Hot Housing: 6 agents in Maine offer advice as prices skyrocket


Maine’s sizzling housing market shows no signs of slowing down, with median selling prices up nearly 24% in Androscoggin County over the past three months, according to the Maine Association of Realtors, and even mobile homes well over asking price – 17 deals and $ 47,000 in Auburn, we’re looking at you.

“If you buy in this market, bring your shield and your sword because you go into battle,” one Polish real estate agent joked.

So what to do?

We asked six agents for their top tips for anyone looking to buy or sell a home right now.

Buyers, get pre-qualified and don’t sleep on new listings. Sellers, don’t take that first offer – and maybe don’t take the highest.

SHOP YOUR PRICE RANGE: Crystal Fontaine-Bergeron, Broker / Owner, Fontaine Family-The Leader in Real Estate

Crystal Fontaine-Bergeron of the Fontaine family – The leader in real estate Anna Gouveia / Journal of the Sun

Fontaine-Bergeron has had his real estate license since the age of 18 and now owns the family business with his twin sisters, Melissa and Angie. Her husband, Bill, is also an agent.

One of the most striking things she’s seen in this market: On a Lewiston home, there were “over 40 hits in a 48 hour window with over 25 deals.” It sold for $ 40,000 above the asking price.

His advice to buyers:

• If you are a cash buyer, obtain your proof of funds so that it can be included with your offer.

• Don’t give up on inspections. Just add a cap on how much you’re willing to pay for any unscheduled repairs.

• Don’t shop outside of your price range, in fact shop under your budget.

And for sellers:

• Now is a great time to sell as they are getting even more than appraised value. (Since most lenders don’t lend more than appraised value, she’s seen some buyers simply give sellers thousands of dollars in cash to pay off the difference between appraised and selling price.)

• Interest rates cannot go much lower, so this could be the best time in our history.

GET OUT OF THE CITY: Linda Beaulieu, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, The Masiello Group

Linda Beaulieu of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group Anna Gouveia / Journal of the Sun

Beaulieu, who worked in real estate and medicine for 16 years before that, said it was not a market to enter without an agent.

His advice to buyers:

• The full price no longer works. Talk to your agent about what a good bid price will be.

And to the sellers:

• Make sure you don’t accept the first offer for your home, even if you think it’s a good offer.

• A good real estate agent will put your house up for sale and put a four to five day viewing period, including weekdays and a weekend, such as Thursday through Sunday, with offers to be reviewed on Monday at the end of the day. afternoon so that buyers can view the house. Sellers, your house will be very busy with visitors so it would be good if you were away for a few days. This is how crazy the market is. . .

ATTENTION TO DETAILS: Madeleine Hill, Roxanne York Real Estate

Madeleine Hill of Roxanne York Immobilier Submitted photo

Based in Harpswell and specializing in waterfront properties, Hill is president-elect of the Maine Association of Realtors.

His advice to buyers:

• It is imperative to work with a local agent, someone who is expert in their market. They will advise you on best practices to allow your offer to stand out in this highly competitive environment. You can be more creative than you think by writing a compelling offer!

And to the sellers:

• There are many things to consider, for example, requesting REW-5 for non-residents of Maine to request a reduction or exemption of withholding tax fees. Or a 1031 tax swap which allows you to avoid paying capital gains taxes when you sell investment property and reinvest the proceeds in a purchase of the same or greater value.

• Consider upgrades to make your property suitable for all types of loans. Making sure your home will be VA and RD (rural development) mortgage compliant, for example, will position your property to pass it on to all buyers, versus only those with cash or conventional loans.

TO SHOW CREATIVITY: Cindy Powell, Tim Dunham Realty

Cindy Powell of Tim Dunham Realty Submitted photo

Powell, who lives in Poland, said some of his biggest surprises in the market today included seeing a check attached to an offer to pay for a house in full – and the only eventuality was a clear title. There was also a Litchfield house that sold for $ 120,000 above demand.

“In Durham we received a lot of offers for a house,” she said. “The winning cash offer did not include any eventuality with an escalation addendum where they would beat any offer of $ 5,000 up to $ 250,000 over the asking price of $ 435,000! They ended up paying $ 90,000 more than asking price and closed at $ 525,000. “

His advice to buyers:

• Work with a reputable local lender – it’s little things like this that make a difference. Sellers are known to choose one offer over another based solely on the lender used by the buyer.

And for both:

• Find a real estate agent who responds quickly. In this market, minutes count.

“TERMS COUNT”: Kevin Fletcher, Certified Commercial Investment Member, The Fletcher Group, Keller Williams Realty

Kevin Fletcher of Fletcher, Keller Williams Realty Anna Gouveia / Journal of the Sun

Fletcher, former president of the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors, specializes in Bangor commercial and investment properties in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

His advice to buyers:

• Conditions matter: In this incredible market, the conditions associated with an offer matter as much as the price, sometimes even more. I have had clients accepting an offer for less money to accept an offer with better terms.

• Consider a longer trip. Moving a town or two outside of your market area may allow you to buy a nicer home in your price range. $ 300,000 buys you more house in Auburn vs. Portland. Likewise, $ 200,000 buys you more in Livermore Falls or Jay vs. Turner.

TO ASK QUESTIONS: Jon Mercier, Designated Broker, Maine Source Realty

Jon Mercier of Maine Source Realty Anna Gouveia / Journal of the Sun

Mercier, who focuses on the towns around Lewiston-Auburn and central Maine, has been an agent since 2007.

In this wild market, he sold a house in Falmouth out of sight an hour after telling someone in his office about the property.

“Sure, with the technology you can go online and know pretty much anything about anything, but they haven’t taken a single step around the house,” he said.

His advice to buyers:

• Be patient. Things tend to change quickly and you certainly don’t have a chance of succeeding at something if you don’t try. I see a lot of people giving up when this opportunity was just around the corner.

• It is important to interview (the agents), to ask a lot of questions. “What is our strategy? Is our strategy to save a little more money, to offer a little better financing to make our offer stand out? Are we going to be the first to arrive, the first to offer? “

• Finding the right person (for an agent) could be someone who is newer and has a lot of time. It’s about finding that real estate agent who can stick to your schedule, who’s available when you need them, and who has a back-up plan, so if he’s not available today, someone will help you. other can help you. You don’t want to be stuck when that perfect house appears.

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