Maine Real Estate

3 Tips to Buying Maine Waterfront Properties

Buying Maine Waterfront Properties

Waterfront property in Maine is equivalent to “white picket fences” for the rest of the U.S.: it’s shorthand for “perfect”. In the depths of winter, with all the snow we’ve received lately, it may be hard to imagine yourself swimming, boating, or just floating in the sunshine, but all of those things and more can be yours when your home is on the water. However, not all Maine waterfront property is the same. Working with real estate professionals who understand the intricacies of buying waterfront property can help save you a headache. Here are just a few of the things you will want to research and consider before you buy.

Water depth and/or tides

If you plan on keeping your boat nearby it’s important to know the average water depths in ALL conditions. Different boats require different depths -- a sailboat can’t get as close to shore as a pontoon boat. How you will put your boat in and get it out of the water, and how often you need to do this, are very important considerations. Find out what the channels to open water are and whether they are always available. http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/lakesurvey_maps/ can show you relative depths of Maine’s lakes and ponds, but it won’t show you every rock lurking beneath the surface. Tide flow, dams and meltwater can also affect the water depth (not to mention the land-to-water ratio) of your property and impact your recreational plans.

Swimming

You might think waterfront property in Maine and swimming would go hand-in-hand, but this is often not the case. Access to the water can be difficult. Is it a sandy beach with a gradual incline or a steep drop-off with lots of trees and rocks? The water itself may not be suitable for swimming. It could be stagnant with lots of weeds, or else have a strong and dangerous current. Will you need to put in stairs or a dock or float just to get to the prime swimming area? If you’re fortunate to have ideal swimming at your property, you may face a different issue entirely if others help themselves to swimming access from your property.

Restrictions

Waterfront properties have stricter zoning restrictions than not. Erosion control and other protective measures may preclude your plans for a dock or pier. Certain wetland and shoreland restrictions can even prevent you from doing home improvements or boating and fishing from your property. The State of Maine website is a good place to start researching such restrictions: http://www.maine.gov/dep/land/slz/index.html, but be sure to check with the local town as well.

There is a lot to consider when buying Maine waterfront property. But if it’s always been your dream to go to sleep with the call of the loons in your ears, then it’s worth the effort to own a home, camp or cottage on the water. If you haven’t talked to one of our real estate professionals yet, contact Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate and search our listings for waterfront properties

3 Things to Consider when Buying a Home

What to Consider When Buying a Home

Buying a home is (usually) the largest, and longest financial commitment of one's life. In a world of impulse-buy-oriented consumerism, a house purchase should be the least impulsive, most well-thought-out investment of your hard-earned money you make. You need to do your homework and get a really good understanding of the debt-to-income ratio your finances represent, the budget you can afford, as well as the associated costs you will have to deal with: closing, moving, maintenance, insurance, etc.

Here are three things to consider before you go house-shopping.

What's your Credit Score?

Unless you're independently wealthy, you are going to have to borrow the money to purchase a home. And to do that, you need good credit. The better your score, the better your opportunities for a favorable loan with good terms. Know your current score, and know where you need to be before you start talking to lending agencies.

Prepare a Down Payment

A down payment of 20% of a home's purchase price can put you in a much better position with the mortgage company. While there are a few ways to get the money for a down payment, nothing beats good old ahead-of-time saving. Also, different types of mortgage have different down payment requirements so you may not need as much as you think. Start setting aside money now, if you haven't already. This can keep you from having to borrow, taking it from your retirement account, or going in with a low down payment and having to pay for mortgage insurance.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

When you're ready to start looking, hiring a buyers' agent is one of the best financial moves you can make. A real estate agent is dedicated to finding the right home for you, negotiating on your behalf, and helping you navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of the housing market. The professional know-how of a buyers' agent will save you hassle, mistakes, and money.

If you have questions, contact us today. You can also view all of our blog posts here.

Buyer's Agent

Do I have to use the real estate agent on the propertys sign? home-167734_640 Absolutely not! A lot of the time buyers think they need to use the agent whose sign is out on the front lawn of the property that they want to purchase. This is not always in your best interest. For years a real estate agent always represented the seller of the property (listing agent) and owed their fiduciary duty to them. A number of years ago, buyer agency was established in Maine and now buyers are allowed to be represented by their own agent (buyer agent). Each has a fiduciary duty to their client and must look out for their best interest. Maine also allows for Disclosed Dual Agency which allows the listing agent to work with you as a buyer agent but is only able to offer limited representation on either side. First it must be agreed upon by both parties before an agreement is signed and then the dual agent is not allowed to discuss price, terms, or motivation of either of the parties. It is usually best to have the conversation before you look at any property and find a buyer agent to represent you in what may be one of the biggest purchases in your lifetime. Using a buyers agent can save you a ton of time, hassle and expense. A buyers agent will help you find listings and tour houses with you. Remember that real estate agents may be more knowledgeable than you about the neighborhood and surrounding communities. They can also give you access to more listings including those For Sale by Owner, or FSBO. A buyers agent can prevent you from overpaying on a property and help you decide on the right offer. In my opinion the most important benefit of a buyers agent is that they are trained to negotiate the best price and sale conditions for you and not the propertys seller. Your buyers agent can serve as a buffer between you and a pushy sellers agent or the seller themselves. This alone can save you thousands of dollars over the time that you own your property. Furthermore, the buyers agent can put you in touch with mortgage lenders and home inspectors, and assist with other steps in the home buying process. Most buyers feel that they will have to pay a buyers agent to represent them. As the homebuyer, you may not have to pay this, since the buyers agent fee is usually paid by the seller (and taken out of the sellers agents commission). Since that is true, there is no reason not to get the professional advice that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls in the purchase of your new home or investment property. If you have a need for a buyers agent to represent you, please dont hesitate to contact one of our trusted professionals!