April Real Estate Market Update – Cumberland County

The weather is finally heating up and so is the real estate market.  You won’t see it in the April numbers, but I’m anticipating a big increase in the number of sales coming up in May.  Home inventory remains low with the higher demand in the spring and summer months ahead.   

Here’s a quick look at the real estate sales numbers for Cumberland County in April . 

April had 231 homes sold, which is down 29.35% from 327 units that sold in April 2016.  The decrease in homes sold can be attributed to the continued low inventory. 

The median sale price for the month was $299,000 which is an 19.12% increase  from the median sales price of $251,000 in the previous year.  The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The median days on market for March was 25 days, which is just slightly than the median of 24 days in April 2016.  That comes out to a 4.16% increase in the days on market year over year.  This is the first time in a long time that I’ve seen a year over year increase in days on market (even though its a tiny increase), but anything under 25 days is ridiculously low for median days on market. 

That’s all for now, get out there and enjoy the spring weather before we start complaining that it’s too hot outside.  Check in next month for the latest update on the real estate market!

Note: These numbers were pulled from the Maine MLS as of 5/17/2017 for single-family homes in Cumberland County. 


Posted on May 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

March Real Estate Market Update – Cumberland County

march real estate market update for cumberland county maine

Wow, time sure does fly – we are now over a quarter of the way through 2017, and we are finally done with the white stuff for a while.  It sure feels great to get outside to enjoy the weather.  In the real estate world, we are still experiencing a tight market with as we hang around the six months of inventory mark.  I might sound like a broken record here, but while inventory is remaining low, now might be a good time to put your home on the market if you’ve been considering a move.  There’s really no bad time to buy, but there is currently a premium on working with an experienced agent that knows how to navigate a competitive market. 

Here’s a quick look at the real estate sales numbers for Cumberland County in March. 

March had 277 homes sold, which is up 5.7% from 262 units that sold in March 2016.  This is a positive sign that the market is prepared to pickup some pace as we ramp up heading into the summer months.

The median sale price for the month was $260,000 which is right on track with the median sales price of $259,750 in the previous year.  The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The median days on market for March was 30 days, which is less than the median of 36 days in March 2016.  That is a 16.7% decrease in the days on market year over year, which can be attributed to a high number of buyers out there relative to homes on the market.

Get out there and enjoy the spring weather before we start complaining that it’s too hot outside.  Check in next month for the latest update on the real estate market!

Note: These numbers were pulled from the Maine MLS as of 4/26/2017 for single-family homes in Cumberland County. 


Posted on April 28, 2017 at 12:52 am
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Handle the Investigation Period Like A Pro

how to handle the investigation period like a pro

What’s this investigation period all about?

Congratulations, you’ve gone under contract on a home that you love… now all you have to do is wait for the closing.  Well, I guess that is technically true, but you probably want to perform some due diligence on the home before you sign the dotted line to purchase it.  The good news is that it’s pretty standard for purchase and sale agreements to include a due diligence period (aka the investigation period or inspection period) that allows the buyer to determine that the home is in satisfactory condition and that there aren’t any looming issues to worry about.
Maine is a buyer beware state, which basically means that its the responsibility of the buyer to do their homework prior to buying a home.  The seller is required to disclose any known issues specific to the home, but ultimately the buyer should verify and/or inspect anything that they find important.  The buyer also has sole discretion on what they consider to be a satisfactory result.

What Can I Have Inspected?

If you can think of it, you can inspect it…  but, just because you can think of it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good idea to do it.  All inspections are done at the expense of the buyer, so you need to determine what’s most important to you and go from there.

Here are a few common items to inspect during the investigation period:

General Building Inspection – a home inspector will view and test the major systems of the home and let you know what issues might be out there.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about your future home.  Most buyers would benefit from a general home inspection.
Water Quality – this test applies mostly to homes with a private well on-site.  You can test the water for bacteria, arsenic, and other key minerals to make sure the water is potable.
Septic – this test applies if you have a private septic tank on site to handle your waste water.  The inspector can help determine the current condition of the system.
Air Quality – this can encompass testing for several factors, but radon air testing is fairly common in Maine.
Zoning and Land Use – if you plan on using the property for a specific manner (in-home business, raising livestock, converting to multiple units) then you may need to do some zoning and land use research to make sure that you will be conforming.
Survey – If you are looking for a particular size lot, or if you want to know your exact boundaries then you may want to have a survey done.  Surveys can be expensive so you need to determine if it makes sense in your particular case.
Those are a few of the more common items to inspect, but the list is certainly not all-inclusive.  Your agent can help you determine what is the best to do based on your needs.

Who Can I Have Inspect?

The buyer has complete control on who they choose to perform any and all inspections.  You can choose someone that you already know, or your agent can most likely help direct you to a reputable inspector.  It’s fairly common to have a home inspector perform the general building inspection.  If any issues arrive that need to be looked into further, then you can have a technician or specialist in that field take a deeper look.

What Should I know Before the Inspection?

It’s important to know that there are no perfect homes out there.  It’s the home inspector’s job to find potential issues with the home, so don’t be frightened if some things come up during the inspection.  I would probably be much more concerned if nothing came up at all.  It might seem like its all negative news coming at you, and well, thats kind of the whole point.  Try to keep it positive and know that everything can be fixed.  Some items that come up are easier to fix than it may seem, and a lot of items are mentioned to help you understand potential future issues or let you know about best practices for maintenance and upkeep.
Be ready to follow along with the inspection and ask questions during the inspection as they come up.  This is a great chance to learn more about your future home, so don’t hold back.  You can bring a pen and paper if you want, but the inspector will supply a report after the inspection is complete.
If you have any concerns about the property from the disclosures or from viewing the property, be sure to let the inspector ahead of time (or at the beginning of the inspection) that you would like him/her to look into anything specific.

What To Expect During the Inspection?

The inspector will inspect the exterior of the home including the siding, roof, windows, doors, electrical outlets, and the general grounds.  The inspector will inspect the interior heating system, water (hot and cold), major appliances, electrical outlets, plumbing, and anything else that relates to the property.  Inspectors in general do NOT include building code conformance or testing of smoke detectors in their scope of inspection.

The Inspection is Done… Now What?

That is entirely up to you.  The buyer has the final say as to what you find to be acceptable or not based on the results of the inspection period.  If you feel that the home is in satisfactory condition, then you don’t really have to do anything and you are ready to move on with the purchase.

What If the Results Aren’t Satisfactory?

That will very much vary on a case by case basis, so let’s not get into anything too specific right now.   You do have options available to you though.  You can elect to back out of the contract based on the results of your investigations, or you can try to negotiate with the seller to remedy your concerns with the property.  Just know that any negotiations must be completely agreed upon by all parties before the deadline otherwise the due diligence contingency is waived.

Conclusion

There you have it – everything that you need to know to be ready to tackle the investigation period like a true pro.  This period tends to be the most stressful time for a buyer, but having a strong understanding of what is most important to you in your home you will be able to simplify your decision.  If you know what you need to verify and inspect before you’re ready to buy, then you can just go through the motions and give yourself a stress free investigation period by keeping it as objective as possible.
Have a great day and get out there and enjoying yourself!

Posted on March 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

How To Navigate a Seller’s Market for Buyers and Sellers

How to Navigate a Seller's Market for Buyers and Sellers

 

The real estate market is always fluctuating between a buyer and seller market.  Right now in Maine, we are in a seller’s market.  Basically, the inventory of homes on the market is lower than the number of buyers looking to purchase them, which means the demand is greater than the supply.  Classic economics.  Sellers are finding that their properties are getting lots of interest, and buyers are realizing that they often have stiff competition for the property of their choice.  The seller’s market won’t last forever as their is always movement back into balance, but while we are here, let’s talk about what we can do to help buyers and sellers.  

 

The level of inventory is often measured as months of inventory.  This is essentially the number of months that it would take for homes currently on the market to sell out (assuming no new homes came on the market) based on the average number of units sold during a month.  In general, six months of inventory is considered to be in balance, and less than six months would be a seller’s market and more than six would be a buyer’s market.  In Cumberland County, the months of inventory was at or less than six months all through 2016 and has continued into 2017.  Let’s take a look at what can be done to help navigate these waters.  

For the Buyers 

 

For the buyers, I’m going to lump everything that you can do to put yourself in the best position possible into two categories – Patience and Preparedness.

 

Patience 

 

Okay, this one isn’t too exciting and it isn’t much of an actionable item, but it will help you considerably to make your way through a competitive process.  There will probably be homes that go under contract before you ever get to see it, and if you do see it and put an offer in, you still might get out bid by another buyer.  There are some things that are just out of your control, so having some patience and exercising some acceptance can have a positive impact on your attitude while searching for a home.  Okay, now that I have that out of the way,  lets talk about what we CAN do to give you the best chance to land the home that you want.

 

Preparedness

 

Being prepared is the really the key here folks, and here are the areas where if you put the leg work in now you will be much happier in the end.  Even if you can’t control everything, these items below will put you in a position of power, and give you the best possible chances to land the home you want.  

 

Know What You Want

 

This one sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised how often the priorities for a home change.  At first it might be the bonus room above the garage is the most important aspect in a home, and a week later it might be a bathroom in the master suite.  Trust me, I understand that there are a lot of options to consider, but having a relatively firm list will help you.  Uncertainty leads to indecisiveness, which takes more time, which can leads to “too late”.  Knowing what you want ahead of time will definitely make life easier on you by freeing you up to pull the trigger when you know the time is right.

 

Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved for Financing

 

This is a great first-step for home buyers in any market, but it becomes an absolute must in a seller’s market.  You will want to include your letter of pre-approval or pre-qualification with any offers that you submit on a property.  This lets the seller know that you are serious, well-informed, and financially able to purchase their home.  This is practically just as important as the offer itself, so don’t even think about putting in an offer without being pre-qualified (unless of course, you are paying cash and in that case the seller will want to see proof of funds).  

 

Submit a Strong Offer

 

This will vary on a case-by-case basis, so I won’t go into specifics, but if you know that the property has lots of interest you need to be prepared to make your offer as attractive as possible to the seller.  A lot of times the seller’s look at the bottom line (aka purchase price), but there can be other terms that may sway the seller if competing offers are very similar.  Have your real estate agent touch base with the listing agent to see if there are any terms that would benefit the seller.  Maybe the seller wants a quick close or they want a bigger earnest money deposit.  Showing that you are willing to work with the seller will help you stand out, and will give your offer a better chance of getting accepted.     

 

For the Seller

 

Okay sellers, so you think you have it made in the shade because the market is in your favor? Well, you may have an advantage at the negotiation table, but that doesn’t mean that you can cut corners.  No matter the market, you need to cover the three basics – your home needs to be clean, decluttered, and priced right.  Beyond the basics, here are a few keys to keep you grounded:

 

Know What You Want

 

Hey, this sounds familiar…. but for sellers you will want to remind yourself of your goals before and while reviewing offers. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one offer come in, then you will need to determine what is most important for you in the sale of your home.  I know price is a big one, but what if you have one offer that is $2k more, but has more contingencies?  You need to be able to weigh what is most important to you, and what risks you are willing to move forward with.  A good real estate agent will help you to understand what impact certain terms and/or contingencies may have on you.

 

Be Reasonable

 

It might feel like you have buyers at your mercy when you’re negotiating with multiple offers in, but things can change fast, so keep in mind what you want to accomplish and stay focused.  If you come up with some far-reaching demands out of nowhere, then you might find those buyers running away faster than you would believe. This applies even when there’s only one offer in… the thought that the market is hot right now, so there will be more offers might backfire in the long run.  That may be true, but an offer in hand is always good.  

 

Conclusion

 

At the end of the day, a good real estate transaction should be a win for both the buyer and seller, and with both parties happy at the closing table.  Even if the sellers have an advantage at the negotiating table, ultimately there needs to be common ground, so both buyer and seller need to work together to their mutual benefit.  By identifying what you really want, and what you’re willing to do to accomplish that on both sides of the transaction you’ll be putting yourself in a position to be successful in a seller’s market.  

 

That’s a quick rundown of some keys to make your way through a seller’s market.  Feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions.  Until next time, get out there and enjoy yourselves!

 


Posted on February 14, 2017 at 5:27 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

5 Quick Tips to Improve your Home Search Online

 

So you’re ready to start looking for homes online or maybe you’ve already started to check things out, well take a few minutes to read these tips to help you find the right homes, and even more importantly how to give yourself the best chance to land the home that you really want.
 

 

1.) Know Where to Look Online

There are a lot of different websites to search for homes, and and it seems like new websites pop up all the time, so there certainly isn’t a shortage of places to view homes, but finding the best resource will make your search that much easier.  The website that I recommend is none other than The Maine Real Estate Network’s website themainerealestatenetwork.com.  Of course, I would say that, right? But here’s why… the website has been designed to make your search as easy as possible, and there is information on just about every town in Maine if you want to learn about a certain area.  You can even find properties that haven’t been listed on the MLS yet, so you’ll be one step ahead of other buyers.  It’s a great place to get your search started, and chances are that you’ll love this site.
 

 

2.) Know What You Need and Want

There are a lot of homes out there, so searching online can be a tedious task if you don’t have a game plan in place for what you need and want in a home – the classic “must-haves” and “would-likes”.  Make a list of each, and really get a firm grip on what you are looking for.  Taking the time to work this out before you seriously start looking will save you time during your search, and should save you from a case of the dreaded “property search overload”.
 

 

3.) Know About New Listings Instantly

The best way to stay on top of the homes that are available for sale is to have your real estate agent set you up to receive instant emails when properties that meet your criteria hit the market.  There is currently a lot of competing buyers for properties, so its important to be on top of things.  With an instant email you know what properties are on the market as soon as they hit the MLS.  This gives you a competitive edge in being one of (if not the) first person to see the home in person.
 

 

4.) Take Time to Digest The Photos

I can’t even tell you how many times people get to a home (in real life) that they’ve viewed online and say “wow, this looks different than the pictures”, or some variation of that.    Take some time when you are looking at the photos online, and try to get a mental image of the layout of the home.  It might take a little practice to get this down, but understanding the flow of the home can help you determine if it may be a good fit for you.  Sellers should be presenting their home in the best manner possible, so it can be hard to find any flaws unless you take some time to “look beyond the pixels”.  
 

 

5.) Take Time to Know The Area

If you’re unfamiliar with a certain neighborhood or community, take some time to research the town online to find out some pluses and minuses of the area.  You might even want to go check out the area in person, and spend some time there.  Do you like the schools, restaurants, coffee shops, etc?    A little leg work can go a long way here, and you probably want to get away from the computer for a little bit anyway, right?
 

 

*BONUS TIP* 6.) Go Check Out the House

There is only so much that you can do online, so if you find a property that you’re interested in – go out and see it!  You won’t have a true idea if the home will work for you until you get out and see it.  Remember #4 above – a lot can change when you go from 2D to 3D, so get out there and see it for real.
 

 

Looking for homes online should be fun and exciting, and with these tips hopefully you will be a master of the virtual playground of searching for homes, and find the home that you’ve always been looking for.

 


Posted on February 13, 2017 at 10:02 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

January Real Estate Market Update – Cumberland County

Cumberland County Real Estate Market Update - January 2017

 

Okay, we are now over a month into 2017. The year is in full swing, and if you’re like me you’re already thinking about spring time.  Punxsutawney Phil might have predicted another six weeks of winter, but in the real estate world I definitely see an early spring this year.  If you’ve been holding out on putting our home on the market until the spring then I would say now is the time to make a move with inventory low and buyers that are ready to go. 

Here’s a quick look at the real estate sales numbers for Cumberland County in January. 

January had 220 homes sold, which is down 7.9% from 239 units that sold in January 2016.  The number of units sold continues to be held back the by low inventory with plenty of buyers out there.

The median sale price for the month was $264,000 compared to the median sales price of $230,000 in the previous year, which is a 14.8% increase.  The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The median days on market for January was 44 days, which is less than the median of 54 days in January 2016.  That is a 18.5% decrease in the days on market year over year, which can be attributed again to the low inventory relative to the buyers on the market. 

Get out there and enjoy the winter weather while you still can, and check in next month for the latest update on the real estate market!

Note: These numbers were pulled from the Maine MLS as of 2/6/2017 for single-family homes in Cumberland County. 


Posted on February 6, 2017 at 9:50 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

December Market Update – Cumberland County

Here we are… we are off and running into 2017.  I hope that you’re all still keeping up on your new year’s resolutions, and having a great start to the year.  2016 was a strong year for the real estate market and all signs are indicating that it should carry right into 2017.  The normal winter cool off of real estate sales has stayed warmer than normal due to the continued low inventory which is keeping buyers out there. 

Here’s a quick look at the real estate sales numbers for Cumberland County in December. 

December had 326 homes sold, which is down 0.3% from 327 units that sold in December 2015.  This is practically identical to the previous year with only one home less sold year over year. 

The median sale price for the month was $259,950 compared to the median sales price of $244,900 in the previous year, which is a 6.1% increase.  Median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The median days on market for December was 31 days, which is less than the median of 39 days in December 2015.  That is a 20.5% decrease in the days on market year over year, which can be attributed again to the low inventory relative to the buyers on the market. 

Keep on rocking out in the new year, and check in next month for the latest update on the real estate market!


Posted on January 31, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

November Market Update – Cumberland County

 

TMREN Logo

 

We are through the holidays now, and everyone’s eyes are set toward the new year.  Winter is officially here now, which also means that the days are getting longer!  2016 has been a great year so far in the real estate world, and with the inventory staying relatively low throughout the year the market should stay strong through the winter with buyers still out there ready to go.  The interest rates are starting to work their way up, but the rates are still remaining at historically low numbers at this time.

Here’s a quick look at the real estate sales numbers for Cumberland County in November.

November had 340 homes sold, which is a 22.3% increase from 278 units that sold in November 2015.  The increase in units sold is believed to be from a higher number of buyers still on the market due to low inventory conditions throughout the summer and fall.

The median sale price for the month was $260,000 compared to the median sales price of $262,000 in the previous year, which is right on pace with the previous year (0.76% decrease in price).  The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

The median days on market for November was 24 days, which is less than the median of 35 days in November 2015.  That is a 31.4% decrease in the days on market year over year, which can be attributed again to the low inventory relative to the buyers on the market.

I hope that you have a happy start to the new year, and check in next month for the latest update on the real estate market!

Note: These numbers were pulled from the Maine MLS as of 12/26/2016 for single-family homes in Cumberland County.  

 


Posted on December 26, 2016 at 10:45 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

Happy Thanksgiving!

HappyThanksgiving

 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  This is a special time of the year when we get to reflect on what we are truly grateful for, celebrate with family and friends, and eat lots of great food!

 

I would like to take this moment to send a special thank you all my awesome clients that have trusted me as their advisor with their home buying and selling needs, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with you!!  Thank you so much for being so amazing!!!

 

Enjoy yourselves out there, be safe, and stay warm!

 


Posted on November 24, 2016 at 12:14 am
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

Reasons To Get Pre-Qualified

 

Okay, so you’ve decided that you want to buy a home… now what?!?!  Well, the best first step that you can take is to get in touch with a mortgage professional and get pre-qualified.

 

So, what does getting pre-qualified mean?

 

Getting pre-qualified for a loan is quick and easy, and it puts you in a position of power once you find a home that you would like to put an offer on.  All that you need to do is give the loan officer some basic financial information about yourself, and they will use that information to determine how much home that you might qualify for.  Usually, the mortgage professional will ask for your work history, information on assets and liabilities, and pull your credit score.  From there, they will make some assumptions about taxes, insurance, and the monthly payment to determine what you can afford.  Now, just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean that you want to have that for a monthly payment, so you can discuss what you are looking to pay, and they can come up with a purchase price that would fit your needs for a monthly payment.  The mortgage professional can also go over different loan options available to you  considering how much you would like to put down for an initial investment, what interest rate you’re looking for, and even where you would like to purchase your home.

 

Probably the best and most important reason to get a pre-qualified (and a pre-qualification letter as well) is that you will want to submit the letter with any and all offers that you put on a property.  This significantly improves the strength of your offer immediately, because it shows the seller that you are serious about buying a home.  It lets the seller know that you have done your homework so far, that you are well-informed, and you are prepared to purchase their home.  It also showcases to the seller that you are financially able to buy their home.  This indicates to the seller that you are a legitimate buyer, and certainly sets you apart from any offer that does not have a pre-qualification letter attached to it, and improves the chances that your offer will be accepted.

 

If you would like to get in touch with a mortgage professional, just let me know, and I can connect you with one of the best mortgage professionals in the state.

That’s all for now, and until next time – enjoy yourself!


Posted on November 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm
Derek Theriault | Posted in Uncategorized |

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