Sales Agent Course Starting Soon!

 Posted by at 5:09 am
Apr 262010

Interested in learning lots about real estate and maybe getting your license to sell some? I’ll be starting a course in a few weeks in Bangor… It starts on Thursday, May 6th in the evening and will keep you busy for three weekends. For additional information visit the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate web site. Look under “prelicensing course” and then “sales agent live.” You can also call the school at 207 856-1712 and talk to Stacey or Donna.


Who’s Buying Maine?

 Posted by at 6:36 am
Apr 252010

Mainers continue to buy Maine! Nearly 80% of the property sold in 2009 was bought by Maine residents. I hear lots of people who want to list their property with the hope some “out of stater” will show up and buy it. It does happen, but it only happens 20% of the time.

Speaking of numbers, there’s been some positive press lately over March sales with lots of excitement over the fact that units sold in March 2010 are “up 46%” over March 2009. I’m not trying to be negative, but we need to keep some perspective. I’ve mentioned before that we are coming up against some very low numbers. In March 2009 there were only 515 properties sold in the entire state.

Speaking of perspective, the median selling price (three months) in Piscataquis County jumped 91%! Last year it was $33,000; this year it’s “up” to $63,000. (Also, let’s not forget that MSP can be dramatically impacted by one extremely high or low sale.)

The source of these numbers in the Maine Real Estate Information System and statewide Multiple Listing Service. Statistics reflect properties sold within that system.


Loan me…?

 Posted by at 5:28 am
Apr 192010

One of the calls I seem to be getting more of involves the buyer or the buyer’s agent asking, “Will the owner provide financing?” Since these calls are typically regarding property I have listed, I usually try to do a little research regarding the need for owner financing. Fortunately, most of the answers are honest.

Not too long ago, a statistic was released suggesting that over 20% of the people asked thought it was “okay” to walk away from a mortgage in which the holder was in over his or her head. In layman’s terms, I think that means one in five people find it acceptable not to pay back the money they’ve borrowed.

That must have included one call I had requesting owner financing. In reply to my question regarding why owner financing was being sought I got the explanation that the potential buyer for my client’s property was “walking away” from the house and mortgage he currently owned. He is desparate for a place to live and has a “small” downpayment.

And I’m supposed to suggest my seller client offer financing to this person?

I am not unsympathetic to those who have fallen on hard times, but I also do not think sellers should make bad decisions. It’s also no secret that lenders have “tightened up” lending standards–there are very few circumstances that suggest a seller should become a lender with low standards. For that matter, it’s not a particularly good time for a seller to become a lender with high standards.

Currently one of out ten mortgages is delinquent according to Real Estate Economy Watch. This is over 20% higher than a year ago. Foreclosure rates are over 50% higher than a year ago and there doesn’t seem to be any indication things are going to improve much in the immediate future.

If you are selling remember that “owner financing” in almost any form means you are loaning money to the buyer. Typically, owner financing is being requested because the buyer can’t get financing through a bank. There’s historically been a false sense of security with owner financing because the seller can always “take the property back.” Before you owner finance you might want to explore how difficult and expensive that is… and be sure you are making an informed decision.


The Road Less Traveled?

 Posted by at 3:21 pm
Apr 092010

Moving to and living in the country can mean many things… a healthier lifestyle comes to mind. But when it comes to rural roads, that may not be the case. According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than half (56%) of traffic fatalities occur on rural roads. Yet only 23% of the U.S. Population lives in rural areas.

Extra caution is encouraged when traveling in rural areas — particularly unfamiliar ones. This is especially true for buyers out looking for and at property–don’t let your search distract you! Also, while it’s often not high on the list of purchase considerations, just how safe is the road your new home will be located on? Rural hazards are many including blind corners, hills, animals and livestock in the road and farm and logging machinery.

You might find a website developed by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota of particular interest. The site maps out every traffic fatility from 2004 until 2007 with basic information. There’s even a “heat map” feature that creates a sense of accident density. Visit the site at But not while you’re driving!