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A Note From Barb Trousdale - A Few Words For The New Year!

If moving in 2016 is one of your goals, our Team would be delighted to assist you in accomplishing that objective.  We have developed a marketing system that ensures every property we list gets the best exposure you can find in this market.  Our services to Buyer-Clients include thorough research of a property and the completion of a market analysis to help them make an educated decision about the price and terms to offer. 

The real estate market statistics for November 2015 were recently released by the Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors which reports on sales in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties.  Kathleen Sweeten, CEO of the Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors® reports "The market continues to be busy. As was expected, the Federal Reserve elected to raise short-term interest rates for the first time since 2006. Even with the small increase, it is anticipated that Mortgage rates will remain at historically low levels in 2016." 

There were slight improvements in most categories analyzed. Sales from January 1 to November 30, 2015 were up by 11.3% over the same time period in 2014.  In addition, the median sales price increased by 1.8% and the average sales price by 0.8%.  Average days on the market were almost identical 95 vs. 96 and the percentage of the original listing price received increased by 0.1% to 94.8%.

The number of month's supply of inventory for sale continues to decrease; resulting in fewer properties for Buyers to choose from; and a real opportunity for Sellers considering listing their property.  If you or someone you know are contemplating a move, I encourage you to consider whether it would be best to have your property competing with fewer properties this time of year rather than waiting until the spring market when many homeowners choose to list.

With a combined 19+ years of experience and hundreds of successful transactions under our belt, Theresa Ferrara and I are ready to help you (your friend, colleague or family) make your dream of moving a reality! You can rest assured with Heather, our Administrator who is also a licensed Realtor behind the scenes, your transaction will be handled with utmost of care and professionalism!

We look forward to hearing from you in 2016. Wishing you a safe and healthy New Year!

Barb Trousdale

4 Ways to Minimize a Home's Flaws

No house is perfect. Here are some clever interior design tricks to minimize your home's flaws and make it a more beautiful place to live:

1. Dark Rooms
Everyone loves light-filled rooms. If your home's small windows don't let in enough light, paint the walls a light color to help brighten dark corners. Hanging mirrors on walls opposite windows will bounce daylight around a room. Reflective surfaces can also brighten a space, so decorate with gold and silver accessories and invest in furniture with high-gloss finishes. Lastly, make sure that sunlight can reach your windows; trim any overhanging branches outside your home.

2. Lack of Storage
Storage space is no longer a luxury-it's a requirement. If your closets are overflowing, it's time to clear the clutter. Start by donating the items you no longer need to local charities. Invest in organizers for your home's bedroom and front hall closets. A double clothes rail and a few shelves for shoes and sweaters can double or even triple the amount of storage space in a closet. Finally, toss those old wire hangers; wooden hangers make a closet look organized and tidy.

3. Awkward Architecture
Low, sloping ceilings in the bedrooms, narrow hallways, and steep staircases don't help a home's appeal. To help take the focus off a low ceiling, paint the walls and the ceiling the same color, preferably a light one. If you want to make a narrow hallway feel wider, paint the walls and the trim in a pale, cool tone; colors on the cool end of the spectrum visually expand a space. To camouflage a steep staircase, tack a horizontal-striped carpet runner on the treads and risers.

4. Ugly Views
You can't change your home's location, but you can help disguise the train tracks in the backyard or the factory across the street. Outside your home, plant a row of evergreen trees to hide the view (investing in more mature trees will give you immediate cover). Inside your home, hang curtains with bold patterns or colors. The bright curtains keep the eye focused on the home's interior instead of that unfortunate exterior view.

Is Overpaying Your Mortgage a Good Financial Strategy?

Most people pay the minimum amount due each month toward their mortgage, taking either 15 or 30 years to pay off the loan, depending on the original terms. However, if you can afford to pay more—even just a small amount—it can make a big difference in your finances.

Sending the Extra Money
One way to pay more money toward your mortgage is to slightly increase your monthly payment by $20-50. Simply add this amount to your check or online bill payment. This method is ideal because it allows you to be more flexible; for example, if you need that extra money for an unexpected expense, you're not committed to paying it toward your mortgage.

Another method you can use to pay more money toward your mortgage is to set up biweekly payments. In this scenario, you pay half of your mortgage every other week (this method is especially ideal if you are paid biweekly). Paying biweekly results in a full extra payment per year (26 half-payments per year equals 13 full payments).

It's important to note where the extra money goes when you overpay your mortgage. Each mortgage plan applies this money in different ways, which produces different results. If you apply the extra money to your principal balance, this helps you pay off the mortgage faster. However, some companies apply the extra money toward your next payment only, which means that you'll pay off the same amount of money over time. You should be able to tell the company where you want to apply your money, but don't assume that they're doing what you want.

Effects of Overpaying
When you pay extra toward the principal of your mortgage, you are decreasing the total amount of interest that you pay over the lifetime of the loan. Traditionally, when you make your payments during the first few years of the mortgage, the bulk of your payment goes toward interest rather than principal. Paying extra each month can save you thousands of dollars on your total cost over the full term of the loan.

Prepayment Penalties
One potential negative effect of overpaying your mortgage is having to pay a prepayment penalty. Certain mortgages have this type of clause to protect the bank from losing money. If you pay your loan off too quickly, you may have to pay extra money to the bank. It's usually still less than what you would have paid if you followed the loan terms. Check with your mortgage company about its policy on prepayment penalties.

3 Reasons to Keep Your Home Listed During the Holidays

As the holidays approach, home sellers are often tempted to take their homes off the market until spring-or even wait until spring to list. After all, buyers are too busy now to search for houses, right? In a word, no. As a rule, you should list your home when you want to sell it, not when you think it will sell, because no one can predict with any certainty when the right buyer might show up at your door. In fact, canceling or postponing your listing may actually prove counterproductive. Here are three reasons why:

1. Motivated Buyers
Buyers who take time from their holiday preparations-and their holiday time off work-to house-hunt tend to be serious buyers who are ready to move. Although some buyers prefer to move in warmer weather, those who are relocating or who are purchasing upon expiration of their leases don't have a choice. Furthermore, buyers who have no children, and buyers already living in your school district, may not have a seasonal preference.

2. Less Competition
Winter inventories tend to decline, so the homes that are listed during the holiday months have less competition. And, as buyers hold off for lower prices and sellers hold off for higher ones, pent-up demand creates an urgency that can benefit holiday sellers.

3. Your Home is Already Staged
Despite temporary disarray when you're in the process of decorating for the holidays, your home looks more inviting than ever after the work is finished. The warm, festive atmosphere encourages prospective buyers to linger, as they imagine celebrating their own holidays there. If you're worried that showing requests might catch you off-guard, have a five-minute family clean-up each morning to prepare your home for the day. You also may alter your showing instructions to accommodate changes in your routine. Beyond that, leave the details to your agent as you enjoy the season and look forward to a successful sale.