Mom found this house while canoeing in the Merrimack River, and thinks it is just perfect for us. It does look great! There is a lot of land (13 acres) and a lovely place for the Black Rabbit to launch from.
We have gotten used to Pittsburgh housing prices, so anything is a shock, but this house is fairly expensive in my mind, though probably quite reasonable.
It needs a lot of work, and of course, I would need to find a job, and see how the community is, etc.
Update: the address is 250 West Road, Canterbury, NH. It is 50 or so minutes from my parents.
Posted by Jon Daley on September 26, 2005, 2:59 pm | Read 3553 times
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Nice location, but saying the house "needs work" is apparently quite an understatement.
Posted by Peter on September 27, 2005, 9:34 am

What do you mean? I see some stuff on the roof that probably needs some work. I don't know why the back part is boarded up, maybe a screened-in balcony? Otherwise it probably is in trouble. It seems to me that the structure looks alright - one place where the bricks have sagged, though it looks like it was repaired a long time ago. The builder that was with my mom said it does need a lot of work, though manageable. But, I haven't been able to see what stuff that is, just in the pictures.
The address is 250 West Road, Canterbury, NH.
I did talk with a friend who is a CTO of a company, who said to call him whenever I moved back to NH. It turns out his company is in Andover, MA, which is an hour away from this house. He said that he wouldn't recommend getting a house north of Concord, that the jobs have been drying up in NH, and you *have* to be closer to Massachusetts.
Posted by jondaley on September 27, 2005, 12:33 pm

It looks to me like the whole thing is boarded up, which usually leads me to assume the worst until proven otherwise: that the inside will need a total overhaul. But maybe not... you'd have to look inside to know.
Posted by Peter on September 28, 2005, 9:21 am

Oh ok. Yes, it could be bad - hopefully we will find out the answer to that soon.
Posted by jondaley on September 28, 2005, 9:45 am

Well, it turns out the inside is bad - or perhaps better than it could be, depending on your perspective. There was a small fire 25 years ago, and then significant water damage while putting it out. The good news is that everything is entirely gutted, so you don't have to deal with demolition work.
It was built in the 1700s. It has a basement that is tall enough to use. However, we had some facts wrong about the price. The asking price is $295K, and that only includes 5 acres. And doesn't include the land down by the river that we saw before (those 6 acres are trying to be sold for $250K), but it does include 1000' of waterfront on the other side of the bridge.
A contractor has submitted an estimate on getting it back to working condition at $150K, though Jay says probably $50K if we did it ourselves. A quote from Jay, "If you did something as irrational as taking this on you would experience periods of calling me and everyone who ever insinuated that it was a good idea by very un-Christian names."
Jay thinks the best thing to do is to buy half of the land, at theoretically half of the price, since the house has almost no value. Which would put it back at $200K, with a working house, (us doing all the work) and only 2.5 acres of land.
The town has purchased all of the surrounding land as a conservation thing, so there won't be any other houses for a ways around. Again from Jay, "I'm not convinced that you and Heather aren't crazy enough to take this on and make it work."
However, we don't think that it sounds like a good idea any more. There are other houses, and we don't need to be in a rush about it.
Posted by jondaley on September 29, 2005, 8:02 pm

Jon, Just emailed you, in response to your questions about colos and local ISPs. hadn't seen these comments yet. Yes, it does sound like a lot of work. And a lot of careful thought about how much you are realistically willing to take on. As a resident of Canterbury for 7 years I can say that it is a special community... and that makes a huge difference. There are tech jobs in Manchester, Salem and Nashua (30-40 minute commute from Canterbury). And a good portion of our new residents are refugees from MA who have moved north to get out of the much more expensive market in the greater Boston Area. I should say from experience that when we bought our 1749 colonial in 1998 we had the option of purchasing it with 13 acres for $149,000. Instead (as first time buyers, and with a wedding to plan) we opted to buy just the house and a 1/2 acre footprint for $103,000. Now, our house alone is worth at least TWICE what we paid for it. I'd hate to think what the land would be worth now if we'd bought it when we had the chance. We have regretted many times not having bought the land (and barn that went with it), but realize that hindsight is 20/20. And of course now the $46,000 seems pitifully cheap. *sigh* Now you can't find *anything* in Canterbury for under $200,000, so we at least count ourselves lucky that we got our house when we did. If you have the funds, maybe buy the house and land. Build a new house to live in, and then if you decide to renovate the old house you can do so at your, er, leisure. When done, you can keep whichever house you like best and sell the other for a juicy profit. Finally, I should add that buildable land in Canterbury is becoming increasingly scarce because of road access and the significant amount of land in preservation. That may contribute to the initial high cost, but will also likely help it maintain it's value. Best of luck in any event! Cheers, Jeremy
Posted by Jeremy Slayton on September 30, 2005, 6:07 am

Just a word of caution. Housing prices often go up, and one who lives in New England can be forgiven for assuming they always will. But I know several examples of places and times where they have stayed stagnant, or even declined. I grew up in the Albany area, and each time we sold a house it was at a loss, because the job market in the area was declining. After we married, when we lived in Rochester, the price of our house soared, and when we moved we sold it at a good profit. We, too, had had the opportunity to buy a more expensive house at first and as first-time buyers opted for something more sensible. With that 20/20 hindsight we could have made a huge amount of money. But anyone who bought a house around the time we sold ours bought into a situation where housing prices have been stagnant for over 20 years. That was in New York, not all that far from New England. Friends in another part of New York have seen the value of their house go down over the years because there are no longer enough jobs in the area to sustain a healthy economy. My parents' house in the Philadelphia area rose tremendously in value, but the value of our house in Florida has begun to rise only in the last couple of years -- after 20 years of stagnation. (If they had risen the way Boston-area housing prices rose during that time, we might still be living in Massachusetts.) You never know -- so I would recommend buying a house because it's what you want, rather than for investment, unless you can be fairly certain the area will continue to grow.
Posted by SursumCorda on September 30, 2005, 7:08 am
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