Friday, August 19, 2016

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Real Estate - Tips for home owners - By Lisa DiBiase and Katie Kinney

Right now is the perfect time to start saving money on your home whether it is new to you or you have lived there for years!  Starting on these things as soon as possible will allow you to start saving money sooner rather than later. Enjoy the savings!

Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people do not use hot water any hotter than 120 degrees, but their thermostats are set much higher and producing scalding hot water. By lowering your temperature you will end up using energy much more efficiently and saving money on your bills!  Some hot water heaters aren’t insulated very well and you could be using energy to keep the heat in the tank. A simple trick is to put a water heater blanker over the hot water heater (just be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment).

Wrap exposed water pipes with insulation. Any exposed hot water pipes lose heat as they transfer the water from the heater to your shower or faucet. Use pipe-insulation to wrap exposed pipes, especially in cold basements or garages. This will not only keep you water at a higher temperature, but allows hot water to reach your faucets faster.
Install LED or CFL light bulbs. These types of light bulbs will save you a lot of money on energy bills as well as have much longer life span than normal incandescent bulbs. If you do not want to make the investment for the entire house, at least consider installing some in the places where the lights may be used for the longest periods. LED bulbs have actually come down in cost significantly over the past few years.

Mark any cracks in foundation or basement with dated masking tape. Homes settle over time and cracks appear in foundation and basement walls. By marking these cracks with dated masking tape you will be able to tell if the cracks are growing or not. If the cracks are not growing at all, your home is safe. If you notice the cracks growing past the tape, you will save yourself a lot of money by having the issue addressed now rather than later.

Pay attention and take advantage of tax benefits and other incentives.  The energy tax credit has been renewed and homeowners who have made energy-based improvements to their homes are eligible for discount on their taxes. Check with your state or city to discover its benefits. Many local utility companies also provide home energy audits and services. Someone will inspect your home to figure out where you could be wasting energy.

Do not forget to look at all your expenses when budgeting for your home. Many people only take into consideration the principal mortgage payment, interest, taxes and insurance. Make sure to include all utilities and keep an upgrade account. Call the utility companies to ask about budget plans and shop rates. If you budget for upgrades and emergencies, it will not be such a hard financial hit when items arise.

As I have said before, please call a local REALTOR for all your real estate needs no matter how big or small.  We are trained professionals here to make your life easier. It's best to surround yourself with the right team of professionals that can continuously give you the right advice for all your circumstances.

Lisa DiBiase is a Broker/Owner. She and her company represent buyers and sellers in the Greater Portland area. For all your real estate needs contact

Friday, August 12, 2016

Real Estate - Sizzling HOT market of 2016 - By Nicole Foster

This summer’s housing market has been undeniably hot with a decline in the number of days on the market for sold properties, a state wide sales increase of a staggering 9.62 percent and an increase of 5.49 percent to the sale price of those homes. It is estimated that those figures could be even stronger, but tight inventory has kept many qualified buyers from making their move as well as prevented some would be sellers who do not want to list their homes until they secure suitable housing to move into. We could experience a slight extension to the peak in June and July sales into August for 2016
with interest rates which have assumedly bottomed out at this point and continued evidence of strong demand with some buyers and sellers just now getting started.

With each passing day we are one day closer to the inevitable shift in the weather and the start of school. Changes to interest rates which could take place in October have been rumored and consumer confidence may weaken as we approach what has already been a brutal election season. The housing market may not be as hot in September, October, November and December, but regardless 2016 has been the strongest housing market we have experienced in the past decade.

If you are considering selling but have not yet contacted a Realtor, you may want to do so sooner rather than later. You do not need to wait until your house is completely “ready” because you may be surprised by the advice you get and a Realtor will help to make a clear plan of the steps necessary to get your home ready for the market and help save you from doing work which may not pay off. “A recent report released by the U.S. Commerce Department stated that the value of owning a home in the U.S. has never been greater, due to continued low mortgage interest rates and prices that have recovered and grown since the recession. Contact your local Realtor for guidance to determine if owning a home, with its federal and state tax deductions, is financially feasible for your household” according to a press release by Maine Association of REALTORS July 21, 2016.
Nicole Foster is a Broker specializing in residential, new construction and single family homes for over ten years with Regency Realty in South Portland. She lives in Windham with her husband who is a local builder and their four children.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Real Estate - How to choose a place to live - By Carrie Colby

When a homebuyer is thinking of buying a home, they sometimes wonder aloud about the most important thing they should consider. Of course, you need to find a home that provides everything you need in a home, but after that?

Where a home is located is the most important factor in its value - both now and in the future. That’s all real estate agents mean when they say “location, location, location.” Location is important because it is the greatest determining factor in value.

A home in a thriving vibrant community will have more value than a home in a city where industries
are failing, the roads are uncared for and schools are on the decline.

All other things being equal, a home in a desirable location is more valuable than an identical or similar home in a less desirable location. 

So when deciding what you “need” in a home versus what you “want” in a home, sometimes it makes sense to settle for what you need in a desirable location - providing resale value is important to you.
Home is where the heart is, but what if your heart doesn’t know where it should be?

From low crime rates to a great education system, there are many variables to consider when choosing that perfect place that you and your family can call home.

To help you make this important decision, here are the most important factors to help you find a home that suits the needs of you and your family.

Begin by determining what is most important to you and your family. If you’re single, living in a bustling city might be an ideal choice for your next home. If you have a family, on the other hand, a small town offers amenities that your kids will love.

If you enjoy a friendly wave from everyone you pass while driving to the post office, then a smaller town is definitely for you. If you wish to remain relatively anonymous, a larger town or a big city is better suited to your personality.

Healthcare facilities are important at any stage in life, but they are especially relevant if you have children or if you are nearing retirement age. Easy access to good healthcare can increase your quality of life exponentially, so be on the lookout for towns and cities with good hospitals and medical schools. Often, there will be a correlation between cities and the quality of the healthcare. reality of choosing a new place to live encompasses an incredibly large series of factors, all competing for your attention. In order to be successful in your search, you must determine what is most important to you and your family. Do your homework, and then continue to be vigilant in your search until you find the right place to live. It can be intimidating and frustrating at times, but all that effort is worth it in the end once you are settled in your ideal location. 

In closing we live in a great community and I am proud to be part of it.

Carrie Colby,Broker/Owner,Premier Properties

Friday, July 29, 2016

Purchasing a home or investment property? Are you a Trump or Clinton style buyer? - By Matt Trudel

The first step after being approved to purchase a property is to locate the property right for you. Enlisting the help of a Realtor or many Realtors is certainly a Trump move. He tends to surround himself with people who know more about whatever the situation is in order to gain more knowledge and hopefully an advantage. Some people prefer to search on their own and not let a lot of people know what they are doing, thinking, or what their interest may be in a particular property, more of a Hillary style.

Now that the potential property is located, the negotiations on purchase price and terms must begin. The type of market and the competitiveness may affect ones strategy. We all know that Trump has been successful in real estate, more so than not. We also know that he does not have a hard time saying what is on his mind at the time. Hillary is certainly more tight-lipped and much less of an aggressive style "in your face" negotiator. Both styles can have their advantages and disadvantages.

Trump's style might involve a very direct and demanding approach, cash offer, close in 10 days, no inspections, and the seller has 6 hours to accept. It almost puts the seller in a corner to respond and some sellers don't like that. If the market is competitive and there are other interested buyers, Trump would likely offer more than the asking price trying to remove any negotiations. Often this style will get you the property, an advantage yes, but the disadvantage is where the Hillary style may prove to be the better option.

Hillary's style of offer would likely be well below the asking price depending on the competitiveness of other potential buyers. It would certainly include several inspections as both a safety measure, a means for future negotiation of reduced price, and an overall way to back out of the deal at the last minute. The biggest advantage to this style is that if something significant is wrong with the property that will cost many thousands of dollars to repair it could be negotiated that the repair is done prior to closing.

So whether you are more of a Trump style buyer, being more direct and just saying clearly what you think, or you are a Hillary style buyer, preferring to keep your cards to yourself, secretive and remaining tight-lipped, both styles can have their advantage. The one thing that separates these two styles is in trusting in a professional to help you through the process. Trump while candid at times, always seeks support from professionals or experts. When buying a home, just like Trump, having a professional on your side is almost always the better choice.

Matthew Trudel is the owner of Five Star Realty in Windham.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Flip to a Different Eagle Section

Technology makes accessing documents fast and easy - by Randee McDonald

One of the main responsibilities of a title company is to ensure all official documents from a property transaction are officially recorded for posterity. This includes documents such as deeds, mortgages, power of attorney, discharges and more.

In this wonderfully accommodating age of technology, long gone are the days of walking to the Registry to hand deliver or mailing these documents out and waiting for them to return the recorded documents back to us. The majority of our counties now allow for e-recording of documents, making the entire process fast, easy, convenient and a major timesaver. (Shout out to Maine’s counties – especially Cumberland – for the sheer volume alone that they handle in such a timely manner.)

Did you also know that you can get something for nothing? Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, each county allows every person up to 500 free copies of any documents they have on record right from their website. You don’t need to be a title company, anyone is eligible for these free documents. This can be especially important – and handy – for realtors and brokers when searching for deeds.

Here’s a quick lesson on how to search for records online (and print your free copies):
Let’s use Cumberland County as an example. If you do a quick Google search you’ll find their website, Once you’re in the website, you’ll see at the top that you can search by Name, Volume (book and page), Date or Document. “Name” is the most common and easiest way to search, we’ll choose that option, and as an example let’s search under “City of Portland” (in the interest of not singling out a particular name). Once you enter that, all documents filed under that name will be listed. If you’re looking for a particular document type or date of filing, etc, you can click the header in that column and it will sort them for you to make searching easier (alphabetical or chronological, as applies).

When you find the document you wish to view/print, just click on it and the link will appear to the right side. Click on “view images” for a peek of the document to make sure it’s what you want. If you want to print a copy, click on the “print” icon on the right.
  • Print
  • “Non Subscribers”
  • Enter email address
  • Print
Remember, you are entitled to 500 free copies from each Registry, not to mention just having the ability to access that information at your fingertips. Isn’t technology swell?

Randee McDonald is owner, along with her husband Matthew J. McDonald, of Cumberland Title Services. She can be reached at, and be sure to check out their YouTube channel for “Buying and Refinancing a Home in Maine.”