While tips on winterization and market updates are useful blog topics, sometimes it can be fun to inject a bit more levity into our posts! I’ve dug up a few real estate “fun facts” that I thought were worth sharing:
- There is a Manhattan mansion that is owned by 5 different countries! Per THIS article, the property was originally owned by the Republic of Yugoslavia, but when it broke into multiple nations, all those nations duly became co-owners of the mansion. Sometimes the City of Portland can be a little slow to respond; I can’t imagine having 5 national governments as a seller!
- In Scotland, painting one’s front door red means they’ve successfully paid off their mortgage, per THIS article. I wouldn’t repaint my house to better match a red door, but if the colors already fit, it might be a fun thing to do once I’m free and clear!
- And finally: the Bavarian (German) town of Nordlingen is built upon a meteor! THIS article notes that the mineral content of the meteor also contains minute precious gemstones. As you can see in the photo below, the town’s urban planning has certainly been influenced by the underlying celestial body.
Feel free to share these with friends and family, or simply hold them in your back pocket for any eventual trivia nights!
As the cold weather hits us in earnest, it’s time to ensure our homes are appropriately protected against winter weather. I’ve enumerated a few steps below that could prove useful in warding off the adverse effects of the cold and rain.
- Either turn off water to your hose-bibs or simply enclose them in an insulated cover.
- Caulk around drafty windows and doors.
- Service your furnace and change the filter – especially after all that smoke!
- Clean your gutters and patch any exposed nail-heads with roofing tar, along with ensuring the rubber vent collars aren’t cracked.
- Trim back plants and make sure any sprinkler systems are turned off for the winter.
- Finally, have a couple of snow tools – window scraper, snow shovel, etc – on hand just in case!
If you need service providers for any winterization-related needs, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Our incredibly insightful local real estate economist, Matthew Gardner, just released his 3rd Quarter Gardner Report, providing insights to where our local real estate market is, and where it’s headed in the months to come. With COVID-19 ramifications, our country’s elections, and historically low mortgage interest rates, there is a lot for for buyers and sellers to consider. If you have any questions regarding how this report and the local real estate market impacts your specific situation, I’d be more than happy to discuss that with you!
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic that has changed the way we work, play, and live, we are seeing some buyers changing their wishlists when it comes to purchasing a home. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently published their biennial survey on community and transportation preferences. The story therein is that certain buyers and homeowners are pushing against the trend towards density, walkability, and proximity to work/activities in favor of larger homes and bigger yards. Intuitively, this tracks pretty well when compared with the restrictions we’ve experienced over the last ~8 months. That being said, walkability is still a popular trait in a residence, so the trend towards closer-in living hasn’t fully reversed course. This reflects fairly well with what we are seeing as we assist buyers purchase homes: some are in search of more space and larger properties, while others still covet the close-in zip codes and the amenities they have to offer.
The article highlighting the study can be found HERE, while links to the study itself – along with past versions of it – can be found HERE. Take a look and let us know if there’s anything that’s of interest!
Windermere has recently published a comprehensive statistical overview of the local market and the percentage changes we’ve seen in important categories such as inventory, days on market, and sold price. Take a look at the link below – the data is sorted by zip code and region so it should have at least some info pertinent to your specific address – and let me know if it sparks any questions! I’m always happy to provide my two cents as best as I can.
The new year has seen a notable uptick in buyer activity, with the low mortgage rates being the primary motivator for homebuyers to enter the market. Inventory in the Portland Metro area, however, has remained quite low, particularly with regard to detached single-family homes. The high demand and persistently low supply has meant the continued prevalence of multiple offer situations on well-priced listings, which means that many buyers have felt it’s difficult to find a “deal.”
Rarely, however, buyers might encounter a listing where the price is so low that it seems like a deal is finally available. Unfortunately, this is a strategy by a handful of listing agents to attract a disproportionate amount of attention to their listing and potentially pick up a few buyers as a byproduct of the auction-like chaos this low pricing can create. While this strategy is advantageous for a listing agent, it’s often a disservice to everyone else. Their sellers have to sift through dozens of offers before arriving at the offer that nets them the appropriate value (which they would have received, with far less fuss, from a more accurate list price); buyers’ agents struggle to carve out private tours for their buyers to view the home due to the overwhelming interest; and buyers themselves are the most disadvantaged, as they have to contend with a tide of competing buyers and are often discouraged by their low odds in this offer environment.
All that is to say: if you see a list price that seems too good to be true, it probably is! Do keep in mind that this an uncommon pricing strategy, and there are good houses available for buyers of all profiles; however, I have had to work with a few buyers through the offer process on these underpriced listings, so it’s something where I wanted to provide any counsel I can. If you have any questions about a home’s value – or appropriate listing strategy – feel free to reach out! I am happy to provide any and all advice I can.
With the beginning of 2019 showing signs that we may begin to see a well needed increase in listing inventory, the year wrapped up with some of our tightest inventory numbers we’ve seen since March 2018. What’s driving these low numbers? Well, we had fewer new listings the last quarter of 2019, combined with first time buyer jumping in to take advantage of the incredibly low interest rates. If the first few weeks of 2020 are any indicator, the entry-level market is going to continue to stay hyperactive in the immediate months ahead. On a good note, appreciation is projected to continue at a healthy 1-2.5% annual growth for the coming 12 months, with the lower end seeing greater appreciation, and luxury market and condo markets seeing some flattening or price corrections. See the latest statistics HERE.
With tax season upon us, if you, friends, or family have questions about the local real estate market and where we are headed, I’d be more than happy to provide helpful insights and advice!
One lesser-known mandatory element of any home sale is having smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors fully compliant with local codes. We’ve included the link to the Oregon Fire Marshal page on smoke alarm and CO detector requirements below. To summarize: smoke detectors are to be installed on each level of the house and in every sleeping room. Carbon monoxide detectors are to be installed on each level of a home that contains a bedroom, either within each bedroom or within 15 feet outside every bedroom door.
A home inspector will “call out” – e.g., identify the need for updating and correction – a smoke alarm or CO detector older than 10 years. If your alarms are older than that recommendation, it is something to be cognizant of should you want your alarms to remain compatible with current codes.
An additional recommendation is to pursue the installation of 10 year lithium batteries within your alarms. At this point they are very affordable – under $10 – and their longevity negates the need to deal with frequently beeping smoke alarms!
See HERE for the aforementioned link to the fire marshal page, and we hope you have a happy New Year!
It’s November, which means it’s time for Oregon residents to get their property tax bills for the year. When I assist buyers in finding a house, they often notice property tax discrepancies in otherwise-comparable properties, which can sometimes be the differentiating factor in making a decision on a home. Since it’s the season for property taxes, I thought it might be helpful to pull back the curtain a little on how the tax assessor calculates property taxes.
If you are in Multnomah County, these two articles – delving into how the tax bill is calculated (HERE) and frequently asked questions (HERE) – have been illuminating for me in terms of parsing through some of the idiosyncrasies of the Multnomah County tax code. Clackamas County has this online PDF as a useful resource (HERE), while Washington County’s main site is HERE.
For all three counties, Oregon’s Measure 5 (passed in 1990) and Measure 50 (passed in 1997) have been the two main legislative apparatuses that have influenced the state tax code. Measure 5 caps property tax calculation for real market value by $15 for every $1000 the home is worth. Measure 50 established “maximum assessed value” by setting its baseline of a home’s 1995 real market value less 10% (for every home built before 1995) and capping increases for maximum assessed value at 3% per year. Homes newer than 1995 have their value calculated by the city assessor, using their formula, but retain the 3% increase. Please keep in mind the 3% cap does not include local bonds and initiatives that may be passed by voters.
There are exceptions for that 3% increase, and some of these are especially germane to buyers and sellers. These exceptions include:
- New construction or additions of more than $10,000 in a year or $25,000 over five years.
- Remodeling or rehabilitation for the same amounts as the above item.
- Partitions or rezoning.
- Discovery of omitted property (this is especially notable for buyers who may be thinking of purchasing a home with unpermitted work, as an appraisal can turn up omitted property).
- Disqualification from past exemptions.
I tried to streamline this as best I could, but the tax code does remain extremely hard to parse. If you have any questions or input, let me know, and hopefully we can discover the answers together!
The end of October is already ushering in winter temperatures, with overnight lows forecasted to fall at or below freezing for several evenings this week. To combat freezing temperatures, preemptively winterizing external plumbing can help avoid frozen pipes.
Hose bibs are the most universal outdoor plumbing element and can be winterized by disconnecting hoses, turning off water supply to the individual hose bibs, and draining the remaining water in the pipes by running the faucets until the water flow ceases. Insulation sleeves can also be placed over the hose bibs to provide additional protection.
Sprinkler systems also require winterization. Conceptually, this is a similar process to the hose bibs, as the first step is to shut off the water supply to the irrigation system and drain and water left over in the pipes. It’s also worth noting what sort of automatic controls the sprinkler system has set up so you can temporarily disable them while the sprinklers are winterized.
If you’re leaving your home vacant for an extended period of time during the winter, it’s important in that instance to perform winterization on interior plumbing by shutting off water to the home, emptying out existing water in the pipes, and adding antifreeze to any water that is unable to be fully drained, e.g in a toilet bowl/tank.
We hope these tips help avoid any burst or frozen pipes as we move into the holidays!