Friday, May 18, 2018

How to navigate new construction transactions by Katie Kinney

Building and purchasing new construction seems simple, right? Just pick out the floor plan you want, choose the perfect lot, and watch it go up. No sellers to deal with, no unexpected repairs that come up during inspection, no drawn-out negotiations. Right?

Not exactly. In any real estate transaction, it’s important to have a professional on your side that understands the process and will be able to help guide you.

One of the first steps of building a new home is to decide whom you will hire to build the house. Finding a reputable builder you trust is very important. Your agent will be able to recommend builders they have worked with in the past. You want to work with a builder who has a high quality of workmanship and who offers some type of warranty. If you are having these discussions in the beginning of the transaction, it will save time and headaches later in the transaction.

Another very important step as an agent representing clients in a new construction is to go to the town offices where the land is located. You will need to research the zone requirements and ordinances to confirm you can build a house according to your plans.

The town will be providing the certificate of occupancy once the house is finished. By communicating and complying with the town from the start you will expedite the move in date.
Even if you’ve purchased a home before, the contract for new construction is very different and an experienced agent can help you make sure you understand everything - from floor plans to earnest money requirements, deadlines for requesting changes, and timelines for completion. It is very important to have a third party who represents your interests in the transaction. It pays to be protected. almost every new construction there are unforeseen extra costs. An experienced agent will provide guidance as to how to plan and budget for these overages. The agent will also go to bat for their clients during the negotiation process and navigate the uncomfortable money conversations. You will be very happy to have an agent represent you during your new construction transaction.

Katie Kinney has helped many clients facilitate the new construction process. Feel free to reach out to her to help you with your real estate transaction. cell - 603 205 2276.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Home staging helps sell properties quickly by Mel Oldakowski

A common question I am asked from seller clients is, “Will staging my home help it sell faster and for more money?” 

It can be overwhelming to clear a home that’s been occupied for many years. But with a small investment of time and/or money, homes that are set up to sell can reap more rewards than ones that haven’t been staged. This includes staging for vacant houses. Every seller has different circumstances and budgets but with the right staging strategy it can make a significant impact on how long a home sits on the market.

Home staging is about illusions. It's about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, and warmer; and best of all it makes home buyers want to buy it. Every agent knows that the moment their buyer is visualizing themselves in the home, the offer comes next. 

Why? Because people buy on emotion and being able to “see” the family living in the space is essential! In a 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, over 81percent of buyers said it was easier to visualize the STAGED property as their next home.

Your home’s flaws can be overlooked. According to a NAR report, almost a third of buyers will overlook property faults when a home is professionally staged. Professional home staging is not only for homes that are a “mess” but it also makes a significant difference in the selling price for homes that are “typical.”

Home buyers today are more in tune with the market than previous generations; they know what they want, and they’re willing to wait to get it. Over 95 percent of buyers go online first to look at photos of a home before they inquire or preview it. A buyer needs to connect with a property right away - which is why first impressions are crucial.
Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you must start detaching from it. This can be difficult to do. Sellers have memories and emotions tied in the home which can make it hard for them to be objective. By getting a home stager, one ensures that the property is viewed objectively and packaged in a way that is appealing to others. You have to decide whether you just want the house sold or if you want the possibility of selling it faster and for more money?

One of the best things about using a professional company to stage a home is that the seller can relax. They can rest assured that everything possible has been done to sell the property for the best price as quickly as possible. A stager will take care of everything when it comes to design, staging, and aesthetics. That leaves the seller time and energy to focus on other things, such as the upcoming move. The seller can also have peace of mind knowing that their property is in a competitive space with other properties.

If you are considering a move and want more information on marketing your home for top dollar contact me today by phone at 207.205.0121 or by email at

Friday, May 4, 2018

Are cryptocurrencies a part of the real estate future? By Matthew McDonald

Recently, a real estate agent asked me if she should be marketing her listing by including the fact that the seller is willing to accept Bitcoin. If you don’t know what Bitcoin is, the simplest definition I can come up with is that Bitcoin is a digital currency and it, along with other cryptocurrencies, are going to change everything.  Here was my answer to her:

Good news and bad news, as they say. First, I’m the right guy to ask because I’m a cryptocurrency fan. I’ve been buying, selling and well just holding about 16 different cryptocurrencies for about a year now.   

While I think Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are indeed the future of money and transactions, we just aren’t there yet. Bitcoin and others fall into a legal gray area when it comes to being recognized as payments. So, while I have read about some real estate transactions that were accomplished around the country using Bitcoin, most likely the Bitcoin was converted to dollars “at the table” and then the transaction happened.

The other thing about Bitcoin is that it is wicked volatile. At the time of this writing, a bitcoin is worth $9,424. By the time you read this email it could have swung by $500 up or down easily. So, let’s say you were selling a house for 500k that would translate to 53.03 Bitcoin. Like I said, the price of Bitcoin could rise or fall quickly. If the price of Bitcoin were to go down by $800 in one hour (about the time for a closing to happen) then your seller effectively sold for 457k. Conversely, the buyer could overpay by tens of thousands of dollars if the price skyrocketed. Your commission of 3 percent could rise or fall by 5, 10 maybe even 15 percent by the time you get back to your car after the transaction.   

While it is very interesting to sell a property for Bitcoin, I would not recommend it at this time. The final nail in the coffin is that the title insurance companies cannot insure transactions with Bitcoin and are not able to get a loan for the property restricting the pool of buyers to cash buyers, or well “Bitcoin buyers.”

There are many experts who say cryptocurrencies are a fad and are destined to value out at zero. But those are the people who are most threatened by cryptocurrencies. I can find experts who will tell you, with an absolute straight face that a Bitcoin will be worth one million dollars by 2020. Let’s hope they are right. The truth lies somewhere in the middle but I know our grandkids will be using cryptocurrencies every day for all kinds of purchases, including real estate.

Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency but there are hundreds of different cryptos being developed for all kinds of projects. Burstcoin is an environmentally friendly cryptocurrency alternative to Bitcoin, which uses a lot of power. Ethereum features “smart contracts” which could aid in real estate transactions. There are other coins being developed specifically for real estate transactions.

So, while we may not be using Bitcoin, Burstcoin or Ethereum right now, our kids sure will. 

This article was brought to you by Matthew McDonald with Cumberland Title.

Friday, April 27, 2018

It's the perfect time for homeowers looking to sale their home by Amy Krikken

High demand for housing in all price ranges coupled with terribly low inventory and low mortgage rates has made this a very strong sellers’ market. Naturally, in a sellers’ market we see prices trending upward.
 In Cumberland County alone, the number of units sold from January to March 2017 was 698,
whereas from January to March 2018, only 663 units sold. The median price in the first quarter of 2017 was $264,000, while the median price for the first quarter of this year is $296,500, a 12.31percent increase.
We can read the statistics and be impressed, but what does it look like on the ground every day for a real estate agent? 

Many homes end up selling well over asking price (thousands over). The intensity of this trend can be seen in the Portland market at its most extreme, but the ripple effects can be seen throughout Cumberland County, across the state and the entire Northeast Region.  In fact, the upswing can be seen across the country. 

In the Northeast, inventory was down by 9.3 percent as compared to a year ago. The median sale price increased by 3.3 percent; with the median sales price being $270,600. 
This can be very stressful for both buyers and sellers. Sellers are worried about finding the next place to call home if they are moving within the same market, where as buyers experience the roller coaster of putting in offers several thousand dollars over the asking price, only to learn that they were outbid in a multiple offer situation.
A great agent has strategies to help their clients’ offer be the one that gets accepted, but sometimes if competing with a cash offer that can close tomorrow, there is no tactic that can win. 

The best a buyer can do is work with their agent by responding quickly to their emails and allowing
their agent to show the buyer properties as soon as humanly possible. Because yes, you guessed it, homes are selling like HOTCAKES! 

Instead of weeks on the market, they are only sticking around for days, or sometimes not even hitting the market at all; as well-networked brokers are keeping their eyes and ears open for what their clients are looking for or mentioning what they have coming on the market for a listing, and potentially making a match between buyer and seller. 

Spring has most certainly sprung this week, both in the air and the real estate market! If you have a home to sell, or are shopping for a place to call home, call The Rock Star Realtor Amy Krikken Better Homes and Gardens/Masiello 207-317-1338

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spring has sprung and so has the real estate market by Matt Trudel

So perhaps we are not in full blown spring mode, but this weekend is supposed to be nice and the last of the snow is quickly vanishing. This means flowers will be coming out, and along with them will be the potential buyers who have been waiting all winter to start their search. This also means that it is time to get your house ready and on the market if you want to sell this year.  Inventory is low, so you have a much larger pool of buyers that might want to purchase your home.  
Sellers should be finishing any interior touch ups, repairs, and getting after the exterior spring cleanup. If you haven’t already picked a Realtor® to work with, here are a couple things to consider.  

Experience is the key here and something that comes over time, just like many other jobs. It is one the most important aspects to be looking for in a Realtor®.  Knowledge is also important and often goes hand-in-hand with experience.  

Availability is another thing to consider. Look for a Realtor® who has time to give your property the attention it deserves. Real estate should be their full-time job, and if it isn’t, then you might want to ask how they balance the two jobs and what their availability will be to answer calls and handle showings. Make sure you are a priority versus being second fiddle.

Pricing for sellers is always a challenge. There are so many people and websites that have an opinion as to what a property is worth. I have written several articles on this. The short answer is to get two or three professional opinions from local, experienced Realtors®.  

Understand how each arrived at their value. Ask questions about why adjustments were made on some properties and not others. Be sure your house is priced accurately to attract the largest pool of buyers; which will in turn, provide you with higher offers. If you have more questions about this or would like the other articles regarding this, just give me a call or send me an email.

Buyers take notice; sellers are not the only ones who have work to do. Buyers have their own homework to get done before getting out there and looking at homes. Prequalification is a must these days with such a strong market. Have your current tax returns done and be able to provide the last two years of returns. 
You may want to use your current financial institution or pick a mortgage broker to work with.   There are lots of options for this and your Realtor® should be able to direct you to various options depending on what you might be purchasing, where it might be located, what your occupation is, and your current financial situation (including credit score).  

If you haven’t picked a Realtor® yet or you have a friend who is a Realtor® and you were going to just use them, I hope, for your sake, that they have some years in the business and have experience representing buyers. After all, you are paying your buyer’s agent fee, which is usually several thousand dollars. 

When spending that kind of money, I would make sure that I would be getting solid representation from someone with lots of experience. Especially when I am about to make the biggest purchase of my life. Either way, both buyers and sellers should be working with an experienced Realtor®.  It will make the entire experience smoother, more pleasant, and more successful. 

This article is by Matt Trudel ~ Owner, Five Star Realty, Windham