Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Aug. 20, 2020

Our Changing Times

The soothsayer in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar issued his famous warning "Beware the Ides of March."  Who knew that in 2020, around the middle of March, the world, as we knew it, would force such dramatic changes on us from the Coronavirus.

In America, it has brought our economy to its knees as we sheltered in place for over four months.  During this time, changes have affected our lives and many of those changes could be permanent.

Previously, smaller homes were becoming the trend for not only efficiency but upkeep so owners would have more time to do things including travel.  Now, travel is minimal and our world, in some respects, is reduced to our home.

For families with children, their home has become a school.  With so many people working from home, it has become our office or store or studio.  If there is more than one working adult in a home, it needs to have space for each party to work.  The home fitness industry is experiencing record sales in exercise equipment so the home can become a gym.

Since we're all spending more time at home, it is also the place to recreate.  We're cooking more; a larger kitchen and dining area would be nice.  We want to enjoy the yard, garden, pool or balcony and our current home may not even have them or we'd like to upgrade. 

People are wanting and needing more space to do all of these things at home.  Many experts are anticipating that these changes we thought were temporary may be part of the new normal even after a vaccine and cure have been discovered.

If you have had any of these thoughts and would like to know more about how to buy or sell a home in our current market, we would love to tell you about the many options available while being responsible to stay safe. 

May 20, 2020

The Cost of Convenience

The convenience of selling your home without the hassle of getting it ready, putting it on the market, showings, open houses, negotiations, and repairs comes at a cost ... a significant part of your equity. 

The companies, referred to as iBuyers, that buy homes from sellers are for-profit organizations. They expect to make a profit from sellers who are willing to discount the proceeds they'll realize as an alternative to the conventional method of selling a home for people who need a quick sale.

The promotions for these companies generally state that you can receive a cash offer in a few minutes after putting your address online. The discount can be between 10 to 18% compared to normal selling costs from 6 to 9%. The cost to a homeowner with a $100,000 equity could be as much as ten thousand dollars.

Even after you have accepted an offer, there can be contingencies in the contract that allow the company to inspect the home to discover the condition and reassess the offer to possibly make even more deductions. If the seller isn't willing to accept them, the buyer can withdraw from the sale without penalty.

This appears on the surface to be a friendly, accommodating service but it can be an adversarial situation. The seller wants to maximize their proceeds and the buyer wants to buy the property as cheap as possible.

Compare this to working directly with a real estate professional acting as your agent. The agent has to put your interests above their own. They have a fiduciary duty of care, integrity, honesty, and loyalty in their dealings with you. Other duties include confidentiality, disclosure, obedience, and accounting to the seller.

In this traditional model, your agent will provide you with the facts of what homes have sold for in the area and their opinion and recommendations on what the most likely sales price will be.  Your agent will provide you an estimate of the sales expenses based on different sales possibilities. 

An agent can advise you on work to be done prior to putting the home on the market, staging so your home will show at its best, and estimate the time it will be on the market. Based on low inventories in some price ranges, it could be surprisingly short.

As an owner, you made an investment in your home in cash and maintenance. You are entitled to maximize your proceeds based on the risk taken to purchase a home instead of renting. The convenience of a quick offer has a cost to it. You need to compare the two alternatives to see which one benefits you the most based on your individual situation.

 

Posted in Sellers
April 29, 2020

Market Update - April 27, 2020

Below is a link to a snapshot of what the Real Estate Market looks like on Monday, April 27, 2020. If you have questions as to what it means for you as a buyer or seller in your particular situation, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Market Update April 27, 2020



April 15, 2020

COVID-19

Even in this unprecedented time, some people must buy or sell their homes. Please know that our clients' safety is our #1 concern and our COVID-19 business practices follow - and exceed - Governor Brown's Executive Order. Our industry is working hard to balance the needs of clients and to flatten the curve. We have implemented safe touring method but understand that some buyers are not comfortable going into a home. If this is the case, we can help you virtually tour a home via FaceTime or Zoom.

Below are some resources you may find helpful:

Oregon Association of Realtors

Oregon Health Authority

CDC

Please contact us if you would like more information on a home or if you have any questions about the real estate market during this strange time in our lives.

April 14, 2020

What Buyers Can Do While at Home

While you're isolating at home, there are things you can do to help buy a home now or in the near future. Instead of spending time surfing the Internet looking at homes, do the groundwork necessary to be able to purchase the home that you find.

There is a lot of documentation necessary to qualify for a mortgage and to be approved. This part of the homebuying process can be done in advance, long before you even start looking at homes much less finding the one that you want.

  • Assemble all documents to make a pre-approval
  • Photo ID
  • Two months current pay stubs
  • Last two years' W2s
  • Complete copies of checking and savings statements for last three months
  • Copies of statements for IRAs, 401k, savings, CDs, money market funds, etc.
  • Employment history for last two years with addresses and contacts
  • Proof of commissioned or bonus income
  • Residency history for last two years with addresses and contacts
  • Assets for down payment, closing costs, and reserves; must provide paper trail
  • If self-employed, last two years tax returns, current profit and loss statement and balance sheet; copy of partnership/corporate tax returns for last two years if owning more than 25% of company
  • FHA requires driver's license and social security card
  • VA requires original certificate of eligibility and DD214
  • Other things may be required such as previous bankruptcy, divorce decree

Get pre-approved

  • Determining the amount you can borrow - decreases as interest rates rise
  • Looking at "Right" homes - price, size, amenities, location
  • Finding the best loan - rate, term, type
  • Uncovering issues early - time to cure possible problems
  • Creating bargaining power - price, terms, & timing
  • Being able to close quicker - verifications have been made

If using a gift as a down payment, construct your gift letter

  • The donor's relationship to borrower
  • State the dollar amount is a gift and not a loan
  • State that no repayment is required
  • Signed and dated by the donor and borrower
  • Include all contact information

Build your homebuying team

  • REALTOR® - this person will coordinate the efforts of the other team members to make the transaction move smoothly, without unnecessary delays to close on time.
  • Lender* ... consider a trusted professional you can meet with face-to-face
  • Title company* ... guaranteeing the title and closing on time is important
  • Inspector* ... more than a flashlight and a clipboard

 

*Your agent can recommend these professionals based on their experience and having worked with them in the purchase and sales of other homes. This can keep you from getting hooked-up with someone that may not be familiar with the type of home, area, or loans that you might be considering.

 

Posted in Buyers, To Do List
April 14, 2020

Inventory Check List

Everyone knows someone it has happened to or has heard a tragic story.  It could have been a fire, a flood, a burglary or some other disaster but to file a claim on their insurance, they need the receipts or a list for what is being claimed.

Since you're at home anyway and may even have kids at home who need something to do, now is a great time to get a current home inventory done.  One of the easiest ways to accomplish this seemingly, daunting task is to put together a collection of pictures of every room in your home.    

The more valuable, the more important it is to take a close-up picture.  It will be necessary to open the drawers and closets and, in some cases, to pull things out in order to show everything in the picture.  That's why having someone to help you makes it faster and easier.

Not to get distracted from the job at hand, you may discover things that you had forgotten you had which is why you should do an inventory rather than trying to reconstruct it after the loss.  In some cases, it may be years after you've filed a claim when you remember you forgot some things.

Having photos or videos of the different rooms in your house combined with a list of the items can serve as the proof you need for your claim.

There are other benefits to doing a home inventory also.  You'll know the "right" amount of insurance to have on your personal belongings by assigning replacement costs to them.  It will simplify filing a claim if you ever need to. 

To organize your photos and even provide a detailed list of higher value items, you can download a Home Inventory in an interactive PDF that you can complete.  You can put it together on your computer and store it online to make it available if the computer is stolen or damaged.

April 13, 2020

Mortgage During Retirement?

You don't have to watch TV for long before Tom Selleck, Henry Winkler or Robert Wagner will tell you why seniors should consider a reverse mortgage. However, there are a seniors who are resisting the conventional wisdom of having their home paid for and opting for a mortgage with payments on their home.

In some cases, seniors will downsize into a smaller home and have a large amount of equity to pay cash for the new home. In other situations, they may have their home paid for and decide to do a cash-out refinance which will require making payments.

The logic behind either of these examples could be motivated by the fact that since mortgage rates are currently so low, the owners can reinvest the money at a higher yield and make money on their equity. This will give them more money for their retirement income.

A common question that is asked by owners considering such a strategy is whether they'll be able to qualify for the new mortgage since they may no longer be employed. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against borrowers based on age.

All borrowers, whether they are working or not, need to show that they have good credit, reasonable debt, and enough stable income to repay the mortgage. Lenders cannot base their decision on loan terms based on an applicant's life expectancy, so a 30-year loan is possible regardless of the borrower's age.

Fannie Mae, one of the largest purchasers of mortgages on the secondary market, is concerned with income that is stable, predictable, and likely to continue. Retirees' income can come from Social Security, pensions, or distributions from retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, Keogh or other plans. Lenders will analyze these sources to estimate how long it will last. Other investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and annuities can also be considered. Based on the type and the volatility of the investment, lenders may be restricted from considering 100% of the income.

Getting the facts as it pertains to you is important to know if you are eligible for a loan and how much you can borrow. A trusted mortgage professional who understands this type of borrower is very important to help you determine the right mortgage vehicle and provide information to decide if this option is right for you. Call me at 503.516.8162 if you would like a recommendation.

Posted in Buyers, Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates