By ROY SANBORN
There were just 61 residential home sales in January 2016 in the 12 communities covered by this Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report. That's kind of a slow start for the New Year, but it is still a lot better than the 50 posted last January. The average sales price came in at $338,936 and the median price point was $231,500.
Monday was Presidents Day. If I was in the car business, I would write about the successful blow-out holiday sales that we just had. But, since I am in the real estate business, and we don't have Presidents Day house sales, I guess I can write about a president's house instead. There aren't any for sale that I know of right now although the White House is currently underwater by a mere $19 trillion so it could be coming up as a foreclosure sale shortly.
Which president's home would you buy if you could? Obviously, the one that might cause the most hype would be old George's house. No, not George H. Bush's house in Kennebunkport. I mean the home of our first president and original New England Patriots coach, General George Washington. Although, now that I think of it, Kennebunkport would be a pretty nice place to hang out.
Mount Vernon is located on the banks of the Potomac in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is a pretty classy place. It would bring a pretty fair price if it were ever put on the market although I am not sure about the bathroom situation from what I can find on the Internet – none were mentioned. But, it has got great curb appeal, sits on the river on a 500-acre lot, and is in a prime location. But in order to market it, the agent would have to learn a lot of new terms with regard to the architecture of the home in order to properly describe it. Right off the bat, this is not a New Englander or split level. It is a Palladian-style home which was constructed in stages starting in 1758 continuing through 1778. A Palladian-style home is based on the formal temple style architecture of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Things were really different back in the waterfront market in those days. This was obviously built before Adirondack-style waterfront homes became so popular.
The main part of the home is called the "corps de logis." I have never once used that term in my MLS descriptions. On the first level, this section houses the main living areas; the central passage, a couple of parlors, a small dining room, a study, a small bedchamber, a butler's pantry and the all important and grandest room; the New Room. This was the forerunners of today's great room. This room is two stories tall, has a grand fireplace, lavish ornamental woodwork, and decorated in bright bold colors and wallpaper. This room served many purposes from receiving and impressing guests to large formal dinner parties. In another era, George would have watched the New England Patriots in the comfort of this room, rather than out in the cold at Valley Forge.
The central passage was the main entry to the home and extended from the front to the back of the home. This is a grand room and was also used to entertain guests. This space provides the proverbial money shot with views of the Potomac and Maryland shoreline on the back side and pastoral fields out the front. The back door leads out to a two story "piazza," which is a fancy word for covered porch, which is the main distinctive feature of the home. Can you just imagine George and Lafayette posturing on the piazza, pondering the Potomac, while eating pizza and pontificating about the Patriots?
On the second level, you'll find all the bedchambers. No en suites here, unfortunately. On the third level, there are additional bedchambers, a china closet, a cupola and the "lumber rooms." Lumber rooms were not there to store lumber but were rooms for excess furniture that was not used all the time and had to be tucked away out of sight. I am sure the servants got sick of lugging that Birdseye maple table up and down all those flights of stairs.
On either side of the main house are "colonnades," or covered walkways (forerunners of breezeways), that lead out to single-story buildings used as servants' quarters and a kitchen. This layout formed the "cour d'honneur" which is another really fancy word for a three-sided courtyard. I have to work that term in to my next listing somehow. I Googled "red neck cour d'honneur "and nothing came up so it may be a bit of a stretch around here.
So here's a test for those that actually remember some of the history you learned in school. Match the follow presidents with the names of their residences. I threw in a couple easy ones for you. No answers. You can Google them, too!
Thomas Jefferson Rancho del Cielo
George H Bush Springwood
Calvin Coolidge Monticello
Andrew Jackson Andrew Johnson Home
Teddy Roosevelt Rancho Mirage
Ronald Reagan The Hermitage
Richard Nixon The Beeches
Franklin Delano Roosevelt La Casa Pacifica
Gerald Ford Sagamore Hill
Andrew Johnson Walkers Point
Mount Vernon, George Washington's home on the Potomac River in Virginia, offers features not found in today's real estate listings. (Courtesy www.mountvernon.org)
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 compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 2/16/16. 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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