Blog :: 2016

Restaurant Opportunity in the Northeast Kingdom

Here is an excellent opportunity to invest in the Northeast Kingdom! The Wine Gate Restaurant in downtown St. Johnsbury is established and operating. The current owners (who have no intention of closing prior to it being sold) have done a fabulous job creating an inviting space and a desirable menu. One could truly step in and continue the flow they created or put your own custom style into it. The dining room seats 50 comfortably, plus there is a covered patio that seats an additional 40.


The business is available for purchase on it's own or with real estate. Building is nicely maintained and has other commercial spaces currently leased, plus a banquet room. 

If this is a profession you have considered, but not sure of the next steps to owning your own business, you can read more about local resources from our blog post: "Starting a Small Business in the Northeast Kingdom"

Contact Mary Scott with any questions or to arrange a private showing.
Mary@tsrevt.com 

 

6 Commercials to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

There is no place like home for the holidays! There is so much to love about this festive season; decorating the house, getting together with family and friends, the food, the spirit, and the commercials! Here are a few favorites (so far) we've seen this year.


1. Coming Home for Christmas by Heathrow Aiport



2. The Greatest Gift by Sainsbury



3. Frankie's Holiday by Apple



4. Come Together by H&M, directed by Wes Anderson



5. Exactly What You Wish For by Toys "R" Us



6. Hooking Up Grandma's House by Xfinity




Happy Holidays!

5 Wonderful St. Johnsbury Stores to Shop This Holiday Season

If you don’t get a chance to shop downtown St. Johnsbury very often, Small Business Saturday (November 26th) is a perfect reason to check the stores out. You will love the variety of unique gifts, many that are very reasonably priced and items you that cannot find online or at big box stores. Plus, you don’t have to get up at midnight to wait in line (bonus)! 
 

1.  Moose River Lake and Lodge















Chances are when you walk into the front door you will be greeted by “Nelly” (pictured) the store owner’s friendly dog. And if that’s not charming enough, the contents of the store will win you over. True to its name, this store has a classic “lodge” atmosphere with rustic houseware items, bear skin rugs, antlers and taxidermy. There is also high quality clothing and outerwear, jewelry, books, a kid’s corner, and an excellent selection of wine and chocolate.  Plan on spending some time as the store is large and bursting with great gift ideas – too many too list here! 


2. Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild















If you’re looking for one of a kind, unique gifts then the Artisan’s Guild is a must-shop! The store is filled with a collection of handcrafted items from over 100 Vermont artists. Amazing prints and paintings, jewelry, pottery, ornaments, yarn, glass works, wood works, and so much more. Don’t forget to check out the back-room holiday exhibit when you’re there. 
 

3. Boxcar and Caboose Bookshop and Café















Shopping can be exhausting! Boxcar and Caboose is the store to get your caffeine fix! The cafe has a wide variety of tasty espresso and coffee beverages. You’ll enjoy browsing the great selection of books with latte in hand. Be sure to check out the Vermont section including books, Vermont Life Calendars, and Vermont handmade greeting cards. A great place to find gifts for the kids on your list with a nice assortment of toys. Another bonus; the colorful corner known as Hobo’s Candy Stop. Every stocking needs a little candy in it!
 

4. All About Flowers















You may have noticed this shop on Eastern Avenue especially since their recent storefront renovation. You will fall in love right when you walk in the door. There is much more to this shop than its lovely assortment of flowers. Beautifully arranged, it feels like a store that Joanna Gaines would visit. Candles, home decor, and a festive selection of ornaments, plus wine and gluten-free beer. A great place to pick up a Yankee Trader or secret Santa gift. 
Shop Local Saturday Special: 25% of wreaths
 

5. Sunshine Boutique and Jeweler















A favorite of the greater St. Johnsbury area for many years! If you’re thinking jewelry as a gift for someone but not exactly sure what, this is the place to go. The sales team at Sunshine is very friendly, helpful, and incredibly knowledgeable.  They will guide you in finding the perfect gift. The store also has a beautiful selection of pottery, clothes, lamps and much more.
 Shop Local Saturday Special: 20% off one item.
 
 
And that's just the beginning! There are many more wonderful stores in St. Johnsbury. Also, consider gift certificates to the local restaurants or movie theater. Happy shopping and have a great holiday season!

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Consider Resurfacing Rather Than Remodeling

It’s inevitable. Homes get out dated. As décor trends go through their cycles, what was once a modern, hip feature (such as avocado-colored appliances) becomes what a home buyer will consider a flaw.
 
When a consulting with home home owners, Tim Scott Real Estate can help decide what improvements will help the property sell and be the most cost effective. However, everyone’s budget is different for prepping their home. Typically, remodeling the kitchen is not a realistic or cost effective. Considering that kitchens are a common top priority for home-buyers, there are less expensive and less invasive ways to update a kitchen - consider resurfacing and painting.
Recently, a TSRE client took it upon themselves to do a transformation to their home. For the kitchen they resurfaced the countertops, painted the walls and the brick, and updated the light fixture. The bathroom got a resurfaced sink and tub, new faucet and new paint. The results are fantastic! Check out the entire listing here.
 
While there are do-it-yourself kits available for resurfacing counter tops, our client hired Let’s Face It out of Derby, VT to do the project for them. They were very pleased with the results, and the efficient and timely manner in which the company worked. You can contact Let’s Face It at (802) 673-0012 or email letsfaceitvt@gmail.com.
 
 

5 Tips to Avoid Moving Day Panic

Whether you’ve lived in your home for a year or sixty years, have a large house or a small apartment, moving day can be a tremendous chore if you’re not prepared. It’s truly amazing how your possessions can seem to multiply as you start to pack them. If you are selling your home, your house has to be “broom clean” prior to closing. If you put off moving to the last minute, it can be a very stressful experience. Here are some tips to consider before you reach the point of moving day panic.

 

1. Start the Day You Decide to List Your House.

One of the very first tips the team at Tim Scott Real Estate will give you, once you decide to sell your home is to remove excess clutter. This is one of the most beneficial rules of staging – plus it gets you started on the packing process. Go through closets, cabinets, basements, garages and if you’re not using it - either pack it, donate it, or toss it.

 

2. Make Some Meals Ahead of Time.

Once you’re in the nitty-gritty of packing up to move, often you are too tired to cook – plus you may have already packed away pots and pans. A few weeks prior, make some meals you can freeze such as lasagna, pot pies, or casseroles. You’ll save money (and maybe a few calories) by avoiding continuous take-out.

 

3. It’s Going to Take Longer Than You Think.

Consider what you own, the amount of furniture, etc… if you figure it will take two days to get everything packed up, do yourself a favor and add a day or two to your estimate. It’s better to give yourself too much time than not enough.

 

4. Have a Little Help from Your Friends.

Make sure to recruit help! That’s what friends and family are for, right? Ask a few extra people in case it turns out someone can’t make it that day. Don’t forget to tell them there will be food and beer too…and don’t forget to provide it! Pizza is always a crowd pleaser – or perhaps one of the meals you cleverly made ahead of time.

 

5. Call in the Professionals

Worried that your well intentioned, yet clumsy brother-in-law might do more harm than good? Call a professional moving company. Allen and Coles Moving Systems out of Lebanon, NH offer a full range of moving services. (866) 257-2114

Also, if you’re feeling that you’ll end up with a good pile of stuff that needs to be tossed, consider calling Fred Harris of EZ Trash and schedule for a trailer to be there or for him to come get it with his dump truck. He’s very reliable and reasonable rates. EZ Trash (802) 748-0144 or easytrash@gmail.com

 

Good luck with your move! Contact the Team at Time Scott Real Estate with all your real estate questions.

4 Tips to Keep Your Focus When Searching for Your Dream Home

Haven’t we all put at least a little thought into our fantasy home? It’s easy to do, especially if you are active on Pinterest! It’s fun to “pin” images of immaculate and professionally designed homes with expansive kitchens with commercial appliances and backyards that would require the hiring of a full time gardener.

An important  step in finding the right home for you, is finding the right balance between wishlist and reality.  Regardless if you are a first time home buyer, moving up, or downsizing, when you are ready to start house hunting you have a list of features you’d like to have in your home. That’s great – it’s important to know what you’re looking for, but I have a few pointers that may help if you a struggling to make a decision.

1. Avoid the Phrase “Move-In Ready”

For starters, “move-in ready” is a really broad description. There is a difference between wanting to avoid major renovations and being able to move in without making any changes or repairs. People’s taste in décor varies and unless you are buying a brand new house, the house is not going to be in perfect condition (even brand-new houses can be in less than perfect condition).

2. Realize That FOMO is a Real Thing and You May Be Experiencing It!

FOMO (fear of missing out) happens to the best of us. This can happen when you’ve been viewing homes and you find one that you want to make an offer on, but you fear that as soon as you do, a better one will come on the market. Just remember, it’s natural to be nervous – purchasing a home is a big decision, trust your instincts and keep your eye on the prize!

3. Decide What is (Really) Important

You’ve made your list, but after viewing a few houses, you are discovering you may have to whittle your list down according to your budget and realities. Try this exercise- make a list of all your wants, circle the top ten must-haves on that list, then put a star next to the most important five items. You could even take a step further to the most important three items. House hunting is easier once you establish what your top priorities are.

4. Find a Real Estate Agent You Trust

Sometimes after you start actively looking at homes, the ranking of your wish list can change. It is really beneficial to work with one real estate agent. When you work exclusively with one agent they learn more about you and what you are looking for in a home. It’s important to choose an agent you feel comfortable with. Find someone that won’t rush you, takes the time to find out the answers to all your questions and can help guide you through the process of buying a home.

Feel free to contact the team at Tim Scott Real Estate with any questions.

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3 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out

A recent trend in real estate, in the Northeast Kingdom is the increase in activity for homes in the $150,000 to $200,000+/- price range. As we continue to see low interest rates, the number of actively-looking home-buyers increases.

In the last couple of months, at Tim Scott Real Estate alone, we’ve had five of our listings in that price range go under contract within 2 weeks of listing! Four out of five of those listings had multiple offers.  Great news for Sellers – if you’ve been considering listing your home and fall into that price range, it may be the perfect time to act. 

However, as a Buyer in this competitive market, if you become one of multiple offers on the house - what can you do to make your offer stand out?

1. Have Your Pre-Approval Letter Ready to Go

If you’re going to be financing the property make sure to have your pre-approval letter updated and present a copy of the letter with your offer. If you feel that having the full amount of your pre-approval will inhibit your negotiations, have your loan officer provide you with a pre-approval letter without the full amount your pre-approved for. Your lender can change the number to coincide with your offer. Most sellers will not even consider an offer from a buyer that has not consulted with a loan officer.

2. Less is More…When it Comes to Contingencies

Even if the amount your offering is strong, sellers can feel overwhelmed if the offer comes with a laundry list of contingencies. The less contingencies there are, the better the chances the property will close and therefore be more appealing to sellers. Keep only the contingencies that are important and protect you as a buyer.

3. Include a Personal Letter

Although home owners want to get top dollar for their properties, it also can be a very emotional experience. Write a letter to include with your offer describing who you are, what your family is like, and what you love about their home. It can be very reassuring to a seller to know that the next home-owner will love the house as much as they did. It can be that extra weight to tip the scales in your favor if the competing offers are similar to yours.

Contact the team at Tim Scott Real Estate with any questions about the home buying or the home selling process.

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Fannie Mae Offers Financing for Energy Efficient Upgrades

Fannie Mae Energy Efficiency UpgradesSomething that draws home-buyers to Vermont again and again is the history and charm of older homes. From the classic Victorians of St. Johnsbury to century old farmhouses scattered throughout the Northeast Kingdom, it’s easy to love these homes, the original features, and designs you don’t see in newer construction. I know I do. It’s the type of home my wife and I purchased for our family and we love it. However, often a buyer will fall in love with one of these properties but feel conflicted by the obvious pros of a newer constructed house and the energy efficiency benefits it offers.

The good news is Fannie Mae has announced its HomeStyle Energy Mortgage. This allows a home-buyer to finance up to 15% of the home’s appraised value for energy related upgrades. This can include weatherization, installing water efficient showers and toilets, improving insulation, upgrading windows and doors and more.

This is a wonderful opportunity for home buyers to invest in our historic homes and feel confident that they are able to improve the energy efficiency of the house to ensure a comfortable home, energy savings and help reduce their carbon footprint. Kudos to Fannie Mae!

Read more about it on the Fannie Mae website.

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Starting a Business in the Northeast Kingdom

The decision to open my own small business was one of the scariest and most exciting times of my life.  At the time, I had a lot of experience selling real estate and a vision for what my company would look like and offer, but I didn't know much about the ins and outs of starting a small business.  Thankfully I was able to surround myself with people that I could trust and that had the knowledge and skill to guide me through the process.

On a tip from my wife, I made an appointment with Ross Hart at the Vermont Small Business Development Center, on Eastern ave in St. Johnsbury.  Ross helped me build a business plan and cash flow spreadsheet that helped me figure out my overhead and other essentials to start a business.  Ross explained a lot of unknowns and helped me get my plan on paper, which in turn made it a hell of lot less scary.  Through Ross's hard work and skill I was able to get a small business loan and a grant to set up my website. He also introduced me to to Mike Welch, a Senior Project Manager at Northern Community Investment Cooperation, also in St. Johnsbury.  Mike was instrumental in helping me secure  a grant through the NCIC Small business Cost Sharing Program.  A business website is super important in today's marketplace, but having a website that people can easily find, is paramount.  Mike helped me achieve that.

The next step to start a business, that I was completely clueless about, was registering my business with the state and Federal government.  Jay Abramson is an Attorney in St Johnsbury who I have had a long standing professional relationship with and I highly recommend.  Jay helped me to register and create my business with the Secretary of the State and with the IRS. He also help me structure the business with an eye towards the future, in the anticipation of the company growing and expanding.

With all these factors in place I was able to secure a business loan through Mark Clough at Community National Bank. Mark worked incredibly hard to help me clear the hurdles to get a loan. I wouldn't be where I am today without his help.

None of these steps were easy, but in the short time that I have been in business I'm confident it was worth it and I wouldn't change a thing!

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    Hiking in the Northeast Kingdom

    No matter how you feel about the mild winter we have had in the Northeast Kingdom, I think we can all agree that being able to get out and enjoy the spring hiking and biking a couple weeks early is a good thing! We are lucky enough to live in an area with all sorts of beautiful hikes, ranging from easy to challenging. This map shows the locations of a slew of great hikes in the area, but I'm going to just highlight a few of them.

    Devil's Hill Northeast Kingdom VT

    Spruce Mountain (4.2 mi)- A popular hike in Plainfield, VT, the top of the mountain is owned and maintained by Groton State Park. This four-mile round trip hike starts out on a mellow double track for about 3/4 of a mile. At that point, you come to a neat bog and the trail gets rockier and narrower. Soon after that the trail narrows to a skinny hiking trail and it starts to get steep. At the top, there is lookout with a beautiful view to the southeast, but the real prize is the 360-degree view from the top of the fire tower! Bring an extra layer and a hat, it's often windy up there!

    Devil's Hill (1.5mi)- Located at the end of a class four road, it's just inside the boundaries of Groton State Park. This hike also starts with a gentle incline up an old forester's road. After a short distance, the trail splits. Your first choice off to the left, Devil's Hill Loop, heads up the east side of Devil's Hill is the longer, more arduous of the two hikes. If continue straight, the road will lead to a trail that takes off to the left. Devil Hill trail is shorter and a more direct route to the summit. These short hikes reward you with a big payoff! Beautiful views to the west show off the rest of beautiful Groton State Park. 

    Burke Mountain Red Trail (6mi)- Sticking with the theme of starting your hike off on an old road, the Burke mountain red trail also starts with a warmup walk up a slight incline on an open double track road, depending on the time of year, you can fuel up for the rest of the hike with the bountiful berry bushes lining this open path. In about a mile, the trail takes a left and veers into an open and bright hardwood forest. About halfway up the mountain, you'll cross over the CCC road and come upon a lean-to. Behind the lean-to, the blue trail heads up to your left and the red trail continue on straight ahead.

    Both trails switchback up the top of the mountain and converge at the summit trail. The summit trail travels a short distance and spits out at the turn around for the toll road. Admittedly, it is a little anti-climatic to reach the summit of a mountain and find a paved road, but it's soon forgotten when you pass the by the tops of two chairlift and head up to the very tall fire tower. From the top of the fire tower on a clear day, if you play your cards right, you may view the majesty of the presidential range, the expanse of the victory state forest and the geographical oddity that is the Willoughby gap! You can head down the way you came up, bushwhack down one of the ski trails or take the previously mentioned paved road. This hike is longer and steeper than the other hikes listed here, so bring your snacks and water! 

    These are just a few of the great hikes offered up in the Kingdom. Whether you have a lot of time or just a little, there is a hike for you that delivers amazing views of the beauty of our area.

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