Aug 302010

The most accurate answer is, “it depends.” Here are some numbers regarding a few communities in Southern Piscataquis County. The first column represents all the residential property currently listed (Maine Real Estate Information System). Column two shows the number of sales in the previous six months. These two numbers give us an “absorption rate.”

  Inventory Sales/6 MO Months Supply
Charleston 13 1 78
Dover Foxcroft 107 15 43
Guilford 22 4 33
Sangerville 39 2


Sebec 32 5 38
Total 213 27


For an example, let’s look at Guilford where there are currently 22 properties on the market. In the past six months four have sold. Without “drilling down” to specifics, this calculates to a 33 month supply. In other words, at the current rate of sale, it will take nearly three years for the current inventory to sell—assuming, of course, nothing new comes on the market. (Among the towns used, Guilford is actually the “hottest” market. Sangerville has a ten year supply!)

Aug 242010

The following article is reproduced with  permission from WoodsWise Wire. WoodsWiseWire is an occasional electronic newsletter provided by the Maine Forest Service, on topics of general interest to woodland owners, foresters, loggers, and others interested in Maine’s forests. To unsubscribe or manage your subscription to the Woodswise wire visit:

AUGUSTA, Maine – Woodland owners who would like highly valuable, yet free, professional advice about their woodlots now have a quick and easy online way to request a meeting with a Maine Forest Service (MFS) district forester.

The MFS has a new online request form available on its web site that will get the process started for woodland owners to meet with one of the 10 district foresters around the state, according to MFS officials.

MFS district foresters can meet with woodland owners to walk their property, provide technical assistance and suggest management options, according Morten Moesswilde, district forester for the area including Kennebec, Waldo, Knox and Lincoln counties.

“It’s one of our core efforts, to get people to call and ask for assistance when they are thinking about how to manage their woodland,” Moesswilde said about the new online service. “We’ve always encouraged people to call us for help. This is just one more tool for us to reach them.

“It’s really common to meet with the landowner and have them say they didn’t know the service was available and free of charge,” he added.

Working under MFS’s Forest Policy and Management Division, district foresters provide technical assistance, information and educational services to a variety of clients, including landowners, loggers, consulting foresters, and municipalities. Working directly with landowners is one of their primary functions, Moesswilde said.

“We know from research that the most effective way of providing information to landowners is one-on-one contact with a professional,” he said, adding that of all the possible sources of information available, “an unbiased source of professional advice from a state forester is the source that people prefer to go to.”

The state’s woodland owners are “incredibly important” to Maine, which has 17 million acres of forest and is the most forested state in the U.S, Moesswilde said. There are more than 6 million acres of small family forests, making up about one-third of Maine’s forest ownership, he noted.

“They provide the backdrop for why we have such a beautiful state,” the district forester said about those forest lands. “Family forests provide wildlife habitat, clean water; they provide untold amounts of recreational opportunities of every kind,” as well as significant economic benefits.

Each of the MFS district foresters covers defined areas ranging in size from about 400,000 to 3 million acres. Not only do the district foresters meet with landowners, they also visit schools and work with municipalities and organizations such as land trusts to provide forestland information. All are highly trained specialists who can provide independent advice, Moesswilde said. “We have a tremendous staff,” he said. “The people we have are very knowledgeable, very capable.”

Most of the district foresters do between 50 and 100 visits annually with woodland owners, he said. In the past two and a half months, Moesswilde has conducted 31 visits in his five-county district, he said, adding that the fall season tends to be a busy time for the district foresters.

Woodland owners are interested in a number of issues, the district forester said. They want to know such information as what kind of trees they have; whether they have any timber of value; how to go about harvesting; or how to encourage different kinds of habitats. “The range of challenges that landowners face is pretty broad – we try to help them sort through the issues and prioritize based on their goals,” he said.

Moesswilde cited as an example his recent visit to a landowner in Kennebec County, a sixth-generation owner whose family had owned their land since the late 1700s. He walked the property with the landowner and discussed not only harvest opportunities, but also assistance available for a long-term forest management plan, he said.

“The attachment of the landowners to their family property was very evident throughout the visit, as were the ownership challenges they face,” he said.

MFS district foresters will meet with the landowners and spend anywhere from an hour or two to half a day walking the property, looking at trails, roads and water sources, and considering boundaries, Moesswilde said. The district forester can review wildlife habitat, forest development and forest health, as well as discuss Maine’s Forest Practices Act, water quality laws and the non-regulatory “Best Management Practices (BMPs)” for forestry. “Forest management includes all those decisions that pertain to the woodland ownership,” he said.

They then will review options and often refer the landowner to a private consulting forester to develop a written forest management plan. District foresters provide lists of consultants rather than recommend anyone specifically, Moesswilde said. “The landowner needs to find a forester that they are comfortable with – no two foresters are alike,” he said.

“Frankly, we try to meet people where they are,” the district forester said. “We’re not trying to persuade them to do something if that’s not what they want to do. I’m there to help them see it through my eyes and give them an understanding of what their options are … The more they understand their options, the more confident they can feel about their decisions, including hiring the consulting forester that can best meet their needs.”

The new online form requests basic contact information about the landowner and the land, including acreage and location. Landowners can indicate their goals and intended woodlot use on the form. Landowner information for ownership under 1,000 acres is kept confidential in keeping with Maine law. All requests are responded to as soon as possible, Moesswilde said.

Those landowners who prefer can contact their local MFS district forester by phone and request a meeting. The MFS web site also lists information about the regional offices.

“Forestry is a long-term process,” Moesswilde said. “Getting started is often the hardest part for forest landowners. We’re there to get people the information and resources they need to make informed decisions.”

The new request form can be found at:

For information about Maine Forest Service district foresters, go to:


Really Rotten Realty

 Posted by at 9:44 am
Aug 162010

What a great way to start the week… with lots of laughter. Of course some may not fully appreciate the humor, but Mark Twain said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.” How about this: look for yourself. Take a look at this site with the understanding that it’s mean to be a parody:

Really Rotten Realty

The only thing that upsets me is that I didn’t think of this! (I did recently make a business card for a hypothetical agent who promised to “serve you in ways you never dreamed of…” But that’s another story.)

Speaking for stories… I’ve joked that I only do real estate brokerage so I have stories to tell in class. And when I tell those stories I point out that there’s “no way I could make this stuff up.” I offer this site as proof of that!


Fall 2010 Courses

 Posted by at 7:21 am
Aug 152010

The Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative Catalog will be out soon! I’ll be offering three courses this fall. For detailed information, course schedule and to register online, visit the PVAEC website. (As of this writing, the fall courses hadn’t been listed yet.) You can also call the office at 564-6525. The Fall Brochure should be out soon and will include the following:

Sales and Influencing Strategies Workshop

Do you need to be more persuasive?  The techniques you will learn have been applied in situations including advertising, public speaking, customer service and even parenting.  This is an action-packed and information-crammed program that’s fun to boot!  You’ll learn, for example, that cows don’t give milk; you actually have to take it!  Or at least you need to know some basic techniques for getting those cows to yield the precious fluid.  We won’t be milking cows, but we will be learning techniques to increase the returns from our sales and influencing efforts.

9/28/2010 , Tuesday from  6:30 – 8:30 pm at SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft

 Brainpower… Discovering Your Mental Abilities

 Mental patterns and routines allow us to take in, categorize and handle great amounts of information, but they also account for most of our “stupid mistakes.” With awareness, we can manage the process and increase mental flexibility. After experiencing first-hand the flexibility and potential of the mind, participants learn how they can develop important mental skills such as fact-finding, problem-solving, and “happying.”

 9/14/2010, Tuesday from 6:30-9:00 at  SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft

Ten Dating Rules to Help Your Job Search

The idea of having a new job is exciting. For most folks the idea of finding that new job is dreadful. This fun seminar will ask you to make job searching a bit more fun by using a few basic marketing principles. You’ll learn how to turn your job search into a program and how a properly designed resume will help you answer tough interview questions. High School Seniors welcome and encouraged to come!

 10/12/2010, Tuesday from 6:30 – 8:30 at SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft.

Each of these courses has a minimum enrollment, so don’t procrastinate registering!


Real Estate Courses Starting Soon

 Posted by at 5:16 am
Aug 062010

Fall is, of course, back to school season! And once again, I’ll be teaching several prelicensing courses for the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate.

The Sales Agent Course is for those who are brave enough to consider getting into the business of real estate. Actually, many recent students have said they believe a down market is the best time for a number of reasons. There’s less competition as others drop out, there’s a slower pace that accomodates learning… 

If you think you might be interested, there’s more course information at the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate website and licensing information at the Maine Real Estate Commission website. The course I’ll be teaching in Bangor starts on September 16th, so register at the Arthur Gary site or by calling the school (207) 856-1712 soon.

Folks who are already licensed know (but probably need to be reminded!) they need to complete the Associate Broker Course within two years of becoming licensed. The Associate Broker Course I’ll be teaching in Bangor starts on Wednesday, September 22nd, so register at the Arthur Gary site or by calling the school (207) 856-1712 soon.


Can We Bribe A Buyer?

 Posted by at 5:56 am
Aug 012010

While I’ve never been asked exactly that question, it’s sometimes implied–especially given the slow moving market we’re experiencing. There’s an obvious temptation to “get creative” when property goes on the market. After all, what was the tax credit? (And for the linguists: what is the difference between an incentive and a bribe?)

Definitions aside, recent changes in the mortgage industry have an impact. For all practical purposes, there are severe limits on what sorts of  (and how much) incentive sellers can offer a buyer. Savvy buyers are often leery because they recognize gimmicks and the risks associated with “rebates” in any form.

Some of the things that do work :

  • Realistic pricing… there’s very little reason for a buyer to pay more than fair market value and it’s easy for them to have some sense of what that is.
  • Curb appeal matters and the old “one chance to make a first impression” logic applies. Keep the lawn mowed and trimmed, plant a few flowers.
  • Keep the inside neat and fresh. You don’t need to create a sterile look, certainly… but neatness counts.
  • Part of neatness is “decluttering.” Pack up and store 1/3 to 1/2 of your “stuff.” It’ll make the house look bigger and you might discover you don’t miss it!
  • Think “exposure.” Don’t be bashful about letting people know your house is for sale… and make sure the information about it is complete and accurate. Facts are important, but presentation makes a difference.
  • Be patient. At least one study showed that it takes as much as 21 showings to sell a house.

These are “safe” and relatively inexpensive buyer incentives. Remember that an incentive is only an incentive if the buyer wants it! At the same time, understand that once a buyer falls in love they may drive a hard bargain.  Be prepared for low offers even if you’re priced right. A lot of buyers are using the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” approach.