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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!

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 [...]

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 [...]

Signs That You Shouldn't Sell Your Home Right Now

House in Vermont

House in VermontThe team at Heney Realtors in Central Vermont are your local experts in the region. We will help you weigh the pros and cons of selling your home. We will take into account the value of your current home, the equity you have in your home, the prospects for new homes, and current financing rates. 

We understand that everyone's financial and personal situation is different. If you love your home, and you already have favorable financing, you might be well advised to stay put for the time being. Here are some signs that you shouldn’t sell your home right now, financial and personal. 

Where is the Money? 

Equity: Very specifically, equity is where the money is in your home. You will need to run the numbers. Even if you have lived in your home for over 5 years you might not have enough equity to justify selling. When you sell your home you need enough equity to cover the remainder of the mortgage and closing costs. This means you aren’t losing money. But you also want a profit. You will use that profit to cover the downpayment and closing costs when purchasing your next home. The more equity you have the better off you will be (financially speaking). 

Recent Home Purchase: The general rule of thumb in real estate is that you need to stay in your home for 5 years. The number reflects the time it generally takes to cover closing costs, agent fees, and mortgage interest. This is just a general guideline. You need to run the numbers, and our agents will be happy to help. Many can do well to sell before 5 years. But generally speaking, in terms of finance, you will be losing money or just breaking even when selling before 5 years of living in your home. If you recently purchased your home, you probably shouldn’t sell your home. 

High Mortgage Rates: If you have been fortunate to secure your mortgage with a desirable rate below 3% you might be well advised to stay where you are. Homeowners were able to find some great deals with lenders in the years leading up to 2022. Build your equity and enjoy your home. If you benefit from a low mortgage rate and low monthly payment, you shouldn’t sell your home. 

How Much Will a New Home Cost? A new home might be calling your name. We are still in a seller’s market. You will have better leverage on the negotiating table when selling your current home, but the opposite is true when you make an offer on a new home. And current mortgage rates are over 6%. You are likely to pay more in interest to lenders. You will need to run the numbers and see if home prices and mortgage rates make financial sense for you. The agents at Heney Realtors will help you work the numbers so you can make an informed and responsible financial decision. If you are concerned about the costs of a new home, you shouldn’t sell your home. 

Green Pastures 

We Love it Here! If you already live in Central Vermont and you love your home, neighbors, school district, local government, restaurants, and recreation you probably shouldn’t sell your home. Sometimes we look for something bright and shiny and new to mix things up. When you already enjoy your home, have secured favorable financing, and have enough room for the family to live and grow comfortably, don't sell. Consider a remodeling project. A remodeling project will give you something shiny and new to appreciate in your home, and you will likely increase the value of your home. It’s often best to discuss renovation projects with your seller’s agent to determine the best ROI with respect to your personal tastes to help satisfy the craving for something shiny and new. 

It might be a good time to sell, or it might be much better to wait. The real estate agents at Heney Realtors are here to help you make an informed decision. We look forward to working with you and serving all of your real estate needs in Central Vermont. Contact us today!

Signs That You Should Sell Your Home Soon

Couple Considering Selling Their Home

Couple Considering Selling Their HomeIf you are leaving Vermont, we will be sad to see you go. Perhaps you are just moving down the road after finding that next perfect home in the wondrous Green Mountain State (we will be glad you decided to stay). Perhaps the appraised value of your home skyrocketed and you’re hoping to cash in on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Or maybe you need to modify your housing to better accommodate your evolving lifestyle. Here are some signs that you should sell your home soon in more detail. 

Show Me the Money 

$250,000: If you’ve lived in your home for 2-5 years and you stand to profit up to $250,000 by selling, the money you gain is tax-free. That figure jumps up to $500,000 when filing jointly as outlined by the IRS. In a strong seller’s market where your home value has increased significantly you could stand to make a very tidy little profit. Follow the money. It might be time to sell when appraisals skyrocket. Request a free home valuation!

Low Mortgage Rates: It might be a great time to sell your home and purchase a new one when mortgage rates are low. You will save money financing your new home (provided you can find one). In a seller’s market with low rates, there is a lot of competition in finding a new home. Nevertheless, it might prove profitable to sell and find a short-term housing solution while looking for your perfect home. It might be time to sell when the mortgage rates are low. 

Greener Pastures 

A Growing Family / Upsizing: Your family may simply have outgrown your current home. You may need a larger home with 5 or more bedrooms to accommodate a growing family, or you might be starting a family and need to relocate to take advantage of living in a neighborhood within an excellent school district. It might be time to sell when your family is growing. 

Downsizing: You may find yourself in a large home as an empty-nester. If your children have grown and moved away you may no longer need 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and multiple acres of land to maintain. It might be time to sell and buy a smaller home when the children are grown. 

Less Maintenance: You might be tired of all the responsibilities and maintenance that come with home ownership. Selling your single family home and moving to a condominium might just be the ticket. You can enjoy the pleasures of the shared landscaping without lifting a hand to trim the bushes or fill up the lawnmower. It might be time to sell if you want less maintenance 

More Maintenance: Other folks might enjoy the pleasures of outdoor maintenance and want to move to a glorious country home with over 100 acres of land in the heart of Vermont. Some might delight in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase and run a goat farm and begin a new country living dream. It might be time to sell if you want a bigger yard or the wonderful pleasure of working the land. 

Greener pastures mean something different for everyone. Whether you are looking for a home with over 100 acres and a larger lawn to mow, looking to cash in on a high appraisal, or simply looking to lower your monthly burden of responsibility the real estate agents at Heney Realtors are here to help. We look forward to working with you and serving all of your real estate needs in Central Vermont. Contact us today!

Best Places to View Fall Foliage in Vermont

Beautiful Fall Foliage in Vermont

Beautiful Fall Foliage in VermontFall is the migratory season for foliage lovers all across America. Foliage lovers will often find themselves with a wanderlust to travel to the scenic byways and state forests of New England. There is a good reason. The foliage is magnificent. Some of the roads will get quite busy. Finding a road less traveled in Vermont is simple. Take a drive on a side road. The awe inspiring foliage of Vermont will be all around the countryside as you drive from town to town. 

When you find your favorite route, be selective when sharing it with friends and family. But don’t hold your cards too close to your chest: it is good to share the prize with the ones you love. Here are some of the best places to view fall foliage in Vermont to help you discover and plan your favorite route. Enjoy the adventure! 

Smugglers’ Notch Scenic Highway: VT 108 is a 45+ mile highway that begins in Stowe and winds through the mountain pass of Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak continuing north to Berkshire before continuing into Québec, Canada as Route 237. The first 12+ miles are incredibly dramatic. You will travel through the radiant Mt. Mansfield State Forest as you pass giant boulders (where you will probably see a handful of rock climbers perfecting their craft) along a dramatic road of hairpin turns connecting Stowe and Cambridge. This section of the drive is commonly referred to as “Notch Road” by locals. You will want to slow down and enjoy the view, and in some instances, you won’t have any choice in the matter (do not follow a tractor trailer through the notch road, they will get stuck and remain stuck for several hours). There is a parking lot at the summit which is often full. This is the trailhead to a popular day hike and access to the Long Trail. There is overspill parking as well. Find a spot to park and enjoy a short walk. This is a great place for pictures. 

Shelburne Farms: Shelburne Farms is a magnificent sight to behold. The animals are housed in a barn fit for royalty. The Children’s Farmyard is a wonderful place for younger family members to learn about farm animals and cheesemaking. You and your family can enjoy the fall foliage by walking the ¾ mile trail from the visitor parking lot at the Farm Store to the farmyard … or enjoy a tractor shuttle ride on weekends (which is equally fun). There are over 10 miles of walking trails to explore and immerse yourself in the heraldry of the fall foliage (please note that bicycles and dogs are not permitted). On Sunday, October 30th, 2022 you and your loved ones can enjoy the seasonal foliage in the charm of a horse-drawn wagon ride ($10/person). 

Quechee State Park: Grab your hiking stick and lace up those hiking boots and enjoy the fall foliage of Vermont with a spectacular hike along Quechee Gorge Trail. You will peer at the Ottauquechee River winding through the valley 165 feet below while watching the leaves (remember to watch where your step). It is a 30+ minute 1.3 mile walk and actually easy. Sensible shoes might be all you need. It is a popular spot. You will have company. 

Vermont Route 100: There are 216+ miles of scenery to enjoy along VT 100. It runs through the center of the state. It begins in Stamford in Southern Vermont and runs north ending in the Town of Newport. This is a popular tourist route during the foliage season. You can include a section of it as you map out your personal favorite loop from almost anywhere in the state. You will be in the thick of things on VT 100 until your planned path diverges into a more secluded road (but you’ll be in good company all the same).

Groton Nature Center: Groton State Forest is a short 20+ mile drive away from Montpelier in Central Vermont. It is a wonderful place to take a weekend drive exploring the seven state parks of the forest and witness the changing of the leaves. You can start by visiting the Groton Nature Center with a nature program (check their events calendar) and enjoy a walk to Big Deer, Stillwater, or Boulder Beach State park. You can reach the other four state parks by car (a short drive from the center). The Groton Nature Center is open Saturday & Sunday 8:00am-3:00pm. There are over 17 miles of trails in Groton State Forest. You can enjoy the natural colors of fall at a casual pace on foot. The Kettle Pond Trail is a 3.2 mile walk around the pond. It is an easy hike, but muddy and rocky with plenty of exposed roots along the way. Hiking boots or hiking shoes are probably a good idea (to protect your toes when the foliage borrows your attention). 

Let us help you find your perfect home in Central Vermont. You will enjoy the changing of the seasons and enjoy the migratory foliage season in style while living here. Contact Heney Realtors today!

Best Fall Hikes in Vermont

Hiking in the Fall in Vermont

To enjoy the majesty of the colorful foliage of the Vermont landscape hikers young and old take to the trail. There is a wide selection of excellent hikes for all abilities in and around Central Vermont. Driving to the trailheads is also very beautiful, especially when passing through the ‘Notch Road’ connecting Stowe and [...]

Tips For Moving During The School Year

Children with Backpacks Going To School

Children with Backpacks Going To SchoolMoving is a big change for every household member. It is often an experience of loss as the family is losing their daily interactions with the people and places of the old neighborhood. Moving during the school year can be particularly challenging for school age children. Taking the time to make proper goodbyes will help set the stage for making proper hellos. Proper hellos will bring comfort to families as they move into new homes, maintain important traditions, and connect to their new community in meaningful ways. Here are some tips for moving during the school year. 

Family Meeting: It is important younger family members are aware of an upcoming move. Time is needed to process emotions and concerns. Your school age children will benefit when permitted enough time to say goodbye to friends and teachers at their current school. Hosting a goodbye party with friends and classmates can be helpful. 

Be patient and listen to your children. Change is stressful for everyone. Answering questions your child has about the move will help to ease the transition. Welcoming difficult feelings is challenging, but an important step in the process. Letting your children know they are allowed to have all kinds of emotions will better prepare them for life, and may better relax some of those negative feelings and keep them from making an untimely return down the road. 

Keep in Touch: Have your child pick a few important people in the old neighborhood to keep in touch with. The people could be friends, neighbors, grandparents, or any important person. The idea is to provide several people your child can talk to occasionally about their new life in the new town. 

Tour the New School: Before moving (several months prior would be best) tour the schools in the area of the new home. If there is a choice of schools to attend, it is wise to include your children in the decision making process. 

Paperwork: You need to request that the official transcripts (including report cards and standardized test scores) be transferred from the current school to the new one. It is helpful to speak with key teachers and administrators to request notes and recommendations for your child, to be included in the official transcript. The recommendations are often required when applying to private schools but are equally helpful in making a smooth transition to a new public school. 

In addition to the official transcripts, the new school will most likely require immunization records, medical records, and health history. Check with the school and have the required records forwarded from your health care provider. 

Teacher & Administrator Meet & Greet: Meeting with the new teachers and school staff before your child attends their first day in the new school will benefit both parent and student. Your student will be meeting a lot of new people on their first day. Having first met their new teachers will alleviate some of the stress and worry of the first day. Having met the teachers and staff, you will better understand the dinner time stories your child shares about their school day in the weeks and months that follow. 

Choices: Children can often feel they have no control over anything during a move. This can lead to rebellion or learned helplessness down the road. It is wise to include your children in decision making. Having a school choice is great when an option is available but other smaller choices are also beneficial, such as decorating their new room.

Tradition: You can ease the transition by continuing simple family traditions such as your Friday night pizza & Parcheesi party, Sunday morning pancakes and Pictionary jamboree, or the simple and well attended weeknight bedtime story. Keeping the traditions alive will give comfort to your family as the cultural and physical landscape unfolds in the new neighborhood. 

Friends and Activities: Extra-curricular activities are a great way to make friends in the new neighborhood. Whether your child decides to join the soccer team, chess club, ballet company, hockey team, or drama club they will be enjoying an activity with like minded people. Friendships will follow.

Heney Realtors understands that moving to a new area is exciting and stressful. We look forward to helping you find the perfect home and community in Central Vermont and we’ll help make your transition smooth and easy. Contact us today!

Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Bathrooms

Bathroom Vanity

A major bathroom remodel isn’t necessary to add value to your home. The national average for a shower or tub remodel is in the $1,500-$5,000 range and provides a healthy ROI. The shower and tub are focal points for the bathroom and might be a wise investment, but there are easier and less expensive ways that also add value. Consulting with [...]

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