We continue to buy ever larger homes, now average 2700 SqFt (up 1,000 from 1973). 41% of renters wish they’d bought. Full details here.
I just learned of a new down payment match offer from Guild Mortgage, the largest local mortgage lender in the NW. It’s really simple: you put up 1% of the purchase price of a home and Guild makes a grant of 2% so you qualify for a conventional 3% down payment mortgage. Yes, you just tripled your money. You can buy a $350,000 home with only $3,500 of your money down (plus closing costs). You could buy a nice $100,000 condo with $1,000 down. There’s even more good news in the fine print in the detail flyer my preferred lender, Kelly Parkman at Guild, gave me today
And here’s a short video of Kelly himself explaining it. We’ve worked together for five years and I’ve never seen him so excited.
Contact Kelly at 503/528-9800 or KParkman@GuildMortgage.net or contact me and I’ll help, too
This may not be a surprise to a lot of Portlanders, but our city has been included in a list of the top ten “next tech havens“
So you ask, “What does that have to do with real estate?”
With new jobs comes new population – people who don’t live here today. And those people buy things – groceries, cars, insurance, medical, accounting AND homes. Some will rent, of course, but the gap between the cost of renting and buying in Portland has grown pretty wide, so most will buy a home.
That adds to the number of home buyers, which already far outstrips the number of homes for sale, and keeps the upward pressure on home prices. Last month I listed a very nice condo in Tigard and had ten offers (all over list) in the first week. Maybe not ten, but for nice homes, multiple offers is the rule.
If you’re one of the nine buyers who didn’t get this one, that’s hard and I feel for you.
Of course none of us wants to live where jobs are disappearing (and home prices are going down). If you’re a buyer and your first thought is “Yes I would.”, while that does put you in an easier buying position, you wind up buying a major asset that’s worth less tomorrow than today. I’ve been in real estate in that kind of market and it’s not easy for buyers, sellers, or Realtors.
Today’s market in Portland is difficult but not impossible for buyers, and at least you’re buying a major asset that’s likely to be worth more tomorrow than today.
the question is how to do it so the value holds up for the long run.
Here's HouseLogic's list of the seven "Kitchen Remodeling Decisions You'll never regret"
The $20,000 figure is from the 2016 "Cost vs. Value" report* that shows costs in Portland for 27 popular remodels . It's for a "minor" kitchen remodel, (a "major" is $61,927 and an "upscale" $122,359). It also estimates how much each project will return in short-term sale price. The "minor" kitchen remodel will increase your short term sale price by $23,197 – 11% over your cost, so a pretty good investment. The "major" adds $48,371 and the "upscale" $87,667, but neither returns more than their cost. Still, if you're going to live in the house for many years, there's no dollar value on the enjoyment you'll get from the new kitchen. The report has figures on 26 other remodels. Want a copy? Let me know and it's on its way.
If prospective buyers could spend a week in a house they're thinking about buying, it would give them a good feel for the neighborhood, including how noisy (or quiet). Now there's a tool that can help with that. Enter the address at HowLoud and you'll get a SoundScore – a 50 to 100 rating (higher is quieter) on the ambient noise level. While it won't tell you about the neighbor who leaves for work at 5:00 AM on his Harley, it will give you a look into noise produced by trains, airplanes, traffic, commercial sites and the like. If this "takes off" it will become similar to a WalkScore as one independent tool to evaluate a neighborhood.
"That house down the street has 3-foot tall weeds all over the front yard"
"That car has been parked there for weeks"
"The business on the corner is so noisy I can't sleep"
"The neighbor's dog barks all day and night"
"I don't think that apartment being built over their garage complies with code"
In the City of Portland, there is a place to file a complaint for all these issues and more.
Click Here for a list of the right phone numbers for each of these issues, and many others. You can also file a complaint on line for almost all.
Personally, I've only filed one complaint like these. It was for a home under construction that had stopped the building process and let the weeds get 3-4 feet high. I filed an on line report and in two weeks they had been mowed.
Beyond removing an irritation to living, some of these things actually affect the value of all the homes in your neighborhood. So among other things, you're protecting your home's value when you file a legitimate complaint.
ALL lenders have the right to do a second credit check (and confirm employment, etc) just before funding. If you buy the new car after approval (or run up your credit card balance, or anything else that raises your monthly payments) you have changed your debt to income ratio. An acceptable ratio was one of the factors in the approval for your mortgage and if you change it by adding debt you may put yourself above the lender's limit and nullify your mortgage approval.
The safest course is to NOT take on ANY new debt after approval but before closing. Don't buy a car, a timeshare or anything that would affect your debt to income ratio. You've waited this long, stifle the urge buy whatever it is for another few days. After closing, you're on your own, but don't risk your purchase by buying something now.
Any good lender will tell you the same (but you may not have been listening). If you'd like an introduction to a top-drawer lender who's been delighting my clients for years, let me know.
At a Windermere meeting last week we heard Windermere's Chief Economist.
Here's the takeaway in plain English: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/real-estate-daily/2016/02/is-the-economy-going-to-be-better-this-year-brian.html
I just answered a question on a popular real estate site asking about the average amount of seller concessions for closing costs and repairs. Here's what I wrote:
You've mixed two different things when you include repairs with closing costs. A buyer's closing costs typically include some escrow & title fees, property taxes, and insurance. Repair costs are the price of repairing something significant that's defective or problematic. For example, if the sewer inspection finds a problem or if there's radon above actionable minimums. The Portland area is very much a seller's market today. The inventory of detached homes for sale in the entire 3-county metro area is down 28.1% from January 2015. We have only 1.8 months of inventory, which means if we continued to sell at the same rate and no new listings were added, in less than two months we would have sold everything. When inventory is about six months, it's considered an even buyer-seller market. What that means in terms of costs paid by the seller today is "not much", because any decent home has multiple offers, usually all over list price. In December 2015 I had a buyer write a $335,000 all-cash offer on a 2-BR 1100 SqFt home in NE Portland that was listed for $319,900. The seller received 21 offers and sold for $400,000 all cash with no inspection contingency . That's unusual but not unheard of. So if you're a buyer, and the house is decent (not a fixer, or in a bad neighborhood, or wierd floor plan), expect to offer at least list, don't expect any seller credits for closing costs and repairs are certainly negotiable.