Vermont Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 15, 2019

Top 10 Benefits of Downsizing into a Smaller Home

 

 

Homeowners are realizing that "living large" doesn't always mean bigger is better. In fact there are many benefits to downsizing to a smaller home. Whether the decision is voluntarily or you are forced to move for job relocation or other life event, rest assured there can be benefits to decreasing your home size. Do you love saving money, energy, resources. and saving time on upkeep? Then downsizing may be your next step! Here are 10 pluses to living a "cozy life". 

 

1. Save money

Let's face it, the more space you have, the more area you feel like you need to fill every square corner with! Beyond the decreased savings on utilities, taxes, mortgage, etc., another one of the beauties of downsizing your home is the ability to pare down your furniture and other accessories you may have acquired in order to fill a space rather than truly needed to fulfill a function. Downsizing into a smaller home can help you prioritize your life and only bring what is necessary into your new home. 

 

2. Lessen stress and upkeep

Many homeowners agree that living in a larger home leads to greater stress and upkeep. From cleaning, maintenance, furnishing, outdoor upkeep and the cost to run all of these factors, this can lead to a home that is stressful. Downsizing your home can be the first step to a minimal stream-lined life. You will be surprised how reducing your daily chores and maintenance will free up your time for leisure activities, spending time with your family, getting more rest, and maybe you could take the time to enjoy your home rather than feel like its a burden!

 

 

3.  A smaller home, leads to a happier home

While your home lifestyle varies from your neighbors, many homeowners agree that smaller homes enable the family to bond and work together as opposed to large and spread out floor plan homes. Smaller homes can create an environment where family members or roommates get organized and can compromise over living arrangements, sharing closets, and making a small home feel cozy instead of cramped. Instead of looking at a smaller home as a down-grade, look at it as a way to a happier life!

 

4. Save energy 

If you have ever lived in a large home you know one of the downsides are energy costs. From heating and cooling costs to water savings in your bathrooms and kitchens, it costs a lot to run a large home. Smaller homes will give the added benefit of reducing your carbon footprint meanwhile, enjoying a lower energy bill in the warmer and cooler months. If you are curious how a smaller home and energy efficient appliances and systems could work in your home, contact your local energy provider. They can often give you an audit of your current usage and estimate how you can save.

 

5. Downsizing can lead to more travel

All this money you'll be saving will leave room for more vacations and trips! And with a smaller home it may be much easier to leave for extended periods of time. You may not have even considered it before, but your house requires a lot of work when you leave town - from remembering to lock your windows and doors to keeping up on your lawn and plants. If you decide to downsize, it may help alleviate some of the stress of all that is to be done before you leave and while you are away!

 

6. Embrace new possibilities 

For many homeowners, downsizing their home can be a new chapter. Whether you are an empty-nester who has older children who have moved out, someone who is recently divorced, or has lost their spouse or roommate. Consider opting for a smaller home that could have less upkeep, or possible a homeowners association that can maintain grounds and other amenities to enjoy your home as opposed to having to do the work yourself. 

 

7. Small home living is enhanced in an urban city

Have you ever noticed a one room loft in a bustling urban city feels more cosmopolitan than a one room apartment that has 5 times the amount of space in the suburbs? There is something to be said about being among other city dwellers - where everyone is living in smaller homes than they would prefer. Make the most of your urban abode with color, creative malfunction furniture and bring in plenty of light into your space. While you may not have the penthouse of your dreams, you can play up your small home living with urban wall art, colorful home decor and lighting. 

 

8. Splurge on a few key furniture pieces in a smaller home

While many people consider a downsize to mean they can't make their home look fabulous, think again! Some of the greatest dwellings are ones that have style and creative uses of space and proportions. Look to your favorite home designers who specialize in bringing color and life to small spaces. Splurge on a few key pieces like a dynamic colored couch that draws attention to your decor and not the size of the room. Beautiful design is about how to functionally use a space, while still being inspired to enjoy the room. Size shouldn't be a hindrance.

9. Creative organization is key to small home living

Wake up your interiors with creative organization. Bookshelves that are built-in to what normally would be a bare wall can make any space into an instant library. Vertical organization in a small closet can be enhanced with split areas for folded, hung, and drawer wardrobe storage. Downsizing your home will get rid of the clutter and will help you organize only what is essential. 

 

10. A paired down lifestyle will help keep you out of debt

While this won't be true for every homeowner, pairing down your small living lifestyle can help you from over spending, over charging, and over buying for your large home. A smaller home will help you keep on a budget and shopping sprees will be curbed because there isn't enough space to house too many new additions. If you are trying to save money and keep your credit from going into the red, consider downsizing your home- your future will thank you for it!

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 6, 2019

10 Steps to Protect Your Home While on Summer Vacation

 

According to the Department of Justice, there are 10 percent more burglaries in the summer than in the winter. Additionally, the rate of household property victimization and household larceny are high during the hottest months of the year. Unfortunately for many, this time of year is also when most of us pack our bags and head out for vacation.

While you're out enjoying vacation, you don't want to worry about what's happening at home. Here are 10 tips to protect your home while you're away.

 

1. Lock All Windows and Doors Before You Leave for Vacation

Over 30 percent of burglars enter a home through an unlocked window or door. A few weeks before your vacation, check the windows and doors of your home to be sure they shut and lock properly. Make repairs as necessary, and verify they're all secure on the day you leave for vacation.

2. Install a Home Security System

In addition to reducing the chance your home will be burglarized by 300 percent, many leading systems offer remote access so you can check your home security system from your phone. You can even use your device to lock/unlock doors or check on pets via security cameras. Plus, your insurance provider may discount your home insurance premium up to 20 percent when you install a security system- and that savings could help pay for your vacation!

3. Avoid Garage Break-ins While Your Out 

Many homeowners focus on the main body of their home and forget to secure the garage. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to help protect your garage from a break-in, including installing motion detector lights on the corners of the garage, ensuring the garage service door is locked, and hiding valuables out of sight. If you leave a car in the driveway, be sure to remove the garage door remote. A burglar won't think twice about breaking into your care and using the remote to access the garage. 

4. Use Light Timers While You're Away

Light timers are affordable, easy to install, and can help deter criminals by making your home look occupied. Choose a timer with a "random on/off" option, so your lights turn on and off at various times throughout the day and night, making it difficult for burglars to determine if the home is vacant.

 

5. Remove "Hidden" Keys While You're Away

Over one-third of burglars enter a home through the front door, often using the homeowner's "hidden key". If there's a key under your doormat or in another obvious location, remove it. You may also want to consider replacing your traditional front door lock with a keyless lock so you don't even have to worry about keys.

6. Tell Your Neighbors You'll Be Out of Town

Assuming you trust your neighbors, it's a good idea to inform them you'll be on vacation and leave a number where you can be reached. Make them aware of anyone who might be going into your home, such as house sitter or dog walker. 

7. Tidy Up Your Yard Before You Leave

Prepare your home for your departure by putting valuables -grills, bikes, and tools- in a secure shed or garage, and trimming shrubs so burglars can't conceal themselves while trying to break into your home. If you have a gate that provides access to your yard, make sure it shuts and locks. Scan your property for anything a burglar might use to break into your home, such as a brick or hammer, and take it inside. 

8. Keep Your House Safe with a Sitter

Enlist the services of a house sitter to keep an eye on your home while you're away. He or she can pick up fliers left at the door, bring in the main, and take the garbage and recycling bins to the curb. These things can help hide the fact that you're not home.

9. Take Safety Precautions with Utilities

Protecting your home from a break-in is important, but you also want to avoid problems with utilities, like electricity or water. Unplug appliances, turn off water valves to all sinks, the dishwasher, and washing machine, and test your smoke alarms.

10. Arrange for Lawn Care

If your lawn is overgrown, it can be a telling sign to people that no one is there to do upkeep. If you have a regular lawn service, consider scheduling lawn maintenance once or twice while you're away. 

 

Source: https://www.redfin.com/blog/how-to-protect-your-home-while-on-vacation/

Posted in Family
Aug. 1, 2019

Homeownership vs. Renting


Buying a home is a serious step in your life and you need to consider all the problems you may face and review the advantages that come along with owning your own property. There are plenty of reasons to buy or not to buy a house, but we'll highlight the key points to help you understand whether you're ready to take the next step in purchasing a home!

Benefits of Homeownership:

  • You build equity in the home. Each month you are paying down principle almost like a built-in savings account, but bonus: you get to live in it!

  • Credit scores increase with positive payment history

  • Tax advantages - things like mortgage interest and property taxes are tax deductible

  • You have full control over home improvements and upgrades, when renting even things like painting or hanging photos on the wall can be off limits!

  • Homes frequently increase in value over time, further adding to the equity you are accruing

  • You develop stronger ties to the neighborhood and/or community

  • Fixed-rate mortgage means your payment will always remain the same, not increase as rental prices normally do

  • Interest rates are on the rise, making now the perfect time to get into a home while they are still low!

Disadvantages to Renting

  • The landlord can decide to raise the rent at any time

  • Can't make any improvements or modifications without landlord approval, or often times at all

  • Renting does not build equity, instead you're helping to pay your Landlord's mortgage each month and building them equity

  • Less stability- landlord has final say in renewing lease

  • No return on investment

We know there are so many aspects that go into deciding what is best for your specific situation. If you' like to know more about which option is right for you and how to best navigate the process, give us a call at 802.488.3487 or email jon@templetonvthomes.com  to set up a consult!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2019

How to Sell a House with a Pet

 

 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36 percent of households own a dog and 30 percent own a cat. While a lot of prospective buyers are animal lovers, when selling a house with pets, it's best if no one can tell that an animal lives with you. You have one chance to make a great first impression, and you want your home to look and smell pristine.

 To-do list:

  • Remove all signs of pets
  • Ensure marketing materials are pet-free
  • Avoid marketing the home as pet-friendly
  • Repair pet damage to home
  • Deep clean the home before listing
  • Deodorize
  • Clean pet hair
  • Remove stains
  • Mask noisy neighbor pets

 

What is the best for the pet during an Open House?

Every pet is different, and some pets have a harder time with changes in routine than others. And nothing changes a pet's routine more than listing your home. After all. their daily schedule will be turned upside down, there will be new people in and out, plenty of new smells,, and furniture belongings moved around - not to mention having to spend more time than usual away from home. If your animal is easily stressed, or starts showing signs of anxiety when you're preparing to list your home, talk to your veterinarian about how to help your pet cope with the changes.

 

What to do before an Open House

Before your open house, depersonalize wherever you can by removing things like dog toys and food bowls from your space. This easy staging step helps potential buyers picture themselves living in the house and calling it their own.

Not only will the absence of your pet make it easier for potential buyers to feel at home, but it also makes it easier for the agent who's hosting your open house to provide access to the whole house, giving tours and focusing on answering questions. 

If you can't remove the pet before the open house

If your agent springs an impromptu home tour on you and you aren't able to schedule alternate accommodations for your pet in time, here are a few tips:

 

  • Keep your pet in a cage or kennel, with a not left in a visible location instructing visitors to leave the pet alone.
  • If you can't get home to retrieve your pet before the tour, leave a cage or kennel for your agent, along with some treats so they have an easier time getting your pet to cooperate.
  • Don't ever attempt to hide a pet. Shoppers want to see your whole house, including closets, storage areas, and laundry rooms.

Ensure marketing materials are pet free

Just as you should remove all evidence of your pets before an open house or showing, you'll want to do the same thing before you have real estate photographs taken. Also make sure to avoid shooting photos of any pet damage, like ripped window screens, chew marks, or torn up lawns. After all, these photos will be used everywhere, including your MLS listing, Zillow, and flyers. 

Don't market your home as pet-friendly

Unless there are permanent structures on your property that can easily be removed, don't advertise your home as pet-friendliness of your home and neighborhood on their own.

Remember while pet owners might be excited to see a fully-fenced yard or a neighborhood dog park nearby, you don't want to risk pet-free buyers avoiding your property because they're not interested in the pet-related amenities. 

 

 

Repair damage done by pets

It's easy to overlook the damage that your pet has done to your home over time, since you walk past it every day. But potential buyers view home with a critical eye, and even small blemishes make a buyer think you haven't taken good care of the property. Make these repairs before listing:

Interior Repairs:

  • Stained or torn carpets
  • Scratched, worn, or torn furniture
  • Scratched hardwood, or other flooring
  • Claw or chew marks on doors, walls, baseboards, or window sills
  • Ripped curtains

Exterior Repairs

  • Pet waste
  • Signs of digging in the lawn
  • Trampled bushes or grass
  • Damaged fencing
  • Torn window screens

Deep cleaning before listing

Whether you have a pet or not, doing a deep clean on your home before listing is a must. And when you have a pet, cleaning is even more important, as bad smells like dog odor or cat odor in the house are one of the first things hat will send potential buyers running. Consider calling in a professional cleaning service and carpet cleaners to tackle pet smells, stain, hair, etc.

How to get ride of pet stains

  • Spot treatments done by a professional carpet service
  • Try DIY natural cleaning solutions, like one made with a mixture of equal parts, salt, white vinegar, and Borax
  • If your carpets are heavily soiled, you may have to remove the floor covering completely and replace it. But you won't be alone - 26 percent of recent sellers report replacing carpet or flooring before listing.

Pet Hair:

  • Vacuum thoroughly and have a professional cleaning done to remove pet hair from carpet
  • Remove cushion coverings and launder them, and vacuum out furniture.
  • Hire a furniture cleaning service to remove pet hair from furniture, remember to keep pets off after the cleaning is done
  • Bathe your pets frequently
  • Brush or comb your pet outside, daily
  • Vacuum at least once a day, and again before showings.

 

How to get rid of pet odors in your house:

  • Wash everything you can: furniture slipcovers, quilts, comforters, curtains, towels, and throw towels.
  • Clean your pet's habitat, like fish tanks, cages, and bedding
  • Remove liter boxes or potty pads 
  • Replace the filter in your HVAC system
  • Add a HEPA filter to absorb particles and dander
  • Steam clean furniture and scented candles that attempt to mask odor
  • Invite a friend over to do an honor sniff test.

How to remove pet odor from carpet

  • Sprinkle dry baking soda onto the carpet, let sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum to remove dog urine smell
  • Hire a professional carpet cleaning service, or rent a carpet machine to do it yourself
  • Try pet urine removers and natural, pet-friendly cleaning solutions
  • If the smell persists after cleaning, check to see if the carpet pad or subfloor may need to be replaced.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 11, 2019

10 Outdoor Maintenance Tasks to do this Summer

 

 

With the change of each season comes a new set of maintenance tasks for your home. Now that summer is in full swing, it's important to prepare your home and yard for the upcoming heat. From air-conditioner upkeep to cleaning dirt off your home. Check out our ultimate checklist of summer home maintenance tips to help you give your home some TLC.

 

Check caulking

  • Check around your homes windows and doors 
  • You can keep ants and bugs at bay in the kitchen by adding fresh caulking to your windows and doors.

Inspect air-conditioners:

If you haven't already, prep air conditioners and fans for their busiest season:

  • Remove and clean the filters before turning your AC on. If you have central air-conditioning, consider a professional servicing. 
  • Clean all ceiling fans and other fans in your house with a damp rag. If you have high ceilings, a ceiling-fan duster can help you de-grime hard-to-reach blades.

Polish your porch:

Thoroughly sweep painted porch floors; then mop them with all-purpose cleaner. If there's a lot of build-up dirt on the floorboards, you may need to scrub them with a brush.

Analyze your deck:

Look over your deck for signs of rotting and hammer in any nails that are poking up. Then, determine if your deck needs sealing. Sprinkle water on the deck's boards. If the water beads up, you're in good shape; but if it soaks right in, it's time to reseal.

Wash your windows:

If you didn't tackle exterior window washing in the spring, now's the time to get your glass clean.

Add mulch:

Add a layer of mulch to keep weeds down and help the ground retain its moisture in the heat. It'll give your plants a chance to grow. 

Check for leaks:

Check your hoses and exterior faucets for leaks- even a tiny drip can add up to a big waste of water. Pinhole leaks in hoses can be covered up by winding regular electrical tape around the (dry) hose in overlapping layers. 

Take care of your plants:

Deadhead both perennials and annuals to keep them productive. If you have visible dead foliage from spring bulbs, pull it out to maintain a tidy look. If the daffodil or tulip leaves are still green, leave them alone; they're busy nourishing the bulb to bloom again next year.

Protect your home against unwanted guests:

Yes, unfortunately sometimes critters decide that your house is the place to be. From rodents to bugs, take steps to close off your home to non-pet animals

  • Cover any holes that are more than a quarter-inch wide
  • Get your tree branches trimmed back so they don't create a highway for squirrels. Branches should be at least 8 feet from your roof.
  • Make sure your outdoor trash bins are tightly sealed to prevent a buffet for pests.
  • Do away with yard debris. Leaves and twigs are a haven for animals that might decide to invade your home.
  • Tend to your lawn frequently by mowing. 

Power wash:

It's important to give your home a good wash, especially on it's exterior since it faces harsh natural and man-made elements such as wind, dust, dirt, rain, smoke, and pollen. Pressure washing helps you to freshen up and preserve your home's appearance. Porches, driveways and walkways, can also benefit from a good wash.

 

 

 

Posted in Outdoor projects
July 3, 2019

DIY Raised Garden Beds

Benefits of Raised Beds

Raised garden beds are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. They keep away weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage, and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails. Summer is a great time to get started on your backyard garden. Whether you have a vast knowledge of gardening, or are starting it as a new hobby, this DIY garden bed is the perfect project to get started. 

What you'll need

  • Three 8-foot 2" x 12" planks
  • 4-inch deck screws
  • Cardboard
  • Garden soil (8 cubic feet, or around nine 20-quart bags, for a 32-square foot, 12-inch deep bed.)
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter's square
  • Circular or hand saw
  • Drill with Phillips head bit
  • Shovel
  • Rake

1. Measure and mark

Locate the center point on one 8-foot plank and mark with a straight line. This project can be adapted to make raised beds of varying sizes. If adapting to suit location or materials, raised beds should be at least 12 inches deep and, as a rule of thumb, width shouldn't exceed 4 feet so plants may be easily reached without disturbing the soil.

 

2. Cut plank in half

Use a circular or hand saw to cut along measured line to create two 4-foot planks.

3. Set screws

Measure in 3/4 inches from each end of a 4-foot plank. Use a drill with a Phillips head bit to partially sink three screws into the broad side of each end of the plank, spaced evenly from the long edges (at approximately 3, 6, and 9 inches). Repeat the process with the other 4-foot plank. If using reclaimed lumber or wood that is especially dry, it may be necessary to drill pilot holes for the screws to avoid splitting.

   4. Square Corners

Rest the other 8-foot plank perpendicular to the attached 4-foot plank at the free end. Use a carpenter's square to line up at 90 degrees and sink screws to attach. 

5. Complete Bed

Repeat the assembly process at the other end, using the carpenter's square as you go to make sure angles are square. More elaborate raised beds may use braces at the corners to maintain shape, but the long screws used here will keep the bed intact until it is filled with soil to fortify the structure. 

6. Position Bed and Add Cardboard

Find a flat location with good drainage and plenty of sun exposure. Rake out any rocks, sticks or yard debris and place bed. Press on sides to make sure bed rests evenly and there are no gaps between the ground and the bed (if gaps are detected, use a shovel to level the site). Place a layer of cardboard, newspaper or old carpeting to completely cover the ground inside the bed. This barrier reduces the possibility of weed growth in your raised beds. 

7. Fill Space with Quality Soil

Choose soil that has mineral soil, mixed with organic matter, such as compost. To fill the beds, use a shovel or a wheelbarrow to fill the raised bed with soil mixture. 

Tip: Use a short length of 2" x 4" to act as a ramp so we could dump soil directly from the wheelbarrow without damaging the wall of the bed.

8. Level Soil 

Use a rake to level the surface of the bed around a 1/2-inch from the top. If your plans include adding a drip hose or mulch, you may wish to leave a little extra space.

9. Add plants

Drainage issues, poor soil conditions and crop-choking weeds are a thing of the past with this inexpensive and easy-to-build raised bed.

 

Posted in DIY Projects
June 27, 2019

5 Easy 4th of July Party Ideas

 

 

With the 4th of July just a week away, now is the perfect time to start planning that backyard BBQ with friends and family. Read our blog for 5, easy recipe and decoration ideas that will make your celebration just a little bit more special! 

 

Patriotic Fruit Tray

This fruit tray is so easy to have out for guests before the hot dogs and hamburgers are served. As pictured below, you can include anything from fruit to veggies, even cheese. For the best look, try to only include red, white, and blue snacks!

 

Build Your Own Hot Dog Bar

Hot dogs are an essential must-have at any 4th of July party. Take things up a notch with a build your own hot dog bar! Your guests will love adding yummy toppings to bring their hot dogs to the next level. Consider having things such as: guacamole, relish, onions, tomatoes, BBQ sauce, and of course ketchup and mustard. 

 

 

No bake hot fudge cheesecake trifles

What's a 4th of July celebration without a patriotic dessert? These individual serving, no bake hot fudge cheesecake trifles will have your guests coming back for seconds. Click here for the recipe

Fun DIY Paper Chain

You have all your food planned for your guests...now on to the decorations! Cut strips from some 4th of July themed scrapbook paper to create a fun paper chain. This is a fun project to do with your kiddos, or easy enough for one person to tackle. Be as creative as you want! Once your chains are complete find the perfect spot where all your guests will see your work!

 

DIY Bottle Toss Game

Whether you are hosting kids or adults, this lawn game is sure to be a crowd-pleaser to all! Enjoy a little friendly competition with the entire family. Craft a portable DIY bottle ring toss game perfect for any backyard gathering. Click here for easy instructions on how to make this game.

 

 

 

 

Posted in DIY Projects
June 19, 2019

3 Tips to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

 

You're thinking about selling your home, but don't know where to even begin. Let Templeton Real Estate Group help you get your home ready to sell with these tips:

Make sure your home is in top shape

In today's market, buyers want move-in ready, so the more you can have done for them in order to make it that way the better! Take care of leaks, damaged or non-working appliances, cracked or broken windows or anything else that may concern a buyer. Going the extra mile to make sure everything looks great and is in working order, will ensure a buyer gets the best impression when walking through your home. Also most buyer's have a home inspection so taking care of all the things you know about prior to listing will save you time, hassle and money in the long run.

 

Maximize the Space in Your Home

Removing bulky or outdated furniture or other items that aren't necessary is a simple and easy way to make rooms feel more spacious and look less cluttered.You might consider renting a storage unit to temporarily store all but the most critical pieces of furniture and decor. Remember to not go overboard; in almost all cases it's better to leave some furniture in the room than to have it completely empty, so potential buyers can imagine where their furniture will g

Scaling down on accessories or other items that have too much personality can help buyers picture themselves in the house. Too much knick knacks, lime green curtains or too bright of walls could be distracting for a buyer and take away from the true beauty of the home. If you absolutely love bright and bold, express your vibrancy in the form of throw pillows and other small accents or cool art pieces. Try to keep in mind what looks best to the majority of people when getting your home ready to sell. Soon enough you'll be in your new home and can decorate with as much color and however you'd like!

Decide on a Competitive List Price

A competitive listing price is one that is similar to listing prices of comparable homes on the market, or those that have recently sold, yet high enough that you'll make a healthy profit.This is one of the ares where we can be the most help to you! We will do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of your home to ensure we are pricing it accurately to compete with the current market.

 

Want to find out more about what we bring to the table when it comes to selling your home? Give us a call at 802.488.3487 or email jon@templetonvthomes.com to set up a consult, and let us tell you all about our unique approach that is selling homes like hot cakes!

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
June 14, 2019

DIY Backyard Fire Pit: Build It in 7 Easy Steps

 

 

Turn your backyard into a cozy camp spot by making your own fire pit. This DIY project is easy to complete, and you'll be inviting friends and family over for s'mores in no time.

 

Get ready

Before you begin building, consult your local fire code to see if fire pits are allowed in your city and, if so, how far away the fire pit has to be from a structure.

Gather your supplies:

  • Bricks for the fire pit wall
  • Gravel
  • Twine or string
  • Tape measure
  • Stake
  • Large shovel
  • Trowel
  • Tamp
  • Level

When purchasing bricks for the fire pit wall, go for something sturdy like retaining wall bricks or concrete pavers. Some home improvement stores even carry bricks specifically designed for fire pits. Use a layer of firebricks, which have higher heat resistance, on the inner layer of the fire pit as an extra safety measure.

Now that you have all your supplies and you’ve checked your local fire code, you’re ready to build!

1. Create a circle

Pick a spot for your fire pit (ensuring that it is located a safe distance from any structures, bushes or trees) and insert a stake in the ground where the center of the pit will be.

Tie one end of the string or twine to the stake and measure how wide you want your circle to be.

Typically, a fire pit has a diameter of about 4-5 feet. Cut the string and tie the other end to the handle of a trowel. With the string or twine taut, drag the sharp end of the trowel around in a circle, creating a line in the grass.

2. Shovel out the grass

Using a large shovel, dig out the grass inside the circle.

For safety purposes, the hole for a fire pit should be about 6-12 inches deep. Be sure to call 811 before you start digging to ensure there are no utility lines buried under the spot you’ve chosen.

3. Tamp down the dirt

If you don’t have a tamp, you can just use the bottom of your shovel.

4. Make sure the circle is level

 

 

Get down on the ground with your level to ensure that the surface is ready for the bricks. Keep making small adjustments until it’s completely level.

5. Add gravel

Put a pretty thick layer of gravel in the fire pit (at least a couple of inches). Spread the gravel around evenly.

6. Arrange the bricks

After you’ve spread the gravel around, arrange your bricks in a circle and stack them in layers until the fire pit wall is at least 12 inches tall.

For extra safety, you have the option to put an inner layer of firebricks. Though you don’t need to use mortar if the bricks are heavy enough to make a sturdy stack, you can use an outdoor fire-resistant mortar between the bricks for extra stability.

 

7. Relax & Enjoy!

Gather a couple of Adirondack chairs, some firewood, a few friends and campfire treats to get full use out of your new fire pit.

 

 

 

 

Posted in DIY Projects
June 6, 2019

8 Tips for Buying a Home in a Seller's Market

Buying a home always has its challenges, but when you're trying to do it in a seller's market, the difficulty can reach a whole new level!

What's a Seller's Market?

A seller's market is one where there are more people buying houses than there are homes for sale. This usually means that you're likely to face stiff competition from other house hunters like yourself. 

How Templeton Real Estate Can Help:

At Templeton Real Estate, we keep a close eye on market trends and we are always staying ahead of the game by coming up with new strategies and ideas to help our clients in this competitive market. We help our clients find the home of their dreams, at the right price! Let us help you, so you don't have to go through this confusing and competitive market alone! Here are 8 tips we think you need to know about buying a home in a today's market:

 

Tip #1: Get Pre-Approved 

Before you start shopping for a home, getting pre-approval from your lender will let you know just how much buying power you have. It will also help in giving your offers more credibility, which helps tremendously in a competitive market. Setting a firm limit on how much you're willing - and able to spend on a home can also help to ensure that you don't go over what you're comfortable with when you get into high pressure multiple offer situations. 

 

Tip #2: Find a Reputable Real Estate Agent

Choose a sharp agent! In today's market, more than ever it's important to have the best players on your team. Find an agent who not only has proven expertise but is also highly responsive and efficient. At Templeton Real Estate Group, we will work tirelessly to find you the home of your dreams, give you the correct strategies to ensure you get it and provide a smooth and seamless transaction all the way to the closing table.

 

Tip #3: Have an Open Mind

When the inventory of homes is limited, you may not be able to afford to wait for the "perfect" house to hit the market. Don't be too choosy when it comes to looking at homes. For example, you can add on an extra bathroom you were hoping for, down the line, but you can't change the home's location.

 

Tip #4: Consider New Construction

Considering new construction? You may find that new homes have more features and better pricing in these market conditions. 

Lot 2 Spear Street, ShelburneLot 2 Spear Street, Shelburne

Tip #5: Be Vigilant

Your agent should keep a constant eye on new home listings. When you find something you like, be quick to set up showings. You'll need to be ready to make a fast yes or no decision on the houses you're interested in.

 

Tip #6: Set a Competitive Offer

In a seller's market, if you want to be in the bidding war, sometimes your offer will need to be higher than what the seller's asking. Some agents price homes under value to stir up a bidding war. We will help you figure out what the home is worth and together we will come up with an effective strategy to present the best possible offer to the seller while also ensuring you do not overpay for the home. 

 

Tip #7: Limiting Conditions and Demands

Sometimes the best offers do not come down to price but rather conditions. Try to put away your lengthy list of demands. Attaching conditions to your bid will weaken it in the eyes of the Seller. Offering a sizable earnest money deposit can strengthen your offer, and skipping certain contingencies like Radon, Water tests or in some cases the home inspection are effective ways to make your offer look more appealing if you cannot offer a higher price. You should also be prepared to accommodate the seller's needs, such as being flexible on the move-in date if that is important to them.

 

Tip #8: Consider Waiting

If your situation allows it, you might consider postponing your purchase until the market cools down. There are some drawbacks to doing this. First, it's hard to predict when a market will shift, and depending on the economy, and other factors, it could be years until conditions improve. 

Don't get carried away with the pressure to buy, even in a seller's market. Remember that a home decision has long-term impacts on your financial future, and it may be better to let a house go than make a poor decision that could leave a financial burden in the future. 

 

Templeton Real Estate would love to help you along this exciting home buying journey! Give us a call at (802) 488-3487 so we can get you set up with a free consultation that will get you all of the information you need to start making your home buying goals a reality! 

 

Posted in Buying a Home