Blog :: 01-2014

Fun Vermont Facts

I love our little state and for some of you that haven't lived here all your life, or are contemplating a move to the Green Mountain State, I thought it would be fun to share a few interesting tidbits. We're more than just fall foliage and maple syrup you know! (Although we do produce more maple syrup than any other state.) 1. Vermont was the first state admitted to the Union after the ratification of the Constitution. 2. With a population of fewer than nine thousand people, Montpelier, Vermont is the smallest state capital in the U.S. 3. Montpelier, Vermont is the only U.S. state capital without a McDonalds. (I love this one!) 4. In ratio of cows to people, Vermont has the greatest number of dairy cows in the country. 5. Vermont's largest employer isn't Ben and Jerry's, it's IBM.
Vermont State Capital

Vermont State Capital

6.Vermont's state capitol building is one of only a few to have a gold dome. Atop the dome is a statue of Ceres. 7. Until recently, the only way a Vermonter could get a drivers license with their photo on it was to drive to Montpelier. 8.Vermont was, at various times, claimed by both New Hampshire and New York. 9. Until 1996, Vermont was the only state without a Wal-Mart. 10. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream company gives their ice cream waste to the local Vermont farmers who use it to feed their hogs. The hogs seem to like all of the flavors except Mint Oreo. 11.U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was the only president born on the fourth of July. Born in Plymouth 7/4/1872.
President Calvin Coolidge

President Calvin Coolidge

12.And yes, we don't allow billboards! (Really proud of that one!)

We're small but mighty and a really interesting place to call home.

Edible Landscaping

I keep hearing this term "edible landscaping" or "foodscaping" and thought it was interesting so I did a little digging (ha!) According to Wikipedia, edible landscaping isa specialized form of gardening where ornamental plants are replaced by plants that have some food use. The range of plants is varied and can include fruiting shrubs, trees, ground cover as well as edible flowers, and may include an apiary. However, even Wikipedia noted that their entry needed more attention and definition - so this concept is still growing. foodscaping This picture is an example offoodscaping in Geneva, Switzerlandaccording to a Facebook sight titled "SEED - An Untold Story".Each yard is a vegetable garden and neighbors consult and plan what each will grow so they can trade. I thought this wasamazing! But living here in Vermont, I wanted to find out if anyone was specializing in this type of landscaping locally. Bingo! I had a conversation with Meghan Giroux, owner of Vermont Edible Landscape LLC just this morning. Meghan said that Vermont Edible Landscape works with clients to design, install and establish ecologically regenerative landscapes and that she was currently working on a project with Habitat for Humanity. She said they approach land management through an agrarian lens utilizing a variety of diverse biological disciplines. Her services include: Site Evaluation, Planning and Development. In addition to the land planningMeghan operates a small edible specific nursery in Richmond, Vermont.
Seaberry - a common plant used in Vermont edible landscaping

Seaberry - a common plant used in Vermont edible landscaping

If you think foodscaping or edible landscaping could be something you like to try, or just learn more about, give Meghan a shout. She canbe reached at 802-578-0829 or meghan@vermontediblelandscapes.com

Failed Window Seals

At property inspections I come across failed window seals quite often.For many first time home buyers this can be a completely new topic that they don't know much about, so I thought I would gather some information together here as a resource. This is what a failed window seal looks like.
Failed Window Seal

Failed Window Seal

The window will appear foggy, sometimes injust a corner andnomatter how much you clean it or what the temperature is, the fog remains. What is a seal anyway? The window seal refers to any part of the window installation that blocks out the exterior environment. Most often, the term seal is used for weatherization and energy efficiency applications, and usually refers to the sashes (in sliding windows) and lites (window panes). Why do window seals fail? Sometimes they fail for these reasons:
  • Pressure building between the two panes of glass during hot days (referred to as heat pumping)
  • Contracting/shrinking inthe colder months
  • Expansion and contraction of the sealant material itself
Seals fail most frequently on windows facing south or west due to longer exposure to the sun. Too much direct sunlight deteriorates the original sealing material more quickly than windows facing in other directions. When considering new windows, always opt for solid, long-term, transferable warranties (20-year warrantiesare preferred) because the windows will not only perform better for longer, but the transferable warranty also adds resale value. What do you do about it? First you would need to figure out where the seal is compromised or leaking. In some instances, a nice amount of caulking can do the trick but will look unsightly. The other option is to just replace the panes. Lastly, in some cases the window framing is the cause, possibly due to poor installation, and a new window might be the answer. In a majority of cases I see, a window's broken seal is due to old age, and therefore replacing the window for a more efficient one is the best option. As with any home repair, if you are not a DIYerconsultyour qualified inspector or ageneral contractor for guidance!

Digital Signatures for Real Estate Transactions

Gone are the days of the pen?

You might not need a pen the next time you sign a contract!

New for 2014formany Vermont Realtors is the software Dotloop, where real estate agents will have access to Vermont Real Estate forms that can be electronically signed by parties involved in a transaction. So how does this impact you, the buyer or seller in a transaction?

Well, according to the ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES IN GLOBAL AND NATIONAL COMMERCE ACT that was signed into law in June of 2000, signing a document electronically is legal and binding. However, in many real estate transactions, there are a lot of papers to review and signing these documents electronically may be quite overwhelming. Especially if you are a first time home buyer or seller, you may need things explained in detail, or just wish for some face-to-face time with your Realtor for such an important decision. This is completelycompletely understandable.

However, if you are an investor who is very familiar with the process, or someone that travels a great deal and really wants to be able to conduct business and keep the transaction moving along, e-signatures can be a true blessing! I personally usually use a hybrid, where I meet with clients first and explain all the documents and have them sign in person if applicable, and then use Dotloop for any additional subsequent addendums or forms that come along that require less explanation. This was very helpful over the holidays where a majority of my clients were traveling and greatly appreciated not having to get to a printer/scanner/fax in between visits with family. Everything could be handled via their devices. Let us know how you feel about electronic signatures! Is this a convenience or something that makes you uncomfortable? Do you have any other experiences with electronic signatures? Feel free to comment on this blog or onour facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VermontGreentreeRealEstate.