Blog :: 2017

10 Ways to Upgrade Your Home with Your Tax Refund

It’s that time of year again — the weather is getting warmer, flowers are starting to bloom, and taxes are being returned. With a little extra cash in your pocket, there are endless possibilities of what you can do with it. Why not spend some of it on updating your space? Below you will find 10 ways to update your home with your check from Uncle Sam. 

Recaulk / Paint
A fresh coat of paint can brighten a whole space. Even just painting baseboards (which get dirty and are often forgotten about) will make a world of difference. 

Buy a Fabulous Rugopen living room with rug
Rugs are a great way to tie a space together. As a general rule, the outer edges of the rug should be around 6 inches from the wall in a small room and 18 inches from the wall in larger areas. In an open-concept floor plan, area rugs are a great way to frame seating and dining areas, which will help to define the different uses of the space. 

Upgrade Your Water Heater
Not the most exciting purchase in the world, but buying a new water heater can save you money down the road. New models are energy efficient. 

Upgrade Your Ceiling
It may be time to actually / finally get rid of the popcorn ceilings in your home. Save yourself some time and a backache and hire a professional to do it. Installing crown molding or box beams can go a long way to creating a fresh look that's visually interesting. 

Upgrade Your Lighting
Updating an outdated lighting fixture with a new one can change the entire vibe of a space. If nothing else, you should upgrade your bulbs to LEDS — which are really affordable now, will save you energy and come in a wide variety of colors and wattages. 

kitchenUpgrade Your Flooring
Expect to pay between $7 and $12 per square feet for quality wood flooring, more if you have it professionally installed. Hardwood floors, which are super popular among homebuyers, can return 1.5 - 2 times its cost when you sell. 

Add a Backsplash
Whether it's peel and stick, or hand-painted glass times, kitchen updates have some of the highest returns on investment. Have natural woods and neutral walls? Opt for a bold pattern!

Add Curb Appeal
Why not update your mailbox, get new house numbers, or repaint your front door. Feeling motivated? Repaint the trim around your windows. 

outdoor patioBuild a Deck
Homebuyers love decks, and they really aren't that expensive these days (keep in mind price will vary based on materials and size). They typically bring in an 80% - 120% return on your investment. â€‹

Upgrade Your Outdoor Space
As warmer weather approaches it's a great time to really make an oasis in your backyard. Think comfy seating, a fire pit, a new grill, water features — the possibilities are truly endless. 

8 Fun Winter Activities to do in VT That Aren't Skiing

Vermont is certainly known as a skier and rider’s paradise during the winter months, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to enjoy in Vermont from November to March! Below you will find 8 fun things to try in Vermont this winter — that don’t have anything to do with skiing or snowboarding. 

Sledding

Two Teen Girls SleddingSledding isn’t just for kids these days! There are several sled makers in Vermont that make adult size steerable sleds. Check out Granville Gulf, between Warren and Granville. Locals recommend exploring this winding stretch of Route 100 just south of Warren. Helmets are advised. Lincoln Gap in Warren is also a popular spot. Lincoln Gap is recommended for experienced sledders. After a 30 minute hike to the top, prepare for an exhilarating 2 mile ride back down! Again, helmets are advised. There are also plenty of public sledding hills that more suitable for younger children. 

Snowmobiling

The state of Vermont is home to over 4,700 miles of snowmobile trails. All of which have been maintained and groomed by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers for nearly 50 years. Most VAST trails run on private land, and are only open during the winter, giving you a truly unique perspective of Vermont. Don’t own your own snowmobile? Head to Stowe and take a tour. Snowmobile Vermont offers a two hour, 25-mile backcountry tour through Mount Mansfield State Forest. They also provide boots and helmets for the ride. 

Hit the Spa

Looking to warm up and forget that it’s five below outside? Why not sit inside and be pampered all day. Vermont has dozens of inn and resorts that feature full-service spas

Ice FishingIce Fishing Huts on the Lake

Find out for yourself why Vermonters love ice fishing. Check out the Free Ice Fishing Day Festival the last Saturday of January! Free Ice Fishing Day is an opportunity for anyone to go ice fishing without a permit (resident or non-resident). Registration opens at 11 am at Hoyts Landing in Springfield, VT. Fish and Wildlife staff and Let’s Go Fishing volunteers will have ice fishing equipment available for those who don’t have their own. Staff and volunteers will also be available to help the inexperienced learn ice fishing basics. 

Dog Sledding Tours

Dog sledding isn’t just for Alaskans! January and February are ideal months to enjoy dog sledding. Vermont is home to many dog sledding teams, several of which offer tours. Not only can you take a tour through the mountains, several tours include an educational piece that will teach you mushing basics. 

Track a Moose

Take a hike through one of the many state forests, or sign up to take a guided track with an expert! Join field naturalist Sophie Mazowita the last Sunday in January for a full-day of wildlife tracking in Huntington, VT. The adventure begins with an indoor presentation. 

See Where it’s MadeBrewery Equipment

From maple syrup to teddy bears, there are lots of great things made in Vermont. Take a behind the scenes look at some of Vermont’s largest companies. Take a brew tour at one of the many breweries all over Vermont, why not see how some of the most notable brands brew their beers?! You should note that not all breweries offer tours, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of arriving. There are also several companies in the state that offer organized tours. Or check out a sugarhouse in late winter to see how maple syrup gets made! Or how about checking out the Ben & Jerry’s Factory? From furniture to cheese, there's a tour for everyone in the family. 

See a Play, Musical, Stand-up Event and More

Vermont has always had a strong arts community. Check out the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier to see community theater at it’s finest. Positive Pie in Montpelier serves up live music weekly. There is always something going on at Higher Ground in Burlington and the Rusty Nail in Stowe. Check out the Vermont Calendar of Events for more information about what’s currently happening throughout the state.