Tips & Tidbits

Linda Rossi – October 3, 2016

Seasonal Changes –

Sellers~The market has been unusually activated since about January of this year. In the summer (starting approx July 4th weekend) things typically slow down just a teensy bit as people leave for vacation and many have found the homes they were looking for prior to the school-year-start in September (ie the pool of Buyers lessens some).  Sellers who put their homes on the market now will still find plenty of interest as you can ascertain from our Market Activity Reports, and/but may be disappointed if they do not have a bidding war as they’ve been hearing about for awhile now.  I’m not saying the market is not still good for selling, (and, there ARE ways to encourage multiple Offers at any time of year) …just be prepared for the slight change in atmosphere, which sometimes translates to not quite as much leverage when you’re the Seller.  ***That said, it is all case-by-case. Why is the Buyer buying?  Do they need to be settled before the school year starts?  Have they lost out on other deals due to competitive bidding? You may or may not be able to find out, but if you DO know the answers to some of these questions, it can help you respond to your highest advantage. Trust your Realtor, or if you don’t have one, give me or one of us a call and we’ll be happy to help you through the changing landscape.

Buyers~A Buyer’s perspective is a little different.  If you’ve been out looking and fighting for houses and losing, now may be your moment.  As I mentioned above, the market has been hyper-active for a while now.  As we move toward Fall, a couple of factors are in your favor. The first is that the pool of Buyers is lessening a bit for the reasons I mentioned above. This means you may not  be in a competitive situation, or it may be with fewer Buyers if you are. Use the lessons you’ve learned already through trial and error. Make your Offer as strong as you are comfortable with.  Talk to your Realtor (or to myself or one of us if you do  not have a Realtor) and we can walk you through some ways to do that. Talk to your lender once again and revisit your strategy.  If you are unsure of how your Offer price would impact you as far as your monthly payment is concerned, I always suggest having 3 dollar-amount scenarios drawn up.  I find that most Buyers are surprised at how little their monthly payment is affected by making what seems to them to be a big jump in their Offer price. Bottom line: you need to be comfortable with your Offer.  AND, you may be surprised at what the possibilities are for you, and sometimes this can make a difference in getting the home you really want in a still-competitive market.

Other Factors~Appraisals are really becoming more of an issue than even a month or so ago when Dianne mentioned them in a post herein.  I advise my Buyer clients to talk to their lender about expediting their Appraisal in nearly every case. This costs money, so you need  to assess what you can and are willing to do, but it is often a hundred or two dollars, and can mean the difference between Closing on time or not. ***That said, I have heard multitudes of horror stories in the last few weeks about Appraisals taking **weeks or months** longer unless someone pays an exorbitant amount sometimes in the thousands of dollars.  I don’t mean to scare anyone. I just averted a near-disaster in this regard, and having a Realtor and lender with their eyes on the ball in this market is imperative, but this is apparently happening if there are any variables at all in a transaction that will limit the appropriate Appraisers who might be available/qualified etc. Sometimes the type of loan (VA, FHA, USDA) can limit the pool of Appraisers (I’m told) as can location of the property (is it outside of the metro area?).

The reasons for this mess are varied, but it apparently boils down to supply and demand, coupled with the newer regulations on mortgage companies. No longer can a mortgage company call an Appraiser they happen to know is familiar with a particular neighborhood or area of town. For everyone’s protection (to prevent collusion/nefarious behaviour/trying to get a particular value out of the Appraiser) mortgage companies now have to put the order in to an “Appraisal Scheduling” company. That company has a stable of Appraisers, and it is all handled mechanically.  There is apparently a dearth of Appraisers due to more stringent requirements for becoming an Appraiser (I’m told), and therefore the stacks on Appraisers desks are getting higher and their time and availability to run out to more rural areas or even here in town is more scarce.


I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at things we might be wanting to include on our to-do lists & consider taking care of before the end of the year. Namely…Giving! Its fall and we're heading into the Celebrating & Giving time of year pretty soon. Many want to think ahead about tax time as well.  If you’re going to give anyway…. this is definitely the time to do it!

Here are some worthy ideas for your consideration:

  • Here’s a great resource  site to help you evaluate the most worthy recipients of your donations based on their research:  The Portland “Give Guide”
  • If art is important to you, consider donating to the Regional Arts Council.
  • Speaking of giving, I know from my days in my son's school's Booster Club, that every community has needy families.  Some of your kids’ friends may very well have parents who’ve lost a job, or are in some sort of upheaval and wondering how they’re going to be able to pay their bills let alone create a semi normal-feeling holiday for their household .  Your favorite local school probably has names of families in need. Give a call to the school of your choice and think about donating a holiday roast or turkey, or just dropping off a few gifts.  The school counselor usually knows just what to do with this kind of generosity, and you’ll know you really made a difference for some needy family in your own neighborhood.
  • If animals are near and dear to your heart, there are lots of options for donating.  The Oregon Humane Society is an obvious choice, and/but some smaller outfits that take up the slack and don’t have quite the visibility of the OHS would be heart-warmed to receive your donation.  One that is recommended to me by someone in the know is the Family Dogs New Life Shelter. It is a no-kill shelter that does excellent work.

There are so many great choices, I thought I’d highlight just a few and give you some links to resources that offer many options. Enjoy your holidays, and the Joys that come with the season!

June Market Action Report

Linda Rossi – June 15, 2016

June 2016:

According to the RMLS Market Action Report for the Portland Metro Area, June, 2016:

  • There were 4,501 New Listings in June which was up 8.6% from May, and up 5.2% from May of 2015.
  • At 3,158, June Closed Sales were up 9% from May’s 2,896, and down 4.4% from June of 2015’s 3,302.
  • June Pending Sales (Accepted Offers), at 3,390 down  4.9% from May’s 3,563, and were also  6% lower than June of 2015’s 3,605.
  • The Average Sale Price in June of $412,000 was up $9,500 over May’s $402,500, and also up around $42,500 from June of 2015’s $369,500.

May Market Action Report

Linda Rossi – May 21, 2016


April is seeing, generally, Price and New Listings increases over March, and a decrease in overall productive activity (Closed & Pending Sales) compared to April of last year.

Here are the latest/April numbers for the entire Portland area:

According to the RMLS Market Action Report for the Portland Metro Area, April, 2016:

  • There were 4,082 New Listings in April which was up 19.7% from March’s (3,409), and up 3.4% from April of 2015 (3,949).
  • At 2,611, April Closed Sales were up 1.8% from March’s 2,565, and down 4.5% from April of 2015’s 2,734.
  • April Pending Sales (Accepted Offers), at 3,432 were up  11.6% from March’s 3,076, but were   5% lower than April of 2015’s 3,613.

The Average Sale Price in April of $397,700 was up $12,600 over March’s $385,100, and also up around $50,200 from April of 2015’s $347,500.

My Post


Here’s The Year-To-Date (Thru End-Oct Is The Latest Data Available) Local Real Estate Stats. Hmmm… Appreciation Looks Interesting…. Check Out Your Neighborhood!

Changing Disclosure Rules

Linda Rossi – September 1, 2015

Tips & Tidbits

  • Documentation and timelines will be changing soon around your Lending and Closing Disclosures.  Make sure to discuss with your Realtor and your Lender as these changes can affect your ability to meet your contractual Closing date if not monitored properly. Specifically, there are a certain number of days mandated for your review of them prior to being able to Close, so find out your Lender’s plan for timing in getting them to you. Also, Escrow’s documents for your review will depend on when they receive information from your Lender. Expected current timeline for implementation has now been moved to Oct 1st.
  • Speaking of meeting the Closing date and plotting timelines carefully, also remember to factor in the potential need for sign-off by an Appraiser if there were repairs that require that (either because of FHA or other loan requirements), or because an Appraiser calls something out that will necessitate it…such as the common issue of a Carbon Monoxide Detector not being in the home at the time of the Appraisal (…really  a Good idea to make sure there is one in the home before the Appraisal : )
  • Buyers- Make sure to discuss your Offer pricing with your Realtor in the context of current market value research before making your Offer.  In this competitive market, reports are varying widely that Appraisals are coming in just fine in some instances, and/but low in others. Per the Oregon Residential Real Estate Sale Agreement generally used, you are not obligated to pay over Appraised Value, and a bank will not lend over that value either. So… this becomes an uncomfortable negotiating point toward the end of a transaction should you really Love the house and the Seller won’t budge on price. Sometimes people are able to meet somewhere in the middle on price, but if you decide you want to proceed with some kind of arrangement in this realm of options, any monies over the Appraised Value will need to come out of your pocket. Take a close look at the best info available on values in that neighborhood in the recent past at the outset so that you don’t go too far afield in your eagerness to compete.
  • The same is true for Sellers. Make sure you take into account, when you price your home for sale with your Realtor, that your property will need to appraise “at value” in order to close at the agreed-upon price… without headaches, drama and potential “sale fail”.