Monday, April 28, 2014

What's trending in real estate for Spring 2014 - By Lisa DiBiase

1. Generation Y jumps to the top. Generation Y are those ages 32 and younger who made up the largest number of home buyers, at 31 percent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Seventy-six percent of these sales were first time home buyers. Generation X are those 33 to47 in age and made up the second-largest group (at 28 percent), followed by younger baby boomers (18 percent) and older baby boomers (14 percent).
2. Mobile real estate search. Consumers are taking to their mobile devices in droves for real estate searches. More than half of Gen Y and Gen X buyers used a mobile device during their home search. Among those who did, 26 percent of Gen Y and 22 percent of Gen X found the home they ultimately purchased via a mobile device, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. It all goes to show that consumers are becoming far more comfortable searching for real estate on mobile devices. Mobile real estate apps are here to stay!

3. Paperless business. Want to spend more time helping clients and less time dealing with all that paperwork? There’s a plethora of online tools that allow you to file and manage documents electronically. One option is DocuSign, a program for creating and transmitting documents electronically from any device. This saves time in obtaining signatures, therefore the response time to offers becomes quicker and more efficient. It is still recommended to review all contracts with your agent to ensure all questions have been answered prior to signing anything.

4. Where is the inventory? The complaint is widespread: Housing inventory has been stubbornly low in the past year. Well, perhaps that’s starting to change. The number of listings nationwide ticked up by 4.3 percent to 1.9 million homes on the market in June, according to®. That’s the highest monthly jump in a year, and rising home prices could persuade more sellers to throw their homes on the market in the coming months.

Be sure to stay ahead of the curve. As I have said since the beginning, please call a local Realtor for all your real estate needs no matter how big or small. We are trained professionals here to make your life easier. It's best to surround yourself with the right team of professionals that can continuously give you the right advice for all your circumstances.

Lisa DiBiase is the owner/realtor for Landing Real Estate.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

When is it time to lower your asking price? - by Dan McGowen

Are you struggling to sell your home?  If so, maybe it’s time to reduce your property asking price. A common question sellers ask is at what point they should lower their price once their home is listed for sale.
How does a seller know if their home is priced too high for the current market and at what point should the price be lowered? Well, it depends on the property, the situation and the market. However, there is a common rule of thumb that seems to work well in the marketplace and it’s this: If a home has been on the market for three to four weeks, or has had buyer showings and no offers, whichever comes first, and then it’s time to lower the price.
While the main goal of any home sale is for the seller to get maximum value, it can sometimes be challenging to determine the exact maximum value price. However, it doesn’t usually take long before a seller knows if he or she over-priced their home. There are some key tell-tale signs that will let you know.

The best course, obviously, would be to appropriately price your home in the first place. If you hire a good real estate agent, you’re much less likely to run into this problem. But… if this does not happen for some reason or another, it’s important to know when to drop the price.
Below are some tell-tale signs that you may have overpriced your home.
1. You’re drawing few lookers.

You get the most interest in your home right after you put it on the market because buyers want to catch a great new home before anybody else takes it. If your real estate agent reports there have been fewer buyers calling about and asking to tour your home than there have been for other homes in your area, that may be a sign buyers think it’s overpriced and are waiting for the price to fall before viewing it.

2. You’re drawing lots of lookers, but have no offers.

If you’ve had 10 sets of potential buyers come through your home and not a single one has made an offer, something is off. What are other agents telling your agent about your home? An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer.

3. Your home’s been on the market longer than similar homes.

Ask your real estate agent about the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your market. If the answer is 45 and you’re pushing 60, your price may be affecting buyer interest. When a home sits on the market, buyers can begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with it, which can delay a sale even further. At least consider lowering your asking price.

The bottom line: If your home hasn't sold within the appropriate time frame, then talk to your realtor about a possible price reduction. The longer you wait, the longer it will be for you to sell your home. Get it to the right price ASAP and maximize your profits. How do you know when you've hit the "right price?" That's simple: When a buyer buys it!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

By the numbers - By Rick Yost

What your home is worth today is exactly that. The value of your home this day, not yesterday, not next week, not next year. The value of your home changes and sometimes by a great deal. Those of you that have been in the same home since 2005 have seen that same home’s value change dramatically. First it took a big drop in 2007-2008, and then it started to climb in 2012-2013. Same house, same address, same neighborhood, different value. One of the toughest things to do is put a value on a home in an ever changing market. 
 One of the things that realtors do is look at trends, nationwide, statewide, and local to help determine home values. Obviously local trends are most important, but national and statewide trends do effect values. In order to spot trends, it is important to pay attention to the data that is available to you.
I am going to share some data that I use to spot trends. As of April 7 in the State of Maine there are 25,213 single family homes listed for sale and 3,045 that are under contract. In Cumberland County, there are 2,940 single family homes listed and 814 under contract. In 2014, there have been 8,467 new listing and 3,396 sold single family homes in the State of Maine and 1,810 new listings and 860 sold single family homes in Cumberland County. This is important information to have when determining home values.

While state and county info is valuable in determining home value, the most relevant data is local. In Windham the median original listing price for a home in 2014 was $224,900 and the median sale (MS) price was $217,000 with 41 sold. In Gorham, the median original listing (MOL) price was $232,000 and the median sale price was $218,500 with 40 sold. In Raymond, the MOL price was $189,000 and the MS price was $179,000 with 13 sold. In Gray, the MOL price was $224,900 and the MS price was $210,000 with 19 sold. The median original list price is the price at which there were an equal number of homes listed at a higher and lower listing price. The median sold price is that price at which an equal number of homes sold at a higher and lower price. 

Some more data that I use is the number of homes sold.
                                                  Windham Gorham Raymond Gray
Sold thru 4/1/2014                             39           40    12          18 
Sold thru 4/1/2013                            44            28     7            14
Total Sold 2013                               254          208    42           113
Total sold thru 4/1/2012                  35             23      8            17
Total sold 2012                                218          196      71         81

Now you have some good data to start looking for trends. My advice, as always, is contact a real estate professional to help you find the trends and determine your home’s value today.

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

Sunday, April 6, 2014

10 Commandments of home buying - By Carrie Colby, broker/owner

When you are thinking about buying a home there are many things you do. Typically you start your search online and then you may drive by the areas you are interested in. Then you go to an open house or two. Eventually you meet a realtor and start looking at homes. In the beginning of the home buying process you meet with a mortgage broker or a local bank. These are the things you should do, but rarely does anyone tell you what you shouldn’t be doing. 
These are the 10 things the mortgage broker I recommend to my buyers tells everyone she meets when they are starting their home buying search.

1. Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job. 

Even if you hate your boss or your commute is killing you stay put until after you close on your house. Mortgage companies will not give a mortgage to someone who has just taken a new job even if it pays more than your current one. Stability is the name of the game when buying a home.

2. Thou shalt not buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it)! 

Those deals can be tempting with great financing but the more payments you have and the higher they are can effect your credit score.

3. Thou shalt not use credit cards excessively or let current accounts fall behind. 

If you have been waiting for that special TV to go on sale or you need new clothes for work don’t do it. It is important to keep your debt to income ratio as low as possible.

4. Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing. 

You need all the cash you have to close the loan. If you have signed a Purchase and Sale that states you are putting 10 percent down make sure you calculate that amount and put it aside and don’t touch it until you close. Your mortgage broker should be able to give you a preliminary closing statement that will give you a good idea of the amount you will need to bring to the closing. There are other items that you are responsible for such as half of the Maine State Transfer Tax.

5. Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your application. 

When your mortgage company pulls your credit all the debts you owe will be on that report so in order to save time and aggravation just put down everything you owe on your initial application.

6. Thou shalt not buy furniture. 

Again you will need all the money you have for the closing and that couch or TV will still be there after you close on your house.

7. Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit. 

Don’t let anyone check your credit even if you wait until after you close to take out a car loan. If someone checks your credit it will show up and can even effect your score in a negative way.

8.  Thou shalt not make large deposits without checking with your loan officer. 

Don’t do anything with your money without checking with your loan officer. They can tell you right away if it is going to effect your loan in a negative way.

9. Thou shalt not change bank accounts. 

Keep everything the same as when you made your first application. Any changes could effect your credit score or the amount you qualify for the loan.

10. Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone. 

You may think it is no big deal to sign for a relative thinking they will be paying the loan but they are using you and your credit to qualify and you won`t be able to qualify for your own loan.

Carrie Colby is the owner/broker of Premier Properties in Raymond, Maine.