Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Avoid Wire Fraud

by Fontaine Family

Do you know how to
Avoid Wire Fraud?

Wire Fraud seems to be happening more and more in real estate transactions and it is not always easy to spot.  Often someone involved in a real estate transaction gets an e-mail with a change to the wiring instructions.  Sometimes the buyer will get an e-mail that looks like it is coming from the Lender, Title Company, or even their Real Estate Agent saying where to wire the funds for closing.  A title company could get a request that looks like it is coming from the seller saying they want the proceeds from closing wired into a different account.  There are too many scenarios to list.  There are some common things to look for to avoid wire fraud. 

Spelling & Grammar
A lot of spelling and grammar mistakes.  They are often lacking punctuation and capitalization.

Logos & Company Names
Scammers e-mails are often missing logos or the Company Name.  Sometimes the logo and signature is copied from a legitimate e-mail but then the phone number might be changed. 

E-Mail Links
Often the e-mail looks just like the e-mail of someone involved in the transaction.  If you hover over the e-mail link before clicking on it, the e-mail may be different.  Even if it does look the same, avoid using the links in an e-mail.  They could lead to a phishing site that looks identical to the site you expect.

Password Changes
Lately there have been a lot of phishing e-mails arriving that look like they are from Outlook, saying you need to change your password.  When you click on it, it appears identical to the Outlook log-in but once you enter your password, the scammer has it and can access your e-mail. 

The bottom line is...
you can't be too careful when you are trying to avoid wire fraud. 
Always double check before giving out personal information or wiring any funds. 
Pick up the phone and call your agent or lender or both! 
Better safe than sorry! 

Buying Foreclosures - What You Should Know

by Fontaine Family

What You Should Know About Buying Bank Owned Properties

If you are looking at homes in today's market, you have probably run across properties that were foreclosed and are now bank-owned.  Some buyers are scared off right away when they hear "foreclosure" or "bank-owned".  It is possible to get a good deal if you know what you are getting into. 

Here is a list of the top 5 thing you should know about buying a Foreclosure...

Expect Unknowns
The bank may own the property, but they have never lived there.  They don't usually know when the heating system was last serviced or if the roof leaked.  Expect there to be lots of unknowns on the disclosures...and plan to get a good inspection!

As-Is Condition
Most banks sell properties "as-is".  In other words, if you find a problem on you inspection, they will probably not fix it.  Your options are usually buy "as-is" or walk away.

Pre-Approval Letters
Most banks won't even consider an offer unless you provide a mortgage pre-approval, or if you are paying cash a proof of funds letter, with the offer.  It's a good idea to have this ready to go in today's fast moving market anyway.

When a bank does accept an offer, expect a bank addendum.  This document spells out lots of conditions of the sale and usually over-rides the Purchase & Sale.  Make sure you read it word for word and get help if you don't understand the legal wording.

Fees for Delays
Many banks include in their addendum a fee for not closing on time.  Most often this is a per-diem charge.  If you don't close on time, you could get charged a fee for each day you are late on closing. 

The bottom line is, as long as you know what you are getting into, you could get a great deal buying a bank-owned property...especially if you are handy and can do some repairs.  Having an experience buyer's agent to help you through the process will make the process much easier.  Give us a call today at (207)784-3800 or (207)289-3830 if you would like more information about purchasing a bank-owned property. 

Click here to see a list of all our bank owned properties!

Should I Price My Home Higher?

by Fontaine Family

Should I price my home higher to leave room to negotiate?

We hear that question almost daily when talking with home owners about selling their homes. 
Sellers feel that if they add a few thousand dollars on top of the price the Realtor® suggests, it will just give them room to negotiate. 

What can it hurt, after all? 
First of all, buyers have to see your house to make an offer.  Keep in mind that they are looking at photos and comparing it to other houses of the same price.  If you are not one of the best homes at that price, buyers may just move on to the next home and never ever set foot in yours.  Any good agent will provide a seller with comparable properties and the prices they have SOLD for.  Those houses actually SOLD.  There could be other houses, priced just a few thousand dollars high still sitting on the market months after being listing.  Now buyers just scroll right past those houses saying "There must be something wrong with it or it would have sold."  Is it worth the risk?  If you price your house right, you can create a sense of urgency.  Buyers will be afraid that someone else may beat them making an offer.  Sometimes that sense of urgency even produces multiple offers and a higher sales price! 

Which situation would you choose? 
The bottom line is overpricing your home is one of the most common and costliest mistakes you can make when selling your home. 

Are you ready to see what your home is worth in today's Maine real estate market? 
Give us a call and one of our talented agents will provide you with a FREE opinion of value! 

Auburn: (207)784-3800
Scarborough: (207)289-3830

4 Great Reasons To Buy This Spring

by Fontaine Family

Spring is Here...
and it's a great time to buy a home!
Here are 4 great reasons to buy this spring...


Spring Welcome Birdhouse

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4% over the last couple months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by at least a half a percentage point this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage 

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Buying After A Short Sale or Foreclosure

by Fontaine Family

How Soon After a Short Sale or Foreclosure Can I Buy a Home?

This is a question we get all the time.  Millions of people have lost their homes to Foreclosures or Short Sales over the past 10 years.  Many of these people were just experience a difficult time and are now in a much better place and ready to consider homeownership once again. 

The waiting period before you can purchase varies depending on the program:

Conventional Loan: 4-7 years
FHA Loans: 3 years
USDA Loans: 3 years
VA Loans: 2 years

There are circumstances where each of these timeframes can be reduced, so if you think you are ready, it is a good idea to meet with a lender to get some advice.

There are also some things you can do to make sure you are ready as soon as possible.

  • Work on repairing your credit.  Lenders want to see a good credit score, so check yours out and work on repairing it as much as possible.  You can pull your credit report for free from keep in mind that the lender will be seeing a slightly different report. 
  • Make payments on time.  Lenders will look to see if you are on track with keeping up with your payments.  Making sure you are not late and are making all payments will help you out!
  • Have a steady job.  Lenders will verify your employment. They want to see steady employment so people who change jobs often or work several part time jobs instead of a full time job, may have a more difficult time. 

Having a foreclosure or short sale will not keep you from ever owning a home just takes a little time and work! 

Are you recovering from a short sale or foreclousre and think you are ready to buy?  Give us a call and let one of our experienced agent point you in the right direction. 

Can A Home Be Romantic?

by Fontaine Family

Can a Home Be Romantic?
It can certainly have some romantic features.
Here are our top 3 romantic features for your next home.

1.  Cozy Fireplace
What's more romantic that curling up with your valentine in front of a crackling fire on a snowy February night? 

2.  Private Master Bedroom
Soft colors, plush bedding, gorgeous chandelier...away from the kiddo's rooms and bustle of the family areas...that's romantic!

3.  Lights on Dimmers
You can change the whole mood of a room by just dimming the lights.  Turn the lights down low, and open up a bottle of wine! 

What are your top romantic wish list items for your next home? 
We can help you find them! 
Call us today! 

Homes are Still Selling!

by Fontaine Family

Maine's Fall Real Estate Market is busy!

Often the Real Estate Market slows down in the fall...
but 2016 has been a great year for seller in the Maine Real Estate market. 
Property is selling and prices are starting to rise. 

So far in 2016, the Fontaine Team has closed 475 transactions...
and we are still going strong! 

In November we have...
listed 23 properties
put 31 under contract
closed 25 deals
and we still have half the month to go! 

Are you ready to sell your Maine home? 
Give us a call to take advantage of this great market
and get your property sold for top dollar faster! 

Auburn Location:   (207)784-3800 
Scarborough Location:   (207)289-3830

Scam Alert!

by Fontaine Family

Beware of this Scam
Targeting Real Estate Deals...

It could happen to you without you noticing!

Hackers keep coming up with new scams to obtain your private information and in turn your hard earned money. 
One of the latest scams has you wiring money
right into the hackers account without even realizing it...
and it has been happening here in Maine.

Hackers have been breaking into the e-mail accounts of real estate professionals and monitoring e-mails exchanged about real estate transactions.  When a closing is scheduled, the hacker will send an e-mail to the buyer with "new wiring instructions".  You might think this would be easy to spot, but they hackers have done as far as setting up e-mail accounts with similar names to the professionals involved in the deal.  The e-mail might look like it is coming from the Lender, Title Company or agent and may even contain a company logo or even your loan number.  If you actually follow the "new wiring instructions" you could end up wiring your funds right into the account of the hacker.    

So how can you prevent this from happening to you? 

1.  If you get an e-mail with a change to wiring instructions...pick up the phone and call your agent, lender, or title company to confirm.  Do NOT use the e-mail provided in the e-mail but look up the number or use the number you have used to contact them in the past. 

2.  If the e-mail makes any reference to a "SWIFT wire"
it may be a scam.  This term indicates that the destination
for the wire is overseas. 

3.  Do not send your bank account information, routing numbers, or PIN by e-mail. 

The saying "better safe than sorry" applies in this situation.  If you have any question or feel uneasy...pick up the phone and verify that the information you were given about wiring funds is accurate. 

The National Association of Realtors issued an alert
about this scam. 
Click here to read it.

Are you interested in working with an agent
who will look out for you and protect your interests
during your Maine real estate transaction? 

Give us a call today
and let us tell you how we can work for you! 

Auburn (207)784-3800 
Scarborough (207)289-3830

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying

by Keeping Current Matters

Renting vs. Buying: What Does it Really Cost? [INFOGRAPHIC]

If you have been considering buying this need to see this!  Buying can be more affordable than renting.

Renting vs. Buying: What Does it Really Cost? [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights: 
  • The percentage of income needed to afford a median priced home is almost half the percentage of income needed to afford median rent.
  • Buying costs are significantly less than renting costs.
  • The percentage of income needed to afford a median priced home is less than the historic norm.

Tax Deductions for Homeowners

by Fontaine Family

Tax Season is Quickly Approaching...
now is the time to start preparing!

Did you know that if you own your home, there are some tax deductions that you may be able to take advantage of to lower your tax bill?

Prepaid Interest Deduction  
If you purchased a home and paid "points" you may be able to deduct it during the year you paid it.  If you purchased a home this year, don't miss out on this one!

Mortgage Interest Deduction 
You may be able to deduct the interest you paid on the mortgage of your home each year on mortgages up to $1,000,000 (or $500,000 if you are married and filing separately).

Property Tax Deduction 
The real estate taxes you pay may be used as a deduction each year that you pay them. If you purchased a home this year, don't forget to check your closing statement to see if you pre-paid your real estate taxes.  If your taxes and insurance are paid out of an escrow account, check your escrow statement for the amounts that were paid toward your real estate taxes. 

PMI Deduction  
If you pay Private Mortgage Insurance on your mortgage, you may be able to deduct this if you meet the income limits.  If you did not put down a 20% down payment when you purchased your home, you may be paying PMI. 

Taxes are complicated, so it is a good idea to consult a tax professional to guide you when filing your taxes.  A reputable tax professional should be able to help you maximize the deductions available to homeowners and to lower your tax bill!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of  Real Estate
Fontaine Family - The Real Estate Leader
336 Center St. Auburn, ME 04210
432 US Route 1 Scarborough ME 04074
(207)784-3800 Auburn
(207)289-3830 Scarborough
Fax: (207)786-2957

Existing Users

Current My Listing Manager Members Login Here:

We respect your privacy. We will never sell or give your data to anyone.

Listing data is derived in whole or in part from the Maine IDX and is for consumers' personal, non-commercial use only. Dimensions are approximate and not guaranteed. All data should be independently verified. © 2017 Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Privacy Policy click here