Seller Financing Hazards!

 Posted by at 3:53 pm
Jun 232009
 

Here’s an interesting twist that should encourage you to dig below the surface. The Maine Legislature recently passed LD 1418 “an act to preserve home ownership an stabilize the economy by preventing unnecessary foreclosures.” It is deemed an “emergency” measure and went into effect on June 15, 2009. On the surface it sounds well-intended.

But this bill has significant and perhaps unintended consequences that suggest seller financing — which has always been a practice fraught with hazards — is now even more hazardous. One attorney I’ve spoken with suggests this bill will double the cost of foreclosure for lenders and “any seller who considers owner financing with this staring them in the face is getting bad advice…” (A seller who owner finances is a lender, obviously!)

The bill has been welcomed, even in real estate circles, as “not impacting buyers and sellers.” I wouldn’t try to tell that to an owner who has financed and finds it necessary to foreclose! Any seller now considering owner financing as an option must involve an attorney. No “if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it.

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Jun 222009
 

Officials from the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation and the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection announced that a new toll-free foreclosure prevention hotline is now operational at 1-888-664-2569.  From 8AM – 5PM consumers will be able to speak with Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection staff about foreclosure; and after working hours they may leave a message, which will be returned.

Information about home foreclosure, including resources to assist consumers and lenders, has been added to the Bureau’s website at http://www.Credit.Maine.gov. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also offers a “Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure” and other information online at http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure/

Thanks to State Representative Pete Johnson from Greenville for allowing us to share this information from his recent newsletter!

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A Special Testimonial…

 Posted by at 7:58 am
Jun 192009
 

If you’re looking for the “Photo Essay” written by second grader Kailee, you’ll find it in the “Clients Speak” section. She’s not technically a client, but it sorta seemed to fit there! If you aren’t looking for it, go read it anyway! You’ll be impressed by this young lady’s writing skills!

By way of some explanation, one of my “fun” activities is to serve as a volunteer Bookworm at the local primary school. Bookworming involves visiting the school regularly and listening students read. Kailee decided to write about it as an end of the year project and I teased that if she was going to make me famous I would do the same for her!

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Jun 152009
 

As reported in the Piscataquis Times, Rolling Thunder Express and on The Daily ME site…

ABBOT—During a recent meeting of Piscataquis County Granges, Walter Boomsma was presented with an award “for outstanding service to all Granges in Piscataquis Pomona for publicity and beyond.” In presenting the award, long time member Betty VanDyke of Guilford said, “You, my friend, have taken your grange and made it like a roaring fire in our communities… but beyond that you have also set that fire in other granges… this is what community service is all about—helping others.”

Boomsma serves as Program Director for Valley Grange in Guilford and Overseer — a position comparable to vice president — for the Pomona or County Grange. He is also Publicity Director for both organizations. He says that he especially appreciates the opportunities he has to work with kids in the area through the Grange’s Dictionary Program and “bookworming” at Guilford Primary School. (The Bookworm Program involves Grange members visiting the school so second and third graders can read to them.) “Kids have a lot of things figured out that we adults sometimes forget,” he says.  “They know that working together and helping each other makes things happen. They might not call it ‘community,’ but they understand the concept.  And I love their enthusiasm for learning and growing!”

Accepting the certificate and engraved paperweight Boomsma said, “I’m pleased to receive this award from my colleagues, but my real rewards are the smiles and giggles from the children and the kinship we all achieve when we remember we are a community.”

Also frequently seen volunteering as an usher with Center Theatre, Boomsma teaches for the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate and Piscataquis Valley Adult Ed Cooperative. He is an Associate Broker with Maine Choice Realty of Newport.

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Have Some Summer Fun!

 Posted by at 4:31 am
Jun 082009
 

Maine Choice Realty is a proud member of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce… and the Chamber has some great opportunities coming up!

First is the Chamber’s First Annual OUTDOOR EXPO FAMILY FUN DAYS! This event will be held on the Foxcroft Academy Campus on JUNE 13 from 9 AM -4 PM. There are a variety of different activities that are being sponsored by different businesses around Piscataquis County: softball tournament, 5K race, tug of war, water balloon toss, egg balancing race, 3 legged race, swim relays and more. Activities for small children include a bounce house, bean bag toss, face painting or they may like to “Touch a Truck” or “Pat a Puppy”. There promises to be great fun for everyone.

To register for an activity or find out more information, contact the Chamber office at 564-7533.  The fee is $5 for an individual to participate in the activities, or $25 for a team. The event will be held rain or shine, since we will just move all of the activities inside. This is not only a great opportunity to meet and support some of your local business men/women but also a chance to come out with your families and have a fun filled day right here in Piscataquis County!

Thanks also to the Chamber and the North Maine Woods, Inc. I have “two for the price of one” coupons for visitor passes to the Katahdin Iron Works Jo-Mary Forest. Day use of the beach and boat lunch is included! (Camping is not.) For more information, visit the North Maine Woods web site and then give me a call or email if you’d like a pass!

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Jun 012009
 

Most people know that those engaged in real estate brokerage must be licensed by the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. A major purpose and focus of this licensing is “consumer protection” and while a license is certainly no guarantee of competency (any more than a driver’s license guarantees a good driver), there are minimum educational standards for each of the various types of licenses. Laws and rules govern the practice of real estate and are administered by the Maine Real Estate Commission (MREC).

So while the licensing process in real estate bears some resemblance to licensing drivers, there is one important difference. Unlike traffic laws, there really are no “real estate police” as such. In a sense, you – the consumer – share some of the responsibility for policing the industry. So what happens if you think you’ve been “wronged” by a licensed individual?

Your first source of protection is your own knowledge. Obviously, you can’t – and shouldn’t have to – know every regulation that pertains to real estate. But you should question and challenge if something doesn’t seem “right” to you.  Real estate transactions typically involve large investments and deserve research and diligence on your part. Listen carefully to what is being said and to what is not being said. Read any document that is presented to you thoroughly and carefully and seek qualified legal advice.

One of the points of being knowledgeable is sometimes people think something is “wrong” when it isn’t. Conversely sometimes people do not realize what is “right” and that they are being wronged!

When things do go wrong, your first line of defense should be the agent you’ve retained. Many times what at first seems “wrong” is just a simple misunderstanding requiring conversation. So the first number you need is the agent’s.

If your agent is not responsive or you aren’t satisfied with the answers you are getting, your next step is to call the designated broker for the agency involved. Listing and buyer representation agreements are between you and the agency—not the individual agent. The designated broker (often shortened to “DB”) is the person ultimately responsible for the legal operation of that agency. Call the company’s main number and ask for the name of the designated broker and speak with him or her directly.

Ultimately, you may also choose to contact the Maine Real Estate Commission at 207 624-8515. Understand that the MREC will not have jurisdiction over disputes between buyers and sellers; they only have authority over licensed individuals and agencies. You will find some general information including additional contact information on the MREC web site.

Of course you are not obligated to complete each of these steps in order and none of this precludes you speaking with your own attorney if you believe the situation merits.

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