Frequently Asked Questions
How is the market in the York area?
Please reference my Seasonal Report - it should give you pretty good insight. In addition I would be happy to answer specific questions you have
Do you know of any bank foreclosures properties?
Bank foreclosures continue to be a rarity in the Southern Maine seacoast area, although some do exist. The numbers locally are not up as significantly as so many other areas of the country - despite the relentless national propaganda suggesting otherwise! The seacoast area has remained a strong investment choice. As a Realtor, I am usually aware of bank-owned properties new to the market. Other than through professional knowledge and contacts, there is no banner displaying the fact that a property is bank owned. Rarely do they go to auction. Instead, these properties are priced more aggressively - and through negotiation with the lender, can be purchased at less than market value.
Is it possible to find property within walking distance to the ocean for under $300,000?
In a word - "Yes". In some cases for not much more than $100,000. Many options exist including both year round and seasonal single family properties as well as condominiums and land. If you sign up for Home Scout you can also be informed as price changes occur. This is a great way to "stay in tune" with the market. Often times you will observe the same property undergoing numerous price changes. This is a good indication the seller is motivated!!
How much below asking price are properties selling for?
The average list to sale price in the Southern Maine Seacoast varies greatly between towns and even specific neighborhoods within the town. Until recently (early 2007), the average sales to list price in York, for example, was between 92-94%. Due to this year’s change in the economy and the “buyer’s market” we are in the midst of, many buyers are initially offering 75-80% of asking price, with eventual sales prices averaging in the 90% range.
The bottom line with negotiations in today’s market: Buyers, don’t be intimidated…make an offer! Sellers, be open-minded and not “insulted” if an initial offer is lower than you ever expected. Buyers are only following through with all the media “advice” out there. The time frame of 1st offer to final agreement seems to be taking longer than in the past as well, so a little patience can go a long way.
Why should I work with just one real estate agent?
Truthfully, working with just one is in your best interest. As a buyer, you should measure your confidence in the realtor you are working with. If they seem to only show you their own listings, or are not as responsive, professional, or informative as you expect, you can choose another.
In the state of Maine, licenced agents are required to share the Agency Relationships Form to any buyer once “substantive” conversation about real estate has occurred. This form explains the options of buyer representation: customer vs. client, and dual agency (when an agent represents both buyer and seller on a property). A Buyer Representation Agreement is the next option for buyers that elect full representation, from their agent as a “client.”
These forms, and all others through the Maine Association of Realtors are available for review. I can also answer any questions about agency relationships or Maine Real Estate Law and agent requirements.
Often times a personality match is a requirement for a good buyer / broker relationship. You can choose to work with a different agent at any time.
What are the risks of buying a "For Sale By Owner"
Perhaps the biggest risk to the buyer is overpaying, and the second is being under protected when you write up your purchase and sales agreement. As a realtor, when I am representing a buyer, I makes sure there are appropriate protection clauses. I work with property transaction every day, and see the types of issues that can arise. My experience is knowledge. Knowledge is power.
For homeowners, the idea of a selling a property without paying a commission is of course very enticing. But beware that there are many legalities in negotiating one of your largest financial investments. Exposure to buyers is key. With almost 90% of home buyers using the internet as their primary search tool, the worldwide internet exposure my company provides is a critical piece in getting a buyer into your home. Also, exposure to the brokerage community through Maine MLS, local broker caravans and open houses, and the 25+ agents in my York office who will have first hand information on every office listing, provide a complete marketing package.
Do you represent summer rental property, or offer property management services?
As an office, we do not generally represent yearly or seasonal rentals, although there are times I do help my clients with this. However my Community Message Board is a great place to both identify your needs, as well as advertise (for free) your property for rent.
If you are a property owner who needs assistance with odd jobs, scheduling showings, or cleaning in between tenants, I can make several introductions that can help you in this regard. These recommendations will help avoid extra costs of a retaining a professional property management company.
What is your recommendation for finding a seasonal rental?
In order to save money and avoid paying the overhead of an agency commision, I recommend Vacation Rentals By Owner (vrbo.com).