Sunday, January 1, 2012

Is this the right time to buy?

It depends where you're looking.

Have prices reached the bottom?  Who knows?  The recession has changed all the old rules.  One day the statistics seem to indicate things are picking up, but then there will be another spate of bad news.  So how do you decide?  It all comes down to the old real estate rule – location, location, location.  With that in mind, we had 3 key criteria that we used to focus where we wanted to buy: 

Walkable neighborhood –There is a village environment.  You can walk to restaurants.  Or walk to the new neighborhood grocery store and ice cream shop.  Around the corner is a bakery that Food and Wine calls one of the best from Bangor to Miami.  And proximity to the local college gives it a very ‘hip’ vibe.

Homes have held their value – All real estate is local.  Really local.  So while the country wide statistics are scary, this area hasn’t been hit as hard.  It’s a desirable neighborhood with modest homes, built over the last 125 years.  Most have 3 bedrooms with 1.5 baths.  But there are some larger and smaller homes mixed in.  A nice house that is realistically priced will still get multiple offers. And there is a big influx of young families – so much so that the local elementary school is adding modular buildings to keep up with demand. 

Water – The crown jewel of the neighborhood is the public beach.  It provides spectacular views of the lighthouses, ship traffic and the Casco Bay islands.   And you’ll see people out playing with their dogs and kids every day of the week – no matter what the weather (Mainers are very hardy!).  So when we went looking for a house to renovate, we focused on homes that are walking distance to the beach.

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