Home, Again

Realtor Julian Thomka-Gazdik uses his diverse experience to help clients buy and sell in their “encore years”

A cardinal rule of buying real estate is “location, location, location,” and those shopping for a home in Maine have plenty of beautiful locations from which to choose. For people looking to retire here, an equally import-ant mantra may be “access, access, access,” according to Realtor Julian Thomka-Gazdik of Better Homes and Gardens: The Masiello Group. While he works with clients at any stage of life, having spent a significant piece of his professional career in the design world, Julian is uniquely positioned to help those who are moving to Maine, downsizing, or choosing a vacation home where they can eventually spend what Julian calls the “encore years.”

“Accessibility is one of the most basic questions,” says Julian. “First, there is what might be called local access: How close is the home to culture, food, health-care and other places where buyers need to be? And then there is the home itself. Is it easy to get in and out of during the four seasons and to move around in? These are especially important considerations for people looking to age in place, and if they are not front-of-mind at the moment they will be later on.”

When he looks at a home for his clients, Julian’s creativity and experience enable him to see beyond what is there to what could be with either minor or significant renovation, depending on the client’s needs and budget. Can a wall be moved, or the floor in a room that is a step down from the rest be changed so that every-thing is on one level? Since clients often include an office, hobby space, workshop, studio, or music room on their retirement wish list, is there a flexible space that can also serve as a guest room?

A third and equally important element of “access” is choosing a spot where others will want to come visit. Many of Julian’s clients are looking for what he calls the “playground feature,” a home that offers proximity to the ocean, a lake, or the mountains to help draw friends, children, and grandchildren. “They know the grandkids are going to descend on them over the weekend or come summertime, so they want to make sure they have enough space for everyone and fun things to do at the home itself or nearby,” says Julian. On the other hand, some retirees may be looking for peace and quiet, either in a remote location or in a Portland pied-à-terre close to restaurants and cultural offerings. And if a client decides to build rather than buy, “there is plenty of land and lots of quality builders,” he notes. “I can help them find the right property and to envision the home they could have there.”

A New York transplant who has enthusiastically embraced his adoptive state, Julian—together with his wife and their two children—has lived in several southern and midcoast Maine communities since moving to the area six years ago. “We feel very fortunate to be in Maine, and I think people who have had a life elsewhere are very appreciative of what life here has to offer,” he says. “This is a wonderful place to retire, and I want to help my clients comfortably live their best lives.”

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