Buying 'ugly houses' and the Lakes Region sales report


There were 132 single-family residential homes sold in June in the 12 Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sale price came in at $303,761 and the median price point was $217,250. That compares to 112 sales last June at an average price of $325,548.
That brings the total number of residential transactions for the first half of 2016 to 542, at an average sales price of $311,342, with a total sales volume of $168.7 million. That is up from the 417 posted in the first half of last year and the average price is up a bit as well from last years $309,625. The six-month total sales volume last year was $129.2 million. Even more impressive is the increase over the first half of 2014 when we had just 408 transactions at an average of $299,623. So things are looking pretty strong so far this year!

Home sales numbers increased in all price ranges except for properties below $100,000 where sales dropped from 61 for the first six months of 2015 to 52 transactions so far this year. The number of sales in the $100,000 to $199,999 range rose 52 percent from 129 transactions to 196. In the $200,000 to $299,999 bracket, sales increased 30 percent from 115 to 149 and in the $300,000 to $399,999 bracket they increased 59 percent from 37 to 59 sales. In the over $400,000 category, sales were up 15 percent from 75 to 86 year over year for the same period (85 percent of the sales over $400,000 were waterfront homes.)

I stumbled across a website called "We Buy Ugly Houses" somehow the other day. The site has a cute little cartoon caveman character on it who I guess represents an ugly person (I think) who might buy an ugly house? Apparently this company, which has franchises all across the country, buys ugly houses for cash. When they say ugly, they really mean a property that is distressed or that perhaps the owner is more distressed and wants to sell it quickly.

This company graciously offers to come in and buy your property at a reduced price, maybe at 60 percent of the real value (not likely the list price), and then turns around to sell it for a profit after perhaps sprucing it up. I suppose this might be a viable option for some sellers who don't want or don't have the money to fix their place up. But, the seller has got to have some pretty good equity in the property to be able to do this kind of thing and most don't.

You often will see little paper signs tacked to telephone poles that say "We Buy Houses for Cash" along with a number to call. It may not be the "We Buy Ugly Houses" people but the idea is the same. When you want to sell your house fast that means you are going to sell it at a reduced price.

Another website touted: "If you have had your house listed with a Realtor for months without any results, or if you are having a hard time selling the house yourself and are starting to get frustrated, let one of our investors make an offer that you can't refuse. We are always ready to buy houses quickly." The translation here is "We are always ready to buy houses cheaply."

There are even some real estate agents that tout that they will buy your house if they can't sell it in 30 days. I think that is pretty big conflict of interest, if you stop and think about it!

The long and the short of it is that time equals money. If you price any home too high, then it will take longer to sell than pricing the same home at a lower number. Underprice it and it will likely sell very quickly. It's so simple even a caveman can do it. It is finding that perfect number between the high and low point that can be a little harder.


Pl​ease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 7/19/16. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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Pat Buchanan - Is party over for Bushism?

Neither George W. Bush, the Republican Party nominee in 2000 and 2004, nor Jeb, the dethroned Prince of Wales, will be in Cleveland. Nor will John McCain or Mitt Romney, the last two nominees.

These former leaders would like it thought that high principle keeps them away from a GOP convention that would nominate Donald Trump. Petulance, however, must surely play a part. Bush Republicans feel unappreciated, and understandably so. For Trump's nomination represents not only a rejection of their legacy but a repudiation of much of post-Cold War party dogma.

America crossed a historic divide and entered a new era. Even should Trump lose, there is likely no going back.

Trump has attacked NAFTA, MFN for China and the South Korea trade deal as badly negotiated. But the problem lies not just in the treaties but in the economic philosophy upon which they were based. Free-trade globalism was a crucial component of the New World Order, whose creation George H. W. Bush called the new great goal of U.S. foreign policy at the United Nations in October of 1991.

Bush II and Jeb are also free-trade zealots.

But when the American people discovered that the export of their factories and jobs to low-wage countries, and sinking salaries, were the going price of globalism, they rebelled, turned to Trump, and voted for him to put America first again.

Does anyone think that if Trump loses, we are going back to Davos-Dubai ideology, and Barack Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership is our future? Even Hillary Clinton has gotten the message and dumped TPP.

Economic nationalism is the future. The only remaining question is how many trade deficits shall America endure, and how many defeats shall the Republican Party suffer, before it formally renounces the free-trade fanaticism that has held it in thrall.

The Bush idea of remaking America into a more ethnically, culturally, diverse nation through mass immigration, rooted in an egalitarian ideology, also appears to be yesterday's enthusiasm. With Republicans backing Trump's call, after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, for a moratorium on Muslim immigration, and the massacres in Paris, Nice and the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, diversity seems to be less celebrated.

Here, the Europeans are ahead of us. Border posts are being re-established across the continent. Behind the British decision to quit the EU, was resistance to more immigration from the Islamic world and Eastern Europe.

On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande was booed at memorial services in Nice for the hundreds massacred and maimed by a madman whose family roots were in the old French colony of Tunisia. Marine Le Pen of the National Front, who wants to halt immigration and quit the EU, is running far ahead of Hollande in the polls for next year's elections.

As for the foreign policies associated with the Bushes, the New World Order of Bush I and the crusade for global democracy of Bush II "to end tyranny in our world" are seen as utopian.

Most Republicans ask: How have all these interventions and wars improved our lives or our world?

With 6,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, and trillions of dollars sunk, the Taliban is not defeated in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida and ISIS have outposts in a dozen countries. Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are bleeding and disintegrating. Turkey appears headed for an Islamist and dictatorial future. The Middle East appears consumed in flames.

Yet, despite Trump's renunciation of Bush war policies, and broad support to talk to Russia's Vladimir Putin, the neocons, who engineered many of the disasters in the Middle East, and their hawkish allies, seem to be getting their way for a new Cold War. They are cheering the deployment of four battalions of NATO troops to the Baltic states and Poland, calling for bringing Sweden and Finland into NATO, pushing for sending weapons to Ukraine, and urging a buildup on the Black Sea as well as the Baltic Sea. They want to scuttle the Iranian nuclear deal and have the U.S. Navy confront China to support the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia to rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, some of which are under water at high tide.

Who represents the future of the GOP?

On trade and immigration, the returns are in. Should the GOP go back to globalism, amnesty or open borders, it will sunder itself and have no future. And if the party is perceived as offering America endless wars in the Middle East and constant confrontations with the great nuclear powers, Russia and China, over specks of land or islets having nothing to do with the vital interests of the United States, then it will see its anti-interventionist wing sheared off.

At issue in the battle between the Party of Bush and Party of Trump: Will we make America safe again, and great again? Or are globalism, amnesty, and endless interventions our future?

Do we put the world first, or America First?

(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.)

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Froma Harrop - Sexism is business at usual at Fox News

What to make of Gretchen Carlson's suit against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes alleging sexual harassment? If Ailes did demand sex as a condition of her employment and Carlson can prove it, then she'd seem to have a good case.

But other complaints about "inappropriate" behavior at Fox News don't sit quite right: So she was mocked on the air over her high hemlines and paid slithering compliments about "looking good today." On the air, a male co-host pulled down her arm to shut her up. I mean, what ballpark did she think she was playing in?

With a few exceptions, the Fox News sets purposely pair men in business attire with women in sleeveless, short dresses — some featuring adorable peekaboo cutouts revealing cleavage. You don't need a fashion anthropologist to tell you that this dress code screams inferior status.

I hit upon "Fox & Friends" on Saturday morning when the discussion centered on the Dallas tragedy. There was Abby Huntsman, all arms and legs in a flamingo-pink dress, flanked by two male anchors encased in conservative business suits with ties. Huntsman was offering the smartest commentary, but how many viewers took notice?

It's not just Fox News Channel. All over TV you see women doing news dressed for the cover of Cosmo. The need to play the babe is why so many newswomen get yanked off the air the moment they age. Carlson herself is now 50.

(It's especially painful to watch one of the survivors, Andrea Mitchell at 69, displaying arms and legs alongside fully dressed men with lesser intellects. It does not matter that she's in terrific shape.)

Carlson sat on the "Fox & Friends" set for years as an accomplice. She soldiered through the lame sexist joshing. She once stomped off the set in seeming complaint but came back saying she was kidding. Her recent book praised and thanked Ailes with profusion.

Now, we can say this is entertainment. She was hired to perform as the ditzy foil to the men. The formula includes a revolt against politically correct feminism.

Whatever. In the age of hipster androgyny, the female hootchy-kootchy on Fox News Channel seems increasingly dated. It may account in part for CNN's narrowing the ratings gap with the once-dominant Fox News, particularly among younger viewers.

The fashion industry has been in on promoting retrograde aesthetics for working women. Decades ago, there was a brief "dress for success" movement, urging women to wear suits in professional settings. But the notion of women getting by with a work wardrobe of five business uniforms — as men do — could not be tolerated. Women in suits with those floppy bow ties were quickly made fun of. The message was: You can flaunt your femininity at the office and be powerful at the same time. That women in well-tailored suits are actually quite alluring (check out the Hitchcock movie heroines) got lost in the demands of selling fast fashion.

Some may argue that enduring fraternity-level taunts was the only way some of these women could get on camera, become famous and make good money. That may be so. And I won't begrudge their trading dignity for fame and fortune, if that's their wish and they don't pretend otherwise.

The main problem with Carlson's suit is the timing. It was filed only after the network decided to not renew her contract. While gainfully employed, she helped advance a business model that championed overt sexism. And that's why the sisterhood probably isn't losing a lot of sleep over Carlson's case, even as it quietly hopes she prevails.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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Bob Meade - Equal justice? Or presumed guilty?

We are brought up to believe that everyone is entitled to equal justice under the law. We are to be judged by a jury of our peers who are charged with determining beyond a reasonable doubt, that we either have or have not committed the crime for which we have been charged. And, we are to be presumed innocent until the jury makes a determination otherwise. But, we may find that what we call "equal justice" is often absent.

When someone is brought before a judge to determine the amount of bail required in order to be released from jail, pending the date of their trial, the decision of the judge may actually imply the guilt or innocence of the person being charged. For example, a person bought before Judge "A" for aiming a rifle and shooting at a group of people may be required to post a "cash-only" bail of $25,000. Another person charged with having inappropriate sexual contact with a minor, six or seven years earlier, may receive a "cash only" bail requirement from Judge "B" that is three times larger than what was imposed on the alleged shooter by Judge "A". A case brought before Judge "C" charged a man with participating in the armed standoff between federal authorities and ranchers, in the Cliven Bundy case. The person being charged is a veteran, a family man, the sole support of his family and an elderly parent who requires continuing care. He was denied bail and is being held in a jail about 3,000 miles away from his family, awaiting trial, which is not expected to begin for at least a year.

These examples pose a few questions. Let's start with the "cash only" bail. Normally, when a person is required to post bail, he or she can purchase a bail-bond for about 10 percent of the bond's face value. However, when the court imposes a "cash only" requirement, the person must present to the court the entire amount in cash. In the examples above, Judge "A" would require $25,000 in cash before the person being charged could be released from jail, pending their court appearance. Judge "B" would require the person brought before him to provide the Court with $75,000 in cash in order to be released pending trial. The imposition of "cash only" may make it virtually impossible for the person being charged to be released from jail pending his or her court date. How many average citizens or their families can stop at the bank and walk out with $25 or $75 thousand dollars in cash to bring to the court?

In each of these examples, the person being charged may appeal the cash only bail, or the dollar amount of the bail, or the denial of bail. However, pending the appeal hearing, the person must remain in jail, which most often takes a number of months. That doesn't seem to be "innocent until proven guilty", but a pre-judgement of guilt.

There are a few major issues that need to be reasonably resolved. The first is the issue of the cash-only bail. By its very nature, requiring a person to pay a cash-only bail inflicts a penalty that is 10 times more costly than a regular bail assessment would be. As the examples above showed, cash-only bail for the two individuals was equivalent to purchasing bail bonds in the amount of $250,000 and $750,000 respectively. Excessive?

The second issue deals with the apparent disparity in the amount of bail assessed in the three examples, by three different judges. The person charged with shooting his rifle multiple times was assessed the lowest bail amount. The person charged with having inappropriate sexual contact with a minor six or seven years ago, was assessed an amount three times larger. And, the person participating in a protest by ranchers because of what they believed to be significant government overreach, has been denied bail and has essentially been deemed to be guilty and will be confined to jail, for over a year before he will be able to have his case heard by a jury of his peers. Equal justice?

The third issue is that there needs to be a way for a citizen to present an appeal to an independent judge/arbiter panel to plead for some reasonable level of bail equality. The dollar disparity in the examples shown should be a cause for concern. And, the denial of bail for an individual who has been a pillar of his community, is a veteran and an honorable man, and who is the sole provider for his family, appears to be the worst kind of governmental bullying that may well lead to bankrupting his family before his case is even brought before the court. There should be an urgency in the appeal processes so the independent judge/arbiter can reasonably quickly ensure there is equal justice in the assessment of bail . . . being ever mindful of the presumption of innocence.

(Bob Meade is a resident of Laconia.)

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Lakes Region Profiles — The search is on for waterfront property

By Mary O'Neill

Sales associate at Roche Realty Group


It is not unheard of to find a property you love right up front. But for most of us the process to match property against a wish list is less inspirational and more practical, requiring a long search and compromise. Buying property on the water adds another parameter to the mix, especially in the Lakes Region, which offers a great variety of lifestyles and four-season activities. Here are some factors to consider in your search for the perfect waterfront property:

What size lake?
Lake size is directly correlated to lifestyle. Do you like to explore? Do you want to be able to boat to lakeside restaurants or venues? Larger lakes including Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, Squam, Newfound, and Ossipee have different towns, multiple islands, and vast and varied shorelines, providing endless possibilities for recreation and amusement. Are you an avid waterskier? A quieter, mid-size lake such as 426-acre Lake Opechee or 912-acre Lake Waukewan may be exactly what you are looking for. Some lakes have horsepower restrictions but might be perfect for those who only want to kayak and canoe. Paddleboard, kayak, and canoe enthusiasts can choose from the 273 lakes, rivers, and ponds in the Lakes Region. Among those waterbodies are small, secluded coves surrounded by pristine natural settings and diverse wildlife, or miles of open water for long distance paddling and exploring – something ideal for every type of paddler.

Do you want to be near a town? Would you like to be able to walk to restaurants, shops, and concerts? Or are you looking for a more private setting with access to trails and wildlife? Both are readily available in the Lakes Region.

Westerly or easterly exposure?
Do you want long evenings by the shoreline lit by the flickering sun as it sets behind the mountains? Property with westerly exposure will likely meet this criteria and provide 3 to 4 more hours of sunshine at the end of the day. Conversely, property with easterly exposure will welcome the sun in the morning hours and appeal to early risers or those who prefer cooler temperatures in the summer.

What depth of shoreline?
How do you want to use your shorefront? Do you, your kids, and grandkids want to swim from a sandy beach that gradually stretches out into the lake? Do you want to be able to dive into deep water? Water depth is also an important consideration when docking or mooring your boat. If you already own a boat, will the depth accommodate it? Is the water deep enough to moor a sailboat? Different lakes and areas within the lakes can offer accommodations for every kind of boat.

What do you want for a view?
Do you envision gazing across a great expanse of water with long-range views to the mountains? Would you like to look out over a tranquil cove as you are serenaded by the call of loons? Some waterfront properties on the larger lakes are situated to watch the passing boats – an amusing pastime but one that could also bring more turbulence to your shoreline.

What kind of fishing?
Fishing is a popular sport in the waters in the Lakes Region. All the lakes, ponds, and rivers provide a different experience and a variety of species. If fishing is important to you, the first consideration is whether you want to live on a cold or warm water fishery. According to the NH Fish and Game, cold water species in the area include brook trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout and whitefish. Some of the warm water species include small and large mouth bass, horned pout, bluegill, black crappie, and walleye ( Cold water fisheries in the area include Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, and Newfound. Kanasatka, Webster, and Wentworth are among the warm water fisheries. Many Lakes Region waterbodies provide for both cold and warm water species (

The general rule is, the larger the waterbody, the more popular, since a larger waterbody offers more opportunities. Naturally, with popularity prices rise. If budget is an overriding factor, this makes it extremely important to determine your top priorities and to be realistic about what your lifestyle will be on your lakefront property. Why pay a high price to be on one of the larger lakes, for example, if you have no desire to own a boat? One of the smaller lakes might fit your needs and be available at a lower price point.

The bottom line is there are a host of important considerations when choosing a waterfront property. Those enumerated above only touch upon the topic. But you can rest easy. You have already made the most important decision – the decision to live in the Lakes Region, a true haven in this busy world.

Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.

Lake Lifestyles

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