Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I use a real estate agent as a seller?

In a word, yes. Some homeowners think they will save money on commissions by selling their own home. They’re usually wrong. Unless you have professional real estate experience, you might not know how to price your home right to attract buyers while maximizing your return. You also won’t be able to list your property on MLS – the biggest, most trusted listing service around – and you won’t have the professional contacts that an agent has, which helps us know who’s looking for what and how much they want your property. It’s a rare home seller who can attract as many potential buyers as a professional.

Why should I use a real estate agent as a buyer?

Professional agents get the first look at properties coming on the market. We have special software that alerts us to properties that fit your needs, and we can let you know about hot offerings before they show up in the classified ads. We can arrange showings that are convenient for you and help you negotiate price and concessions. We’ve been through the home-buying process thousands of times – we can see what’s right and what’s wrong with a deal and advise you at every step.

Should I buy an older home or a new home?

There are pros and cons for both of these options, so it’s really a matter of preference. Older homes offer timeless beauty and are generally less expensive, have established landscaping, and may be assessed lower for tax purposes. On the other hand, when you buy a new home you have the freedom to select your own color schemes, cabinets, flooring, and appliances. There are often more modern features throughout the home like big closets, big bathrooms and up-to-date wiring and plumbing. If you will enjoy the process of renovation, an older home might appeal to you; if you view that with trepidation, buy new.

How do I price my property?

Pricing your property is one of the most important services that a real estate agent provides, and you probably shouldn’t do it yourself. The real estate market is constantly changing, affected by everything from the local school board to international stock markets. Agents help you price your home by looking at pricing and sales of comparable properties nearby, market trends, and local news that might affect the market in the near future. Without this specialist knowledge, you might leave a lot of cash on the table or scare away buyers with a too-high price.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are what you have to pay to complete the deal when you buy or sell real estate, aside from the price of the property itself. Costs differ in every transaction, but may include taxes, broker’s commission, and fees for mortgage origination, attorneys, title search, “recording” costs (paying the municipality for record-keeping) and many others. Read this Wikipedia article for more information. We will be glad to discuss this subject with you in detail, so that you know exactly what kinds of fees your transaction will be subject to.

When is the best time to list or buy a home?

Spring and fall are the two most popular seasons to buy or sell a new home in Maine. Winter is a difficult season to sell a home in Maine, but this can work to the buyer’s advantage. On the other side of the coin, summer is a great time to show vacation properties, and that helps the seller.

How long does it take to close on a property?

Time to close is subject to many variables, including the buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage and the results of a home inspection. Most closings occur within four to 10 weeks of a signed purchase and sale agreement, but shorter and longer periods are not uncommon.

How do I make an offer? What happens if it isn’t accepted?

If you’re working with an agent, discuss your strategy. Your agent may have a good sense of the seller’s motivation and price flexibility and will advise you on how much to offer. The agent will submit the offer in writing to the seller or the seller’s agent, and they will either accept the offer or respond with a counteroffer somewhere between your offer and the asking price. You can accept the counteroffer or continue negotiating with yet another offer. Reaching agreement may take several days. Then you will enter into a contract called a purchase and sale agreement that contains stipulations and specifies a closing date.

How do you get paid?

When we sell a property for a client, we are paid a commission by the seller on the selling price. When we help a buyer purchase a property, the seller’s agent splits the commission with us.