News & Notes

  • Mortgage Rates: One thing to remember about what you hear on the news is that good news for the economy in general means rates are going to rise for buying a house.  Bad news for the economy means rates stay where they are if they are low or get lower.  Here’s what MBS Quoteline is saying:  ” The Fed’s recent announcement that it may purchase additional Treasury securities (quantitative easing) to stimulate the economy has magnified the importance of economic news and increased daily volatility. Investors now evaluate each fresh piece of data in terms of its expected impact on Fed policy, and mortgage rates receive an extra benefit from weaker than expected data. In general, weaker economic growth leads to lower future inflation, which is favorable for mortgage rates. In addition, investors now expect higher levels of bond purchases by the Fed after weak data, and the increased demand also would be positive for mortgage rates. Of course, stronger than expected economic news will have the opposite effect and will push rates higher more quickly than usual.”
  • Selling Tip Of The Week: Color is important when selling your home.  I’m sure you’ve heard that it is good to use neutral tones on the walls, and your Realtor can advise you on the latest/most popular shades, but I’ve noticed that some people misinterpret “neutral”.  Neutral does not mean white.  I know that white is fun to play with tone on tone, but if you do too much white, it will make your home feel “cold” and people will have a difficult time “feeling the love”  : )     So, if you’ve got white walls that you think look realy clean and make your rooms look bigger, and off white or white carpet throughout…   you need to talk w/your Realtor about some light taupes or other schemes to bring some warmth into those rooms.
  • Buying Tip Of the Week: Pay attention to the garage in your new home.  What are you going to use it for?  I say there are two kinds of people… those who park in their garage and those who store “stuff” in it.  Does the garage in the home you’re contemplating meet your needs?  I recently had a Buyer about ready to write an offer when they realized that her beloved long-ish minivan would not fit in the garage.  Now she had a choice to make…  the home that fit the rest of the family’s needs… or the car?  In many older homes, garages were not made to fit the longer/larger vehicles of today.  So…  try your car out in the garage if you have any questions about it.  And if you have trouble squeezing it in, you might consider “carriage doors” that open out, as they are mounted on the outer side of the frame as opposed to the inner side which is where up & down sliding doors are mounted, thereby reducing your space.
  • “Should-I-Buy-Now-Or-Wait?-Calculator” – Here is a nifty tool from First American Title Company (came to me courtesy of Pam Edwards in the Clackamas Office… Thanks, Pam!). It allows you to calculate the difference between buying now & waiting… So, let’s say you found a home that is priced at $500,000.  You know rates are good now and are expected to rise, and/but you are thinking that maybe the house will come down in price (let’s say you think it may eventually come down to $450,000.) and so you are considering holding off on your offer.  This tool will allow you to punch in parameters and see just how much the picture would change if interest rates go up and your home lowers in value.  Pretty cool!  Here’s the link:  “Should-I-Buy-Now-Or-Wait?-Calculator” There are some additional tools there as well: Buy or Rent, for instance.

Very Best,


News & Notes

~News & Notes~

  • Mortgage Rates fell further last week from the already-lowest level in decades.  Rates for a 30-year conventional loan are now hovering at between 4.5% & 4.75%, even with an increase today of .25 basis points according to Pat Goodell of Academy Mortgage.  Slower economic growth last week was good for mortgage rates and negative for the stock market.  This is actually an interesting point to note- When you see the stock market take a dip, check in on mortgage rates… they will almost always be improving during such periods.
  • The deadline for closing on those transactions taking advantage of the tax credits was finally extended to September 30th. So, that’s very good news for all those who were pushing up against the June 30th closing deadline & not quite making it.  I love second-chances… they’re so American!
  • Woodstove ReminderHave a wood stove?  Planning to buy or sell a home with one? Note that beginning August 1st, 2010, in an effort to control emissions from smoke, when selling a home you will be required to remove the wood stove if it is “uncertified” by the DEQ.  Here is a link for more information: Woodstoves in Oregon
  • Lake Oswego Pricing Snapshot– Today there are 74 Detached Residences for sale in Lake Oswego priced at $350,000 or under.  There are 144 priced between $350,000 and $550,000.  Between $550,000 and 1 million there are 206 properties.  And at 1 million and over there are 105 to choose from.

News & Notes

Real Estate News ~

Have a wood stove?  Planning to buy or sell a home with one? Note that beginning August 1st, 2010, in an effort to control emissions from smoke, when selling a home you will be required to remove the wood stove if it is “uncertified” by the DEQ.  Here is a link for more information: Woodstoves in Oregon

Greece and Mortgage Rates MBS Quoteline reports: ” Despite stronger than expected economic data, the financial situation in Greece held the greatest influence on mortgage rates this week. A flight to quality and prospects of slower economic growth in Europe were favorable for mortgage markets and negative for the stock market, and mortgage rates ended the week lower.”

Current Mortgage Rates and Mortgage Insurance Updates – According to Pat Goodell of Academy Mortgage:

  • “Some of the Mortgage Insurance companies have gone to tiered pricing based on credit scores which is good news to those with good credit scores.  Mortgage insurance companies also will now allow “up front mortgage insurance” (in lieu of monthly mortgage insurance) to be paid by the seller.  The potential advantage of this is that the seller can pay the up front mortgage insurance as part of any allowable closing costs that a buyer might negotiate for a seller to pay.  Then the buyer has no mortgage insurance premium to pay as part of their mortgage – this may or may not be an advantage to the buyer depending on their situation; but it does help for qualifying by reducing their monthly mortgage payment.  There are qualifying parameters for this option and the lender also has to approve this option as well.”
  • “Interest rates are holding steady now with the 30-yr fixed still hovering around 5% — 30-yr fixed today is actually available at 4.875% with 0 pts, depending on the buyer’s qualifications.”
  • Community Notes ~

    Farmers Market opens this Saturday, May 15th in Lake Oswego. (yay!)  This is the 10th Anniversary Celebration.  You can find the food  & fun at Millennium Plaza Park from 8:30AM – 1:30PM on Saturdays through October 9th.   Local musical group, Southern Nights, will perform from 10:30AM till 12:30PM at the kickoff, and the Bike Gallery will be there to check your kids’ helmets!

    May is Sustainability Action Month. Take advantage of these local events:

    • Free screening of the film Deep Green with local film-maker Matt Briggs. This is an insightful look at “uncovering the best people with the best solutions for “de-carbonizing energy and restoring the natural world.” It will be held Saturday evening, May 15th at 7:30Pm at the Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, 4040 Sunset Drive.  Bring your family and friends!
    • Get a good look at Lake Oswego’s Century Trees on the Century Tree Bike Ride, May 22nd.  The bike ride is hosted by the Planning Dept.’s Green Team, and more information can be had by contacting Laura Weigel at .

    Lake Oswego’s city council created the Sustainability Action Board (SAB) in 2008. For more information on sustainability, visit: The Sustainability Resource Page

    To Move or Not To Move / Lifestyle Options for Older Adults , an educational program for seniors and their families is designed to give information on housing options and resources in Lake Oswego.  You are invited to attend on May 16th, from 2:00PM to 5:00Pm at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue.

    An Amazing Market for Buyers…

    What a market. Some of what CNN reports applies here locally and some does not, but no matter how you look at it, this is the time to buy if you’re so inclined. I am told by mortgage and financial planning experts that rates are not likely to go down, but only up (generally speaking) from here on out.

    A professional I trust, Pat Goodell, with Prospect Mortgage, says:

    Aggressive measures to keep mortgage financing available for potential homeowners have been established now. This will help to stabilize housing prices and continue to make home ownership an affordable reality. HUD has created new programs to complement existing FHA options, and interest rates remain at very comfortable levels, fluctuating right now around 6% for 30-year fixed loans.

    Appraisers in the Portland area are reporting values have leveled off – they are no longer seeing the significant drops in value we have seen in the last year.

    Though there are still challenges in the economy and housing market, there are very clear steps being established to ensure that the consumer is able to purchase a home at affordable rates, while providing that the loan does not put them at risk in the future. The Four C’s of mortgage lending are important- Credit, Cash, Collateral (property), and Capacity (ability to make the payment), but there are still great programs available to allow the responsible person to get into a home with as little as 3% down, and even 0 down under the right circumstances.

    We here at the Blotter recommend that you talk to your real estate broker about the market, and assess your options if you have been thinking about buying but have been waiting for the “right moment”. We also welcome a call or an email to us too if you’re not working with anyone & want to talk about what buying would look like for you at this amazing time in real estate history.

    Stay informed. Decide what is best for you. Knowledge + Discernment is the winning formula.

    …….What a ride!