Once you have decided to seek out the Maine Lake Lifestyle, you will have a few decisions to make. Many people dream of living on a large level lakefront lot, with privacy, but open lake views, and an elegant and spacious home. However, only a few are in the position to pay the hefty price tag that assuredly comes with such a property…and the hefty annual taxes.
This does not mean that Maine lake living is out of reach. With a little planning and decision making upfront, you can find the lake home that fits both your budget and your lifestyle. You can do this by deciding which elements are most important to you. Often this will depend heavily on your intended use of the property. Is this to be a year round home, a vacation retreat just for you and your family, a potential rental property, or a retreat purchased together for use by a group?
Once you have selected a Realtor® to assist you with your search and spoken with a loan officer to find your target price range, you can begin by taking a critical look at the homes available. Don’t be discouraged if you start to feel that you cannot “have it all.” A little bit of time spent sorting through your desires and priorities may reveal the perfect home for you.
photo courtesy of Dana Moos
A few things to consider. Take a moment to think about which is most important to you.
Year round home…or seasonal property? Homes may be listed as “seasonal” for different reasons (lack of a heat source or insulation, lack of a winter water source (some homes simply pump water from the lake for non drinking uses,) or roads that are inaccessible in the winter. Some seasonal homes can be converted to year round, but some cannot. You need to speak directly with the local code enforcement officer to find out.
Sloped or level lot? Many Maine lake homes may have a steep slope down to the water. If the view is your most important desire, this may work well for you. If an easy walk to the water is needed, then a more level lot may work better.
Size and amenities of the home or size and amenities of the waterfront? This is often the largest trade off to be considered. Is the size and and comfort level of the home more important to you, or are you happy to consider a more rustic and modest home in exchange for a large waterfront area?
Waterfront or water access? Many people automatically search only for homes directly on the water not realizing that property taxes will be much higher and the homes much more costly. If boating, swimming, or beach access is your primary goal, a home with deeded access to larger areas of water just a short walk from the home may work well for you.
You can often buy a more spacious and well appointed home just off the water when compared to homes right on the water. These may also lie just outside of shoreland zoning, making any future septic system needs or home expansion plans much easier and less costly. Shoreland zoning extends 250 feet from the water and dictates building codes (including restrictions on expansion) and septic design and construction.
Yes, with a little planning and decision making upfront, you can find the Maine lake home that fits both your budget and your lifestyle.
Please feel free to call me with any questions or concerns. I’d be happy to help you find your perfect Maine lake home.Read More
Here in Maine we have no shortage of vintage homes. When considering the purchase of a vintage home, it is important to understand that homes certainly can last for hundreds of years, but they do require special care and feeding to do so.
General preventive maintenance is important, but that alone will not keep the builing going. At some point, major systems and components will need to be replaced. Before you fall in love with the charm of the woodwork, built-ins and other period features, it is important to research the history of the building and determine which upgrades and improvements have already taken place and more importantly, which ones will be needed in the near future. …and to consider this when choosing the price you are willing to pay.
Since centarian homes are not uncommon in our area, simple cosmetic improvements are not enough to preserve and improve a home’s value. These may be the most fun to do, but the savvy home buyer will tend to the structural and system repairs and improvements first. Un-glamorous as they may be, these renovations are what future buyers will look for.
A good rule of thumb is to start with the safety related improvements first, then move on to items that prevent further deterioration. Once those are complete, you can move on to the projects that improve energy efficiency and add value, THEN you are free to poke away at the fun cosmetic improvements.
The right improvements to your older home, will not only increase it’s lifespan and value, but they will add to your comfort and enjoyment while you live there.
Note: “Fairhaven.” the home pictured above was built in 1842 for a local sea captain and was lovingly restored by it’s most recent owners. With continued care, this home should last at least another 100 years.Read More
NOTE: I wrote this last year on January 1st and decided to pull it out again this year to see how my plan worked. I can happily report that due to my promise to myself (and in no small part being a part of Maine’s largest and coolest agency – The Maine Real Estate Network,) I achieved more in 2012 than I ever did with my previous list of soon to be broken resolutions and I did not regret any of the opportunities I pursued. So if you are looking for a promise you can keep, this might be for you.
So here it is again.
Ah, New Year’s Day and the time to pull out those famous (or infamous) resolutions. I’ve known people who seem to do very well with resolutions. For some they provide that extra nudge of motivation to keep growing and achieving. Awesome!
However, for the rest of us, there are times when making that list of resolutions for the new year can feel like planning ahead for what we will need to feel guilty about at the end of the year. We start out feeling committed and maybe even excited about all that will be accomplished, but after a few months, the energy fades and we find ourselves back on the old path.
Why is that? Could it be that perhaps we are not as gung ho about it in the first place? Are we making that list, not because we really want to, but because we believe we are SUPPOSED to do it? Are we listing the items that we truly want to change, or the ones we think others want us to change?
If you see a bit of yourself in the above description and would like to avoid the “this time, sometime, maybe never” trap, then I might have an idea for you.
Opportunities and ideas come up all the time. Have you ever noticed that when you share a great idea or opportunity with someone, the first thing they seem to do is start to present you with your future excuses for not going for it? I’m not sure what it is in human nature that creates this phenomenon. After a while, we don’t even need others to give us all of the “what ifs” and reasons why something may not work, we start doing that on our own.
So, instead of a long list of resolutions, I am making one promise to myself this year. This year when an opportunity or great idea comes along, I promise to ignore the naysayers (myself included) and ask myself one simple question:
“What if everything goes perfectly and this works?”
If the answer to that questions is something that I want, then I promise myself that I will go for it with gusto! That’s it. No resolutions, just one promise. The promise to give myself the freedom to succeed.
Whether resolutions or promises, I wish a happy and fulfilling 2013 to all!Read More
They don’t come on the market very often, but here is your chance to get into the beautiful West Auburn neighborhood at an affordable price. This updated 2 bedroom, 2 bath bungalow features a master suite, deck, 1.5 acres, 2 car garage, and even has hiking trails behind the home. There is even an extra room that would make a great office. Priced to move at only $150,000
Have some fun and check out our interactive photo below. Hover your mouse over the photo and then click on any of the icons to see more.
This information is from one of my favorite local mortgage specialists and posted here with her blessing. Janice Wescott is the Vice President and Senior Mortgage Banker at Reliant Mortgage. If you are considering getting back into a home, give me a call. We’ll get together with Janice, put together a plan, and get you back on the path to home ownership.
Anyone who has been through the pain and frustration of a foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy has also had to deal with the advice of well meaning friends and family members. All too often this “helpful” advice is simply wrong. Our guest blogger, Janice Wescott, sets the record straight.
Myth #1 – I HAVE TO WAIT 7 YEARS BEFORE I CAN GET A LOAN
You do not have to wait 7 years to qualify for a mortgage after going through a mortgage delinquency and/or a bankruptcy. If you went through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you only have to have completed 1 year of your repayment plan to qualify for an FHA Loan. FHA financing also allows you to qualify for a loan after 3 years from the date of a foreclosure on a previous home. If you completed a short sale on a previous home, you may qualify for a new mortgage in as little as 2 years from the date or the short sale. You must have re-established credit, and now is the time to start that process and get back on track!
Myth #2 – I WILL NEED A LARGE DOWNPAYMENT TO BUY A HOME
There is no question that there are fewer loan programs offered today with low or zero down payment. HOWEVER, just about anyone is eligible for an FHA Loan. You do not need to be a first time home buyer. The down payment requirement is 3.5% of the purchase price – that’s probably almost the same amount of money you would need for a rent deposit! Rural Development loans are 100% Financing for qualified borrowers and property specific locations. If you are a Veteran, you are likely eligible for 100% financing – and Myth#1 applies to RD and VA Loans as well.
Myth #3 – IT’S JUST CHEAPER TO RENT
Granted, every situation is different, but in many cases this just is not true. Any good plan has a short term and long term outlook. In the short term, with prices and mortgage rates at historic lows the monthly costs to own a home are often the same or as cheap as renting the same type of home. For example, at today’s interest rates, you can own a $100,000 home for less than $900 a month – that includes taxes and insurance! And by the way, you only needed a $3500 down payment. Even if you do not see significant savings in the short term, you must look at the long term advantages of home ownership. You are likely leaving thousands of dollars in the pockets of the IRS every year by not having an interest deduction on your taxes. The Housing Affordable Index is at a 20 year high – low prices and low interest rates WILL NOT remain at these levels forever. Don’t look back 5 years from now and say “I should have bought back then.” Remember this fact as well, your rent is going to eventually go up, when you own a home, you can virtually “lock in” your monthly housing costs.
Myth #4 – THERE IS PLENTY OF TIME TO BUY – PRICES ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE
As mentioned earlier, Housing Affordability goes well beyond the price of the home. Interest rates are still at historic lows, and the market experts continue to warn of higher interest rates ahead. In addition, the Federal Housing Administration has hinted at increasing the minimum down payment requirements to reduce the risk of mortgage defaults. Remember that our Government is virtually carrying FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac on their backs right now. Securing a mortgage while rates are at historic lows and down payments are very reasonable are a great reason to not let the perception of housing prices be your only decision method.
MYTH #5 – IT’S JUST TOO DIFFICULT TO QUALIFY FOR A LOAN
Hopefully by now you have realized that some of the myths that exist just are not true, especially with regards to qualifying for a loan. I know, you hear on TV all the time of “Difficult Lending Standards”. Yes, it’s true, you can no longer get a 100% mortgage with No Income Verification and a 580 credit score……Seriously though, the mortgage industry has simply gone back to the standards they had 10 years ago. You must have reasonable credit – 640 credit score as an average; You must verify your income and your debts represent less than 50% of your income; and You typically need a little money into the transaction – which in most cases can be a gift if necessary. Millions of people were qualifying for loans prior to the “Wild West” of mortgage lending, and customers are closing on loans every day in today’s market.
Yes, you may not qualify for a mortgage loan today – That’s why we did this report. The first step is realizing that owning a home again (or for the first time) is the best thing you can do for yourself. Then, you need to make a plan to achieve this. Now is the time to contact us and allow us to review your situation and help you get on a path to home ownership. All too often, people wait until “they are ready to buy”; to only find out they cannot because they did not plan ahead. There are tens of thousands of people who experienced a foreclosure, bankruptcy, and/or short sale in the last several years. Over the course of the next 24 months, many of these people will have the ability to own homes again – Will you be one of them?
For Additional Information on becoming a homeowner again or for the first time, please call Janice Wescott for a FREE Consultation at 207-831-9272 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
If you haven’t visited downtown Lewiston recently, you might not recognize it.
The downtown areas of both Lewiston and Auburn have been undergoing quite the renaissance over the last few years. Drawn by the ample supply of historic buildings and the picturesque surroundings of the Androscoggin river, businesses and professionals have been slowly purchasing and renovating the downtown landscape.
Stylish and critically acclaimed restaurants, art galleries, and markets along with the historic Lewiston Public Library and The Public Theatre have prompted more people to consider moving into the city.
This new trend was covered in a recent story by The Lewiston Sun Journal, including the video below. With additional downtown properties currently for sale, there are currently great opportunities for busy professionals looking to take advantage of the benefits of living and working in the city.
Looks like the beautiful sunny weather we ordered for the Maine Open House weekend came through (although a touch warmer would have also been nice.)
There are still 589 Maine OPEN HOUSES left for today before this event comes to close.
Open House Weekend really gives Maine home buyers a chance to poke around the different areas and explore homes for sale at their own pace. With low interest rates, great prices, and so much to choose from, now is a great time to buy a home in Maine.
While you are out, don’t forget to stop by the showcase Litchfield home in Peace Pipe Shores and register for your chance to win tickets to the last Red Sox – Yankees game of the season. Here is a map to help you get there.Read More