If you'd like to directly help families suffering from the current wildfire epidemic in the Northwest, this link to the Windermere Foundation will send 100% of your donation to local organizations in the area you designate or to your billing zip code: http://www.windermere.com/blogs/windermere/posts/the-windermere-foundation-wildfire-fund
Sometimes trees die or outlive their location. It's unfortunate, but true. But before you fire up the chain saw, be sure to check with your city. Many require permits and there are fines for cutting without. City of Portland permit is $25 but the fine can be $1,000. Also consider leaving the whole job to a professional. This is one of those jobs that may look simpler than it really is.
Most home buyers need to transfer money to the escrow company to complete the down payment the day before closing. The common way to do that is with a "wire transfer" – an electronic transfer from the buyer's bank to the escrow company.
The escrow company will send "wire transfer instructions" to the buyer to send to their bank well in advance of the transaction. The instructions consist of routing and transit numbers, account numbers and lots of other numbers and information to be sure the money gets to the right account at the escrow company.
The fraud begins when the escrow company sends an email to the buyer with new wire transfer instructions, except it's not really from the escrow company (even though it looks like it is). The email has actually comes from a criminal who has hacked the buyer's email account. If the buyer gives their bank the "new" instructions, the money is transferred to the hacker's account, usually in a foreign country and impossible to recover. .
Escrow companies almost never change wire transfer instructions. If you received such a communication, call your escrow officer directly.
I often hear people say they'd like to buy a house,"but everything's so expensive now." It's true that median sale prices of detached homes in Portland are around $300,000, but there are plenty of nice homes for less, sometimes a lot less.
Yesterday a friend was amazed at a listing I showed him for a very nice 1120 SqFt 2-BR condo – $150,000. It had granite & stainless upgraded kitchen & bath, two decks and is in a very attractive neighborhood. My penciling some numbers showed you could probably buy this home for mortgage payments of less than $1400, and if you didn't have a lot of other debt (like huge car payments or whopping credit card bills) you would likely qualify if you made about $55,000.
So don't let the "everything's so expensive now" trap keep you from buying now. The place to start is with a good lender, and I'd be happy to introduce to a great one.
Just got word from the National Association of Realtors on key legislation affecting home sellers and investors:
“The package of tax extensions approved by the U.S. House and Senate, and headed to the President’s desk for signature, includes important provisions that will help distressed homeowners and commercial property investors with transactions made during 2014. NAR applauds Congressional leaders in both chambers for their effort to pass this legislation before adjournment.
New to Portland? Old timer looking for new things? Here's a list put together by my friends at Ticor Title
o Don’t miss this magical sight: zoo animals frolicking in the form of a million holiday lights.www.oregonzoo.org
• Winter Wonderland
o From the warmth of your car, tour the largest holiday-light display west of the Mississippi.www.globaleventsgrouppdx.com
• Christmas Fantasy Trail
o Stroll through a winter wonderland on a 1000-ft path with lights, glittering gingerbread houses, and a full-size Christmas castle. www.fantastytrail.com
• Poetry Readings
• The Unscriptables
o Performing regularly, this improv group draws big laughs putting “typical” Portland characters in puppet form. www.theunscriptables.com
• Christmas Festival of Lights
o View nativity scenes, take in one of the 150 choral performances and enjoy a range of other entertainment at the Grotto. www.thegrotto.org
• Champagne Ball – 31
o Get tickets early for this wild New Year’s party, which touts 4 rooms, 3 dance floors, 16 bars, and one epic countdown. www.champagneball.com
• Christmas Revels Show – 11-14
o Partake in a traditional winter solstice celebration, with 11 holiday performances that explore the traditions of Old Europe through music, dance, poetry, and drama.www.portlandrevels.com
• Holiday Ale Festival – 3-7
o Stay warm sampling bold and powerful ales under a heated tent in Pioneer Courthouse Square. www.holidayale.com
• Christmas Ship Parade – 5-21
o For 60 years, Christmas-light-decorated boats have paraded along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Check the website for a schedule with locations. www.christmasships.org
• Festival of the Last Minute – 18-24
o Fear not, last-minute shoppers, Portland Saturday Market has you covered: Loads of locally made gifts amass in the days before Christmas. www.protlandsaturdaymarket.com
• Hawthorne Holiday Stroll – 6
o Holiday shopping becomes a community celebration with free warm apple cider, carolers, games for kids, and stores with extended business hours. www.thinkhawthorne.com
• Holiday Half – 14
o This flat half marathon comes with views of St. Johns Bridge and ends with seasonal ale, warm food, carolers, and eggnog. www.foottraffic.us/holiday
• Jingle Bell Run/Walk – 7
o Race to the sound of jingle bells and help the fight against arthritis, the country’s leading cause of disability. www.portlandjinglebellrun.kintera.org
• Lights on Peacock Lane – 15-24
o In one of Portland’s best-loved traditions, immaculately decorated Tudors shine for two and a half weeks. Watch for pedestrian-only nights. www.peacocklane.net
• Providence Festival of Trees – 5-6
o View 100s of decorated trees created by local designers, and enjoy holiday entertainment. Proceeds benefit Providence Health & Services. www.providence.org/festivaloftrees
• ScanFair – 6-7
o Discover Scandinavia’s traditional arts, visit the Pippi Longstocking Room, and eat Danish, Norweigan, and Swedish delicacies. www.scanheritage.org
• Tuba Christmas – 13
o A great way to break up a day of downtown holiday shopping: more than 225 tubas perform jolly songs in the Square for free. www.bemerrydowntown.org
• Crafty Wonderland’s Super Colossal Holiday Sale – 13-14
o Local creativity will blow your mind at this artisanal shopping experience. Free admission and tons of gift ideas. www.craftywonderland.com
• Christmas in Dairyville – 12-14
o This complete Christmas town comes with vintage storefronts, holiday scenes replete with live animals, and 300+ decorated trees. Stroll down Storybook Lane, take in a holiday movie, and visit with Santa. www.alpenrose.com
Nevermind all the pure joy of living in your own home, where you can decide what color to paint the kids' rooms and what to plant in the yard and hang on the walls in the kitchen and on and on… Harvard researchers point out five purely FINANCIAL REASONS to own a home.
Who cares about another golf tournament, you say? This one has raised over $100,000 for the Windermere Foundation, all of which supports local charities Read More
The data comes from the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Administration) and is for the 1st Quarter 2014 compared to 1st Quarter 2013.
The Windermere Foundation raises money two ways: 1) a percentage of the sales commission from every Windermere Real Estate transaction, and 2) individual contributions by agents (yup, me too), staff and friends, including fundraising events (like our upcoming golf tournament in Portland – want to go?).
Here's a look at where $276,547 went in the first quarter of 2014