How House Color Affects Your Selling Price

How House Color Affects Your Selling Price

When paint time arrives, did you know some homesellers risk leaving ‘money on the table’ later by not taking advantage of ‘market-friendly’ house paint colors, to more effectively attract homebuyers? What is it about house colors that can make a real difference to those buying a home? Is the adage true that paint properly applied can be worth as much as $1,000 a gallon? Are there some colors that are considered to be universally more favorable or unfavorable? And how can a homeseller know which one is best?  For answers to these questions, find out more…in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast. 

Click here or on the above ‘play’ button to hear this podcast episode.

Oregon Real Estate

Consider Oregon Weather When Choosing Your Paint Color

How Color Affects Us
The affect of color on human emotion is well known.  It’s helpful to realize that buying a home can involve emotions, sometimes more than we might imagine. And because colors are all around us, sometimes we’re not even aware of the impact. Yet did you know that different colors can even influence the taste of food we eat? Compounding the effect of color on Oregonians is our often gloomy Northwest weather, as the impact of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is well documented, plus the effects of color and light are frequently inter-related. As a prospective home seller, it’s reasonable to expect certain colors to not only enhance your home’s appearance from the outside, but make it appear more livable on the inside, too.  

Painting’s ROI
Much of the ROI (return on investment) you receive from painting can depend on home size, price range and overall project cost. Another variable is if we’re talking painting your home’s exterior vs. the interior and the current condition of each. On a list of what can provide maximum homebuyer impact, fresh paint is one of the most significant ways to draw buyers in, then enhance value after they get inside. One survey found that painting a home’s interior results in a 107% return on investment (ROI), while painting the exterior leads to a 55% ROI.

And while an alternative approach is to offer a ‘paint credit’ to buyers, don’t expect everyone to go for such an offer, particularly buyers who have a difficult time envisioning the ‘before’ and ‘after’ effect.

More Than Money
Sometimes a higher price is just one aspect of fresh paint’s return on investment. That’s because additional ROI may instead come in the form of a faster sale. Few home improvements automatically ‘more than pay’ for themselves, but painting sometimes can. For professional suggestions on the return you can expect in your situation, consider speaking with an experienced Realtor.

Colors Are All Around Us

Thinking Ahead
You may not be considering the re-sale value of your house today. But before you schedule your home’s next paint job, there’s a good case to be made for sticking with colors that win buyers…or at the very least, not lose them. With that in mind, are there basic principles to consider for painting your house? 

Some homeowners might assume all neutral exterior paint colors are appealing to potential buyers. However, that’s not always the case.  Some surveys suggest if you paint your house medium brown, taupe, or stucco, you’re likely to sell for less.

However, many homebuyers like generally neutral exterior paint colors. One popular shade for homes is a mix of gray and beige, a little bit like the color of oatmeal. The benefit of using such a color is that it works in both cool and warm color schemes because it’s neutral. 

Interior vs. Exterior
Painting your home’s interior can certainly increase value and help it to sell faster. But since Realtor studies consistently show that a sizable percentage of prospective homebuyers won’t even step inside if they don’t like what they see outside, let’s start with your home’s exterior.

Light, Bright & White
Many homeowners prefer white as the primary color of their home’s exterior (at least according to one survey conducted by Sears Weatherbeater Paints). White paint makes the outside of your home look more expansive, while bringing more light into a shady yard. By accentuating trim and other smaller architectural details on a lighter colored house using a different subtle, noticeable color on them, sellers can increase the resale price of their home and likely sell it faster.

Selling Your Home Requires Getting Buyers Inside

Curb Appeal
Because exterior house color helps comprise a significant portion of your home’s ‘curb appeal,’ it makes sense to paint with a color with a consideration of what most people either like, or at a minimum, don’t find unattractive. What are the biggest homebuyer color turnoffs?

Avoid These Colors
As a general rule, it’s best to avoid extremes. That’s one reason why you don’t see more pink or purple homes. For interiors, one survey had 58% of respondents saying they’re least likely to decorate with orange, with some claiming it’s “way too loud.” Black and violet followed, ranking second and third on the list of colors homeowners dislike.

Some Neighborhoods Have What Are Called HOA’s & CC&R’s

Consider HOA’s & CC&R’s
Depending on where you live, some neighborhoods have a homeowner’s association (HOA) and/or Codes, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&R’s) that forbid the use of certain exterior house colors, or even require the use of others. It’s not uncommon for homes within certain neighborhoods to require ‘earth tones’ or even prohibit garish colors. If you live in such a neighborhood, make sure any paint color you decide upon is approved before your project begins. To make this easier, some paint companies like Sherwin-Williams and Behr even have websites that allow homeowners to confirm what’s allowed for their particular HOA.

Different Colored Brush Strokes for Different Folks

Front Door
Your home’s front door is a focal point for your house and can directly affect the curb appeal of a property. According to one real estate study with a large sample size, homes with a blue or gray front door achieve a higher price on the market.  

Some Home Styles Are More About The Color Accent

Consider Your Architecture
To maximize your home’s selling price, consider being less adventurous if you have a traditional style home, like a Cape Cod, Colonial or Greek Revival. That’s because those home styles are generally seen as classic architecture and many who most appreciate them are likely to desire a more traditional color. Also, brick homes frequently involve more of a focus on accent colors, with a greatly reduced volume of paint required.

Buyers of Traditional Homes Often Prefer Traditional Colors

The style of your home, whether Victorian, craftsman, Mediterranean or Mid-century suburban modern, can help direct your best color choices. Most style homes have ‘tried and true’ palettes that have proven themselves. Historically accurate colors enhance the architectural style of your home, but also enhance resale value. Historical societies can often help, as well as architectural and design firms. Paint company Sherwin-Williams even has a website that features historic exterior palettes.

One mistake homeowners make when choosing outdoor paint colors is not considering their home’s existing materials. The roof, brick and stone all have colors that should be part of the overall color scheme. Some brick or stone is peachy brown; others are bluish gray, and others are reddish rust. Coordinate paint so it has undertones of those materials. “If the bricks are cool, stay cool.”

The Subtle Use of Color Can Have Pleasing Impact

Tie It Together With Trim & Accent 
When you pick a house color, you should probably pick at least two, probably three and possibly four colors: These include the main field color, a trim color for windows and roof lines; an accent color for shutters, architectural accents and doors and some make the door a fourth color. One trick when selecting trim is to select your field color, then choose a hue on the same color strip that is two or three shades lighter, or even darker, than the field color. That way you know they work together. For accent colors, you can be more adventerous. Most paint companies offer exterior color schemes to help consumers put together attractive combinations.

There Are Helpful Tips for Do-It-Yourself Painters

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer?
Painting your own home can be a big job. But if you’re a DIY, here’s a link to some helpful professional exterior painting hints to make the task easier.  

The Effective Use of Light Creates A Sense of Space

On The Inside
Since Seasonal Affective Disorder is more prevalent in Oregon than southern climes, for rooms with minimal exposure to the sun, consider an extra light touch. A beneficial side affect is that lighter colors also tend to make rooms look larger. Light and bright walls are more reflective, making rooms seem more open, which leverages the effect of natural light. Alternatively, darker colors tend to absorb light and make a room look smaller.

For smaller homes and rooms, consider shades of off-white, blue, green or yellow and realize brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting. Try painting your wall trim and moldings in a lighter color than your walls. Walls will then appear farther away, making your house interior seem bigger.

A Budget & Planning Can Reduce ‘Home Improvement Creep’

Don’t Be A ‘Creeper’
Especially with interior paint work, understand that sometimes HIC (Home Improvement Creep) rears its ugly head. That’s because once you have your beautiful looking walls painted, you start to notice your carpet doesn’t look so good, or your cabinets seem ‘tired.’ You get the idea. So before breaking out the paint cans, consider what else you might be able to budget in order to get the most for your time and money.   

Some Homestyles Look Best With A Proven Paint Color

Housepainting Tips to Maximize Return
Consider consulting a professional, such as a painter, paint company and/or an interior decorator.
Consider your neighborhood and how neighboring paint schemes may complement each other.
Consider your home’s environment.
Consider your home’s architecture. Blue or red may not work well with a traditional farmhouse. 

Oregon Realtor Roy Widing

Thinking About Selling Your Oregon Home?
For a free consultation about what your home could sell for in today’s market, use the form below to contact our Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Realtor Roy Widing. 

Realtor ‘Stress-Busting’ Tips for Homebuyers & Homesellers

Did you know the profession of real estate agent consistently ranks as one of the most stressful occupations? Yet, some Realtors seemingly deal with stress as if their work is a breeze. Ever wonder what their secret is?

Oregon Real Estate

Without Preventative Maintenance, Burnout Is Likely

What is it that causes some real estate agents to ‘burn out?’  And as a homebuyer or seller, is overwhelming stress inevitable when buying or selling a home? Are there unique factors that make real estate transactions worse than other stressors? 
In the sometimes fast-paced world of real estate, how do well-balanced real estate agents perform their profession at a high level without burning the proverbial candle at both ends? 

Oregon Real Estate

A Balanced Realtor is a Better Realtor

Clients Get Stressed, Too
It’s not only Realtors who deal with stress. Consider buyers and sellers, who don’t have the experience and knowledge that agents have developed due to professional day-to-day experience.  Given that home buyers and sellers are directly involved in an up-close manner, having less experience along with a ‘high stakes’ scenario can significantly exacerbate stress during a real estate transaction.

Before taking the leap to buy or sell, are there specific actions you can take in order to select a balanced agent who will work with you and not against you, if the real estate road gets bumpy? Also, are there warning signs to avoid a ‘stressed out’ Realtor? As this article cites, emotions like stress can even be contagious! After all, buying or selling a home is already stressful enough without feeling the heat from an expert who is supposed to make the task easier, not harder.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Realtor Stress is Well Documented

And is there something homebuyers and homesellers can learn about defusing stress using tips from real estate professionals who work daily ‘in the trenches’ while handling  potentially stress-riddled transactions? 

Find out today…in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast by clicking here or on the link above!

Oregon Real Estate

Balance Is Helpful When Dealing With ‘High Stakes’ Situations

A Question of Balance
What is balance? For some, including real estate agents, balance is a healthy response to work and other potential stresses that allows high performance in each area of life. Today we’ll go through some approaches to achieving balance. It’s also helpful to understand that knowing and identifying balance can help you both in your day to day life…and also when selecting a Realtor. That’s because most homebuyers and homesellers don’t want a ‘pressure-cooker’ atmosphere, which is sometimes the situation when either they and/or their agent don’t handle challenging real estate situations adequately.

The 10 Most Stressful Jobs 
Reports like this analyze the stress level of various professions. Included are real estate agents, along with firefighters, commercial pilots, surgeons and police officers.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Realtors & Surgeons Have Stress In Common

Real Estate Stressful?
Real estate may not be grasped as ‘high stakes’ by some, especially when compared to certain lifesaving professions like firefighting, police work or surgery. But regardless of how much stress is involved in other vocations, there is one thing the buying and selling of homes often is…and that’s ‘high stakes.’

High stakes could be described as the difference between walking on a string across your living room and walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. The difference between those two scenarios is downside risk. Slip up in your living room and it’s no big deal. However, a house is typically the single largest investment most people have. So slipping up a real estate transaction can involve thousands of dollars—or even considerably more.

Real Estate is Far More Enjoyable Without Tragic Events

The Many Faces of Real Estate
On top of dealing with ‘high stakes,’ a primary task of Realtors is working with homebuyers and sellers who frequently have disparate personality types. On top of that, real estate agents are often asked to operate under urgent, time-sensitive scenarios. And that’s just the ‘people part’ of the business. In addition, real estate agents must deal with a myriad of zoning laws, multiple listing guidelines, real estate agency rules and housing regulations. Then add sometimes surprising home inspection results, plus frequently unpredictable appraisals and lender guidelines. Then you can understand the multi-faceted nature of challenges Realtors must face daily.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Avoiding Burnout is Challenging in High Stress Professions

The Challenge: Beyond Coping
Coping skills are methods useful when dealing with stressful situations. Most importantly, good coping skills make for good mental health wellness. Rather than gritting your teeth to help tolerate a home transaction, an even more favorable option is to actually enjoy life while dealing and hopefully defusing such potential stress. Some people are good at this. Perhaps they thrive on the challenge, or prefer to see obstacles as a kind of ‘game’ as a mental exercise, or in order to prove ‘what they’re made of.’ Any one of these approaches can be effective. What follows are some tactics in your strategy to better handle the potentially stressful activity that Realtors deal with daily, namely the high stakes purchase and sale of real estate.

Oregon Real Estate

Inanimate Objects Like Homes Can Involve Great Stress

The Empathy Factor
One of the best kinds of agents to work with could be one who has empathy. In other words find a Realtor who understands your cares, wants and needs. While closing off these thoughts is one way to soldier through a transaction, believe it or not, Realtors are not always able to read your mind!

Why Are Realtors Stressed?
Real estate agents work with the general public under what are frequently stressful conditions. Buying or selling a home, applying for a mortgage, appraisals, home inspections all add to the stress for home buyers and sellers.  Yet Realtor pressures you may not have considered include constant communication (sometimes very late at night), dealing with certain clients unwilling to work within market realities (like demanding an interest rate 2 or 3 points below what’s available), along with patently unrealistic expectations, such as plans to sell a million dollar house for two million.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Disorganization often leaves clues

Signs of a Disorganized Real Estate Agent
Doesn’t return phone calls/texts/emails within a reasonable timeframe
Misses scheduled appointments
Can’t answer fundamental real estate questions
Appears pre-occupied
Talks more about himself/herself than your needs
Lacks key knowledge on your home’s marketing results and/or
Lacks key knowledge on market statistics, i.e., home inventory
Has little time awareness

What You Can Learn From Successful Realtors

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

So what are some approaches successful real estate agents use to reduce stress? There are many, but here are a few to consider.

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Let’s Get Physical
‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ is a Latin phrase, usually translated as ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body.’ The phrase is widely used in sporting and educational contexts to express the theory that physical exercise is an essential part of mental and psychological well-being. This is reinforced by what we now know about the effect of endorphins, hormones secreted after a workout with an analgesic, or pain-killing effect. So in addition to the mental satisfaction of knowing you’ve completed a good work out, there is a physiological component, as well. So physical exercise is one component of stress relief. As a result, consider maintaining a regular workout regimen, even scheduling it multiple days into your weekly routine.

A Few Additional Tips
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Have a ‘big picture’ perspective, since your transaction has an endpoint.
Focus on the goal, while paying attention to the process to get there.
Manage expectations.
Don’t spread yourself thin by over-committing.
Budget your time and energy.
Understand that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Avoid negative people, as appropriate.
Try not to take troubles home.
Find ways to recharge (mind, body, soul), including religious faith.
Loose yourself from the financial stress of debt.
Work toward healthy relationships.
Reward yourself by taking real vacations.
Exercise. You’ll feel better, sleep better and look better.
Need motivation? Find your joy and pursue it.
Replace anything negative with positive action and habits.

Oregon Real Estate

The Importance of Communication
As strange as it may seem, communicating better with others can significantly reduce stress. That’s due in part because improved communication helps to reduce the unknown, which sometimes can feed stress. For example, over many years, I’ve realized that even if there isn’t a great deal of new information to report, my homebuyer and homeseller clients appreciate being kept in the communications ‘loop,’ despite few changes since my last update. Otherwise some clients may rightfully assume there could otherwise be a problem they don’t yet know about.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Win Friends
The best-selling book ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ is considered a classic and for good reason. It contains helpful methods for dealing with people, a source of stress for some.  Some insist that Dale Carnegie’s book is less about winning friends or influencing people, but more about being a better person. 
Sayings there include “Avoid the acute angle,” meaning don’t be needlessly disagreeable. Other suggestions include:

Admit when you’re wrong.
Start in a friendly manner.
Show respect for the opinions of others.
ry to see the other person’s point of view.
Avoid negativity. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The Benefits of Stress Reduction Are Worthwhile & Life Giving

Realtor, Heal Thyself
One other solution when you’re about to buy or sell a home? Hire a Realtor with life balance to handle your transaction effectively. Few prefer to be healed by a sick physician, or receive assistance by an ‘out of kilter’ real estate agent.

Oregon Realtor Roy Widing

Do You Have A Real Estate Question?
For answers to your real estate questions and a free consultation, reach your Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Roy with Certified Realty using the below contact form today!

What to Know When Moving to Oregon

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

What Should You Know When Moving to Oregon?

Welcome to Oregon
Perhaps you recently experienced a job change, or maybe you’re simply seeking something different and have decided to make a move. If your final stop is Oregon, you’re not alone, since it’s a common destination.

Oregon Podcast

Oregon is Known as the ‘Beaver State’

But Why Oregon?
You might have heard about Oregon’s livability (having three of the top 50 places to live in a survey of 2018 Top 100 Best Places to Live). You could also be enticed by the Beaver State’s reputed natural beauty, or perhaps you enjoy outdoor activities, since fishing, hunting, skiing, kayaking, surfing and bicycling are all popular here. Is four wheeling, or maybe dune buggies your thing? They’re here, too. But what else is to be found in Oregon? And what’s it like to actually live here? Is there anything helpful to know before showing up upon arriving in Oregon with a filled U-Haul truck? Plus, why do most people move to Oregon and might you ‘fit in’ here? Find out more, in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.

Click the ‘play’ button above to hear this new podcast episode.

While beautiful, Cardinals are one thing you won’t typically find in Oregon

First, What You Won’t Find in Oregon
If you’re interested in the Oregon state flower, song or bird, you can find information on state symbols here.  But those are each plentiful in the Beaver State. 
Similarly, there are some things you won’t typically find in Oregon. A few of these include the Cardinal, prolonged muggy weather and fireflies, also called lightning bugs.

oregon real estate

‘The Nine States of Oregon’           Courtesy, OregonLive

Oregon Is Many States
Given its size and diverse geography, some have made the case that Oregon is really many states and this may help explain why there are different reasons people migrate here? After all, Oregon is 81 times larger than Rhode Island, more than twice the size of Ohio
and even slightly bigger than the United Kingdom. So is it any wonder that reasons why Oregon is a draw to many can vary significantly? So on we now go, to ‘What to Know When Moving to Oregon.’ 

Oregon Real Estate

1. Zoning Laws Aplenty
Unlike places such as Houston, Texas, extensive zoning regulations exist in Oregon. Depending on where you live here, these regulations can be dictated from Metro (more on that in a minute), plus county, city and state bodies, plus of course, the federal government.

If one wonders why homes are expensive in parts of Oregon compared to other states, the seemingly endless patchwork of zoning regulations is pointed to by some as one reason. As a result, some ‘pushback’ to Oregon’s zoning regulations has occurred. A desire for property rights balance is exemplified by groups like Oregonians in Action a private property rights organization which has won some landmark legal cases, including all the way to the United States Supreme Court. 

The Solution = Part of The Problem?
Starting in the 1970’s Oregon land use laws began to significantly restrict property rights. As with any regulation, adherents can point to the reasoning behind such laws. Besides, who doesn’t appreciate clean air and clean water, or not having a rendering plant located in the middle of a suburban neighborhood? So, many can agree that reasonable zoning laws can be a good thing. That said, if you’re concerned about private property rights, be aware that Oregon also has a record of significant overreach.

Oregon Real Estate

Exhibit A: ‘Metro’
Oregon’s Metro is an extra governmental layer of the type infrequently seen elsewhere. It’s a regional political confederation of sorts within Clackamas, Multnomah & Washington counties. Metro wields power and has critics. Some ponder that if Metro’s format is so terrific, why hasn’t it been replicated en masse throughout the nation?

Part of the case against what some argue is greater Portland’s arbitrary urban growth boundary has to do with how such regulation affects supply and demand. For example, a desire by planners and politicians to stop ‘sprawl’ flies in the face what many others want, namely a nice home on some land, often a few acres. Zoning in many areas throughout Oregon effectively prevent dividing land, or building a home on acreage unless a current house already exists.

Price Rises As Quantity Declines

Supply & Demand
The consequences of Oregon’s land use restrictions cause some to question a land use system that may even contribute to less affordable housing. That’s because by limiting supply,  demand tends to rise. If one fights the Oregon system, high profile cases like the one involving elderly widow Dorothy English shine a light on what happens to some here who actually try to exercise their private property rights.

Oregon Real Estate

Oregon County Rainfall Map

2. Bring Your Raincoat, Especially in Western Oregon
Depending on location, average rainfall in Oregon can vary widely. Despite the ‘webfoot’ reputation, in a national comparison, Oregon isn’t even close to some of the wettest states for precipitation. There’s a wide range of rain here, depending on where you live. For example, some coastal slopes have seen 200″ of annual precipitation, with parts of Eastern, Oregon practically bone dry at around 5″.

Where the Beaver State makes up for it is in the average annual number of rainfall days. In other words, while much of Oregon’s total rainfall isn’t very high, that portion of the calendar with precipitation is, with Portland coming in third nationally for highest annual number of rainfall days, after only Rochester and Buffalo, New York.  But one thing’s for certain. Whether you like it or not, rain is what helps to keep much of Oregon so green and clean. And since we have all four distinct seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a while. In Oregon, it’s bound to change before long!

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon’s Population is Concentrated

3. Populations Here Are Concentrated
Oregon’s greatest population concentration is within the Willamette Valley, including cities like Eugene, Salem and Portland. Other larger Oregon municipalities include Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Bend, Medford, Springfield and Corvallis. With some exceptions, counties outside of the Willamette Valley tend to be among the less populous Oregon cities. 

Incoming! A United Van Lines 2017 Movers Study

4. Realize That Non-Natives Outnumber Natives
As discussed here in this article, less than half of Oregonians were actually born here. For those moving to Oregon, the single largest percentage arrive from California. Close behind are Washington State and Idaho. There has been an ‘anti-Californian’ sentiment among some Oregonians, but it’s not as prevalent compared to decades past, when a greater percentage of Oregonians were native born.

Oregon Real Estate

Oregon’s Crater Lake

5. Prepare for Breathtaking, Diverse Beauty
Rivers, lakes, the Pacific Ocean, mountains, forests, deserts, valleys all contribute to the grandeur of Oregon’s breathtakingly diverse natural beauty. If you take the time to truly travel the state, one undeniable fact is that many places here are quite unique.   

Oregon Real Estate

The 2016 Vote: Red=Republican, Blue=Democrat

6. Prepare for Oregon’s Rural-Urban Divide
Given diverse economic interests and political beliefs dominating in various parts of the state, there are places throughout Oregon where you’re likely to feel right at home. Left-leaning voters will probably enjoy Portland. Conservatives tend to be more prevalent in more rural parts of the state. And suburbs throughout Oregon frequently tend to provide a mix from both spectrums. However, Oregon sports other significant political groups, including Independents and unaffiliated voters.Oregon Real Estate

7. No Sales Tax
Oregonians don’t pay a sales tax, but they do pay plenty of other taxes, including a real estate property tax, plus a state income tax. Over the years, a sales tax has been placed on the ballot numerous times, with Oregonians consistently voting against it.

‘Self Service’ Gas is Less Common Here

8. Pumping Your Own Gas is Uncommon
There are now laws allowing limited ‘self-service’ gasoline under certain situations, such as in rural counties, or by joining a ‘commercial fueling network’ like Cardlock or Pacific Pride. Otherwise, Oregon law generally prohibits pumping your own gas.

Thinking About Selling, or Moving to Oregon?
For a free consultation, contact Roy with Certified Realty, your Oregon Real Estate Podcast host and a 30 year Oregon real estate veteran. Use the convenient form below to contact Roy, or call 800-637-1950.

Should You Buy A Celebrity Home?

Celebrities Who Have Called Oregon ‘Home’ Include Gino Vannelli

President Herbert Hoover. Grammy Award nominee Gino Vannelli. Double Nobel laureate Linus Pauling. Renowned chef James Beard. Neo-classical composer Ernest Bloch.  Authors Beverly Cleary and Walt Morey. Actors Sally Struthers, Frank Cady and Ginger Rogers. What do the people on this diverse list have in common? Celebrities all, they have each called Oregon ‘home.’ 

“Green Acres” Actor Frank Cady

A Brush with Greatness
Have you ever had a ‘brush with greatness?’ Perhaps you happened upon a famous person one day while on a walk, or shopping at a store. What if you were shopping for a home, then learned the seller was very well known?  How might that affect your purchase of the property? While touring, would you ‘linger longer’ out of curiosity? If you wrote an acceptable offer, might you frame the seller’s autograph?

How does one go about determining if a famous property is realistically priced? And can you expect to benefit upon re-sale, years later? For answers to these questions, find out in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast by clicking here or on the ‘play button below.


Emmy Winner/Portlander Sally Struthers

America has long been fascinated with celebrity. Some famous people garnered their fame from sports, radio, TV, movies, or the fine arts. But it doesn’t stop there. Even bounty hunters can be famous, too, as witnessed on TV. 

Famous Musician & Songwriter Joni Mitchell

The Real Estate Connection
Sometimes all that celebrities touch seemingly ‘turns to gold’ and this includes real estate. Homes owned by the famous often have interesting stories, like this article about a house owned by Joni Mitchell.
The mere fact that a property was owned, or lived in by someone well known can sometimes influence what buyers are willing to pay. But as we’ll soon see, there isn’t an easy formula to discern the affect of ‘star power’ on a home. 

‘Fame’ is a Relative Term
Many otherwise interested homebuyers don’t have the budget to operate in the seemingly ‘rarefied air’ of well known celebrities, distant from the lives and concerns of ordinary people. But just as there is a somewhat subjective (and ever-changing) star heirarchy of ‘A’-listers, ‘B’-listers, ‘C’-listers’ and even ‘D-listers,’ often the value responsible for any real estate ‘fame factor’ can be linked to a given star’s latest standing. That said, you may someday happen upon a property having a ‘brush with greatness,’ however major or minor.

Oregon Olympian Don Schollander

Degrees of Fame
While Oregon has a fair share of famous personalities (like Oregon State’s Rose Bowl winning quarterback Terry Baker, or Olympians Steve Prefontaine and Don Schollander), it’s also likely that many have not heard of those athletes, compared to others in today’s broader American popular culture. So in addition to the degree of fame, there’s also the factor of ‘staying power,’ or remaining relevant and in the public eye, over time.

Mr. Blandings’ Dream House Has An Oregon Connection

Homes Can Be Famous, Too
A house featured in the film ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’ with Cary Grant, has its own kind of ‘star appeal’ to Oregonians. That’s because 73 similar ‘Blandings’ homes were built across the nation to help publicize the film with 
one of them built on the west side of Portland. Here’s a local news story about the particular Oregon home built for promoting the film, which still stands.

Wealth Made John Rockefeller Famous, Not The Other Way Around

What is Celebrity?
Some make the case that fame is money.  Alternatively, sometimes money itself is a form of fame, as with Bill Gates, J. Paul Getty or John D. Rockefeller. To help quantify celebrity, Forbes magazine reportedly uses a detailed formula that takes into consideration income, press reports, magazine covers, TV & radio appearances, along with Internet presence. This combination of money and media raises the question of what exactly is celebrity? Given the Forbes ‘formula,’ one could make the case that celebrity has less to do with talent, intelligence, contributions to the world, or quality of character. In some cases, it’s perhaps due to money and/or media.

Olympian Tonya Harding

Controversial figures with a degree of notoriety are frequently able to successfully parlay their notoriety into some potential benefit of fame. One example is Northwest figure skater Tonya Harding, who transitioned into a short-lived boxing career. For clarity, here are some useful and sometimes synonymous definitions to consider: 

Celebrity: “A famous person.”
Famous: “Known about by many people.”
Notorious: “Famous or well known, typically for some bad quality or deed.”
Renown: “The condition of being known or talked about by many people; fame.”

For our purposes here, each of the above terms can affect real estate value. For information on a ‘downside’ of real estate notoriety known as ‘stigmatized properties,’ check out one of our previous programs here.

Portland’s Pittock Mansion

What makes a celebrity’s home different?
1. They’re larger. Square footage can be multiples of an average home, sometimes by an order of 5x or more.

2. They’re more expensive. Multi-million dollar transactions are the order of the day, with some transactions closing well into eight figures.

3. They have more amenities. Features can include a wine cellar, swimming pool, extra bedrooms & baths, guest quarters, stunning views, workout areas, or a bowling alley.

While there are certainly benefits to owning a celebrity home, there are also potential negatives, too. As seen in this short video titled ‘The Woes of Owning JFK’s Home,’ some downsides include less privacy from the public and sometimes restrictions on what changes may be made to the home, especially if a historic designation is involved.

Celebrity Homes-What You Need to Know
Simply because a home is, or was owned by a celebrity, doesn’t mean you should, or shouldn’t buy it. Cost aside, here are several factors helpful to know before you make a decision about considering a ‘celebrity home.’

1. Realize there are degrees of celebrity and one person’s awareness may be different than another’s. This applies to both people and the home itself. So, if a previous owner had a ‘bit part’ in the 1980’s film ‘Revenge of the Nerds,’ you probably needn’t worry about celebrity seekers stalking the house or occupants at all hours in search of souvenirs or a conversation with the current resident. However, if the home you’re considering buying or selling was in a different 1980’s movie, like the cult hit ‘Goonies,’ be prepared for what might be continuous attention, as evidenced by the following notice on this fan site:

 ****  Visitors are asked to view “The Goonies House” from a distance due to vandalism, trespassing and other issues.The alternative viewing site from the Riverwalk near the Comfort Suites is easily accessed and provides a great view of the Goon Docks hillside – and sea lions!  ****

2. Celebrity homes might be seen as the ‘flip side’ of stigmatized homes. Celebrity homes frequently possess an ‘otherworldly’ quality, sometimes difficult to quantify. While touring homes of the famous, it’s common to hear ‘To think that such a well known person actually slept in this bedroom.’ In a way, such tours remind us that in some ways, famous people live much like we do.

#1 Chart Hit Singer, Oregonian Johnnie Ray

Depending on the celebrity involved, you can’t always expect the market to place a major premium on certain homes associated with fame. Simply put, some prospective buyers are more enamored with a home associated with a current celebrity, or someone who had a #1 hit song like Oregon singer Johnnie Ray,  than even a former chief executive of Oregon, like Governor Vic Atiyeh. Understandably, the factor of fame may be ‘value-added,’ but to many it’s not the primary driver for a home purchase. 

Oregon Governor Victor Atiyeh

For various reasons, there’s evidence to support the point that some celebrity homes not only sell for less than the asking price, but languish on the market longer than average.

Oregon Actress Mayo Methot, Former Wife of Humphrey Bogart

Another article suggests that while a famous name can boost buyer interest in a home, it won’t necessarily ‘pump up’ the price. 

3. As with other factors (like property taxes) it’s generally a good idea not to base a home purchase primarily on a single factor, like celebrity status. You should also like the home and not ‘kick yourself’ later for overpaying.

Here are some properties that might be described as Oregon ‘celebrity homes,’ either due to the inhabitant or media coverage.

1. Linus Pauling
3945 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The Only Unshared Double Nobel Laureate, Oregon’s Linus Pauling

Oregon hasn’t raised an overwhelming number of world changers, yet Linus Pauling is one. Pauling is the only person in history to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes, the first was in 1954 for chemistry. In 1962 he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Pauling is  significant for providing James Watson and Francis Crick with the basic approach to solve the structure of DNA model-building. While not a public museum, Pauling’s childhood house still stands.  

Alpha Helix Made Famous by Linus Pauling at His House

2. Herbert Hoover
115 S. River Street, Newberg, Oregon

US President & Oregonian, Herbert Hoover

President Hoover’s boyhood Newberg home still stands at 115 South River Street on the north side of downtown and looks much as it did when Hoover lived there. Built in 1881, the home is owned and operated as a house museum and furnished with late 19th-century period furnishings, including bedroom furniture used by Hoover as a boy.

Herbert Hoover’s Boyhood Newberg, Oregon Home

3. Ginger Rogers
1,000 acre ‘Rogers’ Rogue River Ranch’ near Shady Cove, Oregon

Dancer/Actress/Oregonian Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers, the glamorous, Oscar-winning Hollywood star famous for her roles (and footwork) with Fred Astaire, bought a 1,000-acre ranch along Oregon’s Rogue River in 1940. Rogers was known to call the Oregon property “her hideaway.”

Oregon’s Scenic Rogue River

Walt Morey
Morey’s Landing, Wilsonville, Oregon

Oregon Author Walt Morey

Author of many books, Walt Morey’s popular ‘Gentle Ben’ also became famous as a TV show of the same name.

Walt Morey’s Wilsonville, Oregon Residence at Morey’s Landing

Morey’s former Wilsonville property is located within walking distance of the neighborhood’s bear-themed Morey Park and features a gated entry with a remodeled 1950’s daylight ranch style home, where he wrote some of his books. 

Actor Clint Howard (brother of Ron) with TV’s Gentle Ben

Beverly Cleary
3340 NE Hancock Street, Portland, Oregon

Oregon Author Beverly Cleary

The childhood home of children’s author Beverly Cleary is located in the NE Portland neighborhood also home to Cleary characters Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins. The house, a 1910 one-level bungalow at 3340 NE Hancock Street is reportedly one of four in Portland where Cleary once resided.

Author Beverly Cleary’s Portland home

Cleary famously used her childhood surroundings as inspiration for her books for children and young adults. The house on Hancock is just blocks from Klickitat Street, the fictional home of Henry Huggins and Ramona and Beezus Quimby. It’s also near Beverly Cleary School and the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park.

Ernest Bloch
116 NW Gilbert Way, Newport, OR

Composer Ernest Bloch

Perched on a high bluff in Newport, Oregon overlooking Agate Beach and the Pacific Ocean stands a house that was home to composer Ernest Bloch from 1941 to 1959. While a few alterations have been made, including the replacement of the main fireplace, much of the home remains unchanged. On February 2, 2009, the National Park Service declared it nationally significant, given the connection with Bloch. View more information here.

Ernest Bloch House

Thinking about selling your Oregon home? Celebrity-seeker or not, Realtor Roy Widing can help you!

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Realtor Roy Widing

Contact Roy using the convenient form below, or call 971-258-4822 for a free consultation.

Differences When Selling City vs. Rural Homes

Hear the audio podcast presentation of this article by clicking here or on the ‘play’ button below.


Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Whether You Live in the Country or City, There’s a Buyer for Your Property

Out In The Country
There’s something not only different, but truly special about being ‘out in the country.’ The sense of natural beauty, privacy and stillness is difficult to find anywhere else. The song ‘Out in the Country’ recorded by Three Dog Night embodies what many find so compelling:

Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away
I find a quiet place, far from the human race
Out in the country
Before the breathin’ air is gone

Before the sun is just a bright spot in the night-time
Out where the rivers like to run
I stand alone and take back somethin’ worth rememberin’
Whenever I feel them closing in on me
Or need a bit of room to move
When life becomes too fast, I find relief at last
Out in the country 

Vive la Différence
Given the many potential lifestyle differences among Oregonians, how about differences when selling a home? Oregonians have plenty of housing options. For many homebuyers, one main decision is whether to live in the country, or the city.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Commute Time & Affordability Are Homebuyer Tradeoffs

Meeting Buyers Where They Are
If you’re selling country property, it’s important to realize that not everyone is a prime prospect for your home. That’s because buyer considerations between country and city properties include trade-offs. Some of these trade-offs include commute time, convenience and affordability.  It’s true that home prices in general tend to become more affordable with added distance from the economic hub of cities. Yet even given a lower house price tag, with increased countryside commute times and what some see as rural inconveniences, there also tends to be a decrease in buyer demand:

Without lots of employers, wages in small towns are about a third lower than in cities,  at just $44,212 in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. That’s had a big impact on property values. Home prices have grown only 13.6% in predominantly rural parts of the country since they bottomed out in 2011, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Meanwhile, they’ve risen 25% in more populated areas over the same time period.

So while many buyers speak longingly about having ‘a place in the country,’ the reality of change is just too overwhelming for some. So they stay in the city or suburbs. For additional information about the unique aspects of selling farm property, check out our article, ‘Oregon Farm Selling Made Easy’ here.

Does this mean country property sellers are doomed to the ‘double whammy’ of fewer buyers and a longer selling period?  Isn’t there a buyer for every property? And what about other aspects of the sale, like getting a loan, appraisal and inspections. Are those different for country transactions, too? Find out more in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Population Density Map

There are a variety of definitions for the terms ‘rural,’ ‘urban’ and ‘suburban.’ For our purposes, the continuum of differences between each can be explained by relative population density. For example, while downtown Portland is clearly urban, many nearby areas are suburban, with other areas requiring longer commutes best described as rural. So whether we’re talking about Beaverton, Bend, or Bandon, many Oregon locales offer a mix of relative urban, suburban and rural areas. One handy method to separate ‘city’ from ‘country’ is the mode for which certain utilities are accessed. The vast majority of city properties are connected to both public water and sewer, while many country properties are connected to a well and septic system.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Science Confirms City/Rural Brain Differences

Dueling Dispositions
If you’re unfamiliar with wells or septic systems, you may not be a country dweller. Similarly, those who have a working knowledge of rural utilities often are not suburbanites or city-dwellers. This simple dichotomy helps to explain the different mindsets among city and country property buyers. In fact, there’s even a scientific basis to suggest different brain function among city dwellers, compared to those in rural areas.

“If You Want A Drink of Water, You Got To Get It From A Well”  Ozark Mt. Daredevils 

As you might expect, city residents tend to be less familiar with systems unique to country living. Country homesellers who hire a Realtor familiar with rural property have an advantage, because if buyer questions come up, their ‘country conversant’ agent can better address them and even ‘de-escalate’ situations where anxious buyers may not yet be comfortable with commonplace farm features and systems. Familiarity with septic inspections, water testing, soils maps and well logs constitute just a part of what professional rural property Realtors are equipped to routinely handle.

Riches in Niches
When selling country property, one significant country homebuyer niche includes buyers already living in your area. After all, they already are familiar with the area, possibly have kids enrolled in local schools and are often ‘sold’ on staying nearby to family and friends. This is one reason experienced Realtors include local advertising in their real estate marketing quiver.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Wants vs. Needs
Whether you’re selling a property in the country or city, it’s helpful to understand that every buyer usually has their own list of ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’  As you consider the sale of your home, realize a buyer’s ‘needs’ list usually represents the non-negotiable features that a property must have for that buyer to seriously consider your property.
Chief among these factors across all property types is affordability. This means if your property shares similar features with other area properties, expect buyers to compare before deciding.

Educated Buyers
Educated buyers are especially adept at adapting, rather than spending more than necessary. For example, if you’re selling a country property with 15 acres and you aren’t sufficiently competitive with your price, expect these buyers to consider that less expensive 10 acre property down the road (which may even have a slightly larger house), instead of yours.

Alternatively, if the nice 3 bedroom home you’re selling has all new appliances and flooring, but is located next to a noisy highway, expect to ‘lose out’ to sellers with less updated properties, unless your price truly reflects the market value. This is where your Realtor’s diligence and research can really pay off for you. The point is that buyers will shop, then make adjustments between properties they like. The lesson? Whether you’re selling a country or city home, don’t lose out to other, more market-friendly properties due to an overly optimistic price. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Walking Scores Matter to Some Urban Buyers

Some Common Urban Homebuyer Factors
Commute time/traffic

Quiet neighborhood
Public transportation options
Walking score
Parks & recreational venues

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

You Know Country When You See It

Some Common Rural Homebuyer Factors 
Water rights & flood insurance
Soil types
Commute Time/Traffic

Wells & septic systems
Barns & outbuildings

Internet /cellphone connectivity

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Country or City, Market Pricing is Essential for Success

Pricing Your Property
Whether you’re selling in the city or country, in order to properly evaluate your home’s market value, Realtors use ‘comparables.’ This means examining local, similar, recently sold homes that approximate your property for comparison purposes. And just like buyers vary between country & city, the mere task of accurately pricing property can look different, too.

That’s because given a significantly higher density of homes in the city, there are often many more ‘comparables’ there that have recently sold. This provides more pricing data for Realtors to work with in evaluating a city property’s market value, with the likelihood for fewer adjustments between properties.  

That’s not always true in the country. Unlike city properties, which often share similar lot and even home sizes, accurately evaluating a property’s value with significant acreage discrepancies and uses (different barn types and sizes for example), can take considerable expertise. For example, while a similarly-sized neighbor’s home may have just sold, if there’s a 10 acre difference, pricing and the likely buyer profile can vary widely.

Once you have a pending home sale, you’re not out of the woods yet. That’s because much like your Realtor’s pricing research, the required lender appraisal for country property can involve appraisers using comparable sold properties often distantly located as part of the process to determine value.

It’s therefore helpful if the appraiser assigned to your transaction is familiar with farmland, your area and also adjusting for factors like location. If there are scant comparables in the recent past, appraisers sometimes adjust for the difference in time. So if your local housing market has risen a certain percentage over the past year and comparable sold properties are few, they may use what comparables are available, then build that change in the housing market when using an older comparable.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Some Properties Have More Obvious Positives Than Others

Accentuate the Positive…
Some property factors, like location, are difficult to change. Regardless of your property’s characteristics, success is usually best found by focusing on the positives and pricing realistically to the market.

Specialty Property Premium
Just as with urban properties, country properties can have negatives, too. A history of flooding, proximity to railroad tracks, or other undesirable factors can cause the market to discount your property’s value. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

If Your Property Has River Frontage, Except A Premium

The Sunny Side
Examples of some premium factors include waterfront, water rights for irrigation, good soils, level ground and attractive outbuildings.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Horse-Friendly Properties Can Command A Premium

One important country property buyer group is for equestrian properties. As a result, if your property has an abundance of level ground, good fences and horse friendly buildings, you may have a real winner on your hands.

The Bottom Line
Working with your agent, targeting buyer niches that best fit your country property can significantly lessen market time as you move forward with your rural home sale.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Realtor Roy Widing

Work With An Expert!
Whether you’re selling property in Oregon’s countryside, city, or suburbs, contact your Oregon real estate professional, Roy Widing with Certified Realty for a free consultation using the convenient form below.

Stop Waiting for Your House to Sell

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Especially during a ‘hot’ real estate market, it’s understandable how some homesellers may wonder “Why isn’t our house selling?” Some homesellers wait longingly, certain that if the sale of their property is ‘meant to be,’ a buyer will appear. But now, given a plethora of ways to gauge the popularity and market-friendliness of any listed home for sale, you can stop waiting for your house to sell.

Click here for the podcast edition of this program, or click the above ‘play’ button.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Like Pilots, Homesellers Have ‘Levers’ to Make Things Fly

Why? Because while some real estate factors that can affect how long it takes your home to sell are difficult to change, there are certain key ‘levers’ an expert Realtor can help sellers ‘pull’ to get the job done and sell their house sooner…and without leaving extra money at the closing table.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

It Takes 2 to Tango…and 3 Steps to a Home Sale

The Three Steps to An Oregon Home Sale
If you’re currently a frustrated homeseller whose property is languishing on the market, unsold, this episode is especially for you. But whether you’re simply contemplating a home sale, or are already well underway in the process, before you examine your best options, it’s helpful to first determine at what phase in the homeselling process you currently find yourself.

What Gear Is Your Property In?

That’s because the specific factors that lend themselves to your situation can be affected by your position in the market. By position, we’re not only talking about price range and property type, because if your home is already for sale, you’re likely in one of three steps, or ‘gears.’ These include ‘first gear,’ where you receive online activity, ‘second gear,’ when showings occur, or ‘third gear,’ which is when offers appear. For more information, click here for the helpful article & podcast titled 3 Steps to an Oregon Home Sale.’ 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

A Good Realtor Can ‘Jumpstart’ Activity on your Property

A good place to start in your home sale journey is by listing your property with a Realtor proficient in effective marketing. This can include (but isn’t limited to) professional photography, complete multiple listing coverage, plus extensive promotion across marketing venues using targeted niches. With those key factors addressed, here are some ‘levers’ that sellers can use to ‘jumpstart’ buyer activity.

Flexibility Allows for More Graceful Moves

Section I:  More Flexible Factors for Homesellers
Some homeselling factors are easier to address than others. In this first section, let’s start with those easiest to work with:

We begin with ‘curb appeal.’ Realtor surveys consistently show that a majority of homebuyers won’t even go inside if they don’t find a property appealing from outside. Make sure your house looks it’s best from the street. For example, landscaping should be appealing, with obvious deferred maintenance like mismatched or peeling paint, missing shingles and malfunctioning gutters addressed. Inside, consider a good house cleaning. ‘Light and bright’ are helpful watchwords. And if clutter is your problem, a yard sale, trip to Goodwill to donate unneeded items and even a storage unit can all help to provide a sense of enlarging and tidying up your home to heighten appeal.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Avoid Giving Buyers a Sledgehammer To Use On Your Price

‘Datedness’ is another issue that some buyers will consider during their home search. It’s also helpful to remember that most buyers aren’t contractors. So unless property condition is already ‘baked into’ the price, buyers will be calculating the retail cost of having such repairs done…that is, if they have the vision to see through the condition in the first place. Many buyers simply won’t. And for those who do have some vision, by leaving much work to be completed, you’re handing prospective buyers a sledgehammer to use in pounding on your price.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

A Price Reduction (Above at the Arrow Mark) Can Boost Buyer Activity

Correct pricing ‘cures all ills.’ It’s helpful to understand that homebuyers, particularly those who are already homeowners, will perform research. As you travel up the housing ‘food chain,’ expect second, third and fourth time buyers to have a sophistication and familiarity with the process and what’s non-negotiable to them.

More experienced buyers tour more than a few homes in a given price range and after a relatively short time are pretty much ‘up to speed’ on the market. If your home is priced over what the market will bear, expect few offers and few showings, as well. If you’ve tested the market and aren’t getting much action, consider a price reduction. That’s because by your not receiving many showings or offers, understand that the market is speaking…by remaining silent.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Paint, Property Applied, is Sometimes Worth $1,000 a Gallon

There’s a saying ‘Paint, properly applied, is worth $1,000 a gallon.’ Whether it’s paint or other components that are very worn or dated, the same principle can apply to carpet and other areas of your home. One oft-considered question is if re-flooring a home will pay for itself. Not all changes will, so because the answer can vary depending on several factors, consult your Realtor for professional input on your specific situation.

Price Range
It’s reasonable to expect that activity can sometimes depend not only on your price, but also your price range. That’s because the buyer pool for ‘starter homes’ is relatively plentiful and includes residential customers, investors and landlords. The buyer pool for multi-million dollar properties, while significant, tends to be smaller, frequently with specific tastes and preferences. Regardless of the price range, buyers will appear as your price approaches the actual market value. Just remember the definition of market value:
mar·ket val·ue
ˈmärkət ˌvalyo͞o/
the amount for which something can be sold on a given market.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Homeselling Can Go Swimmingly if You Connect with the Right ‘Buyer Pool’

A few of the more usual homebuyer terms include cash, along with conventional, FHA & VA loans. One other powerful option sure to reach some added buyers is called ‘seller financing’ also known as ‘owner carryback’ or ‘seller terms.’ This is where the seller takes payments and ‘plays the bank.’ If the home you’re selling is owned ‘free and clear’ with no existing loan on it, you may be a candidate for seller financing.  Learn more about seller financing at this helpful website.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Don’t Settle for a Small Piece of the Buyer Pie

Open Up Your Terms For a Bigger Slice of the Buyer Pie
How coul
d expanding terms offered make a difference in selling your house? Simple. The more options you provide, the greater your potential for a larger slice of the buyer pie. Think of it this way.  Some buyers don’t have all cash, or a 20% down payment or even a 10% down payment. But given various government underwritten loans, they still may be able to buy your property. That’s because certain loan options, like FHA, VA and USDA are programs that make it easier on the buyer, some with very little down. As a result, by opening up the number of prospective buyers, you enhance your odds of a home sale. There is a greater chance of finding a buyer, given a larger number of prospective purchasers able to get a home loan.  

Section II: Less Flexible Factors for Homesellers
Unlike the above factors, here are some of the more difficult seller factors to change:

This one’s a biggie. Unless you’re selling a truly mobile home, your options are more limited in this area. That’s because location is what helps define ‘real estate.’ Location includes factors like view, waterfrontage, fronting a busy road or highway, school or park. For some buyers, access to public transportation is helpful, or even a must. Most locations will have pluses and minuses to different buyers. When comparing homes, buyers also frequently ‘trade-off’ certain factors, including location. For example, while a home may be located closer to where a buyer works, if it’s on a busier than average street, some buyers will opt for proximity to work, while others who want less traffic will decide to keep looking.

Not Every ‘Conga Line’ of Prospective Buyers is this Jovial

Room Flow/Floorplan
While removing a non-weight bearing wall may ‘open up’ the feel of a room or floor, a home’s floorplan and room flow is one of the more challenging changes homesellers can make. One reason is because it can be expensive and another is because it may not make enough difference within a given price range and buyer group. Another trade off is in what’s lost. For example, opening up a floor by removing a wall may create a better sense of spaciousness to some, but it can also reduce privacy for certain other buyers having different needs.

For Some Buyers, Two Stories is a Tall Order
Alternatively, many seniors and those approaching that stage in life simply won’t consider a two story house. There will be exceptions of course, but this means if you’re selling a home that isn’t single level, it’s most likely that your target buyers are not necessarily seniors.

I once sold a nice home on small acreage located right next to a seemingly laissez-faire neighbor about her own property’s appearance.  However, my seller clients were very fastidious about upkeep both inside and outside and hoped to sell for the most money possible. So while I indeed sold their nice home on small acreage, it came only after a conga line of buyers voiced doubts about the ‘unkempt’ neighbor’s property next door.

While property taxes can be appealed, frequently they are unlikely to change greatly. The same can be said of HOA’s, also known as homeowner association dues and related fees. If your home has extensive CC&R’s (codes, covenants and conditions) or onerous home owner association restrictions and/or expensive fees, you have less flexibility outside than within the walls of your house, since HOA’s and CC&R’s typically ‘run with the land.’ With exceptions, both can be difficult to change or remove. As a result, it can make more sense to work within those factors you can more easily control.

Bankers Look at Things Differently

Lender Requirements
If you have a one bedroom home with no heat source, expect lender issues. Likewise, if your property is located in a recognized high risk flood zone. Another example is if your property has an ‘improvement to land ratio’ that’s outside usual loan underwriting guidelines. That’s because for risk purposes, should the lender need to foreclose, then sell the property, lenders typically want the bulk of value to be in the home and related improvements, not in the land.  Ask your Realtor if lender requirements are likely to be an issue in your situation. When lender requirements are an issue, it can be more challenging to sell your property.

Economic Factors Can Have Local, Regional & Global Impacts

This includes macroeconomic market factors like interest rates and microeconomic market factors like inventory. As you might imagine, there’s not a lot a homeseller can do to influence such metrics.

Haunted Houses Are One Example of Stigmatized Real Estate

Stigmatized property is property with a detrimental reputation. Buyers can respond quite differently to the same stigmatized property, as each stigma is unique. Most commonly, the stigmas include a crime, death or other activity perceived as undesirable associated with a particular home. For more on this topic, check out the Oregon Real Estate Podcast episode on stigmatized properties here.

Oregon Realtor Roy Widing

Selling Your Oregon Home?
Selling your home needn’t be a hassle. For a free consultation on what your property could sell for in today’s Oregon real estate market, contact Roy with Certified Realty using the convenient contact form below or call him at (971) 258-4822.

I Have An Offer On My House – Now What?

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

A Successful Home Sale May Include Both A ‘Yellow Brick Road’ But Also Some Water Hazards

Selling a home usually involves a considerable amount of planning. And like many activities, with homeselling there is a beginning, middle and an end. So somewhere approaching the mid-way point in the homeselling process and well before you reach the ‘finish line’ of closing, you’ll receive at least one offer. But what happens then?


Questions 67 And 68
There are literally dozens of questions sellers can have about the process of homeselling upon receiving an offer. Some common questions are:

Is the first offer usually the best one? 

Should I make a counteroffer?

What costs will I have?

How long will my property be off the market before closing?

How are Realtors and my existing home loan paid?

Learn the answers to these questions and more in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast titled ‘I Have An Offer On My House – Now What? Click here or on the ‘play’ button above.

Oregon Real Estate

Real Estate 101
An offer tells you what a buyer is willing to pay and under what terms. There are essentially three options for you to consider once you receive an offer on your property:

1. Accept

2. Reject, or

3. Counteroffer.

Helpful Hints
It’s important to confirm the expiration date on any offer, in case the buyers may have other properties in mind. Sometimes, ‘if sellers snooze, they lose.’ You may want to address several items before responding to any offer you receive. These include:

  1. Confirm the offer includes a lender pre-approval or pre-qualification
  2. Determine if the offer is subject to the sale/closing of the buyer’s property
  3. Review specific terms within the offer that stand out or are unusual
  4. For legal questions, forward your offer to a real estate attorney for review

Is the First Offer Usually Best?
There are various factors to determine what constitutes the ‘best’ offer and that can vary among sellers. For some, the best offer is the highest price. To others, the best offer will involve price, but also other factors frequently important to sellers, like how fast the sale can close, or if there is no expectation that repairs will be requested. 

Often, it’s virtually unknowable if the first offer is the best, particularly if your home has been on the market a very short time. While first offers frequently are the best, sometimes first offers are simply from faster moving buyers who are highly motivated, which is also usually a good sign. But it’s entirely possible that a second, third or fourth offer, if it does come in, may be from more qualified buyers and/or from those willing to pay a higher price under more generous terms. How can this be so?

Buyer Timing
Consider that during their property search phase, many home buyers take vacations or have other obligations. In addition, the Realtors of these buyers are similarly busy, as well. So it’s not uncommon for homebuyers ‘on the hunt’ to be unaware for the first week after your property hits the market. So unless both the buyers and their agent are available to tour your property at the same time, it will likely be viewed later, rather than when it is placed for sale.

In the meanwhile, other buyers who aren’t on vacation for the moment (or don’t have a sick child or other obligations) may be looking precisely when your home is placed for sale. This means that if the average market time is say, a month, it’s helpful to realize that if you get an offer the first week, you’re likely priced fairly close to the market. Will other buyers come along? It’s impossible to know with 100% assurance, but if your home is truly market-priced, other buyers are extremely likely to come along in due time.

After having ‘tested the market’ for a while with little action, if you then receive an offer, that may be a better indicator of whether the offer is likely the best. That’s because once you begin to significantly exceed the average market time for homes similar to yours, it’s likely that your home was not underpriced, but even possibly overpriced. That first offer you receive may very well be the best you’re likely to get, at least without making a price change or waiting a significantly long time.

When to Consider Accepting an Offer
If the offer is at, above, or close to your asking price, plus the buyer(s) appear well qualified and there are no major factors of concern, it’s frequently a good idea to consider accepting the offer. Don’t be in a hurry, but don’t tarry too long either. And if other buyers have expressed interest, now may be a good time for your Realtor to reach out to other agents and let them know they may miss out. Sometimes that will ‘jumpstart’ other offer activity and even engender a ‘bidding war,’ the dream of many homesellers.

When to Consider Counteroffering
It’s common for buyers to make an offer that’s close, but not quite workable. This is why counteroffers are used. Items contained in a counteroffer change and supersede those from the original offer. Examples of changes might include price, or having three days to move out of the house after closing instead of one, perhaps altering the closing date, whether or not an heirloom chandelier is included with the sale, or a myriad of other factors.  If the offer is close to what you want and you aren’t aware of other qualified buyers willing to better the offer you’ve received at that time, a counteroffer can make a great deal of sense.

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Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’

Philosophy of the Counteroffer
One helpful philosophy to adopt when you consider using a counteroffer might be to ask yourself how you’ll feel if the buyers simply ‘walk away’ and purchase a different home. If you’d regret that scenario, then it may be best to simply accept the offer as written. However, if there is something in the offer you seriously need changed and you won’t ‘second guess’ yourself afterward, that’s often a clue to make a counteroffer. One other approach (with both an upside and downside) is to accept the offer as written without changing it with a counteroffer, then follow up with an addendum. However, it’s important to consult your Realtor to discuss appropriate options and risks.

What if the Offer Seems Low?
If you receive a seemingly low offer and your property has been on the market for longer than the average market time, consider having your Realtor research similar properties that closed since yours was placed for sale. This can help confirm if the seemingly low offered price is truly low, or perhaps closer to the market than you first thought.

You might also review homes now with a pending sale, but not closed. Because while closed sales provide specific selling price information, the fact that a property now has a sale pending suggests it may have been priced ‘close to the market’ and can therefore be helpful in confirming if your current offer is ‘in the ballpark,’ or perhaps a bit lower than the market might bear.

When to Consider Rejecting an Offer
If the offer is very low, from unqualified or marginally qualified buyers, or perhaps contains contingent clauses you simply prefer not to deal with, a simple rejection may be your best response. Such ‘closing the door’ on an offer is likely to end the discussion. However, don’t be surprised if the same buyers return with a better offer, particularly if they’re really motivated.

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Time Keeps on Slippin’…
In our region, it’s routine to receive offers containing a 10 business day home inspection contingency. If your offer contains one considerably longer, like 20 days or more, understand this provides the buyers with a huge ‘weasel clause’ where they can potentially ‘back out’ with little inconvenience or expense on their part. This means while your property is ‘tied up,’ the buyers risk very little, since in most inspection contingencies, the return of earnest money is ‘baked in’ to the offer.

In this scenario, your property is off the market and unavailable for purchase by other, possibly stronger and more motivated buyers. This makes a good case for limiting the home inspection time period to a reasonable amount. But being ‘off the market’ to other possible buyers for up to 10 business days is a calculated risk and considered a necessary part of selling, as the buyers perform their due diligence, such as inspections and review of the preliminary title report.

Back Out Boogaloo
It’s difficult to prevent with total confidence, but if your buyers ‘back out’ of the transaction once you accept their offer, that added time on the market while you search for a replacement buyer is an additional expense in hassle and potential hard costs. That’s because with a ‘sale fail,’ you continue to pay property taxes, plus possibly mortgage payments and insurance, too.  And if interest rates creep up in the meanwhile, you may lose the best chance to find very many qualified buyers. Such situations create what is called opportunity cost, which is the price you end up paying when making one choice over another. Namely, by choosing one option, you lose out on what could have happened with the other foregone choices.

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Frontiersman Daniel Boone

As with Daniel Boone, the great frontiersman and marksman whose father reportedly gave him only one bullet for bringing home dinner, try to ‘make your shots count.’ This means vet the first offer and buyers you choose to work with carefully. Because while you’ll most certainly get a second chance with another if the first buyer doesn’t works out, it’s usually more pleasant to make the first offer work that you accept. 

The Problem of Price
A ‘good offer’ can be expected to approximate the list price. This confirms you probably priced the house correctly. If the offer is less than you hoped for, again, consider it as a whole. Perhaps the buyer is assuming some of the closing expenses. Consider possession and financing terms, as well. If you can’t get past the difference between what you’re asking for your property and what’s being offered, you might also consider appealing to fairness by ‘splitting the difference.’ Some sellers agree with the theory of ‘I’ll meet you halfway, that’s better than no way.’

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‘Read Print That’s Fine Before You Sign’

A Sample Case Study in Reviewing Offers
Once you receive an offer on your house, it’s important that you and your agent review it carefully. A general principle to keep in mind is to consider each offer as a whole and here’s why. Let’s say you receive two offers.  One offer from Buyer #1 is for your full asking price. Another offer from Buyer #2 is for $3,000 less than asking price. At first glance, there may seem to be little question about which buyer to work with. The difference is all in the dollars, right? Not so fast.

That’s because upon looking closely, your Realtor notices a few potential game-changing factors. For while Buyer #2’s “less-than-full-price offer” isn’t quite the figure you’d hoped for, Buyer #2’s offer gives you an extra two weeks of rent-free possession of the property after the transaction is closed. That alone could provide you with two weeks of less stress for moving out, which is certainly worth something to many homesellers.

Then when reviewing the seemingly full price offer from Buyer #1, you realize she’s asking for $8,000 in seller-paid closing costs. On the other hand, Buyer #2’s offer asks you to pay for none of his closing costs. On top of that, Buyer #1 hasn’t sold her home yet, so her offer is also subject to the sale and closing of her property. As a result, Buyer #1’s offer now looks ‘iffy’ at best. The lesson? Look beyond the initial price and review the entire offer. 

What Costs Will I Have?
When you receive an offer, your Realtor can provide you with a seller’s estimated net sheet. This itemizes your costs and provides you with an approximation of the amount you can expect to receive at closing. Homeseller costs can vary, but typically include the real estate commission, usually only paid upon the successful close of your home sale. Other usual fees in the estimated seller’s net sheet include title insurance, plus title company escrow and recording fees, along with any remaining taxes not yet paid and any existing home loans you may have on the property. 

How Long Will My Property Be ‘Off the Market’ Before Closing?
This is a great question and the short answer is ‘it depends.’ To be clear, the term ‘closing’ typically connotes the transfer of funds from buyer to seller, along with a near simultaneous recording of the deed.  Because a home purchase involving a mortgage lender can easily take a month or longer, the closing date is often dictated by completion of the appraisal, loan  underwriting and processing. 

Short & Sweet
If a cash buyer makes an offer and the transaction either goes swimmingly, and/or there is a short ‘due diligence’ period, it may be possible to close a home sale within ten days, or even less. 

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Roy Widing, Oregon Realtor

Thinking About Selling?
Do you have homeselling questions? For a free consultation and to learn what your Oregon property could sell for in today’s market, contact your Oregon real estate professional, Realtor Roy Widing using the convenient form below.

Secrets Your Realtor Knows

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Who’s Got A Secret?
On many Realtor property listings, there are one or more sections reserved for ‘private remarks.’ This private information is usually intended for real estate agents. What are these ‘private’ remarks and do they include information potentially helpful to buyers? And why are these remarks private? 

Find out in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast here or press the ‘play’ button above.

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Property Information Basics
A ‘listing sheet’ or ‘MLS printout’ is property information accessed by licensed real estate agents or appraisers from a multiple listing system, or MLS. Two of Oregon’s largest MLS systems include the Portland-based RMLS and Salem-based WVMLS. While these two separate systems are indeed based in Portland and Salem, they each serve significantly broad regions, serving much of Oregon.

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‘Inside’ Baseball
Without getting too deep into Realtor minutiae, as a rule of thumb, public remarks are commonly used for general property information and private remarks are sometimes reserved for items helpful to agents in performing their job. Some of the comments marked ‘private’ are best not disclosed, except on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Standards of Care
It’s helpful to understand that Realtors are taught to exercise ‘standards of care’ with multiple listing information. Therefore, privileged remarks marked ‘private’ command caution by real estate professionals, since some of the information is provided with an expectation of privacy and discretion. 

Realtors May Not Be Angels, But They Are Sometimes Told Secrets

Realtor Duties
In addition to guiding buyer clients on a home tour, some other Realtor duties include common courtesies, like knocking first before entering,  returning keys after accessing any Realtor lockbox, leaving a business card to let a seller know the home was shown and securing the home upon exit. In the course of performing their duties, it’s frequently helpful for Realtors to know certain details about the property, along with any specific showing instruction preferences. Not all of these details are necessary for buyers to know. But if the power is off, you can imagine how helpful it is for Realtors to be aware ahead of time that it’s best to show such properties during daylight.

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Along with these common courtesies, Realtors are entrusted to maintain privacy and protect both buyers and sellers, even if they are not formally representing them. The adage ‘first, do no harm’ is applicable in both medicine and real estate. It’s also helpful to know that before becoming an Oregon Realtor, prospective agents are vetted by the state. They also undergo a criminal background check, which includes a mugshot and having that agent’s fingerprints on file. As a result of being approved to work with the public, Realtors are expected to exercise good judgment with any information deemed private. For more information on the trustworthiness of real estate agents, check out the article and podcast ‘Can I Trust My Realtor?’ here.

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For Your Eyes Only
Some examples of private information commonly provided to agents might include where a Realtor lockbox is located on a home, such as the front door, the back door, or a natural gas meter pipe. This kind of helpful information can save time, especially when a house tour is made in Winter at night.

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Realtor Lockbox

The occupancy status of a home is important for Realtors to know, too. That’s because if a home is vacant, it’s a good idea not to broadcast that fact, lest it become a target for opportunistic thieves. Other private information might include personal seller and/or tenant phone numbers, if a 24 hour tenant notice is necessary to show the property, if the home’s occupant is a ‘day sleeper,’ along with simple warnings, like ‘beware of dog,’ or ‘please don’t let the cat out!’  Occasionally, specific information directed at agents may also be helpful to buyers. This might include if there’s a home repair underway but not completed, if there are repair bids available for viewing, along with many other possible helpful details.

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For The Record

Some home information is public record, though it’s not always easily found. Otherwise, private notes by a seller’s Realtor, along with a seller’s property disclosure form, can provide buyer’s agents with some
foreshadowing of what to expect before touring a home. This can save time and inconvenience.  For example, is the house not financeable? Are there foundation, roof or other repair issues? Imagine touring a home at night, when viewing roof and siding condition can be especially tricky.

Is the house a cosmetic fixer-upper? Does it have strong pet odors? Is the house located right next to a cemetery? Realtors working with buyers appreciate such information, in case certain non-negotiable factors won’t work for their client.  

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The State of an Estate
One helpful fact for the seller’s Realtor to mention is if a property being sold is held by an estate. Making note of this in a private remarks section can help real estate agents better manage expectations. That’s because i
n the case of an estate, a buyer’s Realtor is then in a better position to explain to the client that expecting a response to any offer within hours, or even a day may not be practical.

With some estates, families need time to make decisions as a group. In addition, the personal representative/executor/executrix may live out of the area, or the sale could require input from an attorney who may not be available on weekends. The bottom line is that certain helpful pieces of information can provide Realtors with a notice of what to expect when crafting an offer and counseling buyers. 

Sample Private Remarks Section
Sometimes information in a private MLS remarks section will include little in the way of confidential material. Instead, it will help provide Realtors with the kind of information designed to help determine if it’s a good ‘fit’ for their buyer client:

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The above remarks inform Realtors that unless their buyer has cash and is willing to take on potential repairs for a ‘fixer’ home, this property may not be a good match for them. Because time is a rare commodity among real estate agents, such ‘shorthand’ comments can prevent a Realtor from spending half a day or more driving to and from a distant property, only to determine that the property is a poor ‘fit’ due to condition and seller requirements.

One type of private remark Realtors sometimes see on a listing sheet is when a specific prospective buyer is ‘excluded’ from a listing. It’s helpful for agents to know a given buyer has shown interest prior to a home being placed for sale.
Why is this helpful?  It prevents Realtors from unknowingly representing someone who already has an understanding or agreement in principal with a seller and also places Realtors on notice of a potential purchaser for the property. Because buyer ‘exclusions’ frequently have a certain time frame in which the excluded party may make an offer once a property is placed for sale, a buyer’s agent may suggest waiting until the excluded party’s time limit is ‘up’ before falling in love with the property. That’s because sellers sometime make ‘sweetheart deals’ with an excluded party, especially if there is already an established relationship in place, or if they’re related to such a prospective buyer.

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Few Sharks in These Waters
Most Realtors are honest. Yet is there something inside a Realtor’s ‘private remarks’ section being withheld from you that you absolutely need to know? Probably not. In addition, Oregon real estate disclosure laws are clear. While there are a few disclosure exemptions among sellers who are trustees, banks, or those who receive a property via foreclosure, if there is a known property defect, in Oregon sellers are obligated to disclose it. As a result, it’s helpful to understand that there is a balance between maintaining the safety and privacy of a seller or tenant and providing a buyer with necessary information in order to make an informed home purchase.

What Property Disclosures Are For
With few exceptions, Oregon homesellers are supposed to disclose items like if a house has faulty wiring, a leaky roof or a basement that floods. And while this information might sometimes be found in an MLS ‘private remarks’ section, more commonly it’s on a seller’s property disclosure form. However, sometimes negative information in hidden places isn’t shared by sellers with their Realtor, or even known by the sellers themselves. Examples might include dry rot under floors or seasonal standing water inside a crawl space.

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Stigmatized Properties
Not everything a buyer would like to know is necessarily disclosed in a seller’s property disclosure form. Let’s take, for example, the case of stigmatized homes, which we covered in this previous Oregon Real Estate Podcast program.
  In Oregon, it’s not required that sellers disclose that someone died inside a home. So just because something like a death inside a home isn’t required to be included in a property disclosure form or in an MLS ‘private remarks’ section is no assurance that buyers may not want to know it.

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Rather Than ‘Take It To The Limit’ Like the Eagles, Some Realtors Provide Limited Representation.

‘Take It To The Limit’
Sometimes private remarks include mention of a seller having ‘limited representation’ by a Realtor. This isn’t super common, but it alerts a buyer’s real estate agent of whom to contact in certain instances.

As you may suspect, limited Realtor representation is different than when a seller receives full service representation. Full service is where a seller’s Realtor oversees key aspects of a home sale. Instead, limited representation is an arrangement where usually in exchange for a lower fee, a seller is ensured inclusion in a Realtor MLS (multiple listing system), but frequently little else. So in exchange for that negotiated reduction in commission, the seller essentially agrees to ‘play Realtor’ and otherwise handle the multiple duties of a real estate agent. This often includes marketing the property, scheduling showings, pre-qualifying buyers, reviewing offers, dealing with the buyers’ lender and appraiser, coordinating with the title company and basically everything except placing the property in the Realtor MLS.

After the Sale
Realtors are often contacted by appraisers after a home sells, because in the course of their work, appraisers use sold properties as comparables for a current appraisal they may be working on. If a Realtor hopes to lessen those calls from appraisers verifying specific transaction information, some agents insert related comments into the private remarks after the transaction closes. This might include verbiage like “There were $6,700 in seller paid closing costs for this sale.”  Podcast Oregon Real EstateAgent Commissions
Another area separate from the ‘private remarks’ section that is intended for Realtors alone is the commission paid to the buyer’s agent, also known as ‘buyer’s agent compensation,’ or BAC. This lets the buyer’s Realtor know what they will receive upon successfully closing that transaction.

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A Highwire Act
It’s helpful to know that agents sometimes walk a bit of a ‘tightrope’ when handling ‘private’ Realtor remarks, which are sometimes released on a ‘need to know’ basis. Maintaining a seller’s privacy, while disclosing to buyers the information they need requires Realtors to exercise good judgment and common sense.

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Roy Widing, Oregon Realtor

Thinking of Selling Your Oregon Real Estate?
Using the convenient form below, contact Roy with Certified Realty, host of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast for a free consultation on what your property could sell for in today’s market.

How 2 Realtors Become ‘Policemen for a Day’

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Working as a real estate agent presents some interesting situations. Here’s one story you probably haven’t heard before. It includes my being deputized, or ‘sworn in,’ since a local, short-handed police force is about to commence a house eviction.

Click here or on the ‘play’ button below for the complete audio podcast presentation.

This Happened to Me!
A fellow Realtor and I had been asked by our seller client to assist with the removal of squatters on her property and also make homeselling suggestions prior to her placing the home on the market.  As a result, we were told to meet police at the property to assist with access, so the house could be vacated. Little did we know that we would not just assist with access, but were also about to become deputized as temporary police officers!

As promised and on time, we drove down the unimproved gravel road into a sketchy part of SE Portland and arrived in front of our seller client’s house. To be clear, let’s call that neighborhood extra sketchy, because along with that rough, gravel road in the middle of the city, imagine a ‘run down’ neighborhood with ‘cars on jacks’ nearby front yards, to get a better picture.

We dutifully introduce ourselves to the waiting Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputy and are told he’s waiting for ‘back up.’ Now our ‘extra sketchy neighborhood’ meters are really going off. Why do we need backup?

We wait a bit, then are told that the requested Portland Police contingent asked to stop by for ‘back up’ is unavailable. Eventually they arrive, but not before the ‘fun’ begins. We’re then asked to raise our right hands and are sworn in. That’s right, deputized. There in the parking lot. Two mild-mannered Realtors now represent law enforcement.

After our knock on the door, we enter the house. From there, pandemonium ensues. The scene turns surreal as a gun is located, along with much hollering and a wandering pregnant lady is led out of the house to safety. Yet much more commotion is about to occur, only this time not in the house. Under the house.

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A Trap Door & More
During a much earlier tour of the house before problems developed, the owner had revealed a rather unusual ‘trap door’ above an unfinished basement, located under a main floor rug in the kitchen. Later, additional officers arrive, including Portland Police. S
tanding in the kitchen, I review my notes. I recall the ‘trap door’ and mention it to a nearby deputy.

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How Low Did They Go?
Law enforcement appears readily interested in this new ‘trap door’ information. So with a group of officers circled around the ‘trap door’ with guns at the ready, the door is lifted. Staring up at us from under the house are several people, including one rather dazed looking fellow, who suddenly bolts out of view. But there doesn’t seem to be anywhere they can go, trapped under the house in the unfinished basement. In due time, each suspect seemingly comes up out of the hole to the unfinished basement. At least that’s what we think. Believing they have everyone captured, a police officer proceeds to hammer the ‘trap door’ shut with nails, ensuring no one gets in…or out.

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Police Officer with Bean Bag Shotgun

Bean Bags Aren’t Just For Kids
Later as the police are about to leave, one officer is insistent a particular person they’re seeking is still in the home. Yet they haven’t found him. ‘He must be here somewhere,’ the officer insists. This has him prying open the previously nailed access area.  As soon as the ‘trap door’ is lifted, the officer yells ‘We’re going to send the dog in.’ No response. Again he yells ‘We’re going to send the dog in.’ Still no response. If the fugitive thinks they’re bluffing, he’s about to be sorely mistaken. That’s because a police dog is lowered and released into the basement. That quick canine has their man in a flash. A ‘bean bag’ round helps complete his capture.

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In all, we count 7 police cars, 11 trespassers (including several convicted felons), 1 K-9 unit and a bean bag round. Local TV news covers it all. It’s not every Realtor who can truly be called ‘Deputy Dad’ by his kids. So now, whenever someone suggests real estate must be a boring ‘desk job,’ I ask if they’d like to hear my Realtor story about a house in SE Portland.

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Oregon Realtor Roy Widing, CRS

Thinking about selling your Oregon property? Go with results! Contact expert Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty for a free consultation using the contact form below, or call him at 800-637-1950 today.

How Much Will It Cost to Sell My Home?

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Cost Is A Consideration When Selling Your Home

 A common homeseller question is ‘How much will it cost to sell my home?’ Hear the audio podcast presentation of this article by clicking here or on the ‘play’ button below.

Multiple Factors
As with the sale of most things, there are a few factors for homesellers to consider. One of the usual seller costs includes a real estate commission, plus factors like title insurance, escrow and recording fees. There are other attendant costs, too, like the ‘hassle factor’ and moving expenses.

Spoiler Alert: The answer to the question of how much it costs to sell your home is, ‘it depends.’

Why is this the case? Well, for starters, Realtors frequently work using different commission rates. On top of that, you don’t always know with precision every single cost you may incur as a homeseller, such as negotiated home repairs. Yet despite all this variability, sellers can still receive an estimate of the cost to sell their home from a Realtor and while sometimes it’s within a given range, that estimate is typically close to reality.

First, let’s focus on specific hard costs to actually sell your home. When considering your ‘bottom line,’ it’s important for homesellers to include in their calculations any liens (like an existing home loan, home equity line of credit, or unpaid property taxes) that need to be paid at closing.

Price vs. Cost 
In selling a home, it’s helpful to understand the difference between price and cost. Here’s a summary for homesellers to consider when looking at most efficiently selling their home for the least cost:

Price = The ‘sticker’ amount of what you’re buying, like hiring a Realtor to sell your home.

Cost = What you stand to lose if you don’t consider your return-on-investment.  For example, if the agent you hire does a poor job, you can:

1. Lose time (say goodbye to opportunities like that particular ‘dream home’ purchase you planned to make, since you expected your home to quickly sell before someone else got it).

2. Receive less buyer activity and fewer offers.

3. Experience frustration (lost sleep, headaches and more).

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Cheap Dentists & Realtors Are Often Hardly A Bargain

For example, if you find a dentist to work cheaply, but end up with an infection or need to pay another dentist to get the job done to your satisfaction, the case can be made that a cheaper price is hardly a bargain. That’s because the cost can be significantly higher than the price you initially agreed upon. 

Commissions Are Negotiable
The Realtor fee to sell a home is usually called a ‘commission.’ Regarding the real estate commission amount, because Realtors are independent contractors, if you ask more than one real estate agent, you may receive a few different answers. This article gives one attorney’s view of a Realtor’s value. A Realtor fee is truly the free market in action. Cream ‘rises to the top,’ so better agents usually are paid as much (sometimes more) than less experienced brokers, who may be less successful and/or offer fewer services.

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Give Me A Number
By far the most common commission arrangement is that unless your home actually sells and closes, no real estate fee is paid. According to this 2017 article, the average prevailing commission for a home sale is about 6%. That said, you can expect the majority of professional agents to approximate each other. The commission amounts quoted are likely to be different, but so is the service and expertise of the agent. Like you, Realtors only have 24 hours in a day. When an agent is working with you, that’s time he or she could be spending with another client. And because commission sales are a results-based, expect to pay a competitive rate to hire a successful Realtor.

This isn’t so surprising, since if you were to pay for a doctor’s visit, a home furnace service call, or a mechanic to fix your lawn mower, there is usually a range of what is considered reasonable.  Similarly, throughout our region that range can vary. This explains why it’s difficult to provide a precise and accurate dollar figure on seller costs when selling a home. It can also depend on the property itself.

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Don’t Get Burned On Your Next Transaction

Feeling The Burn
Expect ‘bargain’ commission rate quotes from less experienced or desperate agents. Also expect a low quote from less diligent agents who may simply stick a sign in the yard and either hope it sells, or intend on ‘beating the seller down in price’ in order to increase their odds of eventually being paid.  If a ‘churn and burn’ attitude is not what you want, consider working with a helpful consultant type Realtor who actually represents your best interests and doesn’t use ‘strong arm’ tactics. To summarize, if a commission seems to good to be true, it probably is. In the end, you may pay considerably more than you bargained for, to become someone else’s ‘on the job’ training.

The Volume Discount
If a property is priced very low, such as a vacant lot located in a small and distant town, commissions frequently are higher to help make up for an agent’s considerable time and effort. Why? Consider that the real estate commission on a $25,000 lot can be around 1/10th of a $250,000 home, yet both require plenty of paperwork and attention to detail. Marketing the $25,000 lot may even take considerably longer and involve more sheer work. To attract a good, diligent agent may require paying a bit more in the real estate commission to adjust for the reality of that Realtor’s lost opportunities with other more lucrative properties while selling yours.   

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How A Lower Commission Hurts Homesellers
The thought that sellers are potentially damaged by a lower commission paid to their Realtor is counter-intuitive, right? Think again. Here’s an example using the above 2017 statistic of 6% as the ‘average’ Realtor commission.

Real estate is a business. And because Realtors are salespeople, they expect to be paid what they’re worth. This is especially true of experienced agents who are typically among the best at their profession. So let’s consider a seller, Mr. Jones who wishes to save some money. As a result, he talks with several Realtors and finds one willing to work not for 6%, but 4%. Great for Mr. Jones, right? Possibly not and here’s just one of numerous reasons.

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Not All ‘Splits’ Include A Banana

Doing ‘The Split’
It’s helpful to understand that the Realtor representing Mr. Jones doesn’t typically get the entire commission, regardless of the amount. It’s common for commissions to be split four ways. There are exceptions, but here’s how the commission distribution usually breaks down:

1. Part to the seller’s Realtor
2. Part to the seller’s real estate company
3. Part to the buyer’s Realtor
4. Part to the buyer’s real estate company.

Given such a ‘split,’ no one is getting rich and compared to the national average of 6%, suddenly a 4% commission is looking pretty skinny. Here’s why that matters.

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False Economy
Commission ‘splits’ or distribution can vary, but if the Realtor and company working with Mr. Jones receive around half of the commission, or about 2%, that leaves a less-than-customary 2% commission to be shared between the buyer’s Realtor and the firm they represent.

Why does that matter?
Because the buyer’s Realtor can easily look at the listing sheet and see precisely what commission is being offered to the buyer’s agent who writes an acceptable offer for the home of Mr. Jones. If the commission structure pays a percentage or two less than what that buyer’s Realtor is accustomed to receiving for selling a home, expect a tepid response, or possibly no response at all. After all, there are frequently other homesellers who ‘pay the going rate,’ whose homes are just as easy to show and sell.

Given this usual similarity, it’s not difficult for a buyer’s agent to get enthusiastic for those homes that pay what is seen as a competitive commission. So much for Mr. Jones ‘saving’ money. That’s because the end result of a lower commission could instead be fewer showings, a longer market time and diminished offer activity on his home. Remember, a main reason for multiple listing is to get more offers for a seller’s property. It’s generally a good idea not to work against that principle. Pay professionals a market rate and you usually won’t regret it.

Homeselling Methods
There are different ways to sell your home. The most common and (usually most profitable) is to hire a full service Realtor. Another method is to go it alone, ‘by owner.’  Yet one more alternative is to work with a ‘discount broker.’  Let’s look at each of these scenarios to see which might be right for you.

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Even After Paying A Commission, Sellers Make More Money With A Realtor

Homeselling ‘For Sale By Owner’
If you do decide to try selling your property by yourself, you will soon realize there are good reasons why even real estate agents pay a commission to sell their own homes. That’s because in addition to taking on a second job, from a ‘bottom line’ standpoint, hiring a Realtor is usually the most profitable way to go. 

The irony for ‘by owner’ homesellers is that in their attempt to save money, they frequently ‘leave the most money on the table.’ That’s because ‘by owner’ is often the least effective and most expensive way to sell your home. Since your property isn’t in the Realtor’s multiple listing system, you can expect to have far fewer qualified buyers aware of your property. Fewer buyers means less competition and less offer activity.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Home & Personal Security
Before offers, come showings. This brings the security of yourself and your possessions into play. Realtors routinely scrutinize buyers before agreeing to represent them. Don’t like the idea of unscreened and unaccompanied strangers in your house? Then selling ‘by owner’ may not be for you. The simple fact is that working with a Realtor provides one more layer of scrutiny and seller security. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

A Good Realtor Detects Potential Transaction Landmines

‘By owner’ sellers routinely must deal with ‘tire-kickers’ who are unqualified to buy and therefore can be a significant waste of time. And if you do happen to get an offer when selling ‘by owner,’ there’s no Realtor to deal with under-handed offer tactics, contingency ‘landmines’ and other potential pitfalls, plus no documents to help protect your interests, such as the arbitration and mediation clause. As a result, lawsuits can become more of a likelihood. Didn’t complete a property disclosure or lead paint form? Don’t know a good repair contractor? Dislike ‘legalese’ in documents you’ve never seen? If you plan to sell ‘by owner,’ be prepared for some expensive surprises.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Fraudsters Are Usually Smooth

Convicted fraudsters can appear very unassuming. Some ‘sketchy’ buyers take advantage of ‘for sale by owners’ too. That’s because there is often less buyer competition, since you’re not in the Realtor multiple listing system and therefore buyers typically have both time and less buyer activity working for them.  If you happen to be a real estate attorney with a ‘hot property’ that has buyers knocking on your door and you have it priced right, plus you don’t mind doing a lot of legwork, going ‘by owner’ may work for you.

Want A Second Job?
But if you already have a full time job, want maximum exposure and a professional to assist in pricing, marketing and transactional minutiae, involving a Realtor simply makes sense. Remember, sellers with a Realtor net a better return at closing compared to ‘for sale by owners.’ Some of the most parsimonious banks realize this. As a result, financial institutions routinely hire real estate agents to sell their REO (real estate owned), which are often foreclosed properties.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Discount Restaurants Aren’t Always A Bargain-You Get What You Pay For

Homeselling by Discount Broker
For homesellers, a step up from ‘for sale by owner’ is the ‘discount broker.’ Some consider it akin to a low budget buffet, the kind where the food and service may find you walking away wishing you’d gone somewhere else. You could get lucky, but don’t be surprised if you get heartburn, instead.

That’s because while you’ll now probably be placed in a Realtor multiple listing system, a potential downfall is a possibly reduced commission paid to buyer’s Realtor. Unless you’re paying the buyer’s Realtor a competitive rate, don’t expect agents to rush to your door and sell your property. On top of that, some discount broker agreements require the seller to handle showings, negotiate the transaction on their own and even handle much of the paperwork. So much for being easier!

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Homeselling by Full Service Realtor
This is the ‘full meal deal.’ You’re in at least one multiple listing system, have full representation, plus the abundant resources of a licensed professional at your disposal. Showings are followed up on, paperwork is handled on your behalf and you can expect priority to be made for your questions and scheduling.

The Bottom Line
Because any commission charged by your Realtor is only one piece of the seller’s ‘net at closing’ puzzle, it’s a good idea to request an estimate of closing costs, including real estate commission, prior to listing your property. This provides you with a better picture of what to expect at closing. This is a free service provided by Realtors and helpful in gauging an approximation of the funds you can expect at closing. 

See Additional Articles & Podcasts Like This:
10 Reasons Why Homesellers Hire a Realtor
Why Does My Realtor Do That?
7 Strategies to Sell Your Your Home Sooner!
The Art of War for Homesellers
3 Steps to an Oregon Home Sale

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Roy Widing, CRS Realtor

Thinking About Selling?
Consider working with full service Realtor Roy Widing with Oregon’s Certified Realty. For a free consultation of what your Oregon property could sell for in today’s market and your ‘bottom line’ of seller’s proceeds at closing, use the convenient contact form below or call 800-637-1950.

Can I Trust My Realtor?

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Most Realtors Are Thankfully Law Abiding

Before entering into a business relationship, it’s helpful to know your real estate agent is nice, patient, available when needed…and honest. So while many of us assume we’re ‘safe’ in the hands of our doctor, attorney or pastor, what about your Realtor? Find out here, or use the audio player below for this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.

Due Diligence
Sadly, as seen in this news report, not all real estate agents are trustworthy. However, some preliminary work has already been performed by the state of Oregon confirming a real estate agent is sufficiently trustworthy to work with the public. These include a state screening, which involves a criminal background check, fingerprinting and mug shot.  This data is submitted for review by the Oregon Real Estate Agency (OREA), which also provides regular updates about investigations in their insightful publication Oregon Real Estate Agency News Journal.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

John Dillinger Proved Robbers Wear Ties

Of special note is the OREA ‘Administrative Action’ section, which provides information about decisions regarding Oregon real estate violations. The resulting consequences to untrustworthy real estate agents could include a reprimand, license suspension, license revocation and/or a civil penalty. So while no screening process is foolproof (as witnessed by crimes committed by doctors, attorneys and other professionals), the state of Oregon does considerable due diligence to vet real estate agents.

As part of the application process to become an Oregon real estate agent, any felony and misdemeanor convictions and arrests must be disclosed. The disclosure requirement is fairly high, because in addition to any criminal activity, also requiring disclosure are any administrative proceedings, plus civil and even financial issues. For example, if a prospective Oregon real estate agent has an unsatisfied judgment or bankruptcy, each must be disclosed.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Whom Can You Trust?

A Matter of Trust
Trust is an important factor when buying or selling real estate. Thankfully, trusting your Realtor is not super risky. That’s because consumer surveys consistently reflect a high level of satisfaction with Realtor performance.  One study by Forbes magazine revealed 96% satisfaction for the real estate industry. So if many real estate agents were dishonest, we could expect that figure to be much lower. 

This doesn’t mean blindly signing off on every suggestion one receives from their Realtor. But obsessively hand wringing over transaction minutiae is one sure way to make the process less enjoyable. A recommended approach is for Oregon homebuyers and homesellers to carefully read all documents, ask plenty of questions and work with a recommended professional with a solid track record. 

Trust For Homesellers
Looking at trust from a seller’s perspective, for starters there’s significant trust needed to deal with buyers. For instance, trust is needed to allow strangers in your house. There’s also trust in taking your property off the market, in the hope a sale will go through. And trust in finding a replacement home.

Trust For Homebuyers
Trust is needed for homebuyers, too. Trust is necessary in working with a lender and that the discomfort of prequalifying will be worthwhile. Trust they’ll find a home they like and can afford. Trust their lender will come through.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Trust For Both Homebuyers & Homesellers
So what do homebuyers and homesellers share in common? Trust. And there is perhaps no greater trust that homebuyers and sellers have in common than in their Realtor.

After all, your Realtor is someone you expect to be there to help navigate your way through what is frequently the largest financial transaction of a lifetime.  Similar to an attorney or priest, Realtors are expected to keep confidences.

But let’s first look at a few situations which underscore why it’s important to be able to trust your real estate agent.

  1. Trusting your Realtor means you don’t have to second guess suggestions you receive. Let’s take pricing your home, for example. If you can’t trust your agent to provide meaningful comparable home activity information, how can you possibly expect him or her to advise you once an offer comes in?
  2. Trusting your Realtor means you can breathe easier with less stress. Buying or selling a home is considered to be a particularly stressful activity. In addition, most homebuyers and homesellers don’t want to take on real estate as a second job, especially when making a house move. So expect that by having your bases well-covered by a professional you can believe, you’ll find the entire process far less taxing. If a Realtor is ‘pushy’ and won’t listen to your concerns, it’s likely a good time to find a new one.
  3. Trusting your Realtor means you can access his or her reliable resources.
    Speaking of taxing, if you need recommendations for an experienced 1031 tax exchange professional, or real estate attorney, or home inspector, or mortgage lender, or home repair contractor, expect those recommendations to be even more valuable from a trustworthy agent. 
  4. Trusting your Realtor means you can focus. There’s usually enough to deal with throughout the course of any real estate transaction. Dealing with lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, title companies and the like can be overwhelming. As a result, you’re more likely to be far more effective if you can concentrate on what you’re best at, while having your real estate agent handle what he or she is best at.
  5. Trusting your Realtor means more time. Just like you can expect to have more time to go fishing if you hire a contractor to build your new deck, working with a trustworthy real estate agent allows you to do other, more enjoyable tasks than scheduling a home inspection, constantly dealing with escrow details, or meeting an appraiser.     
Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Chemical Equation for the Explosive Called TNT

Relationship Chemistry
Trust is easier when there is good ‘chemistry’ between a Realtor and their clients. When seeking an agent to refer for out of area homebuyers or homesellers, there are many things I can readily confirm. These include an agent’s years in business, designations earned, coverage area, plus areas of specialty like homes, farms or commercial property. 

As a result, I’m frequently able to locate a very good Realtor to ‘match’ with an out of state homebuyer or seller and it’s not always difficult.  That said, the one challenging element to know with certainty is the ‘chemistry’ that even a highly qualified, out-of-area Realtor will have with a new client.

People are different and that includes real estate agents.  Most times relationships work out swimmingly with the referred agent. On rare occasions, it doesn’t work out. But going in and at least on paper, the homebuyer or homeseller who interviews a previously unknown, yet vetted Realtor, knows the agent is qualified and experienced, along with some important other facts about him or her. Plus, knowing these facts up front is typically less risky than taking a ‘shot in the dark’ with an unknown agent.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Does The Company Matter?
Because agents are independent contractors, the individual Realtor is who typically matters most. After all, you don’t expect a faceless corporation to answer your late night question, or go over the details of your settlement statement. For example, I don’t care that much about what hospital I go to, but I want to have a say in the surgeon who will do the operating. Similarly, it’s the individual agent who is in a position to make the most difference, whether from a small or large office. However, longevity of a real estate firm can be helpful in determining that they are probably doing something right.  So if a company you’re considering has been in existence for half a century or more, they’re likely not a ‘fly by night’ outfit.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Alternative Agent Finding Methods
One of the ‘little secrets’ about real estate online is that they’re often paid ads. Realtors frequently buy what are known as ‘leads’ online. Examples include Zillow and even Sometimes this is done by the agent buying incoming inquiries regarding a specific zip code. Sometimes, the agent pays for better placement on a real estate website page in order to stand out.

If you decide to use a magazine or the Internet to locate an agent, it may be best to consider that as a first step of information gathering. Promotional materials can be misleading and if carefully crafted, can leave out a lot of important information. For example, if an agent is brand new, he or she may focus on how many agents their company employs, personal community involvement like donations to charity, or sponsorships. While these could be nice facts, they may not have a lot to do with the agent’s proficiency, professionalism, or trustworthiness. 

Referrals Are Built on Trust
One good way to find a trustworthy Realtor is to ask people you trust and get a referral. The ‘proof is in the pudding,’ so if your friend or family member is happy with a specific real estate agent, there’s a good chance for a similar repeat performance.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

What Color Hat Does Your Realtor Wear?

White Hat or Black Hat?
One area where certain real estate agents are sometimes revealed to be wearing either a ‘white hat’ or ‘black hat’ is in the area known as ‘dual agency’ or ‘disclosed limited agency.’ This is a situation when an agent with a listed property also works with the buyer. To be clear, most Realtors are aboveboard and honest, continually looking out for their client’s best interests.

That said, the challenge to some agents comes when the agent attempts to ‘elbow aside’ other buyers, their agents and/or offers, in order to push his or her offer through. Why on earth would a Realtor push hard to get their offer accepted, since it’s all about simply selling the house, isn’t it? Not exactly. That’s because if the listing Realtor also sells your home, they typically get paid more.

Oregon Agency Pamphlet

Realtor Agency Pamphlet

Dual agency is well known as a potential minefield among ethically challenged agents and as a result, the State of Oregon, the National Association of Realtors and the Oregon Association of Realtors all have rules in place to help prevent its abuse.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Dueling with Dual Agency
In Realtor circles, the topic of dual agency has proponents and detractors. As a result, don’t expect every real estate agent you run into to have the same opinion. In reality, dual agency can be a very good thing, as seen in our previous article titled “5 ‘Insider Oregon Real Estate Tips.’ There, the topic Having A ‘Double Agent’ Can Be A Good Thing ranks as item #1  out of the five items listed. The advantages to having an agent on both sides of a real estate transaction are clear.

The result, good or bad, can significantly depend on your agent’s trustworthiness. 
For example, hurriedly accepting the first offer can work out. That’s because sometimes the first offer is the best offer. Alternatively, acting without as much available information as possible sometimes comes at significant expense to the seller, who may be urged to quickly accept the offer their listing (seller’s) agent has written. The problem is that the listing Realtor can be expected to reasonably know how much activity there is on the property for sale. Again, trust is key here.

Plus, given the amount of agent and buyer activity, along with the quality of inquiries (such as highly motivated, qualified buyers), the seller’s Realtor may have even heard comments from other agents about possible future offers. So by pushing his or her own offer, is the listing Realtor providing the seller with all known information in order to truly serve the seller’s best interest? Sometimes the only person to seemingly know the answer is the listing agent. This Harvard Business Review article notes why this can be a problem:

“Take cheating. Claremont McKenna psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have conducted many experiments on the topic, and one surprising (if disheartening) result we have found, time and again, is that 90% of people—most of whom identify themselves as morally upstanding—will act dishonestly to benefit themselves if they believe they won’t get caught. Why? Anonymity means no long-term cost will be exacted. Even more startling is the fact that most of those who cheat also refuse to characterize their actions as untrustworthy; they rationalize their behavior even while condemning the same in others…”

More than once, an honest real estate agent working with a highly qualified and motivated buyer has inquired about a property, even written up that buyer’s offer, only to have the listing agent hurriedly put together his or her own offer and submit it to the seller in order to ‘tie up’ the property (and presumably make more money), before other offers can be considered. It’s a fact of the real estate business and as a result, unethical agents develop a reputation and are often viewed warily by others in the business.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The ‘Commission Effect’
If all these elements don’t sufficiently complicate the task of finding a trustworthy Realtor, there is also a phenomenon you might call the ‘commission effect.’ This is outlined in a previous article titled ‘5 little Known Realtor Insider Tips:’ Realtors Can Calculate Their Paycheck by Viewing a Property Listing Sheet. This means that for agents truly focused on maximizing their payday, you might expect them to guide you toward homes that pay a higher commission structure. However, the listing sheet is typically only seen by multiple listing members. Thankfully, most Realtors simply don’t do business in this manner.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The Bottom Line
President Ronald Reagan sometimes used the term ‘Trust, but verify’ during his high level negotiations. This old Russian proverb could be a  helpful approach to grant you peace of mind in finding a trustworthy agent for your next real estate transaction. Do your research and ask family and friends for Realtor references. Be open and honest, then make your best decision based on relevant, reliable information for your situation.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Roy Widing, Oregon Realtor

Do you have an Oregon real estate question? Contact Roy with Certified Realty today for a free consultation using the convenient form below, or call him at (800) 637-1950.



Finding Your Real Estate Superhero

To adults and kids alike, superheroes seem to have time-tested appeal. Some think it’s because they look different. Indeed, some superheroes dress uniquely. Others believe superheroes represent the ‘good guy’ and these days, we can always use more good guys and gals.  Yet others suggest that superheroes are in the rescue business and we all have an area in our lives where we could use help. Whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that superheroes hold a unique place in our imagination.

Click here or on the above play button to hear the audio podcast of this article.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Clark Kent Could Have Easily Passed As A Realtor

Do Real Estate Superheroes Exist?
Fighting bad guys is an expected vocation for a superhero. So how could there possibly be real estate superheroes? And would they use x-ray glasses to view inside homes to find potential problems, carry an anti-kryptonite pen to protect against real estate ‘evil doers,’ or hold their trusty multiple listing lockbox keycard in a utility belt? 

The Realty Reality
While not superhuman, some real estate agents stand far apart from others. And when hundreds of thousands of dollars are literally on the line during your next home sale or purchase, chances are you’ll feel better throughout the entire process when working with a truly ‘super’ Realtor. But is it possible to easily locate a terrific real estate agent that’s not only experienced, but also dedicated, plus recognized for excellence among his or her peers? Find out in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

‘Superhero’ Defined
Superheroes are considered to be more than mere heroes, in part because their achievements transcend what is humanly possible. Superheroes are often portrayed as heroes with extraordinary, superhuman powers. So while no Realtor is superhuman, in comparing performance, it’s clear that sometimes a single real estate agent can outperform several other, less productive Realtors.  There are different reasons why this is true and part of it relates to the ‘Pareto principle,’ better known as the ’80-20′ rule, where 20% of a group is frequently responsible for as much as 80% of the results.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Some Superheroes Have a Handy Utility Belt to Get the Job Done

What’s In Your Utility Belt?
Effective Realtors are more likely to avail themselves of advanced tools on behalf of their buyer and seller clients.  But it doesn’t stop there. That’s because in addition to ‘high tech’ expertise like sophisticated monitoring of real estate activity for their clients, a ‘superhero’ Realtor also combines it with ‘high touch.’ This means they help buyers and sellers with access to not only their own specialized experience and knowledge, but also to an often vast and diverse network of other experienced professionals, such as reputable mortgage lenders, roofers, 1031 tax deferred exchange experts, electricians, surveyors, title companies and repair firms.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

“Luke…I Am Your Appraiser”

But Why Even Hire A ‘Superhero?’ 
In considering the use of your own real estate ‘superhero,’ it helps to understand what they’re able to achieve better than other Realtors. After all, why use a ‘superhero’ when any old hero will do?

To begin, it’s helpful to understand that an agent is your representative. He or she advises and acts in your best interest, which includes ‘fighting’ on your behalf. So who or what might a real estate ‘superhero’ fight? Enter the real estate ‘super villain.’ In Oregon real estate, you’re not likely to run into comic book characters or movie baddies like Darth Vader, Lex Luthor or The Joker. Instead,  the kind of ‘super villain’ behavior you’re more likely to encounter is both real and potentially ‘deal-killing.’

The potential list of treacherous adversaries is long. Issues that could put the kibosh on your real estate transaction (while potentially costing you a lot of money) include dry rot, deferred maintenance (think leaky roof), a poor home inspection, title report issues, a low appraisal or a picky loan underwriter. 

If you’re a homebuyer, you can add certain challenging homeseller attititudes to the potential list of transaction implosions and if you’re a homeseller, you might include certain ham-fisted home buyer attitudes. The bottom line is that in order to deal with a multiplicity of potentially detrimental factors affecting your home purchase or sale, it’s clearly best to be prepared. And when you’re knee deep in transaction challenges, that’s not the time to wish you were working with someone more qualified.
Oregon Real Estate Podcast

It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s The CRS Realtor
There are literally millions of real estate agents and as you might expect, not all of them are the same. As with any profession, experience, proficiency and dedication to clients can vary widely.

Most Realtors are indeed capable of providing good service, reasonable counsel and some helpful information. The fact is however, that some Realtors have considerably more experience, training and better results. It’s also undeniable that CRS designees are equipped to provide their home buying and home selling clients with advanced real estate insights, knowledge and competence. CRS holders hold an average of double the experience of Realtors without the Certified Residential Specialist designation. This illustrates a clear track record with elite standing.

Oregon Real Estate

Realtors Holding the CRS Designation Outperform Those Who Don’t

But what differentiates a real estate superhero from other real estate agents? Here are a few examples.

X-Ray Vision
Because CRS Realtors are experienced and complete far more transactions than the average agent, many times they see can through and avoid problems, before they occur. This helps prevent missteps from an agent’s ‘on the job training.’ 

Benefits Beyond A Single Transaction
Another key benefit to working with a CRS Realtor is their networking advantage. So whether you expect to buy or sell in Oregon, or if you’ll have a real estate transaction in another state, the CRS referral network is a proven way for you to connect with another ‘high caliber’ Realtor who holds the CRS designation. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Speaking of High Caliber: Faster Than A Speeding Referral
The CRS organization has an entire system devoted to a virtually seamless referral system for buyers and sellers who seek a super Certified Residential Specialist Realtor. For example, I recently received a phone call from an Idaho CRS agent working with buyers from Oregon. These buyers found their ‘perfect’ Idaho home and needed to sell their Oregon home in order to purchase the Idaho property. The Idaho CRS Realtor suggested they work with a local CRS agent to most effectively sell their Oregon home. Mere minutes upon receiving a phone call from the Idaho CRS agent, I was in contact with these Oregon homeowners, then proceeded to list and successfully sell their property, all in short order.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Only 3% of Realtors Have Attained The CRS Designation

You May Never Have Met A CRS
It’s hardly surprising if you don’t recall ever meeting a Certified Residential Specialist. A CRS Realtor is in the top 3 percent of real estate agents in the United States. That means 97% of the Realtors you’re likely to run into aren’t a CRS. So what makes working with a CRS so much better?

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Clinical Specialization Meets Bedside Manner
To put the topic of Realtor proficiency in another context, if your 5 year old has a broken arm, do you want a pediatric orthopedic specialist to examine, accurately diagnose, then properly set the youngster’s bone, or would any young intern fresh out of medical school be your first choice?  After all, both are doctors. A similar principal applies to selecting an agent. The surprising thing here is that in choosing your next Realtor, it typically costs the same or less to go with the professional having more experience and proficiency. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Similarly, there’s an understandable difference between an agent who just received a real estate license and one who has been diligently working full time in the field for decades. But taking it another step beyond mere experience are those who hold  accreditation for advanced real estate performance. The CRS designation isn’t easy to earn. It involves what is usually a multi-year advanced course regimen, plus documented real estate production and typically years of ‘in the field’ real estate experience. These recognized levels of education, training, production, time-tested experience  and provable success amount to a higher standard of achievement.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

A Bundle of ‘Keys’ to Your Next Real Estate Transaction
To most Oregon homebuyers and homesellers, one key to a Realtor’s stellar real estate performance is consistent performance. Another is experience. Yet one more is education. The advantage to you as a homebuyer or homeseller in working with a CRS Realtor is that you get the entire bundle of keys and reduce your chances of being ‘locked out’ in your next transaction. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The Answer:
While the usual term for CRS is Certified Residential Specialist, some might consider agents holding this esteemed real estate degree as being more of a Certified Real Estate Superhero. That’s because it takes a lot to attain the CRS designation and the positive results of working with a CRS designee speak for themself. Some have even compared CRS credentials as akin to the CPA of real estate.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Roy Widing, CRS Realtor

It’s Your Move
What if there was a way you could locate a real estate ‘superhero’ for your next Oregon transaction? Thanks to the CRS referral network, there actually is an easy way to find a ‘super’ Realtor, no matter where you live. Perhaps the simplest is to contact a CRS, like Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Roy Widing, CRS with Certified Realty. If you’d like to reach a CRS Realtor in a different state or region of the United States, Roy can connect you with a number of qualified Certified Residential Specialists near you and at no charge. From there you can interview one or more CRS Realtors and make your own decisions. 

Do you have real estate questions? Contact Realtor Roy Widing, CRS using the convenient form below.

What James Bond Can Teach You About Oregon Real Estate

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

With That Suit & Tie, James Bond Resembles A Well-Mannered Realtor

Compared to the life of famed superspy James Bond, buying or selling Oregon real estate is dull and monotonous, right? Au contraire. You might be surprised to see how such a  comparison actually sizes up.

Click here or on the play button above to hear the audio podcast of this article.

Not So Mundane, After All
How could the seemingly routine tasks associated with Oregon real estate possibly compare to the life and adventures of ultra-suave Agent 007? Initially, it seems like a ridiculous question. Of course Bond’s life is far more treacherous, risky and ‘on the edge,’ right? As we’ll soon learn, not exactly. Buyers and sellers of Oregon real estate have a lot more in common with the famous spy than first meets the bullseye.

Oregon Real Estate, Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Real Estate is More Daring Than You Might Think

Deceptively Daring
Many actors have played Agent 007 in film, yet each brings to the Bond character their own unique imprint on the multi-faceted Bond persona. But while each person playing 007 is unique, in every iteration of the well-known agent we recognize Bond’s uncanny ability to ‘land on his feet’ and ‘avoid being bested,’ while inching (or sometimes speeding) toward his well-defined goal. Let’s examine some of the super spy’s cinematic character traits and how they might relate to your next Oregon real estate transaction.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast, Oregon Real Estate

Spies & Realtors Both Use Photography to Their Advantage

Turning The Tables
To an Oregon homebuyer or homeseller, ‘landing on your feet’ might not equate to jumping from a high rise building. Instead, it might mean effectively dealing with endless surprises…like a low appraisal, or poor home inspection.  It’s helpful to understand that one of Bond’s classic techniques is to shift bad odds to his advantage. Your way to ‘avoid being bested’ may not mean beating the tables at Monte Carlo like James Bond. Instead, it might be skillfully negotiating the terms of your Oregon home transaction. And to an Oregon homebuyer or homeseller, Agent 007’s ‘inching to his goal’ could simply mean patiently completing key tasks in order to close the sale. It’s nice to know that unlike the production of a Bond film, Oregon homebuyers and homesellers typically complete their ‘mission’ substantially under budget and in a relatively short time span, with no loss of life or limb. This makes you arguably ‘better than Bond.’

Diamonds Are Forever…And So Is Real Estate
Here are some factors that make the so-called ‘average’ Oregon homeseller or homebuyer more daring than even Agent 007. 

Agent 007 is frequently seen as daring and a tremendous risk taker. But while it’s true some of Bond’s actions are potentially perilous, it’s helpful to realize that his risks tend to be thoughtfully calculated. 007 is usually well-armed, whether that means carrying his Walther PPK, or preparing mentally for the task at hand. If he’s without a gun, James Bond is able to adapt and improvise, like using a fire extinguisher in the middle of a firefight to provide cover and escape.

You Don’t Need A Gun to Effectively Buy or Sell Oregon Real Estate

Charmingly Disarming
But if James Bond gets into a ‘jam’,  he usually has his trusty sidearm to help take care of business. Yet using a small caliber handgun to get your way is not an option for Oregon homebuyers and homesellers. As a result, your options are limited to less obviously coercive means than Agent 007 can wield. Requiring the use of ‘wits, not weapons’ takes certain things off the table for you, since Oregon real estate demands non-lethal resourcefulness. By having to use safer and more creative methods of persuasion, it’s fair to say that once again, the average Oregon homeseller or homebuyer is arguably ‘better than Bond.’

Oregon Real Estate

Reducing Risk Can Pay Off Handsomely

Casino Royale
For an example of Bond’s risk reduction techniques, have you ever seen Agent 007 gamble great sums of his own money on a dice throw? The usual answer is ‘Not a chance.’ That’s because Bond virtually always plays with his government’s money, not his own. Yet you on the other hand, as an Oregon homebuyer or homeseller, are laying your very own hard-earned capital on the table.  So once more, in comparison you can arguably be seen as ‘better than Bond.’


Even Agent 007 Might Find Oregon Real Estate Challenging

Oregon Real Estate Tip #1 From James Bond: Maintain Your Humor
A superspy like Agent 007 doesn’t  constantly walk around like a tough guy. It’s actually quite the opposite.  Bond knows how to work a room and deliver a well timed joke. ‘Breaking the ice’ to disarm and/or relax the other side with a joke takes some guts…especially when someone means you financial or physical harm.  

Savoir-faire is a French term that roughly means: knowing what to do in any situation. Those with savoir-faire respond appropriately in a wide variety of circumstances. One dictionary reference suggests savoir-faire as demonstrating “a polished sureness in social behavior.” In other words, classic James Bond behavior, whether it’s disarming a bad guy, nuclear device, or flawlessly ordering the best item off a French menu.

Oregon Real Estate

Ordering in French is an Acquirable Skill

Savoir-faire can be adapted to Oregon real estate, where a wide variety of ‘tough to predict’ situations occur with surprising frequency.  For sellers, this could mean having a buyer’s loan fail, possibly due to buyer disqualification like a credit score drop, or job change. Or perhaps your home needs a new roof and there simply isn’t sufficient equity to pay for it. Or there’s rampant dry rot. Or severe mold. You get the idea.

How 007’s Savoir-faire Can Work for Oregon Homebuyers and Homesellers
A prepared and practical approach to problem solving is what both James Bond and successful Oregon homebuyers and homesellers bring to the table.  Agent 007 is able to adapt and navigate in almost any environment, whether he finds himself in a high-stakes casino in Monaco, a posh ski lodge in the Swiss Alps, or a poor fishing village in Asia, Bond knows what to do. When buying and selling Oregon real estate, you can adapt and navigate in different environments, too, including such changing factors as housing inventory (which can indicate if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market) and fluctuating interest rates.

Just realize that no matter how things appear, some factors and outcomes are not completely determinable and sometimes virtually unknowable. For example, let’s say you’re selling your Oregon home and have three offers on the table to consider. In this scenario, let’s suppose all buyers appear well-qualified and each offer is very similar to the others. Which one do you decide to accept? Which will actually close? Which buyer will be reasonable to work with? Which lender will have even-handed underwriting and not require needless delay or costs?  Working with your Realtor, you can reduce risk, perhaps by focusing on how much each buyer is willing to pay, their down payment (where a larger down payment makes it easier for them to get a loan) and even the earnest money deposit and time to your closing date. Such an analysis can help boil things down to those that might make the most difference.

Oregon Real Estate

Oregon Real Estate Tip #2 From James Bond: Always Have a Backup Plan
The key is to limit your downside risk by making the best decision possible under the circumstances and remain alert. For example, if after accepting one offer on your Oregon home, the buyers begin loudly complaining about minor issues, have your Realtor stay in touch with other prospective buyers who expressed interest. That way, you keep the door open for a ‘Plan B’ and later, possibly a ‘Plan C’ if initial buyers bail on your home sale.

Oregon Real Estate

James Bond Defines Debonair

Agent 007 is often described as debonair. How can that possibly apply to your next Oregon real estate transaction? There are varied definitions to the term debonair, but related terms include courtesy, graciousness and having a sophisticated charm. These traits can be powerful and disarming when dealing with the other side on a home sale. An example of courtesy might mean allowing buyers to schedule a tour before closing for measuring room dimensions or determining paint colors. Being gracious could mean as a buyer you allow the home sellers an extra day to move out, particularly if their moving van broke down. Sophisticated charm might mean leaving a box of chocolates or champagne after you sell a home for when your homebuyers finally move in.

Small details perhaps, but such activities are often long remembered. If after moving out, you remember leaving priceless heirlooms in the attic of your former home, imagine how much nicer it will be to request the return of your precious items from the current owners with whom you’ve been civil and friendly. They are also more likely to even contact you if they find something you mistakenly left behind.

Oregon Real Estate

Oregon Real Estate Tip #3 From James Bond: Secrecy
There’s good reason undercover agents are also known as secret agents. ‘Don’t let them see you sweat’ is an adage Agent 007 works with aplomb. So you don’t want to lose out on your home purchase and are willing to substantially increase your offer, yet don’t want to overpay? Keep those cards discreetly close to your vest and understand that by doing so, you’re modeling James Bond, who can definitely keep a secret. He’s a spy, after all. 

Though James Bond can swagger with the best of those who hold the ’00’ license to kill designation, he’s usually discrete and avoids attention or bragging about his prowess.  Such meekness is supremely beneficial in situations to disarm adversaries, while catching them off guard.  Agent 007 doesn’t often talk about how many people he’s put in the hospital, or his annual income. Simply by observing him, it’s clear Bond has gravitas.

Having courage when buying or selling Oregon property doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear. It does involve pushing that fear aside to rise above whatever obstacle you are facing. Agent 007 pushes himself out of his comfort zone to face serious fears on a daily basis. This gets him used to feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable. As an Oregon homeseller or homebuyer, once you desensitize yourself to fear, it will become easier to perform courageous acts, like counteroffering that offer you really don’t want to risk losing, or agreeing to substantial repairs in order to pass a home re-inspection and close the deal.

Be Patient
In the middle of a real estate transaction, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. To be successful, it helps to have a well defined plan executed with patience. You also should allow sufficient time for your plan to work. For example, if you’re an Oregon homeseller who doesn’t receive an offer in the first few days on the market, understand that if you’ve already examined the latest market data and the average market time is measured in months and not days or even weeks, realize your anxiety may be premature. Keep cool.

'Q' Often Keeps James Bond Out of Trouble

‘Q’ Is On Bond’s Team to Keep Him Out of Trouble

Consult An Expert
When buying or selling Oregon real estate, it doesn’t hurt to have an experienced Realtor as your own ‘Q’ to keep you out of difficult situations. An experienced real estate broker is someone who has been ‘over the road,’ thereby saving you needless expense, time and worry.

So rather than having Bond’s sidekick ‘Q’ demonstrating gadgetry and armory (like a blowtorch on Bond’s Aston-Martin convertible), Oregonians can rely on the calm, cool and collected experience of a proven Realtor to more successfully navigate pitfalls sometimes found in regional real estate. 

Do You Have Oregon Real Estate Questions?
Contact Roy with Certified Realty using the contact form below, or call him at 800-637-1950.

Oregon Real Estate’s Magic Number

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Superabundant Oregon Real Estate Information Can Seem Like Drinking Water From A Fire Hydrant

TMREI: Too Much Real Estate Information
Sometimes absorbing the sea of Oregon real estate information is more like drinking from a fire hydrant. Yet, out of all the seemingly helpful real estate data bandied about, there is one especially helpful number, which when understood, can provide near-magical clarity to both homebuyers and homesellers.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

You Needn’t Be a Magician to Understand Home Inventory

What Is It?
What is this ‘magic’ number and what does it represent? Simply put, it’s the current figure for housing inventory, typically expressed in months of projected home supply.

Listen to the audio podcast presentation of this helpful program on Oregon real estate by clicking here or on the above link.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Real Estate Inventory is Different Than Bingo

Housing inventory is also sometimes known as home inventory or housing backlog. Why is this number so important? Once you understand the single figure that defines our current supply of local available Oregon homes for sale, you have an instant ‘snapshot’ on whether you’re in a buyer’s market, seller’s market, or more of a balanced real estate market. Armed with that information, you’re far more ready to do battle in the real estate trenches and more likely to avoid some usual minefields. 

Normal Home Supply
Among real estate experts, a ‘normal’ range for home supply in parts of Oregon is frequently cited as somewhere between three to six months. For example, if the home supply figure is three, then hypothetically our market would be ‘out of homes’ in three months, provided no new homes were placed for sale. In other words, if our regional home inventory figure is within three to six months, we’re typically experiencing a normal market, meaning one not far from a balance of supply and demand, also called equilibrium. In a way, it’s kind of like an absorption rate for how fast supply is used up.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Your Mileage May Vary
It’s helpful to understand that home inventory figures are more of an average for a region. In Oregon, major real estate regions include Portland, Bend, Eugene, Salem and the Oregon Coast. So if your property is located in Beaverton, you’re likely to use the Portland area figure as the bellwether for housing backlog. If your home is located in Keizer, you’re likely to see the Salem inventory figure as the closest approximation of local home supply. It’s also likely that your specific area could be somewhat different altogether, based on a variety of hyper-local factors affecting both demand and supply. That said, home inventory is a convenient ‘thumbnail’ sketch to help assess what kind of market you’re in.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

What’s The Practical Impact of Housing Inventory?
Consider real estate and inventory like a pipeline. If more flows through it, the product is plentiful and therefore the cheaper it is to buy. So with a lower, dwindling home supply and the spigot turned down, the reverse is true. That’s when the local real estate environment favors sellers, because there are more buyers and it’s considered a ‘seller’s market.’ In that case, expect a short market time and an environment where homesellers receive multiple offers, often at or above listing price. If the supply of homes is higher, it’s considered a ‘buyer’s market.’ This means you can expect a longer market time, with homesellers seeing few, if any offers…and frequently for less than the asking price.  

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Negotiation is Expected, But Most Homesellers Don’t Like ‘Armwrestling’ With Buyers

It’s routinely a good idea for buyers to get a ‘heads up’ before making an offer to determine how ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ the market is. Otherwise, if you ‘lowball’ a just-listed home in a seller’s market, you may be lucky to even get a counteroffer instead of an outright rejection by sellers experiencing lots of calls and showings on their property. Coming in with an offer that’s too low sometimes causes offended sellers to refuse to seriously consider a possible follow up offer.

oregon real estate podcast

The Number of Competing Homes for Sale Affects Market Time

What’s the Big Deal About Housing Inventory?
One reason housing inventory is so important is because it helps buyers and sellers to better manage expectations. Most buyers are interested in how long it may take to find the ‘right’ house. Inventory affects this. Alternatively, most sellers are interested in how long it may take to find a qualified buyer. Inventory affects this, too.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Homesellers Can ‘Jumpstart’ Activity With Accurate Pricing

That’s because a high home inventory tends to slow down the market time and low inventory frequently provides a ‘jump start’ to activity. One way sellers can help to avoid an excessively long market time is to review comparable local home sales information provided by their Realtor to ensure proper, market pricing.

Another reason housing inventory is crucial is because it can significantly impact so many other important factors. In other words, inventory is a ‘driver’ for market time, selling price, appraisal results, lendability and more.

Okay, So Inventory Is Important. What Does It Look Like?

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Sample Home Supply in Months

The above image provides a good example of fluctuating home inventory. As Oregon’s real estate market bounced back from the severe market downturn of the Great Recession, the home inventory for some areas reduced from more than 20 months of housing supply to less than three.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

It’s Wise to Consult An Experienced Realtor Before You Leap Into the Market

Contact the Experts
Thinking about selling your Oregon property? Know the market before diving in! Contact veteran Oregon Realtor Roy Widing with your questions and for a free consultation on what your property could sell for today using the contact form below or call (800) 637-1950.



10 Reasons Why Homesellers Hire A Realtor

There are many good reasons why homesellers hire a Realtor, including the handful of sellers who first try the ‘for sale by owner’ or ‘FSBO’ route. Here are ten of the most common reasons why homesellers hire a Realtor to get the job done right. 

Hear the audio podcast version of this presentation by clicking here or the link above.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Selling Your Own Home? Prepare Yourself for Wearing Many Hats.

1. Selling Your Home ‘By Owner’ Means Taking on a Second Job.
Most homesellers are busy. So before attempting to sell property on your own, first ask yourself if you’re prepared to wear some extra hats. That’s because in addition to (1). preparing your property for market and (2). finding a replacement dwelling, along with (3). the task of actually moving, selling your home involves (4). abundant planning, (5). serious paperwork, (6). negotiation skills, (7). accurate scheduling, (8). diligent research, (9). considerable legwork (if done right) and (10). a lot of just plain toil. Oregon Real Estate Podcast

2. Legalese, Sometimes with Different Rules for Each County and/or Municipality.
Realtors use continually-updated forms written by experienced real estate attorneys designed specifically for regional transactions, with clarity and simplicity in mind. Such documents include important protections for both buyer and seller. While no document is perfect, Realtor forms include key clauses, like for home inspections and appraisals, along with arbitration/mediation mechanisms. These time-tested documents help prevent potential issues, while at the same time deterring ‘nuisance’ litigation.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

3. More Accurate Pricing When Buying & Selling.
These days the average Oregonian moves about every 6 years years or so. As with any activity, it’s easy to get rusty. Realtors are in the real estate market all day, every day. This means an experienced real estate agent can provide significant market awareness to help you price what’s likely to be your single largest investment.

Armed with access to multiple listing, sales and tax data, Realtors provide significant pricing experience and real life insights, whether you want to know what the property you’re selling is worth, or once you sell, how much to offer on the home you’re buying.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast4. Objectivity.
We all deal with subjectivity from time to time. Does your home smell? Perhaps you’ve gotten used to having multiple pets in your small home, don’t notice the mold growing in your bathroom, or haven’t realized how gloomy your living room appears. One role of a Realtor is to be helpfully honest. That means being truthful if there’s something you as a seller don’t see (or smell). 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Most Homesellers Don’t Like A Rapidly Exiting ‘Conga Line’ of Mum Buyers

Far better to be forewarned and forearmed by your Realtor, than witness a rapidly exiting conga line of mum homebuyers who don’t want to offend you. Or perhaps you don’t think disclosing settling water in your basement each Winter is a big deal. The reality is that disclosing such a potentially material fact is something dutiful agents will advise in order to keep you out of much hotter water after the sale. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

5. Junk the Junk.
Have you ever studied a real estate earnest money agreement (also called an EMA or purchase agreement), or seller’s ‘net sheet?’ Over the course of a transaction, it’s easy to accumulate an abundance of ‘junk’ fees. Sometimes seller-paid closing costs are necessary to make a transaction work. However, paying for a buyer’s home warranty is typically more of a buyer ‘want’ than a ‘need.’ Count on your Realtor to go over such factors with you for a ‘heads up’ of what to expect. An experienced agent knows what’s usually ‘routine’ and what’s not.


6. Marketing.
Even if a seller has a sense of what his or her home is worth, effectively reaching the the widest number of buyers increases your opportunity to find more motivated and qualified buyers, even creating a ‘bidding war.’ The simple act of listing your home with a Realtor means your property is immediately promoted on a host of proven, effective home marketing venues. But it doesn’t stop there. Successful Realtors use many different tools to reach buyers for your specific property.

Connecting your property with the right buyer can mean the difference between a fast close at full price (or higher), compared to a continuous stream of ‘sale-fails’ where your property is needlessly taken off the market by buyers who were marginally qualified. 

Calm Seas Never Made a Good Captain…or Realtor.

7. Experience.
There is simply no substitute for ‘hands on’ real estate experience. If your home hasn’t sold, at what point should you consider a price adjustment? How much of a price adjustment is necessary? Is there something other than price causing my property not to sell? These are not new questions to an experienced agent, who can help address these and other important questions.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

When it Matters, Experience is Good to Have on Your Side.

It’s comforting in especially difficult situations to rely on an experienced Realtor, who is the duly able real estate ‘captain’ of your transaction. Most people prefer an experienced surgeon or pilot, so it’s understandable to want experienced representation with the important task of selling your home. It’s also helpful to know that a professional real estate agent makes the entire home selling process appear easier than it is.

Most people are nervous and ‘en garde’ when buying or selling a home.

8. Negotiation Skills.
If you’re like most people, you dread negotiating when buying a car. Consider how much higher the stakes are with your home sale. You want an experienced hand on your side. 
While real estate transactions are optimally a ‘win-win’ situation, it’s realistic to expect some friction. If you haven’t considered homeselling as a kind of ‘war,’ check out this unique perspective on the ‘battle’ of selling your home. 

The best way to navigate through a potentially difficult transaction is to be represented by one who has been over the road before. So whether you’re in negotiations with a ‘bargain hunting’ buyer, experience an unpleasant ‘surprise’ in a home inspection, or a seriously low appraisal, each unique situation presents an opportunity for difficulty and reaching common ground. Your Realtor can assist in ‘end gaming’ your best strategies and in dealing with a wide variety of buyer personalities.


Having a Realtor ‘Buffer’ Between Buyer & Seller Can Avoid Headaches

9. The ‘Buffer Effect.’
Having an agent represent you makes it easier to maintain civility between ‘warring’ parties.  Ever say something you regret? An experienced Realtor can often use more constructive language to accomplish what can sometimes be an emotional and/or provocative comment.


Hiring A Realtor Makes Sellers More Money: Click above image to enlarge

10. More Money.
National Association of Realtor statistics reveal that homesellers who use a Realtor actually net considerably more at closing than those who don’t, even after taking into account paying a commission. Consider that when banks (which are renowned for watching the ‘bottom line’) sell their foreclosed homes, they hire an expert, a Realtor. From a financial standpoint, it really does ‘pencil out’ to hire a Realtor. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Oregon Realtor Roy Widing

Thinking about selling your Oregon property? Contact Roy with Certified Realty, Oregon’s choice since 1950 using the form below for a free consultation.

Why Does My Realtor Do That?

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Realtors must follow many rules and according to consumer satisfaction surveys, real estate agents generally do a good job. Realtors are trained to abide by applicable state and national real estate laws, follow accepted business practices and the Realtor Code of Ethics, which is considered a higher standard of duty. Yet as in other professions, sometimes agents fall short. Wrong is wrong, yet it’s also important to separate willful wrongdoing from expectations which may be misinterpreted, or where motives are misunderstood.   

Hear the audio podcast version of this article here or click the ‘play’ button below:

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Failure or Flying Colors? 
When real estate agents are perceived to have ‘dropped the ball,’ a good first step is to see if there’s an explanation behind it. Let’s take one common example, the case of the ‘disappearing Realtor.’ Unless you’re in the midst of a transaction, if your real estate agent has fallen out of touch,  it’s entirely possible that he or she is no longer in the business, moved, is ill, or perhaps decided to focus on another field within real estate, (such as commercial, or property management). Another likelihood is a transition to working with other client types or geographical areas.

One reason for a ‘disappearing agent’ may also be because your lender informed the agent that you are not qualified to purchase a home. While ceasing to contact you because you’re not in the market to buy right now isn’t illegal, it could be considered rude. Being human, sometimes agents are unartful. But as when dealing with any professional, it’s instructive to distinguish between the unartful and activity which is unethical, or illegal.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

While most Realtors are diligent, honest and hardworking, there can be a broad range of Realtor behavior, ranging from ‘normal’ and reasonable, to impolite, to unethical, or even criminal. So let’s analyze some comments about Realtors. Sometimes the agent is ‘out of line,’ yet sometimes it helps to better understand differing perspectives to get the whole picture.  Here are some examples of Realtor behaviors you may have heard about.

Oregon Podcast Real Estate1. ‘Why Don’t Realtors Return Calls (or e-Mails, or Texts)?’
Unless it’s an isolated incident or emergency, this kind of Realtor behavior can be inexcusable, especially in an industry where communication is key. It’s true that some agents have a difficult time responding in a timely manner. A common reason is that some agents are simply disorganized. Simply put, if it’s chronic, this is bad form, bad business and outright rude. Such non-responsiveness even drives other Realtors nuts, particularly if they wish to show a home that is listed, present an offer, or simply find out if a home is still for sale.

Other explanations for not returning phone calls may be a personal habit among such agents, a sign that he or she is seriously overly busy (still no excuse), or perhaps is trying to tell you in a passive-aggressive manner that your business relationship is on the wane. Realtors sometimes have been known to ‘fire’ a client. What to do? Be clear with your agent about what you expect. Given a myriad of possible communication forms these days, if you have a preference for being reached by text, phone, e-mails, Facetime or Skype, explain that to your Realtor early on. Not everyone has the same communication style or tools.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast
2. ‘A Realtor Insisted I Get ‘Pre-Qualified’ Before Showing Me Homes.’
This is an easy one. First, let’s imagine you’re a seller. Early on as your home is placed for sale, you notice many ‘tire-kickers’ and ‘looky-Lou’s’ traipsing through your house, including a large number of neighbors, with little apparent intention to buy, along with unqualified buyers, who are likely unable to buy. Yet, each time you receive a request to tour your home, you spend half an hour or more getting it cleaned up and leaving for showings. The result? Sellers want buyers to be pre-qualified.

Now, let’s imagine you’re a Realtor. You’ve just spent the past two weeks showing homes to buyers. Then you learn the ‘buyers’ can’t buy because the lender said their credit, income or other disqualifying factor disallowed it. The result? Realtors want buyers to be pre-qualified.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

3. ‘My Realtor Says My Home is Overpriced.’
It’s entirely possible that your home could be overpriced, yet there are several issues you may first want to sort out.  For example, when you placed your home for sale, what was the process you and your Realtor used to arrive at a list price? How long has your home been on the market? Has your property been receiving showings? Did you discuss what kind of market response might suggest the need for a price adjustment? What is the average market time for similar homes in your neighborhood?

Also, were you provided with comparable property information? Have you seen any documentation that confirms buyer activity, like online ‘hit counts?’ In other words, there may be valid reasons for your agent to suggest a price adjustment. Also usually helpful is going back to the ‘comps’ or comparable properties used to price your home, while researching to see if any other similar properties may have sold in the meanwhile since your property was placed on the market. For some helpful insights, answers and information about these questions, check out our article and related podcast ‘3 Steps To An Oregon Home Sale” here.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

4. ‘A Realtor Bought My Property And I Feel Cheated.’
State real estate regulators cite the majority of claims against agents is due to ‘self-dealing,’ where an agent acts on his or her behalf. For example, a Realtor may be asked to list a property, but instead after speaking with the owner, buys it for him or herself. There are strict rules for Realtors to follow when buying or selling real estate in Oregon. Given disclosure laws, real estate agents are on notice that they are being watched closely by various regulatory bodies, particularly if an agent is ‘self dealing.’ If you ever feel cheated by a real estate agent, you can contact the Oregon Real Estate Agency, or your local association of Realtors.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Crime Victim Realtor Ashley Okland

5. ‘A Realtor Refused to Meet Me At A Home!’
Personal safety has become an important Realtor issue, especially since Realtors often work with the public alone, at night and in unfamiliar surroundings.  As a consequence, agents are advised not to meet prospective first time clients alone in a remote location or vacant home. Realtors Ashley Okland and Beverly Carter were real estate agents who did and their tragic stories are mentioned in educating real estate agents about personal safety.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Given incidents like this devastating story of a Realtor’s murder that generated significant media attention, expect Realtors who’ve never met you to be cautious. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast
With concern for personal safety up, self defense classes are more popular and concealed handgun carry is growing across the nation…this includes Realtors, too.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

6. ‘Why Won’t My Realtor Hold An Open House?’
Simply put, selling homes can be a numbers game and here they are:

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

How Homes Are Sold

Fact is, open houses most often benefit Realtors, not homesellers. That’s because most buyers don’t purchase through an open house. However, open houses are one way real estate agents can find new buyers. This isn’t to say that open houses will never sell a home. But given a variety of factors, it’s considered among the least effective ways to sell a home. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Thinking about buying or selling an Oregon home? Contact veteran Oregon Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty using the convenient contact form below for a free consultation.

Dancing The ‘Two Transaction Tango’

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Simultaneous/Consecutive Home Transactions
Selling one home and buying another are frequently linked activities. In this article and podcast, we reveal how to maximize the efficiency and minimize the bother when simultaneously home buying and home selling.

Click here or on the ‘play’ button below for the audio version of this presentation about homebuying while homeselling.

We’ll also examine options to help decide if either simultaneous or consecutive real estate transactions may be best for you.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The singular act of buying or selling a home is often the foremost concern of many. Whichever immediate task you may be considering, it’s common to have twice the activity anticipated, but in two steps. That’s because home buyers often have a home to sell…and home sellers are frequently seeking a home to buy. So what’s the best way to navigate this potential real estate quagmire without getting entangled in a morass of stress and needless extra costs?

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

First Steps
To begin, it helps to examine three common dual home sale/home purchase options:

  1. Selling your existing house first, then buying your next house.
  2. Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house.
  3. Simultaneously moving from your existing house to your next house.

Your challenges, benefits and results will largely depend upon which of these three decisions you settle upon. Here are three quick takeaways for these three usual options:

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Option #1.  Selling your existing house first, then buying the next house
This option usually requires a ‘double move.’ Yet one advantage of this approach is that you won’t have double house payments. One disadvantage is that you may have to move twice.  An added benefit of this ‘selling first’ approach can include negotiating with strength in the purchase of your next home. That’s because your purchase needn’t be contingent upon the sale or closing of your sold home. As a result, you are seen as a ‘cash in fist’ buyer, or at the very least, a buyer who is considerably more likely to qualify for a home purchase, given that you ostensibly now have access to the equity in your now-sold home. This helps you negotiate with more power in the purchase of your next home.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Option #2.   Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house
When first buying a house, then selling yours, one advantage is that you know where you’ll be moving. The reduced stress of ‘knowing where you’ll land’ is empowering.

Unless you’re a cash buyer, you’ll likely need to qualify with a lender. And if you have an existing loan in place on the house you’ll be selling, this may mean you need to qualify for two loans, your current home loan and the loan on the house you’re buying.

As long as your current home sells in a timely manner, added financial obligations can be minimized.  For more information about bridge loans, see the below ‘A Bridge Too Far?’ discussion.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Option #3.  Simultaneously moving from your existing house to your next house
This situation is very common. Provided your activities are clearly thought out, well-executed and contingencies are in place for protection, it’s also one of the more affordable options.

Think far ahead and shoot for impeccable timing, in order to make your move the smoothest possible. In order to have sufficient time to move out soon after closing on your current home’s transaction, you will need to locate your next home, write an accepted offer, have the home inspection and if you’re getting a home loan, likely an appraisal…all before you close on the purchase and can actually move in.

One advantage of this approach is that you won’t have double house payments. You also know where you will be landing, and you won’t likely have to move twice. One disadvantage is that your timing needs to be good and possibly have a little extra ‘cushion’ to allow for emergencies, like delays with appraisals, inspections and repairs. Otherwise it’s easy to feel ‘squeezed’ by your being in the middle of two time-sensitive transactions.

That’s one challenge of going this route; It’s complicated by not knowing with precision the timeline of certain key activities. That’s because while home inspections can usually be completed within a set time frame, like 10-14 business days, other requirements like appraisals, can take much longer, with less certainty of the completion date. On top of that, most transactions involve two appraisals, one on the house you’re selling and another on the house you’re buying. So if you plan on a simultaneous sale/purchase, huddle up with your Realtor to create a well planned timeline, then build in some extra breathing room, as necessary.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

A Bridge Too Far?
One way to do purchase a house without first selling your existing home is with what’s called a ‘bridge loan.’ This is effectively a loan against the equity on your existing home. There are plenty of added details, but for the sake of simplicity, just understand that if you use a bridge loan to buy your next home, until your current home is sold, you will likely have double house payments. So if your current home doesn’t sell in a timely manner, hopefully the squeeze on your wallet won’t be more stressful than if you were to have simply sold your existing home first. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Tools of the Trade
To accomplish the job of simultaneously buying and selling homes, among the most common protective tools is called a contingency. Consider contingencies as akin to safety goggles. They’re designed to prevent a mishap, only in this case, the mishap could be losing your earnest money.

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Earnest Money
Earnest money is usually a certain dollar figure placed on deposit as a sign a buyer is earnest, and later applied to the home purchase. This helps convince sellers that a buyer is serious and take their property off the market. Earnest money essentially helps to ‘hold’ a property for a buyer. Earnest money is not often the total down payment, although it can be applied as part of the down payment.  Earnest money is important to homesellers, because without it, a buyer could otherwise tie up the seller’s property with virtually no obligation.

A large part of contingencies relate to a buyer keeping their earnest money, or the initial deposit showing the buyer is ‘earnest’ in proceeding to closing on a home sale. If a homebuyer does not have a sufficient contingency in place during a home sale, forfeiture of a buyer’s earnest money becomes possible. It’s not terribly common, but it can and does sometimes happen.

Types of Contingencies
Home inspection contingencies provide buyers with the right to have a house inspected for a variety of conditions, all within a specified time frame. Another common contingency is the loan contingency, so if for some reason a lender does not approve a buyer or the property for a home loan, the earnest money deposit is returned to the buyer. Buyers have lost out on qualifying for a home loan because they went out and bought a car during the home purchasing process, thereby disrupting their loan ratios.

The Reality of Earnest Money Deposit Risk
As long as appropriate contingencies are in place and they’re followed in a time-conscious manner, it’s relatively uncommon for buyers to lose their earnest money. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your timeline.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Buying And/Or Selling?
Use the form below to contact our Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty for a FREE consultation. Whether your real estate situation involves homebuying, homeselling, or if you simply have questions about our current Oregon real estate market, Roy can help!

10 Reasons Why Winter Homeselling is HOT

Oregon Real Estate Podcast, Winter HomesellingWhile there is a case to be made for homeselling in each of the four seasons, Winter is one of the most powerful times sellers can place their home on the market and for ten very good reasons.

Click here or the play button below for the audio podcast presentation of this article.

  1. Price & Market Time. Statistics show homes sell faster and for more money in Winter. One way to understand this phenomenon is by considering a motorist with a flat tire in bad weather. That motorist has an urgent need and is less likely to haggle, or even seriously consider less expensive options, in order to meet an immediate need. Winter homebuyers can experience the same kind of urgency and this helps to explain the premium that homes can command during the real estate ‘off season.’ Another way to look at the Winter market dynamic is if you want to buy snowshoes in July (at least in Oregon), expect to pay more, since availability is typically lower. Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  2. High Quality Buyers. Because home touring is generally less convenient, there tend to be fewer ‘Looky-Loos’ during the Winter. This means Oregon Winter homesellers have fewer buyers tracking dirt into their house, with less energy spent preparing for real estate ‘Tire-Kickers.’Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  3. Less Seller Competition. Let’s face facts: It’s convenient to sell in the Spring and Summer, especially in Oregon. The weather is usually better, flowers are blooming and with plenty of homebuyers looking, it’s a ‘target-rich environment.’  Yet while it’s easier and more convenient to sell in sunny weather, this convenience often comes at the cost of increased competition from other sellers. Conversely, Winter homesellers can expect fewer like-minded sellers competing for buyers. Just like the successful contrarian investor who sells when everyone else is not, avoiding a ‘herd mentality’ can pay off with a higher price and faster sale. Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  4. Higher Buyer Motivation. Is your idea of a fun time getting into a car on cold drizzly nights to look at houses? Probably not…unless you just got a job transfer. Or a nice raise. Or you received an inheritance and want to get out of your tiny apartment. It’s helpful for prospective Winter homesellers to know that corporate relocations are common in the first quarter.  Plus family changes can occur anytime and estates are settled year around.
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  5. The Hunt for Red December: Get a ‘Jump’ on the New Year’ s Competition. The best time to get your property on the market could be when everyone else isn’t. Placing your home for sale in Winter gives you access to hyper-motivated buyers who have made homebuying a New Year’s resolution. That way, when these eager homebuyers begin their ‘hunt,’ your house will be a prime ‘target’ as visible as Rudolph’s nose. So if your home is market-ready and available to tour leading up to the New Year, expect to tap into this highly focused ‘pent up demand.’
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  6. Your Home Looks Inviting During the Holidays. Who doesn’t enjoy the happy glow of a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations, along with the pleasant smell of fresh-baked pumpkin pie, cinnamon buns, or a vanilla candle? Homes often look their most inviting during the holidays.
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
    And given the pleasant, even emotional attachment so many have during that time of year, expect some homebuyers to fully embrace the holiday theme of ‘Peace on earth, good will toward men.’ As a result, such positive feelings can spill over into the home selling process and make it easier.
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  7. Your Lawn & Landscaping is Virtually a Non-Issue. Forget to mow your lawn? No worries. Some buyers won’t care if they tour your property and it’s covered in snow, raining hard, or after sundown. Buyer landscaping expectations can be quite reasonable during Winter months in Oregon.Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  8. When Your Home Sells, You May Buy With Less Competition. Few homesellers stop to consider that given good timing with their sale, their own future home purchase may also benefit from similar, unique seasonality. So depending on a variety of factors in the market where and when you buy, homesellers can sometimes take advantage of lower Winter activity levels to successfully negotiate with a motivated seller. This is because some sellers place their home on the market during Winter not for convenience, or desire to maximize their selling price, but from genuine need. In other words, they are highly motivated. Such homesellers could therefore provide a good buying opportunity.
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  9.  Fewer people relocate in Winter, so this means you’re likely to have an easier time booking a mover.
    Competition for moving companies can be challenging during the real estate ‘high season.’ As a result, expect less difficulty scheduling your moving company when you sell in Winter.
    Oregon Real Estate Podcast
  10.  You Can Dictate Which Days & Times Are Available for Showings. As a homeseller, you typically have control over tour times and dates for your home. This includes during Winter months. Given holiday-related gatherings and events, buyers are likely to understand their need to schedule their tour of your home. Your Realtor can help by specifying days and times your home is available for showings. For example, you could have your house available for tours on Saturdays from 2 to 5pm, weekday mornings after 9:00am, or between 5 and 8pm weekday evenings.

Thinking about selling your Oregon house this Winter? Use the convenient form below to contact veteran Realtor Roy Widing, host of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast for a FREE consultation!





5 Winning Homebuyer Tactics For Any Market

Regardless of the kind of market you find yourself in when buying your next home, there are key tactics buyers can use to make the process both more successful and considerably less stressful. What are these key homebuying tactics and how can you use them to navigate your next home purchase to a successful close? Find out in this edition of the Oregon Real Estate Podcast.

Listen to the audio podcast version of this article by clicking here or the ‘play’ button:

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‘The Thinker’ by Rodin

How Homesellers Think
There are plenty of factors that can influence how sellers think.  Among the most important of these is motivation, or a seller’s reason and/or need to sell. For example, expect different seller responses depending on if a homeseller is in no hurry, compared to other sellers needing a fast sale in order to purchase their ‘dream home’ or move for a job transfer. 
That’s frequently among the most frustrating elements for homebuyers, the variability not just in homes and seller pricing strategies, but navigating homeseller personalities and motivations.  

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Given the significant tasks involved with selling a property, some homebuyers may understandably wonder: Aren’t all sellers motivated?  Sometimes the answer is both ‘yes’ AND  ‘no.’  Consider a divorce situation, where one spouse desperately needs money and the other does not wish to move at all. Or consider an estate, where there are multiple family members, each with varying degrees of interest in selling; One family member may greatly need proceeds from a home sale, while the others are independently wealthy and perfectly willing to wait to sell, perhaps for tax purposes.

This means it’s helpful to first realize that as when fishing, you’ll never really know what you’ll be dealing with until you have them ‘on the line.’ Looks can be deceiving and no matter how a homeseller may outwardly behave, their motivation for selling is sometimes hidden and an important factor to determine as early as possible.  The situation can be further complicated if sellers have a large mortgage on their property being sold. In such a case, they’re not really negotiating with ‘extra’ money. They simply have little price flexibility in order to pay off their home loan and pay closing costs.  


For Example
For an example of how disparately homesellers can behave, let’s say you drive up to a house your Realtor found for you. Walking up the steps to the porch, you begin your home tour. Upon entering, you immediately see the home is immaculate, the view grand, the layout ideal. It’s a great house. Yet compared to other homes you’ve seen, the price still seems a little high. In fact, you’re pre-approved, but purchasing the home at the seller’s asking price would be a tight squeeze.

Because it’s a great house and you’re ready to buy, you meet with your Realtor that night and write a ‘clean,’ yet not quite full price offer. Your Realtor forwards the offer to the seller’s Realtor and makes sure to include your lender’s pre-approval letter. The next day, your Realtor calls you with an update.

“Your offer was not accepted. But the sellers sent you a counteroffer at full price.” 

You’re stunned: “Full price! Why is that?”

“Well, they just placed the property on the market, are not in hurry and figured they could do better than your initial offer.”

Welcome inside the world of seller motivation.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Knowledge is Power
Given situations like this, it helps to know as much as you can about the local real estate market, the property, the sellers and details about their situation. For example, sellers frequently exhibit less price flexibility early on in the listing period. That’s because if the property is new to the market, their opinion is often strongly in favor of their home’s benefits and sometimes they don’t even know where they will move yet. It’s also common for sellers to think ‘I can always come down in price if it doesn’t sell.’

Fast forwarding a month or two into a property’s market time, the situation and seller’s attitude can look considerably different.  By then, buyers have ostensibly toured and rejected the property as being ‘too high’ by a handful (or more) of qualified buyers. ‘Why doesn’t someone just bring us an offer,’ some sellers might then ask. The saying ‘Price cures all ills’ is sometimes hard for sellers to hear, but generally true.  Buyers are constantly comparing the home they’re looking at to others they’ve toured. One home may have a more desirable floorplan, another home may have a better view, another may have an extra bedroom, bathroom, or larger garage.

So why don’t some buyers write an offer for less than asking price? Here are just a few reasons: 

  1. Buyers not wanting to offend the seller
  2. Buyers not thinking the seller would respond favorably
  3. Buyers not even aware the property is for sale,  given the high price
  4. Buyers concerned that the property would not appraise high enough
  5. Buyers plan to make changes to the house, which requires additional cost

Another independent, yet primary factor to consider when homebuying is inventory, or the amount of competing homes on the market. If the real estate market is flooded with properties, expect different behavior from most homesellers compared to a market where homes are scarce. Let’s briefly consider the concept of equilbrium,  buyer’s market and seller’s market.

When neither buyers or sellers dominate, a real estate market is considered to be balanced or in equilibrium. In our region, the range of 3 to 6 months of home supply is generally considered to be favoring neither buyers or sellers and otherwise ‘normal.’ Inventory figures are released monthly by multiple listing services.

Buyer’s Market
A buyer’s market exists when there are more sellers than buyers. Usually this means there is an abundance of homes to choose from, so it’s considered a market favorable to buyers. In our region, more than 6 months of home supply is generally considered to be favoring buyers. Home prices are typically falling, market times are longer and sellers are competing for buyers.

Seller’s Market
A seller’s market exists when there are more buyers than sellers. This is indicative when there is low home inventory to choose from, so it’s considered a market favorable to sellers. In our region, fewer than 3 months of home supply is generally considered to be favoring sellers. Home prices are typically rising, market times are shorter and buyers are competing for properties.

Interest Rates
A relatively minor shift in interest rates can price some of the properties a buyer might consider buying ‘out of reach.’ And while interest rates are a factor outside the control of both buyers and sellers, they remain part of the market landscape through which everyone needs to navigate. 

Market environments are important, but unless the element of seller motivation is well understood, you could even be dealing with an unmotivated seller in a buyer’s market and see poor results. That’s because the factors of seller motivation and home inventory, for example are not linked, but variables for homebuyers to consider.

If homes are scarce and prices are rising, understand that buyers are likely to feel pretty good about their property. As a result, presenting a clean and very strong offer is likely to work best in any market, but especially in a competitive situation with other homebuyers. Also include your lender’s pre-approval letter to confirm that you are able to afford the home you’re bidding on.

Oregon Real Estate

In Real Estate, It Helps to Level the Playing Field

If the market is balanced, with neither buyers or sellers holding the ‘upper hand,’ the playing field is more level. But you still must deal with seller motivation. As a homebuyer, it’s to your advantage if the seller has a real, time-sensitive reason for selling.  If you’re buying in a buyer’s market with lots of homes to choose from, realize that while most sellers will adjust to the market with reasonable prices in order to compete, there are still ‘hold-outs’ who remain less motivated.

Dealing with marginally motivated homesellers can be frustrating, but sometimes helped by determining if there are any areas that matter to them.  For example, if your offer gives the seemingly unmotivated seller an extra two weeks to move out at no added cost for ‘rent back,’ he or she may then reconsider a less-than-full-price offer. Figure the ‘pain point’ of a seller and you may be able to craft a ‘win-win’ offer.

Keeping the important consideration of seller motivation in mind, here are five tactics to make your homebuying more effective and less stressful:


Homebuyer Tactic #1: Do Your Homework
Have your Realtor research the property before you consider making an offer. The answers to certain questions can help reveal insights. How long has it been on the market? Have there been any price changes? How many different listing Realtors has this seller gone through? Observing that more than a couple Realtors worked with the same seller within a relatively short time period can suggest an unreasonable seller who is either not willing to seriously look at the market, or one that is simply ‘difficult.’

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Understand that even if a property is significantly overpriced, early in the process many homesellers remain enthusiastic about any interest in their property. In this situation, each showing early on confirms the seller’s belief that theirs is the best home in town. Experienced Realtors know the process well and by simple observation can become astute in understanding seller behavior. And sometimes the occasional ‘lightning strike’ will occur, where a seemingly above-market price offer is made for more than a property appears to be worth. But generally speaking, this is the exception and not the rule. And by staying with an above-market price over an extended period of time, sellers then run the risk of their property becoming ‘shop worn,’ with buyers wondering ‘What’s wrong with it? Why hasn’t it sold already?’

As a result, most experienced agents understand a seller’s price that turns out to be ‘above the market’ can change with time, or until at least a few qualified buyers walk away without making an offer. Further complicating the situation is if a seller is not particularly motivated, which is sometimes difficult to address. This underscores the importance of homebuyers understanding the homeseller’s motivation. Does the homeseller have a deadline, such as a purchase agreement already in place, a time sensitive job transfer, or an expiring interest rate lock, in order to purchase another property?


Homebuyer Tactic #2:  Write a Strong Clean Offer, with Minimal Contingencies
Offer close enough to avoid triggering a counteroffer. Sometimes a homeseller will not want to ‘rock the boat’ if an offer is fairly close to their asking, despite not being full price. Once a counteroffer is ‘triggered,’ additional items in the original offer may be changed, since a counteroffer essentially restarts the negotiation process anyway.

This is also where comparable research can be helpful. If you’re convinced that the property is overpriced and you’re unable or unwilling to offer what the seller is asking, consider including a market analysis with your offer and include truly comparable property information that shows why your offer is not for full price. 


Back it Up
A pre-approval letter made for the exact purchase price can help make your ‘strong, clean offer’ stronger . You may not want to telegraph that you’re qualified for a home loan in excess of your offered amount, which is why lenders frequently will send your Realtor a pre-approval letter that precisely matches your offered price. Otherwise, if you show a seller you’re approved significantly above the offered price, the seller may simply respond with a full price offer, figuring you’ll pay more because you can afford it.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Homebuyer Tactic #3:  Escalator Clause
If you expect the property you want to buy will have multiple offers, one way to both stand out and enhance your odds of success is by using what’s sometime known as an ‘escalator clause.’  Under this scenario, your offer is made and in it, you agree to beat any other offer up to a certain maximum dollar figure and usually in an increment of say, $1,000 or other specified amount. There can be various elements to an ‘escalator’ clause. If your ‘escalator’ offer is accepted, proof of the second best offer is typically provided to confirm the appropriate purchase price above which the winning buyer then must pay.


Homebuyer Tactic #4: Activate ‘Stealth Mode’
If you’re a ‘choosey’ homebuyer, or seeking to buy in a certain area or neighborhood with few homes for sale you’re interested in, consider having your Realtor go into ‘stealth mode.’ This could mean having your agent knock on doors, collaborate with other Realtors having a ‘pocket’ or unofficial listing, or simply become hyper observant. Many buyers don’t even consider this approach, which while unconventional, can sometimes pay off with work, persistence and a little luck.


The Pre-Listing Stage
In the early phases before a property is formally placed on the market, there are various pre-listing indications you might notice. For example, a location company is often contacted to spray paint where utility lines are located. This prevents a real estate sign placement company from digging a hole and hitting a gas or electric line. How does this matter? If you or your Realtor observe such ‘utility locator’ paint, or a dumpster, a storage ‘pod,’ a moving truck, a U-Haul van, or a ‘hanging signpost’ without a real estate sign yet placed, these hints can sometimes indicate a property is being put up for sale…giving you a headstart before other buyers find out about the home. If the average market time for a given area is weeks or months and you have a ‘heads up’ even before day one of the property hitting the market, you have a tactical advantage.


Stealth Research Can Provide a ‘Direct Hit’ of Otherwise Little-Seen Information

For currently listed properties, other examples of ‘Stealth Mode’ could include your agent researching information on a property or homeseller for potentially helpful tidbits. This might be helpful legal information such as an estate, lawsuit, divorce or inheritance. Other possibly helpful records to consider may involve tax records, old listings from the local multiple listing system (or a separate more distant MLS altogether), since sometimes property history will not always be found in the usual multiple listing system.  


Homebuyer Tactic #5: Prepare for a 2nd Bite of the Apple
Once your offer is accepted, that’s it, right? Not necessarily. A well-prepared homebuyer always keeps an extra tactic or two ‘tucked away.’


So as ‘back up’ tactics go, one might consider such ‘deep concealment’ techniques much like an ankle holster: Maybe not your first line of defense, but nice to have, ‘just in case.’  What is an example of such a ‘back up’ homebuyer technique and why might it be considered so stealthy? 


Being ‘En Garde’ Helps to Prevent Needless Surprises

‘En Garde’
First, it’s important to understand that like homebuyers, homesellers are typically most ‘on guard’ during formal negotiations. This period usually begins once an offer is written, plus during any ‘back and forth’ by buyers and sellers. Once an agreement is reached, even though there remains significant time, work, patience and even negotiation until the sale is officially closed, most buyers and sellers relax a bit psychologically.  But therein lies the problem, since realistically, two key factors usually remain that could interrupt, or even destroy the existing sale now in place. 

These two key factors include the inspection and appraisal, both which the seller has little control over. So if the home inspection reveals there are now plenty of heretofore unknown repairs, there are several possible scenarios on the inspection alone:

  1. Seller pays for everything
  2. Buyer pays for everything
  3. Buyer and seller negotiate

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Assuming any home inspection items are successfully ironed out, this still leaves the appraisal. What could go wrong there? Two of the more common appraisal ‘minefields’ are (a) value and (b) additional repair and/or code factors. If a barn does not have a permit, the home inspector missed an issue important to the appraisal, or the appraisal comes in low, expect more potential negotiation between buyer and seller to close the transaction.

Most buyers don’t necessarily focus on getting a ‘second bite at the apple.’ But if you feel your initial negotiation in purchasing a property didn’t go perfectly, sometimes the inspection and/or appraisal provides a renewed source of redress. And if the property has material defects, the seller is required to either disclose or fix them, in the event your transaction doesn’t go through. And regarding the appraisal, there is no guarantee a different appraisal will come in much different. So if the appraisal is low, renewed negotiation can occur here, as well.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Do you have questions about buying or selling Oregon real estate? Contact Realtor Roy Widing using the convenient form below or call 800-637-1950 for a free consultation.


7 Strategies to Sell Your House Sooner!

Homeselling Strategies
There are key strategies for homeseller success. What are these strategies and as an Oregon homeseller, what is it that you might need to know? As an Oregon homebuyer, you may find it helpful to view the following insights on the homeselling process with an ‘insider’s’ view.

Strategies that Benefit Homesellers
There are some proven strategies that benefit homesellers. Chief among these is the appropriate mindset, even before implementing a well thought out ‘plan of attack.
‘  Experienced Realtors routinely guide homesellers through a ‘minefield’ of common and avoidable missteps in their many forms.

Click here or on the ‘play’ button below to hear the audio podcast version of this presentation.

Proactive awareness is one mindset that can significantly benefit homesellers. Proactive awareness includes addressing potential problems before they disrupt or delay a home sale. Specific examples might include items buyers expect to be addressed or lender required repairs :

1. Making sure required permits for any prior remodeling are ‘finaled,’
2. Replacing leaky gutters,
3. Trimming shrubs that touch the house,
4. Confirming there is no obvious peeling paint, or
5. Replacing windows that have broken seals.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast
Besides removing such items as a possible source of contention, proactively addressing relatively simple maintenance items helps to alleviate buyer concern. That’s because if a house has numerous obvious signs of deferred maintenance, buyers may wonder about other, less obvious repairs.

Proactive awareness can also mean that you understand homebuyers have options and that as lovely as your home is, some homebuyers may prefer to live elsewhere. This mindset provides a homeseller with fortitude and the advantage of not being crestfallen when their home doesn’t sell the first week on the market.

Homesellers also benefit from strategic thinking. Based on your needs and pricing strategy, for example, this might mean setting up alternative schedule scenarios for homebuying, moving and budgeting,  depending upon whether your home sells in 10 days or 100 days.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Thinking Ahead is Beneficial for Homesellers

Combining proactive awareness with strategic thinking provides the kind of forethought that allows fewer surprises throughout the already stressful process of selling a home. Then, given the reduced stress that comes with having to react to negative news, you’re (1). able to focus on those issues that matter most, (2). spend less time worrying and (3). possibly even enjoy the homeselling process.

The word ‘strategy’  is derived from the Greek word strategia, meaning the ‘office of general, command, or generalship’ and as such is considered to be a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Degrees of Uncertainty Exist in Gambling, Battle and Homeselling

The Certainty of Uncertainty
As we saw in the Oregon Real Estate Podcast program titled The Art of War for Homesellers,’ selling a home is frequently conducted under conditions of uncertainty. Awareness and anticipation helps homesellers to better predict and influence their real estate outcome, as situations dictate, often in ‘real time.’ 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Kicker Tom Dempsey Accomplished his World Record Field Goal with Half a Foot!

Goals can come in many forms. A primary goal for homesellers is often a prompt, uncomplicated transaction. Reasons cited by sellers for wanting a fast and easy sale include feeling like ‘living in a fishbowl,’ or the need to constantly be ‘picking up’ to keep the home ‘show-ready.’  Other reasons might be a time-sensitive job transfer, or a firm deadline to purchase the next home before a favorable interest rate lock expires. Whatever your goals, some homesellers benefit by prioritizing them early in the process on a sheet of paper or computer printout. This roadmap can help to track progress and maintain focus on the desired outcome.

Real Estate Oregon
Missions, Strategies & Tactics
First, it’s helpful to know how missions vary from strategies and tactics.  If the overarching mission is to move in a timely manner while selling your home for the most money possible, then a variety of planned strategies to sell your property faster and for top dollar could employ numerous, effective and specific tactics.

House Selling Secrets

One If By Land, Two If By Sea
Think of it this way: Tactics are specific, detailed actions that often use diverse, pre-planned strategies to accomplish your mission.  For purposes of this article, we already know the mission: Selling your home without needless delay at the highest price. This means that in order to enumerate tactics to sell your house sooner and for the most money, it’s helpful to first arrive at appropriate and achievable strategies to accomplish such a mission. Let’s begin with the immutable real estate characteristic of location.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast
Strategy #1: Address Your Home’s Location
Your property’s location is a key factor to consider when you sell your home. It is also the one element which cannot be changed. To properly determine real estate value, location must be considered and accounted for with respect to what buyers are willing to pay for like homes in similar locations.

Sell your property faster, for the highest price.
Maximize your property’s locational advantages.
Tactic:  It’s helpful to know that many buyers for your property may not be far away. Ensure awareness among local or even hyper-local buyers, who may either have relatives already living in the area, or existing residents who may sell and wish to remain in the neighborhood. While it’s true that buyers frequently appear from outside the area, some neighborhoods have an inordinately high ‘retention factor.’ Such homebuyers know the area and are already living there ostensibly because they like it. They may want a larger or smaller home, but don’t wish to move away from their family, friends or desirable commute. Generating a ‘bidding war’ among buyers likely to strongly desire your property can be very successful.

The good news is that even homes in areas generally considered to be sub-optimal (near loud factories or industrial parks) sell. The market for these buyers may be skewed toward a particular price bracket or the hard-of-hearing, but when the locational aspects are acknowledged and adjusted for, buyer resistance to a poor location can be overcome.

If location is a major objection, it becomes especially critical to match the home to what the market will accept. Otherwise, sluggish showing activity, low offers, low appraisals and potential sale-fails are common outcomes.

Similarly, a property on a busy street may have less demand from parents with young children. However, to a disabled person whose requirements include close access to public transportation, this same property could be ideal. Some locations are more challenging than others. When dealing with high power lines, nuclear waste contamination or crime infested areas, location is more of a major limiting factor.

Secret #1: To determine an accurate list price, review comparable properties with locations that closely match the subject property. Make certain that the location of each comparable is truly similar. When performing a market analysis on your property, your real estate professional should compile a list of comparable sales that take location into account.

Specific criteria among similar homes assist in evaluating exactly what constitutes a comparable location to the subject property. This is accomplished by determining whether these residences share the same neighborhood, school district, zoning/land use restrictions, view, commute time, park proximity, street condition and volume. Only by utilizing accurate comparable sales information can maximum accuracy be achieved to understand how locational issues affect your property.

Recent, accurate and supportable market evidence is therefore essential. Real estate is unique in that it is considered “non-fungible.”  Unlike a textbook, no two homes or properties are considered identical. This being the case, a degree of professional judgment must be exercised when establishing real estate values. Once your home’s actual market value is determined, you can then proceed to maximize other advantages through the remaining “7 Strategies to Sell Your House Sooner.”

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Strategy #2: Address Your Home’s Condition
The condition of your home greatly affects how fast it will sell. One reason for this is that many buyers lack the “vision” required to imagine what a minimally maintained home could look like in its improved state. Another reason is that bargain hunters are always eager to point out deficiencies to justify their “low-ball” offers. Don’t give the bargain hunters ammunition!

Mission: Sell your property faster, for the highest price
Strategy:  Minimize negatives of your home’s condition and enhance the positive features.
Tactic: Address all significant and obvious needed repairs. Consider paint, if needed.

You can sell sooner and avoid headaches if you take the following steps:

  1. Focus on “curb appeal” – Step out to the street and take a long look at your home. Try to view the home through a buyer’s eyes. Are bushes overgrown? Does the lawn need mowing? How’s the roof? Are the gutters drooping? Is there an old car up on blocks in the driveway? Your initial task is to enhance the appearance of the home’s exterior, including the yard. Secret #2: Realtor studies confirm you won’t get the buyers inside your home if they don’t like it from outside.
  2. Clean & uncluttered inside – Everyone prefers a clean home. Buyers will forgive clutter before they’ll forgive dirt. A thorough housecleaning is advisable prior to putting your home on the market. Be sensitive to odors in the home and neutralize them. Get rid of the clutter by storing any non-essential items which do not enhance the appearance of your home’s interior. One helpful ‘trick’ is to remove half of the items in your closets to make them look bigger. If you lack storage space, consider renting a mini-storage unit on a short-term basis. It could be a great investment!
  3. Light and bright – Dim lighting and dark colors can dissuade buyers from considering your home. If you decide to re-paint and re-carpet the interior prior to selling, choose light colors. Off white paint and light, neutral-colored carpeting have the broadest appeal. Avoid white carpet, as dirt shows more readily.
  4. Remedy deferred maintenance – Almost every home that’s more than a few years old needs a repair or two. Fortunately, many home repairs are minor and require little time and effort. Those little jobs around the house that you’ve been meaning to get to – the leaky faucet, the loose handrail, the cracked light switch cover – all could be seen as “trivial” items by a seller. Yet to buyers, these may be viewed as signs of neglect and symptomatic of larger, unseen problems.
  5. Disclose all known property defects – Don’t try to hide your home’s defects from the buyers — It could come back to haunt you.

Oregon-01 Strategy #3: Address Your Home’s Price
You don’t determine the sale price.

Your Realtor doesn’t determine the sale price.
Your well-intentioned relatives don’t determine the sale price.
Sentimental value doesn’t determine the sale price.
Your financial needs don’t determine the sale price.
Your investment in the property doesn’t determine the sale price.
You get the point.

Mission: Sell your property faster, for the highest price.
Maximize your seller’s net proceeds at closing by provoking a bidding war.

Tactic: Aggressive pricing at, or barely under, the current market value.

Secret #3: The market determines the sale price. Your home is worth what buyers are willing to pay.  Listen to the market. The strategy of aggressive pricing is one method to provoke a ‘bidding war’ and make buyers compete for your property. Banks sometimes use this tactic and it sometimes means not taking the first offer that comes in. What you want are clean offers, preferably cash if possible, with minimal offer conditions and a short closing timeframe.  

oregon-real-estate-podcast-24Strategy #4: Address the Marketing of Your Property
The maximally effective marketing of your home requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes not only featuring your home in the local multiple listing system, but how it is featured, including quality photos and compelling remarks in both the ‘public’ and ‘Realtor only’ versions. In addition, even if the property is correctly entered in the MLS, if showing access is limited, expect a damper on showing activity. For example, if you require 24 hour notice to show the property, then some agents working on short notice simply won’t be able to comply and there will be a missed opportunity.

Secret #4: Put the ‘Multiplier Effect’ to work for you. This means ensuring your property is promoted in the most effective venues and to the most logical buyer groups for your property type. For residential homes, this includes professional signage, flyers, plus at least one multiple listing system along with an advanced web presence. Each marketing ‘mix’ can vary, depending on factors like property type, price range and location.

Mission: Sell your property faster, for the highest price.
Maximize your home’s marketing advantage to make it more attractive to buyers.
The larger your ‘buyer pool,’ the faster your home will sell and for the most money. To accomplish this, have your Realtor include the use of key ‘searchable’ phrases referencing your neighborhood, district or other recognizable words denoting where you live in the remarks section of your property’s listing. If seller financing is an option for you, consider offering ‘seller terms’ to further broaden your buyer base. Also helpful are yard signs and directional signs.


Selecting the Right Buyer Pool for Your Property Could Mean Rewarding Yourself at a Pool Like This One

Strategy #5: Address the Buyer Pool of Your Property
Mission: Sell your property faster, for the highest price.
Strategy: Increase the buyer pool of qualified buyers for your property in order to potentially increase your net proceeds at closing and sell your property faster.
Tactic: Offer as many terms as possible;  The more terms a seller offers, typically the faster the sale and higher the price

“Terms” in real estate parlance refers to the form in which consideration or payment is made. Common terms include cash, conventional loan, seller financing, 1031 exchange and other trade methods, a government insured loan, non-conforming loan or private investor and assumptions. Below are explanations for a few of the most commonly used terms in real estate transactions. Secret #5: Higher sales prices and shorter marketing times are benefits of offering the greatest variety of terms.

TRUE CASH BUYERS are able to close transactions rapidly without the usual lender requirements such as loan underwriting or an appraisal. Buyers also have no loan fees. Cash buyers may expect price flexibility in their negotiations with home sellers. Cash purchasers are a minority of buyer types.

CONVENTIONAL LENDERS are the most common source of residential real estate loans. Lenders assess purchaser qualifications through income, credit history and tangible assets. They also routinely require appraisals, a pest & dry rot report and other inspections, depending on the property. Most conventional loans are 80-95% loan to value, which means the buyer has a 5-20% down payment. The majority of home sales involve conventional loans.

SELLER FINANCING involves sellers willing to act as the “bank” when selling their property. Payments can be made directly to the seller, or through an intermediary, such as a collection escrow account. Often a substantial down payment is expected with a balloon payment due on the remaining balance at a pre-determined date. Because of the seller’s willingness to assume a degree of risk while also offering serious savings (buyers have no loan fee or appraisal to pay), seller financing tends to deliver higher sales prices. Interest rates vary depending upon the motivation of the parties involved and other negotiated factors. Typically, seller financing is secured with a trust deed or land sales contract. Unless the property being purchased has either no loan remaining or little owed on it, a current lender’s “due on sale” clause may prevent seller financing as an option.

NON-CONFORMING LENDERS are a financing option for those unable to secure financing under conventional guidelines. Many are willing to waive a purchaser’s debt rations if net assets are considerable. Home equity loans are a popular market for these lenders. Interest rates tend to be higher than conventional loans, plus various up-front fees and points are often required.

PRIVATE INVESTORS assist in financing real estate transactions to receive greater returns on their investment. For instance, most lenders will not loan on homes lacking a foundation. Private investors are often eager to fill this gap and loan the money to the purchaser, thereby “cashing out” the seller. Payments from the purchaser are then made to the investor. To ensure an attractive return, significant penalties for prepayment are common.

GOVERNMENT INSURED LOANS (FHA/VA) are government-backed loans requiring additional paperwork and documentation. These programs frequently offer significantly lower loan limits, longer processing times and more stringent home condition requirements than conventional loans but by agreeing to sell your home under these conditions can be helpful in enlarging your pool of potential buyers.

ASSUMPTIONS involve a buyer taking over the seller’s prior obligation by making a payment or securing financing for the difference between the selling price and the assumed amount. “Qualified” assumptions typically require that a buyer who assumes an existing loan first be qualified by the existing lender. “Blind” assumptions require few qualifications, sometimes necessitating only that the purchaser pay a set fee.

You’ve Heard the First Five Strategies. For the entire power packed list, just complete the convenient form below to receive the full report, “7 Strategies to Sell Your House Sooner!”




The ‘Art of War’ for Homesellers

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

‘Peace through Strength’ Can Apply to Real Estate Transactions, Too

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Click here or on the ‘play’ button below to hear the audio podcast of this presentation.

The ‘Home Front’
Without being overly dramatic, it’s helpful to realize that as a homeseller, you are in a ‘war’ of sorts. Outright battle? Definitely not. And for anyone selling a home, it clearly helps to maintain a sense of politeness and grace when dealing with potential homebuyers. But we’re about to look at the process of homeselling using the metaphor of homeselling as ‘war.’


Why would the concept of ‘war’ be appropriate for homeselling? To start, homesellers and homebuyers do not have identical goals. In fact, similar to armed conflict, they frequently have goals at direct odds with one another. You can call such business interaction ‘give and take,’ or ‘financial combat,’ or real estate ‘tug-o-war.’ Rather than use swords or heavy artillery, the tools used can be more subtle. Here, metaphorical weapons might include home inspectors, attorneys and a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude. The point is that there is sometimes conflict in a home sale. But as with any good book or movie, sometimes it’s conflict that keeps things interesting and moves the plot forward, while underscoring the value of what is being contested.

So on many levels, the process of homeselling includes engagement with buyers who are naturally at odds with some of your desires as a homeseller. Acknowledging this fact will help you to maintain reasonable expectations throughout the transaction. If that becomes difficult, then simply remember that you were once a homebuyer, too.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Agility, Leverage and Balance Matter

A Martial Arts Comparison
One such metaphoric view of homeselling is akin to defensive forms of Judo, a time-tested martial art where an opponent’s weight can be used to advantage. A comparison of Judo with homeselling suggests deftness on the part of a homeseller doesn’t have to mean abrasive confrontation, or offensive aggressiveness. Instead, it’s primarily defensive. So we’re therefore talking agility, leverage and balance in order to yield a winning result. Namely, if not to vanquish an attacker, then to simply remain financially safe. 

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

The Tedious Work of Minesweeping is Worthwhile

“When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Make War No More
In the ‘heat of battle,’ there are some practical real estate applications for homesellers to ‘sue for peace,’ de-escalate tensions and maximize results of ‘peace talks.’ Let’s look at a specific real estate situation. For example, in the heat of an ‘offer-counteroffer’ scenario where a buyer and/or seller becomes testy or emotional over a key issue, a constructive approach might involve tactics of (1). taking a ‘time-out’ of sorts by mutually agreeing to longer response timeframes for time-sensitive documents, (2). deflecting an argumentative conversation to other, more fruitful forms, (3). working on other more readily resolvable issues first, and/or (4). ultimately and simply agreeing to disagree.


Secret Agents Specialize in Spy Tactics

Spy vs. Spy
The metaphor of ‘armed conflict’ in the real estate environment is also relevant in a ‘Cold War’ sense, where parties warily share information as necessary, especially when it suits their own best interests. This might be illustrated as ‘spy’ tactics between two less-than-trusting powers, similar to ‘Cold War’ political terms of entente’ (a French term meaning a diplomatic “understanding”)  or detente’ (“the easing of hostility or strained relations”). For example, homesellers may not enjoy completing a multi-page property disclosure statement to highlight their home’s flaws, yet they realize the significant downsides if they don’t accurately complete the document, so they comply. Such less-than-enthusiastic engagements definitely don’t resemble a ‘hot’ or ‘shooting war’ which could otherwise usher in the military acronym of MAD (mutual assured destruction), where ‘the plug is pulled’ on a home transaction and ostensibly everyone loses. “Scorched earth” is rarely good policy.  Such alternative approaches incorporate thoughtful caution imbued with hope, which seems to describe most real estate transactions.

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Trust, but Verify
What the term ‘trust, but verify’ can mean is that given often high financial stakes, buyers and sellers are sometimes wary as they ‘size each other up.’ From there, it’s largely up to each party involved to determine whether they attempt to maneuver and take tactical advantage, or ‘play nice’ and get along well throughout a home sale. Practical application of this in a real estate context may include finding common ground wherever possible, but for example, hiring your own home inspector or licensed contractor if a buyer’s inspector seems ‘heavy handed.’

Land Battles of Different Sorts Can Cause the Fog of War

‘Land Battles’ Can Cause the ‘Fog of War’

The Fog of War

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
― Sun Tzu

Military veterans have long talked about the ‘fog of war,’ which is defined as  the uncertainty in ‘situational awareness’ (what is going on around you) experienced by soldiers in the heat of battle. The word “fog” in reference to uncertainty in war was introduced by the Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831).  If the ‘fog’ of war is defined as uncertainty in what’s going on around you, this certainly applies to real estate transactions. For example, people you don’t know are walking through your home, viewing your possessions, all the while assessing an opinion of value. 


Don’t Let This Happen to Your Next Real Estate Transaction

‘Fog’ is an apt description of some home selling processes, which can be both confusing and uncertain. Think about it. Interest rates fluctuate. Loan underwriters, home inspectors and appraisers all need to come together in agreement that the buyer and property both ‘pass muster.’ Unless and until they do, uncertainty. Some home sales fail because the buyer made a major purchase before the home sale closes. Or their credit score dropped.  Or the appraisal came in low. You get the idea. In the end, more than a few home sales are just one ‘thumbs down’ from someone in the property transaction ‘chain’ blowing it sky high.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Opposing  Civil War Generals, U.S. Grant & Robert E. Lee

Wars of the Roses
Interestingly, the historic ‘War of Roses’ was a different kind of ‘real estate battle’ between two royal ‘houses,’ the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. But thankfully as a homeseller, you aren’t marshaling troops to wound and destroy. Instead, we’re talking in essence about a ‘civil’ war between parties who can do business. As a homeseller, your ‘battle’ includes navigating a minefield of easily avoided homeselling missteps, while engaging  homebuyers who might be alternatively friendly, hostile or ‘hard-to-read,’ yet always potentially adversarial.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

An Impossible Mission?
A major goal of homebuyers may at first seem like “Mission Impossible.” Namely, getting you, the homeseller, to accept the lowest possible price for a prized possession, your home. This doesn’t mean you have to be fearful, intimidated or worried. With an experienced Realtor at your side, you’re a ‘well-armed’ team ready to ‘do battle.’ It also helps to know that the more buyers want your house, often the nicer they will be.

War Games
Given these dynamics and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, it makes sense to modify a few homeselling cues from successful battle strategists. You might consider this approach as a ‘tip sheet’ to lay your ‘battle plan’ for what lies ahead.

  1. Declare War. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  2. Never Surrender. Winston Churchill
  3. Declare Victory. Harry S. Truman
  4. Win the Peace. George C. Marshall
  5. Go home. To your new home, that is

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

1. Declare War
This step mainly involves understanding that buyers generally have opposing interests than sellers, but you can usually do business with most of them. Such realistic expectations will help you to understand, for example, why it’s usually a good idea to let your Realtor do much of the talking and not share many specifics about your motivations for selling. Otherwise, opportunistic buyers may sense desperation and take advantage by offering you significantly less than your asking price.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

2. Never Surrender
When the going gets tough, stick with your plan. This includes following through on your thoughtful, well-defined strategies. ‘Keep your powder dry’ by not obsessing over factors you can’t change and ‘choose your shots wisely’ by considering those factors you can change. Conserving firepower is fundamental to strategic homeselling.

For example, adjustments in the home-selling process are sometimes necessary. It’s entirely possible that if your home hasn’t sold for some time, a case can be made for a price adjustment. That’s not a defeat, unless you stop moving thoughtfully forward. But before making substantial ‘course corrections,’ first make sure to review the situation and your options.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

3. Declare Victory
Realize when you’ve won. This doesn’t mean chest beating. Just make sure to remind yourself of your goals once you’ve reached them. For example, your home selling goals may have included receiving a timely offer at full selling price and/or retaining a few extra days of delayed possession after the closing date to more comfortably move out along with other factors important to you. Cherish the win.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

4. Win the Peace
Remain as gracious as possible throughout the transaction. Be charitable to your buyers. For example, this could include your being flexible if they ask about allowing contractors to visit your home before closing in order to provide bids for later remodeling. Leaving a vase of flowers in the house with a note for when the buyers move in is a nice touch, too.


5. Go Home: To Your New Home, That Is
Mission Accomplished!

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Thinking about selling your Oregon home? Contact experienced Realtor Roy Widing using the convenient form below for a free consultation. And please thank a veteran today for their service.

What’s An Oregon Acre Worth?

One frequent Oregon real estate question buyers and sellers ask is ‘What’s an acre worth?’  When you think about it, this question is not so different than ‘What’s a car worth?’ That’s because each situation has significant variables.

Click here or the ‘play’ button below for the audio podcast presentation of this article.

With a car, the mileage and condition are both very important to arrive at an accurate value. Land, too has unique variables. What are these variables that affect the value of an acre and as an Oregon property buyer or seller, what is it that you may need to know?

Oregon Real EstateWhat follows in not an exhaustive study of determining the value of an acre, but a summary of 6 key factors that affect the market value of Oregon acreage property. Spoiler alert: The actual answer to the value of an Oregon acre is ‘it depends.’

Oregon Real Estate

Research is Fundamental
There are plenty of places to find estimates on land values, including for Oregon acreages
. But unless some specific and fundamental research is performed, such estimates can be meaningless, beyond providing a broad yardstick for comparison between states. Yet, even that can be a misleading endeavor. 


California Dreaming
For example, many think California land is more expensive than Oregon land. Yet an acre of land in Oregon could be worth considerably more than a California acre. How? Select one acre in Canby, Oregon (with a current population of more than 16,000)  and the other acre in tiny Canby, California, (with a current population of less than 500). The simple laws of supply and demand apply, even across state lines. So to begin, demand is a function of value. The larger a population surrounding a given acre, usually the greater the demand and hence the higher the price per acre. 

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How Big Is An Acre? 
Sources suggest an acre was first defined back in the Middle Ages as the amount of land that could be ploughed in one day with a yoke of oxen. An acre can now be specifically defined as an area comprising 43,560 square feet. For example, this would equal a parcel of 66 feet (1 chain, also known as 22 yards) by 660 feet (1 furlong, also known as 1/8 mile, or 220 yards).

6 Factors of Separation
The following six factors provide insights into some key components that help determine the value of an Oregon acre of land.


Factor 1: Location, Location, Location
To help determine the value of an Oregon acre, chief among the variables is the immutable characteristic of location. Why? For example, prime farmland located in distant locales can be worth less than somewhat lower grade farmland if the distant location requires significant fuel and related expense in order to transport crops to market. Location explains why waterfront property usually sells for more than property located some distance from a river or lake. Location also explains why view properties can command a premium.

Realty Oregon
Factor 2: Zoning & Allowed Uses

In Oregon, also high among the factors that impact the value per acre is zoning. Zoning can be influenced by federal, state, county, regional (like Oregon’s Metro government) and city regulations. For example, don’t expect to generate much income from a parcel of land designated as a wetland. There are fewer activities that can be performed on such a property and as a result, fewer buyers and therefore lower demand. This typically means a lower market value. Generally speaking, in many parts of Oregon, property zoned to allow residential, commercial or industrial use frequently commands a higher price than agricultural land. 

Oregon Real Estate
Factor 3: Volume Discount

With some limitations, the larger the parcel, generally speaking the lower the market value per acre. This is true for several reasons. As a property’s price gets up into the higher ranges, particularly if we’re talking multiples of a region’s average selling price, there are simply fewer qualified buyers. As an example, consider how many buyers in a given area who may be able to afford a $100,000 property. This is a sizable percentage of the ‘buyer pool.’ 
Now consider how many buyers who may be able to afford a 3 or 4 million dollar property. Far fewer as the price increases. So while there are buyers for each price category, the price per acre is typically reduced with the increase in land size and purchase price.

Factor 4: Soil Types
There is a plethora of soil types, with various metrics to determine their characteristics and use. According to Oregon State University, we have nearly 1,000 different soils in Oregon. One broad method of grouping and evaluating soil types is known as the ‘class system.’ Broad groups of soils can therefore be denoted as Class I, Class II, Class III, and the like. As you might expect, Class I soils are considered the best and typically have very good fertility, superior drainage and are typically located in mostly level areas, often with slopes of no more than 3%. Examples of Oregon Class I and Class II soil types are Willamette Silt Loam and Woodburn Silt Loam.  

Also as you might expect, Oregon’s Class VI and Class VII soils are considered less useful for agricultural purposes. One example of these is called Whetstone soil. While having low fertility, Whetstone is suited to to growing timber, but not cultivated crops. Erosion of poorer soils can also be severe. One of Oregon’s least productive soils is not even technically considered soil. Called Terrace Escarpments, this alluvium is typically located in steep areas which makes cultivating it so difficult.   

Some crops grow significantly better with certain soils. Other crops, such as grapes, can be more forgiving and can actually thrive under a diversity of soil types, even if they ‘struggle,’ which is said to provide certain favorable wine characteristics.

Oregon Soils

     Examples of Different Soil Surveys Published for Each Oregon County

While soils information on a given property can now be located online for a specific property according to each Oregon county, for many years the primary method of researching soil types was to either speak with an extension agent or view the ‘soil survey’ book issued for each Oregon county. These books were published by the US Department of Agriculture. As a result, they became the ‘bible’ for determining soil type and related information. 

Oregon Real Estate
Factor 5: Water Rights
In addition to the above factors, access and legal ability to use water is a very significant element in determining the value of an Oregon acre. The Oregon Water Resources Department has a regional watermaster system, where each watermaster has a range of state-mandated duties. As a general rule, land with water rights is worth significantly more than ‘dry land.’ One reason is because irrigable land allows for more-and potentially more profitable-crops.

Oregon Real Estate

Factor 6: Improvements
Another important factor in determining the value of an acre are improvements. Key among these can be a home. However, even if a home is not present but a well and/or septic system is, and the property is zoned to allow a home, this can be the ‘dream scenario’ that some buyers who wish to have a new home built actually want. That’s because the zoning is already in place, as are some of the most expensive utilities like water and septic. As a result, the presence of absence of improvements is another element in helping to determine the value of an acre.

Oregon Real Estate Information

In Summary
There are many components to evaluating the worth of an acre. To most accurately do this, it’s important that your Realtor review comparable properties in your area. This means utilizing information among truly similar properties sharing related characteristics, especially those which may have recently sold. An experienced Oregon acreage real estate specialist is conversant with the multiple factors necessary to most accurately gather, analyse and interpret such data.

Oregon Real Estate, Oregon Properties, Oregon Homes, Oregon Homeseller, Oregon Homeselling

Questions? Call a Professional!
Do you have questions about buying or selling Oregon property? Contact veteran Oregon Realtor Roy Widing for a free consultation using the convenient form below.

3 Questions Your Oregon Realtor Can’t Answer

Click here or on the ‘play’ button above for the audio podcast version of this article.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

When making the biggest financial decision of their lives, many homebuyers and homesellers understandably ask their Realtor to provide a professional opinion on a range of topics. Some common questions include if adding a bathroom will boost resale value, should wallpaper be removed, if re-painting will help, how long a home has been for sale, if sellers should leave when their home is being shown, or if a home shows better when ‘staged.’ These and many other questions are typically addressed with aplomb by an experienced Realtor.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

However, with other, less benign questions, agents are trained not only to be cautious, but simply refuse to answer them. Is it because the Realtor doesn’t have an opinion? Maybe, but maybe not. Often the reason is because rules don’t allow it.

Oregon Real Estate Podcast

Federal, State & Ethics…Oh My!
What are these rules that might cause an otherwise conversational, if not super-chatty (or at least engaging) real estate agent to go mum? They include federal laws, state regulations and the Realtor Code of Ethics.  And while there are more than three topics agents are trained to be wary of, here we’ll address three examples of areas Realtors are supposed to be particularly cautious about. It helps to first understand that some of the following essentially forbidden conversations most often occur between a Realtor and clients. However, the specific topic of Question #3 below can also be especially problematic if discussed between Realtors.

Question #1 That Your Oregon Realtor Can’t Answer: “Do Many Minorities (or Other Protected Classes) Live Here?”
If there is even a hint of a question having a racial, religious, or other prohibited basis, law-abiding Oregon Realtors will not go there.

Federal Law Prohibits Real Estate Discrimination
Chief among the federal laws that limit a Realtor’s behavior in these areas is the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It prohibits:

  • A refusal to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling.
  • Advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling indicating preference of discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.
  • Coercing, threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a person’s enjoyment or exercise of housing rights based on discriminatory reasons or retaliating against a person or organization that aids or encourages the exercise or enjoyment of fair housing rights.

Oregon Law Prohibits Real Estate Discrimination
Discrimination in Real Property Transactions-State discrimination law also prohibits a person from refusing to sell, lease, or rent any real property because of an individual´s race, color, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, national origin, religion, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, or source of income.

The Realtor Code of Ethics Prohibits Real Estate Discrimination
Additional guidelines to assist Realtors in following laws against discrimination are incorporated in the Realtor Code of Ethics, which you can read in its entirety here. For the purposes of this discussion, here is a pertinent portion:

Article 10
REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)

REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14) [listen]

  • Standard of Practice 10-1

When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however, REALTORS® may provide other demographic information.