

Beautiful Home in VermontWhen planning renovations for the future or imminent sale of your home it is wise to consider home features buyers want. This translates into money well spent, something we refer to as ROI (return on investment). You will enjoy the immediate benefit of any renovation project in your Vermont home, but it is wise to plan ahead for a future sale. Some highly sought after (and necessary) features such as a well maintained septic system in a country home simply need to be respected and maintained over the years. Other features, such as smart home technology, will be a very smart upgrade to any home, providing a very high ROI with as little as a $176-$1,475 investment for basic features (very smart indeed). 

It’s always best to partner with a trusted real estate agent when thinking about selling your home. They will know the local market like the back of their hand, including what buyers want. Here are some of the hottest home features to consider while planning home renovations and upgrades to keep the money flowing back to you (in the long run). 

Vermont Specific Features 

Vermont Contemporary Design: Modern home design includes a number of standard items, such as an open floor plan. Vermont Contemporary Design doesn’t take elements, like open floor plans, for granted. A large part of the design process focuses on how to bring homeowners closer to nature, and the spaces are designed to do just that. The owner, who is also a veteran designer, from Cushman Design Group in Stowe, Vermont spoke with New England Home Magazine in 2021. When addressing floor plans the designer shared an example when designing homes in the country: ” … in rural areas, you don’t need a Colonial-style layout with a front door facing the street and sidewalk. That formal convention doesn’t exist in wide-open spaces.” 

Insulation: When shopping for homes in New England an intelligent buyer will want to ensure a home has a well designed insulation plan. The winters get cold up here, and the money spent on heating a home shouldn’t be leaking outside. Buyers will be looking for homes with an efficient “building envelope” (what separates the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building). Building materials, insulation, windows, and doors with a high “R-Value” will all contribute favorably to your building envelope. 

Modern Septic: The highest rate of septic system usage in the United States is in Vermont. Around 55% of homes and businesses use on site systems, according to Mary Clark, an environmental program manager for the state of Vermont in 2018, who spoke with Pumper Magazine (a magazine dedicated to the liquid waste industry). 

Although not as glamorous as other modern home features, this feature is imperative for any household in a country home, or any household not serviced by a municipal wastewater treatment facility. Unless homes are otherwise connected to a public sewer, astute buyers will be looking for homes with well maintained and respected modern septic systems. Respected translates to not flushing non-flushable items, and having the tank pumped and inspected at least once every three years.

Buyers will want to know you have treated your system with care, and that it will function for years to come. The systems are expensive to replace. The cost for a new septic system in Vermont was $10,000-$25,000 in 2022. The state of Vermont has posted three simplified Dos and Don’ts images for protecting your septic system (Do’s & Don’ts, Protect Your Pipes, Think at the Sink) to assist new homeowners and their guests in navigating the luxury of using indoor plumbing in an upscale rural Vermont home. 

Global Features 

Green Architecture: Homes that incorporate elements of green architecture are highly sought after, and for good reason. They are built with respect to the planet, lower energy consumption, and protect your wallet. You will save money on your energy bill thanks to green architecture. 

Green architecture homes are designed around naturally occurring elements (like the path of the sun) to tap into solar gain in the winter by strategic window placement and utilize the shade provided by the lush foliage of a mature tree in the summer to block solar gain. Green architecture places a high value on the strategic placement of windows, walls, and roofs. It also values the use of Energy Star Appliances, high performing windows and doors, the reuse and safety of building materials, and the use of alternative energy sources when possible (i.e. solar and wind power). 

Smart Home Technology: We are living in the digital age. Home buyers will be looking for homes that are already equipped with smart home technology. Incorporating a smart home assistant and essential devices such as smart thermostats, smart security systems, smart locks, and smart home detectors will be money well spent when you are getting ready to sell your home in the 22nd year of the 3rd millennium. Simplicity, reliability, security, and interoperability (choosing devices that work natively together) are important to consider when introducing smart technology into your home. Smart homes command higher prices, and will be attractive to potential customers when the smart devices are installed and functioning (“Ok Google, lock the front door”).

Heney Realtors is Montpelier Vermont’s Premier Independent Real Estate Brokerage. We have been serving Central Vermont since 1956. We recognize that every town is unique and every market is different. When choosing to work with us you are choosing a team of realtors who know the Vermont market and the best way to sell your home. Contact us today!

December 2022 Market Update

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Mansfield Barn with snow at sunrise

Since the pandemic began, housing prices have gone up, home shortages have increased and interest rates have risen. Some changes have been intentional, like the Fed combating inflation with raised rates, but others have been outside the realm of predictability. As we near the end of 2022, some of these pandemic-driven factors that created [...]

Best Local Getaways & Day Trips in Central Vermont

Beautiful Country Road in Vermont

There are excellent towns to visit in Vermont. You can get there from here, in Central Vermont (with a little help from Google Maps). Whether you are looking for a local weekend getaway with lodging or a short day trip, you are certain to find something of interest to you, your friends, and your family when you find the home of your dreams [...]

November 2022 Market Update

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Rustic Farmhouse in Rural Vermont with Fall Foliage

In the Northeast, it comes as no surprise that seasonality plays a significant role in our housing market as it impacts housing demand and supply. Historically, summer has always been a frenzy with transactions and prices, while activity starts to slow down heading into the holidays. This season is no exception. We were still seeing decent [...]

Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving in Central Vermont

Thanksgiving Meal Place Setting

The holiday season is upon us. Everyone is making their lists and checking them twice. Local restaurateurs, inns, and hotels are putting the final touches on their holiday menus and lodging packages. There are quite a number of excellent restaurants to enjoy in Central Vermont throughout the year. Many of these popular restaurants have [...]

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