Blog :: 01-2015

Thank You to All of My Southern NH Real Estate Clients and Customers.

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2014 was a great year thanks to all of my wonderful real estate clients and customers. It was busy year and I closed my last real estate listing, a condo unit in Hardwood Heights, in Windham NH, on the December 31st. I just can't express what a privilege it is for me, to help so many wonderful people, as they make such important life decisions regarding real estate. If you're thinking of buying or selling a home in Windham or thoughout southern New Hampshire, I would be happy to discuss your needs and how my skills, strategies and experience can help you meet your goals. 

International Home Buyers are Windham's Newest Prospects.

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Windham NH homeowners could benefit if the influx of international home buyers continues to expand. According to a study from the National Association Realtors®, the trend in that direction has been accelerating. In the most recent release covering the twelve-month period ending last March, foreign nationals are reported to have spent more than $92 billion in the United States for the year.

That’s growth at a blistering pace: an increase of 35% over the $68 billion spent in 2012!

 How Windham homeowners stand to benefit from the increase in foreign buyers has a lot to do with today’s changing real estate marketplace. Since international home buyers need to learn as much as possible about a property from afar, the improvements in online presentation serve a very necessary purpose. When one of our Windham listings includes an extensive selection of photos or video footage, it becomes a legitimate part of the emerging international marketplace. Combined with today’s easy-to-navigate links to detailed information about both Windham’s and southern NH towns, neighborhoods and local amenities, a local property is realistically accessible to buyers from anywhere in the world.

Last year’s foreign sales were split almost equally between foreign buyers whose primary residence is outside the country and those currently living here. Not surprisingly, the greatest number of sales—19%—came from Canadian nationals, closely followed by the Chinese (16%) and Mexicans (9%). Both Indian and United Kingdom nationals weighed in with 5% of last year’s purchases, while lesser percentages of international home buyers hailed from Germany, followed by the French, Brazilians, and Japanese.  

The NAR study also delved into the reasons international home buyers increasingly favor U.S. properties—although the answers were wide-ranging. For some, it was the investment potential that was the biggest draw: owning U.S. properties is seen as a solid way to diversify foreign portfolios. International buyers value the relative economic stability and attractive prices present in our real estate market. Other buyers are relocating to the United States for professional reasons, while still others purchase a property for children attending college.

One aspect that Windham property owners might find interesting is that international home buyers tend to purchase higher-priced houses. That might be due to the impact of the Chinese buyers, whose primary focus is in areas like New York and California where properties are more expensive. Southern New Hampshire is also attracting Chinese buyers with both Bedford NH and Windham NH having strong appeal. Chinese buyers are attracted to good schools, looking for places where there children can have a good education and learn English. In contrast, Canadians are more likely to purchase in lower-priced areas of the country. This is one reason why, although Canadians purchased more properties last year, the amount they spent ($13.8 billion) represented a slight decline from the previous year.

International buyers have another standout attribute that Windham home sellers should find attractive: they are more likely to pay entirely in cash! About 60% of all purchases made by international home buyers required no financing—that’s up a third from 2007. When you consider the average sales price, it represents a fairly hefty cash infusion.

If your own a home in Windham NH that you will be putting on the market soon, I hope you will give me a call to discuss how we can create a strong presentation online for both local and international home buyers alike!


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    Distinctive Custom Cape in Windham NH with Designer Upgrades and Amenities.

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       Set privately at the end of a long driveway, you’ll discover a sensational home that is just loaded with designer upgrades and amenities. Greet friends and family in the spacious entrance hall with its double closet and gleaming hardwood floors. Pass through a pair of French doors into the spacious living room with hardwoods, crown moldings and sweeping bay-front window. Pass though another set of French doors into the designated formal dining-room, with hardwoods and custom built-in hutch or continue to use the space for other purposes. A designer’s hand is seen thoughout the elegant custom kitchen. Enjoy gorgeous custom cabinets, the richness of hardwoods, granite counters, china cabinet and thoughtful touches such as pot filler spout above the cook-top. Plus there is a bay window overlooking the back yard. The kitchen will be the gathering spot of the home, opening as it does, directly into the family room with hardwoods, masonry fireplace with gas log and beautiful custom cabinets. The mudroom area features a sensational pantry with beautiful cabinets, storage areas and a powder room that is  tucked off the hall.  The first floor is completed by two spacious bedrooms and a full bath with beautiful details including granite counters.

         The master bedroom suite features a luxurious bath. Enjoy ceramic tile flooring is warmed by radiant heat and watch the snow falling, through the picture window, from a private spa bath. There is an incredible double head, shower with distinctive glass block windows, handsome double vanity with dressing area, separate enclosed commode, the decadence of heated towel warmers and even a fridge. The spacious walk-in closet offers an abundance of built-ins and organizers. Also on the second floor is a charming bedroom with hardwoods and dressing area including unique closets with built-ins. The main bath features a beautiful tub and a whimsical dolphin water spout. There is also a second floor laundry with more custom built ins.

         The back yard is level and is highlighted by a recently refinished deck with A/G pool and a large fenced in play or pet area.

         Overall, the features and amenities found in this distinctive home set it apart from competing properties in the town of Windham. Please see full amenity list.



    Southern NH Rental vs. Purchase Choice Involves Multiple Factors

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    When your primary residence is a southern NH rental property, from time to time you may find yourself pausing, pen hovering over checkbook, thinking, “What if this check were going to buy this place, instead…?” 

    It’s a nearly unavoidable thought because common wisdom has it that buying a southern NH home usually makes more financial sense than renting it. That sounds sensible simply because at the end of the day (or, more accurately, at the end of a 15- or 30-year mortgage term), ownership means you no longer have to write those checks: you own that southern NH rental. It could be true—but there’s a lot more involved in the purchase-or-rental decision. If you make it a point from time to time to recalculate your situation, should it turn out that you aren’t any better off exiting the rental ranks, writing those checks to the landlord will become a less stressful activity.

    The first consideration is location, location, location—but not in the usual sense. The question is how permanently you are likely to stay where you are. What are the odds that your job or family issues will take you away? If it’s likely that you will be moving out of southern NH area within five years or less, a rental could well be a better choice. Buying and selling expenses—plus the time and effort involved—are factors that often make it wiser to delay buying until you are situated more permanently.

    Then there is the real monthly outlay comparison between the two. Realistic calculations for owning take into account all of the monthly expenses involved. They include property taxes, homeowner or condo fees, insurance, gardening expenses, utility costs, and maintenance costs (they tend to be more than you first estimate). If your southern NH rental check is significantly smaller than the monthly home owning total, your financial ship might float higher if you put the difference into a savings account. You should consider whether your money might be put to better use elsewhere.

    That last item points to the overriding issue: whether your current savings are able to support a purchase without incurring too much financial strain. That monthly home ownership calculation did not include the initial cost—the down payment. This part may have become less of a hurdle recently: the Federal Housing Administration has reduced its requirements. In fact, it may be possible to buy a house with an FHA mortgage with as little as a 3.5% down payment…although a higher down payment means a lower mortgage payment and no private mortgage insurance.

    The last part of your calculation is one that can be a very positive financial benefit of ownership vs. rental: the mortgage interest tax deduction. Especially for those in higher income tax brackets with hefty mortgages, it can tilt the scales toward ownership.

    I’m here to offer help and advice about any southern NH rental and ownership questions—in fact, about any of your real estate questions. I hope you won’t hesitate to give me a call!

    Forming an Effective Team Puts Your Windham NH Agent to work Doubling You Agent's Effectiveness.

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    Forming an Effective Team Puts Your Windham NH Agent to Work Doubling Your Windham Real Estate Agent's Effectiveness  

    Your Windham NH Agent: Doubly Effective When it's Game On!

    One of the most effective ways to maximize your chances of achieving the best residential real estate deal possible lies in your ability to partner effectively with your choice of a Windham NH real estate agent. Your agent is your local guide through the complexities of Windham's market--your assistant, tutor, and trusted right arm in the enterprise of buying and selling a residence. It's your Windham agent's job to make the team an effective one--but for all parts to truly work as a unit, some basic elements should be in place...and clearly understood by everyone:  

    For prospective buyers, when your real estate agent fully understands your search criteria, the end product is a more focused search that yields the intended results most efficiently. It will conserve an under-appreciated asset (your patience)--and free your schedule by eliminating properties that aren't right for you. Shopping for a home can lead to a bewildering jumble of options. Simply searching online for properties, or driving around likely neighborhood choices looking for "For Sale" signs is an inefficient and time-consuming stratagem. What's more, tapping into a Windham agent's comprehensive understanding of the market--past and present--makes you much more likely to unearth the best value/price offerings as they become available.

    For those who are selling a Windham home, an experienced agent wades through less-than-serious inquisitors, keeping you from getting bogged down with fruitless showings or unreasonable offers.

    A move into an unfamiliar area comes with a certain level of risk. A trusted agent equips you with the insights you would otherwise be missing. It can mean the difference between landing your dream property and buying into a subpar situation--one you might regret for years. You only need imagine buying a home in the warmer months only to be blind-sided when access becomes iffy during the snowy season. An agent will have a more complete understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of all of Windham's neighborhoods--as well as the ability to help you make an informed choice, irrespective of when you are available or ready to buy.

    Establishing a candid relationship with your Windham real estate agent will not only afford you a buying or selling experience that's as untroubled as possible, it will also provide you with a resident's comprehensive knowledge of all the local factors long-time residents take for granted. Buying or selling, I hope you will consider giving me a call for a no-obligation chat about the current market!

    New Listing: Beautful "Country House" in Windham NH

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    Just Listed: Wonderful Country Home in Windham NH


    WINDHAM NH: As you drive down the winding driveway, past an ancient stone wall and a thicket of hardwood trees, you glimpse the property that is about to become the backdrop for your life. Outdoor living will be the hallmark with the “L” shaped in-ground pool, cabana and screen house, with open fields beckoning beyond.  There is an awesome wrap around deck and thoughtful accommodation and fencing for pets. The house itself is a classic colonial that has seen many recent updates including remodeled kitchen and baths, hardwoods and central air. The first floor features a spacious family room with brick fireplace/hearth with gleaming hardwoods that opens to a recently remodeled kitchen. The kitchen features and abundance of cabinets, tiled backsplash, tile floors and breakfast area with bay window that takes in the expansive view. There is also a formal living room with boxed bay window. Formal dining room with hardwood floors and French doors opening to the wrap-around deck. Plus the convenience of a half bath and laundry just off the mudroom. You’ll enjoy the bright and airy sun-room that features vaulted ceilings, tile and electric heat. The second floor features hardwood flooring and an updated full bath. The master suite offers private, recently updated  3/4 bath and double closets. Three additional bedrooms with hardwoods complete the second floor. The third floor features a two suite which offers bonus space for a variety of purposes. Finally, there is an attached two car garage and generator hook-up.

    If you want to take a look give me a call: Kristie Dinsmore  603-548-7230


    Check Out this Gorgeous Condominium in Windham Meadows

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    Beautiful end unit in Windham Meadows, a desirable 55+ community in Windham NH. Spacious living room with hardwood floors and dining area. Upgraded cherry kitchen with stainless steel appliances and Corian counters, first floor master bedroom with full bath, first floor den with access to back deck, finished loft with large walk-in closet and full bath, family room finished in the lower level with daylight windows- sliders to the back patio and a full bath, workshop area in basement, one car attached garage. The unit overlooks the woods and has a private backyard setting. Welcome home! Owner is a licensed real estate agent. one pet under 25 pounds allowed.


    Call Kristie Dinsmore 603-548-7230   LISTING DETAILS HERE


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      What Does a Fico Score Mean to a Windham NH Home-Buyer

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      Southern NH Home Loan Applicants Delve into FICO Mysteries: The Not-So-Secret FICO Formula behind Windham NH Home Loans.  FICO this, FICO that: Windham NH Home Loan Background Info

      When anyone is in the early stages of finding a house to buy in southern NH, unless they are planning to pay for it with cash, a large part of what eventually happens will be determined by the home loan they secure. Both the size of the home loan and its interest rate are negotiable, but in almost all cases, the applicant's part of the "negotiation" consists of comparing offers from various Windham NH home loan providers.

      So unless you are The Donald (or can supply your own wheelbarrow full of cash), southern NH's mortgage companies will have a large say about what they think you can afford for your next home. Even though they represent totally different entities, their decisions tend to be awfully similar. The reason for that is that they all work from similar information: your assets, your current ability to generate cash-- and your FICO score.

      If you have ever suspected there is some kind of mysterious secret formula involved in coming up with that last, your suspicion was valid. But your FICO score isn't a total mystery--some parts of their formula have been (however grudgingly) made public. Since the system is so pervasive, it's good to know as much about it as you can.

      To begin with "FICO" is just a company name. Back in the 50s, Bill Fair and Earl Isaac got together and engineered a credit scoring system, and so Fair Isaac COmpany was in business. Once Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began to use them, it became a very good business. Now all the major consumer reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion--even PRBC and Innovis) use them. As to how they come up with their all-important scores, FICO has published the exact formula (sort of):

      • 35%: Payment history: If you have or don't have derogatory information, like bankruptcies, liens, judgments, settlements, charge offs, repossessions, foreclosures, or late payments. It makes up more than a third of your score.

      • 30%: Amounts owed: Your current state of indebtedness.

      • 15% Length of credit history: This one is why borrowing anything early on in your consuming career is a good idea. A long history makes you more trustworthy.

      • 10% New credit: Have you recently been opening credit accounts all over the place? That's probably not a nifty idea.

      • 10%: Types of credit used: A variety of the kind of borrowing you have done also makes you more trustworthy: revolving credit cards, car loans, home loans and lines of credit all broaden your appeal (at least the way FICO sees things).

      That sounds reassuringly cut-and-dried--but before you relax, remember that 'sort of' we began with? As one analyst writes candidly about the Types of credit used category: "It carries the same weight as the New credit category...but in reality, the two categories aren't quite equal." If you had been under the impression that 10% = 10%, you now know otherwise. Also, FICO itself states that the percentages it makes public "are for the general population. For particular groups...the relative importance of these categories may be different." In other words, the percentages are hard and fast, unless you are in a particular group. If you ask what is considered 'a particular group,' it gets mind-numbingly confusing. Sort of like the sound of FICO clearing its corporate throat and changing the subject...

      Nonetheless, knowing just this much about what's behind a southern NH home loan originator's decision will stand you in good stead when it comes to securing your next home. Another canny move: give me a call right from the start!

      I have over 20 years of southern nh real estate experience. I would be glad to put you in touch with one of the experienced mortgage brokers, I use in my business, who can answer all of your questions about FICO and the mortgage process, so you can concentrate of finding the "just right" home in Windham NH.


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        Programs for First Time Buyers in Southern NH

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        There's help for First Time Home Buyers in Windham New Hampshire: First Time Home Buyer Rates Drop to Near 30-Year Lows. There are Many Programs that Can Aid Southern NH First Time Home Buyers.

        WINDHAM NH: Kristie Dinsmore

        As the end of 2014 approached, the National Association of Realtors® was able to come up with some general observations on the makeup of the current market--facts that anyone expecting to deal with southern New Hampshire home buyers in the coming year should find useful. With consumer attitudes showing improvement across the board, you might have expected that all segments of the home buying public would have shown increased activity. Not so.

        According to the NAR's annual survey--the big one that they've been conducting since 1981--the percentage of first time home buyers sank to a nearly 30-year low. It dropped 5% in just one year. Throughout the 40+ years of the survey, first time home buyers have usually made up about four of every ten home sales...but in 2014, that rate fell to 33%. 1987 was the only other year with a comparably weak rate.

        We don't tally separate statistics on southern NH's first time home buyers, but there's no reason to suspect our buyer profiles wouldn't reflect the same trend. But there's some good news, too. Help may on the way.

        The reasons first-timers have been having a hard time was addressed by Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. He points to obstacles to southern NH first-time homebuyers are likely to face--many of them connected with the rising difficulty young people have in saving for a down payment. Rising rents plus student debt and auto loan payments combine with stagnant wage levels to cramp savings growth. Added to that, the cost of mortgage insurance for Federal Housing Authority-insured loans have been rising. In 2010, 56% of first time home buyers used affordable FHA loans to purchase their home; by 2014, that number had dwindled to 35%.

        Dr. Yun's analysis is borne out by a separate RealtyTrac analysis of housing affordability and down payments. This, too, was a wide-ranging survey, examining affordability in 500 counties across all states. It found that for buyers with no additional debt, housing is affordable in 90% of markets --regardless of whether a 3% or a 20% down payment was contemplated. But for buyers with additional debt (like Dr. Yun's student loans and car payments), housing is affordable in only 48% of real estate markets. Many who find themselves in that category are first-time home buyers. No wonder their activity is down.

        That sounds like daunting news for many aspiring first time home buyers looking for a home in Windham NH, but some good news is waiting in the wings. RealtyTrac footnoted a big one. According to data collected by Down Payment Resource, there more 2,300 separate programs are out there to assist buyers with down payments and closing costs. Finding which ones a southern NH first time home buyer might be eligible for is easy: DPR offers online help. Add in recent good news on the economy (job growth in particular) and government efforts to loosen mortgage loan requirements by lowering down payments, and it looks likely that 2015 will find more first timers crossing the threshold to their first home. I hope it is the wave of the future--and I'm standing by to help make it happen!

        If you're a first time buyer looking in southern New Hampshire, give me a call. I work hard for my customers and help them overcome the hurdles facing first time home buyers.


        Windham NH Real Estate Market Passes New Milestone

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            2014 was another excellent year for real estate sales in Windham NH, with properties priced to market, selling in a short amount of time. It also was a year of firsts, being the first time ever, that a home has sold for more than $2,000,000 in Windham NH, in the GSSBR MLS. 4 Newbury Road was a milestone sale at $2,350,000.

              So what will 2015 bring? The 4th quarter of 2014 results might provide a clue. In the 4th quarter, the average sales price for single family homes soared to $473,238 vs. $408,999 in the 4th quarter of 2013. However, the number of sales was down 11.53% from 52 in 2013 to 46 in 2014.

        2014 was another strong year for the sale of single family homes, which were up slightly to 217. The average sales price was up 3.35% from 2013. Days on the market dropped by 20% and the list to sales price ratio decreased. Keep in mind the list price to sale price ratio can be effected by new construction where selling price can be higher than list price. Days on market also took a significant decline.



















        The following charts show he distribution of single family home sales in Windham NH by price range.







        This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Multiple Listing Service of the Granite State South Board of REALTORS, Inc. Neither the board or its M.L.S. guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Board or its M.L.S. may not reflect all activity in the market.