12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine

12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine
Under Contract!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Choose the Best Offer

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home

Published: February 10, 2010
Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don't let the best slip through your fingers.
You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

1. Understand the process

All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

2. Set baselines

Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash buyer.

3. Create an offer review process

If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

4. Don’t take offers personally

Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

5. Review every term

Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures—such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments—to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?

Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.

Have the buyers attached a prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can't get a mortgage, and they'll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?

Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?

With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

6. Be creative

If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/6-tips-choosing-best-offer-your-home/preview/?cid=eo_em_mkt_rcrnewsletter#ixzz38P4aOVcI
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Time for a Price Change?

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

Published: March 19, 2010
While you'd like to get the best price for your home, consider our six reasons to reduce your home price.
Home not selling? That could happen for a number of reasons you can't control, like a unique home layout or having one of the few homes in the neighborhood without a garage. There is one factor you can control: your home price.
These six signs may be telling you it’s time to lower your price.

1. You’re drawing few lookers

You get the most interest in your home right after you put it on the market because buyers want to catch a great new home before anybody else takes it. If your real estate agent reports there have been fewer buyers calling about and asking to tour your home than there have been for other homes in your area, that may be a sign buyers think it’s overpriced and are waiting for the price to fall before viewing it.

2. You’re drawing lots of lookers but have no offers

If you’ve had 30 sets of potential buyers come through your home and not a single one has made an offer, something is off. What are other agents telling your agent about your home? An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer.

3. Your home’s been on the market longer than similar homes

Ask your real estate agent about the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your market. If the answer is 30 and you’re pushing 45, your price may be affecting buyer interest. When a home sits on the market, buyers can begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with it, which can delay a sale even further. At least consider lowering your asking price.

4. You have a deadline

If you’ve got to sell soon because of a job transfer or you’ve already purchased another home, it may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price so your home is a little lower priced than comparable homes in your area. Remember: It’s not how much money you need that determines the sale price of your home, it’s how much money a buyer is willing to spend.

5. You can’t make upgrades

Maybe you’re plum out of cash and don’t have the funds to put fresh paint on the walls, clean the carpets, and add curb appeal. But the feedback your agent is reporting from buyers is that your home isn’t as well-appointed as similarly priced homes. When your home has been on the market longer than comparable homes in better condition, it’s time to accept that buyers expect to pay less for a home that doesn’t show as well as others.

6. The competition has changed

If weeks go by with no offers, continue to check out the competition. What have comparable homes sold for and what's still on the market? What new listings have been added since you listed your home for sale? If comparable home sales or new listings show your price is too steep, consider a price reduction.

More from HouseLogic

How to ready your home for sale at little cost

How to review offers on your home

Other web resources

More on setting the right price

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who made strategic price reductions that led to the sale of a Wisconsin property. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/6-Reasons-To-Reduce-Your-Home-Price/preview/?cid=eo_em_mkt_rcrnewsletter#ixzz38P46RJm0
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First Time Homebuyer

Congratulations! You’re buying your first home, grabbing part of the American dream, and building wealth over time.
But buying your first home can be confusing and anxiety provoking. What features are must-haves, and which are someday dreams? What do you need to get a mortgage? These guidelines will make the process easier to navigate.

The Right Steps

A little research and prep can go a long way to getting you through the homeownership door with minimum stress.

Make sure your credit is in good shape. The better your credit score, the better your chance of getting a lower-rate mortgage. Check your credit report for mistakes and for any credit problems you can correct. You can get a free report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year at annualcreditreport.com.

Related: 4 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Work with a REALTOR® who’s a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent will advocate and negotiate for you, not the seller.

Learn about the neighborhoods you’re interested in. What’s the crime rate? How are the schools? A REALTOR® can help you with that and help you target your buying interests. For instance, what tops your priority list? Short commute to work? Lots of land? Three bedrooms? A community governed by a homeowners association?

Understand the broader real estate market. Are home prices going up or down? Is the economy strong or shaky? These economic factors will affect the value of your home today and in the future.

Figure your buying budget. Besides the downpayment, which could range from 5% to 20% depending on your circumstances, you’ll want to plan for costs such as:
  • The appraisal (about $300 to $600). It estimates the property’s value at a point in time. It lets you and the lender know how the sales price compares with the appraised value.
  • Loan origination fees. The cost of making the loan, including an origination charge, processing fee, underwriting fee, and even points on the loan. These fees are usually .05% to 1% of the loan.
  • Title insurance. Protects a buyer or lender against loss from title defects, liens, or other issues. Fees are generally 1% of the loan amount.
  • The inspection. A thorough inspection (roughly $300 to $500, depending on the property type) can reveal hidden defects, reducing your risk of incurring surprise expenses later. Plus, it offers the opportunity to negotiate for a price reduction or for the sellers to make repairs, depending on the findings.
A Few More Safe-Buying Tips

Shop around for the best deal on a mortgage. Consider your financing options: The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment, but an ARM may adjust dramatically.

Get prequalified. Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. That lets sellers know you’re serious.

To get prequalified, you’ll need to gather some paperwork for your lender. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.  If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit-and-loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/why-home-ownership-matters/what-every-first-time-buyer-should-know/#ixzz38FYHypJA
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Seller's Information

Seller's Checklist

As the seller, you have relatively little to do at this point. Avoid common glitches by keeping abreast of progress on both sides.
Be aware if the buyer is having trouble getting a loan on the terms specified in the contract. If he/she is turned down, it could jeopardize the whole deal, and your house could be put back on the market. A day or so before closing, make sure all the necessary papers and documents have been gathered and are in the hands of the right parties. Things can go wrong. Documents can be misplaced, delayed or lost. However, common last-minute glitches can be avoided.
  • Parties who should be present at closing need to be informed of any change in the date, time or place. They should be reminded a week before closing and again the day before.
  • Everyone named on the deed under which you hold title must sign the new deed by which you grant title.
  • Know when and how you will be paid. Don't expect to walk away from the settlement table with a check in hand.
  • If you are buying another property, consider having both closings at the same office scheduled back-to-back. That way, the timing of the disbursement is not a problem. You sign a paper authorizing the title company or attorney to assign the funds from sale to purchase.
The papers you'll need
  • A copy of the sales contract and documentation showing that any contingencies have been removed or satisfied.
  • All documents needed to complete the transfer of title. This may include certificate of title, deed, correcting affidavits, quitclaim deeds, survey and title insurance policy or binder.
  • Homeowners insurance policy. If the buyer plans to take over the unused portion of your hazard insurance, you'll need to make arrangements in advance for all paperwork to be completed on time.
  • Prorations for ongoing expenses such as insurance premiums, property taxes, accrued interest on assumed loans and utilities (if not shut off between owners).
  • Receipts showing payment of the latest water, electric and gas bills.
A certificate from your lender indicating the mortgage balance and the date to which interest has been prepaid.

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

364. Suger boutique in Biddeford selling Angelrox clothing and other fun items--jewelry, soaps, scarves etc.

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine


363. Tia's Topside in Kennebunkport-- great views, delicious fried clams, and half price drinks at Happy Hour from 3-5!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

362.  The Daniel Tavern in Brunswick:  Happy Hour from 4 to 6 with appetizer specials.  Live music on Thursdays.  Sit by the open fire place and enjoy a delicious burger.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

4 Habits to avoid when working with a Real Estate Agent

4 Habits to avoid when working with a Real Estate Agent

how-not-to-annoy-your-realtorIn the modern housing market, your greatest ally will be the professional real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent will work tirelessly with you, striving to see that you get the home you want with as little stress as possible. However, some buyers do not reciprocate this feeling towards their real estate agents and instead take advantage of their help in a very frustrating fashion.
Annoying your real estate agent will work against you, whether you’re doing in consciously or unconsciously. If you want to avoid making your real estate agent feel like taking you on as a client was a poor choice, you must consciously avoid engaging in the following habits.

1. You have no clue what you want

Coming to a real estate agent without knowing what you want in a home is like going to the chef and saying you’re hungry but have no desire for anything in particular. Neither scenario ever ends well for anyone involved. A real estate agent wants you to have at least a general idea of what you want before you go hunting for homes. That way they can help you find homes that fit your criteria. Until you know what you’re looking for in a home (and also how much home you can afford), hold off on seeking a real estate agent to help you buy one.

2. You constantly change your mind

Do not be fickle with a real estate agent unless you have a desire to watch them try and pull their own hair out. Once you know what you’re looking for in a home, try and stick to it for the rest of the hunt. If some dire circumstance in your life forces you to have to make changes to what you’re looking for then that’s all fine and well due to being justifiable. But constantly changing your mind about paint colors, layout, number of rooms and other variables will increasingly annoy your real estate agent. Think long and hard about what you’re looking for in a home and then cling to that ideal as long as you can.

3. You ask for numerous showings but never make an offer

Here’s a good way to annoy your real estate agent and a seller. Now, it is a common and accepted practice for a buyer to ask for multiple showings of a particular home if they are serious about making an offer. However, if you ask for multiple showings and never once mention money then you come off as being a time waster. To avoid being labeled as such, make a decision after the first showing as to whether or not you are going to seriously pursue the home in question. If not, then you should politely ask your real estate agent to show you the next one on the list.

4. Lowball, corner pocket

Should you begin negotiating a price with a seller, you can end the negotiation fairly quickly and raise your real estate agent’s blood pressure in one go by making an absurdly lowball offer. Yes, it is common for the buyer and seller to haggle over the selling price of the home. You may wind up paying a little more than you wanted, they might be selling it for less than they wanted, but at the end of the day everyone winds up happy. However, it is considered bad form to make an offer of or lower than a quarter of the asking price. This does tie into you being labeled a time waster again and your real estate agent will continually fight the urge to throttle you. Conduct research about negotiating prices before you start making offers. The seller and the real estate agent will be all the more impressed with you if you do.
Now that you know how you can effectively annoy your real estate agent, do them, the seller and yourself a favor and refrain from doing so. Buying a home is difficult enough as it is without causing unneeded stress on your strongest ally. Remember, it pays to know what you’re looking for and what you can offer before you head into the housing market so do your research beforehand. While that may seem like an annoyance to you, consider how much less of an annoyance you’ll seem to your real estate agent.
Kelly Hodgkins | Mortgage Loan Officer | NMLS # 466504
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank
ME2-076-021 | One Portland Square, Portland, ME  04101

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

361. Timber Steakhouse on Exchange:  Great Happy Hour from 4-6pm
with nice drink prices and super $5 appetizers--try the batter fried bacon--it's decadent!!

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

360. The Egg and I all day breakfast is a great place for a yummy omelet with fresh fruit and whatever three ingredients you want to mix!  Plenty of iced tea, too.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Classy Kitchen Cabinet Updates for Under $100

5 Classy Kitchen Cabinet Updates for Under $100


You don’t have to spend a lot to give your tired cabinets a lift. These five inexpensive cabinet updates will brighten the mood of your entire kitchen.


1. Handsome Hardware

Knobs and pulls are kitchen jewelry that can dress cabinets up. Note that cabinet hardware can get very fancy and expensive — costing $30 and up for a single ornate knob. But you’ll get a huge bang for a few bucks by buying 10-packs of simple, contemporary hardware at big box stores for less than $20 (that’s $2 a knob!).

To save time and money, replace 1-hole hardware with 1-hole upgrades; 2-hole with 2-hole. That way, you won’t need to drill or patch.
2. Pretty in Paint

Nothing updates old cabinets as quickly as fresh coat of paint.

Painting cabinets yourself is cost-effective — a few gallons of paint, sandpaper, cleaner — but the process is time-intensive. You can paint most cabinet surfaces, but proper prep is key to success. For laminate and melamine finishes, be sure to rough up the surface with 150-grit sandpaper, and apply a good bonding primer before topping it off with the color of your choice.

If you’re going to dive into this DIY project, keep these tips in mind:
  • Lighter-colored paints will make your kitchen seem bigger.
  • Don’t skip on prep. Thoroughly clean cabinet doors and boxes to remove grease and dried-on gunk; fill holes or nicks with wood putty, then sand.
  • Sand each coat of paint so your final coat will look perfect.
  • Lay doors flat to paint, and wait until each side is completely dry before painting the other side. It will take more time, but you’ll avoid ugly drip marks.
3. Moulding Miracles

Crown moulding adds a touch of class to the tops of tired cabinets for less than you’d expect. Three-inch, primed composite crown moulding with a dentil design costs as little as $20 for 8 feet.

It’s easiest to add moulding when you’re repainting cabinets; that way you’ll get a perfect match.

If you order matching wood moulding from your cabinet’s manufacturer, be prepared for a color difference between new moulding and older cabinets. Natural wood cabinets (especially cherry) will darken with age.

For a look at other crown moulding miracles, take a look at this slideshow.

4. Fancy Glass

Change the glass insert in a cabinet door, and you change the look and feel of your kitchen.

“Decorative glass takes stock cabinets and gives them a custom look,” says Anthony Longo, who sells glass panels.

Not all cabinet doors are candidates for a changeover, however. You’ll need the kind of door with a removable panel. Check the backs of your doors to see if the center panel can be taken out.

Types of glass inserts are limitless — contemporary, bubbles, raindrops on water, antique — and cost $7 to $9 per square foot. So, you can change the look of a 2-door, 30-inch-by-24-inch cabinet (about 5 square feet of glass) for between $35 and $45.

5. Task Lighting

Once, the only way to shed light on kitchen tasks was by hard-wiring under-cabinet lights — an expensive and messy task. But you can add lighting under and inside cabinets with battery powered, peel-and-stick LED lights.

Of course, battery-run lights are not as bright as their hard-wired cousins. But at about $8 each, you can afford to buy several and scatter them around. LED light bulbs last for thousands of hours of use.

Related: The 8 Most Financially Savvy Home Improvements You Can Make
lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/kitchens/how-to-update-kitchen-cabinets/#ixzz37aK0i6Fa
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Food Trucks

You can find these eateries on wheels everywhere this Summer.  The choices are many and delicious.  The best is when the wagons are circled at an event and you can try something at each one!

Summer Fun in Maine--Agricultural Fair


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Staging Tips~~Exterior Entrance

Ten Ways to Upgrade your Exterior Entrance for a Great First Impression

Imagine you pull up to house with a potential buyer and they look at the front entrance and a silent pause occurs.  Never under estimate the value of that first impression.  Below are some strategies to create a welcoming front entrance for under $200.

Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.
Clear Pathway. The route to your front door should be at least 36 inches wide so people can walk shoulder-to-shoulder, with an unobstructed view and no stumbling hazards. So get out those trimmers and cut back any overhanging branches or encroaching shrubs.

Light the route. Landscape lighting makes it easy to get around at night. Exterior
Solar-powered LED lights you can just stick in the ground, requiring no wiring, are surprisingly inexpensive. We found 8 packs for under $60 online.

Glossy Door Paint. Borrow inspiration from Europe's lovely row houses, whose owners assert their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors. The reflective sheen of a royal blue, deep green, crimson, or whatever color you like will ensure your house stands out from the pack.

Update door hardware. Clean and polish up the handles on the big front door. Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lockset with a secure deadbolt. Available for about $60.

Ding Dong. Doorbells may be the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will never run out of battery life, and another opportunity to express yourself (whatever your favorite animal or insect is, there’s a door-knocker in its image).

Greenery. Urns and boxwoods are always tidy-looking, the definition of easy upkeep. A pair on either side of the door is traditional, but a singleton is good, too. About $25 at garden centers. In cold climates, make sure pots are frost-proof (polyethylene urns and boxes mimic terracotta and wood to perfection).

Digits. Is your house number/address clearly visible? That’s of prime importance if you want your guests to arrive and your pizza to be hot. Stick-on vinyl numbers in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting at about $4 per digit.

Muddy. A hardworking  door mat for wiping muddy feet is a must. A thick coir mat can be had at the hardware store for less than $20. Even fancier varieties can be found well under $50.

Lighten the Mood. Fumbling for keys in the dark isn’t fun. Consider doubling up on porch lights with a pair of lanterns, one on each side of the door, for symmetry and twice the illumination or use brighter light bulbs where possible. Many mounted lights are available well under $100.

Snail mail. Mailboxes run the gamut from roadside novelties masquerading as dogs, fish, or what-have-you to sober black lockboxes mounted alongside the front door. Whichever way you go, make sure yours is standing or hanging straight, with a secure closure, and no dings, dents, or rust. The mail carrier will thank you.

101Things I Love about Portland Maine

357.  Zena's Fizz House in the Old Port
A mixology paradise!  Find all sorts of flavors to make a favorite cocktail or soda.