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Sanborn – The Home Start Homebuyer Tax Credit

As of March 1, 2014 there were 812 residential homes on the market in the twelve communities covered in this Lakes Region real estate market report. The average asking price was just over $500K and the median price point was $249,000. The current inventory level represents about a 9.3 month supply of homes to sell. Last March 1, there were 900 homes on the market which resented a 15 month supply. The increasing number of home sales is slowly whittling the inventory level down to more manageable levels.

With a median price point at $249,000 (which means half of the available inventory is under that), there are plenty of affordable homes out there for first time buyers. And, NH Housing has a program called the "t" to help first time home buyers (defined as not having owned a home in the past three years.) This program is also available to someone purchasing a home in a "targeted" area – such as Laconia. Qualified buyers can save up to $2,000 per year over the life of the loan.

Eligible home buyers can receive the tax credit by applying for and receiving a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) issued through New Hampshire Housing. As I said, you have to be a first time buyer (or have not owned a home in three years, the credit can only be used with new loans, and the loan has to be for a single family primary residence.) There are purchase price limits for the property. Both Carroll and Belknap Counties are $250,000 with an increased limit in Laconia of $310,000. There are also income limits based on the household size.

Now the trick, if you want to call it that, is that this is a "Tax Credit" which is a "direct dollar for dollar reduction in your federal taxes worth up to 10 percent to 50 percent of the interest you pay on your mortgage" and therefore you have to have a tax liability each year in order to use it. But it is still a pretty good deal, I think. The example they give is for someone who has a $150,000 mortgage at a 5 percent interest rate which means they pay $7,450 per year in interest on that loan. With a 35 percent Homebuyer Tax Credit on that amount of interest ($7,450 x .35) it would equal $2,607, so that homeowner would receive the $2,000 maximum credit allowed. Hey, two grand is two grand.

To apply for a Homebuyer Tax Credit contact any of the Participating MCC Lenders listed at www.GoNewHampshireHousing.com. You can also call them at 1-800-649-0470. There may be a non-refundable fee to apply for the credit which may be reduced if you combine it with a New Hampshire Housing mortgage product.

Real estate tip: If you want to know exactly where the property line is, just watch the neighbor when he cuts the grass.

Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 3/1/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 March 2014 09:45

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Sanborn – Canterbury Shaker Village – Can't wait to go back

My associate, Ashley Davis, and I were lucky enough to go on a tour of some very nice properties this past week with a couple of guys from California. They were here on a scouting trip to find locations for a photo shoot for a well-known product catalog and one of the locations was Canterbury Shaker Village. We were even more fortunate to be able to take a mini-tour of this amazing place with Executive Director Funi Burdick. She is not only a wealth of knowledge; she is profoundly exuberant and passionate about the village and the Shaker history.

The Canterbury Shaker Village is a National Historic Landmark that now consists of 25 original Shaker buildings, four restored buildings, and a museum located on 694 acres of forests, fields, and gardens on Shaker Road, in Canterbury. This self-contained village, which was established in 1792, once housed 300 people in over 100 buildings. The gambrel style meeting house dates to 1792 and the main dwelling house was built in 1793, making them the oldest, intact, structures of their kind in the country in their original locations.

While I have stopped at their museum store in the past, I must confess that I have never had taken a tour of the village before. But after seeing just five of their buildings on a rather frigid day, I can't wait to go back in this summer. You need to be able to take time to really immerse yourself in the architecture and explore the creativity and ingenuity of the Shakers. If you haven't been there yourself, you really should go, as it is quite extraordinary.

We visited the laundry building first. Why? Well, the building is amazing in itself, but it shows the true creativity of the Shakers. Funi thought it would be perfect for a backdrop for some of the photos. Did you know that the Shakers invented the first washing machine? One of the basement rooms exuded a primitive-industrial feel with a series of long rectangular wash sinks and a very large brick, wood-fired, washing machine in the center. In the room above the laundry, there is a wall of floor to ceiling vertical drawers that are used as drying racks. The wet laundry was then hung inside these vertical drawers and pushed back into the wall and was dried by the heat and steam rising from the laundry below. Pretty darn clever. I guess you could say they invented the first commercial dryer, too! Another common Shaker building practice called "borrowed light" is also evident in the drying room. The Shakers would often use a series of windows on inside walls to illuminate interior rooms and staircases with natural light. The Shakers also elevated the use of "peg rails" to an art form. Usually found in the backs of early closets to hang clothes own, these peg rails were freed from their dark confines and put on many interior walls providing additional storage space for garments, tools, and light furnishings.

I also loved the look and feel of the "syrup house." You immediately think of maple syrup, but in this fine structure the Shakers made Corbett's Syrup of Sarsaparilla which was renowned far and wide for its medicinal effectiveness. It was made from seven different herbs, including sarsaparilla, and several kinds of berries which apparently yielded an alcohol content of 10 percent. No wonder it was so popular! The "syrup house" has a classic New England clapboard exterior and plank interior walls plus an exposed beam ceiling all with faded and worn white paint. Very picturesque.

We also visited the barn, a residence, and the meeting house itself which was very amazing. This elegantly simple structure has a large open main level where the Shakers worshiped. Believe it or not, dancing was a large part of their services so the area had to be wide open with no posts or walls to interfere and the building had to be constructed to withstand... well, to withstand a whole lot of shaking going on. The second and third floor of the meeting house also served for a while as the penthouse residences of four Shaker elders and eldresses. But since being celibate is at the foundation of Shaker beliefs, separate entrances to the meeting house and separate staircases to the residences upstairs were a must.

For more pictures of the Shaker Village visit my website as well as www.shakers.org . But, more importantly, try to visit this remarkable place this summer and take in all that it has to offer. I might just see you there...

Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Roy Sanborn is a realto at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 10:00

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Sanborn – Three tips for buying a home in 2014

Wanna buy a home this year? Here are three tips for buying a home in 2014...or any year for that matter!

1. Get a good New Hampshire realtor.

Just as sellers shop for realtors to sell their properties, to represent them, and protect their interests during the course of the transaction, buyers should also take some time before their home search begins and carefully select an agent with whom to work. It is, after all, the largest purchase you are likely to make (at least until you make enough to get that new Lear Jet you've always wanted). Having someone to guide you through the unknown territory here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is invaluable if you are from out of town. And, whether this is your first home or your last, having an agent to guide you to your dream property and then through the buying process itself makes the whole experience a lot easier.

All agents are not created equal. We all have different personalities, abilities, knowledge, and expertise. We all have different levels of dedication to our profession and livelihood. You should look for an agent who demonstrates an ability to listen to you, has demonstrated success, and has some experience under his or her belt. Look for someone who knows the market, is a dedicated full time professional, and most importantly find someone who meshes with your personality. Selecting the right Lakes Region realtor will lead you to your dream property on a much quicker and more direct path.

2. Deal with local Lakes Region lenders.

This is a biggie to me. If you are contemplating the purchase of a new home you probably need to borrow money like most folks. And whether this is your first or last home, the best advice I can give to you is to find a lender that has a local office. Dealing with someone here in the Lakes Region that both you and your agent can easily reach, meet with, and interact with in person as the financing process progresses is invaluable in today's market. Local lenders are usually much more responsive to you than someone half a world away that you will never see.

3. Educate yourself.

This is more important now than ever. You should educate yourself on the area, neighborhood, and community you are buying in, about the home buying process itself, the types of mortgages available, and the many advantages to home ownership as well as the costs and challenges. Taking a first time home buyer class is highly recommended if you are a newbie. The Laconia Area Community Land Trust offers frequent classes, so check out their website and sign up for one! Buying a home is, in itself, an educational process. As you look at properties, you will formulate your own sense of market values, realize what your real wants and needs are, and learn a lot about home construction to boot. Your home may be the biggest long term investment you'll ever make, so make it an educated one. And your realtor is there to help you with that, too!

We started off the year with 56 residential home sales in January in the Lakes Region communities covered in this report. The average sales price came in at $347,736. That's pretty good as there were 54 sales in January, 2013 at an average of $189,399. Every little baby step is a positive one.

Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 2/17/13. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 09:03

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Sanborn – January 2014 Lakes Region Waterfront Sales Report

We start 2014 off with eight waterfront transactions on Lake Winnipesaukee in the month of January at an average sales price of $1,150,771. Last January, there were just two sales at an average of $660,000 so you'd have to say this is a good start for the year.

The lowest priced sale for the month was at 49 East Side Drive in Alton. This home was originally offered at $599,000 in August of 2012, was reduced to $495,000, and sold for $480,000 after a total of 413 days on the market. This 1890s vintage home has been updated and has 1,881 square feet of living space, three bedrooms, one and a half baths, a modern kitchen (versus a non-modern one, I guess), high ceilings, bead board, and a fireplace in the living room. There are six sets of sliders and a wrap-around porch to ensure you've got a good view of the lake. A small boat house and docking for five boats is right across the street on the lakefront. It's like having your own marina over there! But, the fact that you do have to cross the road to get to the lake always impacts the value of a property and hence the lower sales price.

Over in Laconia at 146 Birch Haven on Paugus Bay, a 2,207 square foot, Adirondack style home built in 2006 found a new owner in just ten days! This is a great example of a smaller waterfront home with tons of character and appeal. This open concept home has four bedrooms (two on the main level and two upstairs), two baths, a great room with cathedral ceilings, a fieldstone gas fireplace, an eat-in kitchen, lots of natural woodwork, and a wall of glass to bring in the views! This house sits on a .27 acre lot with 100 feet on frontage. It was offered at $989,000 and quickly went under contract in just 10 days at $775,000. The tax assessed value is $558,400. This just goes to show that not everything has to be way below assessed value to be a good deal.

The home at 17 Echo Landing Road in Moultonborough wins the Gold Medal for January with the highest sales price of $2,255,000. This home is a spectacular, 4,848 square foot, Adirondack style lake house with five bedrooms including the first floor master suite and four and a half baths. This is one gorgeous home with cathedral ceilings, exposed beams, wainscoting, floor to ceiling fieldstone fireplace, a wonderful country gourmet kitchen, a fabulous three season sun room, a lower level family room (of course) and a three car garage. There is stunning superior craftsmanship throughout! The home sits on a professionally landscaped 1.24 acre lot with 126' of frontage on Moultonborough's Gold Coast. It was offered at $2.495 million, reduced to $2.395 million, and sold for $2.225 million after 147 days on the market. It is currently assessed by the big city of Moultonborough at $1.776 million. Good deal? I bet the new owner thought so...

There were two sales on Winnisquam in January. Over in Belmont, at 29 Gilman Shores Road, there is a cute three bedroom , one bath, 1,143 square foot cottage built in 1945 sitting on a .31 acre level lot with 99' of frontage. It came on the market at $399,000, was reduced to $389,000, and sold for $332,500 after 89 days in the market. The assessed value was listed as $392,600. On the other end of the lake at 25 Eastman Shore Road in Laconia there is a 1950s, two bedroom seasonal camp that also has a new owner. This little fixer-upper sits on a .86 acre lot with 170' of frontage with a gradual entry into the water. It was listed at $425,000 and sold for full price after just seven days on the market. It is assessed at $527,100. I'd say it was a pretty good deal to sell that quickly.

Up on beautiful and serene Squam Lake, there was only sale for the month but it was a pretty nice one. The property is located at 213 Metcalf Road in Sandwich on Rattlesnake Cove. While there is a 60s vintage, two bedroom, seasonal camp to use there the real value here was in the 3.8 acre lot with 300' of pristine Squam frontage. The property provides great privacy and beautiful sunsets, so I highly suspect the plan might be to build a new home there. This property was listed at $1.695 million, reduced to $1.495 million and sold for $1.350 million after 204 days on the market. The assessed value is listed as $1,798,600.

Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 2/12/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Pat Buchanan - Great Society has failed to move people from welfare to work

The Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs.

But what it did say is vindication of what conservatives have preached since Barry Goldwater stood in the pulpit 50 years ago: The more liberal the welfare state, the greater the disincentive to work and the more ruinous the impact upon a nation's work ethic.

The CBO has just given us a statistical measure of that truth. The Obamacare subsidies, it said, will cause some to quit work, others to cut back on the hours they work, and others to hold off going to work, so as not to lose the benefits.

The cumulative impact of all these decisions will be equal to the loss of 2.5 million jobs by 2024. A devastating blow to an economy where the labor force participation is at a 30-year low.

The CBO has put a number of what everyone knows to be true: If people don't have to work to provide the needs of their daily lives, some will drop out and become permanent charges on the pubic purse, deadbeats.

The father of modern liberalism, FDR, never disputed this. As he warned in 1935, welfare is "a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."

This used to be called common sense. Growing up, we all knew or read that those who inherited great wealth often ended up never holding a "real job" and spent their days in a life of self-indulgence.

However, a related and larger question is raised by the CBO: If Obamacare alone will cost the equivalent of 2.5 million lost jobs to the U.S. economy, what is the impact of our entire welfare state on the vitality and dynamism of the U.S. labor force? As Robert Rector of Heritage Foundation wrote in January, if we judge Lyndon Johnson's Great Society only by the dollars spent to improve the lives of the poor and near-poor, an astronomical $20 trillion, it was a success.

Rector describes its dimensions: "The federal government runs more than 80-means tested programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. Government spent $916 billion on these programs in 2012 alone, and roughly 100 million Americans received aid from at least one of them, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. (That figure doesn't include Security or Medicare.) Federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is 16 times greater than it was in 1964."

Yet, if we judge the Great Society by its goal, providing the poor with their basic family needs so they can go out into the marketplace and find jobs and join their fellow Americans, it has been, writes Rector, "a catastrophe." Scores of millions of Americans are today less able to achieve self-sufficiency through work than were their grandparents.

And by providing for all the needs that the father used to provide for his family, the Great Society has helped make fathers superfluous. We have created a system where a teenage girl who becomes pregnant can have all her basic needs met by government. This is a primary cause of the rise in illegitimacy in America from 6 percent of all births in 1963 to 41 percent today, and to 53 percent among Hispanics and 73 percent among African-Americans. And that record illegitimacy rate is directly tied to the drug use rate, the dropout rate, the crime rate and the incarceration rate.

If the goal of the Great Society was to turn America's tax consumers into taxpayers, it has been a total failure. We have now a vast underclass of scores of millions who are dependent upon government for most or all of their basic needs, a class among whom many, if not most, have lost the ability to survive without government money, food and shelter.

This is something new in America, something we did not know with the Irish boat people of the 1840s, the Okies in Dust Bowl days or during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Monday's New York Times reveals a relevant and startling fact. Only 8 percent of the cab and rental car drivers in New York City are native-born Americans. Three times as many yellow cabdrivers in New York were born in Bangladesh than in the USA.

What is happening in America is that the vast cohort of working men and women, immigrants, illegal and legal, who have come in recent decades, 30 to 40 million, have displaced, have dispossessed, the native-born. But we may be coming to the end of the line. From Detroit to Greece to Puerto Rico, government's ability to expand the benefits of the welfare class by taxing the working and middle class is reaching its limit.

Taxpayers are rebelling, budgets are falling dangerously out of balance, and the welfare state is beginning to buckle under the load.

Perhaps T. S. Eliot was right: "This is how the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper."

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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