Dec. 1, 2017

Are Your From Away?

Melissa and I were at a Holiday Party last week and I was talking with a long-time resident of South Portland about living here and she commented on getting our newsletter for the last 17 years or so.  She loved the newsletter; hearing about our local news, our family and schools and said the newsletter made her feel more connected to South Portland.  She said she was “From Away.” I told her I was “From Away” too (coming from Seal Cove, Maine) and I found out she was from Kennebunk!  From Away?  I thought that was so funny!

25 years ago, I bought a two-family home on Alder Street in South Portland.  I remember it well.  At that time I was working for the Maine Marine Patrol and was on my own with my black lab, Bo.  I loved the Willard Beach area and Bo did too!  Melissa and I met shortly after I settled in and I still feel very lucky she said, “Yes” when I proposed.  My smaller apartment was not big enough to support a family so Melissa and I started thinking about where we wanted to raise the family we hoped to have one day.

We looked in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth, Cumberland,  Yarmouth and South Portland. We considered school systems, local government, local activities, amenities and community recreation. We were and still are very active in biking, running, and walking, and love visiting local beaches, eating at great restaurants, and shopping at local businesses. We had a list going of pluses and minuses for each town and put serious thought into which one was going to be best for all that we love doing. 

It was an easy decision and we settled of course in South Portland.  We bought a home in the Sylvan Sites area while keeping my two-family on Alder Street to rent out.  And we later added our office building right next to Hannaford and City Hall on Cottage Road. 

It wasn’t South Portland’s location that was the overwhelming deciding factor. It wasn’t even the amenities, recreation opportunities, schools, restaurants or shops.  The biggest factor it turned out was the people!  Walking, biking, and running around the neighborhoods for 5 years prior, I had gotten to know so many people and they are the main reason we have stayed in our home for the past 20 years!

We’ve loved sitting on Broadway to watch the Memorial Day Parade, going to the Willard Square block parties, watching the fire works at Bug Light, enjoying performances at Mill Creek and the holiday Tree Lighting and being able to walk to just about everything.  Over the years we’ve volunteered in the schools and have gotten involved with the soccer program coaching.  Melissa was honored to serve a term on the City Council and I have sat on a few community boards here and there.  It really is the people here that make South Portland a great place to live and we are always looking for way to be involved and give back to the people that have made this home for us.

We have been so fortunate to live here, bring our family up here and serve the people of this community.  We really do feel grateful to be able to work with so many people in South Portland even those who are originally “From Away!” 

Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends and always smile when you’re in your neighborhood, in your local shops and restaurants and say hello to your neighbors. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!!

Jackson, Gabby, Melissa and Brian and Hadley the dog!

Posted in A Word From Brian
Nov. 15, 2017

October 2017 Market Data

MREIS has released the October 2017 Real Estate Statistics.

At the national level:  Overall sales as compared to one year ago dipped 1.2% while the median sale price increased 4.2% to $246,800.

At the regional Northeast level: 1.4% fewer homes were sold and the median sale price declined 4.8% to $274,100

At the state level: Maine’s median sale price for single-family homes was $207,225 up 10.2% from a year ago and there were 2.31% more homes sold.

At the county level: In Cumberland County, during the months of July, Aug. and Sept., 1301 homes sold as compared to 1249 homes the previous year.  During the same period the median sale price of homes increased 7.27% to $295,000.

At the local level: In South Portland 104 single-family homes sold with a median sale price of $307,380.  86 of those properties sold in less than 30 days!  In Cape Elizabeth 55 homes sold with a median sale price of $559,408.  36 of those sold in less than 30 days. Inventory in certain neighborhoods is still very tight.  Multiple offer situations are still common but we have seen an increase in inventory since spring. Being prepared to compete in this market  before you start your home search is more important than ever!  And rising values make now a great time to be listing your property.  If you’re thinking of selling or buying a home, call on a local expert who can help you navigate this changing market! 

Posted in Market Update
Nov. 1, 2017

It's All About Family

At times this business makes my hair gray(er)! There have been many ups and downs over the past 21 years. It can be very emotional at times but there seems to always be a central theme to all that Melissa and I do. It’s all about family.  

Autumn Duguay just bought her first home and she just turned 23 years old! She is an inspiration to my kids!  It took almost a year to find her a great home at the right price. She just closed on one in Portland and is now painting out the rooms to make it her own. The neatest part about working with Autumn was watching her parents (who traveled 45 min each time) view each home with her. They were so proud of her and certainly have ever reason to be! It was all about family.

We just sold 88 Scamman Street in South Portland.  The Howard brothers were selling it for their Mom and traveled from Idaho and Georgia to help pack and clean up after she moved.  I was fascinated listening to Frank’s stories of pitching for the White Sox and beaning my childhood hero Carl Yastrzemski! He got a great laugh out of telling that story. I found out later, from our local baseball expert, Al Livingston (who I hear was a great local baseball talent too!) that Mike Howard also played triple A baseball for the Boston Red Sox!  Two local brothers playing professional baseball!  What a family legacy!

We held an open house when we first listed the house. There was one couple that talked with me about their family for a long time. They were so nice. We later received two offers; one being from that nice family and the Howard brothers felt they would be a great addition to the neighborhood!  As we all sat at closing I talked with them and learned the husband coaches baseball and had coached my nephew Sam for the last 3 years in South Portland!  The baseball tradition at 88 Scamman Street continues on!  It’s all about family.

We had been working with Justin since early spring.  He was looking for a home in Scarborough, Portland, South Portland under $300,000. That was a tough price range as the inventory had been so low.  We found some great listings from April through July, but so did other buyers in the market and we were outbid each time- sometimes by $40,000 over the asking price!  I kept telling Justin that the right one was coming soon, and it sure did.  He saw a sign going up on Mussey Street.  We acted quickly and learned it was being sold “By Owner”. We made an offer before anyone else, and Justin now has his first home!  A week after closing I was driving by and saw a woman painting the exterior of the house. I suspected it was Justin’s Mom who had been so supportive through his home-buying  process.  She had traveled from Ohio for a week to help Justin settle in to his first house! We all need Mom’s like that!  It’s all about family. 

As we pause our lives to celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m thinking of all the things I’m thankful for—family, friends, and all the freedoms we enjoy. Be sure to stop and be grateful for all the good things in your life an if we know someone that is celebrating alone this year, knock on their door and say hello.  You may be what they’re most thankful for this year!  

Posted in A Word From Brian
Oct. 15, 2017

A Tale of Two Buyers

How long does it take to find the perfect home?

We work with many buyers and each one is different with their timing.

We started working with Christina a year ago. She is a 24 year old, first time home-buyer and looking for a home  in South Portland, Portland or Westbrook and her budget was under $180,000. We looked at 30 homes over 12 months. During that time, we made offers on 4 homes that she loved but they were all multiple offer situations and she was not the winning bidder.  We had a fifth property  under contract but the deal fell through after the inspections revealed issues the seller was not willing to repair or compensate her for.  Then last month we found the PERFECT home and she is preparing for closing  this month. Of all the homes we looked at, it’s the best value and was  worth the wait! She is so happy!

Last month I met with Jan and Michael. They wanted to relocate from NH to be closer to their family. We set their search up for Portland, Westbrook, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland under $350,000.  After studying listings online for 3 weeks, Jan made the trip to Maine to see 8 homes. Last Friday we toured 6 of them and on Saturday Michael joined her to look at the last 2.  They fell in love with one of the homes in Scarborough and made an offer on it that afternoon. By 7:30 pm Saturday they were under contract on their new Maine home!

Whatever your timeline is we’d love the opportunity to talk with you about your goals and learn how we can help.  Give us a call today!  And be sure to ask for your FREE report “How to Be a Rock Star Buyer”.

Posted in Client Stories
Oct. 1, 2017

It's The Little Things

I was raised in Seal Cove in rural Downeast Maine.  My Mom was a single mother of 3 but made time to teach us some very simple lessons that I carry with me today.  Always say, “please” and, “thank you”.  Open the door for others.  If you see trash on the ground, pick it up!  Be respectful and polite.  Do something nice for someone everyday. We didn’t have much growing up but we did learned how to treat people right. I was in law enforcement for 14 years and I used those lessons daily.  My 21 years in real estate have been the same. Treat people with respect and be polite. 

Life is so busy.  Family and work take up most of our time.  Attending as many events for our kids as we can is something my wife and I always made a priority.  We’ve also volunteered for community events and boards including the Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Board of Assessment Review, have coached baseball, soccer and hockey and have of course hosted numerous events at our office including our Annual Community Yard Sale, Octoberfest Celebration, pictures with Santa and the Easter Bunny, job shadows for Mahoney and Memorial Middle Schools, an occasional car wash and have helped out with our local tree lighting ceremony and Winterfest.  We believe in our community and there is much that we are thankful for.  

When Gabby left for college I found myself with extra time at night so I began refereeing soccer.  I was at South Portland High School for a game and 3 of the kids I coached in the South Portland Strikers program came up to shake my hand and asked how Jackson and Gabby were doing.  As I began lining up for the game kick off, another player came up, shook my hand and said, “nice to see you Coach Linscott.” I coached Strikers for 5 years and now many of those boys are playing for South Portland’s varsity soccer team who are 13-0-1 heading into the playoffs!  During Strikers practices back in the day, we had team rules.  Homework and studies come first.  Say “thank you” to your parents.  Be on time! (or your parents will have to run! This only happened 2x and the parents learned to drop their player off way up the road so they wouldn’t have to run!).  Be respectful and polite to the officials and other players and have fun! 

I went to watch a varsity game last week and one of the Strikers parents patted me on the back and said, “Now there’s a coach.”  It’s been amazing to watch that group of boys grow and to witness and be a part of their success.  I’m happy to have been able to pass on some of the simple lessons my mother taught me.  

In real estate the market is constantly changing and can be very challenging.  We’ve had our share of easy transactions this year but we’ve also had a few that were very difficult.  We had a closing last week and when the buyers did a final walk through, they reported some items left behind by the seller.  I called Melissa and she went right over to the house and gathered everything in a pile at the end of the driveway for me to pick up with our truck.  The sellers did beat me to it but were happy to have the help.  It’s small gestures like these that most agents would not do that help to make life a bit nicer. 

Our day is filled with decisions.  We all have them.  As I was dropping Jackson off at school today I said, “Do something nice for someone today.”  He knew I meant it.  He’s heard it from me as many times as I did from my mother. 

It truly is the little things that often mean the most.


Posted in A Word From Brian