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New Maine Real Estate Smoke Detector Law

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As of November 1st  all Maine home buyers will be asked to sign at the closing a document certifying that smoke detectors are installed in the home they will be purchased. In addition, any new construction or substanstial renovations done to a home since September 12th, 2009, will be required to have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed in the home.   Here is a good video on it all from Linda Gifford, the Maine Association of Realtor’s legal counsel.


Maine predatory Lending legislature

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Reading about this on a fellow Maine bloggers website I thought it worthwhile posting on my site as well.  Here is the link to the article.  A brief overview is that it stops two major problems: That of “Equity Stripping” and hybrid loans that start of at low rates and then accelerate quickly forcing the howeowner to refinance and thus pay more closing costs.  For the Maine real estate world I believe this to be a great step towards ensuring our industry remains fair and ethical. 


Maine transfer tax update

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As with any legislature compromise I personally believe was found. Here are the proposed changes to the transfer tax that were voted on 11-2 in favor by the taxation committee given that before is was $4.40 per $1000 for all Maine real estate transfers:

.6% or $6 per $1,000 for primary residences $200k or under
.8% or $8 per $1,000 for primary residences $200-400k
1% or $10 per $1,000 for primary residences $400k-1m
1.5% or $15 per $1,000 for any residence $1m or over
And 1% or $10 per $1,000 on all commercial properties and land transfers.

 The belief is that these changes will net an additional 43 million for the state coffers.  Only time will tell if the increase will have a significant impact on slowing the the housing markets in Maine.  


Maine Transfer Tax Update

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It seems the State Taxation Committee has not gotten the message that an exorbitant increase of as much as 300-450% of the Maine real estate transfer tax from the current rate of $4.40 per $1000 of sales price is a bad idea.  Yes it may bring as much as 55 million more in revenue to the state but at what cost?  Perhaps a small rise is necessary but to go from 4.40 to 12.50 and have an even larger price increase to $20/$1000 for homes over $500,000.  If you are thinking of buying property in Maine, here is a link to all the various legislators to write and urge them not to support the measure. http://janus.state.me.us/house/townlist.htm

 


Update on Shoreland Zoning Legislature

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I had written in a previous posting about shoreland zoning changes and the public outcry against them.  From the Maine Association of Realtors here is an update.

   
  LD 1477 is the Department’s bill and is sponsored by Rep Koffman, chair of Natural Resources Committee.  LD 1014 is Senator Kevin Raye’s bill.  Hearings on both bills ave been held and were very well attended by  members of MAR and members of the property rights group known as PRAM.  The legislators were very attentive to all the concerns expressed.  A compromise appears to be in the works which would reduce the feeding, staging and roosting areas currently shown as green areas on the maps to just roosting areas.  The old feeding and staging areas would appear as purple on new maps.  The roosting areas (new green) would stay at the 250 foot setback rule, with cutting restrictions (Impacting view—which we oppose).  The new purple feeding and staging areas would go from current 250 to 75 with view cutting restrictions  or 100 feet with no cutting restrictions beyond current timber cutting in a shoreland area restrictions.

 The DEP offered (not in the current bill) to change the inland wading bird restrictions to match current law of 250 setbacks from wetlands, and 100 feet from shores of lakes and ponds (also current law).  The DEP bill makes the new provisions retroactive to June 8, 2006 to protect transactions which occurred last summer.  LD 1014 is not retroactive, but Senator Raye agrees with that change.  Senator Raye’s bill also grandfathers lots existing of record on September 8, 2006.  That provision is likely not to pass.  He also seeks setbacks of 150 feet rather than 250 feet which we would support but does not seem to have the  support of the committee.

 


LD 1775 Private Well Testing

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The Maine legislature continues to propose ever increasing stringent policies on the real estate industry. Restrictive shoreland migratory bird nesting policy,  the proposed Maine real estate transfer tax increase and now a new law aimed at requiring all private wells to be tested prior to the transfer of the property.   The bill stipulates who must test the well, and then requires the tests be sent to the local municipality and any relevant health agency.  For a struggling economy the last thing Maine legislature needs to be doing is hindering the real estate industy, one of the bright spots.

More information on the proposed bill.

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