There were 802 single-family residential homes on the market as of Aug. 1 in the 14 Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $638,105 and the median asking price was $365,500.

Last August, there were 863 listings, with an average asking price of $712,535 and the median price was $372,000.

Our current inventory level represents about a six-and-a-half-month supply of homes on the market.

The Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 gathered this past week on my porch for yet another highly informative discussion on real estate issues. Dirk Davenport, Bubba Gunter, Travis D. Coletrain, Little Stevie Prestone, Ainsley Grantham, John “Leadbellie” Goode, and Rollie Rollins were in attendance.

After we were all seated on the porch, I asked if anyone had any unusual real estate problems this week. Travis said he had some buyers that were interested in buying a really nice property but they were scared that there were some huge structural problems with the house because there were some shrink cracks in the sheetrock in the great room and they were freaking out over them. He said, “The buyer yells, ‘Well, those are pretty darn good cracks, don’t you think? There are some major problems with this home. It must be settling, and the concrete floor in the garage is cracking, too!’ The guy went totally off the reservation about cracks."

Ainsley pipes in, needling Travis, “So did you explain that not all pretty good cracks are really bad cracks? You know, not all cracks are not what they are cracked to be?”

“I know,” replied Travis, “but this guy wouldn’t listen.”

“That’s too bad,” said Little Stevie. “Lots of buyers don’t understand that just about every home has sheetrock or plaster cracking that is just a normal part of the building materials drying out and shrinking and normal settling of the house. You often see shrink cracks starting at the corners of doors and windows and running out at forty-five degree angles. You don’t want to pass up an otherwise nice property over a few shrink cracks; they are easily fixed.”

“Yup, that’s why, in new home construction, builders will come back and fix cracks in walls because they know things are gonna settle,” added Bubba. “If the home was built during a very wet, damp time of year, the lumber can absorb a lot of moisture. When things dry out and the home is warmed up, that moisture comes out of the wood and the wood shrinks … and cracks magically appear.”

I excused myself to go get these crack agents some Porch Crawler beverages and came back with a tray of assorted crackers, Cracker Barrel cheese spread, and I even found a large box of Cracker Jacks. Everyone was impressed.

“It’s the same thing with concrete. The only guarantee you can get with concrete is that it will crack!” stated Leadbellie. “Concrete is poured wet and, when it dries out, it shrinks. As a result, you are gonna get some cracking. That’s why many contractors will put shrink joints in concrete floors to control where the cracks are and make them straight so the job looks nicer. “

“And, you are going to have some settlement under the house, so you could get the same kind of 45-degree cracking in concrete walls at the windows. You often will get some vertical cracks the entire height of the foundation. As long as the cracks aren’t huge, they can be sealed to prevent any water from coming in. There are professional companies that do this kind of work. If the wall is pushed in on one side of the crack more than the other, or there is a horizontal crack, there could have been a problem when they were backfilling the foundation. The contractor could have hit the foundation and cracked it or used the wrong material against the foundation. That’s why you have home inspections,” added Dirk.

“Absolutely,” I added. “You want a professional to look at it and make certain there are no structural issues that caused the cracking. Cosmetic fixes are easy, but you don’t want to get into any structural repairs, as it could get very expensive.”

“So, the long and the short of this is that you can have a pretty good crack that’s nothing, you can have a pretty good crack that is a bad crack, but you can’t have a bad crack that is a good crack?” asked Rollie.

“That’s right,” replied Ainsley, “Sometimes, things are not all they are cracked up to be.…”


Visit 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.

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