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Coronavirus Updates: Adaptation

A local real estate lawyer is offering free Power of Attorney (POA) status to clients so that they don't have to go to closings in person. Various towns are limiting property title searches to a "by appointment only" status; or making extra efforts to finish putting their property information online. Some banks are no longer sending out appraisers to evaluate homes. And let's not even talk about the crazy antics of the stock market.

Our work is already different than it was two weeks ago and when the virus and the ensuing panic subsides, there is a very strong likelihood that our work will remain different.  We have no idea what the dislocation caused by this pandemic will do to stock markets or real estate markets. People's tendencies will be to remain in "lockdown" mode until they feel it is truly safe to venture outside.

It's at times like this that it is important to take a step or two back, breathe (through a mask if you have one), and take a moment to appreciate that, for now anyway, you live in a state that has caring neighbors, a strong agricultural legacy, and a history of self-reliance. Spring is on its way so here are a few ideas to keep from going stir crazy if you find yourself out of a job, and living at home (especially with your parents!):

1) Plan and execute a vegetable garden.

2) Clean out your garage

3) Clean out your attic

4) Clean out your basement

5) Teach your parents how to use the smart phone you bought them two years ago that they never use, "because it's too complicated." They will LOVE seeing their friends and distant family's postings on FB and IG.

6)  Stay safe. Stay in touch.

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    #Happy Valentines #CapitalCity #Redhearts

    I have to say that I love my sweet little Vermont Capital City of Montpelier! Every year for the past 20 plus years, someone (or more likely some people) go out into the frigid dark in the wee hours of the morning of February 14th, and plaster every storefront, church, school, library, restaurant, hotel, sign post and more with bright red hearts. And every year, I forget all about Valentine's Day until I drive through downtown Montpelier and see the cheerful hearts that are taped everywhere. It always makes me smile and reminds me to call all my kids to wish them Happy Valentine's Day. It also makes me plan a great dinner with my awesome husband of thirty years. Best of all, this year the Phantom put a heart on one of my real estate signs on a house at the edge of town. That heart on my sign makes me happier than a SOLD sign! Well, maybe not quite that happy but close. Whoever the Valentine Phantom(s) of Montpelier is (are) I applaud the hard work it must be to leave a warm bed for the icy and snowy streets of Montpelier because it's just another proof for what a fantastic little city where we are lucky to live. No wonder real estate in Montpelier sells so quickly! 

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      #homeinspection #prelisting

      Reprinted with permission from Scott Wade - S&K Services   https://skhomeinspections.com

       

       

      7 Reasons Why a Pre-Listing Inspection is an Absolute Must

      Avoid unpleasant surprises that drag out the transaction process!

       
      If your clients are selling their home, they may be wondering if it’s a good idea to invest in a pre-listing home inspection. Traditionally, the buyer is the one who requests – and pays for – a home inspection. However, sellers can always hire their own home inspector for a pre-listing inspection. Doing so will give them a better idea of how much their home is worth, and it has a number of other benefits.

      1. Learn The Condition of Your Client's Home

      The pre-listing inspection will eliminate the fear and stress that a home inspection with a buyer can bring. Since a home inspection comes after an offer is already made, the risk of losing a buyer due to a home inspection is very much a reality and can kill the sale of your client's home.
       

      2. Your Client Has Time to Make Repairs

      The advantage of a pre-listing inspection will allow your clients to make any home repairs that may scare a new home buyer from the purchase of their home. As a bonus, they will be able to use the repairs as features to attract buyers.
       

      3. Time is Money

      This type of inspection may help you better price your client's home to attract the right buyer. As you know, pricing a home right from the start may greatly reduce the amount of days it sits on the market. This might even result in asking for a higher price point for their home.
       

      4. Negotiate with Ease

      Home inspections typically result in new negotiations. When your clients get a pre-listing inspection, the chances of that happening are far less. Since negotiating can be an exhaustive process, this may decrease the stress in selling their home.
       

      5. Attract Confident Buyers

      When you can put your listing on the market with a pre-listing inspection, buyers know that your client is a serious seller and take the care of their home seriously as well. This builds confidence among potential buyers and will help you attract the right one to your listing.
       

      6. Avoid Unpleasant Surprises

      You might be worried that disclosing everything to the buyers will cause them to offer less for the house. The truth is, they’re going to find out anyway, but it will be after they’ve already agreed upon a price and terms that they might not want to pay after the outcome of that inspection.
       

      7. Enjoy a Smooth Transaction

      By getting a pre-listing inspection, the risk of the unknown is eliminated and both your client and the buyer will feel confident about the deal. Disclosing any issues up front greatly reduces the chance of buyers wanting to renegotiate the price or ask for repairs to be made.

       

       

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        Prepping For The Deep Freeze

        As sub-zero temperatures and deep snow settle in for the next few months, I should be putting out a blog about protecting your house against the harsh winter elements but instead I write about something that is also happening in February: The New England Patriots going to the Super Bowl!

        I have never really been much of a football fan but the Patriots, with all their exciting wins and comebacks, have converted me. That last game against The Kansas City Chiefs had me on the edge of my seat until the Pats won in overtime!

        So, rather than suggesting that you keep your cabinet doors underneath sinks open, leave your taps to drip, or place small space heaters in strategic places, let’s talk about the warmth that comes from being with family and friends and watching The New England Patriots win (fingers crossed) The Super Bowl on February 3, 2019!

        Forget about the snow and ice and focus on some delicious Vermonty appetizers to cook and share at your Super Bowl gathering. Meat balls in a maple ginger glaze, Cabot cheese with crisp apples, Harrington Ham biscuits with a cranberry mayo, just for starters.

        I don’t know about you but I feel toasty and warm just planning my Patriot Party and if they win it will be the cherry on top of the (Ben and Jerry’s) sundae...

                             Cheers!

         

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          Easier Than You Think and Over Before You Know It


          Yikes! All of a sudden it's THAT time of year again! Time for office parties, stringing bright lights, egg nog and candy canes, Christmas “sweaters,” latkes and menorahs, friends and family, and all the fun stuff. It's also time for the dreaded gift-buying.

          Don't get me wrong, I love buying gifts that are wanted or needed by specific people (like guitar
          lessons for my son or a warm woolen vest for my husband), but what do I do about all the people
          who I want to give something to during the holidays but don't know what they need or want, or
          worse, already have everything, like my mother in law? I’m not the only person in this fun
          situation, right?

          In a moment of brilliance last year I realized that I could focus on fabulous Vermont products and
          take care of my whole list with either a visit to a local store (preferred) or with the click of a
          mouse! Not only did I know these gifts would be well-received but I felt so good promoting our
          local economy.

          Here's what I bought last year and, given the reactions, I’ll probably do most of this again this
          year. Easy peasy…

          First, the comestibles: Barr Hill Gin for my cranky brother and brother-in-law who both are
          happier (i.e., nicer) once they have a good drink in hand. Caramels from Red Kite Candy for all
          the bankers and lawyers who put up with me (I may or may not take a few out of each bag before
          gifting). Laughing Moon Chocolates (now with CBD oil!) are simply the best and you can never
          go wrong with chocolate (Santa always brings me a couple boxes of these). Morse Farm maple
          syrup goes to all my out-of-state family and friends (much better than fruitcake from down
          south). And speaking of the south, southerners pride themselves on their ham and pork products:
          I know because lived there for four years. But I can assure you nothing, NOTHING, beats a
          Harrington Ham, smoked and spiral cut, from Richmond, VT!

          And for the Non-Perishables: Seventh Generation cleaning products for folks like my niece in
          Seattle who is working to make the world environmentally sound, one clean household at a time.
          Danforth Pewter photo frames, oil lamps, compact mirrors, vases or key chains are always
          beautiful and last so well (I gave one of my sons a turkey key chain and it is so appropriate). The
          mother-in-law who doesn't need anything? Lovely note cards with artwork from Vermonters like
          Sabra Field or Mary Azarian (my MIL is a prolific and prompt thank you note writer so there's
          always a little pressure to make sure my kids and I hop to it). Zutano has the absolute cutest baby
          clothes! I always go into the store in Montpelier to get these gifts because it's just so much funs,
          and serves as an extra trip down memory lane.
          That should get you started. From all of us at Coldwell Banker Classic Properties, have a very
          happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
          Sue Aldrich
          Broker/Owner
          Coldwell Banker Classic Properties
          www.vtclassicproperties.com

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            Say Cheese! No, Say Pie and Cheese!


            I recently saw an alphabetized list of the most iconic desserts for every state in the USA. Vermont was, naturally, towards the end and by the time I got to it I had looked at photos of 40-odd scrumptious desserts from all over the country.
             
            By now craving something sweet, (understatement of the year), I turned to Vermont's entry.

            Up flashed a photo of a succulent looking slice of apple pie accompanied by a hefty chunk of white cheddar cheese. Yes, you guessed it. This is deemed the most iconic Vermont dessert.

            For most Vermonters, including my family (all but one a Flatlander), apple pie means going out to the orchard and picking the apples, spending at least an hour among the trees picking Macouns, Macintoshes, Cortlands, Libertys, Jonamacs, Northern Spys and more, then heading home with way too many bulging bags.

            A good many of these delicious apples are eaten right from the fruit bowl, but most are turned into applesauce and apple butter, sauteed with pork chops, or chopped into slaw. Only a few dozen of the tartest and firmest will be used to make pies.

            When my kids were younger we made the pies together, and flour, butter, cinnamon, and apple peels somehow ended up all over the kitchen.  We'd make sure to have our Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar at room temperature and when the pie was still piping hot, but cool enough to eat, we'd put a big old slice of it right on top that chunk of caramelly, cinnamonny, crustalisciousness. Salty, sweet, fruity and just plain heaven! For those who say they prefer apple pie a la mode (Ben and Jerry's anyone??) or with whipped cream, I am pretty sure they just haven't had
            apple with sharp cheddar.

            Living the dream in Vermont!

            Not sure where to find apples to pick in Central Vermont? Start here:

            Burtt’s Apple Orchard, Cabot
            Peck Farm Orchard, East Montpelier
            Liberty Orchard, Brookfield

             

            Sue Aldrich
            Owner/Broker
            Coldwell Banker Classic Properties

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              To See or Not To See, That is the Question

              I have been reflecting lately on the changes happening in the real estate business. New tools and and protocols are coming at a fast and furious pace and are tricky to absorb and manage. Buyers have expressed to me that they sometimes feel like they are walking through a field with dodge balls being thrown at them from every direction.

              The biggest single change is that most real estate information is available to everyone everywhere at all hours of the day. The internet tells buyers and sellers every property’s asking price, its sales history, school ranking, neighborhood crime info, and more. For the most part, this is great because buyers and sellers come to me having already decided exactly what they want to do and be willing to be paid or pay for their home—and they can back it with their own internet research.

              But there’s a problem.  People often “see” only the information that supports the outcome they want and do “not see” what doesn’t reinforce the picture they have in their mind. This is not wrong or deceptive, simply human nature. When it comes to buying or selling your home; a place where your life’s latest act is about to give way to the next (eg. upsizing to accommodate more children or downsizing to prepare for retirement), each stage carries with it a huge emotional as well as financial commitment.

              When I meet with buyers or sellers who have already “established their outcome” I first double-check their internet research and then work on earning their trust so that they feel assured of not only my professional and objective knowledge of the real estate market in Central Vermont but also that my goal is get them the best possible outcome.

              It’s easy to be seduced by the stories about the ease and simplicity of buying or selling a home through Twitter or Facebook. However, for every success you read about on social media, you can be assured there are hundreds that are like a bad visit to the dentist. Zillow’s “zestimates” are often shockingly incorrect or out-of-date. And while all the info on the web is good, it doesn’t hold a candle to the human understanding that comes from having been in thousands of homes in the area.

              A professional to help guide you through the ups and downs of this emotional process, someone to help you keep perspective and someone to help you with face to face negotiations, to make sure the process remains smooth, and that issues are handled professionally, is still a priceless benefit to our clients. Maybe it helps to think of our job as managing the slings and arrows of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow that creep in their petty paces from yesterday to today...

              Sue Aldrich

              with some help from Wm. Shakespeare

               

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                THE HITCHING POST (or, A Simple Guide To Getting Married In Vermont)

                Traditionally, June is a very popular month for weddings. Here in Vermont it seems like every month (well maybe not “stick season” November and “mud season” April) has become popular for weddings, especially so-called “destination weddings.” 

                As a Realtor, I love this because once people visit this beautiful state they tend to do everything they can to move here permanently or to purchase a vacation home. I can't tell you how many times a wedding has brought me buyer clients.

                So, I decided that since the Vermont wedding industry has served me so well, I will use our website and this blog to promote a few local area wedding planners, venues, caterers, bakers, etc. just to get you started.

                In addition to my own knowledge of local providers, I have spent hours perusing many beautiful web sites and I have to say, I have had SO much fun! I have been married for 28 years now and I expect all four of my children to benefit from my hard work.  At some point. In the distant future. Maybe.

                But I digress…

                At first I thought I would need to write thoughtful, witty commentary on the following sites, but I really can’t improve on the recommendation to simply browse and enjoy the scenery. From stunning Vermont landscapes, to quaint inns, rustic barns, mills, the State House lawn, and many other unique and glorious places for weddings, you really can have the wedding of your dreams. All I ask for in return is a small invitation! ;)

                Finally, when you and the rest of your extended family decide you just have to move to Vermont to make the experience permanent, give us a call at Coldwell Banker Classic Properties.

                RESOURCES

                Wedding and Event Planning

                * Woodstock Productions , Woodstock, Sabrina Brown, proprietor

                (also worth checking into: Storied Events, Waterbury)

                Bakeries

                * Birchgrove Bakery, Montpelier, Jennifer Toce and John Belding, owners

                (also worth checking into: Rainbow Sweets Bakery, Marshfield; Capital Cupcakes, Montpelier; Vermont Cake Studio, Waterbury; Delicate Decadence, Barre)

                Venues

                 

                 

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                  Spring in Vermont

                  Spring in Vermont brings, after a May snow squall or two, lovely warm weather, flowers, lilac breezes, fiddleheads, wild ramps and the promise of a short, hot summer. The other thing that comes in the spring is the dreaded black fly.

                  Three interesting facts about black flies: 1) only females bite 2) they don’t bite after dark (unlike mosquitoes) 3) they only breed in clean, running water which means that if there are black flies, at least there are babbling brooks too.

                  The black fly is bigger than a skeeter but smaller than a housefly and it’s bite is ferocious and it swells, seeps and ITCHES for days. I have been bitten near my eye and it looked like I’d been in the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali. These awful pests are pretty much gone by July 4th which gives us even more reason to celebrate America’s Birthday!

                  In the hamlet of Adamant, in the town of Calais, they decided 16 years ago to celebrate the black fly.  So began the Black Fly Festival, with a parade where everyone dresses up as black flies, a black fly pie contest, live music, all kinds of delicious grilled foods, etc. And guess what? The black fly bites you might get are free, woo hoo! If you can’t beat ‘em, party with ‘em!

                  The Black Fly Festival is tons of fun and not an event to miss. This year it will take place on Saturday, June 2 with grilling and music starting around 11 am. The "black and blood" themed pie contest starts at 1 pm and the Black Fly Parade and Fashion Show at 2 pm. There will also be a writer’s slam hosted by famed local poet Geof Hewitt, as well as a silent auction.

                  I still hate black fly bites but this festival makes them a teeny bit more tolerable. At least that’s what I tell myself! 

                  Sue Aldrich

                  Broker/Owner

                  Coldwell Banker Classic Properties

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                    HGTV becomes CVTV for a day!

                      Today is the day of my television debut!!! At 10 pm tonight (9 pm central time) I will be the Realtor on an episode of House and Garden TV’s hit program House Hunters. Even though it’s been six months since the actual filming I am still in semi shock that my buyers and I got chosen. There are not very many episodes filmed in Vermont and I believe this is the first episode in the Capitol area of Montpelier and Central Vermont which is pretty exciting because it means it’s also a debut for our gorgeous little neck of the woods! Hiking, biking, camping, skiing (both downhill and x country) history, New England charm, antebellum (Revolutionary War, that is) buildings, waterfalls, crystal clear swimming holes, hidden hamlets where folks gather around a wood stove, miles of dirt roads, world famous fall foliage and, of course, sugar shacks dotting the country side waiting for the maple syrup season.   Shooting this episode was totally fun in particular because the buyers, Justin and Caitlin, were so much fun to hang out with and the producer, Darby from Los Angeles, had a great sense of humor as did the camera man, sound guy, and the key grip. It was sort of like a daytime party where you had to reenact some things over and over again. Try re-enacting something again and again—it makes it the most common place actions hilarious.  I am excited to see our show although I am sure I will be horrified by the way I look but that’s always the case and plus, I am 57 years old. On the flip side, one of the stars of our episode will look stunning as always—Montpelier and Central Vermont will shine and I am anticipating a surge in calls asking for my help in finding a place to live here in paradise. Cat’s out of the bag I guess. 

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