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.

Moving Day in Midcoast Maine

The big day is here, and no matter how ready you think you are, chances are, you aren’t!!  Have you thought about how to deal with exhaustion? Distractions?  Unforeseen obstacles? What about the fact that the WHOLE neighborhood is watching?

Here are 3 tips that might come in handy and might help save your sanity on moving day.

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#1: Anticipate Distraction!

Some of the distractions will come from the new neighbors. You’re just trying to unload the moving truck but the neighbors won’t offer to carry anything, they just have questions!  ~ what did you pay for the house? are you making any changes? do you have children and want to join a playgroup?  Be ready, have your answers rehearsed.  The best answer may be “I’d love to chat but can we do this a bit later, maybe tomorrow when the truck is emptied?”

#2: Fight Exhaustion!

The physical and mental stress of moving out of the old home and into the new one, even if you have lots of help, will disrupt your routines. Fast-food and junk food may seem like an easy fix, but you really need more substance to be continually refreshed and recharged during the moving process. Stock up on healthy snacks, bottles of water and energy drinks.  And don’t try to do it all at once ~ there is plenty of time to unpack the boxes after the big furniture is in the next day after you’re refreshed and rested.

#3: Prepare!

If you prepare for the worst, you won’t be surprised by some common moving day problems…the couch won’t fit through the door (measure furniture and doorways prior to the big day)…the cable and internet can’t be hooked up for 2 weeks (call the cable company 2 weeks prior to the move and schedule a set up for the day after the move)…the moving truck can’t fit in the driveway (make sure there is a clear path for the movers especially if there is snow or ice on the ground).

Moving day can be fun…if you have the right help, take deep breathes and prepare…prepare….prepare!!

 

 

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.

 

 

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)

Ready! Set! Stop! Home selling pitfalls to prepare for!!

Not that you really can prepare for the unexpected (isn’t that why we call it “un”expected?!) but at least if you are planning on selling your home, you can try to overcome two of the most common pitfalls that Sellers face before they happen to you!

In my experience, 24 years and counting, the number one thing that can go wrong once a Buyer and Seller have negotiated, come to agreement, and have a valid Purchase and Sales Agreement (contract!!) is a problem with the Buyer’s financing. Sellers, please please ask the Buyer or the Buyer’s agent to give you a pre approval letter from the lender BEFORE you sign that contract.  And Buyer’s, please please have a pre approval letter from your lender BEFORE you sign that contract!!  Nothing is worse for either side in a real estate transaction than to realize that the Buyer isn’t quite ready financially to purchase a home. Mortgage app And equally as important Mr and Ms Buyer, once you get that approval, don’t do ANYTHING that changes your financial picture.  Lenders WILL run credit again and ask for employment verification again to make sure everything is the way it was when you applied for financing. Trust me, they will.  And if you have purchased a new living room set or changed jobs, the whole transaction can quickly fall apart.

The second thing that can go wrong is a bad home inspection.  In Maine, a Buyer can terminate the sales contract for an unsatisfactory inspection, and the Seller doesn’t have any say in that or any chance to “fix” things.  So Sellers, why not try to find and fix the things that can scare off a Buyer before they find them and run away?  A Pre-Home Inspection can be helpful in so many ways, and while not something that a lot of Sellers think of, it’s not that difficult to have done!  Check out this link FMI http://bit.ly/1MB9vzL

So have you had a bad experience?  Any suggestions to share with me?

Working from home?

I love to say “I’m working from home today”. Especially on those snowy winter days. I know, you’re groaning, but they will be back ….! But working from home can be both a luxury and a curse. Yes, there is no traffic or ice to drive through and you may not even need to get dressed! But you do need to be able to separate the work and the home thing, and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.  It’s so easy to get distracted when working from home, especially if you don’t have a dedicated space away from the rest of the household, like from the pets and the kids and the laundry!

Home office

The best way to overcome these distractions is to have a room dedicated to just your office.  With a door that closes.  And a rule that says “door closed~stay out”!

You want your home office to be cozy and comfortable, but not so comfortable that you sneak in there just to take a nap! Remember that this is for work, so treat this space as you would your space at your “real” office. You want it to be welcoming, but not so welcoming that your family comes and sets up camp for the day!   Consider lighting, furniture and functionality all as you would for your “real” office space.  And equipment, although with the options of compact scanners/printers/copiers and iPads and cell phones, there really isn’t that much by way of equipment needed these days!

I do have my own home office space, and a new desk as well, but I can still get distracted so sometimes I think it comes down to mind over matter.  What do you do to stay focused at home?  Any suggestions to share? I’d love to hear them, I’m sure my work at home days can be way more productive!!

More to do in Midcoast Maine ~ August Edition

I want to state for the record that I HATE it when people say “Well, August is here, summer’s almost over” NO it’s not.  We have one more long month, and then even though school starts for some (most!) of us, September in Midcoast Maine is typically warm and beautiful.  So no, summer is not almost over.  It may be 1/2 over, but I am definitely “the glass is half full” kinda girl when it comes to summer!

So, now I can get to the upcoming August events around here, thank you!

Brunswick Art Festival 2014The 9th Annual Brunswick Outdoor Art Festival is in 2 weeks, check out all the things happening at ~ http://bit.ly/1OTrcZo

There is still one more show at the Maine State Music Theatre and I’m betting it’s going to be as good as the first 3 this year ~ http://msmt.org/

Thomas Point Beach always has things happening, the Highland Games are coming up soon, as is the Bluegrass Festival ~ http://www.thomaspointbeach.com/home.shtml

Harpswell has miles of coast line and lots to do, but they also have ICE CREAM~ August 9th is Ice Cream on the Beach day!  For that and other Harpswell info, a great site is Harpswell Heritage Land Trust ~ http://hhltmaine.org/

Heading north and want to go to sea?  How about a tour of Seguin Island and Lighthouse?  You can’t beat a boat ride and hiking on a beautiful summer day ~ http://www.seguinisland.org/

Seguin

There’s lots more, but this should get you started!!

Curb Appeal, Front Porch Style!

If you’re looking for a few, easy things to do to increase your curb appeal before you go on the market or to jazz up some new photos if you’ve been trying to sell for awhile, adding a few simple touches to your front porch or deck is a great place to start. You can begin to show off your home before the Buyers even open the front door. And there are some really easy things that you can do this weekend!

front porch

You don’t need to be fancy, just a few simple touches will work. And don’t try to change your style, keep the front porch (or deck) just an exterior version of your interior style.  Light and breezy inside? Don’t try to be dark and heavy outside!

Start by just painting your front door. A fresh coat of paint will never hurt you, as long as it’s a color that will appeal to most Buyers ~ your favorite fushia may not be the right color for this project!  Add as much lighting as you can, ~ don’t forget that Buyers tend to drive by homes they are interested in at night checking out the neighborhood!

Add some comfortable furniture ~ let the Buyers stop and sit before they leave to get a feel for the home and surroundings.

You get the picture, right?  And a picture is what we are trying to create here, that this is a home not just a house, both inside and out!

More than Lighthouses and Lobsters…in Midcoast Maine!

The new Mainebiz Fact Book 2015 just arrived, and what a great resource for information for anyone already living and working here, but also for anyone who is thinking about relocating home and/or business to our wonderful state!  For a digital look at the Factbook, click on http://bit.ly/1fuxdQE.

I’ve been calling Maine home since 1987, and couldn’t be happier here.  What about you, are you a native? A new resident? A visitor?  What do you love about our Great State of Maine (and that reminds me of the air show coming up soon…more on that later!!

portland