Home Renovation Loans

A Conversation with Brian Neidhardt

Q: How do you feel about the challenges of home renovation?

Brian: It can be a both daunting and exciting proposition. As the popularity of HGTV shows like ‘Property Brothers’ and ‘Rehab Addict’ have grown so have the questions from potential buyers about taking on renovation projects. One question that comes up most often is “can I get a loan that helps with remodeling costs?”

One mortgage product out there for home renovations is the FHA 203k. It is a federally backed loan given to buyers who want to buy an older or damaged home that needs repairs. For instance, say you have a house that needs a new kitchen. An FHA 203k lender would give you the money to buy (or refinance) the house plus the money to do the necessary renovations. Rates vary by lender so it is still important to shop around for the best deal possible.

There are two main types of FHA 203k mortgage loans. The first is the regular 203k, which is given for properties that need structural repairs such as a new roof or a addition. The second is the streamlined 203k is for non-structural repairs such as painting and new appliances. Qualifying homes include one to four family homes that are at least one year old. Some condos also qualify as well.

Applying for the loan can be time consuming because you need to have independent contractors and or inspectors prepare a detailed report of the scope of the work and the cost estimates for each item. If you have been contemplating renovating an older home, which we have many of in New Hampshire, then this type of loan can be a very good option.

For more information Brian can be contacted in our Meredith office at 603-738-3798.


Sotheby’s International Realty Announces Relationship with Bloomberg

unnamedSotheby’s International Realty® announced the launch of a content marketing relationship with Bloomberg, a global business and financial information and news leader, designed to showcase the Sotheby’s International Realty® network’s listings to Bloomberg.com readers.

As part of the relationship, in 2014 the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s content units will appear in exclusive positions throughout Bloomberg.com’s property section on its Luxury Property channel. Bloomberg created the program exclusively for the Sotheby’s International Realty brand, which will showcase its network’s inventory of properties through a location comparison, new to market spotlight, search widget and lifestyle feature.

“The Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s target consumer is a direct fit with Bloomberg’s core audience, which is made up of today’s affluent leaders,” said Wendy Purvey, chief marketing officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “Bloomberg’s global readership is made up of those consumers searching for a second or third home that will meet their lifestyle needs, and who recognize the unique value real estate plays in building wealth.”

“Bloomberg is excited to have the Sotheby’s International Realty brand as a content marketing partner,” said Hugh Wiley, head of strategic account partnerships for Bloomberg Media. “The Sotheby’s International Realty brand content aligns perfectly with the Luxury Property section of Bloomberg.com’s Luxury Channel. Providing luxury property offerings around the world will appeal to Bloomberg.com’s audience, which is both affluent and global. This exclusive partnership further extends both the Bloomberg and Sotheby’s International Realty brands into the world of luxury lifestyle.”

Massachusetts Firm Joins Sotheby’s International Realty Brand

Sotheby’s International Realty®  today announced that Harborside Realty in Marblehead, Mass., is the newest member of its real estate network and will now operate as Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty.

Michael Cannuscio, Dick McKinley and Matt Dolan are broker/owners of the firm, which is located at 72 Front Street in Marblehead, and serves Marblehead and the adjacent markets. With the addition of this firm, the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand now has 31 offices throughout Massachusetts.

“Michael and his team of 30 associates have a true understanding and appreciation for their market’s unique attributes,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “They are known for their focus on service, and we proudly welcome them to our worldwide network and the outstanding group of offices that serve Massachusetts.”

According to Cannuscio, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand offers his firm a global reach that complements their local market experience. “With the support of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand, we will receive worldwide exposure for our market and the outstanding properties we represent,” he said. “Our market area has distinct characteristics filled with historic districts and wonderful seaside neighborhoods that necessitate an in-depth local knowledge, which our agents are known for. We are focused on achieving our clients’ objectives and their satisfaction with a high level of professionalism, market knowledge and service.”

Sotheby’s International Realty® Network Launches 2014 Marketing Program

Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty today announced that Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates launched its 2014 marketing program, designed to reach a global audience of qualified luxury consumers.

At the core of the brand’s 2014 strategy are its relationships with pre-eminent media powerhouses in both the print and online arenas including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph Media Group, Google, Architectural Digest, the Hong Kong Tatler and the Financial Times. These relationships were developed to showcase unique properties from the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand’s 700 offices in 52 countries and territories through unique, media-rich advertising units that offer an immersive experience and position the brand in front of a relevant audience of consumers worldwide. Several relationships feature elements that are exclusive to the Sotheby’s International Realty brand.

“Our 2014 marketing plan was designed to deliver 800 million overall impressions, with nearly half of that dedicated to global markets, ensuring we are positioning the Sotheby’s International Realty brand where consumers are searching for real estate,” said Wendy Purvey, chief marketing officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates. “Our 2013 campaign exceeded our planned projections. As our program continues to evolve, our goal remains the same: providing our network with unique tools and resources designed to assist them in securing listings and reaching buyers around the world. Our plan utilizes content rich proAnthology Icongrams that incorporate both editorial and video. This year’s campaign features hand-selected media partners and our strategy was built around state-of-the-art technology and implementation.”

Click Image to watch brief video…        

The complete Sotheby’s International Realty marketing program is available for network members to present to consumers on listing presentations via a unique and interactive digital format presentation created last year using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. The presentation, which is delivered via tablet devices, allows for the brand to continuously make updates throughout the year so the latest information is available to its network at all times. It also provides an immersive experience for consumers through slideshows, interactive images, embedded videos and live links to online components of the plan, making it easier for agents to present and allowing consumers to see first-hand the avenues of exposure available to them.

“Last year, we launched our iPad app, called ‘Anthology, the Collection of an Extraordinary Brand,’ using a new relationship with Adobe Digital Publishing,” said Purvey. “We were the first company in any industry to use this software to communicate our value proposition as a direct point of contact to consumers. This year, we will continue to enhance its interface, tapping into the latest technologies and innovations.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s website, sothebysrealty.com, will continue to be enhanced throughout 2014 to further incorporate the brand’s unique lifestyle focus through the use of video. As part of those efforts, the brand in the first quarter will launch a video series called “Extraordinary Angles,” focused on lifestyle and distinctive amenities including extraordinary kitchens, wine cellars and pools. Last year, the brand saw visits to sothebysrealty.com increase by 40 percent and its lead generation double.

“This year’s program will enable us to reach a global audience of consumers where they are searching for real estate. This in turn benefits our listing clients no matter the price category they are in,” said Alan DiStasio Managing Director of the firm. “The Sotheby’s International Realty brand is making it easy for us to communicate our value proposition with prospective clients with clarity and by utilizing the latest technologies.”


Why List With Us? A conversation with Associate Roy Sanborn…

Q. What is the most important thing a seller should know when considering listing their home with Four Season’s Sotheby’s International Realty?

Roy:  I emphasize how our brand marketing and the quality of the service delivers significant benefits to our clients.

Q. What do you mean by benefits?

Roy:  Our brand provides a level of distinction which a property benefits from by being associated with Sotheby’s International Realty.  Homes listed by us stand out from other listings on the market.  It comes from the brands reputation for representing finer homes across all price points.  We don’t list just high priced homes; rather we focus on homes that exude a certain quality. Distinctive homes in turn attract buyer’s attention.

Another important benefit is credibility. Credibility is enhanced by superior marketing materials with professional grade photography that is distributed to a worldwide network of media partners and outlets which of course leads to more exposure to targeted, qualified buyers.

Once a client has a chance to experience firsthand what we can do for them, they develop confidence in knowing that their property is being properly marketed.  They don’t have to worry whether their home is being exposed to the right buyer pool; They know it is. Now that’s a pretty nice benefit…

Q. So, I expect this premium service comes at a premium price?

Roy:  Not at all. Our fees are in line with the majority of brokerages in the Lakes Region. However, we are not a discount house either. You can’t pay below market fees and receive above market services. We believe that our clients receive real value for the fee they provide. Anyone thinking of selling their home should shop around and compare services and fees. We are confident that we will compare favorably in the marketplace. Please visit www.fourseasonssir.com or  www.lakesregionhome.com for  more information or feel free to  give me a call anytime at 604-455-0335. I’d be happy to hear from you…

Sotheby’s International Realty Brand to Enter Beijing

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates announced it has secured approval to conduct business in mainland China, and has signed an agreement with Beijing Xin Rui Zeng Yi International Real Estate Brokerage Co. Ltd., which is owned by Plus Investment Holding Group (Beijing), to open Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty.

Liu Gang will serve as chairman of Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty, Kevin Corbett will serve as chief executive officer, and Jim Hao as general manager. Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty is scheduled to open in the first quarter of this year.

“Doing business in China is a key milestone for our brand,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “In September 2012, Sotheby’s became the first international auction house licensed to conduct auctions in China through its joint venture Sotheby’s (Beijing) Auction Co., Ltd. Concurrent development in China has been a priority for the Sotheby’s International Realty brand for the last several years. We strongly believe that under the leadership of Mr. Gang and Mr. Corbett, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand will have a strong foothold in Beijing, China’s capital.”

“Our team has extensive experience with high-end consumer goods, and together with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s global reach, we can combine our local knowledge to create a trusted resource for those seeking to invest in Beijing’s real estate,” said Gang. “We look forward to further growth and expansion in the key luxury markets of mainland China.”

With the opening of Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty, the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand will have 27 offices throughout Asia in Australia, Beijing, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

2013 Market Report Now Available…

We have produced our first Annual Market Report. In it you will find year over year market trends from 2012 to 2013 for the four main regions we serve; the Lake Sunapee Region, the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont, the Lakes Region and the Merrimack Valley.

New Hampshire overall posted gains in botReport Coverh unit sales of single family homes and average selling price (on average 4.2% over 2012). However real estate markets are local in nature and while all four markets we serve did show year over year unit increases in single family home sales, three regions experienced lower average selling prices in 2013. Only The Merrimack Valley posted a year over year increase in Average Selling Price outperforming the state average. And within each region the results were mixed on a town by town basis. While some towns experienced double digit decreases in average selling prices; others saw double digit increases. These facts will play a significant role on how a homeowner should price their home and what a buyer should decide to pay for a new home in 2014.

So where is 2014 heading?

We believe the housing market in New Hampshire will continue to expand with moderate increases likely to occur in the luxury second home market. This category saw a fair decline in 2013 versus 2012. The overall pace of growth may become more moderate in 2014. And it remains to be seen what effect the draw-down of the Fed’s stimulus program will have. However, the economy grew a total of 3.2% in the 4th quarter of 2013. The jobs outlook combined with pent-up demand, continued home affordability and most importantly, rising consumer confidence are all expected to play a meaningful role in this year’s real estate market.

We hope you find our first Annual Year-End Market Report helpful as you evaluate your real estate options in 2014. For more detailed information including reports broken out by price point, please contact Alan DiStasio Managing Director at alan.distasio@sothebysrealty.com.

So what does fishing and selling your home have in common anyway???

A conversation with Carl Sack in our Meredith Office…

Q. What does fishing and selling your home have in common?

When heading out to the lake you take along all the tools of the trade; fishing pole, lures and fly’s along with your boat and electronic fish finder.  Your goal is to quickly determine how deep the fish are and what they are biting so your day on the water is successful.  Selling your home is much the same, only the tools are different and instead of fish we are looking for buyers.  We take advantage of all proven techniques along with successful trade secrets that no fisherman will share.  We start with quality photography and a distinctive write up of your home followed by a customized marketing plan which may include local newspapers and magazines but will always include the internet.  Our internet presence transcends what others offer. In fact it would equate to the most sophisticated fish finder on the market today that features GPS technology to sidebar sonar.

Q. So what is your secret to getting a home sold?

To continue with the fishing analogy; when I am out the lake I observe what types of activity I see on the water and match my lure or fly to that activity.  Most importantly I keep casting and changing until I find what the fish are biting.  Marketing a home is similar.  We fine tune the homes marketing to reach the ideal target buyer. By taking into account such property characteristics like demographics, lifestyle, and amenities we can tailor the marketing program to include various media partners in order to attract like-minded buyers. This may include one of our lifestyle specific global websites such as www.WaterfrontPropertySIR.com or a social media strategy utilizing Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, blogging, video tours and posting on global sites.  Unlike the random act of just throwing out a net, we cast directly to the demographic markets that match the lifestyle your home has to offer.  I would be happy to provide a complimentary analysis to anyone thinking of selling this year.

Carl can be reached at carl.sack@sothebsyrealty.com

Is This Time of Year a Good Time to Sell?

A conversation with Paul Hinckley of our Meredith Office

Q. Considering how cold the weather has been, would you say now is a good time to sell?

Paula: Many “Under Forty’s” have never experienced cold conditions like this but the local real estate market seems to be riding right along, unfazed by the New Hampshire weather.  There are always sellers that need to sell and buyers that need to buy no matter what time of year it is. And over 700 homes were taken off the market on January 1 which means that there is less competition for sellers in the market place right now.

Q. What other considerations should a Seller take into account?

Paula: Buyers have a lot of extra time during the winter to search the web for properties.  So it is important for Sellers to make sure their property is being presented in its best light online. A Seller should always consider how a potential Buyer would view their property.  A Buyer will only become engaged and want to learn more if they see beautiful quality pictures and learn the unique properties of the listing which will satisfy what they are craving in a home.

Q. Anything else a Seller should know?

Paula: My best advice would be to examine the condition of the home with a critical eye.  Buyers simply do not want to make a lot of repairs so condition really matters.  They are looking for a new experience, that matches their dreams, and they want to experience that dream the minute they walk through the door. The next greatest benefit after the extraordinary marketing we provide our clients at Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty is the service we provide when preparing their home for sale. Our goal is to prepare each and every property we list so that it will be presented in the light and distinction it deserves. It would be my pleasure to give a complimentary market analysis to anyone looking to list in the next few weeks.

For more information Paula can be reached at paula.hinckley@sothebysrealty.com.

Things to know when selling or buying waterfront property…

A conversation with Ruth Neidhardt, Managing Broker of Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty’s Meredith Office, current President of the Lakes Region Board of Realtors and 2012 Lakes Region Realtor of The Year…

Q: What should Sellers be aware of when selling waterfront property?

Ruth: Most importantly, any developed waterfront that is contiguous with or lies within 200 feet of a fresh water body, river, or coastal waters must have a current Site Assessment Study completed before it can be sold. The study is done by a DES licensed septic designer that assesses what you have for a septic system, location as well as your well location and identifies a possible replacement area in case either should ever fail. It can often take some time to hire an inspector so it would be wise for Sellers to have a study done before listing their property. Otherwise you run the risk of a closing being delayed or worse cancelled. A Seller is not required to actually do anything as a result of the findings but any problems uncovered must be disclosed to a potential Buyer. Raw land with no septic system does not need to have a Site Assessment Study done. Neither does a condo or home that has a public sewer.

Q: What should Buyers be aware of?

Ruth: The Buyer on the other hand will want to make sure that a proper Site Assessment was completed before purchasing a waterfront property.  Their agent can tell them if this was done and will make a provision in an offer to insure they have the time to review and accept the findings of the study.

Q: Anything else Buyers should be aware of?

Ruth: Not all waterfront parcels were created equal! Some feature hard packed sand and crystal clear water. Others have stony bottoms. A parcel could also have a murky, muddy bottom. Water the color of tea is usually the result of fine minerals. Generally speaking parcels with crystal clear water, southwest exposure, a sandy beach and views are the most desirable. However, there are numerous other combinations which will provide wonderful opportunities for enjoying one of the many lakes in our region.

For more information please go to www.nhlakesproperty.com.