New numbers from RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service) confirm demand for housing in our region and Oregon City remains strong. Click here for the complete report and see Oregon City highlights below.
The upward home price trend is thanks in part to a continued low supply of housing, where three to six months is considered a normal housing inventory. Our region has now been below three months of home supply for more than two years.
Greater Oregon City Market Averages
The average annual home price increase around Oregon City is 7.5% and the average market time for our area is now 48 days. The average selling price year-to-date is $387,500.
Thinking about selling your Oregon City home during our strong ‘seller’s market?’ Now could be a great time. Contact our OregonCityHomes.com sponsor, Certified Realty for a free consultation using the form below, or call (800) 637-1950.
Compared to the life of famed superspy James Bond, buying or selling Oregon City 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 City 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 City real estate have a lot more in common with the famous spy than first meets the bullseye.
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 each 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 City real estate transaction.
Turning The Tables
To an Oregon City 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 City real estate transaction. And to an Oregon City 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 City 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 City homeseller or homebuyer more daring than even Agent 007.
Risk 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.
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 City 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 City homeseller or homebuyer is arguably ‘better than Bond.’
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, as an Oregon City 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.’
Oregon City 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 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.
Savoir-faire can be adapted to Oregon City 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 City Homebuyers and Homesellers A prepared and practical approach to problem solving is what both James Bond and successful Oregon City 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 City 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 City 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 City 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 City 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.
Debonair Agent 007 is often described as debonair. How can that term possibly apply to your next Oregon City real estate transaction? There are varied definitions to the term debonair, but related terms include courtesy,graciousnessandhavingasophisticatedcharm. 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 City 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.
Humility 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.
Courage Having courage when buying or selling Oregon City 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 City 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 City 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.
Consult An Expert When buying or selling Oregon City real estate, it doesn’t hurt to have an experienced Realtor as your own ‘Q’ to keep you out of difficult situations. An experienced Oregon City 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), Oregon City residents can rely on the calm, cool and collected experience of a proven Realtor to more successfully navigate pitfalls sometimes found in Oregon City real estate.
Do You Have Questions About Oregon City Real Estate? For a free consultation, contact our OregonCityHomes.com sponsor, Certified Realty using the contact form below, or call them at 800-637-1950.
TMREI: Too Much Real Estate Information Sometimes absorbing the sea of Oregon City real estate information seems 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 Oregon City homebuyers and homesellers.
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.
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 City area 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.
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. Oregon City homesellers and homebuyers are likely to use the Portland area figure as a bellwether for housing backlog. It’s also possible 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 provides a convenient ‘thumbnail’ sketch to help assess what kind of market you’re in.
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.
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.
So What’s the Big Deal About Oregon City Housing Inventory? One reason Oregon City housing inventory is so important is because it helps local 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.
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?
The above image provides a good example of fluctuating home inventory. As greater Oregon City’s real estate market bounced back from the severe market downturn of the Great Recession, home inventory reduced from more than 20 months of housing supply to less than three.
Contact the Experts Thinking about selling your Oregon City area property? Know the market before diving in! Contact Certified Realty 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.
There are many good reasons why Oregon City 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.
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.
3. More Accurate Pricing When Buying & Selling. These days the average Oregon City homeowner 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.
4. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thinking about selling your Oregon City property? Contact Certified Realty, specializing in Oregon City area properties since 1950. Simply use the form below for a FREE consultation on what your Oregon City property could be worth in today’s market.
Simultaneous/Consecutive Home Transactions
Selling your Oregon City home and buying a replacement property 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.
We’ll also examine options to help decide if either simultaneous or consecutive real estate transactions may be best for you.
Timing 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 Oregon City home buyers often have a home to sell…and Oregon City 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?
First Steps To begin, it helps to examine three common dual home sale/home purchase options:
Selling your existing house first, then buying your next house.
Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house.
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:
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.
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.
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. 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. A 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. We are, after all, dealing with the human element and numerous unknowable factors early on, like possible inspection items that may be revealed. And 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.
A Bridge Too Far? One way to do purchase a house without first selling your existing Oregon City 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.
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.
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.
Buying And/Or Selling? Use the form below to contact our OregonCityHomes.com sponsor, Certified Realty, for a FREE consultation. Whether your real estate situation involves homebuying, homeselling, or if you simply have questions, Certified Realty has been selling Oregon City area properties since 1950! Family owned and operated, Certified Realty is here to help you.