When I read that our governor had approved a piece of legislation that would pay people to move to Vermont, provided they were full-time remote workers and became residents this year, my excitement about being an investor here jumped a notch. I’ve been buying, renovating, and selling houses in the Green Mountain State full-time for almost a decade. I’ve also lived here all of my life. I think this is a great place to hang your hat—at the office and at home. And, honestly, I’m thrilled at the prospect of others finding out the same. You should be too, especially if you’re interested in buying investment property in Vermont to rehab and resell. The time to invest here is now. Of course, since I’ve got the leads on where to find deals, I always think it’s a good time.
Where to Buy, Rehab, and Sell Investment Property in Vermont
At first glance, it looks like Governor Scott’s move to get more people relocating to Vermont with their existing jobs in tow reflects a negative shift in the state’s economy or a dip in the local housing market. But, nothing could be further from the truth. The point, the governor has said, is to encourage more workers from the tech sector, as well as those who are generally computer-savvy, to consider Vermont as their permanent residence. Whereas other states, like California, have experienced significant growth in tech-based industries over the last several years, Vermont has lagged behind. But, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s suffered.
In fact, Vermont’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation at 2.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is an impressive number considering the state also has one of the smallest economies in the country and that its main industries still include agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, and mining—not exactly the trades that are trending with many of today’s Millennial workers. The governor’s “Remote Worker Grant Program,” though aimed at a specific demographic of skilled individuals who are already employed, could help to change that. As the population of younger, tech-driven individuals and their families grows, so could tech-based startups in need of an even larger talent pool.
But, whether or not Vermont can ever lay claim to being one of the country’s up-and-coming tech hubs, current—and future—residents may soon be faced with a housing shortage. New development is fairly limited throughout the state and new listings of existing properties are down. Demand, on the other hand, continues to increase—particularly amongst first-time home buyers.
And, the result of the combination of these factors is rising median home sales prices. Statewide, the average median home closing price is $229,000, according to Realtor.com. Some towns, like a handful in Bennington County, are even seeing average sales prices reach $350,000. Of course, these numbers aren’t nearly as high as what you’ll find in the surrounding states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. Then again, the uptick in the cost of living in these areas, including the price tag for a new home, could end up driving people away from them and into Vermont—especially if the state continues to offer move-in incentives. If you’ve got a way to find real estate investment opportunities even when inventory appears to be squeezed, you’ll be positioned to see potentially good returns from this market tide.
More chances to invest in distressed single-family homes may be just around the corner, too. Residents in more than half of Vermont’s towns will see their property taxes increase starting the fiscal year 2019. For families that may already be financially burdened due to illness, death, or divorce, even a small bump in their tax bill could send them over the edge—and out of their home if they’re unable to pay. Counties like Rutland and Grand Isle are already experiencing a high rate of foreclosure activity. Of the homes currently for sale in each of these counties, foreclosures make up approximately 20% of available inventory, according to RealtyTrac.
This is a critical piece of information to consider as you search for properties to buy, renovate, and sell, primarily because the average time it takes for a home to get repossessed is longer than ever. So, if you can approach distressed homeowners before they lose their houses back to their lenders, you’ll have the chance to potentially pad your portfolio with properties that produce decent returns.
There are a few standout cities, however, where you may be able to find some of the best opportunities to invest in residential real estate. We’ll take a quick look at three of them as a means to get your Vermont-based career in real estate investing started off on the right foot.
- Burlington. The biggest city in Vermont is also the home to a relatively large amount of foreclosures. The impending tax increases will likely escalate the number of homeowners and landlords struggling to pay their bills. But, because Burlington sits on the shore of Lake Champlain and has several waterfront parks and lakeview beaches, its appeal to new homebuyers is sure to rise as well. That makes it an attractive location for buying houses to renovate and sell—especially with median home sales prices maintaining above average for the county.
- Jericho. Only a 30-minute drive from the big city of Burlington, the smaller township of Jericho regularly ranks as a favorite place to live amongst Vermont locals. With plenty of family-friendly amenities, like one of the state’s oldest Boy Scout troops, and very good school districts, it’s no surprise. Foreclosure activity is low in the region as well, indicating that most homeowners can, and do, meet their mortgage obligations. That may make the area seem like a difficult one to find good deals in, but they are there. And, as long as you buy them at the right price, it’s possible you’ll be able to sell them for above-average returns. The After Rehab Value (ARV) of Jericho homes are frequently some of the highest in the state.
- Rutland. Just east of the state line with New York, Vermont’s third largest city of Rutland boasts a fairly stable housing market despite having the highest number of foreclosures in the state. Median home closing prices haven’t spiked in recent years like other areas, but the median days on the market have plummeted. So, demand is keeping up with the increased inventory, even with foreclosed homes available, and may yet surpass it as more people get priced out of neighboring states and take refuge in Vermont. Meeting the ongoing demand, and seeing good ROIs, is certainly possible—particularly if you can reach distressed homeowners and buy their houses at the pre-foreclosure stage.
Just like anywhere else in the U.S., there are some areas in the Green Mountain State where buying houses to rehab and resell holds more promise than others. Without a good system for generating leads on investment properties that convert, however, your efforts even in these areas can still fall flat. But, if your lead-finding strategy involves motivating sellers who will come looking for you, you can potentially find yourself in the green—no matter where you invest.
Where to Get Some of the Best Leads Wherever You Invest in Vermont
I like to keep my finger on the pulse of local real estate market trends, and trendy government incentives, that might have an impact on where and when I invest. It’s an old habit I developed even before I started buying properties in Vermont. But, since becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, I’ve learned that the real key to investing successfully is having access to qualified leads that convert. And, because our “We Buy Ugly Houses®” advertising campaign is well-known in 48 states, including Vermont, that’s exactly what I get. You see the print, television, and radio ads everywhere, and motivated sellers of distressed homes do too. So, they know who to contact when they need to sell fast—motivated HomeVestors® franchisees, like me.
Looking for a good place to hang your investing hat in Vermont? You’ve come to the right place. Contact the “We Buy Ugly Houses®” team about local HomeVestors® franchise opportunities today.
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