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Maine Condos and Townhomes

Understanding Premium Properties in the Southern Maine Market

Portland Maine Condos & TownhomesUnderstanding pricing and finishes is essential in the rarefied realm of high-end luxury properties, where the number of details involved and their importance for buyers increases as the sales price rises.

Southern Maine and in particular the greater Portland area, is undergoing a renaissance in condominium and townhome living. There are more options and price ranges being offered than ever before.

Premium properties provide luxury, in-town living and all the benefits of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Given this trend and the myriad of alternatives available, it is important to work with a realtor who is experienced in upper-tier real estate and can protect you throughout the transaction.

Understanding the Client's Needs

Our first step in working with clients is to understand what they are looking for and what fits their particular needs. An analysis will quickly reveal everything from the minimum square footage for their home to whether or not they want a view of the ocean. Many of the new condo developments in Portland vary significantly in terms of amenities, location and overall personality and it is important to match a client's lifestyle with the property that is best for them.

The Flow of Floor Plans

Just because a building is designed by a high profile architect or is a renovation of a well known building doesn't automatically mean its floor plans are livable. The plan must make sense for your family and your daily needs. Be careful about how the property lays out, the flow of the design. Imagine yourself moving through the rooms. If something feels awkward, it will become an issue later.

Floor plans provided to potential buyers typically don't give true room sizes. Because the measurements are taken from within the walls, dimensions can be off by as much as six inches on either side.

Start with Building Amenities

Among the most important details to consider are the amenities that you desire in a luxury condo or townhome, based on your lifestyle and personality. Take concierge service, for example. What does it really entail and what is the level of service? Is it available around the clock?

Amenities typical of luxury buildings include swimming pools, dog runs, indoor valet parking, and business and conference centers. Some may include housekeeping services, athletic rooms or even pet services.

Ceiling heights are also important; new-construction units should have at least nine-foot ceilings, and preferably ten or eleven.

The Finer Points of Finishes

Even at the upper reaches of the market, some developers try to save money by installing the same finishes in every unit. You have to be aware that developers will sometimes try to impose that luxury feeling without allowing you to customize your finishes.

We always accompany our clients when they make finish selections rather than leave them to work solely with the developer selections staff. Particularly on the upper end of the market, your agent should have the background to make suggestions about finishes, even when you're working with an interior designer. An astute Realtor understands the impact of finish selections on resale value.

Recent trends in high-end finishes include darker stains in hardwood flooring; soaking tubs with separate shower enclosures, and natural stone-marble, slate or limestone-in kitchens and baths. As the architect Louis Sullivan famously said, "Form follows function," and his insight should also guide your finish selections. For example, white-marble countertops look great, but they stain from use. Dark countertops may be a better choice for a well used kitchen. The best finishes are both aesthetically pleasing and practical.

The cachet of luxury brands, and their role in a home's resale value, also applies in the kitchen and bath. Look for name brands like Sub-Zero refrigerators, Miele dishwashers and Wolf or Viking cook tops and ovens. Premium cabinetry names include Poliform, Christopher Peacock, Poggenpohl, and Snaidero.

Be Savvy with Contracts

In the sales contract, many developers leave themselves an opening to change or substitute finish selections. You need to clarify what these substituted selections will be and the cost of any upgrades. The contract should state that your finishes will be equal in value, or the same as, those shown in the model.

Particularly with new construction, it's important to scrutinize both the contract and the property report for transaction subtleties. There might be restrictions on selling the first year, or limits on the number of units that may be rented in the building. Find a real estate attorney who knows how to discern the details of the new construction contract and property report.

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Cumberland County

Homes for Sale  2003Trending Up
Pending Last 30 Days 226Trending Down 
Sold Last 30 Days  222 Trending Up
Statistics 5/50/2012    
YTD Median Price  $215MTrending Up 
Days on Market  80 Trending Down 
Pending Ratio  16.4 Trending Down 
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