Friday, June 14, 2024

Real Estate: Quarry Ridge Business Park needs signal light

By Larry Eliason

The time has come for the Town of Windham, the Maine Department of Transportation and our legislators to develop a team to bring a signalized light to the intersection of Route 302 and Enterprise Drive for public safety, traffic calming and to help attract new investment to the Quarry Ridge Business Park.

An aerial photo show Quarry Ridge Business Park 
in North Windham. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Quarry Ridge Business Park offers an incredible opportunity for Windham to expand an existing business park to attract companies with good paying jobs and to provide a stronger commercial tax base for the town.

Over the past several years, I have written articles about commercial real estate, lot sales and development activity at the Quarry Ridge Business Park with an emphasis on Enterprise Drive and Bedrock Terrace. Enterprise Drive is just off Roosevelt Trail/Route 302. This Business Park is a Grondin Family investment in Windham.

As many will agree, the intersection of Route 302 and Enterprise Drive has become a very busy intersection as Enterprise Drive, Bedrock Terrace and Storm Drive have several businesses from retail, office, service, manufacturing, engineering, public storage with many valued business owners, their employees and customers. Cars and trucks sit for very long periods of time waiting to get off Enterprise Drive onto Route 302 without a signalized light. My biggest fear is a carload of kids going for ice cream pull out onto Route 302 at the wrong time and there ends up being a tragedy that can be prevented.

There is an existing MDOT traffic movement plan in place that will eventually include a much-needed traffic signal at the intersection of Enterprise Drive and Route 302. It is certainly time to wipe the dust off this plan and make an action plan and implement it asap. The chicken and egg story for this intersection has been going on for way too long in my opinion.

The intent of the Enterprise Development District is to provide a unique area within the Town of Windham to allow manufacturing, processing, treatment, warehousing, storage, research, and distribution with safe, well-regulated vehicle access located off a major street which can conform to the performance standards set forth in this section and in all other applicable ordinances of the Town of Windham.


The following uses are currently allowed in the Enterprise Development District:

Auction House, Automobile Auction Facility, Automobile Repair Services, Building, Accessory, Business and Professional Office, Contractor Services, Contractor Storage Yard, Construction Services, Heavy, Major Construction Services, Heavy, Minor, Convention Center, Distribution Facility, Forestry, Hotel, Industry-Heavy, Industry- Light, Marijuana Cultivation Facility, Marijuana Manufacturing Facility, Marijuana Testing Facility, Mineral Extraction, Motel, Public Utility Facility, Retail Sales, Accessory, Small Engine Repair, Use, Accessory Warehousing, Private Warehousing, Public, and the Wireless Telecommunications Tower and Facility.

Quarry Ridge Business Park off Enterprise Drive is located on approximately 1,000 acres of land. Phase 1A was built in 2004 and was anchored by Genest Concrete products and LaValley Lumber Building Supply. The LaValley property was acquired by Tube Hollows International in 2012.


Phase 1B was approved by the town of Windham in 2006 and since then mining of the gravel pit and quarry has progressed enough to leave behind flat buildable lots available for industrial use. The entire development is served by public water, electric including (3-Phase) and natural gas.

As a Commercial Real Estate Broker, I see millions of dollars in new investment coming to this Business Park in the coming years. The commercial tax base being generated will provide the Town of Windham with a valuable commercial tax base to help provide additional infrastructure and services to the residents of Windham.

Please feel free to contact me on my cell at 207-415-2112 or email me at LarryEliasonBCB@gmail.com Butts Commercial Brokers is at 1265 Roosevelt Trail, Raymond, Maine 04071 www.ButtsCommercialBrokers.com <

Friday, June 7, 2024

Why You Should Use a Buyer's Agent When Purchasing a Home

By Lisa DiBiase

As we navigate the ever-changing real estate market, it's crucial to understand the importance of having buyer representation when purchasing a home, regardless of market conditions. Buying a home can be one of the most difficult and complicated purchases you make in your lifetime. Not only is the amount of money you’re dealing with substantial, the complex legal aspects of real estate transactions can be confusing for those who don't work directly in the field. This is why many home buyers choose to use a buyer’s agent when searching for a new home to purchase.

Step inside a real time testimony from my clients who are currently in the process of purchasing their first home:

“As first-time home buyers, we did a ton of research online. What we quickly realized is no amount of self research would have prepared us for the real market we faced, especially in today’s market! We needed the expertise that comes from an agent’s own experience. Lisa’s guidance and connections have been instrumental in our home buying journey.” Chad and Will

Let's explore how and why it is so essential to have a Buyer’s Agent:

To Start, what is a Buyer’s Agent?

A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional who represents the interests of the buyer in a real estate transaction. Unlike a listing agent, who represents the seller, a buyer’s agent is solely dedicated to helping the buyer find and purchase a home. They have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the buyer, ensuring that their needs and concerns are prioritized throughout the transaction. This arrangement offers several benefits and can add significant value to the home-buying process.

Here are some key advantages of having buyer representation:

1. Professional and Expert Guidance: A buyer’s agent has specialized training and knowledge of the real estate market, including current trends, pricing, and neighborhood insights. They can provide expert advice and help buyers make informed decisions.

2. Access to Listings: Buyer’s agents have access to multiple listing services (MLS) and can provide buyers with detailed information about properties that match their criteria, including those that may not be widely advertised or are new to the market. An advantage for the buyer is real-time access to listings as soon as they become available through automated email alerts. This feature sends new listings directly to the buyer the instant a listing agent adds them to the MLS.

3. Negotiation Skills: Experienced buyer’s agents are skilled negotiators who bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. They advocate on behalf of the buyer to secure the best price and terms possible while leveraging their understanding of market trends, property values, and seller motivations. By understanding the details of the negotiation process, they can identify opportunities for concessions and expectations, potentially saving the buyer money and setting the buyer's offer apart from others.

4. Market Analysis: Buyer’s agents can perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine the fair market value of a property. This provides the ability for the buyer to make educated decisions and potentially avoid overpaying and ensures they are making a sound investment.

5. Transaction Management: The process of buying a home involves numerous steps, from making an offer to closing the deal. Each of these steps comes with its own set of paperwork, deadlines, and requirements. Managing all these elements can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. A buyer’s agent handles the transaction management, ensuring all paperwork is correctly completed and submitted on time. They keep track of deadlines and coordinate with other professionals involved in the process, such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and title attorneys. This comprehensive management helps prevent costly mistakes and delays.

6. Local Knowledge: Buyer’s agents often have extensive knowledge about the local area beyond just property values. They can provide insights into the community, including information about market trends, schools, community amenities, future developments, and overall lifestyle. This local knowledge is particularly beneficial if you are moving to a new area and are not familiar with its characteristics. Having a better understanding of the neighborhood can assist you in selecting a home that fits your lifestyle and long-term needs.

7. Professional Network: Please do not underestimate the value of real estate professionals and the relationships that are established through working together on a daily basis. Real estate transactions often require the involvement of various professionals, including mortgage brokers, home inspectors, contractors, and attorneys. Buyer’s agents typically have a network of trusted professionals they can refer you to. This network ensures that you receive quality service from reliable experts, making the home-buying process smoother and more efficient.

8. Advocacy: A buyer’s agent is legally obligated to act in the best interests of the buyer. This fiduciary duty ensures that the buyer's needs and concerns are prioritized throughout the transaction. There are many different fiduciary duties that an agent must uphold, including the duty of loyalty, confidentiality, disclosure, obedience, reasonable care and diligence and accounting. They must disclose all relevant information regarding the transaction and act with the utmost care and loyalty to the client.

9. Peace of Mind: Having a professional on your side can reduce the stress and uncertainty of buying a home. Knowing that someone with expertise is handling the complexities of the transaction can provide peace of mind.

Overall, using a buyer’s agent when purchasing a home offers numerous benefits, including expert guidance, market knowledge, skilled negotiation, and comprehensive transaction management. Their local insight, professional network, fiduciary responsibility, and cost efficiency make them an invaluable ally in the home-buying process. By enlisting the services of a buyer’s agent, you can navigate the complexities of purchasing a home with confidence and ease, ensuring a successful and satisfying experience.

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 the Broker/Owner for Landing Real Estate. She and her company represent buyers and sellers in the Greater Portland area and surrounding areas. For all your real estate needs contact Lisa at lisa@landinghomesmaine.com or call 207-775-SOLD. <

Friday, May 31, 2024

Real Estate: Summer Has Arrived

By Matt Trudel

The Memorial Day Weekend was fabulous, and summer has finally arrived. Also heating up is the real estate market with inventory still being low keeping buyers aggressive with their opening offers.

Sellers who are prepared and have done all the things sellers should do before putting their house on the market are being rewarded handsomely for their efforts.

Here is a recent example of how it can be very effective in getting the most for your home.

Seller X has his home and wants to list it for sale for a certain price. Upon doing the walk-through prior to doing the Market Analysis, it is obvious the house needs major decluttering inside and outside. There are some repairs that are needed. This is sometimes one of the hardest things to explain to sellers, but it is important to explain it thoroughly and give them the hard facts. Seller X committed to everything on the list and was shocked he was able to accomplish it all in such a short time. His property sold for more than $50,000 over the asking price on the first day it hit the market.

This is a good example of why you want to hire an experienced broker when selling your home.


Find a broker with a proven track record and who knows the location and how the market is trending. Just hiring a friend who has a real estate license is not always the best choice when getting ready to sell or buy.

Experience is a very valuable asset when it comes to real estate and successfully achieving your real estate goals. It can easily be the difference in getting the home you want or missing out on putting it under contract. Here is a good example of a buyer who recently was successful in the process and strategic planning and aggressive negotiating skills prevailed.

Buyer Z was looking for a new house with me. She did all the preplanning we discussed with getting financials in order, all pre-approved, and was ready to go if we found the right property. In my daily search that I do, I also check the “coming soon” market to see what is about to hit the market. That’s where I found the right house and it was going to hit the market the next day. I scheduled the first appointment the next day for us to view it.

She loved it but I warned her there were eight other showings scheduled over the next two days. We went back to the office and wrote a very strong offer, slightly over the list price with a short window for the seller to respond within about eight hours. We successfully blocked out all the buyers in the other showings and went under contract that evening.


These are just a couple of examples of recent transactions that have taken place. Hopefully they will help you think about how important it is to find the right broker for yourself. Interview or at least talk to a couple of real estate brokers about what their own strengths are in real estate.

Hopefully they can easily provide you with some recent examples or even provide a few previous clients you can talk to. And if you do have a friend who has a real estate license, you should not be concerned about not using them. We are professionals and should never get upset about our friends choosing to work with someone else. It is part of the business and nothing to take personal. If they do get upset with you that is not your fault and maybe it’s a good thing you don’t use someone who isn’t professional.

This article was written by Matt Trudel, Broker and Owner of Five Star Realty, Windham. 207-939-6971. <

Friday, May 24, 2024

Real Estate: Welcome to Spring

By Richie Vraux

So, finally we are feeling the warmth of the sun on our heads as we clean up from a very mild, but yet a very devastating winter.

The storms have left a lot of fallen trees, branches, sea wall damage and homes being swept away due to historic high tides and high winds. But you know, Maine is still, in my opinion, one of the best places to live in America.

The West Coast has forest fires every year, heavy and drenching rains, flooding, then landslides. The middle of the country has repeat tornados and extremely high heat.

Yuk! Bring me back to New England where I love the four seasons and all that each brings us.

I see everything starting to turn green and flowers blooming. It’s a great time to sell your home.

Upsizing or downsizing, the real estate market is still at its peak. Home sales are at peak levels for sellers. If priced appropriately, they are still getting top dollar.

Who would ever think this sellers’ market would last this long?

One of the reasons is that the rental market is out of control. Rentals start anywhere from $1,800 to $2,200 for a 2-bedroom to $3,000 to $4,000 for anything above that.

So being that I’m a real estate broker, I think the better investment here is buying your next property.

Besides that, in a rental, you have to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the association. Your television and your radio have to be at levels most people find inadequate for their listening pleasure.

In short, you are not in charge of your own situation.

Although interest rates are still 7.0 plus or minus, the monthly payment to own is still lower than renting and somewhere down the road the rates will come down to the 5.0 percent level which is more comfortable to buyers and homes become more affordable at that time.

Real estate ownership has for most people always been the American dream, so why rent when you can own your own little bit of heaven?

Richie Vraux is a real estate broker with Pine Tree Realty of Maine. We will be back at our same location at 76 Tandberg Trail in Windham shortly. Richie has been a real estate specialist for more than 25 years, so take advantage of his expertise. Call him at 207-317-1297.
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Friday, May 17, 2024

Real Estate: Kitchens are my favorite

By Warren O’Shea

I love kitchens.

It’s where I keep my dark roast coffee and thick-cut bacon.

Speaking of coffee, there is a rising popularity of kitchen remodels utilizing integrated coffee and beverage stations. These drink centers keep supplies organized and readily available for guests and family members. Positioning the location of the beverage station just on the outskirts of the main prep and cooking area allows for the thirsty hordes to comfortably craft their concoctions without getting in the way of the cook! Upper cabinets may have glass doors and interior glass shelves and be back lit to show off your collection of fine crystal or Cristal. Under cabinet lighting with adjustable light tones and colors illuminate the workspace below.

The countertop may be of almost any material but my go-to is an oiled cherry butcher block. Natural wood does need a bit more maintenance over time compared to a stone or engineered surface, but I feel it’s well worth the extra effort for its warm color and it’s softer on your delicate stemware. Having the beverage station plumbed in can be a bit of a project if it doesn’t currently exist in that location, [1] but the benefits are worth the expense.

The installation of a small bar sink allows you to not only do some basic washing but can also double as an ice bucket for highly popular and most consumed beverages. Having water available also allows you to have a hard-plumbed espresso or coffee maker, and an on-demand, high temperature water faucet for tea and cocoa. For larger appliances, a dedicated ice machine and a dishwasher will make hosting your gatherings exceedingly more efficient. Let’s not forget the refrigeration. Many wine refrigerators fit nicely under a countertop as well as regular refrigerators that have drawers instead of doors.

There are many new innovations aimed at making both cooking and cleanup easier and healthier. Some products are available now; others are rolling out in the coming months. One of the new features is a hinged cooktop grill and griddle. As anyone with a gas cooktop knows, removing and cleaning under the grates can be a real chore. First, the users need a clear safe space to set the grates down. And then, they must avoid dirtying or scratching that surface, and back to the cooktop itself, with the heavy grates.

Whirlpool recently introduced a simple solution to the problem with its 30-inch gas cooktop with EZ-2-Lift hinged cast-iron grates, which users can lift so they can clean easily underneath. For a deeper clean, the grates can be removed and popped in the dishwasher.

Not as innovative but incredibly useful are the smart solutions for storing food and kitchen tools. Roll-out drawers behind cabinet doors make accessing items much less arduous. Many rollouts are rated for up to 100 pounds so heavy pots and even small heavy appliances like a 5-quart mixer will store comfortably. Double-sided spice racks speed up your flavor game, and drawers made specifically designed to hold aluminum foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper help with prep, cooking, and food storage.

An item that has seen many transformations is the humble kitchen sink. Stainless steel is commonly used, but there are still slate and soapstone used as well as other materials. Many are divided on the question of one bowl vs two bowls, but most can get behind the new sink workstations that contain myriad accessories built to perfectly fit on the lip of the basin. The choices include cutting boards, prep bowls, knife blocks, colanders and racks for dishcloths or cleaning utensils. These items can centralize and organize prep work.

This is just a short list of what your kitchen could have, follow O’Shea Builders LLC on Facebook for remodeling tidbits.

Warren O’Shea is the owner of O’Shea Builders LLC, Maine’s most award-winning remodeling contractor, winning gold in Portland Radio Group’s “Best of 207, 2024”. He has 35+ years of residential remodeling experience. He is a certified home inspector and has been featured on HGTV, Food Network, and Maine Cabin Masters. He is a recipient of the Portland Police Department’s “Citizen Award” and is a staunch consumer advocate. Warren is the vice president designate of the Home Builders and Remodelers association of Maine, has, co-authored articles for nationally distributed trade magazines as well as having published articles featured in CEO World, USA Today and New York Weekly. O’Shea builders was nominated for DownEast Magazine’s “Best of Maine 2024”, “Builder” category and we would love your vote! https://vote.downeast.com/ <

Friday, May 10, 2024

Real Estate: Prepping for the summer months

Complied by Jonathan Priest

Summers are a great time to spruce up the look of your home and bring in some cool elements, to escape the scorching heat. The easiest way to keep a house cool is by using heavy curtains and shutting the windows and drawing the curtains at 11 a.m. sharp. One can go in for blinds and bamboo curtains, to keep the excess heat out and keep the space cool. One can keep small pots filled with water in the corners, to cool the space, especially in areas where there is breeze blowing in. Also, in the evening hours, ventilate the house by opening the windows and allowing some air in.

Opt for cool and soothing colors

Use light colors as much as possible within the house, as it will reflect light and heat and give a pleasant ambience to the living space. In summer, let light colors be the base of your interiors. Work with neutral colors like ivory or shades of green, to retain the cooling effect. Warm tones like olive, lilac or burgundy can be soothing, without seeming overwhelming. Blues, greens and beige, are all ideal to use during the summer. Accent pieces, inspired by nature, can also brighten up the home. Prints that are abstract or floral and bright can remind one of the better side of summer, and not just the temperature.

Spruce up the home with natural fabrics

Cotton is by far the best natural fabric to use in the summer, for bedding and sofas, followed by linen. These fabrics are ‘breathable’ and have great insulating properties, allowing you to remain cool when it is hot. Natural fabrics are skin friendly and environmentally friendly, as well. Moreover, changing the bed linen according to the season, and also livens up the décor.

Cool the home with indoor plants


Keeping indoor plants is a simple way to cool a space and purify the quality of air. Indoor plants or plants on the windowsills, not only bring the temperature down, but also add style to the house, when arranged in fancy pots. Some house plants like English ivy and peace lily, absorb moisture from the air and reduce humidity. Plants that are tolerant to heat, such as sunflower, lemon grass, banana and palm, give a cooling touch to the house, while areca palm, aloe vera and baby rubber plant are known for removing toxins from the air. Homeowners can also grow plants on a terrace, to protect the house or building from the sun’s rays.

Choose energy-efficient and cool lights

Artificial lighting tends to add heat to a space. Homeowners can counter this by switching to cooler lighting fixtures, such as compact fluorescent or LED lamps, in place of incandescent bulbs. In addition to reducing heat, these lights also help to save energy. For a pleasant ambience, you can even experiment with mood lighting.

Dust off your outdoor furniture

Summer is the perfect time to give your outdoor furniture a makeover. With a little effort, you can restore them to their former glory. Start by removing any dirt, cobwebs, and debris accumulated from the winter and spring storms. Warm soapy water is an effective and affordable way to do this. For wooden furniture or benches, a pressure washer can be used to get rid of stubborn grime. If your furniture still looks a bit worn out, consider giving it a new look with weatherproof paint or a coat of varnish. These simple steps can go a long way in rejuvenating your outdoor furniture without having to buy new ones.

Add a splash of vibrancy


Are you planning to give your home a seasonal makeover? Try incorporating fresh colors such as zesty yellows, pastel blues, and oranges to create a vibrant summer vibe. You can start by painting one wall of a room with a bright hue or adding some sea-green turquoise scatter cushions to your sofa. Alternatively, consider buying new bed linen that captures the essence of a bright summer morning. Summer provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with home decor and add splashes of color and texture to your space.

Décor tips for summer

Insulated walls and roofs and double-glazed windows can substantially reduce heat gain and reduce the load on air-conditioning units.
 
Ensure that the air-conditioners in the house are serviced regularly and their filters cleaned, to maximize efficiency.
 
For beds, do away with heavy duvets, velvet satin silk and opt for lighter cottons. <

This article was brought to you courtesy of Farmers Insurance agent, Jonathan Priest, with an office at 57 Tandberg Trail, Suite 7, Windham and StaySafe.org. Call him at 207-893-8184 or send him an email at jpriest1@farmersagent.com

Friday, May 3, 2024

Rental properties provide investment opportunities for homeowners

By Carrie Colby

For years, the popularity of vacation rentals has been skyrocketing and continues to do so. Many of today’s travelers now prefer unique local stays, more space, and more privacy. All things vacation rentals offer that most hotels don’t.

Own a second home and want to get in on the action, but don’t know where to start?

Fear not! Comprehensive property management services, including short-term and vacation rentals are available in the Lakes Region.

They provide a full range of services to property owners who want to make the most of their investment properties. Whether you’re interested in renting your property for a short-term vacation, or you need assistance with long-term leasing and tenant management, they get your property in front of the right audience using a range of digital and traditional marketing strategies to attract high-quality tenants. They make it easy for tenants to book your property online and handle all aspects of payment processing and refund management, ensuring a seamless experience for all parties involved.

But that’s just the beginning! They offer comprehensive guest screening and management process guarantees that vet all potential guests to ensure they are trustworthy and responsible individuals who will take good care of your property. They provide ongoing support and assistance throughout the renters’ stay to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

They work with trusted vendors to keep your property in top condition with regular cleaning and maintenance, ensuring that it’s always ready for the next tenant. Plus, in addition to property management services, they take care of the collection and payment of Maine’s lodging tax, which is paid by the renter, and handle all the necessary paperwork to ensure compliance with local regulations.

They provide owners with 1099s at the end of the year, which is a document used to report income earned from rental activities. This makes tax reporting and filing much easier for the homeowner.

The best property management companies offer hassle-free property management services that allow owners to maximize their rental income, minimize their stress, and make it easy for property owners to enjoy the benefits of owning a rental property without the associated headaches.

So why not take advantage of local property management services today? Whether you’re interested in renting your property for a weekend or a year, hire a property management company with expertise and resources to help you succeed. Maximize your rental income and minimize your stress and hassle.

The best way to find a reputable property manager is by referral. Who sold you your home? Does your real estate agent know any good property managers? Do you have friends with investments in the same area? Referral-based recommendations for finding reputable property managers are invaluable, as they provide peace of mind and a level of trust from the outset. Interviewing potential managers allows owners to assess their expertise and compatibility with their needs and preferences.

Overall, the availability of comprehensive property management services in the Lakes Region provides an excellent opportunity for second homeowners to maximize their rental income while minimizing stress and hassle.
 
Carrie Colby is a Broker with Allied Real Estate, 909 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. She can be reached at 207-232-5497. <