Get new listings emailed daily! SIGN UP LOGIN

Date Archives: May 2020

Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Augusta, ME | 5 Posts
Bangor, ME | 4 Posts
Brunswick, ME | 1 Posts
Buying a House | 34 Posts
Careers | 1 Posts
Covid 19 | 1 Posts
Cuisine | 2 Posts
Curb Appeal | 5 Posts
Entertaining | 4 Posts
holiday | 2 Posts
Home Improvement | 35 Posts
Home Maintenance | 12 Posts
Interior Design | 6 Posts
Kennebec River | 2 Posts
Masiello Cares | 7 Posts
Mortgage Rates | 1 Posts
Moving | 15 Posts
Nashua, NH | 3 Posts
Office Events | 1 Posts
Outdoors | 2 Posts
Portsmouth, NH | 1 Posts
Quechee, VT | 4 Posts
Rockland, ME | 4 Posts
Tips for Buyers | 11 Posts
Tips for Sellers | 10 Posts
Uncategorized | 2 Posts
York, ME | 1 Posts
Zillow | 1 Posts
Zoom Towns | 9 Posts
Home buying tips | For Buyers | Tips for Home Buyers | Home maintenace | Home repairs | Rockland ME | Rockland | Restaurants | Local businesses | Local attractions | Things to Do | Historic Landmarks | Historic Homes | Augusta, ME | York | Southern Maine Coast | Holidays | Family Events | BHG The Massiello Group | Covered Bridges | Local landmarks | City spotlight | Family fun | Quechee | Moving | Buying a house | Move with pets | For Sellers | Home selling tips | Home renovations | Kitchen Remodel | Masiello Careers | Declutter | Mortgage | Sell Your House | Real Estate Agent | REALTOR | Sell Your Home | Zoom Towns | Auburn ME | Bangor ME | Belfast ME | Brunswick ME | Dover Foxcroft ME | Ellsworth ME | Gorham ME | Machias ME | Naples ME | Portland ME | Sanford ME | Unity ME | Wells ME | Windham ME | Atkinson NH | Bedford NH | Concord NH | Dover NH | Durham NH | Exeter NH | Hampton NH | Hanover NH | Hollis NH | Keene NH | Londonderry NH | Manchester NH | Nashua NH | New London NH | Peterborough NH | Portsmouth NH | Rochester NH | Tilton NH | Windham NH | Brattleboro VT | Lake Living | home safety | pets | pet care | diy | storage | interior design | smart home | home security | fall | decorating | decor | bar harbor | albany | stowe | camden | franconia | woodstock | vermont | maine | Moving to Maine | cryptocurrency | blockchains | digital currency | bitcoin | smart lights | smart bulbs | smart technology | smart fridge | smart thermostat | residential | residential real estate | residential homes | property | properties | residential property | covid | covid-19 | health | home inspection | building inspection | ibuyer program | zillow | curb appeal | front yard | landscaping | garden
May
28

Buying or Selling a Home? You Need an Expert Kind of Guide | MyKCM

In a normal housing market, whether you're buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate through the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.

We are, however, in anything but a normal market right now. We are amid one of the greatest health crises our nation has ever seen. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the journey consumers take to purchase or sell a home. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a 'Real Estate Sherpa.'

According to Lexico, a Sherpa is a "member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering." Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region - some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.

They are much more than just guides.

This is much more than a normal real estate market.

Today, the average guide just won't do. You need a Sherpa. You need an expert who understands how COVID-19 is impacting the thoughts and actions of the consumer (ex: virtual showings, proper safety protocols, e-signing documents). You need someone who can simply and effectively explain the changes in today's process to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, especially in these challenging times.

Bottom Line

Hiring an agent who understands how the pandemic is reshaping the real estate processes is crucial right now. Let's connect today to guarantee your journey is a safe and successful one.

May
26

Indoor Air Quality

Did you know that air pollution isn't just an outdoor issue? There are many factors in your home that can negatively impact your indoor air quality. 

Luckily, there are relatively easy things you can do to improve the air quality of your home. 

Our real estate agents have a few tricks up their sleeves. Use these tips and tricks to improve your indoor air quality!

  1. Eliminate Pollutants
    One of the most important steps to improving indoor air quality is to eliminate pollutants at their source. This includes using non-toxic, fragrance-free household cleaners and detergents, replacing chemical-based air fresheners with essential oil diffusers, and utilizing non-toxic extermination methods to get rid of pests. Be sure to also check for and eliminate mold in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and any other moisture-prone areas. 
  2. Click Here to Read More...

May
18

Spring Cleaning TasksWarmer temperatures have arrived, and it's time to get your house ready for the new season. Whether you're happy in your current space or want our real estate agents to help you find a new home, a little spring cleaning will help your home put its best foot forward. Instead of sticking to your normal spring cleaning tasks, make sure to turn your attention to items that are commonly overlooked. Here are a few tasks to put on your spring cleaning checklist. 

  1. Clean Your Mattress
    Over time, dust, dead skin, and other debris settle into your mattress. Strip your mattress of its bedding and break out the vacuum cleaner. Feel like your mattress needs a little extra deodorizing? Sprinkle a little baking soda on your mattress and let it sit for a few minutes before vacuuming. This will remove any old, set-in odors. If your mattress design permits, spring is the perfect time to flip your mattress over so that it wears evenly. Should you have a pillowtop mattress, just rotate it, so the top part is at the bottom of your bed, and the bottom part is at the top part of your bed. 
  2. Sanitize Your Tech Accessories
    Your tech accessories, like your remote controls, headphones, and gaming controllers, are some of the most touched items in your household. Take a few minutes and wipe each one down with a damp sanitizing wipe. Out of wipes? Dip a cleaning cloth in equal parts rubbing alcohol and water until its damp. Use a moistened q-tip in the tight or narrow areas around buttons and indentations.
  3. Declutter Your Seldom-Used Storage Spaces
    It's easy to overlook the overflowing closets and bulging storage bins in areas that you seldom use, like your attic, garage, and guest bedrooms. However, it's important to make decluttering these spaces a priority so that you don't wind up with an overwhelming mountain of stuff. Once you get rid of some unneeded items, it's much easier to clean the space. Not sure what to get rid of? A good rule of them is to throw out, sell, or donate non-seasonal items that you haven't used in the last six months. Or, if an item doesn't fit your current lifestyle, it's okay to let it go.
  4. Spray Off Your Window Screens
    Make sure that a lovely spring breeze doesn't blow dust and allergens throughout your home by cleaning your window screens. Remove each screen from its window. Mix a little dish detergent with water and use a soft cloth or brush to clean your screens. Rinse thoroughly with water and blot the screen dry with a towel. Depending on the size of your screen and the layout of your, you can use your bathtub or an outside area and your water hose.
  5. Clear Out Your Gardens
    Don't forget to clear out your gardens! Your flower gardens are one of the first things visitors see when they arrive at your home. Dead, decaying plants will detract from the look of your healthy, blooming flowers. In addition to dead organic matter, take a few minutes to pull any weeds, grass, or plants that don't belong in the space. 

Feel like you've outgrown your current home? Contact us today to explore your options. 

May
18

Why Home Equity is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market | MyKCM

Given how we have seen more unemployment claims than ever before over the past several weeks, fear is spreading widely. Some good news, however, shows that more than 4 million initial unemployment filers have likely already found a new job, especially as industries such as health care, food and grocery stores, retail, delivery, and more increase their employment opportunities. Breaking down what unemployment means for homeownership, and understanding the significant equity Americans hold today, are important parts of seeing the picture clearly when sorting through this uncertainty.

One of the biggest questions right now is whether this historic unemployment rate will initiate a new surge of foreclosures in the market. It's a very real fear. Despite the staggering number of claims, there are actually many reasons why we won't see a significant number of foreclosures like we did during the housing crash twelve years ago. The amount of equity homeowners have today is a leading differentiator in the current market.

Today, according to John Burns Consulting58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity. That number is drastically different than it was in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. The last recession was painful, and when prices dipped, many found themselves owing more on their mortgage than what their homes were worth. Homeowners simply walked away at that point. Now, 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they're owned free and clear. Those homes are not at risk for foreclosure (see graph below):

Why Home Equity is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market | MyKCM

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity mortgaged homes have today is $177,000. That's a significant amount that homeowners won't be stepping away from, even in today's economy (see chart below):

Why Home Equity is a Bright Spark in the Housing Market | MyKCM

In essence, the amount of equity homeowners have today positions them to be in a much better place than they were in 2008.

Bottom Line 

The fear and uncertainty we feel right now are very real, and this is not going to be easy. We can, however, see strength in our current market through homeowner equity that has not been there in the past. That may be a bright spark to help us make it through.

May
11

Home Improvement Projects

Whether you are making improvements to your living space or preparing to sell, home improvements are a valuable investment in your property. Our real estate agents are available to go over home improvement suggestions to help make your home more attractive to potential buyers. But there are numerous home improvement projects that you must leave to the professionals.

Without a specific skill set, experience, and specialized tools, some home improvement projects can be dangerous to try yourself. Besides, without proper training, you may spend more time and money on your remodel. Here's a list of home improvement projects you should leave to the professionals.

  1. Electrical Work
    One of the top items to leave to the professionals is electrical work. Rewiring sockets, adding lights, removing old fixtures, or installing a home theater system may sound easy. If not done correctly, your work may result in a dangerous fire hazard. Not to mention, you risk personal electric shock if not done correctly. A professional has the knowledge and equipment for fast installation and energy efficiency.

    Click Here to Read More...

May
11



With the housing market staggered to some degree by the health crisis the country is currently facing, some potential purchasers are questioning whether home values will be impacted. The price of any item is determined by supply as well as the market's demand for that item.

Each month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys "over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions" for the REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand) during this pandemic.

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: "How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?"Will Home Values Appreciate or Depreciate in 2020? | MyKCMThe darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 34 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now 'strong' and 16 of the 50 states have a 'stable' demand.

Seller Supply

The index also asks: "How would you rate seller traffic in your area?"Will Home Values Appreciate or Depreciate in 2020? | MyKCMAs the map above indicates, 46 states and Washington, D.C. reported 'weak' seller traffic, 3 states reported 'stable' seller traffic, and 1 state reported 'strong' seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the needs of buyers looking for homes right now.

With demand still stronger than supply, home values should not depreciate.

What are the experts saying?

Here are the thoughts of three industry experts on the subject:

Ivy Zelman:

"We note that inventory as a percent of households sits at the lowest level ever, something we believe will limit the overall degree of home price pressure through the year."

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American:

"Housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it's not likely to go negative."

Freddie Mac:

"Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand."

Bottom Line

Looking at these maps and listening to the experts, it seems that prices will remain stable throughout 2020. If you're thinking about listing your home, let's connect to discuss how you can capitalize on the somewhat surprising demand in the market now.

May
8

Every day that passes, people have a need to buy and sell homes. That doesn't stop during the current pandemic. If you've had a major life change recently, whether with your job or your family situation, you may be in a position where you need to sell your home – and fast. While you probably feel like timing with the current pandemic isn't on your side, making a move is still possible. Rest assured, with technology at your side and fewer sellers on the market in most areas, you can list your house and make it happen safely and effectively, especially when following the current COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You may have a new baby, a new employment situation, a parent who moved in with you, you just built a home that's finally ready to move into, or some other major part of your life that has changed in recent weeks. Buyers have those needs too, so rest assured that someone is likely looking for a home just like yours.

According to the NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse taken April 5 – 6, real estate agents indicate, not surprisingly, that there's a noticeable decline in current homebuyer interest. That said, 10% of agents said in the same survey that they saw no change or even an increase in buyer activity. So, while buyer interest is low compared to normal spring markets, there are still buyers in the market. Don't forget, you only need one buyer – the right one for your home.

Here's the other thing – people are spending a lot of time on the Internet right now, given the stay-at-home orders implemented across the country. Buyers are actively looking at homes for sale online. Some of them are reaching out to real estate professionals for virtual tours and getting ready to make offers too. Homes are being sold in many markets.

There Is Less Competition Right Now

The same survey indicates that 56% of NAR members said sellers are removing their homes from the market right now. This can definitely work in your favor. If other sellers are removing their listings, your home has a better chance of rising to the top of a buyer's search list and being seen. Keep in mind, listings will pick up again soon, as 57% of the respondents note that sellers are only planning to delay the process by a couple of months. If you need to sell right now, don't wait for the competition to get back into the market again.

This year, delayed listings from the typically busy spring season will push into the summer months, so more competition will be coming to the market as the pandemic passes. Getting ahead of that wave now might be your biggest opportunity.

Your Trusted Real Estate Advisor Can Help

Real estate agents are working hard every single day under untraditional circumstances, utilizing technology to help both buyers and sellers who need to continue with their plans. We're using virtual tours to show homes currently on the market, staying connected with the buyers and sellers through video chats, and leveraging resources to complete transactions electronically. We're making sure the families we support remain safe and can keep their real estate needs on track, especially as life is changing so rapidly.

Bottom Line

Homes are still being bought and sold in the midst of this pandemic. If you need to sell your house and would like to know the current status in your local market, contact our expert real estate professionals to create a safe and effective plan that works for you and your family.

May
5

Confused About the Economic Recovery? Here's Why. | MyKCM

As we continue to work through the health crisis that plagues this country, more and more conversations are turning to economic recovery. While we look for signs that we've reached a plateau in cases of COVID-19, the concern and fear of what will happen as businesses open up again is on all of our minds. This causes confusion about what an economic recovery will look like. With this in mind, it's important to understand how economists are using three types of sciences to formulate their forecasts and to work toward clearer answers.

  1. Business Science – How has the economy rebounded from similar slowdowns in the past?
  2. Health Science – When will COVID-19 be under control? Will there be another flareup of the virus this fall?
  3. People Science – After businesses are fully operational, how long will it take American consumers to return to normal consumption patterns? (Ex: going to the movies, attending a sporting event, or flying).

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, says:

"Although the uncertainty of the crisis means forecasts of economic activity are more unclear than usual, we expect that most of the economic damage from the virus will be contained to the first half of the year. Going forward, we should see a recovery starting in the second half of 2020."

This past week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the advanced estimate for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2020. That estimate came in at -4.8%. It was a clear indicator showing how the U.S. economy slowed as businesses shut down and consumers retreated to their homes in fear of the health crisis and of contracting COVID-19.Confused About the Economic Recovery? Here's Why. | MyKCMExperts agree that the second quarter of 2020 will be an even greater slowdown, a sign more businesses are feeling the effects of this health crisis. The same experts, however, project businesses will rebound, and a recovery will start to happen in the second half of this year.

Bottom Line

As time goes on, we'll have more clarity around what the true economic recovery will look like, and we'll have more information on the sciences that will affect it. As the nation's economy comes back to life and businesses embrace new waves of innovation to serve their customers, the American spirit of grit, growth, and prosperity will be alive and well.

May
4

Real Estate Terms to Know

If you're a first-time homebuyer or seller, you may not be familiar with the lingo used during the process. Even those who've been involved in a real estate transaction can usually do with a little brushing up. While this list isn't comprehensive, it'll get you started with some of the real estate terms you might run into.

  1. Adjustable Rate Mortgage
    This is a conventional loan where the interest rate can change at five-, seven- or ten-year intervals. Adjustable rates may not work for those who plan to stay in a home for a while, as rates can zoom upwards quite suddenly.
  2. Amortization
    Amortization combines interest and principal in payments so a homeowner can build more equity in the loan, rather than pay off the interest at first.
  3. Annual Percentage Rate
    The APR is how much interest is charged on your loan yearly.

    Click Here to Read More...

May
1

Buying a Home Right Now: Easy? No. Smart? Yes. | MyKCM

Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry's leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:

"The March ShowingTime Showing Index® recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however."

Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country?

Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity:

1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible.

2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:

  • View homes
  • Meet with mortgage professionals
  • Consult with their agent throughout the process

All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves.

3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today's purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.

Looking closely at the third reason, we can see that there's a big difference between purchasing a house last December and purchasing one now (see chart below):Buying a Home Right Now: Easy? No. Smart? Yes. | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Many families have decided not to postpone their plans to purchase a home, even in these difficult times. If you need to make a move, let's connect today so you have a trusted advisor to safely and professionally guide you through the process.

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder