Haunted Porch Sitting
For the Halloween meeting of the Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 we decided to visit the porch of Nick Sangillo. You see Nick was a commercial real estate agent in the Lakes Region for years but more importantly he is a Ghostbuster of sorts. We thought it would be fitting to go talk to him on this revered holiday and learn about some of the ghosts he has seen in the area.
Those brave souls in attendance included Little Stevie Prestone, Dirk Davenport, Rollie Rollins, Bubba Gunther, Travis D. Coletrain, and John “Leadbellie” Goode. I am not sure who got their wires crossed. This was not a Halloween costume party, but Rollie showed up dressed as a yard sign and Bubba came as a lock Box. Travis said, “ I was going to come as a tiny house, but I couldn’t fit in the box!”
Dirk says, “Well, that’s pretty obvious!”
We also had a local lender named Tammie “Bony” Maroney attend as she was concerned about giving mortgages out on haunted residences. Not that it really matters because when a buyer figures out what he is going to pay over the life of a loan it usually scares him to death anyway. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why so many places are haunted!
We all sat down on rockers on Nick’s three season porch except for Rollie whose costume wouldn’t bend so he decided to stand in the corner. The porch has a small propane gas stove for heat and is eerily lit up by candles scattered around the room. Kind of feels like there’s gonna be a séance. Nick proceeds to tell us that he’s seen ghosts since he was just a little kid and that lots of times he couldn’t tell if he was seeing a real person or a ghost. Seeing ghosts was natural to him but it kind of freaked his mother out when he’d say there was a strange man in the other room and of course she couldn’t see him.
He said that sometimes in the past other real estate agents would call him to take a look at a house to see if it was haunted. One day he was called to Gilmanton. On the way to the house he looked up at another home and could see a ghost like figure looking out of a window … just watching him. “There are lots of ghosts in Gilmanton,” he says, “and just then a tomahawk flies across the road in front of me and sticks in the front door of the house where I am going. I kind of figured something was going on here!”
But, undaunted, he gets out of the car and walks up to the front door and, of course, there is no tomahawk there now! He unlocks the door and steps into the foyer which is ice cold. He thinks to himself this is not a good sign. He steps into the front parlor that has a large fireplace and on the mantle is a pipe that is still smoking. The sweet smell of pipe tobacco fills his lungs. He proceeds down the center hallway toward the kitchen and glimpses a shadow gliding by in the adjacent dining room toward the front of the house. He loops around the kitchen and back through to the living room and the pipe is gone!
He heads up stairs and to the left is a bedroom with an old style hospital bed. There is an old, white haired woman laying there in a night gown. Clearly, it is someone trapped on this side. He reaches out to her and says, “Do you want to go to the light?” Nick explains to us that upon death you only have so much time to “go to the light.” If you miss you opportunity, you are stuck here in this world. “I can help the cross over if they take my hand,” he says. But she clearly wasn’t ready.
I could see Little Stevie Prestone was getting nervous and Bony was fidgeting a little.
Nick proceeds up to the attic. It was full of dusty junk from years gone by. Beyond the massive brick chimney that rose from the floor stood an apparition at the window at the back of the house. Nick walks toward the hazy figure. He looks out the window and sees what the apparition sees…a back yard with a stream and a field of sheep beyond. The Gilmanton Town Hall or Academy Building is not there…nothing but fields and sheep! Clearly he is seeing what one of the first settlers of Gilmanton is seeing.
Just then the one vacant rocker on Nick’s porch starts rocking…all by itself…and the old tube radio on the side table lights up and blares, seemingly stuck on the first line of Larry Williams 1957 tune “I gotta girl named Bony Maroney!, I gotta girl named Bony Maroney!, I gotta girl named Bony Maroney!, I gotta girl named Bony Maroney!” Over and over and then, “But I love her, she loves me, All are happy now we can be, Making love underneath the apple tree!” And the radio is not even plugged in!
I am not sure that Bony touched the ground more than a half dozen times before she reached her car and sped down the driveway. She probably won’t be doing any loans on this kind of distressed property!
Thank you Nick, for an enlightening meeting… the Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 is clearly impressed!
The Squirrel Tale
So everyone is talking about the explosion of the squirrel population and the amount of road kill on the highways this summer. Experts are saying the population increase was due to the bumper acorn crop last year. That could be. But I think the number of causalities on the highway, particularly along the stretch of Parade Rd near Old North Main in Laconia can be attributed to home maintenance issues. So, follow this narrative and you can learn how to squirrel proof your home and avoid problems.
You see, I sold Bart and Sue a home over off Old North Main in Laconia a few year ago. It is a nice little ranch and Bart and Sue have really done a great job renovating it into an impeccably charming and desirable home. It is really beautiful.
Now, their problems started with the bird feeders…it usually does. While it is great to see the birds, the feeders attract the occasional bear but also hoards of squirrels and chipmunks. Pretty soon they had about twenty squirrels at the feeders. Since they live on a retiree’s budget they decided to take the feeders down to save some money.
A few days later after returning from the early bird special at the China Bistro, Bart and Sue walk through door and into the kitchen to find four squirrels at the dining room table eating nuts. The squirrels just looked at Bart and Sue with those beady little squirrel eyes…you know that look. Bart just stares and wonders where the booster seats came from and tries to understand how the squirrels got the nut jar open. Sue just wonders where they got the tiny dishes.
Sue was holding her eleven year old puppy Jebediah in her arms. Jebediah is basically blind and weights less than a squirrel soaking wet, but she got a whiff of squirrel smell and let out a bark like a Doberman. The squirrels’ eyes got big as saucers and they bolted off the chairs and scurried through a tear in the back door screen. That was the first home maintenance issue that caused a problem.
After that big commotion, Bart and Sue settled in for the evening, had a cup of hot chocolate, watched an episode of the Incredible Dr. Pol and the Walking Dead, and then retired to bed. Bart vowed to fix the screen the next day.
Just after jumping in bed, Bart could hear that dreaded scratching sound above the bedroom ceiling. He tried to ignore it but after thirty minutes he could stand it no longer. Creeping out into the hallway he pulled down the scuttle to the attic with the built-in ladder. He moved slowly so the big steel springs on the ladder didn’t go “boing.” He stealthily climbed the ladder with his trusty 32,200 candlepower Maglite and upon reaching the top he turned on the flame. Down at the gable end of the house, above the master bedroom, were eight sets of beady little eyes peering back at hm. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It looked like an old school dormitory down there with four miniature sets of bunk beds. Jebediah was now awake and running up and down the hall barking at Bart. The squirrels were startled, scrambled in circles and seemed to disappear down the corner of the attic like someone flushed a toilet.
Even with all that noise Sue was still asleep when Bart came down and grabbed his slippers from the bedroom. Sure enough, outside on the corner of the house Bart discovers a small hole chewed through the wall. Bart adds this hole to his repair list for the next day and notes to check for any other access points on other parts of his home.
Bart returns to the bedroom to find Sue wide awake now. He explains that they are under siege by these varmints. She says, “Bart, have a heart! They are just looking for food.” “Yes!” exclaims Bart, “I forgot, I have a ‘Have a Heart’ trap!” He jumps out of bed, rushes down to the basement, finds the trap, goes to the kitchen to get some nuts for bait, climbs back into the attic, and sets the trap. He’s sure he will capture one of them by morning.
Sure enough, bright and early Bart retrieves the trap with one of the varmints cowering inside. He decides he is going to relocate the critter miles away, but first he must make his repairs. It doesn’t take long to fix the screen and repair not one, but two, holes in his siding. He is now confident that his home is squirrel proof.
He loads the trap and captive squirrel into his trusty pickup truck which has been sitting most of the summer. He fires it up, backs out of the drive, and makes it to the end of his street when old Betsy coughs to a stop. It won’t start. He opens the hood and looks around. There are acorns everywhere! He takes off the air cleaner cover and finds that it finds the whole filter and housing are full of acorns! “Have-a-Heart-Bart” is now livid. He gets his truck started and takes the squirrel up Parade Road and pulls off the road where the big fields are up past Tavern 27. He opens the trap. You can probably guess the squirrel didn’t run into the woods, but rather into the middle of the road, stopped, faked left, faked right, and started left, and then thump. One less squirrel.
Bart returns home. He is emotionally drained. Looking up at his fine home he can’t believe his eyes as he just catches the end of a tail going through his gable end vent. “I gotta put a screen on that!” he angrily mutters to himself. Now, “Have-a-Heart-Bart” seizes his 12-gauge double barrel shotgun and mistakenly loads it with buckshot instead of bird-shot. Climbing up the attic ladder one more time he spots the wretched beast illuminated by the light coming in through the vent. He lets both barrels go at once. It was deadly. Satisfied, he climbs down the ladder and sees Sue standing there as white as a ghost. Bart softly says, “Got a few more holes to patch…” This is the real reason why squirrels are fleeing the Old North Main Street area and becoming road kill on Parade Road. I suspect similar events are happening all over the area…
There were 146 single family residential sales in the Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The averages sales price was $438,224 and the median price point was $312,000.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system while eating cashews…
The Winni Waterfront Report – September 2018
There were 25 single family waterfront sales on Lake Winnipesaukee in September 2018. The average sales price came in at $998,600 and the median price point was $895,000. That brings the number of sales on the lake so far this year to 121 transactions at an average price of $1,179,936 compared to 113 sales at an average of $1,107,417 for the same period last year.
The entry level sale for the month was a 620 square foot cottage that was custom built in 2004 at 166 Rattlesnake Island in Alton. This tiny home has lots of big features with hardwood floors, exposed beams, beautiful circular staircase, great view, and many exterior deck levels to enjoy those views. The home is listed as a one bedroom but I think you’ll find several places to nod off. The .69 acre lot has 114’ of frontage and is fairly steep, but never fear, there is a trolley system to bring the groceries and Porch Crawler beverages up to this Hobbit home. This property was listed at $299,000 and went under agreement in 24 days for $243,000.
The median price point representative this month was at 9 Georges Road in Alton. This contemporary style home was built in 2003 and has 3,028 square feet of living space with four bedrooms and two and a half baths. The home features a great room with cathedral ceilings and wall of glass to bring in the views, a double sided gas fireplace separating the custom kitchen with beautiful cabinetry, granite countertops, and hardwood flooring. Of course there‘s a large deck to provide summer entertaining space and views of the bay. The master suite is located on the upper level and has a gas fireplace and its own private deck. The lower level walk out has three guest bedrooms and a bath. The home sits on a .21 acre lot with 100’ of frontage with a 40’ dock. This property was first listed in 2016 at $1,049,000 and was eventually reduced to $899,900. It was reintroduced this year at $998,000, reduced to $949,000 and sold for $895,000. The total time on market was 410 days.
The Big Kahuna for the month was at 218 Edgewater Drive on Governors Island in Gilford. This 18 room, four bedroom, six and a half bath, 7,054 square foot Adirondack style residence was built in 2006 and looks like band new. Maybe the previous owners couldn’t find all the rooms? Obviously, this home is done extremely well with high quality finishes throughout. It has the requisite great room with cathedral ceilings, stone fireplaces, lots of exposed beams, natural wood work, first floor master suite with its own fireplace, custom designer kitchen, media room, playroom, three en suite guest rooms, a gynormus deck, three season porch with fireplace, and a bonus three room suite over the three car garage. The home sits on a manicured .86 acre lot with 150 of frontage, perched beach, and double dock with canopies. The property was listed at $3.395 million, was reduced to $3.295 million, and sold at an even $3 million after 683 days on the market.
Over on Lake Winnisquam there were three sales. A quintessential 1960’s vintage cottage at 32 Hemlock Ave in Sanbornton with 1,040 square feet of living space, three bedrooms, and one bath found a new owner after 93 days on the market. It was as cute as they get with a knotty pine interior, brick fireplace, new bathroom, and a to- die-for screened porch. There is also a post and beam barn with radiant in-floor heat to keep the toys in. It sits on 1.7 acre lot with 200’ of frontage. It was listed at $699,000 and sold for $650,000 in 93 days.
Just down the street on 33 Beechwood Ave, a 3,612 square floor, five bedroom, three and a half bath contemporary cape built in 1989 also sold. The home features an open concept layout with vaulted ceilings and fireplace in the living room, a first floor master suite with newly updated bath, and recreation room with pool table and wood stove in the lower level walkout. Of course there is a large deck for entertaining and taking in the broad lake views. The home sits on a third acre lot with 110’ of frontage, a perched beach, and 40’ dock.
The highest sale was over on the Gold Coast at 210 Shore Drive in Laconia. This 4,100 square foot, five bedroom, three and a half bath contemporary has a wonderful open floor plan and lots of glass to bring in the light. Built in 1979 it has been meticulously maintained. As with most Shore Drive homes, the lot helps sell the home. This home sits on an amazing .7 acre lot with mature plantings, 280 feet of sandy frontage, a waterside deck, and dock. This home was listed at $1,049,000 and sold for $990,000 after just 14 days!
Data compiled by gnomes using the NEREN mls system
No More Tips! How about a Quiz?
As of October 1st, there were 834 residential homes for sale in the towns in Belknap County plus Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro. The average asking price was $657,906, the median price point was $346,691, and the average days on market was 120. The current inventory level represents a 6.9-month supply of homes on the market.
It seems like in just about every newspaper or magazine you will find an article giving tips on one thing or another. Articles about time saving tips, money saving tips, how-to tips, and don’t-make-this-mistake tips. You’ll find an extraordinary number of home improvement and real estate articles. You know like; “Ten Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for Winter,” or “14 Must-Know Home Improvement Tips From the Pros,” or “Ten Tips on How to Sell Your Home in the Fall,” and “How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent.”
These articles often fill “special” sections of the newspaper. You know like a special “Fall Home Improvement Guide.” It makes really good content for the Laconia Daily Sun and without these articles you’ve got stories about the Gilmanton Selectmen, the Belknap County commission, crabby letters, the obituaries, and the funnies. The paper would be pretty skinny, right? Newspapers need content and the home improvement and real estate world provides lots of topics. But, yet, there are just only so many…
I wonder how many times readers must read the same home improvement or real estate advice over and over? Maybe readers forget that they had already read basically the same tip article last year? Maybe it is because the articles are regurgitated (I like that word) in a different format and people think they are reading something different? Maybe there should be “Memory Tips” articles as well. It’s just like how all the real estate websites have all the same listings but they all look different?
I am guilty of writing articles like “How To Choose Your Fifth Real Estate Agent” and “Tips for Selling Your Home in the Dead of Winter in Blinding Snowstorm,” too. After all, I gotta write something other than just giving sales statistics and sometimes your mind just goes blank, right? But, I am going to continue to endeavor to bring you only new and really important stuff if humanly possible. You know, like insights from the Professional Porch Sitters, where to find the best redneck real estate, and feature articles on great man caves.
It has also come to my attention that the proliferation and repetition of these types of articles have caused an uptick in the amount of paper used by the publications. That in turn increases the deforestation which contributes to global warming. I just don’t want to be blamed for that.
A week or so ago there was even an article on how to safely rake leaves. Really? That is actually a new one, I think! I am just wondering if people really need to be shown how to safely rake leaves? My Dad kicked me out the door and said to hold the skinny end of the rake. I then raked the leaves into a pile and burned them. That was not necessarily safe for a ten-year-old but I learned to love the smell of burning leaves…and I didn’t hurt my back picking up leaves.
So here’s the quiz part of this article. How well do you know the Lakes Region? The Lakes Region has some really colorful street names! If you are looking for real estate or just trying to get around it is good to know the area. See if you can name the Town in which these streets are located (don’t Google them first):
- Hornbeam Hollow
- June Bug Lane
- Tee Dee Drive
- Pancake Hill Road
- Ta Da Dump Road
- Sticks and Stones Road
- Roller Coaster
- Cram Road
- Grimstone Drive
- Pot O Beans Road
- Barbers Pole Road
- Cat Pat
- Dr. True Road
- Jesus Valley Road
- Indian Carry Road
- Rear Africa Road
- Cow Path
- Granny Hill Rd
- Pest House Road
- Fox Trot
See, that was different…
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS System.
The South Down and Long Bay Sales Report – August 2018
The Porch at Hermit Woods
The Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Local 603 convened this week at what is probably the most prominent porch in Meredith which is located at Hermit Woods Winery at 72 Main Street. This amazing porch has plenty of seating at long tables with umbrellas to keep the sun out of your eyes. It is a great spot to sit and watch the comings and goings through the charming center of this historic town.
Little Stevie Prestone, Dirk Davenport, Rollie Rollins, Bubba Gunther, Travis D. Coletrain, Ainsley Grantham and I arrived to meet with Bob Manely, who along with Ken Hardcastle and Chuck Lawrence, own this incredibly successful winery. Megan Bowman was supposed to attend but she was still recovering from sheer exhaustion and dehydration from the meeting we had at her house.
Anyway, I have known Bob for a number of years as he was, and still is, a professional photographer who did work for real estate agents back in the day before the internet became a really big deal. But, Bob found that many real estate agents were reluctant to spend money on professional photography. He realized that what the area needed was a good marketing company. He teamed with a couple of partners and successfully produced print marketing and websites for eight years for clients such as Mills Falls and the Balsams. Bob explained that he and Ken had been dabbling in making wines as a hobby for some time and that was much more fun. They decided to take a gamble, invested in some equipment, and started Hermit Woods Winery back in 2011.
To me, at least, it certainly looks like the gamble paid off. They produce an array of premium wines using local sourced fruits, honey, and flowers and employ old world techniques to produce wines with rich and complex flavors.
Bubba looked at Dirk and said, “Dirk, you wouldn’t be able to drink any of this stuff, you just aren’t that complex!”
“Maybe not,” Dirk responds, “but I see they have some hard cider that might work for me! And, more importantly I see they have a new deli in there that looks pretty good!” He is always thinking of food.
Sure enough, beyond their fabulous porch is their retail store and in the back is a deli that was just opened this year. “The deli has been great for our business and is bringing in lots of foot traffic with customers that might not have come in otherwise,” Bob stated, “and once they come in they see what we have to offer. They get exposed to our wines by having some with lunch and then we gain a new wine customer! We have a wine tasting bar here so you can try all the different wines we make and a wine club that offers discounts to members. We really want to be that local winery that is part of and serves the local community.”
Grinning slyly, Rollie looks at Bob and says “So what’s with the little snail logo? Is it like Tequila with the worm in the bottom of the bottle? Do you put little snails in the wine?”
Little Stevie pipes in, “Yeah, well no one thought the worm was a good idea either!” Looking at Bob he continues, “Do you make Porch Crawler Beverages?”
After further detailed explanation to Bob about what exactly this nectar of the Gods is made from he replies, “Unfortunately, we can’t make Porch Crawlers yet as that would require a distillery license for the high level of alcohol required. Maybe down the road… (hint, hint)”
He goes on, “You know guys, I am a true real estate junkie! I am on the internet every day looking at houses and I am also looking for a new home here in town. You know something small, 1,500 square feet or so, open colisten to these snaiIs, Bob, I can help you with that! I’ll get the word out for you!” To which I replied, “You’re too late, I think we just did!”
There were 163 sales in August in the communities covered by this Lakes Region Market Report. The average sales price came in at $484,809 with a median price point of $270,000. The average time on market was 68 days which does not factor in any properties were previously listed. Still, that’s pretty quick so if you are looking you understand that houses are selling fast…especially the nice ones!
Data Compiled using the NEREN MLS system
The Winni Waterfront Report August, 2018
There were 25 waterfront homes sold on Lake Winnipesaukee in August. The average sales price came in at $1,351,600 and the median price point was an even $1 million.
The entry level sale was at the Hole in The Wall at 35 Little Bear Island in Tuftonboro. This Hole in the Wall is not where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid out, but rather a narrow stretch of water between Little Bear and Devens and Cow Island. It still is a good place to hide out though and I bet the new owner might be doing that right now. This five room, two bedroom, 1,075 square foot cottage was built in 1962 and sits on a 2.58 acre lot with 100’ of frontage. It’s a typical vintage cottage with rustic features including lots of pine walls, bead board, vaulted ceilings, loft area, wood stove, fieldstone fireplace, a screened porch and a deck running the length of the house. There’s also an large 18’ wide deck the the water’s edge for docking. This property was listed last year at $350,000 and was reduced to $290,000. This year it was reintroduced at $295,000 and sold for $280,000. The total time on the market was 294 days.
The median price sale was on Smith Cove at 9 Davis Rd in Gilford. This contemporary cape was built in 2003 and has 2,700 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. The main level has a gourmet kitchen with stainless appliances, center island and hardwood floors that continue through the dining and into the living room which features cathedral ceilings and a hearth with a gas stove. French doors lead out to a large lakeside porch. There is a first floor master and two bedrooms up. The second floor also features a large family room perfect for those rainy days. The house sits on a .32 acre level lot with a sandy beach and permanent dock. There are great lake and mountain views and plenty to watch with all the activity in Smith Cove. This property was listed at $949,900 and went under agreement in just five days at an even million. That tells you how nice it really is!
The highest sale for the month was at 520 Edgewater Drive on Governor’s Island in Gilford. This home was built in 1999 and has 11,120 square feet of living space, six bedrooms, six full baths and four half baths. Obviously, this home has everything one would expect in a waterfront estate including a fabulous kitchen, formal dining room, living and family rooms, four fireplaces, a conservatory, hobby room, spa, a home theater and even a room with a computerized golf game! There’s a carriage house with guest quarters and a five car garage. The 2.82 acre lot is impeccably landscaped with lawns, rock walls, lakeside patio, and mature plantings. It has 290 feet of frontage with a breakwater, fifty foot dock, boat lift, and a beach. This property was first offered in March of 2016 for $9,950,000, relisted in December 2016 for $8,950,000, and then this year at $7,995,000 and brought a buyer at an even $5 million. Yup, just about half of where they started! Total time on market was 690 days.
There were three sales on Winnisquam in August. A three bedroom, two bath, 1,899 square foot contemporary home built in 2000 on a 1.09 acre lot with 264’ of frontage at 133 Leighton Ave South in Laconia. It was listed at $630,000 and sold for $615,000 after just seven days on the market.
A 1986 vintage, 3,689 square foot, four bedroom, three and a half bath home on a .93 acre level lot with 150’ of sandy frontage and a 50’ dock at 15 Sands Terrace in Laconia. This property was listed at $1.1 million sold for $1.09 million in 15 days. I bet it is nice!
The third sale was also in Laconia at 25 Eastman Shore Drive. This home was constructed in 2015 and has 1,964 square feet of living, three bedrooms, two baths, a gourmet kitchen with Thermador stainless appliances, granite countertops, first floor master suite, hardwood and tile floors, and a bunk house. The house sits on a .86 acre level lot with 171’ of frontage, a sandy beach, and like the other two sales has those desirable westerly views. It was listed at $1,199,900 and sold for $1.25 million in 8 days. So, as you can see, nice properties are selling quickly if the price is right!
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system