Friday, September 25, 2020

Real Estate: What is Disclosed Dual Agency and how it may affect you in a real estate transaction?

By Richie Vraux

Special to The Windham Eagle

While in selling a home, I am sure you have heard of the phrase Dual Disclosed Agency when speaking to your listing agent. This, simply put, is an agent that can represent you as a seller and also can represent a buyer in the same transaction. There is certainly a fine line between both. The details of both sides should be explained thoroughly by your agent. As a sellers agent, I have a fiduciary responsibility to represent the seller to get the highest amount for your home as well as to represent you the best way I can in your best interest. You should also be aware that agreeing to allow your agent to represent both sides, you give up the right of undivided loyalty. After given all the possible drawbacks, you can still choose to enter into a dual- disclosed position. Listen to your agent and make your agent explain in detail all possibilities to you.

On the other hand, as a buyers agent selling this home you can explain to the buyers all you know about the house, go through all the disclosures with the buyers but cannot reveal anything about the sellers or the motivation to sell or any proprietary information about the seller. Being a dual agent- you may get quicker answers and get more buyers see your home but still , it comes with risks. A buyers broker can lead the buyer in the best way to help put them into first position to get their offer accepted over others,
such as, to come in higher than asking price, and buying it with cash it always puts you in a better position because cash is always king in these cases and
possibly not asking for inspections to be part of the contract. In today’s market, acceptable offers are coming in 20 to 50 thousand dollars over asking price in order to be in first position.

While it is not unlawful to practice dual- disclosed agency, there are some states that do not allow this, Maine still finds it acceptable. There are real estate offices that do not allow their agents to practice this because they do not want to take the risk that sometimes accompany this way of doing business. There are a lot of pitfalls by accepting dual agency.

If either side believes they weren’t given all the facts about this and something goes awry it could turn ugly, so be aware of all the possible dangers in accepting dual agency.      

If you are considering selling your home, make sure your agent explains to you all the benefits and drawbacks of dual disclosed agencies and how it could affect the sale of your home.

Richie Vraux is a Realtor/ Broker and team partner at: Maine’s Premier Team-The Masiello Group, with offices in Windham and Gorham.If you need advice with any aspect of Real Estate, feel free to give Richie a call at 317-1297. <

Friday, September 18, 2020

Real Estate: Attic Thermal Insulation

Submitted by Brandon Lussier

Special to The Windham Eagle

The attic accounts for a large percentage of a house’s heat loss and heat gain. Attic insulation reduces heat loss in the cold months, and prevents heat build-up in hotter months, making it a priority for insulation. In new construction, insulation levels for the attic are higher than all other areas. In an old home, the attic is the first place for insulation upgrades. The attic is comparatively easy to insulate since it usually presents no space constraint, making it easy to add a lot of insulation.


Critical to a healthy attic is good ventilation, with airflow circulating into and out of the attic. Circulation helps stabilize the attic temperature and remove moisture. Ideal ventilation has vent openings low on the roof and vents high on the roof to create draft. Air will flow naturally in the low openings and out the high openings.

This is usually accomplished with soffit vents at the eaves and rooftop vents (mushroom vents) or ridge vents on top of the roof. There are many other possibilities as well. Older houses often don’t have as much ventilation as we do today. It usually works out for the old home because there is not much insulation, either. If you upgrade the insulation you could inadvertently create a problem if consideration is not given to the appropriate insulation.

 Upgrades should consider insulation and ventilation together.

Air Leakage

Current building science recognizes that while attic ventilation is important, equally important is sealing air leaks from the rest of the house to the attic, especially in cold climates. In a typical home, recessed light fixtures, bathroom vents, plumbing stacks, chimneys and wall cavities present numerous potential air leakage paths to the attic. Air leakage from the house causes many problems including condensation, rot, mildew and in cold climates – ice dams.

Attic HVAC Ducting

The ducting that runs through the attic should be well sealed and properly insulated. Leaking ducting in the attic is a waste of energy. There is no point heating and cooling your attic. During cooling season it’s even more critical. Leaking or improperly insulated ducting could lead to condensation and water damage.

Do Not Disturb the Insulation

It’s best not to disturb the insulation in the attic. Some attics have vermiculite insulation. Most vermiculite insulation contains small amounts of asbestos. Disturbing the insulation can cause a cloud of asbestos, a substance it is best to avoid or to which exposure should be limited. In some cases, the vermiculite lies under a layer of a different type of insulation.

Visually, it may look like you have ten inches of fiberglass when, in fact, you may actually have four inches of vermiculite and six inches of fiberglass. If you have to disturb the insulation, check what kind of insulation you have first and take appropriate precautions. A standard dust mask does not provide

adequate protection from asbestos.

Upgrading Attic Insulation

If you are upgrading your attic insulation, make sure you hire a contractor who is knowledgeable about the techniques and codes for your area. Good contractors will assess the insulation type and condition, as well as the ventilation. <

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, September 11, 2020

Real Estate -- Home: The New Classroom and Office

By Nicole Foster Broker/ REALTOR
You might have never fancied yourself a homeschooler or even a teacher but many parents are now tasked once again with working from their homes while providing necessary support for their distant learning or homeschooling students. Maybe you have not wanted to spend your time indoors this summer retrofitting your home for distant learning and/or work but the need is at your door once again. Working at the kitchen table isn’t ideal and can impact productivity and stress levels. One of the number one amenities buyers are looking for is a space that they can designate as an at home work space.  Homeowners are faced with some difficult and overwhelming decisions about how to best use their often limited space to accommodate everyone’s daily needs and many have been getting creative.
Here are a few tips to help you to get started with creating your own designated work areas at home:
1) Location, location, location
Consider what the needs will be for the space you’re creating. An open office in a high traffic area or pocket office within or near the kitchen could be ideal for a younger student but an older student or working parent may require privacy and quiet with a closing door.  Establish whether or not the designated work space needs to be near other people in the home or more distant from everyone.
2) Light It Up it’s an in home classroom or office, having adequate light will be important to reduce eye strain and create the right setting. Don’t rely on a singular source of light from one overhead fixture; instead make sure there are several different types of lights by adding lamps and removing or opening room darkening window treatments to let in more natural light. Consider swapping out an already existing interior door for a full glass or 15 light door which can eliminate noise while significantly increasing a room’s natural light. I have one on both my at home and agency office doors and am in
love with the effect and I also feel natural light is the best type.
3) Be Kind to Your Body
Prevent repetitive injuries and help to increase your productivity by keeping ergonomics in the forefront of your room design and furniture placement. Choose a comfortable chair that supports good posture and allows for both feet to make firm contact on the floor. A mat on the floor and a chair with wheels will help you to maneuver getting in and out more easily. Change it up by using a physioball instead of a chair on occasion or purchase an adjustable desk which doubles as a standing station.
4) Permanent or Portable
It might make sense to establish a workspace that can be moved from one area of the home to another with ease. A smaller desk on wheels can work well in the right floor plan. Try to determine how much desk space you will actually be using and see if a more compact and portable arrangement  can be very practical and so simple that even a small amount of space can work well.
works best. Establishing multiple smaller “crash pads” in more than one area where you can go to with your work
5) Connectivity might have a shed or area in your basement that you can repurpose as a designated work space but your internet connection may be sluggish or simply not reach. Be sure to test your devices to see if you will need a boost in your connection. Also look for outlets and where certain things will need to be placed within the space, many older homes have limited outlets.
Add a few items which are pleasing to look at and select organizational items which can also provide a decorative function. Include those who will also be using the space by communicating your vision to get feedback along the way to help reduce frustration upon completion. <
Nicole Foster is a Broker with Locations Real Estate Group and a Windham resident who loves real estate and people.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Real Estate: How can broadband change the Maine Real Estate market?

By Carrie Colby
As most of us know 2020 has brought many changes to our lives. Many of us are working from home, telecommuting, distance learning and homeschooling. Also, an unstoppable trend is the increasing importance of telehealth. We are in the early days of the telehealth revolution, but it is likely that in the future that life-critical healthcare will extend into the home requiring a higher standard of reliability. 
There is some good news for people living in more rural areas in Maine. Maine has approved expanding broadband internet access throughout the state. 
The real estate market in the greater Portland area has outpriced many home buyers and renters pushing them to more rural towns in Cumberland, Oxford and Androscoggin Counties.
With the ability to work from home or for companies that are considering relocating to Maine, with high-speed internet connections Maine companies will be able to compete, new companies will relocate to Maine, highly skilled workers will relocate to Maine and talented young people will stay. 
Just as the 20th century required adequate roads, and the centuries before required railroads and navigable rivers, today we must have high-speed Internet connections to the world in order to improve our economic prospects. National Telecommunications and Information Administration has chosen ConnectME as one of eight initial partner states to broaden and update the national broadband availability map. Maine was chosen because it reflects geographic diversity.
Last year, Congress charged the administration with creating and maintaining the map as a searchable public database of information on broadband internet availability in the United States, according to a Feb. 13 Maine Department of Economic and Community Development news release.
“This is a welcome announcement which will strengthen and expand ConnectME’s efforts to improve broadband access for Maine families, businesses and communities statewide,” Heather Johnson, Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, said in a press release. “Identifying gaps in high-speed internet coverage is the first step in ensuring every Mainer can access the tools they need to succeed and this in an important step in making that goal a reality.”
According to its website, the ConnectME Authority is a public instrumentality of Maine state government whose mission is to facilitate the universal availability of broadband to all Maine households and businesses.
The mapping project comes as Maine seeks to address gaps in broadband availability around the state. Lack of broadband — cable, satellite, fiber, DSL — has been found to affect areas from real estate sales and tourism to in-and-out migration in rural areas across Maine, as well as impeding talent attraction to areas with lack of broadband connectivity.
Of course, no one has a crystal ball, but I am certain that expanding broadband to more rural communities can only be helpful to Maine residents and expand their housing possibilities. <
This article was brought to you by Carrie Colby, Broker with Allied Real Estate in Windham. She can be reached at 207-232-5497.