Category: resources

Resources.

Flood Insurance information

At the quarterly meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Realtors, we had the chance to listen to a great presentation by Christine Shirley about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP.)

Flooding concerns are a very timely subject, taking into account the hurricanes and general uptick in extreme weather. In fact, “flooding is the most prevalent and costly natural hazard in Oregon, and a component in 90% of the nation’s disasters.”

For someone considering buying a property in a flood zone, it’s incredibly important note that in order to finance the purchase with a loan, flood insurance will be required. There are quite a few factors that can influence the price of that insurance. It’s pretty safe to say that over time the price of flood insurance will continue to rise.

One huge takeaway from the presentation is that flood insurance is always transferable from the current owner to the new one. In cases of grandfathered zones and subsidized policies, this can make a huge difference in price.

Another good point is that you only need flood insurance to cover the value of the buildings being insured (not including the value of the land.) Shirley mentioned that many properties are over-insured because they are based on the price of the mortgage.

If your property is not in an official flood zone, but you have reason to worry about a flood, you can still obtain a “preferred risk” policy, which is often cheaper than the policies for flood zone properties.

Obtaining an elevation certificate is critical for figuring out how much flood insurance will be for a given property. These certificates are not maintained by any outside organizations, so the homeowner needs to make sure to retain them.

For more information about FEMA flood zones, check out https://msc.fema.gov

If you are considering purchasing or selling a property in a flood zone, I’d love to talk to you about all the aspects you should consider!

Montavilla

Montavilla is a Portland neighborhood that I’ve been hearing about quite a bit lately! Just on the East side of Mt. Tabor, it is still more affordable than inner Portland.

Fun fact: historically, the name, “Montavilla,” came about in the late 1800s from condensing “Mt. Tabor Villa.”

There are quite a number of restaurants and cafes in Montavilla, including Bui Natural Tofu, Bipartisan Cafe, Tanuki, The Observatory, Hungry Heart Bakery, Monti’s cafe, Wong’s King Chinese Restaurant, The Country Cat, Stark Street Pizza, Macau Chinese Seafood, Karma Cafe, Mojo Crepes, My Brother’s Crawfish, and Fillmore. Watch for posts that go into more depth about some of these!

Parks include Harrison Park, Berrydale Park, Montavilla City Park, and Rosemont Bluff Natural Area. Plus, it’s right next to Mt. Tabor, which is one of the best parks in Portland.

Here are some links if you’d like to learn more.

Berrydale Community Garden

Montavilla Community Center

Montavilla Farmer’s Market

Montavilla Neighborhood Association I recommend reading the history tab.

Montavilla Jazz Festival Look for this to happen in August.

Montavilla demographics provided by the City of Portland.

energy efficiency

We all want an efficient home so that our bills will be lower, our homes more valuable, while also doing something good for the planet! But how to do it?

Here are some steps you can take to make your house more energy efficient!

  1. Get an energy audit from a local, professional company. They will do an inspection of your home and give you a game plan for how to up your efficiency. Here are some local companies to try: Green Savers PDX, Revival Energy Group, and Bull Mountain Heating.
  2. Fix leaks! This is a pretty low-cost way to make a big impact. Lots of doors and windows have spaces around them that let cold air in. Also, take extra care when checking out your basement and attic. More air than you think exchanges between these spaces and your main living areas.
  3. Insulate! Do you know what is in your walls? Sheetrock didn’t come into use until the 1950’s, so if your home is older than that you probably have lath and plaster. (This isn’t all bad, it lessens noise and helps suppress the spread of fire.) However, traditionally lath and plaster doesn’t involve insulation, but you can hire a professional to inject insulation into the walls. With drywall, just cut holes, fill up the spaces, and replace and seal.
  4. Upgrade your windows. Many old homes have single pane glass. These are somewhat like holes in your walls! High efficiency windows make a huge difference. If you can afford it, try wood frames instead of the old aluminum. If you can’t afford all new windows, try for storm windows in the winter.
  5. Upgrade doors. Especially if you have an hollow doors, replace them with new energy efficient ones.
  6. Upgrade appliances. Most appliances today come in models that take energy efficiency into account. Tankless waterheaters heat water only when it is requested, saving energy and giving you an endless supply or warm water.
  7. Solar! There are even companies who will lease your panels to you. This is a low cost way to harvest energy directly from the sun.

If you get through this whole list, your house will be very efficient! Let me know how it goes.

lenders!

It just struck me that I have never posted about my preferred lenders!

Many buyers don’t realize how important your choice of lender is. At the most basic level, you definitely want to make sure you get along well with your lender. Keep in mind that you will be relying on them to support you throughout the entire financial side of your transaction.

Two vital questions to ask when you are interviewing lenders is: when are you available? Are you quick with communication? When we’ve found a house you want to offer on, it is very important that your lender can get us a pre-approval letter that is updated to reflect the amount we are offering. (We don’t want to show all our cards with the full amount you qualify for if we are offering less!) If it’s the weekend or in the evening, is your lender going to be there for you? Chances are that if you are working with someone that is just one the clock 9-5, the answer will be no.

If you give the lenders below a call, please let them know I sent you. (I don’t get any kickbacks for recommending them, I just know we make a great team– and that’s good for everyone!) In no particular order, (two on the East side and two on the West, but please note, they can do most things virtually.)

 

Guild Mortgage Company
cell: 503-528-9800email: sbaeschlin@guildmortgage.net
NMLS ID # 112876
825 NE Multnomah St, Suite 950
Portland, OR 97232
***
Jonelle Knipe
Academy Mortgage
cell: 503-475-7195
email: Jonelle.knipe@academymortgage.com
NMLS #: 94123
3 Centerpointe Drive, Suite 290
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
***
Mortgage Loans Northwest
cell: 503-504-2979
office: 503-233-6569
NMLS Individual ID 85417
5015 SE Hawthorne Blvd Ste A
Portland OR 97215
***
Prime Lending
cell: 503.515.8542
fax: 886.425.0604
email: andreac@primelending.com
web site: andreaclarkloans.com
NMLS: 173601
4380 SW Macadam Ave Suite 260
Portland, Or 97239

 

foster parenting

The big news in my sector right now is that my partner and I have our first placements through foster care! We started the process of qualifying a year and a half ago. To do that you have to apply, obtain four references, do a background check, take nine three hour classes, and then complete a home study. We initially were headed toward adoption, but through the process decided to go with foster-to-adopt instead.

Our reasons were based on how the system works in Oregon. With adoption through DHS, you don’t get a chance to get to know the kids before they are placed with you. If you foster, on the other hand, you take care of them and get a chance to see how they fit with your family. Of course, the system would always like to reunify kids with their parents when possible. If you choose to foster, you have to be emotionally ready to help the kids be happy to go back home if it works out that way. There’s a definite emotional risk if you get attached.

We have had our foster kids for about a month now. It is our first time being parents, so it has been quite an adjustment! They are remarkably capable, challenging, and all around adorable. I’ve found being a Mom quite rewarding. We won’t know for some time if they will be up for adoption, but we are okay with that since we are going through our own process of figuring out if it is a good fit.

Please feel welcome to contact me if you have any questions about foster care. It’s something I love to talk about!

Exciting changes!

I’m so excited to tell you about exciting changes in my business!

Although my clients have always been gracious, there is no longer any need to squish into the back of a Mini. I bought a Chevy Volt, which has quite a roomy back seat. Even more fabulous, we will now be cruising on electricity! Yay for Earth-friendly comfort! The Volt can run for around 50 miles per charge on electricity. After the first 50 miles it switches to a gas hybrid engine, but I rarely hit that limit in my daily driving.

Another exciting feature is that the Volt has it’s own wi-fi hotspot! I bought a iPad Air 2 for clients to use when we are on the road. With this, we can stay connected with up to date information as we are house hunting. (This also means less need to print so many sheets of information about all the houses we look at. Everything will be available right at your fingertips electronically!)

But more than basic info, if you want to know what information PortlandMaps.com has about a property, we can look it up right away. Have a question about the neighborhood? Let’s find out. Did you want to listen to your favorite music as we drive around? We can easily load up your favorite Pandora station.

House-hunting just hit a new level!

 

 

 

Tree School 2016 registration

It’s time to register for 2016’s OSU Extension Tree School!

If you haven’t attended in the past, let me tell you about it. This is an annual one day event chock full of classes. Topics include: business management, forestry, fruit trees, pest management, marketing, water resources, dealing with weeds, wildlife, etc!

The first year I went to mostly honeybee classes. Last year I did quite a number of truffle classes, plus one about plant propagation. This year I’m gravitating toward native plants and forest management. I can’t wait! Hope to see you there!

For more information and to register, please check out the web site.

Overview: buying a house

When new clients first approach me, I often realize that they need an overview of the entire process of purchasing a home or investment property. It can seem quite overwhelming, even if you have been through the process before. Don’t worry though! That is exactly what I’m for. We will walk through each step together. (Please note, below is an overall explaination — there will be lots of additional nuances particular to different circumstances.)

  1. Our initial sit down meeting.

I invite new clients to come by my office at 205 East Olive St in Newport, Oregon. Meeting face to face allows me to get a great feel of what your wants and needs are in your new home. I will give you a packet of information, answering any questions that come up as we go through it. I also have a survey that we can fill out to outline what is necessary for your home and what would be a bonus.

2. Secure funding.

Of course, if you have enough liquid funds to cover the purchase of a home that is the easiest way to go. However, most people need to secure a loan. The company and person you choose to provide your loan is very important for a smooth transaction. I have three lenders that I love to refer people to, just ask! I refer to these people because I have worked with them before and I know that they will be great communicators throughout the process. Your lender will hold your hand through all of the financial aspects of buying a home.

3. Start the search!

I will set up an automated search for you on RMLS — a tool that real estate brokers use to get up to date information about listings. Once we’ve found a few properties that you think are worth seeing in person, we’ll make an appointment to view them in person.

4. Viewing houses.

Viewing houses is really fun! We will go together to see what the spaces are like and try to imagine you owning them. I will do my best to point out great features, but I will also make sure to mention things that are potential issues to be aware of. Many homes in Portland are quite old. There are some issues that are fine to live with, but there are others that could be too much to take on. I’ll encourage you to snap some photos as we go so you can recall the houses later. You’ll see that they tend to blend together after you see a few!

5.  Making an offer.

We will work together to write a really strong offer. I will caution you to keep in mind that we might have to offer on more than one house. After we send one, we will usually get a response relatively soon after. They can accept, counter, or reject it.

6. Counter offer.

Many agents send a counter offer to make the deal a bit sweeter for the seller. We can either accept the counter or send another counter back. Depending on the particular circumstance, we will decide what the best way to proceed is.

7. Mutual acceptance!

We love mutual acceptance! This means that we are officially under contract for you to buy the property. All timelines start from here. (See below for more information about this.) Closely following mutual acceptance escrow will be opened. (Escrow is a third party neutral company that holds the funds and deeds during the deal.)

8. Earnest money to escrow.

After we are under contract, you will need to send a check or wire funds to escrow in the amount of the earnest money promised. Earnest money is utilized for a few reasons. First, to show the seller that we are serious about our offer. Second, to compensate the seller for the time they have the property off the market if the sale falls through by fault of the buyer. However, if we decide to terminate the agreement during an agreed upon contingency period, you will have the legal right to get the earnest money back. (Please note that it is not automatic, the seller will still have to agree to release the funds from escrow.)

9. 10 day inspection period.

From the day of mutual acceptance, we will have 10 days to perform professional inspections and negotiate for repairs/compensation. I recommend obtaining a general inspection, radon test, sewerscope, and then also additional other tests depending on the specific property. For instance, if there is no record of a decommissioned oil tank, I would suggest having a professional search done. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying for these tests. I am happy to suggest companies to perform the tests, schedule them, and also coordinate their entrance into the home as needed. We’ll also take some time to review the title and any other documentation that relates to the property.

10. Repair addendum.

Once we have all of our inspections in hand, I will write a repair addendum that lets the other side know what we would like them to address. Often this includes some back and forth negotiation.

11. Appraisal.

If you are getting a loan, your lender will schedule an appraiser to check out the property and make sure that it is worth the sales price. If it comes in low, we will negotiate with the other side to try to get them to cover the difference. However, in this competitive market sometimes they will not be willing to in which case we might split the difference, or you might have to cover it.

12. Waiting to close.

After the inspection period we wait for repairs to be done (as needed) and for the loan to come through. I will be in close contact with your loan officer to make sure everything is proceeding as planned.

13. Closing Disclosure.

Due to a new law, known as TRID, you’ll get your final closing disclosure from your lender at least 3 days before closing.

14. Signing.

You will sign with escrow in person. (So many signatures!)

15. Closing.

Time to celebrate — the property is yours! I will meet you there to give you keys.

1031 exchange resource

Have you ever thought about pursuing a 1031 exchange? In case you aren’t familiar, a 1031 exchange is a process by which you can sell one property in exchange for another similar property and defer your capitol gains taxes.

It can be quite daunting if you haven’t done it before. There are special rules, strict deadlines, and money on the line!

I just recently closed a transaction in which the seller worked with the Beutler Exchange Group, LLC. I wanted to share this resource since I was quite impressed with the professionalism of their founder, Toija Beutler. Every time my client had questions, the answers Toija provided were in-depth and timely, not to mention friendly! I would highly recommend them for anyone contemplating a 1031 exchange.