Danielle Ryan and Julie Lamoreaux

Left to right: Danielle Ryan and Julie Lamoreaux, Realtors with Coldwell Hickok and Boardman. 

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Julie Lamoreaux gets the chills just thinking about the positive effect buying a home can have on families. 

“It helps kids do better in school, it brings stability and helps you to feel safe and protected,” she said. “It's my safe haven. I can be me in my house.”

A Realtor with Coldwell Banker Hickok and Boardman, Lamoreaux and her colleague Danielle Ryan say it is an honor to work with people on buying a home. For many, this is the biggest transaction and most meaningful transition of their lives.

“I grew up with a lot of relatives who, once they bought a home, were in it for the next 30 years,” Ryan said. “I want to help somebody find their forever home.”

But for Vermonters who have been looking to buy since the COVID-19 pandemic began, that dream may have felt out of reach, as the housing market stays competitive and expensive. 

On a call this week, Lamoreaux and Ryan said though the market is still bustling, changes are starting to happen. Homes are staying on the market for longer and less deals are being made in cash. 

The keys to success, they said, are being patient and being prepared. 

“If you're looking for a realtor, find someone who has time for you in their schedule, who's willing to explain things in plain English and doesn't mind holding your hand as you go through the process,” Lamoreaux said. 

Q: Is the real estate market starting to cool in Northwest Vermont?

Lamoreaux:  Like the temperature of water, there's a lot of variables when you start thinking about cooling, but we're not seeing as intense a market as it was a year ago. Then, there were a lot of cash buyers and no inspection contingencies. 

Now, houses are staying on the market for more than 10 days, even in Chittenden County. And houses in the $300,000 to $400,000 range are receiving five or six offers instead of 25 — and that makes any one buyer’s chances better. 

Ryan:  Buyers still need to come with their boots on and their best offer in their pocket. They need to be pre-qualified and have financing in order. 

Q: Are housing prices going down yet? 

Lamoreaux:  That's not at all what we're seeing. There is still a really strong demand and that demand is going to continue.

Ryan:  First-time buyers are crossing their fingers there’s going to be a huge decline. I think we'll see it kind of mellow out a little bit, but I don't see this drastic drop that everybody's hoping for. 

Lamoreaux:  And that’s actually good news. Because we're seeing more stabilization, rather than a decline, buying right now is going to be a stable investment. It's going to be a good long-term plan. 

Folks who are looking to own their home for only a few years and then move along, it's really not a great time to be considering this market. But for somebody who's wanting to live somewhere for 7-10 years, buying right now is a smart choice.  

Q: What advice do you have for someone who isn't yet ready for homeownership, but might be in the next 2-3 years?

Ryan: Establish a relationship with a local lender. Find out how you can start preparing: do you need to set up a savings account or pay off car loans? Can you get your credit score in order? 

Lamoreaux: Save your cash. What are little things you can do to save a few bucks here and there? Brew your own coffee at home instead of getting it out.

Coldwell Banker Hickok and Boardman is part of the Messenger’s Preferred Business Program. Learn more at samessenger.com/preferred_business_program.

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