Peggy's Insights

It's Mud Season - What to Do?




Win a pair of boots *



This is the season where you can count on snow, rain, sleet, hail, sun, and temperatures from 0 to 75 degrees, and the roads full of muddy ruts. Top ten things to do:

10. Finish the ski season with the best skiing of the year, no crowds   

9. Take the gondola up the mountain, hike to the top and have a picnic on the way down. Bring skis or snowshoes, space blanket to sit on and enjoy the view

   8.  Check out the new goats and lambs at a farm

   7.  Have a bowling party

   6.  Go to a climbing wall and try out your skill

   5.  Sign up for a trail work day

   4.  Take a ‘staycation’ with deals on hotels and spa treatments

   3.  Go to a monster truck mud race

   2.  Visit a maple sugar house, eat sugar on snow


And the #1 best thing to do:

Look at real estate because you can see the potential for views on a wooded lot or get a deal before the prices and the mortgage rates rise.

Call or email the Smith Macdonald Group for an appointment:

Peggy: 802 793-3566   McKee 802 375-5009

* A free pair of rubber boots to the first person that signs a deal in April

photo source:


Understanding the Market: It's Time To Buy

A recent Wall Street Journal article explained five signs that it's time to buy, while this is an article focused on the national market.  Much of it resonates with the Stowe area and Vermont market as a whole. 

The Stowe area and Vermont reflect several of the signs they explain as a reason to buy. 

First, jobs, Vermont has lower unemployment than many other states across the country and growing local industries. 

Second, recent sales activity, the Stowe market saw a decrease in inventory during the 1st Quarter 2011 and an increase of sales volume during that time.

Third, mortgage availability, while it's still a process to get a home loan, it is possible and getting easier everyday.  More local banks are offering lending and the larger lenders have started to come back into the second home market.

Stowe and Vermont experienced very low foreclosures and have seen bottom of the market come and go.  Now is a time to still get good value as a buyer.

Click here to read the full WSJ article

Vermonters Love Cheese and Beer, So Does The Smith Macdonald Real Estate Group!

Beer LOVES Cheese

At long last, the perfect pairing of two Vermont staples

Vermont Life Magazine By Melissa Pasanen

Photographed by Jim Westphalen

In the corner of the basement cheese-aging cave at Mt. Mansfield Creamery in Morrisville sits a single open bottle of Rock Art beer. "It's for the cheese, not the cheesemaker," jokes Stan Biasini as he starts pulling some of his Inspiration cheeses from the shelves, turning them and carefully wiping them down with a mixture of salt water and the beer. "This cheese was complex and it paired really well with beer so I thought it might taste good made with beer," Biasini, 51, explains. "It gives the cheese a nutty finish, an added twist. And people like it; they ask for the cheese made with beer."

Even though Mt. Mansfield has only been in business since June 2009, its beer-washed, Corsican-style tomme is already a favorite of local tastemakers. "I love the cheese," says Donnell Collins, executive chef and co-owner of Leunig's Bistro in Burlington. "The Rock Art wash on the rind catches the eye of a lot of our younger clients and it just puts the cheese on a whole other level. I think it makes it nuttier, earthier. It's like you can almost taste the hops. It's totally different from any other cheese out there." Success has both thrilled and slightly stunned Biasini, who grew up around Utica and originally trained as a chef, and his wife, Debora Wickart, 46, a Vermont native who has raised cows since she was a teenager. The family started their cheese business to supplement low liquid milk prices and tide them over until the economy improved and their rug installation business rebounded. "The demand is really overwhelming," says Wickart with both a sigh and a smile as she sweeps the barn after the morning milking.

This happy marriage between one Vermont cheese and one Vermont beer is more than just a delicious bite. It represents the parallel and complementary growth of artisanal cheese and craft beer within Vermont and across the nation, as well as the significant contributions these two taste-based entrepreneurial niches have made to Vermont's reputation and landscape. Nationally, there has been a return to handcrafted, small-batch food and drink as consumers search out unique authenticity versus generic corporate sameness. "Cheese and beer are among the artisanal foods that were most ruined by our industrial food system during the 20th century," notes Garrett Oliver, longtime brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and editor-in-chief of the forthcoming "Oxford Companion to Beer." "They were wonderfully pleasurable foods that were made into 'food facsimiles.' Now that we're in recovery from that era, we are returning to normal, and it's natural that beer and cheese should lead the way." Shaun Hill Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead Brewery

In Vermont, it all started in the early to mid-1980s when pioneers like Shelburne Farms, Allison Hooper and Bob Reese of Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, and Marian Pollack and Marjorie Susman of Orb Weaver Farm began making handcrafted cheese. Around the same time, the late Greg Noonan spent three years lobbying the Vermont legislature to legalize brewpubs before opening the Vermont Pub and Brewery, the East Coast's third brewpub, and Stephen Mason and Alan Davis co-founded Catamount Brewery, one of the original New England microbreweries. "Vermont was one of the first places in the eastern United States where the craft-brewing renaissance took hold," Oliver elaborates, "and I think it's not a coincidence that it's one of the few places in the country that never entirely lost the culture of real cheesemaking. Vermont cheddar is a touchstone for American cheesemakers."

Vermont now claims the highest per capita number of cheesemakers (more than 40) and breweries (more than 20) in the country, draws sell-out crowds annually to the Vermont Brewers Festival and the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, and earns top national awards for both its cheeses and beers. In 2004, the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese (VIAC) at The University of Vermont was established as the nation's first and only comprehensive center devoted to artisan cheese education, research and technical services.

The state is a "beacon" in both fields, says Liz Thorpe, author of "The Cheese Chronicles," a cultural history of the new American cheese, and vice president of leading specialty retailer, Murray's Cheese. "Vermont is unusual and different from many other states in terms of cheese and beer diversity," she adds.

At a basic and tangibly tasty level, beer and cheese are slowly but surely nibbling away at the time-honored pairing of wine and cheese. Oliver often faces off against sommeliers during tastings in which the same cheeses are matched with both wines and beers. "Beer always wins," he reports. "Essentially, beer and cheese both come from grass," he explains. "Barley is a grass and wheat is a grass. It may sound outlandish, since there's a cow, a sheep or a goat in the middle of the cheese production process, but there is a flavor of the pasture in great cheeses. There are warm, bread-like flavors in real beers. There is a primal bond between the two foods that tastes natural on the palate." D.J. D'Amico, a senior research scientist at The University of Vermont and VIAC staff member, adds that beer lacks the acidity and tannins that can make wine a challenging partner. The carbonation also cuts the fat in cheese, he explains, "literally breaking the flavor open and exposing it to your mouth." Beer is also less risky from a price standpoint and less intimidating, especially to younger generations. "Wine works too," allows Thorpe, "but it's harder." Cheese and beer, she says, are "a case where one plus one definitely make three."

The crowd that pressed around the bar at Burlington's Farmhouse Tap and Grill last fall didn't need much convincing to enjoy bites of pungent Bayley Hazen blue cheese between sips of bourbon oak-aged oatmeal stout or Cabot's caramel-kissed clothbound cheddar with an all-American Imperial IPA. The beer-focused gastropub offers the best brews it can find both locally and globally along with a fully Vermont cheese list. For the fall event, dubbed "Beer Loves Cheese #1," the restaurant paired Hill Farmstead Brewery, one of the state's newest brewers but already attracting serious attention, and Jasper Hill Farm, the seven-year-old operation of the Kehler brothers, who have made waves nationally not only for their own award-winning cheeses but also for their ambitious project: a state-of-the-art cheese cave. Here they age cheeses from other regional cheesemakers like Cabot in an effort to support the state's dairy business, preserve agricultural land and build critical mass for New England artisanal cheese.

Shaun Hill, Hill Farmstead's owner and brewer, was on hand with Zoe Brickley, Jasper Hill's sales and marketing manager. The brewery and the cheesemaker are both in North Greensboro and share close ties, Hill explained, starting with the fact that he is a cousin of the cheesemaker's namesake, Jasper Hill. As relationships between breweries and cheesemakers go, Hill asserts, "None is as intimate as ours." After brewing at The Shed in Stowe and at Nørrebro Bryghus in Copenhagen, Hill, 31, returned to his family's seventh-generation homestead to start his own brewery, which opened in the spring of 2010.

Stan Biasini Stan Biasini of Mt. Mansfield Creamery

  Many of his beers are named for relatives, like the Imperial India pale ale called Abner after Hill's great-grandfather who raised 14 children where the brewery now stands. Hill also brews a custom Belgian lambic-style beer that captures wild yeasts from the Jasper Hill cellars and is used to wash their seasonal Winnimere cheese, a rich, oozy and often funky delicacy, which has even made it to Thomas Keller's Manhattan restaurant, Per Se. The practice, explains Brickley, goes back to the Benedictine monks who made similar styles of cheese and beer and used their beer, the most sanitary liquid available to them, to clean the ripening cheeses. "The sweetness of the beer helps balance the subtle bitter notes of a washed rind," she says.

One of Jasper Hill's latest projects involves working through the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick to teach small dairies how to make more of the in-demand Bayley Hazen blue cheese. Efforts such as this have earned Jasper Hill support from various sources, including the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), which provides financial assistance to promising businesses. Over the years, VEDA has financed a number of cheese and beer enterprises like Magic Hat Brewing Company, Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, and Rock Art Brewery. "The food industry seems to be a niche in which we can really generate some traction," says VEDA's chief operating officer Steve Greenfield. "Those businesses benefit from the already established Vermont karma and the state gets added oomph when more products are out there." Greenfield also notes that these ventures also support critical sectors like tourism and agriculture and generate revenue from outside the state. Naturally, there will be business failures like that of the still-missed Catamount Brewery, as well as the risk that successful homegrown companies will be bought, as happened this past summer when North American Breweries purchased Magic Hat. "Definitely, when you create an interesting little brand," says Hooper of Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, now topping $10 million in annual sales, "you have suitors."

Back in Morrisville, Matt Nadeau, president and co-owner of Rock Art Brewery, says, "I'm having too much fun right now" to sell. "It was never the goal to be on every supermarket shelf," he continues. "Craft beer is about fresh, local beer, not that your beer is in 30 different states on every shelf." The 14-year-old company broke ground last fall on a new building just down the road that will double the size of their brewery to 10,000 square feet, a huge leap from the original basement brewing operation launched by Nadeau, 44, and his wife, Renée, 41. Their first 220-gallon tanks with homemade foil jackets lined with bubblewrap are still in the brewery, dwarfed by newer tanks 10 times their size. "When we got started we could hardly keep one of those half full and now we've got five states waiting for beer," says Nadeau proudly.

Success, of course, brings its own growing pains from overexpansion to market demand outpacing supply. Rock Art experienced its biggest challenge in 2009 after Nadeau filed a trademark for his Vermonster American-style barley wine only to receive a cease and desist letter from Hansen Beverage Company, owner of Monster Energy drinks. Even though lawyers believed the huge corporation had no case, they also cautioned that he could lose his whole business in a David versus Goliath battle. "That didn't sit well with me," Nadeau recalls. "That's not what our Founding Fathers intended." Prompted by independent retailers who boycotted Hansen and public outcry fueled by media and the Internet, the giant backed down. "You're going to tell a Vermonter you can't use Vermonster?" Nadeau recalls. "Good luck. You just pissed off a whole state, a small but very vocal state." He is now working with Sen. Patrick Leahy on trademark law reform and hopes to effect change that will benefit small businesses nationally.

The Nadeaus started their basement brewery in 1997 with a conservative $12,000. Across town in his basement cheese cave, Biasini washes cheese with Rock Art beer and shares his similarly careful approach to launching Mt. Mansfield more than a decade later. With an Intervale Center Success on Farms grant, Biasini took a course with a highly regarded Vermont cheesemaker and consultant who told him that he'd need $100,000 to get going. Biasini did it for $6,000, and "I paid cash for everything," he recounts, showing off his steam kettle bought used online for $1,500 and an old gas station cooler for $500. His only employee is a retiree who offered to work for cheese and his cheese press is weighted with filled plastic gallon jugs. "A gallon of water didn't cost anything," he notes. To meet the growing demand for his cheeses, Biasini knows he must expand and is cautiously exploring his options. Despite Mt. Mansfield's early success, the cheesemaker observes as he gently stirs the morning's milk, "You've always got to remember that this may be fun, but it's a business."

Tasting Beer and Cheese Together

 D.J. D'Amico, a senior research scientist at The University of Vermont, is also on the staff of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese and is a competitive home brewer. He frequently organizes Vermont beer and cheese tastings. Here are some of his recommendations, and you can find more @

  • l First, the flavor intensity should be similar between the two. A delicate cheese needs a delicate beer, while a strong cheese requires a beer with heft so that neither is overpowered by the other.
  • Try to match flavors to accentuate or complement. This could mean matching the chocolate flavors of stouts and porters to those same nuances found in some blue cheeses, or in the case of wheat beers and fresh goat cheese, use the spicing of the beer to complement the citrus tang of the goat's milk.
  • Or go for a contrast like porters with aged cheddars, or the dark fruit flavors found in Belgian-style dark ales to balance the funk of washed-rind cheeses.


With these guidelines in mind, D'Amico suggests these pairings:

  • Aged cheddars like Cabot clothbound with a moderately bitter pale ale or India pale ale such as Lucky Kat IPA from Magic Hat or the chocolate and coffee notes of porters and stouts such as Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout.
  • Fresh goat cheeses with light-bodied Belgian-style witbiers (wheat beers) like Long Trail Belgian Wit or Harpoon UFO White and harder aged goat cheeses like Blue Ledge Farm's Riley's Coat with the less pronounced spicing of American wheat ales or hefeweizens like Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen or Magic Hat Circus Boy.
  • Bloomy-rind Camembert or Brie-style cheeses made from goat's milk like those from Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, Lazy Lady, Does' Leap and Blue Ledge with funky Belgian-style saison beers like Rock Art's Sunny and 75°. The more delicate, buttery versions made from cow's milk go well with the butterscotch and toffee notes of Irish red ales and mild ales like Long Trail Harvest.
  • Alpine-style cow cheeses like Cobb Hill's Ascutney Mountain or Thistle Hill and Spring Brook Tarentaise, and sheep cheeses like Vermont Shepherd and Woodcock Weston Wheel with lightly hopped nutty amber and brown ales like Long Trail ale, Otter Creek Oktoberfest and Wolaver's brown ale.
  • Washed-rind cheeses with funky and strong flavors but soft texture like Lazy Lady's Barick [sic] Obama or Mixed Emotions, or Jasper Hill Farm's Winnimere with strong but complex beer like Belgian-style ales Harpoon Quad or Long Trail Double IPA and Otter Creek Imperial IPA.
  • Blue cheeses like Boucher Blue or Jasper Hill's Bayley Hazen with English-style old ales and barley wines like Rock Art's Vermonster or stouts with chocolate and roasted coffee flavors like McNeill's or Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout.


  1. Houston Longhofer on

    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with remarkably special opportunity to read articles and blog posts from this web site. It's usually very useful and full of a good time for me and my office colleagues to search the blog a minimum of thrice a week to see the new guidance you have got. And definitely, we're at all times fascinated for the amazing points served by you. Some 1 facts in this posting are rather the most effective I have had.
    • San Diego real estate inspection on

      Hello There. I found your weblog the use of msn. That is an extremely neatly written article. I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I'll definitely return.
      • For The Best real estate agent in Mansfield on

        Tremendous issues here. I am very glad to peer your post. Thanks so much and I'm looking ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?
        • manteca computer repair on

          Thank you for any other magnificent article. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I'm on the search for such information.
          • i want to win my ex girlfriend back on

            So, I have a 2 dimensional matrix; so the matrix will have a customer and a friend for life. It teaches you to be specific and ask for exactly what type of dating 6 years touch and agreed boundaries. Communication dating 6 years is more than likely the reason for the dissatisfaction in all of his/her relationships. Maybe he still wants to be loved, been with their soul mate, live an abundance, a good relationship with your client. Check out my site :: i want to win my ex girlfriend back
            • running on

              Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks
              • Xuan Xie on

                This website can be a stroll-by for all the data you wanted about this and didn
                • male member enhancer pills on

                  With the help of various herbal erectile dysfunction pills, supplements, and they turn that narrative into one of the first who enhancement pills for men gawve Zenerex a try a few years ago. Herre is my weblog - male member enhancer pills
                  • buying Gold coins on

                    Increase your contributions when retirement distribution calculator you are planning investments and retirement. Most of us can't wait until we reach the years of working!
                    • Annett on

                      If you feel you include genital herpes or have considerations or questions, talk to a healthcare professional.
                      • on

                        May I just say what a relief to uncover somebody who actually knows what they're talking about on the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.

                        10 Pieces of Paper You Must Round Up to Buy (or Sell) a Home

                        By: Tara-Nicholle Nelson

                         Home buyers and -sellers alike often bristle with anticipatory irritation at the mere thought of all the paperwork they expect they'll have to come up with to do their transaction, above and beyond the basic loan application, contract, disclosures and closing docs. And these worries start way in advance; it's as though, before they even start visiting open houses, buyers begin to visualize - and dread - spending hours upon hours in the dank catacombs of the Vatican (à la Da Vinci Code) combing through ancient files, seeking some rare and precious artifact documenting their childhood dental history or genealogy.   In some respects, this vision of the experience of obtaining a home loan might not be far off - there are oodles of hoops through which to jump and, occasionally, the loan underwriter requests something sort of bizarre. But more commonly, there's a pretty finite universe of documents you'll really need to scrounge up to get your home bought - or sold. Here they are:

                        1. ID (e.g., driver's license, state-issued ID, passport).  Who must produce it?  Buyers and sellers.  Why?  Uh, hello!?!  Lender wants to know that you are who you say you are, buyers, and the title insurance company wants to make sure, sellers, that you actually have the right to sell the home.  Funny enough, this commonly goes unrequested until you get to the closing table, when the notary requests to see it before signing, but some mortgage brokers and even some real estate brokers and agents may ask to see it earlier on.
                        2. Paycheck Stubs.  Who must produce it?  Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage.  Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale.  Why? Buyers' purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.
                        3. Two months' bank account statements. Who must produce it?  Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers' lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own.  Short sellers?  It's all about the hardship.
                        4. Two years' W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it?  Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes (attn: all business owners!). And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.
                        5. Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months - even years! - on today's market. During the time between contract and closing it's not at all unusual for underwriters to demand buyers produce updated mortgage statements, checks stubs, and such - and its quite common for them to call your office the day before closing to request a last minute verification of employment!
                        6. Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it?  Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property.  Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately.  Why? With the Quitclaim Deed, the other spouse or owner signs any and all interests they even might have had in the property over the the selling owner, making it possible for the title insurer to guarantee clear, undisputed title is being transferred in the sale.
                        7. Divorce decree.  Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce. Why? Again, to ensure that the seller has the right to sell.  Recently single buyers might need to prove that they shouldn't be held to account for their ex's separate debts or credit report dings.
                        8. Gift letters.  Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment.  Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give.  They also want the relative to confirm in writing that it's a gift, not a loan - a loan would need to be factored into your debt load.
                        9. Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred, like some cities which require a sewer line be video scoped and repaired, cities which require a checklist of items be met before a certificate of occupancy be issued (usually relevant to brand new and really old homes, the latter of which are often subject to lead paint concerns) and energy conservation ordinances which require low-flow toilets and shower heads to be installed. Ask your real estate pro for advice about which, if any, such ordinances apply in your area.
                        10. Mortgage statements. Who must produce it?  Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use them to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property's title can be transferred.

                        By no means is this an exhaustive list. 

                        Contact us today to understand how to use this list to your advantage and to find out what else is needed for purchasing and selling in the Stowe area.

                        40 Inches in One Week to Kick Spring Skiing Into Gear

                        Hi Everyone,

                        Well the past week has been one that has pushed the snow plow drivers to the brink, giving us 40 inches of new snow in one week.  While many of us are starting to think about Spring and Summer, there's still some good skiing left at Stowe.

                        The crowds are down and the deals are out, along with the sun and fun of spring skiing.  If you're looking to get a few more turns in this year, Stowe is the place to be.  The soft corn snow along with sunglasses and lighter layers make for memorable final days on the mountain.

                        Take advantage of the end of the year lift ticket deals being offered by the Mountain:

                         St. Patrick's Day

                        Ski and Ride Stowe on Thursday March 17, 2011  for ONLY $39 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! Purchase a $39 one-day lift ticket at Stowe Mountain Resort and enjoy the great conditions. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.
                        Spring Summit Celebration
                        Enjoy our "Spring Summit Celebration" adult 2-day lift ticket for ONLY $99! The 2-day adult lift ticket special is valid during the following dates: April 2 & 3, 2011 and April 9 & 10, 2011. Cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.


                        Good weather also means looking at houses and land is not only warmer, but easier to view.  Leave the snowshoes in the car and take a stroll around the property with just your boots!  Call us today to arrange a showing or to take some final runs of the year with Peggy or McKee.

                        181 Foxfire Lane Stowe, VT For Sale $545,000

                        Beautifully landscaped Stowe VT home for sale with rock walls, and perennials gardens leading to the front door. You will find amenities such as a large screened in porch with a hot tub and large front porch with views to Mt. Mansfield. A  first floor master bedroom  allows for easy living. The two upstairs bedrooms have their own den and TV room, making it a great vacation or family home. You'll also find the layout perfect for entertaining. Located just outside of Stowe Village makes getting to the mountain, restaurants, movies and all Stowe has to offer is easy.

                        You can view the full listing details here: 181 Foxfire Lane Stowe, Vermont or call me today for a showing at 802-253-7358.

                        Contain-Her Opening at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe VT Tonight

                        I spent two months last fall at Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. During my time there I worked on my Contain-Her Collection of hand-built clay pieces. The work at resemble containers of different sized and shapes. As a child of the Sixties I have spent a great portion of my life struggling against the conventions that tried to restrain me and women of my generation and beyond. Come by the Helen Day Art Center tonight to celebrate with me sixty-five years in which life has tried (and failed) to Contain-Her. Opening starts at 5PM, I will be speaking at 5:30, the opening ends at 7PM.

                        I hope to see you there!

                        Can Short Sales Be Exciting? Part III

                        Part III

                        The day arrived when the phone rang and I heard those magically words, "Hello, this is your closer." Ah, it was like blue birds burst into song, the sun shone out from behind the computer and all was right with the world. I could see the sale happening in a month, perhaps a couple of weeks. This was not so bad, it was easier than I expected. And then... more demands, more documents, countless HUD statements. As if that was not enough, weeks go by and another phone call stating that the government has just come out with a new form that must be filled out by the owner of the property, a form that did not exist two weeks prior.

                        What totally mystifies me is that each time I have asked these handlers and closers if they have every bit of information they need, they say yes and I should hear in 48 to 72 hours. I hear nothing. Then when I call back to find out why I haven't heard, they want another document, or they want it revised. It is frustration beyond words. Just as you think you have the brass ring, it slips away and you have to wait until you go around again.

                        What I have learned is to treat my handlers and closers with the utmost respect, warmth, humor and cooperation. I only once lost my temper, at the request for a new form that had to be filled out. The number one rule in working out a short sale with the bank is: DO NOT GET PISSED OFF AT YOUR HANDLERS. I apologized.

                        I have scanned, faxed and re-scanned and re-faxed the same documents over and over, still they insist that they do not have them. Where they are (perhaps a nice shredded bed for some rabbit)? So here I am stuck in the middle of the tunnel waiting to come out in the daylight. Will I succeed in getting the second mortgage holder to accept the offer made by the first mortgage holder? Will the first mortgage holder sell at the price they have told me?  Stay tuned.

                        My advice... this is not a money maker for a real estate agent when you consider the time and frustration. Why am I doing it? It fascinates me. It is a puzzle to solve, it appeals to my creative side, and it makes real estate interesting.

                        Can Short Sales Be Exciting: Part II

                        After several days  I succeeded in getting to the right department. I was given a "list" of all required documents. Once those were gathered together I was told to expect to be assigned a "handler." In the meantime, if you call in to check on the status of your offer and you have not received a "handler," you have to go through a whole explanation of who you are, and why you are calling. The only fortunate thing is that they make notes on the computer about all conversations with you. The unfortunate side is you must wait until they read all the notes and ask you some of the same questions you have answered before. Then it is your moment to ask: "What is happening?"

                        In most cases there is yet another form that they are looking for. It does not seem to matter that you were diligent sending the owners financial information, the purchase and sales agreement, the listing agreement, the buyer's mortgage qualification; they will want some other document. If you succeed in accomplishing all their demands you are rewarded with a "handler." You will dance around, sing hallelujah and feel like you hit pay dirt on

                        My "handler" and I began a relationship that lasted over two months. Alas, I have to admit I was a two-time unfaithful mate. Behind my handler's back, I had another handler from the second mortgage company. I actually preferred him, as he was upbeat and friendly, but the first one was funny. Everyday was exciting to me as I waited with baited breath to hear from them. Although, I would immediately respond to their demands, there would always be another one the next day or week. My true quest was to get to the "closer.' This was like dating the ugly step sisters to finally have an audience with Cinderella.

                        Can Short Sales Be Exciting: Part I

                        Part I

                        Short sales require patience, perseverance and humor.  Have you ever seen a rabbit warren? Well, I can't say that I have actually laid eyes on one, but I have seen pictures. There is the entrance into a space and then another narrow tunnel to another space, and so on. This is how I view working out a short sale. One needs perhaps a rabbit's foot for good luck but I have never been completely comfortable with the idea of some poor rabbit limping around without a foot.  Most of the time I picture myself as a well armored warrior, championing the cause for my client. This of course, is the exact opposite approach that one should take with a bank. Instead, you really need to breathe deeply and calmly, and then slowly dial the phone numbers  you have found on the internet.

                        I, originally thought the worst part of contacting the banks would be finding the right person to talk to. And in the beginning this was true. I made numerous phone calls to various people that would then transfer me (or not) to someone else, who would then transfer me to someone else. All the while I would have to explain to each person that; yes, I did have permission from the owner of the property to talk to someone about their loan; and yes, I did have the loan number, and yes, I wanted to talk to someone in the short sale department.

                        My most common response when I would identify the loan number was: "we do not have that loan number". And I would have to breathe deeply again and explain that, of course, they did not have the loan number because it was in foreclosure, and that it was necessary that they put me through to the right department that handles short sales and foreclosures.

                        More about my adventures next week...