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Susannah Gruner

Vermont Fall Foliage Guide

Fall Foliage Guide

Colder weather has begun to set in across state as Autumn creeps in through Vermont’s Northern border, coating the entire state in shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. This combination of Vermont being home to the highest concentration of maple trees combined with the fact that 3/4th of the state is shrouded in forests equates to beautiful bursts of fall colors throughout the entire state. The change in color begins as early as mid-September, and from there, foliage enthusiasts are pursuant of the ever-elusive peak season, when the most vibrant range of colors are on display. Cold snaps at night and the recent rains have amplified this season. The peak seasons progresses from North to South and from higher elevations to lower elevations throughout the course of the season.

Whether you are exploring Vermont on a scenic byway, or taking in a picturesque autumn hike, everywhere you look is alive and erupting in color during the fall months. Festivals and activities that celebrate the season pop up throughout the entire state. Apple picking, vegetable harvests, farm visits, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and game hunting are among some of the most popular ways to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of the panoramic fall surroundings. The Green Mountain State unanimously celebrates the changing season, and every part of the state has something to explore and discover. The question becomes what is the best way to experience Vermont’s Foliage, and what region reigns supreme for the most breathtaking fall landscapes.

Vermont Fall Foliage Guide

One of the most common ways to soak in the autumn scenery for out-of-staters is on the highways and byways crisscrossed throughout the state. The most well-known foliage drive is Route 100, also referred to as the “Skier’s Highway”. Route 100 is 146 miles of spectacular valleys and vistas that stretch from Massachusetts all the way up to the Canadian border, connecting North and South. It passes through the Green Mountains, as well as past several waterfalls and scenic bridges. Continuing North on Route 100, tourists will reach the Mad River Valley, which is a hidden autumnal treasure during the peak season in central Vermont. Route 100 will also lead to the Green Mountain Byway that offers a litany of scenic overlooks around Stowe, the Waterbury Reservoir, and peaks of the Worcester Mountain Range.  

Drivers looking for an alternate route that’s little more off the beaten path can find beautiful scenery on Route 7, which stretches from Pownal at the Southern end of Vermont all the way up to Highgate near the Canadian Border in the North Country. Route 7 runs through majestic mountain views, brilliant foliage, and wonderful towns, including Bennington and Manchester. Each town Route 7 runs through has its own ambiance, and plenty of places for stopping and sightseeing along the way. Route 2 goes from East to West, from the Maine/Vermont Border, through Burlington, and into the divine fall colors on display in the Islands of Lake Champlain.

Northern Vermont

The Northeast Kingdom provides a good chance to enjoy the fall leaves without crowds. The remote area is commonly considered one of the most scenic areas in North America. The best time to see the collage of red’s, oranges, and yellows in the Green Mountains and Northern Vermont Runs from late September to Mid-October. Peak season usually falls on the last two weeks of September and the first week of October. Northern Vermont offers the opportunity to ride gondolas at Jay Peak and Stowe ski resorts and see the sprawl of colors from above.

Vermont Fall Foliage Guide

Central Vermont

Ski resorts scattered across the entire state become hotbeds of activity for fans of Vermont’s foliage, Killington Mountain is one of the most sought-after destinations in Central Vermont. The Connecticut River Valley loop is one of the most popular and crowed roadways during peak season. The loop brings visitors through Woodstock, often regarded as one of the most beautiful towns in the United States, and fully equipped with miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, gardens, farms, rivers and meandering brooks throughout. Quechee Gorge and the Little Grand Canyon are also hidden gems to explore when experiencing the picturesque autumn in Central Vermont. Peak season at lower elevations and in a majority of Central Vermont usually takes place in Mid-October.

Fall Foliage Guide

Southern Vermont

Traditionally the last region to succumb to the fall weather and the change in color that comes with it. Southern Vermont also usually faces the highest concentration of out of staters on the roads and overloading sleepy Vermont hamlets. Manchester is often at the top of tourists lists of must-see locales. However the highest point in Southern Vermont, Equinox Mountain is known for many excellent vistas, and expansive hiking trails. Bennington has also been a go-to for a glimpse of postcard fall views of New England. Mt. Snow is the most popular resorts in Southern Vermont and puts on an unbelievable display of colors that visitors can experience from above on a chairlift ride to the summit. Peak foliage season in Southern Vermont takes place in the middle two weeks of October.

As temperatures continue to cool down, enthusiasts need to be vigilant and pursue the evasive fall season as it makes its way down the state and early stages of winter begin to set in. Whatever your passion, Autumn in Vermont has something to offer for everyone, most of all one of the most charming times to experience everything the state has to offer. Wherever you get the chance to see the season, and however you chose to experience it. whether it’s a weekend trip, or just driving to work, autumn in Vermont leaves its impression on everyone who has the privilege to encounter it.

Buying a Rental Property

 Buying an Investment Property

                Investment property is real estate purchased for the purpose of generating income. The intention is for the property to be rented out or used as a seasonal vacation home for other travelers, and in turn, create a reliable source of income. Buying your first rental property is an exciting prospect, however, it can also be immensely confusing and intimidating. Maintenance costs and stringent financing requirements are just a few of the challenges you might encounter while pursuing your first investment property.

Buying an Investment Property

                When first starting out, it is advised to work with a real estate agent, particularly an agent who understands the investment side of real estate. The first step will be to begin analyzing potential properties; It’s often advised to find your first deal locally, or between an hour and two hours away from your current area. Work to find an area with a steady stream of renters, and figure out where people want to live. Where are property prices higher or lower? What are units typically rented out for? Is crime a consistent issue in the area? These are all vital questions that you will need to ask yourself before deciding on an area to invest in. Consulting with local real estate agents, property managers, and other local investors can be incredibly valuable when considering these propositions.

                Begin to analyze potential properties, as many as you possibly can, in order to familiarize yourself and get comfortable with deal analysis. Try to research a few properties everyday until you find something you think is right for you. In a competitive market you will need to be fast and smart in the offers you propose. You will get offers rejected, consistently, investing in real estate is a numbers game, and you can expect to get 1 out of every 10 or even every 20 offers accepted. The goal is to make sure you’re always making offers on enough properties. It is recommended to aim to buy an investment property for 10% to 20% below the market. This will allow you to increase your net worth and financial security if you ever need to sell the property in a pinch.

Buying an Investment Property

                Investment properties require a much higher level of financial stability than a typical family home would, especially if you plan to rent out to prospective tenants. You will need to be prepared to cover the initial home purchase costs like the down payment, inspection and closing costs as well as the ongoing maintenance and repairs that frequently accompany investment properties. When you do finally get a property under contract, you’ll be expected to pay earnest money, which is typically 1% of the purchase price. Earnest money essentially serves to ensure that you will not walk away and waste everyone else’s time and effort. This fee is refundable only if you buy the property as promised or back out due to a legitimist reason, like a disastrous inspection, uncovering unforeseen detriments.

                Once you do close on a property, and have effectively budgeted more than you think you need for regular and emergency home repairs, it’s essential to estimate your annual rental income. Research similar units to find an average monthly rent. Commonly, what your charging for rent should amount to at least 1% of the total purchase price. You also need to calculate your net operating income – This equates to your annual rental estimate minus your annual operating expenses. Combine the cost of the everything you will pay while maintaining your property every year; like insurance, property taxes, maintenance and homeowner association fees. Do not include your mortgage or interest in your net operating income. Divide the net operating income by the total value of your mortgage to find your total return on investment (ROI).

Buying a Investment Property

                When it comes to owning an investment property your budget involves more than how large of a mortgage you can afford. In addition to monthly mortgage payments, you will also have to budget for the ongoing costs of owning and renting out the property – utilities, maintenance, upkeep, and taxes will all weight against how much you realistically expect to collect in rent. Maintenance will likely be one of the most significant costs to consider when purchasing an investment property. You can choose to hire a property management company or handle things rent collection, repairs, and snow removal on your own. New investment property owners can expect to spend 1% of their property’s value each year on maintenance, but it varies depending on factors like the number of units, when the property was built and the conditions of major systems like plumbing and electric.

                In addition to expenditures like taxes and homeowner insurance, you will also have to budget for marketing your property, background checks on prospective tenants, and utilities. You want to make sure that your property is adequately marketed to the right audience of renters, and be prepared to perform background checks to ensure that you are getting the highest quality of candidates. As far as utilities go, you will have a few options; you can either include them as part of the monthly rent, charge your tenant each month, or ask the tenant to sign up in their name and pay the utility companies themselves. It is also important for investment property owners to be familiar with rental laws that vary state-to-state, as well as be prepared for having to deal with delinquent tenants.

Buying an Investment Property

                Purchasing an investment property is a big step for any investor, and more than likely will be one of the largest assets you can buy. With a little bit of time and effort, and a lot of research and due diligence, it can be a great way to generate passive income. The cornerstone of successfully buying and owning an investment property is to be prepared and knowledgeable of all the challenges and obstacles you may encounter along the way. Investing in real estate is certainly not for the faint of heart, however when done right it can be one of the most fruitful and rewarding financial decisions you ever made.