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!






    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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            Fair Housing Act Celebrates 50 Years

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            It may be difficult for younger generations of homeowners to imagine a culture where society was tolerant to housing practices that allowed people to refuse to sell, rent to, or negotiate with a person based on their race, color, religion, etc., but that is exactly what the Fair Housing Act was established to prevent in 1968.

            Through the years the Act has continued to be amended to include more protected classes - today the act protects the following classes from discrimination - race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. The enforcement of the Act is just as important as getting it passed in 1968. That's where we, as Realtors, play a critical role. To become a real estate agent you must go through specific training on how to handle issues related to fair housing and it's one of our most important jobs to ensure discrimination doesn't occur on our watch.

            In the fifty years since the Act was initially passed we have come a very long way as a society, but it would be naive to think that discrimination, on some level, doesn't still occur today. That's why if you, or someone you know, feels they have been a victim of housing discrimination it's important to report it

            If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Fair Housing Act, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a great article that you can read here



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              NH Seacoast Q3 Housing Market Report

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              With the kids back to school and the weather changing to a crisper climate, it will be interesting to see how the housing market is affected in Q4 of 2018. Before we look ahead though, we’d like to share Q3 housing market data for the NH Seacoast and offer some insight into what the data is telling us. 

              At the end of each quarter we compile all the sales transactions for the towns we do the majority of our business in and present it in an easy to digest summary. We hear from clients, customers and neighbors that the data  helps them keep a close eye on the market and could potentially impact their decision on when/if to buy or sell.

              All of the data can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the following links, but just in case you don’t have time to dig through it all on your own time, below are a few of the more notable stats that are worth a close look.

              Rockingham County DATA | Rockingham County REPORT
              Strafford County DATA | Strafford County REPORT

              For this blog post we are highlighting a piece of the data - single family residence sales transactions in Rockingham County for the following towns: Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newmarket, North Hampton, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye and Stratham.

              We are always looking to see where the activity is happening – i.e. where homes are selling from both a volume and days on market perspective. From July-September, Portsmouth recorded the most single family sales transactions with 54, followed by Hampton (48) and Exeter (37).  However, when looking at the top towns with lowest days on market we saw Newfields, (while only recording three transactions for Q3), had the lowest days on market at 22. Taking second and third place were Newmarket and Exeter with 34 and 35 days on market, respectively.

              With Exeter popping up towards the top of both of these lists, it's a strong signal that sellers are pricing homes at values being well received by the market and that there is high demand for property on the buyer side. To learn more about what makes Exeter a desirable community to live in, or research our other great Seacoast town, visit our Seacoast Towns page

              Rounding out the key findings from this quarter's report, the top three towns with the highest average sale price in Q3 were New Castle ($1,822,200), Rye ($1,074,340) and North Hampton ($832,825).

              It will be interesting to see if these trends continue when we recap Q4 sales data at the end of the year, or if any new trends emerge for us to discuss!

              As always, if you have any questions about the data or are thinking it might be time to buy/sell property along the Seacoast, give us a call or swing into our Rye office location.

              - Your Madden Real Estate Team


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              Do You Know The Key Differences Between a Conventional, FHA, and VA Loan?

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              Are you scratching your head trying to figure out which type of mortgage is going to best suit your needs in Seacoast NH? For most borrowers, there are three major loan types: Conventional, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Veterans Affairs (VA). Here is some information on all three to help you decide which loan is perfect for you!

              Conventional Loans

              If you have great credit, a conventional loan could be your best bet and qualify you for the most competitive interest rate. If you have a credit score in the 700s, have a down payment of 5 to 20%, and have a low (less than 40%) debt-to-income ratio (the percentage of your monthly income allocated to debt, such as mortgages, credit card payments, or other loans).

              With a conventional mortgage, you'll have fewer barriers to break down and can usually obtain one quicker than an FHA or VA loan

              In addition to having a down payment, you will also likely need to have the cash to cover closing costs, lender fees, and mortgage insurance if you don't meet the minimum down payment requirement.

              Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans

              If you have a low credit score (lower than 600), a small down payment of around 3.5%, or if your mortgage payments will account for a significant portion of your paycheck, an FHA loan may offer you some flexibility.

              The key differentiator with FHA loans is that the FHA provides insured mortgages, and doesn't actually lend money. As a borrower, you could be eligible to spend up to 57% of your total income on monthly debt obligations; such as your mortgage, auto loans, child support, and credit card payments.

              The flexibility of FHA mortgages has some associated costs; 1.75% of the loan amount is due at closing, along with an annual fee, around 0.8%. If your financial situation improves or if you build equity in your home, the only way to eliminate these FHA fees is to refinance.

              Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans

              If you or a qualifying family member is active in the military, or a veteran, you could qualify for a VA mortgage with 100% financing. If you're the spouse of a military member who passed away while on active duty, you could also apply. There's no need to be a first-time buyer so that you can get a VA loan in the future as well. There's also no limit to how much you can borrow with a VA loan, but there are limits that may affect you based on your state and county, and how much of a financial responsibility you can handle.

              A fundamental difference with VA loans is that the VA doesn't lend money, it backs the loans made by private lending institutions. You may still need cash for an earnest-money deposit, and closing costs. A seller is allowed to cover the closing costs, but it's not required. Additionally, if you're securing a VA loan for a primary residence, you won't require a down payment, but there's a cost of 2.15 to 3.3% that you (or the seller) will need to pay in advance. The good news is this fee can be rolled into the mortgage.

              Not sure which type of loan you should apply for? At Madden Realtors, we deal with all types of home buyers. If you have a question, please get in touch with one of our MADDEN REAL ESTATE team members!


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                So it’s time to sell your house. You spend days (if not weeks) clearing out the clutter, organizing, cleaning and perfecting every square foot of your home so potential buyers can see it at its best possible version. Often times your Realtor might even offer up the services of a professional stager – it’s amazing what these experts can do without even bringing in any new décor. They simply take your existing furniture/decorations, work their magic and POOF your home looks like it should be on the cover of a Pottery Barn catalog.

                Going through the process of meticulously preparing your home for sale will improve the perceived value of your home and usually result in buyers willing to pay more to move in, but what if you took it one step further…allow me to introduce you to the idea of “white-boxing.”

                White-boxing is a growing trend in the real estate industry and it’s basically the idea that when potential buyers are looking at property they have a very specific idea of how they want to design/construct the interior and therefore, you should give them as blank a canvas as possible.

                Imagine having two similar homes. The first home is meticulously decorated to the liking of the current homeowner. The second home’s walls are bare of any paint, the kitchen cabinets have been stripped of hardware, lighting fixtures have been removed – you get the idea – the home has essentially been muted of its design elements. Which will sell faster?

                It’s a bit of a tricky question to truly answer. If the first buyer who walks through the door of the first home loves the design elements, then we have a match and that home will sell, but if your goal (and it should be) is to have your home appeal to as broad an audience as possible, then white-boxing is something your should consider doing before listing your home.

                Before you go ripping your home down to the studs, understand that there are levels and degrees to this idea of “white-boxing.” At its most extreme interpretation, yes, white-boxing means you would vacate any and all finishes in your home – countertops, lighting fixtures, bathroom tile – rip them all out and give buyers the ultimate clean slate. This level of white-boxing has it’s place (think multi-million dollar apartments), but a more practical approach to this theory is what most sellers should consider as they prepare to list their home and something a staging expert would actually be well suited to assist with (a little ironic, I know).

                A staging expert can help you organize your home so that each room can be seen for its possibilities, rather than it’s current use – for example, what you may see as a living room space, may better suit a buyer as a dinning room. By removing unnecessary furniture, buyers can more easily envision their own furniture in the space and therefore will be more likely to have an emotional connection to home.

                Another option that some sellers are choosing, which supports the theory behind white-boxing, is to just remove all the furniture from the home entirely. We actually have a beautiful home listed for sale in Rye, NH – 13 Perkins Road – that had been tastefully staged, but the sellers just decided to remove all the furniture to present the home as more of a blank canvas in hopes that it will appeal to a broader audience of buyers.

                Those are just a couple of examples of how white-boxing may help sell your home but what’s important to remember is that each home is truly unique and the decisions you make in how you prepare your home for sale should be carefully weighed and discussed with a trusted Realtor (we know a few if you are looking :))


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