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Planning a move to Vermont: Everything you need to know!

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

Considering a move to Vermont? We love this state and hope that you will too! Whether you are considering moving here for a job, to be closer to loved ones or because of the culture and landscape, there's a lot to take into consideration and we hope to point you in the direction of some great resources.




When considering a move to VT you’ll want to consider these top pieces of information

  1. Cost of living in Vermont

  2. Housing: rental and purchasing

  3. Communities of Northwestern VT and beyond

  4. Schools and resources

Job Opportunities


Moving to a new place often means finding new passions in the ways of working. This may mean a new job or an entrepreneurial endeavor. It is recommended to start your job search early to ensure stability as you make your move. Good news! Vermont has been ranked in the top 10 states for job outlook based on metrics including job opportunities, unemployment rate, median annual income, average commute time and job satisfaction.


Some of the Major employers in the area are: UVM medical center, Global foundries, Seventh Generation and GE. VT is also home to over 75,000 small business (measured by fewer than 500 employees) accounting for 19.3% in total exports generated by small businesses.

For more resources on small business, check out https://www.vtsbdc.org/ and https://thinkvermont.com/entrepreneurs/


For job listings and career resources in Vermont, visit JobsInVT.com, Local resources you may find valuable are Sevendays and Linked-in.


Cost of living


When you ask locals they will tell you that VT cost of living is high, and noted to be around 17% higher than the national average. However when compared to it’s New England neighbors, it is one of the more affordable states in this area. Costs of housing, food, fuel, childcare and healthcare are contributing factors to the average cost of living. With less supply chains it can be a bit harder to find fresh produce, daily essentials and with it costs of things like strawberries can be $5, a gallon of gas is around $4 but we’ve seen it reach 5, and a gallon of milk around 4.75. With cold winters and the cost of heating oil around 4.25, it can cost upwards towards 300/month to heat an average size home in the winter. Homeowners would tell you one of the higher costs is the labor of hiring those in the skilled trades. Take this piece of the puzzle seriously before making the commitment. You’ll want to know it aligns with your budget.


For detailed cost of living information, check out these websites:



Housing


Housing is a major factor to consider when moving to Vermont. We’ve seen significant increases in the cost of housing over the years 2020-2022. As one of the largest pieces of your monthly budget, it is highly recommended to understand the local real estate prices and availability before making your decision. Keep in mind that certain towns will be serviced by city water, city sewer and others just water and other especially more rural lots will have their own well and septic systems.

Let’s start with Rental averages

An average 2 bed rental in Burlington is around $2000, surrounding counties around $1400. There is a rental shortage with a lack of affordable housing. I have a rental resource guide with some great tips and resources. You can find that on my blog at JulieDanaher.com. I encourage you to Explore more rental averages:


Real estate For Sale


Depending on the location, the bed and bath count, square foot lot size, features, age built and condition, sales prices can vary quite a bit.



Here is a map of the median sales prices in the counties of VT. You can see depending on the area, prices range dramatically. This can be due to access to amenities, the size and styles of homes in the area and larger lot sizes as many places in VT require 10 acre minimum zoning. Most, if not all towns in VT are experiencing a housing shortage. In Chittenden County, we are down nearly 20% YTD in new listings. A balanced inventory is 5-6 month of supply and we have been hovering below 2 months for years now. An average appreciation for this area is around 3-5%. When purchasing real estate it is highly recommended to work with an agent who is an expert in your market on pricing and strategies that are working to purchase homes and avoid competition.



Communities of VT and what each of them have to offer


Vermont offers diverse communities with unique qualities. Although nearly 98% of the state is considered rural, there are some more urban and densely populated areas such as Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland. Each of these Communities offer a different feel and culture. Unique features may include population size, open green space, access to trails hiking, rivers and lakes as well as local coffee shops, shopping centers, entertainment like movie theaters and local bars and restaurants.

I encourage you to check out my community pages on my website at JulieDanaher.com


Travel


One thing I hear so much from others is how they love the ease of VT for travel. However, you may need to navigate back dirt roads or travel out of your way to the 1 main interstate 89, a 2 lane highway with a speed limit of 65 stretching across the state from North west to south east. Other main routes in VT include Route 7 or the Ethan Allen highway- a north–south highway w/ 176 miles (283 km) along the western side of the state. Other notable route 100 is considered Vt’s scenic byway for it takes you through some of VTs picturesque landscape of ski mountains such as Stowe, Mad River Glen and Killington. Commute times vary depending on if you are on the interstate or a back road. General speed limits are 25-30 in cities, 30-40 through towns, up to 50 on certain sections of routes.


Amenities


Shopping

Let’s just say that we were the last US state to get a Target. Vt can be a bit behind the times, but local shops and farmers markets make up for it! Some of the main grocery stores found throughout the state include Hannafords, market 32 and Shaws. I had a client one time as if instacart delivered to her area! Luckily the answer was yes. Local UPS and USPS will deliver Amazon as well to most locations. In VT there is not a starbucks on every corner, but some towns have more than 1:) In some towns you may find yourself driving 20 min to the next town over to the nearest major grocery store.

Some of the larger shopping centers can be found in Burlington on Church Street South Burlington at the University Mall, Berlin Mall, Maple Tree place in Williston, Essex Experience, Green mountain mall in St. Johnsbury, and Manchester Outlets. Used clothing and thrift stores are also abundant especially in chit county. Williston has several stores focused on kids clothing.


Internet

Keep in mind much of VT is rural, therefore High speed internet is not available in certain areas. Burlington Telecom is one of the larger companies expanding Fiber currently into new areas. Other local service providers are Comcast Xfinity, Fidiim and consolidated communications.


Access to health care

Major hospitals in the area include UVM medical center, Northwest medical, Copley, Porter med center.

For a full list you can visit: healthvt.gov

Urgent, pediatric and primary care offices are also found throughout the state.


I recommend asking yourself what is important in your lifestyle. Although some of these rural towns offer homes at a much lower asking price, they may not have amenities used or important access to medical care is another. Click here for a comprehensive list of Vermont Hospitals



Taxes


Real estate taxes: Each town in Vermont has its own tax rate, which can significantly impact your monthly expenses. Research tax rates in the areas you're interested in. This is comprised of education and home or non homestead rates. Total together, Tax rates vary from around 1.5-3%. Areas with more services like Burlington will tend to have higher tax rates. With average assessed value of a home let’s say at 400,000 in a town that’s 2.5% tax that’s 10,000.00

Vt sales and use tax is 6% to include purchases of things like accessories, cosmetics, hygiene products, sports and recreational equipment.


Vt tax rate for sales and meals is 9%, 10% alcoholic beverage tax

Look up the specifics on your personal income and property taxes and figure out what the local sales tax will be. How much are these going to affect your funds in the future? https://tax.vermont.gov/property-owners


Schools

Each school has something different to offer to their community. Many parents find this piece to be overwhelming. Vermont's schools vary in offerings, making it essential for parents to research and choose the right fit for their children. Explore educational resources. Schools have different services and support staff, student to teacher ratios, different tech, athletics and clubs. Average public school size is around 277 students.




Climate

The VT joke that is that its not uncommon to experience all 4 seasons in one day. We’ve bene known to get snow in may.

What are VT winters like? I’ve lived here all my life and although each winter comes with different snow days and storms, we make it through. I always recommend keeping a blanket, gloves and a hat in the car! SNOW tires and 4/all wheel drive are my two go-to’s. Average temperatures in winter are around 20% Fahrenheit Yes, many VT’s drive a Subaru:) my top pic a 4runner From as early as March when we see the first temp of the 70’s to the later October we crave the sun and make use of it!! Ski season is another time of year Vermonters look forward to. Vermonters and those who travel here take full advantage of the 25 ski resorts that VT has to offer.


Average temps in summer are around 70% depending on where you are in the state. Temps do often fall below 0 but not as often above 100. Summers here are my fav part of the year ! And although we only get 58 days of full sunshine, we take full advantage! Swimming, hiking, boating on over 800 lakes in VT including our largest, Lake Champlain.


In closing, I love VT and I stay here Because VT is my home and others have helped me see it for all the beauty that it is. There are so many nights I pull aside of the road for a gorgeous sunset, or pause on a walk just for the peace I feel. It is a place of serenity when you need it, ease and accessibility, adventure when it’s calling and most of all my family and friends.


If everything you've heard so far sounds appealing, awesome!


Your next step…. To Check out my community pages at Julie Danaher.com to learn more about the different counties and what makes each of them special. AND don’t forget to Subscribe to my channel for more videos on community in VT!




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