Blog

Be Cautious of Fake Real Estate Listings - If it's too good to be true.... it probably is!

In today’s fast-paced real estate market, buyers need to be vigilant about the growing threat of fraudulent real estate listings. Recently, a Kansas City couple discovered their $1 million home falsely listed on Zillow for a mere $10,200. This shocking scenario underscores the increasing sophistication of scammers who prey on unsuspecting homebuyers.

Here’s what happened: The Bertrams had no intention of selling their home when friends alerted them to a suspicious “for sale by owner” listing on Zillow. The scammer initially listed the home at its market value to bypass Zillow’s fraud detectors, then drastically reduced the price to lure in bargain hunters, claiming it they needed the tax break and were being charitable.

The fraudulent listing instructed interested buyers to contact the owner and send $200 via an online banking app to arrange a home viewing. This led to multiple people showing up at the home, eager to tour the house. Despite the owners’ efforts to report the scam and provide proof of ownership, Zillow’s response was sluggish, leaving the couple to deal with the fallout alone.

Such scams are not isolated incidents. Similar fraudulent listings have appeared in multiple states, often targeting high-value properties. Scammers typically steal photos and descriptions from legitimate posts and advertise homes at incredibly low prices to attract victims. Once contacted, they request personal information or upfront payments.

How to Protect Yourself:

  1. Verify Listings: Always confirm the authenticity of a listing before engaging. Look for inconsistencies in the listing price and seller information.
  2. Research the Seller: Use public records to verify the property owner’s identity.
  3. Avoid Wire Transfers: Never send money to people you haven’t met in person or to unverified accounts.
  4. Meet in Person: Only fill out applications and make payments after meeting the property manager or owner.
  5. Know the Market: Be familiar with local rental and property prices to spot suspiciously low offers.
  6. Check Reviews: Look for online reviews and testimonials from previous tenants or buyers.
  7. Be Wary of Red Flags: Be cautious if a seller requests payment via cashier’s check or wants to conduct transactions while out of the country.

According to the FBI, over 9,500 people fell victim to real estate fraud in 2023 alone. Protect yourself by staying informed and vigilant. For more tips on spotting and avoiding scams, visit Zillow’s website or consult the FBI’s guidelines on real estate fraud.

If you are ever in doubt, reach out to North Conway Realty and we'll help you do some research and fact finding!

The Safety Dangers of Bunk Beds

Bunk beds can be a fantastic space-saving solution, especially in homes with multiple children or in short-term rental properties where maximizing sleeping arrangements is often necessary. However, it's essential to be aware of the safety dangers associated with bunk beds, particularly for young children. This awareness is critical not only for parents but also for property owners who offer short-term rentals.

Understanding the Risks

Bunk beds present several safety risks, primarily due to their height and the possibility of falls. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that bunk bed-related injuries result in about 36,000 emergency room visits each year. A significant portion of these injuries involves children under the age of 10. The majority of injuries are due to falls from the top bunk, which can lead to serious harm such as fractures, concussions, and internal injuries.

The Importance of Guard Rails

Federal law mandates that bunk beds be equipped with guard rails on the upper bunk to prevent falls. These guard rails are not just a recommendation—they are a critical safety feature that significantly reduces the risk of injury. Properly installed and used guard rails can help prevent many of the accidents associated with bunk beds.

Bunk Bed Safety in Short-Term Rentals

For property owners who offer short-term rentals, ensuring that bunk beds are safe should be a top priority. Guests may include families with young children, and it is the responsibility of the property owner to provide a safe environment. Here are some steps to enhance bunk bed safety in your rental property:

  1. Install Guard Rails: Make sure that both sides of the upper bunk have sturdy guard rails that extend at least five inches above the mattress surface.
  2. Check for Stability: Ensure that the bunk bed is stable and not wobbly. Regularly check the bolts and screws to ensure they are tight and secure.
  3. Educate Guests: Provide clear instructions to guests about the proper use of bunk beds, including the importance of using the guard rails and the dangers of horseplay.
  4. Age Restrictions: Consider setting age restrictions for the top bunk, recommending that only children over the age of six use it.

While bunk beds can be a practical solution for maximizing sleeping space, it's crucial to recognize and mitigate the associated safety risks. By adhering to federal safety regulations and taking proactive steps to ensure the safe use of bunk beds in your short-term rental, you can help prevent accidents and provide a secure environment for your guests. Remember, a few simple precautions can go a long way in ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone who stays in your property.

Stay safe and responsible, and ensure your vacation home or short-term rental is a haven for all guests—especially the little ones.

Window Shopping in North Conway.... When Looking for a Vacation Home

When you think of "window shopping," you might picture strolling through quaint town centers, admiring the displays of charming boutiques and cozy cafes. But when it comes to buying a vacation home in North Conway, window shopping takes on a whole new meaning—especially when it comes to paying attention to egress windows.

North Conway is known for its beautiful, chalet-style homes, many of which were built long before modern building codes were established. While these older homes offer character and charm, they may not meet today's safety standards, particularly regarding egress windows. Here's why it's crucial to consider egress when shopping for your dream vacation home.

Understanding Egress Windows

Egress windows are windows designed to provide an emergency exit in case of fire or other emergencies. They are required by building codes in certain areas of a home, such as basements and bedrooms, to ensure that occupants have a safe and accessible escape route. These windows must meet specific size and operational requirements to be considered compliant.

The Importance of Egress Windows in North Conway

  1. Safety First The primary purpose of egress windows is to provide a safe exit in emergencies. In older homes that lack proper egress, the risk of being trapped in a fire increases significantly. When you're shopping for a vacation home, especially if you plan to host family and friends, ensuring that all bedrooms and living spaces have proper egress windows can give you peace of mind.

  2. Compliance with Modern Building Codes Homes built before the enforcement of egress window requirements might not meet current safety standards. While these homes are grandfathered into the code, bringing them up to date with modern safety features, including egress windows, is a wise investment. Not only does this enhance safety, but it also makes the property more attractive to future buyers should you decide to sell.

  3. Increased Home Value Properties with updated safety features, including egress windows, can see an increase in value. Buyers today are more informed and often seek homes that meet or exceed current building codes. By ensuring your vacation home has proper egress windows, you could see a higher return on investment in the long run.

  4. Insurance Benefits Homes that meet current building codes, including those with proper egress windows, may qualify for better insurance rates. Insurance companies often provide discounts for homes with enhanced safety features, which can save you money on premiums.

  5. Peace of Mind Knowing that your vacation home is equipped with the necessary safety features allows you to relax and enjoy your time in North Conway. Whether you're hitting the slopes, hiking through the White Mountains, or simply unwinding with a good book, the assurance that your home is safe and up to code is invaluable.

  6. Regulatory Requirements for Short-Term Rentals While Bartlett does not currently require short-term rental licensing, surrounding towns like Conway and Jackson are beginning to enforce stricter regulations. These towns require proper egress windows before issuing permits for short-term rentals. Regardless of whether a permit is required, it's crucial not to rent out an unsafe space to guests. Ensuring your property meets safety standards, including having proper egress windows, protects your guests and your reputation as a responsible property owner.

What to Look For

When shopping for a vacation home in North Conway, keep the following in mind regarding egress windows:

  • Location: Ensure that all bedrooms, basements, and living areas have egress windows.
  • Size and Accessibility: Egress windows must meet specific size requirements and be easily accessible in an emergency. The minimum opening area is typically 5.7 square feet, with a minimum opening height of 24 inches and a minimum opening width of 20 inches.
  • Operation: The windows should open easily without the need for keys or tools. Casement windows, which swing open, and double-hung windows, which slide up and down, are popular choices.
  • Professional Inspection: Consider hiring a professional home inspector to evaluate the property and ensure all safety features, including egress windows, meet current standards.

Ossipee NH now requires STR permit

The Town of Ossipee has implemented a new short-term rental ordinance, effective from June 4, 2024. This move comes as a response to the growing popularity of short-term rentals and aims to ensure the safety of occupants while minimizing disruptions to neighborhoods. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of what you need to know about this new ordinance.

Purpose

The ordinance was passed to regulate short-term rentals (STRs) in Ossipee, aiming to balance the interests of property owners with the concerns of the community. The primary goals are to ensure the safety of occupants and to prevent disturbances in residential areas.

Definition

A short-term rental in Ossipee is defined as any individually or collectively owned single-family house, dwelling unit, condominium, cooperative, or timeshare that is rented out for less than 30 consecutive days. This definition excludes campers, camping trailers, and tents.

Permit Requirements

Starting June 4, 2024, all short-term rental units must have a permit issued by the town. Here’s the process:

  1. Application: Property owners must submit an application, available at the Town Hall or on the town’s website.
  2. Approval: The application must be signed by the Selectboard or its designee.
  3. Validity: Permits are valid for two years and must be renewed before expiration to avoid interruptions in rental operations.
  4. Fee: A permit fee is required, as determined by the Board of Selectmen’s fee schedule.

Terms and Conditions

Several conditions must be met to operate a short-term rental in Ossipee:

  1. Guest Limits: The maximum number of guests is determined by the number of bedrooms, with a limit of two people per bedroom plus two additional guests.
  2. Tax Compliance: Homeowners must provide proof of a current NH Rooms and Meals Tax license or the rental agency details if taxes are paid through an agency.
  3. Trash Management: Homeowners must ensure that trash is regularly removed and does not accumulate.
  4. Occupancy Limits: These limits must not be exceeded.
  5. Safety Inspection: A safety inspection by the Zoning Officer/Building Inspector is required before a permit is issued.
  6. Non-Transferability: Permits are not transferable; new owners must obtain their own permits.
  7. Signage and Parking: Signage must comply with the Ossipee Sign Ordinance, and all vehicles must be parked in designated areas on the property.
  8. Noise and Conduct: Guests must adhere to town ordinances and state laws, and avoid causing noise disturbances.

Safety Inspection

The safety inspection process ensures the following:

  • Functioning smoke and CO detectors.
  • Proper emergency egress windows and doors.
  • Functional fire extinguishers in kitchen areas.
  • Handrails and railings that conform to the NH State Building Code.
  • Compliance with codes in effect at the time the building was constructed, particularly for older homes.

Prohibitions

There are specific activities prohibited under this ordinance:

  • Incidental Camping: No camping or sleeping in tents, travel trailers, or recreational vehicles on the property.
  • Subletting: Guests cannot sublet the rental property.
  • Special Events: The property cannot be used for special events.

Enforcement and Revocation

Violations of the ordinance can lead to significant consequences:

  • Fines: Violators can be fined $1,000 per violation, with each day constituting a separate violation.
  • Permit Revocation: The Board of Selectmen can revoke permits for repeated violations, after notice and a public hearing.
  • Complaints: Three validated noise complaints within one year can result in permit revocation.
  • Reapplication: If a permit is revoked, the homeowner cannot reapply for one year.

Ossipee’s new short-term rental ordinance is designed to regulate the increasing number of short-term rentals in the town, ensuring they operate safely and without disturbing the community. Property owners looking to rent their properties on a short-term basis must comply with these regulations to continue their operations legally and responsibly. For more detailed information or to access the application form, visit the Town of Ossipee’s official website.

Summary of Economic Developments from Fannie Mae

For those who love numbers!  Here is a summary of Fannie Mae's May update.  Full article here.

Look like home prices are expected to stay strong and we're stuck with rates around 7 for a while!

  1. Economic Overview:

    • The economy is expected to grow slowly, with GDP growth at 1.8% for 2024 and 1.9% for 2025.
    • Job growth is slowing, and the unemployment rate might rise to 4% by the end of the year.
    • Interest rates have been volatile but are expected to stay high, with potential rate cuts from the Federal Reserve starting in September if inflation decreases.
  2. Housing Market:

    • Home Sales:
      • Total home sales for 2024 are forecasted to be 4.89 million, slightly down from previous predictions but still showing a gradual increase.
      • For 2025, total home sales are expected to reach 5.29 million.
      • The number of active home listings has increased by 30% compared to last year, suggesting that significant declines in home sales are unlikely.
    • Mortgage Rates:
      • The forecast for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is now averaging 7.0% for 2024 and 6.7% for 2025.
      • High mortgage rates are a key reason for the slight downgrade in home sales and mortgage originations forecasts.
    • Mortgage Originations:
      • Mortgage origination volumes are revised down to $1.73 trillion for 2024 and $2.08 trillion for 2025, reflecting the higher mortgage rate expectations.
      • Purchase mortgage originations for 2024 are expected to be $1.4 trillion, with 14% growth from 2023 but $35 billion lower than last month's forecast. In 2025, purchase volumes are expected to grow by another 13%.
      • Refinance volumes are also revised downward to $368 billion for 2024 and $539 billion for 2025 due to the higher interest rate outlook.
    • Existing Home Sales:
      • Existing home sales fell to an annualized pace of 4.19 million in March but are expected to trend upward over time.
      • Despite generally rising mortgage rates, the steady flow of new listings suggests that further significant declines in sales are unlikely.
    • New Home Sales:
      • New single-family home sales rose by 8.8% in March, reaching a pace of 693,000.
      • The forecast for new home sales is lowered slightly due to higher interest rates, but demand remains supported by the limited inventory of existing homes.
    • Home Prices:
      • Home prices grew by 6.6% in 2023 and are expected to rise by 4.8% in 2024 and 1.5% in 2025.
    • Housing Starts:
      • Single-family housing starts have pulled back slightly but are expected to continue at a solid pace due to the lack of existing homes available for sale.
      • Multifamily housing starts are forecasted to decline due to muted rent growth, a large number of units near completion, and higher interest rates.
  3. Consumer Spending and Labor Market:

    • Consumer spending was strong earlier in the year but didn't match income growth, reducing savings and increasing personal debt interest payments.
    • Higher interest rates are causing financial stress for some consumers, with increased credit card and auto loan delinquencies.
    • Job growth is slowing, which is likely to limit future consumption growth.

Overall, while the economic growth is expected to be slow and interest rates remain high, the housing market shows resilience with a gradual increase in sales and a solid pace of new home construction due to limited existing home supply. Home prices will continue to rise, though at a slower rate, and mortgage originations are adjusted downwards due to higher mortgage rates.

Bartlett, NH Real Estate Market Update for 5/20/2024

Welcome to the latest update on the Bartlett, NH real estate market. Let's dive into the current trends and statistics for both single-family homes and condos in the area. Here are the latest numbers:

Single-Family Homes

  • Active Listings:

    • Number of active listings: 14
    • Lowest price: $389,000
    • Highest price: $1,725,000
    • Median price: $899,000
  • Pending Listings:

    • Number of pending listings: 5
    • Lowest price: $269,000
    • Highest price: $895,000
    • Median price: $429,900
  • Closed Listings (last 90 days):

    • Number of closed listings: 11
    • Lowest price: $360,000
    • Highest price: $849,000
    • Median price: $495,000
    • 6 out of 11 sales were cash transactions

Condos

  • Active Listings:

    • Number of active listings: 17
    • Lowest price: $279,900
    • Highest price: $3,000,000
    • Median price: $424,900
  • Pending Listings:

    • Number of pending listings: 8
    • Lowest price: $199,500
    • Highest price: $839,000
    • Median price: $429,500
  • Closed Listings (last 90 days):

    • Number of closed listings: 21
    • Lowest price: $170,000
    • Highest price: $899,000
    • Median price: $375,000
    • 8 out of 21 sales were cash transactions

Market Commentary

The Bartlett real estate market is showing some interesting dynamics this season. Here's what we're seeing:

Single-Family Homes

The market for single-family homes in Bartlett remains strong. The median price for active listings stands at $899,000, indicating a healthy demand for higher-end properties. With only 14 active listings, inventory remains relatively low, which could be contributing to the higher median prices.

Pending sales have a median price of $429,900, suggesting a more moderate price range for homes currently under contract. The closed sales over the last 90 days show a median price of $495,000, with more than half of these transactions being cash sales. This indicates a strong presence of cash buyers, possibly investors or second-home buyers, looking to take advantage of the market conditions.

Condos

The condo market in Bartlett is also active, with 17 current listings. The range of prices is quite broad, from $279,900 to $3,000,000, showing diversity in the types of condos available, from more affordable units to luxury properties.

Pending condo sales have a median price of $429,500, slightly higher than the median price of active listings. This trend could suggest an increasing interest in higher-end condos. The median price for closed condo sales over the past 90 days is $375,000, with a notable number of these sales (8 out of 21) being cash transactions, again highlighting the trend of cash buyers in the market.

Overall, the Bartlett real estate market is characterized by low inventory and high demand, particularly in the higher price ranges for both single-family homes and condos. The prevalence of cash transactions suggests a competitive market with many buyers looking to close deals quickly. If you're considering buying or selling in Bartlett, now might be a strategic time given the current trends.

Feel free to reach out for more detailed information or specific inquiries about properties in the Bartlett area. 

4 Essential Steps When You Arrive at a Vacation Rental

Vacations are all about relaxation and fun, but a few quick checks upon arrival at your vacation rental can ensure safety for you and your loved ones. Here are four important steps to take as soon as you walk through the door.

1. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Safety first! Ensure that your vacation rental is equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Locate them in the common areas and bedrooms. Test each one to make sure they're functioning properly. A quick check could be a lifesaver.

2. Ensure Bedrooms Have Windows with Egress

It's crucial that all sleeping areas have windows that can serve as an emergency exit. Verify that these windows open easily. If you're traveling with kids, take a moment to show them how to operate the windows in case they need to get out quickly. This small step can provide peace of mind and prepare everyone for an emergency.

3. Locate Fire Extinguishers

Identify where the fire extinguishers are located in the property. The kitchen should have one readily available, and if there's a grill, check for an extinguisher nearby. Knowing where to find these tools and how to use them can help you act quickly in case of a fire.

4. Know the Property's Address

Make sure everyone in your group knows the exact address of the rental. This is essential if you need to call 911 or require emergency services. Write it down and place it in a visible spot, like the refrigerator or a common area, so everyone can easily access it.

Taking these four simple steps can enhance your safety and allow you to enjoy your vacation with greater peace of mind. Happy travels!

Navigating North Conway property lines with On X Hunt

 

When purchasing land, whether for personal or commercial use, understanding the intricacies of property boundaries is crucial. For buyers exploring potential properties, it’s essential to have accurate and reliable tools at your disposal to make informed decisions. One such tool that is transforming the way buyers evaluate land is the OnX Hunt app. Originally designed for hunters to identify public and private boundaries, OnX Hunt is equally valuable for land buyers due to its detailed mapping and GPS capabilities.

Why OnX Hunt is a Game-Changer for Land Buyers

Accurate Property Boundaries

One of the primary concerns for any land purchase is knowing exactly where your property begins and ends. OnX Hunt uses advanced GPS technology to show highly accurate boundary lines in real-time. This feature is incredibly helpful during property visits, ensuring that you, as a buyer, are fully aware of the land's limits and can plan accordingly for any future use you might envision.

Access to Topographical and Satellite Imagery

Understanding the physical characteristics of a property is just as important as knowing its boundaries. OnX Hunt provides buyers with detailed topographical maps and satellite imagery, offering a comprehensive view of the terrain. This information is crucial for assessing the usability of the land, be it for construction, agriculture, or conservation purposes.

Mobile Convenience

OnX Hunt’s mobile accessibility means you can have this valuable information right at your fingertips while you're on-site. This can enhance your ability to make immediate assessments and decisions as you walk the property. The app’s easy-to-use interface allows you to switch views between satellite imagery, topographical maps, and hybrid overlays, providing a multi-dimensional perspective of the land.

How Buyers Can Leverage OnX Hunt When Assessing Land

Pre-Visit Research

Before visiting a property, use OnX Hunt to familiarize yourself with its layout. You can view the property’s boundaries, topographical details, and other geographical features ahead of time, which helps in planning your visit and knowing what areas you might want to inspect more closely.

During Property Tours

Bring OnX Hunt with you during property tours. Use the app to verify the boundaries shown by the seller or agent against what is officially recorded. This not only provides peace of mind but also aids in visualizing potential development or use of the space. Discuss what you see with your agent or the seller to clarify any discrepancies or concerns right there and then.

Integration with Other Research

Combine the data from OnX Hunt with other property information you gather, such as local zoning laws, environmental restrictions, and previous land uses. This comprehensive approach will give you a fuller understanding of what the land offers and any limitations it might have.

Dave earns RSPS Designation to Help Second Home Buyers

What is the RSPS Designation?

The RSPS designation is given to real estate professionals who have completed a specialized course covering the nuances and specifics of buying and selling resort and second-home properties. It includes training on topics such as tax implications, investment strategies, and the lifestyle factors that are unique to the resort and second-home market. This designation is a testament to a broker's commitment to understanding and excelling in this niche area of real estate.

How Dave's RSPS Designation Benefits Second Home Buyers

Expert Knowledge of Market Trends

With the RSPS designation, Dave has deepened his knowledge of the market trends specific to resort and second homes. This expertise allows him to provide invaluable insights to buyers about the best times to buy and sell in the North Conway area, ensuring that clients make the most informed decisions.

Specialized Guidance on Tax and Investment Strategies

Second homes and resort properties come with their own set of financial implications, including tax considerations and investment opportunities. Dave's training enables him to offer specialized guidance on how to navigate these complexities, helping buyers to optimize their investment and enjoy the lifestyle benefits of owning a second home.

Local Insights and Connections

North Conway is known for its beautiful landscapes and vibrant community, making it a popular choice for second-home buyers. Dave's local expertise and professional connections, enhanced by his RSPS designation, mean that buyers have access to the most comprehensive information on local amenities, community events, and other lifestyle factors that are crucial when choosing a second home.

Personalized Service

Understanding that buying a second home is about more than just a financial investment, Dave leverages his RSPS training to focus on the lifestyle aspirations of his clients. Whether it's a cozy ski chalet close to Mount Washington Valley ski resorts or a serene retreat by the Saco River, Dave is equipped to match every client with the perfect property that suits their dreams and lifestyle needs.

 

1-15 of 106 Posts