For The Numbers Crowd…

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
May 292009

A few statistics with very little comment… MREIS (Maine Real Estate Information System) reports that 13.84% fewer homes were sold than in April 2009 than April 2008. The median sales price eased 10.21% to $160,000, continuing the trend of greatest sales activity being lower priced properties. Median indicates that half the homes sold for more and half for less than that amount. Nationwide, sales were down 2.8 percent compared to April 2008. According to NAR, the national median existing single-family home price decreased 14.9% to $169,800.

To add some perspective… So far this year (as of May 26) there have been 15,079 new listings throughout the state with 3,659 sold. The “balance on hand” is 27,008 with slightly less than 10% of those listing “under contract.”

Don’t you feel better knowing that?



 Posted by at 5:20 am
May 292009

Thanks to my sister, Donna, I actually have a cute TRUE story that relates to teaching and to real estate! Donna teaches in a North Carolina school system and has a son graduating from high school this year. Donna recently shared…

The school system has a tradition that involves the High School Principal and Superintendent of Schools going to the home of each graduating senior and placing a “congratulations” sign (similar to political signs) on the front lawn of the graduates’ homes.

It happens that our Mom lives a short distance away and happened be out walking that day. She was near Donna’s house when she saw “these two well dressed men putting a sign in the front yard.” So Donna got a frantic phone call from Mother demanding to know why hero house was up for sale and why they didn’t tell her.

For SaleIn the interest of making this practical… did you know that in Maine an agency is required by law to have a seller’s written permission to place a for sale sign on a property? I occasionally have prospective clients ask me to put a sign up right away but I can’t do it until the listing agreement is signed. (That permission is typically included in the listing agreement.) By the way, once the listing agreement expires, the permission is expires and the sign must be removed… and there are plusses and minuses to having a sign up!


A Lasting Remembrance

 Posted by at 5:00 am
May 212009

Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored. ~Daniel Webster

Some might say we should pause in from the fun activities of a long weekend to remember those who’ve served and to honor those who are serving. That’s good advice, but in the truest sense, enjoying our freedoms is, perhaps, the greatest honor we can offer.

But let’s not forget to fly our flags (half mast until noon on Monday), wear our poppies, and join in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 – 1918)

May 142009

I give a tragic little chuckle over a call that comes through to our office all too often. The caller barely offers a greeting and then asks “How much do you charge for commission to sell a house?” When I answer, the conversation will often end fairly abruptly—sometimes without the courtesy of a thank you.

In what surely must be a related matter, a recent article bemoaned the fact that in a Harris Poll only 7% of the people surveyed completely trusted their real estate agent. As a point of comparision nearly 50% completed trusted their doctor. But an even more telling statistic is the flip side. Only 4% said they didn’t trust their doctor at all. In the same poll, 20% didn’t trust their real estate agent “at all.”

So maybe it makes sense to at least that 20% to select an agent based solely on the commission rate. I would certainly pay as little as possible (preferably nothing, actually) to somebody I didn’t trust at all.

Of course that begs the question of why 20% of the people polled chose to engage a real estate agent they didn’t trust! (Are trustworthy agents THAT hard to find?)

There are a number of considerations when retaining an agency and agent, but the most important might well be don’t buy (hire) the commission; buy (hire) the agent and agency. Commission is only one consideration. Just like pricing your home for sale, you don’t want to pay too much but you also don’t want to pay too little.

Before we address that decision, let’s look at the link between “trust” and “commission.”  We’ll use the “listing” side for demonstration purposes.

Several real estate gurus have estimated that listing a property for sale requires a minimum of some 150 individual tasks. No, I won’t list them. I can tell you that the process I use typically involves Continue reading »

May 022009

At least one media source claims that nearly half of current property sales nationwide are “distressed” sales–foreclosed properties or “short sales.” In many markets the inventory of properties available reflects that statistic. What does this mean to the seller who’s not distressed, but merely wants and needs to sell for more traditional reasons like job transfers, etc.?

Pricing is important, but you don’t have to compete solely based on price. Lenders can afford (or at least so they think) to take huge losses. That doesn’t mean you can or should. Of course it’s important that your home is priced realistically–historically meaning not “over-priced.” But you also should not “under-price” either.

Ultimately, pricing is only one component of marketing. When I teach a “simple marketing model” we talk about the people, the product and the program. Price is only one aspect of the product and program. 

Your property has features and benefits for buyers. If you price it correctly, you have at least three advantages Continue reading »