March 2008


Someone who knew me well (my mother) once told me I was a born independent contractor…boy do I hate it when she is right.

So it is to the call of that independent spirit coupled with inspiration from the Dayville Pru agents, that I now hang up my managerial hat and get back to my roots…to that mixing and mingling with the public, first time buyers, investors, sellers of real estate…that fun and vital part of the real estate business; selling real estate.  Consulting with buyers and sellers is what I long to do.

The Downside

As I am heading back to the Norwich Prudential Connecticut office (already on the duty schedule…can’t a girl get a day off around here?), I will be enduring a loss.  I will be losing my daily connection with some of the most fascinating, diverse and  professional real estate agents I have ever had the good fortune to know.

DAYVILLE ROCKS!

My blog goes out to all my girls, and Tom, in the Dayville Pru office!  I hope you know that as I head back to my roots (and on that much needed long run) it is not without much appreciation for a year well spent and joy for relationships built.

I thank you!

Scarecrow, I  will miss you most of all.

Advertisements

A balmy 46 degrees in Dayville coupled with the news that more houses sold in February than expected or predicted (yet certainly far less than what was wished for), has me feeling downright optimistic! 

Here’s what has been happening in our neck of the woods:

GRISWOLD (I have been spending a lot of time here, seeing some lovely property)

Total Active Listings  –  85         Range of Value – $29,000 to $550,000

Total Pending Properties – 21    Range of Value – $65,000 to $425,000

Closed last 60 days – 13              Average sale price – $219,432 (130 low; 408 high)

Lisbon (home base!)

Total Active listings – 28             Range of value – $49,900 to $1,300,000

Total Pending properties – 11    Range of value – $104,000 to $365,900

Closed last 60 days – 5                Average sale price – $213,610 (39 low, 454 high)

Plainfield

Total Active listing: 108              Range of value – $150,000 to $569,000

Total Pending properties:  18     Range of value – $89,000 to $329,000

Closed last 60 days:  16               Average sale price – $207,181 (50 low, $330 high)

Isn’t it fascinating that all 3 towns have a very close average sale price?

Lots of inventory and opportunities for home ownership for first time buyers.  Some good values are available in the spec building supply.

A terrific spring buyers market…enjoy the season! 

An explorer I am not!

I am embarrassed to admit my youthful explorer, rock climber and inner adverturer has given way to my warm Uggs and a cozy tea (green to be precise).

Maybe it was the weather, cold, wet and blustery… but brave the elements my clients and I did (they heartier than I).  It was torrential downpours (I am talking monsoon weather) just a couple of hours prior to our arrival at the 6 acre parcel.  Did I mention, noted on the map were several areas of wetlands including a small pond?  Yep, indeed; row boat not included to navigate the babbling brook that ran the entire perimeter too wide to be jumpable.

It was all good fun until Mr. Client decided he was no longer going to seek out a strong log or narrow spot to cross said babbling brook and just walked across, feet in stream.  Not to be outdone, guess who was next?

Shin Deep

Two inches of water in my boot and (I’m fairly certain) 1 guppy later, I was not a happy explorer!  Mrs. Client was SO much smarter than I and kept to the logs.  She also wore knee high boots…brilliant.  Go figure; to the ledgy lot I wore knee high boots to the wet one, ankle…goes to show you, it is all about the shoes.

I tell this story now on account that as the years pass, accompanied with my flair for drama, this is likely to evolve into a real “fish” story…”once I nearly drowned…” sort of thing.

All my whining aside, it is important and recommended to visit lots (or “dirt”, as a clever friend refers to it) in different weather to get an idea on drainage, flow of water and plant life that thrives there. 

I think I should like to see this particular parcel next during a drought!

I am scandalized!

One of my commenters, who shall go nameless says that the consumer has too much information.  I respectfully disagree.

CONSUMER I AM…

And, it just so happens I love information!  I scour the internet prior to pretty much every purchase, I search music sites (getting in touch with some classics recently and finding them easily), get my news from various sources, have an RSS feed for school cancellations (no longer have to watch the ridiculous ticker tape at the bottom of a TV screen).

Got to Have it and Have it FAST!

What is wrong with that???   

I realize that BAD information can come with this too and stalk the internet defensively.  I  seek out an experts help when I am truly down to the purchase…why waste anyone’s time until then?

Nothing Wrong Here

Today the new Connecticut Real Estate website was launched for the consumer;  www.ctreal.com (it is linked at the bottom right of this blog) and I love it!   Connecticut specific real estate information is now at your finger tips.  You are free to search at your leisure…even open houses in your area of interest.

Go Forth and Search!  Seek the help of a professional when you are ready.

That is the question…

Are you saving yourself for the bottom of the real estate market?  Do you believe that there is further decline of prices in the works? 

Allow me to share a scenario with you:  (this is a true story!)

The Dayville office has a listing in Danielson, an adorably redone ranch with nice lawn and garage, a terrific little starter property, here are some numbers:

2/1/08                                                                       3/1/08

$194,900 (list price)                                                $189,900 (reduced price)

5.25% (CHFA rate)                                                   5.75% (CHFA rate)

$1335.17 principal/interest payment                     $1359.32 principal/interest payment

I read an interesting article this past week about this very scenario and our “brilliant” (and he will indeed get an even bigger head) CTHM Mortgage guy, Matt Biggins took one of our own listings with a recent price reduction to demonstrate how even a slight rate increase impacts monthly payments to the consumer.  Waiting just one month, even with a lower price does not guarantee a monthly savings.

My point is that when contemplating the Wait and See scenario, do not forget that rates rising is an inflationary inevitability (this according to smarter folks than I) and should be factored into any decision making process.   And as shown above, even getting the house for $5,000 less can cost you money.

The Good News…rates are lower today than they were one year ago.

Understanding real estate agency representation is a challenge for most consumers…heck, it has even boggled a few real estate agents in their day.  Now, pay attention there will be a quiz.

Sellers have it made, list your house with an agent and they are yours.  Your agent is now on a mission to get you the highest and best price at the best terms for your property!  Nothing wrong with that, easy, breezy to understand…until Dual agency  (wish I could add sound effects!).  What is Dual Agency you ask?  Dual agency is the position the agent and company take when they have brought a buyer to their own listing.  (assuming buyer and seller agree)

HUH?

Indeed things get slightly more complicated from here!  The agent and company now walk the line of representing both parties in a transaction…the line is treating both parties to the transaction honestly and fairly.  Any information given to one party must be given to both parties.  A perfect example, the CMA (market analysis);  if the dual agency buyer requests a written CMA on the property the agent is required to give the seller a copy of this written CMA as well.  There shall be no relay of personal, private or confidential information of either party without written permission to do so. 

BUYERS AGENCY 

Finally an agent just for you…just like the seller’s agent except (you knew it was coming) the buyers agent’s mission is to get you the lowest price at the best terms and conditions for you.  The buyers agent can advise you on pricing, terms, escrow deposit, testing…anything pertaining to the property of your concern short of anything that may violate federal fair housing laws (all REALTORS are bound by Fair Housings laws so no, no, no to steering, blockbusting, discrimination of any kind [etc]…aside from bad manners it is illegal practice).  This type of representation requires a written agreement between you and your agent/agency of choice with clear terms and conditions.

ARE WE THERE YET?

Nope!  There is also sub-agency, designated agency and non-representation (though I do not know why on the latter).  All of which have very interesting caveats (I am sure you suspected).

RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION

Determine how you want to be represented in a real estate transaction and discuss your wants with the REALTOR of your choosing.  In fact, this should be your very first conversation.  You may need to have this conversation with a few agents until you find the right fit.  I recommend you have this conversation until you are confident you appreciate all the finer points and will be represented to your specifications.

For the record, I believe “confuzzled” should be a word.  I lied, no quiz…just having a little fun here!