Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"12 Things We Love About Living in Freeport", from the innkeepers at James Place Inn...

Tori and Robin Baron, the James Place Inn innkeepers and I were talking about the reasons they enjoy where they live during my last showing. And Freeport is so much more than the common perception being just about L.L. Bean and the outlet shopping.

So I asked them the top reasons why they love living in Freeport:

1. Sense of Community - great underlying community of year-round residents and ways to get involved in the community.

2. Ability to have a "date night" walking to a great restaurant and seeing a movie at the local six-screen Nordica movie theater.

3. Immediate access to three parks: Wolfe's Neck State Park, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Winslow Town Park.  All offer hiking, walking, spectacular view of the ocean and interior wooded views.

From visitmaine.net

4. Three mile drive to South Freeport harbor where a favorite lobster shack awaits as well as two marinas.

5.  Easy access to rentals of kayaks, bicycles, canoes, and standup paddleboarding for exploring the surrounding roads and waterways.  Also have boat excursions leaving directly from South Freeport with pickup just two blocks away, in front of LL Bean.

6.  Free summer concerts every Saturday from July-September in LL Bean Discovery Park, two blocks from inn.  Major names showcased, drawing large crowds.

7.  Winter sport offerings including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing within 10-20 minutes of Freeport, including Pineland Farms and their 140 miles of groomed trails.

8. Mix of retail stores available, not just outlets.  Thomas Moser fine woodworking and furniture, Jill McGowan, Chilton Furniture, Bella Boutique, Brown Goldsmith Jewelry, to name a few.

Thomas Moser

9. Just 20 minutes to Portland.

10. Walk to Amtrak station and grab the train to Boston and points in between.  There are multiple trains daily.

11. Breweries - two in town, another under construction.  Two distilleries as well.

12. Conveniently located to many day-tripping opportunities including Harpswell's Bailey Island, Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Boothbay Harbor, and more.

It's important to love where you live!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

SOLD in Portland, Maine! Inn on Carleton...

Inn on Carleton in the West End neighborhood of downtown Portland transferred ownership on September 5, 2018. With Portland's ever changing and growing tourism and commerce, it's no wonder there's interest in inn ownership here. We wish Leo and Patty, the sellers, and Jim, the buyer, all the best of luck in their endeavors!

And if you're considering Portland, there's still one inn available in the same neighborhood.  Check out the listing on my website for more information: https://www.danamoos.com/wei.html

and the online offering:

West End Inn

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Bon Appetit Magazine just named Portland, Maine 2018 restaurant city of the year!

Yep, you read that right!
Portland Maine was just named the 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit Magazine

So those of us fortunate enough to live in Maine have known for years now that the Portland restaurant scene offers something very special. It's not just talented chefs, but the complete package, with the food artistry, extreme creativity, chef and mixologist skills, the local food movement, farm to table, as fresh as food can be, and yet it's offered in a very unpretentious, down to earth ambiance at any type or level of restaurant.

Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton writes "No, this year’s award isn’t a case blind favoritism. It’s simply because this always-tasty city has never tasted better." He includes a widely varied list of 20 hot spots, check out the article!

If you've been thinking about what could bring you to Maine, check out one of my inns (shown below) listed in downtown Portland. I leased the Pomegranate Inn just around the corner for a couple years and loved every minute of being right there surrounded by all of the restaurants and in walking distance. Living downtown was an amazing experience and I truly I miss it.

West End Inn

National Average occupancy of bed and breakfasts is around 45%, hotels around 67%. Portland bed and breakfasts see occupancy in the 65-80%+ range. And with such a wonderful 2018 accolade, business can only continue to grow!

This is a very well maintained and improved property, offering a very strong business. Open year round.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

When a prospective inn buyer asks: "Where do I start?"


Your first step?
To work with an experienced inn broker!

We’ll discuss your financial situation, your professional and educational background and what experience you have, indirect or direct, that would lend itself to succeed in this business. You’ll discuss where your downpayment will come from, house sale, investments, stocks, etc. and how much you will have just prior to closing that would be available to use as a downpayment. We’ll discuss your criteria for your ideal inn, B&B, hotel or motel and what matters most. We’ll discuss based on your available cash, the amount to consider for a downpayment, for closing costs, working capital and reserves. We'll also discuss what kind of personal expenses you have that might not be covered by the inn as a business expense. We'll also discuss what kind of 'paycheck' you need and if you have other sources of income.

You’ll watch online inn listing sites (mine, our agency and others). You’ll email me with the links to listings that are of interest to you and a short note as to why, just to help me better understand you and what you’re looking for.

You’ll enter into a buyer/broker representation agreement with me so that I am able to advise you legally. I’ll have you sign one of our NDAs - non-disclosure agreement for confidentiality purposes. When it comes time to request a listing’s financials, I have the NDA available to send to the listing broker. I can then share with you financial data I obtain.

I analyze the financial information obtained from the sellers and run cash flow scenarios to see if the numbers are financeable based on their asking price (or close range) and your available down payment. 

So unlike a residential loan, where you qualify based on your debt to income ratio and your job earnings, here you qualify based on knowing you’ll need on average, 20-25% to put down for a commercial loan, plus closing costs (1-1.5% of the purchase price is a good estimate) and still have cash in the bank for reserves and working capital. If the financials don’t cash flow enough to cover the debt by the appropriate percentage/debt coverage ratio (DCR), the bank will look to the buyer to put more down in order to cover the debt.

If the numbers work, then we can set up showings. If you’re not located close to Maine, you might want to try and see anything that fits your criteria where the numbers work for you, to make the most of a visit. 

If you do find something that you're drawn to, the next step we'll talk about is the LOI - Letter of Intent step...that's another blog post or direct discussion with me!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New 24 unit motel for sale in Bucksport, Maine. Financially Viable at $1.3m.

Bucksport Motor Inn
click above for the online property presentation

At a Glance:

Total of 24 units (1 is being used as part of the owner's quarters for 2nd bedroom) plus 1 retail building (being leased to a barber shop) with beautiful private wooded
area in back with stone fire pit.

New roof 2006, new furnaces 2007, solar system 2008 for hot water, all new replacement windows, new vinyl shingle siding, new brick veneer. All rooms are on a second round of new mattresses and carpet.

All rooms are non-smoking with parking at each room's front door. All rooms are spacious and have remote controlled TVs/Cable, high speed internet, fridge, microwaves, irons and ironing boards, direct dial telephones, In-room coffee makers, table and chairs in each room and outside each door in front as well. Baths are tub/shower combination, some with new pedestal sinks. All baths have newly grouted tiles and are bright and spotless. Rooms have A/C.

Owners have a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with an open floor plan great room/kitchen/dining area, office, a sitting room off the front lobby and private deck. Floors are carpet and ceramic tile. Kitchen with granite counters. The quarters here is a very comfortable space.

Open year round and Bucksport is growing.

Very strong viable business.

All a buyer has to do is walk in and enhance the marketing to increase the business. A great opportunity for a new buyer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A very strong cap rate on this Maine inn for sale! And WHAT IS A CAP RATE ANYWAY?

Cap rate, (capitalization rate), is a rate that helps us value a real estate investment. Cap rate equals the net operating income (NOI) divided by the purchase price. The cap rate shows the potential rate of return on the investment. So the higher the cap rate, the better. With me so far?

Let me take a step back. NOI is what's crucial here. The NOI is gross revenue, less operating expenses (without owner compensation, interest, depreciation) equals NOI. So let's say an inn has a gross revenue of $300k. Let's assume they have operating expenses of $165k. That leaves $135k for NOI. Let's say the agreed upon sale price is $1.6m. We take the NOI and divide it by the $1.6m to come up with 8.4%. That is the resulting cap rate. So if the buyer was only willing to pay $1.5m and seller agreed, the resulting cap rate would be 9%. A little higher, so the buyer is happy.

I'll take it one step further. Let's say another property is under contract for $1.5m. The gross revenue is also $300k but the operating expenses are higher at $185k. That leaves a NOI of $115k. So the NOI divided by the contract price is 7.6%. That means the buyer is willing to pay more for this property, with the same contract price, the same revenue, but higher operating expenses. So why would a buyer be willing to do that? Several reasons. It could be that the seller continued to put money back into the property to improve it. Maybe the property is in pristine condition with very little deferred maintenance. A buyer may be willing to pay more for a lower cash flow value. Maybe they won't have to put as much money into the asset as the person paying a 9% cap rate. The cap rate is really all about the judicious control of expenses while maintaining and improving the condition (and keeping revenue up).

Does it make more sense now?

With inns varying in size from 6 to 16 rooms or more, we often see cap rates in the 8-9% range. Sometimes a bit lower, sometimes a bit higher. Hotels and motels are usually higher. You might wonder why, but cost of goods is a big part - no gourmet breakfast, afternoon homemade baked goods, no wine and cheese hour (you get it). Less amenities, less costly in general.

So what does this mean to you? You want a high cap rate, a seller wants a low cap rate. High means you're getting a better deal, low means they are. In between is often where the parties end up. If a buyer wishes they could have paid less and a seller wishes they could have gotten more, but end up at the closing table somewhere in the middle, both parties are pleased.

SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH BLUE HARBOR HOUSE IN CAMDEN?? An 11% cap rate for an 11 room B&B in a destination location with a full gourmet breakfast is very good. And there's a separate owner's house onsite to boot.

Contact me to discuss details about this one or any other listing I have. I can talk numbers all day long!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What about buying an inn that USED to be in operation some years ago?

 The former inn - which is really just a house now without any business vs. an existing inn or going concern

This is a question buyers ask me regularly. And the appeal understandable...the home likely already has the private ensuite baths you want, has the owner's quarters, there wouldn't be much in terms of renovations required (unless it's in a state of disrepair) to start back up, other than maybe decor, linens, kitchen wares, guest soaps, shampoos, dry goods, food, cleaning supplies, etc? What about the expense of a new website, reservation system and the marketing costs? And then the insurance, real estate taxes, business license? And what about the mortgage? And utilities? Landscaping and snow removal? These are fixed costs that you'll have from the start, without any revenue coming in. And don't forget about the attorney fees and accounting fees in the initial stages related to forming your business entities, etc. You can see how it can quickly add up.

After some time, you hope to have revenue coming in, but will the revenue in the early stages cover the expenses AND mortgage?

That's what the bank is going to ask. The bank isn't in the game of risk. They're also not in the game of innkeeping, should you fail. They'll look to you, the buyer, to put a greater amount down and have quite the stock of cash reserves at the ready.

But as a buyer, you aren't without risk either, even if you have the cash required. Although it once was an existing B&B, who can guarantee if it can pick up where it left off? Or if it can get back in the game and compete with the others in the area who never closed their operations? It may take a while to grow your guest database and keep them coming back as your new repeat guests. And you may assume that you'll attract the guests who used to stay at the inn back when. But they may have found new places that became their new go-to inns. 

And what IF you aren't able to get the business up enough to cover your expenses for a few years? 

Doesn't it seem that unless you have the finances required for what we really consider a startup business, isn't it less risky to buy an existing inn with a long financial history that you've reviewed with your advisors? On the other hand, often with high risk can come high reward. It just takes the funds to back such an acquisition. It's only money!

If you want to discuss the financials a bit further, don't hesitate to contact me.