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Welcome to our blog! Here you will find information regarding market, local and Lakes Region information and events! Come back often to see what's new and leave us a comment if there's something you'd like to see! 

Scammers Are Trying to Dupe Homeowners Who Need Help

Don't fall prey to these scammers.  Below is an article from REALTOR Magazine alerting homeowners of their tactics and how not to be a victim to their schemes!

Scam artists are reportedly using multiple methods, including spoofing tactics, to try to trick struggling homeowners with offers of financial aid. Freddie Mac warned this week that it learned of a scam where borrowers were receiving fraudulent calls impersonating the mortgage financing giant in offering low interest rates and other false promises.

Freddie Mac says it will never reach out to consumers over the phone with a refinancing opportunity or a new loan.

As some homeowners struggle from the economic toll of the COVID-19 outbreak, scammers are looking to take advantage of those looking for help. They may call owners offering immediate relief from foreclosure or relief from making mortgage payments.

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and many lenders are offering programs to help homeowners at this time, but those calls need to be initiated by the owner.

“Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID in an effort to disguise their identity while pretending to be someone else,” Freddie Mac warns in a statement about the growing scam.

“During times of distress, it is important to be on your guard against fraud schemes,” Freddie Mac says in a post.

Here are some tips from Freddie Mac to help homeowners avoid being scammed:

  • If a call comes from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

  • If you answer and receive a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Hang up.

  • Never give out any personal, financial, or other sensitive information unless you’ve verified the caller is a legitimate source.

  • Be cautious of numbers on your caller ID since scammers can make any name or number appear.

Source: 

Avoiding Fraud: Call Spoofing,” Freddie Mac (March 25, 2020) and “Avoid Getting Caught Up in Coronavirus Scams Involving Your Mortgage,” Forbes.com (March 26, 2020)

Hackers Are Trying to Spread Another Type of Virus

Don't let Hackers get the best of you.  Following is an article from REALTOR Magazine alerting homeowners of their devious ways.

Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies has found a surge in coronavirus-themed malware and malicious software that is targeting the growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Cybercriminals are infecting home computers that may not have the same safeguards that employees use at their offices.

“The hackers are out in force, and they know that everybody’s home, so I think working from home without appropriate security is a risk,” Beth McCarty, owner of TeamLogic IT/Central Pinellas in Clearwater, Fla., told realtor.com®.

Phishing emails continue to prey on individuals, security experts warn. Hackers are sending out emails impersonating charities. They’re making requests for money or other personal information. For example, one reported scam purports to be an app by Johns Hopkins University that tracks the coronavirus and urges people to download a file or to click on the link, which contains malicious malware. Some cybercriminals are also hijacking video conferences, displaying pornography.

Check Point Software Technologies’ research shows that more than 4,000 coronavirus-related domains had been registered globally. Three percent were found to be malicious and 5% were labeled “suspicious.”

While companies offer in-house internet networks, many people who are working at home don’t have that same type of security in their home networks. Also, many households are now sharing devices among family members, and aren’t just using them for work. Children may be using devices to access classroom portals or for entertainment.

What can you do?

“Make sure you change that default password on your router,” McCarty told realtor.com®. “Many people have not.”

She also recommends enabling encryption on the router, using two-factor authentication to access programs, not storing any company information on your personal device, and using only approved company storage.

Also, she urges the use of a virtual private network, if available from your company. View more tips at realtor.com®.

Source: 

The Rush to Work From Home Creates Opportunity—for Cybercriminals,” realtor.com® (March 24, 2020)

Real Estate transactions are now included in New Hampshire's list of "essential businesses"!

 

 

Yes, we are open for business!

Following an appeal by NH Realtors, real estate transactions are now included in the state’s list of essential businesses allowed to function as a result of Gov. Christopher Sununu’s stay-at-home order. 

In our effort to abide by the guidelines in the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, we request the following:

 

  • Call us at 603-569-4488 if you wish to speak with an Agent.  

  • Meetings: Meetings between brokers/agents and clients (or prospective clients) cannot take place at a real estate brokerages’ physical offices, but may take place with social distancing or remotely by phone, video or other electronic means.

  • Virtual Tours: If you wish to schedule a showing of a property, you can do so by calling us and we can set up a viewing via virtual tour or Facetime.

  • Closings: Real estate closings can continue either through remote means or with social distancing for any in-person transactions.

  • Inspections: Property inspections and appraisals may continue with appropriate social distancing.

  • Delivery Personnel: You may enter our lobby area but we request you keep a minimum distance of 6 feet between yourself and our Agents and Administrator. 

 

Please follow these preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Stay home and avoid public places as much as possible

  • Avoid close contact through social distancing, at least 6 feet from anyone.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve then immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands as soon as possible.

 

Stay Healthy & Safe Everyone!  We're all in this together!

 

Melanson Real Estate, Inc.

www.melansonrealestate.com

Mobile: 603-651-7228

 

 

Buying or Selling Your Home in the Lakes Region?

 

List or Buy with Us This Spring!

 

 

The agents at Melanson Real State, Inc. are committed to providing professional advising to both buyers and sellers in New Hampshire's Lakes Region.

With us, you never have to worry about not receiving the personal attention you need through each step of the real estate process.

 

34 North Main Street

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

www.melansonrealestate.com

603-569-4488

 

One of the Oldest and Most Respected Real Estate Firms in the Lakes Region

 

 

NH Needs Volunteers to Help Fight Coronavirus, here's how to join

Yesterday, Gov. Chris Sununu reached out to New Hampshire residents with ways they can help as the state prepares for a long fight against the novel coronavirus.

Sununu and Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette outlined several ways that residents can volunteer, including providing or supporting health care and helping ensure that hospitals are stocked with personal protective equipment.

"We need more volunteers to step up and help mitigate this pandemic," Sununu said. 

 

Below is the information on volunteering, as released by Sununu's office. Click on the links below (highlighted) for more information:

NHResponds.org: This effort will serve as a secure online registration system for medical and non-medical volunteers who can quickly mobilize if needed. NHResponds is part of a nationwide volunteer management system that was established after 9/11 to get medical professionals quickly, and properly deploy them during a public health emergency or disaster. 

VolunteerNH.org: New Hampshire is blessed to have many amazing non-profits which do critical work 365 days a year – and especially in times like these. Individuals interested in volunteering for a local non-profit can visit volunteernh.org to be connected with an organization in their area.

NHEconomy.com/PPEHelp: This portal will allow for all businesses to see what products the State needs, and reach out to offer assistance. The State has already heard from nearly 100 companies who are ready to adapt and adjust their operations to provide the protection, equipment, and knowledge base to stop the spread of COVID19 by either donating or producing PPE. 

Sununu on Monday urged people to practice social distancing and said if this didn't happen on a widespread basis, "further action may be necessary to ensure the health and safety of our neighbors."

5 Simple Ways to Build Home Equity

As we head into April and the weather starts to warm up a bit, now is a great time to think about home improvement projects to build equity in your home and make it more beautiful. Building equity in your home is usually a process that takes a lot of time, money, energy, and patience. 

Following are some helpful tips to turn your neighborhood into a community and how to get ready for a home inspection. 

Maintenance

Before you start thinking of ways to create equity, consider what you can do to maintain your current equity. Keeping up with routine maintenance and fixing problems as soon as they arise will help your home stay in good shape so that you don’t lose out on existing home value.

Landscaping

Nice landscaping increases your home’s curb appeal, which can add thousands of dollars to your home’s value. Investing in quality landscaping is often the quickest, easiest way to earn a home equity boost. 

Outdoor upgrades

Replacing torn window screens, updating the paint on your porch, replacing your front door, and other small projects can dramatically improve your home’s curb appeal. This, in turn, can be a quick and easy way to improve your home’s value and the equity you have in it.

Indoor updates

Some projects like a full kitchen or bathroom remodel will add a lot of value to your home, but they’ll also cost a lot of money. Some simpler projects like repainting your cabinets, updating your appliances, or checking your attic insulation can improve your home without emptying your wallet.

Raise your payments

Another way to build equity in your home is to pay down your loan. Add extra money to pay down your principal loan or make additional payments on your loan to earn additional home equity.

 

By Christopher Kelly, RE/MAX Bayside, 208 Daniel Webster Hwy, Meredith, NH 03253

 

7 Ways You Can Help During the Pandemic

The world is on fire—at least that’s how it feels. Concern over the coronavirus (along with overwhelming, 24-hour media coverage) has resulted in long lines at grocery stores, empty shelves, and general feeling of “what’s next?” Here are 7 things you can start doing now to remain healthy and to help others.

1. Wash your hands. The best way to prevent getting and spreading this virus is to wash your hands. Oh, and don’t touch your face. Simple and effective. Don’t forget to use those Clorox wipes (when you can find them in stores) and clean off your phone. It has a ton of germs on it.

2. Social distancing. Keep yourself away from others—at least 6 feet if you’re in public—and say no to attending large events where there’s potential for exposure. Don’t become a hermit; just be smart. Help end this pandemic by keeping your distance.

3. Order food to-go and tip well. When you get take-out, be sure to tip more than normal. Your servers need the income as they are hurting like everyone else. Order food to-go or delivery and eat at home. You can still support the local businesses and eat a meal you didn’t have to cook yourself.

4. Buy gift cards. Buy gift cards from your favorite local stores and restaurants so those small business owners continue to have income. When the pandemic ends, you can go cash in those gift cards.

5. Look out for neighbors. While some people have the opportunity to work from home, others may be left without work or paychecks due to coronavirus measures—especially in light of school closures and lack of childcare options. Be on the lookout for your neighbors and see if you can help provide groceries.

6. Spring cleaning. Some of you may find that with cancellations and social distancing, your schedule is a little freed up. Don’t just Netflix and chill all day. (The Netflix release of Outbreak last week was an ironic timing.) Use this time to be productive. Take the next week or two and spring clean your house. I’m talking a couple of hours a day after work—you don’t have to miss your favorite rerun of The Office to do it. Tackle one room a day. It’s a great time to get your office organized as well. Get rid of clutter, make digital copies of what you can, and get rid of paperwork. You’ll feel accomplished and able to focus better on work.

7. It’s all going to be okay. You can’t fix it, stressing won’t help, and over-buying toilet paper is not the answer. Try to go about life as normally as you can while taking precautions along the way. Life will go back to normal—or a new normal. You can do this without stressing out to the max. Just focus on these 7 steps and continue on.

By Jef Conn: Jef Conn, CCIM, SIOR, is a commercial agent specializing in industrial, office, and investment properties with Coldwell Banker Commercial in Lubbock, Texas. 

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Getting ready to sell or purchase your home.  Well, here are some helpful tips suggested by Christopher Kelly when it comes to your home inspection. 

Home inspections are a chance for a homeowner or buyer to learn of any potential problems a home may have. These inspections are often considered a crucial part of the home-selling process. Make sure any inspections on your home go smoothly with these tips.

Turn on the lights.

Turning on the lights gives you a chance to make sure none of your light bulbs are burnt out, thereby avoiding concerns over whether or not those sockets are working. It also makes it easier for the inspector to see where they’re going and to assess your home’s condition more accurately.

Tidy up.

Making sure your house is neat and tidy will ensure the home inspector can quickly and safely make their inspection. Because the home inspector will be evaluating the entire home, remember to tidy up the basement, attic, storage areas, and utilities in addition to the main living areas.

Finish your to-do list.

Most homes have a few minor repairs that need fixing - leaky faucets, running toilets, wobbly banisters, etc. Now is a great time to go ahead and fix those so that they don’t show up on your home’s inspection report!

 

By Christopher Kelly, RE/MAX Bayside

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling!

If you're thinking of buying your first home, forever home or are ready to sell your current home? Don't go it alone! Melanson Real Estate is one of the oldest and most respected firms in town. Our experts know the Lakes Region and will assist you every step of the way, from showing to closing. We provide the care and personal service you deserve from day one to minimize surprises and make your buying and selling experience as stress free as possible. Call or stop-in today to speak with one of our experts! 

Buyers and sellers are on separate sides of the fence when it comes to home sales. What one is trying to achieve is often diametrically opposed to what the other wants to see happen—the first usually wants to steal the property while the other wants top dollar. And yet, they share the same ultimate goal. They want a sale.

Both sides can benefit significantly from hiring a real estate agent to assist them, but their reasons can be different. 

1.  It's All About the Money... 

Consider this if you're contemplating going "FSBO"—for sale by owner—when listing your home. Of course, you want to get as much for their home as possible, and you might think that means not parting with extra commissions. But a 2017 study indicated that FSBOs fetched about 30% less for their owners than agent-listed properties. 

And you're probably going to have to pay a commission anyway if your buyer is represented by an agent. The buyer's agent's commission is typically factored into the deal—although you'll still save on the commission you would otherwise have paid your own agent.  

And why not use an agent if you're the buyer? After all, the seller is paying the commission, not you. Of course, there's always a slim possibility that the seller will refuse to do so, but you can probably move on and look at other properties if it appears that this will be the case, although it can depend on whether you're shopping in a buyers' or sellers' market and who has the upper hand. 

2. ...And Attention to Detail 

You might be far out of your element when it comes to reviewing and understanding the multiple documents involved in a real estate deal, and you should have a thorough understanding of what you're getting into regardless of whether you're buying or selling. Purchase agreements alone can top 10 pages in 2019, not to mention federal, state, and local document requirements. 

Luckily, your agent will be far more familiar with all this paperwork than you are. Consider this if you're still thinking about saving money: Some mistakes or omissions in these documents can cost you as much as that commission you were trying to avoid paying—or even far more. 

Here's an example: Maybe a buyer makes an offer on a home, but it's contingent on getting a mortgage. There's no possibility that the buyer could purchase the property without first securing financing—but there's no such contingency or escape hatch built into the purchase agreement to let the buyer out of the deal if financing fails. The buyer is obligated to go through with the sale or be sued if it turns out that a mortgage isn't happening. 

Consider hiring a broker for a smaller one-time fee to simply review your contracts before signing if you're still dead set against hiring an agent to take care of all this. 

3. Privacy, Confidentiality and Fiduciary Duty 

Your real estate agent has your back whether you're a buyer or a seller. Agents have what's known as a "fiduciary" responsibility to their clients. They legally obligated to put their clients' best interests first. 

This duty imparts a very high standard for confidentiality. As a buyer, do you really, really want to turn over your most intimate financial details to a FSBO seller who's under no legal obligation to keep the information confidential? The same goes for turning any and all information over to the seller's agent, who has no fiduciary responsibility to you but only to the seller. Your own agent would know whether any information the other agent is requesting from you is reasonable. 

You do have recourse if you're the buyer and the seller's agent has lied to you, misled you, or disclosed confidential information. You can report it to the agent's professional association, such as the National Association of Realtors. But again, this assumes that the seller has an agent. You'll have far fewer options if the property is FSBO. 

4. Agents Know What to Look For 

Buyers usually have a pretty firm idea in mind of what they want in a property, from number of bedrooms to an attached garage to any number of other must-have and must-not-have factors. You'll probably feel pretty comfortable looking at homes with that list tucked firmly in the back of your mind.

But your agent will be alert for issues that might not cross your mind, such as furnace issues, leaks, roofing problems, and mold and insect issues. An agent will recognize the telltale signs of these problems and know how best to approach them. Again, this experience and knowledge can end up saving you thousands down the road. 

You know exactly how much you want for your home if you're the seller, but is the price you've arrived at reasonable? You might only know for sure if you're able to identify comparable sales that confirm that you're in the right range—or not. Agents can do comparative market analyses in their sleep. 

An agent can hand over researched, current, and reputable data regarding a neighborhood's demographics, crime rates, schools, and other important factors. That's a lot of time-consuming research to do on your own, particularly if you don't know where to start. 

5. Agents Have Superior Negotiating Skills 

You might not be a negotiation shark if you don't happen to be an attorney, mediator, union rep...or a real estate agent. Remember that fiduciary responsibility your agent has to you. It's your agent's job to get you the best possible price for your home, or to see to it that you get the best possible deal on the property you want to buy. 

Agents are trained to negotiate well, if only from experience. They know what normally works and what does not. Most have tried-and-true techniques all their own. And, most importantly, they have no emotional stake in the outcome that can cloud their thinking. 

You, on the other hand, might be willing to come up with $10,000 more to purchase that to-die-for home, never realizing that it's really not necessary because you possess certain bargaining chips. It's just more money saved if you have an agent who prevents you from taking an unnecessary financial plunge. 

The Bottom Line 

Henry Ford once said that it proves that you're smarter than they are when you hire people who are smarter than you. The trick is to recognize when you need help and to find the right person.

BY ELIZABETH WEINTRAUB (Click to read more about the author)

 

Daylight Saving Time Begins!

Sunday, March 8th

Love it or hate it, our annual ritual of early March – daylight saving time – is coming this weekend.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, the few analog clocks still around must "spring forward" an hour, turning 1:59:59 a.m. into 3 a.m. 

Since most of our computers, smartphones and DVRs do it automatically, it's not as much of a chore as it used to be. Unless you have smart appliances, microwaves and ovens are on the short list of household items that would need a manual adjustment.

Here are some questions answered about daylight saving time.

Do we gain or lose an hour? 

We all lose an hour of sleep on Sunday when going to DST, as the day is only 23 hours long. Starting Sunday, that one hour of daylight is basically shifted from morning to evening as daylight saving time begins. 

We don't go back to standard time until Sunday, Nov. 1.

Who's in charge of time?

Surprisingly, the Department of Transportation is in charge of daylight saving time and all time zones in the U.S. "The oversight of time zones was assigned to DOT because time standards are important for many modes of transportation," according to the department's website.

Why do we observe daylight saving time?

The DOT says daylight saving is observed because it saves energy, saves lives by preventing traffic accidents and reduces crime. 

The agency also says people tend to spend more time outside during daylight saving time, meaning they run household appliances and lights less during those eight months. Also, the DOT says, it prevents traffic incidents because people are driving around more during the light hours. It also is a crime deterrent, DOT says, because people are out during the daylight and not at night, "when more crime occurs."

What are the downsides to DST?

Not everyone agrees it offers energy-saving benefits, however. Some studies report the time switch saves energy on lighting but is surpassed by increases in heating and air conditioning. It can also mess with our sleep patterns, at least temporarily.

Other health consequences, according to studies and research, include increased headaches, heart attacks and depression.   

Which states and territories don't observe daylight saving time?

Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands don't spring forward or fall back. 

Are there states that would like to dump daylight saving time? 

Yes. In Florida, the Sunshine Protection Act has passed the state Legislature but still needs to be approved by Congress. Other states where bills have been passed include Washington, California and Oregon.