Maine Real Estate and Community News

Dec. 22, 2021

Winter 2021 Market Update

Here’s a quick overview of how our market is changing next year.

 

2021 was an incredible year in real estate. We had very low inventory and high buyer demand. That combination created a frenzy of buyer activity which included multiple-offer situations and elevated home prices.

 

It's predicted that we’ll still see low inventory and lots of buyer activity in 2022. However, it's also predicted that prices will level off in Knox, Lincoln, and Waldo counties. We currently have about two months of inventory across our land, lower-end properties, and waterfront property market segments. In other segments like affordable housing and lakefront homes, the inventory is even less than two months which creates a lot of buyer demand.

 

Traditionally, the listing and buying season in Maine was from the spring to the fall. This is not the case anymore because of the high buyer demand and the low inventory. Our winter selling season has remained strong. If you're considering selling a property in Maine and you want a market analysis, or if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Posted in Market Summary
Nov. 16, 2021

Our Thanksgiving Message

We are so grateful to everyone who has supported Dwelling in Maine.

 

Today we want to take the opportunity to say thank you and to express gratitude to you all. This December will be Dwelling in Maine’s sixth anniversary. It’s always been our dream to build something that creates opportunities for the people around us.

 

Dwelling in Maine has an amazing group of agents and staff. We’re very thankful for them and for the opportunity to have built someplace for people to call their second home. I’m also very thankful for all the trust that our clients, family, and friends have put in us and our business to help us grow.

 

Homeownership is a huge privilege and milestone for many people. For some, it extends into investments and building a portfolio. Regardless of where our clients stand, they have let us be a part of that. Thank you for trusting us and we look forward to continuing to serve the real estate community here in Maine. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

 

Nov. 9, 2021

What the Zillow News Means for You

Here’s why Zillow’s iBuyer program was doomed to fail from the start.

 

 

Zillow has been in the news a lot recently. We want to thank everyone who sent us the Zillow news articles and shared your opinions. It was certainly big news for the real estate industry when they decided to cancel one of their most popular services.

 

The big news is that Zillow is canceling their iBuying program due to a lack of results. One of the reasons this program failed is because their pricing model, based on the site’s Zestimates, does not work. Over the years, both buyers and sellers have brought up a home’s Zestimate to me to back up a price on a home. We have had many conversations with them as to why Zestimates don’t work.

 

The bottom line is that real estate is hyper-local. Zillow can’t see inside your home to learn about any improvements or shortfalls. They don’t know what is happening in your town or neighborhood. 

 

 

"Regardless of where you are, working with a local professional is important."

 

 

We hope the takeaway for all homeowners and prospective homeowners throughout the U.S. is that there is a difference between trusting and speaking with a local real estate professional and using any of the out-of-state real estate listing portals. A reputable local team like ours has their finger on the pulse of their service area, the latest local data, and reviews real estate statistics daily.

 

Regardless of where you are, find a local real estate company, use their website, and develop a relationship with a licensed agent to help you buy or sell a home. If you don’t know an agent where you are, just let us know, and we can use our national network to connect you to someone who is. 

 

We would love to be your Maine real estate resource. Don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email with any questions you might have. We are always here to help.

Posted in Homeowners
Oct. 28, 2021

The Top 5 Best Things About Rockland

Here are five reasons why we think Rockland is a fantastic place to live.

 

 

Rockland, Maine is a suburban town with a population of about 8,000 people, and it’s a fantastic place to live. Today we want to share our top five reasons to live in Rockland:

1. Our working waterfront. Rockland has a deep harbor that is well-protected. People catch excellent lobster here, but there are also plenty of recreation opportunities

2. Our historic main street. Most main streets in our state have more of a touristy, seasonal vibe, but that’s not the case in Rockland. Our main street is meant to be lived in, not visited. It’s home to great businesses that you are sure to enjoy. 

3. Strong culture and arts scene. Rockland is home to the Farnsworth art museum, which is just one of many locations dedicated to the arts. If you’re a resident, you get free admission.

4. The accessibility of the waterfront. Some places in Maine make it difficult to access the water. Meanwhile, Rockland has many waterfront trails, parks, and other areas that are easily accessed for your enjoyment. 

5. Location. Rockland is only 10 minutes away from the nearest airport, which has direct flights to Boston. If you want to drive, it’s only a little over three hours to Boston. If you want to get further away, we’re close to the national Portland airport. This ease of access makes Rockland an awesome place to live for seasonal residents. 

 

These are just a few of the benefits of living in Rockland. If you are interested in learning more about the city, please call or email us. We are always willing to help

Oct. 25, 2021

We Can Help You Buy Your First Home

               

First time buying a home? We’d be happy to help.

 

 

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you might be asking yourself, “Should I look for homes online, or should I go to the bank first?”

 

Truth be told, you should go to the bank first. I understand that going to the bank for your very first loan can be super intimidating for a lot of people. For my first time, I was so nervous that I would be denied a loan due to some issue with my credit or income. However, I found that loan officers are people like you and me; they’re just doing their jobs, looking at people on paper as opposed to judging them.

 

The point of going to a lender first is to get qualified as a good loan candidate and to figure out what you can afford. They’re really terrific about giving you advice about what you need to pay off or fix to qualify for a loan. Once you have your qualification letter, your funds start, and we get to start looking at properties in your desired areas that fit your budget.

 

If you have any questions about the first-time home-buying process, please reach out to us. We know you have a lot you want to ask about, and we’d love to be your guide through the process.

Oct. 12, 2021

Is It a Fixture or Personal Property?

 

Here’s the difference between personal property and fixtures in a home.

 

 

When looking to purchase a home in Maine, you want to know what comes with the home. For example, will the appliances be in the home when you move into it? So how can you tell the difference between personal property and fixtures?

 

Things that can be easily put on a dolly and removed from the home are personal property, like a refrigerator or something not permanently attached to the wall. Fixtures are more permanently attached to the home and are assumed to stay in the house, like a dishwasher that’s hardwired and plumbed into the house. Mirrors or curtain rod holders that are permanently attached are fixtures. You may have a range stove that plugs in, so it’s personal property, but you might have a cooktop stove that’s hardwired in, so it’s a fixture

 

“Personal property usually goes with the seller, and fixtures typically stay in the house.”

 

 

Since there are two kinds of property in a house, we clearly define what you’d like to see stay in the home in the purchase and sale agreement. For example, if you want the refrigerator (personal property) to match the dishwasher (fixture) that comes with the house, you need to list that refrigerator as something you’d like to have stay in the home when you buy it. The washer and dryer are also examples of personal property you may want to keep.

 

Perhaps the seller is offering something you don’t want to have in your home, like a basement freezer or propane stove. Then we need to list those as exclusions in the agreement.

 

If you have further questions about this or any other real estate matter, reach out to us via phone or email. We’d love to help you.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Sept. 30, 2021

Why You Should Check Your Homeowners Insurance

Our rapidly rising prices could have created gaps in your home coverage.

 

We wanted to check in with you about your homeowners insurance and any insurance gaps you may have.

 

There’s no doubt that we’ve been in a hot real estate market. It’s been a seller’s market, and depending on where you’re at in Maine, home prices have increased almost 25% to 50%. This rapid price appreciation could have created gaps in your homeowners insurance. Most people get homeowners insurance when they buy their home at the value at the time they purchased the property and often don't revisit their policy.

 

I can’t speak to the details of your homeowners insurance policy because I’m not an expert or insurance agent, but I can speak to the value of your home. If you bought your house before this hot real estate market, you might want to reach out to us to get an updated home valuation so that you can have an educated conversation with your insurance agent. The online automated home valuations services don’t have a good grasp on Maine real estate market, our area, and they don’t know the details (like updates) of your home. They are a great place to start but not for an accurate valuation.

 

If you would find having an updated home valuation beneficial or if you have any real estate questions, feel free to reach out to us. We would be happy to help.

 

And as always, remember to love where you dwell.

Posted in Homeowners
Sept. 14, 2021

Why Zoning Is Different in Maine's Rural Communities

 

Zoning works differently in rural areas, so get to know the area better.

 

Today we are up at the Appleton Preserve along this quiet little river to chat a little bit about zoning in our rural communities. If you’re coming from an urban environment, you might be used to how they do zoning in those areas: commercial properties grouped together and neighborhoods with homes of similar style and sizes. That’s not always the case in some of Maine's rural communities.

 

If you think about it, these communities were often built up around large farmhouses and tracks of land that likely had hundreds of acres. These were often divided up in a quasi piecemeal over the years and were not subject to any real zoning restrictions (so long as the lots were conforming). With a lack of more urban style standardized zoning (homes only with other homes and commercial properties alongside other commercial uses) people could therefore build different types and uses of structures within a relatively small geographic area.

 

If you’re buying in one of Maine's more rural areas, this means we really have to get to know the other properties surrounding the home you may be interested in because there is a chance that they may be a bit different then you may expect. We want to find out if the neighboring property(ies) usage and if the town zoning works for your needs. If you are not currently in Maine and want to purchase a home in a rural community then we may be able to help you better learn about abutters and a home's surroundings utilizing a video tour.

 

If you are thinking about buying rural or you have any other real estate questions, please give us a call or email us! We’d love to help you out.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Aug. 30, 2021

How To Buy Your Maine Vacation Home From Out of State

 

Here’s how our video showings make buying a home in Maine out of state easy.

 

 

Today I'm coming from Mill River Park which is part of Thomaston Village Trail to give you some quick advice about buying properties in Maine while you are out of state and when traveling is not reasonable.

 

Before this crazy seller's market, buyers would plan a trip to Maine to visit multiple homes that are on the market, explore the region for their ideal location, and often head back home with a property under contract. Today this process doesn’t always work. The Maine real estate market is so competitive that you could come here for a week, and not feel that you have viewed enough homes to make a good decision or find what you’re looking for. 

 

“We want to know everything we can about what you’re looking for so we can find the best homes for you.”

 

 

How do we work around this? Our best solution for our out-of-state buyers is to offer video showings. These video showings are different from the virtual tours that became popular during the pandemic. Rather than a live tour via a tool like FaceTime, our video showings are designed intentionally so that you can replay multiple times and share it with decision makers, family and friends. The big difference is that our videos are buyer focused and not marketing focused (After all we would represent you, the buyer!). Once you view the videos, we can then have a conversation and explore any questions you may have. If the home is a good fit based upon the videos and discussion then you can put an offer on the home.

 

However, before we even take the showing videos, we want to get to know you. What’s your lifestyle? What do you want in a home? What does your ideal Maine setting look like? We want to know everything we can about what you’re looking for so we can find the best homes for you. 

 

The only thing we ask is that you travel to Maine during the due diligence period for building or other inspections. This way, you can view the home in person and get to know the property with the inspector before closing day. Our clients find that coordinating travel during this inspection period is much easier than the reactionary travel required to visit Maine to see individual homes that hit the market.


Hopefully, this helped make buying a Maine home from out-of-state in a Seller's market more approachable and easier. If you have any questions about today’s topic, please give us a call at 207-706-6640 or visit our website at https://www.dwellinginmaine.com/. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Posted in Buyer Tips
Aug. 17, 2021

Becoming a Maine Real Estate Sales Agent: What they don't say

I wish the process was reversed when I became a Maine Real Estate agent. In my head it should start with an agency and then carry on to the Maine educational process, logistics and checklists that are needed to become a licensed Maine sales agent. 

I was smart enough to find the Maine's professional regulation website and then read and follow the instructions to learn what I needed to do to get my Maine real estate license. 

My plans and vision was to have a career that allowed me the opportunity to make my own hours and be my "own" boss. And well.. that sounded pretty amazing to me.  

What my online research didn't tell me is exactly what I could expect cost wise, the effort it would take and..... that while I was my own boss that I would have many company and obligations that would derail me from being the boss of my own schedule. 

I didn't have a full grasp of costs, benefits, and get my questions until after I began to sell real estate.

 

Maine Real Estate License Start Up Costs

 

Why?  Partly because I didn't know to ask the questions. And partly because many real estate offices have a model where they want to have as many licensed agents as possible in order to gain every opportunity to gain market share and/or accolades of having a large number of agents in their real estate market. 

I also didn't know that all agencies are structured differently. The agency with the most signs doesn't make it the best agency to work for. The largest national franchise agency doesn't mean that it offers the best training. And that sometimes the smallest boutique agencies in the area sell the most homes. Every agency is different in how they market, take care of, coach and train their agents. (Oh.. and some agencies pay their agents to find new agents which is a whole other discussion).

Also keep in mind that each agency has their own agent fees and pay structures. Some agencies make you pay monthly for your desk space, a franchise fee, a flat monthly fee or marketing fees. Then pay wise you must know that each agency pays their agents on a different commission structure. Bottom line... there are many variables. 

When choosing a brokerage to work for you can't simply look at the commission percent you receive when you sell a home. You must look at the big picture which includes your commission split  - less your yearly brokerage expenses + the value of any benefits like coaching, company marketing and company paid items (like signs which can be $50-150 each). 

I knew that being a real estate agent meant that I would be working as an independent contractor but I really didn't know what that would entail.  Bottom line here is this meant that I would need to be responsible for all costs involved, taxes, insurance, and the operation time involved in running my own business. 

The other piece of the puzzle that I didn't truly know was ......What it would take to be successful! This in itself is a whole discussion and should be customized to the agent. But what you should know here is that there are real estate brokerages that want to train, empower and coach you. You don't have to settle, figure it out on your own, or just be a name on an agency's roster of agents. 

Getting a Maine real estate agent license and career started is very doable and can be navigated. BUT... and I say again... I wish I had the chance to chat with an industry leader prior to taking my real estate class and exam. 

This where Dwelling in Maine can come in. We can help you achieve the next step of the process by offering a prospective new agent consultation.

I am happy to be a resource in order to help jump start someones's career. And I'm happy to give my time and offer someone an opportunity.

Why? Because, I was young, starting a career with kid, and living paycheck to paycheck...

And while I didn't start with all the answers and tools I needed... I did find a mentor along the way and that person gave me their time and a chance.  

Tom Ferry: Create Opportunities  

 

Submitted by Victoria Condon. The founder and designated broker of Dwelling in Maine