1. Make sure you are READY

Making a commit to OWN a home is a big deal! It is one that takes a lot of planning, courage and maintenance. Many young people buy a home that they can afford and that fits their needs for RIGHT NOW – which is OK. Just make sure when doing so you are making plans for the future, you want to be able to make a return on this investment – if/when you decide to sell in 3-5 years. Make sure you think all the details over and over – and then maybe one more time!

  1. Know your finances

Buying a home will most likely be the largest purchase you will ever make in your life. So, in order to do that – you definitely need to understand and know your finances. Your salary, current expenses and spending habits will be a huge factor once you meet with your lender. Remember, your mortgage won’t be your only expense when buying a home – there will be costs like […]


Biggest House in the World

Exactly what makes a house “big”? That’s a judgement call, for sure.

In the Portland Metro Area, houses that are 4,000 square feet or larger would certainly be considered “big,” “spacious,” “ample,” “accommodating,” etc. Most families can get along quite nicely with the U.S. average of 2,600—so even Portland houses with 3,000 square feet can be thought of as providing a little extra elbow room. But are they “big”?

The reason the subject comes up has to do with the all-important listing language. It’s Job One for a new local listing that the descriptive language be as accurate as possible. It’s vital that prospective buyers come away with an accurate feeling for the property. Readers need to be drawn to the houses that should attract them—and, equally important, not be disappointed by the actual property when they tour in person.  

In […]


The Riddle of the Ultimate Buyer

While reading a real estate magazine article about “the pros and cons of buying during the peak selling season,” I was fairly certain (as you probably would be) that, one way or another, the cons wouldn’t outweigh the pros. Portland’s peak selling season is certainly prime time whenever there are homes for sale, but often there are reasons when other times of year can be opportune.

The article in came up with more pros than cons. No surprise there: we can all bank on the inevitability of that conclusion (that NOW is a good time to buy or sell) whenever we’re hearing from an industry whose business is buying and selling!  

So—how do you actually get the straight scoop on the subject?

The answer may lie in understanding why a true best answer for when to put up northwest homes for sale always does tend to be “now.” It’s because of a phenomenon called “The Riddle of the Ultimate […]


Homeowners’ Tips

Some of Portland’s senior residents will verify that The Reader’s Digest was once flat-out the most popular magazine in the country. I don’t know how far back that began, but at one point at least, it was the time-saving way Americans kept up with what was being published in the other magazines (there were lots of them). RD boiled lengthy articles down to a couple of pages.

TV is probably what spelled its decline. The internet almost finished the job—but the Digest is still going in various forms. When you come across it online, it never fails to show a whole lineup of almost irresistible Click Me sidebars. A few weeks ago, for instance, local homeowners might have been snared by “20 Secret Hiding Places for Valuables in Your Home” (if your home will host an open house anytime soon, that one would be fortuitous); “Prepare to Be Amazed By the […]


Open House Approaches That Work

The debate continues about whether open houses are effective for marketing Portland Metro Area homes. Yes, sales do still originate from them, but the percentages have been declining since social media and online listings changed the way local prospects look for their next home.

Whether an open house is likely to garner qualified traffic is a decision that clients and I work out together on a case-by-case basis. The choice has to do with the nature of the property, its location, history, and the state of the current market. Some properties are much better suited to being shown on a one-on-one guided tour basis, where questions can be answered and strong points pointed out; others shine in any circumstances.

When it’s decided that an open house looks to be a productive event, preparing the property will be nearly identical to that for any showing. The only difference is that more prospective buyers will not have any idea about the house—they will not have seen any photos or taken a […]


Bargaining Point Basics

When a new buyer first approaches their initial home buying effort, chances are they have only a general idea of what the process involves. Although they are successful people who have arrived at a juncture in their lives and careers where it’s now possible to buy a home of their own, most of the details—and even the terminology—is specific to this single kind of transaction. More than in most other purchases, there are a number of junctures where negotiations determine the outcome.

It’s pretty common to assume that their Portland Metro Area home buying venture can be wrapped up with a single offer—one that will either be accepted or not. But along the way, from the home loan provider to the title insurer to the seller, other bargaining points frequently appear.

A first local home buying venture is sure to run more smoothly if these basics don’t come as a bolt from the blue. Most of these five fundamental bargaining point basics might be guessed at, but […]


Jumbo Mortgage Popularity Gains

House hunters aiming for some of the Portland Metro Area’s more upscale properties may see their home loan applications finding an increasingly welcome reception. That’s the word from the national financial press—and they aren’t whispering. According to The Wall Street Journal, it’s nothing short of “a jumbo shift in the U.S. mortgage market.”

In the world of mortgage lending, the “jumbos” are home loans for amounts that rise above the limits set by the federal reinsuring entities—Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac (they aren’t exactly miniature outfits themselves). In circus lore, the name of “Jumbo” became legendary when, in the late 1800’s, P.T. Barnum thrilled crowds by starring the pachyderm of the same name—at that time the largest captive elephant in the world—in the center ring of his “Greatest Show on Earth.”

Today, the Portland home loans that borrow his name may not be elephantine, but they are larger than average. While one might think that lenders would view the larger loans askance, since […]


How to Make a Memorable Open House

Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at your open house? It’s been a standard for open houses everywhere and forever, but if the goal is to make your property and its open house a standout, it’s a solution hardly in sync with the goal. Cheese and crackers? C’mon—does anyone really want dubious-looking cheese and cold cuts that have been sitting out for who-knows-how-long…?

Stone fruits and berries are at their absolute peak this time of year—so they make for a simple, elegant solution. It’s also one that’s easy to provide and appealing to look at…

Then again, if you are planning for your own local open house in this summer, you also have the option of upping the ante a bit—while still bringing the fruits of the season inside to the party. To add a delightfully unexpected and memorable surprise to your open house, consider baking a pie or two! Let the mouthwatering aromas fill the air just before show time—and be assured, the effect of that kind of old fashioned hospitality […]


5 Snags that Derail Closings

It’s a great feeling to assist clients on the great adventure of discovering and landing their new northwest home. The final part of the real estate sale comes with the closing, where the papers are executed and house keys handed over.

Virtually all of our local real estate sales proceed to closing without significant hitches. That’s not by accident: we’ve helped clear the path by methodically checking off every item on each sale’s unique ‘to do’ list. That checklist has evolved to include the various technical legal and financial items that need to be addressed before a change of ownership can happen. At closing, they’re all addressed.

But—as everyone with many closings to their credit will tell you—even well-laid plans can begin to unravel when the unexpected pops up. Apparently “closing nightmare” stories make for great internet fodder, because you can find scores of them online. Some are tall tales, but others are exactly what’s to be expected if care isn’t taken to head them […]


The Rent or Buy Enigma

To rent or buy? question sometimes answers itself—especially when the requisite down payment amount isn’t available. Other Portland Metro area residents have to wrestle with a very important decision that simply doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, any more than does a what car is best? question.

Factors that make it complicated have to do with how predictable many other facets of their future are: how long do they know they will be living in the northwest; how reliable is their income stream; how stable is the size of their family, and—an associated issue—how important will the quality of neighborhood grade, middle, and/or public high school be…and when?

Once you are convinced that there is no simple answer to the rent or buy question, it becomes much easier to dismiss some of the mythology that passes as common sense when it comes to the decision. Chief among the myths is the one that has renting being more economical because of the […]