Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Advantage Real Estate to benefit Waldo fire fighters

Waldo, Maine - April 24th, 2018

Advantage real estate is pleased to to announce today that we have made a commitment to donate 3% of our 2018 net profits from our real estate brokerage activities to assist Waldo fire fighters with funds to buy equipment and receive quality life saving training.

Owner and designated broker, Brian Walker had the following statement; "As a REALTOR® I am privileged to be able to help people in the best of times. This donation will also allow me to help my neighbors in the worst of times as well."

About Advantage Real Estate. - Advantage Real Estate is a full service and creative service real estate brokerage serving buyers and sellers in Waldo county Maine.
for more information.
Brian Walker
Telephone: (207) 322-9362

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Making an Offer: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Making an Offer: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

In competitive housing markets across the country, making an offer that sticks has become increasingly difficult. Ensure your client doesn’t make the process even tougher by succumbing to one of these common mistakes.
“Time kills deals,” says Andrew Sandholm of BOND New York Properties in New York. “Dragging your feet means you could wind up paying more in a bidding war situation or missing out on the property altogether.” Buyers need to be ready with their paperwork, such as bank statements, a preapproval letter, and documents supporting proof of funds, from the day they begin house-hunting mode. That way they can pounce quickly with an offer when they do find a home they like.
Making an offer for their preapproved amount
Smart buyers are getting preapproved to show a seller they’re financially able to purchase a home. However, Chuck Silverston, principal at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Brookline, Mass., warns buyers against using that document to come up with an offer amount.
“Many buyers come in with a preapproval for the exact offer price, but when you’re competing against other offers, including cash offers, you want to show financial strength,” Silverston says. “An exact preapproval could make a listing agent nervous because not only does the buyer not have any wiggle room to negotiate, but they might no longer qualify if interest rates rise.”
Submitting a lowball offer
Lowballing a seller often backfires, particularly in a seller’s market. “A lowball offer that isn't backed up with math or comparable sales data is disrespectful and could turn off the seller and possibly mean you will miss out on the property completely,” Sandholm says.
Waiving inspection contingencies
“I don't care whether it’s new construction or even your mom’s house you’re buying from her – get it inspected,” urges Joshua Jarvis of Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, Ga. Further, if you waive the inspection contingency in your offer, you may lose the earnest money if you later back out of the deal.
Not presenting yourself well enough
In a seller’s market, buyers need to take steps to make sure they look good in the eyes of the seller. “In today’s highly competitive environment, the listing agent is trying to determine which buyer will be the easiest to deal with,” Silverston says. Buyers may want to avoid pointing out every defect, making nitpicky queries, or questioning the seller’s tastes.
“Basically buyers who act less than enthusiastic will see themselves at a competitive disadvantage when sellers are comparing multiple offers,” he says.

Monday, February 6, 2017

New forms confuse home sellers

Starting in January of 2017 REALTORS® across the state began using updated real estate forms provided by the Maine association of REALTORS®, MAR. One of the most significant changes includes a change to the listing contract that will now include information on company policy regarding the amount of commission that a listing agent will be sharing with any other agent that brings a buyer.

In a statement to REALTORS® Linda Gifford, MAR legal counsel explains that listing agents have always been required to disclose the amount of the commission that they are charging home sellers that they are sharing with other agents that assist buyers with purchasing a property. The forms have been revised to assist agents with complying with our ethical obligation to share crucial information with our clients. It is imperative that sellers know what portion of the commission being charged to the seller will be shared with the buyer's agent as it will likely have a significant impact on the selling process.

The confusion comes from the way that the association chose to word the new provision of the contract. Instead of simply stating a dollar amount or percentage of the commission being charged to the seller that will be shared, the association chose to allow listing agents to use a range. The form does not specify what dollar amount or percentage within that range will be advertised or offered.

When discussing commission with a listing agent there are some facts that a home seller should be aware of to facilitate an intelligent and informed conversation. 

1- In most cases a listing agent will charge a seller a fixed price or a percentage of the selling price of a property as a sales commission. This may be all or only part of the total commission that a seller will pay.  

2- Most listing agents are members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Unless they inform sellers in writing to the contrary, they will advertise all property to other agents and syndicate the listing to other websites within 5 days. They are required to advertise the amount of the buyer agent's compensation in the MLS in the form of an absolute dollar amount or as a percentage of the sale price. This compensation may not be advertised as a range between 2 numbers. 

Sellers don't really care about the range of compensation that company policy allows a listing agent to offer a buyer's agent. The care about the actual amount being offered. The new form is a step in the right direction towards ensuring that sellers are informed. Unfortunately, the wording is unnecessarily vague and fraught with the danger of creating situations where the seller believes they are informed but are not. MAR should revise this form to simply state the amount of the compensation that will be offered to buyer's agents. 

Brian Walker holds an Associate Broker’s license in the State of Maine and practices real estate brokerage as a member of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northeast Real Estate. While he is a licensed agent; he is not your agent. The information in this article dos not constitute customer or client advice and does not create any type of relationship. The opinions expressed are solely those of Brian Walker and are not necessarily shared by any other affiliation.

Monday, February 1, 2016

2015 Waldo County Real Estate

Waldo County breaks a 17-year record for the most homes sold.

By September of Last year there were enough confirmed real estate sales to guarantee a new 17-year record high for sales volume here in Waldo county.

The Maine association of REALTORS® has released a final tally showing 484 homes sold here in Waldo county. These sales represent a growth factor 175% over where they were in 2010 and 2011.

At the same time that volume has gone up so have median sale prices.

One might ask if this means we are in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. The answer is both.
While prices have gone up interest rates have come down to as low as 3.85% from 4.17% in 2014. This means that a buyer would now have the same monthly payments on a $213,000 home purchased today that they would have paid on a $205,000 home purchased 2 years ago. This is a wining proposition for buyer and seller.

In this market a properly priced, prepared, and promoted home will sell. If you have been thinking about making a real estate move in Maine, please give me a call.

Brian J WalkerBerkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northeast Real Estate

Friday, September 4, 2015

Waldo County breaks a 17 year record for the most homes sold

Waldo County breaks a 17 year record for the most homes sold


According to information published by the Maine Association of REALTORS® 60 single family homes sold in Waldo County last month. This marks August 2015 as the most productive August in the last 15 years by breaking the previous record set last year at 54 homes.

In this market a properly priced, prepared, and promoted home will sell. If you have been thinking about listing your house please call…

Brian J Walker
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northeast Real Estate


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ten tips for interviewing the right listing agent

1-     Commission.

      An agent should be able to speak at great lengths about commissions. From what they are paid to what they are going to offer the other agent who brings a buyer, to what they need to share with their agency. Too often sellers simply ask, "What is the commission?" and listing agents give a percentage that they will charge. This should not be the extent of the conversation. 

      The advantage Real Estate model for commissions is to encourage agents from other agencies to sell our listings by compensating them at higher rates. We also Keep a smaller portion of the commissions earned by our agents in order to make sure that they are able provide the best possible service. Read more on this topic in paragraph 4.

2-     Word of mouth and referrals.

      All agents sell homes. The sellers of those homes are almost always happy with their agent. What past clients can’t know is that another agent may have been able to sell faster and for a better price or terms. Consider asking a bank mortgage officer, real estate lawyer, closing agent, home inspector, or another professional that works with a variety of real estate agents on a daily basis for their recommendation. Never trust any website that screens agents for you. Those websites and services will only recommend agents that are willing to pay referral fees. Banks and closing agents are not allowed to receive referral fees or kickbacks from agents.

3-     Disclosed dual agency.

This is a practice where a single agent will represent both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction. While this practice is legal in Maine. Maine law requires that the listing agent receive the consent of the seller prior to listing the property. The existence of a law requiring this consent should be an indication of the importance of the topic. Decide if it is in your best interest to allow this practice. The agent must share the same information with all parties. The agent cannot take any action that would benefit one party over the other. Ask the agent to provide you with an example of how this practice could help you as well as an example where this could hurt you. 

4-     Agency policy on sharing compensation.

      When signing the standard listing agreement you will be notified regarding the listing agency policy for compensating other agencies. There will be a check box for yes or no. If yes is checked the listing agent should pay all other agents the same amount of compensation for bringing a buyer to your listing. It has however been my experience that many agents are not selecting the correct option on their contracts. They are in fact compensating buyer agents they like or think that they will do business with again in the future at a higher rate. 
      At Advantage Real Estate we do not set the commission that the buyer's agent will be offered. We believe that this is a matter to be discussed and mutually agreed on with our seller clients after conversation about how to best me our client's goals. 

5-     Read the listing agreement.

      Read the listing agreement carefully. Never sign it on the day that you see it for the first time. Ask the agent that you are interviewing to provide you with the listing agreement prior to meeting them for the first time so you can ask questions during the interview. The listing agreement should be completed as much as possible based on the agent’s preferences.

6-     View other listings.

      Prior to meeting the agent for the first time ask for a list of all the properties that they currently have listed. Review those listings on mainelistings.com and make sure that they are doing a good job representing their current listings. Look for quality photos, and well written property descriptions.

7-     Interview more than one agent.

      Don’t be impressed by the first agent that you talk to. Don’t be afraid of letting agents know that you are interviewing other agents for the job. A good agent will have confidence that they will get the job. I believe that interviewing other agents will only make me look better and encourage sellers to make well informed decisions.

8-      Understand appointed agency.

      Most agents in Maine practice appointed agency. This practice means that you are hiring an agent at an agency not the entire agency. Do not look at the other agents in that agency as allies unless their names appear on the listing agreement. The only way that they will be compensated in the sale of your home is if they bring a buyer. If they bring a buyer they will be representing that buyer. The other agent’s job will be to use everything that they know about you and your property to negotiate the best terms for the buyer.
      This is another fact that Separates Advantage Real Estate from the other agencies. We do not practice appointed agency. When you list with this agency any and all agents that work for Advantage Real Estate will work for you the seller. 

9-      Brokerage relationship form.

Before you begin discussing your home or your sale requirements the agent is required by law to provide you with a document titled REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE RELATIONSHIP FORM. Please read it. If the agent does not provide it to you prior to any meaningful conversation they may be violating the law. Do you want to hire a professional that starts out your relationship by violating the law?

10-  Free CMAs are not the same as a BPO.

      Many agents will provide you with a free CMA, Current market analysis. In theory this will tell you what your house should sell for if it sold today. The real estate commission classifies this as a marketing tool used for the purpose of gaining listings. Most agents believe that a seller interviewing several agents will hire the agent that tells them that their home is worth the most. There is definite pressure to produce data that will result in the listing job. Alternatively, you could hire an agent to provide you with a BPO, or Broker Price Opinion. These are not free. You can obtain these from an agent without even telling that agent you are thinking about selling. Do you think that the price might be different if an agent was not trying to get a listing but instead was being compensated for providing an accurate opinion of value?

Brian Walker holds a Broker’s license in the State of Maine and practices real estate brokerage as the owner of  Advantage Real Estate. While he is a licensed broker, he is not your broker. The information in this article dos not constitute customer or client advice and does not create any type of relationship. The opinions expressed are solely those of Brian Walker and are not necessarily shared other affiliation.