Friday, August 26, 2016

Preplanning can make all the difference - By Amy Krikken

The market in southern Maine is hot, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Interest rates are still low, keeping buyers in the game.   

Real estate agents are seeing multiple offer situations.  How does a buyer position themselves to be ahead in the marketplace?  When Realtors speak of being ready, we speak of the importance of the prequal letter.  It’s an informal letter saying you’re qualified financially to take out a loan to purchase said house.   

Better yet, if you want to up the ante, give a preapproval letter. A preapproval letter is confirmation from your mortgage broker or bank that you’re able to borrow the money necessary to finance the home.  This says to the seller, I am ready, I have the money to make this purchase, and I am able to make this offer. Though not required, it strengthens your offer, and hopefully gives you an advantage over other buyers. is heartbreaking to hear of potential buyers falling in love with a house, only to find that another stronger offer was accepted by a more prepared buyer.  Be prepared and bring your highest and best offer. Currently, in Greater Portland, many houses are selling at or above their asking price.  

Sellers realize that there are buyers aplenty, so they can be picky about what a buyer brings to the table.  Here is where being prepared will make all the difference. If you have a house to sell first, consider selling it, or at least getting it under contract before placing an offer on the home you want to buy. Contingency offers are not strong in this market, putting you at a disadvantage.   

Try to be very specific in your search for a home, so that when your dream house comes on the market, you don't hesitate.  How do you do that? See a lot of houses, do your homework, get educated about what similar homes sold for, so that when you see a deal, you are poised to act.  

Do yourself a favor and get an agent that works hard for you.  In this market, when a well-priced house comes on the market, that fits what you are looking for, your agent should get you in to see the house as soon as humanly possible.  

There you  have it, all the tools for a successful house hunting adventure. Happy house hunting! Krikken, Rock Star Realtor, (singer in local 121 Band) loves helping people find the home they are looking for. If you have a house to sell, or are looking to buy, she will help you turn the page to the next chapter of your story. She works right here in Windham at Coldwell Banker Team Real Estate, and can be reached by emailing 

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. 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. 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