Jason Robie: Experience eases everything

I did not come into this world a natural “handyman.” My uncle Ted, on the other hand, is one of those guys who can fix most anything. Throughout life, I have built my fair share of tree houses, skateboard ramps, saw horses and even a nice three-tier end table. The biggest factor in the level of success with all of those endeavors is having the right equipment. When you witness a quality piece of woodwork, whether it is a birdhouse or a kayak, the root of that project is inevitably a workshop full of equipment and tools meant for that type of project.

One of the best examples of this is your local auto repair shop. I worked as a mechanic for a year and even spent a summer working with the owner on his pit crew for his short track stock car team. Never has “the right tool for the job” been so evident. I would always be amazed when, after struggling, swearing and bleeding with a certain part or bolt, Tim would walk over and hand me a tool that bent a certain way or angled just right to make the job incredibly simple. There were even wrenches in his tool box, among the tens of thousands of dollars in other tools, that he had simply cut in half or shaved down on one side because they helped him with a certain fix on a specific make and model of vehicle. It is that knowledge (and tool box) that makes him one of the smartest and efficient mechanics I know.

So, what in the world does that have to do with real estate? Well, aside from making sure your prospective home wasn’t built by someone like me, it is critical, in today’s market, to ensure that your agent and the brokerage they work with have the right tools to provide for a successful transaction.

Without question, knowledge is a critical piece in this equation. Yes, it is great that Tim had a few fancy tools for a few specific jobs, but really his knowledge and experience with hundreds of repairs is critical to his success.

In real estate, market awareness and local knowledge are both critical pieces, whether you are buying or selling a home. You want an agent who is both aware of the current market conditions and trends and is also familiar with the personality of the different towns or neighborhoods in the area. Imagine you are moving to the Mount Washington Valley from across the country. It would be critical to your home-buying experience, to know the differences between Jackson and Jefferson or Madison and Moultonborough. Although they may look nearby on a map and might even be described in similar ways online, local knowledge is going to identify their vast differences (and distances) and get you honed in on a more suitable place to live.

Next to knowledge would have to come the equipment. Sure, I may have “known” that I needed a circular saw to cut that plywood in a straight line, but what I owned (and used) was a jigsaw. Clearly not the best tool for the job and the results proved that. We all know that visual representations are critical pieces to a successful real estate listing today. Whether it is plenty of photos from all different angles or a quick video walk-through of the home, highlighting the best features, nobody in their right mind would buy a home without seeing it.

When interviewing a potential listing agent for your property, be sure to ask how they handle this part of the job. While I may tell you that I’m an amazing woodworker, there is no better proof than seeing some of my finished products. I can assure you that I’m a great mechanic, but if my own truck won’t start, there’s clearly a problem. A simple visit to their website or listing brochures will be all the supporting data you need to establish their grasp on these visual media. I’m telling you right now, you will never see any of my woodworking “expertise”!

The last piece of the puzzle is a combination of these factors. Frankly, this is not always so easy to find. Sure, Tim had a bevy of neat tools and 30 or more years of experience to know how best to use them but he also knew how to talk to customers to get an understanding of their objectives with the vehicle. If their goal was just to “band-aid” the car until they could buy something newer in a couple months, there was no need to spend hundreds of dollars to make it perfect. A simple and inexpensive fix, if possible, was the best solution for that particular situation.

When a prospective buyer gets in contact with your listing agent, you want them to have the skills and experience necessary to listen to what that buyer wants and quickly determine the most suitable homes for them to view. While some may simply be looking to get the sale and move on to the next buyer, an experienced agent has the skills and experience to listen to the buyer and match them up with the most appropriate home.

“We have seen plenty of deals fall apart because the buyers felt pushed into it and were never really comfortable with the home they were buying, notes Badger Realty agent, Susan Solar. She continued, “In many cases, they are able to find a way out of the deal and walk away feeling jaded about the whole experience.”

Every experienced seller knows that every single buyer walking in the door is not going to be right for his or her home. By using an agent who has the right tools, knowledge and experience, you greatly increase your chances of that deal making it all the way to the closing table and leaving both parties satisfied.

Cutline: Roland 'Chip' Labrecque receives Excellence Award from Exit Realty Trailblazers

Chip Award Q1Exit Realty Trailblazers sales associate Roland "Chip" Labrecque (center) is presented the Exit Realty Trailblazers the Excellence Award for First Quarter 2017 by owner and broker John Trumbull and owner and manager Kathy Trumbull. Labrecque was recognized for his achievement in real estate as well as community involvement. “We are excited to have agents who value the community they serve,” said Kathy Trumbull. (COURTESY PHOTO)



Granite United Way announce community investments delivers more than $84,000 in support in the Northern Region

Local volunteers from the Northern Region on Granite United Way’s Community Impact Committee dedicated the last few months to evaluating program proposals and determining their investment decisions for the Northern Region. Together, the volunteer board of directors and the Northern Region Community Impact Committee announced that more than $84,000 in support will be delivered to this community during 2017.

Granite United Way’s annual campaign mobilizes more than 20,000 donors and corporate supporters to raise more than $8.7 million across the state of New Hampshire. The campaign benefits more than 750 nonprofit agencies and programs providing services to more than 350,000 individuals.

Volunteers are mobilized from each local region in its footprint to review and vet proposals and make funding decisions based upon strict criteria that ensures investments are held to the highest standards and are producing the greatest, most cost-efficient impact. In addition to the volunteer-led grant investment process and donor designation program, initiatives like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, the 2-1-1NH information and referral line and FamilyWize, a prescription drug discount program, deliver a combined total of nearly $14 million in support to residents across New Hampshire.

This year, the volunteer teams at Northern Region on Granite United Way focused their request for proposals in United Way’s three primary areas of impact: education, income and health.

“The collaborative spirit of our volunteers in the Northern Region continues to make a positive impact on this community,” said Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way. “They have dedicated countless hours to generating funds and determining the best investments for the community.”

“We recognize that no one organization in the Northern Region can address the complex issues of the community, Tufts said. “But we know that be working together we can help identify those needs and invest United Way donor dollars in the most effective and efficient way possible.”

Partners like Charlie Cotton, area director for Northern Human Services, couldn’t agree more with the need for collaboration. Their funded programs focus on providing access to nutritional food and a variety of much-needed human services in the Northern Region, respectively.

“When I think of Granite United Way, I think of how it is community-wide movement that pulls us together in such a way that we are bigger than the sum of our parts. “This is the United Way” said Cotton, from Northern Human Services. “In this community it is more important than ever that we work together to address the problems facing our friends and neighbors.”

In the Northern Region over the past year, Granite United Way continued to provide additional literacy programming in both the Berlin Middle School and High School, with every student in the middle school currently using the program. This specialized program called Reading Plus helps students improve their silent reading skills using an innovative program that engages the student.

Berlin Superintendent of Schools, Corinne Cascadden, has been extremely supportive of this program and has been impressed with the results, with students making significant gains on their reading.

Granite United Way has a new partnership with Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families in an effort to increase literacy. They are working with physicians to ensure that all children aged 0-6 bring home a book as part of their pediatric check ups.

During their recent celebration event on May 4 at the Dairy Bar, Granite United Way recognized the following individuals and companies for their efforts in the Northern Region: Granite Awards (companies that raised over $100,000 during its annual campaign) Eversource Energy and UPS; the GIVE Award presented to Dr. Thomas Temme; the Advocate Award was presented to Steve Finnigan Allen; and the Volunteer Award was presented to Judith Treamer.

Funded programs will receive notification this week.

For more information about Granite United Way, visit www.graniteuw.org.


Cutline: Exit Reality Trailblazers support Princess Ball to raise money for local food pantry

Princess BallJohn Trumbull and Chip Labrecque of Exit Realty Trailblazers joined with Heidi Manfredi, founder of the Princess Ball, and United Way of Berlin to provide funds for refreshments. Pictured from left are Chip Labrecque, sales associate, Monte Manfredi, and John Trumbull, broker/owner. The event was held on Friday, March 24, at the Chalet and brought 300 fathers and daughters out on a stormy night, dressed in formal attire for a total sellout. Proceeds were donated to the Feeding Hope Food Pantry. (COURTESY PHOTO)