Kathleen and Ryan MacLeod, with dog Rylie, at their new home in Sidney. Credit: Courtesy of Kathleen MacLeod

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Like many Mainers, Kathleen MacLeod and her husband, Ryan, wanted to take advantage of the heated real estate market and put their home in Palmyra up for sale in February 2021.

They were unprepared for what happened next. The home, which she admits was not the nicest, was snapped up in three days.

“We had no place to go at that point,” said Kathleen, 26. “We started panicking.”

The MacLeods scrambled to find a new home in the Augusta and Waterville areas, but were outbid by $30,000 to $40,000 at every turn. It’s a situation that is keeping some people who want to downsize from moving at all. Others stay with friends or relatives until they can find a new place.

They saw an ad for a new home development in Sidney and made an appointment to see it the next morning. But Ryan, 27, drove into the driveway of the available home, only to find out it had just gone under contract to someone else. The contractor offered to build them a new home in the town between Augusta and Waterville if they committed to buy it right then and there.

There still was a gap between the time when they sold their former home and when the new one would be completed. They lived temporarily with Kathleen’s grandfather in the Piscataquis County town of Willimantic, which meant an hour’s commute to work for her and Ryan.

Kathleen’s parents found themselves in a similar predicament when they sold their house in Sanford, sight unseen, to out-of-state buyers for about $100,000 more than the asking price. They moved into a small house and are waiting for a larger home to be built near Sugarloaf Mountain ski resort because they also didn’t want to overspend on an existing home, she said.

The MacLeods sold their house in Palmyra for $157,000, only $7,000 over listing, and purchased the Sidney home for $377,000, more than twice the price of the former home but larger with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

“I try not to think about it,” Kathleen said. “We’re happy here and love the area.”