Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it.

Living in the Lakes Region of NH can be rewarding as there is so much to do.  There are activities all year long, winter, spring, summer and fall. We live here, we know the area well and can help you find your perfect place.

Please reach out and Contact Us if you have any questions.  We'd love to talk with you!

March 31, 2021

Spring Maintenance Checklist

 

It's been a long winter and we're ready for Spring! If your thoughts are turning to a little spring cleaning and outdoor maintenance to grab some fresh air and spring sunshine we've got some tips for you! Taking advantage of the warmer weather and getting the tasks done now, will free up more time for summer fun.

  • Check the basement for moisture and if you have a sump pump make sure it's working properly in anticipation of April showers.
  • Check and change your HVAC filters.
  • If you have air-conditioning, make sure the exterior condenser is free from debris and have the system serviced.
  • Vacuum out air ducts and clean the dryer vent of any lint. Many chimney sweeps offer this service if you need assistance.
  • Inspect and tune up lawn equipment such as the mower and weedwhacker and get ready to tackle that yard cleanup.
  • Pressure wash patios, decks and outdoor furniture. And maybe the siding too!
  • Check gutters and downspouts and clean any debris to ensure they are doing the job properly.
  • Inspect exterior steps, decks and railings for any rot that may have occurred from snow build up and exposure.
  • And of course, if feeling especially ambitious, clean windows to better enjoy the spring flowers and green grass!

A little preventive maintenance goes a long way to protecting your investment and adding to the enjoyment of your home.

March 2, 2021

When Buying Land

 

 

6 Things to Consider When Thinking of Buying Land

  • Financing- Financing vacant land is different from buying a home.  Often a larger down payment is required to secure a loan and there may be more hoops to jump through. If the land is not surveyed, the lender may require that be done to provide financing. 
  • Zoning- Zoning ordinances vary from town to town in New Hampshire, with different districts within a town having different ordinances, such as a village district or an historic district. It will be important to familiarize yourself with the zoning ordinances in the towns in which you are interested in eventually building. Within a town and a district you might also have association regulations such as size and style of home.
  • Easements- Once you've chosen a town and neighborhood, you may be looking at a specific piece of land. It will be important to research the easements, deed restrictions and covenants that run with that land. Is the land in current use (a tax designation that has a penalty for change in use) or are there conservation easements? Is there a ROW for neighboring property owners to pass over the land or utility easements that allow use of the land to others in specific ways? 
  • Water - Is this piece of land suitable for building? If there is no public water and waste system you will need to know if the land can support the size of septic you will need for the number of bedrooms you are planning in the home. To determine this, the buyer often pays for a perk test to be done if the seller does not have one available. You will also want to determine if there will be enough water to support your needs. If water is provided by a district or an association, there will be fees associated with the water use that you will want to be aware of.
  • Suitability- Is the land suitable for the use intended?  Are there wetlands that will limit usable land and thus determine the size of your home? Does it have the exposure you want for those solar panels? Will you have the view you desire if you cut down some of the trees, and are you able to do so legally (if waterfront this is especially important to consider). You will need to know if the house you are dreaming of can actually be built on the land you are considering, or if you may need to alter your plans. 
  • Finding a builder- Builders are in high demand in the Lakes and Mountains regions. Be aware that purchasing the land is the first step. Finding a builder and getting the build scheduled may take more time than you anticipated. 

These are just a few of points to be aware of when considering a land purchase, so that building that dream home won't become a nightmare.

Jan. 27, 2021

Fix Now, Pay Later

                    

 

Do you have some renovations to do before your home is ready to sell? You can fix it up with nothing to pay up front, thanks to the RealVitalize program available exclusively through Coldwell Banker. RealVitalize allows you to make necessary repairs and improvements to prep your home for sale. The program pays the upfront costs and the homeowner pays those costs back at closing. There are no hidden fees, charges or markups. The results are remarkable, with homes enrolled in the program selling more than 25% faster compared to other homes on the market. You can use RealVitalize to help with:

  • Painting
  • Room renovations
  • Staging
  • Flooring and Carpentry
  • Electrical  and plumbing
  • Cleaning and Handyman Services
  • Landscaping and Curb Appeal
  • And much more!

Sellers using the program can maximize their selling price, with no pre-approval and no minimum or maximum selling price to enroll, and no minimum project cost. All approved home improvements will be performed by a HomeAdvisor Service Professional. To learn more about this exciting, innovative and exclusive program, contact us today!

 

 

 

Dec. 28, 2020

To Refi or Not to Refi

 

 

Deciding whether to refinance an existing mortgage typically means running some numbers. You can do this on your own, but it’s helpful to get the professional assistance of a loan officer. It mostly boils down to how much you’ll save each month, but there are other considerations.

First, the change in rate isn’t everything. Old school rules say that it’s a good idea to refinance if current market rates are 1% or 2% lower than what you currently have, but the rate is only a part of it. The other component is the amount being financed. For larger loan amounts, a reduction of only 0.5% might make sense. For smaller loan amounts, 2% may not be enough.

Instead, calculate the monthly savings and then divide that amount into the closing costs associated with the mortgage. The result is how many months it will take to ‘recover’ the closing costs in the form of monthly savings. Pay less attention to the actual rate but instead how long it will take to get your closing costs back.

Take a loan amount of $300,000 over 30 years with a rate of 4.50%. The principal and interest payment works out to $1,520 per month. If current market rates are at 3.5%, the new payment would be $1,347 for a savings of $173 per month. If closing costs were $3,000, then it would take just over 17 months to recover the associated fees. Not bad. If the loan amount were $100,000 under the same scenario, the monthly savings would be $57 and recovered in 52 months, or more than four years. Probably not a good idea in that situation.

There are other considerations outside of month-to-month savings. Let’s say you’re less concerned about lowering your monthly payments, and you’re more interested in paying off your house faster. In this scenario, it may make sense to refinance at an even lower interest rate on a 15-year mortgage. You’ll pay more per month, but you can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

If you’re wondering whether a refi makes sense for you, reach out!  We’ll be happy to answer any questions and can refer you to a mortgage professional when you’re ready to crunch some numbers.  

Nov. 27, 2020

8 Reasons to List During the Holiday Season

Homeowners often think spring and summer are the best times to list a property, but selling your home during the holiday season may make a lot of sense. Here are 8 reasons why.

1. There is less competition during the holiday season. The current hot market has pushed up demand, so buyers continue to look.

2. Buyers looking during the winter tend to be well qualified and very serious in their search.

3. With less competition, prices generally rise. Homes sold during the holidays tend to sell for more, and with less days on market.

4.Your home can really shine during the holidays. Fires in the fireplace, seasonal scents of spice and balsam, play to buyers senses and memories. The holidays create an atmosphere that cannot be duplicated in warmer months.*

5. Buyers will understand more restricted showing schedules.

6. Buyers have more time to look with vacation days and out of town and seasonal visitors abound during the holidays.

7. End of year tax breaks may move buyers to close quickly.

8. It may be possible to sell now and delay the closing until spring, giving you time to find a new home when there is more for you to choose from.

*It is also important to remember a few essential tips. While a cozy atmosphere can help a sale, don't overdo the decorations. Staging your home to create that warm seasonal appeal to buyers help create nostalgic and emotional connections to the holidays, but you want to make sure the great features of your home still stand out. Buyers still need to be able to move comfortable through your home. Be thoughtful in the placement of holiday décor.

 

Oct. 21, 2020

7 Tips For Home Buyers

Buying a home is likely the largest purchase you will ever make. Whether you are a first time or a seasoned homebuyer, there are important factors to consider when purchasing a home. We've compiled a list of helpful tips to keep your homebuying journey as smooth as possible.

        1. Save, Save, Save

If this is your first home you will need to have savings for a down payment. Even if going through a program that allows for a 3% down payment the costs can add up. For example a 3% down payment on a $250,000 home would be $7,500. Seasoned home buyers may be using the proceeds from a home sale or a refinance to purchase, but for both first timers and others there will also be additional closing costs. For example, in NH there is a real estate transfer tax split between buyer and seller. On a $250,000 home the buyer's portion of the tax would be $1,875.

        2. Decide on a Budget

Calculate a price range that you are most comfortable with and stick to it.

        3. Check your credit

Credit scores affect whether a buyer will qualify for a mortgage as well as  what  interest rates will be offered. Check your credit score, pay bills promptly, pay down debt and don't close out any credit cards. There are programs available to help potential home buyers strengthen their credit. 

         4. Get Pre-Approved

A Pre-Approval will help you understand your monthly mortgage payment, as well as real estate tax implications. The tax rates in the towns vary greatly and can impact how much of a home you can afford. Your pre-approval will also allow you to consider the payment within your overall monthly living expenses. Once you are looking at homes, having a pre-approval positions you well to make an offer.  Also, many sellers want their property shown only to buyers who are pre-approved, so get this done as soon as possible.

         5. Research Mortgage Companies

Comparison shop and take a look at overall fees as well as interest rates. Be sure to consider smaller companies and local banks in your search. Local banks understand the local market and may be able to offer specialized assistance not available through larger companies.

          6. Find a Knowledgeable, Experienced Realtor (Team! )

Realtors help buyers navigate the process of purchasing property. This can be a lengthy and sometimes emotional process and having a real estate professional to assist you can make all the difference in your real estate journey.

          7. Don't Make Any Sudden Moves

In your finances that is! Any changes to your income or additions to your debt can delay or harm your mortgage application.

  •  Don't apply for a new credit card or other loan(such as car loan)
  •  Don't close any accounts
  •  Don't change jobs or quit your current job until the home purchase is finalized

Buying a home is an exciting adventure, whether it is your first home, a second home or your forever home. The NH Fine Properties Team will be with you every step of the way!

Sept. 22, 2020

12 Fall Maintenance Tips

 

 

 

 

 

While you are picking out the perfect pumpkin and putting up the fall wreaths to dress your home in warm colors to match the foliage, it's important to also think about keeping your home's systems running smoothly all winter long. We're here to help with our fall checklist of tips. Aside from maintaining your you home to keep you safe and warm all winter, it's important to know that most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage resulting form lack of maintenance. So, protect your investment and your peace of mind by following some basic winter preparation tips.

1. Clean your home's gutters, removing all leaves and debris. When left untended water and or ice can build up and cause interior flooding and exterior rot. Replace if necessary.

2. Drain all exterior water hoses and pipes and shut off exterior valves to prevent water from freezing in pipes. Disconnect the hoses and store until spring.

3. Inspect your roof for any damage or missing shingles and pay close attention to flashing around skylights and chimneys. Have a professional make any repairs needed.

4. Have your wood burning fireplace chimney(s) cleaned and inspected prior to building that first toasty fire.

5. Service any winter outdoor equipment; you'll want that snow blower in tip top shape.

6. Have the furnace/boiler cleaned and serviced.

7. If you have a freestanding generator have it serviced.

8. Inspect around your windows and doors for any gaps, leaks or cracks and apply caulk where needed.

9. Remove unused gas from mowers and other equipment and store properly until spring.

10. Bring outdoor furniture inside to prolong its use.

11. Cover and/or store outdoor "toys"; boats, kayaks etc.

12. CHANGE BATTERIES IN SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE  DETECTORS. 

Following this basic checklist will help you rest easy and stay cozy all winter long.

 

 

Sept. 1, 2020

An Apple a Day

The crisp fall air brings thoughts of bees buzzing in apple scented New Hampshire orchards to our minds. There's nothing better than an apple eaten fresh from the tree. But you can't pick just one, so we're sharing one of our favorite apple crisp recipes with you. For where to go in the Lakes and Mountains region to pick your fresh New Hampshire apples read our latest newsletter here. 

Enjoy your harvest-maybe sitting in front of a warm fire pit on a refreshingly cool evening!                                                  

                                                       

NH Fine Properties Apple Crisp

5 to 6 of your favorite variety apples, peeled and sliced

2 to 4 Tablespoons of sugar, depending on tartness and preference

2 cups rolled oats, any variety

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup flour

10 tablespoons melted butter

2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired

1. Preheat oven to 375F

2. Arrange apples in greased baking dish (9 x 9 pan works well). Sprinkle with white sugar

3. Combine remaining ingredients, except whipped cream or ice cream, and crumble over apples. Bake for about 30 minutes, (depending on variety of apples), or until apples are tender. Serve hot or warm, with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

Aug. 21, 2020

5 Reasons to Professionally Stage Your Property

Home staging is about creating a positive mood for prospective buyers when entering a property. Sure, it's important to clear the clutter and depersonalize by removing family photographs and mementos, but staging goes much deeper. Think about it as creating a a "stage" set. The property when staged should evoke a sense of warm welcome to buyers, and when done professionally, will make a property appear bigger, brighter and ready for a new family to love and enjoy.

Homes that are professionally staged:

  • Spend 86% less time on the market.  (RESA statistics)
  • Typically sell for more
  • Save on taxes, mortgage and other carrying costs with less time on market
  • Have less reasons for buyers to demand concessions
  • Have more initial interest and stand out in buyers' minds when considering offers

                           

Home staging can be small touches, or a larger scale project, but all staging highlights the best qualities of a property. It is especially important to stage vacant properties, to give buyers a chance to experience all the possibilities. Professional stagers can accomplish setting a mood with minimal accessories and furnishings, as they turn an artful eye to the project. Stagers say allowing for ease of moving through the property and working to create a cohesive theme are elements of successful staging. Most stagers would agree that staging a kitchen is of utmost importance, and making a bedroom cozy with pillows and throws also helps to set the mood. 

At NH Fine Properties, we understand the value of presenting a property in the best light possible. As the saying goes " you don't get a second chance to make a first impression". As part of our exclusive marketing strategy we offer a complimentary staging consultation, when warranted, when we list your property. Working with local, professional stagers as part of your real estate team will enhance the value of your property.

 

July 14, 2020

Post-Pandemic Home Trends

A lot has changed in just a few months, and for many that includes the idea of what a 'dream home' looks like. Not long ago, buyers were showing preference toward smaller homes and open concept spaces conducive to gathering. After a few months cooped up inside, those features don't seem so appealing - and developers have taken note.

"While the coronavirus still rages on, it's hard to predict what post-pandemic abodes might look like," according to Barrons. "Yet, developers around the U.S. are already rethinking projects, anticipating residents' needs and preferences that Covid-19 would spur. In doing so, they are re-evaluating current in-unit aesthetics and in-demand amenities."

Dedicated Home Office Space

Here are just a few areas of home design where trends may shift in the coming years:

Home size
Homes had been trending smaller, but that may be over. With so many families spending (way) more time around the home lately, there's never been more need for personal space. Expect homes to grow in size accordingly.

Prioritizing the home office
As more and more businesses relax work-from-home policies, or shift to full-time remote work entirely, the home office will become a near-essential for many buyers. A space that was once an after-thought now will need to offer privacy, good lighting and be pre-wired for telecommuting.

Return to the closed-floor plan
For some buyers, the appeal of the open-floor plan was already trending down prior to 2020, and the past few months have only made the reasons why more evident. Sharing more time and space at home demands privacy for school work, hobbies, and entertainment. With more meals being cooked at home, an open concept kitchen becomes noisy epicenter practically all day long. Builders expect a rise in demand for closed floor plans, where rooms are partitioned for purpose.

Smart technology
This is already one of the fastest growing trends in home design, but smart home technology will soon move from a 'plus' to a 'must'. Temperature and lighting control can now be voice or motion-activated. Touchless faucets, once thought superfluous, are now an inexpensive and health-conscious upgrade. Systems that filter air and monitor air quality will become more common and affordable.