The National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers has been released. This annual survey of more than 5,700 respondents offers ample information about home buyers, and enables Realtors to draw some conclusions about what they’re looking for in a home.

Knowing the big picture trends makes Realtors more attuned to market and home buyer behavior, and better able to meet home buyers’ needs. Among other factors the characteristic that matters most to home buyers is the quality of the neighborhood, convenience of its location to work, and overall affordability of the home are the top three factors influencing neighborhood choice – the same factors that emerged in the last two years of the Survey.

Overall, only 25 percent of survey respondents chose neighborhood based on the quality of the schools (down slightly from 27 percent). But, among families with children under 18 residing in the home, 46 percent choose based on school district quality, down from 55 percent last year. Sixty one percent prioritized the quality of the neighborhood, down from 72 percent last year.


Home Improvements Help Sell

In a recent survey of Realtors and homeowner planning to spruce up their homes before marketing their homes for sale a vast majority of Realtors and home owners agreed that making the right improvements can increase the appeal of a property and boost the

In a recent survey of Realtors and homeowners planning to spruce up their homes before marketing their homes for sale a vast majority of Realtors and home owners agreed that making the right improvements can increase the appeal of a property and boost the value in the eye of the home buyer.

Home buyers are aware of soft market conditions but want a home that is ready to appreciate, in the best possible condition. .

The most common home improvements recommended by real estate agents as a ‘must’ is the sellers repair of household items.

Nearly half of home sellers planned to paint where ever necessary and apply new flooring where carpeting shows signs of wear or wood flooring needs freshening.

Home improvement budgets were $2,001 to $5,000 for 24.1 percent of home sellers planning improvements; $5,001 to $10,000 for 22.23 percent and $10,001 to $20,000 for 16.63 percent.

If budgets are tight organizing and decluttering the home and its contents can go a long way to giving you the best return on investment.

A ‘walk around the house’ can be a family session where everyone points out areas for improvement and create your ‘to do’ list.

Keeping in mind that the overall goal in the selling process is to create a pleasant atmosphere where potential home buyers can imagine themselves living.

NAR Supports Policies for Housing Recovery

Gary Thomas, President of the National Association of Realtors made comments on the steps government has taken to create a recovery in the housing market with the full support of the Association.
The administration enacted key policies to stabilize the market, recover home values, ensure access to affordable credit, and most importantly, renew faith in the value of homeownership.

“To reinvigorate home sales, NAR led the charge to pass the temporary home buyers’ tax credit, which helped millions of Americans buy a home. When private lenders fled the market and stymied access to mortgage insurance, Realtors® advocated reforms to the FHA Single-Family Mortgage Insurance Program so that it could continue to make mortgages available to qualified home buyers. To protect future home buyers from unscrupulous lending practices, NAR continues its work with the administration and Congress to develop new lending standards that create opportunities for private capital to re-establish itself as part of a robust and competitive mortgage market.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate.

Rates Prompt Pause in New Home Sales

Newly released data from HUD show sales of new single family homes declined over 13% in July as higher mortgage rates prompted a pause in buying activity.

Rick Judson, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders said, “The drop off in sales in July is in part a reflection of buyers’ reaction to the recent uptick in mortgage rates…”

Their Chief Economist David Crowe said, “…there is still a great deal of pent-up demand for homes in markets nationwide, and builders continue to report improving consumer interest.  This suggests that what we’re seeing is a temporary a pause, and that buyers will return to the market once they are confident that the higher rates are here to stay.” 

Every region in the country recorded lower new home sales in July.  Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes for sale edged up to 171,000 units in July which is a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace.


You think that you’re ready to buy a home?  Here are five signs that you are ready for home ownership.


Financial experts will tell you that creating and sticking to a budget is a sign of financial maturity. When you follow a budget, you know exactly where your money is going each month. When you know where your money is going, you know whether or not you can afford a home of your own.


The old rule of thumb still stands: Enough money should be saved for a down payment and closing cost on a house. Consider putting 20 percent down on a home, you immediately have equity built into the property and you negate the necessity of private mortgage insurance

Stable Income

 If you have a stable source of income, you can feel relatively safe making an investment in a home.

High Credit Score

If your credit is in excellent shape, you’re ready to buy a home. If, on the other hand, your credit needs some work, whip it into shape before you being the home-buying process. Before you buy a house, your credit score should be in the 700’s.

Emergency Savings

You should have enough money in the bank to cover at least three month worth of house payments. If you have an emergency account, you can feel safe buying a home.

If you are thinking of buying a home, make sure that you are 100 percent ready. Re-read the tips above and, if they apply to you, the dream of owning your own home is within reach. Owning a home is an important step, you’ll be glad that you took your time and did it right.


State Highest Sales Level in Five Years

Statewide, year to date sales volume of single family homes and condominiums hit the highest level since 2008.  Compared to 2012 the number sold rose to 12,628 from 11,264 representing a 10% increase.  The average sale price rose 4% to $209,000. 

Penobscot County made an even better showing in the increase in homes sold with a 10.6% increase to 1096 from 980 in 2012.  Single family homes sold for a 5% higher price than in 2012 at an average of $141,500.

The Bangor Area (including: Bangor, Brewer, Glenburn, Holden, Hermon, Hampden, Orono, Orrington, Old Town and Veazie) had stronger numbers with a year to date home sales dollar volume increase of 17.3%. This wave of home buying caused the average sale price to rise 7.8% to $161,400.

Homebuyers lined up to purchase homes this spring, hoping to ‘lock into” historic low interest rates.  As rates did, in fact, begin to climb, another surge of home buying stimulated homes sales in late spring.   

Younger Buyers More Optimistic

A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors showed that 85% of homebuyers under the age of 32 considered their purchase of a home as being a good financial investment. The inaugural 2013 National Association of REALTORS Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends evaluates generational differences of recent home buyers. 

Paul Bishop, NAR Vice President of Research says,  “Homeownership is an investment in your future, and is how many younger American families begin to accumulate wealth.  The oldest of the Millennial generation are now entering the years in which people typically buy a first home.”

The study found that the largest group of recent homebuyers was Generation X Americans, those born between 1965 and 1979 who comprised 31 percent of recent purchases followed by Millennials, sometimes called Gen Y, those born between 1980 and 2000.

The median age of Millennial homebuyers was 28, their median income was $66,200 and they typically bought a 1700 square foot home costing $165,000.