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Paul Hamblett

House Flipping of Foreclosed Properties

Have you thought about investing in real estate?

What about buying a foreclosed property that you can fix up to resell?  This is a great opportunity if you have handyman skills.  Flipping houses can be very profitable but not guaranteed.  First you must find the right house to renovate for flipping.  It might need major renovations or maybe it’s a steal. It’s up to you to determine if it has the potential to become a suitable living space and that it can be resold in this market.  If not, you could potentially become landlords.

Where do you find these homes?

They are generally advertised for sale online at secondary websites such as Williams Auction, Bid Select and Hudson & Marshall.  Look for foreclosed properties that have been on the market for more than 60 days.  The bank wants to unload these homes if they have been on the market more than 90 days. Don’t be afraid to make an offer to the bank.  A cash purchase is your best bet.

There are a few things that you should consider before you buy.

Make sure you inspect the home in person before you buy. The condition of the house will determine if it’s everyday wear and tear or if there are major problems which could result in a disaster.  Most properties are sold “AS IS, WHERE IS” with no financing, inspection or other contingencies to the sale.  Check with your local REALTOR as they know the market and the area you might be considering  purchasing a home in.


Finding a Great Real Estate Agent

When you decide to purchase a new home it would be to your benefit to find an experienced REALTOR to assist you.

You can find agents on the internet or in the yellow pages that want your business but check with friends and relatives who have recently purchased homes and see who they had represent them.  Anyone who has had a great experience with an agent will be happy to refer you to them.  It can make all the difference in the world to have an agent who knows the area you are searching in, the school systems, tax rates and driving times to where you will be working.

Most agents are paid by the Seller of a property, so it is unlikely that it will add any additional cost to you when buying your home.

The current market is a challenge with short sales and foreclosures to consider. An experienced Agent can tell you the ins and outs of negotiating these kinds of sales and how long it might take to purchase a home under those circumstances.   Our agents at  Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Verani Realty have years of experience and education regarding the real estate industry.

Financing is another item you will need to consider.

The lenders have tightened up their rules for purchasing a home.  Our RE/MAX office has an in-house mortgage company Wells Fargo Home Mortgage with Loan Officers to assist any buyer with loan questions.   Stop by and speak with one of our agents or loan officers today.  They have the experience you need!


Has the NH Seacoast Luxury Million Dollar Homes Market gained a little more traction lately?

We say Yes and a big Congratulations to Mitch Sevigny from our Portsmouth office who just closed 81 Little Harbor Road in New Castle for $3,850,000.  Not only was this Mitch’s listing but he also had the buyer. “Double congratulations”!  This appears to be the most expensive home in New Castle that has closed in recent times. As for the rest of the New Hampshire Seacoast Towns, which include Seabrook, Hampton, North Hampton, Rye, Portsmouth and New Castle.  There were a total of 32 sales from January 1, 2010 until today per our state wide MLS system, NNEREN.  Now I know its only 32 sales in 6 towns of million dollar plus homes, but this is New Hampshire not LA.  What town was the big million dollar winner?  Rye, it had 14 million plus sales, also it recorded the highest sales price in that time frame, 60 Straws Point at $3, 970,000. Next was New Castle with 6, North Hampton with 5, Portsmouth with 4, Hampton with 2 and last but not least Seabrook with 1.  With 32 sales in the last 15 months averaging two, Million dollar home sales per month; not to shabby for the good ole seacoast of New Hampshire.


Investors Are Buying!

If you are thinking about investing in real estate experts say low home prices combined with low interest rates make this the best time in years to become a real estate investor.

With property values at an all time low, investors are looking at homes to renovate to become landlords or to flip them.  There are a large number of homes that are foreclosure properties on the market.  These properties are a fantastic opportunity for investors to attract a lot of capital. Foreclosed properties most often sell at significant discounts. This gives the investor an opportunity to start building a profit.

According to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage interest rates are hovering around 5%.  It’s an excellent time to finance your purchase before the interest rates start to climb again.  When the money is cheap to borrow and the houses are cheap to buy, it’s absolutely the best time to invest.

However, when you are searching for a foreclosure home it will depend on the area where you can find them.  According to the local MLS Northern New England Real Estate Network when searching the City of Portsmouth there were only 2 foreclosures for 86 residential listings but in the City of Dover there was a total of 13 foreclosures listed for 164 residential listings. 

What’s more is that the real estate market is starting to recover in the United States. US houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008, according to real estate website Zillow.com.

Real estate is still a good investment and this is a great time to buy.   If you are looking for a second home or investment property in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and Maine our experienced agents are ready to find your perfect property.

Paul HamblettRE/MAX Coast to Coast, 150 Mirona Road, Portsmouth, NH.


Historic Buildings in Portsmouth New Hampshire

If you are looking for something to do, come to Portsmouth, NH and take the Harbour Trail to view historic homes on the Seacoast.

The Tour is divided into 3 Sections of the City all beginning in Market Square.  Tour 1 is the Downtown and Waterfront, Tour 2 is the South End and Tour 3 is State Street to Haymarket Square and Congress Street.  Each tour is about 1 hour long.  Tour and 1 and 2 are one mile each in length and the 3rd tour is a ½ mile long.

There are 10 buildings which are listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings, 10 National Historic Landmarks and three homes that are maintained by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. A few of the historic buildings you may find are the North Church in Market Square built in 1854, the John Paul Jones House built in 1758, the Governor John Langdon House built in 1784 and the Moffatt-Ladd House circa 1760.

Several of the homes you will find are open to the public for a small fee. So put on your walking shoes and enjoy the history of the City of Portsmouth.


New Year's Resolutions for Buyers and Sellers

Everyone who is the least bit organized is making NY's resolutions for themselves in 2011, so I thought it might be fun to make some NY's resolutions for buyers and sellers of real estate, to help them achieve their goals.

Buyers' Note to Self: 1) Find a REALTOR and cultivate an open and trusting relationship. BTW what's a REALTOR? A licensed real estate agent, who is a member of the National Assoc of Realtors and does business by a written code of ethics, is a REALTOR.

2) Drive by the houses and neighborhoods found on-line over the past 4-6 weeks. Realize that previewing the location of a house will dictate if I want to see it or not.

3) Find out what price range is affordable. Meet with a banker or mortgage broker as "job one" before serious house hunting and home buying begins.

4) Trust my REALTOR to guide me through the process and have fun doing it!

Sellers' Note to Self: 1) Learn current market values and price property accordingly. Do not over price it!

2) Stage each room to show it to its best advantage. This may require a good cleaning and clearing out clutter.

3) Pay attention to large and small details such as emptying the kitty litter box before a showing.

4) Reduce asking price if property is not getting showings or offers.

5) Show confidence to my REALTOR in his or her ability to get the house sold. Ask for a review of marketing strategy every two weeks.

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New Hampshire is #2 in the America's Health Rankings 2011!

New Hampshire has moved up to the #2 position in the America's Health Rankings. Last year the State of New Hampshire made the #3 position. 

  • While smoking has decreased from 25.3 percent to 16.9 percent of the adult population in the last ten years. 174,000 adults still smoke in New Hampshire.
  • In the past year, the percentage of children in poverty decreased from 10.5 percent to 6.2 percent of persons under age 18.
  • In the past year, diabetes increased from 7.1 percent to 7.9 percent of the adult population. There are now 81,000 New Hampshire adults with diabetes.
  • In the past ten years, obesity increased from 18.1 percent to 25.5 percent of the adult population with 262,000 obese adults in the state.
  • Since 1990, the infant mortality rate decreased from 8.4 to 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births and is the lowest among all states.

 Strengths for the State of New Hampshire

  • Low percentage of children in poverty
  • Low violent crime rate
  • High use of early prenatal care
  • High immunization coverage

 Challenges for the State of New Hampshire

  • Moderate per capita public health funding
  • Moderate prevalence of binge drinking

State Health Department Web Site: www.dhhs.state.nh.us


Portsmouth NH named among the eight best places in America to retire!

According to Where to Retire Magazine - Portsmouth New Hampshire has been named among the top 8 places to retire in America.  Editor Mary Lu Abbott said retirees should carefully consider state and local taxes before relocating.  Portsmouth is among towns with a lower than average tax burden on retirees.  She said "in states that have no income tax you may encounter higher local taxes."  A low-tax town can save retirees several thousand of dollars a year.  Other cities on the list are Port Townsend, Washington; Kalispell, Montana; Ashland, Oregon; Carson City, Nevada; Oxford, Mississippi;  Vero Beach, Florida; and Abingdon, Virginia.

 Even though the City of Portsmouth is seen as an attractive place for retirees not everyone agrees.  Local demographer Peter Francese warned about the seacoast and state becoming unbalanced in its age distribution.  Among concerns he cites is the loss of younger workers who are priced out of the housing market.  According to the Census of 2010, Portsmouth lost 3 percent of it's under 18 population from 2000 to 2010.  City homeowners under age 35 decreased 14.7 percent and ages 35 to 44 by 13.9 percent from 2000 to 2010. The city of Portsmouth home owner population age is 55 to 64, surged 42.6 percent.

 Statewide, New Hampshire is the fourth oldest state in the nation with an average age of 41.1 years. This is up from 39.3 years in Census of 2000.  Maine is the nation's oldest at 42.7 years.  The average age of the national population is 36.8.


Foreclosed Homes are purchased by Investors

Investors are buying up foreclosed single family homes and renting them out.  Some of the people who are renting them are the people who have lost their homes in a foreclosure situation. Families who have had their homes foreclosed on are looking for single family homes to rent because that's what they are used to.  They prefer a backyard to an apartment.  Investors are buying and renting these homes because flipping homes in the current market does not bring a quick profit anymore.


How to Hire a Contractor


1. Get Recommendations - Start asking friends and family who they might know.  You could also ask the local building inspector who routinely meets with contractors for inspections.  The National Association of Remodeling Industry has a list of members in your area.

 2. Do interviews - Contact each prospect and ask the following questions: Do you take projects of my size? Can you provide financial references from suppliers or banks? Do you have a list of previous clients and their contact information? How many other projects would you be doing at the same time? How long have you worked with your subcontractors?  This will tell you a lot about the contractor's availability and reliability.

 3.  Meet face to face - Pick 3 or 4 contractors to meet for a discussion. The contractor should put you at ease.  But be sure to check with your state's Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection Agency for any history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

 4.  Investigate the facts - Call former clients to see how their projects went and ask if you can see the finished product.  Visit the contractor's current project and see how the site looks.

 5.  Make plans and get bids - Have the contractor bid on you blueprints for the project.  In order to compare the bids, ask each contractor to breakdown the cost of materials, labor, profit margin and other expenses.  Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost.  The balance of the total is for overhead and typical profit margin which is generally 15 to 20 percent.

 6.  Set a payment schedule - If a contractor wants ½ up front then it may seem that he might be in financial problems or that you won't pay the rest of the bill.  Set the schedule starting with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and then a final check for the 15% balance when you feel every item on the punch list is completed.

 7.  Don't let price alone be your guide - Throw out the lowball bid.  This contractor is probably cutting corners or worse he's desperate for the work. You should choose your contractor by how comfortable you feel with them and how they communicate.

 8.  Put it in writing - Draw up a contract that details every step of the project. The payment schedule, proof of liability insurance and worker's compensation, a start date and projected completion date, materials and products to be used.

 Note: Any change orders can effect the duration and price of the project.


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