REALTOR® Confidence Report

The Realtor Confidence Report provides monthly information about market conditions, buyer/seller traffic, price trends and issues affecting real estate gathered from REALTOR®. The current report is based on the responses of 3,503 REALTORS® about theirtransactions in October 2013 slowing compared to the pace in 2012 to the middle of 2013.

  Some REALTORS® saw the slowdown as a welcome brake to the rapid home price growth. The survey captured the effect of the government shutdown indicating that about 30 percent of ongoing transactions were temporarily impacted by the closure of various agencies.

 Prices are still rising and higher mortgage rates have impacted the level of sales.  New stricter mortgage standards are disqualifying even some credit worthy buyers.

 With demand easing, properties were generally on the market for more days than was the case a few months ago. Low appraisal values continued to be reported as affecting transactions adversely, although there are reports that the situation is improving.

  REALTORS® also reported issues that they foresee as affecting demand in the coming months are the potential impacts of tighter fiscal and monetary policies, the higher cost of homeowner insurance for FHA-guaranteed loans, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on housing affordability.



October Home Sales Brisk

Existing home sales statewide continued to increase at a brisk pace  of nearly 6%  in October to 1246 from 1177 for the same period last year.

 Penobscot County single family homes sales out paced the statewide rate showing a 15.9% increase with 262 homes selling compared to 226 last year.  With a nearly 7% increase in average sale price the total dollar volume of homes sold reached 37 million dollars.  The average price topped $141,000 compared to last years’ October average of $132,500

 Sales in the Bangor Area, including Bangor, Brewer and eight surrounding communities of Glenburn, Hermon, Holden, Hampden, Orono, Orrington, Old Town and Veazie reached 17 million dollars, up 17.5 percent over last year with a dramatic 17.6 percent increase in their average sale prices.

 Nationwide Realtors report sales were up 5.2 percent last month with the average sale price at $199,500.

Local Realtors are optimistic about current market conditions with interest rates continuing to be near historic lows and a growing inventory for the new year.

Home buyers prefer…

Choosing a community is one of the most important factors for consumers as they consider buying a home.

Research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has consistently revealed that Americans prefer mixed-use neighborhoods and shorter commutes.

According to its 2013 Community Preference Survey, 60% of respondents favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses that are easy to walk to, rather than neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation. The survey findings indicate that while the size of the property does matter to consumers, they are willing to compromise size for a preferred neighborhood and less commuting. For example, although 52% of those surveyed prefer a single-family detached house with a large yard, 78% responded that the neighborhood is more important to them than the size of the house. Fifty Five percent of respondents were willing to forego a home with larger yard if it meant they could live within walking distance of schools, stores and restaurants.

 When asked to identify their ideal community, the most popular choice was a suburban neighborhood with a mix of houses, shops and businesses. The least popular was a suburban neighborhood with just houses. As for transportation concerns, 41% said improving public transportation would be the best solution, while 29% would prefer the development of communities where people do not have to drive long distances to work or shop.

Most buyers begin search on the internet

The 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that homebuyers used a wide variety of resources in searching for a home. Top results showed 92 percent used the Internet, 89 percent used real estate agents, 51 percent yard signs, 45 percent attended open houses and used a mobile application, and 42 percent used mobile search engines.

 When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 43 percent said the Internet; 33 percent from a real estate agent; 9 percent a yard sign or open house; 6 percent from a friend, neighbor or relative; 5 percent from home builders; 2 percent directly from the seller and 1 percent from a print or newspaper ad.

 Ninety percent of home buyers who used the Internet to search for a home purchased through a real estate agent, as did 69 percent of non-Internet users, who were more likely to purchase directly from a builder or from an owner they already knew in a private transaction.

 The 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers continues a long-running series of large national NAR surveys evaluating the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent home buyers and sellers; the series dates back to 1981. Results are representative of owner-occupants and do not include investors or vacation homes.

Why use a REALTOR®?

Not all real estate agents are the same. Only real estate agents who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®.  This professional organization, with over one million members, is committed to being sure that its members treat all parties to a real estate transaction fairly and honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Involving a professional to guide you through what can be a complicated financial transaction increases the odds that the purchase process will be less stressful with the best possible outcome.

 Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power –  If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can quickly identify the home loan amount and purchase price that will work for you.

Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search-  Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

 Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property-  REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. Will the property provide the environment I want for a home? Second, will the property have adequate resale value when I am ready to sell?

Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate-  There are a number of negotiating factors- price, financing terms, date of possession and often the inclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete inspections and investigations of the property before you complete the purchase. Your Realtor can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property-  This could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, radon, faulty structure, roof condition, septic system, water supply, and condition of heating and plumbing systems.

Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

Your REALTOR® can guide you through to the closing and make sure it is a fully coordinated process.

Home Improvements Help Sell

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 $2,000 to $5,000 for 24 percent of home sellers planning improvements; $5,000 to $10,000 for 22 percent and $10,000 to $20,000 for 16.6 percent.

If budgets are tight organizing and de-cluttering 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.