This from Jackson Gore at Okemo Valley!

Okemo Mountain Resort

Jackson Gore is Open! We’ll have 37 trails with 8 lifts spinning starting at 8 a.m. Don’t forget that you can get a $39 lift ticket at the clock tower ticket plaza or the Jackson Gore Archway if you donate 5 or more non perishable food items. The Rail Jam is also today– registration is in the clock tower base lodge with the event itself in the Jackson Gore base area.  Come to the Okemo area and Ski with us!


If you are considering listing your home for sale or buying Real Estate in Southern Vermont, please give me a call at 802-353-1983, visit my website or email me at [email protected]

First Anniversary of Vermont’s Recovery from Tropical Storm Irene

On August 28th, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont. The flooding hit many parts of that state, some worse than others. The storm caused more damage than many here have ever seen.

While many people (and their communities) that weren’t affected have moved on, they’re not always aware that there are still many that continue to deal with the aftermath of Irene.

Vermont has made much progress in rebuilding. It’s been a lot of hard work. Almost immediately after the Irene hit, those that weren’t affected volunteered to help out their fellow neighbors salvage their personal belongings, clean up and rebuild. To this date there are still many volunteers helping out.

You can see more about what volunteers have done and volunteer yourself at: SerVErmont for Irene Recovery

The “SerVermont for Irene Recovery” facebook page is a place for people to share experiences about Irene in Vermont and what the experience has meant to them and also collaborate with other volunteers.

You can also contribute to the efforts by buying a Vermont Strong licence plate, which sell for $25. You can find a retail location here: Vermont Strong Licence Plate Retailers

The “One Year Stronger: A Commemorative Gathering on the First Anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene” will take place on August 28th at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph. The free event will be from 7–8:30 p.m. Everyone is invited.

“This event is a celebration of how far we’ve come in recovering from one of the worst storms in this state’s history, thanks to the commitment of Vermonters to their neighbors and communities,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said. “It is also a recognition that there are still people who need assistance and work that remains for those struggling to recover from the devastation of the storm.”

The commemortive gathering will include speaches from the Governor, flood survivors, recovery heroes and volunteers. There will be musical performances by Vermont musicians such as Diane Martin, Shyla Nelson and Jon Gailmor as well as by the VYO Chorus and Vermont Youth Orchestra.

There will also be an exhibit of photography and artwork expressing the impact of Irene on Vermonter’s lives displayed at the Chandler from 4-8:30 p.m.

Other Irene Anniversary events will be happening statewide this month. Many local Irene events should be posted on the Vermont Strong website.,

More Vermont Irene Recovery Resources:

Five Habits of Highly Productive Real Estate Agents

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  You could take the title of this blog and replace “Real Estate Agents” with your profession and you would increase your productivity!  But Real Estate is my business and time management is a real challenge that I want to address from the perspective of being a Real Estate Agent.

With so many distractions, it is a wonder that real estate agents are productive at all.  Working to become a highly productive real estate agent is an ongoing process.  Creating habits that produce consistent results allows you to achieve your maximum potential.  Between phone calls, emails, listing presentations, prospecting calls and buyer appointments, how do I stay productive?

I keep myself focused, alert and on tract with these five habits:

  1. Focus on the Most Important Tasks.  Be mindful to focus on income generating tasks and tasks that produce results.  Schedule time on your calendar and list out everything you will work on.  Number each item and work through your list.  Complete what you can during your scheduled time without any interruptions or distractions (see #2).  Do this every day.
  2. Remove Distractions.  The day can quickly get away from you between the phone, email, Internet and any other interruption.  Turn it all off and stay focused on your task at hand.  Don’t allow yourself a quick vacation on Facebook or getting off track by answering emails.  Cut yourself off from all distractions, work down your list and take a break once you are complete.
  3. Use Positive Affirmations.  Crazy, I know but they actually do work!  They can take a negative attitude and turn it around just by repeating a few constructive, upbeat words. 
  4. Take a Cat Nap.  Making time and grabbing a few z‘s might seem like an odd productivity tip, but studies have shown that feeling refreshed after a nap can significantly improve concentration and performance.  30 minutes is all it takes.
  5. Set Daily Goals.  Wake up each morning with your goals outlined.  These should be incorporated into your daily tasks.  Setting your sites on a goal each day offers clarity and promotes a more sustained drive.

Here’s a bonus.  Break out of the norm.  Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something that makes you a little uncomfortable.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be an amazing place that offers growth potential you never believed possible. Whatever your profession, these habits will contribute to your productivity. 

Until next time, Irene

Things to do in the Mountains

I love Vermont!  Even when the slopes are bare there are many activities to attend, from sporting events to outdoor music concerts.   We are fortunate in this area that so many opportunities exist.  Every weekend you can choose from Stratton’s Saturday under the Stars Concert Series or Killington’s Its Cooler in the Mountains Concert Series or Okemos’ Friday Night Jackson Gore Concert Series.  Pull up a chair, bring a blanket and get your groove on at these free events.

Looking for other interesting events?  Stratton is hosting a Motorcycle Rally on August 20th that has a host of activities beyond two wheels – BBQ, Gondola Rides, Vendors and Live Music!  If you feel like travelling a bit further, check out the 16th Annual Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival in Bennington on September 3rd.  Taste everything from Garlic Ice Cream to Garlic Margaritas! 

Trying to stay in shape for the coming ski season?  The 100 on 100 Relay on August 13th might be for you.  Runners from across the country converge on the Green Mountain state each August for this long distance relay along scenic Route 100 ending at Okemo Mountain.  Running races in New England are increasing in popularity and Vermont races put on by Heart of Vermont Productions are looking to lead the way.

Or check out the Eastern States Cup DH Race at Mount Snow on August 20.  The final downhill mountain bike race of the season, registration includes lift service for practice on Saturday and race day on Sunday.  Beginners to pro races welcome – and of course it’s free to spectate!

One of my favorite activities is to stroll through one of Vermont’s beautiful villages taking in the sights, shopping and visiting local restaurants.  Woodstock, Chester and Weston are three of my favorites and I encourage you to plan a visit.  This area is rich with diverse activities and you will be sure to find something for everyone. 

Until next time, Irene

Steps for First-time South Central Vermont Home Buyers – Part I

A simplified guide for painless purchasing of your South Central Vermont home


Congratulations! So you’ve made the decision to stop renting and purchase a place of your own. The home buying process may initially appear complicated and a bit daunting, but by using the skills of a buyer’s real estate agent, searching the internet, and familiarizing yourself with each of the steps involved, your experience can be a smooth and rewarding one.

1. Analyzing your financial situation.

The first thing to do is to learn how much you can afford to pay for your South Central Vermont home. Generally speaking, mortgage costs, or PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance), should not exceed 26-28% of your gross monthly income. Many internet web sites furnish free tools for calculating these expenses for you. You can search under “calculating mortgage costs” or visit,, or, to name just a few. Remember that in addition to income, your credit rating, on-going monthly expenses, amount of the down payment, and the current interest rate must be factored into your financial analysis. Also take into consideration any HOA’s (homeowners’ association) dues, maintenance costs, and utilities you’ll have to pay on a monthly basis. You would be wise to investigate state and federal government programs which help qualifying first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs. Visit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for specific information which could be quite beneficial to you.

2. Getting prior loan approval.

The next step, before you ever begin actually looking a home, is to secure pre-approval for a loan. In order to do this, you will need to provide a potential lender with all necessary information about your finances. Your realtor will help you do this.

After performing a thorough and positive analysis of your financial situation, the lender will issue you a letter of approval which states the amount for which you qualify. This letter assures buyers that you are guaranteed a sufficient loan and that they are guaranteed a sale with no unpleasant surprises.

3. Determining your needs and desires.

If you are relocating to South Central Vermont, you will certainly want to familiarize yourself with the area–in person or via the net. Think about the type of community you’d feel most comfortable in. Older and established? Brand new and shiny? Consider age, style, and size you’d prefer. Would a fixer-upper be a good match for you? Is proximity to good schools important? What about the distance to and from your workplace? Traffic patterns and noise? Ample (and reserved?) parking? Do the community amenities suit your lifestyle? Do you want neighbors nearby?

Make lists for yourself. What are your “must haves”? Where do you want laundry facilities? Is an updated kitchen essential? Do you prefer an open floor plan? Who will maintain a large yard? Prioritize your wants and needs and revise the list when necessary.

As a first-time South Central Vermont home buyer, you’ll learn that you’ll have to make some compromises and that the whole process can be time-consuming–but oh, so exciting! Rely on your real estate agent to advise you about the advantages/disadvantages of specific locations and house styles and help you through the loan approval step. Because of his/her access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), he or she can search, with your wish list in hand, through thousands of listings to find the “ideal” South Central Vermont home for you.

Avoiding Buyer’s Remorse When Purchasing South Central VT Real Estate

remorseAccording to, buyer’s remorse is one of the top ten mistakes made when purchasing a home. Finding the perfect home and making the decision to buy a home are not easy tasks. First, you spend hours on the computer researching South Central VT real estate and neighborhoods, perfecting your search criteria on MLS websites, and viewing many virtual tours.  Then, you begin making appointments to go take a look at the ones you think stand a good chance at being the future home of your family. 

As you walk through the house you envision the happy life you and your family would live and the future décor for this room and that room. You see houses that “require too much work,” “don’t have enough storage,” ones that are “too small” or maybe even one that is “do-able but not perfect.” Finally after weeks or even months of searching, you find “THE house.” Now you send in a promising offer and anxiously wait for feedback. You and seller come to an agreement and the offer is accepted. Once the papers are signed you can relax and enjoy the excitement, right?

Continue reading

Vermont Investment Property

Chester, Vermont Seven Unit Apartment House The house is approx 120 years old, the two back apartments were added about 20 years ago they are 3 bedrooms each with their own furnace and hot water heater tenants pay their own heat and hot water. The main roof of the house is slate The roofs over the porches are asphalt. The foundation is stone – there are 2 basements, one for the front apartments with the main furnace and water heater and one for the back 2 apartments with their own water heaters and furnaces. Each basement has an outside entrance bilko doors. The outside of the house is Clapboard. The outside of the front potion of the house was painted during the renovations. The front of the house has mostly original windows, some storm windows. The house is heated with oil throughout. There is no gas. All the stoves are electric and all the tenants pay their own electricity. There is town water and sewer. The house is on approx 1.5 acres of property with parking for 12+ cars along the side and in the back, it is on a main street (rte 103), across from Chester Town Hall; an ideal location, walking distance to store. Good Numbers! Call or e-mail for more info. Owner/broker
MLS #2801839

Five Tips to Buyng A Second Home

Many new home buyers in Vermont are second home buyers, buying a vacation home. Vermont seasons have something for everyone…terrific skiing in the winter, perfect maple syrup making weather in the spring, warm days and cooler mountain evenings in the summer, and gorgeous foliage in the fall.

Purchasing a Vermont vacation home is an exciting venture, but there are some things to think about that are different than when you purchased your primary residence.

1. What is the travel time between your primary home and the second home location? Is it a doable drive or travel distance, or will it become a deterrent to actually enjoying your vacation home?

2. What type of activities does the vacation home location offer and are these activities of interest to you? It is a good idea to visit the vacation home location at various times of the year to get a better idea of what the area is really like.

3. If you are financing your vacation home, interest rates are generally higher and down payments larger. I am glad to put you in touch with a local lender for you to talk loans with.

4. The interest paid on the mortgage for your vacation home is tax deductible, if you don’t rent it out for more than two weeks a year. But unlike your primary residence, the profit you make from the sale of the property is subject to capital gains. One way around capital gains is to sell your primary residence, move into your vacation home and live there for two years before you sell it.

5. Insurance is another consideration. Homeowners insurance in a vacation home is usually higher than on your primary residence because it is vacant for much of the time.

One of the best recommendations I have for you is to get the assistance of a well qualified Realtor who knows the area who has lived in the area for awhile. If you are thinking of buying southern Vermont vacation home, I’m your Realtor!! Give me a call at 800-659-1819 # 103 or visit my website. I am a long time resident of Vermont and a long time Realtor. I’d love to help you buy your dream Vermont vacation home!

Vermont Interest Rate Update

It’s time to check out interest rates, as I haven’t reported on them recently. Historically, interest rates go up in the spring, but we haven’t seen much movement this spring which is good news for Vermont home buyers.

Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Market Mortgage Survey reports a slight increase in rates this past week due to economic growth outside of the housing market, with a healthy consumer sector and improving business spending.

Interest rates this past week on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.42 percent compared to the previous week’s rate of 6.37 percent. This time last year, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.67 percent.

Are you shopping for a mortgage for your Vermont home? This can be a daunting process, but I am glad to refer you to a reputable, knowledgeable and competitive mortgage lender who will take the time to explain your loan options to you. This will allow you to make an educated decision about which home loan is best for you. Just give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103. I’m here to help.

Be sure to visit my website to learn more about mortgages and the home buying process.

Vermont Interest Rates Decline

Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey®. Rates have decline for the first time in six weeks due to signs of moderating inflation.

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.17 percent, down from last week when it averaged 6.22 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year averaged 6.53 percent.

This is great news for Ludlow home buyers. Historically rates inch up during the spring buying season. Now is when the most homes are available for sale and to have rates low is having your cake and eating it too.

Thinking of buying Ludlow real estate? Visit my website to view all Vermont real estate listings or give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103.