Friday, March 9, 2018

What do you know about the road home? By Nicole Foster

A private road is essentially a micro community, or a tiny town with its own culture and sometimes complex history. Another private road, only a mile away, can have completely different property values. There are local private roads where nothing more is in place than an informal and entirely voluntary group of dedicated residents who work together, while accepting that some of their neighbors choose not to participate. On the flip side there are other local roads where the annual meeting is very well attended and a highly anticipated social event. The dues and fees can be minimal or astronomical and often do not follow seemingly logical assumptions like: “Amenities will cost you more.” or “This road is short, so the fees must be low.” 
When working with your buyer agent to find your new home, consider and discuss whether or not homes located on private roads should be included in your search. With so many street and road classifications regularly used in municipal ordinances it can be very confusing for home buyers, home owners and even our own local policy makers, to understand exactly what type of road they actually live on. private road can mean many things from a paved cul-de-sac in a neighborhood to a rural dirt road or a gravel right-of-way. Whoever owns the road has permission to use it and is responsible for things such as winter plowing, drainage and grading, which all may depend on a number of variables.

Ask questions about how the road maintenance is managed and what is expected from each homeowner on the road before buying a home. Some private roads easily manage their budget by collecting quarterly or monthly dues and have a surplus to work with in an emergency; however, there are others who haven’t been able to budget appropriately or can hardly manage to keep the roads cleared in the winter and/or communicate with one another. Over time homes sell and the dynamics may be improved or strained depending on the governance and cooperation or lack of it.

In Windham, approximately 48 percent of Windham’s roads are classified as “Private” and provide access to approximately 14,000 acres. Recently proposed ordinance restrictions will require private roads to be upgraded from the nearest public street for most new development, which could mean the majority of these roads will never be improved or upgraded. 

Who maintains your road? As with most things in real estate - “It depends.” There are local private ways or roads which have been accepted by their municipality to receive annual winter plowing and sanding, but they are increasingly rare. Your buyer agent can help to review any fees and the costs associated with road maintenance. It is wise to reach out personally to the homeowner who handles the business of the road with any questions or concerns you may have before buying, because even the best buyer agent will not be moving in with you after the closing. lenders will require a Road Maintenance Agreement (RMA) or a formal road association to be in place in order to finance a home situated on a private road. These are typically, but not always, recorded in the local County’s Registry of Deeds. If you have been denied a refinance or purchase due to the lack of a formal RMA or a road association, it may be a lender policy and not a regulation and a different lender may be able to help you.

Nicole is a real estate broker with 12 years’ experience specializing in single family, residential and new construction. She lives in Windham with her husband and four children.

Friday, March 2, 2018

How to prepare your home for the spring real estate market by Katie Kinney

Sellers want their home to sell fast and for the most amount of money. Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send homebuyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.
Curb appeal is crucial to a good first impression and the buyers will see the outside of the house first. Make sure your home's lawn is immaculate. Mow the lawn, prune the bushes, and remove any and all debris including trees that may need to come down, weed the garden and plant flowers. Sellers should clean the gutters and power-wash the exterior of the home if needed as well.

You want your home to be in the best condition possible. Go through the home and repair any major and minor defects. Most buyers want their new home to move-in ready and hassle free. Make sure there are not any lingering smells, leaky faucets, holes in the walls, etc.

Spend time removing clutter and de-personalizing your home. Buyers want to envision their belongings in the home and it is easier for them to accomplish this if there is not stuff everyone. Organizing your closets and shelves will make them look bigger and having a lot of storage space is bonus for buyers.

One of the most important steps to take in preparing your home for the market is having it clean. Spend the time to do a full, deep clean or hire a professional cleaning company. Your home will show best when it is clean. Sellers could even purchase a new welcome mat to let buyers know they are welcome.

Sellers also need to be aware of their emotional attachment to their home. You need to de-emotionalize the sale of your house. Once you have let go emotionally you will be ready for an offer and then for the sale!

Feel free to contact me for more information regarding preparing your home for listing. I am happy to set up an appointment and provide a CMA of your property.

Katie Kinney is a broker with Landing Real Estate. She represents buyers and sellers in the Greater Portland area. For all your real estate needs contact Katie Kinney at or 603-205-2276.