Thursday, December 31, 2020

Real Estate: For Sale By Owner (FSBO)(Eeek!)

By Kristin Piccone

Happy 2021!!  It still seems like we were ringing in 2020, but here we are in 2021 and I think I can speak for most to say that I am looking forward to a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate.  Do you have BIG goals for 2021? Small goals?  Does it include buying or selling Real Estate?  Do you think to yourself: “…the market is so hot, I can just do this by myself”?  My first comment would be: “Would you perform your own surgery? Or would you visit a professional doctor”?

Let’s be honest; yes, the real estate market is HOT and it may seem easy to toss a sign in your front yard:  FOR SALE BY OWNER and you might make a social media post and ask your friends and family to help you and share the post.  You might get a call or two from passerby’s, but what about ALL of the other prospective buyers?  What about having the right language in a contract (i.e. Purchase and Sale Agreement)?  What about contingencies?  Do you know how to deal with those or negotiate them?  What about earnest money? Due Diligence?  Liability?  And the biggest… your NET price?  I think you get my point.

The majority of homeowners who sell their homes by themselves think that they are “saving money” because they do not have to pay a real estate agent a commission.  According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “in 2018, the typical FSBO home sold for $217,900 compared to $295,000 for agent-assisted home sales”(, 2020).  According to the same article of the NAR, the most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers included understanding and preparing paperwork, getting the right price, having enough time to dedicate attention to all aspects of the transaction.  Yes, I make real estate look easy, but do not find yourself in the throes of a transaction and in over your head when things get sour. 

Don’t get me wrong; I love to save money when I can.  Finding a bargain sale here and there and
getting a good deal on things is exciting; but you always get what you pay for.  It would be disappointing to see any homeowner lose out on a potential increased net price on the sale of their home; or worse, end up in a liability suit that could cost a whole lot more money than having just paid a commission.  Again, you wouldn’t perform your own surgery, so do not attempt to sell your home by yourself in 2021 ~ you could be leaving money on the table!! 

 I am a full-time real estate agent and work very hard to serve my clients.  I take pride in my work and value the client relationship.  That said, it’s a full-time job to list, show, negotiate and sell a home to a successful, closed transaction.  More so a job, when it is not your area of expertise; and always remember: time is money!  Give me a call whether it’s to discuss your real estate thoughts and goals; this article; ask me questions; whatever the case, I simply want to be helpful and resourceful.  Reach out today by phone, text or email: 207-951-1393;  Wishing you well in 2021! <

Kristin Piccone is a REALTOR for Landing Real Estate in Windham. Reach her at 207-951-1393 or by email at


Friday, December 18, 2020

Real Estate: Finally, 2020 ends, but HOT real estate market continues

By Matt Trudel

2020 has been nothing less than challenging and stressful regardless of your profession.  New challenges, ever changing rules and restrictions, have certainly put all of to the test.  With all this going on and people being forced out of work, somehow the real estate market continues to grow and shows no sign of slowing down soon.  This seller’s market looks to continue well into 2021 and perhaps even further.   So, for buyers who want to purchase a home, there are many questions and challenges ahead as you consider making the plunge.  Here are some of those you will face and solutions to those issues ahead.

First question is whether or not to make that purchase of a new home now when the market values are increasing, and prices are high.  This is a personal decision for everyone but consider these things when making that decision.  Interest rates are at the lowest in the history of home buying.  With rates well below 3% it is almost like getting free money loaned to you.  This gives you more purchasing power so you can afford a little nicer home that maybe you won’t outgrow in 3 to 5 years.  Also, if you are thinking about waiting to see if prices come down, that might work in having a slightly lower purchase price, but interest will likely be higher meaning you will being paying more over the long term.  If anyone would like to sit down and have me show you how this works, I would be happy to do so.

You have decided to move forward and try to purchase your new home.  After selecting a Realtor,
Lender, and other professionals, the search is on and will be challenging.  Houses are absolutely flying off the market at record rates.  You will need your pre-approval letters ready, and get a showing set up as soon as the house hits the market.  If you don’t act quickly you will most likely find out the house is under contract.  Many buyers get frustrated as they put in offer after offer on homes and their offers are not accepted.  Here are a few tips to help give you a better chance of your offer being accepted and putting your new home under contract.

Purchase price is the obvious one where the highest offer wins out.  This is not always the case.  There are other things you can do and some of them can be done during or even before the showing to give your offer a bigger advantage.  Inspections and time frame for inspections are something sellers give serious consideration to when making a decision.  You can reduce the timeframe of your inspection period or even eliminate inspections if you inspect most of the house during your showing.  During or before the showing you can also pull a water test if that is a concern.  Your Realtor can help with this or you can hire an inspector to walk through while you are having your showing. 

Selecting a closing date and other terms around the closing are also things that sellers consider.  Your Realtor can call the listing agent an ask when and how the seller might prefer to close.  You can also make it comfortable for the seller moving by offering to allow them to maintain possession for 12 to 24 hours after the closing so they can have the movers come the day after the closing.  You will want to protect yourself with some sort of escrow agreement that your Realtor can help draft with the listing -agent.   There are several more ways to give you the competitive edge and for more information on those feel free to give me a call to discuss all of them.  

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

Friday, December 11, 2020

Real Estate: Selling a home during the pandemic

By Richie Vraux

Over the years there has been a lot said about when to list and sell your home. Should I wait till the spring when everything is coming into full bloom, when the leaves fill the trees and the fres- cut grass is manicured and cut to look it’s best. Yes, there is a lot to be said about the spring and summer months being the best time, but buyers have numerous reasons why they don’t want to wait till then.   

This year has brought us lots of surprises that nobody expected, the Covid 19 virus appeared just after the new year and has changed all of our lives forever. Maine has become a state that everyone has wanted to flock to start their new homes.

Everyone wants to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life and the high risk of contracting this dreaded virus. The out-of-towners have found our state their new oasis. Today most businesses have shifted their workplace to an at home office and where they have lots of open space and fresh air, so they can take advantage of our beautiful landscapes and are willing to pay higher than asking price to do so.

Some helpful tips:

1.   Don't Panic. Whether you were planning to sell your home before the pandemic or if you're now selling your home due to its impact, don't panic. Selling your home is perhaps the largest financial transactions you'll make; measured, rational, and responsible decisions will help you make your sale successful.

2.   Use the Internet to Your Advantage. Many prospective buyers are conducting their search online before seeing a home in person. Invest in high-quality photography and videography to
show your home online. 

3.   Use Virtual Services When Possible. Not only should you swap an in-person open house for a virtual open house, but you should also take advantage of other services offered contact-free. Professional stagers, organizers, landscapers, and other services offer advice through video chats. This keeps everyone safer yet still allows you to create a presentable home to show potential buyers.

4.   Maximize Transitional Space. The coronavirus has turned our homes into schools, offices, and entertainment centers, identifying the need for many homeowners to have extra space that they can dedicate to their evolving needs. Highlight how well your home can accommodate these new requirements by transforming unused space into home offices, study centers for students, gyms, or private relaxation spaces.

5.   Opt for Virtual Transactions When Possible. Thankfully, technology has made it easier than ever for real estate agents to tackle coronavirus challenges swiftly. Virtual calling, email, and e-signing have made it convenient for buyers and sellers to conduct the majority of their transactions contact-free. I can prioritize a contact-free transaction whenever possible to help keep everyone healthy.

6.   Anticipate Hiccups. Delays during a real estate transaction are common, and the pandemic's challenges have made these instances arise with more frequency. From inspections and appraisals to postponed transactions due to unforeseen issues, you should be prepared for a delay at any point in the process. Let's discuss what options are available to conduct a fast closing.

7.   Trust Your Agent. Although we've all never lived through a pandemic before, my career has given me the knowledge and experience to read the market with a close eye and work hard to get you a successful sale that accomplishes your real estate goals.

With the advent of a newly elected president in the White House and vaccine to hopefully rid the world from taking our loved ones way too early, we all surely need the cure and some calm back in our lives to take us beyond this pandemic. I wish I could predict our future, but experts state that although the real estate market is now stronger than ever, It’s hard to say what our future real estate market will bring.

So if you are contemplating selling, list it now. At least we all know what to expect for the near future, but who knows what the market will bear six months from now.

Richie Vraux is a Real Estate Broker with Maine’s Premier Team at Better Homes and Gardens –The Masiello Group. If you are looking for professional advice regarding buying or selling, feel free to contact Richie at 207-317-1297. <                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


Friday, December 4, 2020

Real Estate: Holiday and Winter Fire Safety

Submitted by Brandon Lussier

Special to The Windham Eagle 

With the winter and the holiday season arriving, now is a good time for homeowners to take some simple precautions to help protect their family and property from fire. Here are some tips that can help prevent fire hazards in the home and can save property and more importantly the lives of the people and pets you love.

  • Check holiday lights for fraying or broken wires and plugs. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as to how many strands can be joined together, as a fire hazard could result from overload. Enjoy indoor holiday lighting only while someone is home and turn it off before going to bed.
  • Candles add lovely ambience to a holiday home. Never leave burning candles unattended, even for a short time. For peace of mind, use battery-operated LED candles for a realistic-looking alternative that is safe for all.
  • Keep live Christmas trees in a water-filled stand and check daily for dehydration. Brown or lots of fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree that could catch on fire easily and quickly and should be discarded immediately.
  • Lamps, appliances, and electronics should be checked for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs, and exposed wiring. Never run electrical wires, including extension cords, under carpets or rugs even temporarily as this creates a fire hazard.
  • Fireplaces should be checked by a professional chimney sweep each year and cleaned if necessary, to prevent a dangerous buildup of creosote, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. Cracks in masonry chimneys should be repaired, and spark arresters inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of debris.
  • When using space heaters, keep them away from beds and bedding, curtains, paper – anything flammable. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Space heaters should not be left unattended while in use or where a child or pet could knock them over.
  • Use smoke detectors with fresh batteries unless they are hard wired to your home’s electrical system. Smoke detectors should be installed on ceilings on every level of the home, inside each
    bedroom, and outside every sleeping area. Statistics show that nearly 60 percent of home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
  • Children should not have access to or be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles. Flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene, or propane should always be stored outside of and away from the house.
  • Kitchen fires know no season. According to the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of house fires. Grease spills, items left unattended on the stove or in the oven, and food left in toasters or toaster ovens can catch fire quickly. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach. Extinguishers specifically formulated for grease and cooking fuel fires are widely available and can supplement an all-purpose extinguisher.
  • Have an escape plan. This is one of the most important measures to prevent death in a fire. Visit for detailed information on how to make a plan. Make sure all family members know how to dial 911 in case of a fire or other emergency. Don’t forget your pets, have a plan for them too!

Your local Pillar To Post Home Inspectors office wishes you and your clients a happy and safe holiday season!

This article is brought to you courtesy of Pillar to Post Home Inspectors. Contact Brandon with The Lussier Team at (207) 749-3775 for your next home inspection. <


Friday, November 27, 2020

Real Estate: Preparing for the hottest winter market ever recorded

By Nicole Foster, Broker/ REALTOR

The Maine Association of REALTORS Nov. 19, 2020 press release reported a statewide jump in sales of 26.88 percent from October 2019 to October 2020 and the median sale price climbed 24.5 percent during that time.

All indications are this could be one of the strongest winter markets on record here in Maine, even with the pandemic continuing to surge. There is a possibility for an increase in foreclosures in 2021 with the end of any pandemic related forbearance programs and moratoriums; however, the inventory is so short that these properties will likely be absorbed quickly, having little negative impact on property values.

Homeowners are predicted to continue gain housing wealth through equity at the same pace. What do these forecasts mean for buyers and sellers? Whether you are considering purchasing an investment property, selling your current home or planning to purchase your first property be sure to work with an experienced REALTOR.


It is going to take much more than patience and persistence to get the home you want in the current
market conditions. Listen to your buyer agent’s advice and allow their leverage to help you be successful by building a team of professionals and to develop a solid offering strategy. Be sure to let your buyer agent know of any For Sale By Owner properties that you would like to see as well. Between October 2019 and October 2020, the number of buyers coming from out of the state grew at least 11 percent and that number is expected to climb, so buyers will now be competing in a larger pool than in previous years.


Right now, many sellers are really feeling caught between the media hype, which is absolutely true and mind boggling to witness, and their current assessed value (which is not market value).  Is the sky the limit with pricing these days? Is it true what you’ve heard about homes essentially “selling themselves”? Even in the hottest market ever we are still seeing price reductions and properties not appraising for the agreed purchase price every single day. An experienced REALTOR will help you to take the necessary steps to position your property where it needs to be to reach your selling objectives in the timeframe you want. It is absolutely a unique time for sellers who have gained a significant amount of negotiating power if used properly and we are seeing fewer seller concessions than we are used to.

Everyone has been closely watching mortgage interest rates, as their record low pricing is one of the key ingredients for what we are currently experiencing. Housing affordability could become a greater issue when rates do increase, but many are expecting rates to remain low into 2021.

Nicole Foster is a real estate broker with Locations Real Estate Group in Falmouth and a Windham parent and resident who has been helping buyers and sellers since 2006. <

Friday, November 20, 2020

Real Estate: Tips for choosing a home you can afford

By Carrie Colby 

It may take a while for you to save for a down payment, lower your debt to income ratio or improve your credit scores. But if you work hard and stick with it over time, you may begin to see some rewards, like easier loan approval and better loan terms.

In the meantime, here are some things to consider as you think about what home you’d like once your finances are ready.

Set a budget

To figure out how much you can afford, consider getting preapproved for a mortgage. But when you do, remember that the lender is making a mostly mathematical calculation and not taking into account your comfort level or preferences. Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount you plan to borrow, even if the lender says you can borrow more.

Your mortgage payment isn’t the only expense you’re responsible for. Don’t forget to budget for real estate taxes, homeowner insurance and if there are homeowner association fees.

Narrow down location and neighborhood

Before you begin looking for a home, take some time to think about the type of environment you want to live in — city, suburbs or rural.

Next, narrow your search to a few neighborhoods. Here are some things to consider:

Safety — Some websites offer crime statistics by area. If you’re especially concerned about crime,
check with the local police department.

School district — Houses in good school districts typically have higher property values. Look up ratings of schools in the area. But don’t rely on ratings alone. Check out online reviews or talk to parents who send their children to local schools.

Activities — Find out whether there’s a park nearby. Can you get to hiking trails quickly? What about playgrounds, beaches or playing fields?

Convenience — Do a test run of your morning commute and check the drive time to the local grocery store. Time spent driving to the store adds up and will affect how you spend your time when you move into your new home.

Type of home and other considerations

You’ve got the location and neighborhoods. But what type of home do you want — single-family, townhouse or condo. Here are some other considerations:

Condition — Move-in ready or fixer-upper? Consider how much you’re spending, whether you’re
handy or hate the sight of a screwdriver, and how long you’re willing to wait to move in.

Resale — If you’re planning to stay in your home for a shorter time period, resale value will be more important than if you’re planning to stay long term.

Other features — Central air conditioning, swimming pool, garage, granite countertops, hardwood floors, walk-in closets. Have some fun figuring out what you can and can’t live without — and how much it will cost you. Can't find what you're looking for in your price range? 

A good real estate agent can help you determine whether your wish list is realistic.

Carrie Colby is a Broker with Allied Real Estate, 909 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. She can be reached at 207-232-5497. <

Friday, November 13, 2020

Real Estate: Buyer Turnoffs

By Rick Yost

Even in a hot market, some homes take time to sell and even fail to sell. These homes usually have a contributing factor that I refer to as a buyer turnoff. Home sellers often overlook the most common complaints from potential buyers. The things that the ho e seller has grown used to, or even to love, are exactly what is killing their home sale. Buyers do not love speckled red cabinets, no matter how much the home seller does.

The best way to a quick and profitable sale of a home is to eliminate as many buyer turnoffs as possible.

As a REALTOR®, I see and hear about many buyer turnoffs that home sellers are not aware of or chose to ignore. Of all the buyer turnoffs that I am aware of, there are four that universally get noticed and commented on. These four buyer turnoffs should be addressed in order to maximize price and minimize time on the market for a home.

The first and foremost buyer turnoff is a so the easiest to fix. Clutter, disarray, and mess turnoff many buyers. Buyers can be quick to assume that the clutter and mess are signs of a home that had not been well cared for. Rooms that are full of clutter or repurposed to store clutter look smaller and seem to have less utility than organized rooms do. Home sellers should pack everything they can away in boxes and store them in a garage, basement or even a storage locker. Removing all clutter, organizing all rooms, and cleaning the home thorough! should be priority one for home sellers.

The next big turnoff that home seller may miss or ignore is pets. News flash, not everyone loves pets.
Some people have phobias, others have allergies, and some just don’t like pets. Home sellers should always have a plan to get pets out of the house during showing. A barking dog can be a big distraction and a bigger turnoff to potential home buyers. Home sellers should also make sure that litter boxes are emptied, feeding areas are tidy, and pet odors are eliminated or at least minimized. As wonderful a dog as Fido is, he won’t help sell the house and at hair does not make the furniture more attractive. Sorry pet lovers, but this is the harsh reality. Please don’t shoot the messenger.

If a home seller had made their house “Me,” they need to make it less “Me” before putting it on the market. Home buyers are turned off by homes that they cannot picture themselves in. Home sellers should create a blank canvas impression for potential buyers. Children’s artwork, family pictures, unique furnishings, and unusual decorations are all things that make a home unique. They are also the things that ma e it more difficult for buyers to picture the home as their own. Home sellers should take down and remove as many of these items as possible.

Outdated decor is another big turnoff for home buyers. Some finishes just scream 70s, 80s, or 90s to potential buyers. Some of the most common dated finishes that buyers comment on are textured ceilings (popcorn or swirls), floral wallpaper, wood paneling and brass doorknobs, cabinet knobs and light fixtures. This ty e of decor can make a home appear older than it is and less appealing to potential
buyers. Textured ceilings can be removed by paint contractors or even by the homeowner. It is messy and tedious, but worthwhile. Removing or painting wallpaper and paneling makes rooms more appealing to most buyers. Changing brass cabinet knobs to brushed nickel and brass light fixtures to more modern styles is an expensive way to change the feel of a home.

Home sellers that avoid the big our buyer turnoffs should realize higher sale prices and shorter sales periods for their homes. Small changes can make a big difference. Home sellers should always ask for their REALTORS® honest opinion on what to do to make the home more attractive to buyers. More importantly, home sellers should take that advice and not be offended.

This article was brought to you by Rick Yost, a REALTOR®, real estate author and longtime Windham resident. You can reach Rick with all your real estate needs and questions at 207-838-7773. < 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Real Estate: Insure the wellbeing of your family with life and mortgage insurance

By Jonathan Priest

It happened, it’s happening, or it’s about to happen!  You’re a homeowner, in the process of qualifying for a mortgage, or maybe you just took advantage of these super-low interest rates to refinance.  There are a million pieces of paperwork to review and file, and offers from companies to replace your windows, pave your driveway and install the latest greatest internet service.  Odds are, there’s even been a document or two that surfaced mentioning... Mortgage Insurance. 

Naturally, a question or two might arise; what is it, what is it for, what does it do, and how would it help you, the new or current homeowner?  First, it is generally offered by the lender of the financing to you, to pay off the loan if you or a co-borrower die during the term of the mortgage.  I know what you’re thinking... “Isn’t that life insurance?”  The short answer?  Yes.  However, there are a couple of important things to consider when comparing mortgage insurance to a traditional life insurance policy. 

When you purchase mortgage insurance, you pay a set amount for that coverage for the entire term of the loan, despite the fact that over time, you owe less and less to the lender as you pay down that balance. 
When an insured dies and the policy pays out, all proceeds go to the lender to pay off that loan.  No funds are made available to survivors of the deceased for funeral costs or any other bills that might need to be paid. 

What is the solution to this problem?  Life insurance that is issued to (and owned by) you, the owner of
the home.  You are able to choose who your policy proceeds would go to in the event of your death, and you are able to update this information at any time, should your needs or your financial situation change.  The money passes to this person or these persons tax-free, who are then able to pay for your final expenses, pay down the mortgage, or set funds aside for loved ones as they see fit. 

Question in the back?  Isn’t Life Insurance expensive?  Actually, life insurance has gotten less expensive, dollar-for-dollar, as people are living longer and making healthier life choices!  Rates are based on an insured’s health, age and gender, so it makes sense to get coverage as early as possible.  As a reference, I just quoted a couple in their early 30s $750,000 in coverage each, locked in rates for 30 years, for less than $100 per month!

The first step is to find an agent who is licensed to sell Life Insurance to help you ask and answer
questions about what your needs and goals are, to make certain you are purchasing the right amount of coverage for your specific situation.  If you have a good relationship with the agent who insures your cars and home, start there!  They will already have a good understanding of your financials, and it will benefit both of you in the long run to have your policies handled by one trusted advisor.  There is nothing sadder as an agent than trying to help a person who just lost a loved one track down a life insurance policy that they cannot find, because there was paperwork from half a dozen companies mixed up in the bottom of a desk drawer.

The second step is to calculate your life insurance needs, running through a quick and easy-to-remember acronym, LIFE.  This stands for: Loans (outstanding mortgages, auto loans, student loans, etc.), Income (how many years of the deceased’s income would help the surviving spouse, family member or other loved ones get back on their feet?), Family (money left to loved ones as part of the deceased’s legacy), and Education (are there children whose further education you’d like to help support?).

The third step is to use your agent’s help to pick a financially strong company to purchase coverage from.  I would discourage purchase of a policy with “no medical underwriting”.  In most cases, these companies will deny payment if a pre-existing condition” is found.  There are three basic types of Life Insurance.  Term is the least expensive, and locks in a rate from 1 to up to 40 years.  It will pay out a death benefit if you pass away during the term of the policy.  Permanent policies are more expensive and may earn cash value in addition to paying out a death benefit.  They will run for as long as you continue to pay the premiums.  Return of premium term policies are term policies that are more costly than term but less expensive than permanent policies, and will refund 100% of the premiums you paid in if you keep them until the end of the specified term. <

Jonathan Priest is a MetLife property and casualty specialist in Windham. Call him at 207-893-8184 for your home, auto, life or business insurance needs.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Real Estate: Trends in 2020

By Lisa DiBiase

Real Estate Trend #1: Home Prices Are Still Rising Despite a Short Pause in our Spring Market

Through the first nine months of 2020, sales of existing single-family homes were running 2.6% ahead of last year’s record pace. With historically low interest rates, and more buyers than sellers, sales of single-family existing homes increased 22.78 percent comparing September 2020 to September 2019. According to statistics released by Maine Listings, the median sales price (MSP) for homes sold in September 2020 rose 19.56 percent to $273,500, compared to September 2019. With more buyers than sellers in most local markets, we are seeing strong competition, faster sales and increasing pricing. Even with the pause, the state has seen 347 more homes sold through the first nine months of this year over last year.

Real Estate Trend #2: Mortgage Interest Rates Remain Extremely Low

Mortgage interest rates have been trending down—even before the pandemic. Economists think interest rates will continue to stay low until the economy is close to normal again. But interest rates probably won’t hit rock bottom as lenders still have such a high demand from current homeowners to refinance their mortgages into lower terms and rates. 86 percent of recent buyers financed their home purchase. Real estate experts suggest the current low rates are worth capitalizing on. While they may dip lower, there’s a risk to waiting too. Mortgage rates could shoot up overnight if, for example, scientists make speedy work with developing a vaccine that could point to the end of the outbreak. On the other hand, interest rates could further fluctuate if the economy worsens. Given the increase in mortgage applications, prospective buyers should act quickly to get in line to lock in the low rate.

Borrowers should anticipate waiting about eight to 10 days longer than average to close on their loans. This could result in up to 55 days or more to close a loan.

Real Estate Trend #3: Millennial Home Buyers Are the Majority

According to NAR, millennials took the lead as the largest group (38 percent) of home buyers last year. Older Millennials at 25 percent and Younger Millennials at 13 percent of the share of home buyers. 86 percent of Younger Millennials and 52 percent of Older Millennials were first-time home buyers, more than other age groups. Older Millennials had the highest share of married couples (67 percent), while Younger Millennials had the highest share of unmarried couples (21 percent) buying homes. Older Millennials were the most educated age group, with 79 percent holding at least a bachelor’s degree, followed by Younger Millennials. They were most likely to purchase a previously owned home and a townhouse. Convenience to their job and commuting costs were both more important to this group, and they were most likely to find their home online and to use the internet in their home search.

Real Estate Trend #4: Out-of-State Buyers Are Coming to Maine

The allure of Maine’s quality of life and response to COVID-19 from across the country has added to the puzzle of our Maine real estate market. Typically, about 25 percent of home purchases in Maine are made by out-of-state buyers, and we are now seeing that percentage increase to around 33 percent. In September of 2019, Maine had 445 single family homes purchased by out of state buyers. In September 2020, that number was 735.

What if I’m Not Buying or Selling a Home This Year?

Everyone can take a deep breath. From what we can see, the real estate market is not going to crash anytime soon. While low mortgage rates are motivating buyers to enter the market, this increases demand. But there’s still a record-low supply of home listings. This is keeping home buying somewhat competitive and allowing home price growth to stay steady. Regardless of where you are located here in Maine, buyers remain interested. As we continue through 2020 homeowners’ equity is here to stay. <

This article provided by Lisa DiBiase, Owner of Landing Real Estate located in Portland and Windham. Call 207-653-0823.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Real Estate: Winter well preparation an essential component for homeowners

By Kam Berry

As winter approaches in Maine, well owners across the state are recovering from a dry summer, with many dug wells running dry. The dry weather also affected some drilled wells, which are providing irrigation water at a higher demand. As summer winds down and we prepare for winter, it is a great time to think about seasonal well upkeep, as well as regular testing after a busy summer. We are seeing many recent real estate transactions expose water conditions that have gone undetected, so we stress the importance of testing.

Many dug wells across the state had water production issues all summer, and some even went totally dry- even if the homeowners did nothing wrong. The water table was so low due to the lack of rain, lowering water below the pump intakes. We took many calls at the end of the summer for dry dug wells, and unfortunately not much could be done in many cases. Well drilling contractors across the state can provide estimates on well drilling, which is a much more reliable water source.  A drilled well will not be as affected by lack of rain.

Winter preparation for a well system is very important, in many regards. Knowing where your well is located is highly important, since many wells are out of sight once the snow falls. A small reflective stake can help, or even a photo to reference if we have to dig to find it in the winter. It sounds funny, but I have gone around many yards with a metal detector and shovel!!! Well pumps have an estimated lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but that lifespan can be cut way short if a defective pressure tank, defective pump or wiring issue to the pump appears. When a pump fails, pump replacement involves accessing the well, typically with a truck using a special tool to pull the pump out of the well and wind up the pipe and wire. Difficulty locating the well makes the process take longer than required.

Well water testing should be done on an annual basis, according to the National Groundwater Association. The importance of water testing has become more publicized in recent years, and it is great for the health of the community. We have seen many cases of elevated Radon, Uranium, and Arsenic in local areas through testing, but these contaminates have likely been present for years. A frequent question we are asked is regarding any obligation to treat the water if a test fails, and there is no obligation if the test is done for personal information.

When it comes to purchasing a home on a well, it is important to consider all of the aspects. Is the well location known? Is the pump at the age where failure is imminent, or showing high amp draw? In regards to water testing, it is very important to make sure the water passes an independent lab test, since even innocent enough issues like a low PH can corrode piping and cause leaks. If you are listing your home with one of our great local real estate agents, there are things that can be done to avoid surprises in the transaction. A sanitary well cap without any cracks can prevent unnecessary bacteria concerns, as
well as having annual service performed on existing water treatment systems to make sure they are functioning properly.

Throughout the winter months, an accessible well will assist in quick repair, while preventative care and regular testing can avoid surprises while selling your home. Preventative care also provides the opportunity to ask around to find the best pricing and practices, without an emergency situation adding pressure. Many local well contractors also provide well inspection services, which is a great tool if buying a home on a well. <

Kam Berry is the owner and operator of Berry Water Solutions, Inc. Call him for all of your water system needs at 207-383-5153 or visit

Friday, October 16, 2020

Real Estate: Opportunity abounds in Windham

By Larry Eliason

Years of experience in the Commercial Real Estate Brokerage field has provided me with insight to the lack of commercial inventory and opportunities that are available to commercial real estate developers, builders and investors in Windham today.

In the Windham Marketplace today, there is a lack of commercial/light industrial warehouse building inventory and that, ladies and gentlemen, is where I see an opportunity for Commercial Real Estate Developers and Commercial Real Estate Investors to provide new inventory to meet the current demand and, to capture an opportunity for building a commercial investment portfolio and/or developing buildings for immediate sale and profit.

Some Southern Maine towns like Scarborough and Saco have Business Parks specifically designed and developed for the 1,200 square feet to 3,000 square feet commercial users.  These business parks provide easy access to highway systems, may have access to sewer and also provide a professional

looking business park setting for a wide variety of professional, sales and/or service businesses.

In a couple of these developments that I have seen myself, the projects have been designed and developed as commercial condominiums so that small business owners can own and occupy these commercial warehouse units.   The price points can range from $ 125,000 to $ 250,000 depending on size, configuration and amenities.   A typical commercial condominium has a warehouse space, office(s) and ADA bathroom.

Windham has commercial land available in a variety of zones such as C1 Commercial, C2 Commercial, C3 Commercial, Enterprise Development District and the Industrial Zone that could accommodate new Business Parks for Commercial Warehouses.

Unfortunately, Windham does not have commercial warehouse inventory available or very little is available to meet the immediate needs of the commercial side of a fast-growing community.

To fill the void, I feel that we as a town should encourage commercial real estate developers, builders and investors to recognize this void and to plan and develop some new commercial business parks in Windham in partnership to overcome the lack of inventory.

Windham town leaders should look for ways to offer incentives to develop new commercial real estate inventory to help attract and accommodate new commercial construction to fill the void and to also help off-set the amount of new residential development by adding to the commercial real estate tax base.

New impacts fees recently adopted by Windham Town Council were surely done with good intentions for the town’s growing needs for a bigger Town Office, New Police and Fire Station in the future, however, these added impact fees along with the high costs of new construction accomplish the opposite.  

A new Town Office and a New Police and Fire Station should be funded by first developing a needs analysis, project design and develop a realistic budget and then bring it to the taxpayers for their blessing.  Adding impact fees to fund such projects are in my opinion, just another tax and send the wrong message when you are trying to attract new commercial development for growing the commercial tax base.  I wish to encourage the Windham Town Council to revisit this matter and to reconsider the magnitude of these costly impact fees.

In any event, it all comes down to the numbers.  Land costs, building design and site design, local, state
and federal approvals, building costs and yes, impact fees, all roll up into the price tag for a new project.  A Developer needs to recognize an opportunity, evaluate the rewards and risks, and make a judgement call on whether to develop and hold as investment or development and sell such as the commercial warehouse condo concept.

The bottom line here is I really think developers interested in investing in Windham have a niche opportunity to develop new commercial warehouse inventory and at the same time, contribute to the commercial tax base such as the commercial warehouse condominium business park format. 

I also feel that our town leaders need to look at this as an opportunity and as a partnership and not as a cash cow for adding fees to fund town projects. <

This article was brought to you by Larry Eliason. Commercial Broker with Butts Commercial Brokers in Raymond, He can be reached at 207-415-2112. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Real Estate: Selling a home and buying a home at the same time

By Kristin Piccone

Are you thinking of selling your home, but, afraid to do so because you need to purchase one, too???  I am here to tell you that it can be a daunting task and for this reason, you will absolutely want a competent REALTOR on your side to line up the domino effect for you!  

As a competent REALTOR, I have guided many clients through this very process.  In a perfect world, the home you want to purchase will be actively listed prior to you having to put your home on the market with so much uncertainty, right?  All the what ifs running through your head; What if my home doesn’t sell?  What if I never find a house to buy?  Well. . .what if I told you that sometimes you have to take action (for example, list your house) to get a reaction (for example to find the house you will buy).  Sounds hokey pokey, I know, but its so true!  And guess what, I even have a form that will protect you and allow you to find a home that you will love in order for the sale of your current home to close.  This form is called Seller’s Purchase/Lease of Property Addendum.  Effectively, this form becomes a part of the Purchase and Sale Agreement when you receive an offer on your home.  It is a way for all parties to acknowledge and agree that you (as a seller) have a certain and agreed to amount of time to enter into a purchase agreement for your purchase on a new home.  What if the time is getting close and I have not found a property to purchase?  Well, that’s the other part of this form that
protects you from being without a home.
  This form has verbiage that allows you (the seller) to declare the Purchase and Sale agreement null and void should you have not entered into any agreements within the amount of time agreed upon.  Of course, we will work our tails off to be sure this does not happen, as the ultimate goal is to create a Win-Win for all parties; Seller wants to sell and Buyer wants to buy!!

Whether you follow the Real Estate industry or not, I think everyone knows how hot the Real Estate industry is right now.  Inventory is low; prices are high; multiple offers after multiple offers and here again, it is very important to have a competent and knowledgeable REALTOR on your side as presentation is key for getting your offer picked; especially when buying a home and selling a home at the same time!  If you have more questions or would like to call and discuss YOUR real estate needs, please always feel free to reach out.  Be well and I look forward to chatting all things Real Estate with you!

A Quick Study on the Market

The State of Maine's residential real estate market is still experiencing very low inventory

Take a look at some of these hot markets:

Gray -- Sales are down, prices are up about 23 percent

New Gloucester -- Sales are down, prices are up about 7 percent

Windham -- Sales are down, prices are up about 5 percent

Westbrook -- Sales are down and prices are up about 24 percent

Overall, Cumberland County is down approximately 5 percent in residential homes sales in a year over year comparison; prices are up about 21 percent.  Want to know about your area? Reach out to me!  I am always happy to help and listen about your home goals!

Don't understand what any of this means? Reach out to me! <

#kprealtor #local #knowledge #trust #betheexpert #landingrealestate #gng #westbrookmaine #windhammaine #realestatemarketupdate

Kristin Piccone is a REALTOR for Landing Real Estate in Windham. Reach her at 207-951-1393 or by email at


Friday, October 2, 2020

Real Estate: Amazing time to sell your home

By Matt Trudel

This market is one of the hottest real estate markets we have seen in several years.  Prices are up, interest rates are down, and inventory is low.  This is a seller’s market and that means it is a great time to sell.  This will mean you are capitalizing on getting the maximum out of your investment.  Supply and demand are part of what is driving this market higher. 

You might be inclined to go buy a For Sale By Owner sign and put it up thinking that is all it takes, but generally that leads to two issues that will cost you time and more importantly, money.  It is a fact that people who sell their home on their own end up accepting less than what the market value of their house really is.  It also takes a lot more time than people realize when selling a house.  This includes scheduling showings, being available, answering calls, emails and questions.  All of that is before you go under contract and then have inspections and more negotiations. So do yourself a favor and hire a professional to assist you through the process.

Another tip is to make sure your house is actually ready to be put on the market to attract the most buyers.  More buyers mean more competition which leads to higher offers.  So you want to fix items that need repair and replace things that are worn or damaged, like flooring or deck boards.  Touching up the walls and ceilings with fresh paint if needed.  Another way to get buyers is to limit the time blocks of when buyers can see your home.  This is more common now with the COVID-19 issues.  This also causes buyers to see other buyers looking at the property and potentially create a competitive feeling of possibly missing out.

In come the offers and after negotiating things like purchase price, earnest money, inspection periods, and a closing date, you need to figure out where you are going.  One option would be to negotiate that into the offer if you are going to buy.  Include that you have 30 days to put a home under contract and will close both transactions on the same day within 30 days of going under contract on your new home.  With interest below 3 percent, it is not a bad time to buy and you should have decent negotiating power as long as your house is under contract.  Another option might be to rent for six months or a year and see what happens with the real estate market next year.  At some point this market will slow down and take a dip.  It always does and with this being an election year it might just happen next year.   This would allow you time to watch the market and perhaps you will have sold at the peak and can buy after the dip in the market.

 This article was written by Matthew Trudel, owner of Five Star Realty, Windham, 207-939-6971