Porcupine Real Estate

Posted by Mark Warden on 9/5/2017

Thinking of selling your home? Don't make these pricing mistakes! 

How do I know at what price to list my home?

When selling your home, it is imperative to price your home correctly. Price it too low, and you'll lose out on maximizing profits; price it too high and the listing will become stale and lose momentum.

Some of the factors that influence market value: 

- Is housing inventory low? 

- Are mortgage rates low? Are they rising? 

- What are other homes (excluding short sales and foreclosures) selling for? 

- What have other homes sold for in the last few months?

- How valuable/important are my upgrades to buyers?

- Age, style, condition, cleanliness, obsolescence of the house.

- Schools’ reputation, new developments, taxes in my town.

Frequently Heard Comments

"We want to price it high so we have room to negotiate..." 

This pricing strategy can result on the listing being on the market for a very long time until the right buyer who is willing to pay a premium comes along. Pricing at fair market value can result in a faster sale and potentially multiple offers.

"My Zestimate is..."

Many homeowners check the Zestimate on Zillow and think that is a fair value for their house. While Zestimates can give you a general idea of the value, the numbers are not accurate and you should never rely on them to give a fair market value of your house. 

There are many factors that go into determining the market value of your house, including things like the location (does your home back up to a highway?), upgrades (do you have top of the line kitchen appliances or custom tile work?), condition (is your carpet threadbare in places; are there holes in the wall?), and more. 

Zillow Zestimates (and similar AVM functions on other sites) are computed using physical facts and sales history across an entire area and do not take subjective features that are unique to the property (like those listed above) into account. In fact, Zillow even goes so far as to suggest you have a real estate agent do a comparative market analysis instead of relying on their Zestimate.

"Let's do an open house! And more advertising!"

If a home is not priced competitively, no open house or additional marketing will help to sell it. Your home needs to be priced right from the beginning to capture the buyers who are ready, willing and able to purchase it. It’s also critical that the listing has an impressive online presence, including professional photographs and thoughtful write-up by your listing agent. Our listings get put in MLS, which gets syndicated to all the main real estate aggregators and search engines, so it will be seen by everyone on the Web. Ask us for more details about this.

"If my home doesn't sell in the first few months, I'll just wait until the busy season comes back." 

While it may be tempting to let your home sit on the market, the fact is that the longer a listing sits, the less interest it will get. Buyers start to believe that there may be something wrong with it, or that it is overpriced. Alternately, taking the listing off and putting it back on during the busy season can also be a bust. Savvy buyers will notice the previous listing, and if there isn't a price drop, will question the condition and price of the home.

"Whoa! My home sold in only (x) days! I bet we priced it too low..." 

There is a common misconception that a home selling fast must have been priced low. In fact, if a home is priced too low, the seller will likely receive multiple offers and the market will adjust the price to where it needed to be. 

Well, what exactly *is* the right price, then? 

Statistics show that if in the first few weeks on the market you get zero to very few showings, you can bet that your home is overpriced. The buyer and the buyer's real estate agent will have done research to advise that the home is not priced at fair market value. Additionally, even if the buyer wants to put in a higher offer, the home may not appraise and they may not be able to obtain a mortgage. 

If you are in an active market and have several showings in the first few weeks, but no offers, then the home is slightly overpriced and the price should be adjusted.

What does this mean? 

If your home is overpriced, you will eventually have to lower the price to the fair market value if you want to sell. Meanwhile, the buyers who came through initially and thought the home was overpriced have now gone off and bought something else while you were waiting for that one special buyer. 

Pricing your home competitively from the beginning is critical to getting it sold quickly and at the best price. If you overprice your home, it may sit on the market for months (or years!), giving the perception that something is wrong with it.

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Posted by Mark Warden on 5/15/2017

Russell & Heather were anxious to escape New York because of the crushing taxes, and were excited to move to New Hampshire to be a part of the Free State Project. Russell's job is location-independent, but he needed to be close to either the Manchester or Boston airport. 

The couple chose to settle in Weare because they loved its rural nature. "We don't have a problem with the neighbors over our dogs barking, and we're only 30 miles from Manchester or Concord." Both Russell and Heather have enjoyed the scenery on the back country roads and like that there is only one hill to bicycle over between home and Country 3 Corners store. Even cooler is the possibility that the pond on their new property is an old mill pond.

So far, one of the best parts of the move is that they cut their property taxes in half. Other things they love about living here include how welcoming people have been, and the culture of freedom. As Russell explains, "People are very helpful, but they assume you know what you're doing, and that you will ask for help if you need it." Heather is settling in, too. She's already connected with with two knitting groups and may join a third. 

Welcome home, Russell & Heather!

Posted by Mark Warden on 3/29/2016

We have clients who move to New Hampshire from all over the country, and we often get asked what it's like to live here. We came across a post from a friend of ours, and are reposting it with his permission because, well, we couldn't have said it better ourselves. Thanks to Robert for permission to reprint this: 

One year in New Hampshire! 

My wife and I have now resided in the Granite State for one year and here are our thoughts: 

We relocated from Connecticut, a tax-happy gun-hating stinkhole. There is a noticeable difference, for those of us who came from such states, in the reach of the taxman here in NH. Sales tax may seem negligible, but it had been a constant factor in my life, and in CT, I had to live through multiple increases and the looming threat of more. I work in MA, so I am still paying state income tax, but I salivate at the prospect of having that washed away at some point down the road when I find the perfect job in NH. 

The relative freedom to purchase and carry firearms is, of course, wonderful. Again, this may be something more significant for those of us who came from more restrictive states. I still feel like I have not fully realized it, so it gets more enjoyable every day (I love the Shooters Outpost in Hooksett, and the Granite State Indoor Range in Hudson). In CT we were treated like criminals for even wanting to purchase a firearm. We had to jump through hoops with multiple checks to different government entities and were subject to ridiculous wait times... And that was just for "permission." 

The landscape in NH is breathtaking. CT doesn’t have anything like the White Mountains and the lakes region. I may not live right there, but knowing those scenic locales, as well as others in Maine and Vermont, are day trips away rather than weekend trips away, is another thing that puts a smile on my face. 

I remember telling my wife when I was looking for a new job that Texas was my first choice and New Hampshire was my second. My reasoning was that, although New Hampshire seemed to have a stronger libertarian streak, culturally Texas had more of a fierce and impassioned defense of independence and freedom. When we were making our first trip up to scope out the area, I remember saying that I was glad we ended up here instead of Texas. There is simply no match for New England; there is fascinating history and beautiful scenery, but we also have all four seasons, unmatched events like PorcFest and the Big E, shorter driving distances to cities and countryside, mountains and beaches, and who doesn't love Chunky's Cinema Pub?! And we can't forget about the fun media circus brought on by the first-in-the-nation primary here in NH. 

In CT, I felt like I was trapped. I felt like there were so many forces opposing the liberty I wanted that it seemed hopeless. But in NH, I just feel the potential to really make the life I want to have. 

When we moved in, we had a couple of volunteers from the Free State Project Welcome Wagon help out with the heavy lifting (which almost certainly saved me from injury) and we even got a cute gift bag. It has just been a great experience. It really does feel like "home" even though we have not yet found our permanent address and are renting for now. 

Both my wife and I work 2 jobs, and both of mine are in MA, so I have not been as involved as I would like, but that will change in time. I fight for liberty, and I happen to agree that New Hampshire is the place to be for that. Therefore, I am a Free Stater. I am here to fight for liberty as promised. There are plenty like me already here and I look forward to many more--come join us!

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Posted by Mark Warden on 3/5/2016

Tired of restrictive homeowners' associations, overpriced real estate, and lack of privacy, Howard & Martha Kaloogian knew that they were quickly reaching the end of their time in California. As Howard explains, "Taxes were high and going higher, crime was on the rise and 80,000 criminals were being released because of overcrowding, every commute was frenzied and the middle class was being squeezed.  When they sent around the water patrol to fine people whose grass was too green because that implied you used too much water, that was the last straw." 

Howard, the National Planned Giving Associate at Hillsdale College, was able to live anywhere so long as he had easy access to an airport. And Martha, the CFO (or Chief FUN Officer of their home), was eager to be closer to their son, a freshman at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Howard & Martha originally considered moving to Texas, but it didn't seem to be a good fit. After visiting Boston, and being impressed with its museums, educational institutions and culture, they knew that New Hampshire's easy access to Boston, coupled with the “live free” attitude, no income tax or sales tax, and affordable land made New Hampshire the clear winner. 

Once they decided to move, Howard & Martha faced the difficult task of finding the perfect town in which to live. Knowing that they needed to live within an hour of the Manchester airport since Howard travels frequently for his job, they started talking with other movers, and found the town of Weare kept coming up in conversation. "As we searched, everyone we talked with said 'oh, we like Weare.' There were many places to choose from in Weare since it is the largest geographic town in the state, and its natural beauty includes hills and water and forest and open spaces.  We have a pond across the street and a 2 ½ acre plot of land that is mostly cleared and gently sloping. But the house really drew us here. It was built in 1820 but has been fully renovated by the previous two owners who were both developers."

Now that they're in New Hampshire, the Kaloogians have fallen in love with their home, their neighbors, the natural beauty of the state, and the community spirit and participation in local government and town events. One particular event that stands out to the Kaloogians was when they first moved in, "When we moved in we didn’t own a lawn mower and after a long escrow our lawn was already looking abandoned. That first weekend, a neighbor came by on his lawn tractor and mowed our entire property with a wave saying 'first one’s on me, welcome to the neighborhood!' We’ve become good friends. That type of thing has continued with others bringing home made jams and honey and breads and small things for no reason other than it's nice." In addition to the neighborliness they've experienced, the other members of the Kaloogian's clan, their two Labradoodles, Isaac & Sully, love New Hampshire and all the room they have to roam free and chase squirrels. 

But the best part of moving to New Hampshire? "When you're here, it’s easy to breathe free in a land that embraces the practice of constitutional rights (one example is open carry) without oppression from societal condemnation."


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Posted by Mark Warden on 10/8/2015

The real estate industry is once again experiencing change, this time with a new program being enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Replacing the Good Faith Estimate, Truth in Lending and HUD-I, the new program is called the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosures or TRID. Designed to bring greater clarity to the mortgage process, the new regulations took effect for consumers applying for a mortgage on or after October 3, 2015. 

What does this mean for you? 

  • Longer closing timelines - With a mortgage and the HUD-1, most transactions could be closed within 45 days. With the new regulations, the time from executed contract to closing will be extended, likely to 60 days. Cash purchases will still be able to close in 2-3 weeks.
  • For cases in which there is a power-of-attorney or a spouse on title only, the additional person will have to receive and sign off on the closing disclosure, just like the buyer. 
  • More paperwork - the HUD-1 was 2-3 pages long. The TRID extends to 5 pages. For lenders, there's 1,888 pages of regulations they must follow. 
  • More potential for delays - If any changes need to be made to the TRID, it triggers a federally-required three-day wait before closing can occur. This could prove to be problematic for same-day closings, and cause a domino-effect of delayed closings.

If you have questions on this new regulation, feel free to contact us. 

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