There is a lot of legwork that needs to be done before you can acquire your dream home. You need to first know where you want to live since that will determine a lot about your lifestyle and access to amenities. Then comes time to hunt for homes in your chosen neighborhood and negotiate prices with sellers.
All said and done, the process can take a number of months. It helps to chart out the steps beforehand so you know what to expect. Here’s a guide to purchasing a house in the state of Maine.
How to Find a Maine Buyer’s Agent
Buying a house the right way is not an easy thing to do. It takes an understanding of the local real estate market, state and federal regulations, and your own constraints. For that reason, a real estate agent is a must-have before you begin your search for a new home.
An agent’s involvement in the process will start well before you go house hunting. The first thing a buyer’s agent will do is understand your requirements: why you’re moving, what you’re looking for in the new home, and your financial standing.
With that information acquired, the agent will identify neighborhoods that are most likely to fit your needs. They will scour listings in the area to find properties that you should consider. You will then have the opportunity to attend open houses or private showings to see your options for yourself.
Once you find a house you like, the agent will take the process forward by helping you craft an offer and organize inspections of the property if required. There will also be a mountain of paperwork to fill out, all of which your agent will provide and review before submission.
If you’re starting your home search, Clever can help you find a highly-rated buyer’s agent in your city. Clever Partner Agents organize on-demand showings for clients so you can take a look at the homes you’re interested in without having to wait for an open house. Get in touch with us using the form on this page for a no-obligation consultation call with a Clever Partner Agent.
Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?
Maine Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond
The real estate market in Maine was bustling with activity in 2018. A total of 17,864 homes were sold last year, a 1.3% increase year-on-year. The prices of homes rose by a whole 7.5%; the median sale price in Maine in 2018 was $215,000.
The forecast for 2019, however, is a more moderate one. Home sales volumes for February decreased by 0.5% compared to the same month last year. Fourteen of the 16 counties in Maine observed a drop in home sales in comparison to 2018.
Developers in Maine have had to deal with increasing construction costs over the last few months. That has been a result of labor shortages in the region, and an increase in shipping and material costs.
Another important factor to take into consideration is the increase in interest rates. The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates twice this year, which is another reason why experts are expecting a slowdown in Maine’s real estate market.
As things stand, the median value for a house in Maine is $233,000. The median listing price in the state is $240,000.
Best Time of Year to Buy a House in Maine
The aforementioned data show that the real estate market in Maine is beginning to cool after a whirlwind 2018. This year should be a good one for buyers since a slowdown in home sales will provoke a drop in prices. That said, you should still try to time your purchase in a way that takes advantage of seasonal trends.
If the price is your most important consideration, winter is the best time to go house hunting. Homes that are still on the market in winter were probably overpriced to begin with. As a result, homeowners are more open to price reductions during these months.
There is another benefit to buying a house in winter in Maine, which has its fair share of adverse conditions later on in the year. You get to see how a house holds up to the harshest weather the place has to offer. This can save you a lot of money in repairs once you own the home.
The one disadvantage of home buying in the winter is the lack of supply. Buyers tend to have the most options in late spring and summer. That’s the time of year when most real estate markets experience their highest levels of activity. Prices may be higher in spring, but you will have a wider range of options to choose from.
Learn More: The Best Time to Buy a House in Maine
Calculate Your Property Taxes in Maine
Property taxes are one of the recurring costs home buyers have to take into consideration. This tax is a major source of income for state governments and county offices.
The calculation is done based on the appraised value of your house. A tax assessor will show up to your property once every few years to determine its value. Both the house and the land on which it stands will be taken into consideration. You will receive a value assessment a few days after the tax assessor’s inspection.
The property tax rate is fixed based on the county or city where you’re located.
If you live in Portland, Maine, the property tax rate is 1.367%. So you would pay $3,418 in annual property taxes on a home appraised at $250,000. Auburn, on the other hand, has a property tax rate of 1.545%. The property tax on the same house would be $3,863 per year in Auburn.
Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Maine Real Estate Taxes
How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Maine?
Closing costs are the expenses you will incur when it comes time to close the purchase of a home. These costs are split among a variety of service providers who you will need to hire in order to finalize the deal. Some of the fees you will pay for during this time are property inspection fees, title search, origination fees, attorney fees, and recording fees.
Both the buyer and seller pay the transfer tax in Maine. The transfer tax rate in the state is $2.20 for each $500 of the selling price. Assuming you buy a house at $250,000, you would pay $1,100 in transfer taxes and so would the seller.
Generally, closing costs come out to about 3% of the selling price of a house. That’s $7,500 in closing costs on a house worth $250,000.
There are a number of different taxes and fees on which you will spend money during closing. Working with a real estate agent can help you negotiate closing costs with the seller, which can lead to major savings on the purchase.
Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?
Clever Will Help Pay Your Closing Costs!
Clever has a Home Buyer Rebate program for those buying homes in Maine. Buyers who spend more than $150,000 are eligible to receive a rebate worth $1,000 that can be used to cover closing costs.
In addition to that, Clever Partner Agents can set up on-demand home viewings for clients. If you already know which homes you want to take a look at, you can provide an address and your availability. We will find an agent in the area who can arrange for you to see the home on-demand before the rest of the public shows up for an open house.
You can find a Partner Agent in your area by filling out your details here.