A sign of spring….

Well, it’s finally here, the day you’ve been waiting for. Today is “National Learn About Butterflies Day”.

Wait, what? You haven’t been waiting for it?  Too bad, here it is, in all it’s glory.  Or all it’s fluttery color anyway. (yes, that’s a word. I think)

Fun facts to share about butterflies (and when you do so please use #LearnAboutButterfliesDay)

~ Worldwide there are more than 24,000 species of butterflies

~ Wing spans range from 1/8  inch to 12 inches

~ Top flight speed is up to 12 MPH

~ Life spans are from a week to a 9-10 months

Butterflies rely on plants and flowers to survive, so today is a great day to start thinking spring and gardens and plantings.  See, any time I can write about spring makes me happy!  I’ll keep searching and counting the days……

To generate or not to generate?

When we hear the words “snow storm” (at least here in the Northeast!), it seems to produce a run on certain items…..bread and milk, shovels and salt/sand at the very least.  But as a homeowner it also seems to get us motivated to looking into alternative power sources, as snow also brings the possibility of power lines down and a loss of electricity!  So if you don’t have a wood stove to help heat things up, which we don’t as of this year, we start to think about generators.

portable-generator

You could go to your local hardware store and pick up a portable generator, but they can be in short supply just like the bread and milk once the storm starts!

A better solution may be a whole house, permanent generator, which will start on it’s own and supply power to the entire house as soon as your “regular” power decides to go out.

Now I could try to explain how that all works, but since I have a Real Estate license not an electrical license, I think it’s best to leave all of that up to a professional.  But I can recommend some really great electricans who would be more than happy to answer your questions, like: What size do I need? Is a permit needed? Are there setbacks to worry about? Do we need to have it inspected? What powers the generator?whole-house-generator

And while it’s already February 1st, there’s lots of time left for our power to go out leaving us cold and dark…so think about what might be best for you and start planning!

Music on the Mall….tonight!

No dinner plans? Wondering what to do this evening? My suggestion, pack a picnic (or get take out from one on the many fabulous restaurants that line our Maine Street) and head to the Mall. Not the shopping mall, but the village green kind of mall. Under the gazebo, Jimmy Junkins and the Big Fat Cadillac Band will be playing from 6:00 to 8:00! Gather your chair or blanket, make yourself comfortable, and get ready to enjoy the band, the food and the weather!

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http://www.bigfatcadillac.com/about_the_band/

National Pie Day!

Today is National Pie Day!!  For all of you (and I’m in this group) cake lovers, you might want to skip this, but know that National Cake Day is November 26th for future reference!

Pie

Apparently, The American Pie Council (who knew there was such a thing right??) set aside January 23rd to celebrate the pie, bake the pie, share the pie and I assume eat the pie! There is also a National Pie Championship where one could win the “American Pie Council’s Best Pie in America” award.

Here’s a link to a “perfect” apple pie…but a word of caution, it starts with a boxed pie crust! http://bit.ly/1RT3Ms6

So are you a pie or a cake person?!

It’s Tax Time. Again. A few ideas to help!

So by now you’ve probably been thinking about your Federal and State taxes, and maybe even preparing just a bit for them.  And you can wait if you want, even for a few more months, but eventually, you’ll need to read this post and get to work filing your taxes.

As a homeowner, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider.  One of the most useful benefits of homeownership, after the right to paint those bedrooms purple, is tax deductions.  If this is your first year of owning a home, then check out this list!

tax return

#1: Property Tax ~ any money paid during the year to your town/city property tax is deductible.

#2: Mortgage Interest ~ any money paid towards mortgage interest on your first or second mortgage and any private mortgage insurance payments are deductible.

#3: Closing Costs ~ some of the costs paid at your closing are tax deductible (ask your accountant which ones to include). Your may even be able to deduct some of your moving costs.

#4: Home Office ~ you may be able to use your home office as a deduction as well.

There may be others (his is when your accountant not me, your real estate agent is the professional!) so save all of your receipts for purchasing (your Closing Statement) as well as receipts for repairs, remodeling, parts etc.  My advice is to save everything for seven years, but again, let your accountant guide you on that!

If your still renting, know that your landlord is getting all these benefits…wouldn’t you rather get them for yourself??

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Home…New Construction?

new construction

If you’ve been thinking of a new home, and by new I mean really, really (construction) new, there are definitely some things that are totally different from purchasing a pre-existing home.  Here are a few things to think about before you make the new construction decision!

#1: You probably won’t be able to negotiate the price.  Builders factor many things into their price and with new construction, what it is ~ is ~what it is!  You may be able to negotiate a few upgrades, but don’t quote me on this one!

#2: The price you start at most likely won’t be the price you end at.  During the construction process, things change.  Like you decide that you want hardwood throughout the house, not just in the living room.  Or you found lighting that you can’t live without, but it’s higher than the budgeted amount!

model homes 2

#3: Your home is not going to look like the model!  White couches, no clutter, perfectly placed knick knacks are not realistic.  Don’t worry, you’ll love your home with YOUR things in it as well!

#4: Expect delays.  When the builder tells you 4 months from start to finish, plan for your home to be ready in 6 months.  That way, if it’s earlier, you’ll be delighted, if it’s later, you’ll be resigned!new construction 2

#5: Even though everything is brand new, it may not all be perfect.  Mistakes can (read “will”) be made. But the builder will go over things with you and create a punch list ~ items to be tweaked and fixed ~ and they should also offer you a warranty. Before you sign anything, ask about their warranty, if it’s not at least one year, find another builder.

Pets at showings?!

I know you love your dogs. I know you love your cats.  And for some reason that I’ll never understand, I know you love your snakes. But not everyone does.

You’ve made the decision to sell your home, and with that comes the knowledge that strangers will be traipsing through your home peeking into closets and cabinets, looking into attics and cellars and sitting at the table and on the couch getting a feel for the kitchen and living room. I’ve yet to have someone lay on a bed to get a feel for the bedroom but……

So you’ve scrubbed, packed, decluttered and staged. The dog hair is vacuumed up, the litter box is clean, empty and odor free. Thank you for that, by the way, your home is now truly “show ready”.

BUT, since you’re a pet owner, you still have one more thing to do.  Please remove your dogs and cats prior to the showing!  Yes, remove them.  There is nothing worse than trying to show a home with barking and lunging dogs and sneaky and escaping cats. If the potential buyer is not a dog lover, the minute they hear a bark, they become nervous.  I’ve had buyers decide NOT to look at a home because of barking dogs inside, even if it’s the house they put #1 on their list.  If buyers have allergies, walking into a house and having a welcoming cat rub up against their legs can send them right out the door before they even see the foyer.

dog and cat

Cute, I know,but to a non pet lover……

many dogs

….this is what they look and sound like!!

 

This may sound harsh, but it’s reality.  So find a doggy day care,  a cat sitter or pet walker…..but when we’re coming to decide if YOUR home is going to be THEIR home, don’t let your pets be the decision makers!

Oh, and please, cover the snake tank. Please.

 

 

Pantone Colors of the Year….with nothing to do with hair products

So the news is out, and Pantone has chosen Rose Quartz and Serenity as the two colors of the year.  Basically that’s pink and baby blue…neither or them are favorites of mine, but that’s okay as I don’t have anything to paint this year.  But the biggest news is that even though I see the chosen Colors of the Year each and every year, this is the first time I’ve realized that it’s PantOne not PantEne, like the shampoo!!!!  How many times have I just seen what my eyes think I should be seeing, and read what my mind thinks it should be reading.  Wow…have I done this with other things?  Is this a reality check that I need to slow down?  I love to read, and I know that I read fast and tend to speed read if I think it’s not that important, but this may have gone to far…for years I thought that a hair product company had influence over our color choices for decorating!

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To read more about the real company behind our decorating choices click here:   https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2016

To read more about the hair company, click here:  http://pantene.com/en-us

 

Random Thought….

Sitting outside in a cafe in San Diego (well, Encinitas actually by my son’s office) having coffee and sending emails…..in mid-November…..basking in the sun’s warmth…..I was having those “I need to move south” thoughts once again.  But then I recieved a phone call from a women who is moving back to New England after spending the past 10+ years in South Carolina.  She knows that it’s cold in Maine in January, and we have snow and blizzards and freezing cold temps, but as she said “there’s no place like home”.  

She’s right.  And I will probably always have at least one son living in southern California, so will probably always have a place to visit and escape the cold and snow, so I’m okay now.  I can go back home next week and relish the fact that whiles “there’s no place like home”, there’s also a place for me here as well when I need it!

What about you? Love the cold and snow and wouldn’t leave it, or do you have an escape plan for January/February?  

What are Luxury Buyers Looking for?

Not all home buyers are alike. Well, that’s not really earth shattering, but some buyers are really different than others!  High net worth buyers don’t typically get deterred by the ups and downs of prices. More high net worth buyers say they are looking to buy/invest this year than last (54% compared to 48%).  I personally feel that we here in Midcoast Maine have some of the nicest offerings available!

This could be yours!

                   This could be yours!

High net worth individuals surveyed give the following reasons for buying estate:

40% cited investment attractiveness

39% desired to live in a specific location

38% sought a safer investment than the stock market

31% wanted to take advantage of low interest rates

(Source: Coldwell Banker Previews International and Ipsos Connect)