Greetings of the Season!

 Posted by at 8:52 am
Dec 232008

 Christmoose!Greetings of the season!

While it’s become traditional, it’s certainly not habitual! The holidays are a great time to say “thank you!” I’ve enjoyed your confidence and friendship this past year and it is satisfying to know that a lot of people—buyers, sellers, colleagues, affiliates and students—are achieving success as a result of our work together.

That said, we do seem to be faced with even more uncertainty these days. If you missed it in the last issue, the advice that makes the most sense to me is found in the comparison Jack Falvey made to the Marines who landed on Iwo Jima.“Keep your head down, shoot back, help your buddies and pray a lot. If someone begins to put up a flag give them a hand and get in the picture.”

So looking ahead real estate-wise, that’s particularly good advice. If you anticipate buying or selling, be ready to get in the picture—for many people it is a good if challenging time! There are many things to contemplate as one year ends and another begins. As I think about my philosophy and practice, I’m aware that my focus hasn’t changed, but it has increased. Attention to detail is always important; in the current state of affairs it is critical. Diagnosing problems and understanding clients’ needs is always important; given the increasing complexity surrounding the buying and selling of real estate, it is vital. Working with clients as partners and providing information and options is a major component of real estate brokerage; now more than ever you need a partner who knows how to learn and teach.

If you are going to be involved in a real estate transaction, I want to be in your picture with you!

Thanks for your confidence and the opportunity to work with you. Do let me hear from you… and have a meaningful holiday and a new year filled with health, happiness and prosperity! 


We Have A Winner!

 Posted by at 6:32 am
Dec 182008

Readers of the print version of Mooseprints know that we had a relatively simple contest in the December Issue. It’s all about attention to detail and our first winner is Tami Ogden, a certified paralegal with C. W. & H. M. HAYES, P.A. — a law firm in Dover Foxcroft. Having worked with Tami on a number of real estate transactions and closings I can only say “I’m not at all surprised!” Tami does have an eye for detail!

Tami’s entry came by email so there’s still a chance to win… be the first to call or send a dog sled with the correct answer and you could win too!

And now your only option is dog sled! We have another winner! Congratulations to Sandy Hazeltine… she called bright and early this morning and said she was sorry she couldn’t fax. (Yes, that’s a hint to those who didn’t get it!)


Scam Alert: Deed Copies

 Posted by at 7:33 am
Dec 132008

The December 2008 AARP Bulletin alerts readers to another “creative” scam that involves a very official letter from National Deed Service Inc. The letter begins, “The U.S. Government Federal Citizen Information Ccenter website recommends that property owners should have an official or certified copy of their deed…”

That’s good advice. You deed is evidence of ownership. But the letter goes on to offer to “research” and provide a copy for $79.95.  What the letter doesn’t say is that registered deeds are readily available from the County Clerk or Registry of Deeds for just a few dollars.

You probably received a copy when you purchased the property, and while having it on hand is not a bad idea, it’s also not necessary. One point of “registering” deeds with the County Office is to create public notice that you are the rightful owner of that particular piece of property.

Don’t fall for this one, ok? 


Foreclosures Come At A Price!

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Dec 072008

In a recent newsletter the National Association of Realtors spelled “forclusure” wrong. Admittedly it was just a typo but it caught my eye just as foreclosures are catching the eyes of buyers who are searching for a “good deal.”

The article went on to say that there are a “lot of good buys but the best ones go first – buy now!” Like all general advice, that’s true. But there are some other things that need to be pointed out before there’s a complete picture. On the positive side, interest rates are low and there is mortgage money available, at least here in Maine.

One of the things that isn’t often said is that these “good buys” can be fraught with problems and hazards. Some are fairly obvious (condition of the property) and some are not so much so (quality of the title and hidden costs the seller will demand the buyer to pay).

I won’t claim to have had a ton of experience with these “foreclusure” transactions, but I have had enough to make the personal decision that I will not list (represent the seller) foreclosures. There are several reasons for this but the primary one is the way these foreclosures are brought to market bears no resemblance to fundamental brokerage practice. Most of these banks and REO companies do not have a clear cut decison-maker and seem to operate as if they are “above” the law.

I have and will continue to represent buyers who decide to purchase a forclosure. But be prepared to work hard and move deliberately. Everything comes at a price, and that “good buy” may turn into something far less “good” than it appears. Very often these properties are priced so low it’s easy to think “it’s a steal” and as a buyer you can afford to fix any problems. It is easy to suspend judgement and make an offer before somebody “snaps it up.” As a result, most of the time the real problems do not arrive until after you’ve committed to purchase. I was involved in one foreclosure transaction during which the buyer’s attorney said that if he’d charged the buyer for all his time the legal bill would have been over $3,000. (The relatively simple problems included the bank’s repeated failure to get the title correct and to understand state transfer tax laws.)

In another transaction, my buyer client and I discovered that the bank actually intended to knowingly transfer title to property that did not match what had been advertised on the Multiple Listing Service. That the discrepancy existed was not as big a problem as the fact that either the bank or it’s agent did not disclose the discrepancy and we were left to discover it and attempt to resolve it.

If purchasing a foreclosure is in your future, you will need a great deal of patience, a mind that questions most things, and a very good attorney.