Blog :: 12-2013

Vermont Sweets

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Birrn Chocolates of  South Burlington

Birrn Chocolates of South Burlington, Vermont

We all know Vermont is known for it's maple treats, but did you know we have some really good chocolate treats as well? When I am thinking of sweet treats this time of year, a plethora of local options arise to choose from! Lake Champlain Chocolates being the most recognized brand with their wonderful holiday shaped chocolates, cocoa and fudge, but there are many other smaller companies that also deserve your attention.Vermont Cookie Love in Ferrisburg and the Vermont Brownie company in Winooski have very tasty (personally tested!) treats that are easily shipped anywhere you like! Snowflake Chocolates out of Jerichoand Birrn Chocolates in South good! Greentree enjoys supporting local businesses and thesespecific companies make it quite easy! So, if you're looking for a little something to bring to a holiday party...keep it local and keep it sweet.

Housewarming Gifts

Being that we are in the midst of the gift giving season, it got me thinking about House Warming Gifts. The ones my husband and I received when we built our home in 2002 really stand out in my memory. Becoming a homeowner is such a huge accomplishment, and I remember settling in with a new frame here and a beautiful plant really made our new house feel like a home. My in-laws purchased our first ever washer and dryer and gave it to us as a housewarming gift! A smile still comes to mind when I think of how excited we were over not needing to go to the laundry mat! But housewarming gifts do not need to be that extravagant or expensive. Some common ones are indoor potted plants, or perhaps a bottle of wine. But I thought a few practical ideas might give you something to consider if you have a friend or relative entering into home ownership.


Mop bucket filled with household items


Cleaning Supplies

A collection of cleaning supplies in a bucket can be a very useful gift. Or, a simple toolbox with a level, hammer, some screws and anchors for hanging pictures, and the all purpose electric screwdriver. I love mine! Another idea is a Swiffer set - that company has tons of options for cleaning. I also love the idea of a rake and shovel, or even a small step ladder. The homeowners are going to need these things! The other unique idea I came across was stocking someone's fridge. Imagine after packing and unpacking boxes for days, some friends arrive with bags of groceries and staple items for the pantry. Tell me that won't be appreciated! So, we all love vases and picture frames, but maybe consider a practical alternative if you're in the housewarming spirit this season!

Loans for the "Almost Perfect" home

Have you heard the term, "Rehab loan" referenced to a property and not fully understand what it means? Well here's a little information. Some of the homes out there need a little more than TLC. These homes may be foreclosures, short sales, or just homes that have had continuousdeferred maintenance over the years . These properties are perfect candidates for Rehab loans. The process can be a little more time consuming, but for the patient buyer, you are able to purchase a home that you like and make the updates it needs all with one closing. In general thesteps are:

  1. Meet with a Rehab Loan lender and get pre-approved. There are a few different programs out there, but a common one is the FHA 203K loan.,
  2. Selectyour home, write an offer and obtain quotes from a general contractor for the updates that you are interested in making. Of course different rehab loans have different guidelines on what can or must be updated and if there are any limits, so reviewing those details with your lender prior will be anecessity!
  3. The quotes will be submitted to your lender, and those estimates, along with the purchase price of the existing home, will be what the finished project needs to appraise for to obtain loan approval.
  4. Close on the home and then the work begins with an initial disbursement of the funds to cover the updates. Usually in just 1-2 monthstime, the work will be completed and the final disbursement is made to the contractor.
before and after bathroom before and after