This week some of our best and brightest agents hit Hilton Head, NC for the United Country Real Estate convention. Learning how to perfect his skills at selling specialty property ground is your Rick Theriault-Your Maine Real Estate Guide. Give him a call at 207.731.9902 and give him a chance to flex the new skills he has learned this week!
So, you are looking for Maine homes for sale and land for sale to get away from all the crowds. One of my favorite parts of my job is helping people achieve their dreams of owning Maine real estate. It is a balancing act to find the parcel that has the privacy you are looking for but still stay digitally connected to the world. If you are among the few that don’t need to be connected, I envy you! To the majority of Maine real estate buyers, read on…
First, you need to pick the right cell phone carrier. This is easy, because we don’t have many options for reliability in Maine. My first choice is U.S. Cellular and the following link is to their coverage map. https://www.uscellular.com/coverage-map/coverage-indicator.html
The second and last choice is Verizon. The following link is to their coverage map. https://www.verizonwireless.com/featured/better-matters/?intmcp=INT-SEA-NON-SE-coverage-051614-DE-SR-LP-T#maps
I was recently talking with a friend of mine, Brian Curtain, owner of NDC communications, https://www.ndccomm.com/construction/ 207-852-9325.
NDC installs cell towers throughout New England but they also have a residential division that can build your new Maine vacation home or Maine cabin. From lot clearing, driveway installation, septic systems and the building of your Maine dream house, they are your one stop shop.
Just because you have a tower nearby, that doesn’t always mean you have access to the signal unless the tower is owned by your carrier.
The FCC has limited the boosting gain from 64 dB to 72 dB. A single carrier booster can go up to 100 dB. The gain comes from two sources, the indoor amplifier and outdoor antenna. At the end of the day, you can’t boost what you don’t have. You need to have some signal from the location.
The bar meter on your phone is not always accurate. Most people think it measures signal strength, which it does, but it also measures the quality of the signal. Your phone may pick up interference from another nearby tower or the topography of the land between your current location and the cell tower. Apple and Android have different ways of entering the field test mode to check on the signal strength you are receiving. I don’t have time in this article to get into details but you can google the information.
One room systems start around $400 and whole house systems start in the $900 range. Some of the popular boost companies are WeBoost, HiBoost and SureCall.
I personally installed a WeBoost system at my off-grid vacation home. I had weak signal outdoors and could rarely hold a call indoors. After installing the system, I was able to use my cell phone as a hot spot. I could log onto the net with my laptop and work from the location. I was able to accomplish owning a very private, three season Maine home but still have access to the internet.
Thinking of buying a home using your VA Eligibility Certificate? Here are some pointers for picking the right property and reducing the time/effort and cash involved as a buyer. These are red flags that may keep a property from being eligible for this type of loan:
1. Rotten wood around fascia boards, doors, & garage doors
2. Loose or missing handrail on steps
3. Outbuilding in disrepair or unsafe
4. Broken windows or windows that won’t open
5. Garage door opener not working
6. Garage door safety feature not working
7. Exposed wiring
8. Water stains on the ceiling
9. Inaccessible areas of the house such as attic or crawlspace
10. Missing stove, HVAC, hot water heater, or other essentials
11. Hot water, heat and/or power turned off
12. Peeling paint in or on homes built prior to 1978
13. More than 5 acres of land
14. No driveway
** Photo is of a home that I sold to buyers using a VA loan.**
I use this list when looking at homes with VA loans in mind. These are not the only issues but they give you good guidelines when looking and/or writing an offer. All of these issues SHOULD show up on a home inspection.
If you are looking for a home in the greater Lincoln or Dover-Foxcroft area give me a call - I'd be happy to help you find your dream home. 207-290-0371 Carmen
If you love the outdoors you need to come to the Lincoln Lakes Region of Maine. Lakes, Ponds, rivers, trails and friendly people are easy to find. The following activities are just a start of what you can do in the outdoors of Lincoln.
1. Paddling the Lincoln Lakes
Dave Sandilands paddling on Cold Stream Pond in Lincoln, Photo Courtesy of Phil McPhail
Lincoln has 13 lakes in clusters within the township. Of these lakes, some have developed shorelines with seasonal cabins and year-round homes, others are more remote and little developed. For the paddler the draw of the more remote and less traveled waters is very appealing. Check out Folsom, Crooked and Upper Ponds to find more solitude and less motor boat traffic.
2. Sightseeing and Fishing on the Penobscot River
Phil McPhail doing some fly fishing in the Penobscot River
Maine’s Penobscot River is one of the country’s most significant flowing waters. The river originates in several branches in the springs of northern Maine and flows south and east until it merges into the mainstem in Medway. The river forms Lincoln’s western boundary and is mostly flat moving water with many islands and dozens of hidden channels. Boat landings in south Lincoln and Winn provide access to this section. Bald eagle sightings are an everyday occurrence and the smallmouth bass fishing is legendary.
3. ATV/Snowmobile Trails
Photo Courtesy of Scott White
Lincoln has dozens of miles of groomed snowmobile trails and maintained ATV trails system. Along these trails area views of the many lakes, the Appalachian Mountains including Mount Katahdin, small creek and stream crossings and a diverse forest landscape. These trails are lesser know than some of the busier areas of Maine and can offer the rider more solitude in nature. The trails are connected to the much larger state trail systems.
4. Explore the Forests
Fawn and mama deer in the spring- Photo by Phil McPhail
Lincoln by area is one of the largest towns in Maine. Most of Lincoln is forested land owned in large contiguous tracts by owners who for the most part allow free use by the public for hunting, hiking and exploring. Be sure when doing so to keep in mind this is a privilege not found everywhere and please respect the owner’s property by carrying out everything you bring in.
5. Local Festivals
Loon Festival Parade- Photo Courtesy of Jean Hannington
The outdoor heritage shared by Lincoln’s citizens is celebrated every year with two major festivals. July is time for Loon Vest, formally known as Homecoming. This event has parades, fireworks, downtown venders, BBQ’s and more including Thursday event kickoff with the annual River Drivers Bean Supper at Ludden Field on the bank of the Penobscot River. February is time for Winterfest, so grab your warm clothes and come to town. This year’s events include a professional snow-cross race at the Lincoln Snowhounds Club, a comedy fest and community bonfire.
Maine has four current use programs to reduce taxes on land that is used primarily for a specific purpose. The four programs are tree growth, open space, farmland, and working waterfront. The following is a brief explanation of each program with links to guide you to more detailed information.
Tree Growth Tax Law
The most commonly used current use tax program in Maine is the Tree Growth tax program. It may also be one of the most misunderstood. The basis of the program is to assess land of 10 or more acres based on its productive use as commercial timberland. Growing and harvesting must be the primary use.
During 2017, Maine’s Tree Growth tax program came under the scrutiny of the governor’s office as did most
property tax reductions. It is believed, and probably rightly so, that a significant percentage of the properties enrolled in this program may not be in compliance with the law. In order to be in compliance, your forest management plan needs to be up to date and implemented. If you have purchased forestland in Maine and you have never talked with a licensed forester you may already be out of compliance. Bulletin 19 on the state website provides information for those already in the program and those considering enrolling. The web address for bulletin 19 is:
Open Space Tax Law
This program provides for a reduced assessed value based on the property being preserved or
restricted for a public benefit. Qualifying public benefits include recreation, scenic resources, game management and wildlife habitat. The open space program does not have a minimum
acreage requirement. In open space the tax assessor will reduce the value by either researching sale data of parcels all or partially in conservation or preservation and computing a fair value, or by applying a percentage reduction based on the public benefit or benefits being applied. The reduction, depending on the benefit, can be as high as 95% of the assessed value. See Bulletin 21 at: https://www.maine.gov/revenue/forms/property/pubs/bull21.pdf
Farmland Tax Law
This tax law requires the land to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes and must be of 5 or more contiguous acres. The land must earn at least $2,000 gross income per year to
qualify. The owner must file an income statement with the assessor by April 1 of each fifth year, after qualification, for the previous 5 years income of the owner or lessee.
The assessor can use a number of factors to determine farmland values for current use
including farmer to farmer sales, soil types, land rents, and others. For additional information on this tax law see Bulletin 20 at https://www.maine.gov/revenue/forms/property/pubs/bull20.pdf
Land that qualifies for this current use tax treatment is for land on tidal waters or in the
intertidal zone used at least 50% for access or support of commercial fishing activities.
The assessed value reduction varies from 10%, 20% or 30% depending on the percentage of use and potential deed restrictions for use. See all the details on the state site for Working Waterfront Q&A at: https://www.maine.gov/revenue/forms/property/pubs/workingwaterq&a.htm
If you desire to change the use of your property under any of the first three laws above you can avoid any penalty for that change of use. Property changed from farmland to open space,
farmland to tree growth, open space to farmland, or open space to tree growth will not be
penalized if a parcel also meets eligibility requirements of the new classification.