Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's summertime - finally! - By Lisa DiBiase

Here in Maine it is safe to say, we live for the summers! Summers are meant to be embraced, however let's talk about a small 3-letter word that gets in the way of our ultimate enjoyment sometimes...


The summers can get quite hot at times and one lovely place to retreat on those ugly hot days is home! We typically do not have A/C in Maine, so what else is there to do to maintain a nice cool home for the hot and sticky days? Here are some simple tips to do to keep your home cool. Let's face it, it's only going to get warmer as the summer goes on.

1. Open windows strategically
Dont just open all the windows without a few considerations. During the evening hours, open the windows to let the cooler air in overnight. Once the outside air starts to warm up in the morning, be ready to close your windows up tight. If you are leaving for the day, you will want to shut everything up before you go out.
2. Seal the windows
Weather strip, seal and caulk leaky doors and windows. It is important to seal air leaks between your living space and the attic. Many easy-to-get materials can be used for weather stripping, including felt, foam, vinyl and metal. You should choose a type of material that will hold up well with friction, weather and temperature changes.

3. Close your blinds
Much of the unwanted heat comes through the windows, therefore having blinds and utilizing them can drastically decrease the amount of heat that comes in.

4. Don't close off doors
Closing off doors to rooms that are used can prevent the cool air from passing through during the hottest part of the day. You will want to take advantage of the cooler nights by allowing the air flow naturally throughout the home

5. Set ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise
Believe it or not the ceiling fans need to be adjusted seasonally. Set them counter-clockwise during the summer at a higher speed, the airflow with create a “breezy” feeling.

6. Turn off the lights when not in use – nothing more than that!

7. Do chores when it’s cool
From cooking to laundry, try to accomplish these chores during the evening or first thing in the morning when it is the coolest part of the day.
8. Start Grilling
Obviously it is beautiful in Maine during the summertime, so get outside and enjoy the grill! Using the oven and stove just make your home hotter! Eat on the porch/patio and enjoy the outdoors and embrace your summer.

When you are hot and sticky, make your home the place to be. With using some or all of these easy tips, you are likely to have a cool place to come home to!

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, June 17, 2016

Flip to a Different Eagle Section

Selling your home this "busy summer season" - By Carrie Colby time of year is good for a lot of things, but selling your home is not necessarily one of them.
Why? Because in the spring buyers tend to be busy with kid’s sports, Father’s Day, Graduation and myriad of other outdoor activities.

Basically, there’s just too much going on during this time of year so it is important to pay close attention to selling your home. You don’t have to wait until everything calms in the summer.
If you are considering selling your home now you may just need to be a bit more patient and start by getting ready for the busy summer months. 

Not everybody can wait until fall to buy and relocate. Some people might be transferred to a new job in another state or be experiencing other “life” issues that could necessitate an immediate sale.
Here are a few things you can do to attract a springtime buyer. attention to the exterior of your home.
Grass grows faster in the spring/summer so mow your lawn regularly. Make sure to pay attention to the little things like weeding and trimming. Trim the bushes. Plant flowers. Scatter mulch. Paint your house number on the curb. Sweep the walk. Make your entrance welcoming and warm. The neater your house looks on the outside the buyers will be sure to notice how well you have kept your house inside.

Decorate with spring/summer accents
Look around your home for color inspiration. Add vivid blue decor items for a calming effect. Replace dark-colored accent pillows and throw rugs with brighter, summer hues.

Bring the light inside
If you have heavy drapes, remove them. They make rooms look smaller. Pull window blinds to the top and tape the strings underneath. Consider using tie-backs to hold open lighter-weight drapes. The only time you would leave blinds closed is if there was an undesirable element on the other side of the window, i.e. a neighbor’s trash can, and even then, open them slightly.

Have flexible showing hours
Some people like to skip out of work early so they can make it to their kid’s practices or games. You might find buyers are more interested in touring your home before dark or early on the weekends.

Move furniture outside
You can move perfectly good living room furniture to the deck or patio. Not only does moving out furniture free up more room inside the home, but it creates an outdoor living space with items you already own. It’s an illusion created for a buyer that says yes, you can own this lifestyle, too.
Make your home smell nice and comfortable to the buyers.
Fill the air in your home with natural fragrances such as those from fresh cut flowers (even better if they are from your own yard).

If they weather is particularly nice open the windows and let the fresh air in. As the temperature start to rise circulate the air in your home. There’s nothing worse than a stuffy room on a hot day. Even if you have to place floor fans about the home keep the air moving. Turn down the air conditioning to a level just below your comfort zone on extra hot days. A cool indoors will keep visitors indoors viewing your home for longer.

With a little patience you can get through this time and get your home sold faster.
Carrie Colby
Premier Properties
1263 Roosevelt Trail, Raymond, ME 04071
Fax 866-379-9252
Cell 207-232-5497

Friday, June 10, 2016

How to choose a title company - By Randee McDonald

Just how does a consumer choose a title company, and why should they? Maine state law indicates that it is the buyers’ option to choose the title company their lender uses. Although the home buying process is often a difficult and nerve-wracking process, taking that extra step to choose your title company versus letting the lender choose for you is an important one. 

A title company is the last step in your home buying process. While the realtor finds the house, the lender provides the funding, the title company serves to actually perform the transaction. The title company, in a nutshell, prepares all the required paperwork, figures all the taxes, sewer, water, and other fees, and ensures the documents are recorded in the local registry of deeds. They serve as the pivotal communication point between the buyers and seller, the realtors and the lender. 

Though the cost between title companies is fairly competitive, it's worth a call to price them out. Ask what the closing costs are and what additional fees may apply. In addition, how your request is handled by the office is a good indication of what kind of customer service you will receive during the transaction. Are you sent off into voice mail land? Are you placed on perma-hold? If you have to leave a message, is it returned promptly? Also, does the title company provide any kind of discounts, such as for veterans or first time homeowners? It never hurts to ask. Also, if you have a crazy work schedule, are they willing to do the closing at a place other than their office? If they really want your business, they will make it convenient for you.

When working with your lender and realtor, be sure to ask them who they have had good experiences with. Though they may seek to guide you towards who they always use and have an established relationship with, this is not always a bad thing. The realtor and/or lender’s relationship with the title company may provide a smooth closing as they are familiar with each other and work well together. Don't be afraid to go out on a limb, however, if you get a good feeling about using a different title company. 

Is the title company one that is perhaps local and Maine-based? Given the choice, it's great to be able to support a local business. Find a title company that is established and has been in business for a number of years. Having the resource of a company that has the experience to figure out if something goes wrong (and sometimes, things go wrong!) is priceless. It is also a great resource if the title company has an attorney on staff. An attorney is not required for a closing in the State of Maine, but again, if something should go wrong having that resource may help ensure the closing gets completed.

Matthew and Randee McDonald are the owners of Cumberland Title Services, with offices in Portland, Windham, Brunswick and Augusta. For questions or to contact them, email

Friday, June 3, 2016

What everyone can expect in a seller's market - By Lisa DiBiase

Real estate is growing in most parts around the country these days. With the influx of buyers, whether first time or not, this is leading to lots of competition and leading to a quick seller’s market.
For sellers, this accelerating market means faster and easier sales, but only if you prepare and plan accordingly. For buyers, this simply means you are stuck fighting is out with all the other buyers who are also looking for their dream home.

Seller: Plan, prepare and disclose
While it is nice to be in the position to hold all the cards and call all of the shots, the market won't be a forgiving if you miss a step. The last thing you want to do is go “Back On Market”. This can halt the dream deal you were initially looking for.

The safest thing to do is not lose your first buyer. If you know you have any issues with the property, the best rule of thumb is to determine what issues need to be addressed before you list the home. Beyond that, be sure to tell the buyer before they discover it on their own. The buyers have more leverage once there are items discovered during inspections.

It's very simple, if the roof is old, the basement is not permitted or leaky is better to tell the buyer in advance in order for them to factor in the items. Buyers will be more forgiving of defects if they are competing with other buyers...not disclosing them can derail the deal.

Buyer: Just get ready
In general, buyers today are ready to go, motivated and fast to make an offer. You, yourself, must be ready if you are going to compete with other motivated buyers in a competitive market.

Working with your Realtor®, the minute a listing of interest hits the market, make a point to go see it that day if possible. If a home goes on the market during the week, there is no guarantee it will be available by the weekend. Make arrangements in your schedule to be able to scoot out of work or leave early that day to view the property.

Being aggressive and having a very strong desire from a buyer will make an offer within hours of the new listing and if the seller is motivated, they will be happy to work with that buyer and take the home off the market for a “win” “win” situation on both ends!

Seller: Have a plan for dealing with offers
With your Realtor®, create a plan in advance as to how you want to approach the review and response to the offers received. It may seem obvious to pick the first offer, consider if you are moving too fast, will there be others if you wait longer? There is no right answer because each town is different and has different inventory and market needs. This is important to discuss in advance and come up with a game plan prior to putting the home on the market.
Buyer: Expect to lose a few
With the amount of buyers in today’s market, you may actually appreciate losing on a few homes until the actual “right” one comes along. The process of buying a home can take many different turns and directions. Trust the process! Missing out on a couple will only motivate you more to make the right offer that wins you your new home. Learn from the missed opportunities.

Seller: Know your competition
A smart seller, with your Realtor®, will strategize on when to hit the market and after analyzing the comparables, choosing the right price to get the most buyers to your property versus the competition.
The deal is you can't compare the house down the street with a better kitchen or yard/lot, however you can strategically price it below and give buyers the chance to see the value in your property over the other. In theory, the well-priced homes that are move-in ready tend to grab the attention of the buyers quickly and sell for more money.

If you are buying or selling, the key ingredient is to be prepared! Real estate is one of the largest assets we have and the process can be stressful. Regardless of what kind of market whether buyers or sellers, you need to be ready to go.

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