A Home for Your Hog

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

It is the 87th Anniversary of the Laconia Motorcycle Rally and thousands of bikers have descended on the Lakes Region to enjoy the scenery and hospitality of the area. Today’s motorcycle enthusiasts are a far cry from the early days. Today there are doctors, lawyers (a few Indian Chiefs), business professionals, corporate executives, and more than a few real estate agents out there enjoying the “wind in your face” lifestyle. It is a different breed of biker today. Many are older and much more affluent. They have to be, as these gleaming iron horses cost more than a lot of the automobiles on the road today. With all these bikers here you’d think that more than just a few would be interested in finding a home for their hog right here in the Lakes Region. Here are a few methods we can employ to not only get these prospective biker/buyers to stop but to actually get them into your home, which is the essential step in getting them to buy it! You do want to sell, don’t you?

One only needs to look around to see what would get these prospective buyers to stop at your house. Bikini bike washes in your driveway will usually work. You’ll need a good sign and obviously someone to wear bikinis, so you should try and line up some college co-eds earlier in the year. Having a vendor selling T shirts, bike parts, or doing tattoos in your yard also works extremely well. If you have a pool in the back yard, a sign on the road advertising “Beach Bar Open” can be really effective marketing especially if you get the scantily clad Wild Turkey or Jagermeister girls to work the pool area and perhaps hold up signs near the street. The girls are essential as there is a lot of competition in this area just like in the housing market! Several other good ways to get potential buyers to stop is to advertise free camping in your back yard, put up a “Rally Headquarters” sign, or “Poker Run Stop” sign (all you need is a deck of cards). To make your property stand out paint your garage orange and black. To really get noticed, fly the American and MIA POW flags in your yard as bikers are very patriotic.

Once you get the bikers to stop you need to get them into the house. A “Free Beer Tomorrow” sign with an arrow pointed to your front door works well but may irritate some of your prospects because bikers aren’t stupid, they live for today, not tomorrow. Probably the most useful method will be a “Rest Room” sign. That is guaranteed to work.

Now that the biker/buyer is in the house, you can win him over easily with a few decorating tips. In the bath make sure that there’s a lot of chrome. Burnished bronze accessories don’t work for a biker. Towel and face cloth racks, lights, mirror frames, and shelves should all be chromed. Floors should be black and white tile. A black leather toilet seat cover would be perfect. You need a shower big enough for two (three is preferable). Once you’ve got his attention with the bathroom you can seal the deal with the living room. The living room should have, if it already doesn’t, a pool table dead center and black leather couches and chairs with leather saddle bags draped over the armrests. A large flat screen TV is also essential in this room. Throw in a few neon signs for ambiance and you are all set. If your wife doesn’t let you take it this far upstairs (i.e. if you are not a biker), then make sure your basement or your garage is outfitted as above. If you have no garage (that may put your home out of the running completely) you must make sure that your buyer can at least get his bike into the basement for storage in the winter. Storing the bike in the living room would be much better, but that could mess up the placement of the pool table.

Following these few simple suggestions should bring you a buyer during bike week, but you really shouldn’t try any of this alone. Always consult with a real estate agent (like me) that also rides. It is your safest bet to have a true professional biker/agent help during this opportune selling time! Next year I might even change my real estate yard signs to an orange and black sign just like the Harley Davidson logo, that should help.

The residential home sales activity in the Lakes Region during May 2010 was just about the same as in May of 2009. Last month there were 68 transactions at an average sales price of $314,665 and a median price of $183,000. In May 2009 there were 69 transactions at an average of $258,828 and a median sales price of $187,000. Home sales for the rolling 12 month period ending 5/31/10 totaled 765 transactions at an average sales price of $308,823 compared to 669 transactions at an average sales price of $307,896 for the 12 month period ending 5/31/09. That is a 14% increase in the total number of sales for that period. That’s certainly better than going the other way! Let’s hope home sales remain strong over the next few months and that everyone has a safe and sound bike week!

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E=mc² and the Housing Market in the Lakes Region of NH

Friday, June 4th, 2010

As of June 1, 2010 there were 1256 residential homes for sale in the communities in this Lakes Region market report. The average asking price stood at $578,941 and the median sales price was $299,000. This equates to a very high 19¾ month’s worth of inventory on the market (just in case you are wondering why it is taking a long time for your home to sell). In June of 2008 there were 1128 homes for sale and in June of 2009 we edged up to 1170. The average listing price has increased from $533,339 in June, 2008 and $562,780 in June, 2009 but this again is a reflection of what is for sale and definitely not an increase in overall home values.

It is no secret that it is taking longer to sell mid to upper end homes in today’s market. Homes currently on the market priced over $400,000 have been on an average of 213 days. The average days on market calculated by our MLS are lower than the actual days on market due to the fact that the system can only account for how long the home has been listed with the current real estate agency. Many homes have been listed multiple times with different agencies therefore the average days on market figure is higher—possibly a lot higher.

As of June 1, there were 163 homes listed with the same agency for more than a year and 29 of those were on for over 2 years! There were 7 new construction (to-be built) listings that exceeded 1800 days on the market (which actually is not unusual and they might be there another 1800 days).There were three other properties that exceeded 1,000 days on the market. There is an 800 square foot cottage in the water access community of Balmoral in Moultonborough that started out at $194,900 about 1113 days ago and now is offered at $184,900. Another is a 2,100 square foot, 3 bedroom home on the Merrymeeting River at 32 Suncook Valley Rd in Alton that was originally offered at $895,000 and has been reduced to $549,000 and has been on the market or 1092 days. Lastly there is a two bedroom cottage in the prestigious Bald Peak Colony in Moultonborough that was listed for $645,000 a mere 1097 days ago is now down to $450,000. Do you think these sellers might be getting a little anxious by now?

But you know, some homes do sell quickly! Since the first of the year 108 out of the 278 homes sold (as of June 2) were sold in less than two months! Of those, 64 homes sold in less than a month! The homes that sold in 31 days or less averaged 97% of their asking price and the average sales price was 87% of their assessed values (for those listings reporting their assessments). Homes that sold between 32 to 62 days of coming on the market garnered 91% of their asking price and the average sales price was 96% of their assessed values. The average time on the market for all 278 homes that sold was 162 days. Now some of these homes could have been on the market with another agency for more money before, but you get the drift.

You had to be Einstein to come up with E=mc², but you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that providing a buyer with a good value = lower DOM.

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Stuck in the middle with you…

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The housing market continues to show some improvement in the Lakes Region with 71 residential home sales in the month of April, 2010 compared to just 50 in April 2009. That’s a strong 43% increase! The average price was also up from $266,598 in April 2009 to $274,203 last month. Once again, over half the homes that sold were under the $200,000 mark. On a rolling 12 month basis ending on April 31, 2010 there were 766 sales at an average sales price of $301,804 compared to 665 sales at an average of $318,187 for the same period ending April 30, 2009. That equates to a 15% increase in sales year to year. Pretty good!

The highest sale award in April goes to the property located at 140 Alpine Park Rd in Moultonborough at $3.8 million. It was the only sale over $1 million but is was a really nice one. The home is a new 8,000 square foot Adirondack Winnipesaukee waterfront on 2.8 acres land with a 288’ white sand beach. This high quality home by Scott Fuller Development has six bedrooms, eight baths, gourmet kitchen, great room, home theater, exercise room, a three car garage, and great sunset views.

Do you remember the 1972 rock classic by Steelers Wheels entitled “Stuck in the Middle With You”? It should be the new theme song for all of the mid-priced home owners (and maybe their agents) that are having a hard time selling their homes. The second verse (for those that need a hint) goes: “Yes, I’m stuck in the middle with you. And I’m wondering what I should do, It’s so hard to keep a smile on your face, Losing control, I’m all over the place, Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, Stuck in the middle with you” (you can designate who are the clowns and the jokers anyway you want). It seems like there always is a lot of focus put on the high end waterfront sales or the first time home buyer market, but what about the stuff stuck in the middle? What’s selling and why?

Well, what sold in the middle in the Lakes Region was mostly more waterfronts or at least water access! In the $200,000-300,000 price group there were eight sales that would be considered primary residences, two water access homes, and four waterfronts (two on Half Moon, one on Locke Lake, and one on Silver). In the $300,000-400,000 price range there were just two primary homes sold, three water access properties, and four waterfronts (two on Winnisquam and two on Winnipesaukee). In the $400,000 to $1 million category there were two water access homes and six waterfronts (two on Winnisquam and four on Winnipesaukee).That means 21 (out of 31) of the mid-priced homes had something to do with floating a boat or getting in the water!

An example of a single family home “in the middle” that did sell in April was a very nice 3,098 square foot, 4 bedroom, 2 bath colonial built in 2004 at 15 Simmons Court in Tilton. It was on the market for $294,000 and sold for $277,000. There also was a 3968 square foot, four bedroom, 4 bath colonial built in 2008 at 397 Bean Hill Road in Belmont. It was listed at $330,000, sold for an even $300,000, and with an assessment of $388,300 it seems like the new owner got a great deal. But it took 634 days to sell so it was stuck in the middle for more than just a little while.

Right now the problem is there are way too few buyers out there. So unless you are somehow able to “just add water”, my advice is to pay close attention to your price and make certain that your potential buyers see your home as a real value or you will be stuck for a while, too. So “If you are trying to make some sense of it all, But see that it makes no sense at all” stayed tuned to this column and I’ll keep an eye on the middle for you over the coming months…

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The Housing Market After Life Support…

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

There were 1169 residential homes available as of May 1 in the communities in this Lakes Region of NH real estate report. That is up from the 1083 homes that were on the market in May 2009. The current inventory level represents an 18.4 months supply of homes on the market.

Home sales will have to increase significantly in order to bring this high inventory level down to a more reasonable level. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the housing market has been taken off life support. The first time home buyer credit of $8,000 has expired (they pulled the plug so to speak) and I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. No one can stay on life support forever. It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward with sales of homes under $200,000. Many first time buyers took advantage of this stimulus and as a result 56% of the homes sold last year in the Lakes Region were under $200,000. While propping up the housing market by stimulating sales was very necessary and essential to helping stabilize our economy, everything does comes at a price and someone has to pay for it. In this case it was us, the American taxpayer. The $8,000 tax credit worked well and helped many first time buyers buy homes and also kept the inventory levels from getting even higher. Now we just need to find a way keep that positive momentum going.

There will probably be some creative marketing by real estate agencies, banks, and mortgage companies promoting special incentives to keep the home buying ball rolling. I saw an article recently about a real estate company and a mortgage company teaming up in Florida to offer “The Home Buyer Mortgage Credit” to offset the loss of the government program. It touted that that agency’s participating home sellers would be offering 3% of the purchase price back to buyers to be used toward closing cost. Also the mortgage company was reducing its rate by 1% for the first year. I’m not sure that this “Home Buyer Mortgage Credit” is really anything new, but it was packaged to try to create some excitement and interest for potential buyers.

Sellers often agree to pay 3% cash back to the buyer at closing if it is necessary to make a deal happen. That 3% back helps a cash strapped buyer who may have enough money for the down payment but can’t cover his closing costs. Sometimes the seller won’t (or can’t) contribute to the buyer’s closing cost because he needs to recoup a certain amount of money. In those cases the 3% needed by the buyer for closing costs can get added on top of the purchase price as long as the property will appraise at the agreed upon price. In this case the buyer is still paying his closing costs, but he’s paying over time by rolling them into his mortgage.

Home buyers have also always been able to ”buy down” the interest rate on a home mortgage by paying points up front. The mortgage company in Florida says they are paying to reduce the interest rate, but just by 1% and just for one year. That probably costs them around $2,000 which may be money well spent if it creates a lot more sales volume for the lender. However, there is no way to know whether this incentive is a good deal or not until you know what the rate of the loan is and what other fees are associated with the loan. With this, or any program offered, you have to compare it with other lender’s programs to make sure you are getting the best deal possible and that there are no hidden costs. There will be more “incentives” offered in some form or another, but to me the best “incentive” for a buyer is finding a great home at a really great price.

Let’s hope the market will continue to improve over time on its own without the help of tax payer dollars. Artificially stimulating the housing market by providing loans to marginally qualified buyers, then disguising, packaging and reselling the loans to investors who didn’t know what they were buying is what got us into this whole mess to start with. But that’s all old news. Our free market system is generally pretty resilient, so let’s see if buyers and sellers can work out the incentives between themselves without any resuscitation. That’s the way it is supposed to be…

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Hard to believe–stronger sales headed into sping!

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

It is great to finally start reporting increases in the number of residential homes sold in the Lakes Region. Scary, isn’t it? It is hard to get used to and I hope I am not jinxing anything by speaking positively, but things do seem to be improving a little as we head into spring and summer selling seasons. In March 2010 there were 59 homes that changed hands. That is a 31% increase over the 44 posted for March 2009! The average price for the homes sold in March 2010 came in at $272,539 compared to $218,530 last March. There was a little shift in the price range of homes that are selling; last March 41% of the homes that sold were over $200,000 while this March that category increased to 56% of the total sales.

For the first quarter of 2010 there was a 22% increase in sales over the same period last year; from 112 sales up to 137. The average sales price came in at $308,062 for the first quarter of this year compared to $237,480 last year which is almost a 30% increase. As I have stated previously, the increases in the average sales price for homes in the area is reflective of what is selling and should not be misconstrued to mean that home prices themselves are going up. So far this year, 50% of the sales have been over $200,000 and 27% has been over the $300,000 mark. In the first 3 months of 2009, only 39% of the sales were over $200,000 and only 18% of the sales were over $300,000. An increase in sales of the mid to higher priced homes would be very welcome.

On a rolling 12 month basis (for the year ending March 31, 2010) total sales were up about 12% compared to the 12 month period ending March 31, 2009. The average price was down slightly at $302,071 compared to $329,120 for the prior year, but that will improve if the upward trend in sales of higher priced homes over the past several months continues. We hope.

There appeared to be some pretty good deals last month. For example, a 1910 vintage 7 room, 3 bedroom, 1½ bath, cape style home on 1.74 acres at 6 Singing Eagle Lane in Center Harbor was offered at $99,900 and sold above the asking price for $116,000. That was still only 49% of the assessed value of $237,200! Another great buy was found at 210 White Oaks Road in Laconia. This home has 2,162 square feet of living space, 3 bedrooms, 1½ baths, hardwood floors, a brick fireplace and lots of 1950’s character. It was offered at $139,900 and sold for only $115,000 which was 52% of assessed value. There were some good buys on waterfront property as well. A year round cottage at 115 Kimball Drive in Moultonborough with 33 feet of frontage in Hermit Cove on Winnipesaukeewas offered at $349,900 and sold for $300,500 (or 66% of the town’s current tax assessment). It just goes to show that great affordability and value can be found on the big lake.

There were no sales over $1 million this month which is a little unusual, so the honors for the largest sale this month go to the waterfront property at 69 Sawmill Brook Rd in Alton. This very nice 1,875 square foot year round, 3 bedroom lake home built in 2006 on a level half acre lot with 100 feet of frontage, sandy beach, and U shaped dock. The home features floor to ceiling living room windows with 180 degree views of the lake, gas fireplace, bamboo flooring throughout, state of the art kitchen, and a 2 car garage. It was offered at $849,000 and sold for $790,000. Unlike the homes above, this home sold at well above its tax assessment of $614,000. That doesn’t mean that this buyer paid too much for the property or that he didn’t get a good deal. Many fine properties sell for over their assessed value and they can still be a great deal (as I suspect this home was). Condition, location, functionality, amenities, and even some intangible qualities all play a role in whether a property provides the value that a buyer is looking for and makes that special property a good deal for him.

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Baseball and real estate…

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

April showers bring May flowers and more real estate listings, but the unseasonably warm and sunny days have also brought out the buyers. Let’s hope they actually buy something! The number of single family homes in the towns in this Lakes Region report jumped from 993 last month to 1070 as of April 1. That number is also up compared to the 1000 homes listed as of April 1, 2009. Based on the number of homes sold in the last 12 months, this total is equivalent to 17 months worth of inventory. We are fortunate to have a good mix of properties and great offerings in every price range and with 28% of the listings priced under $200k there are a lot of affordable homes on the market.

For those following the lake front listings, there are 211 homes available on Lake Winnipesaukee (including island property as of April 3) with an average asking price of $1.85 million. A little under half of these listings are on the market for less than $1 million. Over on Lake Winnisquam there are 18 waterfronts available with an average asking price of $650,833. I’ve read several articles lately that say vacation and luxury homes sales are rebounding in many parts of the country so let’s hope for a great summer here as well.

The wonderful world of real estate is a very challenging place right now to say the least, for buyers, sellers, lenders, and REALTORS® alike. It seems like the normal hurdles that we face in every transaction have become magnified because we just don’t get as many offers on homes as we used to. The biggest hurdle may be getting a showing on a property. Stress levels have increased for sellers in particular (real estate agents have always had to go for therapy) and buyers seem to enjoy tormenting them with the ever popular “low ball offer”. But, in some circumstance, sellers should think very seriously about your first lowball offer!

So what is a “low ball offer”? Well, it can be viewed differently depending on your perspective on the matter. Assuming we are talking about a seller, let’s see if we can make some sense out of it. Let’s say you have been trying to sell your home for $359,00. Mr. Seller’s property is very, very nice and he has remodeled every square inch with the highest quality materials, replaced all the systems, and made it the best and most unique domicile on the planet (his agent knows all of this because Mr. Seller has told him ten times). It has been on the market for 237 days, but Mr. Seller has also had it listed before with two other agencies for a little over $400,000. Despite the fact that there have been two homes sold in town for $325,000 that were pretty similar and every bit as nice Mr. Seller’s, he is standing firm on the conviction that his home is worth more because, well…because he says so and the price is the price. Remember when you were a little kid playing baseball? Seems like the worst player was always stuck way out in right field. That’s where Mr. Seller is…

But Mr. Seller’s home really does show beautifully and after the third showing on it (yup, three showings in 237 days—pretty good right?), he gets an offer. It is a solid deal with standard contingencies and good buyer. But the buyer, through his very astute Buyer’s Agent, makes the offer at $310,000. You see, the buyer’s agent did his homework. He saw the two recently sold properties for $325,000 and also observed that Mr. Seller’s home was assessed for $315,000. To the buyer, this is not a “low ball offer”, but the right offer. To Mr. Seller, it was time for a tantrum, a token small counter offer, and then a rejection of the deal. To use another baseball analogy the offer was not low, it was really in the strike zone

Just like on ABC”s “Flash Forward” (where everyone on earth got a glimpse of their future) Mr. Seller saw that he would receive another offer. But he didn’t see how much the offer was for. Six months later, after considerable badgering by Mrs. Seller and his agent, he lowers his price to $329,000. He really didn’t want to lower his asking price, but his wife assured him that in his next Flash Forward he wouldn’t see anything except darkness. She had seen Florida in hers. Just like in the Flash Forward, he receives another offer. But this new offer for $250,000 is from a buyer that had been in town for a week and was looking for a deal on anything he could find that he could buy at a bargain price. This was a true “low ball offer”. I suspect Mr. Seller would jump at the first “low ball” offer if he could do it all over again.

If you are selling your home don’t go ballistic if you receive what you perceive to be “low ball” offer. Take time to really think about it, look at comparable sales, and talk with your agent. Someone might be trying to tell you something, particularly if your home has been for sale for the better part of this decade. It may not really be a low ball offer. It may be a reasonable offer. The moral of the story is; don’t get caught standing in right field in this housing market or its going to be a long game with extra innings and you are likely to lose in the end…

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Daniel Boone Real Estate

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Fer Sale. Two room log kabin with stone fireplace, specil wood floor, gun ports front and back, and privy out bac on over 50 acres of prime land on the Kanta-ke River in Boonesborough. Lokated at first bend below fort, along stream to large boulder, straight back to top of third ridge. Grate privacee. Owner needs more elbow room.”

I just finished reading a book about Daniel Boone while on vacation. Yup, the same guy Fess Parker played on TV who could, among other things, wrestle with a bear and save the whole town from the Indians. While many of the tall tales about Dan are just a little doubtful (and he didn’t wear a coonskin cap), he did in fact become a true legend in his own time and was celebrated in the colonies and Europe as a frontier hero. Boone was every bit the woodsman, hunter, explorer, Indian fighter, and leader of men that he was made out to be and then some. What I really hadn’t thought about until I read the biography, was how important real estate was to Daniel Boone and the other settlers of our early frontiers. Daniel, his large extended family, and many others that were willing to follow, moved around an awful lot. They were driven by the desire to find a better life for themselves and to see what was on the other side of the next mountain range or past the next river. The lust for new, more fertile, and cheaper land kept everyone moving West out of Virginia into Kentucky and then into Missouri and Ohio. I wouldn’t have wanted to be his real estate agent (if there was such a job back then) as it was a pretty dangerous time. Sometimes the settlers moved to get away from marauding Indians who became just a little more than miffed about Daniel and company encroaching on their lands and killing all their game. They really did massacre and scalp settlers (including women and children) and, unfortunately, we didn’t act much better toward them. That kind of explains the gun ports that were standard equipment in each cabin built back then.

The story of Daniel Boone is a story about real estate. He hunted and explored the unknown wilderness to the West and then helped others settle the new frontier. As more settlers followed him into the frontier, things always got a little too crowded and the once plentiful game soon became scarce. Boone always needed more “elbow room” and had to move on. Dan was also one of the first surveyors on the frontier and was hired by investors and the “well-to-do” to stake out claims for them on property they had never even seen. Boone made his living off the land by hunting and trapping, but in his later years ol’ Dan tried to make a full time living out of surveying and land speculation. While he could survey as good as anyone back then, his grasp of business practices did not come anywhere near his great hunting prowess so as a result he was always in debt. Surveying was not very precise in the wilderness and they would often use just the physical characteristics of the land to describe the claim. Descriptions like: “from the large oak tree marked with an ‘X’ to the edge of the cane break, turning west and go to a small brook…” soon lead to problems as the physical characteristics of the lands changed. Trees were cut down, boulders were moved, and rivers changed their course causing boundary markers to disappear. The lack of modern surveying equipment led to overlapping claims on properties and lawsuits that kept colonial lawyers busy for decades. These overlapping or “shingle” lots could also be located on property that had been previously granted to someone else by England years before. Many settlers had to move on after building a cabin on what they thought was their property only to find the land belonged to someone else.

Today’s settlers still move around a lot, just not as much as they used to. Maybe today’s buyers aren’t as brave as Daniel Boone, but hopefully they will get that wanderlust back in the coming months. There aren’t any more Indians to be afraid of and gun ports are no longer standard in today’s homes (although I think they may make a comeback). If you like true life adventure stories the book, simply called “Boone” by Robert Morgan, is worth reading. If nothing else, you will clearly understand the need for title insurance! Thanks, Dan.

February is a short month and we were a little short on sales, too! There were 34 homes in the towns in our Lakes Region report that found new owners last month compared to 39 in February of 2009. The average sales price of $279,480 was up slightly from last February’s average of $273,846. Just about 65% of the sales were under $200,000, with only 21% of the sales over $400K. Perhaps we should make all the mid-priced homes into duplexes to get them sold? On a rolling 12 month basis ending on 2/28/10, we had 731 sales at an average price of $299,312 for the period compared to 674 sales at an average price of $336,646 for the 12 month period ending 2/28/09. So our total sales are still up 8.5% for the 12 month window but the average sales number is down 11%.

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Some Helpful Home Buyer Tips for 2010

Monday, March 1st, 2010

We've bought a flat!There were 993 residential homes on the market in the communities in this Lakes Region of NH market report as of March 1, 2010 or about 15.5 months worth of inventory. The average asking price stands at $583,496 and a median of $289,900. This compares to 941 homes last March at an average asking price of $547,575 and a median price of $299,000.

It won’t be long and we’ll be back into the spring buying season. Ah, the smell of flowers blooming, the sound of birds chirping, a warm spring breeze, and the rustling of buyers as they come out of their winter hibernation. Well, we can hope, can’t we? If you are buying a home, and particularly if you are a first time buyer, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look for that perfect place to call home:

1. Educate yourself, particularly if you are a first time buyer. Take a first time home buyer class or read some books on home buying and ownership (there are plenty available at Borders or Amazon.com). A little knowledge will go a long way in giving you some confidence about the home ownership adventure you are about to start.

2. Meet with a local lender to find out if and how much of a mortgage you qualify for. There is no sense in looking at $300,000 homes if you can only qualify for a $200,000 home. And, you’ll also need a letter from the bank to (more…)

A Welcome January Real Estate Thaw…

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

January Lakes Region Real Estate ThawWe are through an almost snowless January and half of February with but  4-6”  or so and I’m thinking this is pretty great as I haven’t had to plow my driveway much and I haven’t sanded it once! However, the lack of snow in the Lakes Region of NH definitely has a negative impact on the local businesses and is certainly not good for the local economy. Although January residential home sales weren’t really stellar we had an avalanche of activity compared to last year. You may recall, last February I reported that January of ’09 had to be just about the bottom of the market with only 28 sales with an average of sales price of $217,283. It was pretty bad! Well, last month we had 44 residential sales at an average price of $377,781. That may not sound like much, but that is a 57% increase in sales over January 2009.

More importantly, on a rolling 12 month basis we posted 736 residential home sales for the period ending 1/31/10 compared to 669 sales for the 12 month period ending 1/31/09. That is a 10% increase in sales over a 12 month period which might not be as exciting as a blizzard to Gunstock  Ski Area but it certainly is better than the downward trend we had been experiencing. The average sales price is down from the $336,088 posted in 2009 to $298,879 as of 1/31/2010 but that is to be expected with the large number of low end sales and foreclosures.

Again, half the sales in January 2010 were below the $200,000 mark which seems to be the case just about (more…)

Lakes Region and Winnipesaukee Property Deals

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

229 Pleasant St, Laconia NHIt is time to take another look around the MLS system to see what kind of potential deals can be found in the Lakes Region of NH. There is certainly enough inventory out there to choose from. Some of the older homes on the market are offered at prices that would seem to make them pretty good values particularly if you can fix them up yourself. There are always some repairs, system upgrades, or cosmetic issues to deal with in older homes but many of these homes are well built and have charm and character that is difficult to replicate in newer construction..

For example, If you’d like a stately, turn of the century home on one of the nicest streets in Laconia, the property at 229 Pleasant Street just might satisfy the “This Old House” urge in you. This home has 3,878 square feet of living space (more…)