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Tips for Understanding Terms Used in Maine Real Estate Listings

Real estate shopping can be a high-stress time. Looking for your home, whether it be a starter home or your forever property will take a lot of time and energy. Searching for a home will also be a learning experience. If you are looking for a house in the Greater Portland Area or Sebago Lake region, be sure to learn a little about the real estate terminology that you will see in some ads and how they affect what you are looking for. READ MORE

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Buying a Multi-Unit in Maine

Build your nest egg and net worth by investing in a multi-unit building. Unless you are a commercial investor, most folks buy residential multi-unit buildings. A multi-unit building is more than one family residing in the same building and can be a duplex or a 10 unit complex. Before you buy, there are some important points to consider. READ MORE

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How Reverse Mortgages Work

Reverse Mortgages are programs designed to enable senior homeowners 62 years and older to convert part of their home equity into cash. They can do this without having to sell their home or give up the title. Seniors do not have to take on any new mortgage payments either. Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the reverse mortgage lender makes payments to the senior homeowner. READ MORE

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How to Be A Smart Home Buyer

Buying a home is a BIG deal, it is probably going to be the biggest investment in your life so why would you even think about buying a home and not doing your research or going into the process haphazardly?

  • Talk to a lender. If you are serious about purchasing a home the first thing you need to do even before you start looking at locations or colors to paint the walls is talk to a lender and see how much you can actually afford comfortably. Look at your debt to income ratio along with the other factors and see if you are ready for this big commitment.
  • Speak with your real estate professional, find the home and once you find the one you want move with due diligence. chances are that if you like the home someone else does too and it may not be on the market long.
  • Put the offer in.  Once you decide you like it and feel comfortable with it make the move then and there. Don’t dilly dally around and wait a week or two. I have seen multiple times the clients dream home going off the market because there was another buyer who was ready to buy it then and there.  A home is a big investment and should be thought about long and hard before the process begins not after you find what you want.
  • ONLY DEAL WITH SERIOUS SELLERS:  This is not the time for fake sellers or sellers that are really not serious about selling. More than likely if a home is up for sale in this market, it needs to sell but you still might find that over zealous seller just wanting to see if they can get what they want for the house. This is not the type of seller you want to deal with. This seller will usually be hard to deal with and not very flexible when it comes to negotiating. A serious seller will be willing to work with buyers on inspections, price and contingencies. Of course sellers have to look out for themselves but its pretty easy to spot sellers that just are not serious about selling.
  • ALWAYS HAVE AN INSPECTION DONE:  I can’t stress this enough how important having an inspection is. Most inspectors have a broad knowledge of everything about a house but not in depth about specific things. If you have a professional inspection and they recommend an additional inspection, it can be well worth your time and money to have that done. For example: A buyer purchased a home with a septic system and the inspector couldn’t examine all the components and recommended a septic inspection. The buyer declined and bought the home anyway. Three months later the entire septic flooded and ruined more than 50% of the home. This poor judgment on the buyers end cost them over $14,000 in repairs. This could have been avoided with an extra $500 inspection.
  • Get a buyers agent. Don’t use the listing agent when buying real estate. That agent is working for the best interest of their client which is the seller. If you as the buyer come along and trust the listing agent to close the deal for you, not only do they receive the entire commission but their interest was not to protect you but the seller.
  • Watch out what you sign:  Most agents and lenders are really in it for your best interest but you never know. Be sure you understand everything you are signing and if something is different when you sign then when you agreed upon it, then you need be aware of all changes and details. If the agent or lender is not willing to discuss and explain all the details of a transaction, then maybe they are not the right fit for you.
  • Educate yourself:  Buying property is probably the most complex, riskiest and expensive thing you will ever do. Do your homework: Talk to real estate owners, go to first-time buyer seminars, check out online material and read some books to learn what to avoid in the buying process. The more you educate yourself, the better the chances that when things go wrong — and they will go wrong — they will only be minor issues, not major headaches.
  • Shop Smart:  Hoping to snag a once-in-a-lifetime deal on a foreclosure or short sale? If you’re trying to chase some “great” deal like at the courthouse auction, or through a distress sale, it could waste your time and energy with little chance at success. Be prepared. These options are complex and can often fall through the cracks.  Skip the get-rich-quick schemes. A more conservative approach is to shop for a traditional sale on listing websites.
  • Buyer Beware!  By taking the time to learn the risk issues and do the proper due diligence before you buy, you can significantly reduce your risk of something going wrong. And while it’s hard work, it is much easier than straightening out a “predicament” after you close

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    Top Things You Can Do Before Listing Your Southern Maine Home for Sale

    Here’s a checklist of things that you should do before you ever list your home on the  market:

    Beautify your home. The cleaner, prettier, and larger your home looks, the higher the offer price will be. So give your home a makeover by doing such things as trimming your front hedges, cleaning out the gutters, mowing the lawn, and giving the exterior/interior a fresh coat of paint. READ MORE

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    Maine Condos vs. Single Family Home vs. Multi-Family

    Single-family home:

    Benefits: A single-family home may be spacious or small, but generally offers more than one bedroom and bathroom and some sort of outdoor space. Unless you are in a private community, single-family homes do not come with homeowners association (HOA) fees and you can choose the exterior design and style of landscaping. This type of flexibility can be great for someone who likes do-it-yourself projects. Or, if you have the funds to hire a landscaper, snow removal services and repair personnel, you can live in a single-family home comfortably. READ MORE

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    Myths & Misconceptions in Today’s Real Estate Market

    Myth #1: Sellers should still price their home higher than market value to allow for negotiating room.
    Truth: Pricing too high is a big mistake. If your home is overpriced in this current market, then agents showing your home might use your property to sell one of the other properties currently listed and in competition with your home. READ MORE

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    Maine Short Sales, REOs, Foreclosures and Distressed Properties

    Short Sale: These homes are offered for sale by the owner but because they do not anticipate getting a high enough sale price to pay off their mortgage, the bank that holds the mortgage (the lien holder) must approve of any deal. You will frequently see these advertised as “third party approval required” or “lien holder approval required.” READ MORE