Portland Real Estate Blog Topics

I almost got out of bed last night (even though it is 5AM now) to write some version of this. It was just going to be a comment on the previous thread but seems to deserve it own post.

Reflecting on the tone of the discussion on the blog I have to start to question whether I need to censor my selection of threads before writing them.

First, I am getting tired of defending myself for things that were well intentioned. I’m usually portrayed as guilty before innocent and have to be able to respond instantly otherwise the daggers come out. I don’t like feeling this blog is me against the anonymous commenters but it often does from where I sit. It shouldn’t be that way and it is draining responding to multiple negatively toned commenters. There is a big difference between debate and negative ad campaigns: respect. Of course, I opened the door by bringing up the thread but I read the overall tone as accusatory and not debate. Maybe I am too sensitive but I know the feeling is shared as you see very few commenters with opposing views to the current group of commenters, it isn’t because they aren’t there, it is because they don’t want to be attacked for not agreeing with the writing on the wall that only some can see. It is not that they aren’t out there.

The second, largely because of number one, asks whether I should use personal experience in this blog? I stopped writing about our remodel project in NE 13th almost about the time we started the project. There were a lot of valuable real estate lessons in that project but there were so many negative comments about the specter of a “flipper” potentially making money that I shelved the topic. It was the blog’s readers loss, not mine. We sold and made some money in what many viewed as an impossible market.

Bringing up NW Ryan, an active listing, was a new source of topic for this blog. The intention of the post was about fliers and different agents providing different services and it evolved into pricing (which is fine) and then to two valid questions about the listing: 1) was the basement finished with permits? and 2) what county is it in? The tone of the permit questioning was, in my view, not friendly and I have to question as a professional whether if the question in valid but the tone is not, is that hurting my client to whom I have responsibility to? I haven’t answered the question yet in my mind. I have no issue with the underlying questions. I will preface that I will stop commenting on the listing once there is an accepted offer until after it is closed.

We’ll do some research today and try to answer the questions. No biggie, it is what we do: when potentially conflicting or incomplete information is present we try to answer it with confirmed sources. I’m not an attorney but I am almost sure that if the question was never asked about the basment prior to closing, I would not have had a legal cause to find out (that might be different on the buyer’s agent side). Now that it has been brought up, I probably do have some obligation and the result will become part of a disclosure. I could also say to the buyer’s agent, “there is some concern that the basement may have been finished without a permit so if it is important to your buyer you should urge them to do some research,” but I will research today. It is why there is a Buyer’s Advisory put out by the State and we don’t do dual agency.

I’ve already researched the “what elementary school is it” question (Forest Park) after an agent called insisting that every house on NW Ryan is in Beaverton schools. Portland Public Schools both online and by phone confirm Forest Park but I told the agent, that as this is critical to your buyer, you don’t want to hear it from me, you want to hear it straight from the source.

46 Comments on “Portland Real Estate Blog Topics

  1. From all the blogs I have seen on PDX realstate, your blog is the only one where you stick out your neck to ask questions that help both buyers and sellers.

    Although I am not a realtor, I feel angry at the senseless chain of comments that appears to constantly reiterate a gloom and doom situation, are extremely sarcastic and on many occasions extremely mean. I can only imagine how it would feel to you.

    But I assure you that many people including myself tremendously value your contributions to PDX realestate analysis.

    Please understand there are people who are bitter (for various reasons) about not being able to afford PDX realestate and for them you are an easy target they can repeatedly and anonymously attack. Sometimes I feel sorry for them and sometimes I laugh. You should do the same.

    I think you need some control over posting methods so that it is not too easy for some posters to simultaneously spew rubbish from different screen names.

  2. Gee, Daycare, you make a lot of assumptions.

    Back to Charles, now. Sorry if I sounded harsh. The permit questions weren’t just directed at the NW Ryan property but all properties. It just seems to be an ongoing issue in RE. And it should be a concern if it will trigger an assessment and increase in property taxes. And I hear it all the time about neighbors reporting neighbors regarding un-permitted work.

    I for one, would purchase a home with unpermitted work if the work was done well.

    As for the low property taxes for the Ryan property, it may be explained by the county location. I understand that Washington county taxes are lower than Multnomah.

  3. I wasn’t refering to bearlee. Of the self-described bubble believers I think you offer some of the most thought out/even keeled views of the “other” side. You don’t always agree with me but you do so politely.

    As I said last night, I think your comment deserves its own thread. This one just superceded it. The other issue for me is the amount if time this blog takes. I could write constantly. Will RMLS Market come out today and therefore supercede it again? We’ll see.

    I could rant about the permit process all day.

  4. Charles – I’m one of those open-minded skeptics who appreciates your blog. I am also a prospective buyer who is trying to make sense of a crazy market.

    I am frustrated in my own market search because a lot of homes that would have been affordable and livable to me in their pre-flipped state are now unaffordable because an investor bought them.

    I’ve seen fixers that are well-done and reasonably priced and flipper properties that are languishing on the market for good reason: they’re overpriced and poorly done.

    I really appreciate the open debate and information about pricing and renovation.

    I know this isn’t the focus of your blog, but you’re taking the heat for a much larger question, which relates to societal good and “investments.” Not all cultures and people regard investment returns as the highest value for all. Some people place community well-being higher than personal profit and would actually be ashamed at the American way of boasting about making profits, let alone on something as fundamental to our well-being as our homes. This open blog has allowed that somewhat different debate to enter here.

    Thanks for creating the forum and doing your best to let the debate occur while also educating many of us about the concrete stuff we need to know when considering a home purchase.

  5. Since I think this is directed at my comments, I did get frustrated from the reply about William and Associates measurements. I was asking about permits, and the reply was about sqft.

    As far as the County Records show, this is a “one owner” property. I really don’t care how many times it’s been turned without recording, but you have a point that an unrecorded deed still has some legitimacy. Two words: Title Insurance.

    By the way, a simple indication that the seller indicated unsure about permits would have been sufficient, but talking about William and Associates just seemed like skating over the issue.

    Anyway, the information I found was to Contact BDS Resources and Records by calling

    Sorry if I stepped on any toes.

  6. So to recap on NW Ryan: Washington County and basement finished with permits in 2002. Those records are not online and are at BDS in the 1900 SW 4th building downtown according to the person at BDS on the phone. More detail
    at that thread

  7. While I rarely post, this blog is one of my few must-reads. As a recent arrival to PDX area, the site is quite educational about local customs. Also, Charles’ recommendation of “Newcomer’s Handbook” has served me well.

    Registration may be the answer. I know it must be draining to deal w/ some of the persistent ridiculous commentary.


  8. Thank you.

    Again, I am sorry if I stepped on any toes.

  9. And thank you. As I said, I gets draining when I feel like I am constant defense. I would make a better campaign manager than the person in the spotlight but in this venue, I can’t get off the stage.

  10. I appreciate your writing too. It is interesting to see the Realtor role from the POV of a Realtor. I don’t think it is the Realtor’s job to predict the future or provide financial advice. A Realtor should advise the seller about marketing their property. A Realtor should try to find a prospective buyer properties that meet their stated needs. When an offer is to be made a Realtor should assist in negotiations and prepare the paperwork correctly.

    The folks responsible for the RE bubble are the lenders and their customers.

    The City of Portland would have you obtain a permit to change a faucet, honestly. They are desperate for something to do and need fees to support the payroll IMHO.

  11. Seems pretty crazy to me that someone, that chooses to remains anonymous, expects you to drop everything you’re doing to track down some information on a house you’ve got listed.

    Even thought the questions are very valid for a potential buyer and the seller, I don’t believe an anonymous request, whether it be on a blog, at an open house, or on a phone call should be demanding an agent’s time and energy.

  12. You play with double-edge sword, expect to get burned or something like that.

    I’m sure you are quite aware of what types of posts get the most responses and generate the most traffic. Maybe your marketing strategy needs some refining. You make this post about once every 4 months.

    If you can’t take the heat, moderate.

  13. If I write, “Portland’s real estate market is hot. Everyone should by now.” I should get burned and it wouldn’t be truthful. Even then I should get torched with some respect.

  14. as an avid blog reader on many topics, i’m not sure how content providers can ever hope to wage, much less win, the battle of comments. the information, ideas and discussion provided by those who stick their neck out to provide high level niche discussion far outweigh the negatives that any commenter might return. my stance: use comments to guide ideas for expanding or directing topics, but don’t kill your night’s sleep over the trolls.

    thanks for your efforts. i might not agree with every blog or entry or item i read, but i appreciate the effort from every author who is making the honest effort.

  15. I, too, read this blog with interest and don’t comment. Why not? Getting slammed by the bubble believers isn’t constructive in any way. I already know what they think, and so does anyone who has read even a post or two. It also seems like many of the bubble believers are zealots–people whose views can’t be altered even by facts, much less by other perspectives.

    Maybe it’s partially the responsibilty of readers like me to balance the comments section and help keep the blog civil.

    Incidentally, the information on this blog helped my husband and I when we were buying our first house a year ago. We got a conventional loan with 20% down, we absolutely love the place, and it beats the heck out of renting. The benefits of ownership are absolutely worth the extra $200 a month we pay (as opposed to if we were renting this place)! In the past four months there have been 2 houses for sale on our street, and they’ve sold in less than 30 days at prices that make us feel like we did well on ours. Friends from bigger cities come visit and can’t believe how little we paid for our place; several of them are in the process of moving to Portland.

  16. Glad to see more balanced comments on the blog.

  17. I am not jealous nor am pissed about not being able to afford the home I want. I refuse to commute more than 20 minutes to work (I value my family time) making Scappoose, Gresham, Battle Ground, etc out of the question. I refuse to fill my gas tank up more than 2X per month(I value clean air and my hard earned $) We sold our Buckman home last spring for various reasons which I have explained before. It doubled in value in 8 years. Could not have afforded the price we sold it at. With a spouse in school and PT childcare at around $800/month (we value great care) and with the our past experiences of getting burned w/out a rainy day fund we just can’t save 10% for retirement, around 10% for kid’s college and rainy day fund and a mortgage and everything else life throws at us. And this is coming from someone that makes 50% more than Portland’s median household income.

    I will listen to non bubble believers but no one will answer my questions:

    How will Portland sustain these housing prices w/out creative financing? 43% of the loans over the past 2 years were of the creative/liar loan types with many resetting over the next 12 months. How can prices be sustained w/out the hoards of folks relocating here because they can’t sell their California house? (10,000 people A MONTH move to the Phoenix area and their prices are tanking). Do you really want your prices propped by out of towners? Why not have prices propped because of great paying jobs? Folks talk about Portland’s great economy but all I see are layoffs by Intel, Freightliner, OHSU, Addidas, Metro One and of course, the construction slow down. Anyone want to tell me about our great economy in detail?

    Oh, here’s something that pisses me off. “Oh, oh, I didn’t read the fine print. The payment on my McMansion just doubled and I can’t afford it. Someone bail me out. Freeze my interest rate!”

    I am pissed that people have come to value materialism more than family and friendships.

    Anyone notice what is happening to Portland area’s foreclosure rate. It doubled YOY for Jan ’08. Anyone see any red flags?

    Another thing that pisses me off:
    What are average retirement savings?

    The typical American household, headed by a 43-year-old, has retirement savings of $18,750.

    The typical pre-retiree household (age 55 and up) has a retirement savings of $60,000.

    Baby boomers between the ages of 41 and 54 have typically a retirement savings of $30,000.

    Baby boomers have median total household personal retirement savings of $35,000.

    Baby boomers who save in a 401k have an average 401k account balance of $80,000.

    According to a survey, 51 percent of workers age 55 and up have saved less than $50,000 in retirement savings (not including the value of a primary residence). And 39 percent of workers in the same age group have saved less than $25,000 in retirement savings.

    Another survey estimates that one in five pre-retirees age 50 to 64 has less than $5,000 in retirement savings.

    A recent survey found that almost 70 percent of Generation Y workers (those 18 to 25 years old) don’t bother to contribute to a 401k.

    Any thoughts on how these savings issues will impact our society?

  18. Daycare, when did you buy your house? What’s the highest it ever ‘zillowed’ at? (not that it is the best source of value info) Could you afford to buy your own house at this point? Just curious. Just trying to give you some perspective.

  19. It’s almost as if you people live on another freakin planet especially daycare to whom it’s all about sour grapes. And Charles wonders why so many of us want to see people like that lose their collective ASSES. Don’t bother admonishing me for saying that as long as you’re going to entertain daycare’s suggestion that people frustrated by the lack of affordable housing should be laughed at.

    Do you read the papers? Did you hear how much is being lost in the financial markets? Do you not see us teetering on the brink of disaster despite the fabulous run up in the price of your dwelling? Do you see the gyrations we’re going to have to do to rescue all the stupid people who fell for the real estate lie?

    The consolation of witnessing such ignorance and detachment is knowing that your children will be stuck paying the bill for this orgy of greed. I don’t have any.

    Chuckle about that, daycare.

  20. Nell, I understand your point of view but I am just curious about the realtor’s role when it comes to out for town buyers. I am just speculating here but I am going to guess that a potential buyer is going to ask his/her realtor about the state of the market especially with the country, I mean world wide, feeling the impact. Yes, housing markets around the world are feeling the credit crunch and many cities have had their own bubbles…small world, huh?

    Granted, if I was looking to buy in Boston I would do a lot of research on my own but who believes the media these days and I sure ain’t trusting a visitor’s bureau. Any realtors wanna give some examples of questions asked by out of town buyers?

    So here are some of my questions for my realtor: I see that many other cities in the country are taking a hit. How is Portland fairing? Are prices dropping? Do you think Portland will be effected by the credit crunch? Do you think this house is priced right?

    So how does a realtor tip toe around these questions? They are indirectly financial related questions.

  21. Jesus bearlee, why bother? People like daycare aren’t capable of gaining perspective.

  22. Ok, another thought. The condo situation. Yes, it does effect SFD’s somewhat. Anyway, the apartment conversion of the Wyatt, third Harrison tower and Ladd Tower and most likely the Encore and 3720 Bond will take MANY condos off the market which will help boost condo prices right? I actually thought that for a second and then realized that all those apartments may bring down rents. Add the Alexan and Lovejoy and now the market is flooded with apartment. What happens when rent is much cheaper than buyer and now fewer folks will see the reason to buy.

    Any one know how long the developers and investors can hold on to the John Ross and Atwater before an auction is forced upon them? I don’t mean to sound like I am wishing ill will on these guys but maybe they should lower the prices?!?!

  23. But you are wishing ill will upon them and you know it! And there’s nothing wrong with that. They think you’re second class because you rent. They have no use for you. Are you supposed to celebrate an industry that has brought us to the very real possibility of global depression?

    We’ve already allowed the Fed to take on billions in bad debt as worthless “collateral” for Bear Stearns. That’s simply the camel’s nose under the tent to a full-blown bailout of the financial system which will be an enormous transfer of wealth to the top 10% from the rest of us. To have antipathy for the culprits of this mess is not a shortcoming nor is it something to apologize for.

  24. I hear you naysayer. I about fell of my seat when I read about the $15,000 tax credit for buying a foreclosed house! Who benefits from that? Those with money and those that can get financing. Does buying a foreclosed home require a bigger down payment? If a bigger down payment is required, say 10-20%, that will take you average and below average buyer out of that game.

    What eventually passed the Senate was a $7K credit, but still!

  25. BTW who is paying for the $7K tax credit? who is paying for the ‘rainfall check’ coming in May? who is paying for this god damn trillion dollar war?

    If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention!

  26. bearlee, any savvy out of town buyer will link up with a local not associated with RE and whose knowledge and taste they trust before buying. In fact they should rent for a year before buying, IMHO. Asking a Realtor is absolutely the worst option.

    That is not to say that a Realtor would mislead the buyer, it is that the Realtor’s goals/knowledge and the buyers goals/needs may not be the same.

    There are so many on-line resources today. A family newly arriving can look at school test scores, travel times to work, and locations of churches to target neighborhoods likely to work for them. Better to rent in one of those neighborhoods, then find a home to purchase. The cost of a move is chump change compared to the cost of buying a home that isn’t really a ‘fit’.

  27. A 39% drop in closed sales is very good news! It seems sanity is finally returning to the local market.

  28. A 39% drop in closed sales is very good news! It seems sanity is finally returning to the local market.

  29. bearlee –

    What do you tell a person/family in Phoenix, AZ who did the right thing when getting a loan: paid 20% down, secured legit financing and did not overstretch themselves with large payments?

    Do you tell them they were stupid because Wall street sold their loan with other risky loans in mortgage derived securities? Or that they are stupid because their govt went to spend trillions in a war inspired by radical neo-cons in white house? Or that they are stupid because greedy real estate investors in their area were qualified for loans they did not deserve?

    Why is your anger targeting legit buyers who are seeing their equity go down the toilets? You seem to be getting joy and satisfaction in seeing other people lose — and this is outright mean and dishonest.

    What you point out as your reasons for anger and frustration are plausible but you are blaming the wrong people. We are all outraged!

  30. Can’t blame the baby at my strange sleep schedule. He’s with grandma. Wrote this thread at 5am yesterday. By the time we finished with our last client at nearly 10PM, I’d had it. Now it’s 4:45AM…

    Lots of comments above and I think I would still be sitting here a few hours from now if I tried to comment on everything.

    We work with a lot of relocating clents, both corporate sponsored and personal. In some cases, where there is a relocation package, the employer is paying a part of the move. Buying is the option without walking away from money. I have no problem with clients who make the decision to rent after spending some time in the city.

    I think you’d have to hook up with a Realtor to make that choice though. That Realtor should have already aggregated the information about schools and neighborhoods etc., be able to guide the client based on listening to the client. Spend a day with the client driving around knowing that it may 1)convert to a quick sale, 2) convert to a sale 6-12 months down the line after the client receive listings and narrows down where they want to live, 3) be a “wasted” day with someone who doesn’t decide to move or decides that after the day-long interview Portland or the Realtor isn’t their thing. We do lots of area tours and it often serves as the interview. We don’t work with 100% of the clients we spend time with. Sometimes it is mutual, we don’t click. Sometimes I can’t guess what went wrong. The trust level you need to have as a relocating client increase as there is high possibility that you won’t be present throughout the whole escrow.

    I sat in Common Grounds on Hawthorne a couple of weeks ago and said to my client that you need to go in with your eyes open. The market is not what it has been. How it will shake out is any body’s guess but some predict 20+% decreases. I don’t subscribe to that but it is a crystal ball thing. We’d all love to buy at the bottom but the only way we will know we are at the bottom is when prices have risen. I’d look at real estate as a long term investment.

    And yes, I am outraged too. I could even become a bubbler on a portlandbailout.com type website if it existed. I’d be anonymous of course. There was a guy at the post office a couple of days ago trying to get me to donate money to some stop foreclosure thing. I think I tossed the paperwork in the back of my car.

  31. Once again, how can Portland avoid the price correction? Any answers out there?

    Daycare once stated that we are the most affordable city on the West coast. Well, I’d would get a 50-75% raise if I took a job in any major California city! Food for thought.

    As folks stretch themselves to buy a home in Portland less and less money will be available for part of what makes Portland great… the great cafes and restaraunts (sp?), cute little boutique shops in every neighborhood, brew pubs, book stores, etc. The trips to the beach and mountains. Can one afford to shop at Cannon Beach and Manzanita after filling the gas tank?

    Why would you want prices in Portland to continue to rise with out rising incomes?!?!

  32. bearlee: You avoided my question: can you afford your house if you had to buy it today? And when I say afford I mean that you are still able to set aside money for retirement, etc.

    Is that directed at Daycare? I wasn’t avoiding it as I didn’t think it was directed at me but I did comment between the two of you. Not sure who the “you” is.

    But just in case: no, I could not afford our house in its current state in today’s market. I couldn’t have afforded it when we bought it either in its current state. The fact that I was my own general contactor (license was inactive but doesn’t need to be active to work on your own home)and therefore did not pay retail for the remodel and makes the difference.

  33. Do these folks deserve a bail out? Couple in their 50’s and she’s a REALTOR and should have known better.

    # Couple buys house in Livermore CA for $1.5M
    # Couple elects to take a negative amortization ARM, and only pays $2800 a month
    # Full mortgage payment is equal to 70% of their gross income
    # Couple racks up an additional $100k in finance charges on $1M loan, which is added to principle
    # Principle reaches 110% of original loan value and bank requires them to pay full monthly payment.
    # Payment jumps to $8000 a month
    # Couple freaks out, asks to renegotiate loan at 2% for 40 years!
    # Bank offers 5.75% for 38 years, or a $6000 payment
    # Couple still can’t afford mortgage at a rate most would be thrilled with

    (thanks PDXoutsider)


    If you are putting 20% down in a conventional loan and did not dip into your equity you are not in any need of help. You are most likely not upside down. I am talking about the ignorant folks that believe RE never goes down and bought more than they could afford and the folks who have been dipping into their equity to fund their lifestyles: boats, RV’s SUVs, private education for the kids, granite everywhere.

    You avoided my question: can you afford your house if you had to buy it today? And when I say afford I mean that you are still able to set aside money for retirement, etc.

  34. It was for Daycare, she seems to avoid all of my questions:O( I thought about directing the question toward you also but I knew that you had rehabbed your home and being in RE you have access to contractors that will work with you and not screw you since you would be a great asset to them (referrals) plus I wasn’t sure how much work you did yourself.

    Thanks for answering, though.

    I have to admit, Charles, even though you get a lot of shit thrown your way you remain quite professional and diplomatic in your responses. You are in a tough postion as a realtor in an unsteady market. I know you would probably never take me on as a client but I would actually consider you as a realtor! Believe it or not:O)

    We most likely won’t be being any time soon…something about wanting to spend winters in Kaui/Maui or Latin America…

  35. Bearlee – sorry I wasnt ignoring your question.

    Yes I can still buy my house in today’s market because thankfully my financial condition has improved and I am not making big payments on fancy cars like I did in yester years (almost $800 / month!). Today, that car payment would go towards my mortgage and I will be satisfied with a much older car. Again I am not generalizing, just answering a specific question you asked.

  36. Daycare, thanks for answering. Now how about answering the rest of the questions in my post from last night 7:55pm. I have asked you before about Portland’s ‘robust’ economy. Want to elaborate?

  37. bearlee –

    I believe the reason Portland will be strong is because it offers for the price what no other major city on west coast offers. Portland will continue to attract affluent migrants for various reasons. Will it be unfair to native oregonians? May be.

    The rate of construction of new houses is lower than most cities of this size. The urban growth boundary will continue to resist rampant growth.

    The fact that average PDX realestate prices have held well is just one indication.

    When Intel layoffs 100 people in one division, it hires 150 in another. Infact majority of the laid off employees get absorbed in other division. I am telling this from insider experience.

    Is PDX immune to what is happening in general in the financial markets? Definitely not.

    Your question about what to do with the couple buying 1M property?

    I dont think such people should be bailed out.

  38. Places like London, Sydney, Barcelona and Dublin are going through a housing bust, but Portland, the most magic of all the magic cities, is not going to feel a thing.

    What color is the sky in daycare’s world?

  39. Naysayer – that is what I “believe” in and so far it seems I am right. I dont have to defend my beliefs. I value your beliefs.

    The sky is blue where I am; you need to look up 🙂

    Charles once asked who really benefits from declining home values. Here is one who pocketed $3.2B!! last year; thanks to media-supported campaign to paint all realestate markets with dark colors.


  40. You want ‘Intel Inside’r information?! My spouse worked there as in intern in 1997 and in 2002-2003. Numerous friends had and some still are working there (doesn’t every Electrical Engineer get to experience the Intel experience). Spouse just ran into old Intel coworker now a department manager at the QFC we sometimes shop at. Ran into another old Intel coworker now at Office Depot on SE Grand. Another old coworker, one of the hardest and smartest engineer my husband ever met laid off by Intel after 10 years of service. She’s so pissed at hi-tech she has since refused to re-enter the market and has chosen to stay home with the kids. My current coworker’s spouse spent 15+ in marketing for Intel and has a garage wall full of plaques commending him for his service: laid off at the age of 59 in 2006. In 2002 spouse had coworkers head to Russia to train their replacements! Sure Intel hires 150 for every 100 they lay off but those folks are in China, Isreal, India and Russia! If Intel hired in Oregon at the rate you mention they would be busting at the seems instead of moth balling plants.

    Did you catch Oregon’s employment numbers for March?

    Check out the April 15 post on this site

  41. Tell all the condo developers not selling any units how right you are. Or perhaps all the short-sellers in Portland. And foreclosures.

    Go search “short sale” and “foreclosure” just on Craigslist and see how many pop up.

  42. Charles, you shouldn’t have to feel like you need to respond to everything that happens in the comment section of your blog.
    I think there are a lot of people who view you very postively, appreciate what you do and understand its not your job to endlessly defend the prices in the PDX real estate market.

    Portland is a very desireable place to live and long term prices will keep rising. The news that some people don’t want to accept is that close in and downtown/west side properties are going to appreciate out of the range of a lot of people. Markets are driven by supply and demand, and if your not clocking enough dough, ya you might just have to move to Troutdale, and someone with more money will slide into your close in Portland dream house. Realtors, mortgage brokers, sellers, RE investors, people who rehab and resell houses don’t owe you anything. Why should Charles have to get on here and defend himself for working hard, being a bright guy, and making himself some money? Thats what America is all about. If people like Naysayer are living in the greatest country in the world, with endless possibilities, and unlimited freedom to chart their own destiny and make the money they want to live where the want, and they can’t cut it then tough. They loose. Because people filled with self pity and negative energy always loose. The credit crisis is passing, and its almsot time to go get back on the gas.

    To bad bearlee sold her house and lost out on an addtional year of apprecitation, looks like average prices year over year are up almost 5%. How much money did you basically flush in rent last year while you could have been making money? Hows that tax return looking without being able to right off any mortgage interest? Good luck getting back in.

  43. Thanks for your ‘sympathy’ Teddy but given our location which was very close to Burnside, parking issues, and seeing how my neighbors are struggling to sell and how we struggled to sell last spring it’s hard to imagine we could have gotten another 5%. If you have followed my story you would know that we had to sell. The house was in need of a roof (a complete tear down!) and the fir floors needed repair, two things we would have had to go into debt to do. Sure, if you can ride out these few years you will see that 5% appreciation but some of us are in predicaments and need to sell. Life can really throw some curve balls at you, called kids and career changes in our case! We saw the slow down coming and got out before we found ourselves going into more debt.

    As for the tax break, one year we paid $12K in taxes and interest on mortgage to get a $4K break and as we pay more principle and less interest that tax break slowly goes away. Our housing expenses are HALF of what they were when we ‘owned’ for a net savings of $8K. I don’t miss the house or the expense or the tax break. We get plenty of tax breaks with my 401K, flex pay for child care and tuition. My effective tax paid was 2.9% (thanks TurboTax). Makes me wonder who is paying for the $7K tax credit for buying a foreclosed house and of course, the obvious…THE WAR!

    I now live in a decent location, new construction, laundry at my finger tips instead of the basement of my old house, plus great view! I could see myself here for many years if needed! Plus, the freedom to move without losing 6%:O)

    No regrets:O)

  44. So if you didn’t have the money to take care of your home why disparage people who participate in home ownership? Ummm, I’m a little foggy about why you only came up with a 4k tax break when you paid 12K in interest in taxes. Somethings not right there. You should be able to write it all off unless your home was worth more than a million. And why did you buy a home if you knew you didn’t make enough to fix it in the first place?

    And if you love your new apartment so much why are you on here nagging at people who are interested in real estate. I would think it would be obvious that a Realtor would run a blog for buyers and sellers interested in real estate, not whiny malcontents who can’t see the positive in anything.

    And if your to pov to fix your roof, why the hell are you having kids anyway? Hey don’t worry though, they can raise my property taxes to pay for their schooling while you get tax break for increasing the burden of an already overpopulated world.

  45. See Charles, I get slammed, too!

    First, your interest on mortgage and property taxes are deductions, NOT CREDITS! Talk to you tax accountant if you use one or google it! Better yet, if you use Turbo Tax or something similar do your taxes again only this time remove your interest on mortgage and property taxes and see what difference it makes. You need to understand the difference between a credit and a deduction…HUGE difference.

    Second, we bought the house with two incomes and got in over our heads from the start, even financed our loan fees. Took bad advice from a relative “buy more house than you can afford because you will always make more $”. Never able to save for rainy day (and repairs) since a lot of the $ went toward the house. Then the layoffs hit in 2001-2003. Spouse back in school. We chose child over owning the house, knew we couldn’t pay mortgage, spouse’s tuition, and childcare so the choice was easy…sell the house. If you stay in a house long enough you will be making repairs like H2O heater, furnace, roof, etc. Gee, if I only would have known about the 2001 recession when we bought in 1999…gee, what the hell was I thinking.

    Why do I harp on housing blogs…because I see a lot of folks getting in over their heads in pursuit of the ‘American Dream’. Many do not understand the true costs of home ownership: taxes, utilities, repairs, etc. Heck, look at our foreclosure rate and tell me something is not wrong.

    And your taxes will get raised and not because of schools…the war, who is gonna pay for the war?!?! My family already gave up one of it’s kids to the cause now you go and pay with $$$ so you do not have to pay with blood! Military funerals are so moving, though, EVERYONE should experience one;O) And the next person I hear say somethinhg stupid like, “We are still in Iraq?” I may have to express some not so kind words. Shit, we could have built 1,000 schools and hired thousands of teachers and provided college education for this dumbdowned society of ours. Thanks god we have American Idol and Dancing with the Stars cuz god forbid we know where Iran and Iraq are on a map!!!

  46. Let me chime in from the bitter, poor, downtrodden, envious sector of depressed, suicidal renters:

    If this little real estate price orgy hadn’t caused a hangover that threatens to destroy the whole economy for years to come, perhaps I could have appreciated it more. If the prices here solely reflected some magical, newfound popularity of Portland and not just the hysteria of cheap money, speculation and panic, maybe I could find it more believable.

    See, some people don’t live with blinders on and actually are aware of the effects the housing bubble is having on the wider society. Now, thanks to the insanity of people clamoring to buy, willing to spend anything in order to become one of the “chosen” in the ownership class, we get to bail them out to the tune of billions of dollars. There’s no magic barrier at the edge of “close-in” that insulates the owners of those houses from economic calamity, either.

    There are other effects such as the student loan crisis. Sorry, no money available to borrow for tuition! That all got spent on $500,000, 600 square foot condos that are in default! But really, if you weren’t such a loser you wouldn’t need an education, you’d just become a granite counter top installer and live happily ever after!

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