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Nov. 20, 2017

4 Ways the Home Inspection Could Go

When buying a home there are several ways the home inspection situation could go down. Buyers have a few choices after that inspection. They can accept, reject or have one of two other alternatives to consider. We'll talk about each and when you should just walk away. 

#1. Accept Inspection As-Is

Accepted Offer

Buyers should always have a home inspection done on the house they are interested in, however, it is their choice whether or not to request on. Buyers can buy a house without an inspection even though it is usually not a wise idea. Even new construction homes should be inspected because things break, codes fail, and mistakes are made, even in new construction. 

Once the inspection is completed, the buyer has 4 options. One of them is to simply accept any and all issues as-is and move on to closing. The inspection contingency is satisfied and the seller doesn't have to complete any repair tasks.

This doesn't necessarily mean there is nothing wrong with the house, it just simply means the buyer is aware of any issues and chooses to move forward with the deal, excusing the seller from any additional repairs.

Related: What to Expect at the Inspection

Expert Agent Advice: David Watkins - Calabasas Luxury Realtor®

"We've had buyers order the home inspection, walk through with the inspector, and take notes on what needed to be fixed. There were a few things that I thought maybe should have been requested, but it's up to the buyer and they loved the house so much, they just approved the inspection and we went on to closing. Don't feel guilty that you don't ask for anything; sometimes that's okay! You are the one that will live in the home and you should be satisfied with your decision."

Related: 4 Things Home Inspectors are Looking for that could Kill the Sale

More: Should you waive the home inspection to get the house?

[2 Ask for Repairs]

Posted in Buying
Nov. 20, 2017

4 Ways the Home Inspection Could Go - 2

#2. Seller to Fix Issues.

Seller to fix issues

This is the most typical home inspection response. After the inspection report, the buyer submits a request to the seller for review. 

Once the inspection report is completed, the buyer should review the report with their agent and decide on the next plan of action. There are some things that probably should be addressed by the seller, while others may not be a serious issue. Asking for every little cosmetic issue could get the report thrown back in the buyer's face. Okay, maybe not that violent but some requests can be a little ridiculous. Here are some things to ask for and things to just let go.

Related Post: Sometimes Home Inspections Can Reveal Some Weird Things

What to Ask For:

  • Correct Mold Issues
  • Correct Termite or Pest Issues
  • Major Leaks or on-going water issues
  • Elevated Radon levels
  • Major electrical problems that could cause a serious issue or fire (This is not just a non-working outlet)
  • Lead Paint
  • Lack of water pressure or well water issues
  • Major structural damage or building code violations
  • Major roof issue

What Not to Ask For:

  • Minor landscaping issues like mowing the lawn or tree trimming, unless plants have made their way under siding and are causing more structural issues.
  • Repair of sheds or external buildings. 
  • Leaky Faucet, unless it's caused major water damage or mold.
  • Loose doorknob or railing, unless it's a safety issue.
  • Settling of the home. Cracks in basement floors are not a serious issue at all but cracks in the concrete wall could be. Determine the severity of the damage and if it's something that really should not be overlooked.
  • Remodeling issues the buyer wants to do. Don't word the repairs in a way just to accomplish some renovations you planned on doing anyway.
  • Any repair under $100 - It's just not worth haggling over.

Just as with the offer, the inspection contingency could go back and forth for a while before buyer and seller reach agreements. The buyer could ask for the moon and the seller could come back with only a couple of repairs. There must be a mutual agreement for the transaction to continue. Once agreed, the seller must hold up their end of the contract and satisfy everything on the report. The buyer will have a final walk-through to make sure everything agreed upon was completed. 

Read More: Should you really buy a fixer-upper?

Expert Agent Advice: West Bloomfield Realtor Bruce Simon

"One good rule of thumb for buyers is if you ask for everything you may get nothing. Be reasonable in your requests and you're more likely to get what you want."

[3 - Ask for Money or Credit]

Image by SheppardAFMIL

Posted in Buying
Nov. 20, 2017

4 Ways the Home Inspection Could Go - 3

#3. Ask for a Credit or Money Off the Purchase

Take money off the purchase

This is an unusual one because there are so many variables involved. Asking for a credit to fix something could look like this: Credit at Closing or Reduced Home Price. 

This really should be discussed with your agent prior to just throwing out the report and saying, "I want money to fix this myself". First, ask why you are not asking the seller to fix it themselves? Have they already rejected the request?

Also, it will depend on what type of financing the buyer has. If the lender will not permit a credit at closing, the buyer must request it before closing or accept the inspection as is. On FHA mortgages, the seller may be able to pay up to 6% of the sales prices as a closing credit for the buyer. This is usually done as a credit to pay for closing costs but can work for just about any credit the buyer and seller agree to. For conventional loans, with a 5%-9.99% down payment, the seller can pay up to 3% as a credit. And the amounts go up from there based on the down payment. 

For cash sales, it's a pretty cut and dry deal. The seller just takes money off the purchase since there are no lenders involved. 

Related: What can a buyer do if the seller lied on the disclosure form?

It also depends on homeowner's insurance. Some insurances will not insure the property if there is a particular hazard or major safety issue. Insurance may insist the repair be completed prior to closing. 

If the seller is taking money off the home price, the offer will need to be rewritten, but then again, the buyer will not actually have money in their hand for the repairs and the loan may not be able to fund if the repairs are outside the requirements for the lender. 

There are a lot of interesting issues with this choice, and they should all be discussed and examined by the buyer and their agent to come to a reasonable agreement. 

Advice from the Agent: Gene Mock - Northern Virginia Realtor®

"The bank will always try and protect itself. They usually won't loan on a house that needs extensive repairs. Buyers should have professional quotes for the repair so they are confident in knowing how much to ask for in a credit. Sellers usually won't just give the buyer money without a contract stating what the credit is for."

Read More: The Importance of an Additional Inspection when Buying a Home

[4 - Reject it]

Image By OleksandrOmelchuk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted in Buying
Nov. 20, 2017

4 Ways the Home Inspection Could Go - 4

#4. Reject the Inspection Altogether.

Reject the home inspection

The last way the inspection could go is with an all-out rejection of the inspection. Each state is different on their rulings, but generally, if the buyer doesn't like anything on the inspection report or they feel it's just too much to deal with, they can reject the offer altogether. This terminates the transaction and the seller has to start all over, but so does the buyer. But this is exactly why inspections are so important! The buyer may not realize the money pit they are considering buying. Once the inspection reveals all the issues, the buyer really has to determine if it's worth it to go forward. 

Yes, the buyer can ask the seller to repair or replace any and all issues, but there are cases where buyers assume the seller is just not going to do it all, or something is revealed that makes the buyer question the integrity of the property and be hesitant on correcting future issues.

Talk it over with your agent and get sound advice about what the seller may be willing to do and when to just walk away. In some states, the buyer doesn't even have to give a reason why they are rejecting the inspection and terminating the deal, although, it's a polite gesture to inform the seller of the issues. The seller could come back with a full repair or replacement of whatever the issue is, and then again, they may not, but at least they know why the deal has been terminated. 

Your real estate agent will have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Trust their judgment and experience. Each transaction is different and should be carefully discussed. 

Read More: Home inspection issues that break the deal

Advice from the Experts: Don Payne - Columbus Realtor®

"I had buyers that really wanted a fixer-upper so they could buy cheap and spend the time fixing it up. But after making an offer and having an inspection, the buyer discovered the foundation was crumbling and the wiring was from 1930. There was probably $100K in repairs that needed to be done. Basically, it should have just been torn down and rebuild. My buyers rejected the offer altogether and terminated the transaction. Sometimes you have to know when to just walk away."

Posted in Buying
Nov. 13, 2017

4 Things Your Realtor® Needs to Be Doing For You

As a real estate agent, it is my job to make the entire transaction go as smoothly as possible. I never want you to be frustrated, upset, or confused. Whether you are buying a home or selling your home, there are some things that a real estate agent should be doing for you at all times. Can you fire your agent? Of course, and you should if your agent is not communicating with you the way that you need for providing the job you are paying them for.

Looking for real estate agent whether you are buying or selling, there are some key points to keep in mind. Remember, you are hiring us to do a job for you. If we don't do that job or we do not interview well, there's no reason you should go with our services. And, that's exactly what we are providing, a service. We are not selling you the house, we are facilitating the transaction, helping you to understand the entire process and make a more informed decision. We don't care what type of house you buy, as long as you love it, can afford it, and are satisfied with the transaction. It is our job to inform you about every step of the way and provide suggestions and advice in our capacity. We cannot give legal advice but we can offer suggestions and put you in the right direction for different referrals and references.

Here are four things your Realtor® should be doing for you.

Communication from your Agent

#1. Good communication.

One of the number one complaints that most people have about real estate agents is the lack of communication. They simply don't call you back, don't keep you updated, and don't inform you as to what's happening. Often real estate agents wait too long to update their clients but now it's just awkward if they call or they don't really have anything to update them with so they don't call them at all. It leaves the client frustrated, confused, and wondering what is going on.

Good communication is key to a great real estate agent. Even if there's really nothing to say, simply letting them know that you are available, in contact with them, and are trying to update them as often as possible can mean the world to clients and customers.

Whether you are selling your house and just need an update on showings or any information on price, or if you are buying a house and updates on new listings or just to let you know there's been nothing on the market lately that fits the criteria, communication is crucial.

Ask how the real estate agent will communicate with you. Do you prefer a phone call, text, email? If your real estate agent is not talking to you on a regular basis, at least once or twice a week during the process, regardless of how slow the market might be, it may be time to find it agent that really is looking out for you at all times.

"Our team lets each client know how we will be communicating with them and when. The client should never wonder where their agent went or why they haven't talked to them. We tell our clients that they will hear from us every week or a couple times a week even if we don't have any new information yet." Eve A. Orlando Buyers Agent

[Number 2]

Posted in Buying, Selling
Nov. 13, 2017

4 Things Your Realtor® Needs to Be Doing For You - 2

 Provide Resources.

#2. Provide Resources.

A great real estate agent will have a wealth of resources in their back pocket. From a lender or mortgage officer to a home inspector and repair companies, a good Realtor® is ready with an answer.

There are so many parties involved in a real estate transaction and buyers or sellers should not be scrambling wondering who to call and when. Clients have the choice to whomever they want throughout the deal but often times have no idea who to call. A good real estate agent will provide several choices and offer answers and solutions to different scenarios. 

This is why experience matters so much! Newbie agents have simply not built that report with industry professionals and may not have a good book of business to draw from yet. Over time, great agents build trust with handymen, appraisers, inspectors, escrow and title agents and other real estate agents. Having that connection and good reputation in the industry is worth its weight in gold. 

"I always tell my clients that I can recommend different professionals throughout the process but it's their choice who they'd like to use. I want them to know that I have trusted sources but that it's ultimately their decision who to use for inspectors and repair requests". - Leonard W. Sunny Isles Beach Realtor

[Number 3]

Posted in Buying, Selling
Nov. 13, 2017

4 Things Your Realtor® Needs to Be Doing For You - 3

Don't leave me hanging

#3. Not Leaving You Hanging.

There are real estate agents that just don't attend anything with their clients. They tell them when the home inspection is, tell them when the home appraisal is, and one sleeve showed the house and maybe offer you don't see them again until maybe the closing date.

A great real estate agent needs to hold their client's hand, not in a condescending way, but to assure them that they are with them throughout the entire process until the very end and even then, going a little bit beyond. Real estate agents should attend the home inspection, the appraisal if needed and be there for final closing. Real estate agents that simply sign the offer and let the agent communicate with the escrow company instead, make clients feel abandoned and frustrated. 

If your agent is just excited to get that offer accepted then disappears for weeks, it's time to reschedule with them. This can be tough, especially if you've already gone under contract with another party. Interview the agent ahead of time to make sure they are responsive and attend all meetings throughout the transaction. 

"It's important that everyone know the protocol and what's going on throughout the process. We keep our clients in the loop by informing them of every step and the next step as we go. It's our duty to make sure our clients understand what's happening and to be there to answer any questions that inevitably come up along the way."  - Linda A. Rochester Michigan Realtor®


[Number 4]

Posted in Buying, Selling
Nov. 13, 2017

4 Things Your Realtor® Needs to Be Doing For You - 4

Negotiate on Your Behalf

#4. Negotiate on Your Behalf.

Really good agents will go out of their way to find the best terms and conditions for their customers. This is what we are paid to do. Our negotiating skills must be honed and perfected to provide our clients the best possible representation out there. It is our fiduciary duty and ethical responsibility to negotiate for our clients to either get them the best price possible and/or the best terms possible.

This goes whether you are buying or selling a property. As a buyers agent, we need to be diligent in negotiating for our clients so they feel they are represented in the best possible way. This could be trying to get the best price, the closing date, including personal property in the contract or closing date. Our number one responsibility is to the client. If your real estate agent is assisting both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction this is called a dual agency and it can get very sticky. The line between who represents who can be blurred, which is why we recommend having your own agent on the buyer side and a separate agent on the listing side. You want to know that your interests, finances, and terms are being protected and represented.

"My client deserves the best possible representation and sometimes that's not always me. If I am not familiar with an area or if it's listing a property (since I am a buyer's agent) I will refer the client to the best referral and reference I can provide. My duty is first to my client, not my business."  Erika A. Luxury Orlando Buyer's Agent.

Call us today if you want the best representation throughout the Portland area. We want to be your first choice, not just the first time you buy or sell, but every time. We are never too busy for referrals and promise to provide the best in customer service, satisfaction, and negotiation.


Posted in Buying, Selling
Nov. 10, 2017

Hidden Features of a Home to Emphasize When Selling

Hidden Features of a Home to Emphasize When Selling

One of the secrets to getting your home sold quickly is giving the buyer enough reasons to make an offer. If they feel the home is worth the money, is appropriately priced, and they're getting a good value, chances are you'll have an offer pretty quickly, but, it's always important to highlight some of the hidden features many homes may have an just don't emphasize. We have to think about what the buyer really wants; where there needs and how do we showcase our homes best features? Here are some things that you may not have thought of before that your home may possess that could be of huge value to buyers.

#1. Recently upgraded kitchens.

The kitchen is really the heart of the home and buyers are looking for kitchens that are updated, fresh and contemporary. Kitchens can be a dealbreaker in real estate transactions, especially if they are outdated. Unfortunately, this is one of the more expensive rooms to update in the entire house. Updated appliances, cabinets, floors, and countertops are all important to buyers so if you've recently done a renovation it's important to showcase it.

#2. Energy efficient fixtures.

Buyers are concerned about energy efficiency, especially in the Portland area. We are very environmentally conscious so focusing on where your home saves on energy and is environmentally friendly is important to buyers. If your home has solar panels, low water heating bills, healthy indoor spaces, and lower lighting costs, that's all the hidden feature that should be showcased when listing and selling your property.

Read More: 5 Ways to Sell a House that Just Won't Sell

#3. Large garage space.

This may not have been important to you while you lived in the home but to a buyer, a deeper garage, third car garage or even extra RV space might be extremely important. Showcase your garage by making it seem larger than it is by not storing a lot of boxes and "stuff" in the garage. Yes, I realize that's what it's there for, but buyers want to see how spacious and practical the garage really is. Many buyers have more than one or two cars so marketing to those with more "toys" might be a huge turn on.

#4. Opportunities for potential.

If buyers think that the home is all they're getting, it might not be that exciting, but, if your home has an extra lot, can be subdivided, can have an ADU on the property or possesses the potential to have a children's play area, home garden, extra storage, or even a swimming pool, that can be very valuable to a potential buyer.

More: What type of homes do Portlandian buyers want?

#5. Additional storage.

It seems like we are a society that's always looking for more storage. If your home has a deeper garage, additional storage space, lots of closets, built-in bookshelves, or other interior storage solutions, be sure to highlight them and make note of it in the listing.

These are just a few hidden features that your home might possess but, buyers are always looking for something unusual and practical. Don't neglect that additional feature that your home might possess because it's exactly what some buyer will be looking for.

Posted in Selling
Nov. 8, 2017

5 Ways to Sell a House That Just Won't Sell

It's been on the market for months... nothing.  A few bites in the beginning and now nothing. You haven't had a showing in weeks and you're wondering what could be wrong. It may be time to take a second look at several areas of the listing and preparation.5 Ways to Sella  House that just won't sell

#1. What does the house look like to buyers?

Take a look at your listing photos again. These are the photos that are on your flyer or on the website. Most people start their search online and if those photos do not draw the buyer in, you may have lost them before they've even toured your house. Would you want to see your house? Are the photos blurry? With the house clean and well staged? Where the lights turned on? Take a look at the photos to see if you could be turning off buyers before they even step foot into your house.

#2. Is the price accurate for the market?

Did you start high hoping to lower in case you didn't get an offer right away? This can be a major pitfall when it comes to pricing your home. It's important to price it correctly right out of the gate to get the right buyer through the door. The longer an overpriced home sits on the market the more stale it becomes. By the time the homeowner lowers the price to where it should have been at the beginning, it's lost its appeal to potential buyers. You may have to drop the price lower than the market value to get the right buyer at this point.

Read More: Pricing a Home so it Sells without Going Broke

#3. Is it really clean, I mean really clean?

If you've never done a deep cleaning, buyers can tell. Maybe you have slacked on cleaning over the last couple of months and now buyers see a very "lived in" house. Don't forget to clean up the outside because curb appeal can draw buyers and from the street and from the online photos. Keep things neat, tidy, and well cleaned.

#4. Have you fixed all that needed to be fixed?

Have you slacked off on a few minor repairs? Buyers will notice that too. Make sure that all the little details are fixed up, corrected, and all appliances, outlets, and lights work correctly. If buyers find a minor issue they might think you've neglected larger issues that are unseen as well. If need be, hire a home inspector to give you a full report on anything that the buyer might find and request replacement or repair of.

More: How to Declutter like a pro!

#5. It might be your agent.

If your agent is nonexistent or you haven't spoken to them in a couple of weeks, it might be time to find a new agent. You need a real estate agent that stays up-to-date with you on market values, potential buyers, and suggestions to make your home more appealing during the showing process. You need an agent that wants to sell your home just as badly as you do. Agents that have given up on homes because either the homeowner has stopped listening to reason or they simply have bigger fish to fry, are not the best to sell it difficult home.

To get your home sold from the beginning or if you are in the midst of looking for a new agent to market, price, stage, and sell your home give us a call. We have a proven track record of getting home sold for top value throughout the Portland area.

Posted in Selling