How to Own a Home for Less Than Average Area Rent


We love helping tenants become homeowners and we have three exciting closings scheduled for local, first-time home buyers within the next month!

Homeownership is a great investment; it will allow you to build equity in an asset, it will help you to improve your credit and it will give you countless (and sometimes endless) home improvement opportunities! Home ownership helps to improve the local economy too!

Using a very general mortgage calculator, we wanted to show you what monthly payments (INCLUDING INSURANCE AND TAXES) would look like for homes in the $100,000 range. Of course, this is an estimate; interest rates change, down payments may vary and buyers may qualify for different financing options.

Let’s see how these monthly payments break down. If you purchase a home for $100,000 with 0% down, as offered through USDA / RD loan program, with an interest rate of 3.75%, a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy of $600 / annually and estimated property taxes of $1,750 / annually; you could expect an approximate monthly payment of $659.00 (for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage)

The portion of this monthly payment would break down as follows:

$463.00 towards principal and interest

$146.00 towards property taxes

$50.00 towards homeowner’s insurance.

There are fees associated with purchasing a home and a loan, we call these “closing costs”. While you may qualify for a program that requires 0% down, there might be closing costs or APR (annual percentage rates) and your loan officer would be able to let you know what to expect that amount to be.

Want to see some houses? Here is a link to area homes that offer awesome value and would make great options for the first time home buyer!

Before you get your heart set on one of these properties, check in with a loan officer. Becky Mason issued our mortgage and I have since referred her many times to happy clients; she can be reached by clicking her name and visiting her website, or by calling / texting her cell: 207-890-3449.

Happy hunting and we look forward to helping you make this exciting transition!

~ Cassie


Posted on August 24, 2016 at 10:19 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Buyer News, Financing, Greater Portland, Maine Real Estate, Market Trends, Mortgages, Real Estate

The North American Wife Carrying Championship

The North American Wife Carrying Championship The North American Wife Carrying Championship and how it came to be: Sunday River, Columbus Day Weekend
This annually epic weekend is quickly approaching and, for good reason, everyone is getting excited.
This is a popular weekend in the Sunday River Area and our real estate market shows it: rentals are booked, residential closings are scheduled and people are calling daily to set up showings for properties while they will be in Bethel or Newry.

Columbus Day weekend is especially meaningful for me. In July of 2013, Mark and I got engaged during our hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. We returned home that September and in October, anxious to maintain an ultimately unsustainable level of fitness, I signed up for the Sunday River OX2 Trail Race. Whether it was the lactic acid which I was sure to be burning through my thighs, or the literally breathtaking beauty of our fall foliage: I stopped dead in my tracks on Downdraft and admired this mesmerizing place in the world. This is where I wanted to get married.

The next year, in 2014, Mark and I spent our wedding day at The Peak Lodge at Sunday River. Close friends and family were there to share with us in celebration at a beautiful place that held so many of my favorite memories: hot cocoa as a River Runner, warming up with Telstar team mates under the hand dryer in the Barker Lodge bathrooms during race season, and Gould Academy's "the end" for its senior class celebration. None of these memories will hold a candle to our wedding but the combination of all these times spent at North Peak, or Sunday River in general, is what makes the place so special.

"So what's with the wife carrying"? Melissa, a close friend from Montana was curious about the event she had witnessed earlier in the day while waiting for the wedding to begin. That's a funny story.
I must have been a sophomore in high school when my father read an article (likely in Readers Digest or Runners World- I'm not sure which to credit) about the crazy Finns and their wife carrying tradition. "Well Bethel should do that". And so it began. Dad called Sunday River to host the event and then went to work with the logistics of the race, the feasibility of the grand prize (two round trip tickets to Finland to compete in the Wife Carrying World Championships were booked at his expense and at his assurance that this event would take off and be great for the community) most importantly, the race course and runner's strategy were planned.

"You will be suspended upside down with your legs in the air and your arms around my waist. I will carry you like this for approximately an hour- through mud, up mountains and over obstacles". My mother's face fell as she stared at my father. Not only did she agree but she practiced with him a few times in the front yard. "Cass, you'll need to find a few friends, we'll need some guinea pigs for the course before we send out the paying contestants". Bless their hearts- I rounded up 5 Gould Academy classmates and come race day, the three pairs hobbled through the course. Prior to the event my father was interviewed by TV, radio and other writers about the race. "Where did this idea come from? How'd the event come to be" he was asked over and over. His response was always the same "Sunday River has the perfect terrain for the race and our local community, along with the fun-loving tourists that it attracts, make up the perfect adventure-seeking crowd to turn this event into a long time tradition". 

And it has.

If you'd like to sign up for the North American Wife Carrying Contest click here:…
If you love your experience at Sunday River's Wife Carrying Contest so much that you'd like to live here forever, please call us today: 207-824-1033

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 10:10 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Bethel, Maine, Maine Ski Areas, Real Estate

Five Steps Smart Sellers Take to Generate Multiple Offers

Home sales (and values) have been on a strong uptick nationwide thanks to low interest rates, freer lending standards and a drop in the foreclosure rate. Sellers everywhere are breathing a giant, collective sigh of relief! But for all of the buyer activity, it seems like most houses sit on one end of two extremes: they either get snatched up the moment they hit the market (with multiple offers and an above-asking sale price) or seem to languish on the market without an offer in sight.

All sellers aspire to be on the multiple-offer end of the spectrum. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make that happen. Here are five tips to move your listing in to the multiple offers zone.

1. Price it aggressively. Homes that get multiple offers are often sold in an "auction" atmosphere. If you think back to the last auction you saw on TV or participated in online, you'll remember this basic element of Auctions 101: the starting price is lower – sometimes quite a bit lower – than the final sale price.

In fact, it's the low list or starting price that gets people excited about the possibility of scoring a great value, whether they're bidding on an antique Chinese pug figurine on eBay or on your home. And when it comes to your home, it's that same, low-price-seeking excitement that will cause many more buyers to show up and view your home than would have come at a higher price point.

In real estate, more showings are an inescapable prerequisite to more offers.

This doesn't mean you have to give away the farm, just that sellers who get multiple offers price their properties from a retailer's or auctioneer's perspective. Work with your agent through the comparable sales data – as recent and as comparable as possible – and then do your best to list your home as a slight discount, not at a slight premium, compared to the recent neighborhood sales. That will get buyers' attention.

2. Give buyers and brokers ample access. Put yourself in your target buyer's shoes. Say there are 40 homes on the market which meet their specifications, in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, price range and location. And 25 of those top the list. But they only have time to see 8 today. If the buyer's broker can't get into your house today, because you have so many restrictions around showing it, your home could very well miss out on a showing with this qualified, motivated buyer.

It might seem overly simple, but if you want multiple offers, it behooves you to make sure your home is available to be shown today. Every day that it is on the market. Inconvenient? Yes. Frustrating? Sometimes. A challenge to keep the place clean at all times? Assuredly. But consider your priorities and what is at stake. If getting top dollar for your home is at the top of your priority list, then you have to be ready and willing to deal with the inconvenience involved in churning up multiple offers and getting your home sold.

3. Make it beautiful. Really, really beautiful. The homes that get multiple offers are those with look, feel and function that can be described in one word: covetable. You're not trying to create a situation in which your home barely edges out the listing down the street in the hearts and minds of your target buyer. If you want multiple offers, you need multiple buyers to fall deeply in love with your home – enough to bid above the listing price, and enough to compete with others for it.

To generate multiple offers, prepare your home by ensuring it is:
immaculately cleaned from the inside out – closets, basements, garages and crawl spaces included
decluttered and staged to the nines – this includes fresh paint, carpet and other things that need replacing
in perfect working order – make sure things like doors, windows and systems buyers test (e.g., stoves, faucets, heating and air conditioning) are not creaky, wonky, leaky or otherwise dysfunctional.

If you've done any major home improvements or replaced any appliances or systems lately, market that! Show off how immaculate, adorable and move-in ready your home is now – and tout it's great working condition for the long run.

4. Expose it to the market. An offer the very first day your home goes on the market may sound like a dream come true. But it might also incur opportunity costs. See, many buyers can't get out to see homes that quickly – some are unable to house hunt except on the weekends. Listing agents who get multiple offers often plan from the start to expose the home to the market long enough for target buyers to see it and get their offers on the table.

Some agents expressly include open house and offer review dates in the timeline of the listing. It's not uncommon to see a listing come on the market with a calendar of 1-2 Open Houses and an offer date sometime early in the week following the second one. Ask your agent to brief you on the standard practices for market exposure in your local area.

Setting – and publishing – a timeline for market exposure and offers lets buyers know that they will be able to get to the property and get their offers considered, while still creating a sense of urgency.

5. Be ready to course correct. Is your home one of the houses that has been sitting on the market for months without any action? Do not fret – there might still be hope. In real estate, there's something insiders call the Sweet Spot Phenomenon, where an overpriced home sits on the market for months with no bites, sometimes even through multiple price reductions. Finally, the seller lowers the price to the 'sweet spot,' and it generates multiple offers and sells for more than the final list price.

Yes – there are listings whose sellers net more than they expected because they were willing to revise the list price downward in response to market feedback (i.e., no showings, no offers or lowball offers).

If your home has been lagging on the market, talk with your listing agent about what sort of price reduction strategy is likely to maximize your net sale price. Hint: many more buyers are attracted by chunky reductions or reductions below a common online search price point limit than by tiny, incremental reductions.
For example, you might draw more buyers, and ultimately more money, with a price reduction from $499,000 to $474,000 than with a series of small reductions from $499,000 to $479,000, because there is a set of buyers who may be cutting their search off at $475,000 – so a price cut below that point will expose your home to a whole new group of prospects.

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 9:59 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Cumberland County, Education, Financing, Maine, Maine Real Estate, Real Estate, Uncategorized

Why Work with Maine’s #1 Independent Real Estate Agency

The Maine Real Estate NetworkWhether you're a buyer or a seller, you'll experience the very best in service in Maine when you choose The Maine Real Estate Network. Our knowledgeable, experienced professionals are ready to help you find your new home or sell your property quickly. Our extensive network of professionals will support you through every step of the process. Real Estate Agents have many choices of companies to work for, but the agent you are considering hiring has chosen to affiliate with Maine’s number one 

INDEPENDENT Real Estate agency. What does this mean to you?

  • Since we are independent, we can be much more flexible in helping you to get your real estate 
  • We provide our agents with the ability to make their own decisions and have removed as much red tape as possible to allow them to facilitate your transaction in a timely manner.
  • We provide our professionals with up-to-date training and technology to better serve your needs. We will work to get you the best deal possible. 
  • We are 100% locally owned. No part of the commissions we earn go out of the great State of 
  • This agency gives back! Charitable contributions in 2014 will approach $100,000. 
  • With 22 locations (and more coming in 2015), you can be sure we have experts in your area – after all, Real Estate is a local business. In partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the 
  • World we can help you buy or sell nationwide or anywhere in the World; I’m local, I’m Global™.
  • Our listing inventory averages over 1500 properties; with an active buyer pool numbering in the 
  • We currently house almost 500 real estate professionals. Our talented agents are committed to delivering the most stress-free, hassle-free transaction service possible. 
  • Our website is second to none and provides current and relevant listing, community and real estate search resources. With over 40,000 visitors a month and 90% of buyers starting their search on-line our website is the exposure you need to sell or search!
  • We provide our professionals with 24/7 web-based resources, so they can do what they do 
  • Our Agency resources include in-house Title and Closing, Mortgage Lending services, Rental and Lease/Purchase programs, Commercial property, Short Sale expertise, New Construction divisions and numerous third party vendors. Whatever your Real Estate need-We Can Help!

Creating Relationships for Life!

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 9:51 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Maine, Maine Real Estate, Market Trends, Portland, Real Estate, Southern Maine

The Spirit of Real Estate

Cassie Mason Real EstateI spent my Sunday morning preparing to file taxes for 2015 and spent the rest of the day planning 2016. I’ve looked through my list of 2015 closings and have taken the time to reflect on each of those deals. I closed 2015 with achievements that I am personally proud of, I have made lifelong friends through my work and I have identified areas of my service that could use my attention and further education for professional improvement through the coming years. I have identified areas of my personal life where I recognize the same, and have taken time to register for classes both in continuing education and for seminars in self-development. 

“Do what you love and more than money will follow” B. Proctor 

Before I started a career in the industry, I had bounced around from hourly-waged job to job. I was looking for something to sink my teeth into that would allow me to build a career in a field where I could always continue learning, growing and excelling while earning compensation based on my own effectiveness. 

Staying-put has never been satisfactory to me, I am always up for a new challenge and working towards a new achievement, and I thrive from finding answers and solving problems. Most importantly, I love to build lasting relationships with great people. Real estate encompasses everything I hoped to find in a career. 

Now that I’ve landed on real estate (3.5 short years after making the decision to give it a go), I can’t imagine spending my days any other way. Real Estate is more than open houses and pretty pictures. Under the umbrella of the “Real Estate” title, I am able to experience and grow in different realms of the business; sales, rentals, investment, and development. There seems to be endless opportunity and constant evolution; it’s an exciting path to be accelerating on at an exciting time in history. 

Being a vacation town, we do our fair share of cash deals but we also work hard to help buyers qualify for appropriate financing programs to help them transition from renters to homeowners. These particular deals have been especially meaningful to me lately! With low interest rates and a number of loan options (FHA, RD, Conventional) this is a great time to be a borrower and become a homeowner. 

Whether I am helping skiers find the vacation home of their dreams, or working with friend to help her become a first time homeowner, it is always my goal to close the deal knowing that I handled the entire transaction with the quality of service that I would wish my own family be shown if the roles were reversed. 

This is more of a personal blog post than an ad intended to share new listings and price reductions. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my gratitude for the industry and for the wonderful people I have met through my work. 2015 has been a memorable year and I look forward to experiencing all that 2016 has to offer. 

~ Cassie 

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Maine, Maine Real Estate, Real Estate