Friday, July 31, 2020

Real Estate: An experienced broker can help acquire land for cannabis business

The Enterprise Development District (ED Zone) is now one of two designated areas in Windham specifically zoned for cannabis growing, cannabis processing and cannabis testing in addition to a wide variety of other traditional uses.

The Windham Town Council in recent months voted to add the Enterprise Development District and the Industrial District as zones that will permit cannabis business operations while commercial zones in Windham will no longer accommodate Cannabis related Businesses unless they have been grandfathered.

The intent of the Enterprise Development District (ED Zone) is to provide a unique area within the Town of Windham to allow manufacturing, processing, treatment, warehousing, storage, research and distribution with safe, well-regulated vehicle access located off a major street which can conform to the performance standards set forth in this section and in all other applicable ordinances of the Town of Windham. Enterprise Development District is located right off Route 302 on Enterprise Drive in North Windham. This zone offers business owners a wide variety of uses and has ample land area for large commercial buildings and large-scale projects. For easy reference, you can access Enterprise Drive directly off Route 302. The Ice Cream Dugout is at the corner and just down Enterprise Drive is Genest Concrete. There is ample vacant land available there for new commercial development purposes.
The following uses shall be permitted in the Enterprise Development District as a matter of right; auction house; automobile auction facility; automobile repair services; building, accessory, business and professional offices; contractor services; contractor storage yard; construction services; heavy major construction services; heavy convention center; distribution facility; forestry, hotel, industry and heavy industry; light; marijuana cultivation facility; marijuana manufacturing; facility marijuana testing facility; mineral extraction;  motel; public utility facility; retail sales; accessory; small engine repair; public warehousing; private warehousing; and public wireless telecommunications tower and facility.

In addition to the permitted uses, there are a couple of conditional uses that may be an option as well including automobile storage lot and shipping containers.
All buildings or structures shall be connected to the public water supply and have a sprinkler system, or a fire suppression system installed when required by the Town of Windham Building Code and the town may require groundwater monitoring of the project at the owner’s expense.

Noise is required to be muffled so as not to be objectionable due to emission, beat frequency or shrillness. The emission of odorous or toxic matter in such quantities as to be readily detectable at any point along any lot lines creating a public nuisance or hazard is prohibited. utilities, including telephone and electrical services, are required to be placed underground.

Those considering this type of business also are required to submit information demonstrating compliance with any applicable federal, state or local requirements. If the application does not require subdivision or site plan review, the information shall be submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer for approval before a building permit is issued. The maximum permitted density of smoke, dust and other particulate emissions during normal operations of any activity shall not exceed the maximum allowable under the regulations of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
When considering the acquisition of land for new commercial development, you should always engage a team of professionals to assist you with the process. Working with an experienced commercial broker is one of those instrumental team members that can help guide you. <

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

Friday, July 24, 2020

Real Estate: Taking Advantage of this Hot Market

By Matt Trudel

Buyers often get frustrated in a hot real estate market.  Before they can even schedule a showing a house might go under contract.  They put in a full price offer only to find out they were outbid by another buyer for more than the asking price.  All of this adds up to motivate buyers and works out in creating a great seller’s market.  So, should you buy in a seller’s market?

This is a great time to purchase a new home no matter if you are a first-time home buyer or this is your third or fourth home.  Also, a perfect time to purchase that summer house or camp on the lake that you have been dreaming about.  While home prices are slightly up over the last couple years, the interest rates on mortgages are at all-time lows. just had a buyer close on a house and he locked in his mortgage at 2.75 percent for a 30-year fixed and only put 3.5 percent down.  Obviously, this keeps his monthly payment down and that is very important to all buyers.  The other thing that a low interest rate does is increase a person’s buying power.  How does that work you ask?  Here is a simple example to explain it.

A buyer wants to have his payment around $1,200 per month not including property taxes and insurance.  If they base their search on a 4 percent interest rate, they will be looking around the $250,000 range.  If they can lower their rate to 3 percent it would give them about a $35,000 increase in their price range and still keep their payment at $1,200.  So now they can purchase a home for $285,000.

With interest rates this low I often encourage buyers to push their comfort level with what they think they want for a monthly payment.  I don’t want them to over extend themselves, but I do want them to consider where they are at with their careers.  Do they have a raise coming, perhaps a promotion, or maybe they are about to have their vehicle or boat paid off?

My thought is that most people get a yearly raise and our income goes up.  This will mean that the monthly payment won’t seem quite as much in a year or two once you pay off that car or perhaps when a child turns 18 and graduates, the child support stops and you can afford a little more of a payment.  So, take time to look at the overall big picture when deciding what your price range is for purchasing your new home.

Sellers I have one important piece of advice for when trying to sell in this very hot seller’s market.  Price your home correctly.  It is the most important thing you can do.  Buyer’s are very much aware of what home values are in this day an age.  A correctly priced home will have several buyers looking at it and will generally wind up with more than one offer.  If your home isn’t selling in this market, then there is something drastically wrong or it is overpriced.  

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

Friday, July 17, 2020

Real Estate: Buying a house for your family?

By Rick Yost

Part of the American dream is to own a home for your family. Some picture a suburban home with a white picket fence. Others, a more rural setting with no neighbors to be seen. Others still, envision an urban atmosphere with a walkability and diversity only found in cities. Whatever your family home dream includes, these tips will help make the most of that dream.

Start saving for your down payment as soon as possible. The more money you put down, the more attractive your offer will be to some sellers. You will also have more money for closing cost and other unexpected expenses that pop up a derail many home buyers dreams. you are fortunate enough to save a substantial down payment, you can avoid private mortgage insurance so that more of your monthly payment is actually going toward the principle you owe. The larger your down payment, the lower your monthly payment also. 

So start saving early. Most loan programs today allow for gifts from family members, so if you are having a tough time saving, keep that in mind.

Improve your credit score and buy at the optimal time. Your credit score is a constantly moving number. A good lender can give you tips on how to improve yours. It can be as simple as paying off certain credit cards and making all your payments on time.

In some cases, you might have to establish more credit to drive your score up. Talk to the lending experts and take their advice. The higher your credit score the lower your interest rate will be. The highest rated borrowers get into preferred mortgages. Monitor your score, build It up, and by when you qualify for the best mortgage programs.

Make a longterm plan. What will your life look like in five years, 10 years, even 15 years? Will you have more children? Will parents come to live with you? Will you become empty nesters? Will your job force you to move? Will you start a home-based business? All of these factors should be considered when choosing your family home. The home that seems perfect today might not be right for you in three years. A good longterm plan will help prevent a premature move. and research different areas. How do you imagine your life? Do you eat out often? Do you like night life? Is shopping important? Are you a gym person? Is there a good place of worship? These are all questions that should be answered before picking an area to buy in. Then consider what is right for your family. Is public transportation important? How is the school system and does It offer all the programs your children need? How much time a week are you willing to miss with your family to commute? Are there sports, music, and other recreational activities available for your family members? 

All of these factors will contribute to the enjoyment of your new family home. Do not discount how much a difference these things can make and don’t skip on your research.

Keep an eye on the housing market. The housing market is ever changing and is hyper local. One area may have home prices going way up and another just 10 miles away might be flat. Keep an eye on the places you have identified through your research as places you would like to live and monitor those markets. Watch home prices in those towns, talk to your realtor about trends, and be ready to buy when the opportunity is right. You will end up with the best house possible for your family.

The final and most important tip to achieving that American dream and buying your family a home is to be realistic about your budget. Families and homes are big expenses. Make sure you budget properly for both. You can often borrow an amount that leaves you with an uncomfortable payment. Take a hard look at your finances and allocate an amount to housing. Make sure the payment on the homes you are looking at, including taxes and insurance, is at or under that allocated housing number.

If you follow these tips, you will maximize your enjoyment of the American dream. Happy house hunting!

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

Friday, July 10, 2020

Real Estate: Do you need help renting your vacation home?

By Carrie Colby

Do you own a second home, and you find you don’t use it very often? Or you bought your retirement home years before you will actually need it. Or you would love to buy a vacation home but need some help paying for it.

All those scenarios lead homeowners to turn their second homes into vacation rentals. Renting out your vacation home can yield significant financial benefits – but only if you do it right.

One of the first decisions when starting the vacation rental process is whether to hire a management company or manage your rental yourself.

Renting a vacation home is a business, which means you’ll need the proper business tools in place, from being able to accept credit cards as payment to paying lodging taxes to getting the home cleaned quickly and completely between guests.

While websites such as, and provide online marketing tools, access to credit card processing, booking tools and other infrastructure, the individual owner still must handle guest inquiries, screen renters, and arrange for cleaning. The online sites usually charge an annual fee for listings. VRBO and HomeAway start at $499 a year and offer a pay-per-booking option of 8 percent, while Airbnb charges both hosts and guests a small processing fee – 3 percent for hosts and 6 to 12 percent for guests.
Full-service management companies are available in the Lakes Region and they typically retain a portion of the rental proceeds to manage the entire process, from bookings through cleaning.

If you do hire a local rental management company, you can avoid these extra charges from online websites for both yourself and your guests. Most renters are happy to use a local company as long as they can verify that they are who they say they are. Another plus is that the management company is nearby in case there is an issue during the renter’s stay. You should ask when hiring a local
management company if they have connections with tradesmen such as plumbers, appliance repair and trash removal. You may also need a lawn service and a handyman which they can help with as well.

Management companies can help you make rules and create a strong rental agreement. They can also help you decide what number of people you’ll allow per stay and whether to allow pets If your home is popular, you will have one set of guests checking out in the morning and a second set arriving that afternoon. That makes it imperative that the cleaning crew show up on time.  If you don’t live nearby, your cleaning crew is also your eyes and ears. home rental industry has grown significantly in recent years, as online listings and reviews make travelers more comfortable with the model. But travelers who are accustomed to staying at hotels and resorts expect significant amenities and, in some cases, service.

Furnish, decorate and equip your home. Amenities typically depend on the market and the price, but
people often expect most of what they would get at a hotel. A fast Wi-Fi connection, expansive cable package and other entertainment options are recommended. If your vacation rental home is on a lake it is good to have outdoor activities and non-powered boats such as kayaks, canoes and/or stand up paddle boards for example. Ample outdoor seating for relaxing and eating including a grill and possibly a fire pit are also expected.

Make your home stand out. In a world of online reviews, you want your guests to recommend your home or become return customers themselves. Anything you offer to make your home stand out, and to make their vacation easier, is likely to yield dividends. 

This article was brought to you by Carrie Colby, Broker with Allied Real Estate in Windham. She can be reached at 207-232-5497.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Real Estate: Discover the perfect time for buying a vacation home

Discover the Perfect Time for Buying a Vacation Home

If you’re lucky enough to have reached the time in your life when you can seriously contemplate buying a vacation home, there’s much to be excited about. According to the National Association of Realtors, one in eight homeowners are thinking of buying a second home. While summer may be the time of year you start to think longingly about sun, sea and sand, it may not be the best time to buy a cottage.

Here are some things to consider when you’re buying a vacation home.

Peak of season is seldom a good idea
Avoiding peak seasons makes sense in supply and demand terms. Since vacation homes can be sentimental investments, many who’ve inherited them rent them out as additional sources of income so they can hang onto a property. They may be sharing it with siblings or have had to buy them out. 

They also may be part-time vacation home investment owners who got in early on a new resort but need to ensure 100 percent occupancy during peak season to make their investment pay off. for the final weeks of the high season to make your offer or hold off until just after peak season ends. If you’re looking for a summer vacation home, the time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is the perfect window of opportunity. You’ll still take possession early enough in the year to be able to get a glimpse of what future summers can hold, and you’ll also have a chance to do any needed repairs before winter sets in. Then you can spend the winter planning what you need to do to make the place your own the following summer.

If you’re looking at a winter vacation home, spring is the best time to make an offer. While diehards may still be renting or occupying their vacation homes, hoping to get one or two more days of spring skiing or boarding in, most will have placed their properties on the market. Just be careful not to leave your offer for too late in the year if the area you’re interested in is remote. Some owners board up their properties for the off season, making it harder to get viewings. Also, don’t forget the power of spring mud. Properties accessible through three seasons may become harder to access during spring thawing and flooding.

Be sure the time is right

Before buying a vacation home, you need to think long and hard about a whole host of considerations. First and foremost is whether you will be able to use it enough to make it worthwhile for you financially. Even if you buy a vacation home and plan to rent it out to defray expenses, that means your time there will be limited. While you may love a cottage on a lake in fall, not everyone else does. If you can’t afford to spend the 4th of July at your own cottage, this may not be the time to buy.

Second, have you considered all the duplicate expenses involved? Whether you want your vacation home to mirror your principal residence in all ways, you can’t escape the fact that you’re going to need two of everything now. Unless, that is, you want to treat every weekend you spend at your vacation home like a camping trip (which may well be the case). You’re not going to want to haul lawn mowers and leaf blowers to the cottage every summer weekend. That goes double for appliances, linens and furniture. You’ll also have a second set of bills for property taxes, insurance, yard maintenance, internet and cleaning costs. In addition, there may be HOA fees, too.

Third, what are your vacation goals? If you want to visit every continent and are running out of time to tackle Asia and Africa, does a vacation property make sense? If you find you’re drawn to experiential vacations like hiking the Appalachian Trail, swimming with the dolphins or building someone else a home with Habitat for Humanity, a vacation home may be an anchor you don’t need.
On the other hand, if you know you can afford to invest in a second property and have a long-term plan to use it as a home base while you globetrot in retirement, or if you want your family to have the freedom of the great outdoors while they’re growing up, it might just be time to seize the day. <

This article was submitted by Richie Vraux, REALTOR with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/The Masiello Group. Reach out to him anytime at 207-317-1297.