New Hampshire Association of Realtors members Kathy Corey-Fox, Joseph Hunkins, Sandra Ziehm and their lobbyist, Kipp Cooper, met with New Hampshire congressional leaders on Capitol Hill recently to urge them to co-sponsor legislation that would prohibit large banking conglomerates from entering the real estate business.Joseph Hunkins, a Realtor with Hunkins Real Estate of Greenland, discussed the Community Choice in Real Estate Act with members of the New Hampshire delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, Charles F. Bass and John E. Sununu. This bill is the top legislative priority for Realtors this year. Big banking conglomerates are seeking permission to sell and manage real estate through a proposed regulation before the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department. However, the proposed rule is contrary to what Congress intended when it passed financial services modernization legislation called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. The Community Choice in Real Estate Act clarifies congressional intent to preclude any such action by the Federal Reserve or Treasury. A bipartisan group of about 200 house members and 10 senators have signed onto the bill since it was introduced last December. National Association of Realtors announced its opposition to the proposed regulation in December 2000, following the decision by the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to seek public comment on the proposal. Realtors have since generated over 200,000 protest letters to Congress, the Federal Reserve, Treasury and the White House. The association opposes allowing large banking conglomerates to enter real estate brokerage and property management because it will lead to higher costs to consumers, large scale consolidation in the real estate industry, and potential conflicts of interest should banks be able to steer home buyers to their own insurance and loan products. The National Association of Realtors is America's largest trade association, representing approximately 800,000 members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
By Loren Davis
What would you do if there was a possibility of a killer in your basement? It may sound far-fetched, but there could be a serious health hazard in your basement that you cant hear or see. Radon gas, colorless and odorless, inhabits many of our homes in New Hampshire and Maine. It is a result of the breakdown of radioactive rock down in the ground, and occurs naturally in many areas of the U.S. and Canada. Radon enters our homes through cracks and construction joints in the foundation and tends to collect in the lower levels of a building. The gas is also found in water and leaches out quickly from showerheads and faucets, adding to the overall radon air level of a house. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers radon in household air a thread to health because it multiplies the risk of contracting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.How do you know if you have a killer in your basement or elsewhere in your home? There is a fairly simple test, which uses charcoal canisters about 4 inches in diameter to collect air samples from ones home. The most common test runs about 48 hours and costs from $30 to $50. These test canisters may be purchased through the mail, from a home inspection company, or a diagnostic lab such as A&L Laboratories in Conway. (Several testing companies are listed in the phone book.) According to the EPA, a test result of 4.0 pci/L (picocuries per liter of air) or higher, is considered unsafe. Tests should be done in the lowest level of the dwelling, which may be used by the residents. It should be noted that not all countries have as strict a radon air-quality standard as does the United States. There is some debate as to how low a level is dangerous. We dont necessarily see a large number of old-time residents dying from radon-induced lung cancer. However, homes in the past were not nearly as airtight as newer homes and families did not spend much time in the cellar, as they do today, in finished basements.If you are a real estate buyer, you should know as much as possible about the property you are purchasing, including the radon air quality. Have the air (and private water system) tested as a contingency of the sale. If you are a seller, why wait for radon to become a problem when selling your house? It is much better to know the level of radon ahead of time and even have radon mitigation equipment installed prior to the sale of your home. Otherwise, the air quality may become another point of contention to be negotiated before the sale can take place. The mitigation system is actually fairly simple. Holes are made through the foundation slab and connected to PVC pipe, which safely eliminates the radon into the outdoor atmosphere by way of a fan and vent tube. The process is guaranteed by re-testing after installation. The cost for most homes should be under $1,500.For more information, contact the EPA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Public Health Service, a testing company found in the local phone book, or a local real estate office, which should be able to provide a copy of A Citizens Guide to Radon and The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Radon."Loren C. Davis is owner and founder of Buyer Representatives of Northern New England. He has been a member of the White Mountain Board of Realtors for nine years and has practiced Exclusive Buyer Agency for four. He is past president of the New Hampshire Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents and has earned the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Graduate Realtors Institute (GRI), and the Graduate Buyer Representative (GBR) designations. Loren may be reached by phone at (603) 447-1329, or 1-800-741-5091. His web-site address is www.buyerrepnne.com.
By William Kugel
By Bruce Stuart
Unusual is the right word. Today's home on Allard Hill Road in Madison is filled with surprises.Take the living room ceiling-high fieldstone fireplace and wall erected by mason Stan Szetela, which extends around into the kitchen. The eat-in kitchen, itself, boasts a commercial grade stove, large enough to prepare a feast for the family, friends and more.Next to the kitchen is a large separate dining room with an attractive bay window and handsome oak wainscoting. Close to the kitchen in the living room is a wet bar. There is a three-season sun room.But the biggest surprise of all in this 4,000-square-foot home are the views. Two 60-by-72-inch picture windows in the living room open up the out-of-doors. One looks east to Maine over the valley below toward Pleasant Mountain and Fryeburg. The other has a view of North Conway, the trails at Mount Cranmore, with Kearsarge Mountain in the background.The home has three bedrooms and three baths.A second surprise is the ground level of the home. Today, it houses a bedroom and bath and a labyrinth of rooms that are used for a variety of purposes including an office, a 19-by-29-foot shop, a professional darkroom and a large storage room. A buyer with imagination and the desire could take the 2,000 square feet of space and turn it into an in-law suite, a family recreation area with several additional bedrooms, or even a good-sized home business facility. The possibilities go on and on.Now, the final surprise. The original owner documented the construction of the home including house plans, detailed instructions on the utilities, a listing of every conceivable question a future owner might have, all in a 50-page book that will be turned over to a new owner at closing. What a blessing for those of us who have struggled to find a shut-off valve or a power switch in a newly purchased houseSusie McDougal at Wright Realty Inc., in Conway has the listing.