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Check back often for new posts, updates on events and local activities and advice on buying or selling Portland real estate, condos, homes and properties.

Aug. 13, 2018

Is Your Home Search Breaking Your Heart?

For those who are house-hunting, it can be a whirlwind romance that's hot from the minute you see the home's curb appeal. But don't let the seduction of a good-looking landscape make you want to tie the knot without a bit of courtship.Is Your Home Search Breaking Your Heart?

House-hunting for the "perfect" home in many ways is like looking for that perfect romance - very seldom does everything about your proposed mate match your desires. Things you love at first may later get on your nerves and become what you don't like so much later on. Does that mean the house is wrong for you? Not necessarily. It could be, but if you understand your tolerance level–what's most important to you in a home, and what you can't deal with at all - you are less likely to want to buy the wrong home.

Keeping these terms clearly defined and always on your mind will help you make smart choices even when some areas of the home tug at your heartstrings and say "buy me!".

House-hunting should be like dating. Take your time. Understand the critical must-haves, the not-so-important-but-I-kind-of-want-it, and the no-way, not-going-to-happen-in-this-lifetime.

One thing you can do to help streamline the process is to start making a list about the things you like about your current home. If you're renting, there may be features about the home, apartment, or planned-living development that you want to find again in the neighborhood where you're going to buy your home.

For instance, you might want a gated community or a townhouse that has certain luxury amenities. Moving to an isolated home that doesn't have the same type of amenities could be a real turn-off. Also, it might mean you have to pay more to get those same amenities that used to come with your rent. While this might not be a deal-breaker, it can certainly change the way you're used to living your life.

So, be sure to take it into consideration. Walking a short distance down the street to go to the gym, the pool, the steam room will be different from having to drive 20 minutes or more to go to a gym/spa that you also have to first pay an extra monthly membership.

Another thing to consider is how many times you've seen the home. Just like dating, you might have an instant attraction, but the more times you see your date, the more you discover. With a home, (just like with a prospective mate!) you need to see it a few times and at different times of the day.

This way you'll discover which rooms are dark and when or how loud the traffic is during rush hour. You might notice that there's a lot of commotion around the neighborhood because of nearby schools. Does this work with your lifestyle? Viewing a home and the surrounding neighborhood at various times of the day can be an eye-opener and can reveal just how much this home is a match with your lifestyle.

Just as you wrote down the things you like in your present residence, you should also make lists of things you want to avoid in the future and new things you hope to gain.

Remember, courtship doesn't have to last forever. Just as with romance, "the good ones will be gone if you wait too long!" So put a ring on... or rather, put an offer on that house!

Article by RealtyTimes

Posted in Buying
Aug. 10, 2018

Why a Real Estate Agent is Really the Best One to Give an Accurate Home Valuation

Sure, you can get a rough idea of what your home may be worth. Just put in the size, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and maybe lot size and boom, you get about 50 different prices. So how do you know what your home is really worth?Why a Real Estate Agent is Really the Best One to Give an Accurate Home Valuation

This is why it's imperative to have someone that has the inside scoop price your home. I'm not saying you don't have the ultimate say on a listing price, but we do more than just look at what's on the market currently.

In today's market, things can change overnight and what was listed last week, may not be what it actually sold for. This is the difference between listing price and sold price.

We research home values much like an appraiser. We have access to the MLS, which non-licenced real estate people don't have access too. This means that we can not only see what a home is listed for, but what homes actually sold for and this could be very different. 

Right now, many homes are selling over asking price. Multiple offers and bids are driving up the price but you also don't want to price it too high to start otherwise you won't get that frenzy. If you price it too high, the home may not appraise for what you need it too and then you'll have to drop the price. 

Let me give you an example. A home in a popular neighborhood went on the market. We looked around at other homes and what they had sold for and decided to price it slightly under. Most similar homes were priced around $370K. We priced ours at $359,000. In a week we got 7 offers and ended up taking an offer for just over $400,000. AND it appraised for this amount as well. The homeowner got $40,000 more than asking because we priced it right from the beginning. They were a little leery about underpricing it, but it paid off. 

This is why having an agent that knows HOW to price is so essential. Do we always under price homes? No! It depends on the micro-market at the time, the neighborhood AND what homes have actually sold for... not just the price of similar homes on the market. 

So, to get an accurate price on your home, give us a call. We can offer a free listing consultation to find out exactly what your home could sell for.

Read More:

When should you reduce the price of your house?

Can you Trust Zillow for your home valuation?


Posted in Selling
Aug. 6, 2018

Cedar Ridge New Construction Homes in Portland

Located in West Portland just north of Cedar Mill and South of Bonny Slope is a new DR Horton community called Cedar Ridge. It's bordered by Deer Creek Estates, another new construction home subdivision. There are two-floor plans, the Baker and the Cambridge. These homes are both just over 3,000 square feet and feature either 5 or 6 bedrooms, 3.5 or 4 bathrooms, 3-story design, and 2 car garage. Homes are priced from $664,995 - $699,995. 

These larger homes are about 20 minutes from downtown Portland and 10 minutes from downtown Beaverton. Schools assigned to this community is the Bonny Slope elementary school, the Cedar Park middle school, and the Sunset high school. These schools are between .3 and 1.3 miles away. Shops, restaurants, markets, and more are about 5-10 minutes. Northwest Cedar Hills Blvd is a straight shot to Hwy 26 for ease of commute.

HOA dues will probably be around $50 per month for management but there are no additional amenities to this development. 

About DR Horton

If you haven't had a chance to learn about DR Horton, they are one of America's top home builders. They build homes for today's families with open floor plans, grand master suites, great rooms, large kitchens, and bonus rooms. DR Horton also offers a ten-year limited warranty on construction. This provides peace of mind for all new homeowners. 

If you're interested in one of these new homes in Cedar Ridge, give me a call! Let's go take a look and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about this community or other DR Horton developments around Portland. 


Posted in Communities
Aug. 2, 2018

Don't Fall Into This Real Estate Trap if You're a Buyer

Many first-time real estate buyers have no idea about a certain term called "dual agency". In fact, many states actually flat out forbid it and it's also banned in British Columbia Canada. But most first-time homebuyers have no idea about this trap and usually just go along with whatever the real estate agent sets. Now, while there can be some ethical situations with dual agencies, most of the time it's an underhanded way to make a full commission for real estate agents. Let me explain.

Real estate agents only make money when a property they are selling or one of their buyers is buying and it actually closes. They don't make any commission until that property closes. When a homeowner decides to sell their property they contract with the listing agent to sell the property for a certain amount. The payment for selling the property is the commission, which is typically split in half between the buyer's agent and the listing agent. A commission is usually around 6%, which is divided between both agents, usually 3% each. But, it can be split unevenly as well, such as 4% for the buyer's agent and 2% for the listing agent. Regardless, there's almost always to agents for every real estate transaction. A dual agency is when the same agent is both the buyer's agent and the listing agent.Don't Fall Into This Real Estate Trap if You're a Buyer

More: Who is my agent really working for

If an agent conducts the transaction for both the buyer and the seller, they will receive the full 6% commission, or whatever the contract states. It's almost like an attorney trying to represent the plaintiff and the defendant the same time. Naturally, there are competing interests; whose interest do you uphold first?

Obviously, the seller wants to get as much profit from their home as possible and the buyer doesn't want to pay any more than necessary, so how can one agent works for the interests of two different individuals?

Should a single agent represent both buyer and seller?

Real estate agents are supposed to be always working for the interests of their client regardless of whether that's the buyer or the seller. If the same agent represents both, clearly one party is not going to get preferential treatment while the other is getting the better deal. You can see why this is a tricky subject. The agent cannot be impartial and therefore nobody wins because nobody has clear representation. An agent usually cannot ethically serve both sides simultaneously. There's confidential information, financial details, and negotiating strategies that differ between the parties.

When I first got into real estate and agent in my office always looked for dual agency and simply told the buyer that the seller contracted his services first and therefore he answers to them before the buyer. He did it in such a smooth and charming way that he ended up in dual agency transactions all the time. But, to really represent a buyer it's important to have your own agent, one that is not working for the seller of any one particular property.

Can the listing agent be the buyer's agent too?

Now, it's perfectly fine for a real estate agent to both buy and sell properties, as long as they are not conducting both sides of the transaction for the buyer and the seller on one property.

If you're looking for expert representation whether you're buying or selling, give me a call.

Contact Me for all Portland Real Estate


Posted in Buying, Selling
July 30, 2018

International Real Estate Buyers Not Buying As Much Anymore

Could it be? Is it possible? International buyers are dropping out of the US housing market? According to a recent article in CNBC, international buyers appear to be declining on the US housing market. Our dollar volume of home sales to international buyers over the last year dropped 21% compared to one year prior. Out of $121 billion in sales to international buyers, those living in the US purchased nearly 68 billion in properties, while nonresident buyers purchased 53 billion, both a drop from the previous year. International buyers make up about 8% of the 1.6 trillion in existing home sales, also a drop from 10% in the previous year.Chinese buyers

Home prices and inventory shortages could play a role in this drop. We just don't have as many houses or properties on the market and the demand is so high that either international buyers have already purchased or the current political climate in the US could be a factor as well.

We also have to consider that the decline is coming off of high levels from the prior year. There's been a large drop off in foreign students attending US universities and this translates into Chinese buyers purchasing homes for their kids while in college.

But, China still leads the way for international buyers as it has for six years. Chinese buyers account for 50% of international sales and they also purchased the most expensive homes with the median price of $440,000.

Buyers from China, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom account for nearly half of all the sales to international buyers. Over the last couple of years, Chinese buyers have increased and US investor purchases have climbed. Inventory shortages continue to drive prices up and this could be a deterrent for buyers from places like Southern California. However, there is more supply in the higher end market, so that may not be deterring too many international buyers. There's more supply in places like Miami and New York, so-called "gateway cities" for international buyers.

Regardless, inventory shortage and housing markets have definitely benefited local buyers more than international buyers. If you're interested in buying throughout Portland or the Portland Metro area give me a call.

Posted in Buying
July 23, 2018

4 Important Signs You SHOULDN'T Buy the House - 2

Stress and Anxiety Gets the Better of You

Stress and Anxiety Gets the Better of You

Nobody likes to be stressed, but homeownership can bring it on and if you are susceptible to stress, it could really be a doozy for you. Homeownership is widely considered one of the major sources of financial stress. Remember, this isn't like renting; you can't just call someone up to fix things for free. You are now the responsible person for your yard, maintenance on the house, and if any appliance goes bad. Sometimes that might be just too much for people. On the other hand, this could be a way to prepare you for other stressful things in your life. It doesn't have to be that bad, but, you are the sole responsible person for your home and lenders require you to maintain it and make your mortgage payments each month.

#3 >>

Posted in Buying
July 23, 2018

4 Important Signs You SHOULDN'T Buy the House - 4

4 Important Signs You SHOULDN'T Buy the House - 4

You Want to Be More Flexible

Buying a house is a commitment. It really is a lifestyle choice and if you prefer your lifestyle choice to be moving from place to place, traveling a lot, or just don't want the responsibility of a mortgage right now, homeownership may just not be for you… now.

But it might be down the line. Buying a home is a big commitment and probably one of the largest purchases you'll ever make so you want to make sure that you are ready for the commitment. Sure, you're probably not locked into a 30-year loan commitment as you can refinance or sell the property. But buying and selling is not a walk in the park. It doesn't happen over a weekend. It costs money, time, and energy and that's not something you want to be doing every year or two. Make sure that you're ready to stay in the house at least 3 to 5 years before committing to homeownership.

I don't say all of these things to discourage you from homeownership, but rather be prepared for the expectations that homeownership brings. This will cause a lot less stress in your life if you have an emergency fund, you're ready for the commitment, you've increased your credit score, and you're ready for the responsibility. If so, let's start today. Give me a call or browse the website for new listings in more information about buying in the Portland real estate market.

Posted in Buying
July 23, 2018

4 Important Signs You SHOULDN'T Buy the House - 3

Emergency fund

You Don't Have A Lot in Savings or an Emergency Fund.

Because you are the sole responsible person for this home, you need to make sure you have an emergency fund to replace things like dishwashers, furnaces, air-conditioning units, or anything that might go bad. Now, while you might not have five grand for a new roof, you should have at least $1000 in your emergency fund at the very minimum. This can help with simple appliances and handyman repair jobs when needed.

If you don't have an emergency fund built up, start working on this as you're repairing your credit and then you'll have two of these stresses off of your mind. 

#4 >>

Posted in Buying
July 23, 2018

4 Important Signs You SHOULDN'T Buy the House

I of all people really want you to buy a house. I mean, that is my job. And I love it! I love helping first-time homebuyers into the home of their dreams or at least a good starter home. But I also want people to be prepared and if you're looking at homes but you have these four signs, or even one or two of them, staring you in the face, it may not be the right time.

4 Important Signs You SHOULDN'T Buy the House

You have a low credit score.

Now, I know some amazing lenders and mortgage officers they can get just about anyone alone, but the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate. You may be able to afford the home, but nothing else. It's important to get your credit score at least over 680 just to get a decent rate and mortgage, but, if everything else lines up, you can get a home with even a 600 credit score, just be prepared to pay a little bit more in interest rates.

You can start now, however, by paying off your bills, paying things on time, and reducing your debt to income ratio. Some people can do that in as little as six months and be ready to buy a house by the first of the year.

#2 >>

Posted in Buying
July 18, 2018

5 Fun Events in Portland This Week

If you're like me, you're constantly finding events and activities to occupy your kids throughout the summer. But, we like to be entertained as well. Whether you're school age or just trying to play hooky from work, here are five great events happening this week.5 Fun Events in Portland This Week

Portland Highland Games on Saturday, July 21 from 8 AM to 6 PM at the Mount Hood community college located at 2600 Southeast Stark St. in Gresham is the Portland Highland Kappa games. Enjoy Scottish games, throwing stones, fiddlers, drummers, music and delicious food.

The Tea Festival Portland – on a Saturday, July 21 from 9:30 AM to 6 PM at the World Forest recap center at 4033 Southwest Canyon Rd. is the annual Tea Festival. Enjoy sticking your pinky up in learning that that's really not a big deal when it comes to property etiquette. There's vendor booths, classes, tastings, and global tea traditions. If you are a tea lover you'll have to check out this festival.

Oregon Brewers Festival – If T is not quite your thing, maybe check out some of the amazing microbrews we have around Portland. This event is happening over several days. On Thursday, July 26 from noon to 9 PM, on July 28 from noon to 7 PM, and on Sunday from noon to 7 PM at the McCall Waterfront Park, enjoy more beer on tap and you've may have ever seen. This is a great event for home Brewers, even a handcrafted soda garden, and is fun for people of all ages.

Flicks on the Bricks – at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Friday, July 20 at 7 PM is movies in the park. They'll be opening the summer movie serious with Wonder Woman.

Robin Hood Festival. Located of course an old town Sherwood on Friday, July 20 through July 22 is the Robin Hood Festival. The event starts on Friday from 5 PM to 11 PM, 9 AM to 11 PM on Saturday, and 9 AM to 3 PM on Sunday. Deep in the Sherwood Forest is the 65th annual Robin Hood Festival. This modern and yet medieval Festival features archery, fabulous food, beautiful music and much more.

Well, that's what's going on around Portland this weekend. Be sure to share a comment below if you've attended any one of these or if you have an event you would like to talk about

Posted in Things to Do