Aug 172009

Computer RepairThere’s an email about teknawlogie in Maine that makes its way around the email circle regularly explaining such mysteries as how “log on” means making the stove hotter… an upgrade is a steep hill… a server is a waitress… oh, and that waitress… Dot Matrix? She’s Dan Matrix’s wife.

Unfortunately, technology isn’t always funny.  This week it’s taken some extra effort to find the humor as a series of “weird things” have taken place and given me fits. I’m pretty sure you aren’t interested in the details.  (If anyone is intimately familiar with Outlook and Business Contact Manager, I’ll be happy to share.)

The net result is some “lost data” that I’m still trying to recover.  I’m a little concerned that I may have lost some Mooseprint subscribers. (Mooseprint is the print edition of this blog).  I’m quite sure nothing was affected here or with the subscription feature to this blog itself.

The plan is to reconstruct as much as possible and send out a Mooseprint in September.  In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you sent me your contact information just in case!

 This is one of those situations I could have a lot of fun with… but I’ve found sometimes I confuse people. When a new class is formed, I typically collect email addresses so we can stay in touch during the course. I used to send out a first email that said, “Let me know if you don’t get this…” I did find it confused some people.  (I actually did get an email once… “but if I don’t get it how will I know you sent it?” I hope that was an attempt to be funny as well!)

Conversely, I can’t exactly contact you for your information if I don’t have your information to contact you!

Are we confused yet? While I work through this please be a little patient… and if you want to send an email or give me a call with your address and phone number(s) that will help a lot.

Oh, one more tecknawlogie term…  I’ve been a cursor lately. A cursor is somebody who swears a lot.

Aug 172009

The state has begun accepting applications for Maine’s Property Tax and Rent Refund Program for the 2008 tax year. This program, also known as the “circuit breaker” program, is run through Maine Revenue Services (MRS). Each year thousands of qualified homeowners and renters fail to apply for the program and do not receive the refunds to which they are entitled.  Nearly 200,000 households qualify for a partial refund of property tax assessed and/or rent they paid in 2008.

A single person with no dependents who makes less than $61,400 qualifies for the program. Those with a spouse or dependents can make up to $81,850. The 2008 property taxes must exceed 4 percent of household income in either case. Renters qualify if their rent exceeds 20 percent of their income.

MRS sends applications to anyone who filed in the previous year and to those who requested an application on their Maine income tax return.  You may also request an application from MRS by calling them at 207-624-7894 or download an application from their website at

Aug 072009

We’ve had lots of tips regarding finding and financing your home, but not much about what happens between the time your offer is accepted and the actual closing. Many people would say this is when your Realtor truly earns his or her keep. There are plenty of things that can go wrong along the way.

You’ll find it easy to become disenchanted by all of the steps and all of the people involved in the closing process. By one conservative estimate, there could be as many as thirty separate individuals involved — from home inspectors to paper shufflers. Each of these people has a very specific responsibility regarding your transaction. Unfortunately, we do not always control the performance and attitudes of many of these people. This is not the time to try to change attitudes; we need always to stay committed to the goal.

A good Realtor will follow up and coordinate this process, even helping you determine things like who to call to have the power turned on. In other words, a good Realtor should be able to demonstrate effective project management skills. Your contribution should include providing information and documents quickly when requested and keeping your Realtor informed of that activity.

One caution that needs to be made here is that you should especially avoid actions which could jeopardize your financing. Nearly every Realtor has at least one horror story to tell where a buyer used credit cards to make major purchases of furniture or other items needed for the new home. The hazard is that by increasing debt level, the buyer will no longer qualify for the mortgage.

Like many things in life, communication is the vital agreement in getting to a successful closing. During the “under contract” phase of your home purchase, do a lot of talking and even more listening!