The Skinny on Skinning

The Skinny on Skinning

The buzz around Bethel these days seems to be about who climbed and skied what. Right away you should know that to “tour”, “skin” or “AT Ski” all mean the same thing.

When skiers go alpine touring, they use a free-heel binding and adhesive skins on the bottom of skis to ascend the slope. Once at the top, a simple adjustment of the bindings and removal of the skins allows the skier to lock their boots in place and ski back down- this freedom allows us to reach some awesome places.

I was introduced to AT Skiing, or Skinning, by a friend, Zeb, in 2010. Zeb skins around with a kite, and / or a paraglider depending on the weather and his summits include White Horse slab in North Conway, Cannon Mountain and Mt Washington. Whether you are skinning to access a paragliding launch point or simply climbing a hill to get fresh tracks, the freedom that this system gives you is incredible- yet far from free.

A brand new Alpine Touring system will run you somewhere are $1200, I have had good luck on prices by shopping locally and also by ordering used gear from Wilderness Gear Exchange out of Denver:

Some gear heads will recommend a resort setup and an AT setup, primarily because of the bindings, but I have been comfortable using my Fritchis on groomers as well as in the backcountry.

Fortunately for those of us who choose to “earn our turns”, this town offers plenty of steep logging roads, hillsides and even a resort that permits uphill traffic. (We recommend you check in with resorts about their uphill policy before heading up).

Here is a slideshow we put together from a a day at Saddleback

Posted on March 3, 2017 at 5:12 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Uncategorized

5 Things that Made This Real Life Fixer Upper the Perfect Project:

It’s not every day that I get to see the results of a client’s hard work come to fruition. This time, I was able to see the total transformation of a bungalow style home and I couldn’t help but share the results.

This property was purchased in Hebron, Maine in May of 2016. By December of that same year, the new owners were happily settled into their “new” home.

Here are five criteria that made The Hebron House the Perfect Fixer Upper.

  1. Location: You don’t need to live in Waco, Texas to turn an outdated ranch into your dream house. This rural bungalow in western Maine sure did the trick!


Any real estate professional will tell you location, location, location and the location of the Hebron House can’t be beat. The property sits at the end of a private road and is bordered by trails and fields owned by Hebron Academy, a private boarding school in rural Maine. The home is positioned adjacent to the Robinson Arena and Gymnasium on a quiet lot with a pretty lawn, apple trees and views of the rolling landscape. (As Chip and Joanna tell us “buy the worst house in the best neighborhood”)


If, or when, these owners decide to sell their home, the house will appeal to families with students enrolled in Hebron Academy as the house feels like it is on campus- no need to get in the car to go to class. As a future rental home, this could serve families for decades.


  1. Be a Contractor (or know a good one). The buyers in this case are the Pelletier Family. Steve D. Pelletier is known in the Bethel / Sunday River area for his high quality remodel work and his unrivaled new construction.


Though Steve enjoys building new, he has an eye for remodeling that allows him to improve and convert existing living space to meet the dreams of his clients in their current residences. The eye for a complete overhaul of a property is one that is refined by experience and perfected by execution. When Steve came across The Hebron House, he knew it was an opportunity for his family to invest in a real estate project that would only appreciate with time. (You can learn more about Steve here )


  1. Living Space / Original Condition: Ideally, a remodel project can be completed within the confines of the exterior walls and the existing roofline of a home. Re-configuring interior walls is usually much more cost effective and manageable than expanding an existing footprint.


At The Hebron House there was a comfortable floor plan that allowed gathering space in the kitchen and sunroom. The major changes made were upstairs: moving the entire stairway and covering two small bedrooms into one large loft style bedroom. There is one full bathroom in the house and this was reconfigured on the main level along with the laundry room.


Ideally a fixer-upper contender will be in great condition: however, if this were the case, the home wouldn’t truly be a fixer upper. At the Hebron House, significant time, money and energy went into the “bones” of the house. The foundation, insulation, exterior siding, windows, heating system and roof were all improved.


This is the property before remodel:


  1. Time line: This renovation took approximately seven months to complete. Even though the owner is a contractor, and did the work himself, he was juggling other jobs and family commitments through the entire project.


The great thing about The Hebron House Project was that it was a second home for the Pelletiers and Steve was his own boss. The only real time limit was start of the spring semester for his son’s academic year.


By entering into a complete renovation with a flexible deadline, owners are able to make changes, wait for materials that may be backordered and build around the un-cooperative climate; all common hurdles that Fixer-Uppers face in Maine.


  1. Design: I saved the best for last!


It goes without saying that to be a great fixer upper, the house needs an awesome remodel design.


At The Hebron House, Pelletier completed the work by sticking to a modern farmhouse theme. He ran through the entire house with a fine tooth comb; from the color of the ceiling rafters, to the matching countertops in the bathroom, kitchen and shower inlay, Pelletier tied the entire project together beautifully.


Classic cottage colors (warm yellow in the kitchen and loft) were chosen for walls and rich wood flooring was combined with a modern green cabinet scheme. These inviting choices were accentuated by a beautiful soapstone countertop and inlay sink in the kitchen.


To top off all of the color and material schemes used throughout, Pelletier selected fixtures, hardware and lights that added to the completed result.


Posted on February 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm
Cassie Mason | Category: Uncategorized

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