Friday, June 28, 2019

It’s a sizzling summer market

By Matt Trudell

The current real estate market is hotter than ever. Home sale prices are still trending up, and the lack of inventory makes this a great time to sell if you are so inclined to do so. There are several things you should do before listing your property for sale. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision.

Picking the right REALTOR® can be challenging. Especially with the incredible influx of new sale agents over the last 18 months. It seems everyone knows a handful of REALTORS®, so how do you choose who is the right person for you to “work with”? 

Remember that you will be working together to achieve your goal. Having a REALTOR® that you feel comfortable working with is important. Experience (years or it) is very important in any transaction. Being able to work through problems and find creative solutions can save you thousands of dollars. Also, you want someone who’s primary job is real estate so that they are available to work with and for you. Quite often it becomes an issue if your REALTOR® is working their other job and is unavailable to you or to other agents who may be trying to set up a showing or get answers to questions their client has about your property.
Preparing your home to be listed can be overwhelming. Try to keep it simple and stay focused on these three things. One, declutter and box things up that you don’t use this time of year. Like that coat closet with the winter jackets, pack them up and put them away. This will help you keep your house clean and ready for showings with minimal effort. 

Second, take care of those little projects and repairs you have been putting off. Lack of maintenance screams that there could be bigger problems that have been avoided as well.  Building inspectors will point out these areas and how they can manifest into much bigger problems, which may scare off new home buyers and terminate a potential sale. 

Third, curb appeal and that first appearance buyers see when they arrive at your house is imperative. Although you might be proud of that Trump 2020 Flag, I would suggest taking it down while trying so sell so you don’t loose potential buyers who might be offended. your home correctly in the beginning is very important. This reverts back to the first part regarding choosing the right REALTOR® who has plenty of experience and knows the market area well. It is important to look at a Market Analysis of similar sold homes in your area. Take the time to go over this with your REALTOR® and see why they made price adjustments for certain items. 

You also want to look at what your current competition is priced at and how does your home compare to those you are going to be competing with for buyers. Overpricing a home is one of the most common selling mistakes made. It not only limits your pool of buyers, but in today’s world of online marketing, buyer’s have a very good feel for what properties are worth and won’t waste their time looking at overpriced homes.

So, pick your REALTOR® wisely, get those projects finished up, and then get your house on the market while it’s still hot. 

This article was written by Matthew Trudel, Broker & Owner of Five Star Realty, Windham.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Cheap upgrades to help you fetch top dollar

By Rick Yost

So, you have finally decided to take advantage of these incredibly low interest rates.  You’re going to sell your house and trade up to the house of your dreams. Great choice, but now you have a dilemma.  You want top dollar for your house, but don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a house you are not going to stay in. There are some relatively cheap upgrades that you can do to your house that will help it show better and fetch top dollar.

The old adage, that the kitchen is the most important room in the house, has been dispelled by data collected by Zillow and presented in a new book “Zillow Talk”.  According to Zillow, the first and most important room to upgrade is the bathroom. The kitchen is still second, by the way.  (For record, I like the home search site better than

A bathroom can look significantly better for not much money. A pedestal sink and a new toilet seat go a long way. Vinyl tiles go down easy and can often go over the existing floor. Replacing chipped tiles and re-grouting give a clean appearance. For a bigger budget, install a pre-fabricated tub and surround insert over your existing tub. The bathroom can go from dungy eye-sore to enticing on the cheap.

The kitchen can use some cheap upgrade also. New cabinet hardware and an upscale faucet set can be installed for a couple hundred dollars. Mismatched appliances hurt home value. Order new doors or face panels from the manufacturer for a more appealing kitchen.   For a bigger budget, contact a company that replace cabinet doors and drawers. It is much cheaper than all new cabinets but can give the same effect. These are some cheap ways to turn your kitchen into an attractive heart of the home.
The next three all go together for cheap ways to really improve the way your home looks.   Replace worn and dated carpets. The large home improvement chains are always running a deal on whole house installation. Paint dingy and marked walls. It is amazing what a can of paint can do.  Replace light fixtures with high efficiency, attractive pieces and throw in some accent lighting while you are at it.  You might not want to move after the painting, carpeting and lighting is done.

If you have those nagging problems that most households have-dripping faucet, flickering light, small roof leak, etc., hire a plumber, electrician, roofer, etc. to come in and take care of the issues.  Button up your little projects. A home inspector will find the issues and point them out.   Spend a little money now to avoid costly home sale negotiations later.

You don’t have to do all these projects - just do the ones that are most needed. With some frugal shopping, some elbow grease, and a few bucks, your house can look its best.  These cheap upgrades should get your house sold faster and for more money.

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

Friday, June 14, 2019

Four reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting

By Carrie Colby

Many people are wondering if now is the time to purchase their home. Below is a list of reasons why it is imperative to begin looking for your future home now.

1. Prices will continue to rise
CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 3.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate. Waiting may no longer make sense.

2. Mortgage interest rates are projected to increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate
mortgage have started to level off around 4.3%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of REALTORS® are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either way, you are paying a mortgage
Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s time to move on with your life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current
mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.

Bottom Line
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Home invaders: How it can affect the sale of your home

By Richie Vraux

They say that summer is just around the corner. I think we are all eagerly waiting for that to happen. While the weather starts getting warmer there are some things you should consider prior to listing your home on the market.

The local insects and rodents are gearing up to create havoc, making your home their own. They are looking for any easy passage to get in to make your lives miserable. While you are taking special care to make your home look it’s best, these little nuisances are working against you. Signs of ants and other insects along with mouse droppings will work against all your valiant efforts to keep your house clean.

There are, however, effective products out there that will keep them all at bay but be careful and read some of the harmful effects using these products can bring, especially the young children and your pets who live with you and play in the yard.

Of all the human cases of pesticide poisoning in the United States, half of them are under the age of six years old. Be careful of what you put on your lawns. There are many new products out there today that are children and pet safe. Make sure when buying these products to treat your lawns, trees and your home that they are safe for the environment – but just as importantly – safe for your children and pets.

There are natural plants and shrubbery that those pesky insects and rodents do not go near as they don’t like the smell. Some effective plants include spearmint and chives as well as other powerfully scented plants. Simply place the herbs on the outside perimeter of your home. Not only will it help prevent pests from making themselves comfortable in your home, but it will add beauty to the landscape as well as to your many summer recipes. It’s been my experience that these herbs work in pest prevention.

Keep your home in picture perfect condition-both inside and out- get it sold.

Richie Vraux is a Broker/ Realtor with more than 20+ years’ experience and a
team member with Maine’s Premier Team at Better Homes and Gardens- The Masiello Group.
Call Richie at 207-317-1297 if you need real estate advice.