And the winning house is… house #2: the stinky, dated townhouse. And I will reveal the before pictures in just a minute, but I first wanted to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about house hunting in Maine. It was quite a new and different learning experience.
Moving to Maine was accompanied by some serious sticker shock in more ways than one. First off, there is really no first time home buyers market to speak of, which is very, very odd to me. Having sold real estate for nearly 9 years in Utah and living in Arizona, a first time home buyer has a vast selection of housing options… especially in the current real estate climate. Here… not so much. We had an extremely limited set of options when it came to finding a home. On top of that it was the FIRST time when property taxes played such a large role in house hunting. In Utah and Arizona you really don’t even think about property taxes when choosing a home. Here property taxes are 3x as expensive as they are on our other homes we own. So it played a huge factor. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Maine has a state minimum milk price and we pay about $4 a gallon for milk. Sticker shock all around. Maine is known as “Vacation Land”, but it should really be called “Taxation Land”. We feel like we are getting taxed on our taxes here… but on the flip side of all those initial challenges are the positives.
Maine is absolutely beautiful! Magical really. Often it feels like something out of a Robert Frost poem, the scenery is breathtaking, and the roads are exquisitely maintained and cradled in lush greenery and wildflowers in the summer. The towns are quaint, the people are friendly… and there is awesome antiques… lobster… lighthouses… and of course, the ocean! Most importantly for us though and this fact alone makes up for it all, is my mister’s family lives here and they are spectacular!
But back to the house hunting. Our retirement plan is based mainly off of real estate investing. It is something my husband and I have always agreed on. We own a place in Utah, we kept our home in Arizona, and we now were looking for something that would be a good investment for either another rental property or something we could fix up and sell in the future for profit. And because we decided to keep our Arizona property that we had purchased a little over a year before we moved, our down payment funds were lower. So price, property taxes, down payment, and our overall real estate objectives played roles in our house hunting.
We actually made offers on each and everyone of the homes I presented…. and here is how it went. We made an offer on the hoarding house first…. I know… crazy. My husband is convinced that we dodged a bullet on this house when we couldn’t agree on the terms of cleanup/ repair contributions with the sellers, but I actually was a little disappointed because I have always been a person who can see the potential in things (and people too).
So then we decided on making an offer on the house that was 2 houses down from family… surely after 3 years on the market the sellers would get real on the value of the property, which was in a trust and they do not live in it. This was not the case. This home has 13+ acres with a large and beautiful pond on the property. The house is not great at all and needed some repairs too. Our plan was to fix it up and live in it while we subdivided the land and built a home that we could live in for the longterm. But apparently they place WAY more value on it than the market supports and it currently is still is for sale at the same price… so we moved on.
As stated at the beginning of the post, we ended up purchasing house #2… and to get the full picture of the house you would need a scratch and sniff photo.
Stinky, stinky, stinky. I bet most people walked in and right back out. But if you walked through with your nose plugged you would have seen a house that was dated, clean, and had MAD potential. It’s actually unfortunate because the carpet was pretty new and not bad. But everything would pretty much need to go. We got this house significantly below market because of the smell. Included in our purchase price, we were also given an allowance of $6,000 to make repairs (carpet, paint, etc.). We used every penny and then some. This home’s location is ideal. It is 5 minutes from anything you could really want. 5 minutes to the ocean! Yay! Less than 5 minutes to restaurants, shopping, and theaters. The community is quiet and well maintained… all perfect for either future renting or selling. Everything we did to fix and update this place (with MUCH help from family) will be revealed in time, but until then here are some before pictures.
It looks NOTHING like these photos now. Completely unrecognizable!
And just in case you are wondering… most people thought we were nuts buying this house… and maybe we were, but the stench is all but a distant memory, basically every surface has been touched in our house already and many more projects yet to come. They all now say it was a good move. Everything smells fresh and clean and we are VERY pleased with our new home!
Love you guys,