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Old 01-01-2010, 12:47 PM
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,818 posts, read 4,278,421 times
Reputation: 1240


Here's a few observations from my perspective:

You purchased the home in 2007 (2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, 1129 Sq. Feet) about a year after the market had peaked and started drifting lower through October 2008 when the bottom dropped out. Many professionals believe that most markets in Maine have corrected 20% - 25% percent since the early 2006 peak, therefore the value of your house has most likely dropped at least 15% from the purchase date in 2007.

You priced the home almost 15% higher in 2009 than your 2007 purchase price and have been on the market for 11 months without any changes. Unfortunately you had your best chance to make a good impression at a time when the $8000 tax credit was being rolled out last winter but that was wasted as you turned off the buyer pool who elected to look at your competition. There were eleven 2 or 3 Bedroom Single Family home sales in Stockton Springs in 2009. I know that some of those buyers saw your house online or through an e mail from their buyer agent, but rejected it. You are on the market, but you're not in the market. Did your agent do a Comparative Market Analysis to show you similar homes that had recently sold as well as those that you would be competiting with? Has he updated it for you on a regular basis?

In December a 3 Bedroom, 1 Bath house on Morse St. with 1100 Square Feet sold for 94,000.
In October, a 2 Bedroom, 1.75 Bath house on Muskrat Farm Rd. with 1120 Square Feet sold for 126,000.
In July, a 3 Bedroom, 1 Bath house on Main St. with 1336 Square Feet sold for 115,000.

I understand why you priced your home where you did, but unfortunately the buyer public, the appraisers and the investors (banks, mortgage companies) do not care what you "need to get" out of the home, the market is speaking loud and clear and rejecting it. After 11 months, your only prospects are those brand new to the market and when their buyer agent goes over the recent sales and current competition, they will reject you as well. Your only chance to sell at that price is to stumble across a cash buyer who does not need an appraisal and is willing to pay that enormous premium because they "have to have this house." We do see this in excpeptional and unique homes and in fairness I haven't seen yours, but based on what I can see from the history from previous sale activity, plus the fact that it's been "trashed," I'm guessing that's not going to happen.

So now that I've painted such a dreary picture, how can you get out of this? You could move back to Maine and ride out the storm until the market corrects, but most are forecasting the next decade to be a "normal market" like the 1990s, with 2-4% annual appreciation. The go go days of the early 2000s are gone and they are not coming back anytime soon. If you move back, you will need to stay for several years unless your financial situation changes and you can afford to sell at a loss.

If you want to move on, please do not do a deed in lieu of foreclosure as some have suggested. Just like an involuntary foreclosure that will harm you for several years in many facets of your life, not just in buying another home, credit reports are being pulled by more than just credit grantors now. Instead talk to your agent about a short sale. In a short sale, the lender agrees to let you market the house at today's market price in order to find a buyer and then either accepts that contract at a loss (the proceeds come up short of the mortgage balance) or rejects it and eventually forecloses several months later, and attempts to sell the vacant home for much less than they could get in a short sale with you maitaining it a year or more down the road. You win by getting out from under the house, the lender wins by not having to go through the time/expense of a foreclosure and the buyer may win if they are able to buy your house at a perceived discount off of a similar non-distressed property. Is it easy? No way, although I was very lucky with my short sales and bank owned properties in 2009, that isn't usually the case. I put a short sale under contract yesterday and the lender is Countrywide (now part of Bank of America) and we are hoping to close by May. Distressed properties are not part of my business plan, but I do them because I have to. In parts of the county up to 2/3s of the home sales fit this category, we are very lucky in Maine. If your agent does not want to go through the process, ask him to release you, find out which agents have successfully managed short sales and interview them to get a good fit.

Unfortunately you are a victim of the market; you are not alone, there are millions of home owners across the country who are in your shoes. Please don't take it personally, you had good intentions when you bought the home, but your circumstances changed and you are caught up in the tsunami. I wish you the best of luck, and if I can help any further, send me an e mail or DM off the forum.
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:00 PM
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,818 posts, read 4,278,421 times
Reputation: 1240
Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
First of all, are you advertising yourself, like on Craigslist? I finally sold my property in bedford County PA to a family that that has one of those mistaken views that they can get back to the woods. They live outside of Philly and have to drive nearly four hours to get there. I say more power to them; they may be successful. But even with 40 acres they are going to find that its harder in many ways than they think. The nearest hospital is nearly 25 minutes away on a good day. But while I was selling for a good price and the broker claimed to have shown the property to many people, I eventually sold it through someone who found it on craigslist. You need to reach out yourself.

craigslist.org should be a piece of the marketing plan, but let your agent create and place the ad. It can be very easy to violate federal and state regulations in advertising which would fall back to your agent. If you hire a professional, get a clear understanding of the entire marketing plan and hire somebody who's marketing plan agrees with your philosophy. If they don't do craigslist and you want craigslist, find another agent who will.
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:01 PM
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,818 posts, read 4,278,421 times
Reputation: 1240
Originally Posted by Newdaawn View Post
Has your realtor advertised your house in Yankee Magazine or Downeast? It might catch the eye of someone outside the immediate area. I concur with the poster that said change realtors.
I disagree strongly about the magazines, that's the wrong audience for this property. As for changing REALTORS, there is a contractual arrangement for a specific period that must be adhered to.

Last edited by WhoFanMe; 01-01-2010 at 01:41 PM.. Reason: First answer was vague.
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:17 PM
Location: South Portland, Maine
2,356 posts, read 4,946,331 times
Reputation: 1511
I think who fan me summed it up prety well. Fact is there are a lot of question's and concerns you need to have answered and consulting a proffesional who has experience in this area is a good start.. ask your realtor some of these questions.. if he/she doesn't appear to be as well informed as whofanme then you need to find the more experienced realtor..
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:38 PM
Location: Gorham, Maine
1,818 posts, read 4,278,421 times
Reputation: 1240
Thanks fly, with a few exceptions (million dollar properties or sub-divisions which have a longer sales cycle) I don't see the point in carrying a listing that long. If it hasn't sold in four to six months, the chances are it's not going to. Some agents will take listingd that aren't competitively priced and beat down the seller to get to the correct price, I've lost listings to many of them. It's a lot easier for everybody to price it right the first time and get it moving.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:19 PM
Location: Maine
566 posts, read 1,257,658 times
Reputation: 680
You need to listen to WhoFanMe. He knows what he is talking about. His advice is very good. Excellent post WhoFanMe.
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