The Number One Question Real Estate Property Buyers Ask.

houlton maine courthouse photo

For starters, every real estate market like weather forecasts for different areas of the country are way way different.

Same principles in play but every real estate market does not operate the exact same. Price range has something to do with it.

High priced, lots of zero places in the property listing markets have layers of players. The price tag supports the stagers, brings in the HOA (home owners associations) and talk about zoning regulations. houlton maine courthouse photo

City real estate compared to rural country property peddling, the two venues are night and day for complex vs keep it simple.

Also besides the different set of features asked for, expected in the various property price brackets on the MLS inventory, other area questions unique to the market come up. Like tell me about leased land, how does that work.

Or owner financing Maine land, explain that from A to Z will you Mr Real Estate Broker?

So I can not speak for other real estate markets outside my playing field in Northern Maine, but when the phone rings, emails buzz in or a text vibrates. Usually the first question is what are the property taxes? On this one, that one.Then how long on the market, why are they selling?

So let’s talk about property taxes on Maine real estate.

I have seen a buyer of a home pick a property listing thirty miles out of their way to save a hundred dollars on real estate taxes. It is that important to the buyer to find lower property taxes.

Some towns in Maine are better run and have more attractive property tax rates.

They avoid duplication, work together in pooling resources of time, talent and money. farmbarncows3

Some are lucky to have some industry, a business or two that pick up a big chunk of the property tax bill tab.

So other residential, land, real estate owners in the township have property tax relief.

People sure do talk about property taxes. Ask what will they be if I build a home? Will they go up after I buy? How much will they be next year?

Folks worry about steadily climbing property taxes.

It is public information how much everyone in a Maine town, city, platation or unorganized township pays for property taxes. Do the home work and study before buying! See how well run the town is or isn’t is property taxes are the end all.

I remember Dyer Brook Maine having the lowest property taxes forever.

I was told it was in part due to not much to expend tax payer dollars on besides a few short stretches of roads. The Southern Aroostook School was there but not a lot of tax exempt properties show up on the town assessor’s real estate valuation cards. derby weigh in  houlton maine photo

A town manager of Dyer Brook Maine explained to me that her town, the one of Merrill Maine both had large woodlots.

That were managed and the proceeds, the profit was put into the town coffers. To water down the size of the property tax bills send to the local and out of state real estate owners in Dyer Brook.

We sold a 62 acre piece of land acreage in Dyer Brook and the property taxes were under $2 dollars. I remember thinking the cost of a stamp, paperwork probably ate up close to that.

Merrill Maine shares a town manager with Smyrna, a neighboring town which is smart. Shared resources, pooling them makes sense.

But again, I was told at a time when money was tight that selectman decided let’s sell the wooded sections of the town.

So they received a chunk of change, but lost the revenue stream of managing the wood resource property acreage Dyer Brook Maine was lucky to have. And enjoyed a profit from perodic thinning, cutting operations to maximize it’s growth.

What else drives up the property taxes for a town?

County seats in Maine’s sixteen are towns with higher property taxes. Lots of tax exempt properties on the rolls. They still need plowed roads, police and fire and other services rendered. But don’t pay property taxes. rafting harsh waters in maine photo

The churches, fraternal organizations, non profits, schools and hospital, the state, local and federal facilities in the Maine town add to the property tax burden of residents in it.

Smart small Maine towns that have a sharp, trained fire department next door to it pay the annual fee for spark protection.

Rather than duplicate it. They write a check and hire it done. Lean and mean makes some towns shine brighter for the property tax weight on residents. Where there is so much volunteer not paid positions running small Maine towns with under a hundred, two hundred souls populating them.

But too small and all the mandates, legislation to do this and this have caused many Maine towns, plantations to throw in the towel.

With 32 people in Drew Plantation Maine, just lacking folks to fill the town government positions. And with lmissing industry in the middle of nowhere makes the locations great for sporting, tourism. Peace and quiet. But being off the beaten path for the commute to work, deorganization of Maine towns, plantations is sobering. baxter park photo with moose

Waving the white flag, surrendering local control of the local muncipality and passing the reins to the county for administration.

The town or plantation in Maine that can not keep up, support services has no choice but to let the county take over after property taxation and running the show.

More about deorganization of small Maine towns.

It is a long process to deorganize a Maine townships or plantation. But if a Maine muncipality can not pay its bills, the choice of staying organized or disbanding becomes cut and dry. Hard to swallow but logical. Because left with no other option when the money runs out. Like in Oxbow, Bancroft and the list continues.

Cary Plantation Maine has deorganizing dismantling local control efforts underway. Property taxes will go down. Kids tuition to school in SAD 70 where they already attend.

In 2013, there were 60 people in the US Census head count of Bancroft Maine that used to be a town. In a talk with one of the three County Commissions in Aroostook County, Paul Adams told me in the  Unorganized Territory, residents paid $6.69 in property taxes for every $1,000 in property value.

By joining the Unorganized Territory, Bancroft residents, Cary Plantation in time will expect to see a significant reduction in their tax bill — as much as 74 percent.

But he also said the large paper company, big woods acreage timber property owners are not so cranked about the influx of small Maine towns.

Joining the ranks of the unorganized “T” this, “R” that unorganized area real estate owners. bus ybee maine flowers photo

Like an insurance pool where everyone is pretty healthy, feeling in the pink, adding more players that have school tuition, roads to plow, etc will ultimately boost their property tax yearly contributions.

Duplication of services in a small Maine town, plantation, city is bad business. Loose as a goose is not the way to run a ledger sheet in any enterprise. Neither is a steady increase of property taxes which forces folks to move away. Discourages businesses from locating or staying in these burgs.

It is ironic too because the average Mainer is all about frugal not cheap, stretch those dollars. A real survivor that pinches pennies to live within, a degree below their means. To have savings for those rainy days, to sleep better nights free of financial worries.

When you make property taxes the end all, it can be short sighted.cows mooers photo

The family budget also has to juggle the cost of auto insruance, the amount of gas used and wear and tear on vehicles.

When the property picked for a home is off the beaten path.

Small Maine towns used to be a better deal, living close to a larger service area. But the strain of the state and federal regulations and declining local population to contribute to the tax base is a Titanic situation. Not the smartest thing to hang around with hands in the pockets just listening to the strings


We can not afford to waste time rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking boat taking on water, going down.

And instead need leaders, long range thinking to plan the best course for our small Maine towns.

So they don’t bleed out.

Can retain their sense of independence within their means of what they do have for a property tax base.

Property taxes, local and out of state, the country buyers of Maine real estate all are keenly interested in what they are on a listing for sale.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573 |

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730

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