all Oceanfront Real Estate Properties
These tips are intended to be a check-list for you to consider before purchasing Maine waterfront real estate, hopefully helping you to become a better informed buyer.
Most of these tips are just common sense suggestions that any careful buyer would be concerned about anyway – but we are talking about Maine and waterfront property, and there are a few twists and turns you may not be aware of – so perhaps these will spark a few new thoughts for you to consider…
They are not intended to discourage or scare you away from buying Maine waterfront property – as we firmly believe this is the most solid segment of the Maine real estate market you can invest in.
But buying ANY real estate is a significant undertaking – and there is a term we use in this industry called “doing due diligence”, which just means doing your homework before making a final commitment.
So, if you are contemplating buying waterfront property in Maine, here’s your homework assignment:
In Maine, town offices usually have maps showing the outline, size and location of every parcel. While they are not always 100% accurate (usually Deed descriptions have the final say on what a property consists of) they are a good starting point. So get a site plan for the property from the town office or the listing broker, and personally take the time to “walk” the property. Try to locate the property lines and corners. Keep an eye open for potential easement problems, such as trails, roads, fences, power lines, etc. Not all properties are surveyed (and many are sold without surveys, but with just a “meets and bounds” physical description) but you should definitely feel comfortable with the physical location of the real estate you are buying.
What was on this land before and how did it come to be developed? Talk to the neighbors to find out if they have any issues with the property in question, and its development, or the structures — or if there are any waterfront-related problems — and if they enjoy living there.
Its usability can be affected by:
This is very important for both roads and the body of water involved.
The clearing of land, the opening up of views and the removal of some vegetation might not be possible.
In Maine, many waterfront properties are intended for seasonal use only. If you are looking for a year-round home find out:
For most of the recorded history of real estate, it was “Buyer Beware” or the doctrine of “Caveat Emptor” (Latin) — it was the buyer’s responsibility for assessing the quality of a purchase before buying Other than a personal desire to be honest, sellers had little motivation to disclose any of the defects of their property. In the last 20 years, in response to the increasing numbers of lawsuits, the pendulum has swung — now sellers, by law, are required to fill out a Property Disclosure Statement, where they are supposed to disclose certain specific information and any other defects they know about and/or reasonably should know about – and thus it has become “Seller Beware.” IMPORTANT: expect to receive, and please study carefully, the Property Disclosure Statement for the property you are looking at. This will give you pointers to those items that need more careful inspection.
Any offer you make should be conditioned on resolving certain issues: for instance, if you need financing, make your offer contingent upon your ability to obtain financing. Sometimes physical problems with a property lie deep (such as radon or lead paint) and can only be detected by a qualified inspector – so make your offer contingent upon those inspections you feel are needed to make your purchase comfortable, insurable and financeable. Most inspections are relatively inexpensive when compared to the purchase price. And, if you find problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs.
Some “awayers”, particularly from the Western states, are used to having Title Companies handle all the various aspects of a real estate transaction. In Maine, and many other Eastern states, attorneys handle these transactions.
It used to be simple – if you wanted to sell a piece of real estate, you listed it with a real estate agent (your agent, obviously) who would hopefully find a buyer for it, draw up their offer for you and put the deal together.
Then in the 1980’s, along came Multiple Listing Systems, co-operating brokers, and the increasing numbers of lawsuits – in this case trying to determine who was representing whom – with the current result that in Maine there are at least 6 kinds of agency relationships recognized (most states settled for 3 or 4): sellers agents, buyers agents, sub agency, transaction agents, disclosed dual agents, and appointed agents.
It has become so complex that brokers themselves have trouble understanding all the issues and ramifications involved.
What you, as a Buyer, need to know is:
SOURCES FOR ANSWERS:
FINALLY, as you can see, there’s a lot to know about buying waterfront property in Maine. If you would like to have exclusive representation by a qualified professional specializing in this area of real estate, who will be loyal and confidential, who will help you locate and investigate the best property that fits your requirements, who will negotiate to get you the best price and terms, please give us a call at Waterfront Properties of Maine.