Friday, June 25, 2021

Real Estate: Enterprise Development District attracts attention in Windham

By Larry Eliason

The Enterprise Development District (ED Zone) is the home of the Quarry Ridge Business Park located right off Route 302 on Enterprise Drive in North Windham.  The ED Zone offers Business Owners and Developers a wide variety of commercial uses and land area for large commercial buildings and large-scale projects.  The Business Park is served by public water, electric including three-phase and natural gas. For easy reference, you can access Enterprise Drive directly off Route 302.  The Dugout Ice Cream is at the corner for reference. 

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.

Since February of this year, four (4) commercial lots have sold in the Quarry Ridge Business Park along Enterprise Drive and Bedrock Terrace; Lot 3A, Lot 3B, Lot # 8 and Lot # 9.  One of the lots sold, Lot # 3A at the corner of Enterprise Drive and Bedrock Terrace has a new 12,500-plus square foot Commercial Building under construction.  This new building when completed will be the new home of Paul’s Boutique and Nursery Grow and Processing Facility.  Paul’s Boutique was one of two Windham companies to apply for and receive an Adult Use Cannabis License.  This new facility will add good paying jobs and additional commercial tax base for Windham. 

In addition to the four (4) Commercial Lots that sold, a ½-acre Commercial Lot on Storm Drive and Enterprise Drive sold this spring.  And there is a large scale 25-acre land sale and project pending out behind Genest Concrete.  

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 Office; Contractor Services; Contractor Storage Yard; Construction Services; Heavy, Major, Construction Services; Heavy, Convention Center; Distribution Facility; Forestry; Hotel; Industry; Heavy, Industry, Light; Marijuana Cultivation Facility; Marijuana Manufacturing, Facility; Marijuana Testing Facility; Mineral Extraction; Motel; Public Utility Facility; Retail Sales, Accessory; Small Engine Repair, Use, Accessory; Warehousing; Private, Warehousing, 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.

Back in 2010, Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers made recommendations for improvements to Route 302 from Whites Bridge Road out to Mineral Spring Road that was referred to as the 302 Corridor Plan. The 302 Corridor Plan specifically addressed the full signalization of the intersection at Enterprise Drive and Route 302 once the warrants for signalization are met in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the MaineDOT approves the project.

There is an existing Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) traffic movement plan in place that will eventually include a much-needed traffic signal at the intersection of Enterprise Drive and Route 302.   Many hours of the day it is exceedingly difficult to make a left-hand turn onto Route 302 due to oncoming traffic, especially in the summer months.  There is a “trips per day” generated threshold to trigger the signal installation which is still relatively far away per MDOT standards.   

As new Commercial Development comes to the Quarry Ridge Business Park, the closer we get to having a signalized intersection at Enterprise Drive and Route 302. This will provide convenience and efficiency for the existing businesses and their customers in the business park, attracting new commercial development and most importantly making safety a priority for everyone turning left out of Enterprise Drive onto Route 302.

When considering the acquisition of Commercial 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 recommended as they are 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, June 18, 2021

Real Estate: Waiving inspections?

By Kristin Piccone

It is no secret that we are well into a seller’s market across the nation. Record low mortgage rates, record low home inventory are some of the contributing factors to this competitive real estate market. More times than not, buyers are experiencing multiple offer situations on more than just one occasion. Depending on the property and the buyers experience, knowledge and comfort level, inspections are being waived~ but is that the smart choice? 

When I represent a seller in a real estate transaction, I always explain that there is more than just price within a purchase and sale agreement (P&S). A learned trait in presenting offers to my seller clients is to, “start from the bottom”. In today’s world, there are five pages to a P&S. Within, there are many conditions and contingencies, and price is on page 1. To give my seller clients a full understanding of the offer, I start on page 5 to ensure they are fully aware of its contents and not just waiting to hear the price; other conditions is on page 4, seller concessions is on page 3, financing is on page 3, due diligence or inspections is on page 2, and finally, price, earnest money and closing date are on page 1.

Previously, I have explained to seller clients that an inspection waiver could be “worth its weight in gold.”

Now, where it is more and more common to have several offers with the same waiver, it can make for a more difficult decision and the other contingencies are taken into consideration.

For example, amount of earnest money deposit, non-refundable deposit, seller concessions, financing type and down payment, to name a few. The point here is, that it may not always be in the seller’s best interest to accept an offer just because of an inspection waiver. Looking at the other contents of the P&S and having a clue as to the strength of the buyer is really what I would recommend. With this, you know that all parties are aiming to reach the closing table and you, as a seller, are giving the buyer an opportunity to learn more about the home and how to maintain it.

A seller is able to have their home pre-inspected prior to listing their home actively in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), as well.

Personally, I love coming across a home that has been pre-inspected, for my buyers, and, I always recommend to my seller clients that it is an option that they can take advantage of if they have any uncertainties or unknowns and do not want to face any surprises later on in the transaction that could impact the sale altogether.

When I represent a buyer in a real estate transaction, I learn about them, their knowledge and experience in regard to real estate. If I am working with a buyer or investor who has purchased real estate a time or two, and maybe they are going to renovate anyway, it may not be as bad, if they decide to waive inspections.

Any other buyer, on the other hand, shouldn’t always react and waive the inspection. There are strategies, even, that I have experienced where a buyer can have an inspection of the home, however, let it be understood by the seller that unless there is a structural, health or safety concern, you, as the buyer are simply looking to learn more about the home and what it may need for maintenance.

During what is the largest transaction in one’s life, if a buyer can have their fair share and opportunities at the home( i.e. due diligence), they feel much better during the transaction and can make other negotiable items go that much smoother further along in the transaction.

If you have any questions or want to talk about how you can be competitive in this market as a buyer or seller, I am always happy to help!

Call and text friendly 207-951-1393 or email: Be well and I look forward to hearing from you soon! <

Friday, June 11, 2021

Real Estate: When will the market slow down?

By Matt Trudel 

That is a question many people are asking these days.  How long can this market sustain at this increasing pace it has been on?  Market values have been escalating consistently for the past 4 years and the last year and a half we have seen a solid 15 to 20 percent increase.  This of course means it is a great time to sell and cash in on your equity, but you have to have a place to live.  Renting may be an option if you can find one.  Just like the supply of houses on the market are low, rentals are hard to find.

The number of buyers that are out competing for homes is at an all time high because the inventory is so low.  More companies have learned that having employees working remotely is cost effective, and this has led to a lot of out of state people purchasing homes here in Maine.  The more buyers competing drives up the price and it turns into a bidding war.  A year ago, approximately 20 percent of homes would sell for more than the listing price.  This past month over 57 percent of homes sold for more than the listing price.

In order for things to slow down we really need more inventory.  There are a lot of houses being built right now, but most of those are already under contract.  Even with the cost of building materials skyrocketing, builders have no problem selling new homes.  Getting a building permit is a different story, especially in Windham.  That’s another article for another day perhaps.  Well, let’s just give you a quick explanation of what is slowing builders down.

In Windham, they only hand out a certain number of “Growth Permits” per month.  You need a growth permit in order to be able to turn that into a building permit.  The growth permits are not handed out on a first come, first serve basis.  It is done by a point system method.  If you are a resident of Windham, you get more points for every year you have been a resident.  I know someone from Casco who bought a lot in Windham in February to build a house on.  Early March he applied for a growth permit, and today he still doesn’t have one.   That’s four months he has been waiting, and the cost of building his house has gone up probably 20 percent.  He should be finishing the final touches and moving in, but instead he just has to wait while others get their growth permits because he lives in Casco.

I do not see any slowing down of this market anytime soon, and definitely not this year and it is very unlikely to slow down next year.  The demand is just too strong right now, and interest rates are still low.  When interest rates get up around 6.5 percent, that will likely slow things down, but we are a couple years away from that happening in my opinion.

This article was written by Matthew Trudel, Owner of Five Star Realty in Windham, Call him at 207-939-6971.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Real Estate: Your guide to homeowners associations

Submitted By Richie Vraux

A homeowner's association, commonly referred to as an HOA, is an organization of community residents that establishes and enforces community property rules. Typically, HOA members reside in a condominium complex, a planned community, or a subdivision of single-family homes. Buyers who purchase a home within an HOA community automatically become HOA members subject to rules and regulations under the HOA guidelines.

What is the Purpose of an HOA?

The main purpose of an HOA is to establish community goals that benefit residents and implement rules and regulations that provide community safety. An HOA is responsible for managing the community's business affairs and budget, overseeing community projects, and maintaining communal areas for residents.

Most HOA organizations are made up of a group of board members and community residents. HOA residents usually elect a Board of Directors that includes a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and auditor. The Board of Directors is responsible for enforcing community rules and regulations under HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions.

In smaller HOA communities, the Board of Directors may appoint a property management company or onsite property manager to handle duties and collect fees from residents. State HOA laws and community regulations mandate regular meetings to discuss association policies, budget, and finances.

What are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions?

All HOA rules and regulations are outlined in Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), governing bylaws for HOA members. CC&Rs are legally binding documents describing guidelines on home and property modifications. Common regulations cover:

  • Exterior paint colors
  • Roofing types and colors
  • Lawn maintenance and landscaping
  • Fencing and exterior structures
  • Outdoor trash receptacles
  • Recreational vehicle parking
  • Family pets

If homeowners don't follow CC&R guidelines, they are usually issued citations and fines by the Board of Directors. Typically, CC&Rs are given to all homeowners with their closing paperwork on the home's purchase.

What are HOA Fees?

All HOA communities have mandatory fees paid by residents to make sure there are available funds for special projects and regular maintenance. Depending on location, home values, and community amenities, HOA fees may vary significantly from $200 to $1,000 per month.

HOA fees are usually deposited into a special account and used to pay for regular landscaping and maintenance, trash pickup, shared utilities, community repairs, and homeowners' insurance that covers public spaces and amenities. Additional assessment fees may also be collected if the community experiences unexpected expenses for damages caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, high winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

HOAs can periodically raise fees according to CC&R guidelines. Fees may be increased to cover inflation, rising operating costs, and necessary community projects to increase resident safety. If HOA fees increase, residents must be given at least a 30-day notice required by law.

What are the Benefits of an HOA?

Millions of homeowners prefer living in an HOA community rather than a privately-owned residence. For homeowners who want a lifestyle with more amenities and less home maintenance, an HOA community offers many benefits.

Because HOAs have regulations that promote a uniform community environment, most residents enjoy cleaner grounds, well-maintained structures, and manicured landscapes without the hassle of scheduling maintenance and repairs.

HOA communities also have shared amenities including swimming pools and hot tubs, barbecue grills, clubhouses, sports facilities, ponds and gardens, and walking paths. Many provide special events throughout the year such as cookouts, swim parties, dances, and holiday events.

Living in an HOA community may not fit everyone's lifestyle, but it may provide the perfect opportunity for homeowners who are searching for more free time, fewer outdoor tasks, and neighborhood activities.

This article was brought to you by Richie Vraux, Broker with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/The Masiello Group. If you are contemplating buying in an HOA community and have questions, call him at 207-317-1297.