Garthwick Real Estate’s Magic Number

16 Feb
Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

Superabundant Real Estate Information Can Seem Like Drinking Water From A Fire Hydrant

TMREI: Too Much Real Estate Information
Sometimes absorbing the sea of Garthwick neighborhood real estate information is more like drinking from a fire hydrant. Yet, out of all the seemingly helpful real estate data bandied about, there is one especially helpful number, which when understood, can provide near-magical clarity to both Garthwick neighborhood homebuyers and homesellers.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

You Needn’t Be a Magician to Understand Garthwick Area Home Inventory

What Is It?
What is this ‘magic’ number and what does it represent? Simply put, it’s the current figure for housing inventory, typically expressed in months of projected home supply.

Listen to the audio podcast presentation of this helpful program on Garthwick real estate by clicking here or on the above link.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

Garthwick Neighborhood Real Estate Inventory is Different Than Bingo

Housing inventory is also sometimes known as home inventory or housing backlog. Why is this number so important? Once you understand the single figure that defines our current supply of local available Oregon homes for sale, you have an instant ‘snapshot’ on whether you’re in a buyer’s market, seller’s market, or more of a balanced real estate market. Armed with that information, you’re far more ready to do battle in the real estate trenches and more likely to avoid some usual minefields. 

‘Normal’ Home Supply
Among real estate experts, a ‘normal’ range for home supply in parts of Oregon is frequently cited as somewhere between three to six months. For example, if the home supply figure is three, then hypothetically our market would be ‘out of homes’ in three months, provided no new homes were placed for sale. In other words, if our regional home inventory figure is within three to six months, we’re typically experiencing a normal market, meaning one not far from a balance of supply and demand, also called equilibrium. In a way, it’s kind of like an absorption rate for how fast supply is used up.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

Your Mileage May Vary
It’s helpful to understand that home inventory figures are more of an average for a region. In Oregon, major real estate regions include Portland, Bend, Eugene, Salem and the Oregon Coast. So if your property is located in Garthwick, you’re likely to use the Portland area figure as the bellwether for housing backlog. If your home is located in Keizer, you’re likely to see the Salem inventory figure as the closest approximation of local home supply. It’s also likely that your specific area could be somewhat different altogether, based on a variety of hyper-local factors affecting both demand and supply. That said, home inventory is a convenient ‘thumbnail’ sketch to help assess what kind of market you’re in.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

What’s The Practical Impact of Housing Inventory?
Consider real estate and inventory like a pipeline. If more flows through it, the product is plentiful and therefore the cheaper it is to buy. So with a lower, dwindling home supply and the spigot turned down, the reverse is true.  When the local real estate environment favors sellers, it’s typically because there are more buyers and it’s considered a ‘seller’s market.’ In that case, expect a short market time and an environment where homesellers receive multiple offers, often at or above listing price. If the supply of homes is higher, it’s considered a ‘buyer’s market.’ This means you can expect a longer market time, with homesellers seeing few, if any offers…and frequently for less than the asking price.  

One advantage to Garthwick homesellers is that like Eastmoreland, Alameda or the West Hills, there is a distinctly low number of available properties in these desirable neighborhoods.

 Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

Negotiation is Expected, But Most Garthwick Homesellers Don’t Like ‘Armwrestling’ With Buyers

It’s routinely a good idea for buyers to get a ‘heads up’ before making an offer to determine how ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ the market is. Otherwise, if you ‘lowball’ a just-listed home in a seller’s market, you may be lucky to even get a counteroffer instead of an outright rejection by sellers experiencing lots of calls and showings on their property. Coming in with an offer that’s too low sometimes causes offended sellers to refuse to seriously consider a possible follow up offer.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

The Number of Competing Garthwick  Area Homes for Sale Affects Market Time

What’s the Big Deal About Housing Inventory?
One reason housing inventory is so important is because it helps buyers and sellers to better manage expectations. Most buyers are interested in how long it may take to find the ‘right’ house. Inventory affects this. Alternatively, most sellers are interested in how long it may take to find a motivated and qualified buyer. Inventory affects this, too.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

Garthwick Homesellers Can ‘Jumpstart’ Activity With Accurate Pricing

That’s because a high home inventory tends to slow down the market time and low inventory frequently provides a ‘jump start’ to activity. One way sellers can help to avoid an excessively long market time is to review comparable local home sales information provided by their Realtor to ensure proper, market pricing.

Another reason housing inventory is crucial is because it can significantly impact so many other important factors. In other words, inventory is a ‘driver’ for market time, selling price, appraisal results, lendability and more.

Okay, So Inventory Is Important. What Does It Look Like?

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

Portland Metro Sample Home Inventory

The above image provides a good example of fluctuating home inventory. As Oregon’s real estate market bounced back from the severe market downturn of the Great Recession, the home inventory for some areas reduced from more than 20 months of housing supply to less than three.

Garthwick, Portland Oregon, Garthwick Neighborhood, Oregon

It’s Wise to Consult An Experienced Realtor Before You Leap Into the Market

Contact the Experts
Thinking about selling your Garthwick property? Know the market before diving in! Contact veteran Oregon Realtor Roy Widing with your questions and for a free consultation on what your Garthwick area property could sell for today using the contact form below or call (800) 637-1950.

10 Reasons Why Garthwick Homesellers Hire A Realtor

14 Jan

There are many good reasons why homesellers throughout Portland’s Garthwick neighborhood hire a Realtor, including the handful who first try the ‘for sale by owner’ or ‘FSBO’ route. Here are ten of the most common reasons why Garthwick homesellers hire a Realtor to get the job done right. 

Hear the audio podcast version of this presentation by clicking here or the link above.

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Selling Your Own Garthwick Home? Prepare to Wear Many Hats.

1. Selling Your Home ‘By Owner’ Means Taking on a Second Job.
Most Garthwick homesellers are busy. So before attempting to sell property on your own, first ask yourself if you’re prepared to wear some extra hats. That’s because in addition to (1). preparing your property for market and (2). finding a replacement dwelling, along with (3). the task of actually moving, selling your home involves (4). abundant planning, (5). serious paperwork, (6). negotiation skills, (7). accurate scheduling, (8). diligent research, (9). considerable legwork (if done right) and (10). a lot of just plain toil. Garthwick

2. Legalese, Sometimes with Different Rules for Each County and/or Municipality.
Realtors use continually-updated forms written by experienced real estate attorneys designed specifically for regional transactions, with clarity and simplicity in mind. Such documents include important protections for both buyer and seller. While no document is perfect, Realtor forms include key clauses, like for home inspections and appraisals, along with arbitration/mediation mechanisms. These time-tested documents help prevent potential issues, while at the same time deterring ‘nuisance’ litigation.

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3. More Accurate Pricing When Buying & Selling.
These days the average Garthwick resident doesn’t move often. So as with any activity, it’s easy to get rusty. Realtors are in the real estate market all day, every day. This means an experienced real estate agent can provide significant market awareness to help you price what’s likely to be your single largest investment.

Armed with access to multiple listing, sales and tax data, Realtors provide significant pricing experience and real life insights, whether you want to know what the property you’re selling is worth, or once you sell, how much to offer on the home you’re buying.

Garthwick4. Objectivity.
We all deal with subjectivity from time to time. Does your home smell? Perhaps you’ve gotten used to having multiple pets in your small home, don’t notice the mold growing in your bathroom, or haven’t realized how gloomy your living room appears. One role of a Realtor is to be helpfully honest. That means being truthful if there’s something you as a seller don’t see (or smell). 

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Most Homesellers Don’t Want A Rapidly Exiting ‘Conga Line’ of Mum Buyers

Far better to be forewarned and forearmed by your Realtor, than witness a rapidly exiting conga line of mum homebuyers who don’t want to offend you. Or perhaps you don’t think disclosing settling water in your basement each Winter is a big deal. The reality is that disclosing such a potentially material fact is something dutiful agents will advise in order to keep you out of much hotter water after the sale. 

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5. Junk the Junk.
Have you ever studied a real estate earnest money agreement (also called an EMA or purchase agreement), or seller’s ‘net sheet?’ Over the course of a transaction, it’s easy to accumulate an abundance of ‘junk’ fees. Sometimes seller-paid closing costs are necessary to make a transaction work. However, paying for a buyer’s home warranty is typically more of a buyer ‘want’ than a ‘need.’ Count on your Realtor to go over such factors with you for a ‘heads up’ of what to expect. An experienced agent knows what’s usually ‘routine’ and what’s not.

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6. Marketing.
Even if a Garthwick homeseller has a sense of what his or her home is worth, effectively reaching the the widest number of buyers increases your opportunity to find more motivated and qualified buyers, even creating a ‘bidding war.’ The simple act of listing your home with a Realtor means your property is immediately promoted on a host of proven, effective home marketing venues. But it doesn’t stop there. Successful Realtors use many different tools to reach buyers for your specific property.

Connecting your property with the right buyer can mean the difference between a fast close at full price (or higher), compared to a continuous stream of ‘sale-fails’ where your property is needlessly taken off the market by buyers who were marginally qualified. 

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Calm Seas Never Made a Good Captain…or Realtor.

7. Experience.
There is simply no substitute for ‘hands on’ real estate experience. If your Garthwick home hasn’t sold, at what point should you consider a price adjustment? How much of a price adjustment is necessary? Is there something other than price causing my property not to sell? These are not new questions to an experienced agent, who can help address these and other important questions.

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When it Matters, Experience is Good to Have on Your Side.

It’s comforting in especially difficult situations to rely on an experienced Realtor, who is the duly able real estate ‘captain’ of your transaction. Most people prefer an experienced surgeon or pilot, so it’s understandable to want experienced representation with the important task of selling your home. It’s also helpful to know that a professional real estate agent makes the entire home selling process appear easier than it is.

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Most people are nervous and ‘en garde’ when buying or selling a home.

8. Negotiation Skills.
If you’re like most people, you dread negotiating when buying a car. Consider how much higher the stakes are with your home sale. You want an experienced hand on your side. 
While real estate transactions are optimally a ‘win-win’ situation, it’s realistic to expect some friction. If you haven’t considered homeselling as a kind of ‘war,’ check out this unique perspective on the ‘battle’ of selling your home. 

The best way to navigate through a potentially difficult transaction on your Garthwick home is to be represented by someone who has been over the road before. So whether you’re in negotiations with a ‘bargain hunting’ buyer, experience an unpleasant ‘surprise’ in a home inspection, or a seriously low appraisal, each unique situation presents an opportunity for difficulty and reaching common ground. Your Realtor can assist in ‘end gaming’ your best strategies and in dealing with a wide variety of buyer personalities.

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Having a Realtor ‘Buffer’ Between Buyer & Seller Can Avoid Headaches

9. The ‘Buffer Effect.’
Having an agent represent you makes it easier to maintain civility between ‘warring’ parties.  If you don’t consider homeselling as a battle, then see our prior article and podcast titled ‘The Art of War for Homesellers.’ Ever say something you regret? An experienced Realtor can often use more constructive language to accomplish what can sometimes be perceived as an emotional and/or provocative comment.

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Hiring A Realtor Makes Sellers More Money: Click above image to enlarge

10. More Money.
National Association of Realtor statistics reveal that homesellers who use a Realtor actually net considerably more at closing than those who don’t, even after taking into account paying a commission. Consider that when banks (which are renowned for watching the ‘bottom line’) sell their foreclosed homes, they hire an expert, a Realtor. From a financial standpoint, it really does ‘pencil out’ to hire a Realtor. 

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Thinking about selling your Garthwick home? Contact our sponsor, Certified Realty using the form below for a free consultation. They’ve been selling Garthwick area homes since 1950.

3 Questions Your Garthwick Realtor Can’t Answer

4 Nov

Click here or on the ‘play’ button above for the audio podcast version of this article.

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

When making the biggest financial decision of their lives, many Garthwick area homebuyers and homesellers understandably ask their Realtor to provide a professional opinion on a range of topics. Some common questions include if adding a bathroom will boost resale value, should wallpaper be removed, if re-painting will help, how long a home has been for sale, if sellers should leave when their home is being shown, or if a home shows better when ‘staged.’ These and many other questions are typically addressed with aplomb by an experienced Realtor.

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

However, with other, less benign questions, agents are trained not only to be cautious, but simply refuse to answer them. Is it because the Realtor doesn’t have an opinion? Maybe, but maybe not. Often the reason is because rules don’t allow it.

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Federal, State & Ethics…Oh My!
What are these rules that might cause an otherwise conversational, if not super-chatty (or at least engaging) real estate agent to go mum? They include federal laws, state regulations and the Realtor Code of Ethics.  And while there are more than three topics agents are trained to be wary of, here we’ll address three examples of areas Realtors are supposed to be particularly cautious about. It helps to first understand that some of the following essentially forbidden conversations most often occur between a Realtor and clients. However, the specific topic of Question #3 below can also be especially problematic if discussed between Realtors.

Question #1 That Your Garthwick Realtor Can’t Answer: “Do Many Minorities (or Other Protected Classes) Live Here?”
If there is even a hint of a question having a racial, religious, or other prohibited basis, law-abiding Realtors will not go there.

Federal Law Prohibits Real Estate Discrimination
Chief among the federal laws that limit a Realtor’s behavior in these areas is the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It prohibits:

  • A refusal to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling.
  • Advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling indicating preference of discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.
  • Coercing, threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a person’s enjoyment or exercise of housing rights based on discriminatory reasons or retaliating against a person or organization that aids or encourages the exercise or enjoyment of fair housing rights.

Oregon Law Prohibits Real Estate Discrimination
Discrimination in Real Property Transactions-State discrimination law also prohibits a person from refusing to sell, lease, or rent any real property because of an individual´s race, color, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, national origin, religion, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, or source of income.

The Realtor Code of Ethics Prohibits Real Estate Discrimination
Additional guidelines to assist Realtors in following laws against discrimination are incorporated in the Realtor Code of Ethics, which you can read in its entirety here. For the purposes of this discussion, here is a pertinent portion:

Article 10
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14) [listen]

  • Standard of Practice 10-1

When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however, REALTORS® may provide other demographic information.

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

Steering
Related to this phenomena is the concept of ‘steering,’ where a real estate agent might guide prospective homebuyers toward or away from certain homes or neighborhoods based upon forbidden criteria. This article provides six ways a Realtor can help to avoid ‘steering.‘ Just one example of a forbidden topic might be: ‘Can you find me a Catholic neighborhood? (…or Jewish, or Mormon, or Hispanic, or Lebanese…)’ As seen in the above example, just as religion and race are protected classes, so are nationalities.

So what’s a Garthwick area homebuyer to do? If there are particular places where you want to reside, like specific neighborhoods where your friends currently live, or an area where your church is located, then an agent can show you homes in areas you request.  Real trouble comes when asking a Realtor to specify neighborhoods for you that involve protected classes. So questions about the racial, religious, or nationality composition of a neighborhood are not something to bring up with a real estate agent.

It really helps to leave protected classes out the discussion. Instead, after doing your own research of factors that are most important to you (which may include crime as we’ll address below, or proximity to good restaurants, or parks, or a reasonable commute to work), then provide your agent with boundaries of areas where you want to focus your homesearch. There are several other terms used to define related discriminatory illegal real estate activity.

Blockbusting
The practice of persuading owners to sell property cheaply because of the fear of people of another race or class moving into the neighborhood, and thus profiting by reselling at a higher price.

Redlining
Refusing a loan or insurance to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk.

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

Question #2 That Your Garthwick Realtor Can’t Answer: “Is This a Safe Neighborhood?” Real estate agents are instructed not to disclose information regarding crime and the safety of a neighborhood in part due to concerns of violating the Fair Housing Act. The following paragraph is from a Realtor article about how agents are advised to advise homebuyers on crime figures, along with a host of other topics:

‘Direct them to the police. If buyers want to get a picture of the area’s crime rate, direct them to the police department or other sources of information. Don’t disclose crime statistics or say a neighborhood is a safe place to live even if you believe it to be true.’

Why Crime Statistics Can Be Difficult to Get-Part A
There’s another reason why getting reliable crime information, at least from a Realtor, is not preferred. That’s because in Portland, for example, Oregon Revised Statute 696.880 states that an Oregon real estate agent is not required to disclose the proximity of a sex offender. For some, this may be difficult to believe. As a result, it’s helpful to take the attitude of ‘buyer beware’ if you have small children, or simply want to avoid living near a convicted sexual predator.

Why Crime Statistics Can Be Difficult to Get-Part B
There is currently a strange situation being experienced in parts of Oregon, because while FBI crime statistics have long been seen as a helpful source of public safety information, for Portland and 40 surrounding communities, these important recent figures will not be available.

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

Are Sex Offenders Living in the Neighborhood?
Megan’s Law requires convicted sex offenders to register their address with local officials. This information is available to the public. You may check the public records, or get information from local police near where you’re considering a move. But it’s important to know that online information is hardly foolproof. Here’s why, as stated in the Oregon Sex Offender website which reads in part, with my highlights:

This website only lists sex offenders designated: a Level 3 offender under ORS 181.800; a predatory sex offender under ORS 181.585; or a sexually violent dangerous offender under ORS 144.635.  Not all sex offenders are listed on the website. In addition, the information on this website refers only to sex offenses defined under ORS 181.805(5) and does not reflect the entire criminal history of a particular individual.

Since all information is subject to change (and not everyone registers how they’re supposed to), if accurately determining if a sex offender might live in your next neighborhood is important, make sure you’re comfortable with the information you gather. Here’s a link to the State of Oregon’s sex offender website.

There are good reasons to avoid living near a convicted sex offender. In addition to the reasonable desire for safety, it’s proven that homebuyers can take a financial ‘hit’ after purchasing in unsafe neighborhoods. For example, one study showed that a home’s value declines by 4% on average if it’s located within one-tenth of a mile of a sex offender’s residence, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

What’s A Garthwick Area Homebuyer to Do?
Many homebuyers would like to see local crime statistics before buying a home. However, getting reliable information isn’t always as simple as asking a real estate agent. Why? First, realize that Realtors are not police and therefore typically not always well-versed on crime statistics. To get those, it really does make sense for buyers to contact local law enforcement, or research online themselves, using a variety of available resources.

Also understand that if you’re concerned about a factor like crime, certain kinds of research will best come from someone other than your agent. This may not seem fair, but in Oregon, an agent is not required to provide such information. The good news is that there are established sources of information for homebuyers interested in a safer neighborhood. Yet you may have to dig.

Some Helpful Websites for Garthwick Homebuyers
CrimeReports.com
FamilyWatchdog.us
FBI Crime Report
MyLocalCrime.com
Oregon Drug Lab Properties Website

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

Question #3 That Your Garthwick Realtor Can’t Answer: “What’s the Standard Real Estate Commission?”

The reality? There is no ‘standard’ real estate commission. A Realtor can tell you what they charge, but commissions are negotiable and one real estate agent can’t speak to what another company or agent charges. There is also good reason why a real estate agent would not want to discuss real estate commissions with other agents.

Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Neighborhood

Some Questions Will Get Realtors Running!

A Different Kind of ‘Running Suit’
A major antitrust lawsuit that has reverberations to this day involved real estate brokers who attempted to ‘coordinate’ an increase in their commissions. Federal investigators were not amused. As a result, now Realtors are advised very early in their training to avoid discussion of commissions with other real estate brokers, lest they be accused of ‘price fixing.’  Some real estate agents are instructed to simply leave a room if someone attempts to discuss such illegal tactics. For example, Realtors have been observed scrambling out of such a meeting to avoid talking about commission collusion, or ‘price fixing.’Garthwick, Garthwick Homes, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick NeighborhoodDo you have questions or are you considering the sale of your Garthwick property? Contact our sponsor, veteran Oregon Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty using the convenient form below for a free consultation. Certified Realty has been selling Garthwick area homes since 1950!

Dancing the Garthwick ‘Two Transaction Tango’

31 Oct

Garthwick, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Oregon, Garthwick Portland

Simultaneous/Consecutive Home Transactions
Selling your Garthwick home and buying a replacement property are frequently linked activities. In this article and podcast, we reveal how to maximize the efficiency and minimize the bother when simultaneously home buying and home selling.

Click here or on the ‘play’ button below for the audio version of this presentation about homebuying while homeselling.


We’ll also examine options to help decide if either simultaneous or consecutive real estate transactions may be best for you.

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Timing
The singular act of buying or selling a home is often the foremost concern of many. Whichever immediate task you may be considering, it’s common to have twice the activity anticipated, but in two steps. That’s because Garthwick home buyers often have a home to sell…and Garthwick home sellers are frequently seeking a home to buy. So what’s the best way to navigate this potential real estate quagmire without getting entangled in a morass of stress and needless extra costs?

Garthwick, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Oregon, Garthwick Portland

First Steps
To begin, it helps to examine three common dual home sale/home purchase options:

  1. Selling your existing house first, then buying your next house.
  2. Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house.
  3. Simultaneously moving from your existing house to your next house.

Your challenges, benefits and results will largely depend upon which of these three decisions you settle upon. Here are three quick takeaways for these three usual options:

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Option #1.  Selling your existing house first, then buying the next house
This option usually requires a ‘double move.’ Yet one advantage of this approach is that you won’t have double house payments. One disadvantage is that you may have to move twice.  An added benefit of this ‘selling first’ approach can include negotiating with strength in the purchase of your next home. That’s because your purchase needn’t be contingent upon the sale or closing of your sold home. As a result, you are seen as a ‘cash in fist’ buyer, or at the very least, a buyer who is considerably more likely to qualify for a home purchase, given that you ostensibly now have access to the equity in your now-sold home. This helps you negotiate with more power in the purchase of your next home.

Garthwick, Garthwick Real Estate, Garthwick Oregon, Garthwick Portland

Option #2.   Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house
When first buying a house, then selling yours, one advantage is that you know where you’ll be moving. The reduced stress of ‘knowing where you’ll land’ is empowering.

Unless you’re a cash buyer, you’ll likely need to qualify with a lender. And if you have an existing loan in place on the house you’ll be selling, this may mean you need to qualify for two loans, your current home loan and the loan on the house you’re buying.

As long as your Garthwick home sells in a timely manner, added financial obligations can be minimized.  For more information about bridge loans, see the below ‘A Bridge Too Far?’ discussion.

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Option #3.  Simultaneously moving from your existing house to your next house
This situation is very common. Provided your activities are clearly thought out, well-executed and contingencies are in place for protection, it’s also one of the more affordable options.

Think far ahead and shoot for impeccable timing, in order to make your move the smoothest possible. In order to have sufficient time to move out soon after closing on your current home’s transaction, you will need to locate your next home, write an accepted offer, have the home inspection and if you’re getting a home loan, likely an appraisal…all before you close on the purchase and can actually move in.

One advantage of this approach is that you won’t have double house payments. You also know where you will be landing, and you won’t likely have to move twice. One disadvantage is that your timing needs to be good and possibly have a little extra ‘cushion’ to allow for emergencies, like delays with appraisals, inspections and repairs. Otherwise it’s easy to feel ‘squeezed’ by your being in the middle of two time-sensitive transactions.

That’s one challenge of going this route; It’s complicated by not knowing with precision the timeline of certain key activities. That’s because while home inspections can usually be completed within a set time frame, like 10-14 business days, other requirements like appraisals, can take much longer, with less certainty of the completion date. On top of that, most transactions involve two appraisals, one on the house you’re selling and another on the house you’re buying. So if you plan on a simultaneous sale/purchase, huddle up with your Realtor to create a well planned timeline, then build in some extra breathing room, as necessary.

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A Bridge Too Far?
One way to do purchase a house without first selling your Garthwick home is with what’s called a ‘bridge loan.’ This is effectively a loan against the equity on your existing home. There are plenty of added details, but for the sake of simplicity, just understand that if you use a bridge loan to buy your next home, until your current home is sold, you will likely have double house payments. So if your current home doesn’t sell in a timely manner, hopefully the squeeze on your wallet won’t be more stressful than if you were to have simply sold your existing home first. 

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Tools of the Trade
To accomplish the job of simultaneously buying and selling homes, among the most common protective tools is called a contingency. Consider contingencies as akin to safety goggles. They’re designed to prevent a mishap, only in this case, the mishap could be losing your earnest money.

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Earnest Money
Earnest money is usually a certain dollar figure placed on deposit as a sign a buyer is earnest, and later applied to the home purchase. This helps convince sellers that a buyer is serious and take their property off the market. Earnest money essentially helps to ‘hold’ a property for a buyer. Earnest money is not often the total down payment, although it can be applied as part of the down payment.  Earnest money is important to homesellers, because without it, a buyer could otherwise tie up the seller’s property with virtually no obligation.

A large part of contingencies relate to a buyer keeping their earnest money, or the initial deposit showing the buyer is ‘earnest’ in proceeding to closing on a home sale. If a homebuyer does not have a sufficient contingency in place during a home sale, forfeiture of a buyer’s earnest money becomes possible. It’s not terribly common, but it can and does sometimes happen.

Types of Contingencies
Home inspection contingencies provide buyers with the right to have a house inspected for a variety of conditions, all within a specified time frame. Another common contingency is the loan contingency, so if for some reason a lender does not approve a buyer or the property for a home loan, the earnest money deposit is returned to the buyer. Buyers have lost out on qualifying for a home loan because they went out and bought a car during the home purchasing process, thereby disrupting their loan ratios.

The Reality of Earnest Money Deposit Risk
As long as appropriate contingencies are in place and they’re followed in a time-conscious manner, it’s relatively uncommon for buyers to lose their earnest money. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your timeline.

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Buying And/Or Selling?
Use the form below to contact our Garthwick.com sponsor, veteran Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty for a FREE consultation.

Certified Realty first began selling Garthwick area homes in 1950. Whether your situation involves homebuying, homeselling, or if you simply have questions about our current Garthwick real estate market, Roy can help! 

10 Reasons Why Garthwick Winter Homeselling is Hot

12 Oct

Garthwick, Winter HomesellingWhile there is a case to be made for homeselling in each of the four seasons, Winter is one of the most powerful times Garthwick sellers can place their home on the market and for ten very good reasons.

Click here or the play button below for the audio podcast presentation of this article.

  1. Price & Market Time. Statistics show homes sell faster and for more money in Winter. One way to understand this phenomenon is by considering a motorist with a flat tire in bad weather. That motorist has an urgent need and is less likely to haggle, or even seriously consider less expensive options, in order to meet an immediate need. Winter homebuyers in Garthwick sometimes experience the same kind urgency and this helps to explain the premium that homes can command during the real estate ‘off season.’ Another way to look at the Winter market dynamic is if you want to buy snowshoes in July (at least around Garthwick and greater Portland), expect to pay more, since availability is typically lower. Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  2. High Quality Buyers. Because home touring is generally less convenient, there tend to be fewer ‘Looky-Loos’ during the Winter. This means Garthwick’s Winter homesellers have fewer buyers tracking dirt into their house, with less energy spent preparing for real estate ‘Tire-Kickers.’Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  3. Less Seller Competition. Let’s face facts: It’s convenient to sell in the Spring and Summer, especially around Garthwick. The weather is usually better, flowers are blooming and with plenty of homebuyers looking, it’s a ‘target-rich environment.’  Yet while it’s easier and more convenient to sell in sunny weather, this convenience often comes at the cost of increased competition from other sellers. Conversely, Garthwick’s Winter homesellers can expect fewer like-minded sellers competing for buyers. Just like the successful contrarian investor who sells when everyone else is not, avoiding a ‘herd mentality’ can pay off with a higher price and faster sale. Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  4. Higher Buyer Motivation. Is your idea of a fun time getting into a car on cold drizzly nights to look at houses? Probably not…unless you just got a job transfer. Or a nice raise. Or you received an inheritance and want to get out of your tiny apartment. It’s helpful for prospective Garthwick Winter homesellers to know that corporate relocations are common in the first quarter.  Plus family changes can occur anytime and estates are settled year around.
    Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  5. The Hunt for Red December: Get a ‘Jump’ on the New Year’ s Competition. The best time to get your Garthwick property on the market could be when everyone else isn’t. Placing your Garthwick home for sale in Winter gives you access to hyper-motivated buyers who have made homebuying a New Year’s resolution. That way, when these eager Garthwick homebuyers begin their ‘hunt,’ your house will be a prime ‘target’ as visible as Rudolph’s nose. So if your Garthwick home is market-ready and available to tour leading up to the New Year, expect to tap into this highly focused ‘pent up demand.’
    Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  6. Your Home Looks Inviting During the Holidays. Who doesn’t enjoy the happy glow of a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations, along with the pleasant smell of fresh-baked pumpkin pie, cinnamon buns, or a vanilla candle? Homes often look their most inviting during the holidays.
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
    And given the pleasant, even emotional attachment so many have during that time of year, expect some Garthwick area homebuyers to fully embrace the holiday theme of ‘Peace on earth, good will toward men.’ As a result, such positive feelings can spill over into the home selling process and make it easier.
    Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  7. Your Lawn & Landscaping is Virtually a Non-Issue. Forget to mow your lawn? No worries. Some buyers won’t care if they tour your property and it’s covered in snow, raining hard, or after sundown. Buyer landscaping expectations can be quite reasonable during Winter months in Garthwick.Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  8. When Your Garthwick Home Sells, You May Buy With Less Competition. Few homesellers stop to consider that given good timing with their sale, their own future home purchase may also benefit from similar, unique seasonality. So depending on a variety of factors in the market where and when you buy, Garthwick homesellers can sometimes take advantage of lower Winter activity levels to successfully negotiate with a motivated seller. This is because some sellers place their home on the market during Winter not for convenience, or desire to maximize their selling price, but from genuine need. In other words, they are highly motivated. Such homesellers could therefore provide a good buying opportunity.
    Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  9.  Fewer people relocate in Winter, so this means you’re likely to have an easier time booking a mover.
    Competition for moving companies can be challenging during the real estate ‘high season.’ As a result, expect less difficulty scheduling your moving company when you sell in Winter.
    Garthwick, Winter Homeselling
  10.  You Can Dictate Which Days & Times Are Available for Showings. As a Garthwick homeseller, you typically have control over tour times and dates for your home. This includes during Winter months. Given holiday-related gatherings and events, buyers are likely to understand their need to schedule their tour of your home. Your Realtor can help by specifying days and times your home is available for showings. For example, you could have your house available for tours on Saturdays from 2 to 5pm, weekday mornings after 9:00am, or between 5 and 8pm weekday evenings.

Thinking about selling your Garthwick house this Winter? Use the convenient form below to contact veteran Realtor Roy Widing, principal broker with Certified Realty and host of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast, for a FREE consultation!

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5 Little-Known Oregon Real Estate ‘Insider’ Tips

13 Jun

Hear the podcast of this episode by clicking the ‘play’ button below

Real Estate Confidential
As with any occupation, there are ‘insider tips’ in real estate. Exactly what are these little-discussed pointers and how can they benefit non-Realtors? Ask a dozen real estate agents and you’re likely to get a dozen different answers. Yet the following perspective can provide insight into what are often little-known facets of residential real estate, whether you’re buying or selling. We’ll first briefly note why this little-known information can be important, then we’ll get to these 5 little known ‘insider tips.’ And since most real estate agents are Realtors, both terms will be used interchangeably here.

Willamette Valley Oregon

Keep Your Quiver Well-Armed
Knowledge is power and in the hands of a trusted real estate professional, such power can be tremendously beneficial. For example, it’s helpful whether you need correct information to price your property right, or entrust transaction details to an agent while away when your home is for sale, or get solid recommendations for a truly good inspection, repair or mortgage firm. The ability to reliably depend upon a trusted Realtor to look out for your best interests regarding one of your most valued investments is a very good ‘arrow’ indeed to have in your ‘quiver.’ Having navigated ample real estate terrain, accomplished real estate agents are understandably ‘go to’ sources for good reason.

Oregon, Real Estate, Willamette Valley, Valley Willamette, Oregon Homes, Oregon Real Estate

On The Move
It’s difficult to be an expert on everything. As a result, consumers can feel vulnerable or even taken advantage of, given the sheer volume of knowledge needed to buy or sell real estate. Since Americans move on average about every half dozen years, it’s easy to get ‘rusty’ and not know what to be aware of when buying or selling a home. With that in mind, here are 5 ‘insider’ Realtor tips you may not have considered.

Willamette Valley Real Estate

Double Agents Have Lots of Important Information

1. Having A ‘Double Agent’ Can Be A Good Thing
Few buyers and sellers think much about what is sometimes called ‘dual agency.’ This is when the listing (seller’s) Realtor also represents the buyer. There are possible pitfalls, but also significant advantages to dual agency. But let us first be clear: Any potential benefits of dual agency go out the window if an agent is either dishonest, or doesn’t work within ethical boundaries.

Why would buyers want to work with a dual agent? First, no agent is likely to know a property better than the listing agent, (the seller’s Realtor). Second, the listing agent is also likely to have a relationship, or at least some rapport with the seller. While this isn’t typically enough to get a poor offer accepted, having an agent who knows the seller could help a buyer ‘put their best foot forward’ in a competitive offer situation. Third, because offers are routed specifically through the listing (seller’s) Realtor, no offers usually come in that the seller’s agent is unaware of. For buyers, having a ‘heads up’ of other offer activity can also be useful.

Sellers can also benefit from dual agency by having their agent represent property details directly to the buyer with one less person in the communication loop, while also possibly having a clear understanding with the Realtor of what is expected in a transaction. Because the listing (seller’s) agent understands the seller’s needs, those needs may sometimes be better communicated to buyers represented by the same agent. So while there are possible downsides to dual agency, there can also be real advantages.

Willamette Valley Real Estate

2. Realtors Can Calculate Their Paycheck by Viewing a Property Listing Sheet
That’s right, virtually every property listed by a real estate agent in our region shows exactly what will be paid to the Realtor (and their real estate firm) whose buyer purchases it. So before an agent even shows a home, he or she can determine what they’ll be paid for selling it.

Commissions are typically ‘split’ between Realtors and their offices, so a buyer’s agent will usually get a portion of the commission shown in the multiple listing system. That figure is sometimes called the ‘buyer’s agent commission’ or BAC and can have dramatic implications.

That’s because real estate agents are salespeople and if they do not deem the promised commission as competitive, sellers may not see the same level of enthusiasm or showing response to their property. The point of a multiple listing system is to promote homes to buyers and their Realtors. Offering what’s considered a sub-standard commission to the buyer’s agent can tend to subvert the whole concept of attracting interest to sell it.

Oregon Real Estate

Some Realtors ‘Jump Ship’ in Different Markets

3. Inventory-Induced ‘Ship Jumping’ 
Just as Realtors will help clients gain perspective by encouraging sellers to ‘put on their buyer’s hat’ and ask buyers to ‘put on their seller’s hat,’ now let’s ‘put on our Realtor’s hat.’

Assume there are few buyers and lots and lots of homes for sale, so buyers are in demand. What do some savvy real estate agents do? If it is a ‘buyer’s market,’ they work with buyers, the ones having considerable power in the situation. If there are few homes for sale, this means ‘listings are hot’ and controlling more property inventory by having more listed homes may provide Realtors a better income. As a result, some focused Realtors ‘jump ship,’ from working with buyers to sellers, or vice-versa, depending on the market.

Given such changing market dynamics, expert agents also routinely educate their clients on what to expect, depending on the kind of market they’re in. For example, being a seller in buyer’s market, or a buyer in a seller’s market requires more patience than when you have the advantage of having the market ‘on your side.’ Here’s a helpful article and podcast on buyer’s and seller’s markets.

Willamette Valley, Oregon Homes, Oregon Real Estate

4. Research is Key & Sites Like Zillow Can Be Wildly Inaccurate
A recent news article illustrates just how inaccurate online home estimate websites can be. The head of Zillow recently sold his home for approximately 40% less than the Zillow estimate, or Zestimate. This is one reason why some real estate agents roll their eyes when online home value estimates are mentioned. In accurately setting a selling price, it’s important to let your Realtor research truly comparable properties. Would you really expect similarly accurate results from a doctor who physically examines you, compared to a computer-generated exam?

For sellers, this frequently means closely examining key differences between your property, competing homes for sale and those that have actually sold. Location matters, living space matters and so does condition. And especially if your home is a best suited to a more experienced ‘second’ or ‘third time buyer,’ expect they’ll do their research and haven’t just fallen off a turnip truck. If possible, drive by properties deemed truly comparable and ask your Realtor questions if you don’t understand why your home is valued differently than you expect.

It’s normal for sellers to believe that their property is ‘the best,’ or worth the most in the area. Yet one problem is not only convincing buyers, but if a bank is involved, convincing the lender-required appraiser, too. As part of that, it’s especially helpful to compare key specifics on home sales that are recent, local and truly comparable. Then if there are any significant differences between your home and sold comparable properties, they can at least be be more accurately adjusted for.

Otherwise, if your property has not sold by the time you exceed the average market time for your area and home type, buyers may begin to wonder ‘What’s wrong with it?’ and ‘Why hasn’t it sold?’ For example, buyers may even wonder if there is a crime problem, when maybe your neighborhood is the safest one around. There’s one other reason to consider pricing correctly using truly comparable properties, as we next examine the concept of ‘property history.’

Willamette Valley, Oregon Homes, Oregon Real Estate

5. Every Property Has a History
Believe it or not, there is a viewable history for any property entered into local Realtor multiple listing systems. With the touch of a button, a Realtor can know how long the property has been on the market, if it has expired from the market unsold (suggesting it was overpriced), if there have been price adjustments and if listing data has been changed.

Even among properties that have not been sold for some time, a resourceful agent can use tax records and other data to determine what was paid for the home, among other information. This too can raise questions. Was the shop built with permits? Is the current use compliant with zoning regulations? You get the idea.

So if your property has been on the market significantly longer than other similar homes that have sold, expect buyer reluctance. It’s difficult to fool an agent who does their research and expert Realtors commonly provide buyers with a property’s history even before touring it. What this underscores is that it’s usually best to price where buyers will buy and where appraisers can appraise. Otherwise, expect few offers or the dreaded ‘sale-fail.’

Thinking about selling your Oregon property? Contact Garthwick specialist Realtor Roy Widing using the convenient contact form below, or call him at 800-637-1950.

Portland’s ‘Perfect Storm’

20 Jan

Recent housing data from the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) shows Portland home prices continue to strengthen.

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This ramp up in home values is due in part to a decrease in available properties for sale. 

PortlandMetroArea-page-001While a ‘normal’ housing market usually has 3 to 6 months of home supply, we’re now at only 1.2 months of inventory…and falling.

A Seller’s Market
With increased demand and dwindling supply, what’s happening in Portland real estate right now could be called a seller’s ‘perfect storm.’ 

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A ‘Perfect Storm’ Is Not The Norm

That’s because we’re witnessing a combination of attractive interest rates and very low home inventory, which continue to fuel a rise in prices.

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A Portland Real Estate Cocktail In One Word: Hot 

Even with growing home prices, current low interest rates help serve up a palatable real estate cocktail that could help buyers to afford their purchase…if they can just find a home. 

The Rest of the Story
As you might guess, individual Portland neighborhoods can vary significantly on selling price, buyer demand and other key factors, like how long it takes for a house to sell.
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Click here or on the above image to see the latest Portland area real estate figures. Make sure to check out page 2 for interesting stats on your nearby town or neighborhood. 

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‘Oregon’s Choice Since 1950’

Thinking about selling your Portland area home? It’s a wise move to sell in a seller’s market. Contact our sponsor, Certified Realty, for a free consultation of what your property could sell for in today’s market by using the convenient form below.