Holidays

Halloween For Home Sellers

 

 

The doorbell to your home is used more on October 31st than potentially any other day of the year. It’s Halloween and there’s arguably no holiday where home plays a bigger role.

Sure, other holidays have traditions, but none encourage families to get out and actually walk around their neighborhoods going door-to-door. This is a perfect opportunity to meet new neighbors and spread the word that your home is on the market! Leave a lasting impression with tasteful lights, decorations, and of course, candy for the kids. It’s a night where we literally open our doors to others and make preparations to give regardless of who steps to our front door - something we should probably do more often.

We hope this year you'll be dazzled by the decorations and charmed by the children’s (and the dog’s) costumes, and we hope it brings a little joy to your heart as you think of all that home means…even on the scariest night of the year.

Here’s to Halloween and all the things that make a house a home.

If you have pictures of your home from Halloweens past or present, share them with us on Instagram by tagging them with @SignatureVTHomes

4th Of July Celebrations In Our Area

 

There are lots of fun activities happening locally for the 4th of July! Check out the list of events in our area: 

 

Bay Day Fireworks & Great Race - St. Albans Find more information here

4th Of July Celebration & Ice Cream Social - 195 Central School Drive, Williston  Find more information here

4th Of July Festivities & Fireworks - Rte. 116 Hinesburg  Find more information here

Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks - 1 Lake Street, Burlington  Find more information here

Fireworks Extravaganza - 44 Knight Point Road Find more information here

4th Of July Celebration - 75 Maple Street Park, Essex Jct.   Find more information here

4th Of July Celebration  & Fireworks - Lakeshore Drive, Colchester  Find more information here

4th Of July Celebration & Fireworks - 43 Bombardier Recreation Park, Milton   Find more information here

Old Fashioned 4th Of July - Main Street, Stowe   Find more information here

4th Of July Festivities - East Main Street, Richmond   Find more information here

 

Wishing you a fun, and safe, holiday!

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Tips to get your grill ready for summer

 

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it comes a time to remember the sacrifices made by so many to defend our freedom, as well as the official kick-off to the summer season! We hope you'll be enjoying some rest and relaxation with friends and family. In fact, this may be the perfect opportunity to whip out your grill if you haven't already this season. Here are some tips to make sure your weekend festivities go off without a hitch!

 

If you have a gas grill:

 

First, get the outside of your grill looking brand new using a solution of 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water and a microfiber cloth, and soft bristled brush. The vinegar will help cut through any grease stains, and the soft cloth will ensure you don't scratch the metal. 

Next, move onto the inside of the grill, where you can be a little more aggressive. Remove the grates and place in a large container filled with warm water and dish soap. Using a stainless steel grill brush and some elbow grease, slough off any residue that's baked on, and rinse well. If you forgot to clean the tray out at the end of last season, remove it and brush any remnants into the trash. 

After you've replaced the tray and grates, be sure the gas tank is filled and secure before closing the lid of the grill and turning the heat on high for 15 - 20 minutes. This last step will ensure any leftover cleaning residue has been removed and help keep your burgers from sticking the next time you grill.

If you have a charcoal grill:

The first step is the same as if you have a gas grill -  using a solution of 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water and a microfiber cloth, and soft bristled brush. The vinegar will help cut through any grease stains, and the soft cloth will ensure you don't scratch the metal. 

Next take a look inside and be sure there is no remaining charcoal left from last season. Remove the cooking grate, and leave it to soak in a solution of warm water, vinegar and dish soap. While that's soaking, take a look at the bowl of your grill - if you grill a lot, you may see some peeling, which is most likely carbonized grease. Using a stainless steel grill brush, and warm soapy water, scrub the inside until all of the layers have come off. Now that the bowl is clean, the soap solution should have loosened up any debris on the cooking grate. Go after that with the stainless steel grill brush and it'll look like new before you know it!

 

You're officially ready to start grilling!

 

If you're looking for a new home with a great backyard for barbecues, check out these listings!

 

From our table to yours...Cranberry Baked Brie Recipe

It's that time of year again, when we gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving and count all of our blessings. This year, the Signature Team wanted to share one of our favorite recipes with you. We hope you enjoy it!

 

Cranberry Baked Brie - the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer!

  • 8-ounce round brie cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • honey to drizzle
  • Fresh rosemary, to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425. Peel or slice off the top rind of the brie and scrape out a small amount of cheese to form a shallow hollow in the center. Place the cheese in a small baking dish like a pie pan. (If you plan on transferring the cheese to a serving dish after it's baked, line the pie pan with a square of parchment paper.)

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and white sugar to a boil.

3. Add cranberries, vanilla extract, orange zest, ginger, nutmeg and brown sugar. Simmer until cranberries have popped. The smell will be fabulous!

4. Spoon the cranberry mixture on top of the brie.

5. Bake 8-12 minutes. Transfer carefully to a serving plate, drizzle honey and use rosemary to garnish.

Serve your baked brie with crackers, or sliced apples. Enjoy!

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From Our Home To Yours...A Thanksgiving Tradition


There is nothing like the smell of a turkey cooking to bring back fond memories of time spent with loved ones over the holidays. We'd like to share a delicious recipe with you, that has been a Thanksgiving staple for years in the hopes that it brings joy to your family. Maybe it will even become a tradition! Bon appetit!

Sweet Potato Souffle

Base

- 6 Large sweet potatoes cleaned, peeled and cut into chunks

-1/2 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk

-4 TB Butter

-1 TB Maple Syrup

-1 TB Allspice or Pumpkin Pie Spice

-I TB Cinnamon

-1 TB Vanilla Extract

Topping

-1 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts

-1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

-2 TB Melted Butter

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Boil sweet potatoes until fork tender then drain

3. Add Coconut Milk and Butter to Sweet Potatoes and mash until smooth

4. Stir in remaining Base Ingredients until well comined

5. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a medium sized casserole and set aside

6. In a medium sized bowl, add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until combined

7. Stir in chopped nuts until well coated (add more melted butter or sugar to taste)

8. Sprinkle the Topping over the sweet potato mixture coating the top thoroughly

9. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy immediately! 

2014-2015 Burlington Holiday Events Guide!

Your 2014-2015 Holiday Events Guide!

holiday-main

  • Meet Santa at the Burlington Town Center!  Santa and his helpers have lots of fun activities in store this season. 

  • Giant Menorah Lighting! Come down to the UVM Green Tuesday the 16th to celebrate the first night of Hannukah with music and treats from 5:30-Midnight.

  • The Nutcracker Ballet takes the stage at the Flynn Center Saturday December 20th! Enjoy a Christmas classic and a stroll up the beautifully decorated Church Street after! Get tickets here. 

  • Visit the Vermont Reindeer exhibit at the ECHO Center Saturday the 27th! This event will be magical for the whole family -- kids will love learning about and petting real reindeer. More information here. 

  • The Vermont Symphony Orchestra will perform at their annual Gala hosted by the Burlington Sheraton. Celebrate the season with beautiful music. More information here. 

  • First Night will be back in Burlington to ring in the New Year! Enjoy a day full of music, dance and celebration throughout Burlington. Buy your tickets and see the full calendar of events here. 

 

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VA Loans Provide Accessible Financing For Veterans

 

If you are a Veteran, you should know about the special mortgage benefits available to you through the VA Financing Program. Take advantage of this program! It's designed to make purchasing a home as affordable, and accessible as possible.

Here are the four biggest benefits of financing with a VA loan:

1. No Down Payment! This is HUGE, and certainly the defining benefit of the VA program. Instead of having to pony up the usual minimum down payment of 3.5-5% Veterans are given the opportunity to finance the entire cost of their home.

2. No Mortgage Insurance. Conventional borrowers who cannot afford at least a 20% down payment will be required to purchase mortgage insurance which can easily tack a couple hundred dollars onto their monthly mortgage payments. VA loans do not require mortgage insurance as they do not require a down payment. There is an upfront fee, however, that can be completely financed. If you were wounded during service that fee will be waived entirely.

3. Flexible Requirements. The VA program is designed to get Veterans into homes. With that in mind, normal requirements are suspended or made much more achievable. For example, a Veteran will receive full financing even with a credit score 100 points lower than what a normal borrower could get away with. Veterans can even secure financing if they have very recently gone through bankruptcy, foreclosure or a short sale. If you think you're situation puts you in too tough a spot to receive financing - think again! Please visit a lender to find out how they can help.

4. Closing Cost Limits. Unfortunately closing costs can never go away entirely, but the VA puts a cap on what Veterans are allowed to pay. They even make it possible for sellers to pay ALL of the buyers closing costs AND up to 4% of the loan amount in concessions. Keep that in mind when you and your Realtor negotiate the contract!

Thank you for your service. Visit our Concierge Page for a list of lenders we trust and work with regularly to help guide you through the mortgage process.

Fall is a great time to sell!

Sell in fall blog

Putting your home on the market in the "off seasons" of fall and winter is a smart strategy that is often overlooked. The available inventory of homes is less by this time, giving the pool of buyers fewer suitable options. With less competition, it is easier to highlight your home's best features and stand out in the crowd. Furthermore, buyers searching during this time are generally more serious, qualified and feeling a sense of urgency. This combination makes for the absolute perfect selling atmosphere.

Now that you know why fall is a great time to list, let's talk about how to make your home a standout. 

 

Outside

Curb Appeal. If you follow our blog, you know how important this topic is. Whether searching online, or driving through the neighborhood, buyers are hyper-critical - and rightfully so! They are looking for well maintained homes that show that the owners care and have made upkeep a priority. If your home isn't presented well, buyers won't give it a second look, and certainly won't make an appointment to see it from the inside. Before your listing photos are taken, and the entire time your home is on the market, make sure walkways are clear of debris, landscaping is neat, windows are clean and your entryway is welcoming. Any outdoor furniture should be stored away by this time as well. Your Realtor should take pictures on a well lit day to paint your home in the best possible light. Adding a new welcome mat, some seasonal mums and maybe a pumpkin or wreath to your door add a thoughtful touch that buyers will notice and appreciate. 

Lighting. Now that the days are getting shorter, it's important that you leave your exterior lights on during all showing hours - both for safety and for a subliminally welcoming aesthetic. If you can, adding solar lights to walkways is a nice touch and added safety feature.

Inside

Maintenance. Just as with the exterior of your home, the interior needs to be viewer ready at all times. Keep up with the obvious routine housework as well as tending to any maintenance that may need attention. You may not notice that sticky window, or squeaky cellar door, but it will be a red flag in a buyer's mind. Keep drapes and blinds pulled back to let the sunlight in and clear out any clutter to give the appearance of large, open, clean spaces.

Scent. Did you know that scent is the sense most closely linked to memory? When buyers remember your home, make sure they're recalling the pleasant, seasonal smells and not a musky basement or stale dog bed. Strategically place scented oils and plug-in air fresheners throughout your rooms in warm, seasonal scents such as cinnamon, vanilla or pumpkin spice. Not only are these uplifting in the moment, but they tend to bring back happy memories and allow people to reminisce -- exactly the mood you want buyers in when they're viewing your home! 

Create Warmth. Sweater weather isn't just for people -- apply it to your decor too! Make your home look like a cozy place to curl up by strategically adding warm, chunky throw blankets to living room furniture, choosing pillows in seasonal fabrics and colors and using plenty of accent lighting.  If you have a fireplace, arrange furniture around it to make it a focal point. Think of the textures and colors that make you think of a cozy fall day, and apply those to your home. There's no need to break the bank with these updates -- retailers such as Home Goods have a huge selection of lovely options to add flare and comfort even on a budget.

Remember, you're selling the feeling of your home as much as the property itself. Make sure buyers can see themselves living in and enjoying your home by paying attention to the small details and you'll have no trouble selling your home this fall. In fact, you'll find the process is much easier than expected!

Your 2014 Fall Foliage Guide

foliage guide

The colors are changing and with an unseasonably warm weekend ahead, there's no better time than to explore our beautiful state!

Looking for something to do? Check out these upcoming events!

1. Old Fashioned Harvest Market: Rt. 15 Underhill: September 27th - 28th: Annual Old Fashioned Harvest Market is centered at the United Church of Underhill. This family-oriented community fair features 2 days of entertainment, food & fun, with an opening parade, over 100 crafters, LOTS of great food, kids activities, & music. Many great kids activities, including:

  • PARADE - Saturday at 9:00 down River Road
  • ZUCCHINI CONTEST-Longest, heaviest, best decorated!
  • PET SHOW-Children under 12 are encouraged to bring their favorite pet to show off.
  • OLD-FASHIONED GAMES such as stilt walking, bobbing for apples, ring toss, penny pitch, hoops, nail drive, & a dunking booth.
  • SAW DUST CANDY SCRAMBLE - This popular fast-paced event is broken down into the following groups to make sure all ages have a fair shot at finding plenty of pieces of candy in the big sawdust pile: preschool & 1st grade; 2nd & 3rd grade; 4th & 5th grade; 6th & 7th grade; and 8th grade plus anyone who missed their slot.
  • ORGANIZED EVENTS such as Hoop races, sack races, a three-legged race, wheelbarrow races, and a water balloon toss will run from 1-3 on both days.

2. Fall Fun at Adams Farm Market & Orchard: 986 Old Stage Rd. Williston: 

September 27 & 28 Hands on Activities

  • Try your hand at cider making, create your own picturesque family photo-op.  We will have the materials and props...you bring the fun and smiles!

October 4 & 5th  Petting Zoo

  • Hannah Smith, from Vinegar Ridge Farm will be returning with her wonderful assortment of Vermont Farm Animals for you to visit.

3. Giant Pumpkin Weigh in at Sam Mazza's: 277 Lavigne Rd. Colchester: September 27th:

  • Bring the whole family to watch giant pumpkins battle for the heavy weight title. Take a Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch or Get Lost in the Corn Maze while you're here. Enjoy lunch with Pizza Papillo and an apple cider donut or treat from the Bakery.

4. Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival: 1746 Mountain Rd. Stowe: September 28th:

  • It is again time to get your pumpkin chuckin' trebuchet (gravity powered catapult) ready for the Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' (VTPC) Festival at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont. The VTPC Festival is a fun, family event sponsored by the Stoweflake Resort and Spa and other local sponsors.The event benefits the Lamoille Family Center, which has a thirty-eight year history of supporting Lamoille Valley families through early care, and educational services, home visiting, parent education, playgrounds, child care resource and referral, youth services, and emergency assistance. The event gives kids and adults a chance to build something with their hands and compete; a cross between a shot put contest and a Soap Box Derby. Along with the pumpkin chuckin' contest comes music, children's activities, a bounce house, chili cook-off, and great food; all creating an enjoyable fall day. Music for this year's festival will again be provided by three bands; House Dunn, Ball Hammock and the duo Jen and John, which will be performing periodically from 11am to 4pm. 
    • 1st round: 12:30 pm
    • 2nd round: 1:30 pm
    • 3rd round: 2:30 pm
    • awards shortly after the last round
    • Music: 11 am - 4 pm (with occasional breaks) 

5. Pie Fest & Cider House Run at Shelburne Orchards: 216 Orchard Rd. Shelburne: September 28th:

  • Start the day with a run through the orchard. Then you can enter, enjoy, or eat the homemade apple pies in the Pie Fest!The Cider House Run/Walk (2 or 4 mile run or a 2 mile walk) begins at 11:00 a.m. Cost is $25 for anyone over 12 (includes a $5 Pick Your Own apples coupon). Kids under 12 are asked to pay $8 for the coupon. Please pre-register.The Pie Fest consists of 3 local judges taste-testing 30 double crusted apple pies. You MUST register prior to the contest by contacting Megan at 864-7528 or meganjhumphrey@gmail.com because entry slots are limited to 30 and fill up quickly. Once registered, you MUST arrive PRIOR TO 11:30 or you will forfeit your spot!!!
    • Judges then use their finely tuned palates to discover the winners among pies.
    • First Place walks away with $200 cash.

6. Stowe Oktoberfest: 331 West Shaw Hill Stowe: October 3-5:

  • Held in Stowe's Jackson's Area, the Annual Oktoberfest is a Bavarian festival that has fun for all ages. From oompah bands to authentic German foods, pumpkin and face painting and even a kinderplatz for kids with a Jumping house and face painting.Grand Parade
    • Saturday at 10:00am
    • Mountain Rd. & Main St. Stowe

    Join celebrity grand marshals and special guests at the Grand Parade to officially open Oktoberfest 2012. The parade will include marching bands, floats representing local clubs, organizations and companies, dignitaries, classic cars and a few surprises.

    Click for $1 off coupon here on the website.

7. Sam Mazza's Harvest Festival: 277 Lavigne Rd. Colchester: October 4th and 12th:

  • When the leaves start turning everyone at Mazza's celebrates fall and the wonderful experiences that this season brings by holding their annual Fall Festival. It is a great family experience. The festival offers lots of on-grounds entertainment. The children can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay ride down to the pumpkin patch, the corn maze and many craft and entertainment activities held under the tent. 

8. Harvest Celebration at City Market: 250 Main St. Burlington: October 5th:

  • Head to City Market to sample some of Vermont's finest products.  They will have lots of delicious delights available to taste.  There will be prize giveaways, face painting, henna art, Sudzy Putty, live music, and more! It is fun for the entire family.

9. Rocktoberfest at Basin Harbor Club: 4800 Basin Harbor Rd. Vergennes: October 19th:

  • Rocktoberfest at Basin Harbor Club - a Bacon & Beer Festival that is family Friendly.

    Live Music Schedule

    • 5:45-6:15 Rehab Roadhouse
    • 6:30-7:15 Rumblecat
    • 7:30-8:20 Red Hot Juba
    • 8:30-9:30 Funk Wagon

    Mouthwatering foods, specialty bacon items -Think Bacon Tater Tots, Maple Glazed Bacon Wrapped Chicken. Bacon Caramel Corn, Maple Bacon Cheesecake Pops, Banana Bacon PB Whoopie Pie. Plus classics like burgers and sausages, maple cotton candy, hot soups, carmel apples and more.

    Kids activities from 3:00 - 7:00: dux the balloon guy, joeys jumpys. facepainting.

    Beer and Wine Tent with Magic Hat, Woodchuck Cider and specialty cocktails with Whistle Pig (visit the Whistle Pig Pigs)

    Bonfire at Dusk

For a full, statewide calendar events, visit HERE

Check HERE for foliage reports from across the state:

foliage