Your real estate market update for Greater Portland!
Marc Chadbourne
July 2024
There Is No Substitute For Experience!

Daily News And Advice
Today's Feature Stories

Make Your Prospecting Activities Work for You!

We’re heading into the third quarter of the year, and it’s time to ramp up your activities so you can finish the year with a bang! Take a look at the number of pending transactions and listings in your pipeline today; are you disappointed in those numbers? If so, you better look at your prospecting habits.

So many agents get caught in the cycle of working with buyers, closing, and then have to start that process over again. That approach creates a lot of peaks and valleys in the sales cycle… and a lot of dry spells. The secret to a full pipeline is prospecting every single day.

Top producers understand the power of blocking time every day for prospecting activities. Just like you get up and take a shower every day, when you schedule your prospecting activities, it becomes a “success habit” and part of your daily routine. If you’re thinking right now that you’re “too busy” to prospect every day, stick with me for my top three prospecting tips that will make your prospecting easy, fun and guaranteed to deliver results.

  1. 1.Think DAILY: Top producing agents make a disciplined prospecting approach part of their daily routine. Plan for a productive week by blocking out on your calendar the actual dates and times you will prospect. Pro tip! If you don’t schedule it you won’t do it! If you have a closing, or other face-to-face appointment, you can adjust your prospecting schedule around that – but make sure you do it every day without fail!
  2. 2. TARGET your prospecting to specific groups on specific dates. By organizing your schedule this way, you will be more efficient, and able to stay consistent. For example, contact your “B” leads (those who are 30-90 days from buying/selling) and set aside a specific day on the first and third week of every month to call them. Schedule your “C” leads (those who are over 120+ days from buying/selling) for the second week of every month. Schedule your Top 50 Referral Elite Network contacts for a once a month touch and make sure you immediately set up the next month’s touch in your CRM. Having a monthly touch with this group will make sure you don’t slip up and miss a critical connection that can lead to a referral.
  3. 3.PLAN your events in advance for the year: Schedule the dates for each of your quarterly customer appreciation events right now! When you block the dates well in advance, you are then able to plan “backwards” all the activities leading up to the event for a stress-free outcome. Events to consider are a Thanksgiving Pie promotion give away, summer client appreciation parties, Wine and Cheese party, or a family movie night. These client appreciation events will keep you top of mind all year long.

Prospecting is so much more than cold calling, emailing or automated messaging. Set yourself up to prospect for real profits with a schedule that works for you.



4 Steps for Finding the Perfect Home

Moving is one of the most stressful things that you will need to do. It puts pressure on you, your spouse, and your children as you all try to find something that fits with each person’s expectations. You also have to consider the location of the new home, the size of the home, the size of the outdoor area, and the quality of the neighborhood. With all of these things that you need to consider, sometimes finding a house can seem like it’s impossible. The good news is that if you focus on these 4 main things, finding your home will be a whole lot easier.

1. Define Your “Perfect” Home

Get every in your family together and talk about what your perfect home would be. Your kids might want to have a big backyard and you want it to be close to your children’s school. If there’s a room size that you’re looking for, make sure that you write that down as well. You want your list to cover everything that you need. It’s also important to figure out what you need and what you want. For example, if your kids are big swimmers you might want to look at houses that have custom pools. However, this might not be something that you need in the house since a pool can be an easy addition to afterward. You need to realize which things can be compromised and which things cannot. Then, once you’ve defined what your perfect home is, give the list of needed things to your real estate agent and they’ll be able to locate houses that fit the criteria much easier.

2. Stay in the Budget

You might find a home that fits everything that you want, but it’s out of the budget. Now, you have a choice. You can abandon the budget and get the house, or find something that sticks within the price range. This piece of advice comes from years of experience--always choose to stick with the budget. You will only regret spending more than you were planning on spending and it will create financial stress in your future. It might take longer, but you need to find something that actually works with the money that you’ve set aside for buying a house. If you do, you will be a happier family with less financial stress on your shoulders.

3. Think About Remodeling

Remodeling is always an option. Let’s say that you find a house that is perfectly in your budget (maybe even a little cheaper) but it has one fewer room or the layout of the house isn’t what you were hoping for. Don’t just pass up the house. You might want to factor in the cost of remodeling the house and if that’s still in your budget, this might just be your dream house after all. It’s perfectly fine to remodel aspects of your home right after you buy it. Again, just make sure that remodeling isn’t going to push you outside of your budget.

4. Picture Your Family in the Home

Your family is the reason why you’re moving. Maybe your old home was getting too small for a family that’s always growing. Or, maybe you’re moving to a location that has better schools for your children. Sometimes, people move because they were offered a better job that will help them to better care for their family. Most of the time, the move is fueled by the desire to have a better location for the family. Because of that, the family should be at the heart of the home. Can you image your family happily living in the home? If no, then you should keep looking. If yes, then this might be the home for you.

Just make sure that your family is happy with the choice. Encourage your children to be apart of the move as well so that they know that their voices are valued in these big decisions.



Buying a For Sale By Owner Home

Have you ever thought about buying a For Sale by Owner Home? There are some things that you need to be aware of when buying a house directly from the owner. 

Nowadays, everyone is trying to save money and sell their house on their own. You can save money buying a for sale by owner home. You can also get yourself into a lot of trouble if you are not sure what to look for.


The first thing to check into if you are buying a for sale by owner home is the price. Many people will price their house based on how they think their house compares to their neighbors house that may be for sale.  Sellers often get emotional over what they perceive is the value of their house.

Sellers always think that their house is way better than any other house in the neighborhood. They have all of the great memories there. The kids first steps, Christmas mornings, kids graduations, etc.


Even though you may think the house is perfect for you, do some research on the price. Unless you are paying cash for the house, an appraiser from the bank is going to come out. You may think "no big deal". The problem is that the bank will be charging you for the appraisal. These appraisals can cost from $600-1000. Nobody wants to spend $1000 on a house that they are not going to buy!

If the appraiser says that the value is lower than what you have agreed to pay, you now have a situation with the seller. They can either agree to now sell you the house at the price that the appraiser came up with, or the bank will make you come up with the difference before they will give you a loan. For example, the bank will not lend you $250K on a house that appraised for $230K even if you qualify for that amount. Basically, the bank is buying the house, so they want to make sure they can get rid of it if you quit making your payments.


This is something that you can negotiate. When you write up the purchase agreement or buy-sell, you can ask for the owner to pay for the appraisal if it comes in low. If he is so confident of his price, he should be willing to pay for the appraisal if it comes in low.

This brings me to another point. Always remember that EVERYTHING is negotiable. You should hammer out every detail before you get too far down the line with the sale. The last thing that you want to have happen is that you are a couple of weeks away from closing and something comes up that will cost money to fix. This is where many deals fall apart. Emotions can run high if the seller is half moved out of the house and you start asking for repairs or discounts on the sale price.


Another huge thing to keep in mind, is that if the owners are not using a realtor, they probably have not filled out a property disclosure form. When a house is listed by a real estate company, the company will require the seller to fill out and sign a document that discloses every issue with the house that they are aware of.

The document covers everything about the house and property. For example, if they put on a new roof 3 years ago, if they remodeled the kitchen, etc.. The document also has them disclose if there ever was a water leak or any other kind of damage to the house. They must disclose if they ever had to treat the house for mold, or radon.

I am not accusing anyone who is trying to sell their house on their own of lying, but if they don't have to fill out one of these forms, they may forget to tell you about something that could cause problems in the future for you.


This is where the home inspection becomes so very important when buying a for sale by owner home. You may hit it off with the seller, you may totally trust the seller, but you must do an inspection! The seller may not be aware that his attic is full of mold. The seller may not be aware that the foundation of the house has issues. There are so many things that may be wrong with the house that will turn into your problem if you don't do an inspection.

Depending on the size of the house, an inspection will probably cost around $400. This is the best money you can ever spend. That $400 could save you thousands in future repairs.

Ask Questions

One thing that I would ask the seller right out of the gate is why are they selling? What is their motivation? Are they having financial troubles, or do they just need to move. Think about it, if someone is in desperate need to sell due to financial problems, they may be more likely to forget to tell you something that may be wrong with the house. Again, I am not saying that all FSBO's are dishonest or that they are all trying to screw you. It would be in your best interest to find out as much as you can about the seller. If they have nothing to hide, they should be very open about their past and the homes past.

Water Rights

Another thing to research if needed, is the water situation. In Montana, water rights are a huge deal. If you are buying a place on a larger piece of land, look into the water rights. The last thing that you want is to find out that you don't have access to much water or you have to pay someone for more water.

You can call the local DNRC office and find out if there are any water rights that go with the land. If the land that you are buying is on a lake or a stream, you can't just pump water out of it without the proper water rights.

Septic Systems

If there is a septic system, this should also be addressed. When buying a for sale by owner home, you should go down to the sanitation department and get the septic permit for the house. With an older house, there may not be a permit at all. If this is the case, some banks or loan programs will not work. If you can find all of this out in the beginning, you won't be out all of the money for the inspection and appraisal just to find out that you can't buy the house.

Another thing to look for on the septic report is the size of the system. The systems are approved for the amount of bedrooms in the house. If someone has added on to the house, the permit might be wrong. The septic permit might be for a 3 bedroom house, but the house now has 4 bedrooms. This can also be an issue with some of the loans that you may be using for the purchase. It can also be an issue if you have problems with the system in the future. If you have to do repairs you will need a permit from the sanitation department. They may require you to put in a whole new system that can handle the extra bedroom. This is not a cheap project.


Obviously, every house is different. There are many, many things that you need to check into. When buying a for sale by owner home, the main thing that you need to keep in mind is to do your homework on these things up front. All of these things can be negotiated before you get too far into the deal. The key is to do your homework! Find out about all of these things before you spend a bunch of money on inspections and appraisals.

When you are doing the negotiations, you will also learn a lot about the seller. You will be able to figure out what type of person he or she is and how much you should trust them going forward with the deal. This is all up to you, the more work you do up front, the more you will benefit.

If you are thinking of buying a for sale by owner home or if you are in the middle of one of these deals, feel free to contact us with any questions.


Tips From a Realtor® on Selling Your House After a Divorce

Selling a home is difficult even in the best of situations. If you are in the midst of a divorce, though, it can be downright traumatic. Before you put your house on the market, you might want to consider a few basic tips. While they may not magically make the process of selling your home a pleasant one, they may help to make it easier for you and your ex to get through this step and move on with your lives.

Make Agreements Ahead of Time

One of the best moves you can make is to put every agreement in writing before you put the home on the market. Make a binding agreement that you will sell the house, that you will ask for a specific price, and that you will only accept a bid that is over a certain amount. You should leave nothing to chance or agreement later on, as you never know what's going to happen during your divorce. Putting things in writing gives your attorney something to work with, and it can give you a shield behind which you can hide if your ex becomes unreasonable.

Because divorce and real estate laws differ from one area to another, make sure that your attorney is familiar with the local legal requirements. If you live in Utah, for example, a Salt Lake City divorce attorney will be able to give you better advice about the legal aspects of selling a home in a divorce case than an attorney based in Denver. Even if you have a connection to a lawyer somewhere else in the country, they may be able to refer you to someone local, who is more familiar with local legislation.

Work with an Agent

The months following a divorce are not the time for you to try to sell a house on your own. You need to work with an agent, and specifically an agent who has dealt with selling homes during a divorce. You do not need the extra stress that is involved with a For Sale by Owner arrangement, and putting all the responsibility in the hands of one party is a good way to spark another fight. Make sure your agent knows exactly what is going on and that he or she is prepared to deal with a situation that might not be all that pleasant.

Build Contingency Plans

What happens if something goes wrong during the sale? Who is responsible for making repairs if something comes up during the inspection? These are questions that need to be addressed before you put the house on the market. Making a general agreement—in writing—about responsibilities is the best way to avoid a fight when you are trying to sell the home. The key here should be efficiency, so make sure you are putting the responsibilities in the hands of the party who is best able to resolve issues quickly.

Present a United Front

Regardless of the reason for your divorce, you need to present a united front while you sell the home. That means working together to make sure that everything is taken care of and never trying to undermine the other party. This can be difficult if one party is forcing the sale, but it's necessary. Remember, you have a very good reason for getting rid of the house, and selling of it will put money in your and your ex’s pockets. This is something that benefits you both, so don't sabotage things due to raw emotions.

Stay Calm

Perhaps more than any other time in your divorce, this is a time to remove emotions from the equation. While your home carries memories both good and bad, you've got to move past them. If you are selling your home specifically to split the proceeds in the divorce, try to remember that you are satisfying a legal requirement. There will be plenty of time to feel emotional about the process after it is done, but during the sale is not the proper time.

Try to look at your home sale primarily as a financial matter. Keep emotions out of things, and always put your agreements in writing. Once you sell your home, you can begin to process your emotions and move on with your life. While you are selling, though, it's best to remain professional and let the people with experience handle the business aspects. The sale will close before you know it, which will bring you one step closer to rebuilding your life.


Mortgage Rates
Averages as of July 2024:

30 yr. fixed: 6.86%
15 yr. fixed: 6.16%
5/1 yr. adj: 6.52%

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Marc Chadbourne,Broker, NAR Green Designation CRS GRI ABR
E-mail: [email protected]
Cell: 207-465-5569
Gardner Real Estate Group
511 Congress Street
Portland, Maine 04101

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