Phil McPhail

2016 Waterfront Land Sales Big Improvements

What a difference a year has made for Maine waterfront. Coming into the end of 2016 it appears that the waterfront land market is heading in the direction of a sellers market. The indicators are a 20% increase in the number of waterfront land sales in the past 12 months as compared to the 2015 numbers and an average market time reduced by nearly 50 days . Depending on the part of Maine you are in you are seeing prices, that were flat in the beginning of 2016 caused by an excess of inventory, now starting to creep up a little.

Factors in our markets contributing to the increase in sales are a combination of a number of things. Asking prices being lowered by sellers who have realized that the values of the mid 2000's are in many cases unobtainable, low interest rates offered by some of Maine's land lenders and owner financing increasing in popularity.

We are seeing new lakefront, riverfront and other waterfront parcels in both approved subdivisions or divisions of existing properties coming into the market. Strong interest from buyers both prior to and after the presidential elections leads me to believe that waterfront prices will continue to increase slightly in 2017 assuming that inventories continue to dwindle.

Is it time to sell your land? All market areas are different, give us a call and we can give you an idea what your property might be worth on the market today.

To Post or Not to Post Your Maine Land

Maine has a long tradition of landowners allowing reasonable public access to private lands. As a Mainer I want to thank all of those land owners who allow this. I do not post my land as we also enjoy using lands of other landowners who also allow access for recreation on their lands.

If you wish to keep your land for your own use, Maine does protect the landowners rights to privacy. Title 17A Section 402 explains how the landowner must post their land with signs or paint to legally restrict access over their property. Signs or paint must be within 100 feet apart and be visible so that a potential intruder can see the restricted access. Signs must be specific as to the restriction ie. no trespassing, access by permission only, no hunting etc.

Painting is the easiest way to post your land, a vertical purple painted stripe 1 plus inch wide on trees 3-5 feet above the ground means access by permission only. These stripes need to be no more than 100 feet apart and need to be maintained so that they are conspicuous to any person who may approach your boundary lines.

A verbal warning to a trespasser is also a legal means of enforcing your property rights. If you confront a hunter on your land you have the right to inspect their hunting license to determine who they are, if they refuse they have violated Maine law. If convicted they can loose their hunting rights for a year and possibly forfeit their firearms to public auction.

If a hunter wounds a game animal which then enters your property the hunter does not have the right to enter your property to retrieve the animal. If you are concerned about the access please contact the local game warden and allow the hunter to retrieve the animal to prevent the waste of the game.

We are often asked by landowners that if they post their property to restrict access if they can still legally hunt their property. The answer is yes. The landowner does still need to purchase a Maine hunting license and abide by all applicable hunting rules and regulations. We are also asked about landowner legal responsibility for keeping their property safe for recreational users. The answer is no as long as you do not willfully or maliciously fail to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity.

We hope this helps Maine land owners manage the land they way in which they want to. To understand that if they wish to keep it for just themselves that is a right that they are entitled and protected. For those who leave their land open for public use this Mainer and many others say thank you and respect your property rights.

 

How To Get a Maine Property Tax Abatement

The mention of property taxes often stirs controversy among our citizens. The fact is most of us in some way use the services that tax money pays for from educating our children to keeping infrastructure maintained. If you do not agree with how the money is spent get more involved in the process. This post is for those who think they are being unfairly taxed for the property they own in Maine not for a philosophical discussion about the pros and cons of our current tax system.

The Maine constitution requires that taxes on property be based on just value and fairness. Just value is usually considered fair market value. Fairness is determined by how all property owners are treated as a group. To challenge a perceived excessive property tax the land owner in Maine has options for relief.

A potential option for abatement is to challenge how the tax assessor determined the property's value. Get a copy of your tax card from the town and review the methodology of the assessor. Compare the valuation of your property to a recent appraisal and/or review recent sale data of similar properties. If you see a big discrepancy in current market value compared to the assessed value you may have grounds for abatement.

Another option for abatement is to prove that your property is being assessed unfairly. Similar to researching just value, the taxpayer must do research before requesting the abatement. What you need to look for are a number of similar properties with large difference in valuation. The tax assessor is allowed some variations as it is not practical to fully analyze every property in the town every year. To have success you need to show that your valuation is more than the average of similar properties. If just one or two properties are found with slightly higher or lower valuation you probably do not have a case for abatement.

If after your review of all this data you are convinced that your property is being taxed unjustly or unfairly you should meet with the tax assessor to discuss the difference. If you can convince them of the error in just valuation or fairness, they may adjust the valuation to reflect your findings. This should be done before the taxes are committed for the tax year as assessors will most likely refuse to adjust any valuations after that date. If they do refuse your request and you are convinced you are right a more formal request will be necessary.

Under Title 36 MRSA, Sections 583, 706, 841-849 and 1118 a Maine property owner who thinks their taxes are higher than they should be can file a formal application for abatement of property taxes with the local assessors within 185 days after the tax was committed to the tax collector. You can find more details on the process online at https://www1.maine.gov/revenue/forms/property/pubs/bull10.pdf

Comments

  1. William R Brown on

    Thank you, McPhail Brothers, for the timely tutorial, i will refer to the information before taxes are due, hopefully. Cheers, from william Monday, March 28th, 2016

    Permaculture - What Is It?

    More and more people are awakening to the realization that the current system of living and providing food for our population is a tenuous and fragile system.  The demise of honey bee populations may be a visible sign of how our current monoculture mega farming techniques are not the best methods for a healthy eco system.  They are inherently dependent on large applications of petro-chemicals to produce yields of crops that are shipped vast distances on trucks to consumers that are thousands of miles away from their food source.  Bees are trucked thousands of miles and then placed in a virtual food desert where all they see for miles and miles is 1 type of plant on which to gather nectar and pollen.  Imagine how healthy you would be eating only oatmeal 3 times a day, for a month or more.  Regular yes, healthy no!

    Permaculture is a growing trend not only herein the U.S., but worldwide.  Pioneers in this field like Geoff Lawton of Australia have been instrumental in teaching and developing and applying the developing principles of Permaculture throughout the world.  Through applications of reshaping and forming the land to enhance and utilize its contours, you can develop a method of conserving and utilizing water that eliminated the needs to use pumps for irrigation.  Permaculture strives to mimic the diversity found in a forest, where man is not required to annually apply fertilizer and spray trees with pesticides in order for a forest to grow.  Left to its own designs a forest will grow without man doing anything.

    Permaculture farming strives to develop a sustainable and robust food forest system that once established will grow and improve without man continually applying petroleum based fertilizers or pesticides.  The living food forest will, over time, improve the water table, improve the soil fertility and allow a diverse array of food crops to grow together better and healthier than they do individually.  One of the tenants of Permaculture that really appeals to me is the fact that during feudal times, the only people that had lawns were the monarchs.  Peasants farmed what land they had to feed themselves.  Monarchs as an outward display of opulence could afford to use farmland for nothing more than growing grass.  On a small scale worldwide people are turning back and front yards from barren lawns to nutrient rich food forests where they can pick fresh fruits, nuts, berries and more and eat it right off the vine in their own yards, and never have to cut the grass again.

    There are many good books on the subject of Permaculture.  I've read Practical Permaculture by Jessi Bloom & Dave Boehnlein as well as The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben Falk.  Ben's book details his homestead from the land purchase to building the home on a plot of undesirable land in Vermont.   He through the application of Permaculture techniques is even able to grow rice on his property in Vermont for his families use.  There are numerous websites and YouTube videos on the topic; in short Permaculture creates a more sustainable food source and lifestyle on our planet.  What's not to like about that?

    Comments

    1. Rick Theriault on

      Colleen thank-you for your words regarding my recent post on the subject of permaculture. If you take a look at my bio on the United Country Lifestyle Properties of Maine site, http://www.mcphailrealty.com/meetourteam.htm you will see that my interest pretty closely mirror yours. Maine has what you are looking for. Our agency usually has several properties that would appeal to a person looking for sustainable living. Leaving the world a little better off by what we do as stewards of the land is something we all should strive to do. Feel free to contact me any time at the email address listed.

      Bargain Priced Owner Financed Lakefront Land

      If you have been looking for some quality owner financed lakefront land in Maine take a look at these lots on beautiful Wytopitlock Lake in Aroostook County. The lake has little development and still offers a great wilderness experience yet is less than one hour from civilization. All remaining lots are priced under $40,000 We have four lots available on the lake with eastern exposure on a large peninsula providing shelter from bad weather.

      DSC_0475

      The lake front is good quality with small rock and slate along the shoreline. This is a good lake for swimming, boating and fishing.

      The four lots have a semi-completed driveway, have all been soil tested and the boundary lines have been completely surveyed and marked on ground.

       

      The lots are 1.25 acres and larger all with more than 200 feet of frontage. The land has had some pruning done in potential building sites to open up the views of the lake.

      DSC_0463Wytopitlock Lake is over 1100 acres in size. There is a public boat ramp not far from the land for sale. The lake maximum depth is 24 feet. It is in both Glenwood and T2 R4 WELS in southern Aroostook County.

      The lake has a good fishery for smallmouth bass and white perch. The outlet stream is a nice canoe trip to its confluence with the Mattawamkeag River just south of the village of Wytopitlock.

      Call 800-286-6164 today if you are interested in seeing these properties.

       

       

      Comments

      1. joe on

        can't be much of a bargin if no price discloased.. lol
        • Phil McPhail on

          The price is $39,900 per lot. Sorry it only said priced under $40,000 in the post. If you need additional details on the property send us your email and we will send you maps, tax info etc.
          • Michael Booth on

            Looking for cheep land that I can put a camper on that close to a lake

            Maine Forest Service Assistance Programs

            I just attended an educational class on forestry issues taught by State Foresters Terri Coolong and Oliver Markewicz. This informative session covered topics of the Maine Tree Growth Tax Program, Maine Forest Practices Act including liquidation harvest laws, foreign investment in agriculture land rules and other information.

            I believe it is a little known fact that the Maine Forest Service can provide free technical information to those who own forestland in Maine or those considering purchasing it. Maine has 10 district foresters who cover our state offering services ranging from educational programs to limited one on one contact with individual owners.

            The district forester will help you understand sound forestry practices that when implemented should add long term value to your land investment. A one on one session can give you a better understanding of your land and should help you be more informed when working with an independent forester to formulate a forest management plan. To find the district forester who covers the town your property is located check out the link here to The Maine Forest Service.

            Comments

            1. Peter McPhail on

              Our district foresters are a great resource for anyone who is looking to buy land in Maine and is new to owning Maine land!!
              • Mike on

                Great information for timberland owners in Maine. Thanks
                • Amanda on

                  Great article & tips!

                  Off Grid in Maine and Loving It!

                  Some of the most affordable and beautiful properties for sale in Maine don't include power lines! Check out this new off the grid listing in Otis, Maine in the heart of Hancock County.

                   

                  Off Grid Maine Cabin

                  Off Grid Maine Cabin

                   

                  The cabin has nearly 1,200 square feet of living space with 1 bedroom on the first floor and a large loft to accommodate multiple guests. A fully functional kitchen and full bath/laundry round out a cabin with a large living rooms with cathedral ceilings.

                  DSC_1220The cabin sets on the western boundary of the property with sunrise views over the hardwood forest. The 52.4 +/- acres has some beautiful hardwood timber with impressive examples of ash and maple trees. There is a lot of game sign on the property from whitetail deer to grouse and other upland birds. The lot has a babbling mountain brook running through the property with slow pools mixed with small waterfalls.

                  This property is located on a ridgeline between several of Hancock Counties best cold water lakes and Ponds. Beech Hill Pond, Green Lake, Floods Pond, Mountainy Pond and Burnt Pond are all within a short distance of the land.

                   

                  This is a great property for a seasonal vacation spot, hunting cabin or year round home. Located between Bangor and Ellsworth it is a reasonable drive to an international airport and Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

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                  Are you ready to get back to a more simple lifestyle and relax in the woods of Maine? Maybe you just need a weekend place to get away, no matter your motivation, come see this perfect coastal mountain retreat today.

                   

                  beech hill pond

                  Aerial View of Beech Hill Pond

                   

                  An Amazing Off Grid Home

                   

                  Eagle Lake Maine Home

                   

                  With over 600 acres of land this 3,600+ square foot quality home has a lot of luxury to offer in an off grid setting. The land consists of 50+- acres of open fields and the balance of the 634+/- acres is a mixture of diverse timberland.

                   

                  One of four fields

                   

                  The open fields surrounding the home would be perfect for organic farming or grazing pastureland for livestock.

                  From the home the views to the east are of the surrounding hilltops with no other homes in sight.

                  The property has a lot of sugar maple large enough for tapping.

                  Two small trout streams run through the property one complete with a beaver pond.

                   

                  The home has a wrap around porch offering panoramic views of the largest field. Moose and deer are regular visitors to this part of the property.  The property sports a large barn with stalls for horses. A tractor barn, tool shed, power supply building and other storage sheds plus a two car garage provides space for all your storage needs.

                   

                  Barn

                  Barn

                   

                   

                  Beaver Pond

                  Beaver Pond

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  Electric power is made on the property with a combination of solar, wind and propane generator. Heating is a mixture of wood, oil and gas allowing you to use whatever is most economical in the market place.

                   

                  Solar Panels

                  Solar Panels

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ftMfXX1Myg&feature=youtu.be

                   

                  The 11 room 3 bedroom 2 bath contemporary farm home has features rarely found in an off grid setting. Ten foot ceilings on the first floor, hardwood flooring throughout, large open kitchen and dining room complete with an antique cook stove.

                  Cook stove copykitchen 2living2 copy copybed 2

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  This property is priced at an unbelievable $525,000. Hurry and call Rick Theriault at 207-731-9902 today before you miss this rare opportunity to purchase the most amazing home and land combination for sale in Maine today.

                   

                  Maine Deer Hunting Food Plots and Stand Placement

                  We had a successful hunting season in Maine for 2015.  Everyone in our hunting party saw deer, had some good naps on stand and just enjoyed being in the Maine woods in Hancock County.  In the post you will see a photo of my 10 year old nephew, Gavin, enjoying a nap on stand. Gavin bagged his first turkey in May and bear in October, but the whitetails were intolerant of the snoring sounds coming from his blind.

                   

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                  Snoozing in the blind

                   

                  Throughout this year we worked on clearing new hiking and ATV trails throughout the northwest section of our family woodlot.  Along these trails we installed two ladder stands on a ridge of mature maple and pine trees overlooking one of the small babbling brooks that meanders through our land.  From our stands we also have a view of Blue Hill Maine and Mount Desert Island and parts of Acadia National Park. Even on the days we don't see deer the views are nice.

                  The trail work paid off as my brother harvested a nice 8 point buck that dressed out just under 190 pounds.  To make the job of getting the deer out of the woods, our neighbor Nick and his 3 year old son Colby drove their ATV out our new trail and drug the deer out for us and even hoisted the animal onto our truck.  Thank you Nick!

                  We have found the deer like to use our new trails along with other game animals.  To smooth out some of these trails and remove stumps we plan to have Jeremy Guellette of Ground Perfection Specialists spend a day or two with his grinder cleaning things up for us.  The machines you see clearing the sides of I-95 north of Lincoln is Jeremy's company.

                  Once cleaned up we will seed down the trails and plant some small food plots.  Our forester also recommended cutting back the 7-10' poplar in areas.  This will cause the poplar to reshoot new seedlings and will be a "natural" food plot.

                  We enjoy working and improving our woodlot.   Owning land in Maine has many benefits but to me one of the tops is the therapy of doing physical labor and discovering new areas of your Maine land and how to best take advantage of the topography and other features.

                  A Maine Tiny House For Sale - It's In The Trees!

                  Tiny homes are all the rage across the nation. I wonder if this is a trend driven by a desire to simplify our lives? No matter the reason a tiny home certainly has some upsides like reduced ownership cost from heating, electric, maintenance and property taxes.095

                  For those interested in the tiny home concept, we have a newly listed property in Springfield, Maine you need to see. Not only is this home tiny, but it is built as a tree house. The multi-level home is perfect for a simplified primary residence or the ultimate get-away second home or sporting retreat.

                   

                  The 544 square foot tree house is perched in a pine grove on 23 +/- acres fronting for about 1,000 feet on babbling Wrights Mill Brook. The land for sale with this unique home is a mixture of forestland, fields, apple trees and meadows. The home is located on a secondary road and is the last home on the town maintained section of the road. Privacy should not be a problem here.FB_IMG_1444066599213_resized

                   

                  Springfield is located on the edge of large forestlands with lots of game and within a 10 minute drive to the boat launch of the Grand Lake chain of lakes. The lakes include Junior Lake, Sysladobsis Lake, Scraggly Lake, West Grand Lake as well as other lakes and ponds. For the outdoor enthusiast there is no better location. ATV/Snowmobile trails can be reached from the property.

                   

                   

                  Call 800-286-6164 and ask for Traci Gauthier for a chance to see this one of a kind tiny home.