Homes built from a napkin sketch down at the local diner and not tried and tested blue print plans of what the market wants are often one of a kind misfits. They buck the market and don't go with the flow. And to correct would cost too much on the return of time and money.
The properties all are unique, every piece of real estate in Maine listed for sale has special history.
A story to tell hides behind every property listing that is marketed. But does the history get weaved into the Maine real estate marketing story? Not if the stories about the place are never discussed. Or the folks in the know die. They take the stories to their graves.
As a Maine real estate broker, learning the background stories and history of the property listings is interesting.
It helps explain the different uses that a property experiences with previous owners. Why the builder constructed it just so. And no matter how many years ago a property was listed, I remember the history and the details of a place. What needed updates, what was modernized and who helped or hurt the property as it changed hands. How the home owner treated the house makes a big difference in what we have to work with today in real estate sales. Just like horses ridden hard and put away wet don't last long. Houses need the TLC, plenty of respectful love and attention.
Life circumstances affect the property when the home owner say gets cancer, has a heart attack or other suddent medical condtion. Money gets tight fast in rural Maine real estate markets and the house repairs are neglected.
Divorce can wreak havoc with a property and the families torn apart inside the house that call is home sweet home too. Lack of know how shows in the construction projects where the DIY project ended poorly. They tried to help but end up hurting the property. Making it worse. And if neglect happens, a job jar is not dipped into often to keep it from flowing over with let go project repairs. It all helps explain why the damage occurred from lack of maintenance or shoddy workmanship on the house.
The local mill closing can be disasterous for the home owners in the local surroundings when the economy tanks.
Folks stop the maintenance and the area declines like a listing Titanic heading for the bottom if help does not arrive in time to do something miraculous. Sometimes homes are in tip top shape for all of their life. Until inherited by someone that does nothing good to the home and it coasts to a steady she goes stops while the pride in the rest of the neighborhood home owners shake their heads in disgust. It takes work, ambition, money to be a home owner. To stay that way and to climb out of the rent rut ranks.
Sagging floors, sloped roof lines, mold, erosion when the terrain is not level and flat but hilly and rolling. Natural things happen to a property listing over time. And man can mess it up or help improve a place that is listed for sale. And what was torn down and buried out back? You'll find out if digging for a new addition cellar hole.
So past homes in Maine listed and sold like people are all different.
You and I have quirks and rough edges or smoothed corners. Are all in a steady state of improvement hopefully. Often it is just the house owner did the best they could along the way of home possession but often are just one of the cooks in the kitchen.
When a place is for sale a lot and no one seems to stick around, the buying public in smaller areas especially wonder why.
Is there something wrong with the place? Is it haunted, does it have a wet cellar causing mold or a royally messed up floor plan layout?
The old Maine expression is it is hard telling not knowing. But imaginations are wild and jumping to conclusions lacking hard evidence happens. As stories are started and embellished down at the local convenience store where folks flap their gums.
Adding their two cents even when they are a little short on information about local events surrounding the private life of whoever puts the property up for sale. But that does not stop the contribution to dicussions aired around the local grapevine news feed outlets.
So what happens with listings we have had to handle that are not so easy to sell. We do the best we can to overcome the bad press or functional problems with the property or the location. We make suggestions. Knowing somehow a little tuck here, a trim there can work magic. Making them fit the needs of someone in the real estate audience who is harder in some cases than others to please. Lack of money makes the demands smaller and the low end housing stock has an easier audience segment to please.
When the old home for sale in Maine was kept full of family belongings like a shrine of someone long gone, and it is not heated. for years. It takes it toll. Three couches in the living room where one was never removed when a new one showed up.. but just shoved deeper in a corner of the room. The cellar filling up with dead water heaters, old empty dried up paint cans and cobwebs from dryer hose vents long ago disconnected but no one knew or cared. Because they don't go down into the the dark spaces with burned out light bulbs.
Those homes put up for sale on the housing market in Maine can have a spooky stigma associated with them.
Especially is the local story tellers spin a few yarns about the empty house on Elm Street. The sound home in one family since it was built and who had owners with the money and that took the time to keep it in good repair. And where the place just kept getting better and better, was improved along the way. Those are easier to sell than the Mr Fix It homes that had fires in the attic.
These neat, clean, maintained homes for sale in Maine that are priced realistically are the low hanging easy cherry picked listings to move out quickly. They never linger on the housing market.
With cellar floor boards and stringers that still smell of smoke. That were repaired by someone who got a hammer and skill saw for Christmas but that are far from full fledged skilled carpenters.
The home prices in Maine are pretty low to the ground so it is easier to consider buying something else for sale that lacks the issues begging to be corrected.
Shared driveways are a constant problem for the homes for sale that use them for access. People fight and get hot under the collar when these driveways are blocked by company or neglected.
Those big pot holes or decaying hot top where one person does all the work to fix the deep dips to China.
The shared well, driveways or whatever easement does not usually help the homeowner's joy of possession and can become a bone of contention. Play well, don't run with scissors and share is not always a lesson that spills over into adulthood.
Homes where the local police cruiser, sheriff's official cars are seen at the property often. Screeching in with lights and sirens announcing their arrival that is seen and heard around the area. Parked sideways out front the homes where the officers bound up the stairs to the open porches in haste. Those don't get forgotten.
The home is often blamed, guilt by association with the meth lab flashed on the nightly news is not going to make a sale easy.
Being next door or in the vicinity of crime location hurts the sale odds too or at best impacts the price the property owner finally fetches from buyer who says that's the one for me. The homes for sale that have buried fuel tanks or ones that ruptured in the cellar with smell that hits you as you descend the house cellar stairway are a turn off and unhealthy. Who wants to put their family in one of those?
The history of the home for sale in Maine collected from previous property owners can help explain what happened over the years.
The extra first floor rec room was originally put on for the elderly grandparent that had a stroke and was not a fan of stairs. Or the finished cellar was originally a hair salon until the hair twister hung up the scissors, put away the curling iron.
The extra driveway on one side of the property was put in for a school bus, a trailer truck by a previous owner. And becomes a selling feature for the family with a big RV and means the regular driveway won't be clogged and crowded. Or someone puts a pool in that side of the lot and removes all signs of the extra driveway with the picket fence getting the heave ho gotta go too.
It's your home now and why the colors, condition, additions or renovations depends on the new home owner.
Have it your way is the rule of the day with home owners and any one wearing those cardboard king crowns and munching on flame broiled whopper senior or juniors.
As a Maine real estate broker for approaching 38 years of list, twist, sell (repeat), I remind the new buyer that the previous ones had the home the way they wanted it. Don't get too bummed out about the color scheme or wall paper, paneling. And that colors were meant to be changed to reflect the owners and keep up with new trends in decorating. Fads in fashion come and go and hopefully there is a pretty shining maple hardwood floor hiding under that deep shag carpet of harvest gold and bright red, orange, yellow. That appliances of the same bright hues can be hauled away and replaced with the colors that make them happy home owners.
Had a home for sale in Houlton Maine that the prospective buyer wanted his friend to look over.
This friend was the carpenter who built it forty years earlier. I asked him how it happened to have oak floors where 99% of the other homes around it were showing maple hardwood ones. He remembers exactly why. Said he wanted maple and that the cost for the entire home's hardwood flooring with it was $118 dollars to purchase the materials. But with oak substituted because maple was not available, it added another $100 to the total flooring costs.
Sounds like small potatoes but consider the entire home, lot, all the earthwork, foundation, windows, doors, roof, siding, plumbing, electrical, heating led to a completed turn key home selling for $4000 using often the GI / VA mortgage loan to purchase it.
Or with a dollar down used for a Farmer's Home Administration mortgage loan on the housing in small rural Northern Maine. Those were very common in small town communities Maine is known for around Vacationland.
What to add to the background history and to be used in the Maine real estate marketing comes from those around the house for sale too. The neighbors are a great source of information because they often saw the place belong built and remember the unique qualities of the folks that lived next door. All of them that came and went over the years. One home my parents owned on Franklin Avenue was next door to Dr Burr. Who had parties that went long into the night and there was a son who played the piano, a daughter that had a golden voice. The sounds from next door of all of it on a hot summer day or night were part of the local history of the neighborhood. The big parties took their toll on the place.
An empty house becomes a happy home when you add the people to raise their families, develop the backyards, add on the additions or build garages. The home is the place they families celebrate birthdays, holidays and live out their life.
Maybe a state trooper was in the place that changed hands every couple years. You remember a blue cruiser in the yard that was clean as a whistle like the yard and exterior experience. Or if poor health and some addiction was what the home owner was cursed with, you remember the lawns tall as hay fields and a look of Herman Munster in a particular part of the neighborhood.
Barking dogs, kids with BB guns, lots of junk cars set the tone for pretty or ugly in the neighborhood where a home is listed for sale. The value rises or falls depending on the other homes on the neighborhood team surrounding it. But kids grow up and yards go vacant, the tire swing stops moving under the propulsion of kids. Left to the wind, empty, lonely happens to homes that need a family to restore happiness and purpose.
How did the big smasher home evolve to what it is today?