February 2008


 HUH?

It seems to me that Real estate agents speak in a different language than the average consumer.  It occurs to me that our language makes perfect sense to us, but what about “regular” people do you understand what we are saying?  And, more importantly do you know what it all means for you?  The following are some designation clarifications which I hope will assist you with your real estate needs.

REALTOR

Let’s start here!  A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who has taken an oath to adhere to a code of ethics written by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  There are many Articles and Standards of Practice, but I believe the upshot, as addressed in the Preamble, is to treat all parties in a real estate transaction fairly.  You can read the full content of the REALTOR Code of Ethics at www.realtor.org

GRI

The Graduate REALTOR Institute designation is a NAR sponsored REALTOR designation.  It requires that the real estate agent take some additional 90 hours of continuing education in 3 parts on various topics including;  finance, tax, land planning, construction, real estate contracts, etc.  All attendees must take a test at the end of each session and score a minimum of 70%.  As I just completed GRI-1, I can tell you that it is intense…I still have 2 more segments to go!  Once earned, this designation stays with an agent throughout their career.  www.realtor.org/gri

SRES

The Senior Real Estate Specialist is a designation a REALTOR earns for classes attended on servicing the needs of the over 50 crowd.  The class trains a REALTOR to meet the special needs of maturing Americans and offer those of this generation counsel on such matters as relocating, refinancing, housing and lifestyle choices.  You can find out more at www.seniorsrealestate.com

ABR

The Accredited Buyer Representative Designation is a real estate agent who has taken further classroom hours on the subject of buyer representation and their specific needs during a real estate transaction.  The ABR designated agents job is to fully represent a buyer in a real estate transaction.  You can find out more about this designation at www.rebac.net

MLS

Now, this is not a Realtor designation, but it is the central nervous system of the business.  Most of Connecticut is  using Connecticut Multiple Listing Service which gives your agent access to listing information throughout the state.  We just recently added cooperative access to RI and I hear that Massachusetts is not far behind (that is very cool!)  Soon CTMLS will have a public web site..big news here (I will be linking it to the blog)!  What is important about MLS is that once your property is listed for sale, every agent in the state can access it and has the opportunity to sell it.   (FYI:  please make sure you review a copy of your MLS print out for accuracy, quality of photos and marketing to REALTORS).

There are many more specialties of the real estate business and many more designations, though I think I have addressed the most common.  Let me know if I missed any of interest.

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A Week to Remember

Mary Monday

After a busy weekend of walking some 6 parcels of land, enjoying a bagged lunch by a tree with her clients, an open house and many re-sale showings; Mary came in Monday on a mission of research for her clients.  In the middle of making calls, rapid fire emails, etc.. cubicle walls were shaking!  In the cubicle next to hers, immersed in my own issues…I was repeatedly startled by mini earthquakes, colorful metaphors and giggles.  Frankly, I just giggled along for quite some time (almost an hour)  until she said something about my bony wrists and helping her out (I’m not sure why we had to bring my wrists into this??)  As it turns out, Mary had file cabinet issues.  She couldn’t get her upper drawer open.  I cautiously entered her cubicle, tapped the bottom drawer closed with my toe and casually opened the top drawer with one (apparently) bony finger.  I have laughed all week about this!  Thanks to Mary for being a busy Realtor on a mission that a naughty file cabinet was messing up.

Touring Tuesday

A cold Tuesday had the Dayville Prudential Agents checking out some new listings.  One gigantic cape on 5 acres in Ballouville and a gambrel in Putnam.  We go on caravan to aid our fellow agents and give our sellers feedback…it is uncanny how often we all come up with the same dead on price.  The Gambrel received an offer later that day…

Washed Out Wednesday

Windham County had some 4 inches of snow overnight, then torrential rains during the day.  Wishing for Spring…  Time not wasted, it is paperwork, negotiating and advertising day. 

Super Woman Thursday

Dayville has an agent who can change attire faster than superman in a telephone booth, we shall call her Rachel (on account that’s her name).  Heading out to walk some land, she ditched her heels and ever present professional attire to brave the rough and saturated raw land.  Prior to her departure we enjoyed some lunch together and discussed….ah, real estate!  I think we came to the conclusion that the spring market is already heating up.  January was an excellent month and February has seen a notable increase in showings, drivebys and ad response…and super woman should know!

Frenzied Friday

The Dayville agents were out and about busy doing CMA’s, showings and research at town halls before the long holiday weekend.  Long weekends bring little rest for the busy Realtor, this is the time when their clients are usually most available to check out the inventory.  It is just the start of the professional Realtors work week.

My point, I work with some of the hardest working, most diligent real estate agents.  I didn’t even tell you about Denise showing every house in Killingly and Maria’s intense research on behalf of her client. 

Dedicated, educated, thorough!  The BEST service providers on behalf of their clients.

And, Funny!

Have a busy weekend-

Killingly, Brooklyn, Plainfield and Pomfret 

I thought in might be interesting to supply a snapshot of the market in Windham County.  Since the area is so sprawling (10 towns and the entire Northeast corner of the state), I chose Killingly, Brooklyn, Plainfield and Pomfret as my sample towns.  By way of explanation, Killingly covers multiple towns including Dayville, Ballouville, Danielson so it is by Windham county standards a hub of activity.  Plainfield, Brooklyn and Pomfret are more your rural settings.  Using a broad approach I would say that Plainfield and Brooklyn have far more commercial activity than Pomfret.

All information used in this synopsis was obtained from the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (so private activity is not recorded here).  All types of properties (residential, multi-family, land etc) were considered for this review of the week from February 1, 2008 through February 8, 2008:

Killingly

16 new listings this week

257 total active properties in town

1 pending transaction this week

22 total pending transactions

0 closed sales this week

Brooklyn

2 new listings this week

127 total active properties

1 pending (continue to show) transaction this week

18 total pending transactions

0 closed sales this week

Plainfield

5 new listings this week

172 total active properties

0 pending transactions this week

18 total pending transactions

0 closed sales this week 

Pomfret

3 new listings this week

40 total active properties

0 pending transactions this week

2 total pending transactions

0 closed sales this week

Clearly, there is a great deal of supply out there!  Personally, I viewed 7 houses this past week on caravan and via open houses in the Windham area and saw some terrific homeownership opportunities…great values.  I was fortunate to receive a thorough tour of Thompson via an area expert and the cooperation of area agents…simply a gorgeous country town just inches from the Massachusetts line.  The word that comes to mind, peaceful.

As I am on a mission of discovery, I would appreciate your thoughts, historical anecdotes and expert knowledge on Windham County…please share.

I promised a little tenderness to the sellers of real estate in Eastern Connecticut, and frankly I just can’t think of any folks more deserving of some TLC!

First, what happened to your market?

Well, it was a good long run (9 to 13 years depending on who you ask) of steadily increasing values (appreciation) but real estate is, was and always shall be cyclic in nature and this was an abnormally long peak…we all got use to it!  I own real estate too!  We are now in a valley…pickin’ daisies.

But, Florida, California or the mid-West, we are not

Hats off to them!  Where Connecticut has experienced modest decline worthy of acknowledgement…there are pocket locations in true pain.  Below are the Windham county stats for 2007:

market-stats-windham.pdf

What’s a Seller to do in this climate?

Simply, decide if it is the right one for you.  Sounds so easy…here’s how you do it:

FEAR NOTHING

Get a THOROUGH market value!  Do not fear your properties current market value.  Your agents job is to get you the highest price in the shortest time at the best terms.  Make sure your agent does an estimated net sheet.  If your wallet can stomach the conditions price your house for this market, no other year or perceived value.  Or, don’t try to sell now!

Fear No Offer

It is a market of negotiation…take nothing personal and let your agent help to negotiate your way to a deal that works for your needs.

Fear No Home Inspection

Be willing to make repairs.  Every home inspection comes up with something.  So make yourself scarce and wait for the written response.  Or better yet, get your property pre-inspected and make your house its most saleable prior to listing.  The no fear / no surprises approach! (love it, recommend it)

Markets operate on greed and fear….Fear nothing!  Get the facts, get them straight, position your price aggressively, ensure your property positively glows for every showing, open house, appraisal, possible drive-by (its in a beauty contest after all).  And, this is key…remember any dollars you fear you may lose by selling now will be saved in buying now.  Funny how that works.

Remember, your house only has a dollar value when you go to sell it, home is priceless!