What are a buyer’s options after receiving a home inspection report?

After having your offer on a home accepted, a common next step is to have a home inspection. Rare is the home that will yield an inspection report that doesn’t call for attention to at least some non-trivial matters.

A buyer has two primary ways to respond to an inspection report. One is to submit an addendum to the sales agreement specifying that the seller will remedy items identified on the inspection report, employing qualified tradespeople and providing proof of completed work. Another option is to have the buyer receive a credit for closing costs and prepaid expenses, to cover the cost of the buyer having the issues addressed.

With Option A, the buyer has the peace of mind that an expert will have fixed a component of the house identified as requiring attention — furnace, water heater, etc. — and completed necessary repairs before he moves in.

It’s important to do a final walk-through before closing to make sure that issues buyer and seller have agreed will be fixed by the seller truly have been addressed. Naturally, you will want to obtain and keep proof that such work was completed. If something goes wrong during the period covered by the tradesperson’s warranty, having documentation will make it easier to get the problem resolved.

Option B might be preferred by some sellers. There is a school of thought that sellers should not examine any part of a buyer’s inspection report. Instead, this line of thinking goes, a seller should provide a credit for the costs of repairs and have the buyer take care of getting issues identified in the inspection addressed.

More responsibility falls to the buyer under Option B. Rather than having the seller arrange and pay for repairs, this buyer has to obtain estimates for the necessary work to receive a sufficient credit to cover repairs he will have done. Keep in mind that an estimate of the costs for a repair can be superseded once the work is done.

There are other options, of course, in working toward a compromise — such as using a combination of Option A and Option B to address whatever the home inspection report shows as needing attention.

Working with an experienced Realtor can help make the post-offer, pre-closing process go smoother for you. If you’re a buyer, I can help you decode a home inspection report while keeping the deal on track.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, I can help you negotiate a fair agreement arising from a home report. Whatever your status, I can assist you in your real estate transaction. Please contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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How to find a lender that’s right for you

mortgage-lendersIf you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re probably in the market for a mortgage, as well. Here are some suggestions on choosing a lender.

Know your options for obtaining a mortgage. You’re not limited to a bank with nationwide branches or one of the big online lenders. Credit unions and regional banks offer home loans, as do mortgage brokers. Armed with connections to multiple lenders, mortgage brokers might offer a lower interest rate and better overall terms than banks and online lending institutions.

A borrower will be best-served by a lender who offers a product that aligns with the borrower’s needs — and those needs might not be apparent even to the borrower unless the lender asks the right questions. A first-time buyer might assume mortgages are one-size-fits-all and inquire about a 30-year fixed-rate loan because … because … because that’s what his or her parents had. Choose a lender who can identify a loan program that works for your budget, financial picture and objectives. Not all lenders provide this insight. Many just tell you what you qualify for and let you choose from a menu.

Understand the total costs of the mortgage each prospective lender is offering. Shopping lenders based upon an advertised interest rate is a fallacy. There’s a lot more than that rate that goes into the cost of a mortgage, and not all parts are equal from one lender to the next. Different lenders might have different names and charges for similar line items.

Choose a lender who “feels” right. Does the lender embrace your unique situation, or does he read off a script every time you have a question? If you’re a first-time borrower, is the lender willing to explain every line item on your paperwork? Conversely, if you’re an experienced borrower, does the lender realize he doesn’t need to tell you what points are?

“You want to sit down with two or three lenders to make sure you find one who’s a good fit, the right match for you as a borrower rather than a product pusher,” Michael Jablonski, executive vice president and retail production manager for BB&T Home Mortgage, said in a Bankrate.com article. “Mortgage lending should be a collaborative process.”

Ask prospective lenders to explain the timeline of a loan and what happens if speed bumps arise. Get an estimate for how long an appraisal, underwriting and closing will take. Ask what would happen if the appraised value doesn’t support the value of the loan, or if a family emergency before closing makes buying a home impossible. Ideally, surprises won’t arise, but it’s better to anticipate the unexpected than to be blindsided.

Choosing a lender is a crucial part of buying a home. It’s important to select a lender who can help the buyer understand the full matrix of elements that make up a loan program — someone with integrity and someone who has the ability to follow through on the representations that he or she makes. A lender local to the region you’re looking to buy in is important, too.

Integrity is vital in the Realtor you choose, also. Whether you’re buying a home or considering putting  your home on the market, I promise I will work in your best interests to obtain the best deal possible for you. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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4 tips to make sure you’re happy with home you buy

I love it when a client of mine buys a home. It is the culmination of a process that can be exciting but exasperating, rewarding and enriching — in ways even an appreciating asset like a home in Bend can’t touch.

Most important, though, I want all homebuyers — not just my clients — to be happy with the homes they buy. To try to produce that type of an outcome, I have these tips to consider before you decide you have found the perfect home:

  • Ask your best friend to look at the home. Sometimes, a buyer is dazzled by one or two features of a home and blind to its faults. Someone who knows you through and through will be able to tell if the house fits you. And by best friend, I don’t mean your spouse or partner (who might be tempted to be agreeable). I mean that someone who is your go-to person when you need honesty, that someone who isn’t afraid to say, “What the heck?” when something just feels wrong. Having a soulmate look at your prospective home with a critical eye will give you a valued third-party perspective about this huge step you’re considering.
  • Don’t make up your mind too soon. If you’re eager to buy a house, it’s easy to fall for one of the first properties you see and close your mind to anything that follows. Your desire to ditch apartment life or finally to have separate bedrooms for the kids can influence your decision-making in a negative way. If you have appointments to look at a certain number of homes, see them through — even if you are convinced the first or second of eight showings on a weekend was just made for you.
  • Understand a home’s hidden characteristics. It’s perfectly fine to want to buy a house with a fabulous bathroom. But be careful you’re not buying a home because of a fabulous bathroom. Just about anything about a home that you can see can be changed to fit your tastes. What you can’t see — the foundation, the plumbing and electrical systems — and what you can’t change — location, lot size, neighborhood traffic — are more difficult (or impossible) to alter and might have more effect on your long-term satisfaction with a home.
  • Ask your Realtor to offer reasons maybe you shouldn’t buy the house. Much like your best friend (see tip No. 1), your Realtor can see potential drawbacks about a house that you might miss. Your best friend will see how the house fits you; the Realtor will see how the house fits everyone. If you’re “eco-conscious,” you’ll want the Realtor to note how much water the huge lawn will require and the inefficiency of the aging furnace. Your Realtor will note that a home near a school means not only slow traffic in the area but also considerable congestion twice a day and on any nights school activities are scheduled. If the house is right for you, you’ll appreciate knowing about these caveats your Realtor throws at you.

As a Realtor, I don’t want to just complete a deal for my clients. I want to complete the right deal for my clients. For the best result in a real estate transaction, you’ll want a Realtor who puts your best interests first. If you list your home with me or you are buying with me as your Realtor, I will use my experience and knowledge to your benefit. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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3 real-life examples showing why a Realtor is vital

The eventual homeowner found out on his own -- not from his Realtor -- that this house had undergone lead abatement.

The eventual homeowner found out on his own — not from his Realtor — that this house had undergone lead abatement.

I’ve written before about the importance of hiring a professional, competent Realtor when buying or selling a home. At a time we can seemingly get any sort of professional expertise imaginable — legal, medical, home improvement — via a rudimentary Internet search, some people might not grasp the value of having an experienced, knowledgeable Realtor representing them in a real estate transaction.

Instead of recycling the usual reasons a Realtor is important, I’m going to give real-life examples.

1) Shortly before I was licensed as a Realtor, I was working as an unlicensed assistant and attended a public meeting for the Murphy Crossing Overlay Zone. At the end of the meeting, I encountered a woman at the back of the room who was sobbing and clearly very upset.

Apparently, she was a single mother who had just closed on her first home. She was unaware that there was a 60-foot road right-of-way that would become what we know now as the extension of Murphy Road to Brookswood Boulevard. In fact, not only did her home back up to this area, but she also learned through the maps that the City of Bend had on display and from the comments that city staff made at the meeting that a portion of her deck (which at the time looked out upon an expansive grove of pine trees) actually encroached on the right-of-way.

The Murphy Crossing took nearly 10 years to come to fruition. But if this woman still lives in that home, her backyard is now Murphy Road.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the information about the right-of-way would have shown up in a preliminary title report, or at the very least on the tax map that is included with the report. Assuming this woman used a Realtor to buy her home, someone didn’t live up to his or her fiduciary responsibility to the buyer.

This experience was a formative moment in my becoming the Realtor that I am today. Preliminary title reports are exceptionally important and not very easy to interpret for the average person. I am meticulous about examining them. In fact, I’ve had items removed from these reports and added when the title officer missed something.

2) A couple of years before I met him, a man I know found a home in Bend he thought was worth serious consideration. It was adequately sized, near his daughter’s school and well-maintained. When he asked his Realtor about plans for the undeveloped area beyond the backyard, he got a nebulous reply.

Curious about how future development might affect the home, he and his wife did some research. It turns out that what was then (and still is) a dirt path is planned to become a minor arterial roadway — a classification given to such streets as Century Drive, Newport Avenue and Mt. Washington Drive. That knowledge alone — even without a target date for construction of the road — was enough to drive him away from the house.

Again, analyzing a preliminary title report — which should have shown planned development — is among the duties of a qualified Realtor.

3) This same man, three years before the above occurred, took a job in New England and had found a home his family really liked. The house had been completely renovated, and any questions about the history of the home were sloughed off, as if the home really didn’t exist before the renovation company took ownership.

My acquaintance did some research on his own and made contact over the phone with a previous owner. From her, he learned that the house — before it had been gutted and rebuilt — had been the source of lead poisoning. He retrieved the 3-inch thick file from the town health department to try to find out what he could about the situation. His Realtor was of no assistance in sleuthing out this very relevant fact about the house.

Consider that a home is probably the biggest investment you will make. You want someone with the ethics and experience of a competent Realtor representing you and your interests. A do-it-yourself real estate transaction might sound appealing, but as the examples show, what you don’t know can hurt you.

For buyers and sellers, I perform my responsibility as a Realtor to the utmost. My knowledge of the Bend market and my attention to your needs will help produce an outcome that leaves you more than satisfied. To get started with listing your Bend home or to view area homes, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Warm weather sparks the Bend housing market

Photo is of a different unit.

Sunny skies bring optimism to Bend.

By Jason Boone

Anyone can see the difference in Bend when spring weather finally hits. The trees begin to bud, flowers bloom, the grass quickly turns from dormant brown to lush green, and the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Range pop under the clear, blue sky.

The atmosphere of the town also changes. Yes, we all love speeding down the slopes of Mount Bachelor. But there is something about suddenly warm, sunny weather that puts a jovial bounce into every Bend residents’ step.

Spring definitely has hit us in Bend, perhaps a bit earlier than normal. So far, April has brought us 70-degree day after 70-degree day.

Such a warm-up has affects the housing market here in Bend, too: Spring is historically when the real estate market begins to heat up. In fact, April typically sees a spike from March, according to monthly housing data compiled by the Skjersaa Group. In 2015, homes sales rose from 164 in March to 203 in April. In 2014, April posted 194 sales after just 141 in sales in March.

This is not an accident. It appears that the change in weather actually plays on our psychology, making us more optimistic when the weather is good. A study by economists says that optimism can make us more willing to buy big-ticket items such as a car or home.

In addition, there have been some positive economic signs of late that might make us all more optimistic. For one, Oregon’s job market continues to improve, including a 2015 gain in middle-wage jobs. This mirrors a national trend in which jobs and wages make gains. And stocks continue to make gains after a slow start to the year.

Of course, this does not mean an army of prospective buyers will all be rushing to purchase a home out of his or her price range. Nor does it mean sellers will get caught up in springtime exuberance and price themselves out of a sale.

It is just a reminder that when spring is in the air the market starts moving. And I, for one, can’t wait to get started.

Understanding the factors that the housing market is crucial in making a sound decision. Knowing how such information applies for each buyer and seller takes expertise. I can help navigate the market and find the perfect Bend, Oregon home.

To learn more about the Bend real estate market, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes contact me call (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Foreclosure market in Bend not nearly what it used to be

 foreclosure-48120_1280By Jason Boone

Prospective homebuyers still often ask me about foreclosures. Certainly the question makes sense. In the wake of the housing bust, foreclosed properties dominated the real estate market, both in Bend and throughout the nation.

For many bargain hunters, foreclosed homes became an obvious avenue to buy a home at below market rates.

Of course, much has changed in the market since the depths of the Great Recession. The market in Bend continues to show strength, and home values continue to rise.

The February median sales price — the midpoint in which half the homes in Bend sold for more and half for less — landed at $331,660. That was up from $317,450 in January and $289,900 in February 2015.

In such an environment, foreclosures have become increasingly rare. After all, homeowners who can no longer afford their mortgages have a fair chance to sell their home for as much or more than what they owe the bank. In addition, by most reports tightened lending rules in place for more than three years have led to fewer risky mortgages.

The difference in the market is striking.

In the trough of the recession in 2009, the sale of Real Estate Owned, or REO, homes made up 36 percent of all home sales in Bend. In 2010, REO sales made up 35 percent of Bend sales. Today, such sales are a mere fraction of the market.

Year Total Single-Family Home Sales in Bend Total REO Sales REO Market Percentage
2007 1,660 0 0%
2008 1,222 15 1%
2009 1,721 622 36%
2010 1,913 669 35%
2011 1,942 501 26%
2012 2,298 378 16%
2013 2,298 86 3%
2014 2,522 77 3%
2015 2,786 91 3%

Source: Skjersaa Group

That is not to say that it is impossible for bargain-hunting buyers to find a foreclosed home. Sales of a foreclosed homes still make up about 3 percent of all home sales. But the process requires patience and a very keen eye. In addition, buying a foreclosed home has always come with risk.

Prospective homebuyers would be wise to consider whether or not searching for foreclosed home is worth the effort.

Knowing how such information applies for each buyer takes expertise. I can help navigate the market and find the perfect Bend, Oregon home.

To learn more about the Bend real estate market, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes contact me call (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Jason Boone | Principal Broker, CRIS | Duke Warner Realty | Skjersaa Group
Oregon Real Estate Licensee | 1033 NW Newport Ave Bend, Oregon