5 Reasons Local Independent Firms are the Future of Real Estate

In recent years, the real estate industry has seen a rapid rate of mergers and acquisitions — but there’s also a countertrend where independent local brokerages are surging in popularity.

When it comes to realty companies, I’m proud to say local is better — and homeowners agree: In a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. homeowners, nearly 90 percent of consumers said they preferred working with an agent who was affiliated with an established local real estate company.

Separately, last year’s annual Real Trends 500 ranking of the top 500 U.S. residential real estate firms found indie brokerages represented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World produced more than a quarter of the total sales units among the top 500 brokerages.

Here are the top five reasons indie brokerages like Newcastle Realty continue to distinguish themselves in a crowded field and demonstrate tremendous growth nationwide.

  1. Authenticity

Locally-owned brokerages are highly invested in the community where they do business and, as a result, earn a strong level of trust from consumers.

At Newcastle Realty, our owner was born and raised in Damariscotta and the company has been doing business in the surrounding communities for over 35 years—that’s a track record people can rely on. Our brokers know Lincoln County, Maine and everyone knows us. We feel that our firm and broker associates truly understand buyers and sellers of Maine real estate, what makes them unique and what drives their housing choices.

That’s why we’re best equipped to provide a high level of value to them. Today’s buyers and sellers are definitely looking at their housing choices through a lens that seeks ways to meet or enhance their lifestyle.

Being a local brokerage means we are intimately in touch with our communities and better able to understand and serve the needs of our clients well.

  1. Adaptability

Unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape or having to run things by a distant “headquarters,” indie brokerages are best positioned to respond to changes in market conditions faster than national players headquartered in other states.

Being able to leverage new marketing strategies more in line with local market conditions achieves better results for buyers and sellers.

When market conditions shift and new technology comes online, indie brokerages can make adjustments more quickly and say, “Here’s the data, and here’s the solution.” This is a huge benefit to consumers and agents.

  1. Neighborhood Intel

Consumers can find a plethora of data online about a home, but that isn’t enough. What they need is a local neighborhood expert to navigate the data points and distill what’s relevant, important and useful.

There are some terrific national agents, but when you combine local expertise with a local brokerage that’s focusing all of its energies in the community where you live, the result for the consumer is extraordinary.

The local agent knows the properties — inside and out — as well as how to apply the available data to help guide buyers and sellers in the best direction for them.

As each home is different and occupies a unique place in the world, so does each buyer and each seller have different circumstances. The local agent can put it all together and develop a customized plan that has the highest probability of success for the client.

  1. Culture of Giving

When a brokerage stays local and is committed to positively affecting its hometown, it’s demonstrating a belief in the value of the community and an investment in its success.

Newcastle Realty believes strongly in giving back to our community through philanthropic endeavors. For example, our Cheney Financial Group Chartitable Giving Committee has donated more than $200,000 to Lincoln County non-profits in just the last 10 years, plus donated hundreds of volunteer hours.

Colleagues working together toward a shared purpose can have a great positive effect on company culture. This seems especially true for younger agents.

A 2016 study found 64 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and 88 percent said their job is more fulfilling when they have access to opportunities to have a positive social and environmental impact.

  1. Deep Bench of Talent

Talent is gravitating toward indie brokerages, and consumers gravitate to where the talent is. Over half (51 percent) of Realtors today are affiliated with an independent company, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2016 survey.

There’s definitely a groundswell of interest in indie brokerages. Top agents want brokerages with cultures that support collaboration, social giving and independence. And they are confident an indie brokerage will offer more financial stability.

Over half of real estate professionals say they felt more profitable as an independent. By generating and fostering talent, indie brokerages are built to succeed and built to grow. A great example of this is the Apprenticeship and Ambassadorship programs at Newcastle Realty. There’s never been a better time to be affiliated with or to work with an indie brokerage.

Consumers and agents alike are choosing firms with roots in the region where they want to live and work. Grounded in the community they serve, passionate about giving back and able to quickly mine multifaceted local data and marketing, it’s clear why indie brokerages like ours continue to be successful.

June 2018 Market and Sales Update

Sales of Maine’s single-family existing homes decreased 1.38 percent last month, due to limited market inventory. Prices, however, continued to rise; according to Maine Listings, the statewide median sales price (MSP) increased 9.95 percent to $219,900. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half for less.

Real estate firms across the state are experiencing steady business, with many markets reporting that multiple offers are prevalent due to tight for-sale inventory conditions. Statewide, we have 14 percent fewer homes for sale than a year ago, and 32 percent fewer than 2016. We’re seeing upward pressure on pricing in those markets due to the limited supply.

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales nationwide eased three percent over the past 12 months, while the national MSP rose 5.2 percent to $267,500. Regionally, sales in the Northeast decreased 11.7 percent and the MSP dipped 1.8 percent to $275,900.

Newcastle Realty has had a strong first half of the 2018 selling season. As of June 21, 2018, our brokers have closed 69 transaction sides with a total volume of $15,890,701—a 5 percent increase over our same Y-T-D sales in 2017. By comparison, Tindal and Callahan has posted 48 sides for $11,254,471 in volume, Drum and Drum Real Estate has sold $9,560,310 with 28 sides, and Sotheby’s Legacy Properties has booked $8,636,500 from 19 sides. We are proud to remain the #1 firm in Lincoln County.

Most of the year-to-date 2018 property sales in the local area have occurred in Waldoboro (74), Wiscasset (81), Boothbay (93), Boothbay Harbor (61), and Bristol (79). Slightly fewer sales have happened so far this year in Jefferson (59), Damariscotta (41), Edgecomb (36), Westport Island (31), Whitefield (32), Nobleboro (29), Dresden (24), and Newcastle (32). Towns showing less than two dozen sales include Bremen (18), South Bristol (17), and Somerville (14). Towns seeing just single digit sales are Alna (9), Southport (8), and Monhegan Island (2).

There are currently 445 single family homes for sale in Lincoln County (up from 374 last month), with 26 percent of those priced at or above $500,000. The 602 residential sales that have occurred in the past 365 days represent transactions in the range of under $100,000 (12%), $100,000-$249,999 (51%), $250,000-$499,999 (27%), $500,000-$999,999 (9%), and $1 million-plus (1%).

The current market absorption rates for Lincoln County homes is 3.9 months (under $100,000), 6.0 months ($100,000-$249,999), 11.1 months ($250,000-$499,999), 19.2 months ($500,000-$999,999), and 34 months ($1 million and up). This tells us how long it would take for existing inventories to be absorbed into the market at current rates of sales if no new listings were introduced.

Newcastle Realty tracks Lincoln County and statewide sales, along with other important metrics, which keeps our brokers fully informed of current market conditions and emerging trends as they serve buyer and seller client needs. Questions or comments may be directed to Dennis Hilton, President of Newcastle Realty at dennishilton@cheneycompanies.com or 207-380-3435.

  • Sales statistics based on information from the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (d/b/a Maine Listings) for the period 1/1/18 through 6/21/18.

Custom Contemporary on the Sheepscot River!

Experience the Maine way of life…

at 52 Falls Road, Newcastle.

When this local well known carpenter built this house not much was left to be desired. This private custom built contemporary cape on the Sheepscot River offers amazing features such as Corian counter tops, first floor Master bedroom with attached en-suit, soaring cathedral ceilings with a stunning massive stone fire place, radiant heat, attached 24×24 garage, separate 30×40 barn are just few. Entertain your summer nights on the large 10×46 cedar deck or sit on the rivers edge watching the sun set over the trees.

MLS#134430

May 2018 Market Update Report

Tighter inventory in the single-family existing home real estate market has led to an uptick in sales prices and home sales. According to Maine Listings, 1,201 homes were sold in April—an 8.59 percent increase compared to April of 2017. Sales prices are also on the rise; a median sales price of $200,000 represents a jump of 8.11 percent comparing April 2018 to April 2017. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half for less.

The April statistics show continued high volume and confidence in home ownership. With limited for-sale inventory and tight markets in many areas of Maine, we’re seeing increased sales prices. Buyers are adjusting to the market conditions, choosing different commuting distances, and including larger down payments to keep their mortgages affordable and provide housing expense stability over the long-term.

Nationwide, sales decreased 1.6 percent over the past year. The National Association of REALTORS today released statistics showing a 5.5 percent increase in the national MSP to $259,900. The regional Northeast experienced an 11 percent dip in sales, while the regional MSP rose 2.8 percent to $275,000.

Newcastle Realty has had a strong start to the 2018 selling season. As of May 24, 2018, our brokers have closed 59 transaction sides with a total volume of $13,981,201—a 3 percent increase over our same Y-T-D sales in 2017. By comparison, Tindal and Callahan has posted 39 sides for $9,219,471 in volume, and Drum and Drum Real Estate has sold $5,924,000 with 16 sides.

Most of the year-to-date 2018 property sales in the local area have occurred in Waldoboro (58), Wiscasset (69), Boothbay (75), Boothbay Harbor (50), and Bristol (60). Slightly fewer sales have happened so far this year in Jefferson (49), Damariscotta (38), Edgecomb (30), Westport Island (24), Whitefield (28), Nobleboro (25), Bremen (15), Dresden (20), and Newcastle (24). Towns showing less than a dozen sales include South Bristol (10), Somerville (10), Alna (6), Southport (6), and Monhegan Island (1).

There are currently 374 single family homes for sale in Lincoln County (up from 318 last month), with 29 percent of those priced at or above $500,000. The 543 residential sales that have occurred in the past 365 days represent transactions in the range of under $100,000 (9%), $100,000-$249,999 (52%), $250,000-$499,999 (28%), $500,000-$999,999 (9%), and $1 million-plus (2%).

The current market absorption rates for Lincoln County homes is 3.5 months (under $100,000), 5.2 months ($100,000-$249,999), 10.3 months ($250,000-$499,999), 21.6 months ($500,000-$999,999), and 30 months ($1 million and up). This tells us how long it would take for existing inventories to be absorbed into the market at current rates of sales if no new listings were introduced.

Newcastle Realty tracks Lincoln County and statewide sales, along with other important metrics, which keeps our brokers fully informed of current market conditions and emerging trends as they serve buyer and seller client needs. Questions or comments may be directed to Dennis Hilton, President of Newcastle Realty at dennishilton@cheneycompanies.com or 207-380-3435.

  • Sales statistics based on information from the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (d/b/a Maine Listings) for the period 1/1/18 through 5/24/18.

Waterfront Estate on Greenland Cove!

Escape to the coast…

at 7 & 16 Periwinkle Point, Bremen.

This light-filled, waterfront home offers the peace and serenity you have been searching for! Enjoy your own dock and float on pristine Greenland Cove. Open ocean just minutes away! Polished wood floors greet you the moment you walk in the door. The captivating granite fireplace soars into the cathedral ceiling making it visible from living room, kitchen, dining area as well as the second floor. Fully equipped kitchen with breakfast bar for casual dining. En-suite master makes one-floor living possible here. Bonus room, two bedrooms. and bath on 2nd floor. Views from every room!! Extra garage bay in the spacious basement for that boat you have always wanted! Simply landscaped-easy to maintain. Offer your guests their own privacy in the detached two bedrooms, winterized home just up the hill. Could be rental opportunity with separate access to the water or place a caretaker here.

This is the perfect home to get away from it all!

 

MLS#1296952

Great Opportunity in Damariscotta!

Great location, great opportunity …

at 61 & 63 Church Street, Damariscotta.

This is the perfect opportunity to owner occupy this quaint residence located within a short walk to downtown Damariscotta. Get help with your mortgage from the two unit Gambrel cottage on the same lot! Main house has two bedrooms, two & a half bathrooms and an attached garage. Nice yard for gardening or outdoor fun. Both rental units are one bedroom, one bath. Great rental history on both buildings. This property is in the C-2 zone which allows for an office location as well. Owners have kept this property in great shape. Main house has been cosmetically updated just recently with new appliances and bath fixtures. 

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

MLS#1300952

March 2018 Market and Sales Update

Single-family existing home values in Maine continue to rise, and sales have remained in healthy territory. Maine Listings today reported that 822 homes changed hands in February, an increase of 5.93 percent compared to February 2017. The median sales price (MSP) for homes sold reached $194,450, up 8.03 percent, comparing February 2018 to February 2017. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half for less.

Now is a great time to list your property, because buyers are searching for homes in anticipation of spring. Realtors are reporting that multiple offer situations are common in areas that are at full employment. In Maine’s rural areas, buyers are more cautious, but they are finding great values.

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of single-family existing homes nationwide were up 1.8 percent in February, and the national MSP of $243,400 represents a 5.9 percent increase from February 2017. Regionally, February sales in the Northeast dipped 7.2 percent, while the regional MSP increased 3.6 percent to $258,900 compared to February 2017.

Newcastle Realty has had a very strong start to the 2018 selling season. As of March 21, 2018, our brokers have closed 32 transaction sides with a total volume of $8,069,001—a 37% increase over our same Y-T-D sales in 2017. By comparison, Tindal and Callahan has posted 24 sides for $6,208,000 in volume, and Drum and Drum Real Estate has sold $2,531,500 with eight sides.

Most of the early 2018 property sales in the local area have occurred in Waldoboro (11), Jefferson (8), Wiscasset (9), Boothbay (14), and Bristol (10). Just a few sales have happened so far this year in Boothbay Harbor (6), Damariscotta (4), Edgecomb (2), Nobleboro (2), Bremen (4), Dresden (2), and Newcastle (4). Towns showing just one or two sales include South Bristol, Westport Island, Somerville, and Whitefield, and no 2018 sales have been posted yet in Alna or Southport.

There are currently 310 single family homes for sale in Lincoln County (down from 325 last month), with 28 percent of those priced at or above $500,000. The 619 residential sales that have occurred in the past 365 days represent transactions in the range of under $100,000 (13%), $100,000-$249,999 (50%), $250,000-$499,999 (26%), $500,000-$999,999 (9%), and $1 million-plus (2%).

The current market absorption rates for Lincoln County homes is 2.5 months (under $100,000), 3.9 months ($100,000-$249,999), 8.1 months ($250,000-$499,999), 14.8 months ($500,000-$999,999), and 20.3 months ($1 million and up). This tells us how long it would take for existing inventories to be absorbed into the market at current rates of sales if no new listings were introduced.

Newcastle Realty tracks Lincoln County and statewide sales, along with other important metrics, which keeps our brokers fully informed of current market conditions and emerging trends as they serve buyer and seller client needs. Questions or comments may be directed to Dennis Hilton, President of Newcastle Realty at dennishilton@cheneycompanies.com or 207-380-3435.

*         Sales statistics based on information from the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (d/b/a Maine Listings) for the period 1/1/18 through 3/21/18.

Broker Debi Fox Goes the Extra Mile at Newcastle Realty

Debi Fox, one of Newcastle Realty’s seasoned broker team, has been selling real estate in Lincoln County for 18 years.  After selling her business, Fox Glass Works in Damariscotta in 2000, she re-activated her broker’s license. Debi comes by her involvement with real estate naturally.  Her husband, Bruce Lilly, is a local area builder, and growing up, her parents bought and renovated three homes.  She loves seeing the potential in what might be done, and helping clients’ brainstorm ideas for renovations and upgrades.
A client from outside of Maine shared her experience of buying her home in Maine; “Debi Fox went above and beyond what I thought a broker would do.  She arranged and attended house inspections, helped me decide on future contrators, when I didn’t know anyone. The sale wouldn’t of happened without her.  There was no part of the process that I was disappointed with.”
 
Debi goes the extra mile to work with buyers and sellers, who find her open, honest, flexible and very detail oriented.  Now is a great time to list property, as inventory is low in Lincoln County. Debi can be contacted at Newcastle Realty’s office, 87 Main Street in Damariscotta and can also reached at 207-563-1003 or on her cell 207-350-1474. Her email address is debifox@cheneycompanies.com. To learn more about Newcastle Realty, please visit www.MyNewcastle.com.home.org.  

Waterfront Condo w/Boat Slip in Newcastle offered by Newcastle Realty!

Location, location, location …

at 75 Main Street, Unit #2, Newcastle.

Walk to downtown Damariscotta from this waterfront condominium complete with your own boat slip! This two bedroom, two bath, first floor home offers lovely views down river and a deck to view them! Sellers have added their own special touches to this already beautiful unit: gourmet kitchen with “Candlelight” custom cabinets, granite counters, walnut eating bar as well as stainless appliances. New tile floors in entry and kitchen-gleaming Norway pine in bedrooms and living room. Master suite has redesigned closet space as well as tiled bath with shower. You will find custom window shades in living, dining and master as well as newly installed air condition units throughout. The building itself is impressive with all propane heat, security and fire alarms, elevator and workout room on the lower level. Each owner will have 2 parking spaces- one in the garage and one outside.

Whether seasonal or year round, this condominium will allow carefree living in a waterfront setting!

MLS#1300952

2018 Year-to-Date Market and Sales Update *

Realtors across Maine report steady activity in most markets. According to Maine Listings, sales of single-family existing homes increased 0.21 percent comparing January 2018 to January 2017. The value of those homes, tracked statistically by the Median Sales Price (MSP), indicates a jump in home values of 5.26 percent to an MSP of $200,000 during that same time period. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half for less.

Now is a great time to list your property, because buyers are searching for homes in anticipation of spring. Realtors are reporting that multiple offer situations are common in areas that are at full employment. In Maine’s rural areas, buyers are more cautious, but they are finding great values. (Contact a Newcastle Realty broker today if you plan to buy or sell Maine real estate this year).

Nationwide sales have dipped 4.8 percent comparing January 2018 to January 2017. The National Association of Realtors today announced the national MSP in January was $241,700, an increase of 5.7 percent from January 2017. Regionally, sales in the Northeast declined 7.6 percent while the regional MSP of $269,100 represents a climb of 6.8 percent comparing January to January.

Newcastle Realty has had a very strong start to the 2018 selling season. As of February 22, 2018, our brokers have closed 17 transaction sides with a total volume of $5,571,301—a 47% increase over our same Y-T-D sales in 2017. Our current median sales price is $205,000. By comparison, Drum & Drum Real Estate has posted four sides for $1,062,000 in volume and a current MSP of $320,000, and Farrin Properties has sold $230,000 with three sides and an MSP of $75,000.

Most of the early 2018 property sales in the local area have occurred in Waldoboro (5), Jefferson (6), Wiscasset (4), Boothbay (11), and Bristol (6). Just a few sales have happened so far this year in Boothbay Harbor (3), Damariscotta (2), Edgecomb (2), Nobleboro (2), Bremen (2), Dresden (2), and Newcastle (2). Towns showing just one sale include Westport Island, Somerville, and Whitefield, and no 2018 sales have been posted yet in Alna, South Bristol, or Southport.

There are currently 325 single family homes for sale in Lincoln County (down from 360 last month), with 25 percent of those priced at or above $500,000. The 618 residential sales that have occurred in the past 365 days represent transactions in the range of under $100,000 (14%), $100,000-$249,999 (50%), $250,000-$499,999 (25%), $500,000-$999,999 (9%), and $1 million-plus (2%).

The current market absorption rates for Lincoln County homes is 2.5 months (under $100,000), 4.7 months ($100,000-$249,999), 8.3 months ($250,000-$499,999), 13.7 months ($500,000-$999,999), and 20.3 months ($1 million and up). This tells us how long it would take for existing inventories to be absorbed into the market at current rates of sales if no new listings were introduced.

Newcastle Realty tracks Lincoln County and statewide sales, along with other important metrics, which keeps our brokers fully informed of current market conditions and emerging trends as they serve buyer and seller client needs. Questions or comments may be directed to Dennis Hilton, President of Newcastle Realty at dennishilton@cheneycompanies.com or 207-380-3435.

  • Sales statistics based on information from the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (d/b/a Maine Listings) for the period 1/1/18 through 2/22/18.

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