When I was a kid, my favorite part of the school day was recess, that recreational respite from the hard labors of class. Winter Recess was even better in my book, because it lasted longer. If you’re a visitor taking some Winter Recess time to enjoy New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, welcome!

If one of your dreams is to own property in one of New England’s finest playgrounds, I’ve compiled some resources to show why and how to own a home in the Lakes Region.

Let’s start with some “whys.” Aside from the obvious fact that this is one of the most beautiful locations in one of our nation’s most beautiful states, New Hampshire is a great place to own property because the Granite State offers:

Quality of life

• New Hampshire has been ranked America’s “Most Livable State” eight times since 2004, according to Morgan Quitno Press, a research and publishing company that ranks U.S. cities and states.

• In 2017, U.S. News and World Report named New Hampshire the number one state in the nation for opportunity, number two for best state overall, number three for education, and number four for health care.

• New Hampshire was rated the number one state for “quality of life” for those considering moving to the United States, according to BritishExPats.com.

Solid employment and earnings

• New Hampshire had the highest median household income in the nation in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

• In October 2017, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate was 2.4 percent, which is the fourth lowest in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• Earnings go further here because there’s no state income tax or state sales tax.

A great place for family and education

• In 2017, New Hampshire was rated the best state to raise children, according to a report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

• Also in 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked New Hampshire as the number one state in the nation for pre-K through 12 education.

An awesome place for permanent recess: retirement

• In 2017, New Hampshire was Bankrate.com’s top pick for the best state to retire.

• New Hampshire was also chosen as the number one state for retirement by moneyrates.com. This ranking was based on cost of living, unemployment rate, tax burden, average climate, violent and property crime rates and life expectancy.

• The Lake Winnipesaukee area was rated the number one retirement place in the country under the category of “leisure living for recreational and cultural opportunities” by MacMillan Travel’s Fifth Edition of Retirement Places Rates.

Now that we’ve covered a few “whys,” here are some tips on how you can own a piece of the playground we call the Lakes Region.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune

The Lakes Region offers properties at a wide variety of price points from the palatial, multimillion-dollar lakefront home to an economical condominium that doesn’t bust the budget.

For example, my listing at the Village at Winnipesaukee (178 Treetop Circle #114, Laconia / MLS# 4730503), offers a two-bed, two-bath condominium for just $115,000, within walking distance to Weirs Beach, the Mount Washington cruise port, and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad stop, and just minutes away from numerous restaurants and area attractions, including the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion for world-class concerts.

This property is an affordable, year-round, Lakes Region base camp, perfect for adventures on Lake Winnipesaukee, family fun at neighboring Weirs Beach, exploring the White Mountains, and enjoying winter activities at nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort.

Centrally located between downtown Meredith and Laconia, this turnkey, low-maintenance condo features peekaboo lake and mountain views and has been renovated with new carpet throughout, fresh paint, updated bathrooms and a new electrical panel. It also features a walk-out patio and spacious grassy area, perfect for cookouts, and offers fantastic association amenities for the whole family, including a saltwater in-ground swimming pool, tennis courts, and a playground.

Take advantage of the variety the Lakes Region offers

Many visitors are drawn here by Lake Winnipesaukee, only to leave discouraged when they can’t find big lake properties that fit their budgets or needs. While Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire’s largest, most popular lake, “Lakes Region” is plural for a reason: the area boasts a whopping 273 lakes, ponds, and rivers. That means there’s a wide variety of water bodies for people with a wide variety of desires, preferences, and budgets, so expand your horizons.

Opechee Bay, for one example, is a centrally located mid-sized lake with 426 acres of surface (about half the size of Central Park in New York City), a length of 1.9 miles, a width of .7 mile, and about 5.9 miles of shoreline.

That size makes it less of a tourist draw and, therefore, perfect for people who prefer peace, quiet, and the tranquility of nature over a floating boat show. Accordingly, it tends to be calm, a perfect place for families and individuals to swim, kayak, sail, windsurf, waterski, or Jet Ski without the same risk of wakes, collisions, and getting lost as one would have on the big lake.

Find an agent who knows the lakes intimately

When selecting a doctor, it’s wise to research how many procedures they’ve performed in their specialty. It’s similar with Realtors® — you want to find an experienced specialist.

If you have questions about local water bodies, the Shoreland Protection Act, dock permitting, aquatic lake plants, and more, our experienced Realtors® comprise one of the top independent real estate companies in New Hampshire for all-time sales, and the Lakes Region is not an afterthought for Roche Realty Group; it is our exclusive focus.

Join us for an informational open house

On Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you’re welcome to visit the Roche Realty office at 97 Daniel Webster Highway in Meredith to speak informally with seasoned Lakes Region professionals, including Realtors®, loan originators, and settlement company representatives. Light refreshments will be served and you can enter a raffle to win a $50 gift card to Home Depot.

If your family is on Winter Recess, enjoy your visit (until the bell rings) and remember … recess is available any time when you own a piece of one of New England’s finest playgrounds.

Brent Metzger is a Realtor® with Roche Realty Group. To learn more, contact him at 603-229-8322 or visit www.RocheRealty.com.

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