Do you want chickens with that new home?


The new trend is farming at home….corn, chickens, and deed restrictions.  Oh my.  Loved this article on “The Rise of the Backyard Farm” by Meg White for Realtor Magazine.  She covered so much in this article I’m not sure what I could add.


  1. Is that chicken coop coming with the house?
  2. The deed restricts livestock and poultry…but the town’s zoning allows for it.
  3. If I remove my lawn to plant food will that devalue my property?
  4. Are the solar panels included, or are they leased?

Well maybe it brings up more questions than answers.  Stay tuned.

Just my thoughts. -Jenn

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Q&A Timberframe Value for Construction Loan

I received an email asking about the potential value difference between a new construction timberframe (post and beam, timber-frame, timber peg) home and the cost to construct it.Beam Timber Wood


 I plan to build a small timber frame home on a lot I own in NH but I am worried about the appraisal for the construction loan. In your experience, do new construction timberframe homes appraise significantly lower than cost to build? Thank you.

Hi Gene,

  There are so many variables that go into valuing a home.  Quality of construction is one of them…timberframe homes are certainly one of my personal favorites, and would typically merit a quality adjustment.  I say typically because some towns do not lend themselves to custom built homes so therefore no quality adjustment would be given.   

  Try to keep the value close to the median of that town, don’t be the most expensive home.  Seeing as it’s a small home, and perhaps a more simple frame, you may be fine. 

  So my answer is that “it depends” but most likely a timberframe home would not appraise lower than typical construction…if anything it may be slightly higher due to the unique construction.

041213_1459_NashuaNHRea3.jpgWhen building a new home there are many things you need to keep into consideration if you need to get a loan.   Don’t over build in size, in upgrades, in amenities…just don’t overbuild.  If you are building your dream home, plan on living there for a long time, and have the extra cash when the appraisal comes in low then go for it.  The timing for new construction has to be right too, with values going down over the last few years you could buy a existing, prebuilt, home for far less than new construction.  That’s changing now that the housing market has been stable in most areas in southern and eastern New Hampshire.  Housing starts are starting to increase!

-Just my thought.  –Jenn Cote

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Can I Sell My House Short?

One of the key elements to selling a house as a short sale will be proving a hardship.  See my post on hardships.

Need Help?

Need Help?

When I list a short-sale I provide my clients with some choices for a short-sale negotiator, this is the person who will be working with your lender.  The sellers lender will typically pay the costs to sell the house, from the real estate fees to the negotiator fees.  There still may be some associated fees which the negotiator may be able to explain and will often depend on the lender.

Buying or selling, every case is different and there are no guarantees, but working with a professional who has experience in short-sales is the key.  The process is longer, more complicated, and the factors for listing can be different than a traditional sale.  I go over all this with my clients.

If you have any questions, or need help, please contact me.

-Just my thoughts.  -Jenn Cote

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Negative Environmental Influences in Real Estate

We’ve all heard the saying that when buying real estate it’s about location-location-location.  Houses in some towns have higher predominant values than others, the same with some neighborhoods, but what I’m talking about is more specific: negative environmental influences.

An appraiser looks at surrounding lots to determine the uses and influences that would affect the subject property.  It could be a positive influence like conservation land or a park.  In many cases there can be negative influences such as commercial or industrial businesses, high-tension power lines, or even contaminated or Superfund sites.

What is a Superfund site?  It’s a site where toxic waste has  been dumped and the Environmental Protection Agency has designated the site to be cleaned up.  Typically the area has restricted access and is fenced in.

A more detailed explanation on the differences between a Superfund site and a Brownfield site can be found on this post:

The typical buyer wouldn’t know how to begin a search on site influences other than what they see driving by.  Would your typical real estate agent know this information?  If they know, they should be disclosing it to you, but they don’t always know.   The appraiser would be reporting site influences in the appraisal report…you need to read that report thoroughly.  Unfortunately, by the time you get a copy of the appraisal you will be near your closing date, or worse, you find out after you move in!  In many cases these sites have been cleaned up, but it could affect the marketability long-term.

Whether it be buying a house, stocks, or even a Doctor’s diagnosis, you need to be your own advocate.  Do your own due-diligence.  Research, research, research…takes time and practice but the more you do it the better you get.  I happen to do it for a living, and my endless curiosity pushes me to take extra steps in researching a property…be it for an appraisal or a client.

The reason for this post is because I did an appraisal on such a property in Nashua, NH.   The state owns the property behind this lot, the tax records do NOT indicate it’s a Superfund site, but town has the owner as the State of NH, Dept of Environmental Services.  Hmmm, so I went on the EPA site and found out it indeed is a contaminated brownfield.

contaminated site in Nashua NH

A well labeled site in the picture to the left is very obvious.  The Mohawk Tannery Site is located in a neighborhood close to downtown Nashua and adjacent to the Nashua river. 

The EPA defines a brownfield site as: “the redevelopment or reuse which may be complicated by the presence, or potential presence, of a hazardous substance…”


Check it out to see what’s near you. EPA website:

Just my thoughts.  Jennifer Cote- Everything Real Estate

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USDA No Money Down Programs

The government has a sponsored program that can assist households purchase a home with a low or even no down payment.  One of my favorites is the Rural Development Loan program.


  • Property must be in a USDA designated rural location.
  • 100% mortgage LTV which is based on the APPRAISED value
  • Zero down payment and low interest rates.
  • No limit on seller concessions or gift.
  • 30 year fixed rate
  • USDA approved lenders only.

Rural Development Loans are available in these New Hampshire communities: Atkinson, Hampstead, Amherst, Windham, Pelham, Bedford, Brookline, Hollis, Litchfield, Lyndeborough, Mason, Mont Vernon, New Boston, and Wilton.  For a full list of New Hampshire towns, and income requirements, read the FACT SHEET.

The ineligible area list for NH is far smaller: Concord, Derry, Hudson, Keene, Nashua, Londonderry, Manchester, Merrimack, Portsmouth, Rochester, Salem,parts of Goffstown and Hooksett.

Not all lenders can do Rural Development loans.  Contact me for more information.

More information:

Federal Site:

Local NH/VT office:

State by State:


-Just my thoughts.


*Information is from the rural development government websites listed above.  I am not a mortgage professional.  This is for informational purposes only and you should do your own due-diligence.  This is a government funded program that needs to be funded yearly.

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