Friday, October 29, 2021

Real Estate: Buyer’s Remorse on the Rise

By Nicole Foster, Broker/ REALTOR

A growing side effect from the pandemic real estate frenzy has been an uptick in reports of buyers who have regrets about their home purchase. Many who recently bought now feel that they have overpaid for their homes or have found that they were not prepared for the maintenance needs and costs associated with repairs and renovations. 

It is easy to get caught up in the extremely fast moving pace this market demands at times and to deviate from your original home buying plan or intentions. We move the goal post by expanding your search to less familiar areas or stretch your maximum offering price to find more inventory. You feel pressure to compete so you remove any contingency that you’re able to when writing your offer(s) just to get a house. When you do finally get the news that your offer has been accepted, perhaps you are feeling a bit disadvantaged having given up so much, but relieved to have something under contract. Given the circumstances and uncertainty we were faced with during the pandemic it is not surprising that so many people have possibly not been making their best decisions.

Even the most seasoned industry professionals have found the market conditions to be challenging times to help and advise their buyer clients. With prices seemingly on steroids, timeframes pumped up to hyper speeds and the normal course of events for residential real estate transactions bypassed entirely or drastically altered, many agents are seeing that their buyer clients are becoming fatigued. Home prices will continue to rise, though at a slower pace, and inventory is projected to remain tight in the foreseeable future. If you are shopping for a home and you want to feel good about your home purchase as an asset and not have it weighing on you as a liability, then you must stay centered.

Moving forward with submitting an offer should only be done after thorough examination of your overall financial position.  Is it necessary that you make a move right now or should you work on your credit score and save up more for your closing costs and a higher down payment for one more year? You should not be moving forward with submitting an offer because you feel bad about wasting the time of your agent or lender or because your friends have been talking about buying. Ideally, you should be fully prepared to purchase this specific property for the price you’ve offered no matter how many other offers you have already written on other properties because this could wind up being THE ONE every time you put an offer in.

If your situation permits, then allow yourself plenty of time to look for what you need to have and remain patient in your search. Keep the end result in the forefront of your mind and know what details you are unwilling to compromise on or settle for. Sometimes buyers will continue to visit properties during the evenings and weekends when they are available to for many months, a year or longer. If you need to take a few months off to regroup or place your attention elsewhere then do so and resume your search with fresh enthusiasm, and perhaps wisdom.

Keep your expectations in check by searching in a price point lower than your upper limit of what you are willing to spend (which may be a different amount than what you are eligible to spend) so you have room to go over the asking price when necessary to compete. We have seen an exponential increase in the usage of escalatory verbiage included in agreements. This clause is used in a multiple offer situation as a buyer strategy to outbid all of the other offers. A purchase price is offered, and the buyer then discloses their escalated offering price to meet and exceed any other higher offers.  Buyers should use caution when using an escalator and it’s also worth noting that many sellers prefer to work with offers which do not have an escalated price and have the buyer instead understand the price they are offering to pay for the property.

Maintaining clarity of purpose and a forward-thinking attitude will help to sustain you during your search and assure you do not wind up regretting your home buying decisions.

Nicole Foster has been serving buyer and seller clients in Southern Maine since 2005 and is a Broker with Locations Real Estate Group.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Real Estate: Commercial Leasing Basics

By Larry Eliason

A commercial lease can be a large expense for any business. Commercial leases are a lot different from residential leases as they have provisions that could impact your business from an economic standpoint to the practical use of the space.

Whether it is for a small office, retail, warehouse, commercial garage or a ground lease, a Tenant should perform some due diligence to assure that the space and the site are properly zoned for the proposed use. In many towns, Building and Life Safety Codes will certainly be part of the discussion for occupancy.

Below you will see some highlights of what to expect in a commercial lease agreement.

AGREEMENT of Lease made this 22nd day of October 2021, by and between ABC, LLC (hereinafter “Landlord”) and XYZ, LLC (Hereinafter “Tenant”).

WITNESSETH That Landlord for and in consideration of the rent reserved, covenants and agreements hereinafter set forth to be kept, observed, and performed by Tenant…

Description Leased Premises. Landlord does hereby lease and rent unto Tenant, one commercial building…

Terms. The term of this Lease shall be for a period of Five (5) years commencing on November 1, 2021…

Rental. Tenant agrees to pay to Landlord as rent, the sums as set forth in Schedule “A”…

Renewal. At the expiration of the term of this Lease, said Lease may be renewed at the option of the Tenant for two (5) year options.

Specific Use. The Tenant may use the Premises for Commercial Uses allowed by Local and State Laws.

Personal Property Taxes. Tenant will pay all personal property taxes levied or assessed on personal property used by the Tenant.

Real Estate Taxes. Tenant shall pay all real estate taxes assessed against the Demised Premises.
Insurance by Landlord. Tenant shall, at his expense, maintain extended fire insurance protection for the Demised Premises.

Insurance by Tenant. Tenant shall maintain, at his/her expense, insurance protection for his/her own personal property and his/her leasehold improvements…

Utilities - Refuse. Tenant shall, at his/her expense, provide for reasonable electricity used of consumed at the Demised Premises…

Assignment - Sublease. Tenant shall have the right to sublet the Demised Premises with Landlord’s express written consent.

Signs. Tenant may not place any signs on the building or in or on windows or doors without Landlord’s express written consent…

Alterations and Improvements. Tenant will not make any interior or exterior improvements, modifications, or alterations without the prior written approval of the Landlord…

Trade Fixtures. All trade fixtures including shelving, light fixtures, and other equipment shall be installed at the expense of Tenant.

Repairs and Maintenance. Tenant shall repair, renovate, and maintain at their own expense.

Indemnity - Security. Tenant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Landlord from and against all claims and demands
arising from negligence of Tenant.

Maintenance of Common Areas - Contribution. Landlord shall maintain all common areas in the building including the walkways and parking lot in good repair and condition.

Access. Landlord shall have access to the Demised Premises during reasonable hours for the purpose of insuring compliance with this Lease…

Requirements of Law - Insurance Rates. Tenant shall comply with all laws of Federal, State, County and Municipal authorities.

Insurance. Landlord and Tenant mutually agree that with respect to any loss which is covered by insurance then being carried by them respectively…

Fire Clause. If the Demised Premises are destroyed or damaged by fire or other unavoidable casualty, then the rent herein before is reserved.

Condemnation. If any portion of the Demised Premises shall be condemned for any public use by any legally constituted authority, then this Lease shall terminate.

Default and Landlord’s Remedies. If the Tenant shall neglect or fail to perform or observe any of the conditions contained in the Lease, the estate hereby created shall be taken on execution or by other process of law.

Subordination. This Lease is and shall be subordinate to the lien of any mortgage or mortgages.

Waiver. Failure of Landlord to complain of any act or omission on the part of the other shall not be deemed to be a waiver by Landlord of any of his rights.

Quiet Enjoyment. So long as Tenant pays the rent and performs the covenants required Tenant may peacefully hold and enjoy the premises during the term.

Late Fee. All rent payments received after the 10th of each month will be subject to a 5 percent late fee of the total rent.

Tenants today should consider engaging a Commercial Real Estate Agent Broker assist them with the leasing process including market conditions so expectations can be met.

And in most cases, a Real Estate Attorney should also be engaged to review and negotiate some of the terms of the lease agreement depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the lease. <

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, October 15, 2021

Real Estate: Strong seller’s market continues

By Matthew Trudel

Heading into the holiday season the strong seller’s market continues to thrive as buyers are offering well over the listing price and multiple offers are common and becoming the norm.   

Selling a house offers challenges all on its own.  You need to prepare the home and generally make several repairs.  Then there is the search for an experienced Realtor to assist you with finding the optimum list price for your house and creating a marketing plan to bring in the most buyers.  Another potential issue is figuring out where you are going to move to once your house sells.  Many sellers need to sell their home in order to purchase another home. 

This presents a little timing issue so sellers only have to move once. So which one does a seller do first? Do you list the home and then find the house you want to purchase? Or do you find the house you want to purchase, put it under contract, and then put your home on the market 

Both options work and I will go over each, but regardless of which option you choose there are a couple steps that should happen before you decide.  One of those steps is deciding on an accurate listing price that will bring in the most buyers and create competition amongst the buyers.  This will also include a marketing strategy to get your home sold quickly.  Another step is getting pre-qualified so that you know exactly what your purchasing power is.  This way you are all set up when you go to make an offer on your next home.  Once you have all this in place you are ready to make a decision on whether to list first and buy second or put your new house under contract first and then list.

If you choose to list your house first before finding your house, you will need to let all the potential buyers know how much time you would like to locate a suitable property.  This will also mean that the closing date will likely need to be 60 days from the time of going under contract on the house you are selling.  That date can be moved up after you have located the house you want to purchase and put it under contract.  One advantage to this method is that you know exactly what you are getting for your home and know exactly how much money you are going to have to put toward your new home.

If you choose to try to put your new home under contract and then list, this option is fine but sometimes a bit tougher in this type of seller’s market.  Putting in an offer contingent upon the sale of your house when it isn’t on the market puts you at a disadvantage when going up against other offers.  There are several ways to make your offer desirable in other ways.  The most obvious is of course the price you are offering on the new house.  How much over asking price are you willing to go in order to make your offer good enough for a seller to consider your offer with the condition of listing and selling your home?

There is another option that is not very common, but I have used it a few times over my 20-plus years of selling real estate.  This option is listing your home and selling it with the condition that you can lease the home back from the buyers after you close.  This time period is generally 60 days if need be.  The terms of the lease all need to be figured out ahead of time.  The upside is it allows you more time to find the home you want to purchase.  It also allows for more flexibility in moving into your new home.  This option works particularly well when someone is having a new home built but isn’t exactly sure when it will be finished. 

This article was written by Matthew Trudel, the owner of Five Star Realty here in Windham.  Call to find out how Five Star Realty can assist you in all your real estate needs. 207-939-6971.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Real Estate: Should I sell my home this fall?

By Richie Vraux

Well, you have decided to sell your home, but now we are going into the fall season. Yes, you could have listed your home in the Spring/ Summer season and yes, you might have sold it quick, but life throws us curve balls; you get a job offer in another town and need to move, you need to downsize/ up-size due to family, a change in your families’ lives, a family member passes and you just need to move. There are a thousand reasons why the fall is still a good time to sell. Find a real estate broker that is experienced with selling in the different seasons and long enough to know the market is different by season.

First off, make sure the grounds are clear from fallen leaves and debris from plants or flowers that have gone by and are encroaching on your foot path. Those flowers were beautiful during the early spring and summer but now are wilting, turning brown and not so attractive anymore.

So, at this time of year you want bright colorful flowers to stand out and command your walkway. Pick the doorway you want to direct the flow of buyers through- That’s where to make the best example of showing your colors. Make sure you put away all your gardening tools, your lawn mowers, shovels, rakes, etc. are out of sight. Make sure your roof is cleared from branches, moss, acorns and whatever else those pesky varmints leave behind.

Make sure your chimney is swept (Call a chimney sweep to do it right).

Make sure it is wide open and cleaned of any and all creosote. Also – make sure you have a chimney cap that fits your chimney opening. It prevents snow, rain, and animals coming down your chimney to get into your nice warm house. Make sure your windows are functioning correctly and are sparkling clean. It makes a difference. Make sure you have your furnace serviced and cleaned. Make sure your burner has a service tag showing when and how the furnace has been maintained over the years.

Make sure your fireplace, pellet stove, wood burning stove has been cleaned and serviced as needed.

Before actual buyers show up to view your home, make sure it has the smells of fall; an apple pie and cinnamon- maybe the plug ins. Yankee Candle sells wonderful, scented plug ins giving you the smells appropriate with the season. Usually, these scents of the season will cover the remaining lingering, unpleasant smells. Make sure your lighting is adequate.

During showings you want to put all the lighting on. Bright is always better. Decorate for the many festive seasons coming up; Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Display colorful throws over your chair, couch. Make sure your home looks warm and cozy. Remember, a clean house always sells better.

The holiday season is coming upon us real soon. Use your holiday d├ęcor to promote the reason a buyer will buy your home over others listed on the market.

Remember, you only get one chance to make the best impression. Make sure it is not cluttered with stuff you don’t need now. You are moving so put it away. Make sure all your personal items are gone off the walls. These buyers want to take possession of your house in their mind, and with your personal stuff there – it is hard to imagine. Good luck with selling your home in the fall market. <

About the author: Richie Vraux is a partner with Maine’s Premier Team at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate with locations in Windham and Gorham offices. If you need real estate advice, Call Richie at 207- 317-1297.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Real Estate: Signs it is time to overhaul your kitchen

Submitted by Kristin Piccone

Remodeling a kitchen adds value to a home. Remodeling Magazine's "Cost vs. Value Report" indicates mid-range kitchen remodels cost about $66,000, and homeowners can expect to recover about 60 to 80 percent of that cost at resale.

Homeowners may wonder if remodeling their kitchens is worth the investment. But homeowners should not just consider cost, but also the current conditions of their kitchens when deciding if a renovation project is the right move to make. These signs indicate it may be time to renovate a kitchen.

* Breakers are triggered: If the lights go dark from a tripped circuit breaker every time you try to microwave and run the toaster oven at the same time, your wiring is likely not up to the task of handling the workload and could be out of date. A kitchen remodel will assess wiring load needs and an electric overhaul may be necessary.
* Lack of storage: One of the biggest hassles homeowners encounter in their kitchens is a lack of storage space. If making a meal involves a Jenga-like stacking and rearranging of kitchen tools, or if an avalanche occurs whenever you search for an item, you might need more storage. A carefully planned redesign can achieve this, even in a smaller kitchen.

* Outdated appliances: Even if your appliances are not avocado green or mustard yellow relics of the 1970s, they might still need to be replaced. According to CRD Design, appliances are only expected to last around 10 to 15 years. If appliances have become unsafe or energy hogs, it could be time for a remodel.

* Family is expanding (or shrinking): Kitchens often are the heart of a home. They need to meet the needs of the family that resides in that home. A remodel can add space as needed. On the flip side, when a couple becomes empty nesters, kitchens can be redesigned and downsized to reflect their new needs and desires, such as the addition of a wine chiller or espresso station.

* Poor lighting: Task lighting is essential in a kitchen, but older homes may not be equipped with lighting where it's most needed. A carefully designed remodel can improve lighting with under-cabinet lights, pendants, overhead lighting, and even natural light to make the space attractive and more functional.  

* Frequent run-ins: The notion that you can have too many cooks in the kitchen refers to having too many people trying to pitch in or offer their opinions. However, it also can apply to when too many people are gathering in a small space. Redesigning a kitchen can improve the efficiency of a space and make the room feel larger.

* Aesthetic appeal: Many kitchen remodels have been inspired by unsightly kitchens. Cosmetic changes can lead to big improvements.

Kitchen renovations can add instant appeal and help address issues that tend to plague outdated rooms. It can also provide one of the largest returns on investment should you be considering putting your home on the market.

Kristin Piccone is a REALTOR for Landing Real Estate in Windham. Reach her at 207-951-1393 or by email at