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I Want a Deal!

The phone rings at least once a week with a customer who's first words, after introducing themselves, are " I want a deal." My first thought, which I do not say, is; " Then go to Florida or Las Vegas." Vermont has been fortunate to be insulated from the housing "bust" as reported in the Burlington Free Press dated March 1, 2008 by Mark Sutkosky:

"Vermont is insulated from much of the housing crunch drama afflicting other parts of the nation, Allen said. Unlike some areas, especially places like Florida and California, Vermont does not have much of an oversupply of houses and condominiums for sale, Allen said. A large oversupply tends to drive prices down sharply.Also, speculators built a lot of housing in some corners of the nation, anticipating huge profits that failed to materialize, Allen said. Vermont experienced little speculative building, he noted.For those who can afford it, Allen said 2008 might be a decent time to buy. "Prices are high relative to historic standards, but there may be pockets of opportunity because the market is slow. They might find sellers more willing to make some concessions," Allen said. Torpy of the Champlain Housing Trust said programs to encourage affordable housing should remain intact and fully funded.

But even with the high price of houses and condominiums, people with moderate incomes who are have done their research and are sure their finances are stable can buy a home, Torpy said. "If you go in the market and are an informed and wise consumer, you can find a good value," Torpy said.

Most resort areas in Vermont have experienced a slowing of sales but the prices and the equity that people have in their houses remains stable. Properties over a million have been less affected because this buyer usually pays cash , or finances less than 50%. The slowest real estate sales areas are between $500,000 and $1,000,000. I beleive this is because that buyer would have used the equity from their primary home for a downpayment on their vacation home. Now they are reluctant to do so.

Stowe's homeowners, in most cases, are not pressed to sell. They may desire to sell for a variety of reasons, such as down-sizing, retiring, lack of use, but it is not a necessity. If they are anxious to get income from the home, they can get very good rentals while they wait for a buyer. So the short answer to:" I want a deal ," is "there are no deals." But there is opportunity.

Sellers know that the real estate news is doom and gloom. Even when all the statistics will tell you that resort real estate has remained stable, or has continued to climb in price, Stowe and other resorts get lumped in with the doomsdayers and naysayers. Because there has been a slow down country wide, there are people who want to sell and will listen to reasonable offers. This is where opportunity knocks.

One of the perks that our Sellers are offering to entice Buyers is a home warranty program to our Sellers. Through Coldwell Banker they are able to put a home warranty on their house to insure against appliances, furnaces, electrical, and plumbing failures. This is a free warranty program for 18 months with no cost to the Seller until their house is sold. At the closing the home warranty is paid for by the Seller and it is transferred to the Buyer. It is good for one year. I have found that homes with a home warranty program attract buyers.

In a study done recently by Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate, most houses today are sold within 5% of the asking price. Several years ago, homes and land were selling at asking price, or just slightly above. In rare cases there is a 10% drop. In the $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 price range you get the best dollar value for your home. Most of these homes are selling at below replacement costs when you take in the today's square footage prices and the current cost of land. Below I have linked to several properties where you can apply this formula.

Click here for Peggy's Picks for Stowe Real Estate Opportunities:

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  1. Ted Burrett on

    I can tell that this is not the first time at all that you mention the topic. Why have you decided to write about it again?