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Old 08-25-2014, 10:15 AM
 
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First, thanks to everyone who has ever contributed to a "moving to New Hampshire" thread! This has proven to be invaluable to us!

After months of research, we have now narrowed our focus (in order of preference) to Littleton, Meredith, Laconia, Gilford, and Londonderry. As the place we choose will be our retirement home, neither quality of schools nor availability of employment is a consideration. We are looking for a small town with at least the basic conveniences of modern life, and natural beauty is also a very high priority. Both politically and personally, we are moderate in outlook. We are quiet (but friendly), down-to-earth people (not flashy or "snobby" at all). Our idea of a good time is a glass of wine by a wood-burning fireplace, playing Scrabble, or taking a hike in the woods.

So, all that being said, how do you think most "native New Englanders" would react to us either buying some land -- or land with a rundown home on it to tear down -- and building a new home on it? Not a "McMansion" or a modern monstrosity, but something like either a nice log home or a Cape Cod of about 1500 square feet? (Although we now live in Denver, we have often vacationed in New England and would definitely not choose anything that would look out of place.) We would buy the land now and probably start building in about four years. So, do you think all the foregoing would be acceptable to the "natives"?

Also, any thoughts about any of the above towns that might be useful to us would certainly be appreciated!

P.S. The log home would be only if the land is outside the main part of town -- we KNOW that a log home would not "fit" into the "downtown" area!

Last edited by katharsis; 08-25-2014 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:15 PM
 
Location: North of Boston
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I wouldn't be too concerned about how people will react to your buying land and putting a modest home on it. That's pretty much what everyone has done over time to develop this area.

Littleton and Londonderry seem like odd towns to include on your list. Littleton is much further north than the other towns, 70 miles north of Laconia, for example. While Londonderry is in the southern part of the state and really considered the outer limit of Greater Boston.

Meredith, Laconia and Gilford are nestled around the western shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Of all the towns mentioned, Meredith or Gilford would be my choice, but there may be many more towns that may make sense for you.

How did you come up with your short list?
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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I have to wonder why you would want to build a new home when there are so many smaller houses available at very reasonable prices. This really applies to Littleton and nearby towns. I would think finding a portion of an old farm and rebuilding what may be a post and beam framed house would not only cost less it would be preserving a piece of history.

If I were, and could afford to build up there, a house I would find a low priced Post and beam house, strip it to the frame and recover it with pre manufactured stressed skin plywood and Styrofoam panels with all the wiring installed at the factory. IMHO that would be the combination of both worlds. Old House with modern utilities and insulation.

Be aware that Londonderry, where I live, is an increasingly cosmopolitan and expensive piece of former exurbia. It is in commuting distance to the much higher paid employment in Boston and the high tech areas on the ring roads. This makes the housing in Londonderry very expensive compared to the places North of the Notch.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:40 PM
 
5,046 posts, read 597,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gf2020 View Post
I wouldn't be too concerned about how people will react to your buying land and putting a modest home on it. That's pretty much what everyone has done over time to develop this area.

Littleton and Londonderry seem like odd towns to include on your list. Littleton is much further north than the other towns, 70 miles north of Laconia, for example. While Londonderry is in the southern part of the state and really considered the outer limit of Greater Boston.

Meredith, Laconia and Gilford are nestled around the western shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Of all the towns mentioned, Meredith or Gilford would be my choice, but there may be many more towns that may make sense for you.

How did you come up with your short list?
Thanks for your reply! Mostly, I relied on City Data!

We were looking for scenic towns between 5,000 and 25,000 population and not too heavily Republican OR Democrat. We also did not want a traditional "cookie cutter" suburb. Yes, Londonderry might not fit the bill, but my husband works with someone who lived in Londonderry and loved it, so that is why that made our "short list". (However, the fact that it is on the Massachusetts border might be a negative, as we agree with many of you in New Hampshire who do NOT want "big city" attitudes to infect your beautiful state.) I like Meredith because of "Lake Winni" and the low tax rate and the town center -- ditto for Laconia -- and we included Gilford because it is in the same area. (We excluded Belmont and Hooksett because they just seemed to us to lack nice restaurants and shops, and they also seemed to have more than their share of manufactured home.) However, out of ALL of these, Littleton seems to be the BEST for us because of its beauty and VERY charming downtown area -- and that is why we want to be clear that we would do our best to have us and our future home "fit in" with what is already there!

Another thing that we are interested in are opportunities to contribute and volunteer in the community, so we are looking for a community who would welcome newcomers such as ourselves. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks again for your input!!
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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Try looking in the 250 year old (they just celebrated Old Home Day with parades and an auction of antiques and some junk) town of Landaff, NH. It is one of the prettiest places in the state and really over crowded with a population of 390 folks distributed over at least 50+ square miles. My in-laws live there and are very active in the community. The town is uphill from Lisbon that is about 10 miles south of Littleton.

I suggest you buy a copy of the DeLorme New Hampshire Atlas for detailed maps and lists of NH places and attractions. The State tourist website should also be helpful.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:56 PM
 
5,046 posts, read 597,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
I have to wonder why you would want to build a new home when there are so many smaller houses available at very reasonable prices. This really applies to Littleton and nearby towns. I would think finding a portion of an old farm and rebuilding what may be a post and beam framed house would not only cost less it would be preserving a piece of history.

If I were, and could afford to build up there, a house I would find a low priced Post and beam house, strip it to the frame and recover it with pre manufactured stressed skin plywood and Styrofoam panels with all the wiring installed at the factory. IMHO that would be the combination of both worlds. Old House with modern utilities and insulation.

Be aware that Londonderry, where I live, is an increasingly cosmopolitan and expensive piece of former exurbia. It is in commuting distance to the much higher paid employment in Boston and the high tech areas on the ring roads. This makes the housing in Londonderry very expensive compared to the places North of the Notch.
Thanks so much, Greg!

Yes, we would be agreeable to fixing up an existing home BUT we would be very nervous about the plumbing and wiring and existing framing, etc. (We currently live in a 25-year-old home we thought would need a LITTLE fixing up when we bought it two years ago, but have so far spent about $100K on it!) So, our thought is that if we hire a REPUTABLE builder, then we wouldn't have to worry about "what will be the NEXT thing to go wrong" -- things we don't want to worry about once we retire!!

Another problem that we have run into is the lack of "open concept" homes, which we will definitely want. As I am sure you know, most of the older New England homes have smaller "closed off" rooms, instead. Again, we do appreciate the old, but we want the kitchen, dining room, and living/family room to all have a view of a single wood burning fireplace, and we want the kitchen to be at least 10 x 12. So, although we are not talking huge or elaborate -- we very much prefer SIMPLE -- we do have definite ideas of what we want.

Thanks again for ALL your input and suggestions!
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:10 PM
 
5,046 posts, read 597,010 times
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Originally Posted by GregW View Post
Try looking in the 250 year old (they just celebrated Old Home Day with parades and an auction of antiques and some junk) town of Landaff, NH. It is one of the prettiest places in the state and really over crowded with a population of 390 folks distributed over at least 50+ square miles. My in-laws live there and are very active in the community. The town is uphill from Lisbon that is about 10 miles south of Littleton.

I suggest you buy a copy of the DeLorme New Hampshire Atlas for detailed maps and lists of NH places and attractions. The State tourist website should also be helpful.
Sorry, I forgot to mention before that we definitely want town water and sewer! As you know, small towns that have these are a rarity!!
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Currently in CT but have recently started construction for our retirement home in NH
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We are in a very similar situation, plan on building a 1800-2000 sq ft retirement home in NH, although it sounds like we are a bit more politically conservative, but just as friendly. We recently purchased a 6.5 acre lot in Sandwich, which is approx. 15-20 min east of Meredith. There is not much in the town, but we were not looking for big town services (and the taxes that usually accompany those services). The location was ideal for us in that we have:

- a great mountain view in our backyard,
- good access to a major road (Rt 25) for our driving our RV,
- convenient location to the attractions around Lake Winnipesaukee, North Conway and a few mountains for winter fun (skiing and après skiing activities), and
- not all that far from Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME (both fun cities).

As pointed out, new construction is expensive and there are some pretty good deals on existing homes/fixer uppers, but in our case we have become very specific in what we want so building new is the most attractive way for us to get there.

Regarding the "native New Englanders" view on transplants into the state:

Technically, being from CT we are native New Englanders, although I believe the term for us more like "flatlanders." Regardless of the term, we have met a few of the town officials, a couple of our neighbors and some folks at the local watering holes (www.cornerhouseinn.com/ & El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant). Everyone has been open and more than welcoming. I believe most people in New England, from CT to ME, are pretty much the same in that they keep to themselves, but are more than willing to converse with a stranger and more importantly, help anyone out that is friendly towards them. Based on our experiences you should have no issues because we have found that "the natives are friendly." Good luck with your search.

Lou

Edit: Just saw you new post on water and sewer. That will certainly limit your selection of areas, but fortunately the people will still be the same.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:11 PM
 
Location: West Madison^WMHT
3,173 posts, read 2,740,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares811 View Post
Sorry, I forgot to mention before that we definitely want town water and sewer! As you know, small towns that have these are a rarity!!
You might want to rethink that, this requirement really limits your options. So long as you get a good contractor, there's nothing wrong with well and septic when it is done right and maintained. OTOH, if you're going to make town water/sewer a hard requirement, you might as well add natural gas to your list.

Quote:
So, all that being said, how do you think most "native New Englanders" would react to us either buying some land -- or land with a rundown home on it to tear down -- and building a new home on it?
What upsets people around here isn't seeing a decrepit old non-landmark house torn down and replaced, it's when flatlanders buy a nice wooded property, and the first thing they do is clearcut everything.

As far as buying land with a plan to build later, this conflicts with your need for town water and sewer. Also need to keep in mind, when you see unbuilt land for sale, your first question should be, if this is such a great building site for a home, why isn't there a house already on it?

Quote:
Not a "McMansion" or a modern monstrosity, but something like either a nice log home or a Cape Cod of about 1500 square feet? (Although we now live in Denver, we have often vacationed in New England and would definitely not choose anything that would look out of place.) We would buy the land now and probably start building in about four years. So, do you think all the foregoing would be acceptable to the "natives"?
I entirely understand the interest in building new from the ground up, with modern materials and modern insulation. I'd love to be able to take the time to design a house using ICF, geothermal HVAC, etc.

Looking at houses built from about 1980-1992, I found quite a few interesting homes with the open floor plan, large kitchen, and fireplace that you desire. Just need to run a broad MLS search to find the hidden gems with poorly-coded listings.

Quote:
Another thing that we are interested in are opportunities to contribute and volunteer in the community, so we are looking for a community who would welcome newcomers such as ourselves. Any thoughts on that?
That's a tall order in New Hampshire.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:14 PM
 
5,046 posts, read 597,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor_lou View Post

Regarding the "native New Englanders" view on transplants into the state:

Technically, being from CT we are native New Englanders, although I believe the term for us more like "flatlanders." Regardless of the term, we have met a few of the town officials, a couple of our neighbors and some folks at the local watering holes (www.cornerhouseinn.com/ & El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant). Everyone has been open and more than welcoming. I believe most people in New England, from CT to ME, are pretty much the same in that they keep to themselves, but are more than willing to converse with a stranger and more importantly, help anyone out that is friendly towards them. Based on our experiences you should have no issues because we have found that "the natives are friendly." Good luck with your search.

Lou

Edit: Just saw you new post on water and sewer. That will certainly limit your selection of areas, but fortunately the people will still be the same.
Hi, Lou! Thanks for your input, and good luck on your building and retirement! (Would love for you to check back with your building experiences -- and if your contractor is any good, maybe you can save us a search in about three or four years!)
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