Righteous Renovations! These Home Features Are Proven to Pay Off

By Lance Lambert | Dec 18, 2017
Lance Lambert is a data journalist for realtor.com. He previously wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek and the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Follow @NewsLambert

pbombaert/Getty Images

pbombaert/Getty Images

After all these years of paying down your mortgage, spending thousands on maintenance, and pouring buckets of blood, sweat, and cash into your home, you’re finally ready to move on and sell. But hold on: Those home features you thought were so cool back in 1995 might just be a tad outdated.

Sorry, we know you've had some fabulous times in that sunken living room. You once beamed with pride over your white-on-white, brushed metal-accented kitchen. If that backyard Jacuzzi could talk! And maybe you still harbor a secret affection for those popcorn ceilings in the bedrooms. But the truth is, those things are repelling otherwise eager shoppers. If your home has the right mix of what buyers today are clamoring for—trendy amenities like open floor plans, stylish backsplashes, and heated hardwood floors—it can help you sell your home faster and at a better price.

So the realtor.com® data team looked at a variety of common amenities, to come up with which ones are featured in the homes that close the quickest—and for the most moolah.

"Renovating a home with the right features can not only recoup the cost, it can help you sell your place much faster," says Jessica Lautz, managing director of Survey Research at the National Association of Realtors®. “That means a quick transition into your dream home.”

Tastes simply change over time. The same way we look back with regret on scrunchies, Crystal Pepsi, and the Spice Girls, there are parts of our own homes that now fill us with remorse. It's not surprising that dedicated home-theater rooms, which take up lots of space for an activity that can now be done on an iPad, just aren’t as popular anymore, says Kermit Baker, chief economist at the American Institute of Architects. On the other hand, an extra bedroom has mostly universal appeal, since it can be used for a guest room, a gym, or a home office.

For millennials, the largest group of first-time home buyers, extra rooms are not necessarily going to sell them on a house. “It's more features than space they are looking for," Baker says. Especially techie ones, like smart home connectivity.

To come up with our hot list, we looked at 40 of the most common home features. Then we sifted through realtor.com's listings to figure out which were in the homes that sold in the fewest number of days. The fewer days on the market, the more in demand the feature. (We narrowed our selection to features that can be found in most parts of the country).

We discovered that the top features are:

1. Smart home features (such as smart thermostats, refrigerators, and locking systems)
2. Finished basements
3. Patios
4. Walk-in closets
5. Granite countertops
6. Eat-in kitchens
7. Hardwood floors
8. Laundry rooms
9. Open kitchens
10. Front porches
11. Dining rooms
12. Energy Star appliances
13. Two-car garages
14. Fireplaces
15. Security systems

Read about the hottest home features in electronics, amenities, exterior, interior design, and rooms — in the complete article at realtor.com

Merry, Merry, Merry

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To your friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” —Oren Arnold

Original Artwork by Jim Swan ☆ Unlimited Swan ☆ Rowayton, CT

The #1 Reason People Finally Remodel Their Kitchens

                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Image credit:   Aimée Mazzenga  )

                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

(Image credit:  Aimée Mazzenga )

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

by Dabney Frake

There are so many reasons to remodel your kitchen. You just bought a house and you hate what's there now. Perhaps you finally saved up some money and can afford the change. Or, you plan to sell the home in a couple of years and think new cabinets will appeal to buyers. All good reasons, but do you want to know the most common thing that pushed people to finally take the plunge and redo their kitchens?

#1 Reason: Because homeowners just can't stand their current one anymore.

It's not just a rational decision apparently, or a well-executed strategy to upgrade. Day after day, for years perhaps, owners walk into a space and shudder at what they see, or are frustrated by the current layout. Eventually they just break down and give in to the want for something different. 43% of renovations in Houzz's Kitchen Trend study were attributed to this decidedly human motivation. In 2014-2015, that number was only 29%.

(Image credit:  Aimée Mazzenga )

Compare that to recent home buyers, who move in and want to renovate right away— either they can't live with the previous owner's taste, or everything is dreadfully outdated. Only a little over one quarter of kitchen renovations came about because new owners wanted to make the space more their own (28% each year for the past three years).

In fact, only 24% of projects happen when the kitchen is functionally broken down and busted: maybe appliances aren't working, cabinets are off their hinges, and the countertop is falling apart. It appears we don't drive our kitchens into the ground, so to speak, where they are beyond repair or unsafe.

Fewer people cited a change in family or lifestyle that would warrant a new kitchen (10%) or needing to upgrade in order to put their home on the market (8%).

The good news: 40% of kitchen projects came after homeowners had finally saved the money. Yes, they hated their kitchens too, and wanted to make the change, but waited instead until they had the funds for the project. We'll just have to hope that all the others aren't assuming a bunch of credit card debt to cover their remodeling expenses.

For more info, check out the 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trend Study.

Does this ring true for you and your motivation to renovate?

Read the complete article as it was published in apartment therapy

​27 Things to Get Rid of in the Kitchen Before Thanksgiving

by: Shifrah Combiths November 6, 2017

(Image credit: Morgan Schemel)

(Image credit: Morgan Schemel)

Nothing turns a happy chef into a frazzled one like rifling through drawers or disassembling the kitchen to dig out the necessary tools. Don't let this be you at Thanksgiving. For a smoothly running kitchen — and, more importantly, a smiling cook — eliminate everything that doesn't need to be in your kitchen before the big day.

Donate or toss these extras:

  1. Any more than three spatulas (keep any combination of no more than three sizes or types)
  2. Can openers (you only need one)
  3. Corkscrews/wine bottle openers (keep the one you always reach for anyway)
  4. Tupperware missing lids
  5. Lids missing tupperware
  6. Empty glass jars you're keeping "just in case"
  7. Used twisty ties
  8. Pens, pencils, Sharpies (you get to keep two of each)
  9. Paper and plastic grocery bags (depending on what you use them for, keep about five of each)
  10. Condiment packets from fast food places or restaurants
  11. Take-out menus
  12. Everything in the junk drawer (except what's worth putting back in and organizing)
  13. Papers and pictures stuck to the fridge
  14. "Junky," advertising, or broken magnets
  15. Extra whisks (no more than three in different sizes and materials)
  16. Used candles
  17. Salad tongs (you need one set, max)
  18. Napkins from the drive-through
  19. Expired spices (get new ones for maximum flavor; make a list)
  20. Expired canned goods and other pantry items
  21. Chipped mugs
  22. Chipped dishes
  23. Chipped anything
  24. Old rags and sponges
  25. Cleaners you never use (again, keep only what you always reach for)
  26. Bottle brushes (you can keep three if they are different sizes)
  27. Aprons in excess of whoever cooks in your household plus one for guests

Move these things somewhere else:

These kitchen items don't need to occupy valuable real estate in prime locations of your kitchen. Things that you use only a couple times a year should be stored in the hard-to-reach spots or, if you have the space, elsewhere in the house, like a cabinet in the garage.

Bonus: If you dig up and move these things out of the way now, you'll know exactly where they are when you need them on the big day.

  • Party platters
  • Cake/cupcake carrier
  • Pie pans
  • Pie weights
  • Specialty bakeware (the madeleine pan, the tart pan, the springform pan, etc.)
  • Trifle bowl
  • Sprinkles collection
  • Cupcake liner collection
  • Piping bags and tips
  • Candles
  • The apple peeler/corer
  • Specialty molds (a spoon mold, heart molds, bundt cake molds)
  • Cake stands
  • Gravy boat
  • Large roasting pan
  • Electric knife

Putting the time in now to get behind-the-scenes ready will not only pay off on the biggest cooking day of the season, but will also give you an efficient kitchen all year round.

Read this article at Apartment Therapy

Last chance to buy your Epic Pass — No more pass sales after November 19

Vermont’s Day in the Sun

On a [recent] crisp autumn day, Craig Hogan landed at the Burlington International Airport in northwestern Vermont. The leaves set the surrounding countryside ablaze with red, orange, and gold. Across Lake Champlain, he caught a glimpse of the Adirondacks — a postcard-worthy picture of a sun-kissed New England fantasy. The Chicago-based vice president of luxury for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC was captivated by the rich scenery and people, who greeted his big-city tendencies with warm, free-flowing hellos.

Hogan was met by a cadre of local real estate experts from Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty. Later, they met up with their Vermont counterparts at Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate in the fabled ski town of Stowe: broker McKee McDonald, and his mother, Peggy Smith, owner and broker. Both teams treated Hogan to a whirlwind tour of eight inspiring properties throughout their state, beginning first in Burlington at the lakeshore, then to Colchester and weaving up north to the island town of South Hero until they finally reached the mountains of Stowe. What followed was an eye-opening journey through Vermont’s most vibrant towns awakening to an influx of investment and new development.

[Burlington properties are not included in this blog entry]



When you think of the most luxurious and renowned ski destinations in the nation, Aspen and Deer Valley probably come to mind. If Stowe is also on your list, your awareness of the country’s skiing hotspots is impressive. This northern Vermont town is de rigeur, and increasingly attracting ski aficionados seeking premier mountain conditions. But, for real estate buyers looking to purchase homes in the area, the slopes are only the beginning.

“Stowe is unmatched on the East Coast in terms of the mix of luxury resorts in a quaint New England Village, world-class skiing, and year-round activities,” says McKee Macdonald of Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate. “While many people come just for the skiing, once they experience the other seasons, they realize how wonderful Stowe is year-round and often spend more time here in the summer than the winter. Stowe offers close proximity to Boston, New York, and Montreal and has direct flights from Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, and other major metropolitan areas on the east coast. In addition, this ski capital of the east is located in the heart of the craft-beer industry in Vermont; and, within an hour’s ride of Stowe, you can taste many of the top beers in the world as well as many of the top rated cheeses in the country.”

3564 Weeks Hill Road   Stowe, VT, United States $ 1,975,000

3564 Weeks Hill Road
Stowe, VT, United States
$ 1,975,000

Key to Stowe’s recent burst in popularity is the $500 million investment now-former owner AIG Insurance made in the transformation of Stowe Mountain Ski Operations, and its subsequent purchase by Vail Resorts in Colorado. “The long-term projections of Vail’s investment in the ski resort will continue to enhance Stowe’s reputation as a world-class destination,” adds Macdonald.

Real estate in Stowe reflects the predicted luxury expectations of high-net-worth individuals, with upscale ski-in, ski-out condos, brand-new construction, and homes that feature a combination of old and new with historic elements and modern features among the popular trends. We mined the market to find some of the most unique and valuable properties for sale in Stowe.

235 Lower Sanborn Road   Stowe, VT $ 1,950,000

235 Lower Sanborn Road
Stowe, VT
$ 1,950,000

A coveted neighborhood, gorgeous surroundings, impeccable privacy, and great entertainment potential bring four-season enjoyment to this spectacular Stowe property. This wooded estate that sprawls over 26 acres of pristine Vermont land features the ultimate in rustic luxury, inside and out. Gather in front of the brick fireplace and gaze out onto an amazing expanse of verdant green. The gourmet kitchen shares the serene vistas while offering a professional space for crafting gourmet meals. With 4,884 square feet including five large bedrooms, a bunk room, and a recreation room, this Stowe property can easily accommodate the whole family and any visiting guest coming in for a ski getaway.

71 Sterling Ridge Road   Stowe, VT $ 1,495,000

71 Sterling Ridge Road
Stowe, VT
$ 1,495,000

Classic farmhouse architecture meets mountain chic in this idyllic Stowe home, which features views of the Green Mountains and Stowe Mountain Resort ski runs. Elegant interiors and abundant entertainment spaces embrace large gatherings, while the country kitchen with its professional appliances including a double Viking range can accommodate even the most particular chef—and palate. With five bedrooms, six and one-half baths, and 10,147 square feet, this residence features a gracious space for everyone, including a sumptuous master suite that overlooks Mt. Mansfield and a charming wood-paneled bunk room.

Overlooking a bounty of trees just reaching their peak of colorful splendor come November, this private view estate is the quintessential mountain property. Flanked by extensive wood and stone, with large windows to take in hillside vistas, the home also features well-designed interiors with six bedrooms in 5,442 square feet. A gourmet kitchen, spacious new living room with fireplace, and magazine-ready bathrooms provide contemporary touches that complement the home’s distinctive architecture. A private setting with a babbling brook, swimming pool, tennis court, and screened-in porch make it hard to leave, while the easily accessible location puts all the best of Stowe within reach.

Can I help you find yours?
Call or write for more information; or, to arrange to see these properties
(802) 730-4343 / send me an eMail

To read this complete blog article with Burlington properties included,
visit the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Blog

Vermont's First Target Store Is Coming to South Burlington


Target has announced plans to open a store in South Burlington's University Mall in October 2018 — the company's first location in Vermont.

Target has announced plans to open a store in South Burlington's University Mall in October 2018 — the company's first location in Vermont.

For those of you who may have postponed visiting Vermont for a lack of a Target store, your time has come!

Target has announced plans to open a store in South Burlington's University Mall — the company's first location in Vermont.

The store is expected to open in October 2018 and will employ about 75 people, according to a press release issued by the company. Vermont is the final state in the union without a Target, which has stores in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Keene, N.H.

Here's a map that shows you where it will be and how long it will take you to get there before or after skiing or shopping in Stowe.

Read the rest of the story at Seven Days

Itching for the 2017-2018 Ski Season to Begin?

This'll get your blood flowing...

Behind every great shot is a whole collection of bad hits. From slamming rails and missing pillow drops, to knuckling booters and outrunning sluff, no one said the journey home would be easy. Check out our pick of the gnarliest hits and get a glimpse of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the making of THIS IS HOME.

Regain Control: 7 Bad Housekeeping Habits to Quit Right Now


I chose to include this article, because I know a thing or two about clutter. My wife wouldn't want you to see — in fact she wishes she didn't have to see — the clutter (magazines, newsletters, and books) on my bedside table. It's time to turn a new leaf...   —Charlie

by Brittney Morgan, October 16, 2017
Assistant Lifestyle Editor • New York, NY

Clutter is just a fact of life. Stuff piles up, messes are made, and dealing with it all becomes one of many things on your to-do list. Easy enough to manage when life is calm and work is steady, but when things get hectic, it's more and more tempting to let things slide and deal with them later. And eventually, all that procrastinating can turn into what feels like an impossible cleaning challenge.

But, of course, that's not the case. Any mess, no matter how big, can and will get cleaned up. And, the best way to regain control is by focusing on and changing your behavior, one bad habit at a time. So, read on, and for any behaviors that you know you are guilty of, make an early resolution to start breaking them now — you'll be surprised how quickly your space will turn around.

Tossing random items in a "junk drawer"

Having a place for all your miscellaneous stuff? Great. Shoving all that miscellaneous stuff in a drawer until you can't even open it anymore? Not so much. It's okay to have a junk drawer, just make sure you're strategic about it—keep loose items like buttons and screws in small plastic bags or boxes and label things so you can easily tell what they are. Most importantly, make sure you don't over-stuff things into it, or all your hard work will go to waste.

Not cleaning up while you're cooking

The line between cooking and making a mess is a thin one, but any messes you might make during meal prep are much easier to clean up if you just take them on right away. Spills and splashes can dry and stain if you don't clean them right away, meaning they'll be harder to clean up later—and if you put cleaning off until after you're done, you might feel less motivated to do it. Make it a rule that you clean up while you cook (but of course, give yourself a pass for dishes that require serious concentration).

Not treating stains and spots right away

Getting set-in stains out is much more difficult than removing stains as a spill happens—so if you have a tendency to let them sit and deal with them later, definitely make it a point to break that habit now. Make it easier by keeping a stain removal spray or any other household stain removal products you might need in an accessible place, and try to train yourself to make cleaning it up right away your instinct. Your rugs and your laundry will thank you.

Not sorting your mail as it comes in

Mail is a small daily mess that can become a massive clutter problem quickly. When you check your mail, don't just drop it on the coffee table or counter and leave it there—collecting paper and envelopes like that guarantees two things: your home will look cluttered, and you're almost guaranteed to lose sight of important documents. Make it a rule that when mail comes in, you sort through it right away—shredding whatever you don't want, and storing important papers in a safe place.

Hoarding stacks of magazines you never read

Magazine subscriptions, much like the rest of your mail, can accumulate faster than you realize. Keeping a small stack on your coffee table or on your desk is fine and can add a little personality to your home, but if you find yourself holding on to every issue of a magazine you've received for the last 3 years, you might want to think about recycling them or giving them away to get the bulk out of your home. In the future, make it a habit to get rid of old issues as new issues come in.

Putting off laundry until your last pair of socks

Laundry isn't exactly the most fun chore, so it tends to be one of those things people put off until they absolutely can't put it off anymore (I'm definitely guilty of this, and it's a tough habit to break). Don't wait until you're down to your last pair of socks—that you're definitely re-wearing—to put your clothes in the wash. Instead, instate a new rule: once you have one load's worth of laundry, tackle it. It'll be a lot more manageable than your past bulk laundry loads, and you'll never run out of clean clothes again.

Throwing clothes and accessories on a chair

Does the chair in your bedroom pull double duty as clothing storage? It's easy to come home, get changed and drape your clothes on a chair to deal with later, but if you let it pile up you'll have a whole new decluttering challenge to take on later. Break the habit by making a rule that you have to put things back in your closet or dresser before you can take new things out, or if that doesn't feel doable, make your new rule that nothing is allowed to stay on the chair overnight.

Read this article at ApartmentTherapy.com

10 Common Color Mistakes You Should Stop Making

(Image credit:   Arthur Garcia-Clemente  )

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

by Adrienne Breaux, Aug 28, 2017

Color is kind of tough, if we're being honest. Or more accurately, a lot can go wrong when attempting to use color in your home, even with the best of intentions. Here are 10 of the most common color mistakes at home — and how you can fix them.

1. Not considering light

Without light, color wouldn't be much to look at. And as much as the right light can make a color sing...it can also make a gray go lavender or a white look dingy. Before painting a wall, use a sample painted or taped up to view your potential new color in all light of the day — as well as artificial light. If a color you thought would work doesn't, take it back to the paint store and explain to someone working there which type of light made the color go wrong — someone with the right experience should be able to point you in the right direction.

→ How To Choose the Perfect Paint Color? Look at The Light

2. Mixing too many colors at once in the wrong balances

There's no official limit of how many colors are allowed in one room. But the saying "the more the merrier" doesn't always apply when it comes to color. Want to know whether or not you have too much color mixing in one room? The room will feel the opposite of peaceful — sometimes it even feels like it's closing in. You can eliminate colors until you start feeling balance. Or you can pay attention to the amount of each color you use (aim for one or two primary colors and a handful of secondary, accent colors), as well as where the colors are located (spread around evenly to carry your eye through a room).

→ 6 Expert Color Mixing Tips to Steal From Annie's Bold Living Room

3. Being too matchy-matchy with your color palette

Opposite of the problem above is not having enough of a variety. The point of having a color palette is of course to create a visual story — to present a style in an understandable array of hues. But only stick to two or three colors in a room (or the whole home) and it could start feeling repetitive, predicable and without any real soul. The way to fix it? Add in a handful of elements spread around the home that have nothing to do with your color palette at all. They'll infuse the space with more life and interest.

→ Creating Your Perfect Color Palette

Click here to read the complete article, by Adrienne Breaux at Apartment Therapy.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor • New Orleans, LA
Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she's called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

Sold in Stowe, Vermont!

I'm pleased to show you this home in Stowe, VT that I sold, last week, to a family from New Jersey. From a private 5+ acre setting with 2 ponds, the views of the Worcester Mountains to the east are spectacular. This 3-bedroom, 2½-bath home has more a than 3,00 square feet of living space plus an attached 3-story barn/garage. The house sits at woods-edge with two fenced-in meadows at the front and side. Just about equidistant to Stowe Village and Stowe Mountain Resort.

Can I help you find yours?
charlie@experiencestowe.com ☆ (802) 730-4343

New to Market in Hyde Park: 3393 Garfield Road

A Special Getaway in Hyde Park, Vermont

2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, 5+ Acres, Pond ✭ $139,000

Click here to see the complete listing.

Can I help you find yours?

5 Ways to Cool Off in Stowe this Summer

Copyright © 2017 by Charlie Aronovici, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2017 by Charlie Aronovici, all rights reserved.

Rivers, Reservoirs, Swimming Holes and More

Have you experienced a summer in Stowe? There are plenty of water activities and swimming spots to beat the heat on your summer vacation. Here are our favorite ways to unwind and stay cool this summer:

  • Swimming holes. Take a swim in a local river or reservoir, or dip your feet in the West Branch River just off the Stowe Recreation Path.
  • Waterfalls, pools and basins. Short, scenic hikes throughout town bring you to popular swimming holes like Moss Glen Falls and Bingham Falls. 
  • Paddle for views. Explore the wilderness by canoe or kayak. Rent a boat or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) at the Waterbury Reservoir (which also has a day use beach that's perfect for swimming) or the Lamoille or Winooski rivers. 
  • Guided tours. Learn to paddle and receive an introduction to Stowe's scenic waterways. Paddling instruction is available through guided tour operators like Bert's Boats, Umiak Outdoor Outfitters, and Vermont Canoe and Kayak.
  • Après-activity. Cool down after a hot day outside. Make a stop on the Stowe Craft Bev Trail or sample the local flavors of Stowe on the Stowe Tasting Trail.  

Thanks to GoStowe for this Summer Update.