Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A look at 2012 in the hospitality brokerage industry

As I look forward to 2013, I can't help but to take look back at what took place in 2012, with my buyers, sellers and our industry in general.

Between May to December, I closed on 1802 House Inn in Kennebunkport (represented the seller), Towne Motel in Camden (represented the buyer) and Noble House Inn in Bridgton (represented the seller). Coincidentally, all were in the $1.3m list price range. I had a three other clients who put offers in but for various reasons, they didn't materialize. They were in the $650k to $1.3m range. I gained a few new buyer clients going into 2013 and a couple new listings are on the horizon. The momentum seems to be picking up and this feeds my optimism and passion for what I do.

I always find myself looking to see how I can match buyers with properties. One of the things that has helped me has been to network with other agents who currently have commercial listings to preview their listings. It helps to discuss listings with agents that we might not have thought about before or that our clients may not have asked about. There have been a couple of times where a client has been interested in a property that I previewed and mentioned to them but that's not been one that they've inquired about.

So my plan for 2013 is to continue to observe with an open mind, what might be a good fit for my clients with the hope that I am able to open their minds as well. Sometimes looking outside the box can prove to be the best option.

Wishing everyone in our industry a prosperous 2013!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

UNDER CONTRACT! Noble House Inn, Bridgton

The Noble House is one of those bed and breakfasts that's picturesque, set high up on a hill with beautiful presence upon the approach. Step inside and the feeling is one of comfort, casual elegance and home. I always loved showing this property. And very soon we will congratulate a new innkeeper as this inn will transfer hands!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Are buyers ready to make the hospitality leap?

I've been working with several clients for a while now who really want to get into this business. So what's stopping them? It seems that fewer prospects are putting their homes on the market before making offers on a lodging/hospitality property. This is, after all, a discretionary purchase. They don't have to sell their house, leave their jobs and buy a bed and breakfast. It's a choice. Specifically, it's a lifestyle choiceClients are telling me that if they don't find just what they're looking for, there's no reason to put their house on the market. 
So what are they looking for? Most are looking for a viable business with enough of a cash flow to support them without having to work outside the inn. They're not hoping to take a huge salary, but a modest one that will pay for their living expenses and a bit beyond. Part of the enjoyment most aspiring innkeepers are seeking is the work at home aspect. Being your own boss. Entertaining guests. Working with your partner. Meeting new friends. Fulfilling a love of cooking, decorating and concierge. This lifestyle, in part, offers innkeepers the simpler way of life. To enjoy the simpler things. And to enjoy the area itself that drew them and draws their guests just the same. And it's a way to play tourist and get paid.

They're also looking for spacious and private owner's quarters. More and more aspiring innkeepers don't want to compromise privacy. They'll compromise a bit of space, but not privacy.  

If buyers are going to leave their jobs, sell their homes and get into this business in our slowly improving economy, they want their decision to be the right one. And not one made with their heart but rather their heads. So the performance of the business is very important. And for financing purposes as well. Banks are lending but they are paying very close attention to the cash flow. Gross multiples aren't where they used to be and banks will not lend on potential.

What some aspiring innkeepers are finding is that unless they find the right combination of owner's quarters and a strong enough business, they aren't putting their homes on the market ahead of time. They're not finding that they have several choices where if choice #1 became unavailable, they could just select choice #2 or so. So they're only putting their homes on the market when they have a comfort level with the inventory out there from which to choose so when they do find their buyer, they're ready. They just hope that the property they have their eye on is still available. But if there's no second choice, they feel there's no sense in putting their home on the market. And there are still quite a few listings out there that are priced higher than their business value. So this may be keeping some buyers at bay.

Some buyers have been making offers with house sale contingencies, not always well received by sellers. In a better market, this was hardly entertained. In my opinion in our current market, I think it's certainly worth considering on a seller's part.

Suggesting to clients they sell their house to become an ideal, liquid buyer is easy in the residential market. It's a different ballgame in the commercial hospitality market...I understand both buyer and seller sides...it's a tough gamble!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

USA Today reports: Tourist towns transformed as retirement destinations

Retire to Maine, not the Southwest or Florida? Absolutely! 

USA Today takes a look at Camden, Maine as a wonderful retirement destination.

There are so many reasons to love Maine:

For the years that I've been in coastal Maine (since 2004), I've always thought our weather was milder than most people assumed. Boston seems to take a bigger hit in the winter in terms of snowfall and storms, and certainly the dip in the jet stream affects the great lakes states more than the coast of Maine...there is the occasional nor'easter...

Beautiful Sunrises

The clean air provides for some of the most spectacular sunrise and sunsets...

Over Moosehead Lake


Beautiful Winter

Don't get me started on lack of road rage or traffic here in Maine! It's fairly non-existent...cross a busy street on foot? No problem. We stop for people to cross the street. We are congenial.

The crime is still relatively low...

Maine is local. Most of our town's shops and restaurants are small, locally owned businesses, void of huge chain restaurants and stores. And we are proud of this...

The farm to table movement in Maine is something we are very serious about. And our seafood? As good as it gets. Our Maine chefs love to work with local fishermen and purveyors. And we love this as consumers!

Tourism remains one of Maine's leading industries, along with agriculture, fishing, shipbuilding, forestry and machinery.

Let's talk about the beauty and the state and national parks. And the unspoiled nature. Maine cares about its land and preserving the beauty!

And I just happen to have a couple listings in the Camden area, as does our agency!

Victorian By The Sea Bed and Breakfast (for sale)

Timbercliffe Cottage Bed and Breakfast (for sale)
So come see for yourself what Maine has to offer!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Listing! The Maples Inn, Bar Harbor

The Maples Inn, Roberts Avenue, Bar Harbor Maine
This lovely 6 room bed and breakfast sits on a quiet residential tree lined side street between Mount Desert Street and Cottage Streets, in a prime location in Bar Harbor. The inn does a strong seasonal business from about 5 1/2 months late May to mid-October. All rooms offer private en-suite baths, the inn has a very comfortable and welcoming living room with wood burning fireplace. There's a small guest pantry with a refrigerator, wine glasses, etc. The dining room is bright and airy. And there's a charming library and game nook on the second floor for guests to enjoy. This is a very well maintained property, inside and out. For more details and photos, visit the listing page of my website. Offered at a very reasonable $725,000.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Listing! Victorian By The Sea, Lincolnville, Maine

Beautiful location, beautiful grounds, beautiful view, beautiful inn, beautiful owner's quarters. This inn offers it all. View more photos and the listing on my website.

Victorian By The Sea in Linconville, Maine, offered at $1,095,000

Friday, September 7, 2012

Looking for a postcard, waterfront, Maine bed and breakfast?

Harpswell Inn for sale offered at $1,900,000, 11 guest rooms, commercial kitchen, 50 seat function room (with restaurant license for 50) and outdoor functions can accommodate 120-150. A sloping lawn leads down to the water where guests can launch their canoes and kayaks. A beautiful property built in 1761 rich in history!

Monday, July 16, 2012


As of today, I am now a part of The B&B Team out of Kennebunk, Maine! I spent the past four years with The Swan Agency Sotheby's International Realty and appreciate everything I learned while affiliated there, and everyone I worked with. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to make changes, to grow, even if the choice is a difficult one.

I will continue to focus on working with buyers and sellers of inns, bed and breakfasts and recreational sporting camps around our incredibly beautiful state of Maine.

Feel free to email or call at any time!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Often my sellers will provide me with information about their area. I'll admit, I know a LOT about Maine, but I can't possibly know all towns as well as my clients - they LIVE there. Noble House Inn has done a nice job with showing guests (and buyers/aspiring innkeepers looking for property) what Bridgton has to offer. Not only is this a charming town and region with a lot to offer, the inn is a very successful business with a cash flow a bank will be pleased to entertain a commercial loan. This property's income supports the price.

Destination: Bridgton, Maine

Bridgton welcomes you to one of the most beautiful places in Maine. The air is fresh, the water pure, the woods inspiring, the sunsets breathtaking, the night sky brilliant and the mountains, well, they are made for hiking, skiing & sightseeing. The combination of lakes, mountains and scenic beauty creates a vacation experience that is second to none. Come relax, unwind, and make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Let the dynamic landscape, quaint towns and villages, intriguing people and warm western Maine hospitality motivate you to have fun and re-invigorate your life. 

Originally a senator’s estate, Noble House Inn is Bridgton's premier Bed & Breakfast nestled above scenic Highland Lake in the foothills of New England's Majestic White Mountains. Operating as an inn for over 30 years, Noble House maintains an exceptional reputation for service, food and accommodations. The significant characteristics of the inn, including its sweeping veranda and lawns, keyhole porch, fireplaces, hardwood floors and flexible floor plan have all been maintained with an eye towards preservation yet with all the comforts of 21st Century living.  Noble House is located on a quiet side road in downtown Bridgton, a lovely, walkable resort community serving as the region’s hub.  It is home to over seventy bodies of water, dozens of mountains and countless outdoor recreational opportunities.

Centrally located just 35 miles from Portland, Freeport, the coast, and just 20 minutes from the White Mountains, Bridgton is a cultural & tourism-based resort community offering access to ski resorts, performing arts venues, movie theaters, shopping, restaurants, museums, art galleries and academies.  Main Street weaves a mile and a half through the heart of downtown Bridgton where most amenities can be found including Noble House Inn.

In 2012, two awards were bestowed on the inn: Voted “Maine’s Best Inn” (Pamela Lanier’s People’s Choice Award) and Winner of Trip Advisor’s “Certificate of Excellence”. Other recent accolades include the Best Maine Lakes & Mountains Inn as evidenced by our selection as an Editors' Choice by Yankee Magazine.

Local Events & Activities:
·      Fryeburg Fair
o   Maine’s largest agricultural fair, attracting over 200,000 visitors each fall.
·      Mushers Bowl & Winter Carnival
o   Sanctioned dog sled races, biathlon & skijoring, plus winter carnival on Highland Lake steps from the inn.
·      Four on the Forth (Race Landmark)
o   4-mile USATF-certified foot race benefiting Bridgton Public Library. 2,000+ runners. Racecourse passes the inn. Race was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
·      Chili Cook-off & 5K
·      Great Adventure Challenge Triathlon
o   Extreme triathlon of Kayaking, Mtn. Biking & Dash up & down Pleasant Mtn.
·       Rufus Porter Museum & Cultural Heritage Center
o   Museum, Summer workshops in traditional arts, Historic Home & Garden Tour
·      Maine Lakes Blues Fest
o   Celebrating Maine’s Blues Artists with 50+ Blues Bands & Artists
·      Brew Fest
o   Features 30+ brewers of Maine made beers, micro brews & wines. Live music.
·      Western Maine Barbeque Festival
o   Nationally-sanctioned world-class BBQ competition attracting over 15,000 visitors
·      Art In The Park
o   70+ Artisans displaying their work at Shore Park, just steps from the inn
·      Maine Maple Sunday
·      Loon Echo Land Trust Bike Trek
o   25,50,100-mile Race through Bridgton’s Scenic landscape
·      Magic Lantern Movie Theater
o   Gorgeous, privately owned, 4-screen theater with balconies, stages & pub.
·      Bridgton Twin Drive-In Movie Theater
o   Continuously-operated, locally-owned classic drive-in
·      Stone Mountain Arts Center
o   Timber-frame Music Hall/Dinner Theater hosting national acts: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bela Fleck, Cowboy Junkies, Tom Rush, Capitol Steps, Leon Redbone, Smothers Brothers, Indigo Girls, Robert Cray, Paula Poundstone, etc.
·      Deertrees Theatre
o   Historic Adirondack-style Performing Arts Venue; Broadway plays, festivals, etc.
·      Shawnee Peak Ski Resort
o   Most night skiing in New England. 44 Trails/Glades, 5 Lifts, Terrain Park.
·      Sunday River Ski Resort
o   Extensive network of trails over 8 peaks
·      Five Fields Farm
o   27+ Kilometers of Cross-Country Skiing by winter. Apple Orchard by summer.
·      Bridgton Highland Country Club
o   Challenging 18-Hole Public golf course. Incredible views.
·      Children’s Summer Camps
o   40+ Local & Regional Children’s Summer Camps
·      Weekly Summer Band Concerts 
·      Weekly Summer Farmers’ Market
·      Bridgton Hospital
o   Full-service Central Maine Medical Facility. Life Flight. Stephen King benefactor.
·      Bridgton Academy
o   Unique 1 year, all-boy P.G. school. Exceptional reputation!
·      Narramissic
o   Bridgton Historical Society’s Historic Homestead w/fabulous mountain views
·      Festival of Lights
o   Christmas Holiday Season festivities & Parade
·      Holiday Parades
o   Memorial Day, Independence Day, Christmas, etc.
Extensive Recreational Opportunities
·      Water-Based Recreation; 70+ Bodies of Water
o   Highland Lake Regatta
o   Maine Canoe Symposium
o   Antique and Classic Boat Show
o   Swimming, Boating, Sailing, Paddling, Jet skiing, Sailing, Fishing, Ice Fishing, Paddlewheel Excursions, Waterskiing
o   Lakes Environmental Association – preserving our lakes & rivers
·      Land-Based Recreation
o   Pondicherry Park: 65 Acre Park w/trails, Timber frame bridge, downtown Bridgton
o   Five Fields Farm: 27+ km of x-Country Skiing
o   Shawnee Peak Ski Resort
o   Extensive White Mountains Hiking: Over 40 local trails
o   Holt Pond Preserve
o   Pleasant Mountain
o   Loon Echo Land Trust – Conserving our land & mountains
o   Snowmobiling – Bridgton Snowmobile Club
§  ITS 80 here at the lake is the primary trail traversing Maine and links 13,500 miles of Maine trails
o   Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, Auto touring, bicycling, birding, climbing, geocaching, hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls, covered bridges, snowshoeing...
Additional Downtown Bridgton Offerings
·      Chamber of Commerce, Shopping, Restaurants & Cafes, Grocers, Library, Art Galleries, Museum, Movie Theaters, Public & Private Schools, Parks, Salons, Cigar Lounge
o   Gallery 302
§  70 Artists Cooperative Gallery. classes, lectures, plein air Sessions, Open Studio Day, Art in The Park
o   Schools:
§  Bridgton Academy
§  Birthwise School of Midwifery
§  NH School of Therapeutic Arts
§  K-12 Schools
o   The Bridgton News
§  Nationally Acclaimed Local Newspaper
o   Lake Region TV (LRTV)
§  Regional Television station with local access opportunities
More Local Excursions
·      White Mountain National Forest: 140,000+ Acres of innumerable recreational opportunities
·      Mount Washington – Highest Peak N. of the Smokey Mountains & East of the Mississippi
o   Home of the World’s Most Extreme Weather with 100 mile views on clear days
o   Mount Washington Cog RR – 2nd steepest mountain-climbing train in the world
o   Mount Washington Auto Route – America’s Oldest Manmade Tourist Attraction
·      Freeport - L.L. Bean Flagship Store & Outlet Shopping
·      North Conway – Tax Free Outlet Shopping
·      Maine Antiquing Trail
·      Maine Beer Trail

Visit the listing page on my website for more details

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Listings Priced Based On Income...

If you're looking for inns that the bank will be more than pleased to lend on, Noble House Inn in Bridgton and Wild Iris Inn in Portland offer some of the strongest numbers around. We talk about gross rent multipliers quite a bit in this business and these are two sellers who have the numbers to support a commercial loan based on their list price. Banks are lending, and for these two listings, a buyer won't have to put down additional money. They're turnkey, year round businesses.

Contact me for more details. Visit my website for listing information and additional photos.

Another very strong business, based on income is my confidential listing in the Augusta area. Contact me for details. This provides a very strong cash flow.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Practicing What I Preach...

It's been almost 11 months since I threw myself back into active innkeeping and time sure does fly.

What have I learned as an inn Broker and now innkeeper?  That generally speaking, technology moves much faster than an innkeeper's schedule will allow. But we have no choice to at least keep up with the most popular of the social media outlets. New ones come along seemingly daily. Social sharing makes SEO benefits and referrals a no brainer. But to find the time? I've just found that I have to make it routine. And for me, that means in the morning over two cups of coffee before hitting the kitchen. And then I have my laptop with me in the kitchen. Any moment I have is spent posting a photo or a recipe, etc. to our Facebook page. And then later in the day when I pour myself a glass of wine, I'm back on again. And that's about all I have time for.

Instagram is a favorite of mine, allowing me to simultaneously post a photo to Twitter and Facebook while geotagging. And shall we talk about the benefits of what Mashable dubbed 2012's hottest startup - Pinterest? Talk about the exponential benefits of social sharing? Post recipes, photos of your breakfast, your rooms, your inn...allow them to be shared in social circles. It's FREE advertising!

Innkeepers must learn to multi-task. Adding the social media to it is just another ball in the juggling game!

And now, back to brokerage (which has picked up tenfold!)...