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.

July 2014 Carroll County Market Report

Hello and happy fall! Our Carroll County market report has just been released and can be viewed here: July 2014 stats. We are sorry for the delay on this, but the NH Association of Realtors recently moved their offices, and it caused some communication delays.

The residential market improved a lot last year, so the improvement in the market seems to be leveling out this year. The number of closed sales is down 6.5% compared to this time last year and days on market are longer, 134 last year vs. 146 this year. Despite that, sales volume is up 5%, and the average sale is also up, $274,774 this year compared to $245,263 last year. Looks like prices are creeping up!

In the condo market, the good news is that days on market are down 11% — condos are selling over 2 weeks faster. However, the number of closed sales are down 3% compared to this time last year. Sales volume is down 9%, and the average sale is also down, $165,486 this year compared to $176,724 last year. The positive side is that condos, ski condos in particular, show sales straight through the ski season, so we still have time to catch up.

We’ve got about 6 weeks left of our busy season, so timing is everything! If you’d like an updated CMA on your property, just contact one of our agents.

Warmest regards,

Joy

How to Make Your Move Manageable

So, you’re under contract and getting ready to move in to your new home. The hard part is over right? Not always. You still have to pack up your stuff and move! Sometimes that can be the hardest part. Here are some tips to help you with the process:

1. Get rid of some stuff! Moving is the perfect time to prioritize all of the “stuff” you’ve been holding onto, and get rid of some. My personal rule of thumb is if I haven’t worn it, used it, or looked for it in 6 months, it goes. I try to go through my house at least twice a year with this in mind, excepting only very sentimental items. I donate clothes, shoes, household items constantly to a local thrift shop, and will also put stuff aside for a spring time yard sale. Early this summer one of my friends was having a yard sale so I figured I’d join in with a bunch of yard-salestuff I was going to give away anyway, and ended up with over $200 for a couple hours of sitting out in the sun with mimosas. Pretty sweet deal! Be creative when saving personal things. Scan photos or kids school artwork to cloud storage, box up kid’s clothes by size and give them to friends or family that can use them. Call your local Habitat for Humanity to see if they will take any household items for one of their yard sales. They even pick it up! Don’t forget to get a donation receipt for a tax write off.

2. Start with the rooms you don’t use first. Leaving everything for the last minute can be super stressful. Try to start packing weeks or months in advance to lessen the load in those final days. You probably won’t need your wedding china or winter clothes before your October closing in 3 weeks. Or your seldom used kitchen appliances. You can make do for a couple of weeks with minimal items, and it will save you time and headaches before your move.

3. Clearly label boxes, including the room they will be going to. Don’t just say “Glasses” on a box. Take the extra 3 seconds and write “Glasses, bar, formal dining room”. This way, no matter who helps you move, they will be able to put each box where it belongs, and you will be able to unpack one room at a time and know what you need to unpack first.

4. Get creative with packing. Look at pinterest for ideas on this. The possibilities are endless. A few of my favorites:

1. Use Glad Press n’ Seal for drawers. Pull the drawer out of the dresser, use the wrap, and pack it just like that. You’re packing the items in the drawer and making moving the dresser easier.

2. Use clothing to wrap dishes, glasses, and other breakables. It will save you money on bubble wrap, and as a bonus you’re packing clothes too!

3. Keep sandwich bags handy. Whenever you disassemble a piece of furniture, put all of the hardware in a bag and label it. Tape the bag to the piece of furniture, if possible. This way you aren’t searching for parts.

5. When it gets to be a few days from your move, pack an overnight bag. No one feels like searching for their toothbrush or pajamas after a long day of packing, loading a truck, and driving to their new home. Do yourself a favor and pack a bag with your essential toiletries, pajamas, and an extra outfit for the next day. That way you can get to your destination, unpack your bed, and get some rest.

6. Breathe. It will get done, and soon the nightmare of packing and moving will be over and you’ll be relaxing in your new home. Focus on the end result, take short breaks, and look at a photo on your phone of your favorite relaxfeature in the new house to keep you going.

Bonus tip: If you are moving to this area from out of state, consider using our preferred vendor list to help find movers, contractors, cable providers, etc. All the vendors on our list have been used by us or someone very close to us, and we highly recommend them all. Take the guesswork out! Also, our Realtors aren’t just here for real estate. We are always happy to help someone find the best grocery store near them, or give a take out recommendation. Don’t be afraid to ask us! We’re die hard locals that know the best secrets.

 

5 Tips for Cordial Negotiating (AKA don’t be that guy)

“There’s something to be said for cordial negotiations” is a line I heard from David Emmet, when I first started here at JtRealty. At the time, it was just another tip I heard around the office, but now as I begin my venture into sales, it pops into my head constantly. Negotiating a sale is the trickiest part for all parties involved. Here’s a few things to try to remember:

1. Check your ego. Remember that everyone involved wants the same thing. The sellers want to sell. The buyers want to buy. The Realtors want it to close. While breaking it down might seem like you are on two different teams, the truth is that everyone is working towards a common goal. Remembering this fact and keeping in mind that it’s not about you can go a long way. So what if the seller didn’t come down as much as you wanted them to? Did they come down at all? Is the home affordable to you? Is it worth it? So many deals fall apart over a couple thousand dollars, or LESS, because emotions get involved.

keep calm do your homework2. Do your homework. Together with your Realtor you should do your research and have a very good handle on the market before you make an offer. Know what has sold, what hasn’t sold, and what is pending. Look around and get a very good idea as to what you think the house is worth, but be able to back it up with information. Don’t lowball just to see if the sellers will bite. 9 times out of 10 this won’t do anything except anger the seller and immediately start things off on a bad foot. Even if they counter offer, chances are they’ll be insulted, and less likely to offer any further concessions when it comes to inspections, etc. Once again, there’s something to be said for cordial negotiations…

3. Figure out what really matters. When it comes to your inspection, it’s typical for lots of issues, no matter how small, to come up. Don’t ask for every little repair to be made. Think about if you had the same issue in your own home. Sure, some people fix every problem as soon as it happens, which of course is what you should do, but sometimes people put things off if they aren’t a big deal. Would you immediately replace a window if there was a little fog in it? Would you call a plumber if your faucet had a tiny leak? Probably not. So don’t get caught up on the smaller things and ask the seller to repair them. If there are major problems, of course, work those into the negotiations, but don’t use the inspection as a way to get more money out of people.

4. It’s not a game. Similar to #1, ego can get in the way and make people “play the game” even if they don’t care about whatever is monopolyhappening. Deals can fall apart over pretty ridiculous things, such as a couch set, or a cord of firewood, just because one party is ready to put their foot down over something.  Try to take a step back and look at the big picture, the fact that you are buying a house. Not whether or not the seller is leaving the pretty painting on the wall.

5. Walk away if you have to. Always have one or two back up houses in mind. Don’t let this one house cloud your judgment and make you not think clearly and agree to anything the seller wants. If they aren’t being cordial, you don’t have to buy their house! Don’t say yes to things or prices that you aren’t comfortable with. There’s a lot of houses out there, you can find another one. But once you buy, it’s yours, and being angry because you feel like you were taken advantage of is no way to start your life in a new home.

Negotiating can be difficult, and scary, but for us, it can be the best part! It’s because we are trained and skilled at what we do. It’s best to have buyer representation so you know that you’ve got someone in your corner with your best interests at heart. Contact one of our agents and ask about buyer agency, and they’d be happy to tell you about all of the fantastic benefits it offers. Don’t go at it alone! And the best case scenario would be to walk out of the deal with both sides happy and ready to move forward. Good luck and happy negotiating!

The Happiest Jobs in America

I saw an article on Facebook the other day titled “The 20 Happiest Jobs in America for 2014” and was pleasantly surprised to see “Realtor” at number 3! It got me thinking, what makes working in this industry so great? Then I realized I have 8 happy Realtors within my reach, so why not ask them? Here’s what they have to say about this challenging, but rewarding career choice: JtRealty staff | North Conway NH

“It’s exciting and motivating to be a major role in helping someone find a property that is going to have such an impact on their life. It’s a lot of work, but it feels like something else.” – Kathy Prittie

“What I like the most is the flexible scheduling. My job allows me to enjoy the mountain lifestyle and provide a great income.” – David Emmet

“It is a very rewarding job. I love being the one who helps keep things moving forward and keeping them together. From the first email or phone call…to the showings (getting to know them)…then helping negotiate, the inspection, working with the bank & title company. I love being a Realtor because I end up with more friends.”- Elizabeth Scully

“I appreciate coordinating the transaction once we get launched and under agreement. It feels like being an NFL quarterback, an air traffic controller, and there is a gentle pressure the entire time but that is where relationships are forged and where Realtors truly earn their money.”-Ryan Mahan

“I love helping families make a lifetime of memories.” – Nella Thompson

“To sum it up, I primarily love my real estate career because of the autonomy – I can control my job and my days. In fact, I only work half days and can choose any 12 hours I want! Seriously, I found my niche over 35 years ago – I am a bottom line problem solver and this career offers plenty of opportunities to implement this skill, both for co-workers and clients.” – Joy Tarbell

“For an industry that tends to get pinned as something that just older people do, I am constantly surprised at the innovation and technology that the real estate industry provides. It’s always changing, exciting, and fun! Helping people find a property that is perfect for them, or sell a property that no longer works for them, is addicting, and I find myself checking my emails and getting a little skip in my heartbeat when there’s a new client in my inbox. What’s better than that?” – Emily Kubichko

JtRealty staff“I love the freedom and flexibility of being able to work on my own schedule, the ability to work from home or anywhere, even on vacation! No two days are alike; each day brings a new challenge and I’ve never stopped learning.  It’s a great way to earn a living in Mt. Washington Valley where I can enjoy the mountain lifestyle that I love and also introduce people to the things I love to do in the Valley.” – Suzie Laskin

Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? If you are interested in finally working as hard for yourself as you currently do for someone else, check out our careers page to learn more.

 

3 Tips to Help Secure a Favorable Mortgage Rate

The best way to ensure you get a good rate on your mortgage is to become an informed buyer. The more you know about mortgages, the more you’ll be able to save, and that doesn’t just mean knowing where to find the best interest rate.

While interest rates play an important role in determining the price of your mortgage, there’s always more to a mortgage than just the interest rate. Here are three things you need to know about mortgages to make sure you secure a favorable rate.

Understand The Fees Involved – And How To Avoid Them

Aside from the interest rate, the biggest factor affecting the price of a mortgage is often the fees involved. These fees won’t always be easy to find, so you might have to do some homework if you want to compare fees charged by different lenders.

Sometimes, it’s possible to have these fees waived or removed. For example, if you end up moving your mortgage from one lender to another, the original lender may have some sort of mortgage pre-payment penalty. You’ll want to make sure the terms of your existing mortgage loan don’t include fees like this before you refinance.get a quote for a mortgage

Understand How The “Lock-In” Process Can Affect Your Interest Rate

When you get a quote for a mortgage, each lender will offer a “lock-in period” in which the lender guarantees the interest rate for your mortgage stays the same. Because interest rates fluctuate so often, this “lock-in period” ensures that you end up paying the same rate you were initially offered should you choose to take out a mortgage with that lender.

If you need a longer lock-in period of two months or more, many lenders will charge a higher interest rate for that provision. For this reason, it’s a good idea to be sure about the closing date of your sale so you can avoid missing out on the lock-in period or being forced to ask for a rate-lock extension.

Understand How Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate

Generally, a better credit score means a better mortgage rate, but it’s important that you don’t damage your score while you’re shopping around for mortgages.

Every lender will want to know your credit score and see your credit history. The good news is that every inquiry of the same tyep (mortgage in this case) will only count as a single inquiry on your score.  However, if you have other types of credit pulled, like furniture or auto financing, then too many inquiries into your credit history can lower your credit score.  Your best bet is to hold off on any additional financing until your home purchase loan is completed.

Of course, it’s always important to shop around and compare rates when you’re looking for the best mortgage deal. And now that you know these extra pieces of information about how mortgages work, you should have an easier time differentiating between a good mortgage rate and a bad mortgage rate. A mortgage rate that looks good at first could end up being a bad mortgage rate in the end because of hidden fees and other cost factors.

To learn more about finding the best mortgage rates, give your trusted mortgage professional a call. And to find the perfect house you want to finance, contact one of our agents

Guest blog brought to you by Liz Widmer, from Market Street Settlement Group

7 Things to consider when buying a condo

In the Mount Washington Valley, condo sales make up a great deal of our business. Buyers coming from out of state looking for a second home tend to have a lot of questions about condo ownership, as they aren’t used to the idea. Besides that, usually vacation home buyers are excited (with good reason!) and we want to be sure you know the right things to look for and questions to ask. We thought it would be helpful to provide you with a list of things to keep in mind during your searchCondo Property:

1. Rentals. Lots of condo associations offer rental programs so you can rent out your condo while you aren’t using it. Of course, this isn’t mandatory, but lots of owners choose this to help offset the expenses. Some buy them specifically for this reason alone! So if you are looking to buy for a rental, make sure you look at condos that allow short term rentals. Also be sure to find out what type of restrictions exist, such as pets, number of guests, etc. This way you aren’t offering people something you can’t deliver on.

2. Amenities. Different associations offer different amenities. Amenities can be a huge draw when choosing a condo. It’s not just about the interior! When you look at condos, be sure to ask for a tour of the amenities so you can see what there is to enjoy at each development. You might spend a lot of time using them.

3. Condo fees. Look carefully at the condo fees and what is included. Getting a clear picture on what is and isn’t included is important, and will help you to avoid surprises in the future that you hadn’t budgeted for.Attitash Mountain Ski Area

4. Special assessments. Every so often, a repair project comes along that goes over and above what the association has budgeted for and a special assessment needs to be issued. Examples would include new roofs, paving, or unexpected disaster damages that go over the condo reserves. It’s important to look at the budget and see how much money the development keeps in reserves, and also ask if there is currently a special assessment in place. Typically the buyer is responsible for any special assessment payments that are due after closing, even if the assessment was imposed before the closing.

5. Pets. Not all developments accept pets, so if you’re planning on bringing your favorite four legged friend, make sure they will be allowed!

6. Rental income. As stated before, lots of vacation home buyers choose to rent out their condo while they aren’t using it. It’s great to find a condo that already has good rental income so you can get an idea. Ask for the rental history for the past couple of years so you can get an average net income for your planning purposes. Overlooking The White Mountains

7. Location, location, location. Keep an open mind when looking online at certain condo developments. Come and drive around some of them. Chances are, you will fall in love with a development, and then you can narrow your search to just that certain location. There are a lot of options here! If there’s nothing on the market that interests you in the development of your dreams, just be patient. Good things are worth waiting for, and you want this decision to make you happy and comfortable, not rushed, or like you’re settling for something. Your Realtor can help by setting you up to receive new listing notifications in your desired location, so you’ll be one of the first to know!

Purchasing a condo should be an exciting, rewarding experience. We are proud to have many condo sales under our belts, and we are skilled and well versed in the local developments, rules, and regulations, and are happy to help you find the perfect vacation condo.

Contact us for more information, or to find out our favorites! Happy searching.

June 2014 Market Report

We hope you are enjoying your summer. The Carroll County market report has just been released and can be found here: June 2014 Market Report. Here’s a quick summary of the report:

In the residential market, the number of closed sales are down 3% compared to this time last year. Homes are taking longer to sell as days on market are up 7%, or 10 days longer. Sales volume is up 12%, making the average sale $271,276, compared to last year’s average of $223,419, a great improvement in terms of prices!

In the condo market, the number of closed sales are up 1% compared to this time last year. Days on market are down 10.5%, so condos are selling over 2 weeks faster. The not so good news is that the average sale at this time last year was $179,592 and this year it is $167,676, almost 7% lower, which is still low, but last month the year to date average was down 11%, so we are catching up!

For an idea on what is going on nationally, you can read this article which is an update of the industry as a whole for the first half of 2014. Interesting stuff!

Our busy season is underway and we are excited to do what we can to improve these numbers in the coming months! There is a good amount of inventory out there, so it’s as important as ever to stay competitive and be realistic about pricing. If you’d like an updated market analysis of your property, just ask! You can contact us with any questions you may have.

Stay cool,

Joy

The Future of Real Estate…

Some of my favorite stories at our sales meetings, or real estate conferences, are about what real estate used to be like. How all the listings used to be printed weekly and added to a big book to show to clients. Or how agents used to have to drive around from office to office collecting keys to listings before they could show them. Or how buyers and sellers would have to sign contracts and mail them to each other, rather than scanning stacks-of-paperand emailing. Listening to it now, it seems so comical and inefficient, but back then it wasn’t. It really makes me think, what will real estate be like in 5 years, or 10 years, or even 30 years? What will become obsolete that seems perfect now?

Real estate was introduced to the internet in 1994, and the feeds that push listings from the MLS to company websites was introduced in the early 2000’s. Source: here. Now we can find data on properties that aren’t even listed, see an estimated value, or time on market, or listing agent right from a mobile app on our cell phone. What can we improve on? Personally, I think that contracts could be a simpler process for clients. We are getting there, but it still isn’t perfect. Picture yourself as a home buyer. You look at several homes and finally fall in love. How great would it be to sit down at the table of the house you want to buy, fill out an offer with your Realtor, and then sign with your finger? NH has, over the past couple of years, become more open to electronic signatures and now accepts them, so we are getting close! I’d also love to see the searching process become easier. An app that could produce a “drive by” viewing of a property so you could check out the neighborhood before you drive by. With Google Earth you can spin around 360 degrees, but it’s cumbersome to try to go up and down a street. How cool would it be to put in an address and then be able to see a video of the last mile or so of the drive to, and from, the house? IPad_keyboard

At JtRealty, we constantly look for ways to improve, simplify, and modernize our service. We aren’t afraid of change and embrace it wholeheartedly. And we aren’t afraid of feedback!

What do you think? Would you ever make an offer on a house after taking a Skype walkthrough with a Realtor on their cell phone? Would you be nervous to give up signing and faxing or scanning contracts or does the idea of clicking to sign seem more your style? Technology is only as good as the person who wants to use it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that’s out there, and we are trying to sift through all of the apps and gadgets in order to make buying or selling real estate as easy as buying a cup of coffee. Can you think of any ideas? Contact us and feel free to challenge us and see how easy we can make it. We are up for it!

Why Lake Trips Are Important

A Life of Infatuation with Water 

I spent countless afternoons on the water before I could walk. I remember sitting in grandmother’s lap from a Grand Lake Stream canoe and my father saying, “Mom, look sweetie, the moose is right there, it’s even moving a little, see it?”

Well, grandmother’s eyes weren’t quite what they used to be and she had never really seen a moose before so she answered, “Oh my Warren, that is a lovely moose.” And true to my grandmother’s devout nature, a woman who spent much of her life in Kentucky, grandmother wasn’t really fibbing because I’m sure what she saw in her imagination was in fact, a lovely moose. “That is so nice Warren, lovely.” The experience was important for grandmother and father both even if the sighting was unclear.

Father and I would often drive to the end of old dirt logging roads, shoulder our fishing gear, and then hike sometimes miles in search of the elusive Native Brook Trout. The Black Flies were always thick, the walking difficult, and raining only meant that the fishing was sure to improve and sometimes we caught as many fish as we wanted, other times we left empty handed. That wasn’t the important part so much either.

My first whitewater canoe expedition was with my sister, in a damaged and limping canoe that floated only inches above the river. Our line was true, our strokes were certain, and our eyes were huge and I remember seeing my sister’s yellow hair high above me as we traveled up and over the standing wave, and then capsized as we took on too much water. The narrow coil of rope my friend tossed missed us so 1. 5 miles later I had the brute washed up on a sandbar.

During college summers I learned intimately the nature of whitewater and guided rafting groups down the Kennebec River. The pull of the river was too strong and raft trips too cumbersome so soon I discovered all I needed was a kayak, some gear, and grand moving water for thrills.

I spent a summer on a fishing boat in Resurrection Bay Alaska and never got accustomed to the immense size of nature, the abundance of sea-life (gray whales, porpoises, Bald Eagles), and how quick the ocean can turn on a man.

BUT PERHAPS the most important trip on the water was my most recent with my father and most of my family. At 83 years old a man can get cabin fever so we made an arrangement that was wheel-chair friendly.

“FREEDOM” is what you would have heard were you with us this afternoon. Sometimes time on the water is the best medicine.

...with Ryan Mahan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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