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. <