Portland, OR -- Real Estate Online

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Do YOU have a CLUE?!?!?

Hi all . . .

I'm on an "industry related" message board as an e-PRO agent. From time-to-time the agents posting actually have something poignant to say. When this happens I like to pass it along to clients, friends, clients who are friends, etc.

Here's one such interesting post I read this morning. I vaguely recall hearing something similar about merely making an insurance inquiry. It is good to know when (and if) you ever have an insurance claim issue you'd like to explore with your insurance company that whatever you say won't be used against you . . .

To be honest, I do not know if Oregon has a similar law (as you'll read from the post), but I will make sure to inquire of my agent that this DOES NOT happen to me!


-------------------------------------------------------

Vicki Loyd wrote: A few years ago it seemed every property I listed had aminor insurance claim, or even an inquiry that caused some minor heartattacks during the escrow period. I had 2 different clients who had calledtheir insurance company about some minor wind damage (8 foot section of woodfence blew over), and were told it was not worth filing a claim, because itwas less than their deductible. In both cases, the inquiry was reported onthe CLUE report, and we had to provide a significant amount of documentationto the new buyers' insurance agents before they would commit to writing apolicy.--This became a huge issue here in North Carolina. The filing of a CLUEreport after JUST AN INQUIRY into what a policy covered became ILLEGAL lastyear. Homeowners should be able to call their insurance company to inquireas to what their policy may cover, and what their deductible is, without thecompany assuming there was an issue.Actually, a lawyer in my area (that I know) who lost the sale of his ownhome, when his wife called after a minor toilet leak. They didn't file anactual claim, because as it turned out, they only had to replace someflooring, and the wax seal around the base. When the buyer went to getinsurance, the rate was astronomical and they backed out based on this CLUEreport. Well, the insurance companies picked on the wrong guy, because hefiled a lawsuit that he won damages against the insurance company, and thencontacted his area legislator and had a new bill drafted to make it illegal.Also, homeowners had CLUE reports filed during minor hurricanes when theycalled to make inquiries, when some of them had NO damage - they just wantedto understand their policy. I still advise sellers to be cautious aboutactually filing claims, as that can still affect the sale of their home.Sad we have something we have to be so reluctant to use...

[Carla's note: I've never had any of my clients' deals go south (knock wood) based on not being able to insure the property they were planning to purchase. In fact, the standard Sales Agreements we use in the Metro Portland area actually contains a provision which allows the buyer to withdraw from the contract if they are unable to insure the property with no adverse results (i.e., earnest money deposit is protected). HOWEVER, no one wants their rates to go up, or have a future claim denied if the "inquiry" about an issue comes back to haunt them later. The next time I talk to my agent I am going to ask what my "Miranda Rights" are!]
www.CarlaHomes.com

HomeRun Realty Co., LLC is an EXCLUSIVE BUYER AGENCY. Sellers' and THEIR interests are NEVER represented!Find out more http://www.carlahomes.coml

And then call or email Carla Muss-Jacobs, ABR, e-PRO, Broker/Owner and have an EXCLUSIVE BUYERS AGENT represent YOU!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Moving with Pets

Pets are a big part of the American culture. And as such, we consider them part of the family. At least this is true for me . . . with 2 dogs, 4 cats and 3 rabbits. I know, I know . . . a little excessive but with the exception of 1 dog -- all the other critters found me.

The cats knew a sucker when they saw me, and "Free meal ticket" must have been written all over my face.

One of the rabbits -- a small Californian dwarf weighing all of 2 1/2 pounds -- was abandoned at a park I frequent with the dogs. The other two had been rescued from a golf course, and when I called the Rabbit Advocacy agency to find out how to take care of Bunny #1, they, too, suckered me into taking two as "foster" rabbits. After a year of no one wanting them, I adopted them.

So . . . my life revolves around feeding and then cleaning up after pets.

When I moved recently, so did the pets. The rabbits were not any major concern. They are not prone to getting out of their pen and they adjusted fine.

The cats were spooked. I kept them in one bedroom with kittie litter, food and water for about 2 days with the door closed. When they had calmed down, and my household was gradually being shifted from packing boxes into closets, and cabinets with the normalcy of life returning they were allowed to come out.

However, one cat disappeared for 7 days. She was the most skittish of them all, and I was heart-sick, until she just figurered it out . . . we moved! She realized the food source was still ME . . . so she made her appearance and now she's been at the front door each morning and evening for her meals, and all's well.

About a month of living in the house I had another scare. The back fence had blown open during the night in a windstorm, and my beloved dogs were AWOL.

The unfamiliarity I had of the house was the overall reason for their great escape. The wooden back fence had been swollen with rain for months. There had been a dry spell which caused the fence to dry out, and shrink. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with any of this, and didn't realize the latch wasn't secured. The gate that had been so swollen, was actually loose and unlatched. During a high-wind storm it was blown wide open.

The dogs were gone for hours, and I was in utter panic. Fortunately, a kind woman picked them both up . . . and even more fortunate was the fact that they ran off together AND stayed together. I had called the animal control to report my missing dogs only minutes after she had called to report finding stray dogs.

But, my dogs would have been returned to me as sure as I'm typing this . . . they had ADVO chips implanted.

If you've not heard of the ADVO chip, this is a microchip which contains information about the dog's vet, their phone number. The vet implants this chip into the nape of the dogs' neck, and when lost and found dogs are brought to an animal shelter the first thing that occurs is that they get "Scanned" and dogs are reunited with their rightful owner -- in a very short amout of time.

When moving with pets here are a few tips:

* Keep cats isolated for 24-48 hours. Let them calm down in one area and once you feel they're ready, let them explore their new surroundings at their leisure

* Adjust cats to the outside gradually (if they are indoor/outdoor). After you're convinced that they are at-ease in their new home, open the door and let them adjust to the outside while you are there. Talk to them, and remain at the front door.

* Use FOOD. Keep them hungry when you let them outside, and place their food inside the house after they have been outside for a few minutes. They will smell their food, and realize this is where they are still going to be fed. This is a comfort to them. I always use a special treat, like maybe tunafish.

* Walk around the property before letting your dogs out. Especially the smaller ones, or if you own a bred that likes to dig. Make sure the perimeter of the property is secure, and there are no loose boards in the fencing, or small places that they can tunnel under -- or swollen fences that aren't latched!

* Introduce yourselves, and your pets to the neighbors. Let your new neighbors know you have pets -- dogs or cats. The neighbors will then tell you about their pets, and perhaps be on the lookout for yours if they happen to stray. And you might want to tell them to look out for them for the next few days while they are adjusting.

* Take recent photos of your pets, just in case.

* Make sure your pets have their dog tags on (kinda impossible to get a cat to wear a collar, but if you're the lucky one that has a cat that "allows" you to put a collar around their neck, buy a tag (they have machines at PetSmart, for example, that you can actually make a tag) and put your current phone number on it.

*Above all . . . MICROCHIP your pets!! If your pets are already microchipped, don't forget to update your former neighborhood vet with your NEW contact information!!

And, as Bob Baker reminds us: Spay and neuter your pets!!

If you're planning to RELOCATE to the Portland, Oregon area, please be sure to contact me about your move.

www.CarlaHomes.com

HomeRun Realty Co., LLC is an EXCLUSIVE BUYER AGENCY. Sellers' and THEIR interests are NEVER represented!Find out more http://www.carlahomes.coml

And then call or email Carla Muss-Jacobs, ABR, e-PRO, Broker/Owner and have an EXCLUSIVE BUYERS AGENT represent YOU!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Appreciate Portland

Portland, OR is one of the nicest places to call home. And in real estate it's not only location, location, location . . . it's also appreciation, appreciation, appreciation.

In a recent article by MSN Money staff, Portland, OR ranks #54 (out of 276) in appreication for the past year.

In fact, Portland, OR has appreciated approximately 20% since last year. Of course, this is an overall statistic, and in some areas it will be a little less, and in some areas a little more.

Normally, the run of thumb will put appreciation rates at about 4-5% per year. And that's not bad either. But with this article Portland has done well at 19.84% The stability and livability of the area has a lot to do with it. So what if it rains a lot. That's what makes this place green. And let's face it . . . we all want to see GREEN when we buy a home.

The current market is good for buyers, pricing is still very affordable. While we've seen remarkable growth it's not even close to some of our other West Coast neighbors such as Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco and points in between. While we are "West Coast" consider Portland, OR to continue to be the bargain basement for pricing. A good home is still within a home buyers budget.

We will continue to watch the market, and keep our finger on the pulse. Portland, OR has appreciated well.

For all your buyers needs, contact HomeRun Realty Co., LLC -- an EXCLUSIVE BUYERS AGENCY! We represent BUYERS . . . exclusively.

www.CarlaHomes.com

Monday, February 13, 2006

Learn this up front . . . WHO REPRESENTS WHOM??

In a very high percentage of all home sales, a real estate agent is involved. To buyers and sellers alike, it is important to know whom the agent is representing.

When agents are employed by . . . and thus represent . . . the interests of property owners, the sellers pay the agent a fee in exchange for the agent's expertise in locating suitable buyers for their home. The agent has a fiduciary relationship with the sellers, and an obligation to pursue a course of action in their best interests.

When the agent represents the sellers, what relationship exists between that agent and any buyers who are shown the home?

The relationship is that of a salesperson/customer. The agent is obligated to treat the customer honestly and fairly, but is clearly looking out for the best interests of the property owners -- THEIR CLIENTS!

Can buyers hire an agent to represent them? They certainly can. Just as homeowners sign an exclusive listing agreement with their agent, buyers can hire the services of an agent by signing an exclusive buyer agency agreement. The buyer has the right to expect the agent to negotiate a purchase in their best interests, paying special attention to price, terms, inspections, and closing details that benefit the buyer. A client relationship is established, legally, between BUYER AND AGENT!

Dual agency is an alternative. In dual agency, buyers and sellers are represented by the same agent, a situation that carries with it an inherent conflict of interest. When buying or selling a home, ask the agent who is being represented, then proceed with an informed decision. To put it in another perspective, would you have the same attorney handling your divorce??

HomeRun Realty Co., LLC is an EXCLUSIVE BUYER AGENCY. Sellers' and THEIR interests are NEVER represented!

Find out more about "fiduciary duties" . . . http://www.carlahomes.com/faq.shtml

And then call or email Carla Muss-Jacobs, Broker/Owner and have an EXCLUSIVE BUYERS AGENT represent YOU!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Rain, Rain -- GO AWAY! Tips on Viewing Homes in the rain

Well, it's January . . . and soon February will be here, then March. And let's not forget: April SHOWERS bring May flowers!

The Pacific Northwest can probably be summed up as a "Green" State! And that's because we have rain . . . and lots of it! Rain is good since it keeps everything lush. But when you want to go out shopping to buy a home it can be problematic.

Tips for Buyers:

*Make sure you wear shoes that can be pulled off and on easily. (Keep the "holy" socks in the drawer, and find a nice pair). When you enter a seller's property, especially if it's been raining and is muddy outside, you want to remove your shoes. It's a courtesy that sellers will appreciate.

*Photoshop your mental images of a home! The weather is dreary and grey. Your agent will send you photos of listings, and they will be reflective of the season. Try to paint the sky blue, with nice white clouds -- if only in your mind. Many people can't envision a garden in full bloom, or the sunset in the west over the Cascades. If you only see the immediate, you might be missing out on a home that really comes to live in the Spring, Summer and Fall with fantastic colors. The Pacific Northwest is dormant in the rainy months. If you're relocating to the area during this time . . . the sun will come out tomorrow! REALLY! http://carlahomes.com/relocation-portland.shtml

*Rain is GOOD! Here's one reason why: The leaks will be very noticeable in a house. I've been to many properties during the rainy season and have found leaks, major ones, that would have been overlooked in the dry weather. One was right over the front door, dripping on the top of my head as I walked in. The home was vacant so the owners were totally unaware. Leaks don't always occur from the roof. Windows which aren't properly sealed will have moisture stains, water on the window blinds, and perhaps even some mildew.

As an EXCLUSIVE BUYER'S AGENT I specialize in the needs of buyers.

But here's a BONUS TIP for SELLERS: Take pictures of your home on a nice sunny day. Show off your garden, with the flowers in full bloom, your living room with it brightly lit with natural lighting. Keep these photos on hand, and when you do decide to sell -- even in the drab and dreay months of rain -- you'll be able to present a nice, sunny picture to potential buyers!

For more buyer tips, and to find out about the exceptional services offered at HomeRun Realty Co., please visit us on the web: http://carlahomes.com/

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Portland Weather -- and HOUSING MARKET -- cooling!

This is GREAT news, for those of you into the winter sports: the weather is cooling off! And as anyone knows, the Metro Portland area is full of fun winter activities.

But like the weather -- the housing market is also cooling off.

The summer of '05 had a very strong sellers' market. And in the six plus years I've been a licensed Realtor, I've seen these types of peaks: multiply offers, quick turn-around of houses on the market, low inventory . . . all adding up to a strong sellers' market. Then it cools off. However, this summer it turned into a very strong sellers' market, which meant it market latest a lot longer. But with all things cyclical, the market has now cooled off.

With my current clients, and current activity in the marketplace, I've noticed a definite cooling. Houses are lasting on the market longer, there are price reduction -- which has been very drastic. For example, a property priced at $289,000 didn't move for close to a month. The sellers reduced their list price by $10,000 -- which is a substantial amount. And there was still quite a bit of "wiggle-room" at that list price, which I negotiated for my clients for an even further reduced price! I've also been reading industry-related magazines and e-zines, and they are all indicating a cooler market.

THIS IS GREAT FOR BUYERS!

And if you've been thinking about buying, think a little more -- and then CALL ME!!

The Holiday Season is typically a good time to look for property anyway. WHY? Well, most buyers aren't going to kick tires just for the heck of it. The sellers know this. When they have a buyer tour their listing, it's because that buyer is serious. Or, why else would they want to venture out in the inclimate weather, and/or during the holiday festivities?

When the sellers put their property up during this time, they are SERIOUS as well. So we have a motivated seller, and a serious buyer. Good Tidings for all!

HomeRun Realty Co. is an EXCLUSIVE buyer's agency. We never take listings OR represent the seller. We provide 100% buyer agency representation with no conflicts of interest. Please contact us.

And HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Good time to Buy . . .

If you're still straddling that fence wondering if now is a good time to buy, I've got an answer for you. YES!

The Metro Portland (Oregon) market had a flash of a Sellers' market. Just a few months ago, a good property, in a good location, at a good price was . . . GONE in a matter of days. And multi-offers were common.

The seasons have changed. Yes they have, and what I'm observing is a large inventory of nice homes. And as a Buyer's Agent, this is good. Falling leafs go great with falling home prices!

I'm currently working with a couple who are looking to purchase a home between $250,000 - $300,000. In doing my search for them, there are some very nice homes to choose from. And while it was normal for homes to be "pending" in less then a week, I'm not seeing this. In fact, what I'm seeing is that homes for sale for 2 weeks are more are reducing their prices by as much as $10,000. And yes, in this price range, $10,000 reduction IS a good thing!

Interest rates are still very competitive, and the inventory is good. I'd be more then happy to take you shopping. Just give my office a call, and let's set up a good time to meet each other, perferable over a nice cup of a seasonal pumpkin flavored caffiene beverage! YUMMY!

As an EXCLUSIVE BUYERS AGENT my finger is always on the pulse of the current real estate market. And my forecast for Fall 2005 is a good amount of inventory, with pricing very negotiable.