Friday, July 28, 2017

Are you motivated to sell your home? By Richie Vraux

Today, we are in a seller’s market in the real estate industry, unlike even a year ago, when the market was still recovering. 

Inventory is very low and buyers are often getting into a multiple offer situation. Many times, sellers are being offered above asking price and getting it. The interest rates are still very affordable so if you are contemplating buying, do it now. 

If you are motivated to sell, find the right agent who will listen and learn about the features and benefits your home offers. But then listen to him in his determination as to how he derived at your selling price. When you tell your family or neighbors what your agent stated it should sell for, everyone becomes an expert. The plumber down the street told me, “I should get $10,000 -$20,000 more than that.”  They may be the best in their own trade but it’s your real estate broker that knows best. Listen to your agent and the comparables he used to determine your home’s value. Your broker is the real estate professional, not your neighbor. 

When your home has been on the market for an exceptional amount of days and has not had a lot of activity, it is time to reassess your selling strategy. Is your agent doing enough to move it?

Make sure there are plenty of advertising opportunities and plenty of broker/public open-houses that are happening. When all else fails and your home isn’t selling in a reasonable amount of time, then it comes down to the price. 

After your property has been shown many times and hasn’t had an offer, it becomes stale and active agents will not show it because they already know what to expect. Some sellers believe that by waiting and not accepting a previous lower offer, it will bring them a higher offer. It is possible, but usually it is the exact opposite. 

The amount of days your house is on the market is your enemy. If you are not getting a lot of activity in this sellers’ market, it is a solid indicator there is something wrong and time to re-think your strategy. Listen to your agent and it will sell. Listen to your agent and it will sell. Once again just to reiterate the point - listen to your agent and it will sell. Did I say that three times? Yes, I did because your agent is the professional.

He or she will come back with a winning idea and you will be on the road to selling your home., your real estate agent should always guide you and work in your best interest to get your home sold. Good luck with the sale of your home.

Richie Vraux is Top Producer and Broker/ Realtor® for RE/MAX who has been a Real Estate Professional for more than 20 years. Put his real estate expertise to work for you. Whether you are buying or selling. Richie can be your guide. Call Richie for a free real estate consultation at 207-317-1297

Friday, July 21, 2017

Keep your money safe with title companies by Randee McDonald

As adults, there are many “rites of passage” and milestone moments in our lives. One of these is undoubtedly purchasing a home. Let’s face it, shelling out that much money and being responsible for a whole house is some scary business. Make sure it is less so, by ensuring your title company provides you with the utmost security when it comes to your home purchase. 
One of the central duties of a title company is to handle all funds that come in and out regarding a transaction. So with fraud on the rise, it’s a wise consumer that knows their money will be safe with the title company they choose. 

Fraud in the banking industry is particularly frightening these days. Thieves have gotten much bolder and technologically savvy, forcing business owners – and consumers – to be even more careful with their private and sensitive information. As a matter of fact, fraud directly relating to checks and wires is on the rise and becoming a real headache for banks and title companies. W. Abagnale Jr., the former con artist now working with the FBI as a corporate cybercrime consultant, was recently in Portland to raise awareness about scams and fraud. Abagnale is well acquainted with methods used by fraudsters and counterfeiters from personal experience. His early exploits as a con artist were portrayed on screen by Leonardo DiCaprio as a young Abagnale in "Catch Me if You Can," with Tom Hanks as the FBI agent after him.

Abagnale now shares his thoughts on how business owners – and thus, their clientele - can protect themselves from being duped.

Abagnale suggests the use of secure positive pay, checks, and micro-cut shredding. Positive pay is a service that matches the account number, check number, and dollar amount of each check presented for payment, against a list of checks that have previously been authorized and issued by the business. All three of these check components must match exactly, or the bank will not pay out on the check when it is presented.

Each day, the business will send a file of issued checks to the bank. When those checks are presented for payment at the bank, they are compared electronically against the list of transmitted checks. If a check is presented that does not have a “match” in the file sent from the business, the bank will then send us an image of the check that is attempting to be cashed, so that it can be reviewed and then either instruct the bank to pay it or not.

Secure checks have a hologram, a so-called void panograph that prevents someone from color-copying, chemically altering or scanning the checks. For shredding, he recommends using a micro-cut shredder, which he said turns paper into confetti the size of a grain of rice. Documents shredded using a straight ribbon shredder can be reassembled. 

Cumberland Title’s rule of thumb is “better to be safe than sorry.” So in addition to a number of other internal precautions that we regularly take to protect both us and our clients, we have implemented all three of these safety measures. These services may cost our company more than the status quo procedures, but the cost of not having them is simply not fathomable, so you can feel confident about working with Cumberland Title.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Your home-sweet-home summer checklist by Amy Krikken

Summertime is a great time to check on things that you can't check on as easily during the winter.
If you have an air-conditioner, make sure it's in healthy working condition. Make sure the fan is functioning, the coils are clean and the wiring doesn't appear faulty. Go a step further and take the time to check and change the filter too.

Window and door weather-stripping should be examined and replaced if necessary. This will ensure that you are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Additionally, check any cracked windows or rotting trim. It’s important to take a moment to look around and take inventory of your home. I know it's hard to give up a weekend to attend to these issues, but your home will thank you and so will your wallet. 

Did you know that your fans should be going counter clockwise and turned off when you are not in the room? This helps conserve energy. great way to lower your energy bill is to turn down your water heater for the summer season and to cook outside at every opportunity, to avoid using appliances that will heat up your home. Also, using blinds or shades helps to keep your home cool during the day.

If your home has a water filtration system, go ahead and change that filter too!

Could your home use a good old fashion power wash? Go for it, because summer is the season!
Take a look at your deck and patio areas, are there any tripping hazards? Are the railings still secure? Shore up any problems. 

How well is your home insulated? Summertime is the perfect time to add any insulation, so that you can be nice and warm in the winter, which as we all know, comes way too soon.

Now that you have checked everything off your home summer list – go enjoy and soak up the sun! 

Amy Krikken works at Better Homes and Gardens/Masiello - Where she loves to help her clients buy and sell real estate all across the state. Call her for any/all of your real estate questions/needs at 207-317-1338. Email at

Friday, July 7, 2017

Buyers should get representation by Matt Trudel

Home buyers should hire a professional to guide them through the complex process, even if it is not their first time in purchasing a home. The real estate market is continually changing: different financing options, changing rules and regulations and market fluctuations of inventory - which correlates directly with pricing. Even if you bought a house 3 to 5 years ago, today's real estate market is vastly different.
A Realtor® is a professional who can take you from start to finish, and can navigate all the hurdles and obstacles that arise. A good Realtor® knows the pulse of the market, negotiates well, will find you a home with the things you desire at a favorable price point, and will continue to work with you even after the closing. You want a Realtor® who has lots of experience, because their experience is what will make your transaction smooth and successful. 

Many Realtors® are very good at networking, especially us Realtors® who have been in the business a long time. They have learned over the years, that by staying in touch with each other and by sharing what is happening with new listings or new clients, they can provide a much better service for their clients. We all have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but it is the new listings that are going to be coming on the market or the homes that the sellers don't want advertised for sale, but are willing to sell if the realtor knows of a qualified buyer that would like their home. These are known commonly as "pocket listings".  

Work with one professional; don't try to work with several different Realtors®. It doesn't take us long in our discussions with you to find out that you are working with several agents. You want a committed, trustworthy and loyal relationship with your agent. You want to show your agent that you are committed to working with just them. That way when they hear about a new "pocket listing" coming up, you are the first one that the Realtor® will call and get you prepared to make a solid reasonable offer at the earliest opportunity.  

A good example of this was a client I was working with that was pretty sure they wanted to build a new home and not purchase an existing home. While going through plans and existing new construction, I learned the most important things they wanted in a home. A fellow Realtor®  mentioned a new listing was going to be hitting the market soon. After a short discussion I was certain the home might be the right fit for my client and after a quick walk through the home I knew it was perfect. My clients loved it and put it under contract the first day. Their loyalty to me got them the very first call. I had already gotten them pre-approved and the process went very smooth because we were prepared. 

So search out that professional that you feel comfortable with and work with them. Sign an Exclusive Buyer's Representation Agreement and start searching for your new home right way.  There are new homes hitting the market every day and the one that is just right for you might be for sale tomorrow.  Matt Trudel, Owner Five Star Realty, 207-939-6971.