Real Estate Information Archive


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Essex History. My Serendipity.

by Michael Marsden

I recently met a new client from out of state on the internet. During our email communications this person shared with me that her family was rooted in Essex many years ago. I asked if I could share one of her remarkable stories on my blog and was given permission to do so. Below is the story of her grandfather, Ashley Young. I hope you enjoy it:


My grandfather's name was William Ashley Young. He was born in 1883. His mother moved him and his older siblings to New York, I believe in the 1890s. There is one story my grandfather liked to tell about one of his older brothers, Alexander. I find it hard to actually believe - but nevertheless. Apparently my great-uncle Alexander was a bit of a wild one when he was young. One night Uncle Alexander and a few of his co-horts decided to play a prank on the town of Essex. They got a hold of someone's outhouse, moved it and placed it on top of the Congregational Church steeple - on that hill at the head of Main Street. The people of Essex woke up the next morning to an outhouse on the top of the Congregational Church! According to my grandfather. It was shortly after that that my great-grandmother decided her children needed something different and moved them to the big city! Again, according to my grandfather.


My grandfather loved Essex, returned as often as he could and when he retired from his job in Manhattan, moved permanently to what had been his summer house in Westbrook. My parents were divorced when I was very young and my mother and I lived with my grandparents - so I grew up in Westbrook in their former summer house.


We just stopped off in Westbrook on our way back from New York. My grandparents and my mother are buried in Cypress Cemetery - on the Essex Road. We put wreaths on their graves.


Selling in the winter market; Advice for vacant homes.

by Michael Marsden

A lot of folks want to wait for the "spring" market and I am here to tell you that your buyer might miss you if you wait out winter as sales happen every month of the year. Some properties even show better in the winter. For instance, your view to water may improve or only be evident during this time of year. My opinion is don't wait. If you want to sell then put it out there. Here are some tips winter selling.


When it comes to winter, or when a property is vacant, it is critical to prepare properties as seasons change. Vacant properties need weekly checkups to be sure the heat or air-conditioning is functioning properly. Buyers must be comfortable when viewing the premises.


Regular exterior care must be a considered: like regular lawn care, mailbox checks, newspaper pickups, and flyers. It is important for a property to look and feel cared for. Sellers should do everything they can to make their homes stand out in this slower season. Simple additions like seasonal wreaths, additional sidewalk or outdoor lighting in darker winter months may help a property show more attractively.


It’s also important to consider when your photos are taken for your home and it’s virtual tour – meaning you don’t want full-leafed trees from July as an exterior photo for a home on the market in December, It’s a dead give away as to the house being on the market a long time.


Buyers should test all systems – especially in vacant homes. Check the air conditioning and heating systems, water, dishwashers, hot water heaters, and anything else. Drainage issues should be checked out as well. A little homework up front will go a long way here.


We also recommend that buyers make any offer contingent on an approved home inspection. Professional home inspectors know exactly what to look for, and we have a number of inspectors we can recommend.


Volatile Negotiations. Volatile Deals

by Michael Marsden

The current buyer's market, especially after the lending crisis, has created some unexpected attitudes from both buyers and sellers. There has no doubt been some price adjustments in asking and selling prices of homes over the past year or so. Our market area has not suffered like other areas of the country, but the competition for the shrinking pool of buyers is still putting pressure on those selling today.


That said, a lot of sellers are quietly (at first) in a resentful place. Everyone thinks their bricks and mortar are worth more than the next person's which make it even more difficult for seller's to get their arms around the price they've got to settle for to sell their home. Most sellers on the market today are not moving for the heck of it. They're having to sell due to marriage or the opposite of marriage, growing family, downsizing, job, financial reasons, and the like. Its simply not 2004...they're one of many, many choices regardless of price point.


That said, those who are most serious have improved their home to put it on the market at its best, taken the advice of professional stagers and their agent, and have priced their home to just over what their bottom line is. Those who have to sell fast have to price under the market so it shows up on more buyer's radar. Buyer's who really can get financing today know they're in the drivers seat and are in high demand. They have tons of choices. You'd think that with the great deals that can be had that they'd be a bit cordial and grateful. But that's not what I have been experiencing.


Buyers are sometimes getting 10% off the asking price and some additional seller's concessions, and they want even more, even after agreements have been reached either verbally or written. This sets the deal onto a acrimonious and contentious course. Both sides take a dislike to each other early on even though they've never met. Agents, try as they might, attempt to keep things unemotional and win-win, but we're only human.


In 2004 sellers were being cruel and unfair towards buyers and now its payback time. However, what ever happened to common decency and people wanting a win-win deal? In any market buyers and sellers need each other to get to the closing table. There's too much of an eBay mentality here. You know the person who gets emotionally caught up in bidding and pays to much to "win" the item? Its only afterwards when they realize the seller and the losing bidders won because they've paid way too much. In a real estate deal its the buyer who pulls out of a deal on a house they've negotiated to 10% under market for a $250 dispute even after they've spent hundreds on inspections. The next morning when they think about how they've "won" it becomes they didn't win.


My advice to buyers and sellers alike are to reach for a win-win, cordial deal. A deal where everyone is more than happy to show up at the closing. I can't tell you how often these days the sellers pre-sign and don't show up so as not to meet the "idiots" that bought their house. Most of my deals have been very win-win and happy experiences for all involved. Lately...that kind of deal is becoming more and more rare.


Some say, who cares, its business and a negotiation. I say, yes it is, however, there are many contingencies most deals need to clear and if things are strained and you need to extend a mortgage date, or want to work out some other issue that could kill the deal, its unlikely to happen because of the posture and tact the parties decided to take early on.


I love this business because I love to meet new people, work with the public, solve problems, and to make the selling and buying process an experience to reflect fondly on. The latter is becoming more and more difficult. I am hoping I can prevail with positive, win-win deals by managing both my buyer's and seller's expectations regarding this pitfall.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3