Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Maine Schools

My wife and I are close to sending our eldest child to school.  Researching and choosing where to send your children to school can be a full time job in itself.  We want the best for our children and we’re aware that such a choice could impact future learning. There are many questions to be answered… Is the school district we live in good enough?  Do we have choices within our district?  Should we consider moving to another district that may offer better schools?  Are the tax rates significantly different if we were to move? Do we send them to private schools?  Can we afford a private school? 

Of course, I can only answer these questions for my family but I can share some school ratings I found.  There are many websites to choose from, but here are a few that I found helpful.

Top 10 Elementary Schools in Maine:

Top 10 Middle Schools in Maine:

Top 10 High Schools in Maine:

Top 10 School Districts in Maine:




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Choosing the Right Contractor

When you need work done on your home it can be stressful.  Finding the right person for the job is the hardest part.  Here are a few things to do or ask when interviewing contractors.

1.      References – every good contractor should be able to supply references that you can contact.
2.      Specialty – try to find a contractor that specializes in the work you are getting done.  Sometimes contractors will take on projects they aren’t familiar with to make more money but often it will backfire.  You don’t want to pay someone to practice on your home.
3.      Check with the BBB – the Better Business Bureau is a great place to look for complaints.  It is very easy and worth your time.
4.      Licenses and Insurance – unfortunately you do not need a license in Maine to be a contractor but you can check their insurance.  Ask if they have liability and worker’s compensation insurance and get copies of the certificates.
5.      Read and Sign a Contract – a lot of contractors will give a verbal estimate and if you like the price they start the work.  This can be a big headache if something goes wrong.  Be sure to get a written estimate that you and the contractor can sign.
I hope this helps with your next project.  Please feel free to contact me anytime if you need recommendations or estimates.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Real Estate Market Update for Greater Portland, Maine

This market report gives you the real estate activity for the Greater Portland, Maine area. If you plan to sell a home this year I would encourage you to get a good feeling for what it is worth. Furthermore, I can't think of a better time for a buyer to purchase a home! Real estate in Cumberland County is now an excellent investment, prices are superb, selection is great, and the rates are still outstanding.

The following Multiple Listing Service (MLS) information is for this year-to-date (1/1/2012 to 1/17/2010). Towns included in this report are Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Westbrook, Falmouth, Windham and Cumberland.

Number of Current Listing = 96

Number of Properties Under Contract = 51

Number of Sold Properties = 30

Number of Expired Listings = 31

Average Sold Price = $284,428

I plan on posting this report every month. If you would like to see more information send me an email and I will consider adding to the report.



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

FHA Waives Anti-Flipping Rule Through Year-End

To try and speed up REO (Real Estate Owned / Forclosures) sales the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) waives the anti-flipping rule.  Too many REOs is still a burden on the economy and hopefully this move will help.

This is great news for people that have been thinking about investing but just haven't for some reason.  FHA gives home buyers a lot of benefits and using it for investment purposes can be a great way to get started.

Finding the right property for your needs may be the hard part.  Be sure to pick the right agent to help with the transaction. :)

Click the link below to read more:
FHA Waives Anti-Flipping Rule Through Year-End to Speed REO Sales



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Keep An Eye On Your Property Taxes

I wanted to share this article with you about property taxes. Home values are going down and I’m sure your town isn't quick to adjust the taxes assessed on your home.

A friend of mine recently bought a house for much less than it was valued at the assessor’s office. He simply went there to talk with them and they reduced the taxes considerably. Not all towns will do that so easily but it is worth looking into. In this economy any money saved is a victory.

Click the link below to read more from The Portland Press Herald:
As house values fall, why don't taxes? The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday. Happy New Year!