Adirondack Country Homes Realty Inc.


      Serving the ENTIRE Adirondack Park      



Q&A Blog

Let's help you look it up!


Questions & Answers

Adirondack Park has SIX million acres to explore and THOUSANDS of properties to investigate.   The journey is an arduous task for newcombers and even seasoned Adirondackers.  The Park is like a super mall!   ACHR offers this Q&A feature direct from our agents and public to help you navigate comfortably throughout the Park.  If your curiosity isn't answered below, just ask us.  We're good listeners and will try to secure the an answer for you.  If you'd like your Q&A posted to help others, do let us know.  For business queries, we'll provide free e-mail links as our thanks.

Let's start dialoging! 


QUICK FIND:  Q&A For Buyers Q&A For Sellers, General Q&A, Glossary, Leave a Message, Mortgage Calculator   Other Resources: (pop ups)  Info Directory, News


FWT Homepage Translator Attention Adirondackers!!!  If you have some great advise for our reader, we'd love to hear from you!   Submit your Q&A or article below. 


                     BUYER'S Questions & Answers


(Pop up links, so your page is still here.)

With SIX MILLION acres to explore, which community is just right for me?

We get many requests for Adirondack properties; and when we ask the which part, they don't know.   Six million acres is a very big target, so ACHR established a huge concierge info site in order to help explore the Park.  On this site (, you can tour the Park, by topic, interest or by community.  We realize if you are retiring in the park, health concerns might be one of the more important topics.  If you are relocating, it is important to match your employment needs.  If you're driving to your vacation spot, travel distance may be important.  Mix and matching to your wish list requires huge resources.  ACHR brings you those resources.


Tour by Interest

Health Facilities

What is it like living in the Park?

From my own experience, the Park grows on you.  Arriving in '98 for family reasons, I started to explore my neighboring towns.   With 6 million acres, there was always something to visit and explore.  Today, after many years, I'm still not bored.  When relatives ask if you are coming back to your home state (NH), I try to let them down gently.  I'm addicted to the Park.  So to best describe what it is like living in the Park?   "Addictive" is the best word to describe, very addictive!

- Darleen March, Broker, ACHR HQ


(a power packed site about us Adirondackers, for our Adirondackers, and for future Adirondackers!)

I found the region I'd like to explore, where do I find all the properties for sale?

If ACHR doesn't have it posted for sale, we provide your FREE links to the MLS (Multiple Listing Services).  Because the Park is so huge, more than one MLS service is utilized.  Here at ACHR, we are members of all of them! Most real estate firms just hold one membership.  So do check them out.  Our compliments.  (Please so remember to utilize our agents as your buyer agent.  Get your own advocate!)


What does the Park have for jobs?  I'm thinking of relocation or retiring.

Speaking from experience, I relocated from New Hampshire.  It was due to love, but trying to figure out what to do for work?   Hmmm, I found so many choices and it rather exciting.  Because of my own experience, ACHR developed IAATAP ("In And Around The Adirondack Park") to help others journey through the Park.  It took over eight years to fill this power pack web site,  We are still adding as there is always a new business opening, a new program to explore.   We suggest you start on this site, as all the businesses need some sort of help.  Start taking the journey with us, or perhaps open up your own shop? - Darleen March, Real Estate Broker


I like a few of the homes posted, how do I get additional info on the property?  I want more info, pictures before I drive 5 hours.

ACHR agents offer FREE Buyer Agency Services.  It is so important to get representation (an advocate of sorts), even for the seasoned buyer.  Using a buyer's agent is like getting your own PI.  He/she can get you more info, more pictures, even if he/she has to get them.   Buyer Agent services can either be "Exclusive" or "Open".  Either way, there is no costs to you.  What's the difference between Exclusive and Open.  Well, it is like one of our Whiteface ski instructors.  Private or group?   You should be looking for someone to represent “Your Side Of The Sale”? 

Buyer's Agent Service

I'm ready to start touring the properties, and I really love a particular log cabin I saw.    I have an appointment with my buyer's agent now.  Should I think about contacting my bank now?

Your Buyer's Agent would always advise you to get a "Pre Qualification Letter" from a lending institution to insure that you shop within your family budget.  It would be heartbreaking to spend months on procuring a dream property, only to find out the banking institution won't spot you because of credit issues.  You can have great credit, but if your loan to value is too high, or someone clipped your identity, you might be very disappointed to learn you spent hours and funds (inspection, appraisal, bank fees, etc.) for naught!

Banking Institution Directory

What is this real estate jargon?  CMA, BPO, Pre Qual, Escrow, Lease Option.  I'm lost.

We understand.  Realtors work this field everyday and can become self absorbed.  To help you navigate the world of real estate, we've developed a Glossary Table for you.  Check it out.

Glossary of Terms

Can you find me a great deal?  Where is the best investment area?

Definitely, that is what personal buyer's agents do.  Your agent will be overlooking properties on your behalf, like a personal shopper, or PI.   Your buyer's agent will negotiate the best deal for you, prepare the documents to secure the property, oversee the complete selling process and smile with you on the joys of home ownership, the American Dream.

Buyer Agent


Is it more cost efficient to buy an existing home, or buy a lot then build?

Bear in mind that buying an existing home consists of the following components included in the cost:  1) Land; 2)  Site improvements, i.e. clearing, driveway, bringing in power, septic system, well and excavation; and 3) House structure with all mechanicals and finishes. Ready to move in. All told, the last two will total about $175-200/sq.ft. Consequently, a 1500 sq.ft. home will cost from $260k to $300k to build plus the land cost. But remember, you're getting exactly what you want and everything is new. 

Sometimes buying an existing home makes fiscal sense and other times the minuses exceed the pluses so the answer depends on your personal wants and needs.  - Alan Miller, Branch Manager, ACHR, Lake George Office

Local Contractors

Have you tried to find financing for a second home, a camp, cabin or a piece of land over five acres yet?   It’s not as easy as you might think, even with great credit…

If not, it would probably be worthwhile having a talk with a local bank to see what options are available to you. Here’s the contact information for Kevin Porpora whom is a local residential sales associate at Glens Falls National Bank & Trust, Co.:  Phone: (518)-415-4606. I’ve been doing personal business with GFNB&T for a number of years and have never had a bad experience.  - Lou Hall, Realtor, Thunder Mountain Land Sales, Salem Office

Banking Institution Directory

In comparing a log home to a conventionally built home, i.e. one with 2x6 walls, which is more energy efficient?

If you measure energy efficiency by R-value then a 2x6 wall w/ R-21 insulation is better. Problem with that is 2x6 walls have little thermal mass value thus once the furnace or A/C turns off the wall starts cooling off or heating up quickly. Thus a quality built, well insulated 10-12" log home with median wall thickness of 7-9" of thermal mass will probably end up being about 25% more energy efficient. The most energy efficient log homes utilize a combination of 2x4 walls with sprayed in closed cell foam sandwiched by panels of 1" HD foam and then log sided. Best for those not on a tight budget who like the exterior look of a log homes but want flexibility on the interior finishing. Remember, cost of heating is often a major obstacle in selling a home. - Alan Miller, Adirondack Timberframe Homes Rep, and Branch Manager, ACHR, Lake George Office

Home Packages

Folk Tales and Rumors:   People in VT always say the homes are less expensive in NY than VT, but the taxes are higher in NY  – triple in cost which makes the homes in NY more expensive in the overall  - Is that true?

Depends.  Studies from Sterling Cost of Living Index indicates that Plattsburgh's (NY) cost of living is 2.5% below the national average cost of living; while Burlington (VT) its neighbor, has a cost of living at 26.1% higher.   It appears our northern New York is indeed less expensive to live.   This appears to be true until we get further south.   Elizabethtown NY costs 6.8% higher, while its neighbor in NY, Vergenne's cost at 12.3% higher.   When we go south to the area of Rutland VT ( 9.9% higher) and compare to Glens Falls, NY is 9.8%.  So this area is about the same.  Finally, to the south by Saratoga Springs, we find 26.9% higher cost of living compared to Bennington, VT at 10.8% higher.  - Bill Corey, ACHR Agent and past VT resident.

Sterlings Cost


 Living Index

I want to do business in the Park, can you help me?

Certainly, the agents at ACHR can help you with your commercial estate needs.  We're not just about vacation homes here in the Park.  The Park provides and provides well; from our farms to our tech!  We have a lot of life's zest to share!  Our personal thought is that if you have to work, you might as well have fun!  Let us find you a business of your dreams.

Commercial Real Estate

The land I was looking  to purchase has a Section 480-a on the property.  What is that?

To encourage the long-term ownership of woodlands, NY State has enacted a number of laws giving relief to owners in a form of tax relief.  Section 480 of the Real Properly Tax Law, which was has been in effect since 1974, is a tax concession on forest lands.

Section 480-a

I've heard of Reverse Mortgages in the past as a bad thing; but now there is a lot of  hype about them.  What are they really?

If you are a homeowner age 62 or older and have paid off your mortgage or paid down a considerable amount, and are currently living in the home, and are eligible, you may participate in FHA's Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program.  The HECM is FHA's reverse mortgage program that enables you to withdraw some of the equity in your home with limitations or a single disbursement lump-sum payment at the time of mortgage closing.

Reverse Mortgages

What can I afford?

Make sure your offer is withing the family budget.  We offer you a FREE Mortgage Calculator to help you figure out your monthly budget.  (Click on house)



Q&A - for Sellers ...



                          Seller's Questions & Answers



(Pop up links, so your page is still here.)

Are all Realtors® alike?

Yes, and no.  All Realtors® are held to a code of ethics, and all can sell real estate.   It is the level of service that makes the difference.  Our franchise colleagues provide a range of services; but are held to corporate rules and regulations.  They simply can't have their agents go rogue on them, and must work within the bureaucracy.   Here at ACHR, we are not held to R&R's, but can afford to be creative and innovative.  We go beyond the MLS into SIX MLS, go beyond a few syndication to a few hundred, go beyond the normal social medias, and beyond in our on-line resources.  We are addicted to the Park, and we keep discovering.  We share our discoveries with you on our huge 'info' concierge site.

Listing Services with ACHR

Got any tips for getting my home to market?

Yes, we have lots actually.  Too many to explain here; but check out our "Spruce It Up" link to help you navigate.   Whether it is going more Green, doing Feng Shui, DIY or actually making major improvements, there are lots of ideas.  We've collected just the tip of the iceberg.

Spruce it Up


Go Greener

I'm ready to go to market.  What's next?

We hope you choose Adirondack Country Homes Realty as your #1 choice of course.  However, we always suggest checking out what fits for you.  We have many package choices.  Check out our listing services (see right link).

Today 93% of all buyers start their search on the Internet.  It is vital to understand this.  Always pick an agency that is can reach the broadest market possible.   ACHR uses six, not one, MLS (6,000+ agents) and continually strives to be on top of the search engines.  We understood this tasks back in the late 90's.  We could see the end of print material, and developed our web site(s) before many others even thought of doing so.  We have a well  'aged & cured' web site.   Whatever Mr. Google wants, he gets!    ACHR stays on top of the market trends, and sometimes creates them! 

Listing Services

CMA, BPO, Pre Qual.  What are the terms exactly?  I feel lost sometimes.

We understand.  Realtors work this field everyday and can become self absorbed.  To help you navigate the world of real estate, we've developed a simple Glossary Table for you.  Your listing agent will be providing you with a CMA, and discussing buyer's pre qual, and much more.  Check it out (see right link).

Glossary of Terms

I feel my real estate assessment is too high?  What do I do to get this lowered?

New York State Law requires all properties in each municipality (except in New York City and Nassau County) to be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value each year.  In order for property to be assessed consistently at a uniform percent of current market value, assessors should analyze all of the parcels to determine which assessments should be adjusted.  This requires that, each year, the assessor analyze and evaluate the market to determine current market value, and change where appropriate.  If you disagree with your assessment, there a process of  'grieving" your property's value.  Check it out. (see right link)

Assessment Info

I really need to sell my house NOW.   What are the benefits of an auction?

Throughout history, the auction method has been very popular and efficient way of selling.  Only recently in this country has the auction method gained support and popularity as an alternative choice of selling real property.  The definition of a real estate auction is: “The firm and time-defined sale of real property by competitive bid,” in traditional realty sales the buyer and seller have no real idea of when the closing will occur, nor is there any locked in firm price since even after the contract is signed the price is still open for negotiations that comes out of the property inspection. Also, despite the signed contract the deal is almost always subject to the acquisition of a mortgage by the buyer. The auction method is the only real estate sales process that establishes a firm time defined date for the sale and the closing; a firm and irrevocable price for the sold property; and a non-contingent sale.  - John Gokey, Realtor® & Professional Auctioneer

Auction Details

Auction Options

Auctions at ACHR





General Concerns from our readers ...



                         Reader's Questions & Answers



(Pop up links, so your page is still here.)

I think being a Real Estate Agent can be fun.  Is it?

Yes, we believe it is.  However, we admit that we are bias because we work in such a wonderful place in the USA.   Serving the Park is so enjoyable and addictive.  A real estate career is about people, serving them and matching folks with their dreams.   It is rewarding as well as challenging.   To see the smile on a 1st time buyer is amazing.  To break bread with a Swedish, Mexican, Prague and German at the dinner table (I was the only American), was truly fascinating.  That's the upside.


The downside, there are no Friday pay check, holiday or sick pay checks.  No health benefits or 401K (only DIY).   Yet, you pick your hours; what, where and whom you wish to work with.   Try that at a 9 to 5 job?  You are your own boss.  Agreeably, you initially have to work under the umbrella of a broker; but ACHR also doesn't charge desk fees.  Yep, a lot of other agencies will charge you monthly whether you have a closing scheduled or not.   We provide great lead generation and more.  Check it out, and drop me an e-mail if you wish to explore with us.  No obligation always.  - Darleen March, Broker, ACHR

RE Careers

I'm not use to a septic system.  How does this work, by the way?

Your septic system has two basic working parts:  1)  Septic Tank - wastewater flows from the house into the septic tank.  Here heavy solids settle and are partially decomposed by bacteria to form sludge.  Light solids and grease float to the top forming a scum layer.  2) Soil Absorption Field - partially treated wastewater is discharged from the septic tank through perforated pipes into an absorption field.  Here, the water is further purified by filtration and decomposition by microorganisms in the soil.   It is recommended septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years, depending on the size and amount/ quality of solids entering the tank

Septic Systems 101

Taxes, taxes and more taxes.  Why?

The inevitable costs of living in today's society.   Oliver Wendell Holmes, a former Supreme Court justice, once said that "taxes are what we pay for a civilized society."  The federal income tax was permanently instituted in the United States in 1913 with the passage of the 16th amendment.  We have included helpful info on taxes such as: Mansion Tax, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Exclusions of Capital Gain Tax, 1031 Exchange, 3.8% Tax, Lender Forgiveness,  and other Articles of Interest.  (Always do check professional help for your individual needs)

Tax Quick Tips

What's a 1031?

Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue code provides that no loss or gain can be recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or a business, or for an investment.  A 1031 exchange allows a property owner to trade one, or more, properties for one, or more, replacement properties of "like-kind" and defer the payment of federal income taxes and in some state taxes until the property is eventually sold outside of an exchange.

1031 Explained

1031 Manual

What is the difference between a lake and a pond?

We stumbled upon this questions before and it still puzzles us why our forefathers did what they did.  One thought was when a body of water has a dam, it is a lake.  However, we've seen many ponds in the Adirondacks with dams.  We have ponds the size of lakes and lakes the size of ponds.  We can only assume, it was left to the discoverer's or town's whims.   We have collected many contour maps of our lakes.  Please enjoy them with us, whether lake or pond.   The Adirondacks have 3,000 ponds and lakes!

Lakes & Ponds Collection

Map Collections

Is this ‘Green thing’ going to be a fad, or will it stick around?

 Appraisers are starting to be trained by their respective states, on appraising “Green” homes because the movement has increased enough for viable comparisons.  Today, the market seems to be more responsive of going “Greener” to save on their future energy expenditures, and create them a feel ‘good’ feeling.   DIY articles are populating themselves more features of space saving and repurposing with their standard decorating tips and ideas.  TV shows like Greatest Cheap sakes, House Trends, Decorating on a dime, etc. are top hits.  Broadcasting networks don’t invest in fads they don't believe in.  Our US Government still has tax incentives and credits for greener technology.  Advances in technology increases daily.  We believe that going Greener is a good fad, and hope it sticks around and develops much further.  We vote ‘yes’ if it helps save our environment.


I close up my camp completely in the winter, but wondering if I should hire a property manager?  What are the benefits of a PR?

The benefits of a PR are obvious.  However, the not-so-obvious features which folks forget about are:  (examples)  *  If your camp has a long driveway like many Adirondack camps do, and your property isn't assessable by emergency vehicles (fire trucks, etc.) after a large snow storm, your insurance policy may be voided.   Check, triple check your policy!   A PR will oversee when the storm hits and take care of the plower.   *  Or when you use your camp as a vacation rental, and some damage occurs between rentals.  First, your PR is a witness as to which renter did the damage, and second your PR can get the problem fixed before the new  important renter client arrives.  When folks do their own PR, it can become a 'he said' - 'she said' issue about the alleged damage and whether you can claim some of the deposit funds.   *  Also, there are also some issues as to using an insure PR verses a local handyman.   NY State insurance rules & reg's stipulate that the property owner must cover the non-insured.  We suggest you check your homeowner's insurance also about hiring a handyperson vs a licensed PR/Handyperson/Cleaner.  There are issues one never thinks about until it is too late.  When interviewing for your PR, bring these issues up to solve them before that happen.  An ounce of protection is worth a pound of heartache!

Property Management and MORE


What do they mean by metes and bounds on my deed?

Metes and bounds refers to a precise described boundary lines on a parcel of land (course and distance).   ACHR has provided a full Glossary of Surveyor Measurements and Terms (see right click) because we often have to clarify the terms in reading our deeds also.

Survey Glossary of Terms and Measurements

Do you have a question we can answer?  We'll listen and help you the best we can.   Please feel free to leave us a message. 

Book Mark Us.  Thanks.