2017 Year-to-Date Market and Sales Update

A tighter-than-normal home inventory level led to a decrease in sales across Maine last month. Prices, however, remain in positive territory. According to Maine Listings, the median sales price (MSP) for a single-family existing home increased 4.20 percent to $206,000 comparing July 2017 to July 2016. Sales waned a slight 0.53 percent.

The National Association of Realtors announced that July sales nationwide were up 1.7 percent over one year ago. The national MSP of $260,600 represents a 6.3 percent price increase. Regionally, sales in the northeast eased 1.5 percent while the regional MSP rose 4.1 percent to $290,000.

As of August 28, 2017, the brokers at Newcastle Realty have closed 103 transaction sides this year with a total volume of $24,696,000—a slight increase over their same Y-T-D sales in 2016. Their current median sales price is $215,000.

By comparison, the local Sotheby’s office has sold $20,539,250 with 48 sides and an MSP of $330,000, and Drum & Drum Real Estate has posted 56 sides for $13,598,970 in volume, with a current MSP of $215,500.

Most of the 2017 property sales in the local area this far into the year have occurred in Waldoboro (41), Jefferson (36), Wiscasset (40), Newcastle (22), Bristol (28), and Damariscotta (23). Strong pockets of activity are evident in Whitefield (21), and Edgecomb (21). The peninsula to our south is always reliable and Boothbay has had 35 sales in 2017, with another 31 in Boothbay Harbor and nine in Southport. Nobleboro (18), and South Bristol (6) lag a bit behind other Lincoln County towns, as do Westport (12), Bremen (2), Alna (6), Somerville (3), and Dresden (12).

There are currently 550 single family homes for sale in Lincoln County (down from 557 last month), with 24% of those priced at or above $500,000. The 642 residential sales that have occurred in the last 365 days indicate a market absorption rate of 10.4 months, and represent transactions in the range of under $100,000 (13%), $100,000-$250,000 (50%), $250,000-$500,000 (26%), and $500,000+ (11%).

Newcastle Realty tracks Lincoln County and statewide sales, along with other important metrics, which keeps their brokers fully informed of current market conditions and emerging trends as they serve buyer and seller client needs.

Questions or comments may be directed to Dennis Hilton, President of Newcastle Realty, who may be contacted at dennishilton@cheneycompanies.com or at 207-380-3435.

Sales statistics based on information from the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (d/b/a Maine Listings) for the period 1/1/17 through 8/28/17.

Exciting Upcoming Real Estate Auction August 30th!

We are pleased to announce the upcoming owner-directed auction of 11 Totten Road in Gray, Maine — a full-service equestrian facility and farmhouse on 11.5 acres, just 20 minutes from Portland. Full auction details and photos can be seen at 11tottenroadgray.com. You may request a complete bidder’s package by emailing broker/auctioneer Dennis Hilton here.

Buyer’s brokers are welcomed and offered a 3% commission for bringing the winning bidder to the auction. An open house will be held on Wednesday, August 23rd, from 10am to 2pm, and the auction event will occur at the property on Wednesday, August 30th at 1pm.

About the property: New Boston Farm, a peaceful and private equestrian center just minutes from Route 95 and within 20 minutes of Portland, has been in operation since 1979. Featuring a 20 stall barn with attached 10,000 sf indoor riding arena with observation/judging area also includes tack room, grain room, hay loft and the accessibility for handicap riders. New Boston Farm is being sold as an operating farm with all intellectual property and is known for training, boarding and shows for the past 25 years. It also offers outside riding ring and show venue, paddocks and on-site parking for trailers.

The recently renovated 1830s antique cape offers approximately 1500 sf with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. First floor features farmers porch entering into mud room with loft open concept country kitchen and dining area and two living rooms each with fireplace. The second-floor master suite consists of large open master bath with double vanity and Jacuzzi.

Property is nestled on 11.5 acres of wooded and cleared land it also contains detached two bay garage and large storage barn. Although 11 Totten Rd has been successfully operated as an equestrian center, the property offers many other potential opportunities such as open storage area, indoor and outdoor agricultural opportunities suitable for a wide range of farming.

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity!

Featured Property – 18 Perkins Road, Boothbay Harbor

Broker Laura Blake of Newcastle Realty is pleased to offer this spectacular spacious cape-style home that is in walking distance of beautiful downtown Boothbay Harbor.

Relax and enjoy the privacy on your covered front porch, back deck or your own gazebo! When you are refreshed take a leisurely stroll downtown where you find some of the most incredible dining and entertainment establishments in the region.

This 2,846 sq. ft. cape offers three bedrooms (first floor master with full bath), open studio, two full and two half baths, an eat in kitchen with stone counters, cherry cabinets and an built-in island. The living and dining rooms have gas fireplaces. The high quality interior finish will amaze you!

Boothbay Harbor is a wonderful enclave of summer and year round residents. 

You may also click here for more detailed information about this rare opportunity.

Featured Property – 115 Martin Point Road, Friendship

Broker Lorrie Zeiner of Newcastle Realty is pleased to offer this remarkable cape-style home on 8+ acres with water frontage and beautiful views of Hatchet Cove in Friendship.

Make lasting memories here–spend your long summer days swimming, boating or looking for sea glass along your very own beach!

Post and beam cape (c. 1989) offers three bedrooms (one on the first floor), two baths, an open kitchen/living room with glorious ocean views!

Bonus room over the garage would make great guest space or studio. The 8.62 acres allows for privacy and room to grow!

Martin’s Point is a wonderful enclave of summer and year round residents. Vacation rentals are very possible with this special place!

View a video of the property here. You may also click here for more detailed information about this rare opportunity.

Laura Blake Brings Knowledge and Enthusiasm to Newcastle Realty’s Team

Laura Blake, a real estate broker in mid-coast Maine for close to a decade, has been with Newcastle Realty since 2014. Laura’s passion for her job and clients is evident in her positive, upbeat nature. Whether she is working with a buyer, finding the perfect home, or marketing a property to potential buyers, she does so with panache. Laura’s eye for detail and compassionate nature makes any real estate transaction a positive experience.

Raised in the Boothbay Harbor region and a graduate of University of Maine, Laura resides on Southport Island with her husband, Tom and their two golden retrievers, Parker and Gus. Laura enjoys walking, boating and spending time at their condo in Sugarloaf.

A member of the National Association of Realtors, Maine Association of Realtors, she currently is serving as secretary for the Lincoln County Board of Realtors. Laura is affiliated with Rebuilding Together and Friends of Windjammer Days.

Laura can be contacted at Newcastle Realty’s office, 87 Main Street in Damariscotta and reached at 207-563-1003. Her email address is laurablake@cheneycompanies.com. To learn more about Newcastle Realty, please visit www.MyNewcastle.com.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage and Roof Leaks?

Whether you’re dealing with a slow leak in the basement or a steady drip from a hole in the roof, water can wreak havoc on your home—and your bank account. Once the water recedes, one of the first questions you’ll have is whether your homeowners insurance covers water damage and roof leaks. Well, we have you covered with the answers below.

Is water damage covered?

In a word, yes! A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover water damage and roof leaks unless they’re the result of gross negligence on your part. Even if the roof leak is caused by a windstorm or a tree crashing through the shingles, you’re covered.

Roof leaks are typically covered if a windstorm damages a home and creates an “opening” in the roof, says Dennis Hilton, owner of Cheney Insurance and Newcastle Realty. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover any “preventable” damage to a property, so the key here is determining if the leak is caused by a sudden and unexpected event. For example, rain that drips in through a pre-existing hole is generally not a covered loss, because the insurance company would likely say you should have fixed the hole.

If a broken or frozen pipe turns your basement into a swimming pool, you can file a claim with your homeowners insurance and the policy will cover damages. Of course, each policy’s terms may include specific coverages and exclusions, so always read the fine print.

When is water damage not covered?

Water damage due to sewage and drain backups generally requires additional insurance coverage beyond a standard policy, says Suzanne Strachan, manager of the Personal Insurance division at Cheney Insurance.

Say your rain gutters are clogged because you haven’t cleaned them. With nowhere to go, water flows down the sides of your home and pools around the foundation, causing interior water damage.

“This type of claim, known as seepage, is a maintenance issue and often isn’t covered under your home insurance policy,” says Strachan. That’s because the damage is due to neglect that could have been prevented through proper home maintenance. Damage caused by manufacturing defects in your roofing material or installation errors are also not covered.

Another type of water damage homeowners insurance policies specifically exclude is that from flooding caused by a natural disaster (e.g., a hurricane). But you can purchase a separate flood policy.

Flood insurance premiums are pricey, however, and depend on the risk of flooding in the area where your house is located as well as the value of the home and its contents, says Holly Harris, a flood insurance specialist with Cheney Insurance

How to protect yourself from hidden costs

According to a study by Erie Insurance, nearly 27% of homeowners mistakenly believe their insurance will pay for damage that occurs to their roof through normal wear and tear. So proper home maintenance (clean your gutters!) and routine inspection (check and maintain your roof!) can go a long way to ensure any pooling water and roof leaks are caught early and fixed. If left unchecked, bigger—and potentially damaging—problems are likely to occur.

And of course, the better maintained your property is, the higher price it will command when its’ time to sell! Reach out to any Newcastle Realty agent to discuss the market value of your home!

Six Things You Don’t Want To Say When Selling

You know that expression about loose lips sinking ships? It holds true for selling your home as well. Sure, there are some things you have to disclose to buyers—such as if your home has lead paint or is located in a flood zone. But there’s plenty more you might feel like saying when you would be truly better off keeping your mouth strategically shut.

We’ve already revealed the things buyers should never say to sellers. Now, let us share some things that sellers should never let slip to buyers, or the agents representing them.

To help hone your “less is more” attitude when it comes to talking with prospective buyers, here are a few doozies that agents recommend never, ever saying.

“Our house is in perfect condition”

“Your home is your castle, and in your eyes it may seem perfect—but don’t make claims that aren’t true,” says Ken Gray, a Newcastle Realty broker.

“The home inspection may reveal otherwise, and, as a seller, you don’t want to wind up putting your foot in your mouth,” he explains. Bottom line: “There simply is no such thing as ‘perfect condition.’ Every house, whether it is brand new or a resale, has something that needs to be fixed, adjusted, replaced, or improved upon.”

“It’s been on the market for X…”

“Never, ever discuss how long the home has been on the market with prospective buyers,” says Bill Byrnes, an experience Realtor that has been with Newcastle Realty for 17 years. This info is often listed and available on the home’s information sheet, but bringing it up—especially if the home has been available for eons—can send sellers the wrong message. No one wants to buy a white elephant—and, if they do, it’s probably because they think they’ll be getting it dirt-cheap.

“We’ve never had a problem with…”

If you’re hoping to move quickly, you may be tempted to tell a few little white lies. So you never had a problem with weird neighbors, eh? Or flooded basements? Or vengeance-seeking poltergeists? Realtors agree that your mistruths—however insignificant they might seem—could come back to you with teeth.

“You’re setting yourself up for potential liability,” explains company owner Dennis Hilton. “You may not even be aware of the problem at first, but it could translate into an embarrassing moment upon inspection.” So, come clean with what you know and admit what you don’t.

“We always wanted to fix/renovate that, but…”

Tempted to mention, “We always thought about knocking this wall down and opening the space for more light?” How about “We planned on renovating this bathroom but ran out of cash”? Mum’s the word when it comes to fixes you intended to address. Nobody cares about good intentions.

“When sellers point out things they might change, this only alerts the buyer of more upcoming costs for them,” says Newcastle Realty associate broker Debby Schling. Who knows? Your buyers may not even want to knock down that wall or redo the bathroom. So why plant those ideas, along with those dollar signs?

“We spent a ton of money on X, Y, and Z”

Just because you love the Brazilian Koa wood flooring you installed throughout the first floor, that doesn’t mean prospective buyers will be willing to shell out for it.

“The buyer doesn’t care whether you spent $10,000 or $100,000 on your kitchen,” says Schling. “They are only going to offer what they feel the home is worth in relation to area comparable sales.” So, save your breath, or else you’ll risk sounding like you’re trying too hard to justify your price. Desperation isn’t cool.

“I’m not taking less than X amount for my home”

When it comes time to sell, it makes sense that you want top dollar. We get it! But at the same time, it’s important to be realistic and open to offers within a reasonable range.

“If you send a message that you are inflexible or not open to negotiating, it may not invite buyers to even try to work out acceptable price and terms as they will feel defeated from the start,” says Byrnes. “Word may spread that you have this sentiment as a seller, and people may start to avoid the house.”

When you are considering buying or selling, reach out to the professional agents at Newcastle Realty. We know the business and the marketplace, and will guide you through the real estate process while helping you avoid some of the pitfalls!

Pirate Rendezvous Returns to Damariscotta!

Following a hiatus in 2016, the Damariscotta River Pirate Rendezvous will return on Saturday, June 24 – bringing a motley crew of buccaneers both young and old to invade the Twin Villages and raise funds for local non-profits.

The restructured event will be a bit leaner, with a focus on activities at the Pirate Bazaar located at Schooner Landing including music, pirate re-enactments, pirate history exhibits, non-profit fundraising as well as food and beverage service.

There will be no children’s area on Water Street, allowing that road to stay open to normal traffic. However, the event will continue to provide plenty of action and activities for little buccaneers, including the pirate invasion at high noon.

“This event has always been about the children, and we plan on continuing that tradition,” said Charlie Herrick of Schooner Landing, the event host.

Also continuing will be the participation of the Pirates of the Dark Rose professional re-enactment group. They will bring sword fighting, black powder weapons, artillery, and the armed topsail yawl SV Must Roos to the event.

While many of the details are still being worked out, the general event schedule has been established. The Pirate Bazaar will open at 10 a.m., pirates will attack at high noon and invade the village with their numbers bolstered by young pirates who will join the crew, and there will be a Kid Pirates Costume Contest at 2 p.m. Schooner Landing will provide musical entertainment through the day, and the Pirates of the Dark Rose will create their “Tortuga Village” with exhibits, games and other activities. A variety of non-profit fundraising activities will also take place. Activities will continue at the Pirate Bazaar until 4 p.m.

While Schooner Landing will now host the event, Pirate Rendezvous originator Greg Latimer will still be on hand to assist with both preparations before the event and operations during the event.

More announcements regarding the Damariscotta River Pirate Rendezvous will be forthcoming soon. For further information on the Damariscotta River Pirate Rendezvous, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Greg Latimer at 207-380-9912 or greglatimercontact@gmail.com.

The Brokers’ Team at Newcastle Realty Welcomes Dean Jacobs

Long-time residents of Damariscotta may remember Dean Jacobs working at the Waltz Pharmacy Soda Fountain when he was a young boy, or behind the counter as a pharmacist in later years. Raised in this community, Dean has been an integral part, then and now, of his family’s business on Main Street. Still very passionate about being a part of the community he’s always called home, Dean can now also be found in another Main Street location just a few doors down, at Newcastle Realty. Becoming a real estate sales agent enables him to share the passion he has for the mid-coast area, the people who live and work here, and the natural beauty intrinsic to this region. An avid skier, having the mountains only two hours away, adds to the charm of the lifestyle he enjoys with his family. 

 Dean credits Newcastle Realty owner Dennis Hilton with building a great team of real estate professionals, who are supportive and enjoy collaborating with each other. “There is a real sense of community and entrepreneurship among the Newcastle Realty staff,” says Jacobs. “A team that works together effectively makes each individual happier and more successful, and that translates to satisfied clients. I am looking forward to this new endeavor.”  

 Welcome Dean in his new role serving the community by visiting with him at Newcastle Realty’s office at 87 Main Street in Damariscotta. He can also be reached at 207-557-0669, or by email at deanjacobs@cheneycompanies.com. To learn more about Newcastle Realty, please visit www.MyNewcastle.com.

Carmen Reed Joins the Newcastle Realty Team

Carmen Reed is a people person, and is looking forward to helping clients navigate the process of buying and selling their home. Previously a director of a mid-coast area Chamber of Commerce, she has always loved being involved in community and sharing her passion for the area. Carmen chose to join Newcastle Realty because she recognized both owner, Dennis Hilton, and his team of professional agents, have the largest resources of cutting edge services to offer clients.   

A native of Wiscasset, Carmen currently resides in Nobleboro, with her husband Michael Prentice, and their three sons. Together, they own and manage Bayside Plumbing and Heating.  Along with being an advocate for her clients’ best interests, Carmen has a wealth of knowledge that can help those new to the area with service providers, school system advice, and ways to connect with community.

Contact Carmen at Newcastle Realty’s office, 87 Main Street in Damariscotta at 207-563-1003, or on her mobile at 207-380-6613, or by email. To learn more about Newcastle Realty, please visit www.MyNewcastle.com on the web.