Estimating Heating Costs

 Posted by at 7:11 am
Aug 252012

Estimating the heating costs for a specific home is an extremely difficult task. There are just too many variables–including the type of fuel and fuel costs. The Governor’s Energy Office recently established a website that will help you compare the costs of heating a “typical” 1500 square foot home based on fuel. I was a bit surprised to discover that based on current prices, pellets are actually less costly than wood. (The site makes a number of assumptions regarding efficiency.)

One of the conversations I often have with home buyers is a reminder that we pay for our homes more than once–when we buy it, certainly. But we also pay to maintain it, to heat it, to clean it… While this site won’t help with your specific home, it will provide some interesting things to consider. Check out:


Buyer Beware!

 Posted by at 9:06 am
Aug 182012

Disclaimer: Clearly I am not an attorney and it is not my intent to engage in legal analysis or advice, but this incident (reported by the Maine Forest Service) is just too interesting NOT to write about.

A seller who happened to be a logger sold a parcel of land to a buyer but maintained the “stumpage rights” (the right to harvest the timber) on the property. This is certainly not an unusual practice and we are reminded that seller’s can, of course, maintain a number of different rights. Typically this is negotiated to both parties agreement and documented in the purchase and sale agreement. We need to do more than hope that these rights (and responsibilities) are accurately recorded when the deed transferring title is written.

For purposes of keeping the players straight, once title transferred, our buyer in this story becomes the owner.

In this interesting case, the logger subsequently exercised his right and harvested the timber (on property he no longer owned, remember). In completing the harvest, the logger (perhaps unintentionally) committed a 50 acre clearcutting violation of the Forest Practices Act (FPA). In the settlement agreement both the logger and owner were assessed penalties and the owner was required to to develop an after-the-fact forest management plan for the clearcut area.

We might, of course, debate the fairness of this. (The Maine Forest Service’s position is that “penalties for forest-practices rule violations are intended to remove the financial benefit obtained through such violations.” The implication in this case is that both the logger and owner received some financial benefit from the harvest.)

But the point for our purpose is “buyer beware” of ANY arrangement that gives another party rights to your property. Conveying (or in this case allowing the seller to keep) those rights does not leave you without responsibility.


How Much Mortgage Can You Afford?

 Posted by at 8:21 am
Aug 102012

I’ve decided to “try” this… with some hesitation. A short version description is that the National Association of Realtors has offered members the ability to “reprint” articles. I’ve placed the word reprint in quotes, because what really seems to happen is I get the beginning of the article–you have to click a link which takes you to an NAR sponsored site. Frankly, I think I’d really prefer to write my own stuff and keep you here, but maybe from time to time I should offer some material from others. This article seemed like a reasonable test–the information is fairly specific and, I think helpful–at least for the curious. If you’re at all seriously wondering, I recommend an appointment with a loan officer. Anyway, I’d welcome comments!

Visit for more articles like this.