Friday, February 23, 2018

Don't “go big or go home”- go tiny! By Amy Krikken

Inside a well built tiny home.
"Tiny homes are just like trailers,” some believe. However, the tide is turning as more people understand that tiny homes are anything but today’s mobile homes.

Quality, style and expense vary across the country; some tiny homes are built by laymen home builders and others are built by contractors with years of experience. Speaking of the latter, the quality is undeniable, and can be seen and felt with one step over the threshold of a tiny home. 

Stick built, super insulated with the best available materials, they do not even remotely resemble a
mobile home. Simply put, when built by professionals, these homes rival their bigger counterparts; in essence they are their counterparts - only they are tiny.

The general the definition of a tiny home is any home that is 400 ft. or less. They can be on wheels and mobile, or not. They can be on the power grid or have a generator that provides power.

Some tiny homes are elaborate, designed in such a way that every square inch of space is used to maximize utility; smart design can't be underestimated when we are talking about living in such a small space. Still for other tiny homes, design may be an afterthought, as the owners aren't planning to live in their tiny home, but merely use it as a getaway on the weekends. do people choose to live tiny?

Several reasons, but many first-time home buyers are attracted to them because they allow a frugal lifestyle. Others love that tiny homes minimize their impact on the environment as many tiny homes are net zero; meaning that they create all of the energy that they use. Some need a place to put their aging parents or their college age student and the tiny home allows this flexibility, as it can be plugged into the main home for its water and power needs. Still others may use it as an office, or
if built on a trailer, it can serve as a food truck. 

I had the pleasure of visiting a woman in her tiny home that she built with the help of friends, her motivation was to be able to live without a mortgage, so that she would not have to work a 40-hour work week and could pursue her passion for travel. She wanted a place to call home, and a community to lay down her roots. She found Southern Maine to be just that spot, but it was not without challenges. 

As with anything new, there were gray areas in terms of living in a town that had not yet adopted codes that addressed tiny homes. They asked her to move. She moved her tiny home and is now living happily in another Southern Maine town. 

The gray area turned a bit more black and white when just last month, the State adopted new code directed at tiny homes in particular. This makes it easier for towns in Maine to adopt their own policies concerning tiny homes. 

"This is a big win for the tiny home community" says Corinne Watson, owner of Tiny Homes of Maine LLC. Corinne dreams of the day when clients can come to her and know that there is a well-established path for them to take toward their dream of owning a tiny home.  

A day when towns are ready to welcome tiny home owners, banks are ready to lend, deeds can be issued, and people can claim their piece of the American dream of home ownership.

We aren't quite there yet but change is coming and when it does, it’s going to be BIG, by being tiny. 

Amy Krikken is an Associate Broker at Better Homes and Gardens/Masiello. She can help you buy or sell a tiny home, or a regular sized one, or 207-317-1338.   

Friday, February 9, 2018

This year looks promising - So why rent when you can own by Matt Trudel

We are well under way into the new real estate market for 2018 and all signs are pointing to another good year of positive growth for home sales. Even with the expectation of slightly higher mortgage rates than last year, home ownership is still more affordable and a better economic choice then renting. 
If you think you can’t afford to buy a home, think again. The percentage of your income needed to
own a home is generally 10 to 15 percent less than renting. Now is the time to find yourself an experienced knowledgeable Realtor® to work with so you have time to lay out a strategic plan whether you are buying or selling.

Inventory is a little low at this point and that is likely do to the fact many people take their homes off the market during the holidays and winter months. We will certainly see those homes coming back on the market over the next month or so. Also, new construction tends to slow down slightly over the winter, depending on the cold and snowfall. That will also be ramping up soon and new homes and condos will be hitting the market.  Condominiums appear to be back in high demand and can make
for a nice transition from renting to home ownership without all of the maintenance.

If you are planning on buying this year or would like to know where you stand financially with your ability to purchase, you should contact one of us experienced Realtors® to assist you through the process. the process is not overwhelmingly difficult, it is extremely helpful to have someone with years of knowledge to guide you along the way. From negotiations to inspections to all the issues that can arise, having a professional on your team is key. It will also greatly increase the likelihood of your success rate in obtaining your goals of homeownership at an affordable price.

Buyers should be planning now so they are ready to go with all of their “ducks in a row”.  Sellers are preparing now to have their homes ready to come on the market and with inventory low, buyers need to be ready, willing, and able to put their offer in; or be prepared to miss out on that dream home. Properties that are priced correctly are often selling for more than the asking price because of the low inventory and high demand. Buyers should be working with a Buyer’s Agent and that agent should know the market value of the house their buyers are looking at. Buyer’s Agent should help you with many things besides just showing you the property and writing the offer. The list of things range from going over different financing options and different lenders and knowing which title company is offering discounts, to what inspection companies charge, and which ones are more thorough, and the list goes on and on.  

You cannot buy experience, but you can hire experience and that is exactly what you should do, especially if you are a First Time Home Buyer! 

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

Friday, February 2, 2018

House hunting mistakes by Rick Yost

Buying a home is an exciting and emotional experience. Our homes make up such a big part of who we are and how we live, but it is important to not let your emotional side lead you into house buying mistakes. 
It is very easy to get caught up in the moment and the excitement of buying a home; but putting the emotions aside and making the most rational decision possible is imperative. After all, you will be there awhile.

There are several common mistakes that home buyers make when making an emotional decision. By
being aware of these mistakes and avoiding them, you will be much happier in your home in the long run.

Don’t look at homes you cannot afford. It is easy to fall in love with a home that is 10, 20, or even 30 thousand dollars beyond your price range but this puts you in a position of stretching to buy a house you love. Often this leaves buyers “house poor,” a term used to describe having a house payment so large that you cannot afford life’s other pleasures.    

If your budget allows for a $1500 per month payment, but you fall in love with a home that requires a $1800 a month payment, sacrifices must be made. Some of those sacrifices may be more than you want to make after living in your home a few months. a market that is low on inventory, like Windham is right now, it might be necessary to make an offer quickly. Do not let the need to make a quick offer rush your decision. Ask your buyer broker to monitor any offers and request a day to make an offer. Sleep on the offer you want to make and make a rational decision the next day. This allows you to contemplate living in the house and the home’s true value to you.

While sleeping on your offer, determine the absolute highest price you are willing to pay for the home you are considering and do not go over that amount if a bidding war ensues.

The flip side of that situation is getting too deliberative in your approach. Some people freeze when it comes time to make such a big decision. When a market is hot, you will not have weeks to decide whether to make an offer or not. Well priced homes will be under contract before you even make an offer. This is an important time to rely on your buyer broker to help you make a rational decision. A good buyer broker should be able to intelligently speak to how long the home will be on the market and what a good offer price would be. They will not always be 100 percent correct, but they should be able to speak from experience on similar situations. 
The second part of decision making in a low inventory market is to not offer to pay too much.  
There is a ton of competition out there for well-priced homes and it is easy to get caught up in a bidding war on a desirable property. You can find yourself in a position of having a home under contact that will not get the appraised value necessary to close the loan. emotional mistake that buyers make in a hot market is to get desperate. Buyers start to assume that there is nothing better out there and want to jump at the very next house they see because they haven’t found what they want yet.  

New houses come on to the market every week. A buyer broker can create an auto search that notifies home buyers when a new home hits the market that fits the criteria they are looking for.  
This is a very important tool in a hot market. It is easy for a home to go on the market and already be under contract before a buyer is even aware of it if they are not on an auto search.

The last emotional mistake buyers make that I will talk about is overlooking serious issues and overestimating how handy they are. It is easy to get caught up in a low inventory market and make an offer on a house that does not really meet your needs. It is easy to say you are willing to commute forthe right house, until you start driving it five days a week. It is easy to say, I don’t need to be near schools, until your kids start activities.  

The second part is saying you can change out windows, fix a porch, or repair anything else.   These decisions turn into nightmares after moving into a new home. Make sure that home is what and where you want and any repairs that you plan to do yourself are in your skill set.

If you avoid these emotional mistakes when buying your home, you should have a pleasant buying experience and avoid home buyers regret.

Rick Yost is a Realtor®, real estate author, and a long-time Windham resident. You can reach Rick with any of your real estate questions or needs at