northfield real estate market

2020 End of Year Report

2020 End of Year Report


Ok, I’ll just say it. 2020 was a strange year, in nearly every imaginable way. Happy to talk about the thousand other things that are on people’s minds. But, here, we’re just going to talk about real estate. Mostly.


Sales were up. Sale prices were up. Land sales and $500,000 property sales were way up. It’s true that there were a lot of out of state buyers. But there were also a LOT of in state buyers.


Median Sale Price

Here’s what everyone wants to see. What the heck happened in 2020, compared to 2019. Well, it was kind of bananas. Median sale prices, and the change from year to year were through the roof.




% Change 2019-2020

Barre City 12.82%
Barre Town 14.11%
Montpelier 7.42%
U32 16.42%
Northfield/Williamstown 15.24%
All Towns 15.53%



The numbers round out considerably when we look at the number of sales over the past five years. In every submarket, there were more sales in 2020 than in 2019. U32 and Barre Town saw a LOT of action. For fun here, we can compare the five year trend as well as the one year trend.


  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Barre City

89 90 89 88 93
Barre Town 79 109 89 86 111
Montpelier 87 94 73 73 81
U32 76 84 83 94 114
Northfield/Williamstown 61 68 77 88 90
All Towns 392 445 411 429 489



Median Days on Market

We thought 2019 was a great year for shorter days on the market. And it was. But 2020 sped things up even more. With the exceptions of Barre City and Montpelier, every other market saw shorter days on market in 2020 than in 2019.



% Change 2019-2020

Barre City 25.00%
Barre Town -41.46%
Montpelier 20.00%
U32 -52.17%


All Towns -35.90%


And, in real terms, this is what the median days on market numbers looked like. I find it interesting that Barre Town, U32, and Northfield and Williamstown are all so closely clustered. I’m not reading anything into that. It’s just interesting.


  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

Barre City

88 67 42 44 55
Barre Town 49 75 29 41 24
Montpelier 43 35 40 10 12
U32 68 49 60 46 22
Northfield/Williamstown 66 54 45 35 26
Total 61 55 43 39 25



Multi-Family Report

2020 was an active year for residential multi-family properties. Here we’ll focus on Barre City and Montpelier, which are the two most active multi-family towns in Central Vermont. And, truth be told, the bulk of the activity is in Barre City.

Here the number that jumps out is the number of sales. It increased steadily from 2016-2018 and then almost doubled from 18 to 35 sales in 2019. The market held that elevated number of sales in 2020.


  Total Number of Sales
Barre City


Barre Town 18
Montpelier 18
U32 35
Northfield/Williamstown 31


Looking only at duplex sales, there’s a clear increase in per unit sale price over the past five years. Barre City’s price per unit saw a really nice bump in 2020.


  Barre Price Per Unit (Duplex) Montpelier Price Per Unit (Duplex)
2016 $66,225 $95,000
2017 $67,750 $124,000
2018 $41,750 $113,375
2019 $52,500 $135,000
2020 $63,250 $115,000



Land Sales

This is the first year that we’ve included data on land sales in Washington County. And, yes, it’s because 2020 was just a weird year. Historically, land sales are pretty stable. But not in 2020!


Washington County  2016   2017   2018   2019   2020   % Change 2019-2020
 Number of Land Sales 85 85 85 90 151 67.78%
 Median Days on Market 176 194 223 139 137 -1.44%

Look at the massive jump in land sales. 67%? Are you kidding me?? I figured you wouldn't need a graph to drive this point home. But you know what, why not.




$500,000+ Sales

And what would the real estate world of 2020 be without yet one more oddball data point. In Washington County, in 2020, the number of sales of properties $500,000 or higher more nearly doubled. The number of sales of $1 million properties increased by almost 50%, but that was only from 7 sales to 10 sales.

Washington County 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 % Change 2019-2020
Number of Sales 30 28 39 55 104 89.09%


Again, can you picture something almost doubling? 




And last, thank you to all of our clients, past clients, friends, and supporters. In 2020, Green Light Real Estate helped with more than 190 sales (not quite 200) and more than half of those came from past clients, people who know us personally, and referrals. It means a lot when people make the effort to recommend that their friends work with Green Light Real Estate!



Breaking News: Green Light Is Opening a New Office in Northfield

After years of being one of the leading real estate brokerages in Northfield, the time was right for us to expand and open an office in Northfield. 

Green Light Real Estate's Northfield office is right between Subway and Carrier Roasting Company, and a couple doors down from Good Measure and Cornerstone. So, basically, we're right next to a lot of wonderful food and beverage.

Lindsay Ericson, who has been with Green Light Real Estate since 2016, and a broker since 2018 will lead the office. She's sold more than 140 properties in that time, and has the experience and know-how to help buyers and sellers navigate transactions. In 2020, Lindsay also took an additional leadership role at Green Light Real Estate as a trainer for new agents. Her professional designations include Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Military Relocation Professional (MRP), Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA), and At Home With Diversity (AHWD). We love having her on the team, and we know she's going to be successful as the "broker in charge" in Northfield.

Northfield's real estate market is unique among Central Vermont towns. Norwich University staff and faculty, as well as students are a big component of the market. The schools, local businesses, and the proximity to Barre, Montpelier, and even the Mad River Valley also play into the desirability of living in Northfield.

We expect to be open and running full steam by the end of January. In the meantime, we're busy helping buyers and sellers in Northfield as well as throughout Central Vermont. Whenever you have questions or just want to talk about real estate, give us a call.

Green Light Real Estate is locally owned, and not a franchise. We're a team of highly skilled, energetic, fun, and smart real estate professionals who really like what we do. The team includes Ray Mikus (owner, principal broker), Lindsay Ericson (broker), Hannah Dawson (broker), Kate Root (broker), Lauren Gould (agent), Mattie Dube (agent), Jacob Goss (agent), Marina Carleton (agent), Kevin Casey (agent), and Maria Lamberti (office manager). Plus, there's Pistachio (our team mascot, who happens to be a wooden dog).


2019 End of Year Report

2019 End of Year Report


For this end of year report, the main focus is on changes over the past five years. And the trend is strong!

Sale prices in Barre City increased by over 20%, U32 towns saw appreciation of almost 18%, and every market saw stronger sale prices. Our market as a whole saw price appreciation of 12.24% over five years. 


While this isn’t the blazing hot increases that many major metropolitan areas have seen, it’s solid, steady price appreciation.


  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

% Change


Barre City

 $115,051   $142,500   $131,500   $142,000   $146,250  21.33%
Barre Town  $186,000   $168,000   $195,000   $199,000   $194,000  4.12%
Montpelier  $225,000   $212,000   $237,000   $245,000   $256,000  12.11%
U32  $215,000   $231,750   $221,125   $255,000   $261,500  17.78%
 Nfld/Wlmstwn   $159,000   $169,000   $161,500   $199,000   $178,750  11.05%
Total  $172,000   $175,000   $185,000   $197,500   $196,000  12.24%


Again, we have seen largely consistent increases in the number of home sales over the past five years. The five U32 towns (Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, and Worcester) saw the number of sales grow over 30%, while Northfield/Williamstown grew by just under 30%. These are strong sets of numbers for home sales!

Barre Town did see a dip the number of sales over the past five years. Also interestingly about the Barre Town real estate market is that it is the only one that has seen somewhat erratic numbers of annual sales. At Green Light Real Estate, we’re not concerned about this at all, there were still 86 sales in Barre Town in 2019.


  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

% Change


Barre City

83 89 90 89 88 6.02%
Barre Town 102 79 109 89 86 -15.69%
Montpelier 78 87 94 73 73 -6.41%
U32 71 76 84 83 94 32.39%
Nfld/Wlmstwan 68 61 68 77 88 29.41%
Total 402 392 445 411 429 6.72%


This one blew our minds. Our Central Vermont market, on the whole, has seen a decrease of 38% in the median days on the market. That means sales are speeding up from 63 days on market in 2015 to 39 days on the market in 2019. And look at Montpelier--median days on market was 10 days!?

  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

% Change


Barre City

86 88 67 42 44 -48.84%
Barre Town 59 49 75 29 41 -30.51%
Montpelier 54 43 35 40 10 -34.29%
U32 70 68 49 60 46 -34.29%
Nfld/Wlmstwn 78 66 54 45 35 -55.13%
Total 63 60 55 43 39 -38.10%


All of these point to a very strong, fast moving real estate market in Central Vermont!



Green Light Real Estate Book Club



We spend a LOT of time thinking and talking about real estate and about customer service. In 2019, we added something else. During the year, as a group, we read and discussed several books. It turned out to be a fantastic way to bring us closer together, to improve our practices, and allow us to better serve our clients.


They included:

  • The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Customer Service, by Lee Cockerell
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson
  • 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication, by Michael Maher



Multi-Family Report

2019 was an active year for residential multi-family properties. Here we’ll focus on Barre City and Montpelier, which are the two most active multi-family towns in Central Vermont. And, truth be told, the bulk of the activity is in Barre City.

Here the number that jumps out is the number of sales. It increased steadily from 2015-2018 and then almost doubled from 18 to 35 sales in 2019. That’s a huge increase!


Total # of Sales


2016 15
2017 18
2018 18
2019 35


Looking only at duplex sales, there’s a clear increase in per unit sale price over the past five years.




  Barre City Price Per Unit (Duplex)  Montpelier Price Per Unit (Duplex)
2015 $34,000 $102,500
2016 $66,225 $95,000
2017 $67,750 $124,000
2018 $41,750 $113,375
2019 $52,500 $135,000





And last, thank you to all of our clients, past clients, friends, and supporters. In 2019, Green Light Real Estate helped with 161 sales, and more than half of those came from past clients, people who know us personally, and referrals. It means a lot when people make the effort to recommend that their friends work with Green Light Real Estate!

November Market Report

So, How's the Market?

November 2019


Photo by Mattie Dube


The numbers are in for the Central Vermont real estate market!


Active Listings

Under Contract

Avg Sale Price Past 12 Months

# Sales Past 12 Months

Avg Days on Market

Barre City






Barre Town

























October saw plenty of sales across all of our local markets. Interesting to note, the average days on market was very similar in all areas, with the one exception being that homes in the U32 towns have taken a little longer to sell than in other towns. Prices remain strong, though.



  New Listings Oct 2019  

  Sales / Month  

  Months of Inventory  

Barre City




Barre Town

















Those who study residential real estate markets will often refer to an “absorption rate” which is the number of months of inventory in each market. Generally speaking 1-4 months is considered a sellers market, 9-12 is a buyers market, and in the middle is a nice, tasty equilibrium. Which officially makes our local real estate market yummy.


Want to check out a full list of the recent home sales in the Central Vermont market? Keep reading! We have all the juicy details at the end of this blog post.


Screen Time

Next time you’re in downtown Montpelier, take a look at the brand new Green Light Real Estate TV.  We’ve got info on new listings, recent sales, current events, even the weather. Plus, you can see all of our smiley faces, which is sure to warm your day!



Congratulations to Hannah Dawson for passing her broker’s exam and obtaining her broker’s license! That’s a commitment to studying and mastering material, and it shows once again how dedicated she is to providing top tier service to buyers and sellers.


Stop Paying PMI


Photo by Katie Harp

Here’s a quick tip: If you bought a house even two or three years ago, and if you’re paying PMI (private mortgage insurance), you might not actually have to. Here’s why: property values have risen in the past couple of years. Between that appreciation, any improvements you might have done on the house, and the little bit of principal paydown, you might be getting close to having 20% equity.


Call or Email Green Light Real Estate, and we’ll help by completing a detailed, free market valuation. If you’re close, go for it! If not, try again next year. You might be able to save hundreds of dollars each year. Did I mention it’s free? Even if you didn’t work with GLRE when you bought your house. We’re that nice.


People Are Talking About Green Light Real Estate


 Ray Mikus

"In a market like Montpelier with few properties on the market and few that are truly comparable, you need someone like Ray in your corner. Someone who knows the area inside out, who understands what buyers are looking for, and who can give you a sense of the relative desirability of locations and  home features. Someone who will help you in the home sale process every small and every big step of the way.

But beyond those basics, with Ray you also get someone who can crunch the numbers, is savvy about negotiating deals, and who will go above and way beyond to make the process easier and more effective for you." (5 Star Review, Peter in Montpelier)


  Hannah Dawson

"We are so glad that we followed up on a friend's recommendation to call Green Light Real Estate when we were ready to find our first home! Hannah's initial meeting with us made it clear that she is a great communicator, knowledgeable and client-centered in her role. Hannah listened to what we were  looking for and assessed the current market with us as we identified houses we wanted to tour. Hannah's professional opinion and experience were invaluable as we looked at homes. When we finally found THE house, Hannah led us through the offer process with ease. After working with Hannah for just a few months we went from actively looking to having closed on our first home! We are so grateful to have had Hannah's guidance and recommend her as an incredible buyer's agent." (5 Star Review, Montpelier)


 Lauren Gould

"Lauren was quick to respond, very helpful when needed and a pleasure to work with.  Everything you look for when you’re making big decisions around home buying or selling." (Five Star Review, Barre)



Stay warm, and we will catch you in December.

In the meantime, call 802-224-6425 or email us to buy, sell or chat real estate!



PS. Want to check out those recent sales?


All Recent Sales (September 2019)



  Sale Price  


186 Sherwood Drive



301 River Street



12 Redstone Avenue



28 Sibley Avenue



209 Barre Street #C101



288 Cityside Drive



1428 Terrace Street



60 Main Street



123 North Street



10 Independence Green



110 Ledgewood Terrace



41 Pleasantview Street



231 Main Street



12 Charles Street



247 Grandview Terrace


Barre City

79 Camp Street


Barre City

26 Cliff Street


Barre City

125 Washington Street


Barre City

71 Brooklyn Street


Barre City

2 Orchard Street


Barre City

8 Cleary Street


Barre City

135 Berlin Street


Barre City

78 Brook Street


Barre City

43 Branch Street


Barre City

16 Myrtle Avenue


Barre City

47 Westwood Parkway


Barre City

111-113 Allen Street


Barre City

84 Smith and 39 Berlin


Barre Town

661 Graniteville Road


Barre Town

17 Chestnut Lane


Barre Town

14 Skylark Terrace


Barre Town

71 Miller Woods


Barre Town

380 East Montpelier Road


Barre Town

889 Drury Hill Road


Barre Town

92 Church Hill Road


Barre Town

15 Garden Street


Barre Town

35 Wildersburg Common



6979 County Road



1831 Lightening Ridge Road



335 George Road



5235 Route 14



91 Blackberry Ridge Road


  East Montpelier  

949 Cherry Tree Hill Road


East Montpelier

  1320 Horn of the Moon Road  


East Montpelier

155 Quaker Road



506 East Bear Swamp Road



491 Center Road



239 Macey Road



266 Notch Road



9 Worcester Village Road



400 Windy Meadow Road



571 Route 12N



39 Winter Street



9 East Street



1477 Turkey Hill Road



1049 Little Northfield Road



768 Route 12N



64 Bellmore Road



22 Cardinal Lane



1046 Hebert Road



767 Route 14



144 Soucy Lane



504 Rood Pond Road



1489 Baptist Street



677 Route 14


September Market Report

September Market Report

photo by Ted Dawson


The numbers are in for the Central Vermont real estate market (numbers through the end of August).


Active Listings

Under Contract

Avg Sale Price Past 12 Months

# Sales Past 12 Months

Average Days on Market

Barre City






Barre Town












U32 Towns






Northfield / Williamstown













Sales and sale prices continue to be strong in the Central Vermont real estate market, with Barre City approaching 100 sales over the past 12 months.



New Listings August 2019

Sales / 12 (sales per month, average)

Absorption Rate (Months of Inventory)

Barre City


8.16 sales/month

5.88 months

Barre Town


7.33 sales/month

4.91 months



6.17 sales/month

3.73 months

U32 Towns


6.58 sales/month

7.90 months

Northfield / Williamstown


5.83 sales/month

6.69 months


We’ve been saying this for years now, but it sure would be helpful to have more houses for sale, especially in Barre Town and Montpelier where the inventory is the lowest. Industry experts tell us that an inventory of six months suggests something of an equilibrium between a buyers’ market and a sellers’ market. Nearly all of the local markets are at or near equilibrium, signaling a healthy local real estate market.


Real Estate Investing

Investment Properties--Green Light Real Estate offers a full suite of services for investors. For buy and hold investors, we offer valuation, value add opportunities, financial and location analysis and more. 

For fix and flip investors, we help with identifying good candidates, challenging assumptions about resale and scope of renovation, and more. Sometimes the best advice we give our investor clients is to not buy a particular property.  Check out the blog post “Property Investment With Green Light Real Estate” for more.


Win a Bidding War

In a tight market, and with desirable and well-priced houses in the Montpelier/Barre area, we’re seeing more and more multiple bid situations. Read our latest blog post for strategies to win a bidding war (whether you’re a buyer or a seller). These are just some of the tactics. Call (802-225-6425) or email Green Light Real Estate to talk with a buyer specialist for more information.


Recent Reviews

For Lauren Gould:

"Lauren was a GODSEND! This our first ever house purchase and she went above and beyond in every way. We would send her houses and she would check them out ahead of time to see if they qualified for our loan and get information from other Realtors if there were issues before we even saw the houses.  She saved us a lot of time by doing this. It took us almost a year and MANY disappointments (not from Lauren) to finally find the perfect house! Lauren made an already stressful process seem like a breeze and we appreciate her so much for her patience with our pickiness, enthusiasm for pep talks when we would lose motivation after another rejected offer, and knowledge of the whole process that she shared with us. 10 out of 10 would recommend her." -- Cameo, Barre


For Hannah Dawson:

"Hannah was a pleasure to work with. She's a very knowledgeable and trustworthy professional. Being first time homebuyers we were unfamiliar with the process but Hannah helped with every step and was always available." -- Jess, Northfield



Call 802-224-6425 or email us to find out what your house is worth in today’s market. Even if you’re a year or more away from selling, let’s start making the plan for a successful sale. 



Multiple Bids

Multiple Bid Situations


In this competitive Montpelier, Barre, and Northfield real estate market, it’s pretty common to see bidding wars (or, to be less dramatic, “multiple bid situations”). And it doesn’t matter whether you’re the buyer or the seller, it’s stressful.

At Green Light Real Estate in Montpelier, we have years of experience, and have navigated countless multiple bid situations with our clients.  We’re good at helping our clients get the results that they want. Our team approach also means that all of our agents work together to help all of our buyer and seller clients develop successful strategies.


As a buyer, you’ve got to think very hard about what really is your best and final offer. Often it comes down to price. Actually, most of the time it comes down to price. But NOT always. We start by talking with the seller’s Realtor and trying to find out what would mean the most to the seller. You’d be surprised at some of the responses we get. 


Contact Green Light Real Estate to learn more.


For example, one time we had a seller tell us that what mattered most was being able to close after a certain date. Turned out that, yes, in fact, the buyers could wait until that date. We won the contract, and the buyers bought the house.


Another strategy that we use employ when trying to win a bidding war for Montpelier or Barre real estate is limiting the scope of the appraisal contingency. For example, if we’re going to end up paying above asking price, (in a multiple bid situation, that’s very often the result), then we could cap the appraisal contingency to the asking price.  It’s dirty pool to offer $325,000 on a house listed at $285,000. The reality is that the house isn’t likely to appraise for $325,000. So, what, as a buyer, are you then going to lean on your appraisal contingency? Instead, what if you capped the limit on the appraisal contingency to $285,000? That gives the seller much more confidence in your offer, and makes it much more likely that you’ll get the house.

We can also arrange the inspection contingency such that it excludes certain items, or has a minimum dollar limit on repairs. One time we worked with a buyer who was buying a house that had a tree literally laying across the roof. So, instead of playing games with the seller, we simply acknowledged that the roof was not part of the property inspection contingency. Was that a risk taken by the buyer?  Not really, since they knew they were going to replace the roof right away anyway. 


Learn More, email us!


Larger deposits and larger down payments also sweeten your offer. We’ve used staggered deposits as well as a schedule for making deposits non-refundable. That sounds a little scary, doesn’t it! But if you’re solid on your financing, why not make some of the deposit non-refundable after the inspection resolution? If you’re not so sure about your financing, then you probably don’t want to do that. Which means the other offers might be stronger than yours. A move like this shows confidence and certainty that you’re going to buy the house.


One more idea is to use an escalation clause. With an escalation clause, you agree to pay a certain amount more than any other offer, up to a cap. If you’re bidding on a house for sale in Barre that’s listed at $229,000, you might offer $229,000 and agree to pay $2500 more than any other bidder, up to a maximum purchase price of $240,000. And then, how about pairing that with an appraisal cap of $229,000? Yummy! Your seller is going to LOVE that offer, and you’re really likely to get the house.


Anything that we can do on the buyer side to increase the “probability of closing” makes our offer more attractive to the seller. These aren’t all the techniques we use to win a bidding war. And we wouldn’t several or all of these at once. Each negotiation is different, and we have to be creative and thoughtful. When you buy a house with Green Light Real Estate, you know you’re going to get intelligent, experienced, and creative advice. 


Get started working with a Green Light Real Estate buyer specialist. Shoot us an email!


photo by Ted Dawson


Basically, you can take all of the ideas above and look at them through a seller’s lens. Wouldn’t it be great to have a limited appraisal contingency, a limited inspection contingency, timelines that you want, a larger down payment, a non-refundable deposit, and more? You bet it would!

It’s a little different on the seller side. If you’re a seller and you get a multiple bid situation, you have to look very carefully about how you can reduce risk. And of course, get a higher price.

The same techniques that buyers use to make their offers more attractive are exactly what you’re looking for. We actually talk about three points that make the best offer. Highest price, best terms, and highest probability of closing. 


Contact a Green Light Real Estate listing specialist at


Sellers look for higher down payments as well. Borrowing 100% for a VA or RD loan comes with some appraisal strings that a loan of 90% doesn’t have. So, all else equal, sellers will go with an offer that has a larger down payment.


If you’re selling a house in Montpelier and Barre, get the best advice you can. That advice comes from the experts at Green Light Real Estate. Contact us today

Property Investment with Green Light Real Estate


Photo by Ted Dawson

Investing in real estate just plain makes sense. At Green Light Real Estate, we advise investors who want to fix and flip houses, those who want to buy and hold single family, and multi-family investors.

Each of these strategies requires careful analysis, and deep local knowledge, which our real estate investment clients get when they work with Green Light Real Estate.

For fix and flip, it’s critical to pay attention to the location. The renovation numbers might be really attractive, and the purchase price may make a property hard to say no to, but if the location caps the after repair value at a price point that squeezes profit, then that’s a real thing.

Another big component of fix and flip investing in real estate in the Montpelier/Barre area is property layout. On HGTV, they’re forever putting cosmetic renovations on a 1980s ranch or colonial. Much of the housing stock around here, that is suitable for fix and flip is much older, and often has outdated layouts. You really want to make sure that your final product is going to be as universally attractive to buyers as possible.

At Green Light Real Estate we factor in layout as well as location (and about a dozen other variables) to help our investors get a firm and clear projection for after repair value. We want to help you have a profitable project. Our investors come back to us over and over for help with locating, negotiating, estimating budgets, and final sale price. If you’re serious, or even just curious about fix and flip investing in the Montpelier/Barre/Northfield area, give our office a call at 802-225-6425.

For our multi-family investors, Green Light Real Estate uses several different databases to get a good handle on values, cap rates, and optimal rents. Often, we can help our investors locate value-add opportunities to increase net operating income, cap rate, and cash on cash returns.

Cash flow is key with multi-family investing, but appreciation, debt paydown, and tax benefits also need to be factored into your decisions. Sometimes the most important part of our work with our real estate investing clients is to challenge their assumptions. It’s easy to get a project to look like a money maker on a spreadsheet. Having a trusted advisor punch holes in numbers, and then showing that the investment is still sound is incredibly powerful.


Call us at (802) 225-6425 to learn more about our multi-family investment services!



May Market Report

May Market Report


Photo by Ted Dawson

  Active Under Contract Average Sale Price (last 12 mos) # of Closings last 12 mos Average Days on Market
Barre City


21 $137,215 88 79
Barre Town 29 13


89 62
Montpelier 15 15 $263,376 72 69
U32 37 12 $238,587 83 119
Northfield/Williamstown 31 11 $212,905 78 67


  New Listings April 2019 Sales/12 Absorption Rate (# mos of inventory)
Barre City 16 7.33 5.73
Barre Town 6 7.42 3.91
Montpelier 8 6.00 2.50
U32 11 6.92 5.35
Northfield/Williamstown 10 6.50 4.77

Buyers are out there ready to buy, and it would be just lovely if there were a few more homes for sale. Especially in Barre Town and Montpelier. With just 2.5 months of inventory in Montpelier, and under four months of supply in Barre Town, those two are very clearly “sellers’ markets”.


Experts use six months of inventory as the threshold between a buyers’ market and a sellers’ market, which puts all of the Central Vermont markets solidly as sellers’ markets.


Buyers are being successful when they make solid offers, and when they have realistic expectations about inspection items. Even in this market, sellers need to price their homes correctly and be realistic about their home’s condition.


Are you in the market to buy or sell? Get in touch! Call us at (802) 225-6425



Should I buy or should I rent?

Should I buy or should I rent?


Photo by Ted Dawson


Ah yes, the time honored question. Should I buy or should I rent? If only it were that easy. A lot goes into that question, and a lot of it is long term, down the pike kinda thought.


But some of it is right in front of you.


The first question you want to own a house or be a tenant? When you own, you have a type of freedom that renters don’t have. You can get a dog and paint the walls. You can plant your own garden and pick whatever type of towel rack you want. You can invest in energy efficient improvements and even change the layout. The list goes on and on. These are all choices that you get to make when you own.


Independence and Security

Many people report a sense of independence when they own. Especially, those who are first time buyers. Your entire life, you have had to ask if it’s ok to do something with your living space. That changes when you own. You don’t have to ask anyone (but if you live with at least one other person, it’s probably a good idea to at least talk about what’s happening with your house.)


Additionally, many renters feel a greater sense of security when they buy a house. A landlord can choose to raise rent, undergo renovations, or even sell the property. And there’s that a tenant can do about it, so long as the landlord is following the terms of the lease.


Sure, it can seem as if your landlord loves you. Maybe you even have a slightly below market rent because you’ve been there so long and you have a great relationship. But at the end of the day, as soon as the landlord decides to sell, you may be looking at finding a new place to live. 


As long as you pay your mortgage and taxes, when you own real estate you can stay there as long as you want.


Monthly Expenses

Which brings me to what I know you’re really reading this for. Does it make sense financially to buy a house, or is it better to rent?


Over time, financially, it almost always makes better financial sense to own than to rent. There are a few reasons for that.


Rent Check Vs. Mortgage Check

One is that if you have a fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payments will only go up as property taxes and insurance go up. In Vermont, that means that if your town votes to increase the budget, your tax bill is going to go up. So, if your property taxes went up $350, then you’d have to pay an extra $30 each month.


Many landlords increase by 2% to 3% (or more) each year anyway. But what happens if your landlord realizes that they could charge 10% more and still keep tenants? Your $1000 monthly rent just went up by $100. And what are you going to do about it? Well, you’re either going to pay it, or you’re going to move out. 


And guess what? If the place your renting should really be renting for could fetch $1100, then you’re going to have to pay that somewhere else. Either that, or you’re going to move to a place that’s not as nice, or not as desirable a location for you.


But when you own, no one’s going to unexpectedly jack the rent on you.


Maintenance, Repairs, Utilities

I’ll admit, one of the most awesome things about renting is that you’re not responsible for most repairs and maintenance, or for some utilities. It’s kind of nice to have someone else cover that for you.


But, ready for a dirty little secret? Most maintenance isn’t really that hard. And you can usually plan for the big things that come up (See blog post: How long do things last, and how much do they cost?)


You can learn to fix a toilet, change an outlet, repair handrails, and all sorts of light carpentry. And honestly, if you really don’t want to, you don’t have to. You can hire someone to bang those things out. There aren’t too many things in a house that really need to be repaired at three in the morning. (See blog post: repairs that you have to make at three in the morning, and how to avoid having to do them by planning ahead)


Get the furnace checked, pump the septic tank, keep an eye on the roof, hit peeling paint when it comes up. Those are normal maintenance items that you get to perform. And in return, you get...



Yeah, this is the fun part. You bought your house, and you’ve kept it up. Home values go up and down in cycles, but over the long term, residential real estate has appreciated at around 3% annually. Which means if you just kind of keep your house in decent shape, your $200,000 house is likely to be worth around $268,000 in ten years. So, in appreciation alone, you’d have an additional $68,000 in net worth.


If, instead, you had rented for those ten years, your real estate net worth would still be, hmmm, let’s do the math


And yes, I know that you could have taken the difference in monthly payment, maintenance, repairs, etc. and put it in a savings account or invested in a mutual fund. But would you? Really? Really??


Mortgage Pay Down

You would also be paying down your mortgage each month. At first, just a teensy part goes to paying down principal, but those decreases add up. In those ten years, your original $200,000 mortgage would be down to $162,000 (assuming a 30 year loan at 5% interest). 


Which means you just tacked on another $38,000 in net worth.


Which also means that in ten years, your net worth increased by over $100,000. While it’s not all about money and net worth, all things equal, most people would prefer to have an extra $100,000.



If you can, it almost always makes financial sense to buy instead of renting. You get independence and security. You can account for the hassle of ownership by following a regular maintenance and repair schedule, or hiring someone to do it for you. Over time, market appreciation and mortgage pay down will add to your net worth.

5 Ways to Prepare for your Home Sale

5 Ways to Prepare for your Home Sale

(all under $1000!)


Photo by Ted Dawson

If you’ve got a year or two before you’re selling your house in Vermont, then go ahead and tackle some bigger projects. Update the countertops, redo the old carpeting, paint the exterior, etc. But for this post, we’re talking about things that you can do pretty quickly, and for not a whole lot of money. 

(Author’s note: This was written to people selling houses. But items 2-5 apply to homeowners as well, and you’ve probably already done the first item. These will help you enjoy your home, keep it ready for resale, and allow you to look past some relatively inexpensive cures when buying your home in Vermont.)


The truth is that it almost always costs a little money to get your house in top form for a quick, best -sale (bonus: these tips will help your escrow close more smoothly, meaning less stress, less uncertainty, and less “yuck” factor.)


1. Get a professional home inspection, including a radon test, (and, if you’re on well and/or septic), get the water tested and the septic tank pumped and inspected. Who knows what you’ll find on that report. Maybe nothing. Maybe your house is like one of those people who exercises all the time, has great genes, and eats a plant-based diet. Kind of annoyingly perfect.


If that’s the case, then we’d have documentation from a third party to back that up. Sometimes the report itself is enough to give a buyer peace of mind.


But more often, things will come up. Usually little things. Usually things that if you really think about it you might have thought needed to be addressed anyway. Then, here’s the fun part, you just get those things fixed and updated. It’s as easy as that!


2. Clean the H out of your house. I mean EVERYTHING. Dust the baseboards, clean the oven (there’s a button for that on the oven, so that’s not really that hard…), get rid of the cobwebs in the basement, mop the floors. Everything. And then keep it spotless. 


If you’re like many people, cleaning your house isn’t your favorite thing. Hire a cleaner. Simply getting some help once a week or every couple of weeks will make a humongous difference. Between cleanings, it’ll be a lot easier to spot clean or pick things up before showings


Plus, you’ll probably really like not having to wipe down a bathtub. And your house will look awesome.


3. Paint the interior. Ok, maybe you don’t need to paint every room. But if it’s been two or three years since a room or hallway has been painted, just do it. It’s stunning the difference that a coat of paint (yes, it may take only one coat, if you’re not changing colors) makes.


Painting is one of those homeowner skills that seems easy. Be honest with yourself. If you stink at painting, or your edges look like the silhouette of a mountain range (you know who you are!), get a professional. True, that’ll cost more than $1000, but it’s worth it.


And on paint...color trends change over time. Light is always a good choice. White is always a good choice. Stay away from the dark greens and dark reds that were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. And please stay away from pastels. If white walls are boring to you, pick one wall in a room as an accent with a more fun color. But, honestly, you can liven up a room with a colorful print or painting just as easily, and you’ll be much less likely to hear a buyer say, “I just don’t know about that color!”


4. Update your lighting. Again, fashions and styles change. If it’s been 10 years since you have changed light fixtures, you now have permission to change them. This isn’t the place to be super cheap (says a guy who’s been called cheap before. ) Yes, I know you can buy a $10 ceiling fixture from a hardware store. But don’t. I mean, if that’s truly all your budget allows, then do it. You’ll be able to find stylish fixtures for $40-$50, or more.


As an exception--if your house is older and has older (but cool) lights, keep them. Here I’m talking the 1930 Craftsman lights or period wall sconces.


Chrome and brushed nickel are popular now. Rubbed bronze, brass, and gold look dated. Track lighting works, but not the ones from 1980. Your Green Light Real Estate agent can give you honest advice on what looks good and what needs updating. We also work with interior designers and stagers whose ideas and visions will blow you away! 


And while you’re at it, spend another $100 and replace any switches, outlets, and cover plates that are old or dirty. Plain white ones from the hardware store work just fine here.


5. Tie up any loose ends around your house. Just about everyone has a list in their head containing repair or updates they’ve always wanted to do, or projects that need to be finished. NOW is the time to do that. 


That might mean hiring a contractor or a handy person. Maybe you took the project as far as you could go, and then realized you were a tiny bit in over your head. (I’m looking at you, baseboards that didn’t get coped, but instead only butt jointed). 


Common things to fix include loose caulk, cracked tiles, dangling wires, stains on carpet, unpainted patch jobs, etc. Usually these are little things. But we’re all busy. While it might take a contractor a couple hours to finish, it might take you a full day. Which means Saturday. Which means you miss a day with your family or hanging with your friends. Which feels REALLY expensive. 


So, commit to doing it, or commit to getting someone to do it. Either way, that “to do list” needs to get done.


Taking on these five relatively inexpensive repairs and improvements will reap huge rewards when you sell your home in Vermont. Routinely, we see that homes with few inspection concerns, updated lighting and paint, no deferred-maintenance, and that are super clean sell faster. They sell for higher prices. And they are much more of a “sure thing” when they get into contract. 


For more information or, for a personalized pre-selling walk through with a real estate professional, call, text, or email Green Light Real Estate, right here in Montpelier.