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No Powa – The Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report

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No Powa - The Lakes Region Real Estate Market ReportNo Powa – The Lakes Region Real Estate Report – November 2017

What to do when the “powa” goes out…The dedicated members of the Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 are truly a tough group. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these members from swiftly setting in their appointed rockers. And so, the historic rain and wind event last week did little to deter the gathering of this prestigious body on the porch of a new member, Mike “The Spence” Spencer.  The only exception was Johnnie “Leadbelly” Goode who had a tree fall across his driveway and the hood of his Explorer that had to be removed before he could come.  He was not happy…

No Powa - The Lakes Region Real Estate Market ReportOther members in attendance included myself and other regulars; Dewie Cheatum, Dirk Davenport, and Little Stevie Prestone. Rollie Rollins and Travis D. Coletrain also turned up for the meeting and were quite amazed at the fact there was no paperwork involved in joining our group. “This ain’t like real estate! No Dues, no paperwork!” Travis said.  We all had to take a few detours along the way due to downed power lines and trees in the road. But the mail must go through, so to speak. “The Powa,” as they say in “Gilmington” and “Sanbinton” was out everywhere (the locals know that Gilmanton and Sanbornton are incorrect pronunciations.) Thus, we were all a little amazed when we reached Spence’s house to find all the lights on and the TV tuned into a rerun of “Fixer Upper.”

No Powa - The Lakes Region Real Estate Market ReportIt turns out that “Spence” owns NuWave Electric in Laconia which coincidentally is in the same space that the NuWave Skate Board store was in at the light at McIntyre Circle next to Jon’s Roast Beef.  The name was purely coincidental. I don’t believe Spence has ever been on a skate board at least not for the past thirty or forty years that is.  But he has been hooking wires together since 1985 so he rarely gets them crossed up now. NuWave Electric provides all the standard services any electrical contractor would provide but a big part of their business is selling and installing generators…hence he has plenty of juice at his house when the power goes out.

Leadbelly asked “The Spence” if he was busy during the storm and he said they had sold every generator they had in stock and received three more truck loads which also went right out the door! He said they had buyers standing in his store cautiously guarding the generator they had chosen while their spouse went to get the money to pay for it. Kind of like people fighting over the newest electronic gadget on Black Friday. The lack of “powa” can drive people right to the brink. Gotta keep the food cold, the TV on, and the sump pump running.

No Powa - The Lakes Region Real Estate Market ReportRollie asked, “So what’s one of these things going to set me back and which one should I buy? I don’t know what size to get!” Spence said, “Well, the cost depends on the size which is dictated by whether you want to handle the entire house or just the main circuits like the refrigerator, stove, furnace and well pump.  A portable Kohler 7,500 to 8,000-watt generator, manual transfer switch, and outside box to hook it to you are looking around $2,800 to $4,000 installed. Kohler is our number one seller, but we have Generac, Briggs and Stratton, and Winco as options as well.”

No Powa - The Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report“What about these whole house automatic units that run on propane?” Dirk asks.  Spence replies, “Those will run you $6,000 or so to cover the basic essential, around $8,000 for a medium size house, and my $10-12K for a lakefront mansion. It all depends on the size.”   Travis piped in, “You know, as a real estate agent, I see a whole house generator as a big asset when you are selling a second home. Home owners that are away for most of the winter want to know that their home is protected from freeze ups and water damage that can cost many, many times more than the price of a generator!”

Dewie (who is a bit of a penny pincher) says, “Well, I probably can get one at one of the big box stores a lot cheaper!” Spence replies, “At Nu-Wave we are a one stop shop and you get the benefit of personalized service. We come out and look at the property and make sure you get the right generator and set-up. We are master electricians, so you know the job is done right and we can handle everything from the electrical components, to excavation for a pad placement, running propane lines, and landscaping the area afterward. And, unlike the box stores, we back up our installations with service after the sale!” “That’s right, Dewie!” Little Stevie says, “Remember that chain saw from the big box store you bought that you had to take all the way to Concord to get fixed?”

Spence says, “My best advice to any homeowner is; Don’t wait for the powa to out to go generator shopping…buy it before it goes out! Winter is coming and it is a lot worse to lose your powa when it is ten below outside!”

There were 704 homes for sale in the eleven Belknap communities (plus Moultonborough) as of November 1, 2017. The average asking price was $698,520 and the more meaningful median price point was $329,949. The current inventory level represents a little over a six-month supply on the market.  According to the MLS system, 47 of these homes have a generator. Given the recent powa outage, do you think maybe these homes will sell the fastest?

Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.

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South Down and Long Bay September Sales Report

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South Down and Long Bay September Sales Report

South Down and Long Bay September Sales ReportThere were six sales in South Down and one in Long Bay in the month of September, 2017. The least expensive was a 1,402 square foot, three bedroom, two bath unit in Golf Village at 47 Birdie Way that went for full price at an even $250,000. The unit apparently was sold before hitting the market as it shows no days on the market. The current tax assessment is $218,100.

The mid-price sale for the month was at 281 Davidson Drive in Daw Village. This 1,568 square foot, three bedroom, two bath town home was move in ready with updated kitchen and baths, granite counter tops and stainless appliances, open floor plan, fantastic views and is just a short walk to the beach. This property was listed at $395,000 and sold for $385,000 after 27 days on the market. It is assessed at $317,300.

South Down and Long Bay September Sales ReportThe highest sale for the month was in Long Bay at 23 Surrey Lane. Built in 2011, this 2,299 square foot, four bedroom, two and a half bath home has a great open floor plan with high cathedral ceilings, custom kitchen, granite, hardwood floors, first floor master suite,  gas fireplace, central a.c., and just about everything else you’d expect in a high quality home. This home was listed at $509,000 and sold at $510,000 after just four days on the market. Someone though it was pretty nice! It is assessed at $371,700.

South Down and Long Bay September Sales Report

 

 

 

 

 

Data compiled using the NEREN MLS System

 

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You Can’t Count on This Buyer

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You Can’t Count on This Buyer

There were 134 single family homes sold in September in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price came in at $368,128 and the median price point was $252,500. This brings us to a total of 986 sales at an average price of $343,416 for the first three quarters of 2017. This is a slight uptick from the 948 sales at an average of $325,490 for the same period last year. That’s pretty darn good in my book…

Last November on a bleak and dreary day I got a phone call from a buyer that wanted to see a house that same evening around 7:00. He spoke with European accent and said his name was something like Dray Cole. I told him I would have to call the listing agent to see if we could get in and suggested that it would be better to look tomorrow in the daylight as it would be difficult in the dark. He stated that he has a sensitivity to bright light and was on a very tight schedule, so it would have to be tonight. I told him I would call him back. He said he had no cell phone but was sure the agent would let us in so he would just be there at 7:00.

It turns out that the listing agent was not able to show the property but arranged for us to get in as the owners were quite elderly and never left during showings anyway. The house was an old New Englander style home and based on the MLS photos it looked pretty run down inside and out. It clearly need a paint job outside and the interior looked right out of the fifties with wall paper, harvest gold appliances, and worn out wall to wall carpeting.

You Can't Count on This BuyerThe house was located on a back street with just a few houses on it and very little in the way of street lamps. I arrived right at seven and there was a big black Lincoln parked there that looked like it was from the late sixties. It was spitting rain and sleet and as I approached the car a rather tall, thin man with a black suit and black coat opened the door and stood up. He was rather pale, with long black hair, and the darkest eyes I have ever seen. He said hello and reached out a bony hand to shake. We exchanged short pleasantries, talked about agency, and as we turned toward the house I was startled by a flapping sound as several objects flew by  my head and up into the sky. Looking up I could see dozens of small creatures flying into the broken gable vent. “Bats!” I exclaimed, “this is not good. They are hard to get rid of!” Dray said in clear cold voice, “Not to worry, they vill be fine.”

You Can't Count on This BuyerI knocked on the door and a weak voice answered, “Come in.” We made our way through the small kitchen into the living room where we found the owners, Mr. Corliss and his wife, sitting in two recliners watching an old episode of the Addams Family. They were quite elderly and a little rotund.  He had an oxygen mask on and she had one leg bandaged and up on a stool. He said they were expecting us and said to feel free to look around.

We checked out the first floor a bit and it was even worse than the pictures on-line. I suggested that we go upstairs to check out the bedrooms but he said they didn’t matter to him at all.  He wanted to see the basement next. I went to the basement door and turned on the switch and there was but a faint glow in the basement from one 40-watt bulb somewhere in the recesses. I headed down the rickety stairs and reached the dirt floor. Suddenly there was hot breath on the back of my neck and another fluttering sound. I quickly turned around in the blackness and caught a movement in the corner of the room. There was another light switch at the bottom of the stairs which I quickly flicked on.  The light illuminated Dray’s dark figure hunched over a long wooden box in the corner. He looked surprised when the light came on, glared at me, and stood up quickly and said loudly in his thick accent, “This vill never do! I must leave, now!” He brushed past me making his way up the stairs and then out the door! I made my apologies to the Corliss’ when I reached the first floor and told them someone would be in touch.

I never heard from Dray again, which was no surprise. Buyer’s sometimes disappear and never call back ever again.  I noticed the house never did sell and the listing expired in the MLS. I never gave it any further thought until I was driving by the house this summer and I saw both Mr. and Mrs. Corliss outside in the yard. They looked like they had dropped fifty pounds apiece. They were actually quite thin. He was out there pushing a mower up and down the sloped lawn and she was working in the garden! “How can this be? This is impossible!” I thought to myself.

Later that day, just a couple hours after dark, I drove by the house again. There, in the driveway, was that same old black Lincoln that Dray had driven there that night last fall. I then noticed it had a NH vanity plate on it that said “COUNT.” I also noticed that the house was completely dark except for a light in the basement and one on in the attic! I guess he really liked the basement after all…

This just goes to show it is extremely hard to get the straight scoop from a buyer…even if he is a vampire… Happy Halloween!

You Can't Count on This Buyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.

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Windsong – A Fabulous Hillside Retreat

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Windsong – A Fabulous Hillside Retreat

118 Anthony AveOffered at $1,295,000
4 Bedrooms
5 Bathrooms
4272 Square Feet
56 Acres
Built in 2006

When Richard and Nancy Coskren decided to build a custom home they knew exactly what they wanted. They also knew  they wanted their home to have a spectacular view, complete privacy, and solitude. They found a 56 acre parcel of land in West Alton that had exactly that!

Working to place the right home on this unique parcel of land resulted in a spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright inspired, Teliesan-designed home that would take full advantage of the amazing panorama that this site offered. Their vista  encompasses all of Lake Winnipesaukee from Wolfeboro to Meredith with the White Mountains spread across the distance.

The end result was Windsong, a 4,272 square foot, four bedroom, four and a half bath residence of uncompromising quality. This absolute gem was completed in 2006 and features unique architectural details and custom touches throughout that are the hallmark of a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Walls of windows and a wraparound deck let you take in the views from every angle. The heart of this home is the custom kitchen and spectacular great room with beautiful hardwood floors and stone accents, but that is truly only the beginning. There’s a first-floor master suite with its own private deck, a first-floor guest bedroom, and office. On the lower level is a large family room with gas fireplace, two more guest bedrooms, and another office all affording views of the lake and mountains.

From every room in this residence you can watch the ever-changing lake below, wildlife in the fields, or the eagles soaring at eye level. There are no bad seats in the house, so to speak…

While the Coskrens love this home and property,  they are ready to start another chapter in their lives. So, we are trying to find some new owners that will enjoy living here as much as they have. Maybe you have always wanted to be on the water because you love boating? Windsong is just minutes to several marinas and only fifteen minutes to the Alton Town Beach. It is like being on a permanent vacation. You can have the best of both worlds!

So, come tour this amazing property located in the heart of the Lakes Region.  Here you’ll find peace, tranquility and relaxation in unmatched luxury and beauty. You may not want to leave.

 

Categories: Lakes Region Home

A Special Home Gets Special Attention

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A Special Home Gets Special Attention

We deal with a lot of really special homes at Four Seasons Sotheby’s. It is kind of what we do. The unique, the one of a kind, and the extraordinary are what we specialize in. it was kind of nice when one of our properties caught the attention of a production company down in Tennessee. They had seen the home on-line and wanted to come up and do a segment on it for the HGTV show called You Live in What?”

They were calling about the amazing property that I refer to as the “Old Corner Store” in the historic Gilmanton Corners. It was restored into a residence by Douglas Towle back in 2002 and is now owned by long time Gilmanton residents John Funk and Deb Chase. This 1800’s colonial structure was once used as a dry goods store complete with a soda fountain that sold ice cream and also housed the post office. The store was owned and operated by L.W. and M.H. Schultz.  They also sold gasoline from the vintage 1920’s style gas pumps and just outside the door was a long bench which was dubbed the “Gossip Bench” by the locals. I am sure there were plenty of stories told by the patrons sitting there. It appears that on the north end of the structure there was a livery stable that quite possible saw a few Model T’s from time to time and was also used to store all sorts of farm supplies.

Doug restored the property preserving the original features including hand-hewn plank wainscoting, wide pine and brick floors, exposed beams, Indian and Shaker shutters, original door hardware, and old wavy glass while incorporating all the modern amenities like a designer kitchen, high end plumbing fixtures, central air, and whole house surround system. It is truly an extraordinarily charming and comfortable home.

Anyway, just last week, a five man production crew from Beyond Media, LLC headed by a gentleman named Dustin Rader showed up to  shoot the segment and interview John and Deb on camera. They really wanted to get a little sense of the history and what it is like to live in a house that once had been used as the center of commerce in the community back before traveling in a gas propelled vehicle was commonplace.

The filming process took a good six hours and these guys obviously knew exactly what they were doing. I was particularly amazed by the way they used lighting to create the desired on-camera affect. To the untrained eye, I could tell little difference as they moved three or four diffused lights to and from and back and forth. Maybe I had to be looking through the camera, but they lost me. Obviously, getting the right angle and backdrop was very important but it was John and Deb that were the stars of the show. They have an intimate knowledge of the history, reconstruction, and rebirth of the structure and they shared that in their interviews in a charming way.  They both love this house and setting and hate dearly to part with it but life changes for us all.

The production crew came armed with all kinds of lights, meters, tripods, mono-pods, cameras, and even a drone which they used to get some great aerial footage.  I think that may have startled a few people passing by. It was really fun to watch the entire process and as always learn a few things along the way. They said they will work many, many hours to somehow edit all this footage down into a much smaller segment for the show. Their work has only just begun. They informed us that the show will air sometime in March and promised to give us a heads up so we wouldn’t miss it. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you know anyone that wants to live in the Old Corner Store (and Post Office!) we can arrange that!

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The Winni Waterfront Report – September 2017

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The Winni Waterfront Report – September 2017

The Winni Waterfront Report…There were nineteen waterfront homes sold on Lake Winnipesaukee in September, 2017. The average sales price came in at $974,712 and the median price point was $847,500. That total is down a bit from last September when there were twenty one sales at an average price of $847,500 but that is still pretty good!

Winni Waterfront ReportThe entry level sale, as usual, was an island property. This property was at 38 Little Bear Island in Tuftonboro and it was the first time it had been on the market for over 50 years! This 648 square foot cottage was built in 1962 and has one bedroom plus a sleeping loft. It is just the way a vintage island retreat should look. You’ve got a natural bead board interior, exposed rafters and wood ceilings, and a great deck to lounge on and enjoy the sunset views. There’s a state approved three bedroom septic if you’d like to expand the house a little and the 1 acre lot gives you lots of space to do so. The property has great privacy and has 280’ of frontage, a u-shaped crib dock plus a smaller dock out in the point. This property was listed at$395,000 and went under agreement in just three days for $345,000! Someone really liked it!

Winni Waterfront ReportThe median price point sale was at 131 Eagle Shore Road in Moultonborough. This 1975 vintage contemporary style home has 1,944 square foot of living space, four bedrooms, three baths and a guest cottage for when the in-laws show up unexpectedly. The main house has an eat-in kitchen, field stone fireplace, and dining and living rooms that lead out to a large deck. There is a detached two car garage to house all your toys. The .71 acre lot has a large lawn area leading down to 150’ of sandy frontage, a beach, and a 40 foot dock. This property was listed at $918,900, was reduced to $894,900, and went under agreement at $847,500 after 95 days on the market.

Winni Waterfront ReportThe highest sale of the month was at 61 Norway Pines in Moultonborough. While this property has a rustic 1970 vintage camp, this sale was really about the land and frontage.  The camp has 1,370 square feet of living space with three bedrooms, open studded walls, field stone fireplace, pine paneling and large widows to take in the amazing long range views. But the draw is that it sits on a spectacular 12.3 acre lot with 961 feet of south facing frontage providing both a long open sandy beach area and wooded seclusion. I expect someone will be building their dream home on this beautiful parcel.  The property was listed at $2.4 million and took just over a year to find a buyer at $2 million even!

Winni Waterfront ReportThere was one sale on Lake Winnisquam at 628 Shore Drive in Laconia and it was another nice one.  This 1978 vintage ranch has three bedrooms, three and a half baths, and just a little over 4,000 square feet of living space. The home has a chef’s kitchen with maple cabinets, center Island, granite counter tops, double oven, induction cook top plus great water views. The home was completely remodeled down to the studs in 2015 with new insulation on the exterior walls and soundproofing in the interior ones. Features include Brazilian cherry flooring, two gas fireplaces, a fully finished basement, three season porch, new exterior siding, and newly paved driveway. The 1.2 acre lot has a back lawn that is perfectly level down to the 154’ of sandy frontage where you’ll find a brand new dock. This property was so nice that it took only six days to find a buyer at $945,000 which was just below the $949,900 asking price. Wish I could have lived there!

Winni Waterfront Report

Data Compiled using the NEREN MLS system

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A Septic System Solution

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A Septic System Solution

A Septic System SolutionIf you are buying a house, you definitely should have a home inspection performed by a licensed professional to see if there are any hidden or unexpected issues with the property. And, if the property is not on a public sewer system you should also have the septic system inspected as well to make sure it is operating correctly and not in a state of failure. Replacing a septic system can cost many, many thousands of dollars so if there is an issue you want to know it before you buy the property. That way you will be able to negotiate with the seller to remedy the situation instead of calling a septic guy some weekend during a Pats game when the toilets won’t flush and the basement smells like the sewer. (Although, some have said the Pats smelled like sewer last week anyway so it could be hard to differentiate!) Most buyers want to have the septic issue fixed prior to closing but sometimes, depending on the circumstances or issue, a reduction in the purchase price or a seller credit might be in order.

Without getting into a detailed description of how a septic system actually works as there is a lot of science behind it (no pun intended), let me try and make it really simple. When you flush a toilet or turn on a faucet whatever goes down the drain goes out a pipe from the house into a really big concrete tank. The idea of putting the stuff into a big tank is that it allows the solids to fall to the bottom of the tank where they remain and an anaerobic bacterial process takes place breaking down the solids. This creates that wonderful odor you will encounter when you attend your first septic inspection. The septic pumping guys refer to this as the “smell of money.”

A Septic System SolutionThe liquids at the top of the tank pass by a baffle and into an outlet pipe that carries the liquid out to a thing called a leach field. While leeches were used as an early medicinal treatment, today’s leach field does not contain leeches, so don’t be confused. A leach field (with an “a”) allows the effluent (a fancy name for liquid) to be dispersed into the ground through a series of perforated pipes or tubes placed into a bed of stand or stone. Usually, to keep the system working correctly, the only thing you should do with a septic system is pump the tank to remove the solids every few years. That seems pretty simple. No moving parts, right?

But things can go wrong. Simple things like the pipe from the house to the tank having a dip in it rather than being straight can cause problems. A tank with a missing or corroded baffle is an easy fix but could cause bigger problems if not attended to. The liquid level in a tank should always be level with the bottom of the outlet pipe…if it is too low then the tank is probably leaking. If the liquid level is above the outlet pipe…well, you really have a problem with the leach field. Some systems have a filter in the tank that need to be cleaned every year or so or they clog. You can bet your behind that most homeowners wouldn’t know that or even do it if they did know!

By far the biggest thing that fails is the leach field. There are many kinds of leach fields today. Most older leach fields consisted of a series of perforated PVC pipe set in a bed of sand and crushed stone. Newer designs came along using larger pipes covered with fabric that were placed in a bed of sand only. These new designs reduced the size of the leach field considerably. There are even what they call “clean water systems” that can reduce the size of a leach field to a minuscule area by aerating the tank with a pump.  These systems have to be maintained on a strict schedule in order to be permitted. All of these newer systems have to be installed properly using the correct sand specified by the manufacturer or they can be subject to premature failure…even after just a few years.  So, even if the house you are buying is just a few years old, you need to get an inspection to be sure everything is working properly.

A Septic System SolutionIt seems like my partner, Ashley Davis, and I have had a run on septic system failures on deals we have had this summer. It has gotten to the point where all we can say is “Not again!!” There has to be a better, simpler way to deal with the old Number Two issue. My mind flashed back to the charming, but neglected outhouse I saw this summer! Why not? Everyone is getting back to basics. People must love to go to the bathroom outdoors. Why, look at all the hikers on any given weekend in Franconia Notch and up on Mt. Major. I know they aren’t all holding it until they get back. Some of ‘em get lost for days, you know! Let’s start using outside privy’s again. Yes, they are allowed! From the State of NH: “According to RSA 147:8, privies are permitted as long as they have the approval of the local health officials as to the location and construction of the facilities. Privies (outhouses not conveying sewage by water), if properly located, designed and constructed are a safe way to dispose of toilet wastes.”  Imagine that!

Let’s do them right, with lighted field stone walkways (solar of course), A Septic System Soluitionelectrified, fancy tile floors, nice windows, insulated, and heated. Make them an integral part of the landscaping.  A place you want to visit! You gotta have an exhaust fan though… maybe solar powered, too! Put them on skids so you can drag them back a few feet and dig another hole when you need to. Cover the former hole with another piece of field stone. Then you are good to go. Literally. Put an outside shower out there and you can turn your bathroom in the house into another walk in closet for your wife. You’ll never worry about a failed septic again. Of course, you may get divorced…but take a gamble.

There were 825 homes on the market as of October 1 in the twelve Lakes Region towns covered by this report. The average asking price was $648,166 and the median price point was $319,000. Based on recent experience, I guarantee you there are more than a few failed septic systems included in this batch of homes. So get an inspection…or get a privy!

Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.

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South Down and Long Bay Sales Report – August

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South Down and Long Bay Sales Report – August

Ok, so August was for the birds in South Down. There were three condos sold all on streets named after birds. There were no sales in Long Bay so I guess we’d have to say that was a goose egg.

South Down and Long BayDown in Birchwood at 10 Songbird Lane a 2,896 square foot, five bedroom, four bath, free standing unit sold for $430,000 after 136 days on the market. It was originally listed at $459,900 and was reduced to $449,900. This home is currently assessed for $282,000. It has a nice open concept layout with a living room with a fireplace and hardwood floors that flow into the dining area and a tiled kitchen with lots of cabinetry and granite. There are walls of windows to bring in the sunshine and a slider that goes out to a brick patio for relaxing. Pretty nice nest.

South Down and Long BayThe freestanding condo at 30 Heron Trace was billed as one of the nicest units in South Down and after looking at the pictures I would tend to agree. Much of this 1,843 square foot three bedroom. two and a half bath waterfront unit has been redone with high quality materials starting with a stunning kitchen with its stainless-steel appliances, marble counter tops, back splash, and floor. The bright living room features vaulted ceilings, walls of windows and access to the large wrap around deck with stunning lake views. The master suite has hardwood floors and walk in closet and the master bath has a walk-in glass and marble shower with matching marble floors. The upper levels all have new hardwood and carpeting. This home was originally listed at $539,000, was reduced to $490,000 and went under agreement in 105 days for $490,000. It is assessed at $339,500.

Just down the street at 14 Heron Trace is a 1,791 square foot, three bedroom, two and a half bath unit that also found a new owner. This open concept tri-level unit also has an open floor pan with cathedral beamed ceilings and gas fireplace in the living room opening to a kitchen with breakfast bar, granite countertops and stainless appliances. There is an expansive deck and a ground level patio from which to enjoy the water views. This home was listed at $569,000 and sold for $550,000 after just seven days in the market. It is assessed for $342,200.

Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.

Categories: Uncategorized

A Lifetime of Homes

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A Lifetime of Homes

There were 143 single family homes sold in August in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price came in at $323,976 and the median price point stood at $222,500. And, you know, I would bet just about every home that sold had a home inspection done as part of the purchasing process.

A Lifetime of Homes

 you are a real estate agent and have been in the business at least ten years or so then you most likely know Bill and Faith Tobin of Waterloom Home Inspections in Sanbornton. If you have bought or sold a home in the Lakes Region (or beyond) in the last fifty years there’s a pretty good possibility that Bill and Faith might have been in that home to do a home inspection. Bill estimated that he has inspected well over 10,000 homes in his career. That’s a bunch! Faith called to tell me that they were hanging up the clipboard and retiring so I went out to talk with them this past week about their long careers as home inspectors. You know there’s gotta be a story or two or three there for as long as they have been doing this!

Bill grew up down the Concord, Mass area. At the ripe old age of fifteen his father, who was an auctioneer, would buy houses to sell and send young Bill in to inspect them and see what they needed to have fixed. Since there were a lot of older homes in the Concord, Littleton, and Acton area Bill gained a lot of on the job training and specific knowledge about old and historic structures which is something he has been know for throughout his career. Bill’s first formal inspection occurred when he was in the Air Force and went out to inspect a “test-home” before they blew it up. He was trained as an air traffic controller and worked in the tower in Boston and then moved up to the FAA center in Nashua before giving that up for the much less stressful profession of home inspecting.

He started out inspecting homes in and around  Concord, Mass and helped write the building codes in Massachusetts.  (He also, more recently, as a NH State legislator helped with establishing rules for licensing inspectors.)  He moved to the Lakes Region in 1961. Back then, he recalls, there might have been only one other inspector in the entire Lakes Region. Modern real estate practice was kind of in its infancy and Bill and Faith were pioneers in it. Waterloom was born and it has always been definitely a team approach. Bill gives much of the credit to Faith as she did all the scheduling, reports, and the hard work of keeping Bill on track (that’s my own observation.) They were the consummate team that gave home buyers an honest, unbiased assessment of the property without being alarmists. They understood, for example, that if an old home’s floor or ceiling was crooked…well that’s just the way it was after 200 years. It doesn’t mean the house is falling down. He has also given lots of free advice to would-be homeowners on how to fix something or he might just take care of it himself right then and there if it was a quick fix. Bill said his loyalty was always to the integrity of home he was inspecting and that while owners may change the structure remains the same.

Stories? You bet! One of their favorites was about a home they were inspecting that had a dug well in the basement. When Bill pulled off the cover to look in he saw a pair boots bobbing up and down with an obvious body below water! That will tend to startle you just a bit. With the shocked buyers looking on (and following the home inspector’s strict guidelines for removing a body from a well) he discovers that a mannequin in full fireman’s gear had been stuffed in the well! No CPR had to be administered… to the mannequin or to Bill…

How about dreaded dark attics? Bill was reaching up through an attic scuttle in one house to pull the chain on the light that he could barely make out in the darkness and as he did a large boa constrictor fell and wrapped around his arm! Luckily, it was dead…and Bill was not. (A testament to Bill’s hardiness.) Apparently, the owner’s pet boa had escaped its cage, slithered to the attic and somehow electrocuted itself on the light. After another attic inspection Bill climbed down from crawling around covered with a collection of “sticky” mice traps all over his sweater with a throng of both dead and live mice flailing about.

Attics can also be dangerous. Bill once was climbing into an attic space and put his hand down on the floor right into a very large, powerful muskrat trap resulting in a broken hand. Who knew he should get hazardous duty pay? When he went to check a circuit breaker box recently he was thrown across the room from the shock. Turns out the box was not grounded…except by Bill when he touched it! Not good for a guy that has a pacemaker! At another home (a nice one) Bill was walking across the living room and fell into basement through a hole in the floor covered by an oriental rug!

Bill says he can also “sense” things about old homes…whether there is a good presence or bad presence in the structure. He can just feel it when something is “wrong” with a house and there have been a few.  After 10,000 homes, I believe him. At one residence they went to in Brookline, NH he got to the front door and could not go inside to do the inspection. Bill wasn’t even going to open the door! He said the agent thought he must had lost his mind but he told him he was not going in. It turns out there were two murders committed in the home and there was an overwhelmingly bad feeling coming from in the home. Conversely, over in Franklin, they inspected a home with a presence that was extremely comfortable and pleasant. I guess that one passed inspection

 Bill and Faith never had to advertise in all their years of business and they were always busy. I guess that speaks to how well they did their job. Old fashioned personal service and word of mouth works wonders. And even though Bill is retiring as a home inspector he will continue to fill in as the building inspector as needed for the City of Laconia and Towns of Belmont, Gilmanton, and Gilford as he has done so for many years. He also intends to do some consulting along the way. So, we will still see Bill and Faith around…which is just the way we like it!

Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.

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Winni Waterfront Sales Report – August 2017

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Winni Waterfront Sales Report – August 2017

What’s up with Winni waterfront? There were 23 waterfront sales on Lake Winnipesaukee in August, 2017 at an average price of $925,317 and a median price point of $607,500. That brings the total so far this year to 94 sales at an average of $1.132 million which is slightly off the 108 sales posted last year for the same period at an average of $1.028 million.

Winni waterfront reportThe entry level sale was a five room, three bedroom, one bath, 1030 square foot cottage at 421 Bear Island in Meredith. This was one of the original guest cottages of the Bear Island Hotel and dates back to 1900 so it has some history and charm with pine paneling and lots of windows to bring in the views. The cottage sits right on the water on a 1.13 acre lot with 100 feet of frontage. There’s a large 12’ x 30’ deck, with storage space and a workshop underneath. The property was listed at $299,900 and sold for $246,000 after just 53 days on the market.

winni waterfront reportThe median priced sale was also an island property, this time at 36 Dow Island in low tax Moultonborough. This 1983 vintage, 1,894 square foot, three bedroom, two and a half bath home has a remodeled custom kitchen and dining area and a great living room with pine paneling, beamed ceiling, wood stove, and sliders that lead out to  a 14’ x 36’ foot deck with westerly views. There is a second floor master suite with its own water view balcony and two guest rooms on the main level. Outside you’ll find a 416 square foot bunkhouse/game-room and workshop. The house sits on a 1.74 acre lot with 176’ of frontage with two beaches, a single and a u-shaped dock with boat lift. How great is that? This get-a-way was listed at $625,000 and sold for $607,500 after 111 days on the market.

winni waterfront reportThe highest sale of the month was in the Oldest Summer Resort in America at 320 Sewall Road but it was one of Wolfeboro’s newest homes built just last year. This 5,500 square foot, four bedroom, five and a half bath custom home assuredly has all the bells and whistles. There were no pictures on-line to help but the listing did say it had a stunning kitchen, wood floors, two stone fireplaces, and the requisite wall of windows to bring in the southerly views. The house does have a first floor master, formal dining, library, and presumably a recreation room in the walk out basement. The house sits on a .7 acre lot with 220 feet of frontage and a dock. The property was listed at $4.35 million and sold for an even $4 million after 454 days on the market.

There was one lone sale on Winnisquam in August at 126 Shore Drive in Laconia. But, it was a nice one!  winni waterfront report This is a 1962 vintage, 1,857 square foot, four bedroom, three bath ranch that has been exceptionally maintained. It has a beautifully updated kitchen with granite, center island, and high end appliances, a living room with hardwood floors and fireplace that overlooks the lake, a first floor master suite as well as a guest room with two more guest rooms in the lower level walkout. There’s also a recreation room and sun room with beamed ceilings and red pine floors. But the big deal is the .36 acre lot with a professionally landscaped yard leading down to 100’ of sandy shore-front, a dock, and those amazing Shore Drive sunsets. Simply beautiful. This property was listed at $824,000 and sold for $849,000 in just eight days.  I guess someone else thought it was simply beautiful, too!

Winni waterfront reportCompiled using the NEREN MLS system

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