By Dick Thackston.

If the answer to this question is yes, then you are not prepared to sell your home. It doesn’t matter if the laundry is clean or dirty, in the laundry or in the bedroom – you’re really just not ready.



Most home sellers don’t realize it but the most value creating thing they can do is organize, clean & maybe repaint the inside of their home. No Realtor, no matter how skilled or experienced they are can make up for poor housekeeping or lack of maintenance, and no buyer  is going to fully over look poor housekeeping and lack of maintenance. The tough truth about selling a home that most Realtors are hesitant to mention to sellers when they meet with them face to face is that if you are ready to sell the important thing to do is make your house the very best it can be “as is”, not start adding projects that you may not have the time, money or skills to complete before putting the home on the market. Let’s face it, if you’ve lived in the house for a number of years and never finished the basement or built that big addition on to your deck, this is not the time to do it – it’s the next guy’s problem and opportunity.




Cleaning and minor repairs are the keys: fix the broken sprayer handle at the Kitchen sink ($5 +/-), vacuum all the flooring and mop the Kitchen floor, replace the broken or missing knobs on the Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets; don’t get involved in giant projects! The pay back on these minor efforts is far more than they pay back on major home improvements


Also, be realistic about what you can’t do: if you can’t dislodge your teenager from their purple and black bedroom to paint it a neutral color, know that it’s going to reduce the marketability of your home and probably take several times the actual cost to repaint off the price you will receive for your home.




Everybody has pets and everybody loves THEIR pets, but yours buyers probably won’t see as endearing, so clean up after them, keep after them and make sure they don’t represent a problem with either showing the home or its presentation. (Yes, this means cleaning the litter box and vacuuming the dog hairs up prior to showings!) 



Selling your home is work and it’s a partnership between you and your Realtor. Make sure you’re both on the same page and working together to maximize your pay and theirs.

JPMorgan admits to defrauding FHA, VA for more than a decade | Inman News.

We posted an article from DSNEWS that stated “Despite fewer foreclosure starts, distressed sales rose in 2013”. Based on our analysis of sales in all of 2012 and 2013, this has been true even in New Hampshire.


We reviewed the data reported in NNEREN MLS and determined an estimated* foreclosure (REO) amount for 2012 and 2013 in select areas, in addition to the entire state.


Cheshire County 2012: 10% REO

Cheshire County 2013: 18.5% REO


Sullivan County 2012: 15.6% REO

Sullivan County 2013: 20.3% REO


City of Keene 2012: 7.6% REO

City of Keene 2013: 10.3% REO


City of Claremont 2012: 22.3% REO

City of Claremont 2013: 27.6% REO


All of New Hampshire: 2012: 10.6% REO

All of New Hampshire 2013: 14.07% REO


Foreclosure sales increased 3.47% statewide, with some markets having a foreclosure sales rate higher than the state average. Real Estate is a local phenomenon and each market is different.


*The above data was gathered from NNEREN MLS and is estimated as not all listings are reported as a foreclosure in the MLS when they actually are, as each bank/servicer has their own guidelines on disclosing a property as a foreclosure. 

Despite Fewer Foreclosure Starts, Distressed Sales Rose in 2013.

Statewide Trends: 2014 Projections

Posted by Gove Group on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 11:31am.

By Daniel Hussey

Single Family Home Sales

Sales were up by 10% in 2013, continuing the upward trend in total sales over the past 3 years.  We believe the market will continue to accelerate in 2014 and improve another 15% over the course of the year. If the last few months are an indication of what’s ahead, 2014 will be a big year. There is still a lot of pent up demand in the starter home market and for those looking to downsize. Analysts are already looking at what is happening and seeing a housing bubble form in specific A+ markets; however, tighter regulation in the home mortgage industry will hopefully reign in macro-level unrealistic appreciation and keep the markets safe. So far, so good.


Single Family Prices

Home prices continue to improve. During the downturn, the average home price fell largely because the number of sales priced below $200,000 made up a much larger percentage of all sales in the market. At the same time, home sales above $200,000 decreased. What we are seeing is that middle portion of the market, sales right around $200,000 to $300,000, increase and sales below $200,000 are drying up. This change in volume from one price segment to another is a long process and speaks volumes about incomes, jobs, an aging population, an aging stock of existing homes, costs of construction and many other factors including buyer’s perception. What we want to see is a return to normalcy followed by slow growth that mirrors income growth at all price points. This makes for a stable, easy-to-predict, investment atmosphere. While the changes in regulations in the housing industry have been arduous at times, they are aimed on the most basic level, to match incomes with home costs to avoid over extending consumers for their own good, or in other words, more secure and stable path towards the American Dream.  This is playing out now and so far, in our markets, it’s working.

As new construction specialists, we are seeing an increasing demand for new homes for two main product types; starter homes and ranches or first floor masters. The existing stock of starter homes is largely made up of older homes built in the 70’s and 80’s, lived in by baby boomers who have invested in their homes over the years to various degrees. At the same time, there is an enormous and ever growing segment of baby boomers, 55 to 65, that have stayed on the sidelines during the downturn, who are ready to downsize, build that dream house and move on. These buyers will pay a much higher PSF for the right home. Spec building for this segment is clearly the path to success in 2014. Finally, the segment that saw terrible depreciation during the downturn, those large colonial homes built from 2000 to 2007, will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and some will make a move despite taking a loss from their original purchase price.

If there is one point that needs to be made going into 2014, it is this:  If you want to increase the number of homes you want to sell this year, start spec building now. With build times of 6 to 8 months, buyers will purchase a similar spec home before buying paper. Additionally, plan your Fall batch out now so they are in the pipeline.

Shared with permission from The Gove Group Real Estate, LLC



It is easy to get distracted by what’s wrong with a home you are looking at than what’s right with it. I am well aware that each buyer has specific preferences when looking and eventually buying a home, so I came across this article that explains what to stay focused on as we look at homes for you. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), it is my focus to make sure you get the home you want. I look forward to working with you and please let me know if you have any questions.



There is often a lot of discussion about the impact of advertising and marketing schemes on the number and nature of offers on homes on the market. We’ve heard a lot in the last few weeks about how houses are “scarce” and buyers can’t find a house. This seems counter intuitive if house prices are still low and the housing market is still struggling to recover. Often time’s home sellers are sure that if they just change agents or if their agent would just run a bigger ad in the local newspaper or the Walls Street Journal that special someone will come and fall in love with their home – but they don’t, why not?


The work of a listing agent is critical in selling a home but it’s not because of the size or type of ads the agent runs or home many Open Houses the agent does that creates value – almost none of that matters. I have closely tracked lead calls into my office since October 2005 and most of the big real estate franchises have done the same, as has the National Association of REALTORS, and the overwhelming evidence is that buyers look for homes online. If they didn’t, Zillow and Trulia, (bad information that they contain and all), wouldn’t even exist. Good listing agents tell their clients, the Sellers, the truth and help them deal with the home selling market as it is, not as it was or they’d like it to be. Good listing agents help their clients understand that the tax assessment from four years ago is not what the house is worth now and probably never was what it was worth. (It is not unusual in my experience as a REALTOR in New Hampshire to find properties over assessed by as much as 40%. I can sight examples where properties sold for 20% of assessment.) The biggest single problem in determining an accurate market price for a home is Listing Agents not providing accurate information and not working with the home sellers to understand the competitive problems with selling a home. So when the Home Seller guesses about their home’s market value, consider the three biggest factors affecting values in a home based on current consumer preferences and lender requirements. (I had a woman today tell me she couldn’t put her house on the market because in 2005 one neighbor sold their house for 25% more than current conditions suggests, and in 2008 another neighbor sold their house for 50% more than current market conditions indicate.)


Current market conditions and demand are heavily impacted by the three biggest problems for Home Sellers in today’s real estate business: Listing Agents that share this information have good experience helping their clients and their clients understand what they are up against even if they don’t like it. The three issues for Home Sellers are: Functional Obsolescence, Economic Obsolescence and Deferred Maintenance – at the end of my article I have included examples of all three.


In the end the accuracy and success of any marketing plan depends on the agent and client allowing the reality of the situation to govern the transaction and get the listing price as accurate as possible – “denial is not just a river in Africa.”



Functional Obsolescence       Economic Obsolescence        Deferred Maintenance

CeilingHeights <60”                          Store with Apartment Over           Roof Shingles Deteriorating

Walk-through Bedrooms                 House with Business                         Pealing Exterior Paint

Bedroom without Closet                  Business in Residential Area         Leaking Pipes

Knob & Tube Wiring                          Single Family in Business                Broken Windows

Fuses or Pushmatic CB                     Single Family w/ small Apt            Wet Basement

Less than 100 AMP Service            Mobile Home built <1977             Chimney in need of pointing

Un-Lined Chimney                             Structure on Private Road             Rotten Sills

No Washer & Dryer Hookup           Lead Paint – anywhere                    Sagging floors

Incomplete Bathrooms                    Structure on Class VI Road           Non-conforming Septic

No heat on second floor                  Any non-conforming use                Heating system problems

Two appliances on one flue            Only Wood or Coal Heat                  Broken/Inoperable Doors

Incomplete insulation                      No insulation                                       Exposed Insulation

Kitchen cabinets incomplete         Kitchen without cabinets               Broken Kitchen Cabinets

Dirt Floor in Cellar                              No Cellar or crawl space                Sump pump or drains broken

No bathroom on second floor        Out-house                                            Holes in walls & ceiling

Single pane windows                          Underground Tanks                         Broken missing screens

Old Linoleum                                         Sub-floors exposed                          Damaged Carpet & Floors


By Dick Thackston


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