Blog :: 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Landlords

Starre Julia Vartan has owned her early 1900's Victorian home in Connecticut for over a decade. The house was supposed to be her forever home but a few years after her purchase, Vartan had the opportunity to move across the country with her boyfriend.  Still tied into her mortgage, Vartan was unable to sell the house at a fair price and reluctantly became a landlord 3,000 miles away from her home.

Even though Vartan never intended to be a landlord, she views homeownership and renting to tenants as a privilege.  Like most small landlords, she takes pride in providing affordable housing, and becoming friends with her tenants who are usually teachers, nurses and other essential workers. When the government imposes regulations and increases taxes, small landlords are forced to pass those expenses on to their tenants who, many of the time, are the least likely to be able to afford it; especially during a pandemic!

Click on the link below to read the entire article…

Consider The Small Landlord | Starre Julia Vartan | The Boston Globe

If you are a landlord with additional questions or would like to discuss anything related to investment properties in the greater Burlington area, please don’t hesitate to email us anytime at Team@LipkinAudette.com or call Steve Lipkin at (802) 846-9575.

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