Architectural Style – A Frame

The “A” shape is hard to mistake. This design has been a traditional vacation home or second home style since World War II. The A Frame has that woodsy but contemporary; campy yet dramatic; modern style, look and feel. Dozens of ideas and plans are available on the internet. These houses boast high interior ceilings, open floor plans, large windows, loft space and wood siding, among other features. You can even buy an A Frame house/cabin as a pre-fab kit for the ultimate DIY. There is an A Frame for every budget.

A Frames can be humble cabins or expansive vacation homes. The design is easily scalable. This style of home is often found perched on a mountain side, tucked away in the woods near lakes or hidden oceanside behind the dunes. There is one just down the street from me. I pass it every time I head to the local Post Office. That home inspired this writing.

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The structure can be an inexpensive build with only four surfaces – two end walls and the steeply angled gable roof. The front and rear gables have deep set eaves creating an inviting area for decks and patios to be added. The equilateral triangle design is independently strong (think pyramid). The shape is perfect for areas that receive a lot of snow. Snow does not stand a chance to gravity on that roof. Such a large roof can be costly to replace, metal is the way to go with new builds. A Frames can withstand the harsh elements with little maintenance. Acres of roof beg for solar panels in off the grid locations. Most of the surface to this dwelling is roof.

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Often constructed of wood and stone to blend into its natural setting. Its peaked style replicates the trees and mountain tops that often surround it. Soaring ceilings and masonry fireplaces offer an inviting interior. Of course, this style of house loses a lot of livable space with that steep slanting roof. One and a half to two stories of interior living space. Very few vertical wall surfaces are in this home. Except for the front and back walls, there is no vertical external surface in the house. The second floor is narrow. A dormer could be added to gain more space and light on the second floor. A small addition can add much needed living space to either side.

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Natural light can be limited and insufficient, entering only from the front and rear facades. So angle to the sun’s trajectory is important to maximize light. Distinctive floor to ceiling windows are often utilized in these homes to bring in light. All that glass and steep roof does reduce siding costs and brings the views inside. Large, broad decks provide desirable outdoor living space.

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The first modern A Fame cabin was built in Lake Arrowhead, California in 1934. In the 1950s, post World War II Americans fell in love with the look and seeming ease to build this type of structure. By the 1960s the shape was iconic and utilized in commercial as well as residential buildings. Perfect, cozy getaways for singles, couples and small families. This perennial classic gets reinvented decade after decade. From it’s purist tiny house form to custom, grand vacation homes, the A Frame is still popular after all these years.

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(c) Shannon Whaley 2021

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Science Corner for Real Estate Agents – Arsenic

Arsenic, it sounds like the poison of choice from a gothic romance novel. Odorless and tasteless, it was once known as “the poison of kings and the king of poisons”. In 55CE, Nero used it to murder his stepbrother, Tiberius Britannicus, so he could become Emperor of Rome.  Arsenic was frequently used for murder because there was no test to detect it until 1836. The symptoms of arsenic poisoning are not very specific, making it the near perfect weapon. Arsenic also has a place in medical history as a treatment for syphilis. So why is it important for real estate professionals to know about arsenic in wood and water?

Arsenic is naturally found in soil and rocks. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form. Arsenic is a metalloid element widely distributed in the Earth’s crust. Its just about everywhere. Most people get a little arsenic every day in the food they eat and the water they drink. It is commonly found in the ground water of New England. Private wells should be tested regularly for arsenic and other contaminants.  Preliminary well water analysis typically does not test for arsenic. Private dug wells are most at risk for containing inorganic arsenic. An effective method to avoid arsenic contamination is to sink wells 500 feet or deeper to reach purer waters. The process of removal is called adsorption, arsenic sticks to the surfaces of deep sediment particles and is naturally removed from the ground water.

The EPA drinking water standard, since 2006, set the maximum level of inorganic arsenic to 10 parts per billion. There is no arsenic standard for private wells. The FDA set the same 10 ppb standards for bottled water in 2005. The FDA also set “level of concern” at 23 ppb for apple & pear juices and began blocking imports that exceed this level.  Studies have shown that low-level arsenic exposure at concentrations of 100 parts per billion compromises the initial immune response to the Swine Flu (H1N1). It is estimated that over 7% of private wells are above 10ppb.

The toxicity of arsenic to insects, bacteria and fungi led to its use as a wood preservative in the 1930s. Wood was treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) for next 75 years. Increased knowledge of the toxicity of arsenic led to a ban and phasing out of CCA in consumer products in 2004. Although discontinued, CCA treated wood is the most concerning to the public. Most of the older pressure treated wood was treated with CCA. This type of wood was used extensively as structural and outdoor building material. The concern is arsenic being absorbed through the skin or on the skin and then touching the mouth. Although this is not a major route of ingestion. There are even studies showing that arsenic leached from this type of pressure treated wood to the surrounding soil.

Arsenic is absorbed by all plants, but is more concentrated in leafy vegetables, rice, apple & grape juice and seafood. People who are exposed to too much arsenic, over many years, are likely to get cancer and skin lesions. Epidemiological studies have suggested a correlation between arsenic exposure and diabetes.

You cannot remove arsenic by boiling the water or using chlorine bleach. Methods such as reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration or ion exchange should be considered to treat water. Replacement of older pressure treated wood for areas where humans come in close contact with the wood, such as decking, should be replaced. Contact the local or state health department for recommended procedures. Disclosures are required by many states for Arsenic in wood and/or water. At the end of the day, the real estate professional is wise to understand this environmental hazard and properly disclose it.

Shannon Aldrich Whaley, The Real Estate Class (c) 2021

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Architectural Styles – Saltbox

The Saltbox began as a simple rearward expansion. As families grew in size, more space was needed. Early one room cottages gradually expanded to two rooms, then two floors. The next expansion was often adding a single-story, lean-to, shed off the back.

The roofline is unbroken from the ridge to the rear wall. The resulting shape looks like a medieval box to hold salt, so the Saltbox name stuck. By the late 1600s, the style had become so popular that new homes were being built with the lean-to as part of the original construction.

One of the biggest advantages of the Saltbox design is its ability to keep the house warmer in winter. When built with the rear of the house facing North, the Saltbox design helps shield the house from cold New England winds. The wind is funneled up and over the house instead of being directed into the side walls. Points to the Puritans for passive energy efficiency.

Another advantage was that snow could slide down the extended rear roofline, preventing any given part of the roof from carrying too heavy a load. The nickname for this roof is “cat slide” – meaning any roof that, on one side, extends down below the main eave height, providing greater area under the roof without an increase in the ridge height. A cat could slide from the ridge to the ground, presumably with all limbs in tact.

The simple, flat Colonial façade and massive central chimney are key components to this clever design. You may find that the chimney was added on-to during the rearward expansion creating a T pattern, or a second chimney was added for the rear of the house. Typically clapboard or other wooden siding is used on the exterior. 4/4 or 6/6 double hung windows are a common feature. Saltbox homes usually feature a center entry hall or stair, fireplaces, and separated living spaces. The one story addition on the first floor often contains the kitchen and dining room area.

Saltbox homes boast plenty of storage space—typically in the cramped triangle of dead space under the extended roof, just above the ground-floor addition. The roof line of the house allows larger bedrooms on the second floor as well.

The Saltbox style of Colonial is still very popular today. A practical and classic New England home.

Shannon Aldrich Whaley (C) 2021

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Millennials are Turning 40!

The Millennial Generation (1981-1996) are reaching the milestone of turning 40! Hard to imagine, I know. Generation Y, are getting to be middle-aged. The youngest is graduating college and the oldest is joining the 40 Club! The Millennials topped the Baby Boomers in 2019 as the largest living generation, with an estimated 72.1M Millennials over 71.6M Boomers. This generation came of age in the Great Recession, seriously hindering early adulting for many. Millennials were teens and young adults when the internet, home computers, and iPhones came into their lives. They adapted rapidly to the new way of tech, and are used to tech-heavy lifestyles. There’s a smartphone in every hand. Millennials lived through the 911 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Many are paying off crippling student debt. With 63% carrying more than $10,000 owed with an average payment of $393 a month in 2019. This group carries 300% more student debt than their parents did.

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These days Millennials are all grown up with long-term life goals, careers, and businesses. 40% are parents of Generation Alpha, for many, ownership of that first home is already a reality. Many older, sometimes called Geriatric Millennials, have owned their first homes long enough to see substantial equity gains. Now could be the time for them to “trade up” for that “move up” home. Younger Millennials are entering their first-time homebuying years. Just out of college, chasing after their part of the American Dream. After all, interest rates won’t be historically low forever! They want homes, but not any old home will do. They are often skipping the first-time tier and moving on to something bigger and more expensive. NAR reports that 45% of homebuyers age 30-39 spent more than $300,000 for a home.

Open, airy homes with a minimalist vibe attract this crowd. It’s about function and amenities. Lots of built-in storage solutions to keep the home clutter-free. Separate, dedicated spaces for home offices are not just desirable but required. Agents should highlight convertible areas/spaces that could become that needed work area. If buyers are on a tight budget, there won’t be extra money for updating. These buyers most likely need a turn-key property with low maintenance. Low maintenance features include granite countertops, hardwood floors, and metal roofs

The heart of the home is the kitchen, always will be in my mind. In 2020, many people went into the kitchen to bake, steam, broil, instant pot, and cook their way through the pandemic. Upgraded stainless steel appliances are still in fashion. Along with sub Zero refrigerators, built-in wine coolers, pizza ovens, and farmhouse sinks. Kitchens tend to be the main entertaining space.

Certain interior features such as a separate laundry room on the main or second floor are coveted. Outdated bathrooms are a real turnoff when buying on a budget. Revamped bathrooms, vanities with double sinks, high-tech showerheads, and free-standing soaking tubs are positives. This generation is primed to take smart home technology to the next level. Incorporating it in everything from doorbells, thermostats, automatic lighting, home security, to viewing the refrigerator contents. Streamlined and convenient ways to operate the dwelling from your smartphone is the new way of doing things.

Millennials are an environmentally friendly generation that values access to outdoor green spaces. They are looking to decompress after a long day. A fire pit, patio, deck, pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, or vegetable garden are high on their wish lists. Access to green spaces or walking to amenities are tops on this client’s must have list.

More than half of this group says the internet is the ONE THING they cannot live without. For Millennials houses need to be more than just traditional pictures. Livestreaming and videos will bring the house to life. They are voracious social media users. Establishing a relationship with this group via social media is huge. This generation is likely to do business with a brand they follow. Always remember, the social media relationship comes before the client relationship. NAR says 99% of this demographic start their home search online. Millennials are looking for agents who are comfortable using technology for communication, contracts, and closings. Their perfect agent is not only tech-savvy but also is skilled at verbal communication, negotiations, and has strong relationships with other agents. An agent who has the critical and creative thinking to keep up with the times.

The Millennial Generation accounts for the largest segment of the workforce and rental market. In 2017, Pew Research Center reported an average median income of $69,000 for households headed by a Millennial. They take finances and investing seriously, not surprising growing up in the Great Recession. They believe in emergency funds, planning for retirement, and finding a forever home. Millennials may have a tougher financial road to travel than other generations, however, they are proving to be up to the task at hand. So Happy Birthday Millennials and welcome to your Quadragenarian years!

~Some famous personalities turning 40 this year. Beyonce (truly a Child of Destiny) Paris Hilton & Nicole Ritchie (Remember ‘The Simple Life’), Serena Williams (Still Ruling the Tennis Court) & Anna Kournikova (Stardom on the court, mom of 3 with Enrique Iglesias, even has a drink named after her), Eli Manning (Payton’s younger brother), Brittany Spears & Justin Timberlake (Mickey Mouse Club is a distant memory), Pitbull (Songwriter, Rapper, Philanthropist, NASCAR team owner), Alecia Keys (Composing songs since 12 – this girl has always been on fire), Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins has been back at the shire for a decade), Josh Groban (20 years since his debut album), (Captain America) Chris Evans, (Duchess of Sussex) Meghan Markle, Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls still rule!) and Natalie Portman (Wife of Anakin Skywalker, Mother of Luke Skywalker and Girlfriend of Thor)~
Shannon Aldrich Whaley (C) 2021

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Architectural Style – American Craftsman

It was the end of the Victorian era, gone was the desire for elaborate, frilly, eclectic designs. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Every Revolution has a backlash. One backlash to the Industrial Revolution was the rise of the Arts & Crafts Movement. The desire was to reject any trace of new and mass-produced construction style in favor of handcrafted products created by artisans. Factory and machine-made products were thought to be a decline in quality standards. The machine aesthetic was cold and impersonal, so the solution was to embrace a home where all the elements, both inside and out, displayed artful attention to detail.

This style acted as a transitional bridge from the lavish Victorians to the sleek Modern designs of the 20th century. Most American Craftsman are considered to be bungalows, but not all bungalows are American Craftsman. The Craftsman home was modest and affordable to the rapidly expanding American middle class. Today, builders have taken it to new luxurious heights and interpretations. Classic elements are infused with today’s floor plans and modern materials.  

Elements of this style may have first been used by the Hindus in India. The term bungalow comes from “Bangla”, which means a low house for travelers with surrounding porches. Early Indian bungalows had thatched roofs that heavily overhung the front porch. British officers returning home in the 19th century brought the Indian architecture with them and adapted it to their own homes. The Arts & Crafts Movement began in Britain and eventually migrated to our shores. In 1897, the “Arts & Crafts Society” was formed in Chicago to promote the aesthetics of the movement.

Mr. Gustav Stickley was an American furniture maker and must have had a keen mind for sales. His story began in his Uncle’s Pennsylvania chair factory when he was 18. This start made way for Mr. Stickley to begin his own furniture company. Mr. Stickley became an Arts & Crafts Movement enthusiast who eventually added publishing to his business plan to promote his designs. During the summer of 1900, he developed an experimental line called ”New Furniture” in the Arts & Crafts style. Clean lines, unadorned surfaces, sturdy oak selectively stained to enhance the beauty of the wood, and hammered metal fittings.  It came to be commonly known as the now-iconic Mission Style. Eventually, his furniture, matching textiles, lights, sculptures, etc, under the name “Craftsman Products”, were represented and sold at over 100 retailers nationwide. In 1901 he started publishing “The Craftsman” magazine to promote the movement’s design philosophy, advertising of his products, articles on designs that matched his products, and an in-house written reviews of his products. In some ways, he was the IKEA of his time. Quite brilliant and unique marketing. In late 1903, “The Craftsman” magazine announced the “Craftsman Homebuilders Club” to provide architectural plans to its subscribers. No coincidence, these homes happened to be a perfect setting for Stickley’s “New Furniture” line.

You could build a Craftsman house from a plan book, or have it delivered. Several manufacturers of precut houses shipped anywhere there were train tracks. You could just pick up your Sears & Roebuck catalog and order a house to be shipped complete with doors, trim, windows, even plumbing. All the homeowner had to do was dig the foundation, drill a well and install a septic system. All the details were thought out, not just the exterior, it included planned interiors with stained wood and exposed beams. A total lifestyle immersion. Large fireplaces, eat-in kitchens with plenty of cabinetry throughout are part of the general design. Built-in furniture, glass-fronted cabinets, window seats, reading nooks, wood crafted bookshelves are all found in the antique versions of these homes. Built today or yesterday the Craftsman offers warm, inviting interiors.

Craftsman-style homes were instantly popular.  Craftsman is considered a truly domestic architecture evolving along with the Shingle Style and Prairie Style and is thoroughly influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement. This style is characterized by the rustic texture of the building. Traditional Craftsman homes would take on an earthy color scheme with rust, dusty pink, tan, moss green, and browns. This durable design typically began as a one-story or one-and-a-half-story building. That half story often started out as an attic space. Look at the roof, the roof tells us so much about the house underneath it. A classic Craftsman roof will have a low pitch, either gable or hip, with some type of overhang. This roof overhang is typically decorated or supported with simple rafter tails or eave brackets or knee bracers. Double dormers are often added to increase livable space on the second floor with a gabled roof. Hip roofs more often feature a front and/or rear dormer for expansion.  

When the covered front porch extends beyond the house, you may see a low-profile double gabled roof. The second gable may be offset but it will follow the lines and angles of the main gable. The front door is square in the middle of this home, even when the porch itself is offset to one side. The front doors often incorporate panes in the upper third of the door itself or in the transom or sidelights. Large porches commonly have trellis work or pergolas. The charming entrance features heavy tapered squared columns with a front stoop to socialize. Stonework features rounded cobblestones laid out in random patterns. The lower half of the entrance columns and front porch can exhibit impressive stonework.

The lower portion of the building was often battered or sloped to the ground. Redwood or cedar shake shingles alternated patterns on the upper floors from the lower floors. In some parts of the country, the effect was created with brick color/patterns.  Most of the windows are either six-panes-over-one-pane or four-over-one. A prairie style or patterned style of double hanging window. The main window may include a large picture or bay window with an overhang. Real stained glass windows will be found in the originals. New builds can add that touch to pendant lights, transoms, fanlights, and fixed windows.

Clean lines and asymmetry are reflected in this low profile, comfortable home. It’s been around a hundred years now as a favorite design. American Craftsman may have changed, but its spirit is alive and well. It will continue to be re-invented and replicated long into the future.

Shannon Aldrich Whaley (c) 2021

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Brief History of Odiorne Point

Odiorne Point is located at the tip of Rye jutting out into the Gulf of Maine. There is more than meets the eye as you stroll through this State Park. What meets the eye first is some of the best views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Isle of Shoals around. Odiorne Point is named after John Odiorne. He was a resident of Portsmouth NH and a fisherman who was granted 42 acres on “Great Island” (New Castle) just before he purchased the land that is now Odiorne Point in 1657. The Ordiornes made their living by fishing, farming, haying the salt marsh and trading with the Abenaki Indians. The family lived here continuously for 282 years before the government took the land through eminent domain in 1942 to build Fort Dearborn. Owners were given only 30 days to vacate before the area was seized.

At one time there were 11 luxury summer homes located here. In 1942 all were torn down during the the beginning of World War II to build a defense for the Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River. Mrs. Kathryn Stevens of Belmont, Massachusetts built her summer home here in the 1920s on land she bought from Bertha Sugden. Her home had a glassed in porch that gave her a sweeping view of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. “Grarocks” was a seaside home built by Mrs. Helen Graves of Contoocook, New Hampshire. This home was a gray, cedar shingled house with smoky blue shutters that overlooked the Gulf of Maine. The Foye/Whitcomb house known as “Pioneer Farm” was renowned for its rose gardens. A few steps in a stone wall are all that remain today. But before it was razed, the home was a 24 room estate. The Sagamore House was an elegant country inn during the 1850s that was open for boarders and sleighing parties.

Cyrus & Charles Eastman of Littleton, New Hampshire built a Victorian house and barn here in the 1874. This house was later purchased by Robert Sugden and moved to the edge of Rte 1A. He remodeled the barn into a house and sold both. Fannie Botsford bought the Eastman House in 1933 and renamed it “Glen Gables”. She opened it as a boarding house for summer tourists. The barn eventually came into the hands of George S. Howard. He established the 1620 Club, it was supposedly a gambling establishment.

All that is left of the Marvin/Straw Estate is the “Dolphin Fountain”. This home was also called “Sea Acres”. Off to the right of the fountain you may find some ancient roses. These may have been the earliest roses brought to New Hampshire. This was a massive home featured 5 master bedrooms, large living room, formal dining room, butler’s pantry, servant’s dining room, kitchen, laundry, den, and two servant’s bedrooms. This home had 6 fireplaces, separate garage, stable and “man’s quarters”. In 1920 this home was advertised for sale at $25,000 but by the end of the Depression the price dropped to $17,000. You can still see the Norway Maples that lined the semi-circular driveway. In the summer volunteers still plant geraniums on the tops of the stone pillars that once led to Rte 1A.

It is interesting to note that most of the homes on Odiorne Point were owned by women. For the times it was relatively unusual but the country’s shaky economy had led many families to shelter property holdings in women’s names. This was to stop seizure of property when men had their assets acquired during the Great Depression.

World War II has left its mark on the park. Four gun positions were established here to defend the harbor and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Rapid fire 155mm guns were installed on what today look like large fountains but are actually “Panama” mounts. Only one is visible today, two have been filled in and one is overgrown. These guns were able to fire a 138 pound shells about 15 miles. Many other defenses were implemented including underwater listening devices, mines and a submarine net stretched across the mouth of the harbor. The large mounds you see are not natural to the landscape. They are the gun batteries and bunkers. Before the war these were open fields and pastures. Bunkers were positioned all along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to the Caribbean. Inside the bunkers are rooms for shells, powder, and target plotting. Observation posts are located on top of the bunkers. These posts were crucial to the safety of our shore in the days before radar.

In a sad twist of fate the guns at Odiorne were never fired at the enemy and were obsolete before construction was completed in June of 1944. The Government continued to use the land until 1959. The original owners never got their land back and they were paid very little for their homes. Even though they had been told they would get their land back, and it was the law of the day that they would have the opportunity to, once the Government no longer needed it. By 1949 a Federal Law had been enacted with new rules for the disposition of federally acquired property. First it was offered to any departments of the federal government, then the state governments and finally the town municipalities. After that it was supposed to be auctioned off to anyone who attended. The property was sold by the government to the State of New Hampshire in 1961 for $91,000 to be used as a park. Private citizens organized volunteer efforts that have created the park you see today.

The Isle of Shoals became part of Odiorne State Park in 1992. Looking out over the water the island to the far right is White Island and was the home of Celia Thaxter. You can make out the lighthouse. Looking to the left of White Island the next one is Star Island. This is very easy to make out from the large building on it. This is the Oceanic Hotel built in the 1800s and is currently used for summer retreats and educational programs by the Unitarian-Universalist and United Church of Christ Churches. The Star Island Corporation hosts conferences on many topics such as The Arts, Natural History, Meditation Retreats, and Star Digital Photography Workshops. You can even make reservations to simply stay the night on the island. The next island in the chain is Appledore, this is largest of the islands was known as Hog Island. It was once the cultural center of New   Hampshire for summer visitors. Celia Thaxter was a well known poet and she hosted many famous writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), and Walt Whitman. New Hampshire’s only elected President, Franklin Pierce also visited the island. The hotel that they visited burned down in the early 1900s and the island is now home to the Shoals Marine Laboratory run by the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. Moving farther down the island chain on a clear day you can see Duck Island. During WWII this little island was used for target practice by the military. Today Duck Island is home to sea gulls, cormorants and harbor seals. Smuttynose Island, Lunging Island, Cedar Island and Malaga Island make up the rest of the island chain.

You will often see large ships and tankers sitting off the islands. They are waiting for one of our pilots to come out to take them up the Piscataqua River and just the right tide. Our pilots are highly skilled at navigating the rapid tidal currents and turns of the river.

Sitting out at the mouth of the Piscataqua River is Whaleback Light. It was built of granite in 1872 to mark the harbor entrance. The bright white lighthouse slightly upriver is Portsmouth Harbor Light. This lighthouse is built on the pre-revolutionary foundation of Fort William and Mary, now known as Fort Constitution. It is home to a Coast Guard Station. Several times during the summer the Friends of the Portsmouth Harbor Light open the light house for tours. You can also go out to Fort Constitution for picnics along the water. Just remember to stay on the blue line as you go through the Coast Guard Station.

When leaving the trails make sure you watch out for poison ivy in season. You can recognize it by the old rhyme “Leaves of three leave it be” it is a low growing plant and the leaves often appear to be shiny. Another common plant you will find is Salt-Spray Rose or “Rosa rugosa”. This rose came from the Orient and thrives in the salt air on our shores. In the fall people still gather the rose hips from these plants to make jam or tea. It is very high in Vitamin C. It bright fuchsia color can be seen abundantly along our coast.

The main entrance to the Seacoast Science Center was the summer home of Robert Sugden built in 1920. He was a prominent Portsmouth businessman. His masonry home had electric lighting and appliances. Very modern for 1920. The home consisted of nine rooms with a recessed stairway that could be pulled down to access the second floor bedrooms and sitting room. The house also featured a salt water pool right at the edge of the ocean. The museum features a 1,000 gallon Gulf of Maine aquarium and special indoor tide pool touch tank. EDALHAB the first undersea research lab is parked outside the museum. There are many interactive history exhibits, guided walks and lighthouse talks at the Center. During the Summer a fun concert series is held on the grounds. A great time for the whole family. Odiorne Point State Parks trails are open throughout the year. Park facilities open seasonally. State Park admission fees apply.

(c) Shannon Aldrich 2013

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5 Lead Generation Ideas Outside of the Box

We are all in the lead generation business more than we are in the real estate business. Without leads you are, quite frankly, out of business. Or soon will be. So we call past clients for referrals, set up expired listing campaigns and chase down FSBOs. Granted these are all excellent sources of business and you should never leave them out. But how about looking ahead to anticipate people moving. The following is a batch of ideas that may stimulate your lead generation activities.

1. Attend moving, garage and estate sales. Not only might you find a good buy or three, but take the time to strike up a conversation with the person running the sale to find out about their real estate needs. Check your local papers and be prepared to be out early on Saturday morning.

2. Marriage announcements in the paper and Bridal Shows. They may not be buying right away but it is part of their dream. Offer a seminar to Bridal Shows on “First Time Home Buyers and Your Taxes”. Focus on the Grooms because the Brides and their Mothers have other things to think about.

3. Birth Announcements. This is how I got my first listing. By sending “Congratulations on the New Addition to Your Family” cards. More feet in the house equals a need for more square footage.

4. Read the business section of the newspaper (either in print or online) and see who is getting promoted. Your local Chamber of Commerce newsletter is also a good source for this information. Send a quick handwritten congrats along with the clip of the article. You will be amazed how thoughtful this easy action is. It makes you memorable to the recipient.

5. Check your public records to see who owns homes in your area but live somewhere else. This can be an excellent double whammy. Market to the out of area owners and market to the renters in the home. Show them how if they can afford to rent a house they could possibly be ready to buy their own.

Well there you go – I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope it starts you thinking.

Shannon Aldrich © 2013

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New England’s Flying Pests – Carpenter Ants & Carpenter Bees

Termites get all the glory but here in New England we have other bug’s to consider as well. Carpenter ants and carpenter bees are tops on this list. These wood boring bugs don’t care if the wood is inside or outside the house. To them it’s just a place to nest. And they do serve a much needed purpose in the environment because they nest in dead trees and quicken the decay of the wood. Insects like vacation homes as much as you and your guests do. Because they are vacant much of the time, the bugs have free run of the place. And they certainly party it up when you are not around.

Carpenter Ants

They can be mistaken for termites in the early spring when they swarm in vast numbers. You can tell the difference because the front wings are longer than the back wings and they have a narrow waist. Swarmers are commonly observed from March to June. It is really hard to miss these big bugs. They are useful creatures to clean up the woods of dead trees but they can also bring a house down. They keep their homes very clean so it is easy to see where they have chewed out the wood by the small piles of sawdust everywhere.

A few years ago, I went into an infested listing after the owners had sprayed. The floor was literally covered with dead bodies all the while their friends were back flying about. It was like some scene from the latest gross horror flick. This job was too big for the homeowner so we brought in the specialists who located a large nest underneath the back door.


There are pre-packaged bait traps that are easy to use. Check your local home improvement store or garden center. Wherever you see an ant trail is where you want to place them. You can also follow the ants that are leaving the house to discover where the major nest might be. The easiest and quickest way to handle this problem is to bring in the pest experts. The right exterminator can get the job done quickly and painlessly for you.

Carpenter Bees 

I recently saw my first infestation of carpenter bees. They look like a regular bumblebee but they have a predominantly shiny black abdomen. Also they will readily dive bomb you but not try to sting you. In fact the males don’t have stingers and the females are busy doing their own thing and will not try to sting you unless you get too close to the nest. A female carpenter bee can tunnel at a rate of 1 inch per week with the average length being 4-6 inches of chewed out wood. A gallery being used by several bees can easily reach lengths of 10 feet!

Back to my bee story, these bees were having a great time mating in the warm spring weather. All the fascia boards around the roof were riddled with round holes and the bees were flying in and out. The holes are about the size of your finger. On the ground was further evidence of sawdust. The damage they caused was certainly extensive and all the trim boards had to be replaced.


To start with deter carpenter bees by painting bare or weathered wood. Regular home maintenance should include painting the exterior. If you find them becoming a problem please cover up before you start towards the nest. The males can’t sting you because they have no stinger but the female sure will! After using insecticides for the bees, plug the entrances with caulk or putty and then paint over them. But if the wood is riddled the best solution is to remove it and replace it with new pressure treated lumber that you have painted. Bees are most active in the spring when they are mating, and then the new bees come out briefly in August or September before going back into the nest to pass the winter. The best time to have them treated is in the early spring. I strongly suggest bringing in the pest experts to take care of this problem. They use a dust to kill the bees and it’s very effective.

Routine maintenance for any home should be regular inspection, repair and painting of any damaged wood. Schedule a time in the spring to come up to inspect your vacation home when the bugs are out and about doing their mating dance. Another piece of good advice is to get a pest inspection before you by that vacation or second home by a professional in the business. Most home inspectors will look around for pests but you really want an exterminator who is an expert let you know what is going on with that home you are only going to visit occasionally.

(c) Aldrich & Associates 2013


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Positive Screen Savers

My Aha of the morning is to put positive affirmations and goals on the screen saver of my computer. With all the time we spend on the computer couldn’t it be interesting to have a subtle reminder scroll across your computer instead of the bouncing ball.

It was easy to do – Go to the control panel and pick screen savers. When you scroll down you will see the name ‘Marquee’. From there you can add your text, change the fonts, size, color and speed. It is not unlimited space but I was able to put on 6 different lines. The whole process only took 5 minutes to complete.

There are lots of things you can pick. I put in my yearly production goals and a few affirmations. I am interested to see how often I notice it during the day.

Affirmations to Consider:

  • I do what I love and am richly rewarded for it
  • I close $1 Million in real estate transactions every month
  • I receive checks
  • I am rewarded for all the work I do
  • I have the perfect real estate career for me
  • Success is inevitable
  • It is easy to manifest all of my goals
  • Wealth is pouring into my life
  • I am a lucky, happy, healthy and successful person
  • I choose to be positive about real estate
  • I sell X houses every week
  • I list X houses every month for sale
  • I have more money coming in than going out
  • Today is full of miracles
  • My intentions create my reality
  • I am in charge of my life

I would love to hear if anyone else has tried this kind of experiment and the results. Or share your daily affirmations – I would love to hear them.

Shannon Aldrich (c) 2012

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A is for Apple – Why Are There So Many Words That Start with A in Real Estate?

So many words starting with ‘A’ to learn in real estate pre-licensing. Here are some of my favorites and a few easy ways to remember them.

  • Appraisal – Estimating property value by an individual who is state licensed in appraising
  • Agricultural – farms, ranches – places where you grow things
  • Accession – transistion of trade fixtures to real property of the owner if not removed prior to end of lease
  • Annexation – addition, personal to real – plant the tree “When the tree was in the root ball in the driveway it was personal property, when you planted i int h front yard it became real property.”
  • Appurtenance – right or privilege that runs with the land. “My right of way to the boat dock”
  • Agency – relationship of trust between principal & agent, it’s so special
  • Accretion – increases the land by the slow and gentle action of water
  • Alluvium – the actual deposited soil or silt
  • Avulsion – sudden removal of soil – act of Mother Nature – flood, earthquake, mudslide
  • Ad Valorem – according to value, how we tax property
  • Assessment – property value for tax purposes
  • Appropriation – authorizes the taxation of property
  • Attachment – court order to control property
  • Assignment – transfer of right but original party remains liable
  • Acknowledgement – notarized, sealed
  • Adverse Possession – open, notorious, continuous, hostile and adverse. 20 years. The opposite of Easement by Prescription.
  • Abstract of Title – Title search of public record, not an Attorney’s Opinion of Title
  • Actual Notice – Given the information directly, I KNOW IT.
  • Acceleration clause– Makes entire debt due immediately. If you don’t pay, you don’t stay.
  • Alienation clause – Prevents borrower from assigning the debt. Must pay off the mortgage first if sold.
  • Assume – Becoming personally liable for existing mortgage including payments
  • ARM – Adjustable Rate Mortgage
  • Amortize – “To kill off slowly”
  • Amendment – to ‘mend’ – change something in the contract
  • Addendum – to ‘add’ – something to the contract

Passing the pre-licensing examination for real estate is mostly about learning a new and very subtle language. Mastering the vocabulary is key to mastering the test.


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