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Maine Residential Real Estate

At Ballou & Bedell we understand that the purchase of a home or second home may be the largest and most important investment you can make. We are dedicated to ensuring that your transaction goes smoothly and that your rights are protected. Click on any of the following subjects for more information or contact us:

Other Residential Real Estate Issues:

Purchase and Sale Agreement

Under Maine law, in order for a real estate contract to be enforceable it should be in writing. This contract is commonly known as the Purchase and Sale Agreement and sets out the specific terms of the sale of the property such as the names of the buyers and sellers, the sales price, the location of the property, and the closing date. A Purchase and Sale Agreement is a vital part of every real estate transaction and should be used, regardless of whether a broker is involved.

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Title Search

The title search is the process determining whether the property you are buying is actually owned by the seller, whether there are any mortgages or other liens against the property or whether there are any restrictions on the property that may affect your use and enjoyment of the property. The title search is conducted by searching records at the Registry of Deeds. The records pertaining to the property are then reviewed by our attorneys.

Because the title search is such a critical part of the real estate transaction, under Maine law, you are allowed to choose your own title attorney without additional expense to you even if your mortgage lender would prefer to use another attorney or title company to handle the closing.

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Title Insurance

Title insurance is an insured statement of the condition of your title or ownership rights to the property you are buying. Title insurance guarantees that you own the property that you purchase. It protects you from unreported title defects. As agents for the First American Title Company (link to website), we believe strongly that title insurance is the best protection against title defects and other title challenges to your real estate. We believe this because we have seen first hand how our clients have benefited from First American's insurance protection. If insured, First American will defend your title in the courts at its own expense and will pay to correct or clear the title when possible or pay you for the loss. This is the reason banks will not lend money without title insurance - they know exactly how important it is. First American offers price incentives to buyers/owners seeking coverage concurrently with mortgage financing.

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A deed is a written document that when properly prepared, signed, and recorded at the Registry of Deeds conveys title to real estate. The deed describes the seller and the buyer, provides a description of the real estate, and any conditions or limitations on one's use of the real estate.

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A mortgage is a written document that creates a lien on real estate as security for the payment of a debt. It is recorded at the Registry of Deeds and is not released from your title until the mortgagor (the lender) is paid in full. Although a mortgage is traditionally given to a mortgage lender, it can also be given to a private individual who lends money. The mortgage is usually accompanied by a promissory note that sets out in detail the terms of the loan. The note will contain such terms as the interest rate, monthly payments, due dates and default provisions. Unlike the mortgage, the promissory note is not recorded at the Registry of Deeds.

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A closing is a meeting of the buyers and sellers of real estate where they exchange the deed and the purchase price and where all transaction and loan documents are signed.

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Settlement Statement (HUD)

The Settlement Statement (often referred to as the "HUD") is a summary of the financial transaction including the purchase price with adjustments, mortgage money, taxes, closing expenses and similar items. The Settlement Statement is an important record of the real estate transaction for documenting tax basis and deductible expenses.

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Easements/Rights of Way

An easement is the right of one party or organization to use the land of another for a particular purpose. Easements are granted through a document like a Deed , which is then recorded at the Registry of Deeds. In some cases, your neighbor may have a prescriptive easement arising from years of use even though you did not expressly grant him the right to use your property. If this is a concern, you should contact us to explain your rights under Maine law.

A conservation easement is a self-imposed restriction on one's land, designed to preserve the property in its natural condition forever. For example, you may own a large pristine parcel of land that you would like to preserve. By granting a conservation easement to a qualified land trust, you can reduce your municipal tax burden and possibly your estate tax obligations.

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Title Problems/Quiet Title Actions

Title problems can prevent individuals from selling or mortgaging their property. Occasionally, clients have real estate title problems that require resolution. We can help you determine the extent of your rights to your property or help you defend any attack on your boundary rights and your title to your property.

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What's New

Before you sign your Purchase and Sale Agreement you should seek legal advice to ensure that you know your rights and obligations under the contract.


"I appreciate that there were no cost surprises at the closing. We closed cheerfully and on time."
- A. Quadrini (York, ME)

Remember, if you do not have time to contact us before you sign your Purchase and Sale Agreement, consider inserting a provision as follows: "Subject to review by Buyers and Sellers attorney within 7 days."

Among the many risks against which title insurance protects you are: forged documents, clerical errors in public records, unpaid taxes, undisclosed or missing heirs, invalid divorces, and title flaws beyond the customary 40 year title search.

For more information regarding First American Title Insurance Company, please click on the following link:

Remember, the bank's title insurance Policy only insures the bank, even though you pay the premium. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of owner's coverage.

Under Maine law, you are allowed to choose your own title attorney.

Do you jointly own property with another individual that is not your spouse? A carefully drafted Partnership or Co-ownership Agreement can avoid costly litigation if there is ever a parting of the ways.

Drafting a deed requires knowledge of a considerable body of common and statutory law, federal, state, and municipal regulations, and careful attention to ensure that your deed is drafted correctly, call us.

For more information:
See Buying and Selling Real Estate

Let us prepare your loan documents in your seller financed transaction.

Having a lawyer review your HUD that represents only you, not a lender or other financial institution, can potentially save you money in unnecessary fees and expenses.

Have you considered a conservation easement to help lower your taxes?

A real estate attorney can inform you about whether your property complies with local land use and zoning laws.

We serve the following communities in Southern York County Maine: York Beach, York, Kittery, Kittery Point, Wells, Eliot, South Berwick, North Berwick, Berwick, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Sanford, Biddeford.

The information presented on this website does not constitute legal advice and is intended for marketing purposes only.

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