Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Southern New Hampshire Life - Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Researching Your New Town

Southern New Hampshire is a great place to live.  Because of its attractiveness, every year many people move here from other states.  Others move from one town to another within New Hampshire.  This article is for those who are thinking of moving and who want to know about the city or town to which they are considering relocating to.

You may get an impression of a town by driving around, checking local newspapers for recent articles (easily done online), looking at its entry in Wikipedia, etc.

You can get more in-depth background information by checking some of the community statistical websites that are available.  The state of New Hampshire’s Community Profiles site is a good place to begin looking.  This website has basic city and town economic and statistical data such as tax rates, population characteristics, distance to major cities, lists of major employers and recreational opportunities, etc. has a wealth of details that can answer just about any question you may have on a town’s population, home values, crime, employment, weather, education, health, etc.  It even lists the radio stations that offer the best reception.  Unfortunately, the ads can be a little distracting, but the charts and graphs make many of the statistics much easier to understand than plain statistical sites.

Another website,, offers a lot of information a soon-to-be homeowner may want, such as contact details for town schools and departments, the names of utility companies, and each town’s URL.

Knowing that many house hunters are interested in the character of a community, the company I am affiliated with, Prudential Verani Realty, recently launched town websites to not only present facts, but to give some of the “flavor” of each town in its service area.  Videos presenting a tour through the town, photos of well-known sites, and reviews of restaurants, stores, etc., helps one get a more complete picture of the locality.  These features are complemented by up-to-date information on each town’s housing market and links to homes for sale by type and price range.  To access these town sites, visit the main Prudential Verani site and scroll down to the “Popular NH & MA Towns” section.

For information on schools, please see my Checking Up on School Systems blog.  For information on property taxes, see my NH Property Tax Rates blog.

Thinking of buying a home?  Let me help you!

Contact me via my website:

About Me:

Connecting People with Homes in Southern New Hampshire

– Steve Russo

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority

The NH Housing Finance Authority is a great resource for residents who are considering the purchase of a home, especially first-time home buyers.  The organization was established 30 years ago by the state “to promote, finance and support affordable housing opportunities and related services for New Hampshire families and individuals…” It is not a state agency and receives no public funds.   The NHHFA’s website outlines their programs.

The agency offers fixed rate mortgages to low- and moderate-income home buyers (families with an income of less than 77,000 to 93,000, depending on the community);  it provides rental assistance to low-income families and individuals;  it assists homeowners going through financial difficulties; and it finances the development of quality, affordable rental housing in New Hampshire.

The Authority’s mortgage rates are very competitive, and they work with banks and other mortgage lenders.  Their mortgage loans require little or no down payment.  They also offer home rehabilitation loans of up to $ 40,000. A list of institutions offering their loans is available by clicking here.

The NHHFA sponsors seminars to help would-be home buyers learn about mortgages, using a real estate agent, how to get pre-approved, and if home ownership is right for them. They also offer several booklets with valuable information for people considering buying a home; see their publications webpage.

Only a small percentage of NH Realtors have been specially trained in the many programs available from the NHHFA.  I am one of them, so if you’re interested in their programs, please don’t hesitate to give me a call! You may call me at 603-321-9895 or email me at  Or click here to go to my website.

Checking up on School Systems

Many people when looking for a new home want to make sure that they will be moving to a community with good schools for their children.  It’s difficult to check out a school system objectively; people often rely on hearsay.  There’s a free website that can really help people find a good school match –  The website sates that its purpose is “…to empower parents like you to make informed choices about choosing a school for your child.”  The site contains information on over 130,000 public and private schools in all 50 states.  Data includes: national test score results, enrollment information, student/teacher ratios, school and district rankings, etc.  Test score results are up to date – even 2012 results are listed, along with those for 2009-2011.  Other stats are similarly current. You can find schools by name, address, town/city, district, and location.  The website is very easy to use and contains a wealth of information.   House hunters will benefit from checking it out.

There are a few other sites that can give you additional facts about New Hampshire schools. Great Schools has articles about how to choose a good school, educational issues, etc.  It includes standardized test scores and, unique to this site,  reviews from parents and students.  Unfortunately it has lots of ads, and one has to go to several pages to get a full portrait of a school.  Public School Review lets you compare three schools in these areas: student, teacher, and town demographics; poverty stats; and expenditures.  It also includes recent newspaper articles that have mentioned the school and a link to the NH Dept of Education’s standardized test score website.  The NH State Dept. of Education’s  website offers basic statistical information on every school in the state; administration contact names and numbers; standardized test scores; and basic demographics about the town’s population.  The MA Dept. of Education has similar stats for Massachusetts school systems on their site.

Thinking of buying a new home?  Let me help you!

Contact me via my website:

About Me:

Connecting People with Homes in Southern New Hampshire
                          – Steve Russo

NH Property Tax Rates

If you’re looking for a new home, how much money you’ll have to spend on property taxes is probably one factor you’re considering.  Property taxes in New Hampshire are higher than many states to compensate for the lack of a sales or income tax.  There’s an easy way to check what the tax rate is in the various NH towns, by going to the website of the NH Dept. of Revenue Administration.   Please note:  new property tax rates are determined in the fall for the coming year; the 2013 tax rates are in effect until late in 2014.  The latest tax rates are always displayed on the above site.

For charts showing comparative rates for NH cities and towns click here. For a map showing tax rates in adjoining towns, check out this unofficial tax map; unfortunately this resource is now a year out of date.

Looking for a new home? Let me help you!  Check out my website.  Give me a call: 603-321-9895.  Connecting People with Homes in Southern New Hampshire. 

– Steve Russo

Home Buyer Fair – April 14th

Don’t miss the Home Buyer Fair today at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, 9AM – 2PM   Organized by the nonprofit New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, this fair will present three programs on mortgage basics, how to look for a home, and what to expect in today’s housing market.  Admission is free; the fair is sponsored by the NH Association of Realtors, PSNH, and NeighborWorks America.

And after you attend the fair, if you have any questions about buying or selling a home, contact me.  See my contact info on my website:

– Steve Russo – Connecting People With Homes in Southern New Hampshire