For most people, buying a home is the largest purchase they'll make in their lifetimes. Consequently, there is a substantial amount of money flowing around during a real estate transactions, with earnest money deposits, payment for inspections, and the transferring of funds at closing. Currently, we have a lot of mechanisms and vehicles to protect the finances on all sides of the transaction: escrow provides a neutral third party to hold funds, different contingencies protect monies while buyers and sellers make decisions, and banks provide secure wiring for the funding of loans.
Unfortunately, despite the sophistication of the real estate industry, some intrepid wire fraudsters have nevertheless latched on to real estate transactions as a target for scamming buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the system is this: a hacker will slice into a real estate agent's email account and monitor the details of a particular transaction. Then, as closing approaches, the perpetrator of the fraud will send an official-looking email to the buyer in the transaction with fradulent wiring instructions, thus obtaining the funds themselves. It's also noted that the emails themselves are fairly convincing, with either legitimate-seeming sham accounts or hacked emails from legitimate accounts themselves. The language also displays less of the robotic syntax quirks that are obvious red flags in the more typical email scams.
Regardless of the refinement of this scam, however, buyers and real estate agents can take precautions. For instance, be aware of any reference to a "SWIFT wire" in the email. Staying in contact with escrow officers, lenders, and your real estate agent is also a great way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and there is no space for a scammer to insert themselves into the transaction. I'm a firm believer in daily follow-ups and I think that's a great precautionary measure against fraud, in addition to just being good business. The full list of measures can be found in the link to the article below. Please feel free to contact me with any questions as well!
Link to Article: CLICK HERE
Competitive Offer Market
We’ve been hearing the “buzz” over the shifting local real estate market these past couple months. Here are some significant factors and data that may help explain just what is happening:
Mortgage Rates near 45 year lows
Increasing sales figures
Steady reduction in residential housing inventory becoming an “inventory crisis” in some
Banks reluctant to sell foreclosed homes
Stabilization of declining values in most urban submarkets and some suburban submarkets.
Increasing values now being noted in some areas & submarkets.
Foreclosure Inventory & Short Sales
Shadow inventory is currently greatest in Beaverton, Gresham, Oregon City, Hillsboro and
Almost no shadow inventory exists in NE, Inner SE and Inner NW/SW neighborhoods,
except for a small percentage in the NW Condo Market Area.
Short Sales are commonly experiencing multiple offers although banks are sin some cases
reluctant to agree to sell for various reasons.
First Quarter foreclosure filings in the Portland area fell 28% compared to the same quarter a year
earlier, the largest decline recorded in 50 metro areas (Realty Trac).
Shadow inventory “clouds” may develop in coming months as OREGON has a 19-month supply of
bank-owned homes at their current rate of sale, while the national average is 16 months.
This condition is not expected to greatly impact inner Portland markets.
Portland Metro Trends- Comparing 1st Quarter 2012 vs. 1st Quarter 2011
Active listings down by 28%
Average Days on Market is down by 20%
Closed sales are up 12%
Average Sales Price has increased 1.43%
Median Sales Price has decreased 4.62%: No. Portland +4.38%, NW Wash. County + 4.10%,
Milwaukie/Happy Valley -9.02%, Mt. Hood area -19.38%
Let me know if you would like more specific information for your immediate neighborhood or would like a market snapshot of a neighborhood of interest.
Here in Portland, the market has definitely displayed a big shift over the past three months, with increased buyer activity and inventory levels lower than they have been in more than two years. It’s not uncommon for buyers to find a home, only to find out that they will be facing a multiple offer situation. Just the other day, I checked with a listing agent on a home in North Portland, and found out that they had 26 offers come in on that property! I have clients that have been looking for a home in Southeast Portland for over six months. The first day a cute home came on the market, we ran over to view it. It was “the one!” In checking with the listing agent we found out we were facing multiple offers. My clients and I sat down and carefully crafted an offer that got them the home they wanted!
If you find yourself competing against other offers for your dream home, keep in mind there are many other facets to writing an offer than just the sales price. The amount of the earnest money deposit, amount of the down payment, type of loan, personal property to be included, length of inspection period, length of escrow, home warranties, etc. are all important items that can make an offer look more or less attractive to a seller. You and your Realtor should discuss these issues in advance of finding your home, so you are confident in the offer you write. If you are selling your home, make sure your real estate agent addresses these items ahead of time.
Remember, it’s not always just about “the price.”