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

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