Portland Metro/Tigard Real Estate News

In this forum we will offer discussions on a wide variety of subjects, but focus on Portland Metro and real estate. Hopefully our insights and experiences will inform, educate, challenge and entertain our readers week after week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Finding Pet Friendly Rentals


Many people consider their pets to be a part of their family. Since more than two-thirds of Oregonians own pets you would think there would be more options for pet owners who want to rent. But actually many of those renting out homes see nothing but property damage no matter how well behaved the animal. Some had a bad experience with a previous renter and some just heard a horror story, regardless, it's hard for pet owners when all else is equal the pet-less renter usually wins. Here are some hints when looking to rent with pets...

  • Try not to be in a hurry. It cannot always be avoided but if you can help it, do not be in a rush to move. There are a lot more things to take into consideration when you have pets and anyone in a hurry is going to compromise more than they wanted to.
  • Research neighborhoods before you head out. Some areas in Portland and surrounding cities allow as few as three dogs in a home. There also maybe more strict leash requirements in some areas over others. Some people are looking specifically fenced yards and neighborhoods with near by parks.
  • Use the internet. A good majority of real estate searching is done online now and there are even sites specific to pet owners. www.oregonlive.com and http://portland.craigslist.org have pet friendly filters. The community resources section of the Oregon Humane Society (www.oregonhumane.org) lists apartments that allow pets and gives deposit information and animal restrictions (breed, size, age, species).
  • With some dog breeds you might want to consider buying. Some who love pets and are looking for renters would love to rent to those with a well behaved German Shepherd or Rottweiler but might not have a choice. Some insurance companies put limitations on breed and size causing those who who would otherwise say yes to say no. But the amount of money one would put toward deposits and cleaning fees could instead go toward a down-payment on the purchase of a house or condo.
  • Proving your dog to be well behaved and obedient can go a long way in persuading someone to rent to you. Be prepared with a dog resume and interview. You want to bring obedience titles and pictures of your current spotless apartment or house. Some may also want to do an "interview", see how well pet and owner get along, whether or not their pet "listens".


Tigard Real Estate


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Memorial Weekend Wine Tasting

In the long lived tradition of wine touring in the Northwest for Memorial Day, here are some things to consider before heading out.
  • Plan it out ahead of time. Check out the hours of the places you want to go ahead of time. Plan out a route that makes sense and don't try to squeeze in too many in one day. You want everyone to be relaxed, not rushed.
  • Pack snacks and water. There maybe restaurants planned along the way but wine is dehydrating and you'll never know when some might NEED a snack.
  • D.D. Don't forget your designated driver. The D.D. should also have reviewed the map/itinerary ahead of time and a second person should also be aware of the plan so there isn't only one person making sure everything is on track, and in the right direction.
  • You do NOT want to take 99W during peak hours. You'll want to take an Oregon Thomas Guide map street guide, DeLorme Oregon Atlas or Gazeteer for alternate routes. Perhaps even call some of the vineyards, since they probably live near there and ask for the best peak hour route.
  • Dress for all weather. Do not forget we live in the great NW. You want to wear layers in case of sun and/or rain. You also don't want to wear perfume, it distracts from the taste and smell of the wine.
  • If you are bringing children, make sure they have plenty for them to do. This will keep everyone happy and sane.

Information received from - http://www.oregonlive.com/wine/oregonian/guide/

Tigard Real Estate


Friday, May 18, 2007

American Dream Downpayment Initiative

What is ADDI? ADDI is a specialized loan to help first time home buyers in Washington County. It has a 0% interest rate which is huge but it doesn't stop there. There are also no payments required until you sell your home, the title is transfered, there is a default or the home is no longer your principal residence. No payments! So as long as you make money off your home sale you will never have to make a payment. Now, this loan is not for the entire purchase price of the home, it is intended for the downpayment and/or closing costs of the home sale. Also, the borrower is not the only one who has to qualify, the property must also qualify.

Borrower Eligibility:

  • Be First-Time Homebuyers: Defined as a household in which no member has owned a home as their principal residence within the past three years. An exception is made for displaced homemakers and single parents.
  • Meet Income Limits: Have combined gross annual income that does not exceed the HUD Low Income Limits adjusted for household size. (see income limits table below)
  • Homebuyer Education Requirement: Complete an approved homebuyer education course.
  • Minimum Downpayment: Homebuyer must contribute a minimum of $500.00 towards the purchase of the property.
  • Owner Occupancy Requirement: Homeowner must occupy the property as their principal residence for the life of the loan.
  • Financing: Buyer must qualify for and obtain loan commitment for a first mortgage using a conventional loan. No private loans and no all cash transactions are allowed.

Income Limits for ADDI eligibility:

Persons in Household/Household Income

  1. /$38,000
  2. /$43,450
  3. /$48,900
  4. /$54,300
  5. /$58,650
  6. /$63,000

Property Eligibility:

  • Homes must be located in Washington County
  • Homes can be single family home, condominium, or a manufactured home on a permanent foundation.
  • The home sales price can not exceed 80% of FHA mortgage limits for Portland Metro Area. $194,560 as of February 2005.
  • The property must meet HUD's housing quality standards and the home must not have lead paint hazards.



Trends in Bonus/Hobby Rooms

Choosing the new "it" room is a huge gamble for home builders. Obviously the more specialized the room the bigger the risk. For a while there, every Street of Dreams home seem to have a wine cellar. Although that is a pretty safe bet nowadays, it's still very specialized. Something like a craft room, as long as it doesn't have built-ins, could easily become a bedroom if the home owner is not into that. "Pocket libraries" can be put in hallways or tucked into the landing point of the stair. www.pickellbuilders.com These make for great decoration and don't take up a whole room of the house. Books have always made for great interior design, it's like putting your knowledge on display. Or maybe someone would want it to seem that way. It's also popular to remodel a room in your home that is completely devoted to one hobby. Dad's room could have a huge flat screen t.v. with the walls painted the color of his favorite team. Mom might require an air-locked space to safeguard deliveries of perishable foods or dry cleaning when nobody is home. Or the family might spend their summer evenings on the screened off porch with heated floors. Game rooms are getting very popular, everyone loves to entertain. Even the hot tubs have waterfalls and iPod docking stations. www.hottubs.jacuzzi.com What will be next?

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Trends in Interiors

People nowadays are looking for similar things for their interiors as they do their exteriors. They want varied textures, materials and colors along with energy efficiency, environmental responsibility and durability. Details are also making a comeback from the "clean lines" that could only be considered not boring for so long. Technology is also playing a big role, like the lighting, heating or even oven that can be controlled from a computer or phone far from home. The design is more thought-out too. The lighting can be designed to save energy, improve safety and create a different mood for each room in your house. www.squaredlightingcontrol.com

Tigard Real Estate

Old materials are being used in new ways to create more interest. For instance, metal tiles add a contemporary backdrop for a wood and stone fireplace. www.pickellbuilders.com Same goes for floors, porcelain tiles instead of sisal carpet takes less maintenance and can help alleviate allergy problems. www.artistictile.com Copper is a visually interesting material and also happens to be 100% recyclable. Copper is a lot easier to mine than other metals and is antimicrobial. www.copper.org

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Trends in Construction Methods

Nowadays people are getting more and more opinionated about the materials used in their home. With the emergence things like HGTV people are more informed and more curious about ways they can make their house last longer, more energy efficient and cost effective. They are doing their homework and choosing the paint, materials and furnishings that won't fade or discolor in the summer heat, even if it costs a little more in the short term. Although natural materials are still a prized possession, man-made materials are now being made more environmentally friendly, less expensive and can be made to look natural.
They now have waterproof fiber rock board made from recycled materials and able to withstand winds up to 242 miles an hour. Wall sections are placed on a traditional slab that's braced. Then concrete is poured between the outside fiber rock board and the inside of the steel-framed wall. Which is perfect for places like Florida which has lots of hurricanes and humidity, which normally causes mold in the traditional cement-block homes. www.E-Wall.info Steel framing is another trend, builders and architects can choose this for larger and taller projects. It's even being used in residential buildings because of it's consistent quality, ease of handling and declining cost. www.steelframing.org
Tigard Real Estate

Friday, May 11, 2007

Demystifying Underwriting

Have you ever wondered what happens when your loan goes to underwriting? Actually, have you ever wanted to know what underwriting is? For most buyers, and many Realtors, the underwriting concept is like having your loan disappear into a black hole. But, understanding the concept could give you a "heads up" on some things to anticipate before making your initial loan application.

The lender's underwriter determines a buyers"s purchasing power by using a set of guidelines to help determine the degree of risk in making the loan. The underwriter often uses the 4 C's:

Tigard Real Estate

Credit History: How much you owe; if you pay bills on time; how often you borrow, do you live within your means; Will you repay the loan?

Capacity: Income vs. expenses; occupation, income, how long in same line of work; monthly debt obligations; number of dependents, do you pay child support or alimony; Can you repay the loan?

Capital: Is the money for down payment and closing cost coming out of your own funds or will you receive a gift from family members? How much money will you have left after closing?

Collateral: Is the value of the property sufficient to repay the loan in case of default? Will the lender be protected if you fail to repay the loan?