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!

Jan. 30, 2022

Planning on Selling?

    

Planning to sell your home this spring? While this winter is expected to bring a record-breaking number of buyers to the market, spring will bring more inventory and more competition.

Why wait until just before your home goes on the market to prepare it? There are plenty of things you can do right now that will cut down on the time and effort you’ll need to spend in the spring.

Have your Home Inspected
One of the most common reasons a home sale falls apart or is delayed is because of problems that the buyer learns about after the home inspection. Typically, price negotiations will reopen, but if the problems are beyond the buyer’s budget, they may just walk away from the deal.

If you have your home inspected now, you will not only avoid unpleasant surprises in the middle of the transaction, but you'll have the rest of winter to get any repair projects out of the way. Chip away at these projects steadily and by spring your home could be in good shape.

The pre-listing home inspection isn't a must, but if you’re concerned about any problems the home might be hiding, it’s best to bring them to light now.

Get a Head Start on Curb Appeal
Most landscaping tasks will have to wait until spring, but if you have inside space and a sunny window, you can get a head start by growing your own flowers from seed. Just wait until after the last frost to plant them outside.

You can also consider touching-up any chipped paint on doors and trim, creating an outdoor seating area, or updating your front door hardware. Replacing a ratty mailbox, installing new house numbers, and purchasing a new front porch doormat are other great ways to spruce up your curb appeal over the winter months.

Invest in Buyers' Favorite Features
You know those weekends when it’s just too cold and miserable to leave the house? What better way to pass those gloomy days, than by adding some nice touches to the interior and exterior of your home.

The National Association of Home Builders surveyed prospective home buyers and learned that the top two desired features in a home are a laundry room and exterior lighting. A whopping 87% of home buyers will appreciate an investment you make in either of these areas.

How to get started? For your laundry room (or nook or closet), take this opportunity to add function. Consider adding a shelf, storage cabinet, or a wall-mounted drying rack.

As your luck would have it, wireless lighting has come a long way thanks to advancements in power and power storage technologies. Does your home have a path that could some extra visibility? A side yard that could use a motion sensor light? Shine some light on those darker areas to delight prospective buyers.

House prep may be less appealing than bingeing your favorite TV shows all winter, but doing some legwork now will help to ensure that your home will be the star of the spring real estate market.

 
Dec. 28, 2021

6 New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

If home is where the heart is, when making those New Year's resolutions how about considering a few for your home; the heart of your family. We've compiled a short list to help make a great start to your new year.

1. Purge, purge, purge. A fresh start to the year brings thoughts of "out with the old". Getting rid of clutter and items no longer used will make your space feel fresher and lighter. Donate those unwanted items, and think carefully before making new purchases to keep the clutter at bay.

2. Clean, clean, clean. Now that you've organized and decluttered, consider doing a deep clean. Take it one room at a time. Or, if time is at a premium, choose to do the room that sees the most action, the kitchen, mud room or family room, for instance. Or tackle one drawer at a time in a desk or dresser. If it's helpful, create a cleaning schedule for yourself and/or other household members.

3. Safety first. The new year is a great time to check those smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. Order a radon test kit online or buy one at your local hardware store and check your air for this odorless and colorless gas. For more information on radon gas in NH:https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/radon/testing.htm 

If you have concerns regarding mold have your  bathroom(s) and attic checked for adequate ventilation. When not vented to the outside these areas can prove to be a breeding ground for mold.

Have your dryer vent and exhaust ducts checked for lint buildup and cleaned. Many area chimney sweeps can perform this service if assistance is needed.

4. Lower your household bills (and carbon footprint).  Some tips we've learned over the years:

  • Turn off power strips and computers when not in use
  • Install LED bulbs
  • Turn down your thermostat especially at night (55 at night is suggested by many)
  • Install low-flow showerheads
  • in summer, water less and open windows rather than using AC for as long as possible. Try air drying laundry outside-it makes sheets smell amazing!

And of course-turn off lights when not using!

5. Add some plants. If you read our January newsletter you know that plants can improve your mood, lower stress and generally improve quality of life.  Consider low maintenance plants if you feel your thumb is more brown than green.

6. Welcome home! Take a moment to look around your home. Think about ways to make your space more welcoming to others, but most importantly to you and your family. After all, it's where we spend our time and make memories. Rethink your seating arrangements to be conducive to conversation and game playing. Add lighting for a cozy a feel and to encourage reading. If you have a guest bedroom take a look and see if it also need to be decluttered. Perhaps there  a few comforts that could added to make your guests feel at home; new pillows, a warm throw, a nightlight.

And enjoy a happy, healthy and safe New Year!

 

 

Nov. 30, 2021

Selling Your Home in Winter

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

1. There is less competition during the holiday season and the following winter months. 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. Historically 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 due to weather and festivities. With the current hot market it may be possible to hold an Open House or two only, and thus restrict showing scheduling.

6. Buyers have more time to look with vacation days while out of town and seasonal visitors abound during the holidays. The Lakes and Mountains Region have a myriad of winter festivities, (pond hockey tournament, ice fishing derby, dogsled races, to name a few), and winter activities such as snowmobiling, skiing and ice fishing that draw potential buyers to the area.

7. End of year tax breaks may move buyers to close quickly. Additionally a buyers may be able to get financing secured more quickly as lenders may be less busy and be able to move forward in less time than during the spring and summer.

8. If selling a primary home, 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. 2, 2021

Fall Planting

       

 

We often think of spring as the season for planting, however,  fall planting can have many advantages. Here are some reasons why fall is the best time for planting perennials, trees, and shrubs.


Autumn weather
The cooler weather of fall is easier for plants , with less extremes in temperature and ground that is neither dry or frozen.  Your plants aren't stressed out by extreme conditions, so they acclimate to their new environment quicker.

Better for Tree Planting
Planting trees when they've lost their leaves is actually better because they won't have to exert energy growing leaves and can focus on growing roots. This is the biggest fall advantage - plants can grow better roots, which will allow for gorgeous foliage and blooms come springtime.

Lower Maintenance, Less Water Usage
Cooler weather means less frequent watering. For those homes with wells this can save water over drier, warmer months, and for those that pay for water use this can mean a significant savings in water bills!

Garden Planning
Fall allows you to see sparse areas of your garden that need more foliage and is the best time to plan out next year's garden. You'll know exactly how the other plants look at full bloom and how much space they take up, allowing you to add pops of color where you know you need it. Get a head start on planting!

Supply Sales

Spring gardening supplies are at their peak and “fall” in the autumn. Now is the time to stock up on nonperishable supplies, gardening tools, containers, seeds etc.

Aug. 1, 2021

Home Renovations: Most Bang for the Buck

The pandemic, stay at home mandates, and the shift to work from home, saw homeowners taking those much needed home improvements and renovations off the back burner. While some hired pros for the bigger renovations, such as whole kitchen and bath projects, many homeowners chose to tackle some smaller projects on their own. Consumer surveys and experts alike predict that this trend will continue through 2021. For example, Home Depot saw a 20% increase in year over year sales, with the garden department leading the charge. A Hippo survey showed the highest percentage of respondents took on the backyard when making improvements, followed by kitchen and home office updates.

Thinking of rolling up your sleeves and taking a look at that home improvement to do list? As reported on CNBC, a 2021 Cost vs. Value Report survey conducted by Zonda Media reported the following; nationally 11 of 12 home improvements were exterior and outdoor improvements.  Homeowners overall are seeing a 60% return on their investments, down from last year and the high of 71% in 2014. As our July blog post pointed out, costs of building materials and labor have risen sharply, and along with supply chain disruption, these factors have contributed to the increased costs of renovations and improvements across the board, thereby lowering the return on investment for all projects. 

The choice of exterior and outdoor redos made sense as people continue to spend more time at home and in their outdoor spaces.  According to the Zonda report, projects related to curb appeal showed the greatest return on investment. 

  • Garage door replacement showed a 94% return
  • Manufactured stone veneer a 92% return
  • Back deck additions showed 66% for wood and 63% for composite

Regardless of return, many homeowners are sprucing up out door spaces seeing the value for their own personal use.

Of note, the report did show minor kitchen improvements to have a high return on investment (72%) , while major kitchen and bath renovations did not.

 

June 1, 2021

Moving Tips for Happy Trails

 

Summer is the busiest season for relocating, with the beginning and end of the months hitting peak moving activity. In the Lakes and Mountains regions of New Hampshire, this can mean moving within state, those moving from out of state, and those making the annual trip back to or from a second home. Summer can also be the most expensive time to move, given the heightened demand.  We've gathered some moving and packing tips and hints to help with the big day. Let's get packing!

If your budget allows, (and especially if moving to or from out of state) consider hiring a moving company to deal with larger moves. Do some research first and ask family and friends for referrals. Truck availability can lead to increased costs during the summer. Weight of your household goods, as well as distance, are also a factors in determining cost. 

Moving containers or pods may be a less costly alternative to a moving company and a great option if you are able to do the packing and placing of goods and furniture in the container.

If moving locally and you have friends and family willing to help, renting a van or truck may be a good option. As the saying goes, you know a friend is a friend if they will help you move!

To make the packing process and move go smoothly create a checklist of to do items several weeks to months prior to moving. Include notifying utilities, service providers, post office, insurance providers and others such as Medicare and Social Security on this list!

Ready to get packing?

  • First and foremost-declutter!  A move is the perfect time to rid yourself of excess clutter, paper, out of date clothing and unwanted items. Use the old adage of toss, sell, donate or keep. Make sure, if possible, that furniture that you decide to keep will fit in your new space.
  • If time allows, do a little every day. One closet or one room at a time will keep the task from being too daunting.
  • Use sturdy boxes of the right size for what you are packing. Check with family, friends and online for free moving supplies. Often folks that have just moved are happy to give away packing materials and good quality moving boxes to avoid taking them to a recycling center.
  • Books should go in smaller boxes, lighter items in bigger boxes, and keep the weight to what is manageable, especially if moving yourself. 
  • Resist the urge to overstuff a box. Again, keep it to a weight that works.
  • Place heavier items at the bottom of the box and don't stint on the wrapping of fragile items. Use available items such as linens and towels as padding.
  • Roll clothing rather than folding to save space. Use available containers, such as laundry baskets and suitcases instead of boxes.
  • LABEL or COLOR CODE the boxes! If your move is under a time crunch though, just get packing and figure it out at the other end.
  • Take photos of furniture that will need to be reassembled, or complicated wiring for electronics to aid in reassembly.

While there can be stressful moments to any move, there is also anticipation of a new home, or return to a much loved place, that makes it all worthwhile. Happy trails!

 

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.

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!

 

 

 

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!