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5 Good Reasons to Buy a Home during the Holidays!

Turkeys and tinsel and pumpkin pie. Yes friends, the holidays are here again, and it's the perfect time for ... house hunting? OK, we know you're busy enough planning family feasts and much-needed vacations while dealing with blustery weather, but hear us out. While it might seem counterintuitive to put a big-ticket item like a home on your holiday shopping list, it really does make sense.

1. Less Competition

2. Motivated Sellers

3. Tax Advantages

4. True picture of the House

5. Great accessibility to Professionals

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    Get Ready for Winter!

    Its important to take care of your home.

    This fall has been a balmy one, but winter is coming. For homeowners living in colder climates, the waning hours of daylight signal the time to start readying the home for snowy days and bitter nights ahead.

    Like a car, a home needs a regular tuneup: Heating systems need maintenance, chimneys need sweeping and windows need caulking. But keep on top of the hefty to-do list, and the chores become a routine you dutifully follow every year.

    “When it starts getting a little cold, we go into gear,” said Jenet Levy, 60, who has lived in a three-bedroom townhouse in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, with her husband, Rory Levy, 61, for 23 years.

    Even seasoned homeowners, however, can fall behind. With such an unusually warm autumn, Ms. Levy, an associate broker with Halstead, forgot to schedule an appointment to have her boiler serviced before she expects to turn it on. Now the maintenance company is booked until late November. “So I screwed up there,” she said.

    Neglect the chores entirely, though, and you could find yourself with a hefty repair bill or a furnace that peters out on a frigid January night — and probably in the middle of a three-day weekend, because isn’t that when things usually go awry? Forget to clean the gutters, and ice could build up, damaging your roof. Drafty windows and doors could send your heating bill soaring.

     

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      Uber is the "top" of Burlington VT Ride for Hire Group

      The steady demand has helped Uber not only to thrive but to dominate Burlington's vehicle-for-hire scene. Three years after it started doing business in the Queen City, Uber has become by far the most popular livery company in the area, according to city data.

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        Check out the Craft Show this weekend!

        The Essex Craft Show began in 1981 as a yearbook fundraiser. Six years later, the show outgrew the original location at the gymnasium in Essex High School and found a new home at nearby Champlain Valley Exposition.

        The craft show occupied three unheated buildings in the first years at CVE adding tents and another building in 1989. Part of the show moved into the brand new Robert E. Miller Expo Centre South in 2000. The Robert E. Miller Expo Centre North opened in 2005 providing the show with over 100,000 square feet of heated space in two adjoining buildings. (We like to think CVE built these buildings just for us!)

        Vermont Craft Workers, headquartered in Essex Junction, has been proud to bring you the Essex Craft Show for over three decades with exhibitors traveling from as far away as Florida, Washington, and California, as well as Canada. We welcome you and hope you find the perfect gift, taste the perfect treat, and uncover the perfect keepsake that will be cherished for generations.

        37th Annual Essex Fall Craft Show
        Friday, October 27, 2017, Noon - 6pm
        Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9am - 5pm
        Sunday, October 29, 2017, 10am - 4pm

        The Essex Fall Craft Show returns for the 37th year on October 27, 28 & 29, 2017. Like the Spring show, the price of admission includes entry into The Vermont Antique Expo and Sale on the same weekend.

        A traditional favorite, this three day show is all under two adjoining roofs. (Yes, we miss the majestic tents too! But after you've seen one small river inside a craft tent, you've seen enough!)

        The larger of our two shows, this is a great opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

        We hope you enjoy this year's shows and discover that perfect something you can only find at the craft show.

        21st annual essex spring craft show
        Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9am - 5pm
        Sunday, May 6, 2018, 10am - 4pm

        The Essex Spring Craft Show returns for the 22nd year on May 5 & May 6, 2018. Admission to the craft show also includes admission to The Vermont Antique Expo and Sale on the same weekend.

        You might recognize these dates as the biggest shopping days of the year...for mom!

        The Spring show is conveniently scheduled the weekend before Mother's Day. Bring mom on Saturday and return on Sunday (admission is good for the whole weekend) to make those purchases that she "OOOOed" and "AHHHed" over. After all, you are her favorite child.

        And don't forget to pick something out for yourself...or that summer wedding around the corner...and Father's Day is only a month away...

        Admission
        One admission price includes both the Essex Craft Show and the Vermont Antique Expo and is good for the entire weekend.

        Essex Fall: $8 ($5 with coupon)
        Essex Spring: $7 ($5 with coupon)

        Under 12 free with adult.

        Free Parking.

        Print your Admission Coupon here or visit Hannaford Supermarkets (Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York stores) for additional discount admission coupons.

        Past Exhibitors
        Our Exhibitor List page includes contact information for our exhibitors. Past shows included exhibits featuring:

        • woodworking
        • baskets
        • candles
        • fudge
        • pottery
        • photography
        • painting
        • sculpture
        • Americana
        • fudge
        • fiber
        • singing Elvis (not a joke)
        • fashions
        • birdhouses
        • fragrances
        • florals
        • note cards
        • a circus (yes...really)
        • home and garden accessories
        • leather and sheepskin
        • fudge
        • dips & sauces
        • original music
        • hand blown and stained glass
        • calligraphy
        • gourmet specialties
        • live demonstrations

        New Exhibitors
        Join the Fun!

        Exhibitors are chosen through a review process where products are evaluated on quality, artistic appeal, uniqueness, and appropriateness for the show. New exhibitor inquiries are always welcome. More information on exhibiting may be found on our Exhibitor Application page.

        Food drive and craft raffle
        With tons of food donated over the years, we continue our annual food drive. Bring non-perishable food items to support the local food shelf.

        The Essex Junction Lions Club Craft Raffle is always a highlight of the craft show. With donations from exhibitor's displayed in one booth, you are sure to spot items that you missed throughout the show. Raffle ticket holders are not required to be present to win.

        Future Dates

        • 37th Annual Essex Fall Craft Show will be October 27, 28 & 29, 2017
        • 22nd Annual Essex Spring Craft Show will be May 5 & 6, 2018
        • 38th Annual Essex Fall Craft Show will be October 26, 27 & 28, 2018

        The Essex Craft Show began in 1981 as a yearbook fundraiser. Six years later, the show outgrew the original location at the gymnasium in Essex High School and found a new home at nearby Champlain Valley Exposition.

        The craft show occupied three unheated buildings in the first years at CVE adding tents and another building in 1989. Part of the show moved into the brand new Robert E. Miller Expo Centre South in 2000. The Robert E. Miller Expo Centre North opened in 2005 providing the show with over 100,000 square feet of heated space in two adjoining buildings. (We like to think CVE built these buildings just for us!)

        Vermont Craft Workers, headquartered in Essex Junction, has been proud to bring you the Essex Craft Show for over three decades with exhibitors traveling from as far away as Florida, Washington, and California, as well as Canada. We welcome you and hope you find the perfect gift, taste the perfect treat, and uncover the perfect keepsake that will be cherished for generations.

        37th Annual Essex Fall Craft Show

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          Real Estate Market is healthy!

          Homeowners Gain Average of $13K in Equity

          In the second quarter of this year, homeowners saw their equity increase an average of 10.6 percent—or $12, 987—year over year, according to CoreLogic’s Q2 2017 Homeowner Equity Report. Western states are posting some of the highest upticks in equity. Washington homeowners, for example, saw an average of $40,000 in home equity gains in that period; California homeowners saw increases of about $30,000.

          “Over the last 12 months, approximately 750,000 borrowers achieved positive equity,” says CoreLogic chief economist Frank Nothaft. “This means that mortgage risk continues to decline, and given the continued strength in home prices, CoreLogic expects home equity to rise steadily over the next year.”

          In the second quarter, 2.8 million homes—or about 5.4 percent of all residential properties—were in negative equity, meaning the owners owe more on their mortgage than the house is worth. The number of properties with negative equity has dropped 21.9 percent year over year, according to CoreLogic’s report.

          Source: CoreLogic

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            Doubling the Standard deduction does not help most homeowners

            Why Doubling the Standard Deduction Won’t Help Most Homeowners

            One of the most talked-about provisions in the tax reform framework that the Trump Administration and Republican congressional leadership released a few weeks ago is the doubling of the standard deduction. Of all the changes the framework would make, this one is presented as something that will help middle-income households. And that is true, but the households that it mainly helps are renter households. Home-owning households will likely see their taxes go up even if they were to take that increased standard deduction. There are two reasons for this.

            TaxFirst, although the standard deduction would increase from $12,600 for a family to $24,000, the plan would do away with the personal exemption and the exemption for dependents.

            Right now, those exemptions are $4,050 per person, So, for a family of four, the family would see their standard deduction rise from $12,600 to $24,000 but they would also no longer get to take their exemptions, which, under the current code, would total $16,200. So, they would gain almost $12,000 but lose more than $16,000. Households with larger families would lose even more.

            Second, for homeowners who are used to itemizing their deductions, all of these deductions except for two—the deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest—would go away. For many middle-income households (those earning between $50,000 and $200,000), the two remaining itemized deductions won’t be enough to make it advantageous for them to continue itemizing. That’s mainly because they would lose the deduction for state and local taxes, which, for many households, is the single largest itemized deduction they take, even larger than the deduction for mortgage interest. As a result, they would almost certainly stop itemizing and instead take the standard deduction. While that might give some of them a better tax picture than if they continued to itemize, it would nevertheless be less than what they receive in tax benefits under the current code.

            Just as importantly, the change would wipe out the distinction between owning and renting in the tax code. That’s a distinction that’s been part of the tax code for more than 100 years and losing it would result in an across-the-board drop in home values by 10 percent or more, NAR estimates.

            Of course, everyone’s tax picture is unique. How one person or one family comes out under the proposed changes will differ based on many factors–household income, household expenses, the number of dependents, the size of the mortgage, the state a household lives in, and so on. But in general, based on analyses NAR and other organizations have either done themselves or commissioned others to do, the result won’t be a net gain for most middle-income households but rather a net loss. That’s why NAR and many other organizations are opposing the changes the framework is proposing.

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              Growing Vegetables Indoors!

              Many homes have a sunny window, sun rooms or patio where house plants can soak up the winter sun. Vegetable plants can grow as well as your potted plants if you give them a little extra light.

              A south facing window is best if you have one. The sun tracks across the sky at a lower level during the winter and the daylight hours are shorter. If you have a sunny spot or a sunroom you may not need to add indoor lights.

              The best spot to set up a growing area is where you get 5 to 6 hours of bright light a day and good air circulation. A temperature fluctuation between 45 and 70 degrees is best, so watch out for drafty areas.

              If your location gets less than 6 hours of sun each day, you’ll need to set up some type of indoor grow lights. Regular shop lights can be used for this. They are less expensive than specialty grow lights, come in various lengths and are easy to find.

              Indoor lights can be hung over your vegetable garden area or set up on supports — like bricks stacked along the sides. With supports, you can adjust the height easily as things grow. You want the lights to be 6-8 inches above your plants. If you plug the lights into a timer, you won’t have to remember to turn the lights on and off.

              Choosing vegetable varieties

              Good choices for an indoor vegetable garden are lettuce, spinach or chard. These cool weather plants grow with less light than tomatoes or cucumbers. You can grown these, but they take longer to grow and need extra attention. Fresh herbs are also great to grow and can be cut and used all winter.

              Choose plant varieties that have shorter days to harvest. Vegetable varieties that are meant to grow well in containers and bush varieties are easiest to grow indoors. Winter vegetables, like lettuce and greens, are great because of their short days to harvest. Microgreens and baby greens are also excellent choices. They are harvested while young and only take a few weeks to harvest.

              Containers and grow medium

              Vegetables need at least 4 inches for root space, so any container with at least that depth, as long as it has good drainage, can be used. Several different growing mediums, such as potting soil blends, gravel and vermiculite, can be used.

              If you use gravel or vermiculite, you need to water plants twice a day with a water/nutrient mixture to keep the medium moist for the plants. The water/nutrient mixture flows through the medium and drains out the bottom.

              Potting soil holds the moisture for plants and is the more traditional growing method and is preferable for growing micro greens and salad mixes that will be harvested in the early stages of growth.

              Mix compost with a good commercial potting soil to enrich the mix and add nutrients. You want your soil to drain well so the potted roots do not rot. Do not use garden soil for your indoor vegetable garden. The soil is too heavy and compacts when you use it in containers.

              Maintaining your indoor vegetable garden

              Overwatering is the most common cause of indoor plant death and underwatering is the next. Allow the soil to go slightly dry to the touch between watering. Actively growing plants will need fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks. Time release fertilizer pellets release nutrients each time you water and last 6 to 8 weeks.

              The best part of your indoor vegetable garden is harvesting. Keep your plants cut back and use them often. Your greens and herbs will re-grow and thicken up as you use them.

              For more gardening information and recipes, visit everyday-vegetable-garden.com

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                Meet the new "She Sheds"!

                Remember the Man Cave? Well move over, now its time for the She Sheds!  

                It’s been said that sheds are the answer to men’s ailments. But why should men have all the sheds? Every woman deserves a shed of her own — somewhere to retreat for some solitude, to create or grow, to write or paint, or just to enjoy the view.

                Check this new trend !

                 

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                  Why its a good idea to buy a home in 2017

                  With interest rates still low, but climbing, house prices rising in price and inventory at a low, its smart to buy now before you have to spend more money for the same property! “With more than 95% of first-time home buyers dependent on financing their home purchase, and a majority of first-time buyers reporting one or more financial challenges, the uptick we’ve already seen may price some first-timers out of the market," says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke, who pulled together the realtor.com 2017 housing forecast.

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                    FSBO's yield 6% less profit

                    For-sale-by-owners tend to sell their homes for lower prices than homes sold through traditional agents via the MLS, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate, according to a new study by Collateral Analytics.

                    The study examined the price differences between homes sold through traditional agents versus those sold by FSBOs from 2016 to the first half of 2017.

                    Some homeowners may be tempted to try to avoid commission costs to a broker and try to sell the home on their own. But that can backfire and turn into a much lower sales price, the study found.

                    Even successful FSBO sellers achieve prices “significantly below” those from similar properties sold more traditionally via REALTORS®, the study found.

                    The authors found that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales is “remarkably close to average commission rates.” A FSBO sale, on average, nets nearly a 6 percent lower price than an MLS sale for a similar property.

                    “Assuming that both buyers and sellers pay the commission, one might have expected something less than this average,” the researchers note. “It appears that many sellers are avoiding commissions while netting home prices less than they would with an agent-represented MLS sale. They are avoiding commissions at any price, even one that exceeds a commission rate.”

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