Chase Custom Homes & Finance Blog

Buy or Build? 5 Benefits of New Construction

5 Benefits of New Construction_Header (1)

Finding a home is one of the biggest decisions most consumers will make in their lifetime. When presented with two choices – buying an existing home or building a new home, how do you weigh the options? With the increasingly low inventory of existing homes, new construction is becoming a more enticing option for buyers.

1)     A Floor Plan to Fit Your Lifestyle. Need a large kitchen with a center island to entertain guests? Maybe you want a first floor master suite in preparation for the future as you age. When building, you get to design a floor plan that fits your lifestyle. Today, homes are trending toward more open-concept layouts. Many existing homes have more restricted space inside or a closed layout. You will also have the ability to customize by selecting everything inside and out: roofing, siding, paint colors, cabinetry, flooring, counter tops; the list goes on and on.

2)     Energy Savings. New construction uses the latest energy efficient insulation, doors & windows, heating and cooling systems and appliances. This means you could save hundreds of dollars a year in utility bills.

3)     Fewer Home Owner Headaches. If you purchase an older home, there are bound to be repairs. With a new build, your home will not require major repairs for many years. Routine maintenance is required to keep any home in good working condition, but you will not find the major home owner headaches, such as a needing to replace a roof or furnace.

4)     Safety, Built Right In. New homes go through rigorous inspections after each phase of the building process: electrical and plumbing rough-ins, insulation and a final certificate of occupancy from the town to make sure all components are up to code. You can rest assured that your new home is up to the highest safety standards.

5)     You Don’t Need a Big Down Payment. Finally, the most common misconception is that buyers need to have 20% for a down payment. This is not always the case. A small handful of construction companies offer no-construction loan financing, meaning you do not pay interest or make payments throughout the build. The only payment due upfront is the down payment your loan program requires. For example, if you were using an FHA Loan on a new construction purchase of $275,000, your down payment would be approximately $9,625 or 3.5% which is the typical requirement for an FHA Loan. Also, if you already own land, you can use your land as your new construction down payment. You will need to budget for other costs, such as a plan deposit (which is typically applied to the cost of your construction contract), appraisal fees, possible change orders and closing costs. *Please note this is just an example. Consult a lender for more information on financing and down payments.  

John F. Chase Honored as Entrepreneur of the Year

John F. Chase Entrepreneur of the Year

John F. Chase, owner & CEO of Chase Custom Homes & Finance in Westbrook, was recognized by the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce as Entrepreneur of the Year. John accepted the award, surrounded by colleagues and members of the local business community, at the chamber’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine.

The award is in recognition of recent projects and development in the greater Windham and Sebago Lakes Region area. Since establishing Chase Custom Homes in 1986, John has paved the way for land, residential and light commercial development. His most notable recent projects include the purchase of a 53-acre parcel on Highland Lake for a future residential community and the new Auto Shine Car Wash in Windham. The company is also re-purposing two high visibility commercial properties in Windham and Gray, which will be new child care centers. John continues to find unique ways to rehabilitate properties and develop communities, bringing jobs and needed services to the area.

Thank you to the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce for this significant honor!

Business Partner Spotlight: Applicator Sales & Service

As part of a monthly blog series, we would like to introduce some of our trusted vendors, suppliers and business partners. Applicator Sales & Service Inc. has been doing business since 1958. Located in Westbrook on Warren Avenue, Applicator Sales plays a crucial role in supplying the building materials needed for our new home projects.
Applicator Sales and Service
How long has Applicator Sales been in business in Maine/New Hampshire? How did the company get started?

Applicator Sales: Applicators Sales & Service was founded in 1958 by David Koocher and Jerry Robinov selling basic materials, including aluminum siding, along with bird seed and coal. However, over the next fifty years, Applicators Sales & Service Inc. has grown to be recognized as one of the premiere suppliers of siding, roofing, windows, and doors in the Northeast. Through three generations of family, Applicators Sales & Service grew to 5 locations and expanded its products and services to supplying professional contractors, builders, home improvement, and remodelers with building products from top national manufacturers.In October of 2014, Beacon Roofing Supply acquired Applicators Sales and Service allowing Beacon to add additional locations and strengthen their position in Northern New England. The partnership allows both companies to expand their product offering, align on strategic opportunities, increase buying power, and combine the cultures of two great companies focused on growth of customers and employees. Beacon Roofing Supply is the largest publicly traded roofing distributor on the NASDAQ under the symbol “BECN”  and owns and operates under over 35 Legacy companies with 589 locations across 50 U.S. States and 6 Canadian Provinces. Today, Beacon Roofing Supply is a Fortune 500 company with over 5,000 employees and a combined annual sales run-rate of $7 billion.

What are the advantages of working with Applicator Sales? 

Applicator Sales: At Applicators Sales & Service, our goal is to provide the extra measure of service and convenience for our customers. Being a wholesaler distributor allows Applicators Sales & Service to focus on the needs of the contracting professional. Our Branches and Sales Staff are the best trained in the industry on the products that we sell which helps our customers grow into new categories and stay up with innovations in the industry. Applicators holds customer events yearly to help educate customers through manufacturer certifications, trade shows, installation demos. Applicators locations are stocked with a wide selection of premium building products that is supported by a large fleet of delivery vehicles to ensure jobs can be completed timely. Applicators Sales and Service also supports our customers with cutting edge software and services to make doing business easy. Examples of this are Beacon Pro+ which offers website and app supported program for placing on-line orders, invoice access, on-line bill pay, and tracking of vendor rebates. Beacon 3D software that can measure and create a quote based on photo images of a project. This will be expanded to delivery tracking and notifications in the near future. We continue to strive to be the best supplier and partner for our customers!

What are some of the brands Applicator Sales represents?

Applicator Sales: We offer the top brands in the industry focused primarily on exterior building products, many of which are low maintenance. Here are some of the brands below:

  •  Asphalt Roofing by CertainTeed, GAF, IKO, Owens Corning, and Tamko plus a full line of commercial Weatherbond Roofing Products
  • Metal Roofing by Coastal Metal, Everlast, Metal Sales, and Ideal Roofing
  • Vinyl Siding and accessories by CertainTeed, Mastic, and Tapco
  • Specialty Siding and Trims by Azek, Boral, CertainTeed, Maibec, SBC, LP Smartside
  • Fibercement products by James Hardie and Nichiha
  • Windows by Paradigm and Plygem
  • Doors by Therma-Tru, Masonite, Larson, and Pella
  • Decking and Railing by Atlantis, Azek, CertainTeed, Timbertech, and Wolf
  • Velux Skylights
Plus many other tools, specialty products, insulation, etc.

What do you enjoy about working with Chase Custom Homes staff?

Applicator Sales: We enjoy our partnership with Chase as they share the same values and interests to making each project a success. Collectively, we have developed a system that allows for efficiency and minimizes confusion which results in jobs being completed accurately and timely. The Chase Custom Homes staff are easy to work with and we look forward to continued growth together in 2018 and beyond!

Applicator Sales & Service on Facebook!

Business Partner Spotlight: Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution

As part of a monthly blog series, we would like to introduce some of our trusted vendors, suppliers and business partners.

Established in 1827, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution (SBSI) has been in business longer than any bank in Maine. The bank has branch locations in Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Scarborough, South Portland and Westbrook.SBSI_Logo_Green


Wayne Johnson, Loan Officer with SBSI, has an office at Chase Custom Homes & Finance, located at 290 Bridgton Road, Westbrook. He works with customers to understand their needs and goals. He determines the best financing option for the customer and helps navigate the process from loan application to closing.


Front-of-Model-Home-e1524585054282Wayne pictured here (center) with Eric Hallee (left), president of Chase Custom Homes and Bill Noone (right), vice president.

How long have you been in the industry? What’s the best part of your job?

Wayne:  I've been in the industry for over 15 years. The best part of my job is being able to work with customers and helping them achieve their goals of buying a home.

What are some of the benefits of working with SBSI?

Wayne:  As an independent community bank, SBSI offers local underwriting, local processing and local appraisers. You'll benefit from this local-level accessibility and you will work directly with me as your main contact person from the application to closing and after closing.

How can SBSI help first time buyers?

Wayne:  We offer a 5% down payment for First Time Home Buyers (FTHB) with no need for PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). It compares very strongly vs FHA and other FTHB loans that usually require PMI.

What do you enjoy about working with Chase Custom Homes and their customers?

Wayne:  The people at CCHFI are amazing to work with. It's also fun to watch construction progress on a new home from beginning to end.

Gray Closing

Thinking about starting the home buying or building process? Contact Wayne Johnson (NMLS #365170) to learn more about pre-approval and the loan application process.

Visit SBSI online: www.sbsavings.bank

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sacobiddefordsavings/


Vendor Spotlight: Hancock Lumber Company

Hancock Lumber CompanyAs part of a monthly blog series, we would like introduce some of our trusted vendors and suppliers. Chase Custom Homes & Finance has been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the home building process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber Company is a 6th generation, family-owned business operating a timberland company, a sawmill division and a network of lumberyards, home design showrooms, and now a truss manufacturing facility. Hancock Lumber supplies lumber and trusses for traditional site-built "stick-built" homes here at Chase Custom Homes.

New Home Framing

Hancock Lumber also operates Home Again Design Showrooms in South Portland, Kennebunk, Brunswick and North Conway. Here, customers can tour kitchen and bath products and samples to get project inspiration.

Hancock Lumber Home Again Showroom

Hancock Lumber Home Showroom

We spoke with Kevin Hancock, CEO of Hancock Lumber Company.

Tell us more about Hancock Lumber Company?
"Led by 522 employees, Hancock has four times been selected as a ‘Best Place to Work in Maine' and was recognized as the 2017 National ProSales ‘Dealer of the Year’. Four of their locations have received OSHA’s highest safety certification, earning SHARP certifications at their Casco, Bethel, Pittsfield sawmills and Bridgton lumberyard. The company is also a past recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, and the MITC ‘Exporter of the Year’ award."

What are the advantages of working with Hancock Lumber Company?
"Hancock Lumber’s mission is to create a work environment that first and foremost recognizes employees as human beings and ultimately improves the lives of anyone who works at the organization. Taking market leading care of employees and customers defines who we are. Our focus on employee and customer intimacy means fostering deep levels of engagement across all segments—knowing each employee, each customer, each vendor, and each community with an intense level of detail, compassion, and sincerity. Our relationships have deep roots and are long-term because we ask questions and listen to what matters most for the people on our team and the people we are servicing. We know who we are and we put all our energy into being the company we want to be by staying true to our values and concentrating on our core customers, products and services."

What does Hancock Lumber Company enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes
"Hancock Lumber looks to partner with customers who have aligned values and Chase is one of those companies.  We care deeply about our people, are passionate about providing value and excellent customer service, and are deeply connected to the communities we're a part of- and, so is Chase Custom Homes"

Visit Hancock Lumber Company online.
Facebook page

Vendor Spotlight: Maine Traditions Hardwood Flooring

As part of a monthly blog series, we would like introduce some of our trusted vendors and suppliers. Chase Custom Homes & Finance has been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

The beautiful hardwood flooring in our new homes comes from Kennebec Lumber, a company that's been building a family-operated, Maine-based business for 19 years and counting. Based in Central Maine, Kennebec Lumber now employs more than 100 men and women.

Kennebec Lumber began producing flooring in 2005, and is the maker of the Maine Traditions Hardwood brand. Maine Traditions Hardwood produces pre-finished, unfinished and engineered flooring, in a range of species, including red oak, hard maple, yellow birch, red birch, American cherry and hickory.

The Maine Traditions Hardwood line is distributed by Independence Flooring Supply in Westrook, Maine. Chase Custom Homes & Finance works closely with Independence Flooring Supply to find the perfect hardwood product to fit our customer's needs.

mcbrierty photo

What makes your products superior/of the highest quality?

Chantal Callahan, Marketing Manager of Maine Traditions Hardwood (MTH): "Our lumber is cut and milled in Maine, then transformed into flooring of superior quality. Because the raw material is grown in the cool Northern Woods, the slow growth of the trees produces lumber with unique grain and character. And minerals in the area’s soil create color that uniquely enhances the beauty of our flooring. We take pride in producing our products from sustainably managed forest products, some of which have been managed by the family for over three generations."

mcbrierty final

What do you enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes?

MTH: "We sell our flooring products through Independence Floor Supply. They have a great representation of our entire product lineup, and expertise to follow!"

Learn more about Maine Traditions Hardwood and view their online product gallery: https://www.mainetraditionsflooring.com/

Maine Traditions Hardwood Facebook Page



How to Position Your Finances to Build or Buy a Home This Year

Saving for a Home

The New Year is a time to start fresh, set new goals and make plans. If your goal is to position yourself financially to build or buy a home, these tips will help get you on the right track.

1.) Get Your Credit in Check. Credit is a big factor in the home buying/home building process. It's important to regularly monitor your credit. Free credit pulling apps like Credit Karma make it easy to check. Today there are many credit cards that offer free FICO scores to help you keep an eye on your credit. You also want to focus on chipping away at debt to lower your DTI (debt to income ratio). Did you know? You can build a new home with a credit score of 580 or higher!

Credit Score Chart

2.) Smarter Savings. Have you looked at your savings account interest rate lately? The average savings account has a low 0.06% APY (annual percentage yield, or interest). Even some high yield savings accounts top out at 1.10%. If you have a large sum saved, consider switching to a low-risk Money Market Account and earn closer to 1.45% APY with interest compounded daily and paid monthly. Today, money market accounts are FDIC insured and with most accounts, you can easily access and transfer money online. This article provides a few options and more information: Best Money Market Rates & Accounts – January 2018.

3.) Collect Important Documents

In order to get pre-approved for a home loan, most banks require the following documents:

  • Pay stubs covering the last 30 days
  • Bank statements, including all pages covering the past 60 days of your checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts
  • Last two years tax returns, including all pages and all schedules of your personal and/or business returns with W2s, K1s, 1099s
  • Valid photo ID
  • If you own property, copies of the mortgage statements, property tax bills and home owners insurance policy

** These tips are best practices and suggestions. Please consult your financial advisor first.

Vendor Spotlight: Dews Door Company

As part of a monthly blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

Located in Cumberland Center, Maine, Dews Door Company is a family-owned business.  Founded in 1989, Dews Door provides garage door services from design and repairs to new installations. Dews Door specializes in garage doors and automatic openers for both residential and commercial customers. Customers can stop in and tour their beautiful showroom to see the most popular door styles and color options.

Dews Door

Charles Dews started the company in 1989, Adam his son started working for him in 1994 and he and his wife Amber took over the business in 2007 when Charles (Chuck) retired.

What are the advantages of working with Dews Door Company?

Amber Dews, Vice President of Dews Door Company: You get personalized service and are treated like family. You also are working with one of the owners from start to finish - you don't get that elsewhere!

What do you enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes?

Amber: We like the predictability of working with Chase, we have come to know what to expect and ultimately we have the same goal. They treat their customers like family as do we.

Check out these amazing before and after photos of Dews Door's work!

Dews Door Before_After

Dews Door Before_After 2

Other examples of Dews Door Company's fine work for Chase Custom Homes:


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Visit Dews Door Company online!





Vendor Spotlight: Agren Appliance

As part of a monthly blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

Agren Appliance

Agren Appliance has been in business for nearly a half century. The company started in 1969 with just two service trucks and has grown to be the state's largest independent appliance and mattress retailer. "Agren was founded in 1969 by my father," says Eric Agren, customer service leader and second generation family member. Eric's brother, Jason Agren, is the president of Agren Appliance.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of working with Agren Appliance.

Wolf appliance

How long has Agren Appliance been in business? How did the company get started?

Eric Agren: "Agren was founded in 1969 by my Father.  It started with two service trucks and my Father worked out of our house until he opened the first retail store in Auburn.  Today, Agren has 5 locations throughout Maine, and is the state’s largest independent appliance and mattress retailer.  We also have the largest service department in Maine, the largest parts department in Maine, and we service everything we sell."

What does a typical customer meeting look like when someone visits your location?

Eric Agren: "Our main goal is to educate and help customers that are looking for new appliances and bedding.  We have the largest appliance showrooms in Maine, our sales staff is highly trained, low pressure, and ready to help customers make an informed decision for their appliance purchase.  A meeting would entail reviewing the customer’s budget and preferences on new products, and putting together a package for them that will fit their needs."

What are the advantages of working with Agren Appliance?

Eric Agren: "Agren has been in the appliance business for 48 years.  Many of our staff have been with our company for over 20 years, providing the most experienced team of people in the business in Maine. Agren also offers the largest showrooms in Maine, with highly trained sales staff that are there to help customers find the right solution for their appliance needs.  We work hard to make sure customers can make good, informed decisions on their appliance purchases.  Finally, we have enough buying power to easily compete with the box stores.  In fact, we guarantee our pricing to be equal or better than theirs at any time.  And, we provide service to our customers after the sale if it is needed."

What do you enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes' clients?

Eric Agren: "When we meet with a Chase Custom Homes customer, we know they have already had a good experience with their building needs, and they have a clear path of what they need in their kitchen for appliances.  Working with Chase is seamless in acquiring specifications, design and the like to make the appliance purchasing experience as easy as possible.  Since our companies have a good working relationship, the client can rest assured that the little details will get worked out right as they build their home."

Visit Agren Appliance online: https://www.agrenappliance.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/agrenstores

Call 800-335-0235


Vendor Spotlight: Bethel Kitchen Design

As part of a new blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

 Bethel Kitchen Design has been in business for more than 21 years. Owner Charlie Reiss founded the business after 25 years in the building industry. “Working as a builder I found there was a need for a retailer who carried a better line of high-quality cabinetry,” he says.

After carefully researching which product line to carry, Charlie went with Schrock Cabinetry. His first year in business he sold 25 kitchens! Since, sales have continued to grow, but Bethel Kitchen still upholds its promise to superior customer service and attention.

One of the things Charlie enjoys most is helping ease customers’ nerves about big design decisions. “We really take the time to get to know the customer and give them much more individual attention than you would find at the average retailer,” says Charlie. “We’re also really flexible. We know people work and have families to take care of. We’ll work around your schedule and take a meeting at night or on the weekend.”

“We really take the time to get to know the customer and give them much more individual attention than you would find at the average retailer.”

Between Charlie and his business partner, Celeste, Bethel Kitchen has more than 40 years of combined experience in the kitchen design arena. “We try to paint the full picture of the space so design decisions are easier and less intimidating,” says Charlie. “I have tons of samples – everything from flooring to tile to full Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams design centers so we can assist customers in making color selections and make it a stress-free, fun process. Sometimes customers are so thrilled that they hug Celeste and thank her for her help.”

After many years, Bethel Kitchen Design continues to be one of the most important steps along the homebuilding process. Chase Custom Homes is proud to work with Bethel Kitchen Design to make customers’ kitchen and bath dreams a reality!


161 Main Street

Bethel, Maine 04217


Some examples of Bethel Kitchen Design's fantastic work!