Mar 262016
 

It has come to my attention that the article referenced in “Over the River and Through the Woods” is now only available to subscribers. A little “googling” has turned up another article that actually looks at the issue from a slightly different perspective:

Private Road Plowing Debated

This is not a simple, one-dimensional issue. For real estate licensees, the question may be more important than the answer because the answer will be different in different municipalities and situations. I’ve raised the issue because I suspect there are some concerns a licensee representing a buyer considering property located on a private road might need to discuss with his or her client.

For an excellent summary of some facts regarding the forming of road associations, read this article on Maine.gov.

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Feb 172016
 

The following notice came today via the Real Estate Commission Listserve:

OPOR Header

Beginning on March 1, 2016, Real Estate Commission licenses will be delivered via email.

Active licenses will be delivered to affiliated licensees’ designated broker at the agency email address on file with the Commission.

Agency licenses will also be emailed to the agency email address.

Inactive licenses will be delivered to licensees’ email address on file with the Commission.

The email sender is displayed as “noreply@maine.gov” and the subject as “YOUR OFFICIAL (license type) LICENSE IS ATTACHED”. Paper licenses will NOT be mailed for licensees with an email address on file.

Individual and agency contact information, including email address, may be updated here.


If it is not apparent, this does not mean everyone’s license will be emailed on March 1, 2016–this refers to new and renewal licenses. In the past, paper copies of licenses were delivered to the designated broker via U.S.P.S. This change means only that electronic copies will be now be emailed to the designated broker. (Designated Brokers would be wise to make certain their agency contact information is correctly listed with the Commission.)

The exception is inactive licenses. Since inactive licenses do not have an agency affiliation, those are sent directly to the licensee. The default method is email.

As a reminder, note that “The license of each broker, associate broker, and sales agent must be delivered or mailed to the designated broker and be kept in the custody and control of the designated broker.” (MRS 32 §13181)

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Feb 102016
 
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

A recent accident in Harrison, Maine involving a fire truck raises more questions regarding private roads, a complex topic that has always affected those dealing in real estate. In spite of recent efforts to clear up issues surrounding abandoned and discontinued roads, the legal and practical aspects of going over the river and through the woods can be daunting.

As reported in The Sun Journal, a Harrison Fire Department truck slid down a hill while responding to a carbon monoxide alarm, suffering major front end damage. Fortunately, the driver escaped with only a few scratches.

As a former volunteer firefighter, I can recall some heartbreaking calls when we found ourselves unable to reach a home on a private road that was poorly maintained–or not maintained at all. Those were simpler times and a call to the road superintendent would bring a plow, sander, or in some cases the town grader, even if the road wasn’t officially maintained by the town. But precious minutes were lost. Difficult judgments had to be made quickly–is this road passable? Am I going to risk people and equipment if I proceed?

Those decisions are no less simple today. If anything, they have become more difficult as entities and individuals must consider liability and legality. Some towns are adopting ordinances and policies to deal with these issues.

Property purchasers need to be aware of the potential issues and problems if access to the property is anything other than a public road. Since this is truly a local issue, research and diligence are required. Happily, buyers do not need to make split second decisions, but they do need to be aware that purchasing property on private roads always means assuming risks.

Reading the entire article will heighten awareness, certainly. And if you read all the way to the end, you’ll discover an interesting story of how some homeowners “solved” a problem with access to their properties.

 

 

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Dec 282015
 

 

board-928390_1280Here’s a summary of the real estate continuing education classes I plan to teach this spring. Note that most of the classes are part of a day or more of classes being offered by the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate and check their website for a complete selection.

January 21, Thursday, 5:00—8:00 p.m.
Getting Licensees and Appraisers in the Same Boat*

Are you assisting sellers and buyers in pricing residential property only to have the appraisal come in low? If so, this is the course for you. This course goes over the restrictions placed on appraisers and the methods the appraiser uses in determining value. The closer the real estate licensee is to using the appraiser methodology, the more the likelihood the property will appraise after it is under contract. The class will discuss amounts to use for adjustments, which properties to use for comparables, presenting the CMA to your buyer and seller client, and much more.


April  5, Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. —12:00 p.m.
Widen Your Horizon When You List  Real Estate*

Red flags are an important part of the real estate business. Real estate licensees are expected to disclose those things that they know, or should have known. Topics covered in this course include, property condition red flags as well as red flags when dealing with deeds, property restrictions, insurance, financing, building uses, purchase and sales agreements, etc.


April 5, Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Core Course for Designated Brokers*

As of April 1, 2015, Designated Brokers are required to take this course in order to renew their license. This would also be an excellent course for Associate Brokers and Brokers to take for three elective clock hours toward license renewal. Come to this course so that you will know what the Designated Broker is required to do so that you will be able to practice in a manner that assists the Designated Broker in doing the job properly.


May 12, Thursday, 9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m.
Market Analysis—More Than a Price**

This course is in development and pending approval by the Maine Real Estate Commission. What does it mean to complete a market analysis? In this course, we’ll look at the types of analysis that arrive at more than a price. You’ll discover some untapped resources and ideas for developing more than a boilerplate marketing plan. Further information should be available by early spring!


May 12, Thursday, 1:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Transaction Troubleshooting*

Every transaction has issues that crop up at some point. How do effective licensees handle these issues? What are the Licensee’s duties and opportunities in helping solve problems that arise? Can some of these issues be avoided in the first place? These and many more questions will be answered during this lively course. Topics will include clauses in a purchase and sale agreement, stigmatized property, handling of offers and counter offers, due diligence, earnest money deposits, and much more. This is an intermediate level course featuring lots of class discussion and input.


Thursday, July 14, 5:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.
What Should I do in this Situation?*

Case studies and discussion points are used to determine how selected situations should be handled by real estate licensees. The case studies and discussion points are discussed including with how they apply to Maine License Law and Rules as well as various other laws that real estate licensees are required to follow. Come and enter into the discussion and voice you opinions in this highly interactive program.


* Course is approved by the Maine Real Estate Commission for three clock hours of continuing education.

** Course is pending approval by the Maine Real Estate Commission  for three clock hours of continuing education.

All classes will be held at the Ramada Inn, 357 Odlin Road, Bangor

 

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Dec 252015
 

Holiday Greeting

My best days are still the ones when the phone rings early in the morning and I’m needed at school. The kids haven’t run out of things to teach me. They may be small people, but they really do have big brains and it’s fun to look ahead and imagine a world run by these future leaders.

I’ll never forget the day “Johnny”—a fourth grader with a fifty-year-old outlook—stopped by my classroom after most of the kids had left. It seems he wanted to have a “mature” conversation on a wide variety of topics. At one point he informed me, “Pre-k and kindergarten were the best years of my life.” When I asked for further explanation, he added, “Because I really didn’t have to do much.” I decided not to suggest that the best years of his life might be yet to come but they probably wouldn’t be about “not doing much.”

Have a meaningful holiday and a new year filled with health, happiness, and prosperity. It’s a busy time of the year and you probably have a lot to do, but you can still make these the best years of your life!

All the best,

Signature

 

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Dec 152015
 

Jack is a longtime friend and colleague… one of the things I love about him is the way he shakes cages and challenges traditional thinking. The following piece is his Daily Investor Brief published by St Anselm College on December 14, 2015, challenging some of the traditional thinking often touted by the real estate industry.


Jack F HeadshotJust because everybody is doing it is no reason to do it! You’re allowed to be who you are and to plan your financial life as you please. “I’ll never have to cut the grass again!” is a poor reason for uprooting your life. Roots are worth a lot.

When the grass is cut by a condo association, you pay to have it done. You can pay to have your grass cut in the house in which you live. Think a little bit about the devil you know versus the one you don’t. Things change, and you may want big changes in your life at any time, but don’t let convention dictate your life.

In doing financial planning, your plan dictates your finances. If you want to fund a downsize move, so be it. Think through your goals and objectives, plusses and minuses, and then see what you can realistically finance. Your finances, of course, limit your plan, but get first things first. What do you want to do and why do you want to do it?

Many people live in the same place for many years and suffer no adverse consequences. Others have wanderlust and enjoy gypsy genes. Following children and/or grandchildren is not a bad strategy.  Think through your reasoning and then test the waters. What looks good in your imagination may not be ideal in practice. Then again, it might be far better than you ever imagined. Your reasons, whatever they may be, are the right reasons. Make sure they are your reasons.

Going home to the home you’ve lived in for forty or fifty years is not a bad place to go. Your investment in a home can also be an investment in a community. First it might be for schools. Next it could be for a religious congregation. Neighbors might become lifelong friends. All of this factors in. Next time you are cutting the grass, think about all this.


Jack Falvey is a widely published freelance business writer, contributing to Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News in the areas of sales, sales management, and marketing. He teaches professional sales and sales management at both University of Massachusetts Boston and at his alma mater, Boston College.

Falvey is currently a fellow at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire where he offers daily Investor Education Briefs.


 

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Oct 212015
 

bored_reading_paper_400_clr_5342Now that I’m teaching more real estate continuing ed classes, I have found the second most frequently asked question is “Where are the handouts?” (The most frequent question is “Where is my certificate?”)  This, of course, has set me to thinking about the role of handout material in and after class. The following article addressed the topic contributes some important ideas. Watch for some differences in the courses I develop–and expect to be reminded that learning isn’t supposed to stop when the class is over!


The following article was published in the October 2015 issue of Training Doctor News — one of my absolutely favorite publications on the topic of training and adult education. It is reprinted here with permission. Visit www.trainingdr.com for more information!

Are Participant Materials “Necessary?”

We recently had a lively discussion with a training group regarding this statement: Participant “materials” (workbooks, job aids, infographics, etc.) are “nice to haves” but people rarely use them back on the job.

The group unanimously agreed that rarely do participants use these items on the job, and, more often than not, they are left behind “in the classroom.”

This lack of respect for training materials is quite detrimental to adult learning for a number of reasons:

Most people are visual learners

80% of Americans are visual learners, which means they “understand” information better (and retain it longer) if it is presented in a visual manner. If 80% of your audience spoke “in another language” wouldn’t you present in that language? And yet, we often completely ignore providing tangible, visual elements that complement our training offerings.

Seven-to-ten days after training, people remember only 10 – 20% of what was taught them in a training class
If your “training” consists of providing information, with no reference materials, how can anyone be expected to remember what was taught? Back on the job, it would be helpful to have a job-aid or infographic to refer to in order to do one’s job or refresh one’s memory about the proper process / sequence / tasks.

Temporal contiguity

Brain research tells us that it is better to present concepts in both words and pictures than solely in text format. Typically, 3-days later, text-only information is recalled at a rate of just 15%, but the same information, when presented in both text and visual (a’la an infographic) is recalled at a whopping 65%!

Muscle memory

Muscle memory is not a memory stored in your muscles, of course, but memories stored in your brain (although its origin is related to physical fitness). Providing workbooks or worksheets in which participants actually work (answer questions, complete diagrams, underline pertinent facts in a case study) aid in retention because the body is also physically involved in the learning process.

Solution?

The “problem” is not that participant’s don’t see the value in the learning materials you provide, but rather, the problem lies with us trainers who do not show people how to use these materials while they are in the training. The solution is to utilize the training materials at the time of teaching. Don’t teach a process and then say “Here is a job-aid to take back to your desk,” but rather teach the process as participants follow along using their job aid. The solution to participant materials being “left behind” is to utilize them during the training process so that their usage becomes part of the learner’s muscle memory.

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Oct 152015
 

stick_figure_presenting_with_pen_150_clr_3808I’ll be teaching an AGSRE Continuing Education Course at the Ramada Inn in Bangor on Tuesday, November 17. This course is being offered as part of a full day of courses being offered–check out all the offerings here.

Starting at 5 PM, I’ll be teaching Do You Need to Take an Aspirin When Writing an Offer? For a complete description, check out my Course Calendar and click on the name of the course.

You can register online at the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate website or call 856-1712.  I’m looking forward to seeing some “alumni” from licensing courses I’ve taught!

 

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Oct 092015
 

The following article is reprinted with permission from the September 2015 edition (Volume 4, Number 9) of Maine Woodlands, a monthly publication of Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine. It includes some interesting background and insight into today’s forestry and land use laws.


 

pine_tree_400_clr_17374Newspapers and magazines have been reminding us it’s the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the “Great Charter   signed under duress by King John in 1215. It turns out that, in addition to protecting the traditional rights of the barons, it also created medieval forest rights that are still with us today.

Almost everyone knows that in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, defeated Harold Godwinsson, King of England, at Hastings, and took the crown for himself as William the Conqueror.  He turfed out the feudal lords owing homage to the crown, replacing them with his own retainers and relatives. England became involuntarily Normanized. What you may not learn ln school is that these kings enjoyed the hunt. Medieval monarchs circulated around their domains, requiring hospitality from their barons. At every stop a hunt was virtually mandatory. Hunting was not only recreation, it was business, part of the proper upbringing of a knight or young nobleman. Hunting supplied familiarity with movement on horseback in rugged and unfamiliar terrain, training in teamwork, and exercise in marksmanship — all important martial skills. And the venison was popular at table. Some centuries passed, though, before literacy was considered essential to an aristocrat’s upbringing.

In their legal tradition kings  did not  own the wildlife, but they controlled hunting rights. King William marked our hunting reserves he personally controlled. These, he called “forests.” The original foresters, then, were the royal game wardens and managers.  Historians estimate England at the Conquest was 15% tree-covered (FIA had not yet been invented). Many of the royal forests contained farmland, pastures, marshes, and even villages. Some of William’s Royal Forests exist today, at least in outline and popular geography, though not in legal form. The New Forest is a popular tourist destination.

Within the forests, it was not only unlawful to take venison — the big game, though a modern hunter wouldn’t consider the animals “big”— but also to harm the “vert,” the habitat. So, within the forest’s limits, neither baron nor commoner could clear shrubby or wooded land for crops. The kings also owned manors and woods in their own name, so- called demesne” lands. But “Royal Forests” were areas where the king controlled the hunt on lands of feudal tenants. The kings at times went to extremes, evicting local farmers and burning villages. The opening of Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood film recalls this.

The King’s control over hunting went down poorly with the lords and barons, who, being Normans, also liked to hunt. Worse, the villeins (farmers) could not kill game animals that fed on their crops. Deer must move freely — no fencing for livestock or to protect crops. Dogs in and near the forest had to have claws removed. “Fence months” were periods when forests were closed to grazing to avoid disturbing does giving birth. Since grazing was a key use, this was a major blow. This was equal opportunity confiscation and oppression, though the poor rarely dined on venison. The Royal Forests disrupted the local economy. Robin Hood got in trouble with the law for two things: robbing the rich to help the poor, and killing the King’s deer.

The Normans and their Angevin successors were serious: Initially, poaching the King’s deer was punishable by death. By 1215, 140 years after Hastings, Royal hunting forests had been extended. They were controlled by Royal “Forrest Lawes,” administered by Forest courts. With this, and various taxes, the barons were fed up. They caught King John at a weak moment and forced him to sign Magna Carta.

What you don’t learn in school is that among ringing declarations of rights of “free men — the barons, not the common folk — there were several clauses dealing with forest rights. The subject was so detailed it was soon necessary for the King to issue a separate Forest Charter (1217). It repealed the death penalty for poaching deer, replacing it with a fine, or a year in jail if unable to pay. It created new “verderers courts” to administer the forest laws. Some of Richard’s and Henry’s expansions were “disafforested,” and rights returned to local feudatories and villages. Later, entire books were devoted to details of Forrest Lawes, referring specifically to the Royal hunting forests, not woods and coppices generally.

Does any of this look familiar? The heritage of the Middle Ages influenced English legal thinking for centuries. Massive tomes on Property Law, which law students suffer through, often begin with medieval property rights, including forest law. Under Maine law today, as in Richard’s time, the government does not own the wildlife. Instead, the “ferae naturae” are the trust property of the entire society and its people. Government administers them as a trust. Landowners and others often differ on how to manage wildlife, and hunting (Sunday hunting, anyone?) No legislative season passes without the introduction of numerous bitterly contested bills concerning what is to be hunted, when, and how. Some things never change.

Lloyd C. Irland is a forestry consultant, sometime teacher, and writer. While in forestry school he was a history geek who took courses in Medieval History for fun.

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