Why you should use a “REALTOR®?
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments of most people’s lifetime!
Transactions today usually exceed $250,000. If you had a $250,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a certified professional accountant? If you had a $250,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be wise to work with a professional REALTOR® when you are buying a home. I have been a REALTOR® for over 30 years!
If you’re still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are more reasons to use one:
I can help you determine your comfortable buying power. I have many resources to assist you in your home search. I can help you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property you preview. I can help you with negotiations and inspections. I can provide due diligence during the property evaluation.
I can help you understand different financing options and suggest qualified lenders. And …I can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
What Do You Want in a Home?
Just because you may feel restricted by price ranges – especially, if this is your first or second home purchase — don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t afford to be choosy when looking for a home to buy! You’re unique. You have desires and needs, hopes and dreams for your new home that are different from your parent’s, friend’s or coworker’s. OK? So let’s get busy defining your homebuying parameters! We can then work on finding homes that fit you perfectly!
Location & Neighborhood
- Suburbs and Rural Areas. Pros: Generally less expensive than a city home. Probably more land and open space, more privacy, less crime, private wells and sewage systems and oftentimes more home for the money.
Cons: More time in commuting traffic, if driving to town for work. Further away from entertainment options, shopping stores and emergency medical assistance. Sometimes pesky summer insects.
- Urban. Pros: Closer to employers. Walking distance to theaters, restaurants, schools. Many period homes offer more distinctiveness in styles. Convenient city services.
Cons: Often noisier. Higher crime rates. Generally, more expensive properties, and higher taxes.
- Busy Streets. Pros: Often homes on streets with more traffic are thousands of dollars cheaper. If noise doesn’t bother you, don’t pass up homes on busy streets. Drive by at different times of the day/week to ascertain noise levels. The convenience of sidewalks.
Cons: These types of homes will always sell for less than others in the same area. If bedrooms are located near the front of the home, sleep may be disturbed. Traffic noise and perhaps air pollution.
- Cul de sac. Pros: Number one choice of buyers with children.
Cons: Less privacy, neighbors know more about you.
- Corner lots. Pros: Often larger lots. Fewer neighbors. More visibility.
Cons: More traffic noise. More vulnerable to vehicles jumping the curb. Kids might trespass at the corner. More sidewalk to shovel in winter.
Type of Home
- Single Family. Pros: Good appreciation in an “up” economy, but maybe the opposite in a “down” economy. Opportunity for gardens. More privacy. Quieter.
Cons: More expensive than the next category. More maintenance… inside and outside.
- Condos, Townhomes, Cooperatives. Pros: Less expensive than comparable single-family homes. Generally newer so fewer repairs. Lock-n-go lifestyle. No yard or exterior maintenance.
Cons: Less privacy. Noisier. Common walls and/or floors and ceilings. Sometimes no private yard or balcony. Home owner association monthly fees and annual assessments.
Number of Stories
- Single Story. Pros: Easy wheelchair access. Some medical conditions such as bad knees make it hard for certain individuals to climb stairs. Easier to clean.
Cons: Can be noisier if stereos or televisions are located on the same floor as bedrooms.
- More than One Story. Pros: More living space on same foundation than a ranch home. Less noise if entertaining on lower level while other family members sleep upstairs.
Cons: More trips up and down the stairs to carry stuff to bedrooms. If laundry rooms are on the second floor, washer leaks are a major concern. Might need dual vacuum cleaners. It is difficult to maintain consistent temperatures on each level without dual heating and cooling units.
- Split Levels. Pros: Often less expensive if purchased with lower level unfinished. Higher ceilings are appealing. Downstairs family room separates noise levels from upstairs. More square footage on same size lots as ranch homes.
Cons: Less storage space. Hassle to take trash downstairs and carry groceries upstairs or vice versa. Kitchens tend to be smaller.
- Number of Bedrooms. Pros: Common minimum requested configurations are 3 bedrooms. Newer parents prefer bedrooms located on one level.
Cons: 2 bedrooms appeal primarily to first-time home buyers, singles or seniors. However, don’t discount a two bedroom if an extra den will satisfy your space requirements.
- Number of Bathrooms. Pros: More than one bath is preferred by most people. One bath homes are often less expensive.
Cons: Don’t pass up a one bath home is there is room to add a second bath. Sometimes it costs less to put in an extra bath than it does to buy a two-bath home.
- Square Footage. Pros: larger spaces offer more room and cost less per square foot than smaller spaces.
Cons: Don’t be misled as layout is more important than actual square footage. Sometimes well designed smaller spaces appear larger.
- Bonus Rooms. Pros: Extra space for media rooms, art studios, children’s playrooms, gyms, den/study.
Cons: More expensive.
- Attached. Pros: Convenient if raining or snowing.
Cons: Higher noise levels inside the home from cars. Some people feel they are an eye sore. If the garage door to the house self-locks, you could get locked out at an inopportune time. Side –entry garage door are more esthetic than road-facing garage doors for some people.
- Detached. Pros: Can be tucked away from site lines. Quieter.
Cons: More expensive to build. Farther to walk in bad weather.
- School districts: quality, school bus service, extra-curricular activities offered and private school choices.
- Special amenities such as fireplaces, pools or spas, decks, patios, gardens and pet enclosures.
- Condition of plumbing, electrical, heating & cooling units.
- Emergency power generators.
- Available utilities such as cable or DSL, satellite.
- Sewer, cesspool or septic connections.
- Fixers. If you’re handy with tools, you might save a lot of money if you consider homes that need minor improvements, fresh paint or new carpeting.
Information for First-Time Homebuyers
I have had the joy of working with countless first-time homebuyers. They’re usually equal parts nervous and excited, and they never know quite what to expect. If this sounds like you, read on for common questions gleaned from my many years of experience. And then contact me so you can focus on the excited part while I allay any understandable nerve-racking details tensions!
Is it Worth It to Buy a Home?
“You should buy a home.” That’s what you’ve been hearing from friends and family, right? But is it really the best choice for you? Here are some of the best reasons to own a home:
Pride of Ownership:
Pride of ownership is the number one reason why people yearn to own a home. It means you can paint the walls any color you desire, turn up the volume on your CD player, attach permanent fixtures and decorate your home according to your own taste. Home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability and security. It’s an investment in your future and your preferred lifestyle.
Although real estate moves in cycles, sometimes up, sometimes down, over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight tracks the movements of single family home values across the country. Its House Price Index breaks down the changes by region and metropolitan area. Many people view their home investment as a hedge against inflation.
Home ownership is a superb tax shelter. As long as your mortgage balance is smaller than the price of your home, mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return, which is great since interest is the largest component of your mortgage payment! IRS Publication 530 contains tax information for first-time home buyers. In addition, real estate property taxes paid for a first home and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes.
Capital Gains Exclusion:
When you eventually sell your home, as long as you have lived in it for two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple of profit from capital gains. You do not have to buy a replacement home or move up. There’s no age restriction, and the “over-55″ rule does not apply. You can exclude the above thresholds from taxes every 24 months, which means you could sell every two years and pocket your profit (subject to limitation) free from taxation. If you happen to receive more profit than the allowable exclusion upon sale of your home, that profit will be considered a capital asset as long as you owned your home for more than one year. Capital assets receive preferential tax treatment.
Mortgage Reduction Builds Equity:
Each month, part of your monthly payment is applied to the principal balance of your loan, which reduces your obligation. The way amortization works, the principal portion of your principal and interest payment increases slightly every month. It’s lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. On average, each $100,000 of a mortgage will reduce in balance the first year by about $500 in principal, bringing that balance at the end of your first 12 months to $99,500.
How Do I Find What I Want?
Almost 80% of all home searches today begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of Maine listings, view virtual tours, and sort through dozens of photographs and aerial shots of neighborhoods and homes… in the comfort and convenience of your own home. One of the best ways to find what you want (with little time and effort on your part) is use the Seach Engines on this website. Once you do that, the listings will start to come to you!
What’s it really like to Live in Maine?
I’m a native Mainer and “Midcoast Maine” is my Frog Pond. I know it very well and enjoy being a resource to others who would like to know more about such important things as:
- Where do you get the best pizza?
- Explaining the “mind of Mainers”
- How we cope with the winters… confortably?
- Recommended restaurants, side trips, and leisure-time pursuits
- Quality schools, senior citizen activities, and favorite shopping tips
- How to talk like a native Mainer?
- Favorite Fairs and Events
- Recreational opportunities
- … and many, many more subjects
Area Attractions and Helpful Links
- Arrowsic: www.arrowsic.org
- Bath: www.cityofbath.com
- Bowdoin: www.bowdoinme.com
- Bowdoinham: www.bowdoinham.com
- Brunswick: www.brunswickme.org
- Freeport: www.freeportmaine.com
- Georgetown: www.georgetownme.com
- Harpswell: www.harpswell.maine.gov
- Phippsburg: www.phippsburg.com
- Richmond: www.richmondmaine.com
- Topsham: www.topshammaine.com
- West Bath: www.westbath.govoffice.com
- Woolwich: www.woolwichme.us
Interesting Information and Statistics
about Maine Communities
If you would like to learn much you should click on the following hyperlink in black text more about Midcoast Maine Communities, to take you to the Maine City and Town Information website.
State of Maine www.maine.gov
Chamber of Commerce www.midcoastmaine.com
Times Record www.timesrecord.com
Bowdoin College www.bowdoin.edu
Midcoast Hospital www.midcoasthealth.com
Parkview Hospital www.parkviewhospital.org
Bath Hampton Inn http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/index.html
Comfort Inn www.comfortinn.com/hotel-brunswick-maine-ME025
Fairfield Inn & Suites www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pwmbw-fairfield-inn-and-suites-brunswick-freeport/
Harraseeket Inn www.harraseeketinn.com
Sebasco Harbor Resort www.sebasco.com
The Brunswick Inn http://brunswickbnb.com
The Parkwood Inn www.parkwoodinn.com
Maine State Music Theatre www.msmt.org
Bowdoin College Museum of Art www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum
Maine Maritime Museum www.mainemaritimemuseum.org
Chocolate Church www.chocolatechurcharts.org
Eveningstar Cinema www.eveningstarcinema.com
Regal Cinemas www.uatc.com
Theater Project www.theaterproject.com
Bowdoin Summer Music Festival www.summermusic.org
Cumberland County Civic Center www.theciviccenter.com
Merrill Auditorium/Hadlock Field/Portland Expo www.portlandevents.com
Portland Museum of Art www.portlandmuseum.org
Portland Children’s Museum www.portlandcm.org
State Theatre www.statetheatreportland.com
Midcoast Symphony Orchestra www.midcoastsymphony.org
Paul’s Marina www.paulsmarina.com
Great Island Boatyard www.greatislandboatyard.com
Dolphin Marina www.dolphinmarinaandrestaurant.com
New Meadows Marina www.newmeadowsmarina.com
Robinhood Marine Center www.robinhoodmarinecenter.com
Sebasco Harbor Resort www.sebasco.com
Kennebec Tavern & Marina www.kennebectavern.com
Brewer Yacht Yards www.byy.com
Lost Valley www.lostvalleyski.com
Mount Abram www.skimtabram.com
Shawnee Peak www.shawneepeak.com
Maine Association of Realtors www.mainerealtors.com
Merrymeeting Board of Realtors www.merrymeetingboardofrealtors.com
Whether you’re buying for the first time or an experienced buyer, The Maine Real Estate Network is here to help you find the home of your dreams and make the experience as seamless as possible.
Spectacular Videos about Maine that you can Watch
… with a Click of your Mouse
WAIT… pause here… get something to drink (you’ll be here a while) and view some terrific, professionally-crafted, videos of Maine – a wonderful introduction to the beauty, vitality and diversity of our State.
I have listed these in the order of what I consider to be the best and most interesting. These videos were occasioned by the Maine Office of Tourism. They visually highlight our most popular communities, present helicopter photography of our scenic countryside and coast, take you to see our imposing lighthouses, show you our specialty shopping choices, our best national and state parks to visit, our recreational fishing opportunities and a segment on “Maine Trivia.” It’s a real adventure to experience!
Note: Many of these videos are different videos at the same website address. Clicking on the URL address (after the video’s Name)will unfortunately not take you to a page that presents choices for your viewing… because it’s not a hyperlink, only the internet address of where the video lives. Not a Problem! Follow the steps below to get to the video.
- Decide which video you want to view (e.g. Air Maine).
- Drag the cursor over the entire URL to highlight it.
- Right mouse click on the highlighted text.
- Click on the “Go to ” option.
- Bingo, it appears in a video format similar to the ones we have seen on YouTube.
“Air Maine” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“America’s Coast…Maine” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“Lighthouses of Maine” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/lighthouses/#
“Portland Greater Area” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“Portland Shopping and Eating” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“Shop, Dine and Enjoy Freeport” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“Bar Harbor” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“Fore Street” Restaurant http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/cuisine/#
“L.L.Bean Story” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/misc/#
“Sail Maine” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/scenic/#
“Arcadia National Park” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/parks/#
“Mount Kathadin – Baxter State Park” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/parks/#
“Maine State Parks” http://www.visitmaine.com/rich-media/videos/parks/#
“Maine Trivia” http://www.visitmaine.com/media/facts/
I think you will REALLY enjoy these outstanding videos… and glean an even greater appreciation of our State.
LET ME HELP YOU PLAN YOUR VACATION TRIP TO MAINE
You don’t get to be a native Mainer in your seventies, without having been in every nook and corner of this state!
Truly, I’ve done it all and I’ve done it with little hassle, usually without any stress, with and without children in tow, in inclement weather and in beautiful weather, hiking up the mountains and along the ocean ridge trails, exploring the coastal islands, sailing the coast, kayaking the island trails, riding the coastal ferries, paddling the Allagash Waterway, climbing Mt. Kathadin, catching lobsters, beachcombing, doing photographic safaris, raking steamer clams out of the mud, seasonal hunting, eating at the best of restaurants and the least expensive of eateries, attending all of the fairs, inland fly fishing, salt water fishing, camping, rv-ing, patronizing the summer theatres, attending all the museums and art galleries, having season tickets for the Portland Symphony, shopping the outlet stores and attending all the best of our sporting events.
Why do I tell you that? Because, I could be a valuable resource to help you plan your visit to Maine and experience the best of Maine without disappoint, discouragement or mental disruption! Hmmmmm…. Interested in learning more?
If you would like to have me suggest a vacation itinerary for your visit to Maine… or you’d like my thoughts on transitioning your home and business to Maine… or you have accepted a new job in Maine and need to comfortably “settle in…” please let me help you think all of the many options through so that your “coming to Maine” will be a pleasant and satisfying experience!
Why would I do that? To sell your some real estate? That’s hardly my primary motivation. More importantly, I love our state, I’m very proud of our state and it pleases me to welcome newcomers to our state. Earning a real estate commission is secondary. It’s more satisfying for me to make new friends and be a comfortable shoe horn for your ambitious interests.
So that’s pretty straight forward and a bit confessional. I’m at the “give back time of my life!” I expect to continue living a very full and very active lifestyle for the next twenty years.
You have my contact information. It’s everywhere on this website. Call or email me with your Maine visitation interests and I’ll help you plan and organize an exciting visit… yes, it’s for free.
Why choose me as your Buyer Broker
I can provide you with valuable information about home ownership and the real estate market, as well as answer any of your questions. My goal is to:
- Listen carefully to understand your objectives and preferences
- Explain the home buying process thoroughly
- Discuss agency representation (i.e. Who do I work for?)
- Diligently search for a home that meets your criteria
- Send you new listings as soon as they are available
- Provide you with a full market analysis
- Preview as many homes as you’d like
- Help you with other necessary aspects such as mortgage, title, insurance and more
- Negotiate the purchase on your behalf to get the best deal possible
- Diligently track the closing process and overcome problems
- Communicate with you frequently, so you’re always aware of the current situation and my progress
7 Steps to Buying Your Home
Define your needs.
Congratulations on your decision to purchase a new home! Before you go house hunting, it’s a good idea to define what kind of home and neighborhood would best suit your desires and needs – make a wish list. Share this list with me. The finer the details, the more effective your home search will be. To further define your needs, you may want to divide your lists into negotiable and non-negotiable items, so I can operate with some flexibility when scouting for homes on your behalf.
Get prequalified or preapproved.
Now that you know what you want in a home and neighborhood, you need to find out what you can afford. There are two ways to go about this: pre-qualification or pre-approval for a home loan. I can suggest quality lenders and mortgage brokers to begin the process. In most markets, pre-approved buyers are preferred by sellers over those who are only pre-qualified.
Your pre-approved status lets the seller know:
- You have gone through an extensive financial background check.
- A lender is willing to do business with you.
- The likelihood of unexpected obstacles regarding financing is minimal.
Let the house hunting begin!
Now you are ready to embark on your home search – an endeavor that can prove overwhelming if not approached with some forethought. The most efficient route is to allow me to do the initial scouting for you. Using your wish list as a guide, I can alert you of new and existing listings that have strong potential for meeting your needs. If these listings pique your interest, I will arrange home tours at your convenience. I’ll even visit the property myself to “check it out” for you and send you some pictures and my impressions of the property. Let me know how you’d like to receive my alerts, whether by phone, email or fax.
You also can do some research on your own. Read local real estate publications, contact your local neighborhood associations, visit the local chamber of commerce, surf the Internet, or drive around your favorite neighborhoods. While these methods certainly can lead to your dream home, it’s important to note that 82 percent of home sales are the result of agent connections and those having the REALTORS® designation are very competent and have very high ethical standards.
Make an offer.
When you’re ready to make an offer on a home, I will help you determine the offering price by reviewing recent sales of homes similar in size, quality and amenities. Together we will draft a written contract that outlines what needs to be done by both parties to make the transaction happen. If the seller accepts the offer, the document becomes a binding agreement, so it is imperative that you carefully review it with me and speak up if anything is not clear to you. It’s important to note that if the seller changes any aspect of the offer, it is not a binding agreement until the buyer agrees to the seller’s changes.
Strike a deal.
Sometimes, you get lucky and the seller accepts your offer as is. However, in most instances, the seller will make a counteroffer. This is where my experience in negotiations will be invaluable. Keep in mind almost everything is negotiable when you are buying a house. This can give you a great deal of leverage in the buying process – that is, if you have adequate information and you use it strategically. Some items you may negotiate:
- Closing costs
- Move-in date
- Appliances and fixtures
Be sure to remain in close contact with me so you can quickly review any changes from the seller. Remember, bargaining is not a winner-take-all deal. It is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.
Prepare for the closing.
When an offer becomes a binding agreement (i.e. goes “under contract”), I will help you tackle the checklist of action items that you, as the buyer, have agreed to perform prior to closing. Depending on how the responsibilities are divvied up in the agreement, this is typically when you will:
- Conduct a home inspection.
- Have your lender get an appraisal and finalize your financing.
- Secure lender title insurance. Remember to also get title insurance for yourself.
- Shop for a home warranty, if that’s of interest to you.
Having these procedures done in a timely and professional manner is a must, as any delays could threaten a successful closing. I can also provide recommend service providers (e.g. attorneys, tradespeople, insurance companies, etc.). I’m willing to help coordinate those activities and making sure the vendors have access to the property to perform their jobs and perform my oversight on your behalf.
Close the deal.
Congratulations! The moment you’ve been anticipating has arrived. The closing is where home ownership is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. It is a formal meeting that most parties involved in the transaction will attend. Closing procedures usually are held at the title company’s or lawyer’s office. The closing officer will coordinate all the document-signing and the collection and disbursement of funds. This when you get the key to your new home. A few days before your closing date, your lender will send a final closing statement that outlines your closing costs, if applicable. I will review this document with you to ensure its accuracy, as well as help you gather any necessary documentation that you’ll need to bring to closing. Sometimes, buyers like to have their attorney review the documents.
Are you thinking about buying a home elsewhere in this country… or perhaps something in another country?
Truly, we now live in a “global marketplace”… not only for the love of discounted prices for Chinese products, but I’m now working with Europeans who want to own vacation properties in Maine!
Europeans traditional take long vacations and they are attracted to “Maine” because we have such a pristine environment and we are known for “living life the way it should be.”
Our real estate agency (Maine Real Estate Network) has an exclusive affiliation with the leading international real estate referral agency. Luxury Homes of the World is our porthole to occasioning national and international buyers for your property. Hmmmm… that means that you will have “global” prospective buyers (if your property is listed with me) rather than just those that live in this country.
Over the last few years, I have had an increasing number of international buyers ask me to find properties in Maine for them to consider purchasing. Also, I have experienced a growing number of celebrities who want me to help them buy a “piece of Maine dirt.” Martha Stewart bought a classic home in Seal Harbor, Maine and I’m finding that other celebrities are equally motivated to buy Maine property.
Most of these buyers pay cash for their secret retreats and they encourage their friends to similarly buy a vacation home in Maine.
This all means that I have the potential for occasioning a greater number of potential buyers for your property than was possible in the past!
Also, it works in reverse. If you are moving to another part of the country because of a new work assignment or because of a retirement decision to move to a warmer climate, then I can find you a seasoned buyer broker at your preferred new location who will collaborate with me to make sure you get a satisfying new home at the best deal possible.
So, I have the tools and connections to fully service your real estate needs. Whether it’s finding you a distant buyer or helping you relocate to California… or London… I can make it happen for you seamlessly.
I truly can be a resource for everything you may dream of doing!