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June 19, 2017

Funny Questions Real Estate Agents Get Asked

Here's our final list of the last of the odd questions we often get asked as real estate agents.

Q. The previous owners taking their pets with them?Questions REaltors get asked

Unless somewhere in the contract you've asked for the dog, cat or another pet and the sellers have agreed to it, they more than likely should be taking them with them. But, we have heard of cases where buyers have moved in and the previous homeowners have simply let their cats out into the neighborhood. This can be very frustrating and disheartening for new homeowners when the cats want to come home and of course, they don't live there anymore. We've had buyers that have had to call the Humane Society or animal control for trapping because the cats that were left out into the neighborhood by themselves continue to breed more cats and become a nuisance. It's important to be a responsible pet owner and take your pets with you or find someone to care for them. Simply letting them loose is never a good idea.

Q. What is a Jack and Jill?

If you've never heard this term this is a very common question. Jack and Jill refer to a type of bathroom layout in a home. It's a bathroom that sits between two bedrooms with an entrance in both bedrooms. It can be convenient for the bedroom owners but not so convenient for the rest of the home applicants and it might be a dealbreaker.

Q. The homeowners association says we will have a guard. Does that mean there will be a guard standing at our door all the time?

With homeowners communities, you'll often see the term "guard gated entrance". This just means that there is a guard at the entrance to the community so that not just anyone will be driving down your street. The guard will make sure that those entering the community live there or have reason to be there. There will be anybody actually at your door.

Q. Will we get the carpet with the house?

We've also had variations of this question such as do the drapes come with the house, will we receive the bedroom furniture as well etc.? This is actually very common question but of course, nobody's going to be ripping up the flooring and taking it with them (at least we hope not), but crazier things have happened. Anything that is attached to the property either permanently or semi-temporarily, such as curtain rods, drapes and light fixtures (which can be removed by would be odd if it was) go with the sale of the house. Items that can be easily moved around such as furniture, potted plants, and pictures on the wall will usually go with the seller. But, it's always important to ask, especially if you are concerned.

These might seem like funny questions but they are very valid to a lot of homeowners and buyers out there. One thing to remember, there is no such thing as a silly question and if you want to know something, don't hesitate to ask. We want to make sure that you have a clear outlook as to what you are buying and the fees, timelines, and costs involved.

Have a silly question? We don't think it's silly. Ask it anyway and contact us anytime.

Posted in News and Media
June 19, 2017

More Odd Questions Real Estate Agents Get Asked

This goes along with her series of the funniest questions real estate agents get asked by buyers and sellers.

Q. Can I paint the home and do some remodeling and decorating before we move in or close?

This goes in tune with one of the last questions that we've gotten about moving in before the property closes and the answer is still the same; no. Many people ask if they can perform work on the property before they actually move-in. Unfortunately, buyers can do absolutely nothing to the property until they own it. They can't have the septic tank pumped, paint the house, or have any work done of any kind unless it is stated in the home inspection or the contract.

Q. After the home closes can I change my mind and back out of the deal?Funny real estate questions

Once the deal is done, both buyer and seller have signed and the deed is recorded with the county a buyer cannot back out of the deal. Of course, if you've changed your mind about the property you can turn around and resell it but you might lose money and you can't just return it back to the previous seller.

Q. Can I use personal property or jewelry as an earnest money deposit?

This was more common practice about 50 to 60 years ago but today it's just not done. The only way that you could use these items as a down payment or earnest money deposit is if you sell them on your own. Most banks, lenders and homeowners are not going to take anything but cash in the form of a check, cashier's check or money order as an earnest money deposit.

Q. Do detached buildings or garages come with the house?

This might sound silly but it's a very common question to properties that have outbuildings or detached garages. Sometimes people simply assume that these buildings come with the property but that's not always the case. Often than not, anything that sits on the property within the boundary line will be sold with the property but it's important to check during the purchase and sale transaction. Anything that is not written into the contract is subject to interpretation and negotiation, so make sure you double check on all outbuildings and even detached garages.

Read some of our final funny real estate questions

Posted in News and Media
June 19, 2017

Funny Questions Real Estate Agents Get Asked

Being a real estate agent is an adventure, for sure. You never know what you're going to find in homes and on properties plus, you never know what you're going to be asked. As a real estate agent, we have to follow strict rules when it comes to ethics, equal housing laws, and non-steering practices, meaning that we cannot steer a client one way or another when it comes to a house or to a particular buyer. But I tell you what, we do get asked some of the craziest questions. Here are some of our most fun questions albeit bizarre, we've been asked.

Q. Can I sue the previous homeowner if the neighborhood turns out to be horrible?Funny Questions Real Estate Agents Get Asked

We've had buyers ask us if they can sue the previous homeowner or seller if their neighbors turn out to be horrible people. And, we've also had people call us after they've purchased a home asking if they can sue the homeowner because they didn't know when they moved in that their next-door neighbor was a horrible and obnoxious drunk, caring on late into the night with parties and loud music. Of course, you can't sue the previous homeowner for such a thing but of course, you can take it up with the local police. Most homeowners will not tell you about any flaws in the neighborhood or in the neighbors when they're trying to sell a house, that's just obvious.

Q. Do we have to use the septic tank on-site?

Let's think about this for a minute, okay, thinking done, of course, you have to use the septic tank if that's what you have. Now, homeowners can hook up to local sewer systems if it is available but it can cost hundreds if not tens of thousands of dollars to do so. If the septic tank is on-site and has been used in the past, there's really no reason why the new buyers wouldn't use it as well. That's where the poop goes!

Q. Do we need a chimney for the fireplace?

Now, this might sound funny but honestly, there are a lot of ventless or direct event buyer places out there that can vent directly behind propane or natural gas fireplaces but most of the time, fireplaces do need a chimney.

Q. Can we move in before the property closes?

This is actually a very common question and if you've never purchased a home before it could be a very valid one at that. But the truth is, no, you cannot move into the home until the property closes. It is actually illegal because the home is not the buyers and tell the home closes, meaning monies have been disbursed to the seller and all of the parties involved in the transaction and the deed has been recorded with the county in which the property resides. Of course, sellers can give permission for buyers to enter the home to take measurements or take another look, but they are not legally obligated to do so and when all else fails, read the contract for the details.

Read more of some of our funniest questions

Posted in News and Media
June 16, 2017

Oregon Ranked as One of the Best States for First Time Home Buyers

The entire state of Oregon ranked as one of the top places for first-time homebuyers based on their low foreclosure ratings, homebuyer shares, and median list price. Plus, we have the OH CS program, which offers low fixed interest rates plus cash assistance for first-time homebuyers to be used as closing costs or as a down payment. We have some of the lowest fixed rates on mortgages possible with rate advantage and cash advantage. Our median home price is about $327,990.

The Oregon Housing and Community Services program provides financial and programs support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing, and supportive services for moderate, low and very low-income for those in the state of Oregon. Not only do we offer a variety of homeownership programs but we have energy programs as well that can offer assistance to low income families, energy rebates, and a myriad of homeownership options such as down payment assistance programs, the Oregon Bond residential loan program, first-time homebuyer program and the Oregon Bond residential loan lenders program.Oregon Ranked as One of the Best States for First Time Home Buyers

In addition to those buying a home we also have foreclosure prevention programs for counseling and resources. We provide organ homeownership stabilization initiatives and affordable housing assistance. Pretty much, Oregon has a wide range of programs to either help you get into a home of your own or stay in the home of your own without foreclosure or risk of short sale.

A couple of the most popular one is the Oregon Bond residential loan program, which provides tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance below market rate mortgage loans for qualified first-time home buyers and the down payment assistance program. This program allows local organizations to expand their existing down payment programs and homebuyers who have completed a homeowners education program may qualify for up to $15,000 for down payment and/or closing costs.

The first time home buyers program offers two different options for eligible borrowers; the cash advantage and the rate advantage. In the cash advantage, borrowers will get a low fixed interest rate on their home loan along with cash assistance equal to 3% of their loan amount. The rate advantage offers eligible borrowers the lowest fixed rate possible to maximize their home purchasing power with an affordable payment.

For information on either of these loans or to see what you might be eligible for please contact our home loan department today.



Posted in Buying
June 12, 2017

This City is One of the Best for Young Families in Oregon

This City is One of the Best for Young Families in Oregon

Lake Oswego Oregon has been in the news lately. In a recent article by MSN, Lake Oswego came in as one of the most affordable ZIP Codes to raise a family in the US. A company called HomeUnion, a real estate investment management firm, analyzed a database of more than 200,000 neighborhoods to find the US ZIP Codes that were some of the most affordable to raise a family in the nation. They analyzed over 50 of the largest metro areas to find ones with the lowest median sales price for single-family homes sold within the last year. They ranked public schools, crime rates, and some of the best opportunities for first-time homebuyers with families.

Lake Oswego, located just south of Portland and one of the more affluent parts of town came in at #21. It had a school rating of 87.9 and a median home sales price of $417,500. It's also considered part of the Portland Metro area.

NerdWallet.com also ranked Lake Oswego on their list of the 10 best places for young families in Oregon just a couple of years ago. They checked out homes affordability, prosperity and growth, family friendliness and again, the quality of education. They looked@ratingsfromgreatschools.org as well as a variety of other data. They look to current and past family income, projected long-term growth of each area and the median home value versus mortgage, insurance, and income. Lake Oswego came in at #9.

One of the best things about this area is that the city's schools were the only ones on this list to average a perfect 10 rating from the website and the median family income of $114,000 is one of the highest in the Portland Metro area. Plus, being right on the lake means that there's plenty for families to do but it also means that homes might be more expensive. A couple of years ago, the median home value for Lake Oswego was $480,000.

Other Portland Metro neighborhoods that made the list were West Linn, Silverton, Baker City, Bend, Cedar Mill, Newburgh, and Sherwood.

For more information on homes in Lake Oswego browse the website or contact our office today for answers to any of your real estate questions or to schedule a showing of a local listing today.

Image above from BRX0Flickr

Posted in Communities
June 9, 2017

How to Buy a House in Your 50s

How to Buy a House in Your 50s

If you have found this blog then you're probably in your 50s or maybe even late 40s and considering buying a home. Perhaps it's your first home or it's probably a repeat home and you either have been renting for a while or you need to sell your existing home in order to buy another one. You probably are toying with the idea of whether or not it's even a good idea to buy a house and start over again once you are in your 50s, but there are a lot of benefits to buying later in life.

Many of my clients are over the 50-year mark so I am very familiar with helping people buy or find the right home for their needs. Most have the big question about the 30-year mortgage and if that's even feasible. Everyone in the 50s is in a different position in life so you might be prepared to pay cash, especially if you are selling a home that you've already paid off, or you might be putting a substantial down payment on the property allow you to lower the terms of any potential mortgage.

Related: How to buy a house in your 60s

A 30 year fixed mortgage can provide stability and comfort but you will be paying more interest in the long run. This could be a benefit on your taxes but it also means that you won't be gaining equity is fast. These are things to consider depending on your current lifestyle and your finances.

You could consider a more aggressive loan such as an ARM or even a line of credit which can provide you with a lower payment but they do come with more volatility.

One thing to know is that lenders cannot discriminate based on your age. It doesn't matter how old you are if you qualify with the right requirements, you should be able to get any type of loan, even a 30-year loan well into your 80s.

Don't be scared of the 30-year loan as it is simply a way to calculate the payment and should you pass away or decide to sell the home, it would be treated as any other means of personal property.
Some things to consider if you're buying a house in your 50s:

Location. You want to make sure that the location is ideal for your lifestyle. Are you looking to live within a gated community? Condominium or Townhome community? Do you prefer to be within walking distance to the local coffee shop or restaurant?

Topography. Consider the landscape of the property you are interested in. Will you be doing a lot of landscaping maintenance? Will you need to paint the house or replace stairs or railings? Do you prefer a low maintenance type of property? What about hills, stairs, and accessibility to different areas of the property?

Size. Are you downsizing in are looking to minimize the space that you have now? Do you prefer a condominium or townhouse so that someone else can take care of all of the common area amenities and landscaping? Consider the type of lifestyle you have now and what you plan to have within the next 5 to 10 years. Will you be doing any hobbies and will you need a craft room or reading room? You might not think that extra room is important but you also could be pleasantly surprised as to how often you use a hobby room.

Time. How much time will be spent in the house versus outside the house? Are you a snowbird and do you like to travel? Consider your lifestyle and the lifestyle that you'd like to maintain in the next few years. Will this home suit your needs and tastes?

Buying a house in your 50s is nothing to be intimidated by. People do it all the time but as long as you are prepared, understand exactly what you want, and use an agent that is familiar with working with people from all walks of life, you'll be much more satisfied in the end.


Posted in Buying
May 31, 2017

How Expensive are Homes in Tigard Oregon?

The Tigard real estate market has seen a nearly 10% increase over last year at this time bringing the home value index to nearly $400,000. Economists predicted 2.6% increase next year at this time. Right now, as of May 2017, the Tigard real estate market is in a neutral market. We're neither leaning toward a buyers market nor a seller's market, which is great news for both buyers and sellers. Because home prices are up sellers are still getting what they need for the home but buyers are also finding more affordable homes without entering into a lot of bidding wars.Tigard real estate market

Since 2012 the Tigard real estate market has seen a healthy increase from a home value of around $225,000 upwards of $400,000 as of today. The median rent is about $1885 per month and the median price per square foot is a $209,000.

The median list price is quite a bit higher at $490,000 and there are about 250 properties for sale and 43 homes for rent in the Tigard market. A number of listings may vary from website to website based on the data and information provided. Some websites may include for sale by owners, coming soon or pre-foreclosure properties but on average there are between 180 and 250 actual homes for sale within the Tigard market.

The median days on the market is about a month, which is to be expected in a neutral market. However, this is up 24% over last month. For April the median days on the market was about 25.

All in all, homes in Tigard range from about $300,000-$650,000. Prices will vary based on condition, size, and location. 1 to 2 bedroom homes are in the 282 $350,000 range whereas 3 to 5 bedroom homes are between $400,000 and $650,000.

Tigard is located just south of downtown Portland and many people that live in Tigard typically commute to Portland in the downtown area on a daily basis. This could be good or bad. You can find higher-priced homes than in places like Beaverton or Gresham but the commute times in traffic may be an issue.

For more information on the Tigard real estate market feel free to browse current listings here or contact my office to find out what your home might be worth.

Posted in Market Reports
May 31, 2017

How Expensive are Homes in Beaverton Oregon?

The Beaverton real estate market is currently a hot seller's market with the median home value at about $358,000.Beaverton real estate market

Beaverton is located just west of downtown Portland and is one of the more affluent communities of the Portland Metro area. Home values have increased over 11% since last year and we are considered to be a hot seller's market right now. This means, that it's a great time to sell, but it may not be a great time to buy. Inventory is down and home prices are up so for sellers, now is a great time to get your house on the market in order to sell quickly and for the highest value. Economists predict there will be a 2.8% increase over the next year but if we've been seeing this 11% over the last 12 months, it may be even more than the 2.8% next year at this time.

The median sales price is about $349,000, which is equal to about $210 per square foot. The median rent in this area is $1775, a little higher than downtown Portland. About 88% of homeowners commute outside of the area. In surrounding neighborhoods such as Hillsboro, Aloha, and Tigard, the median sales price is about the same between $335,000 and $400,000.

There are about 200 properties for sale but this varies from website to website based on pre-foreclosures, coming soon, whether or not they list for sale by owner properties, vacant land, auction properties, and regular conventional sales. The median days on the market is about 25, which is a 4% increase over last month but about a 10% increase over last year. The median list price is about $445,000 with a closing price of $329,000 based on Realtor.com.

Basically, if you're looking for a two or three bedroom home you're likely to pay between $250,000 and $350,000. Depending on the lot size, condition and location this could go up or down give or take $50,000 or so.

If you're looking to buy you need a buyers agent on your side that understands the current market and can help you negotiate an appeal to sellers in this market. We are competing with a lot of other buyers so it's important to have an agent that is familiar with the market and can use negotiating strategies and proven tracks to get your offer to stand out.

Whether you are buying or selling give us a call today. We'd be happy to help with your situation and get you the home that you're looking for or sell your home as quickly as possible.

Posted in Market Reports
May 29, 2017

How to Keep Carpets Clean in the Peak Real Estate Season

Spring is the biggest time of year for the real estate market. Many people choose to move during the spring season, whether you are buying or selling a home you will want to have some carpet cleaning knowledge up your sleeve.

Moving In

If you are moving into a new home you will want to make sure that the largest soft surface in your home is its cleanest clean before you bring in all of your belongings and make your new house a home. Unless the previous owners communicated that they just had a professional carpet cleaning done, you will want to make an appointment and get the carpets deep cleaned before moving in the furniture. The carpet in your new home make look clean on the surface, but you have no way of telling what is going on deep in the carpet where the naked eye can’t see. You want your fresh start in your new home to be a clean and healthy one. Here are some tips to finding a great professional carpet cleaner near your new home.How to Keep Carpets Clean in the Peak Real Estate Season

After you have made on offer on the home, it has been accepted, everything checks out with the inspection, and you are ready to close the deal call the carpet cleaner and try to get an appointment as close to moving in day before move-in day arrives. The carpet cleaning will take about a day of moving time to perform the cleaning and allow for dry time. Make sure to use a cleaner that performs hot steam extraction with truck mounted equipment. This will ensure the carpet is deeply clean and sanitized with minimal drying time to get you back to moving in.

Don’t choose the first cleaner you come across in the phone book or the search engine feed. Do a bit of homework and pick an experienced local cleaner with great reviews. Make sure they are willing to answer questions and are open and honest about the cleaning solutions, equipment, and the method they will be using on the floors.

If the carpet is looking a little worse for the wear and could use some stain removal, odor removal, or patching be sure that your carpet cleaner offers those services. Why not get everything done with one appointment so you don’t have to worry about it later?

Keeping Carpets Clean in the Selling Process

The biggest part of selling a home is making it look presentable and showing it in just the right light for a buyer to fall in love with it. That being said it is hard for someone to fall in love with a dirty or smelly home. There are many many articles in the blogosphere about how smelly homes are the biggest turn off for buyers. If you watch any home improvement reality show where the hosts are trying to get a buyer to consider renovating a run-down home you have seen that as soon as a buyer walks into a smelly home they just want to run right back out.

While you are still preparing your home for sale don’t forget about the carpet cleaning. Buyers will notice an old looking carpet. Especially at a time when wood and other hard surface flooring is trendy and desirable. Having the carpets professionally cleaned and deodorized is a small cost compared to having the home sit on the market for a longer time and possibly having to lower the price.

After the carpets have been deep cleaned make sure to stay on top of caring for it to keep it in its best shape while you have your home on the market and people are coming in to look at it. You can do this by vacuuming three times per week, removing any accidental spills right when they happen, and removing shoes at the door.

Keeping carpets clean this time of year can be tricky, especially if you're selling but with some planning and persistence, you can do it.

Posted in Selling
May 24, 2017

Sometimes Home Inspections Uncover Weird Things

When a home is up for sale its many hidden secrets can come to light. The most interesting home secrets seem to be discovered in homes that have sat vacant for some time only to be revealed when a real estate agent, potential buyer, or inspector walk through the property. These walkthroughs can uncover some pretty quirky things and make you wonder about the lifestyle of the former occupants. Sometimes Home Inspections Uncover Weird Things

In some cases, owners have hidden flaws in their homes hoping a buyer and their inspector will overlook large issues. In other cases home owners are truly surprised that their is say a family of birds, raccoons, possums, etc. living in their attic. The inspector is so crucial in a home sale as they are the person uncovering these hidden and quirky mysteries. They are also the person who has to communicate the news to the buyer or buyer's agent about these surprising details. It is a delicate art communicating to an excited buyer who has put down an offer on a home, that that home is not all it seems to be. At the end of the

It is a delicate art communicating to an excited buyer who has put down an offer on a home, that that home is not all it seems to be. At the end of the day the home inspector is there to save a buyer from investing large sums of money into a property that could put them in a financial nightmare. There are many reasons why properties end up with quirky and surprising secrets like say floorboards hidden under a fluffy shag carpet practically floating in water or plumbing leading to a light switch. Many times an ambitious and unskilled

There are many reasons why properties end up with quirky and surprising secrets like say floorboards hidden under a fluffy shag carpet practically floating in water or plumbing leading to a light switch. Many times an ambitious and unskilled homeowner with a DIY bug is to blame. We are all guilty of watching one too many episodes of Fixer Upper or looking at projects on Pinterest and videos posted in the social media feed that get us thinking " maybe I should try that in my home." The projects seem simple enough as we watch someone else do them, and then a well-meaning homeowner ends up over their head and later trying to cover a mistake when trying to sell a home.One thing is for sure no matter what property you are looking to invest in whether unoccupied for some time and in need of love, quirky with a few cosmetic touch ups, or gorgeous with some shockingly huge issues, you need a home inspector. An inspector is there to let you know as much as they can about the current state of a property and what it will take to fix it.

The American Society of Home inspectors Western Washington Chapter has a network of qualified experienced home inspectors to help you discover all of the hidden secrets about your next real estate purchase. Find a qualified inspector in Washington or call us for inspectors in Portland.

Posted in Buying