Friday, November 5, 2010

Surround Yourself With Good People Who Are Only Going to Lift You Higher

From the beginning of this project we have used a team approach for getting the work done. We are well aware that there is no "I" in team and we believe in the power of synergy. We have surrounded ourselves with motivated people who have similar goals and beliefs. Positive attitude, self motivating and hard working are just a few of the qualities we demand from our team members. Bonnie Gravel brings all of those qualities, and so much more, to our team. A Realtor with Prudential Verani, Bonnie and her team came on board with Weirs Beach Village one year ago. Bonnie understands and respects our needs and our goals. She is not afraid to get her hands or feet dirty. She can be found giving tours of the model homes, vacuuming occasional dust bunnies, shoveling snow, and was recently seen serving apple crisp at our ribbon cutting ceremony. But working with our customers is Bonnie's true calling. She is honest, direct, and a straight shooter with a sense of humor that can soften the most difficult discussion.

 I decided I wanted to interview Bonnie so that people can truly understand the caliber of people working on the Weirs Beach Village team.  It was challenging to pin Bonnie down long enough to ask her a few questions. Did I mention that Bonnie is very active with an exhausting energy level ? I tried to keep up with her to ask her a few questions and needed a nap at the end of that day.

1. How long have you been involved with the world of real estate ? How did you get started in RE and why ? Almost 20 years and I love it!! I was going to college to  work with people in Cardiac Rehab  while bringing up two young children and managing in a health club and teaching aerobics. I met a wonderful couple, Chris and Bill Dowd, that use to take all of my exercise classes. One day Chris, who was a Real Estate Trainer, asked me if I ever thought of getting into real estate and that a realtor in her office needed a high energy assistant to help him with customers. I accepted. I did finish and graduated from college, with my husband and two children cheering me on. I did however become very busy in real estate and it is history from there. I do feel like I help make peoples' hearts happy especially when they receive the key to their new home or they have sold a home and moved on to the next stage of their life. It is pretty cool and most of the time brings tears to my eyes.

2. What jobs did you have before you became a realtor ? Oh my...that is a long list, so here you go.

Like most girls...babysitting first. At 15 I use to take a bus to a lawyer's home and worked as a paralegal.

At 16 when I got my license I worked for three lawyers, and had a job at 'Grover Cronins' in Waltham as a shoe salesgirl.  At 17 I worked as an administrator for a Dynamics Company. After graduation, I worked for Digital equipment as a dispatcher. This is where I met the love of my life. I then became a computer technician for Digital for a couple of years then had our beautiful children.

My favorite job was motherhood but while I was doing that I worked at Shaw's a couple of evenings a week and Sundays. I also sold Princess House Crystal at home parties to help with household bills.

Then as mentioned I went back to college, managed and taught aerobics in a health club while the kids were in school. Then real estate......

3. Any pets ? Tell us about them. I have had pets my whole life and can't image life without them. My mom said we had a cat that use to sleep in the crib with me when I was a baby and that is true today. Actually when I met my husband..I said to him if you do not like animals then it won't work. He is still here and we have our 12 year old rat terrier Ginger who sleeps with us every night...which I know can be a pain.

4. What makes a successful realtor ? Compassion, understanding, listening and understanding the needs of your seller and buyers... not what you think they need. Mostly be a true Professional.

5. Tell us about the Prudential Verani team ~ how is your team different from other real estate teams ? I feel Prudential Verani as a whole company is a family with great values and commitment to their customers and to their employees and agents. Our New Homes Division is top notch with more support that I have ever had in any real estate company I have worked. The team at Weirs Beach Village ~ Janis, Gene, Pete and Kristin ~ are very experienced agents that are very excited about the community and love the homes.

6. What are you feelings about WBV ? I love the whole concept that the developer/builder has created. The sense of community is astounding and is what the buyers are feeling and what they like. Personally, I am so happy after selling new construction for over 15 years, and my gained knowledge from that has now allowed me to be picky in choosing where I want to sell and who I want to sell for. I am blessed that it has brought me here to WBV.

7. What do you do in your spare time ? Spare time...what is that in real estate?  But when I do have spare time..I love hanging with my family and good friends.

8. Any words of advice to people looking to buy or sell their homes ?   Find the right realtor!!!!

9. You have a very optimistic outlook ~ how do you stay so positive ? I believe a person is happy if they believe they are happy and that shines through in how others see you too.

I had a few more questions for Bonnie but she was off and running to her next appointment. We are fortunate to have her on our team and hopefully you will have the opportunity to sit down and talk with Bonnie or any of the Prudential Verani team about your  dream home at Weirs Beach Village. They are only a phone call away from making your dream become a reality. All you have to do is dial 603-434-2377 ~ it is that easy !

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Celebrations and Congratulations and Big Changes !

As many of you may know, we had been waiting for many months for final approval from the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office. It was impatient, toe tapping waiting. But one bright and sunny Wednesday morning we received the call we had been waiting for from our attorney ~ Weirs Beach Village is officially a Homeowners' Association ! We didn't even know what to do first. Crack open the champagne ? Hug and kiss ?  Pinch ourselves ?  Call everyone ? Send out emails ? It was rather chaotic in the office for awhile but then the news sank in and we realized what needed to be done ~ organize the troops and start building more houses !  There was no time for dancing with wild abandon and singing from the roof tops. There was work to be done.

So the dust has settled and the work has begun. Non-binding agreements are being rewritten as purchase and sales agreements. Work has begun on new houses. Foundations are poured, framing continues, and Phase 1 will soon be all sold out.  Furniture is being moved out of models as closings begin and customers move into their homes.  We love thinking about the models being transformed into homes for families. Homes where so many memories will be made.

And my work continues. To keep spreading the good news...Weirs Beach Village is a Homeowners' Association...officially.  Let the celebrations begin !

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And then there were Eleven !

It is hard to believe that two months have passed since our last blog post. How could that be? What is going on here?  What is happening at Weirs Beach Village? 

As was written in an earlier post, we are going through the process of changing from a condominium association to a Homeowners' Association. We are still waiting for the NH Attorney General's office to give us final approval. Can you hear our toes tapping and the impatience with which I type ?  At this point we are allowed to take non-binding agreements on the homes. We currently have eleven non-binding purchase and sales agreements. We should be hearing any day now from the Attorney General and when that happens, closings will occur and people will be moving into their new homes, excited to begin this new chapter of their lives.

Six homes are completed and construction has begun on four more homes. The heavy equipment has been digging foundations and moving dirt around ~ even during this heat wave. Phase I will be half complete once these homes are finished. The excitement among our Realtors, our Project Manager, customers and all of us behind the scenes is mounting. We have a vision and to see it becoming reality is cause for celebration.

We are working on designing our permanent signage, taking care of a multitude of details, and completing reams of paperwork. So much goes on behind the scenes when building a project of this size. We pay attention to the small stuff because as we all know ~ the small stuff is the important stuff. So just because you don't SEE things happening at the project, be assured that we are working hard on our project on a daily basis, 24-7, with many sleepless nights, and countless long days. We are dedicated to our customers and to our vision. And we welcome you to call our Realtors today at 603-434-2377 to make an appointment and come see for yourself what is happening at Weirs Beach Village.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring has arrived at Weirs Beach Village !

The Lakes Region comes alive in Spring. The snow has melted with only the tops of the mountains still glistening in the sunlight. The Rites of Passage for Laconia real estate is evident as all the seasonal activities begin. Boaters take their boats and remove the shrink wrap as they take them from storage and prepare them for the cold waters as they dip in for their first voyage around Lake Winnipesaukee to explore their hidden coves. Summer residents return to their cottages; homes and condominiums do their spring clean up and get ready for their visitors or their tenants. Gunstock Mountain puts away their ski groomers for next year's season and hopes for early snow. The concert series that have been scheduled throughout the winter at Meadowbrook and include Sheryl Crow; Heart; Suglarland and Reba MacIntire are released and ticket sales begin.Beaches are raked and cleaned in advance of the throngs of bikinis; beach towels and chairs that will fill each inch. Hiking trails in the area state parks are cleared of fallen limbs and brush that are remnants of the cold and snowy winter. The Town of Laconia prepares for its 87th annual Laconia Motorcycle Week for June 12 through the 20th and the daily activities and its hungry visitors. Neighboring Tanger Outlets welcome more shoppers as the Spring into Summer season opens up and more bargains abound.

Walking distance to Weirs Beach is a welcoming community of homes that offer quality and affordability at one address. Weirs Beach Village offers a neighborhood of quality built homes with hardiplank cement board siding; interior trim packages that would be considered upgrades anywhere and a selection of high quality stick built homes. No need to worry when you lock your door as all homes are connected to the Fire Department. A custom look with a great price with homes beginning from the $130's. Some home sites offer views of the lake and all are sited carefully to afford more privacy and the community has a planned clubhouse and small pool. These are four season homes in a four seasons community! Weirs Beach is a perfect distance from Boston and points north with about a 1 1/2 hour drive. Give yourself a break and slow down in a great location to enjoy the Lakes Region.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Necessity of Change

In the beginning, Weirs Beach Village was originally structured as a development which would consist of 85 detached condominiums on leased land. The City of Laconia gave us the green light. We built four models ~ the Gilford, the Wolfeboro, the Meredith, and the Alton. People were curious. We landscaped, we paved, we began our marketing strategy. People became interested. We signed contracts, we courted a variety of financial institutions. We waited.

All around us, the economic climate was shifting dramatically. The government was responding by demanding strict changes in banking and lending institutions guidelines. The new Fannie Mae guidelines put severe restrictions on condominium financing. We watched and wondered what this meant for our project.

"Your success in life isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business." ~ Mark Sanborn

Skip Kelley, the developer, the brain and the heart of Weirs Beach Village, did what he does best ~ he problem solved. He investigated. He calculated. He knew there had to be a change at the project. He figured out what that change had to be and he then made that change. And that is why he has been so successful in the NH Real Estate scene for the past 25 + years.

So we have made the decision to abandon the condominium concept. Weirs Beach Village is becoming a Homeowners' Association.  We have begun the process of making the necessary legal changes through the NH Attorney General's Office and have been given permission to accept non-binding purchase and sales agreements. We expect to have all final approvals in place within the next 45 days.

The change was necessary. And the people are excited. All six of the homes which we have built are under agreement (non-binding). Prudential-Verani have had to add more hours and more staff up at the project to handle the calls and visits from customers. But there are some aspects which have not changed and will not change ~ we are still building high quality, affordable houses in the Lakes Region. Customer satisfaction is still a priority. It always has been and it always will be ~ some things never change.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Up Close and Personal with Skip Kelley.

 New Year's Eve 2006 017

I recently had the opportunity to interview Skip Kelley, the man with the vision and the knowledge to build Weirs Beach Village. It is important for customers to respect and trust the builder of their home. Mr. Kelley is very aware that a home is the biggest investment most people ever make and he keeps that in mind throughout the building process. The following interview will allow one to gain a little insight into the man who has been building homes for nearly thirty years in the Granite State.

Mr. Kelley, have you always been a developer/builder?

I began my work career at Mt Carmel nursing home back in 1974. I was a maintenance man. We maintained the boilers, the emergency generating system, did carpentry repairs, repaired plumbing, minor electrical work, and lots of painting. I continued to work full time there but I enrolled at the New Hampshire Vocational Technical College as a full time student in the industrial electricity program. In 1977 I graduated Summa Cum Laude from college and immediately  went to work as an electrician at Disogrin Industries as a maintenance electrician and became a licensed Journeyman Electrician. After a year, I became a Master Electrician.In 1979, I was hired by Sanders Associates as an electrician. Sanders at that time, was the largest employer in the state.

When did you make the leap from electrician to builder?

I had wanted to build homes from a very early age, all the way back to childhood and building tree forts and club houses. I always got great satisfaction from driving nails. I had always loved taking things apart and finding out how they worked. My Dad was an intrepid remodeler himself. Duct tape was his tool of choice. He tackled many handy man jobs around the house and would impress his kids into service.

My wife and I were married in 1978 and bought the first of many apartment buildings. We jumped in with both feet and created an additional apartment that we subsequently occupied. We had the first of our four children in 1979.
I bought more apartments and continued working many nights and weekends while our family grew. In 1984 we bought a 5 acre parcel of land in Deerfield, NH. It was then that I actually built my first new construction from start to finish. I decided a career in real estate/construction would become my full time occupation. I continued buying apartments and  single family homes which we would remodel and resell.

In 1989 just as the market was entering its last big downslide, I decided to do more new construction. This may seem counter intuitive given the economic climate, however, I reasoned that if I could build homes profitably in that market, I would thrive when things got better. Although I took my share of lumps throughout that time I proved the old adage was true, "If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger".

We emerged from the down cycle far stronger than before. We have since owned somewhere around 400 - 500 apartments and condominiums. We have bought, remodeled and sold somewhere around 80-100 single family homes. We have developed land all over southern NH. We have built new homes in Bedford, Auburn, Deerfield, Manchester, Hooksett, Bow, Londonderry, Candia, Raymond, Pembroke, Allenstown, Goffstown, Weare, Sanbornton, Laconia. I would estimate I have built somewhere between 100-150 homes. I have built roads and developed several subdivisions in Manchester, Weare, Candia, Deerfield and now Laconia.

What attracted you to Weirs Beach ?

We see Weirs Beach Village as a unique opportunity. The location is outstanding with the proximity to Lake Winnipesaukee and all it has to offer. The units themselves are built of high quality and cutting edge materials. They are being built with an eye to traditional architectural elements such as high pitched roofs, wide corner boards, water tables and traditional looking clapboard siding. The intention was not so much that we were competing with others but rather leading the way with a concept in housing which combines the best of the old with the best of the new. We are proud of the fact that we are building high quality homes that are affordable and energy efficient. We are creating a community of homes which will provide years of enjoyment to the owners and adds a new dimension to Weirs Beach.  

So what do you do when you are not working at Weirs Beach Village ? Any hobbies or other interests?

I am a collector of sorts. I have collected many old signs and advertising pieces from many of the properties we have bought and sold. My wife and I have an extensive collection of antique penny banks including both mechanical and still banks.
I love to spend time with my metal detectors exploring old cellar holes and other old sites. Being in real estate has afforded me many opportunities to find coins and relics from bygone eras.
My latest hobby is stone wall building. For the last three years I have been building a stone wall in front of our home. The stone wall has gone from being a project to a hobby. It has been the site of many conversations with passersby!  The size of this wall is so large that I began looking at other sources for the rock in it. I began with other properties which I own, then began searching my friends and neighbors properties for appropriate material. I estimate that I have brought some 10-15 pickup loads of rock from Weirs Beach Village and incorporated them into my wall.  I have a rock, with fossils in it from Florida, a rock from PEI and a rock from India!
My wife and I are also are now grandparents of two twin boys and one granddaughter. I am looking forward to building them their first tree house someday soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Walk This Way

I had the good fortune to be up at Weirs Beach Village on a recent February afternoon. The air was brisk, reminding me that I was alive. It was the perfect day to take a two mile walk through Weirs Beach and I decided to share my pictures from that afternoon with you. So much to see and do ~ all within walking distance from the homes at Weirs Beach Village. Step outside onto the deck at the 'Center Harbor' model.
We are going to take a right onto Endicott Street. There are sidewalks throughout our walk so no worries about being hit by passing vehicles.
Are you a music lover and enjoy an outdoor concert? Then the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center is the place for you - and it is only 4 miles away ! Go to their site at and check out the 2010 calendar. Reba will be there on August 21 and you just might see me there !

Who doesn't enjoy going to see a play? 'The Laramie Project' is currently playing. There are shows year round at the Playhouse so when you are living at Weirs Beach Village and wondering what to do in the winter, you will have many choices.

As we continue our walk down Endicott Street we pass 'The Lobster Pound' ~ nice to know there are several restaurants within walking distance from your front door. Brunch at 'The Lobster Pound' starts at 10:00 AM ~ leave some pancakes for me !

Need to get your boat serviced ? You can walk right down to Thurston's Marina and have all of your boating questions answered.

If it was in the middle of summer we would have reached our destination possibly - the beach ! It is just down the hill from your home in Weirs Beach so you don't have to worry about finding a parking spot - just grab a towel, walk down and jump in !

Here is a view of the beach from a distance. Love that gazebo ! Bring a picnic lunch and make a day off it !

Another restaurant within walking distance. Just think, you can even have dessert since you will be walking off those extra calories when you head home !

This is the historic landmark sign letting you know where you are ~ when I see this sign lit up at night I feel like I have gone back in time ~ to a place where life was simpler and less complex. That's what Weirs Beach Village is all about.

Just one of the majestic views which I saw during my walk. Truly breathtaking.

Now we are walking down Scenic Ave. ~ in the summer you can't find a parking space on this street so it is a good thing that you can walk right on down here from your home at Weirs Beach Village. The winter time is quieter and allows one to reflect as they wander through the streets of Weirs Beach.

Tired of walking ? Jump aboard for a scenic ride around the lake.

Trains aren't your thing ? How about a dinner cruise on the Mt. Washington ? How lucky you are to have choices !

The emphasis here is on FUN ! Arcades, food... just chillin' on the boardwalk. Oh, the memories your family will create and keep...forever.

I am the queen of the bumper cars. I can't wait until they open for business in May ! I'm the one in the red car ~ watch out !

I really wish this stand was open for business as I walked by...peppermint stick ice cream in a sugar cone, please.

The Tower Hill Tavern is hopping in the summer ~ usually it is standing room only. Notice the small print - fried dough. Life is good.

And now the part of the walk which will allow us to break into a sweat - up Tower Hill. Ready ? I will race you to the top!

At the top of Tower Hill, take a left, cross the street and we are back at Weirs Beach Village.

Hope you enjoyed our virtual walk together. There is so much to do at Weirs Beach and if you live here, it is all within walking distance. It doesn't get much better than that. See you at the bumper cars !

Friday, January 8, 2010

Neither rain, nor snow...

nor ice, nor wind, can stop the construction at Weirs Beach Village. We are currently building two more homes for customers. So while the tourist traffic up at Weirs Beach has slowed down we haven't slowed down at all. Our schedule has been intense while dealing with Mother Nature. Framers, roofers and sheet rockers can be found on site working under the watchful eye of Project Manager, Jeff Kelley. Our realty team, Prudential Verani, hosted successful Open Houses throughout the holiday season and are now working on creative marketing strategies for the upcoming months. So at a time of year when many people go into hibernation mode, all of us connected with Weirs Beach Village are dressing in layers, shoveling snow and waiting to greet all visitors to the project. So if you are looking for something to do during these long winter days come on up to Weirs Beach Village and see for yourself the changes that are taking place during the months of winter. And feel free to bring Jeff a cup of hot cocoa ! He'd appreciate it.