Through the partnership and hard work of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), the United States Forest Service (USFS) is allocating some $154,000 to create new and improve existing mountain bike trails, as well as increasing bike access throughout the Green Mountain National Forest. The focus of this project is to improve sustainable mountain biking locations which are compatible with other outdoor activities in order to help diversify the states’ recreational facilities.
The VMBA is a non-profit organization based in Waterbury, dedicated to promoting trail advocacy through education, planning, funding, establishing and maintaining multi-use trails throughout Vermont. They endorse responsible, environmentally sensible trail use and the creation of community recreation trail networks. The VYCC is also a non-profit youth, leadership, service, conservation and education organization that instills the values of personal responsibility, hard work and respect for the environment.
The allocation comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be used to build a nine-mile mountain bike trail dubbed the Chandler Ridge-Leicester Hollow Loop Trail. The trail will start and end at the Silver Lake campground in Goshen, with the trail work taking place in Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, which is a congressionally designated area within the National Forest.
The new trail will also be accessible from Branbury State Park in Brandon and the Blueberry Hill Ski Center in Goshen, while the VMBA will continue to provide project management and oversee all of the crews performing the construction of the trails. They have been partnering with the USFS for over three years on the project and are looking towards a completion date of fall, 2012.
“We have been partnering with the USFS for three years on this project and we saw good progress in 20010, through the hard work of VYCC crews and we are delighted with this funding allocation for 2011,” VMBA Executive Director Patrick Kell said in a recent press release statement. “We expect to see the Chandler Ridge-Leicester Hollow Loop Trail completed or close to it, by the fall of 2011. A big thanks to the USFS for their vision in developing this trail.” The new trail will offer a unique destination, due to the combination of trails along the shores of Silver Lake, a ridgeline trail on Chandler Ridge, fascinating geology in Leicester Hollow and camp ground facilities at Silver Lake, with the aforementioned additional access from Branbury State Park.
The Vermont Department of Tourism is also jumping on the bike trail theme, realizing the potential in which mountain biking promotes the Green Mountain State.”Mountain bike tourism is the perfect fit for our Vermont Brand,” Megan Smith stated in a recent press release. Smith is the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism. “It encompasses the use of our natural landscape while promoting good health and family fun. As we expand our venues for mountain biking we will be contributing to local economies in areas that might not have already had a focus on outdoor recreation, therefore, bringing in new types of business.”
The VMBA works very hard to not only create new mountain bike trails throughout the state, but also to improve existing trails. Some of the other current VMBA projects include the Adams Camp Ride Center in the Stowe-Waterbury area, Rocky Point Chandler Ridge Trail and the Riverside Farm Trails in Pittsfield. To learn more about the Vermont Mountain Bike Association visit www.vmba.org or the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps at www.vycc.org. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association Joe Milliken is a freelance writer based in Bellows Falls, Vt. Contact Joe at www.jemwriting.com
Cute and Cozy Vermont Farm House! 3 bedrooms, New front Porch approx 4 years. Standing Seam Roof (98). Wood Floors thoughout. Large EIK with custom cabinets. Post and beam barm offers expansion possibilities – On the shuttle bus route to Okemo. Walk to Post OFfice, Bakery and Singletons.. Priced to sell at $164,900. Owner Licensed Realtor in Vermont.
Okemo Mountain Second Home Tax Breaks
If you are in the market for a second home, congratulations! Not only is Okemo Mountain a great place to ski and relax, you also can garner some tax benefits. Here are some tax breaks as spelled out by Kiplinger.com:
Mortgage interest. If you use the place as a second home — rather than renting it out as a business property — interest on the mortgage is deductible just as interest on the mortgage on your first home is. You can write off 100% of the interest you pay on up to $1.1 million of debt secured by your first and second homes and used to acquire or improve the properties. (That’s a total of $1.1 million of debt, not $1.1 million on each home.) The rules that apply if you rent the place out are discussed later.
Property taxes. You can deduct property taxes on your second home, too. In fact, unlike the mortgage interest rule, you can deduct property taxes paid on any number of homes you own.
If you rent the home. Lots of second-home buyers rent their property part of the year to get others to help pay the bills. Very different tax rules apply depending on the breakdown between personal and rental use.
If you rent the place out for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the cash tax-free. Even if you’re charging $5,000 a week, the IRS doesn’t want to hear about it. The house is considered a personal residence, so you deduct mortgage interest and property taxes just as you do for your principal home.
Rent for more than 14 days, though, and you must report all rental income. You also get to deduct rental expenses, and that gets complicated because you need to allocate costs between the time the property is used for personal purposes and the time it is rented.
If you and your family use a beach house for 30 days during the year and it’s rented for 120 days, 80% (120 divided by 150) of your mortgage interest and property taxes, insurance premiums, utilities and other costs would be rental expenses. The entire amount you pay a property manager would be deductible, too. And you could claim depreciation deductions based on 80% of the value of the house. If a house is worth $200,000 (not counting the value of the land) and you’re depreciating 80%, a full year’s depreciation deduction would be $5,800.
You can always deduct expenses up to the level of rental income you report. But what if costs exceed what you take in? Whether a loss can shelter other income depends on two things: how much you use the property yourself and how high your income is.
If you use the place more than 14 days, or more than 10% of the number of days it is rented — whichever is more — it is considered a personal residence and the loss can’t be deducted. (But because it is a personal residence, the interest that doesn’t count as a rental expense — 20% in our example — can be deducted as a personal expense.)
If you limit personal use to 14 days or 10%, the vacation home is considered a business and up to $25,000 in losses might be deductible each year. That’s why lots of vacation homeowners hold down leisure use and spend lots of time “maintaining” the property. Fix-up days don’t count as personal use. The tax savings from the loss (up to $7,000 a year if you’re in the 28% tax bracket) help pay for the vacation home. Unfortunately, holding down personal use means forfeiting the write-off for the portion of mortgage interest that fails to qualify as either a rental or personal-residence expense.
We say such losses might be deductible because real estate losses are considered “passive losses” by the tax law. And, passive losses are generally not deductible. But, there’s an exception that might protect you. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $100,000, up to $25,000 of such losses can be deducted each year to offset income such as your salary. (AGI is basically income before subtracting your exemptions and deductions.) As income rises between $100,000 and $150,000, however, that $25,000 allowance disappears. Passive losses you can’t deduct can be stored up and used to offset taxable profit when you ultimately sell the vacation house.
Tax-free profit.Although the rule that allows home owners to take up to $500,000 of profit tax-free applies only to your principal residence, there is a way to extend the break to your second home: make it you principal residence before you sell. That’s not as wacky as it might sound.
Some retirees, for example, are selling the big family home and moving full time into what had been their vacation home. Once you live in that home for two years, up to $500,000 of profit can be tax free. (Any profit attributable to depreciation while you rented the place, though, would be taxable. Depreciation reduces your tax basis in the property and therefore increases profit dollar for dollar.)
But Congress is clamping down on this break for taxpayers who convert a second home into a principal residence after 2008. A portion of the gain on a subsequent sale of the home will be ineligible for the home-sale exclusion of up to $500,000, even if the seller meets the two-year ownership and use tests. The portion of the profit that’s subject to tax is based on the ratio of the time after 2008 when the house was a second home or a rental unit to the total time you owned it.
So if you have owned a vacation home for 18 years and make it your main residence in 2011 for two years before selling it, only 10% of the gain (two years of non-qualified second home use divided by 20 years of total ownership) is taxed. The rest qualifies for the exclusion of up to $500,000.
Learn more about Okemo Mountain second homes by visiting ISellVermontRealEstate.com or give me a call for more personal service.
How Okemo Mountain Home Buyers Position Themselves To Make Offers
The current Okemo Mountain real estate market is challenging for both buyers and sellers. Many sellers have not accepted the fact that their home has decreased in value and are trying to sell at peak 2006 prices. At the same time, buyers want to make sure they don’t overpay, fearing prices will continue to drop even more.
Of course, there are exceptions. Well priced homes in desirable neighborhoods or foreclosed properties selling at ‘yard sale’ prices may generate multiple offers. But all in all, it is a buyer’s market.
So how do Okemo Mountain home buyers prepare to make an offer and put themselves in the best negotiating position? Here are some suggestions made by Dian Hymer in a recent Inman news article:
1. Before you make an offer on a listing that’s priced over market, try to find out as much as possible about the sellers’ motivation, and if there’s any flexibility in their price. If the seller owes more than the house is currently worth, they may not have any negotiating room. They may want to sell the house, but really can’t sell at today’s prices. A lot of time and emotional energy goes into making an offer. Save your efforts for listings where the sellers are motivated. That is, they don’t just want to sell — they need to sell.
Some sellers want to test the waters at a price that’s higher than the market will support. They usually feel that someone will appreciate the added value their home offers and pay more for it. However, these sellers will often negotiate with a legitimate buyer who offers a price that is less than the list price.
2. Make sure that your financing is in order and that you are able to show the seller that you are capable of closing the deal. The fallout ratio is high in the current market. Many of these transactions fail to close because the buyers couldn’t get financing.
It’s always a good idea to be preapproved for the financing you’ll need to buy a home before you make an offer. Preapproval involves making a formal loan application, having your credit checked, as well as verifying your funds for down payment and closing costs, and validating your income and employment. Lenders often want to know that you have enough surplus cash to make house payments (mortgage, property taxes and insurance) for two to three months.
3. Buyers who make an initial low offer and who aren’t in competition should make as clean an offer as possible. This means omitting anything that’s not necessary. However, you should include contingencies for loan and appraisal approval and an inspection contingency.
It’s a good idea to include a copy of your preapproval letter with your offer. If you are approved for a higher price than you are offering, ask your lender or mortgage broker to issue a preapproval letter for the price you’re offering.
4. Be prepared to negotiate. It may take several rounds of counter-offering back and forth to reach a mutually acceptable price.
Are you thinking about buying a Okemo Mountain home? We are glad to help you with your preapproval process, show you homes with motivated sellers and craft an offer putting you in the best possible light with the seller and results in getting you the best possible deal.
5 Reasons To Buy Okemo Mountain Vacation Home
With the stock market in turmoil, many people are looking for alternative investments. Most of us are scared to death of jumping into the market right now and wondering what to do with their nest egg…other than sticking it under the mattress.
Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community for HomeAway.com (an online vacation home rental marketplace) and author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment, says buying a vacation home is an excellent home is a good investment right now.
Okemo Mountain home values are down right now, but history shows they always rebound, making a vacation home a great long-term investment. Christine doesn’t recommend buying with the thought of flipping it in a year, but buying as a long term investment.
You are probably asking why buying a vacation home is a good investment.
First, there are deals to be had. Prices are lower than a few years ago during the peak of the housing bubble. The excessive number of foreclosures is also keeping prices down and inventory up, making sellers more negotiable.
Interest rates also remain reasonably low, with rates hovering 6-6.5 percent. If you have good credit, there is mortgage money to be had.
Below are Christine Karpinski’s 5 Reasons Why the Vacation Home Rental Market Is Holding Strong…Even in our Weak Economy
1. It’s easy for consumers to find information on vacation homes. By visiting respectable websites travelers can quickly find the vacation home that’s right for them. HomeAway’s network of vacation rentals includes over 300,000 properties all over the world, making it possible for almost anyone to find one within a two- to three-hour driving distance from their home.
2. Vacation homes tend to be less expensive than hotel rooms. This is especially true if you’re traveling with extended family or a group of friends. HomeAway recently contrasted a three-bedroom vacation rental private condo in Orlando with a popular three-star hotel and found that the condo was cheaper by more than $1,700! “That’s a big difference, and in a tenuous economy it seems even bigger,” notes Karpinski.
3. When airfare gets expensive, people start taking road trips instead. Even with gas prices relatively high, it’s still far cheaper to drive a couple hundred miles to your mountain cabin than to fly to some lavish vacation destination. “Even with the bad economy, people need to take vacations,” says Karpinski. “In fact, psychologically, they may need to get away more than ever. A fairly inexpensive stay in a nearby vacation home is the perfect solution.”
4. The weak dollar makes U.S. tourist destinations attractive to European travelers, whose currency is still strong. “On my recent trip to Hawaii, I noticed a lot of German tourists,” notes Karpinski. “And when I speak to many of the vacation homeowners I work with, they confirm that they’ve encountered a surprisingly high number of European travelers lately.”
5. Business travelers still need a place to stay. When corporations must meet with business associates-who increasingly hail from overseas-they need good lodging solutions. Enter the vacation home. “More and more executives are putting their guests up in vacation homes instead of cramped, impersonal hotel rooms,” notes Karpinski. “It’s a far more comfortable option; plus many companies work out deals with homeowners whereby they can get ‘volume discounts.’ It’s a win/win for all parties involved.”
Learn more about buying a Okemo Mountain vacation home by visiting ISellVermontRealEstate.com or give us a call, 800-659-1819 #103.
As of July 14, 2008, upfront MIP premiums became risk-based on credit scores and the annual premium increased across the board. Instead of the original plan of making FHA loans more affordable for potential Okemo Mountain home buyers; the new legislation is doing the exact opposite and makes it more expensive.
Details of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act:
Here are some key provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act that most affect Okemo Mountain home buyers:
- GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
- FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The down payment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
FHA Reform Chart (PDF)
- Homebuyer Tax Credit – a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The credit is repayable over 15 years (making it, in effect, an interest free loan).
First-time homebuyer tax credit chart
Frequently asked questions about the first-time homebuyer tax credit
- FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008.
FHA Foreclosure Rescue Chart
- Seller-funded down payment assistance programs – codifies existing FHA proposal to prohibit the use of down payment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale; does not prohibit other assistance programs provided by nonprofits funded by other sources, churches, employers, or family members. This prohibition does not go into effect until October 1, 2008.
More about the seller-funded down payment assistance provision
Tips to finding down payment assistance programs (PDF)
- VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.
- Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
- GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.
- Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.
- National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.
- CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.
More about the CDBG funding provision
- LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.
- Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.
It remains to be seen the overall effect the Recovery Act will have on both the individual home buyer and the housing industry as a whole.
From the Experts:
“We’re going through a major financial crisis…let’s be clear: Fannie and Freddie can’t be allowed to fail. With the collapse of subprime lending, they’re now more central than ever to the housing market, and the economy as a whole.”
– Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Princeton and New York Times columnist, 7/14/2008
A complete “Top 50 Resort Guide” appears in the October issue of SKI Magazine or can be seen at www.skinet.com
I would love to help you make Okemo Mountain Resort your home away from home. Please call me at 802-353-1983 or visit www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com to get started with your search for Okemo real estate!
SKI Magazine Ranks Okemo In East Top Ten
In it’s annual Top 50 Reader Resort Survey, SKI magazine named Okemo Mountain Resort one of the top ten resorts in the East, and one of the best in North America for Grooming, Family Programs and Terrain Parks. Ranked eighth in the East, the popular southern Vermont resort also made the top-ten list in ten of the Reader Resort Survey’s categories: Grooming, Snow, Family Programs, Service, Lifts, Terrain Parks, Weather, Lodging, On-Mountain Food and Overall Satisfaction. Read more…
Thinking of buying or selling a vacation home near Okemo? Visit my website to view all Okemo real estate listings, get the current value of your home and more!