Friday, May 22, 2020

Windham Economic Development Corporation extends Covid-19 Disaster Business Loan Program

The deadline to apply for a special disaster business loan program offered by the Windham Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has been extended.
According to WEDC executive director Tom Bartell, the COVID-19 Disaster Business Loan Fund is designed to provide business continuation and recovery funds to existing Windham-based business to assist businesses through these times of economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants can file for loans starting June 1 and the program will be available through the end of the pandemic.  
“WEDC recognizes the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having and will continue to have on local businesses. We came together with a plan to help local business owners. Local business owners chose Windham as their community and now the community is here to help those businesses.
“I want to thank the Windham Economic Development Board for their hard work on putting this plan together,” he said. “We also want to thank the Windham Town Council and Barry Tibbetts, Town Manager, for providing additional funding for the COVID-19 Disaster Business Loan Fund.”
Bartell said that there are basically two types of COVID-19 Disaster Business Loans available, including a Business Continuation loan, and a Business Restart loan.
There is no minimum or maximum loan amounts and it is expected that the loan amounts will range from $5,000 to $20,000, Bartell said.
According to Bartell, the Business Continuation Loan is intended for existing businesses which have remained open during the pandemic, but whose operations have been reduced because of Federal, state, or local restrictions as a result of the pandemic. said that the Business Restart Loan is intended for applicants whose existing businesses which have ceased operations due to Federal, State, or local restrictions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and have committed to restarting the business when the mandates are lifted.
The completed application and supporting documentation can be emailed to

“Again, our goal is to help Windham business owners with financial assistance to keep their business afloat. Whether you are a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC., or a corporation, please reach out if your business needs financial assistance,” Bartell said. <

Friday, May 15, 2020

A better understanding: Demystifying homeowner’s insurance

By Jonathan Priest

Let’s face it. No one wants to pay for insurance. The odds are, nothing bad is going to happen to your home, right? It feels like you’re throwing money away for nothing. You can’t touch your policy (except for the paper it’s printed on), or pull it out of the garage and put a coat of wax on it, and if you do ever need to use it, it will be because something bad happened! 

What insurance can do for you is give you peace of mind; knowing that if something bad DOES happen, you have protection to make you whole again, and bring things back to normal.  There are many terms that can be confusing in an insurance policy contract, and lots of myths that I will review to help you understand what your coverage DOES and DOES NOT do!

Your DECLARATION PAGE contains the “bullet points” of the policy that covers your home.  It states WHO is covered on the policy, the DATES that coverage is effective, the LOCATION of the insured premises, and the MOST the company is legally obligated to pay to bring your home back to the condition it was in prior to a covered loss.  It also lists any lender who holds a lien against the property.

Myth: “My policy doesn’t cover anything.  Every time I call to make a claim, it is denied.”
Fact:  In order to be a covered claim, the damage to your home must meet at least two criteria.  It 
needs to be a “sudden” (sudden = it cannot be damage that happened over a period of time, like pipes rusting out in your bathroom, or carpenter ants nesting in the wood structures of your home, or a deck rotting off the house due to being improperly flashed) and “accidental” loss (the company will not pay if you decide to deliberately set your home on fire).  Finally, it needs to be a loss that your policy affords coverage for.  This is where it can get tricky… NOT ALL POLICIES ARE THE SAME.  Some policies cover more causes of loss, and some cover less. 

Myth: “My neighbor’s tree fell on my house, so their policy will pay for the damages.”

Fact: Your house, your damaged property, your policy.  As long as the tree was healthy, odds are very slim that your neighbor would be found liable.  There are rare occasions where a sick or dead tree falls and damages a neighboring home and it can be verified that the neighbor is negligent by not removing the tree sooner, but by and large, the policy that pays out will be the one that belongs to the damaged home.

Myth: “My house insurance needs to cover my loan amount.” 

Fact: Your insurance coverage needs to be able to pay to rebuild the home, as it stands, from top to bottom. Your loan includes the value of at least two additional things… the land the home sits on, and the relative desirability of the location of that land. 

Helpful tips to improve your protection and maximize savings: use the same company to insure your home and cars; not just for the savings, which can be significant, but also to build a stronger relationship with the company.  If you have a series of home claims over a short period of time, and you insure your cars elsewhere, the home insurer is much more likely to “non-renew” (cancel at renewal) your home policy than if you have the home and auto together!  It is VERY expensive for a company to get a new client, and the more policies you have as a customer, the less likely you are to leave your company.

If you have JEWELRY, FIREARMS, ANTIQUES or SPORTING GOODS (or other items) of significant value, make sure you have SCHEDULED COVERAGE for them.  That means you have provided a bill of sale, appraisal or other document to verify the item’s value, and that those items are much more broadly covered than if they were NOT scheduled.  It is a small extra cost in most cases and usually avoids having to absorb a large deductible in the case of a loss.

Make sure you have adequate LIABILITY COVERAGE, WATER BACK-UP COVERAGE, and watch out for high deductibles!

Please reach out to me if you have more questions about insurance in general, or your policy in particular!  <

Friday, May 8, 2020

Adapting and overcoming challenges when buying or selling

By Matt Trudel

The news seems like Groundhog Day these days, repeat of the same thing, just the numbers change a little or the items change, from the shortage of toilet paper to now hamburger. All of this has many buyers and sellers on edge about the safety of their family. Several sellers have opted to pull their houses off the market and wait until the dust settles. Buyers on the other hand want to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Inventory is low at this point, and even though construction was deemed an essential business, getting materials, cabinets, windows and other items has been an issue.

Many plants and factories shut down for 6 to 8 weeks and have an enormous backlog. This has slowed down many new home builders from completing projects on time., the question is when should a seller put their house back on the market? That is going to be different for each seller. It is a personal comfort level, and no one answer is right. You can be confident that as REALTORS® we do everything we can to be respectful and cautious when showing a home. I have hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes that I use on all doorknobs and other areas that might be touched.  Buyers are also aware and generally remain as hands off as possible. Everyone is aware of the situation and does their best to protect themselves and others.

The month of May has always been a great time to list your home. Buyers have their tax refunds (and maybe stimulus checks), kids would normally be getting out of school, and the grass is greening with warmer temps.  This gets buyers excited and ready to pull the trigger. Prices are holding strong in this seller’s market. However, many buyers have been laid off or furloughed for many weeks and that affects their ability to purchase a home. 

A buyer must have a job in order to buy a house, right?  Not exactly the case in these crazy times. If a buyer has been laid off due to the COVID-19 situation and their employer intends to rehire them once they are allowed to open, the buyer can still purchase the property. are many new loan programs that have opened over the past three months, some with interest rates below 3%. This allows a buyer to afford more house and make a higher offer than they would at the old 3.5% FHA program.  There are also 5% down construction loans and 3% down conventional insured loans. The buyers in today’s market have many options to better their position when making an offer.  This generally translates into better offers for sellers. 

So, when you are ready and feel comfortable about getting your house on the market, find an experienced broker and have a conversation about your concerns. I am confident together you can come up with an appropriate plan that works for you and your family. As REALTORS® it is one of our specialties, coming up with creative ideas and solutions to make things work for everyone.  

This article provided by Matthew Trudel, Owner of Five Star Realty Windham 207-939-6971

Friday, May 1, 2020

The costs of doing business

By Rick Yost

When buying a home, the price paid for the house is just one of the costs associated with the purchase. Many buyers are hit with sticker shock when all the costs associated with their purchase start rolling in. These costs can total in the thousands of dollars.

The first check a buyer must write is the earnest money check. This is the check that accompanies the buyer's offer on the home. It is typically in the $1000 to $5000 range (though the amount can be much higher in the luxury market) and acts to show the buyer's good faith in trying to acquire the property. On the plus side, the earnest deposit is applied to the purchase price at closing.

The buyer will pay an origination fee to the lender providing the mortgage on the property. This is to cover the fees associated with processing and underwriting the loan. amount varies among lenders. As a result, buyers should shop around, but $800 to $1000 is common. The lender will also charge the buyer for doing a credit check on the buyer. This is typically around $30.

Every buyer should have a home inspection performed on the home they want to purchase. A professional inspector will expect to be paid as soon as the inspection is complete. A general inspection that examines the roof, plumbing, electrical, heating, and general condition of the home typically costs between $300 and $500 with additional charges for additional specialized inspections like water quality, radon air, pest infestation, and septic. This is money well spent to avoid unexpected problems popping up after the home is purchased.

Lenders require a licensed appraiser to do an appraisal on the home to establish the value of the home. The appraisal will have to be paid for in advance. Appraisals are running about $450 to $600 and up to $800 for expedited appraisals.

The title company that handles the closing gets paid for their services and $500 to $700 is common. Sometimes there are additional charges if there are issues that require extra work like a full survey, for example.

At closing, the buyer's lender will also require that the home is insured, and all taxes are paid.
These prepaids and escrows will depend on the cost of the home insurance and the annual taxes on the property but run into thousands of dollars.

It is important to have these costs covered along with the down payment in order to buy a new home, but it is sometimes possible to get the home seller to contribute some of these costs. Ask your REALTOR® to help make this part of your negotiation.

Rick is a realtor, real estate author, and longtime Windham resident. You can contact Rick with all your real estate questions and needs at