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Lovely Home in WarrenU.S. home prices increased for the 3rd consecutive month. rising in May from April in every city tracked by a leading index.  It’s a sign that increasing sales and tight inventories are supporting a modest housing recovery.

The supply of homes for sale remains low helping to stabilize prices. At the current sales pace, it would take six and a half months to exhaust the supply of previously-occupied homes which is only slightly above the six month rate economists consider healthy.

Experts suggest that the market may at long last have hit bottom.  Today’s average 30-year rate is even lower than the average 20- or 25-year rate was in the 1950s.  With prices stabilizing and long-term mortgage rates the lowest in history this could be the moment buyers have been waiting for.   So finding the perfect home or seasonal get away has never been easier than it is now here in Maine’s beautiful oceanfront and coastal communities, including Camden, Rockland, Rockport, Lincolnville, Northport, Isleboro, and surrounding islands and towns.

Saint George Waterfront HomeNestled along Maine’s coastline, the Mid Coast region presents a picture-perfect lifestyle for both seasonal and year-round residents. Mountain vistas give way to sweeping ocean views that provide a back-drop for a vibrant community rich in culture, heritage and maritime tradition.

Widely known for the fleet of Windjammers anchored in local harbors, Mid Coast Maine is also a creative arts Mecca offering a host of galleries, boutiques, celebrated restaurants and inns.

For more information visit our site Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Town &
Country

Climate ChangeFamous for its quaint historic towns, mountainous and pastoral landscapes, rocky shores and sand beaches, Maine is also defined by its distinct climate.  Weather changes rapidly from one day (or even hour) to the next, and from year to year, average conditions can vary widely. However, the general climate patterns that have remained fairly consistent since Europeans first landed on our shores are rapidly changing. No one needs to tell you that though, signs become clearer each year. Records show that spring is arriving sooner, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy.

In recent decades the characteristic climate of the Northeast has begun to change beyond what we have experienced in previous centuries. Patterns familiar to residents since recordkeeping began, including the arrival of the seasons, duration of snow cover, and timing of lake and river ice breakup, have been broken and new trends have begun to emerge. If global warming emissions continue to grow unabated, the Northeast can expect dramatic temperature increases over the course of this century.               

These regional changes are part of the broader global warming trend. Today, virtually all scientists agree that the planet is warming and that this warming is driven by increasing levels of heat-trapping emissions (primarily carbon dioxide) from human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity and fuel our cars.  New projections show that climate changes already under way will continue to accelerate, although less drastically if we shift away from fossil fuels in favor of clean energy technologies. If we don’t, it could result in dramatic regional warming of 7 to 12°F on average by the end of the century. To put these projections into perspective, if we follow our current higher-emissions practices, the typical summer in upstate New York may feel like the present-day summer in South Carolina by the end of the century.

The choices we make today and in the coming years matter greatly. If the rate of emissions is lowered, projections show the changes will be significantly smaller.  Emissions choices we make today—in the Northeast and worldwide—will help determine the climate our children and grandchildren inherit, and shape the consequences for their economy, environment, and quality of life. To read more about Climate Change in the US Northeast visit the Union of Concerned Scientists website.

Neither the day of the week nor hour of the day dictates when you can get up-to-the-minute news, catch up with friends, or shop ’til you drop. The era of the consumer controlled transaction has arrived.  This evolution has challenged Realtors to shift to the role of a trusted advisor able to accommodate clients’ busy schedules and reliance on technology. 

Kelly Zeiner & Meriwether Gill

Kelly Zeiner & Meriwether Gill

Camden-based Realtors Kelly Zeiner and Meriwether Gill have joined forces to bring you the 24/7 energetic commitment required in today’s challenging real estate market.  Success².

Housing Prices Are Hitting Bottom

More than half of economists, real estate experts and investment strategists polled by MacroMarkets LLC in June said they now expect national home prices to hit a bottom sometime in 2011.   Multi-millionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson says that current record-low interest rates make this the best time to buy homes in 50 years.  Paulson was one of only a handful of people who predicted the sub-prime collapse.  His advice is: “If you don’t own a home, buy one.  If you own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes, buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home.”

The tax benefits of home ownership are well known of course.  Lower home prices coupled with historically low interest rates really do make this the ideal time to buy a home.   Even if home prices go down some more, the overall difference would be negligible.

Let’s say there is a house for sale for $250,000. If interest rates are say 4.3%, your monthly principal and interest payment is $981. Over the course of this loan, you will pay $191,693 in interest. Now let’s drop the home price to $225,000 — a 10% price deduction. If interest rates are a point higher — 5.23% — your monthly principal and interest are now $991 ($10 a month more) but your total interest paid over the course of the loan is now $221,282 — about $30,000 more over the course of your loan. A 1% increase in mortgage rates more than offsets a 10% drop in the home’s price.

Quality of life plays a huge role in deciding whether to purchase a home or continue to rent.  The benefits of home ownership versus renting are significant.  Home owners are happier and healthier and enjoy a greater feeling of control over their lives.  Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth.  Historically, a home owner’s net worth has ranged from 31 to 46 times that of a renter.  Home owners are free to redecorate, renovate, and modify their homes as they wish.  They don’t move as frequently as renters, providing more neighborhood stability. This stability in turn helps reduce crime and supports neighborhood upkeep.  Children of home owners do better in school, stay in school longer, are more likely to participate in organized activities and spend less time in front of the television.  And the list goes on.

Quality of life is also a consideration if you find yourself living in an area that doesn’t suit your needs.  According to a recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC in collaboration with leading media and marketing company Meredith Corporation, one in five U.S. homeowners have either moved from their home or would like to move because their neighborhood or community wasn’t ideal for their lifestyle.

There’s never been a better time to start living the life you’ve always wanted.  So what are you waiting for?

Meriwether Gill

CAMDEN, Maine (June 27, 2011) – Meriwether W. Gill of Cushing has joined Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Town & Country as its newest licensed real estate agent, serving the Mid-Coast area.

Meriwether is a native of the northshore of Long Island, though she was always drawn to the idea of living in coastal Maine. That dream never left her, and now she is proud to call mid-coast Maine her home and could scarcely imagine living anywhere else.

Before training as a Realtor, Meriwether lived in many beautiful places, including the Florida Keys, the Caribbean and Hawaii, while working as a marine mammal specialist and researcher. Eventually, this led her to the adventure cruise industry, where she worked for many years as an expedition leader and naturalist, traveling all over the world, from the Antarctic to Japan, Alaska, Europe, Mexico, British Columbia, Russia and the Galapagos.  During those years, she developed her interest in working with people, and in providing them an exceptional level of service, as well as an understanding of the importance of conservation and the sustainable use and stewardship of our land and oceans.

Licensed in Maine, Meriwether graduated through the Real Estate Learning Group, in Portland.  She works for both buyers and sellers in all price ranges and gives each home sale or purchase the same care and attention.  Through Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Town & Country, she has an array of sophisticated marketing tools and resource at her disposal.  Resources such as PinPoint, a direct marketing tool that leverages Meredith Corporation’s U.S. database of more than 85 million consumers who interact with the Better Homes and Gardens® brand through the magazine, website and other Meredith brands.  Meriwether’s honesty, professionalism and integrity will make her a trusted advisor. True to her character, Meriwether will see each contract through to its conclusion, always placing an emphasis on customer satisfaction, and striving to make your experience of working with her a pleasant one.

Meriwether Gill

 When she is not selling homes, Meriwether continues to travel whenever possible and enjoys skiing, sailing, photography, cooking and gardening.

 If you are considering buying or selling a home or are just looking for additional information about real estate in your area, let Meriwether put her passion for the business, and her energy and enthusiasm to work for you.  Please feel free to contact Meriwether at 207-236-4777 ext. 117 (work) or 207-706-6242 (cell) or e-mail her at meriwether@tcreal.com

Your garden doesn’t need to be a water hog. Find out how to build a beautiful garden with xeriscaping, a low-water landscape concept.

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens®

You’ve always dreamt of having a big and beautiful garden, but spending your season attached to a watering can isn’t part of the picture. You can create that lush landscape and save on water if you put some proper plans into place. Using native plants and designing water zones in your garden, you can do your part to be water-wise.

 Waterwise01
What Is Xeriscaping?

The word may not be familiar to you, but it’s a concept that is fairly simple to embrace. Xeriscaping, in a nutshell, means using more native foliage and less water during their growing season maintenance. The idea developed in the harsher growing area of the Southwest and Mountain West and it quickly found a big following. The end product will save you time and money. All it takes is some proper planning before you begin planting.

One of the biggest challenges for gardeners considering xeriscaping is to shift the style of plants they can use. If you’ve always wanted to grow a garden full of natives, a xeriscape plan will give you that opportunity.

Choosing Native Plants
One key to xeriscaping is using native plants. They’re most adapted to your climate and can handle extremes in weather patterns.
If you live in a typically dry area, such as Arizona or New Mexico, native plants like cactus, yucca, and penstemon are some of the best choices. But don’t take this to mean that these are the only kinds of plants you can enjoy in a xeriscape. Whether you live in the Southwest or upper Midwest, native perennials including rattlesnake master (Eryngium), purple coneflower (Echinacea), and goldenrod (Solidago) are just the ticket to a lush, colorfully styled xeriscape.

Just because these plants are water-wise, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are drought proof. In the worst dry spells even these reliable plants can suffer from water stress. That’s why it’s important that your xeriscape not exclude water entirely. You may need to water your plantings during severe droughts.

Waterwise02
Be Aware of Other Plants
Keep an eye out for other plants that are well adapted to your region. There may be plenty of other plants that can take your climate’s conditions. For example, in areas with warm, dry summers, many Mediterranean plants thrive.

Hydrozoning
A technique you might try when laying out your xeriscape is hydrozoning. This means organizing plants in your landscape based on their watering needs. Can’t live without petunias and other bedding plants? No worries. Group these plants closest to the house (or water source) in their own area so you can maximize your watering efforts without giving water to plants that don’t need it.

As you move farther away from the water source your plantings should require less water. The fringes of your property become home to the toughest, water-wise plants you can find. (Note: While tough, these plants will need watering during the first season to get established.) By hydrozoning you manage water use in the overall design of your landscape — so you don’t end up with a hodgepodge of drought-tolerant and thirsty plants.

Waterwise04
Marvelous Mulch
Adding mulch to your plantings will further aid water conservation. Mulch locks moisture in the soil and allows plants to use it more efficiently. There is a mulch for every style of landscape. From gravel to shredded bark, mulch also reduces weeds, meaning that yet another chore — weeding — gets crossed off the list of things to do.

Lawn Ideas
Hydrozoning doesn’t have to be limited to your ornamental plants. You can also plan for a xeric lawn. Choose heat-tolerant, drought tolerant varieties, such as native buffalograss.
Don’t worry if you can’t find drought-tolerant lawn grasses for your area. You can also keep a traditional watered lawn, especially if you have children or pets who play in the area. Just be wise about watering it: When planning your lawn, consider that narrow strips or oddly shaped areas of turf will be difficult to irrigate. Go for larger, blocky shapes to maximize your irrigation efforts.

More Benefits
Don’t be surprised if your water-wise landscape cuts your outdoor chores by half. You’ll spend less time mowing and watering. It also saves you money on gas, oil, and maintenance costs.

Xeric landscapes also attract more wildlife since you are using plants found in your region. Your garden will become a haven for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.

If you think xeriscaping is right for you, use this checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the steps:

  1. Plan it out! Take time to assess your landscape. Have a soil test done, especially in newly developed areas, to know what you are dealing with. Think about the slope of your property and where different hydrozones will go.
  2. Go native! Native plants are a key strategy to xeriscaping. Check out our recommendations of good native plants for your garden. Talk to your region’s native plant society for more information about growing natives in your backyard.
  3. It’s a regional thing. Think about where you live and how your region impacts your garden style. Giving your landscape a sense of place not only makes economic sense but the local wildlife will also appreciate it.
  4. Don’t forget the grass. Your lawn can go water-wise too! Plan for irrigation-friendly areas of turf or use grasses that need less water.
  5. Mulch it! Mulches are great for conserving water. Choose one that looks good with the plants you’ve chosen for your landscape.
  6. Relax and enjoy. Your investments will pay off soon. Enjoy your eco-friendly landscape and teach your friends and neighbors about its benefits.

For More Landscaping Ideas visit Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Organic Carrots

Yay!  It’s officially Summer and our local Farmers’ Markets are teeming with wonderful things.  Farmers’ Markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm.

The MidCoast region is filled with farms and farmers, and depending on the time of the year, you’ll find beef, pork, lamb, poultry, seafood, cheeses, milk, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, vegetables, apples, berries and more at MidCoast farmers’ markets.

Asparagus, peas, fresh greens, goat cheese, farm eggs, fresh Maine seafood… visit one of these MidCoast Farmers’ Markets and see what tasty locally produced foods this week provides:

Bath Farmers’ Market
The Bath Farmers’ Market began its 31st summer season May 7th at Bath’s Waterfront Park. Markets are held every Saturday from 8:30am-12pm.  Visit the Bath Farmers’ Market website for a list of vendors.

Belfast Farmers’ Market
You’ll find the Belfast Farmers Market in its summer location on Front Street. The market is held every Friday from 9am-1pm, and even includes a water buffalo meat vendor.

Searsmont Farmers’ Market
Searsmont Farmers’ Market is open for the season on Saturdays 8 AM to 1 PM, and Tuesdays 3 PM to 6 PM. Among the venders will be Fiddle Heads and Dandelions Farm, Camelot Farm, Second Wind Farm and Stony Hill Farm. The market is conveniently located by the St. Georges River on Route 131 across from the Searsmont Post office.

Ed at the Searsmont Farmers Market

Brunswick Farmers’ Market
Brunswick’s Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest in the state.  You’ll find the Brunswick Farmers’ Market every Tuesday and Friday on the grassy mall in downtown Brunswick between 8am-2pm.

Camden Farmers’ Market
The Camden Farmers’ Market is held Saturday from 9am-12pm and Wednesday afternoon 3:30 – 6pm through October 29th.   The market is located in the parking lot behind the Knox Mill, and can be found easily by following the signs.

Damariscotta Farmers’ Market
The summer season for the Damariscotta Farmers’ Market has begun. The market is held each Friday from 9am-12pm.  Monday Farmers Markets for the summer season began June 13th.

Rockland Farmers’ Market
Rockland’s Farmers’ Market is held every Thursday from 9am-12:30pm in Rockland’s Harbor Park.

Union Square Farmers’ Market
Union’s Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from June 5th through October 16th from 8:30am-12:30pm.

Please let us know if we’ve missed any!

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