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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.