Posts by Debbie Anderson

June
22

You're Invited! Badger Peabody & Smith Realty is having an Annual Customer Appreciation BBQ!

We couldn't do what we do without you... our customers and community! Please join us at our Annual Customer Appreciation BBQ on Friday, July 8th from 4 to 7pm at our Franconia office on 383 Main Street.

Come to say hello, meet some new faces and enjoy something to eat from the grill.

We look forward to seeing you and offering our thanks.

EVERYONE is welcome.

*Rain or Shine - We'll be under a tent.

February
17

If you're planning to sell this year, you're probably thinking about what you'll need to do to get your house ready to appeal to the most buyers. It's crucial to work with a trusted real estate professional who knows your local market to get your home ready to sell. But there are a few things you should consider when deciding what to renovate and update before listing this season. Here are three things to keep top of mind as you're making your list of projects to tackle this year.

1. The Number of Homes for Sale Is Very Low

Housing inventory sits far below what is normally considered a balanced market. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the latest data indicates inventory is hitting an all-time low. Because there's such a limited supply of homes available for sale, you're in a unique position when you sell your house to benefit from multiple offers and a quick process.

But you want to do so while buyers are still scooping homes up as fast as they're being listed. Spending time and money on renovations before you sell could mean you'll miss your key window of opportunity. Of course, certain repairs may be important or even necessary. The best way to determine where to spend your time – and your money – is to work with a real estate advisor to confirm which improvements are truly needed and which ones aren't likely to be deal-breakers for buyers.

2. Buyers May Be Willing To Take on Projects When They Purchase Your House

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves to get the house they're after, even if it means putting in a little extra work. A recent survey from Freddie Mac finds that:

". . . nearly two-in-five potential homebuyers would consider purchasing a home requiring renovations."

If more buyers are willing to tackle repairs on their own, it may be wise to let the future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. Depending on the structural condition of your house, your efforts may be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior to make sure the home stands out. Instead of over-investing in upgrades, the buyer may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects to tackle that will give you the greatest return on your investment.

3. Your Agent Will Help You Spotlight the Upgrades You've Made

Over the past year, many people made a significant number of updates to their homes. The most recent State of Home Spending report finds:

"Home improvement spending rose 25% year-over-year to $10,341. Homeowners who invested in home improvement did an average of 3.7 projects, up from 2.7 in 2020, . . ."

With more homeowners taking on more projects in the past 12 months, there's a good chance you've already made updates to your home that could appeal to buyers. If that's the case, your real estate advisor will find ways to highlight those upgrades in your listing.

The same is true for any projects you invest in moving forward. No matter what, before you renovate, contact a local real estate professional for expert advice on what work needs to be done and how to make it as appealing as possible to future buyers. Every home is different, so a conversation with your agent is mission-critical to make sure you make the right moves when selling this season.

Bottom Line

In a sellers' market like today's, it's important to spend your time and money wisely when you're getting ready to move. Let's connect today so you can find out where to target your efforts before you list

January
29

Franconia, NH – Two of the leading real estate firms serving New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, Badger Realty and Peabody & Smith Realty have merged, creating Badger Peabody & Smith Realty.  

Andy Smith, President of Badger Peabody & Smith Realty said, "We've been very deliberate and thoughtful for the last year as we really worked to bring the best of our two brands together. Both brands have always been very similar in that we work as a team, and we meet the needs of our clients first. For us, this was a natural progression and we worked with everyone across both of our teams to best combine our strengths and merge our two brands and rebrand them as one solid firm – Badger Peabody & Smith Realty." 

Smith added, "Both the brand names, Badger Realty and Peabody & Smith Realty, have been synonymous as leaders in our marketplaces – representing property sellers and buyers in Northern, Central, the White Mountains and Lakes Region of New Hampshire, in addition to servicing the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Western Maine. We knew the time was right to combine these two successful brands into one."  

He added, "Our goal has always been, and will continue to be, the commitment to put the needs of our clients first and foremost while best supporting our agents and staff and our local communities. We have a dedicated team of full-time real estate agents, now over 65 REALTORS®, and have the ability to promote our clients' properties both locally and globally through our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio®." 

Badger Peabody & Smith Realty will be led by Andy Smith, while Badger Realty Managing Partner Brenda Leavitt will continue at Badger Peabody & Smith Realty in a senior advisor role through May. Leavitt began her career with Badger Realty over 40 years ago, becoming a partner with founding owner, Dick Badger, to create the leading real estate firm in the greater Mt. Washington Valley and western Maine.  

Leavitt said, "With the changes in the industry, it was important to the Badger family and me to ensure that the company has what's needed to stay at the forefront of the industry. Joining with Peabody & Smith Realty is a win for the staff, the community and the people we serve. The merger will enable us to offer more services and expand into new areas, all while keeping the same shared philosophies and values. And as always, the focus will be on how to better serve consumers." 

In 2021, both firms combined took part in over 1400 transactions throughout New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont with grand total gross sales over $447 million dollars in all property categories. This level of production places Badger Peabody & Smith Realty as one of the largest independently owned real estate firms in New Hampshire. 

Badger Peabody & Smith Realty has resources of over 65 full time agents, 21 staff members and eight offices in Berlin, Bretton Woods, Franconia, Holderness, Jackson, Littleton, North Conway and Plymouth, NH. In addition, they have a dedicated commercial real estate team as well. As part of the merger, Badger Peabody & Smith Realty has launched a new website www.BadgerPeabodySmith.com with many new features. Contact information for all agents and staff can be found on the website. 

Berlin Office
Bretton Woods Office
Franconia Office
Holderness Office
Jackson Office
Littleton Office
North Conway Office
Plymouth Office

August
11

It's a Dog E. Dog World. I know you're reading that and saying to yourself "He's a nut job, it's supposed to be 'dog eat dog'." And you're right. It's also true that, although more formal and professional, Kermit the Frog's name is not Kermit E. Frog (But don't tell my sister-in-law that!). I truly have no smooth transition from that to our topic today but here goes. Pets are a fantastic part of being human and offer loads of benefits beyond just companionship and loyalty. But housing a pet is another story. I lived with a couple housemates for a while and one of them had a dog. I learned quickly that although it was the dog's abhorrent behavior that was beyond annoying and leaned me towards never wanting one for myself, it was the owner's poor training (or complete lack thereof) that was the issue. But I digress.

Today I'd like to talk a bit about pet owners purchasing (or searching for) real estate. From my experience with sharing the house from above, I think having a dog before you own (or rent) your own property is simply disrespectful and inconsiderate both to your roommates and to your pet. Beyond that, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind when you are on the hunt. I've had cats in the past and while it is important to consider their needs during your home search, they tend to be much less of a factor overall.

The area around the home should really be the first thing you evaluate. Obviously having some semblance of a yard is fairly important to most dogs. Personally I have decided not to get a dog until I can simply throw open the back door and let them out. The existence of some sort of fence providing the peace of mind that they (for the most part) can't get into any trouble and they are giddy to be outside playing. I also really like the idea of a doghouse of some sort. Again, if I am out for a few hours I want to know that they can get inside somewhere out of the elements. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm aiming for the fun of a dog with the self-sufficiency of a cat. (Wish me luck!)

While we're still focusing outside, it is always a good idea (pets or not) to make note of the neighbors. Of course situations change, but it would be nice to know if your neighborhood is full of dogs and if their owners are considerate and conscientious. A quick walk (with Fido) around the area will let you know about any incessant barking, leftover "treats" that weren't picked up or other signs of fellow four-legged friends. You can be sure your dog will be well aware of which homes have potential friends living there.

"Your local agent is also a great resource for knowing the homeowners in a certain neighborhood and knowing where the dog-friendly areas of town are," notes Badger Peabody & Smith Realty (formerly Badger Realty) owner Andy Smith. "Of course I'm a bit biased, but our agents know the area very well and are invaluable resources for all buyers and sellers, not just pet owners." Dick is right. One of the biggest advantages of working with a local agent versus those faceless, giant corporations is you get someone who lives and works right here.

Speaking of leftover "treats", it's a good idea to become aware of the local dog waste laws. Believe it or not, dog waste is a considerable issue in the world of the EPA and it is important for you to be aware of how it impacts the removal and disposal of the waste from your little buddy. Check out ZeroWasteUSA.com/advice.asp for lots more information on that one. I've actually been very impressed with the number of "dog bag" dispensers around. It seems that lots of hiking trails and campgrounds have caught on that if they provide them, folks are more likely to use them (and appreciate them if they forgot theirs in the car or at home!). If you're a dog owner and you have taken advantage of these dispensers, be sure you let them know you appreciate it.

And speaking of hiking trails (OK, I'm getting a little carried away with my transitions now!), do a bit of research and see what you have for options for dog parks in the area. If you are not lucky enough to have acres of land to let your "kids" run around; a dog park is a great option for socializing and exercising (and it's good for your dog too!). Be cognizant of whether those hiking trails and other open areas allow dogs (and when). When we lived in Wells, Maine, we were allowed to have our dogs on the beach in the cooler months. It was a fantastic place to let them run free (Lily the greyhound really loved it!) and our labs just loved to play in the water as well.

I'm now realizing I'm at the end of the article and we haven't even stepped foot in the house you're about to buy! Next time we'll dig a bit deeper into some of the considerations for buying a home if you have a pet. For now, keep your eyes peeled outside the home and make sure the area you're considering moving is going to make you both happy. A grumpy, cooped-up dog is no fun for anyone, especially them.

July
20

I think my calling was to be a grandparent. I enjoy kids, as long as they are someone else's. I'm happy to spend time with them and enjoy hearing their perspective on the world (which is almost always adorable!). I'm just happy I don't have to deal with them once their behavior inevitably implodes. As a parent, you know that you need to keep your family in mind when you're home shopping. After chatting with a few parent-friends of mine, I picked up a few pointers they wished they had known before they hit the closing table. Let's review a few of those and perhaps save you the same missteps when evaluating a new home.

First and foremost, especially for toddlers and under, is bedroom placement. My good friends just moved to New Hampshire and just had their first child. At the time, it did not seem like a deal-breaker that the master bedroom was on the first floor but the other bedrooms were upstairs. They can see the writing on the walls (hypothetical writing – no crayons yet!) that when they decide to migrate the child to her own room, the trips upstairs will grow old quickly. Now their attitude may change if they stay in this home and, as the child grows older, the distance and privacy offered by the separate floors might work out just fine. For now it will be a bit of a hassle, albeit a consistent workout.

Growing up we lived in a large (off the main road) apartment complex and then on a cul-de-sac down in Wells, Maine. The roads surrounding our home were nearly always empty and passing cars always slowed down to wave. However in more traditional suburban settings, sidewalks are of paramount importance when it comes to children. Not only do you want a safe place to walk the stroller or wagon, but they also provide a great place for lemonade stands and other fun, safe activities. Parents should give some extra attention to the roads surrounding the home and ensure that it will be easy and safe to get around when not inside a vehicle.

One of my biggest hang-ups with our "Cape Cod" style home is the center stairway. It always felt cramped and there was really no "flow" to the house. "Open floor plans are great for entertaining and being able to maintain conversations with your guests while in another room," notes Badger Peabody & Smith Realty agent (formerly Badger Realty), Bernadette Donohue. "When you add kids to the mix, it makes it much easier to keep an eye on them from across the home and harder for them to get into mischief," she continued. Bernadette is right. Having a floor plan that allows you to continue with your daily routine but still maintain eye contact with your kids is going to be vital for most parents.

While we are on the topic of eye contact, it is also important that you have a clear sightline to the yard surrounding the home. Once your kids are old enough to hear the words "Get Outside!" you will still want to maintain a cautious eye over whatever it is they are getting up to out there. Luckily we had our trusty black Labrador "Ben" who was our surrogate parent when we were playing in the back yard. Short of that, when you are walking through the house on that first visit, make sure you can see the back yard from the kitchen sink or from the living room. It will provide some semblance of peace knowing that you can at least watch the mud-throwing contest from the (clean) safety of your home. (And I won't tell anyone if you lock the door!)

One feature that a couple of my friends noted, I tend to disagree with entirely. Some of my friends noted that a flat lot (and neighborhood) was important to their decision-making. The fact that we had a decent-sized hill on one side of our lot growing up was the impetus for hours of sledding all winter and even the joy of building a ski jump once there was enough snow. At my grandparent's house in New York, the end of their cul-de-sac was a huge (given our perspective at 5 years old) hill that became our playground for skateboards, wagons and bikes. Of course living in a hilly area with young children can make getting around (for both of you) more challenging, but it also has its merits. You'll have to decide for yourself which is more important.

In a conversation with a friend the other day, she noted how relieved she was that all three kids were finally able to get themselves dressed and into the car on their own. Up until that point, as I'm sure many parents can attest to, the notion of leaving the house becomes a daunting 90 minute ordeal just to get ready to back out of the driveway. For families with small children, consider the amenities you have within walking distance of the house you are evaluating. Imagine being able to visit a playground, park, grocery store and coffee shop all without having to get in the car.

You don't have to have kids to appreciate the many things in a home that could make life WITH kids a lot easier and safer. Consider the above notes when you are evaluating a home for your family. There are hundreds of factors at play when buying a home. Here's hoping these will make it a bit easier. See you at the park!

July
6

It was a sunny 4th of July and another gorgeous summer day. My friend waited for his 2 young daughters to finish up in their upstairs bathroom and the family of four exited the house and walked across the street for a neighborhood barbeque. What better way to spend a holiday than with friends, food and fun. When they returned home, the fun immediately stopped. While they were enjoying the neighbor's Slip-N-Slide in the back yard, they had their very own being created down the main stairs of the house. 

It was a simple little thing. After the toilet flushed, something went askew with the inner workings and something got plugged. The second my friend and his family walked out the door, the water began over-flowing and continued to do so for the entire day while they were a mere 50 yards away. Sheetrock was hanging down in the kitchen, everything was soaking wet and the puddles on the floor continued to grow. 

One of the more anxiety-inducing aspects of building my home in Lincoln was the plumbing (Likely because I had just heard this story!). It is something you want to get right the first time and something you want to be able to trust for years to come. Today I want to focus on one of the more plumbing-heavy rooms in the house: the master bath. We'll explore why this room is important to the home and some of the reasons it should be at the top of your list for renovations and upgrades if that's the path you are on this summer.

I've said it before, but one of my favorite reasons to update or renovate the master bath is purely selfish. The reality is you should be the one that gets to enjoy it before anyone else. Renovating and immediately turning the keys over to the new owners robs you of this opportunity. Reward yourself with a soak in the jet tub and enjoy that newly tiled walk-in shower after a long day of cleaning up the construction mess you made in there. You deserve the reward so in the words of Donna Meagle "Treat yourself"!

The other (still a bit selfish) reason for sprucing things up in the bathroom is ROI. Of course the quality of the work you do and the materials you use will impact this value greatly. According to the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine, a bathroom remodel is one of the projects with the highest returns. Most folks see an average of a 70.1% return. For me that alone is enough encouragement to lean more towards higher quality products.

"If the home owner is planning to sell in the next 6 months, I tend to encourage the use of high quality materials in the renovation," notes Badger Peabody & Smith Realty Vice President of Sales (formerly Badger Realty), Brendan Battenfelder. "It can be a bit risky to go way beyond the budget, but stretching a bit (with the idea of getting your return in under a year) can be beneficial in the long run," he continued.

One of the other great benefits to picking the master bathroom for your remodel project is that you can do many of the tasks yourself. If you're like me you enjoy the demolition part of any project. Swinging a hammer and ripping things off the walls is cathartic and simply a blast! I also learned (with the help of my good friend Denis) that "rough" carpentry is something we can all learn. You could frame-in the spot for the new tile shower and even handle all of the tile work. Adding a new vanity and toilet are also very simple projects with the assumption that you are not re-locating any of that plumbing. When it comes to the plumbing and electrical, get some help. Although the cause was not the fault of shoddy workmanship, refer to the second paragraph for a solid reason to leave this stuff to the pros.

Although the idea of it being easier than a kitchen remodel should not be a major reason for your decision to tackle the bathroom, it still IS a great reason. With great ROI, personal enjoyment of the room and the fact that you can do a lot of it yourself as reasons in the "plus" column, the decision becomes pretty obvious. With the assumption that you have more than one bathroom but only one kitchen, the inconvenience factor alone makes the bath renovation a winner. If this is your first remodel, the smaller, simpler room will increase your chances for success as well.

If you are looking for a project this summer, look no further than where you brushed your teeth this morning. The master bath is a "do-able" project that will pay off in the end and offers a big level of satisfaction when it is complete. Ask for help when you need it and you'll be enjoying that gorgeous new shower and double-sink in a couple weeks! See you at the lumberyard!

June
15

I have been working out of a home office for over 7 years now. These spaces have ranged from an empty alcove on the 2nd floor to a ridiculously expansive half of a basement. In the latter, I literally had to throw down a couple rugs just to din the echoes! In every space, I have tried to make it comfortable. I have to admit they were not always the most professional spaces though. Client meetings were always done "off-site".

Today I'd like to explore a few ways you can make the most of your home office. With family, friends, kids, pets and a whole slew of other distractions thrown in the mix, it is not always easy to create a productive space. And if you are like me you can't just sit at the dining room table or plop down on the couch in order to get some actual work done. The space needs to be conducive to concentration and focus. Let's dig in.

Just as with real estate, location is pretty important for your office. Although you don't always have a ton of choices in your home, you can avoid a few pitfalls. Don't cram yourself into a closet or pull a Harry Potter and carve out your space under the stairs. Your office needs to feel comfortable and you need to have room for whatever "stuff" you may incorporate into your work. You also need to be able to be "away" from the normal flow of life through your home. Especially during the summer months where kids may be back home and friends and family are stopping by. It is important for you to remove yourself from those distractions as much as possible.

Understanding that you may not have your choice of room when it comes to your office, privacy is still going to be a big consideration. You could get creative and add a door to an otherwise open room or even take it up a notch and divide a room into 2 spaces in order to gain that peace and quiet. Personally, I need the quiet in order to fully concentrate and be at my most productive. We are all different, but if you fall into that category as well make this part a priority. It'll be a bit messy at first and might necessitate some construction, but the payoff will be worth it.

This next one is bugging me right now and that is having the right chair. I tend to sit at my desk for 7 – 9 hours a day. Considering our average life is 1/3 work, 1/3 sleep and 1/3 free time, the chair you sit in for that third is pretty important. I'm currently tolerating an Ikea office chair (which has served me very well for a couple years) but I'm itching to get something that has a little more comfort and adjustments available. This one piece of equipment can lead to better posture, less back pain and better overall comfort during your workday. I think the standing desks are good for some, but I've found I'm more productive and better-focused sitting down. Do what is right for you and get yourself comfortable!

Get personal! If you have the ability to customize your office space (without upsetting the neighbors or your family) get creative and personalize the space. "Painting the walls, replacing the flooring, adding art and wall hangings and even changing the curtains are all great ways to personalize an office space and make it feel more like yours," commented Badger Peabody & Smith Realty agent (formerly Badger Realty), Denice Tepe. "If you feel good about the space you are in, you are more easily able to get into the 'work zone' and get things done," she continued.

Lighting is also very important when you are customizing your home office. In my first office, I set it up without considering the sunlight throughout the day. (I set it up late one afternoon.) The next morning I was blasted by sunlight for the first 2-3 hours of the day. Needless to say, I was forced to relocate to the other side of the house. Lighting is crucial to not only seeing what you are working on but your general feel in the space itself. If you are in a basement (like me) or a room that does not get lots of natural light, consider your lighting carefully and make it work for your particular business.

Lastly, don't forget to consider storage. I'm fortunate to work almost entirely on the computer. So storage for me is measured in bits and bytes. If you are someone who needs lots of files and paper storage, consider the best way to maintain those files and the frequency with which you need to access them. A good friend worked in accounting and was able to keep all his client files stored in the basement and out of his office. This freed up more space in the office and helped keep his needed space to a minimum.

Working from home has been a blessing and a privilege. I love not having to "go" anywhere in the freezing cold and snow. I enjoy walking upstairs to my kitchen for lunch without having to go "out". In general it suits my work style very well and I appreciate the long hours of uninterrupted silence (except for my little tablet rocking out to my favorite Pandora stations!). If working from home is the path for you, I encourage you to make that space as comfortable as possible. You're spending a third of your life in there, you might as well be happy and productive.

May
22

As I find myself now in the position of searching for a new home, I'm reminiscing about the time when I built my first home over in Lincoln. Everything was new. Everything was mine. And the whole process of ups and downs, joys and frustrations was something I look forward to going through again someday in the future. If building a home instead of buying an already built one is something you aspire to tackle, today I'd like to cover a few of the lessons I learned in the process and hopefully better prepare you for this awesome project.

At the time of my construction I was working in a real estate office full time. This position afforded me the flexibility of blurring the lines between "working" and "working on my house". I was also fortunate to have a boss that loved construction and home design so he tended to jump right in when I asked a question or needed some advice. A different boss in a different industry would likely not have been so patient. "I encourage first time home builders to get their hands on an experienced mentor to help out with some of the decisions," notes Badger Peabody & Smith Realty agent (formerly Badger Realty), Norman Head. "Having someone who has gone through this before alleviates a bit of the stress and helps the new builder see things from a different perspective," he continued.

I mention that because one of the most demanding parts of the construction process is the decision-making. I'm not great at making big decisions quickly so many of the choices that had to be made took me longer to settle on and required a bit more research. Shifting the kitchen wall a foot or two this way or that way was exhausting. When you are so deep in the project it is challenging to pick your head up and take a breath. The one thing I wished I had kept at the front of my mind is that this was not going to be the final home I ever lived in. Those decisions were important, but were not so critical that they deserved all of that attention (and stress!).

The other factor that plays a big role in construction as well as remodeling projects is who the house/remodeling project is "for". If you are building the home, like I was, with the direct intent of selling it in the very near future, you have to adjust your decisions and priorities accordingly. About half of the decisions I made for my home were based on the notion of "someone else" living there. I wanted to be sure that the house wasn't so customized to my tastes and needs (at the time) that buyers would find it strange or unattractive.

As I noted above, one of the best parts about building a new home is that everything is brand new. Nobody has lived there before and nobody's messes or germs are anywhere to be found. My budget called for hand-me-down appliances and even a "pre-loved" kitchen. But knowing that I was the first person to walk across a floor, shower in the bathroom and brush my teeth in the sink was a very welcome treat. It also meant that there was no one to warn me about certain creeks and noises in the middle of the night. It turns out new homes do a fair bit of "settling" and make a fair bit of noise.

Another sneaky surprise for first time builders is that your budget gets bloated more than you expect. I was on a rather tight budget, but after getting proposals and estimates and getting creative with appliances and other big-ticket items, I felt comfortable jumping in. Inevitably there are bumps in the road, unexpected twists and turns and just about all of them cost more money. I also had a very helpful, conscientious and creative builder working on my home. The blessing was his insight and good ideas. The curse was that his good ideas seemed to always cost me more money. I still wouldn't change a single thing we did.

If you are like me and are expecting to do a fair bit of the work yourself, you are likely aware that there will be dirt, mud, snow, dust and then even more dust during the process. There were times when I assumed there would never be a time I would live in the home without sawdust on the floor. It is a bit overwhelming. But I was the only one building in the area and as soon as we were done, the noise and dust stopped. If you are building a home in an area that is currently under lots of new construction, it is important to realize it will be dirty, dusty and noisy for a while. It might make sense to get a feel for how long this is going to go on before moving in.

The privilege of building your very own home is something I hope everyone gets to enjoy someday. There's lots of planning, countless decisions and a fair bit of stress involved for sure. But every sleepless night and fretful decision was well worth it. If you are a bit tentative to jump in on a whole house, maybe try a tree-house for your kids first! It's a similar process without all the stress!

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