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Burlington Welcomes Large Increase in Remote Workers

Over the past few years, Burlington has seen an increase in remote workers, especially from the IT industry. Many of these new Vermonters are moving from larger tech hub spots such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles where the cost of housing has risen significantly. Recent reporting by NPR shows that Burlington VT is one of the top 5 cities in the country when it comes to an increase in migration to smaller cities from major metro areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Migration to Burlington from large cities was up 103% in the Spring of 2020 compared to that of 2019. This is in large part thanks to the increasing ability of IT workers ability to work remotely.  The number of remote information technology job postings is up 58% compared to the same period last year. 

To read more from NPR about the surge of remote workers moving to Burlington and other smaller cities click the link below:

Small Cities Are A Big Draw For Remote Workers During The Pandemic | NPR.org

* Having helped countless clients relocate to Burlington and the surrounding towns, the Lipkin Audette Team understands the importance of finding the right home.  If you’d like to speak with our team on how to get started in relocating to Chittenden County give us a call anytime at [802] 846-9575 or email Steve@LipkinAudette.com.

 

 

Burlington CityPlace | Local Partnership Steps Up

(Image Courtesy of Freeman French Freeman)

UPDATE:  It has been six years since developer Don Sinex first introduced his plans for the CityPlace Burlington project in the former site of the Burlington Square Mall.  Having overcome many obstacles along the way, the project hit its most serious roadblock this past summer when business partner and multinational company, Brookfield Asset Management, pulled out of the deal and sold their 50% share of the development back to Sinex.

According to Sinex, Brookfield’s decision to withdraw from the project did not come as a big surprise to either him or the city of Burlington.  In fact, it was during this past January when, in anticipation of the moment, Sinex had initiated a conversation with a trio of local businessmen about taking over the project for if / when Brookfield officially pulled out.

The trio turned out to be a natural fit as they are all well respected local Vermonters with years of experience with construction and development in our area.  Stepping up in place of Brookfield came Dave Farrington (President, Farrington Construction), Al Senecal (Owner, Omega Electric Construction) and Scott Ireland (President, S.D. Ireland).  With all three having previously consulted on the project, their familiarity with the development plans enabled the new local partnership to quickly file zoning permits and release their revised proposal to the city and community.

Taking into account feedback from the local community as well as the side effects that the pandemic has had the downtown business landscape, the new plans no longer include the once-proposed 196-room hotel, additional office space and two 14-story towers.  Instead, the plan calls for an increase in the number of housing units to a total of 426, including 84 that fit the criteria of “affordable housing”.  The two towers remain prominent design elements but are downsized to one 10-story tower and one 9-story tower, with the southern tower to also include a rooftop restaurant and observation deck.

While there remain many more hurdles that need to be jumped before construction can begin again, there is growing optimism that the new CityPlace concept could be the jumpstart that downtown Burlington needs after being hit hard by the global pandemic.  For more details check out the Seven Days article “A New Developer Team Wants a Shot at Building CityPlace Burlington”.

** If you are interested in learning more about the development / housing in Burlington and the surrounding communities please give Steve a call at [802] 846-9575 or email us at Team@LipkinAudette.com

Single Family Homes as Rental Properties

Investing in real estate, like every other kind of investment strategy, is most effective when it’s uniquely personalized to an individual’s (or groups) risk tolerance, capacity and goals. 

While a lot of attention is paid to multi family properties that offer several units within the same building and/or property, purchasing a single family home as an investment property can offer certain advantages such as long-term renter stability, non-HOA property maintenance and lower management costs.

In a recent article published by RIS Media, author Meghan Belnap highlights four major qualities to look for when selecting a single family home as an investment property.  Click on the link below to read the entire article…

What to Look for in a Single Family Investment Property | RIS Media Housecall

If you are interested in getting started with investing in real estate or would like more information on the local investment property market, please give Steve Lipkin a call at (802) 846-9575 or email Team@LipkinAudette.com

Managing Food Scraps at Rental Properties

As the final piece of the Universal Recycling Act (Act 148) that was passed by the Vermont State Legislature back in 2012; starting on July 1, 2020, food scraps are banned from being included in traditional residential trash containers. In addition to the obvious issues that the new law creates on homeowners, owners of rental properties are now faced with additional challenges in how to properly manage the three kinds of defined material waste.

In offering guidance on the subject, the State of Vermont has provided landlords with a quick reference guide that outlines best practices that landlords can take to adhere to the new waste policy.  Below are links to the FAQ guide as well as additional resources including signs / posters that can be used to help instruct tenants on where to properly place their waste...

For Landlords - Managing Food Scraps at Rentals | State of Vermont Guide

Download / Print Signs & Symbols - Universal Recycling Law | Department of Environmental Conservation

VTrecycles.com | Solid Waste & Recycling Program Home Page | Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Food Scrap Ban Resources | LipkinAudette.com

If you are a landlord with additional questions or would like discuss this or anything else related to rental / investment properties please don't hesitate to email us anytime at Team@LipkinAudette.com or call Steve Lipkin at (802) 846-9575...

          

 

Real Estate as an Investment

Investing in real estate has long been a popular and successful investment strategy and with the record-high volatility currently found in the stock market, more and more people are now considering real estate as a better alternative to traditional stocks and bonds.

In a recent article published by RIS Media, Brian Davis (co-founder of SparkRental.com) highlighted a few of the many benefits that real estate investing offers… 

6 Perks of Rental Properties for Retirement Income | RISMedia.com

While almost every investment opportunity comes with inherent risks, real estate markets don’t typically correlate to the stock market and can provide investors with an opportunity to diversify their investment strategy while at the same time generating positive cash flow and property appreciation.

Having helped hundreds of local clients build wealth through real estate investing, the Lipkin Audette Team understands that, as is the case with any investment, a successful investment strategy needs to be designed to fit an individual’s particular set of needs and goals. If you’d like to speak with our team about how to get started or what the current market value of your property / portfolio might be, give us a call anytime at [802] 846-9575 or email Steve@LipkinAudette.com.   

Vermont Economic Recovery & Relief Package

Source: State of Vermont 

On May 20th, Governor Phil Scott outlined an economic recovery & relief package using $400 million of $1.25 billion the state received as part of the Federal CARES Act.  The two-phase plan first addresses the businesses and industries that were impacted most, with $310 million designated to sectors that are in need of immediate relief.

Included in phase one is $50 million designated for housing assistance, with the majority of the funds to be used to cover situations where impacted tenants cannot pay rent and as a result, landlords are financially impacted.  The program is open to all rental property owners with a maximum of 20 units assisted per owner.  According to VermontBiz.com, "payments will be disbursed through housing service provider(s) selected through the RFP process with oversight authority through the Department of Housing and Community Development."

The second phase consisting of the remaining $90 million focuses on long-term recovery and investments in broadband internet, job training, permit modernization and additional housing assistance.  It is estimated that over 13,000 Vermont households could be assisted using funds from phase one of this newly enacted bill.

For more details on the package, check out the COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center on the state of Vermont ACCD Website  or view / download this informational 12 page Resource Guide.  

For additional insight or questions on the VT Multi Family real estate market, don't hesitate to email us anytime at Team@LipkinAudette.com or give us a call at (802) 846-9575. 

Working Through the Challenges of COVID-19

 

To Our Valued Clients, Customers & Community,

 

I hope you and your family are well. It’s hard to put into words the many emotions that we are all facing in dealing with this unprecedented health crisis. Like you, we are taking things one day at a time while remaining resilient and steadfast in our goal to continue to provide our clients with the same above & beyond level of service that members of our team have proudly offered for the last 30+ years in our local community.

Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by COVID-19 across the globe. As the virus continues to impact our community and everyday way of life, we feel that is it important to communicate with you directly to share more about the steps that we are taking to help do our part in limiting the spread and keeping the health & safety of our trusted clients and team members as our number one priority.

We have asked the dedicated agents and staff of the Lipkin Audette Team to work remotely, with additional technology and support being provided by the amazing leadership team at Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman.

Until further notice, all upcoming open houses have been canceled. Fortunately, many of our listings have interactive virtual 3D tours enabling Buyers to tour the entire property from anywhere with an internet connection.  Accordingly, we are substituting personal meetings with Facetime or Microsoft Teams, contracts and all documents are seamlessly being passed & signed electronically using Dotloop. We feel very fortunate that our commitment to advanced technology is allowing us to continue to serve our valued clients and community.

Recognizing the vital importance that Home plays in everyone’s life, we are constantly adapting and will continue to help our community list, sell and buy homes. If there is anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to email us at team@LipkinAudette.com or give us a call at [802] 846-8800. We are amazed by the support and love that our community has shown in these difficult times and are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to help and support our neighbors in need!

 

Best, the Lipkin Audette Team

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) | Policy Reform

Exciting news for Burlington Property owners!

Photo: James Buck | Seven Days

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been long been legal in the city Burlington. However, until now, a rigid zoning policy had effectively limited the number of legally permitted and constructed ADUs to just 45 over the last 10+ years. 

On February 18th, 2020, the City Council unanimously adopted the proposed zoning reforms for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Burlington.  According to the City of Burlington’s website, “The goal of this reform is to encourage the creation of ADUs to support homeowners as they age in place, provide a flexible option to help owners continue to afford their homes and add additional affordable housing options within existing neighborhoods”.

Recommendations for this legislation were provided by the City’s 2018 ADU White Paper as well as input from the Mayor’s 2019 Housing Summits.  The following changes to the ADU ordinance have now gone into effect…

  • Creating an ADU is no longer the primary reason for a project to go to the DRB and the conditional use requirement for creating an ADU is removed.
  • ADUs no longer require a dedicated parking space.
  • The maximum ADU size in a primary home is now 800 square feet or 30% of the gross floor area of the home; whichever is greater.  This change allows smaller single-family homes to create an ADU that is at least 800 square feet, regardless of the previous 30% guideline.
  • If stormwater impacts are addressed, up to 650 square feet of the lot area are exempt from lot coverage limits.  This change addresses the difficulties that homeowners with smaller lots faced with regards to coverage limits.

For more information or to share your input with the City of Burlington, check out the following links…

Accessory Dwelling Units | City of Burlington

ADU Policy Reform | City of Burlington

IMPORTANT NOTE: ADUs may be used as short-term rentals; however, property owners who plan to do so will be required to meet the zoning requirements for “short term rentals”, click HERE for details.  Most notably, short-term rental ADUs are required to provide a parking space and the property’s primary residence must be owner-occupied.

** If you are interested in learning more about how creating an ADU will impact your Burlington property values give Steve a call at [802] 846-9575 or email us at Team@LipkinAudette.com

Burlington CityPlace | Redesigned Proposal

UPDATE: In a presentation delivered to the Burlington City Council at their meeting this past Monday, the developers behind the Downtown Burlington CityPlace project unveiled their latest redesign concept. The redesigned proposal keeps intact the original concept of mixed-use space but reduces the number of stories on each of the two towers from fourteen to ten. The updated concept would also make use of the current remnants of the Burlington Town Center Mall in addition to the building that used to contain Macy's.   

Even with the reduced height, the tower on the Cherry Street side is still expected to contain 280 to 300 apartments, with 20% of the units qualifying as “affordable” as per Burlington’s inclusionary zoning ordinance.  At the other end, a 175-room hotel will occupy the Bank Street side of the property with retail space filling the first floor of each building. Additionally, the new plans also call for an "adequate" number of parking spaces be located both in between and below the two tower structures (Seven Days, CityPlace Burlington Developers Unveil Scaled-Down Proposal, 2019).

Image Courtesy of the City of Burlington

 

Mayor Miro Weinberger addressed the new plan at the Burlington City Council meeting on Monday saying, “What you've laid out tonight represents the potential of achieving all the major goals the city laid out as we sat down to this process years ago,” listing housing and jobs among the benefits. “This represents a step in the right direction toward fixing a part of the downtown that has long been problematic, but we certainly [have] a long way to go” (City of Burlington, Press Releases, 2019).

For more information on this topic or other stories that impact Burlington, the surrounding communities and its residents; give us a call at [802] 846-8800 or email us at info@LipkinAudette.com.

 

 

City of Burlington Reappraisal Project

City of Burlington Reappraisal Project – Aimed Completion by April 1st, 2021

The City of Burlington is conducting a reassessment of all properties citywide. According to the City of Burlington, “Burlington property values are no longer meeting equitable valuation standards set by the Vermont department of Tax and the International Association of Assessing Officers organization (IAAO). The Assessor’s Office has teamed up with Tyler Technologies Inc. to complete the reappraisal process. The goal of the project is to “reset property valuations to current fair market levels to comply with Vermont property tax laws, which will equitably reset the tax burden (City of Burlington, VT, 2019).” 

According to the City, the timeline for the reappraisal project is as follows:

Residential Property Owners have likely already received letters from the Assessor’s Office and the Tyler Technologies Inc. reappraisal team. The letters are to inform property owners of the reappraisal project, as well as allow for correction of property data, if need be. According to the City of Burlington, “on-site property data collection will be conducted by Tyler Technologies appraisers. These appraisers will also use other property data resources such as: high resolution imaging, property data obtained online, permit history review; geospatial tools to analyze valuation, on-site building changes and land sizes (City of Burlington, VT, 2019).”

Accordingly, Commercial Property Owners should have received an Income and Expense form to be filled out and returned to the Burlington Assessor’s Office. According to the City of Burlington, “Income and Expense information is important for the determination of the property value (City of Burlington, VT, 2019).” The purpose of this sheet is to gather information regarding rental and leasing information, and not the income and expenses of a business.

It is important to note that each Tyler Technologies employee has undergone a background check and is required to display their city identification. For an example of municipal tax rate change, please see the photo below. For a list and explanation for revaluation data terms, please click here. To fix discrepancies in collected data on a property, choose one of the following options:

  1. Use the online link at www.burlingtonvt.gov/assessor/residential to fill out a blank form on the City of Burlington website.
  2. Make corrections on the mailed form, and email to residentialassessor@burlingtonvt.gov.
  3. Make corrections on the mailed form, and return the form by mail to:

City of Burlington

Office of the Assessor

149 Church Street, Room 17

Burlington, VT 05401

*** For more information or questions on how the reassessment may alter your property value, give us a call at [802] 846-9575 or email Team@LipkinAudette.com