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Memories for Rent...and For Sale

Article by Susan Gallagher

Photography by Seacoast Real Estate Photography

Originally published in Portsmouth City Lifestyle

Jenn Madden is different from your ordinary realtor. She is in the business of making memories. Her goal is to help families safeguard memories for future generations and ensure precious new ones are possible. While Jenn’s primary business is home sales, she has found a niche in summer and winter rentals on historic Rye Beach and the surrounding seacoast area. “These properties,” she says, “are more than real estate; they are pieces of family history.”

Jenn’s fondest childhood memories are of golden summers spent at a house her family rented on Straws Point. This gives her a unique insight into the magic this nostalgia holds for her clients. What she finds most satisfying about renting beach properties are the long-standing relationships she develops. “Many of the same families return year after year,” she says. “We get to know them on a personal level. That’s what I love about this business.”  

One Rye family’s story is an especially poignant testament to Madden’s impact on family legacy. In 2022, with their father’s passing, Jon Danos and his two brothers suddenly found themselves owners of the family beach property. They yearned to keep the house and four rental cottages that held so many treasured memories, but they needed a business plan. “My brothers and I were at a point of inflection,” Danos says. “How are we going to do this and be successful?”

While the senior Danos had rented only to long-term tenants, Madden encouraged the siblings to pursue the “summer rental model,” taking advantage of rentals to visitors, primarily on a weekly basis in the summer and monthly in the winter. With her expert guidance, they renovated the cottages, using Jon’s wife Laura’s natural talents and eye for interior design, and renamed them The Cottages at Cable. “We wanted it to be a place of respite and comfort and for the guest experience to reflect the best of the New Hampshire seacoast community,” Danos says.

Madden also allayed their fears about winter income. “She advised us there is a strong off-season market,” Danos says, “and she was right on. Business is great.” He adds with emotion, “I think our dad would be really proud.”

Jenn Madden’s foray into the beach rental business came about purely by chance. Living at the beach was the catalyst. “Thirteen years ago,” she says, “someone shared how much they loved our beach and asked me where to rent a house.” Already licensed, Madden decided on the spot to open an office and provide rental services. “I just kind of did it,” she laughs. “I took it as it came.” Things fell into place, and the beach rentals were well received. She now has more than seventy properties for rent. “We had a lot of support,” she says thankfully. “The community has been awesome.” 

This intrepid entrepreneur is proud of her achievements as a business owner. She attributes much of the Madden Group’s success to the rapport she and her two rental agents build with clients, both tenants and homeowners. “We value our clients,” Madden says. “We make things as easy for them as possible.” 

One of Madden’s most notable attributes as a realtor is her exceptional ability to read her clients and their needs. “I’m really good at hearing things that aren’t said,” she says confidently. “I like to think I am a perceptive person. This gives me a unique sense of what clients want, even when they don’t fully articulate it.”

Just as unique is Rye Beach itself, with its rich and storied history, giving it an old-world feel as palpable as the sea air. The pull of this area has drawn visitors as far back as the 1840s. “So many people have roots here,” Madden explains. “Houses have been passed down through generations.” She has put down her own roots here and intends to stay. “We love Rye,” she says. “We moved up here and never looked back.”


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