Welcome to the Bigger Pockets community. It is a great place to learn about real estate.
Welcome. I am out of state and was researching investing in central Maine. While the numbers initially looked good- do lots of research as what I found was many locations tenants were not paying utilities and they were not separated. The heating costs in the winter as you know can be a killer on a rental property.
It's true, the market norm in Central Maine is for landlords to pay for heat. Some have tried to change over to tenants paying by installing direct vent wall heaters. However, this only heats one room and all the doors need to be left open throughout the apartment. Bathroom pipes will freeze if they shut the door.
Some landlords have had success putting the hot water on the tenant's electric meter, but not all buildings are piped to allow this. Re-piping is very expensive, especially if the old pipes are covered by asbestos!
Yes, invest in Maine, but know your numbers. Be careful in Augusta, code enforcement is pretty hard on mulit-units there. I know several people who have had buildings closed over silly things.
@Chris Seveney I have noticed the same thing where it's not common to find separate heat for the units. I feel SFR may be the way to go to maximize cash flow and minimize utility costs here in Maine. Still many homes available for a great price.
Do you have any feeling for if the interconnected utilities are a result of old SFHs being converted to small multis, rather than buildings that started as multis? I have noticed many buildings in Portland/sopo that have been updated to have some separate utilities.