Emily Heerd & Alex Lampel - wildlife sanctuary + regenerative veganic farmstead - fairfax, vt | In 2020, we began what felt at first like a daunting process: buying our first home. When we met with Shawn for an initial consultation, our minds were immediately put at ease, and we knew instantly that we were in good hands. Shawn quickly surpassed our expectations, consistently demonstrating she was willing to go above and beyond the duties of a buyer broker and real-estate counselor. She supported us as if we were family and went to great lengths to help us find the perfect first home.
Shawn not only patiently educated us and thoughtfully guided us through the home-buying process, but she also created a dynamic in which we could honestly express our hopes, concerns, and values without fear of judgement. As ethical vegans, our primary goal was to find a piece of land to steward— using veganic/regenerative agricultural practices for growing food, as well as establishing a sanctuary for the wild kin who live there. Shawn went beyond the necessary due diligence to ensure our new home would not be in close proximity to public hunting land, CAFOs, or other operations that would contradict our vegan ethics. This is not something most brokers would think about, let alone undertake so attentively. It was evident that her personal experience with land stewardship allowed for such thorough and essential insights.
It was truly an invaluable opportunity working with Shawn, an ethical vegan herself. Our aligned morals helped us to efficiently sift through unfavorable properties and fostered powerful experiences along the way. For example, during one of our house tours, we discovered the horrific sight of a mouse stuck to a glue trap, and Shawn supported us in pausing the tour to refocus our efforts to a rescue mission. We were ultimately successful in releasing the mouse from the trap and fully rehabilitating them. This experience reaffirmed that working with an ethical vegan was the ideal choice for us.
Between her keen eye for detail, indispensable expertise, honesty and open-mindedness, Shawn provided the best experience we could have hoped for as first time home buyers. She nurtured our growing edges, advocated for us, and selflessly committed herself to helping us find a property we would love. Thanks to Shawn, we found our dream home just in time to welcome our first baby! We are so deeply grateful to Shawn and could not recommend her more.
Chip & Jennifer Lovett - equine sanctuary - starksboro, vt | My husband and I recently (2020) relocated from southern Vermont to the general Burlington area. We found a house and property we felt fit most of our needs in Starksboro. Shawn kindly offered to act on our behalf as a buyer's representative.
Our small herd of eight rescued equines necessitated that we find a place with a barn, pasture, and access to water. Because we have a great set-up at our southern Vermont home, we wanted at least the equivalent in our next. The Starksboro property was particularly attractive to us because it was already set-up for horses, a surprisingly rare find in VT.
Having worked in residential real estate myself for a brief period of time long ago, and having experience buying and selling previous properties, Chip and I were familiar with the negotiating process, or so we thought! What started out as a relatively smooth and painless deal rapidly fell down a twisted rabbit hole as the sellers and their agent became our worst nightmare. Without Shawn's expertise and due diligence, we would probably have bailed out of the deal. She proved to be a God send (this from an atheist!), and managed to go above and beyond whatever expectations we had from our agent.
I cannot recommend Shawn more highly. She worked ridiculously hard on our behalf. Her knowledge of her field is deep, she is efficient, extremely professional, a great sleuth and problem solver, as well as an eloquent advocate for her clients. She also was upfront with us about her issues with the property and provided us with a great deal of information, not supplied by the sellers, that could have impacted our decisions about our pending purchase. She kept in constant touch as we confronted problems, was always accessible and friendly, and solved several issues, as well as located and involved inspectors and a variety of contractors.
Chip and I are indebted to Shawn for her professionalism, expertise and dedication. If only I could cook as well as Melissa Hoffman, I would create an enormous vegan feast for her when we finally move into our new home! Sadly, I lack Melissa's culinary skills so she may have to settle for something a lot less tasty...but embodied with enormous amounts of thanks and everlasting friendship!
Paedra Bramhall - bramhall wilderness preserve - bridgewater, vt | Shawn helped me during a most critical stage in bringing my vision of a FOREVER WILD Preserve, now the Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Preserve, to fruition.
I added Shawn to my worthy legal and financial advisors to add perspective from her wealth of knowledge, to add blunt assessment both of my approach to working and dealing with the Northeast Wilderness Trust (NWT), and to give me insight from outside the box on how they were viewing me and how they deal with me.
She was acutely blunt with her advice and assessments to me, and did not candy-coat her opinions and observations. She pushed hard in one-on-one direct communications, emails, and meetings. These viewpoints which she presented me with caused me to look through different lenses at the overall picture, and at my goal in ways that I would not necessarily have chosen. This was all positive.
Shawn was always focused and aware of the goal of reaching the closing with NWT, and the keeping true to my vision and what I held as most important. Shawn was the right person at the right time.
I sincerely thank her for all that she did in thus Preserving as FOREVER WILD the 355 acres my mom passed forward to me.
Thank you Shawn.
Hugh M. Eaton, III - eaton's run - dublin, nh | In 2006 my wife and I decided to donate a conservation easement on a large tract of land surrounding our farm in Southern New England to a local conservancy. Our farm consists of five contiguous parcels of land and numerous out buildings.
As part of the process we needed advice about how to structure the easement to achieve multiple family planning goals. In particular, we wanted the easement to provide maximum protection for the land we planned to conserve, while at the same time assure us flexibility in our inevitable future family planning of the farm. We also needed an IRS Qualified Appraisal.
Earth Asset was one of several firms recommended to us. After our due diligence and interviews with the candidate firms we selected Shawn, Founder & Owner of Earth Asset, based on the impression she made in our interview, recommendations from her previous clients, and her extensive background in this area.
Throughout the nearly year-long process it took to complete our project, Shawn demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and integrity. She was easy and pleasant to work with, was always on time for meetings and always totally prepared, and delivered the project on time and on budget.
In the final stages of our project we retained one of the country’s leading law firms specializing in Conservation Easement Law to make sure that all applicable rules, regulations, and document filing requirements had been complied with. After their review of Shawn’s report they told us that her work was of the highest quality and completeness in every respect.
We are completely satisfied with the job Shawn did for us.
Steve Gretzinger - acquisitions manager, greenwood resources, or | When working with World Wildlife Fund's Latin America division, I had the need for a professional with not only strong project design, writing and analytical skills, but also the flexibility to think out of the box on a unique project. Our goal was to determine the Total Asset Value of a 180,000 hectare forestry concession in the Peruvian Amazon. The area had been granted to a private consortium of timber companies to manage over a 40-year period. While their primary goal was to sustainably manage the forest for timber, the owners also wanted to see if other non-timber and less tangible assets could be sustainably managed as part of more holistic business model.
I was fortunate to have made contact with Shawn and she gladly stepped into the project. I was impressed by her ability to apply lessons learned from the Northern Hemisphere to a place as unruly, hot, and complicated as the lowland Amazon basin. Her ability to see various viewpoints, not take sides, and look for a balanced direction North (or South in our case) was impressive. Shawn provided a solid and professional perspective to the team working with Peruvian executives, international conservation advocates and neighboring indigenous communities, and was key to developing a sound analytical framework that proved useful to WWF's strategy work in that ecoregion.
Shawn was also very pleasant to work with, personable and diligent, and I would highly recommend her for similar work in and outside of the U.S.
Michael & Jim Tomasso - chester farm & forest - chester, vt | Our family owns and manages a large property which combines a historic homestead, iconic rolling hills and extensive managed forest tracts for which Shawn has provided a variety of real estate services. Shawn brings an unusual suite of skills and high level of professional qualifications in valuation, legal documentation, conservation and brokerage. Trained as a lawyer and an expert in valuation and land planning analysis, she possesses a professional toolkit that supplants hiring a number of experts to fill the role she handles alone: attention to contract detail, a keen and accurate assessment of property and timber assets, impressive writing and presentation skills to showcase your property from perspectives that brokers of narrower background would be inclined to overlook. By virtue of this deep professional bandwidth, Shawn creatively and collaboratively can develop financial, legal, and conservation options with property owners seeking not simply to market their land holdings but to do so in responsible and beneficial ways. Shawn also has a strong network of brokerage colleagues at Earth Asset and outside specialists that she does not hesitate to engage when circumstances require. What is however most remarkable about Shawn is the passion, integrity and energy that she dedicates to her work and the sense of responsibility she brings in representing the interests and objectives of her unique clients. She has treated every aspect of involvement in our property as if it were her own.
We speak with confidence because our own family has been involved in real estate land, development and management for more than 50 years. We know of no other real estate professional that could bring more skilled and thoughtful engagement to the table for our Vermont property than Shawn Smith. We highly recommend her and Earth Asset to prospective clients as a go-to real estate expert.
Clubside Partnership - cathead point- leelanau peninsula, mi | Clubside Partnership wasn’t looking for the kind of expertise Shawn offers in selling its 30-year lakefront summer compound, but learned of Shawn’s potential to help through a family member. Clubside was not using the property any longer, and had been unsuccessfully managing the sale and maintenance of this significant asset from afar for over five years.
Shawn identified marketing flaws and barriers to its sale and developed a detailed plan to remove each barrier. In the course of her legal, tax, land planning, permitting and conservation easement work, she uncovered and corrected even more issues. All the while, she maintained objective diplomacy in dealing with managing partners whose bad decisions and wasteful expenditures of the past were daylighted by her due diligence.
Shawn successfully negotiated, consolidated and re-wrote four separate conservation easements into one modern document, better defined the parcels remaining for development in such a way that enhanced the conservation value of the property while simultaneously solidified its value, and obtained permits for the lake-front building lots remaining on our nearly 100-acre waterfront estate. This aspect of her work alone drew on her legal and negotiating skills, appraisal and tax-implication knowledge, and her impressive attention to detail. Shawn’s attention to detail also revealed numerous errors in the existing survey, which were corrected under her scrutinous review. As part of this final, legally important work, Shawn ensured that conserved areas and development envelopes were re-surveyed and clearly marked to eliminate confusion on the part of a new owner as to where development could happen, or not. All of her consulting work was set forth in an easy to understand set of recommendations, complete with timelines and budgets; she came in on time and on, or under, budget throughout the project.
When her consulting work was complete, she developed professional marketing materials, new photography, new video, new advertising and brochures emphasizing well-placed national online resources. Within months of formally relaunching the property, it went under contract for more than what it had last been listed at prior to Shawn’s involvement. With Shawn's extensive due diligence to support the property's list price, exceptional marketing collateral, and her remarkable acumen in real estate matters, our property sold for a record-setting price during a difficult real estate market. Clubside didn’t know that it needed Shawn’s expertise, but without her the property was headed to auction where it was destined to be sold for less than half of what we received.
Rob Sennott - seaver hill - pomfret, vt | For the past almost 10 years I have counted on you for terrific counsel and advice. The appraisal and consulting work that you have done has been expertly delivered and proven to be very valuable. Your knowledge and passion for real estate consulting, brokerage and appraisal continues to impress me. Because I trust that you will do a good job I have referred several new clients to you, and you have served all of them very well. I look forward to working with you on another project soon!
Linda M. Bland - huntington land, vt | Shawn represented the buyers for our long-held family property. Our contact with her over 4 months was always respectful, professional—and fun. Shawn has the contacts to coordinate and move properties with satisfaction by both parties in the transaction. I have recommended her to two families since our sale because of her diplomacy and dedication. The morning of the closing, Shawn went to extraordinary lengths to ensure we were able to finish the sale. We felt fortunate to have someone as professional as Shawn involved in our family property’s future.
Ted Blood - huntington land, vt | Shawn Smith was instrumental in finding and securing our property. Her real estate experience was an asset in evaluating the land and also in negotiating with the sellers. Shawn is without question one of the best real estate advisors I've worked with because she quickly understood my needs, thoroughly evaluated the property, carefully documented her appraisal of its value, and was very responsive to my needs and questions. If I am in the market again, I plan to work with Shawn. She is exceptional in her work.
Melissa Hoffman - founder, livingfuture foundation - huntington, vt | When it came time for my non-profit, LivingFuture Foundation, to sell its flagship project - a very unique luxury green property - I scoured the web for someone in the real estate industry who could get their head around the property’s unconventional nature, represent it accurately, and help develop a marketing plan to accompany its launch. I found Earth Asset quite by chance, and was impressed with the firm's emphasis on conservation planning and its owner’s apparent ecological ethic.
Though I hadn’t heard of Earth Asset until then, I ultimately chose founder Shawn Smith to market and broker my property because of her energy, a glowing reference from another client, and her valuable expertise in realms outside of the brokerage world--appraisal, law, and conservation. I have never encountered another advisor--much less a broker--who could grasp and advise about so many dimensions of a property, particularly with respect to all that goes in to preparing it for market.
Throughout the course of working with her, I have come to trust Shawn implicitly, and can vouch for her consummate professionalism and integrity. I now know her personally and am a partner at Earth Asset. I have witnessed her mastery and poise in different business settings, bringing both clear communication and deep listening to the consulting table, and fairness in all her dealings with a wide spectrum of personalities. She truly cares about her work and about each one of her clients.
Shawn went on to provide consulting and brokerage services for two additional properties I have an interest in; one held in a family trust, and another owned by my foundation. With each property she righted the mistakes and oversights of the past to bring each to its proper position in the market, won the respect of other professionals associated with the each property, and developed terrific maps and information packets that wowed buyers and other brokers alike. Quite frankly, there should be another professional category to describe what Shawn does, because 'broker' and 'consultant' don't convey the breadth of her capabilities.
I can’t recommend Shawn highly enough.