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

Friday, April 13, 2018

Prepare for the sale of your home with a pre-inspection by Rick Yost

Almost all home buyers today have a home inspection done by a professional home inspector before buying a home. Maine real estate contracts have a full paragraph dedicated to investigations and the contingency for voiding a sale due to investigations. The inspection process can be the most difficult to navigate and negotiate during a real estate transaction. There are things that a home owner can do to be best prepared for the home inspection process.
Some home buyers are paying a professional to do a pre-sale inspection. It is a great way to prep your house for sale. By knowing in advance all of the home’s deficiencies and issues, the home owner can decide which issues to tackle and which issues to disclose on their own terms. Fixing unknown problems and updating issues can add value to the home. It also sends a clear message to potential buyers that the seller is not trying to hide anything and anything that eases a buyer mind, is likely to result a higher offer. The appearance of an open and honest seller, puts many buyers in a more comfortable position when making an offer.

Pre-sale inspections can also help with negotiations. It keeps the seller from being blindsided with major issues that the buyer’s inspector might find; and it will give better insight on when to stand hard on price and when to give back some. Pre-inspections give the seller a chance to investigate options for correcting issues and to find the best valued solution. Knowledge is power in negotiations, and a pre-sale inspection provides knowledge.   

Pre-sale inspections are also very helpful in an inventory-tight market like today’s market is. With many multi-bid offers being considered, providing a pre-sale inspection report to potential buyers can inspire higher offers and, in some cases, a removal of the inspection contingency all together. It is easy to see why a pre-sale inspection could pay for itself very easily. 

If the home seller is a DYI person, there are some steps below that can be taken to make the home ready for the inspection process:

Clear and clean inspection access points including attic access, the perimeter of the home, stairwells, perimeter of the furnace, and in front of electrical panels.

Check functionality of all doors and windows, toilets and faucets, ceiling fans, lights and switches, gutters and downspouts, and appliances.

Have the furnace cleaned and the septic pumped if not done regularly and recently.

Make minor repairs including repairing water damage and stains, re-caulk bathtubs and sinks, repair torn screens and broken windows, replace missing roof shingles, replace damaged insulation in attic and crawl space, and remove moss and debris from the roof.

Test the water and air of the home with kits from Amazon or Home Depot. These tests are best left to a professional, but if the seller is a die-hard DYI person, the kits are available.

After all the pre-sale inspection steps are complete, the home is ready for inspection.  On the day of the inspection the home owner should do the following to ensure a smooth inspection process:

Leave the home at least a half hour before the scheduled inspection.

Take all pets.

Leave all remotes and controls (ceiling fans, garage door, propane fireplace) in obvious spots.

Leave all electrical panels, out buildings, etc. unlocked.

Leave out any paperwork for recent upgrades, repairs, or homeowners claims.

Take laundry from washer and dishes from dishwasher.

Leave a copy of the septic plan or at least a sketch of its location.

Double check all utilities and pilot lights before leaving.

Following this advice should take many of the surprises out of the inspection process and lead to the best possible price for your home.

Rick is a Realtor®, real estate author and long time Windham resident. You can reach Rick with any of your real estate questions or needs at


Friday, April 6, 2018

Steps to buying a house this spring by Carrie Colby

The spring and summer months are traditionally the busiest times of year for the residential real estate market. Weather is more cooperative, and many families like to move while the kids are on their summer break.

If you’re in the market for a house this spring, there are a number of steps you can take to try to give you the advantage over other home buyers, including:

Get started early finding a Realtor® to work with. Interview three or four, get references and let the person you choose know exactly what you’re looking for. It is important to like and trust your Realtor® this is one of the largest purchases of your life.

Get your financing pre-approved. This will give an advantage on several fronts. First, it will be done and out of the way. Second, you’ll know how much the bank is willing to loan you, so you know in which price range to look. And third, it shows sellers that you’re serious and ready to buy when you make an offer. Your loan officer should be able to get you a pre-approval letter that should be presented with your offer.

Figure out how much you have for a down payment. First-time buyers typically make a down payment of 6 percent on a home purchase, and 24 percent of down payment funds were gifts from relatives or friends. If that’s not an option, there are many loan programs that accept down payments of five or three percent. And don’t forget closing costs, which will often run two to seven percent of the property’s purchase price.

Begin thinking about homeowners’ insurance now. Begin by making sure your credit report is accurate; credit histories are sometimes used to determine whether a company will insure you, and if so, at what rate. And if you’re renting, make sure you have renter’s insurance as it’s helpful to have insurance history when you obtain insurance for your new house.

Be ready at a moment’s notice. If you’re in an especially tight market, your Realtor® will be reviewing new listings as soon as they’re available. If he or she finds something that matches your criteria, you’ll want to look at the house and be ready to make an offer quickly.

When looking at houses, look at the potential. There are major factors you won’t be able to change: the neighborhood, proximity to work and schools, the basic floorplan of the house (unless you plan on completely renovating), and size of the back yard, among other things. If you’re put off by paint or carpet color or old linoleum floors, envision what the walls will look like with your color of choice and the floors in a material you prefer.

Listen carefully to your Realtor® about how much you should offer. If there’s competition, you may want to offer more than the listing price and you shouldn’t try asking for things like carpet allowances or a long closing date. If you know sellers may have several offers in front of them, you’ll want to make yours the best. Your Realtor® can show you comparable sales in your

This article was brought to you by Carrie Colby, owner of Premier Properties in Raymond.