Harpswell, Bailey Island Cottage

Maine Real Estate Questions Answered

When retiring to Maine, one of the first things people need to do is find a home. There are so many options and details to consider. We asked Down East Magazine’s Retire to Maine readers what questions they have about Maine real estate. We went to the real estate professionals who deal with these types of questions to answer the questions.


Q. I would really like things broken down. What are the real estate costs across the state and the taxes in these towns across the state? I would like to retire to Maine but don’ t see myself as a single person being able to handle increased costs during my retirement.

A. “This question is not easily answered. Every town has its own tax bracket. You can look here  and they should be listed for you. If you could narrow down your list to specific towns of interest I am more than happy to provide more information. I would consider Townhouse living if you want to stay within a fixed living, as they stay fairly regularly over the years.” — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME

A. “Costs and taxes vary from town to town. I would encourage you to look at the website for those towns in which you might be interested. Here are some places to start for general information: From the State of Maine, a listing of property tax rates.
— Bill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. Can a 3-season camp be turned into a 4-season camp?

A. “Yes and No, it has to do with whether you can have a septic and leach field. Many coastal homes that have been around for years right on the water or lakes, do not have septic systems, with new technology there are ways to install exterior septic holding tanks which can convert home to year round verses seasonal.” — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME

A. “Costs can vary depending on the size, age, location, and condition of the camp. Here is an interesting article from the New York Times (2008):

Also, here is an article from HGTV.
Bill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. Is it expensive to turn an off-grid cabin into an on-grid?

A. “It all depends on the utilities cost to run polls and wires to the home. I believe the cost per poll is around $700.00” — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME

A. “It would depend on location (how far from the grid), the size of your home, and the cost structure of the utility to which you would connect. Here are some things you might want to consider:

How to Hook Up to the Power Grid

CMP Get Connected

Bill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. What is the best time of year to shop for plentiful inventory on lake or river camps?

A. “Any time of year. Old school thinking is that you get a deal in the fall and winter. Not the case, with technology at our fingertips, homes, camps, land, all sell year round in Maine. It is easier to see the grounds without snow in the winter, but properties sell year-round.” — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME

A. “The availability of inventory varies greatly, so it is difficult to predict. Generally, camps would be sold spring, summer, and through the fall, but you might come across a deal in the winter. You might want to enter into a buyer arrangement with a Real Estate Agent who could monitor inventory for you and send you an email when a property that fits your requirements becomes available.” — Bill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. In some Maine towns in summer, as we drive around, it seems like every other house is for sale. I always wonder what that is about.

A. “Depends on the location, Spring and Summer months are when most people list their homes because we have an abundance of tourists who do come to Maine to visit and family coming back HOME to visit and see a home for sale.” — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME
“You might find some good insights in these articles:

How We Live in Maine

Frozen Vacationland

An Essay on Moving to Maine

Bill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. Is it year ‘rounders hoping to cash in if the price is right?

A. “No, I feel in all Maine towns, homes come on the market year round, you are just not here in the fall and winter to see the signs for sale.” — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME


Q. Is it some commentary on how hard it is to live there in winter (no matter how charming it looks in summer)?

A. We have two months of cold temperatures. The rest of the year is no different than any other state on the East Coast and New England. — Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME


Q. Is it like the Hotel California . . . you can buy a house anytime, even put it up for sale, but you can never leave? Great Song . . . Why do so many homes and properties seem to be for sale all the time?

A. “Maine is always revolving with new people and originally from Maine, folks, who are coming back to the state to raise their families when they get tired of the city life. There are many reasons why people live and want to live in Maine. How is your town? Is there no one selling their homes?” Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME


Q. I want to know what towns have the best walkability and bus or trolley for access to grocery store or doctors.

A. “I would suggest a major city like Portland, Bangor, Augusta, Lewiston Auburn, or Cumberland and Sagadahoc county. Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME

A. Here is a website for walkability, pre-loaded with some cities in Maine. You may also input additional cities in which you might be interested. Here is a link to mass transit options in Maine. Bill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. I have a really basic question, being 25 years out from when I bought a house. Wondering what is “acceptable”/preferred practice when beginning to house hunt — when looking online (redfin, zillow, etc.) do you have to contact them first when you find a house that you want to pursue? I’ve also noticed that there is a “Maine Assoc. of Realtors” site that lists houses and has agents to contact – same question about them.

A.“I would contact a local agent in the area in which you have most interest. Or contact Kelly Parker, Realtor Broker, she can provide a good agent to start the search with until you are ready or find the perfect home. Zillow, Trulia, Refin, Realtor.com all sites that are delayed by 24/48 hours at times on listings or price reductions. They do not update their services often, so working with a Maine Real Estate Agent, you will have in Real Time property listings and updates.” Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME

A. “Good questions! Here is a good articleBill W. Lohrman, Sales Associate; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cape Elizabeth, ME


Q. Is there a building boom coming to the coast of Maine, from Midcoast to Downeast over the next five years, if the economy stays well?

A.“Yes, it is already happening. If there is no major catastrophic hit to the U.S., prices are only going to go up. They are up almost 25% from last year’s market.” Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor; Better Home & Gardens Real Estate-The Masiello Group, Bangor, ME


Thanks to the Maine real estate professionals who answered readers’ questions!
Kelly Sue Parker, Broker/Realtor, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – The Masiello Group, 1162 Union Street, Bangor. 207-749-2593.
www.SouthernMaineHomeSales.com and www.CumberlandCountyMaineHomes.com

Bill Lohrman, Sales Associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 295 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth. Mobile: 207-303-4578 Office: 207-799-5000 x121
http://www.sellingmainehomesforyou.com/

More Maine Retirement Resources

6 Comments

  1. Michael Kratky

    Having been home shopping in mid coast Maine the last 14 months I find it interesting that AC is non existent and that most homes heat with a combination of fuel oil and wood which is the most expensive and highest maintenance compared to natural gas or propane in other states not to the high probability of chimney fires. Also I find that near or in the municipalities the taxes are very high but only 20-30 minutes away considerably less and the further out there is much more land and value.

  2. Hello Michael,
    Maine has always been a state to heat with wood and oil. Slowly, homes are converting to gas, (bottled) and natural gas is only in limited locations, piped in. I am finding many more homes updating heating systems with gas and or heat pumps for the flexibility for heat and air conditioning in the few weeks needed in July and August. Maine is one of the highest taxed states in the country.

    • Monique Bunero

      When you say that Maine is one of the highest taxed states in the country, to what types of taxes are you referring? My husband and I currently live in New Jersey, where property taxes are astronomical compared to the property tax listings I’ve seen in Maine. We are hoping to move to Maine in the near future. That said, your comment about Maine taxes is concerning. Can you please explain?
      Thank you!

  3. One of the lowest taxed towns in the sate of Maine is Harspwell beautiful waterfront and taxes are roughly $6.40 a thousand. Great location, and only minutes to downtown Brunswick Maine for all area amenities. Close to Portland and yet, have that laid back living that is so desired. Taxes are mainly high from the school systems per town… Cumberland county being the highest yet most desirable areas for many to live and raise their families. Hope I helped. Free to reach out to me any time. Smiles~

  4. Michael Kratky

    Hello Kelly, also find it interesting that you say “Maine is one of the highest taxes states in the country” I thought that NY held that dubious distinction. In my year long Maine housing quest I have found that taxes very greatly there. Currently living in the Adirondacks where taxes are crazy high the influx of summer tourist from NJ, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and NY City say they are comparatively low.

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