Sales Strategy Workshop

 Posted by at 6:28 am
Feb 282011

Here’s a course I’ll be offering soon through the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative… on March 22nd so register soon!

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 have 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. Register online or call PVAEC at 564-6525.


Living in the Northeast

 Posted by at 6:31 am
Feb 262011

Thanks to one of my favorite magazines and websites I went on a mental journey this morning. Parts of it went back over fifty years to the memory of gathering sap with my Dad. Our tools then were bit and brace, an old truck with a home-made tank on the back, some shiny new buckets we picked up at the railroad station. My journey began when I read the ongoing blog “Dispatch from the Sugar Woods” by David Mance III.

I made another turn at an article regarding The Secret Life of Snow. This article is part of a weekly column called “The Outside Story” – a weekly column on forestry subjects, natural history, and ecology syndicated in dozens of newspapers.

I could have travelled a lot longer and further. I might even have bought a diameter tape and 10-factor prism or looked at some resources available to teachers. Instead, I decided to rush here and tell you about The Northland Woodlands magazine and Center for Education. The mission of the center is “to advance a culture of forest stewardship in the Northeast and to increase understanding of and appreciation for the natural wonders, economic productivity and ecological integrity of the region’s forests.”

If you live in the Northeast—or want to—these are folks you want to know and this is a site you’ll want to visit. One thing that may surprise you is that this is a “non-profit” organization that actually sticks to its mission. In fact, I’d been reading the magazine for a long time before I realized the non-profit nature. They produce a quality content-rich publication. The writing is superb and the information is both interesting and informative.

Journey on over to Northern Woodlands.  Then see where your mouse and your mind take you. I’ll bet you have fun and learn something too!

Feb 222011

“I felt extremely comfortable asking questions in relation to the material presented. I have experience teaching/instructing and receiving such in six years of college. I have no issue stating that this instructor is among the top three I have had.”

I’ll be teaching a designated broker course starting on April 6th at the Ramada Inn, 357 Odlin Road, Bangor.

Here’s the official description:

This 45 hour course covers all the educational requirements that are necessary to apply for a Broker license. To qualify for the Broker license the applicant must apply to the Maine Real Estate Commission and show proof of having passed the Designated Broker course. The applicant must have been licensed as an Associate Broker for 2 years within the 5 years immediately preceding the date of application submitted to the Commission.

There is No State Exam required after passing this course.

Designated Brokers/Brokers, if you would like to take this course as a refresher, this course has been approved for 18 clock hours of continuing education credit by the Maine Real Estate Commission.

 Preregister by calling the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate at 856-1712 or visiting the website.

Feb 172011

A few years ago I wrote an article regarding how often I was asked “How’s the market?” I hadn’t realized it until last night, but I’m not getting the question so much anymore.

I realized that when a client commented, “You know, I probably know as much about the market as you do.” He immediately apologized and explained his position even though I agreed with him. His point was not who was smarter; his point was it’s darn tough to understand this market and almost impossible to make predictions.

Unfortunately, this is not a case of clients getting smarter (nor for that matter is it a case of me getting dumber!). The media is doing a great job of keeping information about “the market” in the news. We can debate the quality of the information; we can disagree with the conclusions… but the point here is that folks have a much higher awareness of the economy and market events. They truly don’t have to ask; they know. The problem for all of us is, in part, we mostly know that we don’t know!

An interesting example of this was a major story that hit my inbox just yesterday morning. Corelogic (a company that collects mortgage and property data) issued a press release stating that “Statistics published by the National Association of Realtors appear to be overstate sales of existing homes by 15-20%.”


If you thought it was bad before, this number gets your attention. In practical terms, NAR says the unsold inventory on the market last November represented a 9.5 month supply. CoreLogic says it’s a 16 months supply.

NAR’s response to CoreLogic’s claim is that it’s “premature at best.” You probably don’t want to hear the explanations. Most of us would prefer to think this is not rocket science but rather a simple counting exercise. 

My point is that assuming my client and I both read this article we both know:

  1. Sales are down, NARs thinks by 5%–CoreLogic says 12%.
  2. The glut of homes on the market represents either a 9.5 month supply or a 16 month supply.

Of course what’s especially interesting is that none of these numbers are of particular interest or value to a buyer or a seller. More localized numbers might be, but even those numbers are just that: numbers.

Market’s don’t buy and sell real estate, people do. And I still “sell” properties (admittedly far less than in the past) the same way I always did: one at a time.

I’m not suggesting we should ignore the “market.” But if you — for whatever reason — are in a position to buy or sell property, you should focus on your objective. Almost all of this “market data” is history and a lot of it is at best “spongy.” If you want to buy or sell it’s important to remember that history doesn’t create the future and you are not the victim of history; you are creating it.


Tax Workshop for Landowners

 Posted by at 7:25 am
Feb 152011

SWOAM, the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, has partnered with the Maine Forest Service, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Maine Revenue Service to bring 16 workshops to landowners in March.

For those in the area, one will be held on Wednesday, March 16th from 6-8 PM by Lisa Whynot of the Maine Revenue Service and Gordon Moore, MFS District Forester. Topics to be discussed include the Tree Growth, Open Space, and Farmland tax law. These are the three primary ‘Current Use’ property tax programs that may be of great interest to landowners.

For additional information about this particular workshop contact Peter Robinson at 564-7433.

A complete list of workshops (including six that are specific to federal tax issues) around the state can be found at the SWOAM website. Look under the events tab.


Who’s Buying Maine?

 Posted by at 8:28 am
Feb 132011

The answer might surprise you!

For several years now, MREIS (Maine Real Estate Information System) has tracked where buyers of Maine property live(d) when they purchased the property. The 2010 data has just been summarized and I’ve tabulated some of the results–specifically single family homes.

The data shows that three out of four (76.5%) of the single family homes sold in Maine last year were sold to people already living in Maine.

When we add the New England States we learn that just over 90% of the homes sold in Maine last year were sold to people already living in the Northeast.  (Massachusetts accounts for 7.17%, New Hampshire 3.7%, New York 1.45%, Connecticut 1.3% and Vermont .43%.)

One item that I confess surprised me a little was that 1.3% of the sales were to buyers from Florida. I suppose these might be “seasonal” homes, but we could wonder if perhaps a few people are trading some sun for some snow.

While the numbers aren’t statistically significant it is interesting to note that the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Texas and Maryland have provided Maine with a number of buyers and 43 (.36%) of the homes sold were purchased by “International” buyers. And would the one person from Mississippi who bought a home in Maine last year please raise his or her hand?

“What about land?” you say. The numbers are not signficantly different. Just under 76% of land sales in 2010 were made to buyers already living in Maine.

Feb 012011

Thanks to Mother Nature, the Associate Broker course scheduled to start tomorrow will be delayed by one week and start on February 9th. That’s great news for procrastinators! There’s still time to sign up! If you’re currently holding a Sales Agent License, check to see when it expires and remember: you need to take this course before that happens!  Call the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate (856-1712) and join this illustrious group!