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      Listing Spotlight: 369 Strong Road, Fayston VT

      This Fayston, VT home was constructed in 2005 with a high-end design and energy efficient features. There are 6 bedrooms, including a handicap-accessible guest room on the basement floor. It is a beautiful hillside home with stunning mountain views. The kitchen is upgraded with blue mica cast concrete counters, stainless steel appliances, 6-burner stove, a wine cooler pantry, and a formal breakfast nook overlooking the backyard. The wrap-around porch in the backyard is the perfect spot to enjoy during spring, summer, and fall.

      Fayston VT Home: 369 Strong Road369 Strong Road, Fayston VT

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      Contact me to schedule a tour of this home! Click here to view the listing details.

      Listing Spotlight: 1698 Plunkton Road, Warren VT

      1698 Plunkton is a beautiful historic home in the Mad River Valley town of Warren, VT. On 7.5 +/- acres, this home abutts the Green Mountain National Forest and has stunning views year-round. Snowshoe the property in winter, grab a kayak to explore Blueberry Lake or hop on the recently built wonderful mountain bike trails during warmer months. There are 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, high-end kitchen, radiant heat, and a wood stove sauna below the pond.   

      1698 Plunkton Road, Warren VT - photo 21698 Plunkton Road, Warren VT - photo 31698 Plunkton Road, Warren VT - photo 41698 Plunkton Road, Warren Vermont - photo 51698 Plunkton Road, Warren Vermont - photo 61698 Plunkton Road, Warren Vermont - photo 71698 Plunkton Road, Warren Vermont - photo 8

      Contact me to schedule a tour of this home! Click here to view the listing details.

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        A Future For Solar Energy?

        By Veronica Pollán, Maple Sweet Real Estate Sales Associate

        The future of renewable energy remains a question in the mind of many with the new administration. Will renewable energy resources suffer from president-elect Trump’s fossil fuel support? His policy details have not been released but according to his policy site, fossil fuels along side renewable resources will continue to shape America’s future towards energy independence.

        Nationwide

        With the administration’s promise to increase jobs in America, Trump may support expanding job-producing renewable energy sectors such as solar. As of 2015 the solar energy industry employs 3 times as many people as the coal mining industry. It has produced jobs at a rate 12 times higher then the national employment growth. 208,859 solar jobs were recorded in the U.S. as of December 2015, an increase of 20% from the previous year. For 2016 nearly 240,000 jobs from solar businesses are projected in all 50 states. 

        Since it’s inception in 2006, The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has given the solar industry so much strength and growth, that it was extended in 2015. The ITC is a federal tax incentive giving the consumer a 30% income tax credit when installed by the end of 2019. In 2020 the credit will drop to 26% and in 2021 to 22%. 

        Many questioned Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla who recently merged with SolarCity, about how the uncertainty of future incentive policies or lack there-of would effect his businesses. In a question and answer session Musk said that it's a “misconception... that Tesla is reliant on incentives or subsidies.” With the unveiling of Tesla Solar Roofs pictured, Musk aims to make these beautiful and powerful roofs more affordable than a traditional roof. His mission to create a one-stop shop for green energy is reliant on the customers that believe in him and his message to "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy."

        Vermont 

        The Green Mountain State is wasting no time on the renewable resource front setting a policy standard of 75% of energy to be provided by renewables by 2032. Vermonters embraced this policy by producing over 250MW of renewable energies over the last five years. Solar has had the greatest growth towards achieving Vermont's energy goals. Attributed to statewide financial incentives such as net metering, federal tax incentives, and incentives offered by local solar companies such as SunCommon. 

        With net metering Vermonters are their own grid. Currently, net metering allows customers to exchange their renewable energy for electric bill credits. During the spring months credits roll into the next months and in the winter credits are used up. Excess credits are reusable for up to 12 months.  To avoid expired credits, customers may use group net metering so a group may use communal excess energy.  A customer looking to receive net metering must first apply for a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board. In January 2017, the Vermont legislature will alter renewable resource customer incentives.

        SunCommon is Vermont's largest solar company employing 65 workers, providing their own customer incentives. Emily McManamy of SunCommon says "Through innovative no upfront cost financing options, SunCommon has now helped 3,000 Vermont households find a solar solution, whether that been rooftop, ground-mounted, Community Solar, solar home energy storage or small business and commercial solar." They aim to make solar easy and affordable for every household in Vermont via financing.

        The incentives' future is unclear. Whether removed or fossil fuel incentives reinstated, it will be up to the states to mandate laws and provide incentives for their population and for the planet. 29 states and 3 U.S. territories had renewable portfolio standards in August 2016. These states have policies to increase renewable energy generation. Another 8 states and 1 territory have voluntary renewable energy goals. Hopefully they will continue to work toward their standards and goals regardless of the fate of incentives.

        Maple Sweet Real Estate delves deeply into myriad issues affecting Vermont property owners, sellers, and purchasers.

        Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for info on selling or purchasing Vermont commercial properties, homes, condos or land or to get more information on Vermont real estate. 

        See all Maple Sweet Real Estate listings and the newest Vermont listings.

        Referrals & recommendations are welcome & appreciated.

        Vermont Mandatory Consumer Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.

        Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified.

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          Killington Hosting the Audi FIS Ski World Cup

          Lindsay VonnThis year, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup will be at Killington Ski Resort over Thanksgiving weekend, November 26 to 27, 2016. Watch the women's U.S. Ski Team, with stars like Mikaela Shiffrin and Julia Mancuso, compete against some of the world's best alpine skiers. The last time the World Cup was hosted in Vermont was in 1978, at Stratton Mountain.

          These are the first two World Cup events of the season, which will eventually lead to finals in Aspen, Colorado. Take in the excitement of ski competition, join community events like art showings and brewery events, and enjoy a free concert featuring the rock band O.A.R.

          Vermont is home to some of the best skiing in the world, and many of the U.S. Ski Team racers know the East Coast mountain well. This will be an exciting weekend and the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of the skiing and snowboarding season.

          VIP tickets are sold, out but there is plenty of free standing room for spectators. Get the full schedule here and experience this amazing event!

          Killington is home to beautiful ski homes. To view trailside homes, ski on and off condos, and homes just minutes from the mountain -- click here.

          The Trump Effect on the U.S. Housing Market, by Clare Trapasso, realtor.com Senior News Editor

          The article below is from Realtor.com, written by Senior News Editor, Clare Trapasso.

          Trump-housing-market

          LPETTET/iStock

          By now everyone on the planet knows that the majority of polls were wrong. Dead wrong! Donald Trump was elected the 45th U.S. president in a stunning upset. And his presidency is expected to have a profound impact on the nation and world.

          Sure, everyone right now is obsessing over what kind of impact the new president-elect will have on immigration, taxes, international relations, and trade policies. But we have a more specific query: What will the real estate mogul turned most powerful man in the world mean for the future of residential housing? (We are realtor.com® after all.)

          In the short term, probably not all that much.

          However, we do know that the incoming president will limit the federal government’s role in the real estate market, as was outlined in the 66-page Republican Platform 2016. So, longer term, the implications of this for home buyers, sellers, and owners could be sweeping.

          Related Articles

          As for now, “our November elections come at one of the slowest time of the year for sales, so I doubt we will see much disruption to the normal seasonal pattern” of home buying and selling, says realtor.com’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. “However, one short-term risk could be if the [election] has a big impact to financial markets that lasts more than a few days.

          “About half of voters got what they wanted,” he adds. “If this does impact purchases, it is more likely to be in blue states and not the red heartland.”

          Could Trump make the housing market ‘great again’ for buyers?

          A Trump presidency could be a boon for home buyers struggling to save up for a hefty down payment.

          That’s because he has promised to cut taxes and shrink the number of tax brackets from seven to three. This could, in theory, leave buyers with more money to spend on the homes of their dreams.

          And it could give the luxury market, which has been slowing down as of late, a boost, says James Harris, one of the star real estate agents on “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.”

          “For the high-end, luxury market, it may turn into something very positive,” he says.

          But real estate analysts were quick to point out that some of the reforms laid out in the Republican platform could potentially force buyers to plunk down larger down payments or pay higher interest rates. That could be problematic for those without a few extra million dollars in their bank accounts.

          “The heart of Republican support—blue-collar, middle-aged workers—are the people who will [be affected] the most,” says Bob Edelstein, co-chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. “It may be harder to get mortgages, and those that will be available will be less advantageous.”

          Adios, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

          It appears that the Republican Party, now led by Trump, wants to do away with—or substantially shrink—both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, although the language in the platform was a bit vague. It referred to the business models of the pair as “corrupt” and allowing “shareholders and executives [to] reap huge profits while the taxpayers cover all losses.”

          Trump hasn’t yet provided a replacement plan for the current system, which relies heavily on both Fannie and Freddie.

          The Republicans will also stop the FHA from providing taxpayer-guaranteed mortgages to wealthy home buyers. The FHA typically insures loans for low-income, first-time, and other buyers who don’t have enough for a 20% down payment.

          Hit the road, Dodd-Frank?

          The Republicans have also said they want to repeal—or at the very least, limit—the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The act provides more oversight of financial institutions in the wake of the housing bust that plunged the nation into a recession.

          Trump’s party also wants to get rid of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or subject it to congressional appropriation). The bureau, created through Dodd-Frank, is charged with protecting consumers against predatory financial services companies, including those providing mortgages.

          Dodd-Frank and agencies such as the CFPB are key to ensuring financial markets are kept in check and act fairly, says Edelstein.

          However, Republicans allege that its “regulatory harassment of local and regional banks, the source of most home mortgages and small business loans, advantages big banks and makes it harder for Americans to buy a home” in the platform.

          Unfortunately, no one at realtor.com has a crystal ball to see into the future of residential real estate under America’s new commander in chief. But it doesn’t look like demand from aspiring home buyers will taper off any time soon.

          The election is “going to absolutely create a short-term uncertainty like Brexit,” says Harris. “But in the long run, I think everything will be fine.”

          Clare Trapasso is the senior news editor of realtor.com. She previously covered finance for a Financial Times publication and wrote for the New York Daily News. Clare also teaches journalism at a local college, loves food festivals and bike trips, and enjoys playing with her dog.. Follow @claretrap

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            Vermont's Fall Foliage

            Vermont Fall FoliageSummer is coming to an end in Vermont. We are beginning to see signs of fall, from early morning chill to seasonal flavors and the turning of leaves. Vermont is famous for its beautiful change of color in fall. It is in the early stages, and soon most trees will be vibrant shades of orange, yellow, and red. Some trees that are known for their color change are maple, oak, and birch.

            This is leaf peeper season. Visitors from surrounding states travel to Vermont to get a glimpse of the fall foliage. Residents get outside to take in the array of colors and enjoy all that Vermont's fall has to offer. Whether you are traveling from afar or a Vermonter, there are many ways to take advantage of leaf peeping. The peak of foliage is usually in late September to early October, which is a popular time for Vermont vacationers. This is also an ideal time for hiking, biking, apple picking and much more.

            To celebrate the season, fall foliage events & festivals:

            Click here for more events and festivals happening throughout Vermont in September and October.

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              Safest States to Live: Vermont is Number 1!

              Location, location, location. This is a common mantra heard in real estate. But what makes a location so desirable? Along with the neighborhood, schools, and occupation opportunities, safety ranks high when picking a location.

              WalletHub collected data from multiple sources including the US Census Bureau, National Centers for Environmental Information, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and many others. Based on these metrics, WalletHub has named the top safest states in the United States of America. New England states made up the top six safest states with Vermont coming in at NUMBER ONE!

              Vermont Safest State in United StatesHere are the top 10 safest states according to WalletHub:

              1. Vermont
              2. Massachusetts
              3. New Hampshire
              4. Rhode Island
              5. Maine
              6. Connecticut
              7. Minnesota
              8. Virginia
              9. Utah
              10. Iowa

              Vermont is the ideal place to call home. With 630,000 residents, the Green Mountain State was ranked in the top three for fewest assaults and thefts per capita. Vermont has beautiful, natural landscapes and charming downtown areas; it is no wonder Vermont is a haven for its residents and all who visit. To learn more about WalletHub's ranking system, CLICK HERE.

              Discover all that Vermont has to offer and start searching for a home in this safe state.

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                Sixty Nine Million Pounds. An Industrial Cathedral.

                Sixty Nine Million Pounds. A town named from a fist fight, Doctor Paddocks pulling hemlock splinters from the fighter's back and buttox.

                The largest block of granite ever quarried in Barre, Vermont, which took one thousand seven hundred flat cars to transport the smaller blocks it was cut into. Barre, Vermont is stone. The Vermont Granite Museum (VGM) @ 7 Jones Brothers Way in Barre, VT is an Industrial Cathedral, breathtaking in size and scope. Stone Arts School.

                Walk through the doors to discover clusters of plaster and stone sculptures cut by master-craftsman and modern artists, drawings, sets, polishing wheels and molds inside this spectacularly renovated massive warehouse. Built 130 years ago along the Winooski River Stevens Branch in an area once known as Wildersburgh. It was known as the Ellis Island of Vermont with sweat and toil from Scotland, Itlay, Spain, Canada, Norway and Finland. The population exploded between 1880 and 1894 from two to ten thousand.

                 

                 

                Religious inspiration, granite fest, buffing discs, rockfire, work in motion, a monumental renovation six and a half million dollars later and wonderful charitable cause. Email the museum to arrange your tour or donate today. 802-776-4605.

                The North Barre Granite Boys at work in the 1942 Granite Shed, from the VGM facebook page.

                Maple Sweet features blog posts on a wide array of real estate related subjects including architecture, art and culture. For more information Vermont real estate, the VGM, on selling or purchasing Vermont commercial properties, homes, condos or land connect to maplesweet.com, e-mailinfo@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965. See all Maple Sweet Real Estate listings and the newest Vermont listings.

                Vermont Mandatory Consumer Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details. Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified.

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                  Summer Farmers Markets in Vermont

                  Vermont's farmers market season is just around the corner.

                  With over 30 markets throughout the state, these weekend events provide residents and visitors a chance to meet local farmers, florists, business owners, artists, and more. A few towns continue their markets throughout Winter, but nothing compares to Summer markets. Many Vermont farmers markets are a community gathering, with live music and outdoor seating.

                  Burlington Vermont Farmers Market

                  Farmers markets first started in Vermont in the 1970s. Since 1986, the number of markets has grown from 19 to 64. The Vermont Farmers Market Association (VTFMA), along with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, work to organize these community events. 

                  From Burlington to Brattleboro, each market gives you the opportunity to meet and support local farmers. 

                  Click here to find a farmer's market near you.

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                    When the Levee Breaks

                     

                    Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is green for a reason. 

                    Water.

                    We have an abundance, in stark contrast to Colorado and other parched western states where humidity levels are low and desert can be found. 

                    Vermont water oozes out of the ground even in the absence of rain, delicious spring water coming forth. Many houses across the state are lucky enough to tap into this ground water resource for their drinking water. It's so delicious, a cut above drilled well water. You can taste it. 

                    But when the skies cloud over and the big rains come or the snowmelt flows over the river banks, watershed becomes a curse. The mountains and ridgelines serve as giant canyon walls, the valley streams and rivers swell and, under just the right circumstances, unleash floods of awesome power that can sweep away entire houses and the land underneath them.

                    1927 flood, two years before the Great Depression, was massive. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) didn't exist until five decades later, established in 1978. Hurricane Irene struck August 20th, 2011, followed by also devastating Hurricane Sandy the very next year in 2012 resulting in 13 million in private insurance claims in Vermont. Homeowners' insurance policies don't cover flood insurance, instead provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

                    Needless to say, when you're buying a house in Vermont you should be well informed as to the local watershed and if it lies in any flood zone. FEMA has this fantastic mapping tool. Type in the property (residential, commercial or any other) address and hit enter or the search tab. The "View Map" tab pulls the local Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) but the "Interactive Map" tab pulls a much more detailed version which makes it possible to see if even part of a house falls in the 100-year zone AE which would mean a major hike in flood insurance rates. The FEMA site has excellent information too on the various flood zones, flood insurance, and this tutorial on how to read a flood map. Zone AE includes more detailed information including Base Flood Elevations (BFEs). If a property is in the 100-year flood zone insurance rates are calculated based on the BFE and relative elevation of the lowest level of the house, including the basement floor if there is one (regardless of whether it's a dirt or concrete floor).

                    Banks can require the flood insurance even if only a small portion of the land (not structure) is in the 100-year zone. If it seems clear your structure is not in the 100-year flood zone and you don't think your lowest structure floor level, including the basement, is below the probable BFE, then it may be worth hiring a surveyor to create an elevation certificate and determine your structure location BFE (base flood elevation). Insurance agencies recommend having the BFE prepared. The ballpark surveyor cost is in the $400-$500 range. If high and dry, including the basement floor elevation relative to the BFE if you have a basement, you can file an LOMA (letter of Map Amendment) to request a change and flood zone designation and have FEMA reclassify your property as property out of the 100-year flood plain.

                    The table above is a rough (not intended to be accurate) indication of what the yearly flood insurance rate might run based on $175,000 of coverage. FEMA will insure up to $250,000 on residential and $500k on commercial and if you're borrowing money to purchase the bank will require flood insurance if the property falls into the 100-year flood plain for the mortgage amount or structure value, whichever is least. For a basement six or more feet below the BFE, it could run several thousand or more a year. One Hancock, Vermont property owner recently received an estimate of $4,800 per year to insure $175,000 home with a basement six or more feet below the BFE, rivaling yearly taxes. Every foot is rounded up or down at the half foot mark. 5" gets rounded down, 6" rounded up. Local insurance agents may find it hard to even roughly estimate what your flood insurance premium might be. Agencies call the National Flood Center for rates, 800-759-8656.

                    Pre-FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) buildings are those, as per FEMA's website, "buildings built before the effective date of the first FIRM for a community" and before "detailed flood hazard data and flood elevations were provided" and usually "before the community enacted comprehensive regulations on floodplain regulation, designed to help people afford flood insurance (via subsidized rates) even though their buildings were not built with flood protection in mind." Such subsidization is on a 5-25% diminishing track until rates hit market level.

                    For some purchasers this added carrying cost can be back breaking, lead to foreclosure and incur significantly longer marketing periods to sell. In some cases this 100 year flood zone properties suffer from dramatically lower sale prices as fewer buyers can handle the elevated level of carrying expense.

                    If the property falls in Zone X, the 500-year flood zone, no federal flood insurance is mandatory though maintaining a policy may make sense. To counter risk, some jack up the entire house and replace their foundations with higher foundation walls to elevate the lowest level above the BFE and avoid costly yearly flood insurance premiums. Others resignedly have their basements filled in, eliminating the sub-BFE level altogether.

                    Maple Sweet Real Estate delves deeply into myriad issues affecting Vermont property owners, sellers, and purchasers.

                    Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for info on selling or purchasing Vermont commercial properties, homes, condos or land or to get more information on Vermont real estate. 

                    See all Maple Sweet Real Estate listings and the newest Vermont listings.

                    Referrals & recommendations are welcome & appreciated.
                     
                    Vermont Mandatory Consumer Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
                     
                    Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified.

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