Celebrate

As we celebrate Independence Day, and give thanks for all of the things we love about living in a free society and our beloved community, Dianne and I wish each of you a very happy day with friends and family. Thank you for being here at the Property Blotter with us. May your real estate dreams (and the rest of them!) come true~

Negotiating in this Market

Hello Property Blotter Readers! I thought I’d take the easy way out and cut & paste a section out of my own First Time Homebuyer’s Class for my post this week as I’m kind of busy with…real estate! When I looked at the section on Tips for Offering, I realized I think my own class document needs an update given the current state of the market! Here are a few things I realized I might like to address:

Love Letters- I’ve been writing these on behalf of my clients for many, many years, and have indeed won homes for my clients (been told) on the strength of the letters I wrote. I have never encouraged my clients to write their own letters as I believe it is a stronger position for me to advocate on their behalf. That said, my focus is always their strength as Buyers and whatever they bring to the table in terms of job stability, their actual love of the particular home/property (read: commitment), and other such things. I definitely do not use photos of the Buyers. There is a big debate going on around the issue of these letters (mainly the ones Buyers write about themselves), and it revolves around Fair Housing concerns. This has gotten to the point where they were outlawed for a time, and now that has been overturned and they are again allowed (as of this writing). NOTE: It is never OK to try to appeal to a perception of a Seller’s preference for race, gender, familial status or other protected class positions. Never. So, if you’re ever in the position of deciding whether to deliver such a letter, please keep this in mind, and consult with me! Or your Realtor ; )

Lower Offers (and how best to make them)- Well… this one is just nearly N/A in the current market. I say “nearly” as it does happen, but usually not at the outset unless a property has been sitting on the market for what is considered a longer period of time or if it was priced too high to begin with (which is usually why a property is still on the market). It *can* happen that the price goes down after certain things are revealed in the inspection process to compensate, but most properties are selling above their asking price, & often well above.

How to Win- It has been the case for awhile that multiple offers have driven prices up significantly over asking, and/but we think we are seeing a teensy bit of pullback in at least the amount of overage. This is more due to Buyers backing off than to more properties entering the market as we still see record-low Inventory. The way this has been playing out in a “multiple” bidding situation to date, is that the Offers guaranteeing they’ll bring a certain amount of cash to the Closing table in the event of a lower Appraisal are the Offers that get chosen as it’s less risk/more reliable for a Seller. (*Little understood fact, fyi: The “Closed” sale price effectively sets a new value standard in the neighborhood regardless of what it appraised at during the transaction. ; ) This tactic is obviously limited to those who *have * the cash to do that, and the whole scenario is part of what’s driving the angst /frustration around this supply and demand phenomenon and how it affects, say, first-time home-buyers. Considering the fierce competition driving prices higher, Appraisers and Realtors alike have been wishing for a calmer, more “readable/predictable” market, and several factors *may* be causing this to be the case very soon. In the meantime, there are ways to win even if you don’t have the cash…or don’t think you do. One is to look in a lower price range than you want to buy in. This way you are able/have the means to at least push your Offer price over the heads of much of the competition. There are a few other things you can do to get an edge, but we can talk about those one-on -one ; )

Portland Real Estate Stats + LO – April 2022

Overview/Fluctuations ~  Market Data: Inventory inched up just a bit in April, and the comparisons to last year and the previous month’s data remain similar to the month before…down over last year, slightly up generally from the prior month, except for Pending Sales which are down a slight 1.3%. See below for more details on that.  Total market time is down to 21 days, so activity is up as you’d expect in springtime & plenty of people are out looking for a limited number of homes. Rates continue to rise, so some of the less-than-typical/less-than-robust activity is traceable to that and to the low inventory that persists. It’ll be interesting to see May numbers, as anecdotally, Agents are noticing slowing and a bit of a pause in that usual Buyer-excitement cycle that distinguishes this time of year.

Rates: “We have seen continued pressure on rates as the Federal Reserve fights inflation. A 30-year fixed is at roughly 5.375%”     Gary Boyer, Regional VP, Directors Mortgage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

According to the RMLS Market Action Report  for the Portland Metro Area-April 2022:

  • There were 3,684 New Listings in April 2022 decreased 9.4% from April of 2021’s 4,065, and increased 4.6% from the previous month/March’s 3,521.
  • At 2,782  April 2022’s Closed Sales are down 5.6% from April 2021’s 2,946, and up 3.7% from the previous month/March’s 2022’s total of 2,683
  • At 3,005 April 2022’s Pending Sales are down 11.6% from April  2021’s 3,400, and down slightly at 1.3% below the previous month/March2022’s total of 3,045.
  • The Average Sale Price in April 2022 of $632,900 is up $75,000 from last year/April 2021’s $557,900, and up $22,000 from the previous month/March’s $610,900.  
  • The “Median” Sale Price (the price smack dab in the middle of all sales) in April 2022 of $560,000 rose from last year/April 2021’s $500,000 by $60,000, and $10,000 from the previous month/March’s $550,000.

LAKE OSWEGO:

103 Active Listings (Mar 96)
169 New Listings  (Mar 171)
144 Pending Sales (Mar 119)
133 Closed Sales  (Mar 102)
Average Sale Price for March: $998,600 (Mar $1,092,200)
NOTE: Higher-Priced vs Lower-Priced Homes Sales can skew the “Average” in any given month.  Lake Oswego has quite a variety, so this tends to be a less meaningful stat, generally speaking, in this niche.
26 Days on the Market   (Mar 31)

Planning for Home Improvement Projects

Taking on home remodeling is a big task. It’s extremely disruptive to any home, but making some basic plans will really help. Here are 7 suggestions to make your project go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Put yourself in a mind set to be patient. Get recommendations for contractors from people you know. If they’ve had a good experience, you are also likely to have a good experience. In addition, Linda and I can be a resource. Plan to be patient. Good contractors book out well in advance.
  2. Consider renting some storage space. One of the biggest delays in a construction project is erratic or delayed delivery times. With good planning you can purchase materials in advance and store them so that they are readily available at the time that they are needed.
  3. Get creative. If wood lengths are unavailable, buy longer pieces and cut them down to fabricate unavailable lengths.
  4. Scale back. With the soaring cost of materials (up 400% at its peak) many contractors are writing into their contracts that the homeowner will absorb price changes. So consider doing a modified, smaller project so that you don’t get caught spending more than you had planned

5. Use reclaimed materials. It can add charm, be more affordable, and contribute to sustainability

6. Think out of the box. Perhaps your project can be accomplished using a pre-fab accessory dwelling unity. There are fewer supply chain issues with these buildings and they can easily be used as an office, bonus room, or additional bedroom.

7. There is no longer an off season. Good contractors are in high demand year around. Every season of the year is busy. To deal with this, go back to number 1. Patience, patience, patience.

Thanks for reading the blotter!

Dianne

Here’s to Rebirth, Renewal and Community

Happy Easter, Passover & Ramadan! No matter what your tradition, this is a special time of year that everyone seems to recognize as symbolic of new beginnings. Dianne and I wish you all Good things, and the Peace that comes from gathering with loved-ones.

Sweet Condo in Mountain Park

(Pics below) Every once in awhile a little gem comes along and we like to spotlight it for our readers. This one is situated in Mountain Park with high & vaulted ceilings and soaring windows in a wooded setting. It’s just a couple steps down from your deeded parking space to a cozy porch with a view, or enter through your attached garage. Two stories with the bedrooms on the main level and the airy living space downstairs. The Owner just updated nearly all the flooring, and the light hickory wood floors are such a gorgeous break from all those dark plank ones we see so often! Really brightens everything up and the walls of windows don’t hurt either. There is a deck off the dining room and a balcony off the huge primary bedroom with double closets and a sink in the suite itself. The other bedroom is lofted and has french doors, so it could serve either as a bedroom or a really sweet home office. The views out each window are just so peaceful, and the kitchen with it’s marmoleum floors has a pantry and an eating bar, with a laundry room off of it. All of that and a fireplace for curling up on those wintry evenings. Check it out! ML# 22181391 – 213 Cervantes, Lake Oswego 1216SF $329,000

Radon and Granite Countertops

At Oregon First we have a gmail group called Haves and Wants. A recent discussion happened about the topic of radon and granite countertops.

Radon comes from granite. When you purchase a home, you should alway do a radon test to see if the radon levels in the house are higher than the EPA limit of 4.0 picocuries. (The World Health Organization recommends a level of not more than 2.7 picocuries.) Generally speaking the granite is in the form of boulders underneath the house, in the ground. You just don’t know whether the house is built over granite boulders or not, so you always test the radon levels.

So if radon comes from granite, what about granite countertops?

This subject came to my attention about 15 years ago. So I dialed up my favorite radon mitigation company and asked if I should be concerned. I was told that, generally speaking, the radon given off by granite countertops was not at a level high enough to be concerned.

Here is the offical EPA information. Click here.

White kitchen design features large bar style kitchen island with granite countertop illuminated by modern pendant lights. Northwest, USA

The bottom line is that you should be concerned about the possibility of radon in a house. Always get it measured. Even if you aren’t buying a house. If you live in a home where you have never measured it, get it measured. You can buy a do-it-yourself test at your local home improvement store, and there are numerous companies who perform this service. The cost to test is $60-$150. Cheap for the peace of mind. If radon is found, the cost to mitigate it is $1500-$3000, generally speaking. Again, cheap for the piece of mind.

I also think that when planning a remodel, don’t assume that just because it is available for purchase it has no issues. Do your research. There are alternatives to granite that are also gorgeous.

I hope that you find this useful. Thank you for reading the blotter.

Dianne

News & Notes ~ Dec 2021 + Year-End Comparison

Every year I like to add in a comparison at the end of the year to the year prior being as the December report offers a unique opportunity to look at just that. So, below you’ll find our usual monthly overview & Neighborhood Report along with a comparison; 2021 to 2020.

As always, Lake Oswego info for Dec 2021 is broken out below as well.

Overview/Fluctuations ~  Market Data Dec 2021 (+2020):    

Inventory is now at a stunning 0.6 months of supply in the Portland area for December. Our supply has simply never been this low… a little more than 2 weeks of Inventory available. Rates as of this writing are hovering around 3.5%, and the Fed is signaling that rates will be rising.                                      

The twelve months of 2021 compared to 2020:

New Listings, (40,531) increased 5.4%.Pending Sales (35,405) increased 7.8%, and –Closed Sales (35,182) increased 9.8%.   ***By Comparison, Twelve months of 2020 (to compare to 2021 above) from last year’s December report read: -New Listings, (38,442) decreased 5.2%, -Pending Sales (32,849) increased 7.9%, and -Closed Sales (32,031) increased 7.8%.

LAKE OSWEGO:

63 Active Listings (Nov 92)
71 New Listings  (Nov 99)
82 Pending Sales (Nov 124)
134 Closed Sales  (Nov 127)
Average Sale Price for Nov: $1,024,400 (Nov $964,300)
NOTE: Higher-Priced vs Lower-Priced Homes Sales can skew the “Average” in any given month.  Lake Oswego has quite a variety, so this tends to be a less meaningful stat, generally speaking, in this niche.
29 Days on the Market   (Nov 36)

The Best of the Holidays To You!

Dianne and I wish you the very best of the season as you hopefully get a chance to slow down a bit and enjoy the people and things you love. We’ll be taking some time off from the Blotter during the holidays and will be back very soon to fill you in on all the latest happenings in the Lake Oswego real estate market!