Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays

It has been a great year and I am looking forward to finishing it off by spending time with my family.  This will be my last post of the year and I wanted to say Happy Holidays to everyone. 

Thank you for visiting my website.  I hope it has been helpful to you because it sure is fun for me.

I have the pleasure of working with two great organizations, Classic Window Systems and RE/MAX Oceanside, and look forward to an exciting 2012.

Have a great Holiday.  See you in the New Year.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Maine Home Prices

I came across this article indicating that real estate prices are down in the US. However, when you read further, it says that Maine's prices actually went up when you exclude distressed properties.

It is still hard out there for a lot of people in our troubled economy, but I like to look at the positives.  I certainly feel a little better seeing this information and so should you. 

The reality is home prices were super inflated and the market needs that to be balanced out and more accurate.  Once that happens, then hopefully things will get back to normal.  I am not about to predict when this will happen - but I can predict that it will happen, as it always does.

Let’s hope Maine stays on course.

Click the link below to read more:
US real estate prices down 1.3% in October North America News



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ice Dams

It is 60 degrees outside and December 6th.  Hardly the time to think about ice dams!  Unfortunately, if you struggle with ice dams every year, it is time to think about it and get ready.

Some people will tell you that you need a new roof to fix ice dams.  A new roof with Ice & Water Shield will certainly help keep water out of your house, but will not necessarily cure the ice dam.

Other people suggest not installing gutters on your house because they will cause ice dams.  Gutters will certainly make ices dams harder to remove, but they aren’t the culprit.

The main cause for an ice dam is the temperature of your attic during the winter months.  If your attic isn’t insulated or vented enough, the warm air heats up the roof and melts the snow.  When that water runs down your roof and hits the cold air, it freezes up and causes the ice dam.

The simple cure is to have someone take a look at your attic and consider adding more insulation.  We recommend having R-60 in your attic.  Of course, Classic Window Systems will do this for you.  All you have to do is email or call me anytime J

More insulation will also make Your Home in Maine more comfortable and save money on energy!



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adjustable Mortgage Rates At Record Lows | Fox Business

I am sure everyone knows that interest rates are low but I still can't believe they are this low. 

It really is a great time to buy a home.  Not only are interest rates low but it is still a buyers market.  You don't want to wait.  If you have the means to buy and are waiting for some reason, don't!

The other good thing about rates being low is you are able to use equity in your home.  Whether you need to do improvements or pay for your kids college it is very inexpensive to borrow money.

They can't stay this low forever. If you haven't re-financed your home yet I strongly recommend talking to someone. Let me know if you need names.

Click the link to read a quick story from Fox Business:
Adjustable Mortgage Rates At Record Lows



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don’t Wait Too Long

Lately, I have seen many people wait too long to complete a project on their home.  There are some real consequences to waiting.  For example, if you put off a roofing project, you may pay far more than what you should have.  Once water enters the home, it creates problems and quickly forces you to replace sheet rock, insulation, and possibly mold removal.

In this economy you may be afraid to spend money on home improvements, but if you don’t, you may spend far more.  Even if finances are an issue, talk to a contractor who may offer financing.  If you have equity in your home, you can also get a loan with a low interest rate.  Pay attention to your home, it’s always best to do home repair sooner, than later.

Here are some projects that you should not put off and what to look for:

What to look for: shingles peeling up, moss on the roof, ice dams in the winter, fading, know the life of the roof - don’t wait longer than 25 - 30 years.

Obviously, if you wait too long to replace a roof you may end up with damage to your home.  You may have to replace sheet rock, insulation, trim boards, and potentially do mold removal.  Save yourself the headache and the money and keep an eye on your roof and interior ceilings and walls.

What to look for: peeling paint, bubbles in the paint, and rotten areas.

Quite simply, wood exposed to the elements results in rotten wood.  Keep up on painting both exterior and interior to keep these problems at bay.

What to look for: joint separation, rotten wood, fogged glass in the winter, and overall function.  If the window is hard to open and close, chances are you will have a problem.

If you have old windows, you lose in energy costs and you pay the price if there is water leakage. Sounds like its time to give me a call J, but just like a roof, if water comes in your home you will have to replace trim boards, sheet rock, insulation, and potentially do mold removal.  Make sure you are doing the maintenance recommended by the manufacturer.

What to look for:  peeling or bubbles in the paint, rotten areas (you can replace sections), fading and wavy sections of vinyl siding.

Like a roof, siding is your first line of defense from the elements.  It is really important to keep up on the painting of your siding. Siding will rot quickly if not properly maintained.  If you have vinyl siding, you don’t have much in the way of maintenance, but know when it was installed because it has a shelf life.  The manufacturer will have more detailed information on maintenance.

Mechanical Maintenance:
All I want to say about this is – do not delay scheduled maintenance on your mechanicals including your furnace (and chimney), hot water, septic system etc. etc. etc.  It is very expensive for replacements.

I’ve witnessed people wait too long on the above projects and see them pay a lot of money to fix the consequences.  Not all problems can be avoided, but some knowledge of what to look for can head off serious problems.  Paying good attention to your home can help you maintain and continue building equity.

I hope this helps make Your Home in Maine a better place.  Happy Thanksgiving!



Friday, November 11, 2011

Cost vs. Value

One very important question when considering a remodeling project is “how much will I make on this investment”?  This can be a difficult question to answer, so I hope to shed some light on a resource I use.

I look to the Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report each year.  Remodeling Magazine submits bids to hundreds of contractors to calculate average job costs.  They then work with real estate professionals to see how much the project has increased the value of the house.  It is not a perfect formula, but it does provide valuable guidance when considering a project. 

For example, I feel the job cost for some projects are too high in the Cost vs. Value report.  According to the 2011-2012 report, the average job cost for vinyl windows in New England is $11,647.00.  At Classic Window Systems, we have windows that can be installed for much less without sacrificing quality.

The first thing to consider is how long you plan to stay in your home.  If you are moving within a couple of years, you probably shouldn’t sink a ton of money in the house unless it truly needs it.  On the other hand, if you plan to stay in your home long term, over 10 years, most projects are a good investment. 

There are certain projects that will make money right away.  Landscaping will almost always make a profit no matter when you are moving, as long as you don’t go overboard.

Almost every project that is done right will appreciate over time.  One thing to consider is style.  When you remodel a kitchen it will most definitely make you money over time, but at some point it will start to decline because of style.  Thank goodness we don’t have olive green appliances anymore, understand my point?  Projects like installing a good quality window that will last a lifetime will keep appreciating with the house for longer than you need it to.

Overall, it’s best to do your research on any project and this is just one component to consider when investing in Your Home in Maine.



Monday, October 31, 2011

My Journey to Maine

I struggled with what to write for my first blog so I decided to write about my own journey to Maine.  I love this state and awhile back my family decided to stay here and raise our family.  To be honest we thought about moving south to “better” year round weather but decided we would miss the four seasons.  Not to mention how beautiful it is and how safe it is for our two beautiful little girls.

Now onto how I got here… I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and moved here when I was 21 and 17 years later I am still here.  My father found his way up here in the 80’s after he lived in Boston for awhile.  He fell in love with the Bangor/Orono. He was in the real estate business and when the market dried up in the 80’s he had some rough times.  That didn’t stop us from enjoying Maine with fishing and camping.  He started doing handyman work and ended up doing very well.  When I would visit I loved helping him do odd jobs and even some big projects.

My brother decided to move up and go to college in Orono so when I would visit it was even more fun J.  I could probably write a whole blog about some of the experiences back then.  Back in Buffalo I was playing guitar in a band and having a blast.  Things were so simple then.  My brother got us a couple of gigs in Orono and since we were young and stupid we thought it would be fun to drive 12 or 14 hours in the middle of winter to play some gigs.  The second time we made the trip, we all looked at each other and said “why don’t we move up here.”  Of course being young and stupid we all said “yeah why not.”  Six months later we were on our way to live in Portland, Maine.

Me and five other guys moved up here and lived in an apartment on Munjoy Hill in Portland.  For a couple years I would drive up to Orono on Monday to work with my father and drive back on Thursday.  We did a lot of windows, roofing, siding, painting, carpentry you name it we did it.  I learned a lot about old Maine houses during that time.  After doing that for awhile it got a little old driving that far for work so I found a framing job in the Portland area.  The most notable project we did was building the recreational center on Chebeague Island.

After finding myself framing in the winter I decided to learn how to build websites and landed a job at AAA managing the website for Northern New England.  While I was working there my father started a printing company doing mugs, t-shirts and other gift items.  The business did fairly well and was growing.  Then a very unfortunate thing happened.  When he was at his favorite camping site on the coast he had a fall and hit his head.  After being in the hospital for three or four days he passed away.  It was a very hard time for me, I went from everything in life being great to losing a mentor, a best friend and a father that loved me very much.  It is truly amazing that when you loose a person like that how you start to evaluate your life and work on making changes.  I really “grew up” after he passed, I felt like I needed to make something of myself.

About a year after my father passed I got a call from his business partner.  He presented a business idea to me that sounded really good and off we went.  TR Distributors was born.  The company sold equipment, supplies and imprintables to printing companies all over the country.  I definitely get my entrepreneurial spirit from my father and I was very proud of what I was doing.  The company consistently grew for about 7 years before we sold it to a company in Minnesota.  After working with the company that bought us for a few months I decided to get back into the remodeling industry.

For that last few years I have been selling a number of remodeling projects from Owens Corning basements to windows, roofing and siding.  When I came back to this industry the memories of working with my father made me realize this is what I really love to do.  Everyone needs a place to call home and making that place the best it can be is very rewarding.

The next step in my plan is getting my real estate license.  I will be starting classes to achieve that goal this Wednesday.  Once I have my license I will be able to sell quality home improvement projects and help people buy or sell a home.  I am really excited to take this next step.  This blog will be a great tool to help you make wise decisions about your home in Maine.

Thanks for listening to my story.  Future posts will be very informative so I hope you come back often and tell your friends.

Be sure to enter your email address to the right so you can get all my posts via email.

Thanks and Happy Halloween,

Doug Schauf