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.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

What does Brexit mean to Maine and the real estate market? - By Katie Else Kinney

It may seem odd that a political decision in the U.K. could have any impact on American housing prices, let alone Maine specifically, but that is the nature of our increasingly intertwined global economy.

The Brexit vote is pushing interest rates to record lows. Investors in safer U.S. mortgage-backed securities will be plentiful, which will lower the interest rates and allow the rates to remain low. The U.S government debt has tumbled, the yield on the 10-year Treasury falling from 1.75  percent to a low of 1.43 percent.

Currently Maine existing home sales have increased by 25.2 percent in May of 2016 verse May of 2015. According to the Maine Association of Realtors, the median sale price rose by 2.8 percent or $5,250. Mainers’ personal income has also dramatically risen in the first quarter of 2016. This 1.4 percent increase is the second highest growth in the country. Combining the low mortgage rates and the increase of Mainers’ personal income will continue to increase the number of home sales as well as home values. Do not let this information alarm you; with the strict guidelines and restrictions today’s lenders have to abide by, it is highly unlikely for a purchaser to buy above their means.

For the people who have been procrastinating on all that paperwork for a much-needed refinance now is the time. Interest rates are at an all-time low and not likely to rise, therefore giving you plenty of time for the process. United States may seem more appealing to investors from all over the world for real estate purchases and start up companies. These wealthy investors have to put their money somewhere and the low interest rates should guide them to the states.

It seems the Brexit vote combined with the already increase in home sales and Mainers’ personal income could have a very positive effect on our economy and real estate market. Weather a home purchase/sale, refinance, and investment or start up company the time is now!

Katie Kinney is an associate broker at Landing Real Estate. She and her company represent buyer, sellers and investors in Southern Maine. For all your real estate needs contact Katie Kinney at

Friday, July 8, 2016

A few ways to quickly up your home value for a summer sale - By Carrie Colby

Planning to sell your home this summer? You may have a little - or a lot - to do in order to get your home market ready. But you don’t need a huge budget. These tips can help you get it looking great with little effort, and cash.

1. Paint
 Paint your walls, a splash of color is an easy way to warm up the space, make it look more updated, and banish fingerprints and stains. Use a soft neutral like a favorite gray shade for a modern look.
A fresh coat of paint on your front door is a quick fix that pops with potential. Use a bright color like red or yellow to differentiate your home from others and make it shine from the street.

2. Curb Appeal
Aside from your door, a few easy tasks can make the front of your home look great - important when you’re looking to sell your home since poor curb appeal can keep potential buyers from even coming inside. A new layer of mulch has been called the easiest and quickest way to add curb appeal. Pulling noticeable weeds, giving the lawn a quick mow, and bringing in fresh flowers - if you can’t plant, put a few pots near the front door—can make all the difference.

3. New Appliances
Even if the rest of your kitchen needs work, new stainless steel appliances can tempt buyers. If you end up with a fancy new fridge you don’t want to leave behind, make sure to let your real estate agent know so it’s stipulated in the contract.
4. Bathroom Updates
A new or painted vanity, hardware, fixtures, and lighting can make a tired bathroom look fresh again. Don’t forget the little things - a new set of towels, a nice rug, a modern shower curtain, and sleek accessories can make the space look good, even if it’s really in need of a gut job.

5. Update the bedrooms
You’d be surprised how new bedding can transform the look of your bedroom for next to nothing. Get a bed-in-a-bag set that looks nice but probably doesn’t have the thread count you want for everyday use, or spend a little more for something you can take with you when you move.
Have a room that’s currently an undefined space? A blowup bed covered in some nice bedding can help buyers envision how they’ll use the room. Multipurpose rooms can confuse buyers, leaving them unsure if a home will work for them.

6. Set the scene outdoors
Everybody is into indoor-outdoor living the days. A few tricks outside can make your place look
Create a seating area with some inexpensive outdoor furniture. Scour garage sales or catch a sale at Home Depot or Target. Put up an umbrella for shade and use inexpensive pavers or deck tiles to define the space. Stage it for outdoor dining and you’ve just created valuable, usable space buyers can see themselves enjoying.

7. Window coverings
If your window coverings are ugly, old, and not doing your house justice, or if they’re keeping too much light from streaming into the home, consider taking them down. Natural light is high on almost every buyer’s must-have list. You can purchase inexpensive drapes at any big box store that you can use to frame the windows - but remember to keep them open at showings, and to clean your windows first!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Flip to a Different Eagle Section

The economics of real estate - By Rick Yost

One of the most common questions I get as a realtor is "when is the best time to buy/sell a home". I always find the question quite amusing. Not because it is a funny question, but because what I tell them is usually irrelevant. The vast majority of home buyers and seller do so due to life changes not economic benefit. A raise, a job loss, a new child, or children moving out are all typical reasons for people to buy or sell homes.

If you are one of the fortunate few that can buy or sell a home for pure economic reasons, this article will give you some insights into the proper timing of purely economic moves.

First and foremost, be aware that every market is different. In the past, real estate was tracked on a national scale, then on a state wide scale and then county wide scale. Today we can track real estate on a town wide scale. In Cumberland County alone, the Portland market is different from the Windham market which is different from the Casco market. If you are going to buy or sell, get as much information as possible on the smallest geographic footprint possible. A red hot property in Portland that appreciates in value quickly may not gain as much value in Casco. Know your small market trends before buying or selling. real estate buyers need a mortgage to buy a home, so interest rates are a big driver of real estate sales and market conditions. We have been blessed with several years of historically low interest rates, but they won't last forever. Higher interest rates will be back someday. Some of our older readers will remember interest rates over 10 percent in the 80s. That would be over $20,000 a year in interest alone on a $200,000 mortgage. For an economic buyer, low interest rates are of primary importance. Rising interest rates tend to bring home buyers that are on the fence into the market. This can drive prices up and when combined with rising interest rates can impact the economic viability of a purchase. Economic buyers and sellers should diligently monitor interest rates.

While seasonality in real estate has diminished over time due to the mobility of the population, it still exists. Economic buyers and sellers will be aware of the seasonality of the market they are in. Knowing when the most homes will be for sale or when inventory will be thinnest is important to maximizing the value of the home being sold and to getting the best value when buying a home. The same exact home can sell for several thousand dollars more or less at different times of the year. Economic buyers and sellers should follow market seasonality.

Real estate buyers buy for many reasons. Neighborhood, school district, yard, in-law, kitchen, bathroom or garage can all be reasons that a home is selected. Economic buyers and sellers buy popular styles of houses that appeal to many buyers. They avoid unique properties with distinct features. A three bedroom, two and a half-bath colonial with an attached two car garage in a good neighborhood will always have buyers interested. A two bedroom, one bathroom home is a questionable neighborhood will appeal to a much narrower buyer base. Economic buyers and sellers will always seek out homes that appeal to the broadest buyer base. The more buyers interested in a home the more likely it will sell in a down market and the more likely it will bring a premium in an up market. Economic buyers and sellers pay close attention to the most popular style homes in their market. you are fortunate enough to find yourself able to be in the real estate market for economic reasons, pay attention to the topics discussed in this article. You may find yourself even more fortunate in the future. I will do an article on waterfront buying for when that day comes. Good fortune to you.

Rick is a Realtor, broker/owner of NextHome NorthEast, and a long time Windham resident. You can reach Rick with all your real estate questions and needs at