To the average Joe and Jane, their view of the real estate industry and local market conditions are often tied to very limited personal experience.
What the public absorbs from the Grape Vine news stream down at the Piggly Wiggly pushing the wire cart. From the buzz and the hum picked up at the hair dresser salon or barber shop, from friends, family, the neighbor’s real estate listing and selling event going on around them. Or whatever is splashed and beamed into their big flat screen TV display from real estate reality shows produced on the west coast.
The national media tries to “one size fits all” reduce and dumb down coverage of complex issues.
Making them into comic book simple statements in the headline news round up of that’s the way it is today people. So when real estate market stories make it into the news stream rotation highlights, the sound bite or headline often has nothing to do with the local real estate market. Information is powerful but not if it is focused on the wrong GPS coordinates or too large an expanse on the blue and green revolving marble.
Real estate markets move and groove like the weather patterns change overhead too.
They heat up, cool off and have many layers. The more expensive the price tags hanging off the property listings, the greater the stratification and numbers of the real estate segments. Niche audiences for this size square footage, that new housing development or this lifestyle interest in real estate intensify as the wallet opens wider to subsidize the property needs in the what’s for sale transfer to the new owners.
So how does a buyer and seller get the most accurate real estate information possible?
That applies for today, at this moment in time to snap shot the current real estate market conditions? From a local small town real estate professional who has weathered a few market storms. That can see where we’ve been in the real estate rear view experience mirror. That can look a property over and pin point where it falls in the rise and fall of the real estate market supply and demand for a particular real estate listing up for sale today. And that can see the tilt of the real estate listings and sales direction the local property market is headed.
So don’t rely on the national real estate market reports of these United States at large or other parts of the World for starters.
Discount statewide news trends because they average a very large geographical area in a big land mass like Maine. And all the real estate local markets in Maine do not percolate exactly the same way. The local real estate markets behave the way they do because there are economic factors like a mill closing underway. Or the prices in Southern Maine which is closer to the Boston Metro pool of real estate buyers are headed up so the buyers for say waterfront properties do the same as they explore deeper northern, eastern, western regions of Vacationland. To get the most bang for the real estate buck.
What else affects the local real estate market?
More restrictive bank lending mortgage underwriting standards that restrict the speed and number of real estate sales.
Playing with the dial on the interest rates from the Federal level trickles down to disrupt and shake up real estate market trends. The small local rural real estate markets warm up if larger metro urban ones heat up with increased activity.
The Internet has helped showcase the more property features and acreage for less money that used to be pretty much kept in the dark in small rural real estate sales.
Because other than an newspaper ad in say the Hartford Courant, the Boston Globe, New York Times or Mother Earth News, Country Living Magazine, the cost to catch the attention of outside the local real estate market was very expensive. And like a rescue gun flare sent up from a life boat as the crew watches the mother ship sink. The black and white newsprint insertion hit the weekend edition real estate section as a marketing blip overhead and quickly faded away.
The Internet real estate marketing if the message if wired correctly and the channels weeded, watered and fed with care and attention. Makes what’s available for sale served up hot and ready round the clock. Like a tasty buffet of property listings. And side dishes of all that goes with selling real estate listings.
The details on the local communities which is critical to outside buyers and the how the real estate process works from A to Z that anyone purchasing or selling in the local market thrives on with gusto. To have at their finger tips for best real estate buying and selling experience possible. On the most expensive item most folks ever buy or sell in their lifetime bar none. More on what makes a small Maine town great to combine with the tasty juices of the rural low cost real estate market property prices.
So when I get asked how’s the real estate market is, the question also person gives a quick follow up observation thrown into the query.
The second part is based on what the individual has heard on national news that could be from six months ago until someone replaces it with an update.
Or just repeating what they heard from someone’s off hand rehash from who knows where.
So the answer to how is the local real estate market starts with a question?
You mean locally, overall to the speed of the sales process, or the amount of inventory? And just as important beyond just house sales in general, but which part of the real estate market are you wanting to know about? Waterfront cottages on a lake, or farm properties with lots of land or apartment house sales, maybe mom and pop commercial listings sales? It is not being difficult, but wanting to dial into the particular segment of the local real estate market that interests them most.
To someone that does not list and sell property, it could come off as making real estate market news or the value of my home today more complicated them it has to be.
But unlike looking up the value of a car with this many miles, this particular model with these options listed on the window sticker build sheet, real estate values are tied to the happenings around the local market, in the properties bordering the one under the microscope.
The hardest part of our job is to explain to the person who calls or bumps into you and asks hey, how much is my home worth right now… just a ball park. Won’t hold you to it. Is to not just pull a number out of thin air.
In thirty seven years of listing, selling Maine real estate, the patience for the survey says give it to me right now answer is getting thinner and thinner as the explaining how market value is arrived at gets more complex. There are grey areas and it depends, needing more to arrive at the best answer. And small town Maine rural towns don’t operate so predictably when fewer sales to plot and chart. It is no longer just trust your gut or pull it out of the air easy. But not much in life is these days right? Too many choices in the selections at Mickey Dees and affluence fuels the be distinctive and have it your way at the place with the cardboard crown.
The value of your real estate, your home, whatever property type is near and dear.
It is more complicated and like the doctor’s clip board questionaire on the multi sheets of information gathering, it is not one remedy works for all people. Like people, real estate listings are all so so different. The condition of the property itself and the current economy, the location times three, and motivation of the buyer and seller all end up creating the real estate market today. Not the one last year, or next year. But right here and now.
So back to the how does a rural real estate market differ in the way it acts and performs when put next to the one where the population swells and there are bright lights, a big city setting. Well for where I live, the market swing in sales prices for a standard 5-3-1 count for rooms, bedrooms, baths) shoe box 1024 square foot typical ranch house can be $71,000 in northern Maine. Where the carbon copy housing structure and condition air dropped on a lot in say Portland Maine or further south is $199,500.
You make more in your pay check in Portland Maine but have to for making ends meet.
The cost of living in small town Maine is lots lower and has to be. Some argue we live in our small Maine towns like we are in a recession. They are right and what is important is not tied to spending to impress, more to survive. Living without debt is a freedom that adds to the enjoyment of life.
In larger urban real estate markets, concern about personal safety adds to the buzz.
Folks want to avoid certain neighborhoods, demend security devices like cameras, chain link fences, dead bolts and more. In small town rural Maine real estate markets we don’t lock doors, have no gangs, no drive by shootings. No one is stuck in traffic on the freeway, there is plenty of space.
Backyards don’t have stockade fending around them defending very dinky areas measures in feet. The “backyard” is forty acres or larger and the only fencing is to keep the hiefers, the bull, whatever critters close to home and off the roads where they would make a very expensive hood ornament to the little traffic that might be out for a Sunday drive to a nearby lake that is never crowded or noisy.
It is a shocker to see HGTV shows where the couple is eying a property with zero lot lines, with one space to park a car outfront and the price tag is 1.1 million dollars large.
And the discussion on the reality real estate TV show is about the close to $200,000 bare bones needed for rehabbing it to make it fit their particular highly specific list of demands if they are going to set foot in the place.
In small rural markets for real estate in a place like sparsely populating Maine, a property stager to be hired to come in and square away the wrong colors and reduce the clutter with trendy furnishings does not happen. On a $35,900 older colonial property listing, clean it, get rid of smells and debris in the cellar and garage and price it to sell is all that is needed. Oh an replacing burned out basement and any home lightbults so we can see during a late in the date winter showing when the sun goes to bed a little earlier.
In small rural markets for real estate in Maine, folks don’t pay thousands and thousands extra for a pristine zip code of blue bloods and elites.
Status is more your reputation not the way you splash your wealth and there is no climb to the top. We are all pretty equal and pulling in the trace together. Small town rural living in Maine is more intimate, the small population more connected because the folks in the community are the town. Not the down town main street row of empty buildings or tall steeple collection of churches, schools or public buildings like the courthouse with the long steep stairs and the clock on top. Where locals can hear walking the streets in safety or in their beds late at night what time it is by sound of the count the bell tolls.
Home owners associations, condo associations and the lawn police chasing you to pay fines because your grass is a quarter inch too tall.
Because you park a pick up in the front yard, hang your laundry to dry on the line. Or the shade of your home color does not comform to the local bylaws of the subdivision. Or local zoning layers of players for regulation and enforcement are watching you like a hawk. That is not living, that is not small town rural country living Maine. Discover Northern Maine.
Maine, you will love us for the fresh air, clean water and all natural pure pretty eye candy. But the what we have list of stuff to brag about to your friends in the crowded city settings you leave behind. The no traffic, the 4th lowest crime state statistic, the lack of pollution, noise or the the down to Earth real estate property prices is what really excite the locals and out of state buyers equally.
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MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730 USA