There were 763 single-family homes for sale as of June 1 in the Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $637,473 and the median price was $349,900. This inventory level represents about a four-and-a-half-month supply of homes on the market.
The Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 gathered this week to celebrate the beginning of the premium porch-sitting season which obviously begins on July 4. In attendance were Dirk Davenport, Bubba Gunter, Travis D. Coletrain, Little Stevie Prestone, Ainsley Grantham, John “Leadbellie” Goode, and me.
We met at the Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith on their upper deck. It affords a great view of Meredith Bay and the sun was shining (for a change.) We all settled in to watch the coming and goings of boats and ordered some lunch and porch-crawler beverages.
I had let everyone know that the purpose of today’s meeting was to talk about some of the available porches that were currently on the market in the Lakes Region.
More often than not, newer homes are being built with just a back deck rather than a covered or enclosed porch. The Professional Porch Sitters manual refers to decks as “Poor Boy” porches. That’s because they are less expensive than a porch with a roof. While a deck is nice, they aren't very nice when the weather turns nasty or cold. Part of our charter is to promote and encourage the general population to use real porches. Many world problems have been solved on a porch … not so many on a deck.
I did a search on the MLS to find some porches that we could discuss and hopefully find new sitters to purchase them in order to grow our membership.
In the $100,000-$200,000 price range, the home that stood out to me was a really cute red gingerbread home with white shutters at 185 Pleasant St., Laconia. It was built in 1845 and has four bedrooms, one and a half baths, a first-floor laundry, and a bonus room over the garage. More importantly, it has a cute wrap-around porch with ornate scrollwork at the top of the columns. It is the perfect entry-level home for a would-be porch-sitter and has a lot of upside potential. It is offered at $180,000.
“And,” I said, “the listing agent says that there is a historical significance to this home! Jimmy Carter actually stayed here during his 1976 presidential campaign! That’s pretty cool.”
“Do you think he might have actually sat out on the porch eating peanuts?” asked Dirk.
“Naw,” replied Leadbellie, “but if he had let Billy on the campaign trail with him, Billy would have been out there drinking that famous Billy Beer and telling stories. I liked Billy a lot! He sure did cause Jimmy a lot of fits.”
In the $200,000-$300,000 price range, the listing at 15 Ridgewood Drive, Gilmanton, has a great three-season porch. The porch has tongue-and-groove pine boards, a vaulted pine ceiling, lots of windows and a skylight. While there is no heat in it, the owners just open the slider and use it year-round. Its perfect for watching TV. As a bonus, the porch is attached to a very well-maintained and nicely decorated three-bedroom, one-and-three-quarter bath, raised ranch with 1,788 square feet of living space. It has granite countertops, gleaming hardwood floors, a master suite, and a great family room in the basement. It also has beach rights down at the end of the street. You won’t find anything nicer at $239,900.
“That’s a pretty nice neighborhood,” said Bubba, “and it is an easy commute to Concord from there.”
“You could probably put a little direct-vent stove out there just in case it gets really cold in the winter, but you probably don’t need it,” added Ainsley.
The $300,000-$400,000 “porch pick” is at 114 Varney Road in Gilmanton. This log home not only has a front screened porch with a hammock, but it also has a back “Poor Boy” deck off the master suite that is upgraded with a hot tub. This 2,313-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-and-three-quarter bath log home was built in 1997. It has cathedral ceilings, the requisite stone fireplace, a kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, ceramic tile and wide pine floors. This log home has it all … even beach rights across the street on Crystal Lake, and a mooring!
“I like log cabins! And speaking of presidents, I had a Lincoln Log set when I was a kid,” mumbles Travis as he takes a bite out of his fish sandwich. He is eating all the time, you know. “It’s too bad that the cabin isn’t, like, really, really old and Abe Lincoln had stayed there. That would make it a really cool porch.”
“Stop thinking and take another bite of your sandwich, Travis!” Bubba replied.
In the over $400,000 category, there are probably lots of cool waterfront porches that will cost an arm and a leg, but I like the porch out at 139 Kaulback Road in Sanbornton. I said, “The porch on this reproduction farmhouse really will take you back to simpler times and I can just imagine sitting out there rocking away. There’s a great front porch overlooking the yard with nice scroll work and a Robin’s-egg blue bead-board ceiling. On the side is a screened porch for when the bugs are out.”
“It looks like the house is pretty darn nice, too!” added Little Stevie. “This is a really great reproduction home with all the modern amenities. It’s got a nice country kitchen with stainless appliances, granite countertops, soft-close cabinetry, a farmhouse sink, and look at that vintage wood-burning cook stove. How cool is that! It has got four bedrooms, a living room with a fireplace, and a family room, too!”
“What I like is the two-story barn!” piped in Bubba, snickering. “It is huge with 15-foot-high ceilings and it has a chain hoist so we can lift up Travis when he falls down. Great place to work on stuff or have some animals, especially with the fenced area out back, the run-ins, and almost 15 acres of land. Seems like a good deal at $439,900.”
“Dirk,” I asked, “do you know why a porch ceiling is painted blue?”
“Because they didn’t have any white paint,” he replied.
“No, no,” said Bubba, “it's to keep bugs from landing there, 'cause they think it’s the blue sky.”
“No, you’re both wrong,” I said. “Down south, they started painting porch ceilings a light blue — more precisely called ‘Haint blue’ — to keep the ‘Haints’ or ghosts away! True story.…”
“I bet ol’ Jimmy Carter has a blue porch ceiling down there on his peanut farm!” surmised Leadbellie.
Visit www.DistinctiveHomesNH.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and sign up for a monthly newsletter. Data compiled using the NEREN MLS. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty. Contact him at 603-677-7012.