12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine

12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine
Under Contract!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mistakes to Avoid Prior to Home Ownership

1. Spending more than you make. This can lead to real danger in not being able to afford to purchase. Create a budget you can live with and cancel credit cards you do not use before applying for a loan.

2. Not Saving Enough for Down Payment and Closing Costs. Be sure to include these items when working on your home buying budget. It will be difficult to come up with thousands of dollars if you have not planned ahead.

3. Failure to Understand Cost to Own and Maintain a Home. You must understand the expenses involved in ownership and plan your budget to include these items. All homes are different and the costs vary depending on the type of home and construction.

4. No Knowledge of Mortgage Products. Investigate the types of mortgages available and find one that fits your needs. No two are alike and the costs can vary greatly. Shop lenders for the best rates and terms.

5. Failing to Seek Professional Help. If you find you are in financial trouble and getting deeper in debt, seek professional counseling to improve your credit history and ability to purchase a home.

6. Failing to Control Your Home Purchase. This is your home and be sure you are in charge of the location, style, and price you can pay. Never let family, friends, or a Real Estate Agent sell you on something you do not want.

7. Indecision. Know what you want in regards to your future. If you are unsure, now may not be the right time for you to buy a home.

8. Purchasing a Home Before You Are Ready. Buying a home is a major commitment. If you are not prepared for the responsibility of ownership and the financial obligation it creates by all means rent.

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

73.Rosemont Market--a great place to shop for groceries, wines, baked goods. or lunch sandwiches. Put together a fantastic picnic for the nearby Eastern Prom if you go to the Congress Street location. Sandwiches are fresh with chewy bread, seasonal veggies or greens and yummy cheese or meat.

Make Moving Easier

Whether you're planning a move across town or across the country, making the move hassle-free is what it is all about. Besides the traditional garage sale and packing of boxes, there are a few details you won't want to forget before you begin loading the truck:

Plan Ahead

Experts recommend scheduling moves at least one month in advance, especially during the peak-moving season between May and September. Some estimates indicate 80 percent of all moving and storage business is done when schools are out. That's when employees are most likely to be transferred.

Ask Questions

Take the time to get as much information as possible from moving companies before selecting one. Check on truck size and availability. Ask about moving supplies, such as boxes, dollies and furniture pads. Find out about protection plans for your possessions. Ask about lost or damaged property claim procedures. Determine price differences in packing the truck yourself or having it professionally packed. Get estimates.

Save Your Receipts

Many of your moving expenses are tax deductible, so hang onto your receipts. Consult with your tax advisor to find out what is deductible, or call the Internal Revenue Service and request Publication 521: "Tax Information On Moving Expenses" to find out which moving expenses are deductible.

Collect Documents

If you're moving out of the area, you'll need to gather your family's personal records. Remember to get your medical and dental records, school transcripts, legal documents, titles, bank records, tax returns, stocks and bonds certificates, birth certificates, passports and insurance documents. Be sure to empty your safe deposit box.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

72.Summertime restaurants--Sitting on the deck at Tortilla Flats on outer Forest Avenue. On Tuesday evenings you can get $2 tacos w/ beef, chicken, or veggies. Add a pitcher of their delicious sangria and you have the makings for a pleasant evening out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

71.Garden Centers: Check out Plain View Perennials off Route 9 in North Yarmouth. They have an incredible variety of plants, shrubs and trees in a beautiful setting.
Spend time strolling the grounds to get decorating ideas for your yard.

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

70. Maine Farm Life: I visited my friends' farm in Durham and took pictures of their sheep, goslings, piglets. They are raising livestock and gardening on a beautiful 45 acre spread called Soft Rain Farm. They sell eggs which they collect fresh everyday. Lots of hard work but a great lifestyle for families.

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

68.Restaurants: The Port Hole is located on a dock off Commercial Street. You can tell when summer is almost here when the deck is full with people enjoying the sun and waterfront at the picnic tables outside the restaurant which has tables and a lunch counter. We soaked up some sun and had some great food. I had a burger and Lars had "all you can eat" fish and chips. The fries are fresh cut and delicious.
69. Portland's working waterfront: while you re at the Port Hole you can check out the fishing and lobster boats right alongside the deck.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Buy Your First Home!

Avoid the 10 Most Common, Painful, Frustrating Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

Buying a residence can be a hair raising experience. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions while finding the right place, securing the loan and finally moving in. For most of us, the first time home purchase is the largest investment we’ve ever considered. The emotions of purchasing something so expensive and personal can often cloud our business judgment.

Most home purchasers do little or no research before they invest their nest egg. Doesn’t it make sense to become as completely informed as possible before you buy your first home? This special report is designed to help you avoid 10 common and crucial mistakes. The right real estate professional can help you make good sound business decisions based on your personal situation.

Inspect, Inspect and Inspect - Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional organization. For condo purchases go over the CC&R’s, By-Laws, and Association Fees. Don’t take anything for granted... inspect everything!

Imagine the Property Vacant - Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture; it leaves with the owner.

Income + Lifestyle = Mortgage Payment - Sit down with your professional real estate agent and honestly discuss your income level and living expenses. Take into account future considerations, children, add-ons, amenities, and fix-ups. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice but don’t mortgage your entire future.

View Several Homes - See at least 7-10 properties. Don’t move too slow but don’t move on the first property you see. With your agent’s help you should be able to view enough properties to get a good overall perspective of the home market. When you find the right property all the leg work will be worth it.

Utilize Your Team - By aligning yourself with the right real estate professional you will have an entire team at your disposal. Utilize your lender, title rep and agent. Each of them should work hand in hand for your benefit. Explore all the options before you sign.

Be Columbo - Check out all costs and expenses before you sign. Utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and home owner dues if applicable. Make sure all utilities (gas, electricity, and water) are on during tyour walk-throughso you can inspect everything in working order. Ask lots of questions and be very detail conscious.

Do a Final Walk-Through - Visit the property after all furnishings have been moved out to be sure there are no surprises. Be absolutely positive the property was left exactly as you had agreed upon in the contract. Things that could have been spotted in a final walk-through are often unintentionally overlooked.

Plan For Flexibility - Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don’t let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.

If It’s Not In Writing, It Doesn’t Exist - All promises and discussions should be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted. Have your professional keep an ongoing log in writing of all discussions and get the seller’s written approval on all agreements.

Loyalty Breeds Loyalty - Be open, honest and up front with your team. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause head aches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right team in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a pleasing and memorable experience.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

67. Portland Maine Farmer's market: Held on Saturdays from 7 to 12 at Deering Oaks park and Wednesdays from 7 to 2, the Portland Farmer's Market is a profusion of color no matter what the season from April to September. Locals shop for all their fresh produce and seasonal flowers here. You can't beat the prices and freshness. Get all your garden and porch plants now.


How to Use Contingencies

Everyone is familiar with the conversation where the other person says, "Yes, but.." This person is agreeing with you but only if certain conditions are met.

A purchase agreement is similar in that you are agreeing to buy a property subject to certain things being met. The conditions you set are called contingencies.

It is uncommon to have a purchase agreement without contingencies. In fact, contingencies are an essential part of many offers. In general, contingencies are added to protect you (the buyer) but may also serve to protect the seller.

All of the contingencies of a purchase agreement must be met before the sale can be competed.

What are some Examples?

Contingencies can be virtually any conditions you wish to set. They can be anything such as having your Uncle John approve the central furnace or your Aunt Mary is satisfied with the kitchen sink. The sale is "contingent" upon all of the conditions being met. Contingencies are also called "subject to's" since the sale is "subject to" something happening.

An important contingency is a financing contingency. It states that the purchase is subject to the buyers being able to obtain a loan for the required amount. If you can not get the loan you need, the sale is canceled and you deposit is refunded. It is very important to have this contingency since you will loose you deposit if you are unable to get a big enough loan. Making an offer without a loan contingency is very risky.

What are Some Common Contingencies?

There are many contingencies that will protect you (the buyer). Here are some you will definitely want in your purchase agreement:

* You will be able to inspect the property and must approve the inspection.

* The sellers must disclose problems with the property and you must approve of such disclosures.

* You will be allowed to make a final inspection of the property just before the deal closes and confirm that the is no new damage since you originally inspected it.

* You will get your deposit back if the sellers back out.

* You can back out if you are unable to get financing.

Depending on your situation, there are many other contingencies you should add. For example, if you are moving to the area because of a new job. You will want a contingency stating that if you don't get the job, you can cancel and get your deposit back.

Make sure that you clearly state your needs to the agent or attorney preparing you agreement. If there are any special conditions that must be meet (such as being able to cash in some stocks for a down payment), make sure it is in writing a contingency. Otherwise you may be unable to complete the purchase on time and lose you deposit. In some cases, you may be sued by the sellers for performance. They may demand you complete the purchase or pay associated damages.

Who Writes In the Contingencies?

A contingency is a legal document and must contain the proper language to be legally binding. For this reason contingencies are ideally crafted by attorneys. However, since this is a normal part of business, many real estate agents are extremely versed in writing contingencies. In fact, agents may be far more experienced in this area than an attorney. In practice, your agent will be more than capable of writing the contingencies you need.

Whom Does the Contingencies Protect?

The contingencies noted so far are intended to protect you (the buyer). They allow you to back out of the deal without consequences if something does not work out -- you can't get financing, you discover problems with the house, you lose you job, etc..

As noted, contingencies may also be added to protect the sellers. Such examples are the sellers may insist that the transaction be completed within 30 days. If you are unable to get you cash together or get your financing, you could lose the house and your deposit!

Some sellers may want you to purchase the house "as is." That is, no matter what's wrong with it, the sellers won't be responsible for it. You may for example find that after making an offer, the septic system badly needs $15,000 worth of repair. If you agreed to by the property "as is" then you will be stuck paying the difference.

Contingencies Can Become Deal Points

Naturally, you will want to have contingencies that benefit you (the buyer) and want to exclude those that potect the seller. This is therefore a process of negotiation where contingencies become deal points which you can influence the actual cost of the transaction.

A deal point is a specific point on which the deal depends. For example, you want the sellers to replace the broken sprinkler system. So you include a contingency stating that the sellers must repair it. If the sellers refuse -- perhaps they have been watering the lawn by hand and are unwilling to fix it for the buyers.

Now you have a deal point. What are you going to do?

Well, this depends on how important the sprinkler system is to you. If you feel that you can't live without it and are unwilling to budge, you can refuse to remove the contingency. The seller can either accept the offer or reject it. If the sellers accept, you've got your sprinklers. However, if they reject, you're not getting your new home.

Often a better way if dealing with this situation is to calculate the cost of repairs and adjust the contingencies to compensate. For example you may retract your contingency for the sprinklers and insist that they leave the ceiling fans you really like. Perhaps the sellers were not looking forward to taking them down anyway and are willing to compromise on this point. In which case, although you will need to get the sprinklers fixed, you have saved several hundred dollars on the purchase of new fans.

You Can Use A Contingency to Get Yourself a Better Deal

The skillful negotiator will use contingencies to improve the deal. And there is really no limit to the type of contingency you can craft. Deal points can be over anything ranging from the date escrow closes to the specific closing costs the buyer and sellers must pay.

A great way to start negotiating is to find the sellers weak point and apply the pressure there. For example, the sellers may absolutely need to close the deal within 25 days so that they can purchase a new home. You agree as long as they fix the septic system, lower the price, repair the sprinklers, and leave the ceiling fans. In this way, they have met their criteria by giving you the superior deal.

Remember, that although contingencies are great points for negotiations, they are there to protect you. They offer you an easy way to back out if something goes wrong.

Avoid Unnecessary Contingencies

Sometimes when buyers discover the great protective value of contingencies, they insist that extra ones be placed in the purchase offer. For example, you insist that the purchase become contingent on you not losing your job before the deal closes. (You pretty much get this protection in any event, since if you lose your job, the lender probably won't give you a mortgage, and you can back out using the financing contingency.)

Or you insist that the deal be contingent on your not getting ill during the escrow period, or your spouse not falling out of love with the home, or your getting approval of the purchase from you parents. Remember, you can make the deal contingent on anything!

The problem is that each time you add a contingency, you weaken the deal. The sellers ask themselves, "Why does the buyer insist on this?" If the quickest answer is that the buyer is wishy-washy and may not go through with the deal, the sellers may simply refuse to sign. You may squash a perfectly marketable deal simply by insisting on unnecessary contingencies.

As many real estate agents have witnessed, lawyers can ruin an otherwise marketable deal by adding contingencies favoring their clients to the point where the other party simply won't go along. While legal advice is great, sometimes common sense and human nature play a stronger role.

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

66. Restaurants in nearby Portsmouth NH. Just a short 45 mi
nutes from Portland in the seaport area of Portsmouth NH, my husband and I discovered a wonderful tapas restaurant called CAVA on Commercial Alley. We sat outside in the courtyard and enjoyed tastes of hummus w/ syrian bread wedges and paella de cava-- chicken & chorizo w/spring vegetables. The hummus was very tart and lemony but very tasty. We started with their sautéed marinated basque olives & marcona almonds and a delicious red sangria.
It was a very relaxed atmosphere and all the guests seemed to be having an enjoyable experience. We will definitely return to try there other dishes.

Website: http://www.cavatapasandwinebar.com/

101 Things I Love about Portland ME

65. Full day trips from Portland--Brimfield MA Antique Show.
This is about 3 hours from Portland but definitely worth the trip for antique buffs and collectors. There are 19 fields, each of which is a multi dealer show. You can find all sorts of interesting treasure. Some fields have new goods---lots of crafts and artwork. There is plenty of food available including the best chocolate chip cookie ever. It was as big as a pizza--like eating a half dozen really but who's counting!!
You can park at any of the fields--usually $5 or 6. Plan on spending at least the day if you want to see everything. The show takes place 3 times a year, May, July and September. The website: http://brimfieldshow.com/

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

64.Portland Chiropractic-Neurology
Dr. MacArthur is a very kind young man with very nice assistants who will tke good care of you. I look forward to my weekly adjustments to help me stay in condition.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

62.Beal's Ice Cream Stands ---there are multiple locations but this one is a very short walk from my office on Veranda St. in Portland. Beal's makes their own delicious ice creams, sorbets, and frozen yogurts in about 50 flavors. Today I had a kiddie cone with sugar-free Caramel Pecan which tasted very rich even without the sugar added!

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

61. Farm and Flowerstands: This one in Scarborough--Flaherty's-- like many others has been around for a long time and offers a good variety of hanging plants and flats ready to plant in your yard. Pansies which seem to be quite hardy are usually the first to appear at these stands and are a riot of color.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Nine Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Obtaining a Home Mortgage!

You are about to make what will most likely be the largest transaction of your life: your home mortgage. Unfortunately, many homebuyers do not take the time to research some of the little but weighty intricacies of mortgages. Researching the mortgage process takes little time compared to the tens of thousands of dollars it could save you.

Doesn’t it make sense to become as completely informed as possible before you buy your next home? This special report is designed to help you avoid nine common mistakes. Remember that the right lender can help you make good, sound business decisions based on your personal financial situation.

Find a Reputable Lender - This is the most important choice you can make when starting the mortgage process. If you don’t trust your lender, you are in for a long and stressful home-buying experience.

Pricing - Don’t be lured into a mortgage company strictly by promises of low rates. Find out how long the advertised rate is guaranteed for. Make sure there is enough time to close on your loan. Some companies may make these "promises" but will try changing the rate prior to closing. They may claim that your "lock-in" rate has expired so make sure you have the expiration date in writing. In some cases, the lender may even try to delay your closing to break the "lock-in" rate. In other cases the delay may be beyond the lender’s control. Make sure to allow yourself plenty of time for closing. Delays in the process are common and everyone (builders, title companies, even yourself) is responsible.

Programs - You will see several programs that offer special low-interest rates. Keep in mind that they may not be the best program for your situation. Make your lender explain what programs they feel best serve your needs and more importantly, why.

Fixed or Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) - Conventional thinking is that fixed is always better and while this is sometimes true, it is not always the case. The key here is to ask, "How long am I going to live at this property?" An ARM can actually be a better choice if you are going to be in the home for a short time. The average for how long a first time homebuyer keeps their mortgage is less than four years. In general, the longer you plan on staying in your home, the better a fixed rate mortgage will suit your needs.

Don’t try to bottom out the market - Deciding when to lock in to a mortgage rate can be difficult. Many people will float, trying to guess when rates have hit bottom. Unfortunately, a lot of times they will wait too long and end up with a much higher interest rate. There is nothing wrong with floating but keep a close eye on economic indicators. Your daily newspaper or even the nightly news can be an excellent source of information on the latest interest rate activity. As closing nears, it might be worth locking in.

Negotiate problems prior to closing – Its common for a problem to arise before closing. Waiting until closing will rarely be in your best interest. For instance, if you accept $400 at closing in lieu of the seller making a repair and after closing you find that the repair will actually cost $600, you’ve obviously made a poor decision. Whether the builder agreed to add an item and has not or the seller has made a repair that is not acceptable to you, discussing a solution prior to closing will give both parties time to analyze and determine options.

Be prepared for closing costs – In addition to the down payment, you will be required to pay fees and other closing costs at the time of the final transaction. Closing costs typically range from 2 percent to 6 percent but will be dependent upon your situation. Lenders must provide you with a "Good Faith Estimate." The "Good Faith Estimate" will breakdown all costs so that you may know what to expect at closing.

Close at the end of the month – When making a mortgage payment, you will be paying interest that has accrued from the previous month. Upon closing however, your lender will charge you prepaid interest for the date the loan is recorded through the end of that month. Therefore, one way to lower your closing costs is to close in the latter part of the month. This will lower the amount of prepaid interest that you must pay.

Look out for hidden fees -- Check for certain miscellaneous fees such as inspection, notary, and document preparation. These types of fees can mean hundreds of dollars in closing costs. Remember that this is your money at stake. Never should you be afraid to ask for explanations of fees you are being charged.