" " " Maine's Waterfront Real Estate News: March 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just the Facts: Encouraging Numbers

The Maine Association of Realtors reported the median sales prices of existing homes were up 4.84% during the month of February when compared to one year ago. The statewide median existing home sales price reached $193,950 for the month, up from February 2006's price of $185,000. The median sales price indicates that half of of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less. A total of 698 homes changed hands during the month, down a slight 1.13%. Nationally, sales of single-family, existing homes decreased 3.4% from last February.

My personal opinion is that the current "soft" real estate market is mostly a media-inspired event -- although no doubt there was overbuilding in some markets and other areas where prices needed "stabilizing".

But this does give buyers a "window" to shop for properties at more realistic values....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cool Stuff: Mail a Friend a "Lobstah".

Restaurants throughout the world feature "Maine lobster" -- that sweet, succulent stuff that makes grown people don bibs and make a delicious mess. What better gift could you send to a friend, on a special occasion, than live Maine lobsters, complete with bibs, crackers, picks, wet wipes as well as cooking and eating instructions?

Shipped in special insulated cartons for next-day delivery via UPS or FedEx, you can be sure to surprise a friend with this memorable gift.

If you really want to blow someone away, a few of the purveyors listed below will overnight a complete Live Lobster Bake, which can include steamer clams, black mussels, New England seafood chowder, sweet corn, red potatoes and topped off with a native blueberry pie....

The Maine Lobster Council lists 47 members that will ship live lobsters at www.mainelobsterpromo.com

The companys we have selected below are mostly family businesses that have been lobstering for 40 years or more...

William Atwood Lobster Company -- www.atwoodlobster.com
Bayley's Lobster Pound -- www.bayleys.com
Boothbay Region Lobsterman's Co-op -- www.mainelobstercoop.net
Cap Morrill's -- www.capmorrills.com
Cape Porpoise Lobster Company -- www.capeporpoiselobster.com
Graffam Bros. -- www.lobsterstogo.com
McAleney's New Meadows Lobster -- www.newmeadowslobster.com
P J Merrill Seafoods -- www.pjmerrillseafood.com
New Harbor Fisherman's Co-op -- www.newharborlobster.com
Young's Shellfish Company -- www.youngshellfish.com
The Perfect Lobster Compny -- www.theperfectlobster.com

Monday, March 19, 2007

Real Estate Outlook: 2007

I'm a great believer in cycles -- in the stock market, in politics, in relationships, in life -- and definitely cycles in the U.S. real estate market. After cruising along for many months, or sometimes years, we can be yanked up short with a pronounced change in the marketplace, like now, where a sellers market is evolving into a buyers market.

So how should sellers deal with this changing market? Here are some suggestions:

1.) REEL IN EXPECTATIONS. Not so easy to do when prices have been steadily increasing for the last few years -- many sellers still haven't quite adjusted their thinking to this emerging buyers market.

2.) PRICE PROPERTY REALISTICALLY. Forget about last year's figures -- find out what comparable properties have been selling for in the last 2 to 3 months, and what's currently on the market, and their prices -- and then price your property competitively.

3.) GET YOUR PROPERTY SALEABLE. Called "staging", it's now more important than ever to fix minor flaws, think about an extra coat of paint, tidy things up and maximize your "curb" appeal for people driving by. These little extras will greatly improve your chances of getting the best price for your property.

4.) PATIENCE. The inventory of properties for sale is much higher than a year ago. One of the truths about real estate is that ALL properties eventually sell, when the price is right -- in this type of market, it's just going to take longer than last year.

5.) BUYERS ARE THERE ! Most brokers are fairly busy showing properties -- it's just that buyers have more to select from, they are taking their time to find the right property, and they are making sure they're getting a good value.

And what should buyers do?

Waiting to buy at the exact bottom of the market is as fruitless in real estate as it is in the stock market. It's more important to find the property you want, determine if it is a good value and then make your offer accordingly.

The old saying "NOW is always the best time to buy" is certainly true today, with a large inventory to select from, sellers becoming more negotiable, plus historically low interest rates.

The cycle WILL change back to a sellers market...but who knows exactly when?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cool Stuff: Go to a Country Auction

Besides community and church bingo games, the second most popular form of indoor entertainment (sometimes outdoors) in Maine is going to a country auction.

Have you ever wondered where antique dealers go to get their goods? In Maine, often called the "Attic of America", one of their best-kept secrets is the Burnham Auction (Houston-Brooks).

This auction, which claims to "buy junk and sell antiques", is a primary recipient from all those Maine attics and barns. The sheer variety of items found here will leave you scratching your head. It requires that you get up very early, as it starts promptly at 7 AM almost every Sunday of the year, be it rain, sleet, snow or freezing weather.

Operated by Dan and Pam Brooks and many associates, this auction has been a scene to behold for over 36 years. You will need to master the art of saying " yup" -- and be fast -- as many items go for less than $10.00.

CAUTION: Guard against getting auction "fever". A worse-case scenario of this ailment was when, in the heat of battle -- and only the auctioneer recognized, and called out the fact to the crowd -- that I was bidding against my wife on the other side of the room for the very same item. Embarrassing, but true...

They have a website for coming events and the items which will be featured at: www.houstonbrooks.com.

Some other Maine auctions where we have found some good buys and had some good fun:

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries (Thomaston) www.thomastonauction.com
Robert Foster Auction Gallery (Newcastle) www.fosterauctions.com
Brooder House Auction Service (Union) www.brooderhouse.com
Chesley's Auction Gallery (Corinth) www.chesleyauction.com
Gamage Antiques (Rockland) www.gamageantiques.com
Farrins Country Auction (Augusta) www.farrinsauctions.com
Andrews & Andrews Auctioneers (Northport) www.andrewsandandrews.com
Kennebec River Auction (Bath) www.maine-antiques.com
Cyr Auction Company (Gray) www.cyrauction.com
James D. Julia (Fairfield) www.juliaauctions.com

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just the Facts: The Internet vs. Real Estate

According to the National Association of Realtors, last year 78% of repeat buyers and 82% of first-time buyers used the internet in their home searches.