Merrimack PD Food Drive

merrimackpd

Merrimack Police Department’s annual food drive

Each year, the Merrimack Police Department coordinates a food drive to help Merrimack residents in need of food. The drive begins in November and runs through the end of the year. All food donations collected at the four different drop off locations are donated to the Merrimack Food Pantry.

Please consider making a contribution to this worthy cause. Small and large donations are greatly appreciated. The Police Department accepts donations of food items at the following locations:

The Merrimack PD

Merrimack Highway Garage

Merrimack’s Transfer Station

Hairthirium (in the Harris Pond Mall)

If you have questions about the food drive, or making a donation, please contact Sgt. Gregory Walters at 603-424-3774.

Help Jackson Cote of Merrimack, NH – critically injured in bike accident

jackson picture of cast signingI am writing this to tell you about a boy and his family that need your help. Originally, we (this includes the Cote Family who started the gofundmepage, Tammy Peavey, and I) created an event page which proved successful in a manner of days, but was “private” and so many could not see it or join it. We have remedied that by starting a regular Facebook page that is open to the public as we want to reach more people willing to help. An event to visit him on the 30th has been coordinated at Crotched Mountain Rehab, 1 Verney Road
Greenfield, NH 03047, between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The link to the page is here: https://www.facebook.com/helpjacksoncote/

At a minimum we only ask that you “like” the page (The “Like” button is close to the top right of the page next to the “Send Email”) to show your support. However, there are other ways you may help as well, such as sending virtual or real messages of support (I will include more about these options below). Before I delve into how you may help, if you choose, please allow me tell you what happened to Jackson so you may understand the gravity and severity of his situation.

On June 28th, 13 year old Jackson was riding his bike home from the library when he was struck by an SUV. This was not a minor event. Though he wore a helmet, the force of the impact caused him to bounce off the vehicle and slam onto the concrete. His helmet was shredded. However, that was just the beginning of his ordeal. When you finish reading this (and I ask that you please do), you will be amazed he is even still alive. We are looking for any support we can get to help with medical bills and his morale.

Immediately after the accident, Jackson was med flighted to Mass General Hospital in Boston where he remained in critical condition and was kept in the Pediatric ICU for one week. He then was transferred to the pediatric unit for another few days. He is now in a rehab facility, but he has a long and tough road ahead of him.

During medflight, emergency personnel worked diligently to manage Jackson as his blood pressure was dropping to dangerously low levels. Some of the injuries Jackson endured include, but are not limited to: Fractures in both of his arms, his elbow detaching from his arm completely, two broken knees, a femur that snapped in half, contusions to his lungs, heart, spleen, and liver, a broken nose, broken teeth, nerve damage, and more. When his bike broke it caused a laceration on in his groin that was so deep it barely missed his femoral artery.

We need your help and there are many options that I will outline below. We would be grateful for any support at all because the family did not want to burden others with their emotional and financial burdens as a result of this accident, but they need our help. Jackson needed oxygen for a week, multiple blood transfusions, and thus far has undergone two major surgeries that each took four hours to complete. The gist of this is the medical expenses are significant, but so is the emotional toll this is taking on his family.

Jackson recently was transferred to a rehabilitation facility and must use a wheel chair to get around; However, with long term, painful, and consistent PT and OT he is likely to someday walk again. Throughout this ongoing ordeal, the family has incurred significant costs to ensure Jackson receives proper care. His road to recovery will be a long and difficult one, but every single person reading this now has the power to show support, such as:

1. Click “like” near the top of the community Facebook page, share the page with others, and/or leave a positive note on the page. You may also reach out using the contact button at the top and next to the “like” button.

2. Donating money (no matter how much or how little) to his gofundme account here: https://www.gofundme.com/2daf8rg

3. Spread the word about Jackson and his plight in any way you can.

4. Send a card, postcard, or letter to him at this address:


Crotched Mountain Rehab
1 Verney Road
Greenfield, NH 03047
ATTN: Jackson Cote

Jackson needs to know we care. I cannot express how grateful his family and Jackson would be for any support you can provide – no matter how big or small.

pic on event page

THANK YOU to all that have provided assistance and to any that will going forward.

We have  private Facebook event going, but because it is private we found it limiting in terms of sharing with others.

jacksonevent

Here are some pictures and messages left on the private event page for those that cannot view them.

pics on event page

Below is the activity and comments from the private page. We are shifting to the community page because event is limiting in terms of who can access it and how long we may run it.

 

Messages left on private event page for Jackson and his family!

Angela Figueroa Whiton

Stay strong Jackson! Wishing you a speedy recovery:)

Chanin Magill Peyton

I was so sorry to hear about your accident. Best wishes from Mrs. P (and Scott and Andrew) for a rapid recovery!
Amy Brodeur Niezrecki

Best wishes for continued amazing recovery and strength. Amy and Anna Niezrecki

Tammy Peavey

We’ll be visiting you again soon Jackson! Keep getting stronger!

 

Melissa Higgins

Jackson, thinking about you every day and hoping you are on your way to healing as quickly as possible even though I know it may seem sometimes like a long and unending journey. There are better times to come. I’ve lived long enough to know that even when it seems life will never get better, it always does.

 

Tammy Peavey

Great words Melissa!!

 

 

Betsy Schartner Schalk

Sending Jackson prayers for his recovery. My daughter goes to school with Jackson and sends her thoughts and prayers as well. You got this, stay strong!

 

 

Melissa Cote

https://www.facebook.com/events/1133360796739617/?ti=icl

JUL 30

Interested

Come visit Jack!

Sat 10 AM · Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center · Greenfield

Betsy Schartner Schalk

I will see if we can go.

Sean Powers

Can you all share Melissa’s link to get kids going?

 

Tammy Peavey

If anyone was having issues with the gofundme site not working earlier, it should be all set now! Thanks so much for letting me know! Thank you all for the generous well wishes, cards, and donations for Jackson. It has been amazing!

 

 

Karen Kieltyka Brown

Hi Jackson. We don’t know each other, but we have something in common, I was also struck by a car. I know the challenges you face and all the work it’s going to take to restore your health. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! On the hard, bad days, just get through them! You can start fresh again the next day. It will get easier, I promise.

 

 

Tammy Peavey

Karen! I didn’t know. Thanks for the supporting words for Jackson!

 

 

Pam Crocker

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. 🙏

 

 

Troy Church

Hey Jackson i know we arent friends and we dont particularly like eachother at all, but nobody deserves this and hope for a speedy recovery dude!

 

Tammy Peavey

You’re a great kid Troy. Good for you for sending such a positive message.

Marie Cote

Your kind words touched all of our hearts. Thank you Troy.

Kelly Ann

Hey Jackson I know we don’t talk very often but you are one of the nicest and Happiest kids I know and I hope you recover quickly!🙏🏻

Olivia Gage

Jackson, I know we were never extremely close but it is horrible to see a friend go though this. We’ve known eachother since about 5th grade and you have been one of the crazy chorus kids like me! You’ve always stood out in a crowd. You help people where you can and try to make things better. All of your hard work has shown through, and now all of the people you’ve helped and made an impact on are coming back to help you. You’re in our(me and my family’s) thoughts and prayers, hoping you’ll get better. I hope you’re able to safely come back to MHS for the beginning of school! I’m pretty sure most of the 9th grade will want to help you out as needed! I hope you are doing well and PT/OT does hurt too much. Best of luck to you! And I hope this photo of your musical friends makes you smile!
~Liv

 

Marie Cote

Thank you Olivia. Jackson always speaks highly of you and was so happy to hear you had reached out to him!

 

Olivia Gage

I’m happy to know I was able to help him out and bring his spirits up a bit! Marie Cote

 

Julie Smith Gage

You can overcome this. Keep working and I know that you will be back home with your family and friends soon! Best wishes and prayers to Jackson and his family.

 

 

Andy Straussberg

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. You are in our thoughts.

 

 

Melissa Higgins

Quick update: Donations are up to $2,900 as of this writing! Thank you to everyone assisting by attending the event to show support, sending cards, leaving positive notes, and donating. Please feel free to share the event link with your friends as well using the invite button on the right hand side of the page under the picture. Here’s the link to the gofundme account:

Click here to support Jackson Cote by Ryan Cote

Becky Pollock·

Sending healing thoughts and well wishes from California.

Amy Keiser Bellizia

Jackson, I am praying for you and your family. I hope you know how very brave and strong you are. As someone who spent most of her childhood in hospitals, I know it sucks, but you keep fighting. You’re an inspiration!!!

 

Melissa Higgins

Thank you Amy for such a kind message!

Alan Robinson

God bless you and everyone else who is involved with this great love amazing amen

Diane McDougall

I Pray you are well now Jackson in Jesus name x

Robert Gilbert

We will pray for you.

Debbie Asher Hickman

Best wishes Jackson, feel better soon, your in my thoughts

Al Thomas Jr.

You are in my prayers !!!!!!

 

 

Jennifer Lee

Keep your head up! Best wishes for a fast full recovery 💕

Brandi Wreyn

Hang in there! Here’s to a speedy recovery 🙂

 

 

Jenna Fino

Anthony and I are sending many thoughts and prayers to Jack and the Cote family! We love you guys and hope Jack will have a speedy recovery! Please let us know if there is anything else you guys need. We are always willing to help!

 

 

Chelsea Patierno

Sending happy thoughts and positive vibes for the long recovery! I will have the boys mail a postcard! What a nice idea 🙂

 

 

That awkward question

Realtors are advised to ask buyers if they are currently working with an agent before pursuing them as a client. This can help to avoid the kind of conflict that comes with learning that the buyer a realtor thought was working with them exclusively is really playing the field and going on showings with other agents – probably without having any negative or deceitful intent (some might, but I choose to believe that is not typically the case), but because they are learning the process as they go and rely on an agent to guide and educate them.

If a buyer discloses this information outright, upon being asked, then I would think most agents would be respectful of their candor, and thankful for it as well. If a realtor asks a buyer if they are working with another agent and the buyer says “yes” then the realtor (should) know to back off and politely advise the buyer to work through the agent they have chosen, unless they decide it is not working out and both parties agree to part ways. However, if the buyer says “no” when in truth they are working with one or more other agents it can cause interpersonal, ethical, and perhaps even legal problems down the line.

That said, the responsibility to ask the question falls on the agent in terms of broaching the topic. Asking the question, and receiving an answer, provides the agent with the information needed to determine how to handle the situation, because many buyers simply do not know how the process works, or what problems some actions could cause down the line, and so they may not proactively offer the information as they do not know it is important. Most buyers are likely not trying to hide it at all; they just do not know it is critical for the agent to have that knowledge.

While asking the question during the first interaction may feel awkward or uncomfortable, it is essential, and gives the agent an opportunity to offer the buyer an explanation as to why they asked the question to help them better understand the complicated mechanics of home sales. This may also open the door to further discussions about the buying process and the buyer’s needs if it turns out the buyer is not working with another agent.

On the realtor side of the equation, it helps agents preserve relationships with other agents in the industry by respecting existing agency relationships other agents may have with one or more buyers. This is important because many agents encounter ones they have worked with before on numerous occasions – especially in smaller markets like Litchfield or Merrimack, New Hampshire – where specific agents do a lot of business in those towns. Negotiating with an agent that feels another agent has been unethical or has behaved in an unpleasant, or dishonest, manner in the past becomes exceptionally difficult and can impede a sale, or make one much harder than it has to be due to hostility or distrust among the agents. This is always best to avoid so that negotiations are focused on the best interests of the clients and not the agents.

not exclusive

And then…

not exclusive part 2

 

The Zestimate Project: An Introduction

A bane of a realtor’s existence is the Zillow.com “Zestimate”. The Zestimate is the website’s estimated market value of a property – whether it is for sale, sold in the past, or off the market. When a home is offered for sale on Zillow the website automatically provides an estimated value of the home and places it near top of the page, just below the asking price of the property for viewers to see. It appears as follows:

1 Grove

In the example above, the Zestimate values the property on 1 Grove Court at $387,805. The house is a 4 bedroom colonial, with 2.5 baths that sits on just over an acre of land. The value Zillow has provided is considerably lower than what the sellers are asking for the home. $72,195 lower to be exact. Why though? Is the home overpriced? Is Zillow using poor sales comparisons in its estimation? What gives? And more importantly, is the Zestimate in this case, and others, even accurate? 

The above questions, combined with endless conversations and debates over this seemingly benign valuation tool have prompted me to examine this matter further and decide – at least for myself – once and for all whether this tool is helpful to buyers and sellers, or harmful. Thus this post begins what I am now calling The Zestimate Project. My project will consist of research into past and present sales in Southern New Hampshire to track the accuracy of the Zestimate, shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of the tool, and propose recommendations for improving it if applicable.

Going back to the first home example above on Grove Court, I scrolled down to the bottom of the listing page to determine what comparisons (comps as we call them in realtor speak) were used to calculate the estimate. The homes used are as follows according to the tiny print at the bottom of the page:

47 Garden Drive in Litchfield

2 Garden Drive in Litchfield

Let’s discuss these two properties for a moment, from a valuation perspective. 47 Garden Grove was last listed on the MLS (multiple listing service) in 2014 for $329,900. The listing did not sell and subsequently expired. The home is presently offered for sale on Zillow by the owner. It still has not sold and therefore is not a valid comp. However, it is also not a valid comp for a couple of other reasons. A look at the expired listing from 2014 shows this home was built in 1983. The one on Grove Court was built in 2002. 27 Garden Drive has a 2 car garage and is a cape style home. 1 Grove Court has a 3 car garage and is a colonial. A look through the photographs on Zillow for both properties demonstrate the many differences between the interior and exterior aspects of the homes. They are not reasonable comps and 27 Garden should not even be used as such by Zillow because it has not even sold.

The next property Zillow listed at the bottom of the page, and claimed was comparable, is 2 Garden Drive. Zillow states, “Another comparable condo, 2 Garden Dr recently sold for $290,533 on 06/05/2015”. None of these homes are “condos”, but other than scratch my head over that description I don’t know what to do with that information and have no knowledge of where Zillow came up with that. The homes discussed herein are single family residences. Not condos. 

In reference to 2 Garden Drive, a home that sold almost exactly one year ago is not a good comparison property. Second, the home itself is not comparable for other reasons. 2 Garden Drive was built in 1973, instead of 2002. It states on the MLS that total finished square feet is 2,366. The total finished square feet for 1 Grove Court is 3,021. The list goes on.

The difference of 655 in square feet is important to note. I will preface my next statements with an acknowledgement that I am a realtor, not an appraiser. I am well versed in providing valuations for sellers in the form of a comparative market analysis, but a true appraisal is exceptionally detailed and thorough. That said, square footage is an important aspect of a home’s value. The difference of 655 square feet might seem minor, but if an appraiser were determining the value of either property he or she would choose recently sold properties that were as comparable as possible in terms of size, age, condition, square feet, etc. and then make adjustments to the value of each comparison property to bring it in line with the subject property. In simpler terms, if the comparison property for example has 200 more in gross living area (square footage) then the property being appraised, the appraiser would deduct an amount of money from the comparison property based on a determination of what each square foot is worth. I have reviewed a wide range of appraisals completed on properties I have sold and found there is some variation in terms of the value attached to square feet that depends on many factors, including locality. An average, based entirely on what I have seen in local appraisal reports I have viewed is about $25 per square foot that is above grade and finished. Sometimes higher and sometimes lower. If we use this average to determine the difference in value between 1 Grove and 2 Garden, merely going by the square footage difference, then we get $16,375. That’s no small chunk of change.

The above does not take into account the age difference between the properties, 2 Garden Drive having one less garage bay, the differences in exterior and interior updates, and so much more.

The Zestimate in this case only refers to the above two homes as comparison properties. If it is using others it does not state as much, but realistically the website should disclose all homes used for comparison purposes to allow readers to make decisions about the Zestimate’s reliability in any given situation. The comparisons used for Grove Court consist of a home that sold a year ago and one still on the market. But now let’s look at recently sold comparison properties on the MLS to see how far off the Zestimate is from actual comparative properties. I will use three properties for this purpose.

Property 1: On May 5, 2016, 9 Riverview Circle sold for $410,000. The home has 3,116 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a 3 car garage. However, this home was built in 1986 instead of 2002 and lacks the multitude of updates found in 1 Grove Court. That said, 9 Riverview is a lovely home, with plenty to offer, and is a closer comparison than the ones chosen by Zillow. But here’s the kicker. The current Zestimate for 9 Riverview Circle is $494,876, even though the home sold for $410,000 this month. If the Zestimate is truly accurate then the buyers made out well and the sellers…not so much.

Property 2: On April 1st, 2016, 21 Moose Hollow Road sold for $455,000. It has 3,884 square feet according to the MLS, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and sits on just over an acre of land. It has one less garage bay than 1 Grove Court, but is updated throughout the house and was built in 2005. The home does not appear to have as many updates as 1 Grove, and is lacking some of the structural architecture that makes 1 Grove unique and aesthetically appealing, but 21 Moose Hollow is a fabulous house and would serve as a good comparative when valuing a home like 1 Grove Court. The current Zestimate is $470,283 despite the fact the property sold almost two months ago for $455,000.

Property 3: On December 11th, 2015, 15 Moose Hollow Road sold for $457,500. The home is comparable in that it is extremely similar in square feet, has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, is a colonial style home, and sits on over an acre of land. This property only has a 2 car garage and is lacking some of the cosmetic and structural features that make Grove Court an appealing property, but nevertheless 15 Moose Hollow is nothing short of a gorgeous home that appears well kept and cared for in the photographs. The current Zestimate for this home is $464,659, even though it sold for $457,500.

In summary, the three recently sold properties I found on the MLS are more in line with the price point of 1 Grove Court when one takes into account size, land, updates, special features, number of garage bays, location, and other factors than those used in the Zestimate (or at least the two the website suggests it used). It will be intriguing to see the final sales price for 1 Grove Court in light of all this information.

Over the course of the next few months I will periodically track the Zestimates of properties in the Southern New Hampshire region, including Litchfield, Merrimack, Amherst, Bedford, Nashua, and Manchester (perhaps other towns, but right now I am limiting it to certain markets) to make estimations about its accuracy within those markets. I would also like to conduct a survey at some point of buyers and sellers to find out how much faith they place in Zillow’s Zestimate and learn the ways in which the Zestimate impacts people’s perceived value of the properties it valuates. Because maybe, just maybe, the Zestimate could use some improvement in areas of consistency and accuracy.

Time will tell!

Places: Kids Kove in Merrimack, NH

kidskove2Merrimack, NH has a lot of fun and family-friendly places to go. The Twin Bridge Park is one example. Many people know the park because of its unique playground for kids known as Kids Kove, as well as the Little League baseball field known as Bise. The Merrimack Youth Association (MYA) headquarters building is also in the park. However, some do not realize there is even more to the park than meets the eye.

The entire park consists of 27 acres and has been a public area since 1928. A large portion of the park is wooded and so visitors may walk along various trails. The park was named Twin Bridge because of the two bridges located within the wooded area that allow people to cross the Baboosic Brook. The Town of Merrimack states on its site that the bridges have been used since colonial times, though their structure has changed somewhat.

Kids Kove is a play area outside of the woods that is mainly made up of wooden structures for children to play in or on. If you are planning a trip there it is important to note that there is no tunneling allowed under the playground (the sign says as much and so there must have been some kind of incident prompting the rule, right?), under any circumstances, but once you get beyond that disappointment you are free to have fun.

Here are some additional pictures of the playground, the trails, and the Brook:

kidskove1

Inside Kids Kove

kidskove3

Play area

trails6

The trails

trails4

Baboosic Brook

trails2

Another view of the brook

trails3

Moving along the trail

trails1

Near the bridge

trailend

End of the trail