A Moment to Reflect

As we round out 2014, we wanted to take a moment and thank everyone that has helped us make this year one of our best in a very long time!TY-page-001

Here’s to an even better 2015! We look forward to working with you. Happy Holidays!

What Realtors Are Thankful For

thankfulI tend to avoid facebook on holidays because seeing the same general message over and over can get a little annoying. Besides that, seeing one of my friends post “Happy Thanksgiving!” isn’t exactly as meaningful as a personal message (click here for a laugh) or phone call. One thing I do like however is the status updates with things my friends are thankful for. Even better if they are a little out of the box. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’d like to tell you what I’m thankful for, as a Realtor.  (Disclaimer: OF COURSE I’m thankful for my family, friends, health, home, etc.)

1. My smart phone. The extension of my arm. The call making, text shooting, email responding heart of my heart. I don’t know what I would do without the ability to use navigation to find that tucked away property, or share association documents from Dropbox standing in front of the person asking for it, or call an agent on the fly asking if I can show their listing I just drove by. I realize I’m too “plugged in” by most people’s standards, but having my phone within arm’s reach at all times can be the differentiator between me and another agent, and I’m all about that!

2. Coffee. 8am showings, 10pm lead responding, we work it all. This can make for some very long days. Besides that, sometimes closings aren’t exactly a sure thing, and can keep me up worrying thecoffee-meme night before! But coffee. Oh sweet coffee. Always there for me; warm, comforting, promising to keep me awake and productive long after I should have put myself to bed.

3. Dropbox. Cloud based storage has changed my life. Seriously. Storing files and being able to access them anywhere from my phone, iPad, or PC has made things so easy for me, and for clients! With access anytime and anywhere, there is just about nothing I can’t do from the road. And the best part, I get unlimited storage free as a perk through my company.

4. Electronic lockboxes. I haven’t been in real estate for all that long, but I can’t imagine what life must have been like before these. I open an app on my phone, point it to a blue box hanging from a doorknob, and seconds later the key falls out. No codes to enter, no little dials to twist, just simple, quick access to properties. Bonus: clients think it’s awesome!

5. Snow gear that’s still cute. In a 4 season tourist town, we are hardly ever slow. This means being prepared to be out and about in all tiresweather. Snow tires for my car, warm fuzzy boots, wool socks, it’s all part of the deal! With the help of our local outlets, like EMS and LL Bean, I find it easy to stay warm and still look nice and professional.

6. Awesome affiliates. It might take a village to raise a child, but I think it can sometimes take two villages to get to a closing table. I appreciate all of the local lenders, closing companies, inspectors, and everyone else that is a part of these transactions. We all work so closely together, and we all do it so well! It’s like a big extended family, and I feel fortunate to have so many talented people on our team.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

5 Reasons to Buy in the Winter

As a follow up to our last post, I’d also like to bring up some reasons why winter can also be a great time to buy property. Sure, it might not be as fun to get in and out of the warm car and trek around in the snow, but there are some benefits to winter buying that you should know about before you put away those MLS searches for the season.

1. The seller might be more motivated. Even though there are lots of reasons to sell in the winter, lots of sellers still make the choice to list in the spring. Some home sellers need to keep their property on for a reason, such as a job relocation. This can be great for you! Motivated sellers might mean you have a leg up when it comes to negotiating.

2. Less choices. When spring inventory booms, it’s easy to find yourself with a list of 20+ properties  you want to see. This can be overwhelming to you and your Realtor. Personally, when I’m faced with too many choices, I tend to bury my head in the sand and not choose any. Less inventory can mean that your choices are narrowed down for you, and that can be a good thing! Of course, if you don’t find what you want, it’s your choice to wait for more inventory, but if you’re motivated to buy, less choices make it easier.

3. You’ll be able to see how the house stands up to weather. When you’re looking at a property in the summer, you have no idea if the windows are drafty, or if the pipes will hold up to cold, etc. Of course, an inspection will reveal some of these issues, but winter can be a big advantage to you. Walk around the house, feel the seams of windows and doors, and see what you’re up against when it comes to energy efficiency.

4. Take advantage of the lull. Lots of people try to close before the end of the year. That can sometimes mean that January is a little slow for everyone; Realtors, lenders, inspectors. This is great news if you want to buy during that time. You’ll get lots of attention, quick answers, and hopefully lessen your odds of needing any type of extension.

5. Competition can cool off too. Spring and summer historically have the most inventory, the newest listings, AND the most buyers. These factors combined can create multiple offer situations. With less competition, you may have a better chance of being the only buyer making an offer on a property, and don’t get caught up in the excitement and end up paying more than your comfortable with.

No matter what season you are searching in, we are happy to help. We make sure to invest in really warm winter boots to guide you through the snow towards the house of your dreams. Contact us for a list of properties that are new to the market.

5 Reasons Not to Wait Until Spring

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “well maybe we will just wait to list in the Spring” I probably could have paid off my mortgage by now. It seems like a totally legitimate thought, why list now, the beginning of winter, when everyone lists in the Spring? Here are 5 reasons why it’s smarter to list now:

1. Everyone lists in the spring. Do you really want to put your house on the market right in the middle of an inventory boom? The past few years have seen a huge increase in inventory, which has allowed home buyers to be VERY picky about what they want, and not settle until they get it. This means if your house doesn’t have something that they want, the next one will. Don’t get lost in a sea of houses for sale. Putting your property on the market now ensures that you have less competition. fireplace

2. Winter buyers are more serious. It’s easy to drive around and shop for homes in the summer, and it’s fun, and there’s not a whole lot of urgency (especially with all the inventory) in the summer. Sure you might get less showings, but the ones you do get tend to be more serious buyers. It’s not fun to trudge through the snow and slush looking at houses, so you know if a buyer is braving the elements, they are probably ready to buy.

3. Holiday warm and fuzzies. There’s a lot of mixed information about decorating your home for the holidays when it’s for sale. I am in favor. Even if the buyer walking through your house doesn’t celebrate that particular holiday, it doesn’t mean that the sense of family and togetherness is lost. A roaring fire, a beautifully decorated tree, the smell of fresh baked cookies…no one can deny the “home” feelings that these things provide. It can tell a story and make it easy for buyers to feel comfortable there.North Conway NH house in winter

4. In our area, winter is not our slow season. We live in a 4 season tourist area. There’s only a few weeks per year when we are truly “slow”. Especially in the case of marketing ski properties, there is no better time to list than the winter. Second home buyers are in the area Every. Single. Weekend. What happens on that rainy Saturday when the ski conditions aren’t good? They could finally get around to purchasing that trailside condo they’ve been eyeing from the slopes. Our area is unique, don’t let national media make you think that spring and summer are the only times of year to sell your home. We are not national!

5. You can change showing instructions. If you are thinking of pulling your house off the market for the winter, or waiting until the spring so you don’t have showings when you have company, think again. You can work with your agent and give them specific instructions about showings. You can say you’d like more notice for showings, or no showings on certain days of the week, or whatever. Again, you might think it’s limiting, but serious buyers will work around a schedule in order to see a house they are really interested in. And there is nothing wrong with waiting for a buyer that’s very serious!

Added bonus for people like me… If you have frequent showings, your house tends to stay cleaner! This can be great for people who tend to have drop in visitors around the holidays. The house always looks great!

If you are interested in listing your home for sale, please contact us to find out more, or get an idea about how much your home is worth. Happy Holidays!

The ‘Trust’ Factor — I’m Pretty Good — Retirement Homes in N.H

I’m Pretty Good 

This past weekend I arrived with clients to examine real estate in Evans Notch. While exiting the vehicle, wispy rain droplets fell on our shoulders and a rainbow as fat as a late summer Brook Trout  arched across the farm property with Bald Face Mountain in the background. I smiled and kidded myself that I had played some hand in this stunning display of beauty. After all, I’m pretty good.

A couple of years earlier I sat with clients atop a 40 acre parcel overlooking Silver Lake in the remaining hours of an early spring day. A couple of female turkeys clucked in the distance. I dropped on my knees and motioned for my clients to do the same.  I made my best turkey-call  (I bit my lip and thought I heard grandfather laughing from the grave). Sure enough, those turkeys came cautiously into our clearing and were rather startled to see our  congregation. After all, I’m pretty darned good.

So What Makes You So Good? 

Well, we all work hard so that’s not what makes me good. And I do cuss a blue streak when the chainsaw backs up, so no, it’s not my virtue that makes me good. I frequently measure the possibility of skipping town for a week to chase the land-lock salmon and spend late nights of poker with fishing buddies, so no, that’s not what makes me good.

Is the tension killing you? Here’s my secret:

The mountains and rivers are my compass, I listen, and when I say I know a piece of woods, I know those woods. After an especially trying time, I scrambled atop a ridge in Evans Notch over sheets of ice and frozen moss. Sometimes pulling up is good for the soul and working your hands raw makes you forget whatever was on your mind.

I’ve waded in the nearby brook so I could spear Suckers in the spring melt before the worms turn their bellies soft. I hiked through the night under the guidance of a winter full moon and returned to my vehicle in full circle just after sun-up and black coffee had never tasted so good that morning. I know the woods and rivers of Mt. Washington Valley.

Why Selling Retirement Homes is an Awesome Responsibility

In most cases, clients have saved and worked two to three decades to retire in Mt. Washington Valley — this is not a “weekend decision.” Simply said, I feel privileged to be trusted and I put a great deal of stock in the process. Some considerations that are at the forefront for retirees:

a) Village, country-setting, or association living?
b) Access to medical services or pharmacies
c) Winter home maintenance and snow removal
d) Trusted mechanics (we’ve got some good ones here)
e) Outdoor recreation clubs — gym memberships
f) Social groups
g) Single floor or two-story properties?
h) Internet access and adequate storage space
i) Space for guests or family

Behind the details of life I find the strongest consideration in a retirement home is a connection to place. A property that will provide solace and comfort, a location friends and family will enjoy visiting, and the opportunity to immerse in a wonderful community.

If you’d like to discuss retirement plans and relocating to the area, I’m pretty good, and my phone extension is (603) 356-7200 X 113.

For a specific property search, please provide your contact information below :)

Evans Notch with Ryan Mahan

 

September 2014 Carroll County Market Report

boathouseThe latest Carroll County Market report has just been released and can be seen here: September 2014 Sales Stats . The number of residential closed sales is down 7% this month and homes are 6 days longer on the market compared to last year at this time. Despite that, the average sale is up to $287,888 compared to $267,873 last year, proving that more expensive homes are in demand.

In the condo market, days on market are down to 124 vs. 157 days — selling over a month faster. However, the number of closed sales are down 6% compared to this time last year, yet the average sale is about the same: $176,223 in 2014 vs. $178,947 in 2013. Stability is a good thing!

According to this report, the departure of investors from the scene should benefit first-time homebuyers, but student debt and sluggish wage growth have slowed that transition. The economy is growing, but at a slower pace than desired.

At JtRealty our YTD stats are strong. Our business is up 68% compared to the end of the 3rd quarter last year. I’m really excited for the successes of our sellers and buyers and I’m proud of the gains our team members have made.

If you have any questions, email Joy@JtRealty.com.

Warmest regards,

Joy

Secret Places & Homes in Mt. Washington Valley

Mt. Washington ValleyThere are secret places and homes in Mt. Washington Valley. This photo to the left captures one of them. On this sunny, late September day I stand at a trestle and watch small trout rise from a clear pool on the Saco. The boy in me stirs and wants to return with a fly rod but not today as the hum-drum world moves me forward. The fish will wait. I can enjoy the now.

Yes, I have swum in this location with my kids, I have paddled this stretch of river in raft and canoe, and I have caught native Brookies with a fly rod. I had no particular reason to be here today but stopped for the quiet, to feel the sun on my face, to remember and watch the magic of where I live.

My client and I began our friendship in part around fishing. One morning he displayed a magnificent Lake Trout he had caught through the ice on Conway Lake. The fish had been packed in ice and the clear belly showed white. And quite frankly, Tim catches fish year round and has spent the last two decades in Mt. Washington Valley in his country home in Conway.

While Tim might not divulge his fishing secrets, there is one thing he wants to make plain as he sells his house:

EXTERIOR.COMPRESSEDDOG

Property Features:

a) 1.47 country acres
b) organic garden
c) post & beam
d) wood stove & oil heat
e) kitchen designed for a chef
f) farmer’s porch, side-deck for grilling

 


For More Information on 2012 Eaton Road — Please Submit Form Below

 

August 2014 Carroll County Market Report

Carroll County

The Carroll County residential market continues to level out over the improvement we saw in 2013. You can view the full report here: August 2014 market report. The number of closed sales is down 7% and days on market are longer. Despite that, sales volume is up even more than last month at +6%, and the average sale is up to $285,064 compared to $249,072 last year, as pricier homes are selling. Good news for the luxury home market!

In the condo market, days on market are down 129 vs. 155 days — condos are selling over 3 weeks faster. However, the number of closed sales are down 5% compared to this time last year, sales volume is down 9% again this month, and the average sale is down to $169,767 compared to $176,471 last year. We don’t expect this correction to last, but it sure is a good time for condo buyers.

At the NH Association of Realtors Conference in Bretton Woods last week, I listened to Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, talk about the real estate recovery lagging in New England (except for Boston, which had made real estate ownership almost impossible for the Millennial generation). He specifically mentioned New Hampshire as having some real opportunities in the market for home buyers right now, especially with the inevitability of mortgage interest rates rising to 5% in the next 2-6 months, and to 6.5% by 2016.

If you have any questions about the market, feel free to contact us, we’re happy to help.

Best,

Joy

How To Be The Perfect Buyer

As Realtors, we are constantly striving to be the best we can be. We participate in continuing education (sure, we’re required to, but we do it with a smile on our faces!) we update our technology tools, we invest in marketing and advertising, and we really focus on improving our service. Of course, this is what puts food on our table, but we know how important great service is, and we try to provide that to our clients. So I thought I’d turn the tables a little bit and describe our perfect buyer. Even if you do one thing from this list, we’ll be forever grateful!

1. Get pre-qualified. If you are very interested in buying a property within the next 4 months, call a lender and get a pre-qualification letter. bankIt takes less than a half hour, barely touches your credit report, and makes things much easier. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a property and then finding out that you can’t get qualified for it. Don’t set yourself up for heartbreak. Get a pre-qualification letter from one of our preferred vendors and look within that price range.

2. Drive by the houses. I realize that you might not live in the area, but taking the time to drive by the 31 houses you want to see next weekend will be worth it for everyone involved. I guarantee that your list will be cut in half, or even further, once you drive by the properties. Sometimes it’s the area, or it looks nothing like the photos, or the proximity to the street, whatever. It saves you time and saves us time.

3. Be realistic about showings. Again, we understand that you might not live in this area, and you have limited time. However, try to keep the number of properties you want to see down to 8 or less. More than that for one is exhausting, and two, it’s hard to remember which one is which when you have “marathon showings” and this is a big deal, you want to keep a clear head. There’s always another weekend if you don’t find something you love on your first time out. Besides that, showings take a minimum of 15 minutes each, so by the time you’ve seen 5 or 6 not only are you tired and overwhelmed, but hungry too!

4. Be loyal. There are a lot of Realtors out there, and we know how easy it is to find another one instantly online. We strive to get you information as quickly as possible, take you to see several properties, and help answer any and all of your questions. It just about kills us to spend so much time with a person, develop a relationship, and then a week or two later get an email saying “sorry, but we saw more houses with so and so, and we made an offer on one”. Listen, I’m not saying you can’t pick and choose who you’re working with, but be up front. If you’re not going to commit to one Realtor, just be honest. If you see 6 houses with us and think it’s just not a good fit, tell us! We would much rather know up front that you are working with several Realtors, or that you’re going to look at houses with someone else, or that our personalities don’t click with yours, than learn about it weeks later after several failed attempts to contact you. happy home buying family

5. Don’t think we’re the enemy. The best part of our jobs is the fact that we get to help people. We are on your side. The paychecks are great, but don’t think of us as stereotypical salespeople, dying to get a commission NOW. In fact, many of us don’t even like to consider ourselves “in sales”! We honestly want what’s best for you, and take our job as your educator seriously. We know that you will make a decision on purchasing a house on your own, and don’t want to push you. We want to offer you all of the information we have and help you make a smart decision. If at any point in a sale things seem to be going in a bad direction, we will tell you! We’d rather start all over in the process of finding a property than have you make a bad decision and blame us. We want to be your Realtor for life, not just for this one transaction, and we will do what we can to make sure you trust us.

At JtRealty, we consider our clients our friends too. It’s important to us to be honest and forthcoming with you so you will use us in the future, and tell your friends about us. If there’s anything you wish Realtors did differently, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!

A-Zipping We Will Go!

JtRealty staff at Bretton Woods Canopy TourOnce a year in the summer, we all get together and have a big cookout. This year, we decided to try a different approach, and booked a trip on the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour. Ziplining! I had never gone before. I had the chance to on a recent vacation to Mexico, but unfortunately (not really, I was totally relieved) it started thundering and lightning and they wouldn’t allow us to do it. So this was a JtRealty staff riding the chair liftredemption trip! I said yes without thinking, and then slowly started to freak out about a week before.

We got to the base lodge a few minutes early to sign a waiver (P.S. I shouldn’t say this but I’d advise NOT reading the waiver if you’re already freaked out. You know what the gist of it is, you don’t need an extensive description!) and then headed over to the zipline building. The guides got us all strapped in and gave us a quick rundown of safety tips. Then, onto the chairlift we went!

We got off the chairlift at the top, and walked about 10 minutes to the first line. It was a small mini-line. We then got the full set of instructions from the guides, and we each went on the small line in order to practice steering, braking, and pulling ourselves in. This made me feel SO much better. You really are completely strapped in and doubly hooked up. The guides even said that the most dangerous part of the tour is the walk from the chairlift, and I believe it!The top of Bretton Woods Canopy Tour

The course is designed to build your confidence, so the lines start out short and at a relatively low elevation and then work their way up. There are 9 lines altogether, ranging from 120-830 feet in length and up to 165 feet off of the forest floor. We went effortlessly from line to line, stopping at tree platforms build waaaay up in the trees. We also trekked across two 50 foot sky bridges, and repelled off of three platforms! It was really an adventure. Our guides were fantastic, they were knowledgeable about the area, and funny too! Our guide Beech zipliningeven told jokes on each platform as we were waiting for all of our group members to go across. This was a huge help, because to me, standing on these platforms high up in the trees was the scariest part! Even though the whole day had a light and joking feel, I appreciated that the guides, while funny and joking, still could sense when someone was a little freaked out, and gave a gentle “look at me, you’re fine, I’ve got all the control” which was so reassuring.

The entire tour took about 3 and a half hours, and by the end we were beat! The hot cider and rum in the lobby of the Mount Washington hot cider and rum in the lobby of the Mount WashingtonHotel was well deserved after a long day zipping down the mountain. I would highly recommend this tour. I was so nervous to do it, but so glad that I did! We had a great day together, trying something new and soaking in the mountain views we all love so much.

If you have any questions about the tour, or any other outdoor activities, contact one of our local loving agents. Between all of us, there’s not an outdoor activity we haven’t conquered.

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