June Sales Down – Stay Calm

 Posted by at 3:11 pm
Jul 312008

Sales of single-family existing homes in Maine continued to decrease in June 2008. In a press release to the Maine media, MREIS (Maine Real Estate Information System) reports 996 homes sold last month, a drop of 24.32% from last June’s sales figure of 1,316 homes… now stay calm, please. You knew that was happening. And if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I preach that “all generalities are false.” The other problem with generalities in real estate is that real estate is unique. No two properties are alike, no two buyers are alike, no two sellers are alike and – yes – no two agents are alike! So where ever you are in the marketplace, the question that really needs answering is where is the uniqueness?

How do I generalize about uniqueness?

I have one idea! One thing that sets sellers, buyers, and agents apart from the crowd is those who let “the market” serve as backgound and do not let it drive them.

That’s also the good news. In a market like this “different” stands out! Figuring out how to NOT be a victim of the market is different.


Calm Down!

 Posted by at 7:33 am
Jul 162008

Calm down… the media’s gone crazy again with the Indy Mac story and the issues with FannieMae and FreddieMac. Yes, there are problems. Complex problems that I won’t try to fully understand or explain. But mortgage funds continue to be available. One thing that’s worth getting upset about is the lack of action from Congress on any of the economic issues. All they seem to know how to do is hold hearings and listen to testimony. Although sometimes things are better left alone by the “government,” so there’s a double-edged sword for you!

As for Indy Mac, let’s consider the record. Since FDIC began in the 1930’s not one person has lost money from an insured account. By one media account, there are currently about 90 banks in some degree of trouble. Some of us remember the 1980’s when there was a crisis involving over 1000 banks disappearing. So this is still a bit “ho-hum” when we put it into perspective.

When the dust settles, there will still be people getting mortgages and buying homes.


Buyers Will Love These…

 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Jul 102008

Check the “some links” page… I’ve just added a half-dozen or so of great interest to buyers… including a site that rates any address based on the walking distance to nearby stores… another one that offers ratings of public schools… thanks to Tom Drew of Allied Mortgage Corporation for sharing the information. Yes, there’s a link to him there too!


Can You Afford To Heat It?

 Posted by at 7:20 am
Jul 102008

We’re not talking about it much–yet–but these crazy energy costs are impacting the real estate market. Potential home buyers are affected because heating costs will impact how much house is affordable.  The house a buyer could have afforded last year might cost $2000 more to heat this year. That’s like taking a $2000 net salary reduction. On an annualized basis, that’s a loss of about forty dollars per week that’s got to come from somewhere or the house is beyond financial reach.

I’m wondering if lenders will start making adjustments to prequalification standards. The last thing buyers should do is buy a home they can’t afford to heat and that’s getting easier to do without really trying! Maine buyers should be very pleased that heating fuel consumption is a required disclosure. Granted, individual habits and preferences can have an impact, but at least there is often some sense of the potential costs, although who would have predicted these prices a year ago?

Home sellers are affected for exactly the same reason. Energy efficiency and multiple fuel heating systems are becoming Continue reading »

Jul 032008

Just a quick bit of news for real estate licensees… thanks to a joint venture between Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative and the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate, I’ll be teaching “What Am I and Why It Is Important” in Dover Foxcroft, Dexter, and Milo in September and October. Save gas! Specific dates, times, and locations will be available soon on both the PVAEC and AGRSRE sites.


Darn Bugs!

 Posted by at 9:54 am
Jul 032008

“Tell me about those Maine black flies…” is a question every real estate agent gets on a regular basis. I suppose I should work on a snappy answer, but honesty is an important quality. Would it be dishonest to reply, “Well, the trout love ‘em.” That’s probably true, but I happen to believe avoidance of the truth smacks of dishonesty. They are miserable little creatures; if only for a limited time.

Speaking of bugs, farmers know that if you grow it, the bugs will come. Without inciting an environmental debate, let’s observe that most farmers and gardeners can generally predict what will arrive when and the potential damage. They also know that after-the-fact killing is not usually very effective and efficient so they spend time and money upfront to defend their crops.

It’s the same (or should be) with real estate. If you are buying or selling, there are certain “bugs” can be generally predicted. In many cases we know when to expect them and we know the potential damage. That makes most of the avoidable—often with only a minimum of effort.

Otherwise we find ourselves mumbling “I knew that was going to happen!” and that gives rise Continue reading »