Badger Realty to Host an “Open House” Baby Shower for Mother Seton House

Mother Seton HouseGiving Back by Supporting Young Mothers and their Babies in Need

On Wednesday, August 12, Badger Realty is hosting an “Open House” Baby Shower to benefit the mothers and babies of the Mother Seton House. The community is invited to attend the event, which will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church Hall in Fryeburg from 4pm to 7pm. All attending are encouraged to bring a gift appropriate for an expectant or new mother or baby.

David Cianciolo of Badger Realty is a board member of Mother Seton House, recently explained the nonprofit’s mission, “We believe that every baby deserves a good start in life. At Mother Seton House, single pregnant women and new mothers in difficult circumstances receive free housing and support at no cost throughout their pregnancy and until their baby is a year old.”

Cyndi Broyer, the nonprofit’s director, added, “The volunteers who provide 24/7 coverage for the House do it with so much love. In this caring and nurturing environment, the women receive mentoring along with academic and parenting education; physical, emotional and spiritual support. And since Mother Seton House is 100 percent volunteer run, all the donations we receive go directly to the mothers and babies.”

According to Cianciolo, “This Baby Shower will be a chance to celebrate the work of the Mother Seton House, and to provide some much-needed items to the mothers and babies that the House serves. We hope members of the community will join us in this effort. From now through August 12th, those who can’t attend the Baby Shower can drop gifts off at Badger Realty’s office on Main Street in North Conway. ”

The wish list for the “Open House” Baby Shower includes diapers sizes newborn through size 4; nightgowns for newborns; infant health care kits; baby wash and shampoo; 99% water-type baby wipes; board books; developmental toys for ages newborn to age one; Halo brand Sleepsack wearable blankets or Summer brand Swaddle Me sleep sacks; receiving blankets; and two bathtub spout covers. Other items needed include: liquid (not antibacterial) soap, deodorant, paper towels, toilet paper that’s safe for septic systems, tissues, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, household cleaning products that are safe for pregnant women, AA and AAA batteries, permanent markers, invisible tape and masking or duct tape; waxed paper, foil, and plastic wrap; kitchen-size and 4 gallon trash bags; and a boot tray.  Also appreciated: gift cards in any denomination for Shaws, WalMart, Hannaford, Lowes, Home Depot, Shell or Irving Gas.

“We also have a gift registry on Facebook and smile.Amazon.com with other items on our wish list,” said Broyer.

As a resident of Mother Seton House wrote recently about finding out she was pregnant, “I was very scared because I didn’t have anyone to turn to for support and was about to be out on the streets until I heard about the Mother Seton House. I knew then that there was hope. I found out that I would be able to have my baby, clean up my life and start over fresh for both me and my child.”

And if you can’t attend the event, you can drop off a donation at Badger Realty office at 2633 White Mountain Highway in North Conway Village, or at Chalmers Insurance at 557 Main Street, Fryeburg Village, Maine.

For more on Badger Realty’s “Year of Giving Back,” contact Brenda Leavitt or David Cianciolo at 603-356-5757.

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Badger Realty's Ice Cream Social For Residents of Merriman House

merriman-house-300x223On Friday, June 5th at 2pm, Badger Realty hosted an old-fashioned ice cream social for the residents, their families and the staff of Merriman House Nursing Home at Memorial Hospital.

“We’re working with Sue Ruka, Director of Population Health at Memorial Hospital, to arrange this event for the residents and staff,” said Dick Badger in making the announcement about the event. “We’re hoping that the families of the residents will join us, too. There will be music by Mary Bastoni, a wonderful vocal artist, from 2pm to 3pm, and of course, ice cream with all the toppings. We also plan to bring some new games and puzzles to be added to Merriman House’s library of activities.”

CollageBadger went on to explain the event is part of Badger Realty’s “Year of Giving Back,” in celebration of the firm’s 50th anniversary. “Merriman House is an important resource for local families with loved ones who have memory disorders. It’s important that we as a community remember these residents and recognize the contributions that they have made during their lives. We also want to thank the staff who contribute so much to the residents’ quality of life. We are so fortunate to have a facility of this caliber here in Mt. Washington Valley.”

“All of us at Badger Realty appreciate the support the community has given us over the past 50 years,” Badger concluded. “We feel fortunate to be able to give back.”

For more on Badger Realty’s “Year of Giving Back,” contact Brenda Leavitt or Debbie Anderson at 603-356-5757

Giving Back: Badger Realty Donates to Jackson Fireworks

jackson nh real estateIf you were lucky enough to enjoy Jackson's Fireworks display this year, Badger was proud to be a part of it!  Badger Realty has a history of supporting local fireworks displays, from Arts Jubilee to the Fourth of July celebration in North Conway’s Schouler Park.

“This year, Badger Realty has donated $500 to Jackson’s Independence Day fireworks display,” said Kathleen Sullivan Head of the firm’s Jackson office. “It’s one of the most popular annual events in Jackson, and one we look forward to all year long. This year the display is scheduled for Sunday, July 5th, and we’re so pleased to be part of making this event happen.”

The donation is part of Badger Realty’s Year of Giving Back, in celebration of their 50 years of doing business in the greater Mt. Washington Valley. Through May 2016, Badger will be giving back to local nonprofits and other organizations through direct donations, special events and unique programs.

Some of the organizations and initiatives that will be included in the Year of Giving Back: Conway's 250th Anniversary, the Old-Fashioned BBQ for First Responders (to be held July 10th), the North Conway Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, Jen's Friends, Merriman House, Starting Point, Mountain Top Music, Arts Jubilee, Art in the Park, Mt. Washington Observatory, Mother Seton House and Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund.

For more on Badger Realty’s “Year of Giving Back,” contact Brenda Leavitt or Debbie Anderson at 603-356-3030.

The ABLs of Real Estate

conway nh homes for saleI believe it was the movie Glengarry Glen Ross that gave us the “Always Be Closing” speech. I prefer a softer approach to that which is “Always Be Curious”. As I’m sliding into my mid-forties, I find myself more curious than ever. From digging deeper into programming languages (for my day job) to exploring other things that peak my interest like sports nutrition, cycling techniques and even the intricacies of coffee! This deeper dive provides a fun, enriching experience I had not expected.

The fear in the cessation of learning is that one tends to hold on to nuggets of information that simply aren’t true. The fact of the matter is; life is changing at a mind-bending rate. The pace at which technology is innovating and improving boggles the brain. It stands to reason that when we explore most areas of our lives, we will see that “progress” has improved, adjusted or otherwise impacted what was considered the norm. This theory appears to hold true in the world of real estate as well. Let’s look at a few areas in which the old way of thinking simply no longer applies.

One of the misconceptions related to real estate, that I find most troubling, is that all real estate agents make tons of money. While this may be true in some cases, it is far from the norm. People outside of real estate typically assume that the commission is simply handed to the agent and off they go to buy their new BMW. This typically leads to unjustified feelings of resentment, especially in the case of a quick sale.

The reality is that the commission “pie” is almost always sliced up into so many different pieces; the agent is fortunate to walk away with about 20 – 25% of that amount. Between splitting it with the buyer’s agent, their broker and the franchise (if they are affiliated), there is lots of “shaving” off the top before your agent gets their piece. In most cases, the agents are working hard to market your listing and get as many people through your front door as possible. After searching for homes for the past 2 months, I have a whole new respect for the amount of work that goes into this job.

Another misconception is that agents are only able to show their own company’s listings. While an agent may get a better commission split (see above) if they sell their own listings, if their company does not have what their buyer is looking for, they would be incredibly shortsighted to let them walk out the door. Every REALTOR has access to the full MLS listing system. With a quick phone call, your agent can get you into any property that is currently for sale. If they are unwilling to do this or offer up resistance, it is time to find a new agent, pronto! The one you have now is clearly not looking out for your best interests. And speaking of looking out for your best interests…

The next misconception is a little touchy, so I’m going to tread lightly. I believe it is one of the more important things that need to be understood though. A friend of mine was upset with “his” agent because he overhead the agent mention to the listing agent what my friend’s financial “ceiling” was. The home in question was well below that mark, but he felt betrayed by “his” agent. I put “his” in quotes for a reason.

The truth of the matter is, unless you have signed a “Buyer’s Agency” agreement with your agent, they do not work for you. Read that last sentence again. The agent that is spending their weekend driving you around the Mt. Washington Valley to look at homes is not getting paid by you. When you finally purchase a home, your agent is (typically) paid from the commissions that the seller is paying to their listing agent. While I would agree with my friend that his agent really didn’t need to share that information, my friend should have been more aware of the relationship he was in.

jackson nh homes for saleThe last misconception for today is that you don’t need to “stage” your home for sale. I’ve never been more aware of this huge error in judgment as during our recent home search process. Yes, I’ve been rambling on for years about clutter and removing personal items from the home. But until you start to see the ramifications of unheeded advice, it is all theoretical. We saw homes with dirty clothes on the floor, dirty litter boxes and kitchens so full of “stuff” (as you can imagine) it made my eye twitch.

“The simple act of cleaning your home, clearing off the clutter and picking up clothes and toys makes a remarkable difference in a showing,” notes Badger Realty agent, Norman Head. He continued, “People tend to notice the home owners that cared enough to make it presentable. It implies they took good care of the home while they were living there as well.”

There are lots of misconceptions about real estate. As with anything that matters, it is important to take the time to get the facts. Never stop learning and always be curious. You never know in what area you may expand your mind!

Home Sweet (Second Vacation) Home

north conway nh vacation homeIf you have ever thought about owning a second home, how about this idea: 16 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, and multiple options for your own personal space? Or an in-home bowling alley to better that league score? If you just cannot make time to head to the local cinema, maybe an in-home movie theater would better suite your tastes.

Oversized old mansions are popping up as the new trend for extreme second homes that serve as summer homes and family getaways where no one has to share a bedroom or a bathroom. Don’t want to book a hotel? No problem. In Rhode Island, the Orchard is on the market for $11 million and boasts 16 bedrooms plus a separate cottage on the property. Anacortes, Washington is the home of a 25 bedroom estate for $19 million. And Hopedale, Massachusetts boasts a 17 bedroom residence for a mere $3.6 million.

Real estate agents are responding to the market for extreme second homes that have had previous lives as everything from boarding schools to homes for royalty to health centers. Christie’s International Real Estate reported earlier this year that five homes sold for more than $100 million in 2014; but what is causing such a boom in luxury home sales?

Luxury in a Home Away From Home

Real estate experts are attributing the popularity of luxury second homes to several factors, including the rise of billionaires around the world, desire of the wealthy to live near (but not necessarily in the same home as) close family, and a need for a getaway that can also accommodate loved ones.

If you are looking to secure a luxurious home away from home, head to:

  • Los Angeles: For $20 million, you can score a 15,500 square-foot home with custom electric toothbrushes in the bathrooms, hands-free toilets, and heated seats. Why limit comfort?
  • Los Cabos: Just south of the border, you can snag a four-bedroom residence that includes a golf cart and a Hummer. Because if you are getting a second house at a price of $2.3 million, you might as well secure some additional transportation as well.
  • Beverly Hills: Need 13,000 bottles of wine with your pad? $195 million will get it for you. The gated estate villa includes a vineyard and two sweeping staircases, a disco with revolving dance floor, and dining room seating for 250 of your closest friends.

Are Mansions as Second Homes Just a Trend?

Recent years have seen an advance in technology and design, making not just first homes but second and third homes more luxurious than ever. Will the trend continue? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, the wealthy have plenty of opportunity to take advantage of luxury toothbrushes and revolving dance floors in their posh homes away from home. And while we may not all possess the status and wealth of the people who can secure multiple mansions, it sure is fun to look.

What A Ride

north conway homes for salesIn the past few weeks, our home search has brought us its share of bumps, highs and even a few lows. Once we were able to focus on a home just for the two of us, the search totally shifted in both location and budget. We lost a few prospective homes to more aggressive buyers and have been amazed at the varied quality of the homes we have toured (more on that later).

Through all of this, the one thing we have struggled with is the lack of a real clear grasp on what it is we want. Of course the standard things like modern design, updated kitchen and baths and plenty of space have stayed the course throughout. But when you really start to look more deeply at the homes available (and there are lots of them!) the variety can quickly become overwhelming.

As an example, when we were viewing home “A”, we loved that it had great views, a gorgeous interior, an attached garage and plenty of space. But upon closer inspection, a walk around the exterior, it became clear the owners have not touched the outside of their home in years. The roof, siding, windows and even driveway were all in need of some serious work. Yes, I can hear you saying, “but those are all ‘easy’, cosmetic fixes”. True enough, but those “easy” fixes were going to bust the budget (and the time-frame to be able to move in).

As buyers, I believe it is important to set out your list of “wants” and “needs” before you head down this road. For us, four to six weeks of remodeling, never mind the cost, is just not in the cards. Like many buyers today, we’re looking for a home in “move-in” condition. The definition of “move-in” is obviously a moving target depending on the buyers’ needs.

Like most of our fellow buyers, we spend lots and lots of time in front of the computer looking at available homes. The one little nugget of advice I have for you regarding that is to always visit (drive-by or walk-through) the homes that catch your eye. We have seen both sides of the coin thus far. The home that looks amazing from the outside, but is an absolute dump on the inside, and the “rough around the edges” home that we almost didn’t give a chance, but blew our socks off once we entered the front door. Suffice it to say, we have a few very talented photographer/agents in the valley! ☺

The reasons for buying a home vary greatly as well. All of the design, space, layout, location, view and cosmetic details aside, for most people buying a home it is simply going to be a more comfortable place to call home in a location in which they want to settle down. The key is to not waver on those items that are going to be the most important in your decision making process.

For some, affordability is going to be the main focus. This is an easy one since after visiting the bank and getting pre-approved, you have your budget set for you. This helps with the initial searches and keeps your “we can fix that later” instinct in check as well. If budget is the key, you have already filtered down your choices and are now more easily able to focus in on the next couple items on your list.

Location, pardon the exhausted cliché, is another important one. We are trying to get as far up into the mountains as possible, but remain close enough to town that we don’t feel entirely isolated. I basically want it to be pitch black and quiet at night, but retain the capacity to run to town for a gallon of milk without stopping for gas! Once you’re past the budget filter, a simple map-based search allows you to narrow down your choices even further. The good news for us, is that these locations are not as popular as living right in town. We will (hopefully) save a little money and still get the home and amenities we want.

“For buyers, settling on that list of needs is a big advantage in the home search process,” notes Badger Realty agent, Nubian Duncan. He continued, “After the budget is settled, narrowing the search further with those “must-haves” is incredibly helpful in the whole process. It keeps the buyers focused and eliminates a large percentage of homes that simply don’t fit the bill.”

Lastly, unless you are in this for investment purposes, you should be thinking long-term. As we have been filtering through the amazing choices of homes in the area, one factor that always plays a role is the condition of the home and its potential. This can be a bit of a tightrope, but in the back of our minds is how will this home look in 10 years? Will there be further construction built up around us? Will the neighbors maintain their homes? Does the property have any room for expansion, updates, modifications, etc.? Since our home truly is one of the biggest investments we’ll make, it is important to consider it in a long-term fashion.

There is a lot going on in the brains of buyers while they are deep in the throes of searching for real estate. My recommendations to my fellow buyers is simply to know what you “need”, be aware of what you “want” and think long term. My recommendation to the real estate professionals is to try and be patient with us. This really IS a big deal!

Home Buying 101: 4 Questions You Might Ask About Down Payments

north conway homes for saleWhen you are on the hunt for a new home, part of the process will include a down payment. A down payment is a certain percentage of your home’s purchase price, and you pay that percentage when you arrive at the closing process.

You can think of your home’s down payment as your investment in the purchase. The rest of the payment for your home will come from the mortgage you secure. If for some reason you cannot make payments on your home in the future and you go into foreclosure, you will lose the down payment money.

How Much Should My Down Payment Be?

The amount of down payment depends on a few factors, including:

  • The purchase price of your home: A down payment of 20% is a good amount in order to gain strength on the paperwork side. So if your home’s total price is $120,000, a 20% down payment will be $24,000. The remaining amount, $96,000, will need to be secured via your mortgage arrangements.
  • The type of loan you are able to secure: For instance, amounts will vary between VA loans, FHA loans, and conventional loans.

Do I Need Down Payment Insurance?

If you choose to put less than 20% down on the purchase price of your home, your lender may require you to pay for private mortgage insurance, or PMI. The best step would be to speak with your lender and do some research on any requirements.

What If I Make a Large Down Payment?

Opting for a larger down payment can mean more house for your money. Here is an example (assuming a 4.5% interest rate and a 30 year mortgage):

  1. Joe and Mary want to buy a home at a list price of $200,000. They can afford 10% down ($20,000) and will pay $912 in monthly interest and principal amounts. Their total PMI is $70 per month, making monthly payments $982 (not including taxes and insurance).
  2. Tom and Sue want to buy the same home, but are able to put 20% down (40,000) and will pay nothing for PMI. Their monthly payments will be $811 (also not including taxes and insurance).

You can see in the example that Tom and Sue will pay less for the same home, and at the same time are putting more toward principal and interest. You can check out a handy down payment calculator at www.bankrate.com.

What Is the Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)?

Your down payment amount allows the lender to provide a loan-to-value ratio, or LTV, that a lender will consider in the home loan process. This amount shows how much you will owe after the down payment is applied. As a percentage, it is the ratio between the home’s principal amount and the appraised value.

To find the amount, divide the loan amount by the value of the home. For Tom and Sue, their loan amount after the down payment will be $160,000, so the LTV will be 80%.

Be sure to do your research and talk to a mortgage professional for more information about mortgages, down payments, and other questions related to the home buying process.

Get A Move On

jackson nh homesIf you’ve been reading along, you know we’re on the cusp of making the big move. If you’re just moving down the road, like lots of people, the changes in your daily routine won’t be that great. Overall, most people stay in the same state and don’t venture more than 200 miles from their old house (data from an NAR study a couple years ago). But if you are taking a leap of state (or states!) there are a few things to keep in mind.

Getting connected is a big one. My brother and his wife are leaving the great state of Maine to head to Salt Lake City. Of course they will maintain their close relationships back in the Northeast, but it will be important for them to make new connections wherever they land. Meet-up groups are an amazing way to meet like-minded people. As you venture into the larger cities, there are groups for everything from WordPress developers to basket weavers.

Moving a little closer to home, I also encourage people to reach out to their neighbors sooner than later. Besides having someone you can call by name in case of an emergency, having a little taste of “Mayberry” would do us all a little good. We’re not in New York City here, so we are not afraid to make connections. Knowing your neighbors also leads to a more secure neighborhood. Once you get to know them (and vice-versa), if you see suspicious activity, you are more likely to say something.

Once you land in your new space, carve out a couple hours to take care of that annoying pile of paperwork you have been avoiding for the past few days. Tackle things like registering your vehicle, registering to vote, updating your addresses and generally re-pointing the world to your new home. Nobody wants to spend any more time at the DMV than necessary, but if you get this out of the way sooner than later, you won’t be caught having to be there at the end of the month. Blech!

While we’re talking about your car and unpleasant things none of enjoy dealing with, take this time to ensure that your insurance company is aware of your move. Not only could your rates change because of your new home and its new value, your commute may be different and that state’s rates might even be lower. OK, stop laughing. It was just a nice thought. On a side note, if you don’t use your vehicle that much, get a receipt with the mileage noted when you next visit your service station. I could have saved almost a hundred dollars on my insurance this year, but I couldn’t prove that my mileage was as low as it was. Lesson learned!

It took me 40 years to learn that a therapeutic massage is something everyone should enjoy on a regular basis. I’m also a huge fan of my chiropractor. When you make a move away from those providers, it’s important to start the process of seeking out new ones. While this process is a little tedious and time-consuming, you will find this new zip code feels more like home the more you ingrain your normal schedule into it. The same goes for your doctor or dentist and yes, your hair stylist. I have recently become aware of how much I appreciate MY barber and how difficult it is to find a compatible one in a new location.

Get out! One of my favorite things to do in a new city is explore. If you are in a city that includes a downtown area, grab your bikes and do some exploring. Driving is a great way to get around if you need to get somewhere, but biking and walking around a city will forever change your perspective. Three of my friends and I headed to Boston of the day with the purpose of just biking around the city. I never looked at that maze of streets the same way and I can’t tell you how much it improved my sense of direction from that point forward. If that works in Boston, it will work most anywhere.

“Biking and walking, anything but driving yourself, around a new city simply cannot be beat when it comes to better understanding a new area,” notes Badger Realty agent, Bernadette Friberg. She went on, “I have friends who spent the better part of a day just riding the bus in their new city. It allows you to have your head on a swivel, not deal with traffic and see how the pro’s get around.”

There’s a good chance you moved because you wanted to be closer to “something”. Whether that was work, family, mountains, etc., the focus of most people’s move is proximity and convenience. Even though you likely tested your commute before you made your offer, I would get out there and try a few different routes to get to the office. This will not only show you sneaky back ways and great methods of avoiding traffic, but I promise you will find at least one hidden gem in your travels. So often we miss out on a small café or fantastic farm stand because we’re so driven to get where we are going. If you do some exploring when you are NOT late for work, you are sure to expand your knowledge even further.

Moving to a new area is stressful, tiring and can be a bit overwhelming. You have left your friends and neighbors behind and are venturing out into the unknown. Rather than go it alone, get acquainted with your neighbors, join a Meet-Up group and get out there and explore. You will feel more “grounded” sooner and will happily start to call this new, strange location: home.

Home Appraisals: Why Are They Necessary and How Can They Benefit a Homeowner?

conway nh homes for saleHere's a little attempt to clear up some of the confusion… Any American who has shopped around for a home loan or looked into mortgage refinancing knows that a home appraisal is almost a guaranteed part of the process. When a licensed real estate appraiser looks at a home, he or she is forming an opinion about the property’s value; they rely on experience and expertise in order to make an informed decision.

New rules were put into place in the last several years that place greater restrictions on any attempts made to influence home appraisers. These rules target appraisals associated with high interest mortgage. These regulations are spelled out in the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. The new rules also changed how mortgage brokers and lenders order appraisals for loans of a certain type.

So you know a home appraisal is a part of the whole process, but why is it such a big deal?

Facts About Home Appraisals

  1. An appraisal is an estimate of value based on recent sale prices for similar properties in the surrounding area as well as the condition of the property. Appraisals will vary from state to state.
  2. Mortgage lenders will use the appraisal results to figure a loan amount. Homeowners will not be able to secure a loan amount greater than the value of the home.
  3. Home appraisals are in place to protect the buyer so that he or she does not pay too much for a home. Appraisals also set up safeguards for the seller so that the home is not purchased at too low of a price.
  4. A home appraisal is not a home inspection. A licensed professional appraiser is not looking to do the job of a home inspector, but rather gathers information about the general condition of the home and its surrounding neighborhood.

How Home Sellers Can Improve an Appraisal

If you are looking to sell your home in the near future, there are some steps you can take to improve your property beforehand. For instance:

  • Invest some time and resources in basic home improvements.
  • Up your curb appeal with shrubs, flowers, and a nicely mowed lawn.
  • Remove clutter and tidy up, inside and out.
  • Remodel the kitchen, put in a new wood deck, and add a fresh coat of paint to the outside of your home for an updated look.
  • Consider installing new energy-efficient windows throughout.
  • Look at the home values in the surrounding area (check with your real estate agent). This can help you determine the range of value your home may be appraised at in the process.

For Buyers and Sellers, Home Appraisals Are Important

When carried out correctly and professionally, home appraisals are meant to protect buyers, sellers, and mortgage lenders in the real estate market. You may encounter frustrations along the way, but that is often part of the journey. For each step along the way, stay informed and do your research so you are always prepared.

A Wonderful Winter Week

jackson nh homesI’ve been skiing since I was first a tumbling toddler. My mother jokes that my brother was skiing before he was born. She was making turns at Cranmore with my brother in the womb. She even remembers learning to ski with the instruction of the famous Hannes Schneider. My father was a ski patroller at Saddleback and I followed in his tracks over at Loon. My brother and I eventually skipped town and spent a winter in Jackson Hole to get a taste of big mountain skiing. Yes, our family loves to ski.

One of my favorite memories from childhood was being woken up by mom, expecting another day of school, but being told we were playing hooky and hitting the slopes. We skipped school for the Fryburg Fair too, but that’s a story for another day. It was tough to tell the teachers that we “weren’t feeling good yesterday” with the typical “raccoon eyes” from too many trips down the sunny East Slope! No, we never lied. Mom just wrote us a note explaining the need for a “family day”.

We grew up in Southern Maine so the journey up 16 was a familiar one. We would pile into mom’s Subaru wagon and wind our way up through the NH countryside. The two-hour ride was annoying and getting up at the crack of dawn was never a real treat either. Both my parents taught skiing at Cranmore, so we needed to be at the mountain before the chairs started spinning. Which brings me to the best week of my young life and the introduction to my first ski season rental.

For Christmas vacation that year, mom and dad sprung for a rental right up at the corner of Kearsarge and Seavey (I KNOW, Right!?) No more long drives. No more super-early mornings. We simply left our gear at the mountain and enjoyed a quick walk (or very quick drive) to the slopes. After last chair, we enjoyed that same quick walk back to our rental house while the rest of the “common folk” sat in traffic in anticipation of their long drive home. Yeah, we were spoiled that week.

crested-butte-166716_640This past winter my honey and I, with another couple, shacked up in a “ski-in ski-out” condo at Crested Butte. This experience introduced another whole level of awesome. Never mind that you simply walk out of the door of your condo, click into your bindings and ski down to the lift, but you get to slide home for lunch too! We enjoyed the nightlife in town and headed back to the condo knowing we didn’t have to get up at 5am, just to get freshies.

“The convenience and simplicity of a vacation ski rental makes the entire experience just that much more enjoyable for the whole family,” noted Badger Realty agent, Bill Barbin. He continued, “Being able to bundle up the kids and boot ‘em out the door, without having to pack all their gear, prepare lunches, pray you didn’t forget anything and jump in the car for 2 hours is truly priceless.”

For a few years I lived over in Lincoln, NH, right across the street from South Peak. I grabbed myself a season pass and loved the fact that I could slip over to the slopes for first tracks, make a few runs before the slopes got busy, and then head back home and go to work. The convenience of living next to the mountain is a memory (and goal!) I will always cherish.

Of course renting slopeside, or even just in the ski town, comes at a price. That said, for many places around the Mount Washington Valley, this can be less expensive than a hotel for that same period. Ski season rentals come in a variety of styles, locations and sizes. These properties are also available for varying durations.

That amazing Christmas vacation my family shared was just for that one week. We knew we were going to be skiing every day and my parents would be busy with ski lessons. The idea of making that 4-hour round-trip drive for a week straight was just abhorrent. If that was present day, I have a feeling just the price of the gas would justify the cost of the rental!

Other rentals are for longer terms. In most ski towns there are dozens of rentals available for the full ski season. Again, the cost is going to be higher, but the payoff evens things out. Not only do you have a place to call your own while you are in town. Now you have a dedicated home in which to leave all of your ski equipment, ski clothes and other spare clothes, toothbrushes, etc. How nice it will be to make the drive up on a Friday afternoon and your only concern will be a quick stop at the grocery store to grab some grub for the weekend.

If you’ve never explored the possibility of a ski-season rental, perhaps this is the year. It’s early enough that you could do your research and start saving pennies now. Badger Realty has a great selection of properties and, believe it or not, the phones are already ringing with people making reservations for the 2015-2016 season. It’s also a good time to explore your options for season passes at our local resorts. While it seemed silly to be writing about the ski season in the middle of June, this truly is the best time to start planning for your winter adventures!