Plumber with Leaky Pipes

Plumber with Leaky Pipes

We have all heard the saying “plumbers have leaky pipes” because they just don’t see their own problems and they get paid to fix leaks in pipes. As a real estate agent I go into people’s homes, and with the help of a stager, I tell them that they need to update their flooring, windows, light fixtures, clean, and the list goes on.  Around my house, my wife Kelly said last month “we need to change these light fixtures, I can’t look at them anymore”.  Well, we had been living with them for 25 years and they seemed fine to me. A matter of fact, one of them was an original from when the house was built in 1947.  There are so many reasons why people don’t change out fixtures in their homes.  It’s the leaky pipe issue: they work fine, I’m comfortable with them, why spend money on a perfectly paid for light? The reason this is top of mind for me is because I was just in a million-dollar house and it hadn’t been updated in 35 years.  It was so “retro” that the fads were coming back into style. Now the location was outstanding and the “bones” were excellent, however, it would have brought so much more in today’s market if the property had been updated over time.  Buyers today want “move in” condition. Did you know that antique stores have just about gone out of existence due to the younger generations not wanting anything to do with “old, lead paint stuff”?  Today’s Buyer will pay premium dollar for ready to go, move in ready homes.  For the home owner, the key is “over time”.  When you update, you will enjoy the updates; if you’re wise, they will stay in style until you sell or decide to replace them. One of the most common occurrences that I see when I come in and suggest improvements to get top dollar for a person’s house is that they don’t want to sell after they improve their home.  I often hear, “I wish we would have done this years ago”.  The funny thing is that I feel the same way about our new kitchen and bathroom lights.  Should have done this a long time ago.  So, when you walk around your house, even if you’re not thinking of selling, walk around with the eyes of a Buyer.  What are some things that could be done that will add to the enjoyment of your home, add to the value, and not be overwhelming 25 years from now?  I am always available for free consultations and I can provide you with the name of an amazing interior decorator as well. Whether you are selling your home now or five years from now, please just ask. I have attached a couple of pics of the old light (retro 1947) and a couple of new ones we replaced them with. Happy house updating, and fix those leaky pipes!

ceiling new1947 light

Took It To Heart Award

We are proud to announce that Keller Williams Realty – Portland, Maine won the “Took It To Heart Award” for 2015 and 2016.  Portland donated $23,989 to the fund in 2016.  The “KW Cares Fund” is an International Fund that helps people when tragedy strikes. When Katina hit Louisiana and Hurricane Sandy destroyed the East Coast, for example, not only did KW send money but also volunteers.

Keller Williams Realty – Greater Portland also has a local Fund called “Friends and Family” that helps out locally when a need arises.  We have helped people who have needed assistance with medical bills, operations, personal needs, etc.  I am proud to say many agents give to these funds on every closed transaction. If you know of someone who needs a “hand up”- let me know and I can help you connect with the proper contact person.

 

Thanks again to Keller Williams Realty for giving back to the Community.

 

KW cares Pic

Dirt Road Desire

Ride with me.

Fatigue hung around my shoulders on a recent Friday night yet I collected my boots, left the company of the wood stove, and prepared for a social engagement with clients. See, Dave and Paula were loving their new house and wanted to share design and furnishing touches with Nicole and I.

Beautiful stuff, and a true reward for this career in real estate, yet I was uncertain my energy could match the occasion.

But something happened during the ride that allowed me to catch a second wind and savor the evening. The branches of hardwood trees bowed toward the center of the road, like a tunnel, or mother nature’s regal courtesy. Pavement turned to gravel, our tires felt more secure in the falling snow, and light flakes traipsed in March’s late winds.

Briefly I thought of Christmas, child-like. And isn’t a new home the biggest Christmas present of all? I held Nicole’s hand, we helped these folks and they are happy I thought to myself.

Dave and Paula met us at the door, our earlier business-hand-shakes now traded for hugs, and the couple beamed with satisfaction and pride, comfortable and at ease in their new environs.

My eyes traced their elegant home and caught subtle changes: the elegant mirror by the wet-bar, the New England art on the south facing well, the shade of the new couches near the fireplace. Inviting.

Our one hour visit turned to three as we talked about life, kids, writing, and back country ski plans for the following winter. While I know Congress Street, Ocean Avenue, Stevens Ave and Forrest Ave too, I traded those streets for deep woods, farm-country, and mountains decades ago.

If you are seeking the quiet of a Western Maine get-away, I can help. We’ll likely discuss fishing and family before we begin on real estate, but I love these hills and lakes and I feel the topography of this part of the world in my bones.

I can get you here. Glad to be on board.

Ryan (207) 462-3874

MAHAN.HEAD.SHOT

 

Our New Blog is Finally Here!

I have been wanting to start this blog for years and finally we’ve started it!  There are so many “Chic” restaurants, breathing taking views, unknown natural wonders in Maine. There are so many places I have visited as a Register Maine Guide and outdoorsman  over the past 60 + years I have lived here as a “Mainer”. I want to share my experiences and places that most people will never experience living here simply because they are kept secret or at least forgotten on purpose. I’ll share some of those places in Maine that I have discovered like the Allagash Waterway or Grand Falls on The Dead; but most of all I will share trends in Maine Real Estate because real estate is “local”.  We can predict a “shift” in real estate in Maine from the National  Sales Report numbers and indicators, the rate changes in the Ten Year Bond, but we can also see Micro and Macro trends in Maine real estate as well as from what’s happening in Cumberland/York Counties compared to the rest of the state.

That said, today’s topic is the deregulation of banks’ lending practices and the products I see lenders offering again.  I am a student of history, one of my majors in college was history and if I learned one thing it was that history will repeat itself. Now that can be a positive thing or maybe a negative thing, but it will repeat itself.  I meet with banks and mortgage brokers on a regular basis. I’m always being called and ask to meet for coffee. Two weeks ago I met with a lender who I haven’t done business with in the past and he reviewed his new products he was offering.  He had the usual products, but he pulled out this flyer and said , “this product allows cash to be used, we don’t need two years of employment status, and money can be gifted.” I said to him, “Isn’t that a no doc. loan?”  The interesting part of that was Buyers could use cash. I can not remember non- verification of funds for a loan during the past 16 years I’ve been a Real Estate Broker.  This wasn’t the first time I have had red flags on financing in the past year or so.  Back in September, a client wanted to use an online lender and one of the biggest in the industry.  When we called to get a pre-qualification letter, the mortgage agent basically said the way he “qualified the Buyer” was he ask them how much the made on W-2s and plugged in their credit score directly into the Fannie Mae website and “presto” they were qualified.  When I said, “isn’t that a “NO DOC” loan. He said, “Don, they are well qualified and we hold the note on their primary residence”.  Granted, these clients owned a Brownstone in Boston somewhere in the $1 million  range; however this is how banks and people got in trouble when Clinton (not to get political here) said in 1996 that we want “80 % on Americans to own their own homes”.  Well, the deregulation of banks and lending due to the new regulations caused the mess to happen and it was primarily due to “No Doc” loans.  What are “No Doc loans”?  Documentation of income was not required to get a loan sold on the secondary market with these high risk loans that were basically sold to hedge funds, and large banks, and investment companies, etc.  If you haven’t seen the movie “The Big Short” pull it up on Netflix.

I’m proud to say during that period from 2007-2011 I did not have a client go through foreclosure. In Maine, the problem wasn’t as bad as California, Nevada, and Florida due to the solid local banks we have here in Maine and our culture in general.  I think as we enter into this period where lending seems to be very “relaxed” it is important to ask our clients a question that I have asked my clients since the beginning; especially young first time home buyers: ” Sally and Jeff, if you buy this house, the questions is do you have enough income to go out and have fun? Will you be able to have dinner with friends?  Will you be able to put gas in your car?  Will you be able to go to the movies?  You see, I ask you this because you’re going to want to do these things and if you can’t afford it- it will stress out your relationship, make you use that credit card, and put so much pressure on you that it will be a mess.  “House Rich and Cash Poor” just doesn’t work.  So I ask you again, “Do you have enough income to support your lifestyle?” If they say said or they say they can handle it – I’ve done my job. You see, those same clients who were in their 20s are now in their 30 and 40s and I have helped them sell and buy their next “Dream House”.  Our goal should always be to look out for our clients’ best interests and create clients for life.  I what my clients to know that I want to be their “Real Estate consultant” for life.

There may be a place for the loan I mentioned with no documentation of cash or employment; I can think of a few honest people who work in a cash business that it may benefit;  it may be a legitimate product, but we seem to forget the history on banking and lending.  I think as a real estate professional, we need to educate our clients and point them in the direction of other real estate professionals like attorneys, trusted loan officers, bankers, and other real estate service professionals that will help them navigate though the process of being home owners.  I have loved this business and there’s nothing better than helping someone with the biggest purchase in their life time.  I hope this stimulates some questions and thoughts.

Photo credit: http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/77357815/oscars-2016-the-significance-of-props-in-this-years-best-picture-nominees