Dale Wilkes

Maine Association of REALTORS ® 2014 Convention

MAR 2014 convention Dave & Denise with awardTwenty-two Realty of Maine agents attended the 2014 Maine Association of REALTORS® annual convention at the Samoset resort in Rockland this week. Our own Denise Reed was presented the REALTOR® of the Year award for the Greater Bangor Association of REALTORS®. Ed Gardner of the Portland Board of REALTORS® was presented the Maine REALTOR® of the Year award. National Association of REALTORS® 2014 Presdent Steve Brown told the group that a tight credit market still hinders a strong real estate recovery. NAR continues to lead the fight in Washington to protect the American homeowner's mortgage interest tax deduction on first and second homes and pushes for responsible lending standards. Hug a REALTOR® today!

 

Best Lobster Roll in Maine

LOBSTER! It's probably what Maine is best known for and certainly on every tourist "must-eat" list when visiting our lovely state.  Downeast Magazine found the best lobster roll on the tiny island of Vinalhaven. Read all about it here.

AARP Suggests You Retire to Bangor....

AARP has released their list of the 10 lowest cost cities for seniors and Bangor, Maine is #3. We certainly agree and are pleased that one of our Realty of Maine listings is featured as an example. Realty of Maine Bangor agent Dani O'Halloran is the listing agent for 12 Stone Street in Bangor. The house is affordably priced at $109,000 and is all on one level - another plus for seniors. The home also features hardwood floors, new high-end kitchen appliances, a garage, a four seasons porch and beautiful flower gardens.  Click here to see this adorable Bangor home and the rest of the Top 10 cities.

Belfast is Happy!

It seems everyone in Belfast is happy! Check out this vibrant, Maine coastal town's take on Pharrell Williams' s popular tune Happy. If you haven't visited Belfast lately, you should put it on your summer list. Our Belfast real estate office is located in the heart of downtown at 107 Main Street near the post office. Our windows are filled with photos of our Belfast area listings. Stop in and talk to one our Happy agents today. Click here to see how Happy Belfast is!

 

Housing the Retired Baby Boomers

by Dale Wilkes, Director of Advancement, Realty of Maine

If you were so lucky to have been born between 1946 and 1964, you are among the 78 million Americans like me who are lovingly referred to as Baby Boomers. We burst forth as toddlers during the baby boom that followed the end of WWII. We were the long-haired, trouble-causing hippies of the 60s who miraculously morphed into middle-class and upper-class couples with 2.4 children, a dog, a cat and a beautifully decorated suburban home. The Volkswagen flower-power van was replaced with the soccer mom SUV. And now we are the largest group of retirees this country has ever seen.

Arthur C. Nelson, professor of urban planning at the University of Utah, estimates that 1.5 to 2 million homes belonging to seniors will come on the market by the end of this decade. He sees a growing trend among Baby Boomers to put their homes up for sale and downsize. The first Baby Boomers to hit age 65 started in 2011 and will continue until 2029.

Baby Boomers are healthier than their parents' generation, and therefore, will live longer. Statistics show that some seniors will be retired for more years than they actually spent in the workforce. That sounds great until you consider that few of us Baby Boomers will enjoy the generous pensions and retiree health benefits that most of our parents earned.

John McIlwain, Senior Resident Fellow at The Urban Land Institute, recently completed a housing report in which he details how this 78 million-strong generation is creating both challenges and opportunities for the real estate industry.

This boomer generation is not like your grandfather's generation - no shuffleboard or ceramics classes for them. Most are still physically fit - they are running marathons, taking cycling vacations and skiing the best slopes. For those who can afford it, they are building new, smaller homes with energy-efficient features, the latest tech trends, wider doors/hallways, home offices, first-floor bedrooms and low maintenance exteriors/landscaping.

Your typical retirement community has become less desirable to this energetic group. Many are finding smaller towns attractive with reasonable home prices, opportunities for new businesses and a slower pace of life. Some are opting to downsize from the suburbs into the urban core where they enjoy public transportation and cultural diversity. Others are making the difficult decision to move in with grown children, either by choice or by financial necessity.

In the end, though, where a Baby Boomer grows old will depend in large part on what he or she can afford. Downsizing in some urban locals like Boston or New York may not make economic sense. But, in Maine, towns like Bangor, Belfast and Ellsworth offer affordable housing solutions with vibrant downtowns filled with new restaurants, shops, a thriving arts and theatre scene and recreational opportunities at every turn.

"One size does not fit all" perfectly describes this boomer generation. Catering to the housing needs of this diverse and eclectic group will call for innovation, insight and ingenuity in the decades to come.

Bangor Office Voted Best Real Estate Agency for 2013

The Bangor office of Realty of Maine was voted Best Real Estate Agency for 2013 in the greater Bangor area by the online voters of Market Surveys of America. MSA rep Ed Morin presented owner/designated broker Dave Sleeper with the award on July 31 as many of the Bangor agents looked on. This is the 4th year that the Bangor office has won this award. The Bangor office has 76 agents and 4 staff members.

The Best Towns in Maine for Young Families

by Mike Anderson on November 17, 2013

When young families buy a home, they look for more than four walls and a nice view. They invest in a community and all it has to offer, both in the local economy and school district. We wanted to find towns in Maine with the best of the best in those categories, so we asked the following question as we analyzed cities and towns across the state:

1. Does the town have good public schools? We measured schools' academic performance with ratings from GreatSchools. This non-profit compares a given school's standardized test scores to the state average to obtain a rating on a 1 to 10 scale (10 representing the highest score). Higher ratings led to a higher overall score.

2. Can you afford to live there? We looked at both median home values in each town and ongoing monthly home costs, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance costs, utilities, fuel and other bills. Lower costs led to a higher overall score.

3. Is the town growing and prospering? We assessed a town's economy by looking at average household income and income growth over the last decade. Higher income and greater growth led to a higher overall score.

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The Best Towns for Young Families

1. Hampden

Hampden is just outside Bangor, in Penobscot County. Its school district, Regional School Unit #22, has a high graduation rate of 97.7 percent, and over two thirds of students go on to higher education. The high school, Hampden Academy, recently traded in its 26-acre wares for a 65-acre plot of land - a property swap funded mostly by the Maine Department of Education - in order to accommodate future growth.

2. Gorham

Gorham is just outside Portland, in Cumberland County, and it is the fastest-growing community in the entire state. Last decade, its population grew by 65.3 percent. Unemployment in the community is low, at 5.1 percent, over two points lower than the state rate. Residents of Gorham have a lot to enjoy, with over 2,000 art events each year, and over half of those are free of charge.

3. Winthrop

Winthrop is a town in Kennebec County, near Augusta and Lewiston. The community is at the center of several lakes, including the 5,500-acre Cobbosseecontee Lake, home to some of the largest bass in the state. Residents can also enjoy easy access to Mt. Pisgah, which offers plenty of space for hikers, cross-country skiers and hunters.

4. Scarborough

Scarborough sits on the southern border of Portland. The community is on the waterfront and includes three unique coastal areas: summer cottages on Higgins Beach, a rocky coastline and sandy beaches. Scarborough is also home to 1,600 businesses, which are so technologically savvy that Google named it Maine's eCity - an award given to the digital capital of each state.

5. Yarmouth

Yarmouth is a town in Cumberland County, about 10 miles north of Portland. The local elementary school was one of just three Maine schools last year to be nominated for a National Blue Ribbon. Students there rank in the top 15 percent in the state in reading and math. Quite a few Maine residents have flocked to the town in recent years, too - Yarmouth is the second-fastest growing community in the state, after Gorham.

6. Topsham

Topsham is a town in Sagadahoc County, near Portland. The community is part of Maine's Southern Midcoast Region, which offers the lowest cost of doing business in all of New England. For fun, residents can enjoy the Merrymeeting Bay, the largest freshwater estuary system north of the Chesapeake Bay, and a place to hike, swim and more.

7. Bangor

Bangor is one of the largest cities in Maine and the seat of Penobscot County. The 32,817-person community is home to great schools, two of which have earned National Blue Ribbons: Bangor High School in 2002 and, more recently, James F. Doughty School in 2010. The city also boasts more National Merit Semi-Finalists than any other community in the state.

8. Fort Kent

Fort Kent is a town in Aroostook County, on the U.S.-Canada border. Originally founded as an outpost for the lumber industry, Fort Kent continues to be a big part of that industry as well as farming and outdoor recreation. The community is the last major town before the North Maine Woods, which the Chamber of Commerce calls an "outdoor recreationist's dream." Indeed, the area is extremely vast, at 3.5 million acres - the largest tract of undeveloped land east of the Mississippi.

9. Gardiner

Gardiner is six miles south of Augusta, in Kennebec County. The local school district, Maine School Administrative District #11, has made great strides in recent years. Student achievement in reading and math has steadily surpassed the state average over the last six years, from scoring approximately four points below the state to one point above.

10. Bar Harbor

In the summer, Bar Harbor is a big tourist destination, as the gateway to Acadia National Park. Beyond its tourism industry, Bar Harbor is supported by an active healthcare industry, with the Jackson Laboratory's 43-acre campus one mile from Downtown. The lab employs nearly 1,300 Ph.D.s, physicians and vets, making it the largest employer in Downeast Maine.

Source: www.nerdwallet.com