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Matt Hurlburt Group


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 22


As we enter Cyber Monday, I started thinking about buyers entering the Burlington real estate market.

It is easy to get information about anything online. A dozen sites, like the MHG or RE/ can provide the home, or homes, of your dreams. If you have been considering a move, or that dream home purchase, you have probably spent hours pouring over kitchen and family room pictures, scrutinizing that bathroom tile choice, or deciding if a lake or mountain view is most important. Pinterest has been known to push and pull buyers in all kinds of directions. Before you dive in head first, consider these thoughts. What do you and your family WANT? What do you NEED?

Do you really need that subway tile in the kitchen in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the man cave (or Mom cave) of your dreams be a future renovation project? Or, must that be an immediate feature?

The first thing that I recommend in the  home buying process is to get a mortgage pre-approval.. This allows you to know your budget and narrow (or expand) your focus. I can then provide options based on your wants and needs list. the easy way is to follow this simple plan.

List all the features of a home that you would like, and qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must Haves’ – if a property does not have these features, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
  • ‘Should Haves’ – if the property checks off the haves and some of the should haves, it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s goes to the top of the list!

The Bottom Line

Creating this list at the beginning will save you time, money, and frustration. It helps me determine what features are most important and provides a clear focus for desired areas and home specifications. What is important to you is important to me. 


Expect More. 


What Exactly are 1031 Exchanges in Burlington Real Estate?

by Matt Hurlburt Group

What is a 1031 Exchange?

This blog post was going to be be about the best ways to show up your neighbor's Christmas light display, but  I chose instead to focus on 1031 exchanges! These can be exciting, if planned for and executed correctly. When real estate owners sell their investment, rental, business, or vacation real estate and reinvest the net proceeds in other property, this is called a 1031 tax deferred property exchange. When a property is held for this purpose, it is called a like-kind, or 1031, property. An owner must meet the requirements of Internal Revenue Code 1031 exchange in order to sell like-kind property and defer taxes on the profit of this sale.

The 1031 exchange is often referred to as a "tax free" ex­change. This not a truly tax free exchange. For qualifying properties, the 1031 exchange allows a way to defer taxes due as a re­sult of gain on the sale of commercial or investment properties. The amount of taxes deferred depends on the value of properties exchanged. If a higher value property is ex­changed for one of lesser value, so cash (or personal property) is included to compen­sate for this difference in value, capital gains tax would be due at closing for that portion that was not real property.

Section 1031 transactions don't have to involve identical types of investment properties. You can swap an apartment building for a shopping center, or a piece of undeveloped, raw land for an office or building. You can even swap a second home that you rent out for a parking lot.

There's also no limit as to how many times you can use a Section 1031 exchange. It's entirely possible to roll over the gain from your investment swaps for many years and avoid paying capital gains tax until a property is finally sold. Keep in mind, however, that gain is deferred, but not forgiven, in a like-kind exchange and you must calculate and keep track of your basis in the new property you acquired in the exchange.

Section 1031 is not for personal use. For example, you can't use it for stocks, bonds, and other securities, or personal property (with limited exceptions such as artwork).


Other Considerations for 1031 Exchanges

There are considerations that must be taken into account. For example, properties of unequal value, current mortgage debt, and personal residences and vacation homes all require advance planning if utilizing a 1031 exchange. 

Other Notable 1031 Considerations:

  • A 1031 Is Only For Investment/Business Property 
  • Some Personal Property Qualifies 
  • “Like-Kind” Is Broad Term 
  • A “Delayed” Exchange Is An Option
  • You Must Identify Your Replacement Property Within 45 Days 
  • You May Designate Multiple Replacement Properties
  • You Must Close Within 6 Months 
  • Cash Left Over Is Taxed
  • You Need To Consider Differences In Mortgages And Debt  

 An exchange offers the astute investor an opportunity to reinvest the federal capital gains that would normally be handed over to the IRS and put that money to work for himself. You work too hard to simply pay the tax without carefully considering this reinvestment option. Essentially, 1031 Exchanges should be thought of as an interest free loan from the IRS; one in which the principal may be increased through subsequent exchanges and may never require repayment, if you plan properly."



To learn more about 1031 Tax Deferred Property Exchange, please see the Internal Revenue Service's website hereAs always, we know just enough to be dangerous. We recommend consulting your attorney to ensure that your property exchange is eligible for 1031. 

Creating Cozy Champlain Valley Home Staging For Fall

by Matt Hurlburt Group


If you are selling your home this fall, it is important to keep its exterior well-maintained and create a welcoming, cozy atmosphere indoors. Here are a few ways to ensure your home appeals to as many prospective buyers as possible.

Mow your lawn and remove leaves and debris. Weed, get rid of dead flowers and trim back all branches and foliage so that everything looks neat, clipped and in keeping with the season. Give your flower beds a splash of color by adding some plants that flower in the fall, such as chrysanthemums, coneflowers, and salvias.

A Perfect Porch
Place seasonal flowers in large pots on both sides of your front door. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and hang up a wreath made from seasonal flowers and foliage. This will provide the perfect finishing touch for your entrance area.

Simple Exteriors 
Is your home exterior clean and free from paint chips or does it need to be pressure-washed and re-painted? Make sure the windows are clean. Do not forget to remove leaves, foliage and other wind-blown material from your gutters on a regular basis.

Inviting Interior
Remove clutter from all surfaces each day and keep as many personal items as possible out of sight. This can be a challenge now that the children have gone back to school, so ensure that they put away their school work, backpacks, and other school-related items each evening.

Holiday Decor
Don't let Holiday decorations overpower your home. Prospective buyers may find it hard to look beyond the decorations and see your home's true features and advantages. 

Keep It Cozy
Create a warm, cozy atmosphere that will encourage people to fall in love with your home. Adjust the temperature on your thermostat before each viewing to ensure that your home is comfortable and welcoming. Have a fireplace? It may set the perfect stage for your cozy interior. 

Add Some Warmth
Another way to create an inviting atmosphere is to add touches of warmth to each room. Place a colorful fleecy throw on the arm of a comfortable chair, pile sumptuous pillows on your bed, and display soft fluffy towels in the bathroom.

Seasonal Decorations
Add some well-chosen seasonal decorations, such as a small basket of pine cones, long twigs in a vase, or a bowl of cinnamon-spiced potpourri.


Smells Like Fall
Do not neglect the scent of your home. You don't have to bake cookies or fresh bread, but air fresheners and scented candles in such fragrances as apple, cinnamon, and vanilla will give your home an appealing atmosphere.


Small touches allow buyers to see your house as their future home. Decorating for the season can allow prospective buyers a chance to see your home as a warm and welcoming place.

Outdoor Guide for the Greater Burlington Vermont Area

by Matt Hurlburt Group

GET OUT! This weekends weather looks to be about perfect to get outside and enjoy the late fall landscape. Whether you run, hike, walk, pedal, or paddle, there is something for everyone! (Then the snow flies, creating a winter wonderland of fun. But that is for another post.)

Looking to get out an engage your inner competitor? Hoping for a trail run? Vermont Sports Magazine has a calendar that direct you to fun events, festivals, and opportunities to spend some quality time in the "pain cave." 

If you venture out solo, or with a group of friends, there are numerous hiking opportunities in the greater Burlington area. RootsRated has a very accessible guide to some of the more popular hikes. Realistically, everyone has their favorites. Stop and ask at any outdoor retailer and you will get a number of "the best place to hike is" answers. Want to run, not hike? Load up your hydration system and head out to any of a number of trail running hotspots.

Maybe you want to see the Fall landscape my favorite way- from the seat of a bicycle. There are some world class routes to explore in Burlington and beyond. You can gravel grind by yourself, or with your own personal peloton on dirt roads with landscape that will take your breath away. Here are six routes that depart from the Greater Burlington area. Cruise the 14 miles of the Burlington Bike path/ Island Rail Trail, or challenge yourself to any of the six mountain gap rides. Find grades of 24%, mixtures of dirt road and pavement and get ready to let the legs and lungs burn. The benefit? Some incredible mountain views, and stops at some of the best general stores to refuel. Staff pick- we are partial to the home-crafted baked goods at the Lincoln General Store. 


Rather get muddy? Break out the fat bikes, full suspension, or rigid single speed (you know who you are!) and hit the trails. Again, we always recommend asking a local rider for the most prime riding, but this guide should head you in the right direction. 

Regardless of what you want to do outside, the greater Burlington area offers something for families of all ages. We hope to see you out there!  Expect More.


Burlington Vt. Condos Pros and Cons

by Matt Hurlburt Group


Love the idea of never shoveling snow or cutting the grass when you move into a condo? You might not be so happy about bylaw’s restricting you from having a BBQ on your own balcony.

Like any type of home, you must carefully consider all of these pros and cons when deciding whether or not a condo fits with your lifestyle, personality and financial situation. These are the pros and cons of buying a condo:


Pros of Buying A Condo:


  • Fewer maintenance and repair responsibilities.​

  • Access to on-site amenities, such as a sauna, swimming pool, gym or movie theater which you otherwise might not be able to afford.

  • Enhanced security features in some condominium units. You’ll also have peace of mind while you’re on vacation knowing that your neighbors are close by.

  • Monthly maintenance or condo fees are usually predictable.

  • You have a say in the running of the condominium corporation. As an owner, you have voting rights and can be elected to the board of directors.

  • A community that may have a wide range of social, entertainment and recreational activities sometimes geared to a specific lifestyle (seniors, for example).


Cons of Buying A Condo:


  • You may have to pay for amenities that you might never or rarely use.

  • Possibility of special assessment charges for unexpected repairs.

  • Less space in some condominium units.

  • Possible restrictions on things like noise levels, parking, pets, smoking and even the style and color of things like doors and window coverings.

​​As you ponder these, let us know if we can provide other details that would be helpful. The goal is that you are happy and excited with your new home!


Expect More.


Here are three tips for a successful sale:

1. Selling your home is going to be stressful.


Although we do as much as we possibly can to lessen the stress and guide you through each step of the sales process, you are still going to feel like that aliens have invaded your life.

Selling your home is simply not a fun process and it will be stressful. Remember that there is a goal to achieve and you are going through the inconvenience of selling so you can achieve your goal. Downsizing? Upsizing? Decide what those goals are first.

Acknowledging your objectives up front will help you make better decisions down the road.


2. Make sure you’re truly ready to sell.


Take the time to ensure you’re emotionally prepared for the sale. Talk to us and listen to our suggestions. Follow our recommendations. They are based on over 20 years of experience as to what works in the sales process and what does not. If we represent you, yet find yourself resisting our recommendations, it’s probably a sign that you’re not ready to sell. If that’s the case, wait until you’re ready. You should be as dedicated to your goals as we are.

Maybe you have no choice but to sell – which can be even more difficult emotionally. Believe me when I tell you we’ve been in your position and understand what you are going through. Whether you need to sell for financial reasons, can’t manage the property on your own, or have seen your last child move out and are faced with a property you no longer need, we have helped others go through the same process.

The more information you give us, the better we can represent your interests, and we have a responsibility to do just that. Let us help you through the process. Trust in the fact that you have hired experienced professionals to properly represent you.


3. Start thinking of your home as a product to be marketed.


When you haven’t separated yourself from your home, it’s difficult to see it as a product. But that’s what it is now – a house that will go on the open market to attract a buyer. Buyers don’t view it as your house. They view it as a potential home for them and what you think about it has little impact on its value or its appeal to the prospective buyer.

I know that is difficult to hear, but it’s the truth.

If you think of selling your home as a business transaction, and are able to emotionally distance yourself from the sales process, it will be less stressful, you will make more rational decisions and you will achieve the best possible price for it.


We are here to help. Expect More.


MHG Burlington Vt. Real Estate Terminology Translations

by Matt Hurlburt Group


Ever wonder what REALTORS really mean? See below for the MHG translation of frequently used property description phrases…

Amazing price/Priced below market! – Probably NOT an amazing price or priced below market.

Bigger than it appears – NOT big, or I took those fuzzy photos on my IPhone.

Calling all Contractors! – Bring your tool belt! Literally, this is a plea for contractor assistance. Experienced renovators only!

COZY house/master bedroom/yard – SMALL house/master bedroom/yard.

Diamond in the Rough – Desperately in need of renovation. Perfect if you have great vision of what could be with some sweat equity.

Eight kitchens and bathrooms – Illegal rooming house.

Funky – You’ll either love it or hate it. Walls likely all painted a different vibrant color.

Hurry Won’t Last! – Funny, it’s been on the market for 90 days.

Location, location, location! – House is a disaster, but the location is good.

Needs TLC/Handyman Special – Home needs attention – hasn’t been renovated or maintained in a long time. Expect holes in walls, missing appliances and possible mold.

NEWER roof/appliances/floors – Not new, but replaced by the current owner in the last 5 years or so.

Partial lake view – If you stand on the balcony, lean all the way to the right and have 20/20 vision you’ll see a sliver of lake in the winter after the leaves have fallen.

Priced to Sell – Should indicate a motivated Seller, but we often see this on properties that have been on the market for a long time, so it’s probably more indicative of a motivated agent.

Recreation room with wet bar – Expect 1970’s wood paneling, green- gold shag carpets and one of those retro bars our parents used to have.

Same owner for 40 years – This is realtor-code for ‘the property hasn’t been renovated in 40 years.


Show and sell – Still no idea what this means but I read it in an MLS listing at least once a week.

Spa-like bathroom – Usually just means there’s a nice shower head and the towels are white

Unique floor plan – Usually weird floor plan, with odd additions, no upstairs bathroom or the main kitchen in the basement.

Do you have a favorite REALTOR phrase? Share your best with us in the comments! 

Quick Rant: Call Us the Burlington, Vt. Pop Tart Agents

by Matt Hurlburt Group

There are plenty of real estate agents online. You can peruse profiles, look at listings, and their so contact information is just a click away.  Being connected means great service, right?  

Pop Tart Agents. This is a new term to us. “Pop Tart Agent”. From what I can determine, it’s a derogatory term for the real estate agent who drops everything when a buyer or seller calls and wants to see a property or find out how much their home is worth.

pop tart agents

A discussion I read recently explained it like this: 

“In an effort to raise the bar regarding Pop Tart Agents – how do you serve the public, get your listing sold, yet educate consumers that we work by appointment and with prequalified buyers only? I told one buyer yesterday that my schedule was booked until Monday but I’d be happy to get them in early next week – what date or time is good for them – and they hung up on me. Our society is filled with instant gratification. “I want it and I want it now.” That buyer will likely call other agents until one jumps to do the appointment.”

….wait a minute….Isn’t that our job? Isn’t that called ‘service’? 


Real estate is a SERVICE business. Our job is to be AVAILABLE to our clients. Our goal should be to SELL YOUR HOME or help you BUY A HOME even if it isn’t convenient for us.

So go-ahead…call us Pop Tart Agents.  We are fine with that.  Rant over. 

Expect More. 


5 Reasons to Sell This Fall in Burlington, Vt.

by Matt Hurlburt Group


With the kids back in school, and with the holidays right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall: 

1. Demand Is Strong


The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country.There are buyers in the market right now that are ready, willing, and able to purchase a new house.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.


2. There Is Less Competition Now


According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. This means many of these home may come to the market this Fall.. Being ahead of the curve may provide an advantage in the market.

As builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs. You may be living in exactly what a prospective buyer is searching for in the market!

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you decide to sell.


3. The Process Will Be Quicker


Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007's pace. As the market heats up, banks will be floodedwith loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 


4. The Best Time to Move Up


If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, now is the best time to consider a move. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.


5. It’s a Perfect Time to Downsize and Simplify


Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Are your surrounded with a house that is too big now that the kids have moved out? Tired of the upkeep necessary for that over sized house?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. 


What is truly important for you and your family? 

Concerned About Lead in Burlington, Vt.?

by Matt Hurlburt Group

Lead and the Buying/ Selling Process. Protecting You and Your Family.

There are a number of Vermont homes that were built or remodeled prior to 1978. Why 1978? In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but some states banned it even earlier. Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning.

The exposure pathways for lead that is most concerning are ingestion and inhalation. Lead can effect anyone in a family, but children are at the greatest risk, due to developing nervous systems and smaller body mass. Small children also tend put everything in their mouths, which could include paint chips or chewing on windowsills. Lead actually has a sweet taste, which can encourage little ones to seek out places to chew when teething. 

Physical Effects: Lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior problems, slowed growth, headaches, difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, digestive problems and muscle and joint pain.

Lead can exist in many forms, but home buyers and sellers are most concerned with paint. Flaking or deteriorating paint means that there is a possibility of lead in the air, in the home's dust, and in places accessible by children. 

% of Older Homes Likely to Contain Lead-Based Paint

Source - US. EPA


     As a Buyer/ Seller, what are your responsibilities? 

  • Sellers must disclose in writing any information about known lead paint in the home. If sellers have performed lead tests, they must share the test results.
  • Sales contracts must give buyers up to 10 days to check for lead hazards. Home buyers aren't required to test for lead--but they must be given the opportunity to do so. You might see this information on a special addendum attached to a purchase contract. 

    Your realtor will provide your with federal and state information about protecting yourself and your family from lead exposure. 

  • As a buyer, if you are buying a home that has deteriorating lead paint, you may negotiate with the seller to hire an EPA licensed contractor to safely remediate the deteriorating spots. There are numerous do-it-yourself options, but we always recommend consulting an expert.

We hope that this clears up some of the confusion about the hazards of lead, and why it will be part of the buying and selling process. As always, we are here to help.     

    The Matt Hurlburt Group. Expect More. 





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Contact Information

Photo of Matt Hurlburt Group Real Estate
Matt Hurlburt Group
RE/MAX North Professionals
875 Roosevelt Hwy, Suite 210
Colchester VT 05446
Phone: 802-861-6244
Fax: 866-660-0032