Rise in Real Estate Prices Slows — and That’s Good News!

The future of real estate prices in Portland is always a matter of keen interest to areahomeowners. So it’s important when the latest national numbers in the Case-Shiller Index show that the rate of rise in real estate prices has begun to slow.

Portland homeowners should be pleased!

“WHAT?” you may well be thinking. If the rise in national orPortland real estate prices is slowing down, why in the world would that please homeowners? The answer is only a little bit convoluted.

The fact is, the recent remarkable leaps in real estate prices had some knowledgeable observers shaking their heads. The Business Insider even headlined, “These Home Price Gains are Not Normal, Sustainable, Or Believable.BI was reacting to the previous three straight months’ real estate price appreciation “above 10%.” They speculated that a large number of foreclosures now being recycled at more normal price levels had created an artificially high growth rate.

That’s why slowing down a little would mean a more normal market — and more reliable growth statistics. Other conditions make that story easy to accept:

While interest rates have risen slightly, at today’s rates, borrowing is still notably inexpensive. The increase in investor participation (they tend to pay in cash) also reflects the more conservative lending environment.

By the end of the financial crisis, construction in many parts of the country had fallen sharply, leading to a tight housing inventory. The shorter supply caused additional pressure on real estate prices.

Another factor: rising rents. Whenever the economy performs well, rentals reflect it, in turn stimulating Portland real estate prices. The economy may not be as robust as we’d wish, but its positive direction plus the stock market’s rebound have combined to support value growth.

What to expect from real estate prices in Portland this fall? Going forward, I would expect to see a continuation of gains at the slightly slower rates we are beginning to register. If that’s the case, anyone looking to re-enter the residential market should find that now is the time to start looking…and offering. Call me to discuss your own outlook!

Why Using a Realtor® in Portland is the Popular Choice

As the economy continues to improve and more buyers commit to joining (or rejoining) the ranks of our area’s homeowners, access to reliable advice can be a vital difference-maker. If you’ve never worked with a Realtor® in Portland before, it’s important to understand the benefits they bring to the table — benefits that cause 84% of successful homebuyers to state that they would work with their Realtor again in the future.

Understanding Your Buying Power

A Realtor in Portland is trained to help clients determine just how much house they can comfortably afford, avoiding a later ‘too much house’ situation. In some instances, their negotiating skills can be key in bringing properties that have been on the market for a while down to a doable price-point.

Protecting Your Interests and Investment

          Having a local Realtor on your team during the buying process doesn’t just make everything easier — it acts to ensure that your interests are protected. A member of the National Association of Realtors is fully qualified to help you at every step of the pre-closing process, from finding the right type of property and getting the proper inspections done through the back-and-forth of negotiating with the seller or his agent. Buyers who have teamed with a licensed Realtor are protected — they know that they have a qualified professional serving their interests and protecting their investment throughout the purchasing process, come what may!

Invaluable Help at Closing

Closing on a house can be a daunting prospect for an unassisted buyer. With a Realtor in Portland in your corner, you have an experienced expert always on call to answer questions, help gather documents, and communicate with the seller’s agent. Many of those grateful past clients know that it can even take months to close. Having an experienced guide can make smooth sailing out of the most trying of circumstances.

From finding you the perfect home, to smoothing the way through the closing process, a member of the National Association of Realtors makes buying a home significantly less stressful. Looking for a reputable Realtor in Portland to assist you? Call us at The Craig Reger Group! (503) 389-0686

Finding Portland Properties for Sale With Investment Potential

What’s the difference between any home and what is called an “investment home”? Generally speaking, they are properties for sale that are purchased in the expectation that their underlying value will appreciate. Whether you choose to live in an investment home or rent it out, the prospect of growth in its value is the determining factor. (You’d be right to notice that if you can rent it for more than its cost, it’s also a good investment — but kindly forget about logic, we’re talking real estate lingo here).

For purposes of this discussion, an “investment home” is one whose underlying value grows over time. Next question: how do I find one of those?

While there is no fail-safe way to isolate Portland properties for sale that will guarantee you can just sit back and watch it increase in value, there are rule-of-thumb characteristics that point to homes and neighborhoods that can help investors predict the direction of future value. Some of them are —

·       Look at homes in an area that shows steady population growth

·       Look for above-average rental prices

·       Pay attention to the infrastructure in the area (and avoid properties in under-maintained neighborhoods)

·       Avoid homes in the top 10% of the price range

·       Build a lasting relationship with a good real estate agent who will ultimately be able to help you decide when to sell

·       Choose a home that isn’t in need of major structural repairs

About that last point: when you are searching for properties for sale in town, you should expect to do some maintenance and renovation work. An investment home’s value can take the biggest leap when a new owner applies a bit of smart fixing-up to enhance its livability while forestalling long-term maintenance issues.

Not all properties for sale in town are good candidates to qualify as investment homes – even those that would provide excellent accommodations for your family. However, when you target investment value from the start, the financial rewards can be well worth the scrutiny.

So…how else can you find one of those?

Short answer: call The Craig Reger Group today! (503) 389-0686

Explore Portland’s Waterfront Park

It’s Spring!  Let’s go for a walk.

Let’s walk through Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Downtown Portland and run up a clean grassy hill, past folks playing Frisbee or picnicking while gazing out at the Willamette River and the east side of the city.

Let’s walk past a seafood restaurant resting on the river and order fish and chips and a soda while we enjoy the sights of the city— and the sight of the lovely lady sitting across from me.

Let’s take a walk past the moorings used for anchoring the ginormous boats during the Rose Festival; a festival which reminds us why this amazing city is called the City of Roses.  Let’s keep moving through the park, past the bridges that crisscross the city and make travel from East to West Portland a breeze.

Let’s walk past friendly bearded gentlemen playing acoustic guitar while people dance. I never saw the sixties, but I imagine this is what the sixties were like.

Let’s walk past the fountains, where children play in the summer, business men and women enjoy their lunch breaks, tourists stop to take pictures. Let’s look past this fountain at the magnificent Portland, Oregon skyline.

Let’s walk under the Burnside Bridge and visit the Portland’s Saturday Market, a tremendous crafts market that runs on weekends March through December. I can see the happy shoppers now, I can smell the enticing food, and I can see the friendly dogs and laughing children. Spring is here. I can smell the roses. The Rose City is full of them.

Let’s walk until we see the beacon of Union Station, that borders of the Pearl District and Nob Hill.

This little walk reminds us of why we love Portland, why we’ll never leave, and why it’s the greatest city on earth. For more information on other great walking tours of Portland, visit www.portlandwalkingtours.com.

 

When to Buy What: How to Find Bargains Year-Round

Close your eyes and picture this:

It’s the third Friday of November-1am, parking lot full of mini-vans and soccer-mom mobiles, bundled up shoppers shrouded in fleece are lined up at the locked doors of any major retailer in America- all determined to just save a few bucks. That’s right- it’s Black Friday. Quick open your eyes- it sounds more like a horror film doesn’t it?!

I get it- these days it is almost embarrassing to admit to paying full retail price for major purchases like home electronics or appliances. And why should you? There are TONS of ways to save all year long! From “members only” discount shopping sites like www.OneKingsLane.com (a personal fave) to discount retailers like www.Amazon.com or TJ Maxx, consumers today have so many ways to avoid paying full retail all without waiting in a parking lot in the middle of the night!

According to a few recent studies (Decide Inc, Wall Street Journal and Sales.com), consumers can actually be strategic all year long as they plan their purchases to get the most bang for their buck. Additional reports from AARP and LifeHacker give month-by-month buying bargains for everything from power tools to office equipment.

Something’s on sale every month- my kind of bargain shopping! Get out your calendars, check this out and make plans to do something FUN on Black Friday (like sleeping in!):

April – Vacuums & Cleaning Appliances- Get in before spring cleaning gets fully underway- prices will go up as demand does in the later spring.

May – Inventory of BBBQs and accessories, patio furniture and other items you use for outdoor living spaces is in as spring gets underway. Look for coupons and sales before the summer heat arrives. Prices go up once summer starts and you won’t find much discounting until after July 4 and inventories are low.

Many businesses start up after the tax return deadline, so expect to see some sales on office furniture you may need for your home office.

June – In anticipation of Father’s Day, plan to find discounts on tools and home improvement supplies.

July – Furniture retailers are starting to make deep cuts on items to make way for the year’s second batch of new models.

Discounts also become available on kitchen appliances – refrigerators, ranges and microwaves.

After July 4, barbecue equipment is discounted again, as is outdoor furniture.

August – There are always great sales on linens and storage containers and accessories during August as retailers know shoppers are preparing for Back to School and kids heading off to college.

September – Another final push for outdoor furniture, barbecues, lawn mowers, but expect limited inventory. Stores are also making way for new appliances – not refrigerators – by marking down older models.

October – Appliance sales continue, along with sales for what’s left of patio furniture and other outdoor goods. As shoppers are heading back indoors, look for bargain prices on cookware.

November – Holiday sales begin to offer some of the year’s best prices on televisions and other electronics.  Prices on appliances continue to plummet and tools are deeply discounted.

December – Sorry folks, there’s no avoiding it- Black Friday, Cyber Monday do offer some of the year’s best bargains on televisions and electronics.  Retailers know that toasters, blenders and other small appliances are great quick pick-up items for last-minute gift shoppers, they’re practically giving them away.  Home improvements, particularly painting, are often deeply discounted due to low demand.

January – New models of furniture are introduced and retailers need to move out the old to make room for the new. The styles rarely change that significantly from year to year, so shoppers can save big bucks by opting for last year’s models.  In prep for holiday visitors, homeowners often spend on new flooring, so once demand drops off in January, so do the prices.  January’s traditional “white sales” come with bargains on bedding and linens, though you can find these sales throughout the year. As Super Bowl approaches at the end of the month, keep your eyes open for savings on TVs, especially those with lots of features such as 3-D or Surround Sound.

February – No one’s thinking about A/C in February- exactly why you should buy it, service it or install it now. Prices are significantly discounted. Older model TVs are also on sale to make room for the new models.

March – Wedding season is coming- look for sales on China and flatware.  Another sign of spring? Sales on gardening tools.

So there you have it! No excuses for paying full price now!

 

 

Portland- A Book Lover’s Paradise

Portland, Oregon- recently named the #1 City in the US for Book Lovers, and for those of us lucky enough to live here, this should really come as no surprise.

In many parts of the world, books made of paper, glue, and cardboard may be unwell. They may be residing in the ICU—maybe even on life support; but they are not dead which means there is always hope they will pull through, survive, and live long, healthy lives.

Powell’s City of Books, located in the Pearl District of downtown Portland, Oregon, is helping to keep these books alive. This independent bookstore, the largest of its kind on the planet, houses over a half a million books. It also offers free parking to patrons, inexpensive coffee and tasty treats, and readings and book signings from authors all over the world.

Getting to Powell’s from from most parts of Portland would be a breeze. Coming from Cedar Mill, I could take a Tri-Met bus and be there in less than a half hour, or I could drive through the glorious West Hills, past Wildwood Trail, Hoyt Arboretum, and the Pittock Mansion. The Nob Hill neighborhood would greet me as I descended the hill and drove the remaining twelve blocks east on Burnside to Powell’s.

Once I entered the store, a modest looking warehouse occupying an entire city block on Burnside between 10th and 11th, just blocks from Portland State University, I would enter into a world of wonder and merriment. The smell of glue fastened to leather, cardboard, and paper of all colors, shapes, sizes, and finishes would greet my nose and release my inner book worm.

Carl Sagan, world famous author, astronomer, and astrophysicist, once said: “What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

Entering this haven of beards, books, baristas, and bundled up book lovers, which is Powell’s Bookstore, I wouldn’t be able to help but feel the magic Sagan spoke of.

I wouldn’t plan to stay the whole day, but I inevitably would. I would likely start in the history section, then move to literature and grab a book of poetry before heading into the coffee shop where a super sweet barista would make me the best cup of cheap coffee I ever had. I would sit by a large window looking out towards West Burnside and gaze at the amazing architecture of the downtown skyline, the Pearl, Nob Hill. I’d read some Dickinson, finish my coffee, and return to scouring books. I’d stop off in religion, look at some graphic novels, and grab a classic just to say I read it. I’d huff it upstairs and check out the art exhibit, which is forever being updated with works from local artists. I would flip through a picture book about the bridges of Portland and study a book on the history of Oregon. I’d try to locate books on my favorite Portland neighborhoods: Nob Hill, Alameda, the Pearl District, Kenton, Hawthorne, Belmont, Sellwood, Woodstock. My face would swell with pride as I read about my fair city and looked out the window and witnessed it firsthand.

One should be so lucky.

So…if I went to Powell’s…I’d make a day of it. I’d read books, I’d drink good coffee, I’d spend a little money, and I’d be home in time for dinner.

Maybe I should go to Powell’s.

For more information on Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon visit www.powells.com

Portland Housing- Low Rates Mean High Affordability!

It’s an exciting time in the Portland real estate market – amazingly low rates and affordability! This is not just exclusive to Portland; the housing market nationwide is on the uptick after nearly a decade of decline. This is indicated by increased home sales and home prices, along with falling mortgage rates. Due to these historically low mortgage rates, real estate in Portland is friendly to both buyers and sellers in the market, making this an excellent time to both purchase and sell a home.

Real estate in Portland, and nationwide, continues to be a wise investment for you and your family. In the past, the average mortgage rate was nearly 9%, but we are currently experiencing record lows, with most rates sitting at around 3.49% nationally. Potential home buyers in Portland are benefitting. Now is the best time in recent memory to seriously consider purchasing a home.

We continue to see the signs of a steadily improving marke nationwide: home sales increased by 7.8% last month, with a seasonal adjusted rate of 4.82 million units, a 9.3% increase over last year.

Contact us at the Craig Reger Group in Portland, Oregon and let’s talk about what you’re looking for. We will find you the home you need at an affordable rate. Whether you’re looking for a new residence, an investment property or a vacation home, there simply has never been a better time to purchase. We are proud to work with the very best lenders in Portland, so we can help you get your financing lined up and then begin our search to find you the home of your dreams.

Call Craig Reger direct at 503-893-2022 or email him at craig@craigreger.com.

Ready to start your search now? Check out these hot new listings in NE Portland:  Click Here!

 

 

Good News for Portland Real Estate

Are you a homeowner in Portland looking to sell? Are you a potential home buyer looking to purchase a house in Portland? Well there’s good news for you either way! We now find ourselves in a unique real estate market that is friendly both to buyers and sellers.

Since the housing market crashed a half decade ago, we’ve seen the prices of homes steadily go down- until now!  Thanks to an extremely low inventory of homes for sale in Portland,  (the lowest in 3 years) prices are starting to inch back up. Craig Reger observes, “We are seeing the effects of the low inventory on a daily basis. We are working with literally dozens of buyers who simply cannot find a home that meets their needs. There’s an urgency today that we just haven’t seen in the past few years- we are on the ground getting clients into properties as soon as they hit the market, and networking with other agents to get them in houses before they even hit the market. We have to because we know our buyers face a lot of competition. On the flip side, we have very happy sellers whose homes are getting multiple offers and who definitely have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating terms.”

While this situation typically spells doom for homebuyers, this is not presently the case. While on the rise, home values and interest rates still have not fully recovered from the market crash, meaning that buyers can still afford to purchase a home at a bargain basement price while also securing a super low interest rate. This is not a situation we are likely to see again anytime soon, nor for much longer. With rates and home costs where they are at now, home prices are almost guaranteed to rise in upcoming years, but to take advantage, you must act now.

Whether you’re looking to sell or purchase an investment property, a new home, a fixer-upper, or simply an upgrade; there has never been a better time to sell and/or purchase a home in the Portland area.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Craig Reger and his team can do for you, contact us today at 503.893.2022.

This unique situation isn’t likely to last, so don’t delay! Contact us today!

Portland Housing- A Seller’s Market

The Regional Multiple Listing Service released its latest Portland home sales numbers this weekend and all news points toward a continued housing recovery. In spite of typical seasonal slowing, when compared with a year ago, November’s sales and prices both were up. Perhaps of more interest is that the imbalance between Portland homebuyers and sellers that has defined the 2012 market continues. “At November’s sales rate, it would take only 4.2 months to sell all 7,216 homes currently on the market. Six months of supply is considered a balanced market, with anything below indicating demand outpaces supply,” explains Elliot Njus from The Oregonian.

This is always good news for homeowners considering a move. While many homeowners are resistant to putting their house on the market in winter, Craig Reger explains why it can actually prove to be the best time of year.  “Think about who is looking to buy a home in Portland in December or January- they are serious buyers who have to find a house. While in spring and summer we have lots of half-interested folks, often just curious to see the insides of nice houses, in winter, anyone taking the time to go look at properties, to get pre-approved is a serious buyer. This presents a great opportunity for sellers- especially when it comes to negotiating. Portland sellers hold all the cards right now.”

Here are some additional statistics as reported by The Oregonian:
GS.31RMLSX18-01.jpgDan Aguayo/The Oregonian

“Houses that sold during the month took an average of 101 days from listing to closing. The median sale price was $241,000, up 7.1 percent compared with a year earlier and down 0.9 percent from October. Prices are seasonal, too, as the off-season tends to have a greater share of foreclosures and other lower-valued properties reflected in sales numbers. So far this year, the numbers show a market that’s gaining strength. In the year’s first 11 months, 21,546 area homes have sold, up 19.9 percent compared with the same period last year.
The median sale price has jumped 5.4 percent in the same period, from $221,900 last year to $233,900 this year.”

Are you curious about what your home might be worth in today’s market? Call Craig Reger today for a free market analysis of your property.

503-893-2022

WOW! Craig Reger Group is giving away an iPad Mini!

When were you “Wow-ed” by exceptional customer service?

We’re 100% dedicated to giving our clients the best possible experience when buying or selling a house, and we are always looking for ways to improve what we do. We’ve all had countless customer service experiences- and we want to learn from the best. There are some amazing companies out there that have truly perfected the art of customer service (Disney, Nordstrom, Zappos to name just a few…) and here’s where we need your help! We want to hear about a time when you were completely “Wow-ed!” by a customer service experience- could have been anywhere- the coffee shop, the gas station, the dentist, online shopping, wherever! Tell us what made it so great and why you walked away saying, “Wow!”

To thank you for your time and help, you’ll be entered in to a drawing to win a brand new iPad Mini- just in time for the Holidays!

Here’s the scoop:

One story per person-  you can earn up to 3 tickets for the drawing!

               Earn 1 ticket when you “like” Craig Reger Group on Facebook and post your story on our page: https://www.facebook.com/CraigRegerGroupRealtors?ref=hl#!/CraigRegerGroupRealtors

               Earn 1 ticket when you email us your story to:

wow@craigregergroup.com

               Earn 1 ticket when you email us a video of your story to:

wow@craigregergroup.com

Here’s the Fine Print:

All entries must be posted/ received by 11:59 pm on December 10, 2012 PST

All entries must be clearly relevant to the contest question.

One winner will be drawn at 10:00 am PST on December 11, 2012 and will be notified via FB message or email by Noon, PST of the same day.

By submitting an entry, entrant agrees that all stories or videos may be shared publicly.

Prize is Apple iPad Mini (16MB, Wi-fi valued at $329) Sorry, we cannot guarantee delivery date.

Questions? Email wow@craigregergroup.com