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April 20, 2021

Do I Really Need a Final Walk-Through

I recently spoke with a couple that was closing on a home and they asked if they absolutely have to do the final walk-through. They said that they didn't have time, they were going to be out of town and if I could simply do it for them or if it even needed to be done at all.

I most emphatically told them yes, you need to be at the final walk-through. When they asked why here's what I explained to them.Do I Really Need a Final Walk-Through

A walk-through is typically done a couple of days before final closing. It can even be done the morning of the closing just to make sure that the home is in good condition or the same condition as expected when purchased.

Another reason is to verify any repairs or replacements done during the home inspection report. If those items are not taken care of and you've already closed, it can be a lot harder to get the seller to complete them once the property has been sold.

It's sole purpose is to confirm the property's condition but many people have used it in the past in order to get out of the deal. While this is usually not acceptable at this point without losing earnest money deposit, this is your final chance to say yay or nay to closing on the deal. Once you finalize all closing documents and the deed is recorded in the county in which the home is located, the property becomes yours regardless of its condition. If you are given a final walk-through opportunity and you pass it up, the responsibility for completing any repairs now falls on you.

I constantly recommend all of my clients to do the final walk-through and if they have any problems, questions or concerns now is the best time to ask them. I explained all of this to my buyers and they were able to a carve out at least 20 minutes to come by and verify all of the repairs done after the inspection report and that the property was in good working condition. Have something been a mess, it would've been their responsibility after they closed a couple days later.

For more information and answers to your questions on real estate, buying, selling or investing throughout the Portland area contact my office today.

Contact Todd Blair

More Great Tips for Buyers

Home Ownership in Portland is Full of Financial Benefits

Simple Ways to Find a Neighborhood You Love

How to Financially Prepare to Buy a House in Today’s Market

Avoid Hidden Costs When Buying Land to Build

Will Using the Listing Agent to Buy Save Me Money?

Getting Pre-Approved May Not Work in the End

Posted in Buying
April 19, 2021

Home Ownership in Portland is Full of Financial Benefits

Home Ownership in Portland is Full of Financial Benefits

There are so many benefits that come with owning a home. Recently Fannie Mae conducted a survey that revealed some of the most highly-rated benefits of owning a home. Many of the benefits from the survey continue to be key drivers behind the demand for homes in today’s seller’s market.

These are the top four financial benefits of owning a home according to the Fannie Mae survey respondents:

  • 88% said it gives a better chance to save for retirement
  • 87% believe it is the best financial investment plan
  • 85% believe it gives a chance to improve financial health
  • 85% believe it gives the chance to build wealth

Other answers included the financial advantages of tax benefits and helping to better live within a budget.

Does Owning Your Own Home Really Give Someone a Better Chance to Build Wealth?

You may have heard that owning a home can help you to build wealth, but is there evidence to back that up? Can a home be a financial asset?

In the Fall of 2020, the Federal Reserve released a Survey of Consumer Finances. This is a report that the Federal Reserve compiles and produces every three years. The latest report showed that their findings confirmed owning a home is definitely a financial benefit. Specific results of the report found that homeowners have forty times the net worth as compared to buyers. The numbers showed that homeowners averaged $255,000 of net worth and renters averaged $6,300 in net worth. In fact, the last four Federal Reserve reports show that the difference between the two net worths continues to grow.

CoreLogic has found that equity held by homeowners currently grew by an average of $26,300 just in the last twelve months.

A recent study conducted by First American shows that regardless of a homeowner’s income the net worth is higher than that of renters who have the same income level. For example, homeowners that made between $26 and $46 thousand annually had an average overall net worth of about $140 thousand while renters making the same amount annually had an average overall net worth of about $6 thousand.

Research conducted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard found that the net worth of a homeowner over the age of 65 was on average around $319,200 because of the ability to build equity in a home. While the average renter over the age of 65 held a net worth of $6,700.

According to several studies/surveys/reports there are many financial benefits to owning your own home. We might add that a benefit of owning a home in Portland is living in one of the best towns on the planet.

For more information on buying a home in Portland Oregon, contact me today

Marcus Brown Properties 
1500 NW 18th Ave Suite 102
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 957-1179

More Tips for Home Buyers:

6 Tips for Finding the Best Lender for First-Time Buyers

5 Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid

Will the number of homes for sale flourish in spring?

5 Tips to Know When Buying a Portland Short Sale

Should you use the listing agent when buying?

What is a Letter of Intent?

Posted in Buying
April 13, 2021

Go Big and Go Home

Go Big And Go Home

Deciding to move is a big decision — one followed by a series of many more. Even after a renter realizes it’s time to invest in a property, for example, there is the all-important question of where. Which city? Which neighborhood? What’s important in this decision, and what’s worth sacrificing? How do goals dictate the size, space and/or location of a new place?

Finding a property in the right spot, with the right amenities and within budget can be tricky. When someone’s on the home hunt, here’s a look at four of the factors that come into play:

1.      Size of city: Buyers have to ask whether they prefer the activity and connections of an urban area or if they want something a little more low key.

2.      Budget and jobs: Even the perfect home is the wrong one if you can’t afford it. That’s why the job opportunities in a community directly impact how easy or hard it is for homes to sell.

3.      Transportation: Morning commutes can make a big impact on life, so many buyers will favor homes that make it easy to get from point a to point b.

4.      Local amenities: From good libraries to strong hospitals, the attractions and amenities of an area can definitely make it more desirable. Other in-demand features include parks, shopping, restaurants, culture and entertainment. 


Graphic created by New City Moving.

When it comes to residential real estate, lots of factors influence a buyer’s big decision to purchase in a specific city or neighborhood. To learn more about some of the signs that tell buyers it’s time to move — as well as get tips for searching for the right location — take a look at the accompanying resource.

Author bio: Brian Slater is the founder and President of New City Moving, a moving company in Chicago. Slater has more than 10 years of experience in the industry and focuses on providing top-notch customer service as well as a stress-free moving environment.

Posted in Buying
April 13, 2021

Simple Ways to Find a Neighborhood You Love

Simple Ways to Find a Neighborhood You Love

Finding the perfect home is more than just finding 4 walls to hold your family. It's about finding the best place to settle down and stop for a while. You look at the school districts, location, parks, commute, neighbors; all of these things help make your home buying decision. So how do you find the best neighborhood? 

Here are 5 simple ways to make sure you've chosen the right home.

#1. Drive around.

Don't just look at the house once, take several drive-bys and see if you like what the neighborhood holds different times of the day. Are there dogs barking, kids playing, quiet streets, industrial noise, noisy neighbors, etc.. all of these can pop up different times and you may not know it until you move in. Make sure you like the general sense of the neighborhood before deciding on the house.

#2. Are there local amenities close by?

Statistics have stated that homes near Trader Joes or Starbucks actually increase in value faster than those that are not close to these facilities. Are you looking for your home to increase? Consider choosing a house close to a Starbucks, or maybe just because you like to have your latte in the morning as well. Can you easily get to the bank, restaurants or markets or are you on a school route that will get jammed up twice a day? Scout out the neighborhood for the pros and cons. 

#3. Check the schools.

Whether or not you have kids, you may in the future or the next homebuyer may. Homes in good school districts increase in value faster and if you do have kids, you will be in a great zone for when they do go to school.

Read More: The Real Estate Market in 3 of Portland's Hottest Neighborhoods

#4. Check the current trajectory of values. 

Look at the homes in the neighborhood and see how they have increased in value over the last ten years. Your real estate agent should be able to give you a good snapshot of these results. If the results are positive, chances are your home will continue to increase as well. 

#5. Find "the best of" places.

There are so many of these right now. Take a look at the best places in a particular neighborhood or city and see if they fit with where you want to live. BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN... is a great way to find a good neighborhood or community. Check ours out if you want. 

Here are some more resources:

The Best Places to Live in Portland

Wondering Where to Live in Portland?

Posted in Buying
April 12, 2021

How to Financially Prepare to Buy a House in Today’s Market

How to Financially Prepare to Buy a House in Today’s Market

It’s no secret that buying a home today has its own set of challenges due to the shortage of houses in the market. Not only that but the continuous increase in home value over the past few years has presented an additional challenge to prospective home buyers: how can you afford it? If you’ve been uncertain as to where to even begin, there’s still plenty of time to get started and make your way to being financially prepared to buy a home.

Create a budget to get started

It seems simple because it is. It’s also very important as a first step. Having a solid plan in place to save up a particular amount of money on a home can give you some sense of direction. One way to do this is to consider what time of home you’d like to live in and then begin saving accordingly. Do you live alone or with a spouse? Do you have kids? Are you planning to have kids in the near future? Once you have come to a set of answers to these basic questions, you can then start looking around your neighborhood for homes that will provide the adequate space you need. This will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to save for just the listing price. You’ll also want to consider things like a down payment, appliances, HOA fees, and the like that go along with the cost of living in a new home.

Side gigs have the potential for a boost

Depending on your situation, you may be in a good position to do a little work on the side to add extra dollars into your bank account. Perhaps doing a few Grub Hub or Door Dash deliveries on the weekends will contribute to your savings for a home. Many opportunities exist to work from home and participate in different odd jobs. Babysitting is another option. Whatever suits your interests, every little bit helps in your journey to owning your own home.

Career advancement

Another way you can better financially prepare is by seeking ways to advance in your career. Whether that means taking a pay raise in your current job or advancing to a new position within the company, getting a bump in pay certainly can’t hurt your ability to save back some money for a down payment on a home.

For more information or to answer questions about buying a home in today's Portland real estate market, contact my office today.

More Tips for Home Buyers:

6 Tips for Finding the Best Lender for First-Time Buyers

5 Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid

Will the number of homes for sale flourish in spring?

5 Tips to Know When Buying a Portland Short Sale

Should you use the listing agent when buying?

Have you outgrown your home?

Posted in Buying
April 5, 2021

Portland's Most Popular Neighborhoods

Our real estate market is not going as gangbusters as it did the beginning of 2017, that doesn't mean that it's cooled off that much. There are several hot neighborhoods that are in high demand. Even though sales in December were down about 10% compared to the prior year, this is primarily due to the low selection of inventory. The 4th quarter of 2017 continued a strong demand in the Portland suburbs and here's where some of the top neighborhoods with the highest demand were located.

#1. Beaverton.Portland's Most Popular Neighborhoods in 2018

There were 114 sales in this code and homes spent an average of just 29 days on the market. The median sales price was $365,512 and they were just nodding homes on the market in this neighborhood at the end of December.

#2. South Aloha.

This neighborhood located just west of Beaverton presented only nine homes on the market itself at the end of December with the median sales price of $496,750.

#3. Vancouver Lake (Vancouver)

Just over the river, this popular Vancouver neighborhood had only six homes on the market at the end of December with the median price of $245,500. This is an extremely popular place for many Portlandians to move to since rent and home prices are so much cheaper.

#4. Tualatin.

Located south of downtown, the price for a home in Tualatin is $436,500. Homes spent an average of about 36 days on the market and there were 90 sales throughout the course of the year but only 12 homes remained on the market at the end of 2017.

#5. Central Beaverton.

Beaverton itself is becoming one of the more popular places on the outskirts of downtown Portland. There were about 73 sales in total in 2017 and only 10 homes on the market remained in December. The median price for this neighborhood was $345,500.

Other popular neighborhoods include Central Gresham located east of downtown Portland, Elmonica located in Beaverton, Hazel Dell in Vancouver, and Cooper Mountain, back towards downtown a little further south.

For more information on any of these neighborhoods or to find out how you can be a part of this neighborhood by buying a home in 2018 contact our office or browse any of the neighborhoods with all listings currently for sale.

Posted in Portland
March 29, 2021

Should You Renovate Your Portland Home Before You Sell?

Should You Renovate Your Portland Home Before You Sell?

Often, when considering selling a home, homeowners will think about all the items their home may need to seem perfect to buyers. Often homeowners feel they need to get their home ready to sale by making renovations so it is more appealing with current trends that buyers are looking for. Right now, in today’s sellers’ market, renovations may not be as vital as they once were just a short while ago.

Here are two things to keep in mind if you are considering selling your home right now.

The Housing Inventory is Still Low

In the real estate world, a balanced market that neither puts the advantage on buyers or sellers has a 6-month supply of houses for sale. Currently, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, there is only a 1.9 month supply of homes for sale on the market. This causes buyer competition to be high and homes to sell very quickly. It is not uncommon for the small number of homes listed for sale to see multiple offers.

This makes for what is called a seller's market. Right now is a very beneficial time to be selling a home. Spending extra time to get expensive renovations taken care of before listing your home could mean missing out on the window of opportunity to sell your home quickly. It is a good idea to ask the advice of an experienced local real estate agent to determine which repairs really will hinder a home sale and which ones are better left for the next owner to decide. Some repairs may not be deal-breakers to buyers hoping to purchase a home right now.

In this low inventory market, many buyers are more willing to take on some home improvement projects to get a home with the major features they are looking for. So, if your renovations are those that merely involve updating the style of the bathrooms, this is best left alone so that the buyer can come in and make it something they love.

Put More Focus on the Return on Investment

A home renovation should always have careful thought and planning before taking action. One of the major factors to consider with a renovation when you plan to sell a home is the return on investment. This is the consideration of how much the project will cost to complete vs. how much it will increase the property value and listing price of your home. When looking into Cost vs. Value Yearly Trend Reports data is showing that renovations made in 2020 are seeing less of a return on investment. It would be very easy to spend more money than you will see in return with an increased offer on a home project.

Before you renovate your Portland home to get it ready for listing, make sure to talk with an expert local agent. You may be surprised to find out that your home will sell for a great price just as it is.

More for Homeowners:

5 Remodeling Projects to Think ABout Before Listing

How to Avoid Over-Improving Your Home

Can a Shed Increase Your Property Taxes?

Posted in Selling
March 28, 2021

Will Adding a Garage Increase My Home's Value?

There are a lot of ways to add value to your home, especially when it comes time to selling but should you go through the entire process of adding on an entire new room or addition to the house such as the garage? A garage or an extra shed can add value and increase your value long-term. However, how much of the initial investment can you expect to recover when you go to sell?

Will adding a garage increase my home's valueGarages and storage sheds can increase the amount of space available on the property. This can be extremely beneficial to buyers and can be one of the most important features attracting potential home buyers to your property.

Garages and other outbuildings can house vehicles, storage equipment, landscaping equipment and additional storage preserving the value of these possessions. A grudge can add significant value for house if you plan to live in your home for some time before selling it. Not only will you benefit but potential buyers in the future can benefit as well. You can always park your car in a garage to prevent damage or losses to the vehicle including vandalism, accidents or storm damage.

But when it comes to the actual potential return on the investment, according to Hanley Media, a grudge addition could expect to receive an estimated average of $34,000 in resale value for the property owner. For the West Coast alone, the estimated resale value is upwards of $47,000 and it does vary from region to region. On average, property owners can expect to receive anywhere from 50% to 65% of their initial upfront investment on a garage addition and on the West Coast this figure is even higher in nearly 80%.

For many property owners this is considered a great return on their investment and they can recover a significant amount of the cost of the building project.

 But what about sheds? Sheds can add value but you'll want to talk to various shed builders in order to visualize how your shed will look as well is the additional cost. These might not be as great of return because they might not show the value and the need as much as a garage. A garage will definitely be the better investment but a shed, especially if you're planning on living in the home, might add great value while you're there.

If you'd like more information on other tips to increase the value of your Portland real estate or home before selling please contact us at any time. We have secrets and strategies that work to increase the value and put more profits in your pocket at closing.

Posted in Selling
March 23, 2021

Avoid Hidden Costs When Buying Land to Build

You're finally here! You're looking for land to build your dream home. This can be a very exciting time but there are a lot of details and important items to review prior to purchasing the land itself. Yes, price and location are important but they are just the beginning. There are several hidden costs and fees involved with purchasing land and beginning the construction phase. I want you to be aware of these costs and how to avoid some of them.Avoid Hidden Costs When Buying Land to Build

Depending on the development of the land there are several items that you may need to have installed on the property before you can even begin development. Here are just some of the items that you'll need to consider:

  • Survey
  • Septic system
  • Drilling a well or pump
  • Excavation, blasting if needed
  • Easement roads, paving and driveways
  • Permits and building fees
  • Utility hookup including phone, electric, cable, gas, water and potentially sewer
  • Impact fees (also known as development fees, mitigation, service availability charges, or facility fees, which vary by state and municipality)

Impact fees are probably the biggest one that many homebuyers and home builders don't understand. These are assessed individually by town or city to pay for schools, infrastructure and public facilities. About 60% of all towns and cities with over 25,000 residents will require impact fees but be sure to check with your specific municipality for details. 

When purchasing a home there are many costs to estimate including the land and the building costs. Not only will you have the cost of land but any brokerage fees if necessary.

Permits may also be required for septic, well drilling, driveway construction and of course the building itself. If you're not going with septic, sewer tap fees will need to be added on as well. If you don't have a well, municipal water tap fee will also be added.

Depending on the state of the land and how raw it is, other fees may include a planning review, certain inspections, land clearing and curb cuts. Many lenders and building departments will also require a survey which could cost anywhere from $400-$1000 depending on the size of the property.

You may also be required to pay an engineering inspection. This is specifically for steeper grade sites, wetland sites, or land with problem soils. Soil testing may also be required based on the engineering inspection.

Landscaping can also be an additional fee unless you're planning on doing a lot of it yourself. Clearing the land, excavation and even blasting may be required depending on where you're putting the home and if it is allowed to be placed in your desired location.

Avoiding some of these unnecessary fees is possible if you choose a plot or parcel that is already permitted, developed, accessible and routed for utilities however, you would likely be paying more in the purchase price.

For more information or to answer questions about your land purchase for development and building in or around the Portland real estate market, contact my office today.

More Tips for Home Buyers:

6 Tips for Finding the Best Lender for First-Time Buyers

5 Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid

Will the number of homes for sale flourish in spring?

5 Tips to Know When Buying a Portland Short Sale

Should you use the listing agent when buying?

What is a Letter of Intent?


Posted in Buying
March 22, 2021

Will the Number of Homes for Sale Flourish in the Spring?

Spring is just a few short weeks away and many excited buyers are wondering if more homes will blossom and pop up on the market as Spring is traditionally peak real estate season. Even as we are still wading through pandemic measures, this Spring is certain to look different from real estate market numbers of Spring seasons in the past.

Some real estate experts have made their own predictions of what the Spring 2021 season will bring for real estate.Will the Number of Homes for Sale Flourish in the Spring?

Danielle Hale is the Chief Economist at realtor.com, she predicts that though the beginning of the year saw low inventory numbers, there should be an increase in homes listed for sale as early as right now in March and into April and for growth to continue to increase through Spring. She also notes that new construction will be picking up this Spring which has shown to be at 30% higher levels looking at year over year numbers. This is good news for interested home buyers.

Ali Wolf, the chief economist at Zonda has shared that she believes more people are going to feel more comfortable selling their home in the first half of 2021 as compared to last year when the pandemic concerns where at a peak. Some homeowners will still be reluctant to list their home due to health and safety concerns, but she predicts more and more concerns will lift and homes will be listed later in the season with more significant gains in inventory numbers in late 2021 and into the Spring season of 2022.

Freddie Mac recently released a statement that they expect to see a strong Spring season even with a significant rise in mortgage rates. They expect the rise in rates to continue but at a slower pace than the first few months of the year produced.

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, has said that as we come into Spring he expects to see the supply and demand for homes continue to produce a sellers’ market. He expects this to bring more home price growth which is not necessarily a bad thing as many houses are undervalued in most markets around the country. He expects the real estate market to stay strong through the Spring of 2021.

Many of the top real estate experts in the country are optimistic as they look at current data and what it most likely means for months ahead in real estate. If you are wanting to purchase or sell a home and have been hesitant, reach out to a local expert realtor and discuss your options. You may be surprised at how beneficial selling or purchasing a Portland home still is right now.

More Tips for Home Buyers:

6 Tips for Finding the Best Lender for First-Time Buyers

5 Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid

5 Tips to Know When Buying a Portland Short Sale

Should you use the listing agent when buying?

Should we be concerned that interest rates have risen to 3%?


Posted in News and Media