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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! 

Here's Why You Should Buy a Home During the Winter

Thinking about buying that new home or a vacation house you've always wanted so you can get away from it all? Now is the time to start looking! Following is a terrific article by Elizabeth La Riva for reasons to consider buying now:

With the holidays over, heading into the coldest months of the year, many people might assume that now is a terrible time to buy a home. However, now is the best time to score a deal on that dream house!

Here are a few reasons why it may be in your best interest to buy a house this winter:

Motivated Sellers

The colder months tend to see less activity as far as listings and sales go. This may seem like a disadvantage; however, if you're able to find a house that meets your needs, chances are you'll also have found a motivated seller. The majority of homes are listed in the spring/summer, so if you've stumbled upon a listing that's been on the market for a while, the seller will likely be ready to negotiate. 

Less Competition

We've all heard the story of the dreaded bidding war. It seems today's market is seeing this happen more than ever. Not only can it drive the price of the home above asking; you also run the risk of emotional overspending or losing the property altogether. 

With the majority of buyers taking a break from house-hunting, now is an optimal time to start your search. With the likelihood of competing offers dropping significantly, buyers can regain some control during negotiations.  

Lower Interest Rates

This is not a guarantee, however. Loan and mortgages interest rates fluctuate throughout the year. With less people looking to buy and borrow right now, interest rates tend to dip, which is a bonus for borrowers. 

It may appear to be an insignificant rate difference; however, over the term of your mortgage, you'll be in for some serious savings. So while you're out and about this winter, make a trip to your bank for a mortgage pre-approval!

Professional Availability

With fewer homes on the market, real estate agents tend to find themselves with more overall availability. If you're ready to buy a home, you'll benefit as your REALTOR® will have more time to dedicate to your search and negotiation once your dream home is found. 

Not only does the real estate market slow down during the winter, so do related professions. Mortgage brokers, home inspectors and legal professionals all may have some extra time on their hands, meaning your deal may be able to close quicker. 

Buying a new home during the winter can seem like a daunting task; however, if you're able to close on a deal in January or February, chances are you'll be enjoying the benefits for years to come! Lower purchase price and better interest rates are just a couple of the reasons why buying that dream house right now may be worth it!

 

Elizabeth La Riva, (R) ABR®, e-PRO®, MRP, is a native of Lima, Peru, and speaks fluent English and Spanish. She services the area of Oahu, Hawaii, and assists buyers and sellers with their real estate transactions. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering and giving back to the community.

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    Weekend Outdoor Activities 1/18 - 1/19/20

    Looking for something fun to do outside this weekend?  Well, search no more, plenty of outdoor activities in Wolfeboro for the whole family to enjoy!

    Abenaki Ski Area Click here for more information on America's oldest small ski area, located right in the heart of Wolfeboro. Home to the Abenaki Ski Team, 5 trails, high speed rope tow, glade skiing, terrain park and some of the best groomed conditions in NH.

           

    Pop Whalen Ice & Arts Center Click here for information on Public Skating,Stick Practice schedules and more.

    Wolfeboro Cross Country Ski Association Since 1972, The Nordic Skier and Wolfeboro XC have joined as partners in the pursuit of a top notch nordic ski center. Click here for more information.  

     

    When Is the Best Time to Buy a House?

    Following is an article written by Daniel Bortz. I think, you'll find this an interesting read.

    Timing determines so much when you're buying a house. Although the best time to buy a house is when you're ready both financially and emotionally, there are other factors that can help you decide when to buy a house.

    By timing your purchase just right, you can nab a great home that's just right for you.  

    What Is the Best Month to Buy a House?

    Let's make this clear: There's no such thing as a guaranteed "best month" to purchase a home. (C'mon, we never said this would be easy!)

    While some conventional wisdom says there is a best time of year to buy a house — during spring home buying season (April to June) — there are pluses and minuses when it comes to what month you choose to purchase a home.

    (Note: Real estate is local. Determining a best time utlimately depends on conditions in your local market.)

    Here we've outlined some of the reasons different months can turn out to be the best time to buy a house for you:

    January to March. Winter isn't such a bad time to buy a house. Though there's less inventory — meaning there are fewer homes for sale — there are fewer home buyers too, so you have less competition. That means there's a lower likelihood of a bidding war, which can be a stressful experience for home buyers. Another benefit of buying a house during the cold-weather months: Home prices are typically the lowest they'll be all year.

    Still, there are drawbacks to buying a house between January and March. Inclement weather can also be a challenge, since snow or ice could make it difficult to drive around and view homes or do a thorough home inspection of some elements, such as a roof. 

    April to June. Welcome to spring home buying season— the peak months for not only housing supply, but also the number of home buyers shopping for houses. Because most families want to move when the kids are out of school, there's a big incentive to buy a house this time of year, since many home buyers need to allow 30 to 60 days for closing.

    The warmer weather also makes open houses more enjoyable, landscaping easier to evaluate, and inspections more comprehensive.

    Even though it's generally regarded as the best time of year to buy a house, there are downsides to the spring market. For starters, you'll face more competition from other home buyers —  meaning you have to move quickly when a great listing hits the market. Bidding wars are a lot more common, you tend to have less negotiating power, and home prices tend to tick up during spring.

    July to September. If you can handle the heat (and a little competition), summer may be the one of the best times of year to buy. Now that the spring home buying craze is over, most home prices return to normal, allowing you to save some money. The sunniest time of the year also makes being outdoors and attending open houses more enjoyable.

    The hot temperatures also give home buyers the opportunity to test how well a property's air conditioning system holds up in warm weather, which is something they can't usually test during other times of the year.

    October to December. The main downside of buying a house in autumn is that there may not be as many homes for sale in the fall as there are in the spring. But it's not like the market goes completely quiet.

    Many home buyers consider fall the best time of year to buy a house because of price reductions. Because home sellers tend to list their homes in the spring, sellers whose houses haven't sold yet may be motivated to find buyers, and prices start to reflect that.

    Daniel Bortz is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C., whose work has appeared in "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," "Money" magazine, "Consumer Reports," "Entrepreneur" magazine, and more.

    New Year's Eve Celebration!

    Tuesday, December 31st

    Last Night in Wolfeboro

    Family - Friends - Visitors Celebrate New Year’s Eve; Scavenger Hunt, Family Crafts, Games, Face Painting, Concerts, Magic, and More!

    When: 10 AM - 9:00 PM

    Enter the entire link below (two lines) in your browser to view the video hosted by Brenda Jorrett and Maria Found.  Watch as they take you through all the scheduled events coming up in Wolfeboro for the annual Last Night celebration.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btv3ZIbFspE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2Zc-seruulBmqnH8a6CJCNUZB6GqEtmfIyu2bbakA1GrkMuSI48Qu8qaA

    Fireworks Over Wolfeboro Bay - Cancelled due to inclement weather

     

    Fireworks on New Year’s Eve made possible by these generous, proud sponsors of Chamber of Commerce Community Events:

    Avery Insurance
    Emma taylor…lifestyle clothing
    Melanson Real Estate
    The Wolfeboro Inn
    And also Ashton & Company PA
    Black’s Paper Store & Gift Shop
    Eastern Propane & Oil
    Hunter’s Shop `n Save
    Meredith Village Savings Bank
    Stewarts Ambulance Service

     

     

     

     

    What the Heck is a "Perc Test" (and How Much Does it Really Matter)?

    I found this informative article from Seth Williams.  Please read, you'll be glad you did!

    If you're dropping some serious cash on a parcel of vacant land, there is one issue that may seem insignificant at first glance, but it has the potential to make or break a land deal.

    The “Perc Test”.  A Perc Test (also known as “Perk Test”, and more formally known as a Percolation Test), is a soil evaluation that tests the rate at which water drains through soil. Perc tests are required in just about every civilized municipality in the world – because the results of this test provide crucial information required to design and install a septic system.

    A perc test is conducted by drilling or digging a hole in the ground, pouring water into the hole and then observing the rate at which the water is absorbed into the soil. In most cases, properties can easily pass a perc test when the soil has higher concentrations of sand (because sand tends to absorb water at a much faster rate than clay or silt) and when the property is situated in an area with a low water table.

    Why is a Perc Test Necessary? For all intents and purposes, a perc test (and subsequently, a septic system) is only necessary when a property does NOT have access to a municipal sewer system.  If a vacant lot is situated within reach of an existing sewer hook up, this will usually eliminate the need for a septic system altogether. For this reason, the availability of an existing sewer system can be big "perk" (no pun intended) when evaluating a property's suitability for building a dwelling of any kind.

    When there isn't an existing sewer system nearby, that's when you'll need to explore the feasibility of a septic system. In order to determine if a septic system is possible, most county health departments will require a perc test.  Most of the world's septic systems are designed in a way that requires a septic drain field or "leach field" to drain away any excess water. When solid waste settles in a septic tank, the excess waste water is then discharged into the septic drain field through a network of perforated pipes.

    Here’s an example of what the typical septic system and drain field looks like…

    The contaminants expelled from this waste water are then trapped and eliminated in the soil. This happens primarily through the process of percolation – and also through evaporation, transpiration, consumption by plant roots and eventually, the remaining water re-enters the ground water and/or surface water.

    The typical size of a drain field is determined by the expected volume of waste water to be discharged from the septic system (which is usually estimated based on the size of the proposed building).

    In order to understand the importance of a perc test, you also need to understand the basics of how a septic system works. This video gives a helpful explanation on how septic systems work and how a perc test fits into the overall scheme (skip to 3:42 to see the explanation of a perc test).

    How Does a Perc Test Work?

    In most jurisdictions, a perc test is performed when an official from the county health department meets with the owner of the property and/or a licensed excavator to dig a hole and test the drainage rate of the soil on-site (they literally pour water in a hole and time how long it takes to drain through).

    The Health Department determines and enforces the rules that govern when a property is suitable for a septic system, so it’s critical that they be present to perform and/or observe the test in real-time.

    Depending on the Health Department’s requirements, the location of the property, the building plans and the makeup of the soil – a perc test can be very simple and inexpensive, or it can be somewhat complicated and costly.

    Some situations call for heavy equipment, surveyors, engineers and the like, whereas other situations can be as simple as drilling small holes in the ground (by hand) and taking samples of the soil. Again, the complexity of the process has a lot to do with the Health Department’s requirements, the property location, the plans for the site and the composition of the soil.

    In my experience… I’ve found that even though most county health departments adhere to the same general principles of how a perc test works, many of them handle certain aspects of the process quite differently. Just in the counties I’ve worked, each one has had notably different standards in terms of:

    • How much oversight was required.
    • How much the perc test would cost.
    • How stringent the requirements were.
    • What kinds of alternatives were allowed if the perc test failed.

    Even though the same fundamental concepts apply almost everywhere, the specific procedures required in one county can be very different from the procedures of another – so it’s important to be sure the test is being done in accordance with the rules and authorities in your area.

    How Important is a Perc Test?

    To answer this, you’ll have to ask yourself a few questions:

    1. What is my plan for the property?

    People buy land for all kinds of reasons.

    Some are looking for a place to hunt, farm, camp and do other outdoor activities. If this is why you’re buying land, then a perc test (for the purpose of a septic system) probably doesn’t need to be very high on your priority list.

    Most people however, buy vacant land because they intend to build something on it… and even if your don’t intend to build anything, there’s a fair chance that at some point in the future, the next buyer down the line will.

    The importance of a perc test depends largely on if/when a “dwelling” will ever be constructed on the property. If the answer is “Yes”, then it all boils down to this:

    • Without a successful perc test, there can be no septic permit.
    • Without a septic permit, there can be no septic system.
    • Without a septic system, there can be no dwelling of any kind.
    • If the owner can’t build a dwelling of any kind, the property’s value will diminish substantially.

    Now, can a property still be usable/valuable without a septic system or dwelling on it? Of course! But in many cases, you’ll still want to be fully informed about the property’s “percability” BEFORE you invest your life’s savings into it. The last thing you want to do is make an investment decision based on false assumptions.

    2. How much am I paying for the property?

    Depending on the price you’re paying for a property, it may or may not be worth the extra time and trouble of performing a perc test.

    As a land investor, I’ve bought most of my properties free-and-clear from sellers who were highly motivated. The typical purchase price is anywhere fom $100 – $5,000 and when you’re buying a property at this price, it’s not always easy to justify the additional time, money and hassle required to do a perc test.

    Whenever I’m dealing with cheaper properties that don’t necessarily need to be built on, I’ve usually opted to SKIP this step in my due diligence process. I’ve been able to get comfortable with this because there are several externally observable factors that have given me sufficient reason to believe the property had a high probability of passing a perc test (we’ll cover more on this below).

    In my opinion, if I’m buying a more expensive parcel of land (e.g. – anywhere north of $10,000), this starts getting into the territory of “it’s gonna hurt to be wrong” and I usually take the time to verify before I proceed.

    3. How big of a problem will it be if this property isn’t buildable?

    This one is pretty straightforward.

    Whatever you plan to use this property for, whatever price you’re thinking about paying – just think for a minute about the worst case scenario.

    What if you buy it, order a perc test and it doesn’t pass… then what? Does this property turn into a financial disaster or is everything still okay?

    If it’s not a deal-killing issue – then it’s probably okay to forego the perc test.

    However, if the property’s “buildability” is a significant contributing factor to its value (and many times, it is) and if it would be very bad to guess wrong on this – then why gamble? If you’re planning to live on this property and/or resell it as a “buildable lot” at any point in the future, then order the perc test. The peace of mind can go a long way!

    Is it Worth the Time & Trouble?

    To do the job properly, a perc test is always going to cost something. Depending on who you hire and how much work is required, the price could range anywhere from $150 – $1,500 (and in my experience, it’s usually in the lower end of that range).

    That being said, if you’re just looking for a vague indication of a property’s ability to percolate, you don’t necessarily need to spend $1,500. Heck, if you’ve got a shovel, a bucket of water and you know what to look for, you can even do it yourself!

    Of course, the only way to be 100% sure about a property’s ability to percolate is to order a perc test with the local municipality. That being said, if you’re willing to tolerate some risk in the equation, there are other clues you can look for that will give you a halfway decent idea as to whether or not you need to worry about this.

    For example, here are some easily-observable factors to consider:

    • Look at the other parcels adjoining your property. Are there any houses on these adjoining properties? If these parcels passed the perc test, there’s a fair chance (though no guarantee) that yours can too.
    • Are there any bodies of water nearby? If so, this property could have a high water table, it could have wetlands, or it could be in or near a flood zone. These factors aren’t always correlated with a property’s ability to perc, but it may be reason to use higher caution (and give you some other things to investigate) when deciding whether or not to spend the money on a perc test.
    • What does the topography of your property look like? Is it up on a hill or down in a valley? Does it have a slope of any kind, with one end higher that the other? In some cases (when there is a high water table or varying soil types throughout a property), a vacant lot may not pass its perc test on the lower at the lower elevation, but it will pass on the higher end. For this reason, whenever I see a property that a clear variance in elevation, I see this as a positive, because it adds to the potential that even if the land won’t perc on the lower end, it has another shot at passing on the higher end.

    Failed Perc Test? Alternatives to Consider

    If your property fails its perc test, don’t panic. A failed perc test isn’t the end of the story for any property.

    Start asking some questions to determine what alternatives might be available….

    • Check with the local Health Department about their records of any previous perc tests. Try to determine if they searched the entire property for a proper septic drain field (in many cases, one section of the property may fail the test, while another section of the property may pass with flying colors).
    • Ask if it’s possible to appeal the results of the previous perc test, and under what circumstances they would reconsider their original determination.
    • Find out what time of year the failed perc test was performed. In many areas, the water table is higher during certain seasons and lower in others (e.g. – winter vs. summer) – which can have an influence on the soil drainage rate.
    • If these first steps fail, it may be worth considering a modified septic system on the property. Some alternative septic systems can be reasonably priced (depending on the property’s situation and the local requirements) and even environmentally friendly. These systems can be a bit more expensive than a conventional option, but it may give you more options to work with.
    • Remember that soil types can vary across any parcel of land (and the topography of the lot can also make a big difference). Be sure to tell your excavator to try a few places – you might be glad you did!
    • Also keep in mind that in some areas, if you wait long enough, the municipal water and sewer may become available. If your plan is to buy land and hold it for a while, it could still be worth your while.

    It’s also worth noting that when a property fails a perc test, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t build anything on it. In many cases, you can get around this issue if you’re willing to spend more money on an engineered system and/or add a raised sand bed to overcome the drainage issue (depending on what the Health Department is willing to allow).

    And don’t forget – there are all kinds of alternative uses for properties that don’t even require a septic system. For example:

    • Storage Units
    • Pole Barns
    • Horse Stable
    • Grazing Fields
    • Crops & Farming
    • Orchard
    • Camping
    • Hunting
    • Lumber
    • Mining
    • Drilling

    With a little bit of creativity (and adherence to zoning requirements and mineral rights), almost any property can be put to good use.

    How to Order a Perc Test

    If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to hire a pro to evaluate your property, all you need to do is call your county Health Department (just Google the county name and then “Health Department” to find their phone number) and ask them what the requirements are to properly conduct a perc test.

    In some counties, the Health Department will have to perform all of the work. In others, they will require a licensed excavator to do all the digging ahead of time.

    Whatever the situation – remember that the rules and regulations can be very different depending on where your property is located, so before you take any big steps forward, make sure you learn how it’s supposed to be done directly from the source. With the right information, you should be off and running in no time.

    Visit https://retipster.com/perc-test/ for complete information.

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      Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

      May your home be filled with love and laughter throughout this holiday season! 

      From all of us at Melanson Real Estate, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

       

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        A New England Holiday Ice Cream Tradition

        I found this article written by Aimee Tucker with Yankee Magazine.  I agree with her, this dessert brings back many childhood memories.  Although, my memories go back a lot earlier than Aimee's - about 15 years earlier!  So if your math calculates properly, you'll see that this yummy dessert has been around for a long time.

        Friendly’s Jubilee Roll combines two kinds of ice cream with fudge, nuts, and sprinkles into the ultimate take-home treat.

        Founded in 1935 by the Blake Brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts, Friendly’s is a New England-based family dining restaurant chain that’s mostly known for its ice cream. Whenever I meet someone that has never heard of Friendly’s, I describe it as being “like Howard Johnson’s was, only without the motels.” Casual dining (think burgers and melts) with an emphasis on friendly service, and always dessert. Today, there are nearly 400 Friendly’s locations throughout the eastern United States, most of them in the Northeast.

        If you prefer to enjoy your ice cream at home, however, Friendly’s also offers take-home options, including cartons of ice cream, sundae cups, ice cream bars and cones, and novelty ice cream “rolls” like the Jubilee Roll. Popular and affordable (Friendly’s packaged ice creams are New England’s best-selling brand in grocery stores) they’re permanently linked to fond childhood memories for most former New England kids, including me. Out of the box, it looked as elegant as I remembered from nearly every Christmas (and sometimes Thanksgiving) dessert table of my 1980s childhood. A chocolate ice cream center surrounded by chocolate chip ice cream, topped with fudge, chopped almonds, red and green candy chips, and what Friendly’s refers to as “an ice cream ribbon.” I just call it “the pink part,” aka “the best part.” It tasted like ice cream and frosting had a party, but that might have just been my imagination working overtime.

        Could there be a more attractive, delicious way to both celebrate the holiday season and indulge in a little local pride? I don’t think so.

        Sliced, served, and maybe even topped with more hot fudge and a little whipped cream, it’s ice-cold Christmas on a plate.

         

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        Weekend Events 12/20/19 - 12/21/19

        Friday, December 20th

        A Christmas Story at Village Players Theater

        When: 7:30 PM and Saturday night too!

        Where: 51 Glendon Street, Wolfeboro

        The Village Players movie series brings this final classic movie of 2019 to the theater’s big screen. Movie tickets can be purchased in advance at Blacks Paper Store or at the door.  Cash or check required.  For more information, please call 603-569-9656.

         

        Saturday, December 21st

        Ugly Sweater Skate Party

        When: 6 PM - 7:30 PM

        Where: Pop Whalen Ice & Arts Center, 390 Pine Hill Road, Wolfeboro

        Wear your favorite Holiday Sweater and come enjoy a night of skating to holiday tunes.  The concession stand will be open. A small prize will be given for the favorite sweater at 7:15 PM (must be present to win)!  This is a great event to come with your family, friends, or just to get out for a nice night skate at your favorite rink!

        Regular public skating fees apply:

        • Resident $6

        • Non-Resident: $7

         

        10 Winter Holiday Safety Tips

        This colorful graphic tip sheet provides easy reminders for keeping safety around the house on the top of your to-do list this holiday season.

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          Are you good at trivia? Here's an apropos brain teaser for the holidays!

          How Many Birds Are In The 12 Days Of Christmas Carol?

          Answer shown at bottom of page


          Here’s the break down:

          Day 1 – a partridge in a pear tree (1 bird)

          Day 2 – 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (3 birds)

          Day 3 – 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (6 birds)

          Day 4 – 4 colly (or calling birds), 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (10 birds)

          Day 5 – 10 birds again

          Day 6 – 6 geese-a-laying, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (16 birds)

          Day 7 – 7 swans-a-swimming, 6 geese-a-laying, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree (23 birds)

          Day 8 – 23 birds

          Day 9 – 23 birds

          Day 10 – 23 birds

          Day 11 – 23 birds

          Day 12 – 23 birds


          Add all the days together and you get 184 birds!

          Who knew??? Did you get it correct?  "Tweet" your friends and see if they can come up with the right answer! Toodles.

           

           

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