March Case Shiller – Showing Promise

This morning, S&P Dow Jones Indices posted the latest results of the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices. Case Shiller looks at information with a 60 day lag, so this latest report covers March 2015. The Case-Shiller Indices compare home prices by looking at actual current home sales and comparing them with previous selling prices for that home.

A look at the 10-city composite shows a year-over-year change of +4.7% in prices, while the 20-city composite (including the Portland metro) saw a +5.0% change. Portland metro, specifically saw an increase of 6.9%, which is evident in our current seller’s market. Read More

February Case Shiller: Solid Growth

The February Case Shiller Index was just released this week. This report covers home price changes over 20 metropolitan areas and always has a 60 day lag.

The latest data shows continued solid growth with a 0.68% monthly change for the Portland Metro. This is higher than the 0.50% increase for the 20 city composite. We are still not on pace for the average 4% since January 2000. However, the rate we’ve averaged in the last three years is just under 10% which shows solid growth for our area. It’s unknown how long this rate will continue. However, we’re

Below is a graph showing the current data for the Portland Metro. I have included the 4% line of expected average growth. As you can see, the recent growth rate is edging us closer to where we would be if the growth had been steady since 2000.

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The ABCs of Loan Pre-Approval

This guest blog post about the loan pre-approval process has been written by Shane Musselwhite of Guild Mortgage. If you have questions about the loan process or your specific situation, inquire with a trusted mortgage professional.

DeathtoStock_Creative Community8I know the feeling: the intimidation and concern that comes from going to meet with a stranger to talk about money. I experience a bit of it myself when applying for a loan of any kind and I’ve worked in lending and finance for over 30 years. Above all I hope first time buyers will look at the process as an education that can eventually lead to one of the largest and most important steps in their financial life.

I can’t tell you how many times I have met with clients who walked through my door with concern and fear, and 15 minutes into our meeting, I knew that they were well positioned to purchase their first home. An experienced lender is not in the business to pass judgment and you don’t need to be bashful about your finances. Chances are I have counseled with and helped clients just like you. Read More

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6 Home Improvement Projects that Add Value

Your home is an investment. Home improvements, repairs, and renovations can add value to that investment. However, not all improvements are alike. Whatever your budget is, we want to offer you the projects that will yield the highest returns. Here are six of our favorite home improvement projects that add value to your property.

Getting Started
When considering home improvement projects that add value, look at curb appeal and common areas to bring the highest return on investment. This means the landscaping and entryway as well as the kitchen. The master suite can also be a great starting point. Read More

Low Real Estate Inventory in the Portland Metro

The March 2015 RMLS Market Action report released Monday shows the Portland Metro housing inventory at 1.9 months!  It hasn’t been that low since September 2005. The number of homes listed has been rising over recent months but that is counter balanced by even more rapid sales which pushes the inventory ratio down.

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The Portland metro for this report includes five counties – from Yamhill to Clark. While some areas saw a very low inventory – including 1.1 months in the Beaverton/Aloha area, 1.3 months in NE Portland, and 1.5 in SE Portland, other areas such as Mt. Hood and Yamhill County were considerably higher at 5.8 and 4.1, respectively. Below is a heat map showing the region’s inventory level by zip code.

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Click for interactive version.

If you’re curious about previous high and low real estate inventory and RMLS market data for the Portland metro, search our blog.

Listing Photography – the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

You may have seen our Facebook post about real estate photography gone horribly wrong. That link gave many people a good chuckle, but can you imagine if it was your own home? Sadly, many real estate agents, for one reason or another, choose not to use professional photography.  Beyond the studies that show that listings with professional photographs sell faster and for more money, we want buyers to make an appointment to see your home to verify what they see online, not walk through listings that don’t meet their criteria.  Better photos result in better qualified showings.

DSC_0009Putting a home on the market involves more than just snapping a few pictures, putting a sign in the yard, and posting to the MLS. It’s entirely likely that the day the photographer arrives at your home it will be the best your home has ever looked.  The landscaping will be fresh, everything will be put away in it’s place, the clutter gone or packed away (you’re moving anyways so you might was well get an early start), you may have had staging done with your possessions or rented furniture.  All the things that put your home in the best light.  We’ve heard more than once, “We should have done this years ago.” Read More

Competing with Multiple Offers

What does it take to purchase a home in today’s market? More than you might think. In addition to the effort to find a home with such low inventory, multiple offers are the new norm in certain areas of Portland.  This means buyers have to put their best foot forward when writing their offer.  If there are terms or pricing issues, it’s unlikely we’ll see a counter offer; they’ll select another offer.  We won’t win them all but we can raise the odds.

2015-04-03_17-37-42The highest dollar offer may be the most appealing on first blush but it doesn’t necessarily make it the best offer.  If you’re writing an offer and expect to be competing, ask yourself, “What is the most amount of money I am willing to pay for the property and will be okay with it if someone else gets their offer accepted by offering a dollar more?”

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February Residential Review from the RMLS – 2015

Our latest infographic featuring the February Residential Review for the Portland Metro can be found below. As the data shows, the sales price saw a slight draft – though not significant for this time of year. The number of new listings hitting the market has increased, but there is still a high demand, as seen in the continued low inventory and increase in closed sales.

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10 Must-Have Home Organization Tips

Whether you’re spring cleaning or just want to make life easier, here are ten home organization tips to make your life easier. These were originally provided through our monthly newsletter (subscribe here to get great tips monthly). With ideas for every room, getting started is easier than ever before.

For the Entire Home:
Tip #1 – Pile Preparation: Start by setting up 4 boxes instead of 3 piles for organizing. Boxes keep things out of the way and aid in keeping your mind focused on organizing. In addition to the traditional three (keep, donate, trash), add a box for things to go through later. This will reduce the urge to get lost in nostalgia or get stuck not knowing where an item should go.

Tip #2 – Vertical Victory: Whether it’s hanging pans from above an island or installing bins for foil, spices, or lids on the inside of cupboard doors, this trick isn’t new. However, consider other areas where vertical space can be utilized such as the inside of a closet door or back of the bathroom door. There are tons of tasteful storage units and shelves that allow unused vertical space to become vital storage spots. Read More

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Construction on the N Williams Corridor

n williams corridorSince mid-September, the N Williams Corridor has been a haven for this construction activity, as the city improves the safety for this bicycle byway – a project three years in the making. The expected benefits should benefit those who travel through this area soon.

This $1.5 million grant-funded project is intended to create a safer place to travel for everyone. According to the City of Portland’s transportation department website, construction is expected to be completed within the next three months. This project was intended as a safety action for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in the area.

So far, left side bike stripping, shared use pavement markings, speed bumps, and test diverters Read More