Can I Trust My Garthwick Realtor?

Garthwick Oregon
Most Realtors Are Thankfully Law Abiding

Before entering into a business relationship, it’s helpful to know your real estate agent is nice, patient, available when needed…and honest. So while many of us assume we’re ‘safe’ in the hands of our doctor, attorney or pastor, what about your Garthwick Realtor? For the audio format of this presentation, find out more here, or use the player below.

Due Diligence
Sadly, as seen in this news report, not all real estate agents are trustworthy. However, some preliminary work has already been performed by the state of Oregon confirming a real estate agent is sufficiently trustworthy to work with the public. These include a state screening, which involves a criminal background check, fingerprinting and mug shot.  This data is submitted for review by the Oregon Real Estate Agency (OREA), which also provides regular updates about investigations in their insightful publication Oregon Real Estate Agency News Journal.  

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John Dillinger Proved Robbers Wear Ties

Of special note is the OREA ‘Administrative Action’ section, which provides information about decisions regarding Oregon real estate violations. The resulting consequences to untrustworthy real estate agents could include a reprimand, license suspension, license revocation and/or a civil penalty. So while no screening process is foolproof (as witnessed by crimes committed by doctors, attorneys and other professionals), the state of Oregon does considerable due diligence to vet real estate agents.

As part of the application process to become an Oregon real estate agent, any felony and misdemeanor convictions and arrests must be disclosed. The disclosure requirement is fairly high, because in addition to any criminal activity, also requiring disclosure are any administrative proceedings, plus civil and even financial issues. For example, if a prospective Oregon real estate agent has an unsatisfied judgment or bankruptcy, each must be disclosed.

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Whom Can You Trust?

A Matter of Trust
Trust is an important factor when buying or selling real estate. Thankfully, trusting your Garthwick Realtor is not super risky. That’s because consumer surveys consistently reflect a high level of satisfaction with Realtor performance.  One study by Forbes magazine revealed 96% satisfaction for the real estate industry. So if many real estate agents were dishonest, we could expect that figure to be much lower. 

This doesn’t mean blindly signing off on every suggestion one receives from their Realtor. But obsessively hand wringing over transaction minutiae is one sure way to make the process less enjoyable. A recommended approach is for Garthwick homebuyers and homesellers to carefully read all documents, ask plenty of questions and work with a recommended professional with a solid track record. 

Trust For Homesellers
Looking at trust from a seller’s perspective, for starters there’s significant trust needed to deal with buyers. For instance, trust is needed to allow strangers in your house. There’s also trust in taking your property off the market, in the hope a sale will go through. And trust in finding a replacement home.

Trust For Homebuyers
Trust is needed for homebuyers, too. Trust is necessary in working with a lender and that the discomfort of prequalifying will be worthwhile. Trust they’ll find a home they like and can afford. Trust their lender will come through.

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Trust For Both Homebuyers & Homesellers
So what do Garthwick homebuyers and homesellers share in common? Trust. And there is perhaps no greater trust that Villebois homebuyers and sellers have in common than their Realtor.

After all, your Garthwick Realtor is someone you expect to be there to help navigate your way through what is frequently the largest financial transaction of a lifetime. Similar to an attorney or priest, Realtors are expected to keep confidences.

But let’s first look at a few situations which underscore why it’s important to be able to trust your Garthwick real estate agent.

  1. Trusting your Realtor means you don’t have to second guess suggestions you receive. Let’s take pricing your home, for example. If you can’t trust your agent to provide meaningful comparable home activity information, how can you possibly expect him or her to advise you once an offer comes in?
  2. Trusting your Realtor means you can breathe easier with less stress. Buying or selling a home is considered to be a particularly stressful activity. In addition, most homebuyers and homesellers don’t want to take on real estate as a second job, especially when making a house move. So expect that by having your bases well-covered by a professional you can believe, you’ll find the entire process far less taxing. If a Realtor is ‘pushy’ and won’t listen to your concerns, it’s likely a good time to find a new one.
  3. Trusting your Realtor means you can access his or her reliable resources.
    Speaking of taxing, if you need recommendations for an experienced 1031 tax exchange professional, or real estate attorney, or home inspector, or mortgage lender, or home repair contractor, expect those recommendations to be even more valuable from a trustworthy agent. 
  4. Trusting your Realtor means you can focus. There’s usually enough to deal with throughout the course of any real estate transaction. Dealing with lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, title companies and the like can be overwhelming. As a result, you’re more likely to be far more effective if you can concentrate on what you’re best at, while having your real estate agent handle what he or she is best at.
  5. Trusting your Realtor means more time. Just like you can expect to have more time to go fishing if you hire a contractor to build your new deck, working with a trustworthy real estate agent allows you to do other, more enjoyable tasks than scheduling a home inspection, constantly dealing with escrow details, or meeting an appraiser.     
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Chemical Equation for the Explosive Called TNT

Relationship Chemistry
Trust is easier when there is good ‘chemistry’ between a Realtor and their clients. When seeking an agent to refer for out of area homebuyers or homesellers, there are many things I can readily confirm. These include an agent’s years in business, designations earned, coverage area, plus areas of specialty like homes, farms or commercial property. 

As a result, I’m frequently able to locate a very good Realtor to ‘match’ with an out of state homebuyer or seller and it’s not always difficult.  That said, the one challenging element to know with certainty is the ‘chemistry’ that even a highly qualified, out-of-area Realtor will have with a new client.

People are different and that includes real estate agents. Most times relationships work out swimmingly with the referred agent. On rare occasions, it doesn’t work out. But going in and at least on paper, the homebuyer or homeseller who interviews a previously unknown, yet vetted Realtor, knows the agent is qualified and experienced, along with some important other facts about him or her. Plus, knowing these facts up front is typically less risky than taking a ‘shot in the dark’ with an unknown agent.

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Does The Company Matter?
Because agents are independent contractors, the individual Realtor is who typically matters most. After all, you don’t expect a faceless corporation to answer your late night question, or go over the details of your settlement statement. For example, I don’t care that much about what hospital I go to, but I want to have a say in the surgeon who will do the operating. Similarly, it’s the individual agent who is in a position to make the most difference, whether from a small or large office. However, longevity of a real estate firm can be helpful in determining that they are probably doing something right.  So if a company you’re considering has been in existence for half a century or more, they’re likely not a ‘fly by night’ outfit.  

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Alternative Agent Finding Methods
One of the ‘little secrets’ about real estate online or via magazines is that they’re paid ads. Realtors frequently buy what are known as ‘leads’ online. Examples include Zillow and even Realtor.com. Sometimes this is done by the agent buying incoming inquiries regarding a specific zip code. Sometimes, the agent pays for better placement on a real estate website page in order to stand out.

If you decide to use a magazine or the Internet to locate an agent, it may be best to consider that as a first step of information gathering. Promotional materials can be misleading and if carefully crafted, can leave out a lot of important information. For example, if an agent is brand new, he or she may focus on how many agents their company employs, personal community involvement like donations to charity, or sponsorships. While these may be nice facts, they may not have a lot to do with the agent’s proficiency, professionalism, or trustworthiness. 

Referrals Are Built on Trust
One good way to find a trustworthy Realtor is to ask people you trust and get a referral. The ‘proof is in the pudding,’ so if your friend or family member is happy with a specific real estate agent, there’s a good chance for a similar repeat performance.

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What Color Hat Does Your Realtor Wear?

White Hat or Black Hat?
One area where certain real estate agents are sometimes revealed to be wearing either a ‘white hat’ or ‘black hat’ is in the area known as ‘dual agency’ or ‘disclosed limited agency.’ This is a situation when an agent with a listed property also works with the buyer. To be clear, most Realtors are aboveboard and honest, continually looking out for their client’s best interests.

That said, the challenge to some agents comes when the agent attempts to ‘elbow aside’ other buyers, their agents and/or offers, in order to push his or her offer through. Why on earth would a Realtor push hard to get their offer accepted, since it’s all about simply selling the house, isn’t it? Not exactly. That’s because if the listing Realtor also sells your home, they typically get paid more.

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Agency Pamphlet

Dual agency is well known as a potential minefield among ethically challenged agents and as a result, the State of Oregon, National Association of Realtors and Oregon Association of Realtors all have rules in place to help prevent its abuse.

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Dueling with Dual Agency
In Realtor circles, the topic of dual agency has proponents and detractors. As a result, don’t expect every real estate agent you run into to have the same opinion. In reality, dual agency can be a very good thing, as seen in our previous article titled “5 ‘Insider Oregon Real Estate Tips.’ There, the topic Having A ‘Double Agent’ Can Be A Good Thing ranks as item #1  out of the five items listed. The advantages to having an agent on both sides of a real estate transaction are clear.

The result, good or bad, can significantly depend on your agent’s trustworthiness. For example, hurriedly accepting the first offer can work out. That’s because sometimes the first offer is the best offer. Alternatively, acting without as much available information as possible sometimes comes at significant expense to the seller, who may be urged to quickly accept the offer their listing (seller’s) agent has written. The problem is that the listing Realtor can be expected to reasonably know how much activity there is on the property for sale. Again, trust is key here.

Plus, given the amount of agent and buyer activity, along with the quality of inquiries (such as highly motivated, qualified buyers), the seller’s Realtor may have even heard comments from other agents about possible future offers. So by pushing his or her own offer, is the listing Realtor providing the seller with all known information in order to truly serve the seller’s best interest? Sometimes the only person to seemingly know the answer is the listing agent. This Harvard Business Review article notes why this can be a problem:

“Take cheating. Claremont McKenna psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have conducted many experiments on the topic, and one surprising (if disheartening) result we have found, time and again, is that 90% of people—most of whom identify themselves as morally upstanding—will act dishonestly to benefit themselves if they believe they won’t get caught. Why? Anonymity means no long-term cost will be exacted. Even more startling is the fact that most of those who cheat also refuse to characterize their actions as untrustworthy; they rationalize their behavior even while condemning the same in others…”

More than once, an ethical real estate agent working with a highly qualified and motivated buyer has inquired about a property, even written up that buyer’s offer, only to have the listing agent hurriedly put together his or her own offer and submit it to the seller in order to ‘tie up’ the property (and presumably make more money), before other offers can be considered. It’s a fact of the real estate business and as a result, unethical agents develop a reputation and are often viewed warily by others in the business.

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The ‘Commission Effect’
If all these elements don’t sufficiently complicate the task of finding a trustworthy Realtor, there is also a phenomenon you might call the ‘commission effect.’ This is outlined in a previous article titled ‘5 little Known Realtor Insider Tips:’ Realtors Can Calculate Their Paycheck by Viewing a Property Listing Sheet. This means that for agents truly focused on maximizing their payday, you might expect them to guide you toward homes that pay a higher commission structure. However, the listing sheet is typically only seen by multiple listing members. Thankfully, most Realtors simply don’t do business in this manner.

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The Bottom Line
President Ronald Reagan sometimes used the term ‘Trust, but verify’ during his high level negotiations. This old Russian proverb could be a  helpful approach to grant you peace of mind in finding a trustworthy agent for your next real estate transaction. Do your research and ask family and friends for Realtor references. Be open and honest, then make your best decision based on relevant, reliable information for your situation.  

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Garthwick Realtor Roy Widing

Do you have a real estate question? Contact your Garthwick professional, Roy Widing with Certified Realty today for a free consultation using the convenient form below, or call (800) 637-1950.

Finding Your Portland Real Estate Superhero

To adults and kids alike, superheroes seem to have time-tested appeal. Some think it’s because they look different. Indeed, some superheroes dress uniquely. Others believe superheroes represent the ‘good guy’ and these days, we can always use more good guys and gals.  Yet others suggest that superheroes are in the rescue business and we all have an area in our lives where we could use help. Whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that superheroes hold a unique place in our imagination.

Click here or on the above play button to hear the audio podcast of this article.

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Clark Kent Could Have Easily Passed As A Realtor

Do Real Estate Superheroes Exist?
So fighting bad guys is an expected vocation for a superhero. But how could there possibly be Portland area Realtor superheroes? And would they use x-ray glasses to view inside homes to find potential problems, carry an anti-kryptonite pen to protect against real estate ‘evil doers,’ or hold their trusty multiple listing lockbox keycard in a utility belt? 

The Realty Reality
While not superhuman, some real estate agents stand far apart from others. And when hundreds of thousands of dollars are literally on the line during your next home sale or purchase, chances are you’ll feel better throughout the entire process when working with a truly ‘super’ Realtor. But is it possible to easily locate a terrific real estate agent that’s not only experienced, but also dedicated, plus recognized for excellence among his or her peers? Find out in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.

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‘Superhero’ Defined
Superheroes are considered to be more than mere heroes, in part because their achievements transcend what is humanly possible. Superheros are often portrayed as heroes with extraordinary, superhuman powers. So while no Realtor is superhuman, in comparing performance, it’s clear that sometimes a single real estate agent can outperform several other, less productive Realtors.  There are different reasons why this is true and part of it relates to the ‘Pareto principle,’ better known as the ’80-20′ rule, where 20% of a group is frequently responsible for as much as 80% of the results.

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Some Superheroes Have a Handy Utility Belt to Get the Job Done

What’s In Your Utility Belt?
Effective Portland area Realtors are more likely to avail themselves of advanced tools on behalf of their buyer and seller clients.  But it doesn’t stop there. That’s because in addition to ‘high tech’ expertise like sophisticated monitoring of real estate activity for their clients, a ‘superhero’ Realtor also combines it with ‘high touch.’ This means they help buyers and sellers with access to not only their own specialized experience and knowledge, but also to an often vast and diverse network of other experienced professionals, such as reputable mortgage lenders, roofers, 1031 tax deferred exchange experts, electricians, surveyors, title companies and repair firms.

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“Luke…I Am Your Appraiser”

But Why Even Hire A ‘Superhero?’ 
In considering the use of your own real estate ‘superhero,’ it helps to understand what they’re able to achieve better than other Realtors. After all, why use a ‘superhero’ when any old hero will do?

To begin, it’s helpful to understand that an agent is your representative. He or she advises and acts in your best interest, which includes ‘fighting’ on your behalf. So who or what might a real estate ‘superhero’ fight?  Enter the real estate ‘super villain.’ In Portland area real estate, you’re not likely to run into comic book characters or movie baddies like Darth Vader, Lex Luthor or The Joker. Instead,  the kind of ‘super villain’ behavior you’re more likely to encounter is both real and potentially ‘deal-killing.’

The potential list of treacherous adversaries is long. Issues that could put the kibosh on your real estate transaction (while potentially costing you a lot of money) include dry rot, deferred maintenance (think leaky roof), a poor home inspection, title report issues, a low appraisal or a picky loan underwriter. If you’re a homebuyer, you can add certain challenging homeseller attititudes to the potential list of transaction implosions and if you’re a homeseller, you might include certain ham-fisted home buyer attitudes. The bottom line is that in order to deal with a multiplicity of potentially detrimental factors affecting your home purchase or sale, it’s clearly best to be prepared. And when you’re knee deep in transaction challenges, that’s not the time to wish you were working with someone more qualified.

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It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s The CRS Realtor
There are literally millions of real estate agents and as you might expect, not all of them are the same. As with any profession, experience, proficiency and dedication to clients can vary widely.

Most Portland area Realtors are indeed capable of providing good service, reasonable counsel and some helpful information. The fact is however, that some Realtors have considerably more experience, training and better results. It’s also undeniable that CRS designees are equipped to provide their home buying and home selling clients with advanced real estate insights, knowledge and competence. CRS holders hold an average of double the experience of Realtors without the Certified Residential Specialist designation. This illustrates a clear track record with elite standing.

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Realtors Holding the CRS Designation Outperform Those Who Don’t

But what differentiates a real estate superhero from other real estate agents? Here are a few examples.

X-Ray Vision
Because CRS Realtors are experienced and complete far more transactions than the average agent, many times they see can through and avoid problems, before they occur. This helps prevent missteps from an agent’s ‘on the job training.’ 

Benefits Beyond A Single Transaction
Another key benefit to working with a CRS Realtor is their networking advantage. So whether you expect to buy or sell around Portland, or if you’ll have a real estate transaction in another state, the CRS referral network is a proven way for you to connect with another ‘high caliber’ Realtor who holds the CRS designation. 

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Speaking of High Caliber: Faster Than A Speeding Referral
The CRS organization has an entire system devoted to a virtually seamless referral system for buyers and sellers who seek a super Certified Residential Specialist Realtor. For example, I recently received a phone call from an Idaho CRS agent working with buyers from Oregon. These buyers found their ‘perfect’ Idaho home and needed to sell their Oregon home in order to purchase the Idaho property. The Idaho CRS Realtor suggested they work with a local CRS agent to most effectively sell their Oregon home. Mere minutes upon receiving a phone call from the Idaho CRS agent, I was in contact with these Oregon homeowners, then proceeded to list and successfully sell their property, all in short order.  

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Only 3% of Realtors Have Attained The CRS Designation

You May Never Have Met A CRS
It’s hardly surprising if you don’t recall ever meeting a Certified Residential Specialist. A CRS Realtor is in the top 3 percent of real estate agents in the United States. That means 97% of the Realtors you’re likely to run into aren’t a CRS. So what makes working with a CRS so much better?

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Clinical Specialization Meets Bedside Manner
To put the topic of Realtor proficiency in another context, if your 5 year old has a broken arm, do you want a pediatric orthopedic specialist to examine, accurately diagnose, then properly set the youngster’s bone, or would any young intern fresh out of medical school be your first choice?  After all, both are doctors. A similar principal applies to selecting an agent. The surprising thing here is that in choosing your next Realtor, it typically costs the same or less to go with the professional having more experience and proficiency. 

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Similarly, there’s an understandable difference between an agent who just received a real estate license and one who has been diligently working full time in the field for decades. But taking it another step beyond mere experience are those who hold  accreditation for advanced real estate performance. The CRS designation isn’t easy to earn. It involves what is usually a multi-year advanced course regimen, plus documented real estate production and typically years of ‘in the field’ real estate experience. These recognized levels of education, training, production, time-tested experience  and provable success amount to a higher standard of achievement.  

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A Bundle of ‘Keys’ to Your Next Real Estate Transaction
To most homebuyers and homesellers, one key to a Realtor’s stellar real estate performance is consistent performance. Another is experience. Yet one more is education. The advantage to you as a homebuyer or homeseller in working with a CRS Realtor is that you get the entire bundle of keys and reduce your chances of being ‘locked out’ in your next transaction. 

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The Answer:
While the usual term for CRS is Certified Residential Specialist, some might consider agents holding this esteemed real estate degree as being more of a Certified Real Estate Superhero. That’s because it takes a lot to attain the CRS designation and the positive results of working with a CRS designee speak for themself. Some have even compared CRS credentials as akin to the CPA of real estate.

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Portland Native Roy Widing, CRS

What if there was a way you could locate a real estate ‘superhero’ for your next Oregon transaction? Thanks to the CRS referral network, there actually is an easy way to find a ‘super’ Realtor, no matter where you live. Perhaps the simplest is to contact a CRS, like Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Roy Widing, CRS with Certified Realty. If you’d like to reach a CRS Realtor in a different state or region of the United States, Roy can connect you with a number of qualified Certified Residential Specialists near you and at no charge. From there you can interview one or more CRS Realtors and make your own decisions. 

Do you have real estate questions? Contact Realtor Roy Widing, CRS using the convenient form below.

What James Bond Can Teach You About Garthwick Real Estate

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With That Suit & Tie, James Bond Resembles A Well-Mannered Realtor

Compared to the life of famed superspy James Bond, buying or selling a Garthwick home is dull and monotonous, right? Au contraire. You might be surprised to see how such a  comparison actually sizes up.

Click here or on the play button above to hear the audio podcast of this article.

Not So Mundane, After All
How could the seemingly routine tasks associated with Garthwick real estate possibly compare to the life and adventures of ultra-suave Agent 007? Initially, it seems like a ridiculous question. Of course Bond’s life is far more treacherous, risky and ‘on the edge,’ right? As we’ll soon learn, not exactly. Buyers and sellers of Garthwick and other Sellwood area real estate have a lot more in common with the famous spy than first meets the bullseye.

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Willamette Valley Real Estate is More Daring Than You Might Think

Deceptively Daring
Many actors have played Agent 007 in film, yet each brings to the Bond character his own unique imprint on the multi-faceted Bond persona. But while each person playing 007 is unique, in each iteration of the well-known agent we recognize Bond’s uncanny ability to ‘land on his feet’ and ‘avoid being bested,’ while inching (or sometimes speeding) toward his well-defined goal. Let’s examine some of the super spy’s cinematic character traits and how they might relate to your next Garthwick real estate transaction.

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Spies & Realtors Both Use Photography to Their Advantage

Turning The Tables
To a Garthwick homebuyer or homeseller, ‘landing on your feet’ might not equate to jumping from a high rise building. Instead, it might mean effectively dealing with endless surprises…like a low appraisal, or poor home inspection.  It’s helpful to understand that one of Bond’s classic techniques is to shift bad odds to his advantage. Your way to ‘avoid being bested’ may not mean beating the tables at Monte Carlo like James Bond. Instead, it might be working with an experienced Realtor to skillfully negotiate the terms of your Garthwick real estate transaction. And to a Garthwick homebuyer or homeseller, Agent 007’s ‘inching to his goal’ could simply mean patiently completing key tasks in order to close the sale. It’s nice to know that unlike the production of a Bond film, Garthwick homebuyers and homesellers typically complete their ‘mission’ substantially under budget and in a relatively short time span, with no loss of life or limb. So don’t ‘sell yourself short.’ These factors alone make you arguably ‘better than Bond.’

Diamonds Are Forever…And So Is Real Estate
Here are some factors that make the so-called ‘average’ Garthwick neighborhood homeseller or homebuyer more daring than even Agent 007. 

Risk
Agent 007 is frequently seen as daring and a tremendous risk taker. But while it’s true some of Bond’s actions are potentially perilous, it’s helpful to realize that his risks tend to be thoughtfully calculated. 007 is usually well-armed, whether that means carrying his Walther PPK, or preparing mentally for the task at hand. If he’s without a gun, James Bond is able to adapt and improvise, like using a fire extinguisher in the middle of a firefight to provide cover and escape.

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You Don’t Need A Gun to Effectively Buy or Sell Garthwick Neighborhood Real Estate

Charmingly Disarming
But if James Bond gets into a ‘jam’,  he usually has his trusty sidearm to help take care of business. Yet using a small caliber handgun to get your way is not an option for Garthwick homebuyers and homesellers. As a result, your options are limited to less obviously coercive means than Agent 007 can wield. Requiring the use of ‘wits, not weapons’ takes certain things off the table for you, since Garthwick real estate demands non-lethal resourcefulness. By having to use safer and more creative methods of persuasion, it’s fair to say that once again, the ‘average’ Garthwick homeseller or homebuyer is arguably ‘better than Bond.’

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It’s Wise to Effectively Manage Risk

Casino Royale
For an example of Bond’s risk reduction techniques, have you ever seen Agent 007 gamble great sums of his own money on a dice throw? Not a chance. That’s because Bond virtually always plays with his government’s money, not his own. Yet you, as a Garthwick neighborhood homebuyer or homeseller, are laying your very own hard-earned capital on the table.  So once more, in comparison you can arguably be seen as ‘better than Bond,’ or at least every bit as daring.

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Even Agent 007 Might Find Garthwick Real Estate Challenging

Garthwick Real Estate Tip #1 From James Bond: Maintain Humor
A superspy like Agent 007 doesn’t  constantly walk around like a tough guy. It’s actually quite the opposite.  Bond knows how to work a room and deliver a well timed joke. ‘Breaking the ice’ to disarm and/or relax the other side with a joke takes some guts…especially when someone means you financial or physical harm.  

Savoir-faire
Savoir-faire is a French term that roughly means: knowing what to do in any situation. Those with savoir-faire respond appropriately in a wide variety of circumstances. One dictionary reference suggests savoir-faire as demonstrating “a polished sureness in social behavior.” In other words, classic James Bond behavior, whether it’s disarming a bad guy, nuclear device, or flawlessly ordering the best item off a French menu.

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Ordering in French is an Acquirable Skill

Savoir-faire can be adapted to Garthwick real estate, where a wide variety of ‘tough to predict’ situations occur with surprising frequency.  For sellers, this could mean having a buyer’s loan fail, possibly due to buyer disqualification like a credit score drop, or job change. Or perhaps your home needs a new roof and there simply isn’t sufficient equity to pay for it. Or there’s rampant dry rot. Or severe mold. You get the idea.

How 007’s Savoir-faire Can Work for Garthwick Homebuyers and Homesellers
A prepared and practical approach to problem solving is what both James Bond and successful Garthwick homebuyers and homesellers bring to the table.  Agent 007 is able to adapt and navigate in almost any environment, whether he finds himself in a high-stakes casino in Monaco, a posh ski lodge in the Swiss Alps, or a poor fishing village in Asia, Bond knows what to do. When buying and selling Garthwick real estate, you can adapt and navigate in different environments, too, including such changing factors as housing inventory (which can indicate if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market) and fluctuating interest rates.

Just realize that no matter how things appear, some factors and outcomes are not completely determinable and sometimes virtually unknowable. For example, let’s say you’re selling your Garthwick home and have three offers on the table to consider. In this scenario, let’s suppose all buyers appear well-qualified and each offer is very similar to the others. Which one do you decide to accept? Which will actually close? Which buyer will be reasonable to work with? Which lender will have even-handed underwriting and not require needless delay or costs?  Working with your Realtor, you can reduce risk, perhaps by focusing on how much each buyer is willing to pay, their down payment (where a larger down payment makes it easier for them to get a loan) and even the earnest money deposit and time to your closing date. Such an analysis can help boil things down to those that might make the most difference.

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Garthwick Real Estate Tip #2 From James Bond: Have a Backup Plan
The key is to limit your downside risk by making the best decision possible under the circumstances and remain alert. For example, if after accepting one offer on your Garthwick home, the buyers begin loudly complaining about minor issues, have your Realtor stay in touch with other prospective buyers who expressed interest. That way, you keep the door open for a ‘Plan B’ and later, possibly a ‘Plan C’ if initial buyers bail on your home sale.

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James Bond Defines Debonair

Debonair
Agent 007 is often described as debonair. How can that term possibly apply to your next Garthwick real estate transaction? There are varied definitions to the term debonair, but related terms include courtesy, graciousness and having a sophisticated charm. These traits can be powerful and disarming when dealing with the other side on a home sale. An example of courtesy might mean allowing buyers to schedule a tour before closing for measuring room dimensions or determining paint colors. Being gracious could mean as a buyer you allow the home sellers an extra day to move out, particularly if their moving van broke down. Sophisticated charm might mean leaving a box of chocolates or champagne after you sell a home for when your homebuyers finally move in.

Small details perhaps, but such activities are often long remembered. If after moving out, you remember leaving priceless heirlooms in the attic of your former home, imagine how much nicer it will be to request the return of your precious items from the current owners with whom you’ve been civil and friendly. They are also more likely to even contact you if they find something you mistakenly left behind.

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Garthwick Real Estate Tip #3 From James Bond: Secrecy
There’s good reason undercover agents are also known as secret agents. ‘Don’t let them see you sweat’ is an adage Agent 007 works with aplomb. So you don’t want to lose out on your home purchase and are willing to substantially increase your offer, yet don’t want to overpay? Keep those cards discreetly close to your vest and understand that by doing so, you’re modeling James Bond, who can definitely keep a secret. He’s a spy, after all. 
 

Humility
Though James Bond can swagger with the best of those who hold the ’00’ license to kill designation, he’s usually discrete and avoids attention or bragging about his prowess.  Such meekness is supremely beneficial in situations to disarm adversaries, while catching them off guard.  Agent 007 doesn’t often talk about how many people he’s put in the hospital, or his annual income. Simply through observation, it’s clear Bond has gravitas.

Courage
Having courage when buying or selling a Garthwick home doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear. It does involve pushing that fear aside to rise above whatever obstacle you are facing. Agent 007 pushes himself out of his comfort zone to face serious fears on a daily basis. This gets him used to feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable. As a Garthwick homeseller or homebuyer, once you desensitize yourself to fear, it will become easier to perform courageous acts, like counteroffering that offer you really don’t want to risk losing, or agreeing to substantial repairs in order to pass a home re-inspection and close the deal.

Be Patient
In the middle of a real estate transaction, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. To be successful, it helps to have a well defined plan executed with patience. You also should allow sufficient time for your plan to work. For example, if you’re a Garthwick homeseller who doesn’t receive an offer in the first few days on the market, understand that if you’ve already examined the latest market data and the average market time is measured in months and not days or even weeks, realize your anxiety may be premature. Keep cool.

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‘Q’ Is On Bond’s Team to Keep Him Out of Trouble

Consult An Expert
When buying or selling Garthwick real estate, it doesn’t hurt to have an experienced Realtor as your own ‘Q’ to keep you out of difficult situations. An experienced Garthwick real estate broker is someone who has been ‘over the road,’ thereby saving you needless expense, time and worry.

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So rather than having Bond’s sidekick ‘Q’ demonstrating gadgetry and armory (like a blowtorch on Bond’s Aston-Martin convertible), Garthwick residents can rely on the calm, cool and collected experience of a proven Realtor to more successfully navigate the pitfalls of Garthwick real estate. 

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Do You Have Questions About Buying or Selling A Garthwick Home?
For a free consultation, contact the Garthwick experts and our GarthwickHomes.com sponsor, Certified Realty. They’ve been selling Garthwick area homes since 1950. Simply use the contact form below, or call Certified Realty at 800-637-1950.

Garthwick Real Estate’s Magic Number

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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

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

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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.

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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.

1960's Civil Rights History-A little girl, Ruby Bridges, had to be escorted by federal Marshals to school
1960’s Civil Rights History-A little girl, Ruby Bridges, had to be escorted by federal Marshals to school

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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’

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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?

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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.

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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!