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April
11

2021 Maine

Did you know that more people chose to move to Maine from out of state than any other state in the country in 2021? According to a study highlighted by REALTOR® Magazine, Maine was the top state for inbound moves last year. New residents are flocking to Maine for its family-friendly nature, diverse real estate options, endless outdoor attractions, great communities, and so much more. Our real estate agents have all of the details on what makes Maine such a popular choice for inbound moves and why you'll love living here, too.

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March
14

Maine Covered Bridges

Maine's covered bridges have been a subject of affection for countless photographers, artists, visitors, and outdoor enthusiasts for many decades, thanks to their quaint, historic charm. There are a total of 8 covered bridges dotting the gorgeous natural landscapes of Maine, each with its own unique character, construction, and story. Planning a trip to see Maine's covered bridges is a great way to get to know the state, and our real estate agents have some interesting facts to shed light on the history of each of the 8 bridges.

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February
14

New England Trails

Did you know that America's first commercial railway opened in Massachusetts in 1826? Today, railroads take a back seat to airplanes, but their legacy lives on through rail routes that have been repurposed for hiking and biking. During the winter months, these trails make excellent places for snowshoeing and winter biking. Our real estate agents love the incredible perspective on Northern New England found in traveling these amazing rail trails throughout the region.

Northern New England Rail Trails

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October
11

Halloween DecoratingHalloween decorating is a fun fall activity for the whole family, but it can also get a little bit competitive among neighbors. Whether you're planning a party or just looking to spook the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, our real estate agents created this guide of Halloween decorating tips to help you create the most mystifying home on the block. 

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September
20

Moving Tips

It's no secret that moving can be stressful! When you're packing up your entire life and relocating across the country, it's important to make sure you're prepared. Spending some time planning your move will help ensure everything goes off without a hitch. 

Not sure where to start? You're in luck! Our real estate agents often work with clients from out of state and have created a helpful guide to help with planning cross-country moves. Here are a few of the most important tips. 

Cross-Country Moving Tips

  • Start by Decluttering
    There's no sense paying someone to move stuff you don't really want or need. You'll save yourself money if you declutter before you move. Even better, you may be able to make some extra money by having a yard sale, working with a consignment store, or selling items online. You can also donate gently-used items to local nonprofits.
  • Ask for Help
    There's nothing worse than trying to handle a cross-country move by yourself. Don't hesitate to ask for help with certain tasks. Even school-age kids can pack up boxes of non-essentials if they're shown the proper way to do it. There's also nothing wrong with asking family and friends to come over and lend you a hand. 
  • Book Travel Arrangements Early
    You don't want to scramble to figure out your travel arrangements at the last minute. Having the right airline and hotel reservations can make or break your move, so make sure you spend some time doing your research and start booking your reservations at least a month in advance. 
  • Get Quotes from Multiple Movers
    A cross-country move can be expensive, so it pays to get estimates from at least three or four different moving companies before making your final decision. Make sure each company you're considering is licensed and insured. Be careful not to make your decision solely on price. It's also important to consider their anticipated delivery time, the services included, and whether you feel comfortable with the company's reputation. Many of the best moving companies book up quickly, so it's important to get started on this as soon as possible. 
  • Take Photos or Videos of Your Items
    When packing up valuable items, it's a great idea to take photos or videos to document their condition. This way, if they arrive damaged, you'll be able to easily show proof to the moving company. 
  • Get the Driver's Contact Number
    When you're moving cross-country, you can sometimes wait a week or longer for your items to arrive. Getting a contact number for the driver can help give you some extra peace of mind. 
  • Consider Moving Insurance
    Most moving companies offer a free moving policy, but these typically only cover the bare minimum. When booking your move, consider whether you need Full Value Protection. This will hold the mover accountable for covering the actual cash value of your items. You'll also have to weigh the pros and cons of choosing a policy from your mover versus getting one from a third-party insurance company. 
  • Bring Valuables and Important Paperwork
    Make sure to protect your valuables and important paperwork by keeping them with you instead of sending them with the movers. Some of the items you'll want to keep with you include jewelry, heirlooms, your birth certificate, and your marriage license. 
  • Pack a Bag of Essentials
    As you're packing up your belongings, make sure to keep a separate bag or a suitcase for your essentials. This should include everything you need for moving day and the first few days after you arrive. Make sure you have at least a few changes of clothing, all your necessary toiletries, medications, and items like towels, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, pet food, child necessities. 
  • Examine Your Items Carefully
    When the movers arrive with your items, make sure you inspect them thoroughly. This is particularly important for large items, like furniture and anything valuable. If you notice any damage, take photos and contact the movers right away. 
  • Update Your Information
    Thanks to modern technology, it's now super easy to change your address. You can just visit USPS.com and select the date you want the post office to start forwarding your mail. You'll also need to change your address with your bank and credit card companies and change over your new utilities. 
  • Get a New Driver's License
    If you're living in a new state, you'll need to get a new driver's license. To do this, make an appointment at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and bring all the necessary paperwork so they can issue you a new license. 
  • Explore Your Neighborhood
    Now that all the hard stuff is done, it's time to settle into your new home and get comfortable in your new neighborhood. This means getting outside and saying hello to your new neighbors. This is also a good time to start exploring local parks, restaurants, and retail shops. You may also want to check out your local Nextdoor.com group. 

Are you planning to relocate soon? Our agents would love to help you find your dream home! Contact us today. 

September
13

Bar Hartbor Living
Our real estate agents
think Bar Harbor is an incredible town to live in, but you don't have to take our word for it. Let us share some facts, figures, and general information showing why Bar Harbor makes a great place to call home for all ages and lifestyles.

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September
7

Cleaning Tips Listing a Home

When it's time to sell your home, it's important for your house to create a positive impression with prospective buyers. Our real estate agents recommend thoroughly cleaning your home before listing it to attract homebuyers and help you command the highest asking price.

A messy, cluttered space indicates to buyers that the property hasn't been properly maintained and may be a haven for expensive repairs. Check out this list of cleaning tips to prepare your home to list. 

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August
9

New England Books

With its incomparable natural beauty and impressive historical legacy, New England is a great backdrop for a wide range of literary genres, from young adult series to mysteries and thrillers. Here's a look at some top books set in New England that our real estate agents will be reading for Book Lovers Day on Monday, August 9th.

Add These New England Books to Your Reading List

Lights Burning

  • Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop
    Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie became a favorite of many when it was featured on the iconic PBS show Reading Rainbow. Set in the mid-19th century, 16-year-old Abbie faces the challenge of "keeping the lights burning" when her father, the lighthouse keeper, finds himself caught in a storm. This is a great choice to read aloud for kids during evening storytime. 

Cider House

  • The Cider House Rules by John Irving
    John Irving is considered one of the top contemporary writers in America, and The Cider House Rules is one of his best-known novels. The story of Homer Wells, who learns the truths of life while growing up in a Maine orphanage, has been compared to the works of Dickens in its themes and scope. In 2000, Irving won an Academy Award for his screenplay adaptation.

stephen king

  • It by Stephen King
    Even non-horror fans know the work of Stephen King, a literary legend whose books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. One of the signature elements of his works is their New England setting, such as the fictional town of Derry, Maine, where the terrifying events of It take place. Seven people, now scattered across the country, are drawn back to their hometown for a final showdown with the evil being they first faced together as teenagers. Woven throughout the story is a commentary on the bittersweet yet enduring bonds of childhood friendship.

Clammed Up

  • Clammed Up by Barbara Ross
    New England is renowned for its variety of fresh seafood, so it's only natural that it would be incorporated into locally-set literature. Clammed Up is a delightful hybrid of mystery and romance that revolves around Julia Snowden and her family's clambake business. In this introductory volume of the Maine Clambake series, Julia fights to clear the name of her childhood crush, who is the prime suspect in a murder. Other titles in the nine-volume series include Musseled Out, Fogged In, and Steamed Open.

A Separate Peace

  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
    As a longtime staple of high school reading lists, A Separate Peace has truly earned the designation of "classic." Author John Knowles based the story on his experiences as a student at Phillips Exeter Academy, a prestigious prep school in New Hampshire. During the years of World War II, odd-couple best friends Gene and Phineas experience a tragic event that tests their relationship and shatters their innocence. Gore Vidal, a famous author in his own right, was one of Knowles' classmates at Phillips Exeter and the model for one of the secondary characters.

Walk in the Woods

  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
    Spanning Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail is the Holy Grail for hikers. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is essential reading for anyone planning a hike on this route, even if it's just in their imagination. Author Bill Bryson, who has made a name for himself writing about an eclectic assortment of non-fiction topics, mixes fascinating facts about the trail with engaging stories of fellow hikers he meets along the way.

Carpenter Lady

  • The Carpenter's Lady by Barbara Delinsky
    When you're craving the escapism of some light reading, pick up The Carpenter's Lady. You'll quickly be caught up in the story of Debra Barry, a TV writer who flees the fast pace of New York for the quiet charms of New Hampshire, seeking some post-divorce healing. After hiring carpenter Graham Reid to help renovate her house, Debra is surprised to find that her own damaged psyche is slowly becoming repaired as well. A Boston native who spent many childhood summers at a camp in Maine, Barbara Delinsky uses her lifelong love of the region to add realistic color to the settings of her books.

Secret History

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    Home to elite educational institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth, New England, is academic nirvana. This background is used to incredible effect in The Secret History, one of the most highly anticipated and successful debut novels of all time. Told as an inverted detective story, the novel begins years after a murder has been committed and relates the events leading up to the crime. The story takes place at fictional Hampden College, a small liberal college in Vermont. Donna Tartt patterned Hampden after Bennington College, also in Vermont, where she studied classics from 1982 to 1986. Tartt's classmates at Bennington included noted writers Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem, and Jill Eisenstadt.

Is your New England story waiting to be written? Contact us at The Masiello Group for help with all your real estate needs.

July
19

New England Airbnb

More travelers than ever before are skipping staying at hotels, instead choosing to rent rooms or entire homes from Airbnb hosts. With Northern New England being such a beautiful place for a getaway, the demand for Airbnb rentals in the area is often high. Becoming an Airbnb host is a great way to earn some extra income in your primary residence, meet new people from around the world, or even turn your second home into an income generator whenever you're not using it. Our real estate agents have the details to help you decide if becoming a host is right for you

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July
12

Pet Fire Safety Day

Pets are a part of the family in many Northern New England homes!

And July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, a great reminder to fine-tune your family's fire safety plan so that all your family members are protected.

Our real estate agents also recommend making a few changes around your home so that your furry family members don't inadvertently start a fire. Here are some valuable tips to help keep your pet safe in case of an emergency. 

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June
21

When the weather gets warm, sweet summer breezes carry amazing fragrances that beckon us to head outdoors and fire up our grills. Our real estate agents are thrilled to show you beautiful New England properties that boast patios and spacious gardens that make perfect spaces for summer grilling. If this sounds like your ideal way to spend a lazy weekend, check out these tips to make your summer grilling extra delicious this year. 

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June
7

New England Garden

When people ask our real estate agents for home improvement tips, gardening and landscaping are usually at the top of their list. 

Colorful flowers and lush greenery can always put a smile on your face. In addition to the visual delights, there are other great reasons to take up gardening.

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May
19

New England Memorial Day

The beginning, middle, and end of summer are marked by holidays that honor our country's greatest values and liberties. Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day are steeped in traditions of honoring and remembering all those who served in the military.  For many of us, it also means an extra day off to celebrate with family and friends.

With the promise of summer stretching out ahead, Memorial Day has a special significance. Our real estate agents share their favorite New England Memorial Day traditions. 

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May
11

New Hampshire vs Maine Lake Living

New England is justifiably proud of its spectacular Atlantic Ocean shoreline that makes the region a top tourist destination year after year. But residents know that the scenic lakes in New Hampshire and Maine offer an unbeatable sense of serenity as well.

Both states offer relaxing lake living activities such as boating, canoeing, swimming, fishing, etc. But when you look closer, you'll see what makes these areas truly one of a kind. 

Our real estate agents share some of the things that make Maine and New Hampshire unique for lakeside living.

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March
22

Home Theater Masiello

It's no surprise that many of us are watching more TV than normal. Whether it's your favorite cable sitcom or your favorite streaming service, many homeowners are thinking of ways to improve their watching experience at home. 

A good home theater system is essential for creating the best possible viewing experience and maximizing comfort in your living room. Our real estate agents take a lot of pride in their home theater setups, and there couldn't be a better time to improve yours. Below are some tips to get the most out of your home theater setup:

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March
15

Gallery Wall Masiello

A good way to create a focal point in your living room is to craft a gallery wall. One that is well done makes a home look inviting and helps tie the room together. This creative collage does require a bit of planning! The following guide will help you to create a stunning gallery wall you'll love to look at in your home.

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March
9

Home Listing Tips

If you plan to put your home on the market, it's better to start your preparations sooner rather than later. Our real estate agents find that homeowners who complete home repairs and maintenance tasks are more likely to produce spaces that appeal to potential buyers. Follow this checklist if you plan to list your home this spring. 

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March
1

Pets New Home

Are you adding a new pet to your household? Pets have a special way of making any house feel homier! While adopting a new pet is fun and exciting, it can also be stressful while they adjust.

Each pet is an individual, so just be aware, what works for one may not work for another. Let's have a look at what's considered the mainstream wisdom for introducing a new dog or cat.

Before you leave to pick up your new pet, make sure you've prepared your home. For a cat, acquire a litter box and litter and put breakable things away. For a puppy, remove things you don't want chewed up.

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February
15

Home Organization Apps

Staying organized has never been easy. And after a year when many of us have spent more time living and working at home than ever before, it's understandable if home organization has gotten a little lax. 

Our real estate agents understand the struggle. Luckily, we also have a few suggestions for getting your home organization back on track. We can't promise you won't have to do any actual cleaning, but we can say with confidence that these home organization apps will help!

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February
8

Buying Land

Know that you want to buy a new home, but haven't found a property that meets your needs? Consider buying land and building your own home. When you purchase land, you control the size and location of your home's lot. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're buying land this year. 

  1. It's Essential to Scout Out and Research Surrounding Land Plots
    Our real estate agents know that clients purchasing land may find plots in a variety of environments. The plots might be surrounded by land that has already been developed or is currently under construction. If so, you'll want to know if these plots will be used for residential homes or commercial businesses. Or, you may find the land plot surrounded by seemingly undeveloped land. Do your research to understand who owns the land. Are there any zoning restrictions? Are there farms nearby? Is there any history of criminal activity on the surrounding land plots? Check that you're comfortable with the neighboring land's current and potential usage. Investigate any restrictions that apply to your plot. It's not uncommon for local laws and ordinances to provide guidance on dwelling sizes or how many buildings may be placed on a piece of land. Don't assume that ordinances or restrictions can be appealed. Even if an ordinance is repealed, this is a lengthy process that may take years. 
  1. Financing Looks Different
    It's harder to finance the purchase of land than it is to take out a mortgage. When you use a mortgage to buy a home, the home acts as collateral for the lender if you default on the loan, permitting the lender to offer attractive lending terms. With land loans, the terms aren't nearly as favorable. Undeveloped land isn't as in demand as land with a home, so it's riskier for the bank to finance. You'll pay a higher interest rate, and you'll likely only be able to borrow a portion of the value of the land. It's not uncommon for lenders to require a downpayment of 50 percent for a land loan. You'll need accessible liquid savings to cover the difference. Some affordable land loans are available through the USDA for individuals purchasing land in qualified rural areas. 
  1. See What Utilities and Access Rights the Land Has
    A gorgeous plot of land is of little use if you can't access it. Confirm that the plot comes with access rights or an easement. Any easements concerning the land's access should be in writing. Depending on the location of the plot, you may need to add a private road to safely access your new residence. Make sure you consider this expense, as the cost of clearing and paving land quickly adds up. If the land isn't currently outfitted with utilities (like water, electricity, and internet), all of these items will need to be added. Check with your local utility companies that it's possible to run service to the land plot, and inquire about the cost. Some companies may run service to the land for free, while others will charge for their services. 
  1. A Land Survey is a Necessity
    You should hire a land surveyor to determine the exact boundaries of the land. Not only will this give you a better understanding of the plot's limits, but you can confirm that neighbors aren't intentionally or accidentally using the land. 

Ready to start searching for land for your home? Contact us today to get started!

January
25

Clean Home Tips

Many of us are still spending more time than usual at home, which may continue for a while. If you're finding you've got time for extra cleaning projects, try to make the most of it and let your home's natural sparkle come out. Our real estate agents can always recommend cleaning tasks that homeowners may overlook when preparing a home for the market.

Here are some tips for enhanced cleaning in your home.

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January
11

Smart Home Tips

Smart home technology has been available to consumers for more than 20 years now. But it's really only in the last decade that the idea of a smart home has become mainstream. 

If you're wondering how you can use technology to make your home better, smarter, more efficient, and more secure, then you're in luck. As we head into the new year, our real estate agents are excited to share these smart home technologies for 2021. 

  • Smart Home Assistant
    One of the most popular smart home innovations in recent years, smart home assistants have proven to be more than a fad. Many different makes and models are available—Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant are some of the most well known—offering you a wealth of tools at your fingertips. Smart home assistants give you hands-free control to play music, look up directions, place calls, help with your shopping, and a seemingly endless array of other tasks.

  • Smart Thermostat
    Replacing your old, outdated thermostat with a modern smart thermostat is a great way to improve comfort and energy efficiency in your home. You can make adjustments to the temperature via a smartphone app, even when you're not at home. 

  • Smart Fridge
    It's true. Your refrigerator could probably be smarter. Most major fridge manufacturers have smart fridges in their lineup these days, and there are a wealth of benefits, including saving energy and reducing food waste. Using the accompanying app, you can adjust the fridge and freezer settings from your phone. You can also choose to get alerts when the door is left ajar or time for a water filter change. 

  • Smart Door Locks
    Improved security has always been one of the big advantages of a smart home, and smart door locks were one of the first features to catch on in a big way. Rather than looking for the right key, you can lock or unlock your door by thumbprint, by entering your PIN, or using an app on your smartphone. Many smart locks also have a built-in alarm system. 

  • Smart Lighting
    Smart light bulbs offer a major innovation for comfort and efficiency. You can turn lights on and off in any room of your home using voice commands or a smartphone app, including dimmer settings, so you can specifically adjust the brightness of certain lights. Of course, the real benefit is that if you forgot to turn off the downstairs lights before tucking yourself in for the night, you could switch them off without getting out of bed! 

  • Smart Cameras
    Security cameras have come a long way, and the latest smart cameras give you amazing control and security without invading your privacy. With two cameras in front and back of your house, you can have your entryways covered, with the ability to see the footage in real-time from your phone. 

  • Smart Hub
    A smart hub is essentially the "brains" of your smart home, connecting all your other smart devices and features. Essentially, it greatly simplifies things by making it possible to control your entire smart home using a single app. Some (but not all) smart home assistants include a smart hub, so you may or may not need a separate hub, depending on your setup. 

Whether you're looking to buy or sell a home or are simply ready to take your living space to the next level, smart home technology is an important consideration. Contact us today to learn more and talk to our team about ways to make your home smarter in 2021. 

January
4

Ways to Cut Energy Costs

January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, so be sure to add energy efficiency to your New Year's resolutions. When it comes to cutting energy costs, a few small changes can really make a big difference. More importantly, making our homes eco-friendly can have a major impact on our community and Earth. Our real estate agents love discussing ways to improve your home's energy efficiency, and they have compiled this list of tips to help you reduce your utility bills in 2021:

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December
7

Work From Home New England

Covid-19 has taught us a lot this year, including how well many of us are able to adapt to a remote working environment. While many companies and employees believed working from home would be a temporary arrangement early on in the pandemic, it's becoming more and more clear that the virus has simply accelerated the inevitable shift to remote work. You can argue that working from home has benefits and disadvantages; however, many people, including our real estate agents, believe it is here to stay. Below are several reasons why.

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