Christmas Greetings!

 Posted by at 6:54 am
Dec 252012

My annual letter to clients and friends…

mooseccritter4The holidays are a great time to say “thank you!” I’ve enjoyed your confidence and friendship this past year and it is satisfying to know that a lot of people—buyers, sellers, colleagues, affiliates and students—are achieving success as a result of our work together.

This is also a great time of year to look back and forward. You’ll recall last year I announced an increased emphasis on the training and education aspects of my work. This proved to be a wise decision both economically and personally as the real estate market continues to stagnate and, at the same time, transactions become more complex. As I’ve worked with students in real estate courses, I’ve noted two extreme directions agents are taking as a result.

One is to work extra hard and attempt to garner as much business as possible. Another is to specialize and be selective—almost the opposite. Fortunately, at this stage of my life and career I can take this second path. I do not intend to “quit” the business and I am only too happy to work with select clients. My intention is to continue to provide client-focused service with an attention to detail that would not be possible if I aggressively pursued a large number of clients. So do not hesitate to contact me if you are going to be involved in a real estate transaction as a buyer or seller.

I will, of course, continue to offer real estate courses. This fall I had one of the largest Sales Agent courses I’ve had in several years. This may well reflect a growing confidence in the future of real estate. I also had the opportunity to again serve on the “Core Course Committee” for the Maine Real Estate Commission. This select group of instructors develops the continuing education course required of all licensees who are renewing their license. It’s a lot of work and not without its frustrations, but it’s also educational and rewarding!

One of the more successful courses I offered through the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative was Continue reading »

Dec 112012

That’s not as crazy as you might think. Sure, things have been tough… but this really is a great time to get started. Before you can practice, you’re going to need to complete an approved course, pass an exam, and get a license from the state. But just because you have to do something doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!

Walter keeps the class interesting with anecdotal stories that put law into real terms. Good sense of humor!

Maine Law requires you to successfully complete a 55 hour course and pass a state exam… there’s a course starting in Bangor this spring on March 6th. Get started and get in now!

Very interactive class was pleasant and enough breaks to not feel overwhelmed.

Walter’s real estate licensing classes are offered through the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate. For complete course details and to register visit the school’s website at or call the school at 856-1712.

If you have questions about starting a career in real estate, email Walter… find out what it’s like and why you’ll love to learn!


Gram’s Moving In!

 Posted by at 8:24 am
Dec 052012

A recent article in Real Estate Economy Watch offers a wealth of statistical data supporting the observation that “Today’s housing depression has again forced generations to move in together, but as the housing recovery takes hold, many plan to stay together and revive the multi-generational lifestyle of the past.” The article also, quite naturally, focuses on how this changes the real estate market. At least one commenter notes that the “biggest upside” of the trend is “more housing for the money.”

I’m not sure I agree. I might agree if the analysis was that this trend means different housing for money. Too often, we view the world as one dimensional and in America, it’s all about the money most of the time.

When I am teaching people who are studying for a real estate license, I tell them the biggest mistake one can make after getting licensed is to start out “poor.” It’s a horrible basis on which to make decisions and one can discover him or herself chasing commissions instead of objectively counselling clients.

I think that advice applies across the board. A real estate buyer who posted about a “Catch-22” he’s caught in is clearly caught there in a large part because he doesn’t have the money required to complete a painless transaction. Even he sees an option of passing on the current purchase until he can save up some more money.

We shouldn’t–can’t really–ignore economic reality. But when we are thinking about living arrangements, we need to look beyond the economics. The personal and social impact of multi-generational living arrangements can be both positive and negative. Those impacts are something we can have some control over.

The Amish understand this with homes and farms where multi-generational living is the norm. (I would suggest you research “Gros Daddy Haus” except when I did, most of the references are to porn sites! That might say something about our society…) Actually, it’s more than a norm–it’s an expectation that is based on their larger definition of community and their tendency to carefully consider how changes will impact that and their way of life.

Given our economic environment, the likelihood of families facing these sorts of choices in clearly going to increase and in many cases “there won’t be a choice.” Even if you believe that, don’t just add up the dollars in the process–consider how that “forced” choice is going to impact you and your way of life. You aren’t just letting somebody move in with you, you are changing your way of life and with some forethought you can control the impact.

If, as the article suggests, you want to “stay together and revive the multi-generational lifestyle of the past,” understand that lifestyle isn’t something that just happens to you–it’s something you can consciously define and adopt.