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Community Highlight: South Portland

Spectacular South Portland is a growing city in the state of Maine in the United States of America. As of late, South Portland has been growing exponentially and seen both an influx of businesses as well as many people coming from all over the world, moving and settling there. South Portland is getting more and more popular due to its beauty and old world charm. There are lighthouses surrounding the city as well as sparkling waters where ferries float on a daily basis. South Portland also has great weather. Most of the time, the weather is cool and mildly sunny with light breezes due to the close proximity to water. READ MORE

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Being a REALTOR

Being a REALTOR® can be difficult. In today’s declining real estate market, the prices of real estate are going up and sales and prospective buyers are going down. There are just not enough people who are able to qualify for the mortgages offered these days to fill all the real estate available. If you are still intent on being a REALTOR®, then you must realize that it is a people business as well as a numbers game. Being a skilled REALTOR® is all about your network and noticing key elements about the real estate in general in order to convey these elements to prospective buyers. A REALTOR® must be keen on finding what benefits the property has according to a prospective buyer’s lifestyle and personality. A REALTOR® must be able to read people as well as read real estate and determine answers based on these assumptions. At the end of the day, being a REALTOR® is just like being a business person. Any good REALTOR® must work very hard to make a substantial income and this includes long hours and tedious searches for prospective buyers as well as valuable real estate that is on the market. A REALTOR® also must watch the real estate marketplace as a whole, noticing trends and statistics and studying them very carefully. At any moment, the real estate market could go up and then at any moment, it could also go down. A good REALTOR® watches out for these trends and is able to gauge where the market is at any given time. Being a REALTOR® is similar to having your own business in that you must always be looking for the next great opportunity that is around the corner. Don’t ever think that being a REALTOR® is easy, but for many, it is very rewarding. All of our real estate agents here at Green Tree Realty are also REALTORS® and that means that we all adhere to NAR’s code of ethics and standards of practice. So, if you are looking to buy or sell a home, please consider hiring one of our qualified REALTORS® today! READ MORE

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What Are Property Taxes?

Property taxes are necessary and anyone that owns a home or property must pay them. There are different taxes in regards to the property that is owned. For instance, there are specific property taxes for improvements to land which are properties that are man-made and cannot be moved which usually include buildings, then there are specific property taxes for land properties, there are also certain property taxes for personal property which include man-made properties that are able to be moved, and then other property taxes for intangible properties which are incorporeal properties. A special assessment tax is not the same thing as a property tax, a special assessment tax is a charge that is enforced by the government in regards to public projects that include any type of real estate parcel. Property taxes are usually stated in a percentage form and can be calculated simply by taking the entire assessed property value and then multiplying that by 1,000. Along with percentage rates, property taxes are given in the form of per mil which is the rate in thousandths. The reality is that property taxes are not the same in every country and each country has different rules and regulations for property taxes. For instance, the country Greece has 5 different property taxes, while the country Australia has property taxes that are referred to as property or land rates. Countries such as Hong Kong has a property tax that is actually classified as an income tax and in the United Kingdom, there is no property taxes on residential properties. In the United States, property taxes are determined by the government, either at the municipal or county level. The property taxes in the United States are usually around .2% to .4% of the value of the property or home. Property taxes in the United States go to the supporting of things such as free medical care, police, fire, schools and much more READ MORE

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There Can Be a Cost By Waiting to Purchase

In many instances, prospective buyers believe that the longer they wait to purchase a home or property, the better off they are, but the opposite is actually usually true. The reason for this is because instead of home prices and interest rates going down, in these tough economic times, they end up usually going up. Home prices rose in 41 states and D.C. in the 1st quarter of 2013. Many prospective home buyers are finding themselves in quit a predicament simply because they chose to wait on their purchase. It seems like more often than not, interest rates are going higher and higher and this is very bad for prospective home buyers because they end up spending much more money in the long run. Obviously, when a home price goes up, the prospective buyer will have to pay more for the home initially, but if the interest rate goes up, which it often does, the prospective home buyer will need to pay the higher interest rate and then some. The interest rate can impact the prospective home buyer for years to come since the actual rate of the home increases just because the interest rate increases. For instance, if the term is 30 years and the total monthly payment is $1,500, then just a small increase can raise the home price significantly. If the home price is at a certain point, then if the interest rate increases, they will not be able to purchase the same home since the price of the home will have raised and they would not be accepted into that category. So, as you can see, waiting on a home purchase can not only cause the prospective home buyer to pay out more money initially, but it can impact their opportunity of getting their dream home overall. The best bet for any prospective home buyer is to purchase as soon as possible before the price of the home, or worse, before the interest rate increases. READ MORE

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Lawn and Garden Improvements

Lawn and garden improvements are one of the most beneficial things that you can do to preserve the longevity of your home as well as to improve its curb appeal if you are looking to sell or rent. Lawn and garden improvements are sometimes overlooked by home owners and the truth is that they make a big impact on the value of any home. The lawn and garden are one of the first things that visitors see when they come to any home and they also make a lasting impression when they leave a home. The best way to improve your lawn and garden is to firstly, clean it up! Make sure to get rid of any loose shrubs or dying plants. There is nothing more unsightly than an overgrown in garden or lawn. This makes the entire home look unkempt, even if it is not. It is best to either hire a gardener to just clean everything up or do it yourself. Pull out weeds, water the grass and cut down trees ensuring they look tidy. With lawn and garden care, less is usually more. You don’t have to plant tons of flowers and plants, you just have to make sure that there at least is grass growing and the area looks clean. The next way to improve your garden and lawn is to invest in some rocks or fencing. Things like fencing or rocks are quick ways to turn a simple garden into a work of art. Fencing is important because it has a practical appeal as well as a decorative appeal and rocks look nice when placed in a garden or lawn. Another great way to improve your garden or lawn is to invest in some inexpensive lawn lighting. There are many lights that can be placed directly onto the lawn that look amazing when lit at night, they are great for visitors because they light the path and they are also a good marker for where the lawn starts and where the sidewalk begins. READ MORE

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Types of Mortgages

In regards to home ownership, there are two main different mortgages that are available. The first type is the fixed mortgage and the second type is the adjustable rate mortgage. A fixed mortgage is defined as a mortgage rate that stays the same for the duration of the mortgage length. That means, if you have a fixed mortgage, your monthly payments will not go up or down, they will stay static at one rate. A fixed mortgage is usually preferable to an adjustable rate loan because there is no chance of the rate going any higher, but there are some benefits to an adjustable mortgage rate as well. An adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM for short means that interest rates will change over time. The good thing about an adjustable rate mortgage is that the rate could go down, but it could conversely also go up. The deciding factor on if the rate in an adjustable mortgage goes up or down is dependent on the market at that time, so there is really no predicting or knowing if the market will stay steady, go higher or go lower, some might say they know, but the reality is that it is usually a luck of the draw. Overall, it has been shown that adjustable rate mortgages usually end up raising causing the home owner to pay more than they would have with a fixed mortgage rate. Another types of adjustable rate mortgage is the hybrid adjustable rate mortgage. This hybrid mortgage type is different than the usual adjustable rate mortgage because the home owner pays a fixed amount for a certain number of years and then starts to pay an adjustable amount for the remaining amount of years left on their mortgage. A hybrid adjustable rate mortgage is gaining popularity with many different individuals because unlike a fixed mortgage rate, a hybrid adjustable rate mortgage starts off at a lower rate saving people money in the beginning stages of their mortgage period. READ MORE

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What Not to Do When Selling a Home

When selling a home, it is vital that certain steps are completed, while it is advisable that other steps are not. In terms of selling your home, there are many things that can actually hinder your home sale itself and that will significantly hurt you and your bank account in the long term. The first thing that you must never do when selling a home is to have your pets around when prospective buyers are walking through your home. While your pets may be cute, not every prospective buyer will think so, and furthermore, if you have your pet around during the walk-thru process, the prospective buyer might not be able to think clearly about the sale and get frustrated or off track. Overall, it is best to keep pets out of sight when prospective buyers are looking in your home. The next thing that is absolutely detrimental to a home sale is stale smells, or otherwise, nasty odors throughout your home. Not only is it important that your home appears spotless when you are trying to sell it, but it is also important that it smells fresh and clean as well. Make sure there are no cigarette smoke odors, pet odors, or even worse, mildew odors lurking in your home while prospective buyers are there or it could negatively influence the sale. The next thing never to do when trying to sell your home is for the seller to follow prospective buyers around while they look through your home. While you may be in the vicinity, it is in bad taste if you follow every prospective buyer around like a hawk and become their shadow. In order to make a great sale, sellers must learn to let go a little bit and give prospective buyers some room to breathe, as well as some time to realize that they do in fact want to buy your home! READ MORE

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Senior Housing in Maine

Senior housing is quickly gaining momentum as a very popular housing option for individuals that are in their twilight years. There are many great aspects about senior housing, but the most beneficial aspect seems to be that senior housing provides the tenant a living situation where seniors within the same age range are able to intermingle and be around each other in a safe and secure environment that is perfectly designed just for them. Senior housing is usually regulated to only allow individuals over a certain age, usually over the age of 55 enabling every senior individual entering into a senior housing condition the ability to feel confident that they will be around their peers and not individuals of a younger generation. READ MORE

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Why Credit Scores Are Important When Buying a House

One of the easiest and quickest ways to secure a great mortgage rate is by having a good credit score. The truth is that the majority of companies will first check your credit score to decide the rate that you will receive. If you have little to no credit or if you have a low credit score, then this will hinder or almost entirely null your chances of getting a good percentage rate or any loan for your mortgage whatsoever. Your credit score is important, but what is just as or even more important than your actual score are the other things that are indicated on your credit score. It is frowned upon greatly if you have, for instance, repossession on your credit score, credit card debts or even an eviction that is noted. Many companies will demand that you fix these issues on your credit score before you are ever given a good mortgage rate. A credit score is your calling card in the real estate world and aside from anything else, it is the most important piece of paper that you will have to show in order to get a loan or good mortgage rate. Credit scores are very helpful in also securing a better price on real estate as well. When a company sees that you have a high credit rating, then you appear much more trustworthy and reliable than an individual with a less than desirable credit rating. A high credit rating might be able to get you money off your entire property purchase, special perks such as lower monthly payments and also a smaller down payment, etc. If you do currently have a low credit score, then there are ways that you can repair it and make it high once again. Simply contact the companies that have written marks on your credit report and do what you can to remedy the situations, either by paying the debt or asking them to remove the mark from your credit score. READ MORE

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Moving Tips When Buying or Selling a Home

Moving can be stressful, tedious as well as difficult, but it can also be pleasant, easy and quick, but it all depends on different factors that you follow when moving and preparing for your move. When moving, the best thing that you can do is just that, prepare ahead of time as much as possible. If you prepare in advance, you will notice that your moving time is cut instantly in half. The way to prepare your move early is to start by selling off anything that you don’t need or want. Give anything that you don’t need or want away or have a garage sale and just get rid of it. This applies to clothing, kid’s toys, makeup and hair products as well as old cooking supplies and broken appliances. There is no reason to move anything that you do not use currently or don’t plan to use in the future. You will notice that when you get rid of everything that you don’t need or even want, your moving time and stress will be cut significantly. Another way that you can make the entire moving process easier is by starting early with boxing things. Start taking things off of the walls at least a week before you move. Box decorative items and label them, and this goes for off season clothing as well. The more you do beforehand, the less you will have to do on moving day. Another way to cut your moving time in half is to label everything. Label all boxes and organize what you are moving. Keep things together such as all kitchen supplies in the same few boxes and all the pet supplies in the same box as well. The more organization that goes into exactly what you are moving, the easier it will be when you unpack and move into your new place. These tips will make moving much, much easier and quicker than you ever thought possible. READ MORE