Blog :: 2014

How Will the City Rate Your Multi Family Property?


Starting January 1st, the city of Burlington will enact a new program to rate the condition of rental properties. The plan, outlined by April Burbank in the 12/22/14 edition of the Burlington Free Press, will seek to incentivize proper care and maintenance of the city’s stock of Multi-Family housing.


Properties will be ranked on a scale of 1-to-5 by code enforcement. Buildings with the greatest number of violations will be rated “1” and given one year before re-inspection. Properties with a ranking of “5” will be issued compliance certificates for five years.

Bill Ward, director of code enforcement, is supportive of the measure, “I would say most landlords are doing an excellent job. This is an opportunity to let that shine, but also put a little bit of a spotlight on the folks who are not doing so well.”

Please reach out to the LipVT team with any of your Landlord and Real Estate questions.


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    The Discussion Over Low Down Payment Mortgages


    Despite recent gains in many segments of the U.S. real estate market, prospective first-time homebuyers have continued to remain cautious and delay purchasing homes of their own.  Student debt, stagnant wages, and uncertainty about the economy are oft-cited contributing factors to the slow pace of growth in this vital piece of the larger economic puzzle. Last week the government, in a move hoping to prod these first-time buyers to action, outlined a plan to allow banks to offer mortgage poducts with down payments as low as 3%. Ron Lieber of the New York Times, in his 12/13/14 column, catches up with two couples who recently became homeowners using low down payment mortgages. 

    Would a low down payment mortgage product help to get you off the fence?

    Read the whole article here

    As always, the LipVT team is here to answer any questions you have about real estate.



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      Attention Burlington Multi-Family Landlords: City Plans Tax Reappraisal


      Attention Burlington Multi-Family Landlords: City Plans Tax Reappraisal

      Burlington's Office of the Assessor, in a memo to Burlington landlords dated November 24, announced a planned reassessment of 4+ unit buildings in the City's Downtown and Hill-section neighborhoods. The letter, citing the gulf between level of appraisal (LOA) and market value, indicates that the city will undertake the reappraisal over the next four months. Burlington Assessor John Vickery notes in the memo that the most recent City-wide assessment occurred in 2005 effective for fiscal year 2006.

      Vickery continues; "Comparisons of 2013 sales to the appraised values set in 2005 indicate a LOA of 88% of market value. However, 4+ unit apartment properties located in the Downtown and Hill Section neighborhoods are coming in at a LOA of 74% of market value."

      The bad news is that this reassessment will likely result in increased taxes for Burlington landlords. The good news is that this confirms what we've known for a long time: Multi-Family property values are increasing. 

      How will this assessment effect your Real Estate investments in 2015 and beyond?

      As always, please reach out to the team with all of your real estate questions


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        Champlain Housing Trust Gets DRB Approval for Old North End Development

        Burlington’s Development Review Board (DRB) gave final zoning approval to a proposal by Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) for a new 42-unit development in the city’s Old North End, Burlington Free Press staff writer April Burbank reported on October 29th.

        The unanimous vote was cheered by CHT’s director of real estate development Amy Demetrowitz, “I think it’ll just really improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood, and it’ll bring just some really critical needed affordable housing to Burlington.”

        According to the Free Press article, “The project represents a significant redevelopment of the area between Bright Street and Archibald Street by adding a three-story apartment building, two duplexes, a building with three units and a total of 44 parking spaces….The project will be organized as a co-op with one-to four-bedroom units…”

        The project will involve the demolition of three existing buildings on Bright and Archibald Streets. CHT expects to begin construction in May of 2015.

        Looks like more big and exciting changes to Burlington’s Old North End, (O.N.E.). As always feel free to reach out to with any questions or comments!


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          Adopt-A-Drain Program Comes to Burlington

          As part of an ongoing effort to improve the city's stormwater management system, Burlington's Department of Public Works is trying an outside-the-box approach. Part community crowdsourcing, part old-school stewardship, the city will ask "Drain Defenders" to make sure a storm drain of their choosing is kept clear of debris, ice and illegal dumping. In exchange for their vigilance and elbow grease, Drain Defenders will be allowed to name the drain (Burlington's website stipulates only that the names be appropriate). 

          With over 2,000 storm drains inside the city limits, residents should have their pick. According to a Burlington Free Press article from October 24th,2014, approximately 10 drains had been adopted as of the afternoon of Thursday October 23rd.

          An overwhelmed stormwater system can contribute to property and infrastructure damage, pollution, and other public health concerns. I hope this innovative city project will help to free up the time and resources of Public Works so they can keep our great city running smoothly.

          What other applications could Adopt-A-Drain be applied to? What if the Bike Path was opened to a similar program?

          As always, please reach out to the Lipkin Team for all your Real Estate needs!


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            Advice for Pricing Your Home

            Although it's great to do your homework before selling your home, don't rely on popular tv shows and websites to come up with your home's sale price. Pricing a home is not an exact science, there are many factors to consider. Your best bet is to "leave it to a professional" - a real estate agent or an appraiser. The process of determining your home's value involves several steps including a thorough walk-thru, a detailed comparative analysis and extensive market research. To learn more on this topic read "Pricing Your Home for What it's Worth" from the Sunday Boston Globe.

            The LIPKIN TEAM is happy to help you with this process and is here to answer any questions you have regarding Burlington area real estate.

            Burlington rates as one of "The Best Towns Ever"

            Outside MagazineDid you know that Burlington, VT has received almost 100 accolades since 1988?  Most recently, Outside Magazine rated The Queen City #7 of  "The 16 Greatest Places to Live in America".  Burlington is considered to "have it all" based on "access to adventure, healthy eating options, bike lanes, and green spaces."  We think so too! As always, please reach out to the LipVT team with any questions you might have about Burlington area real estate.

            Burlington Goes Fully Renewable!

            The City of Burlington has taken a major step toward reducing its carbon footprint and achieving energy independence: 100% of the city's energy will now come from renewable resources. Wilson Ring of the Boston Globe reports that the tipping point occurred earlier this month as Vermont's largest city quietly finalized their purchase of the Winooski 1 hydroelectric project. Burlington has also finalized an arrangement to join the Washington Electric Cooperative which counts approximately 11,000 members throughout northern and central Vermont. The Co-op collects power from numerous sources including wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal projects. 14a543029b364a10bf4107988eac219e-14a5a The story was reported on numerous national news outlets and blogs and has generated excitement among clean-energy advocates. Its these front-runners that are showing that its possible," Diane Moss of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute said in Ring's September 15th article. Moss went on to say she wasn't able to think of any community as large as Burlington that has reached the 100% milestone. The good news does come with a caveat: The city and Co-op acknowledge that conditions for renewables are not always optimal so at times they will purchase energy from "traditional sources" during times when the greener options are not available. Read the full article from The Boston Globe Washington Electric Cooperative As always, please reach out to the LipVT team with any of your Real Estate needs.

            Railyard Rising: Burlington's Railyard Enterprise Project

            Burlinrailyard-study-area-231x300gton's waterfront district, once the economic engine of the Queen City, is the getting a fresh look thanks to the Chittenden County Regional Planning District's new Railyard Enterprise Project. The project seeks to "develop a network of multimodal transportation infrastructure improvements, which incorporate the principles of Complete Streets, to support economic development in the area; improve livability of the surrounding neighborhoods; enhance multimodal travel connectivity between the Pine Street corridor and the Burlington Waterfront South area; and improve intermodal connections to the Burlington Railyard." Vist CCRPD's site for a full description of the Railyard Enterprise Project Visit for all of your real estate needs!

            The Future of the South End.....?

            planBTV_SouthEndThe 22nd annual South End Art Hop brought unseasonably warm temperatures, clear skies, and huge crowds to Burlington's South End this past weekend. Revelers were met with myriad installations ranging from dance and fashion to sculpture and performance art (and everything in between).  Just as two Art Hop attendees might look at a piece and have two different interpretations, a hotly debated topic at the Hop was the future of the South End. Will those aging industrial buildings be converted into high-end housing or remodeled into chic commercial spaces ą la and Burton? How will the Champlain Parkway impact the neighborhood? Would the South End lose its character if artists and artisans were priced out of the workshops, galleries, and studios that dot the former manufacturing hub? Seven Days' Kevin Kelley outlines the differing opinions surrounding the future of one of Burlington's most sought-after and culturally vital neighborhoods in his September 3rd article. Click the link below to access the story which features quotes from Lipvt's own Steve Lipkin on just what makes the South End so desirable. "Burlington's Changing South End Looks Way Into Its Future" by Kevin J. Kelley, Seven Days 9/3/14 South End Arts and Business Association Plan BTV- City of Burlington