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Closing Details Decoded: Road Maintenance Agreements and lending in Maine

768 Hallowell Rd, Durham.  MLS # 1273773, MLS # 1273801

The Road Less Traveled

A primary attraction to living in Maine is remote privacy just off the beaten track. If you are looking for a natural vacation, every evening, you can find it easily enough in Freeport, Durham, North Yarmouth and throughout southern/midcoast Maine.  But be aware that the road in off the main drag is often either privately owned and managed or managed by subdivision covenants. Maintenance of the road will be part of your costs or your reliance on a unrelated party other than the municipality.  The debate over who bears the costs and the burden can be a deal killer in the final hour if your lender tells you a formal agreement is required and there isn't one.  Did you find your dream home? Is it down the dusty road? Find out in advance if it's a private road and how the costs of maintenance are managed. 

The Lending Curve

Brett's Team conferred with Phil Laughlin of First Financial Mortgage to understand what the requirements are for lending in Maine. What we found out is that the State of Maine does not require a formal private road maintenance agreement for lending. Phil did some double checking and told us, "The VA program is the only program that requires a formal agreement in any State.  FHA, RD and conventional loan programs are not required to have them in Maine. Where you're going to run into challenges is with internal bank loan regulations, which generally follow Fannie Mae guidelines, or with private lenders who don't have flexibility with their rates after the loan. I can always find a program that fits. My secondary rates are all the same. Lenders without as many options might tell you they can't do it." 

So, unless you are working with the benefits of a VA loan, a formal road maintenance agreement is not required in Maine. If your lender tells you they cannot lend without a formal agreement and you can't get one, either push for a solution, or keep looking for a lender who can. 

Benefit or Burden - the Pros and Cons of Formal Agreement on the Road
Skirting by a lending requirement and consideration of a good idea are two different topics.  After talking to Phil about the loan side, we checked in with Jim Flemming of New England Title on the legal issues.  He gave us some great information! Check into our follow up blog next week where we'll cover the basics including: What is a Private Road? from driveway to subdivision Benefit or Burden? costs vs rights. Basics of a Strong Road Maintenance Agreement. Some nuts and bolts for covering all the bases. Until then, first and foremost, choose an agent who is aware of the particulars and can get you the answers you need about your rights to the road, before you buy or sell.  

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Brett's Team received some great news from Phil Laughlin recently. Click here to review a flyer that explains a new Rural Development Loan program option that brings home ownership affordably in reach for more Mainers. Call Phil to get qualified, and then put Brett's Team to work for you to find a great home this Fall! 

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