Property Owners and Government - Finding the Balance

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So first read this about a recent Historic District Commission public session in Portsmouth:

Now my thoughts: 

I, like many of you, follow the ZBA and Planning Boards - to stay in touch with the changes we can expect in our towns, the relief being requested and the rationale behind the decisions that are reached.  Here is an interesting one. Of course I am only as good as my source here (the Herald's rendering of the meeting) but when I read subjective statements like, “I think you’re going to have to use more wood and more traditional materials.” or “I think it looks like an office that has been built onto a building. It’s got no residential character whatsoever, in my opinion. If we’re going in this direction, I just can’t support it at all.” - I wonder, What is the goal here? Is there a set of standards by which the homes must be renovated? Why some era's and not others? What about all the properties that have been bastardized over the years? And energy efficiency? - sometimes it seems the very same people who advocate to combat global warming through "green" measures of efficiency are the very same people holding builders and homeowners to an unrealistic and inefficient standard of building.   And most of all, what about a homeowner's Bundle of Legal Rights? These rights of ownership are bestowed upon the holder of the title to the real estate, and they include possession, control, exclusion, enjoyment, and disposition. Understood, that zoning ordinance requirements must be met, but subjective commissions IMO do not fall under this umbrella. Not to mention, anyone who has ever been subjected to these procedures knows that the cost of their project increases significantly and for what purpose or outcome, it is not always clear. Builders do not always have the deep pockets they are perceived to have, nor do individual homeowners. In fact, I've seen devastating financial outcomes.  We all know time marches on and I recognize this fine balance.  All that said the committees have a common thread in that they are comprised of citizens who have a genuine interest and love of our community, history and nature and are commended for their attention. So maybe this note will simply shed some light on another perspective. 


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    October Sees 13 Million-Dollar Home Sales on Seacoast

    Seacoastonline, Posted Nov 14, 2019 at 6:41 PM

    PORTSMOUTH -- For the second time in three months a record monthly high-end sales volume of million-dollar homes was in the Seacoast Board of Realtors 13 sample Seacoast towns.

    The towns are Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, North Hampton, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Stratham.

    Thirteen sales topped the million-dollar mark in October, breaking the old record of 12 set in August. The transactions included two sales more than $2.2 million, both on the ocean, one in Seabrook, the other in Rye. Those closings pushed the monthly median sale price to $510,000, highest since May and the fourth time this year that median prices have exceeded $500,000.

    For the first 10 months of 2019 total sales are up 3.2% as is the median sale price of $480,000, a 3.2% improvement from last year.

    Still, it was the slowest month since April for single family sales, which fell 7. 8% from last month and 20.1% from last year. Condominium sales, conversely, pretty much stayed the course, with monthly volume exceeding September totals by three, but trailing last year by three.

    Condo sales for the year are off 5.7% but the median sale price is up 4.2% at $333,000.

    Available inventory has become an issue again with inventory off 9.9% from last year at 318 units, lowest since May.

    “Despite declining single-family sales, our real estate market continues to be a solid performer,” said Kathy Ahlin, president of the Seacoast Board of Realtors. “Nothing says ‘consumer confidence’ more than record high-end sales.”


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      NAR Just Made a Ruling that Consumers Should Understand

      Consumers of real estate services may not know their options. 

      Click here to read a recent article in Inman, an industry trade publication. 

      The article states a recent ruling made by the National Association of Realtors, our governing body, whose mission is to assist its members in "becoming more profitable and successful."  The ruling is known as the Clear Cooperation Policy, which will require listing brokers to submit a listing to the multiple listing service within one business day of marketing a property to the public.

      Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public. 

      How will this change the way we do business? It shouldn't change things drastically. Right now, if a seller doesn't want their property listed in the MLS that is their choice and the Realtor must abide. However if this is the seller's decision, under the new rule the listing cannot be marketed to the public if it's not marketed in MLS. The best example I can think of is the "Coming Soon" sign. So, if you want to put a "Coming Soon" sign out that is fine, but the listing must now be in MLS within one business day of the sign going in the yard. 

      Why? NAR board members took the position that if the property is not in MLS but being marketed in other ways then the listing agent may not be meeting their fiduciary responsibility to their client because, for example: what if the sign is in the yard and an offer comes in. And the seller accepts the offer. But the property was not fully vetted by the public. How can the listing agent assure the seller that this offer was the highest and best terms? Only with maximum exposure can they be sure. 

      The opposing position is, what if a client wants privacy and therefore wishes to not list in MLS. This is fine. And it's also fine to market within a firm, an exclusive, if this is what the seller wants and understands it's not a public offering. But in this case it can't be marketed to the public, in the ways described above, without being marketed in MLS. 

      The privacy concern seems a non-issue since there are public deeds, tax records, Google Maps, etc. and the MLS will not provide any additional information about the owner and location than what's already deemed public. 

      As a consumer, you need to know what your options are and what your broker intends to do as a Fiduciary. Not to mention there is the option of the broker NOT being a Fiduciary.

      Want to know more? Ask us!


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        RE/Max Rising Tide Welcomes Anthony Sillitta and AMG Property Management


        It’s my pleasure to introduce Asset Management Group (AMG) as a partner company to the Madden Group-Re/Max Rising Tide.  

        Overseen and managed by Anthony Sillitta,  Anthony and AMG bring a personalized approach to investment property management.  AMG specializes in managing multi-unit properties for property owners who enjoy having the extra source of revenue but who do not wish to manage the day-to-day details of the landlord/tenant relationship.

        Anthony comes to us with over 15 years of experience as a Real Estate professional in the Seacoast area. 

        Before joining Madden | Re/Max Rising Tide Anthony obtained his Principal Broker’s License and operated his own brokerage in Dover NH.  Over the years Anthony has enjoyed working with buyers and sellers and has managed a number of investment properties in the Portsmouth, Dover, and Durham markets.

        Anthony’s approach is to meet with the property owner to discuss their needs and over goals for their property.  From that discussion Anthony will create a personalized letter outlining the areas that AMG can help to achieve those goals.

        A free service Anthony will offer during your initial conversation is a quick review of your current lease.  Many landlords are not aware of some basic State and Federal regulation that if not properly addressed in the lease can present an immediate legal issue for the property owner.

        If you’d like to sit and meet with Anthony please feel free to call his personal phone at (603) 557-0537 or send an email to

        AMG’s mission is to minimize the areas of property ownership that are not enjoyable to the landlord and to assist in navigating the difficulties of investment property management.

        Photo of Anthony

        Anthony Sillitta, Licensed Broker and President of AMG





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          Who Doesn't Love a Before and After...

          In the winter of 1917, or perhaps 1916, an inn located at 26 Newmarket Road in Durham, NH, was carefully, and with great skill and patience, taken off it’s foundation and hauled by horse and buggy across the frozen field to the left, or south, of the property. Then, later in 1917, a new structure was built, home to Ohio natives, the Taylor Family. It has changed hands only twice since the Taylor’s built it. That is, until our team member here at The Madden Group, Amber Roy, and her husband and parents purchased it last October from the Pilar Family, who had resided there since 1965.


          Amber had fallen in love with the home as she’d drive by daily on her way to her kids’ daycare. To her, the house, which sat seemingly vacant, with overgrown shrubs shrouding it’s impressive full length farmer’s porch, seemed desperate to be revived. As Amber had been on the lookout for a couple of years for an older home to renovate and flip, one day her fascination with 26 Newmarket Road won out. She searched town records for the owners, wrote them a nice letter about how she admired their home and wondered if they had plans to sell. Anita Pilar called her back and said that yes, they were, in fact, thinking about selling it. And the rest is history.

          Amber and her family began an extensive renovation on November 1st. The house was strong and solid. Built to last. But in desperate need of updating. The plumbing and electrical systems got a full do-over, the decades old carpets were torn out and the original beech wood floors were restored, horse hair plaster was repaired and in some cases, where the damage was too much, was covered by fresh sheetrock, original doors were stripped of their paint and re-stained, every original window was reglazed, cedar shingles were replaced on the facade where the ancient rhododendrons, overgrown and suffocating, had wreaked havoc, allowing rot to take hold. And when the major systems of the house were addressed, Amber, who had been working on building a career as an interior designer, took to making careful design decisions to update the house, yet honor it's history. The kitchen was relocated to an adjacent room, allowing for a butler’s pantry and first floor laundry room, along with a spacious mudroom and powder room, to take the place of the original kitchen and tight entry way. An additional full bathroom was added, to accommodate the needs and desires of modern families, the original bathroom got a full gut job and expansion, including a walk-in closet and huge custom walk-in shower, and the third floor was finished, creating additional living space. She chose timeless and classic finishes, like 1 inch white and black hexagon tiles on the new master bathroom floor, subway tiles, cross bar faucet handles, classic and impressive light fixtures, and more. There are custom touches throughout, like the two bathroom vanities that were created out of antique drawers. There are also a few small modern touches throughout the house, to create a little balance between then, and now.

          The home, which sits in the heart of Durham’s Historic District, now boasts 5 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, master en suite, an office/craft/reading room, detached two car garage, just under an acre of land(bordered on the south by a large beautiful field of conservation land- yes, the same one the horses and buggies moved the original house over in the icy winter of 1917!), established, and new, landscaping, including what is rumored to be the oldest lilac tree in Durham, and over 3600 square feet of living space.

          This house is special. It’s not your average flip. The history is enough to make someone curious- the entire property is still surrounded by granite hitching posts, which date back to when there was an inn on the property- quite literally meant for guests to hitch their horses to when they needed to stay for the night. And there’s the quirky bit of Russian written on the stone basement wall that translates to, “Excuse me for interrupting your interesting conversation, but the soup is getting cold.” There is much to see at this beautiful old home that has been so lovingly restored. The thoughtful choices and impactful, yet, classic design showcase Amber’s ability to create interiors that are truly beautiful and unique.

          On Friday, July 12 from 4 to 7pm, Amber is hosting a Broker Open House and is celebrating the launch of her new business, Amber Dawn Interiors. She has collaborated with Ethan Allen and Coastal Furniture to stage the home, and other local businesses are providing contributions as well. Agents and Brokers: If you have buyers looking in and around Durham, or even if you’re just curious, come enjoy food provided by Oak House restaurant in Newmarket, complimentary wine and champagne, swag bags from Ethan Allen to the first 50 guests, plus multiple giveaways, including a bottle of Moet and Chandon, an Oak House gift card, beautiful  succulent terrariums by Living Arrangements of York, Maine, and more!



          LIVING ROOM...Before

          LIVING ROOM..After


            1. Merrill Chamberlain on

              Absolutely phenomenal. You guys are super talented. Wonderful Reno. You should be so proud of yourselves. Improving the Durham area.

              Thank you, Seascape Capital Management for providing this very useful information about 2019 taxes:

              From Seascape: 

              January 10, 2019

              The 2019 tax-filing season is approaching.  In an effort to help smooth the process and keep important numbers at your fingertips throughout the year, we are happy to share a card containing key financial data for 2019.  

              Please click here to access the card.
              We find that these numbers are helpful for a variety of calculations involving Social Security, healthcare costs, and retirement plan funding, to name a few.  

              We hope that you will find this resource as useful as we do! Please feel free to share it with others.  If you would like a physical copy of the card, please respond to this email or call the office at 603-964-4480.

              As always, give us a call if you have any questions about these numbers or require more detailed tax information.
              -The Seascape Team




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                Madden Acquires RE/MAX Luxury Franchise

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                October 31, 2018

                For immediate release


                MADDEN Real Estate Announces Partnership with RE/MAX Collection, the #1 International Real Estate Brand


                Rye, New Hampshire - Madden Real Estate, one of the best-known Seacoast independent residential real estate brokerages, is joining forces with RE/MAX, the world’s most productive real estate network.  Founder and owner Jennifer Madden says that transitioning to RE/MAX Rising Tide, an independently owned franchise, will allow her company’s clients to reap the benefits of a global real estate powerhouse.  The agency will also be a Luxury RE/MAX Collection office, which dovetails with Madden Real Estate’s geographical sweet spot on the Seacoast.


                Madden Real Estate already has the distinction of being the top seller of properties in Rye, NH.  Expanding Madden Real Estate will enable extensive advertising, access to the robust real estate website RE/ that is translated into 28 languages, and access to international buyers and sellers who rely on the latest technology to find the right fit.  Says Jennifer Madden, “Our boutique level of service will remain; however, this move will strengthen our brand, give us global connections, and allow us to benefit from the RE/MAX tools that enhance home buying and selling, in addition to positioning the firm for greater future growth.” One example of the RE/MAX brand’s power is the recently forged partnership with, a top website for real estate consumers. 


                Madden Real Estate will transition to Madden Group | RE/MAX Rising Tide immediately. The current team of eight Realtors is enthusiastic about the change. The office will remain on 371 Sagamore Road in Rye while the signs, brochures, and website are being updated to reflect the highly recognizable RE/MAX branding.  


                Says Madden, “Today’s real estate industry is becoming increasingly global, and in order to best position both the agency and our customers to succeed in this environment, the transition to RE/MAX Rising Tide is a natural step. Our clients have always expected and received the best from us and now we are an even better position to provide that.”





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                  Winter is coming! Do you need a rental?

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                  Fall foliage may be in full force, yet winter is coming and for anyone looking to secure an off-season rental, your time is running out! Back in the middle of the summer we posted a blog about how spectacular summer rentals are along the Seacoast, however, the winter brings its own special qualities and if you don't mind the cooler temps, a winter rental in Rye or a neighboring town can make for a memorable experience.

                  Picture this: You wake up to the sun coming up above the horizon, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee (put on some layers) and head down to the beach for a morning walk where you are one of the only people in sight. At night, cozy up by the fire as the sun sets to the west and the sky turns from blue to pink to gray over the Atlantic Ocean. On days when it snows, your rental is transformed into a winter wonderland and when temps gets really cold, you can head to any number of the nearby frozen ponds for fresh air and a skate (don't forget to bring some hot cocoa).

                  We've found that the majority of winter rentals are taken by families or individuals finding themselves in a state of transition. Maybe they are in the middle of selling their home and haven't closed on their new home, or perhaps they are doing a major renovation or building a new home. Whatever the case is, people that need a winter rental are usually able to plan a bit ahead and reserve it by as early as late summer or early fall. That means that a lot of the winter rental inventory is already spoken for and if you are one of the folks who is still looking, your time to act is now. We do have a few rental properties that are still available, check out our list.

                  To book your off-season rental property call our office and speak with one of our awesome associates, Sandy and Kirsten – 603-957-7500. You can also email them at and


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