As of February 1, 2015 there were 781 single family residential homes on the market in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered in this report. The median asking price was $249,900 which means that some 390 homes were priced below that number making for a lot of affordable available homes. This inventory level represents about a nine month supply of inventory on the market.
OK! It has been cold enough and snowy enough. I like the cold weather, but not this cold and not this much snow. When you are selling homes in the winter it can be tough. Sometimes we deal with homes that aren't shoveled or plowed out. Sometimes houses have been winterized and have no heat on so it feels like it is twenty degrees colder inside than out. At least those showings are quick. Septic inspections are always fun this time of year, too! There's nothing like having to use a jack hammer to get through frozen ground to make sure the septic system is working.
Trying to keep a house cozy and warm when it has been this cold can be expensive even with the reduced oil prices. We New Englanders tend to be frugal (or some say cheap) and try to save money by heating with wood or pellet stoves. There are some other simple steps that you can take to help reduce your heating cost. Here are a few I found on the internet. Some you have heard of before and some you may have not.
From an article published by the BBC News, I found that you can stay warmer by using tin foil. No, you don't wrap yourself in tin foil, but you put it behind your hot water or steam radiators so that heat is reflected out into the room rather than out through the wall. Seems like a good idea, unless you don't have radiators. In those circumstances try wrapping yourself (shiny side in.)
Also, don't block radiators or heating vents with furniture. You want to heat the room not the velvet sofa. You can also put a shelf on the wall above the radiator so heat is directed out into the room rather that straight up to the ceiling. This is really effective when there is a radiator below a window. Instead of the warm air getting trapped between the curtain and window it is directed inward.
Speaking of curtains, the article also said to hang heavy curtains on your windows. The heavier, the better. Now that's really not a secret or something new. This harkens back to the days when animal hides were used on doors and windows. Some folks around here might have some deer hides from this past hunting season that might work well though using them may also get you divorced. But curtains really will cut down on drafts and losing heat out your windows. Window curtains with thermal linings are the best. It also helps to use that clear plastic film that you buy at the hardware store that you install using double sided tape and shrink to a tight fit with a hair dryer. One article said that you could use clear plastic shower curtains over windows to cut down on draft and let the light in. I would not recommend this choice if you are selling your home. That's way too much to try to explain to any prospective buyer.
I also learned a new term this week that I hadn't heard of before. Did you ever hear of a "Draught Excluder?" Sounds like a bouncer in an English pub. Well, I know you've seen them before. You probably tripped over them. Some also call them "Sausage Dogs." You know, they are the long cloth tubes filled with stuffing that you put at the bottom of a door to keep the draft out. Often, these are decorated with a head and tail to look like a dachshund. They do help.
Other recommendations to stay warm include common sense things such as closing off rooms you don't use, using ceiling fans to push the warm air down, dressing warmly, adding an extra layer of insulation in the attic, putting rugs on bare floors, and even burning candles, although I am not sure how much candlepower it takes to make a huge difference. My favorite tip, however, harkens back to the 60's rock group, Three Dog Night, whose name ostensibly is of Australian origin and refers to how many dogs you need to curl up with on the coldest night in order to stay warm. That would be three. Yup, wanna stay warm on a cold night? Cuddle with your pups. Works for me...
Pease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. This report was prepared using the NNEREN MLS system as of 2/1/15. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012
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