Blog :: 10-2011

McKee's Monthly Real Estate Advice Article Debuts in Stowe Reporter

McKee will be featured on a monthly basis in the Stowe Reporter in his column "On Real Estate."  Each month McKee will explore different facets of the real estate industry and market offering an in-depth analysis and opinions.

Stowe, VT offers a unique real estate experience for the New England area, it has better access to world class skiing and resort than any eastern mountain.  Buying and selling in Stowe, VT requires a local expert.

Take a look at this month's article, by clicking here.

If there are topics you would like discussed please feel free to email McKee with suggestions at


3rd Quarter Smith Macdonald Report Released -- Analysis of the Stowe Area Real Estate Market

Stowe, VT Real Estate Market Data

It is our pleasure to inform you that Smith Macdonald Group of Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate has released its 2011 3rd Quarter Report, our survey of residential real estate sales in Stowe, Lamoille County and Waterbury. This report compares data based on deals that closed by the end of Q3 2011 (January 1 through September 30) with those closed in the prior quarter and in the 1st three quarters of 2010.

The momentum generated by the Stowe area real estate market last year and in the first two quarters has continued.  Market-wide, sales transactions increased 23% versus a year ago.  This represents a 121% increase in sales volume in Q3 from Q3 in 2009, which represented the bottom of the market. 

The Smith Macdonald Group ranks number one in all Lamoille County residential sales transactions during the first three quarters of 2011 and top ten statewide year to date.  Additionally, Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate represented 31% of all sales in markets reviewed in this report more than any one office location. 

As always, we continue to follow closely this area's sales activity and trends in residential and land real estate, and would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about the report or the market generally.

Looking forward to speaking with you soon and we hope you had a nice summer.

Click here to request a copy of the report.

Recognizing REO, Foreclosure and Short Sale Opportunities

It is difficult to understand all of the terminology that is thrown out today. Many people do not want to admit that they have no understanding of these terms or they do not understand the difference between them.  Here are some short explanations that might help: 

  • Bank-owned properties are called REOs, meaning real estate owned by the lender.
  • Foreclosure - A situation in which a homeowner is unable to make principal and/or interest payments on the mortgage, causing the lender to seize and sell the property as stipulated in the terms of the mortgage contract.  The process of foreclosure can be rapid or lengthy and varies from state to state.
  • In a Short Sale the bank writes down the debt and the buyer buys the property assuming the debt.  The bank and the Seller avoid Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Expenses.  The Buyer gets financing on terms frequently better than conventional financing.  But the seller is likely to get hit by Recapture tax, and the Lender is going to have to take a loss.

Bank owned properties take the least amount of time to close on a property. They can be listed with a real estate agent and purchasing them works just like a regular sale. The advantage to bank owned properties is the bank has no attachment to the property and they want to get it off the books as quickly as possible. Usually this results in a good deal for the buyer.

 Foreclosures can be a bit problematic. Sometimes the bank or mortgage holder will auction off the property. It will be necessary to have your financing secured and a ten per cent deposit at the time of the auction. One thing to be aware of on foreclosed properties is the condition of the property you are purchasing. Many times the foreclosure process takes so much time and the homeowner might be angry that his property is being taken away. The house might not be in good condition. There may have been burst pipes, damage to the plumbing, wiring or the like. A thorough inspection by a qualified contractor should be done before the auction or a condition of the sale at auction

With short sales, be prepared for a possible wait when making an offer on a pre-foreclosure/short sale home; very few can close in 30 days or less and in my experience they take over nine months to close. If the owner has not completed a bankruptcy procedure, the bank has the right to go after the difference between what the property is selling at and what the owner owes. It is very hard to do a short sale without the cooperation of the owner.  It does have advantages for everyone but a great deal of patience is required.

The reward can be an excellent property purchased at a great price, but the frustration level may be greater than the reward. Each side should have a real estate agent experienced in short sales, along with lawyers, and other professionals. Each of the steps along the way can be made easier by seeking out the experts in their fields.

To Buy or Rent a Home?

Since the downturn in 2008 homeownership has been on the decline and the percent of people renting has risen.  Since home prices in many markets have hit bottom or are near bottom and interest rates remain historically low it is now time to take a closer look at buying verses renting.  As rents have steadily climbed many people may find they able to return to homeownership at the same cost as renting.

Click this link to examine the differences on whether to buy or rent.

To Buy or Rent a Home?.

Alert!! Area Freeze and Frost Warning

It's that time of year.  The weather service has issued a freeze and frost warning for tonight and tomorrow night.  For those of you still holding on to your summer flowers and gardens take notice.  Be sure to cover up your plants or start to cut those flowers and share them with your friends.

Weather tonight: Low of 24 degrees

Weather on Thursday night: Low of 21 degrees