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Maine Maple Sunday

by Fontaine Family

It is officially spring and that means it is time for
Maine Maple Sunday!

Maine Maple Sunday is always the 4th Sunday of March and is one of the rituals that signal the start of spring!  This year is the 35th anniversary of Maine Maple Sunday, and while it may not feel or look like spring yet this year, Maple Sunday will still go on!  On Sunday, March 25th, sugarhouses all over Maine will open their doors Sunday with samples, activities and demonstrations. 

Each sugarhouse is different and offers a unique experience.
Click here to see a list of participating sugarhouses.

Don't Wait Until Spring!

by Fontaine Family

Are you thinking of listing your home this spring?

There may be snow on the ground,
but it w
ill melt soon and right now inventory is low. 
That means
that buyers are jumping on homes when they are listed
so homes are selling faster and for top dollar! 

There might be more buyers looking in the spring,
but there will also be more houses on the market. 
That means more competition for you!

One of our knowledgeable listing agents will be happy to meet with you
and provide you with a FREE opinion of value and expert advice
on how to get top dollar for you home without waiting until spring! 

Give us a call today at (207)784-3800 or (207)289-3830! 

Housing Market Expected to Spring Forward!

by Fontaine Family
Housing Market Expected To "Spring Forward" This Year | Simplifying The Market

Housing Market Expected To “Spring Forward” This Year

Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” 
Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.
Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.
Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows.
Even with the recent increase in rates, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment.
Many more buyers are jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2017 all fell in April, May, or June.
Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line 
If you are planning on selling your home in 2018, let’s get together to evaluate the opportunities in our market.
Call us at (207)784-3800 or (207)289-3830 to get started today! 

Tax Refund for Down Payment?

by Fontaine Family

It’s Tax Season…
Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings!

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes.
This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals;
for anyone looking to buy a home in 2018, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.
(The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)

It's Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings! | Simplifying The Market

Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage.
Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%,
with Veterans Affairs Loans allowing many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund
by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.

It's Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings! | Simplifying The Market

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership!
For those in Alabama looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 69% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required,
the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

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!

What's Happening in the Cumberland County Real Estate Market?

by Fontaine Family

Cumberland County Real Estate Market 2017 vs 2016 Statistics

We hear all kinds of statistics on the news about the real estate market, but real estate varies greatly from region to region.  Check out our infographic comparing the real estate market in Cumberland County in 2017 vs. 2016.  What to see what is happening in Androscoggin County?  Click here!

Are you ready to buy or sell a home in Cumberland County?
Give us a call today at (207)289-3830!

What's Happening in the Real Estate Market in Androscoggin County?

by Fontaine Family

Androscoggin County Real Estate Market   2017 vs 2016 Statistics

We hear all kinds of statistics on the news about the real estate market, but real estate varies greatly from region to region.  Check out our infographic comparing the real estate market in Androscoggin County in 2017 vs. 2016.  Check back next week to see the statistics for Cumberland County!

Are you ready to buy or sell a home in Androscoggin County? 
Give us a call today at (207)784-3800!

Home Selling Recap for 2017

by Fontaine Family

2017 was a busy year for the Real Estate Market.
Here are 5 things you should know about the 2017 Real Esate Market:

1.  89% of Home Sellers worked with a Real Estate Agent to sell their home.

2.  The final sales price for recently sold homes was a median 99% of the final listing price.

3.  Recently home sold were on the market for a median of 3 weeks.

4.  Only 8% of recent home sales were For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sales.

5.  FSBO's sold for a median of $190,000 vs. a median of $250,000 when listed with a Real Estate Agent.

Are you ready to get your Maine home sold? 
Call us today at (207)784-3800 or (207)289-3830
to get started today!

Buying or Selling in 2018? Hire a Professional!

by Fontaine Family


Are Buying or Selling in 2018?
Here are 5 Reasons You Should Hire A Professional!

As we start out 2018, most of us think of what our goals are for the New Year. 
If your goal includes buying or selling real estate, you need a Real Estate Professional on your team! 
Choose a professional who knows your local market,
and they will be able to help you achieve your real estate goals for 2018! 

Here are a few reasons hiring a Real Estate Professional is the right choice!

A Real Estate Professional will help with all disclosures & paperwork necessary in today's heavily regulated real estate market.

A good Real Estate Professional is well educated in and experienced in navigating the entire sales process.

A Real Estate Professional will work on your behalf and act as a "buffer" in negotiations with all parties throughout the process.

A Real Estate Professional will help you understand today's real estate values when setting the price of your home, or when writing an offer to purchase.

A Real Estate Professional will be able to explain today's local market conditions and explain what it means to you in your individual situation.

Are you ready to get started today?  E-mail us at or call us at (207)784-3800 or (207)289-3830!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 182

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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

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