As of October 1, 2014 there were 1,220 residential homes for sale in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered in this report. The average asking price was $595,399 with a median price point of $269,000. Last October first there were an even 1,200 properties on the market with at an average of $502,146 and a median of $259,948. The current inventory represents a 15 month supply of homes on the market.
Real estate agents market properties utilizing a conventional and uniform format called the Multiple Listing Service. A listing basically has three components. First there is the visual aspect which includes pictures and video tours. Second, there is the listing data itself which includes the home square footage, year built, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, type of basement, etc. I would also include the Seller's Property Disclosure, deed, tax cards, and all of the other pertinent data in this category. The last component would be the description of the home itself. You know, either the flowery description that goes like "This finely crafted, single owner, high quality lake home has been lovingly maintained by...." or the simple and direct "This three bed, two bath, ranch style home has 1,245 of living space that is sure to please..."
But buying a home is really a personal experience. We utilize our senses to determine what to buy. The first component, the pictures, is what really attracts a buyer to the home in the first place. Sometimes, on arrival to a property, a buyer is surprised to find that the house is actually way better or much worse than he saw online. I guess it could be the quality of the pictures. What we like to hear is that "It looks just like the pictures!"
We give little thought to the four other senses we have and how they play a part in purchasing a home. Touch, smell, sound, and taste. These senses all play a part. Stay with me here...
Smell obviously is clearly important. If, on arrival, a house smells horrible it will kill a deal faster than anything else. Smell is that powerful. Smoke, pet odors, or moldy, musty odors turn people off immediately and can also be a sign of other problems. Conversely, the fresh smells of new cut grass, flowers, or fresh baked cookies can sway a buyer to the positive. I even like the smell of fresh paint or new carpet. Things need to smell fresh and new! So, what does your home smell like?
Sound plays a role, too. The neighbor's barking dog or the traffic noise from the highway behind the house will definitely lose out to the sound of chirping birds, the buzzing wings of a hummingbird, the call of the loon, and the silence provided by a pristine meadow. Every, single time.
The sense of "touch" could be interpreted both literally and figuratively. After all, how a home "feels" is often what makes someone buy it. High end material and finishes literally feel better to some buyers. An expensive carpet with a premium pad feels better than the less expensive grades. High end cabinetry feels more solid and well built. High end doors just feel better than hollow core ones. It is not that buyers generally go around groping the house mind you, but a well done home regardless of cost, figuratively speaking, feels better. A tasteful decor feels better than...well, better than avocado appliances, z-brick, and plastic flowers. Homes can feel comfortable, homey, cozy, campy or luxurious. They can also feel dark, cold, sterile, and uninviting. It is all about the feel.
Now, it may be difficult to equate a home to what something tastes like but I know I have been in a few homes that have left a very bad taste in my mouth although I am not sure what it was. I am sure you can equate an antique restored colonial to a fine aged wine. But good taste in reference to design, choice of materials, accessories, and furnishings can make even the simplest of homes much more desirable and saleable. If a home cost a million dollars to build, but it is done in bad taste or in a decor that is a little extreme or not prevalent in that area, the owner might not recoup his investment. Conversely, a simple well executed design with pleasing decor enhances even a relatively inexpensive home and makes it more desirable.
Oh yeah, there is a sixth sense that is needed when you are buying real estate and your realtor can help you with that. It is called common...
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of
10/1/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.
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