Welcome to Episode 1!
Here is where you can find some of the "inside" info as to what is happening in the real estate market, tips for preparing your home for sale, new financing tools, and more.
A little background first, as we start our new real estate blog. NW Oregon Realty Group has been in business in Silverton, OR since 1994. We started in Ginni Stensland's Victorian home at the corner of 2nd and Main. We then moved to our current location when we purchased the building at 119 N Water St . Most of the original agents are still with us (a few have retired), and we have added additional agents for a current total of 15. They are all full time professionals dedicated to aiding their Sellers and Buyers through the process of either Selling or Buying.
We have been fortunate to have attained the Number 1 market share position in the Silverton, Mt. Angel market for many years.
We have kept up with the use of current tech tools: website/mobile website/QR Codes/Instant 24/7 Hotlines/Virtual Tours, and more in order to better serve our Sellers and Buyers.
Tune in to our Market Watch (now that introductions are over) for some up to date real estate info. We might even throw in a "true life" real estate story from time to time for your amusement.
Thanks to all of our past, and current clients and customers. We so appreciate your business and on going referrals!
Till the next time,
Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group
Many folks were severely impacted by the market crash in 2008 +. One of the major impacts was on those folks who owed more on their homes than the market would pay. Some did "short sales" (bank settles for less than owed), some went in to foreclosure, and many just "rode it out".
With our current market moving from a Buyer's market to a Seller's market, as well as a shortage of inventory, values are increasing. Now is a good time to contact our office, and ask for a no cost or obligation market analysis to determine the value of your property. You may now be in a position to finally "get out" of the home your in, and into your dream home, or even downsize if that is your game changing plan.
Remember please--there is NO COST OR OBLIGATION to get the information you are seeking. We look forward to helping you!
Buying a new home for the first time can be somewhat intimidating, but it’s also very exciting. Thankfully you aren’t the first home buyer to ever go through the process, and there are plenty of tips you can brush up on to make the process simpler and more efficient.
1. Check Your Credit
Like it or not, your credit score is one of the most important factors in qualifying for a home loan. The days of having to pay for your credit report seem to be over. There are plenty of sites that will allow you to review and monitor your credit report and score for free.
Check for mistakes and report them if you find any. Learn more about how to make positive changes to your credit score and implement them. Allow yourself plenty of time before you are actually ready to buy so your credit score can go up which will save you money.
2. Have Documents Ready
When you apply for a mortgage you’ll need documentation of your income and taxes. Many lenders require two recent paycheck stubs as well as your W-2s for the last two years and your tax returns and past two months’ worth of bank statements. Having these ready to go can save you time and avoid having to come back later.
3. Get Pre-Qualified
Decide how much you can afford to spend even before a mortgage lender lets you know how much you qualify for. You can calculate your debt-to-income ratio and add in your down payment to see where you stand as far as what you can afford. A mortgage lender can pre-qualify you which means you won’t have to do it individually for each house you are interested in.
4. Determine Your Down Payment
It can be difficult to come up with a significant down payment. Many states allow you to take out an assistance loan which is both interest and payment free and forgivable after five years. These are actually more like grants and can be a great help to first-time homebuyers. Speak with your lender for more information.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer in the Silverton, Oregon area, contact Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-663-8423.
When it comes to what’s important when buying a home, one of the age-old phrases you hear is “location, location, location”. That old adage still holds true today. Unless you’re buying a multi-million-dollar custom built home chances are you can find a home with a layout and design comparable to something you’ve seen in another area.
Whether you want to be located close to work, school, certain attractions, nightlife, dining, shopping, or any other number of things, location is one of the most important considerations when buying a new home. So how do you go about finding the best neighborhood for you and your family?
One of the first things you should do is make a list of which qualities you want and don’t want in a neighborhood. This includes factors like noise, the age of the neighborhood, the average age of the residents who live there, and much more.
Be sure to visit each neighborhood you are considering both during the day and at night. Make sure there aren’t any unexpected surprises or that you don’t feel uneasy. Don’t be afraid to cross neighborhoods off your list and start from scratch; you don’t want to settle for something you won’t be comfortable living in.
Talk to other people who live in the neighborhood and ask the local police department for crime statistics. Check out test scores for the nearby schools and be sure the area will work for you for at least five to seven years. Check out the home values in the area and the commute times for private or public transportation. Look into the local property tax rates and evaluate other cost of living factors.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to one of two neighborhoods you’ll be ready to start looking at individual homes. Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-455-4050. We can help you find the right home in the right neighborhood.
Buying a home is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Between the time you decide to buy a home and the time you actually make the purchase, ask yourself the following questions so you can find the perfect home for you.
If you’re looking for a new home in the Willamette Valley area, call Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-455-4050.
If you’re shopping for a new home, you’ll certainly want to see it in person. Many first time homebuyers are under the impression that they’ll “know it when they see it”. Sometimes that does happen, but not always. Unfortunately, your dream home might be out of your price range, but chances are you can find something you still love if you know what to look for.
Going to look at homes without a plan can be a waste of time. The following tips can give you a better idea of what to look for or what questions to ask when you start checking out potential properties.
Start the tour on the way to the home. Drive slowly and take note of what types of businesses, schools, churches, or any other places you’ll want to visit are nearby. See if you observe public transportation, potentially noise areas, airplanes overhead, and any other possible negatives.
Check out the outside first. While the inside of the home is the most important, spend a couple minutes looking at the home’s curb appeal. Consider whether or not you’ll have to put a lot of money into paint, windows, roofing, fencing, etc. Think about whether or not there is enough parking for your family and if the home feels safe and secure.
Take notes. If you’re visiting multiple homes, it becomes easy to get them confused with each other. Take notes on paper or on your smartphone, and take plenty of pictures while you’re at it. You can go back later and reconsider your options.
Test out or ask about various systems. This includes the water pressure, the condition of the pipes, the furnace and water heater, electrical outlets, and more. If the power is on feel free to test out all the lights and outlets. You can purchase an inexpensive receptacle tester at your local hardware store.
To schedule a tour of homes for sale in the Willamette Valley area, call Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-455-4050.
We live in an era of “do-it-yourself” projects. Whether you’re remodeling your bathroom or crafting a centerpiece, all you have to do is surf the net, do a little research, and voila! You’ve found a tutorial for doing it on your own. When you’re selling a house, though, you might want to rethink this approach. While self-reliance is admirable, there are many benefits to be gained by working with an experienced agent.
Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group has been in business in Silverton, Oregon since 1994. Our agents are full-time, experienced professionals who provide our clients with exemplary service, building relationships instead of just collecting paychecks. We’d love to help you sell your home, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have, or offer you a free market analysis, to help determine your home’s value. If you have a home to sell in Northwest Oregon, contact us at 503-663-8423.
If you’re thinking about buying a house, you may be unsure of how you’ll come up with a down payment. You typically need anywhere between three and twenty percent of the sale price as a down payment in order to qualify for a loan, and that can amount to a hefty chunk of change. With the right strategy, though, you can get together the money you need.
When you’re ready to buy a home, consider Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group. Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group has been in business in Silverton, Oregon since 1994. Our agents are full-time, experienced professionals who provide our clients with exemplary service, building relationships instead of just collecting paychecks. We’d love to help you buy a home, and can even put you in touch with trustworthy mortgage brokers, who can help you decide how much you need and how to achieve your home buying goals. If you’re looking for a home in the Willamette Valley, contact us at 503-663-8423.
If you’re buying a home, you’re probably going to need a mortgage. The largest loans most people will ever acquire, mortgages are a big deal - but many people don’t really understand how they work. Fortunately, legislation in recent years has cleared away some of the mystery that used to cloak these important loans, making them easier to understand. If you’re taking out a mortgage, here are some things you need to know.
When you’re ready to buy a home, Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group can help. Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group has been in business in Silverton, Oregon since 1994. Our agents are full-time, experienced professionals who provide our clients with exemplary service, building relationships instead of just collecting paychecks. We’d love to help you find the perfect home, and we can also help you find a reputable lender when you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. If you are looking for a home in Oregon, contact us at 503-455-4050.
So, you’re ready to buy a house! Once you’ve found a house you love, it’s easy to get emotional about the process and rush to make an offer, so that no one buys it out from under you. It’s important, though, to take a step back and look at the property rationally, making sure you know what you’re doing before you jump right in. Make sure you know as much as possible about the house, the area, and the process before you sign anything or put down any money.
Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group has been in business in Silverton, Oregon since 1994. Our agents are full-time, experienced professionals who provide our clients with exemplary service, building relationships instead of just collecting paychecks. We’d love to help you through the process of finding the right home, in the right area, for you. If you are looking for a home in Oregon, contact us at 503-663-8423.
When you’re looking for a new home, you’ll certainly need an experienced real estate agent to assist you throughout the process. With so many agents out there it can be difficult to determine who to work with. You’ve surely seen lots of yard signs and online advertisements, but how do you know who the best real estate agent for you is?
As with many other professionals, one of the first ways you can find a real estate agent is by asking family and friends for referrals. It’s recommended that you briefly interview at least three potential real estate agents to determine which would be best for you. Many experts say you should look for an agent with at least five years of experience, but less experienced agents are sometimes just as talented.
Find out if your potential agent is licensed by the state. While doing this you can see if there have been any complaints or disciplinary actions against the agent. You should also look for a real estate agent that does the job full time and not just on the side. It’s often best to go with an agent who is a designated Realtor, meaning they belong to the National Association of Realtors and abide by their strong code of ethics.
As well as being a Realtor, there are other specialized certifications you might want to look for which include CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative), and SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist). You can look up your potential agent’s current listings online. Check to see that they don’t have too many to focus on or too few. You can also see how closely their current listings match up with the property you are trying to buy or sell.
To learn more about the real estate agents at Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group, give us a call at 503-455-4050.
Moving is usually exciting, but it’s also a lot of work that many people don’t enjoy. From packing up all your belongings to transporting them and then arranging them in your new home, there’s a lot involved. Luckily the millions of people who have moved before you have come up with plenty of nifty moving tips and tricks to make your experience easier and more efficient.
If you’re looking for a new home in the Northwest, call Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-663-8423.
Whether you’re moving from across the country or across the state, Silverton, Oregon, has something to offer everyone. A growing economy, good schools, and plenty of things to see and do make Silverton an attractive place to call home. If you are thinking about moving to Silverton, Oregon, consider calling Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-663-8423. Our team of experts know the Silverton area and can help you find your perfect home.
Things to Do in Silverton
If you want an interesting place to live, Silverton is an ideal choice. Outside of the peaceful neighborhoods await a bevy of interesting things to see and experience. Nature lovers are particularly in for a treat, thanks to the lush surroundings and well-kept state parks. One of the most popular attractions is Silver Falls State Park. The falls themselves are located a short drive from downtown Silverton, and many locals make the most of this natural attraction by hiking, biking, and more.
If you prefer the urban life, Silverton has you covered. The charming downtown area teams with life, and residents love exploring cafes, restaurants, and more. One of the more distinct features of Silverton hide on the sides of many of these buildings: murals. The murals in Silverton celebrate local heroes and folklore figures, including astronaut Donald Pettit and Bobbie the Wonder Dog, who both called Silverton home.
A Nice Place to Live
On top of the charming restaurants and interesting things to do, residents appreciate the variety of places to live. Whether looking to own or rent, you can find something that fits your lifestyle. Nearby schools provide a great education for families, and plenty of businesses in the area mean that Silverton enjoys a low unemployment rate. To top it all off, gardens dot the city—Silverton is called “Oregon’s Garden City” for a reason!
Locals take part in plenty of Silverton traditions, including Homer Davenport Days, named after the famous political cartoonist who lived in Silverton. The event includes couch races, music, and more. For a more common celebration, locals dine at trendy restaurants or grab a drink at Seven Brides Brewing, which has become a staple in the Willamette Valley.
If you think Silverton is the right place for you, take the first step in moving to the area by calling Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group at 503-663-8423. Named Silverton, Oregon’s Business of the Year by the Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce, we are happy to be the first people to welcome you to Silverton. With our expertise, we will find you the ideal place to live for your needs. Contact us today and become a resident in one of Oregon’s best kept secrets!
The secret to moving is planning. A little bit of planning can go a long way when it comes to alleviating some of the stress associated with moving. Our team at Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group has seen a lot of moves, since we’ve helped plenty of individuals and families find homes through the Northwest Oregon region. Over the years, we’ve assembled some tips that will help you in your move. Here are 13 genius moving hacks to make your move a breeze!
If you’re ready to make your move, call Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group today at 503-455-4050.
Home buying and selling are the single largest transactions most people ever make. It’s also a process you only go through a handful of times in your life. Don’t go through this overwhelming, time-consuming, life-changing process alone – team up with a knowledgeable real estate agent to handle the nitty-gritty details and help you strike the best deal.
To ensure you find the best realtor to help you buy or sell your home, ask these six questions during the interview process.
What experience do you have?
Aim to find out more than just how many years the realtor has been in the business – dig deeper to discover the types and number of listings he or she has handled in recent years. Ask about the list-price-to-selling-price ratio with the goal of choosing an agent with a rate as close to 100 as possible, meaning the final home sale prices have been close to the listing prices.
Can I see a list of references?
Reading reviews is a great place to start, but it’s also worthwhile to call references for answers to personalized questions regarding what it’s like to work with this realtor from day to day.
Can you give me more information about the housing market in my area?
Request a comparative market analysis (CMA) to learn more about the homes for sale where you live. Also, ask whether the market is trending upward or downward so you can determine if now is the right time to buy or sell in your area.
How many clients are you currently representing?
The answer to this question tells you a lot. If the realtor is working with a staggeringly high number of clients – like 40 sellers or 15 buyers – this could mean that his or her time will be spread too thin to ensure all your needs are met. Then again, too few clients could indicate the agent is inexperienced or doesn’t come highly recommended.
How will you market my home?
One of the biggest advantages of working with a real estate agent is gaining access to vast resources for marketing your home. After placing a for-sale sign in the front yard, your agent should post your house on a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a system of online databases that gives your home broad exposure to potential buyers. Other marketing methods include print advertising and open houses.
What do you charge for your services?
Most agents take a percentage of the home’s final selling price. This rate may or may not be negotiable, depending on the market. You might also strike a better deal if you use the same agent for buying a new home and selling your old one.
Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group has served the Silverton area since 1994. Our realtors are full-time, experienced professionals focused on building relationships with clients and offering exemplary services rather than merely collecting paychecks. We would love to help you buy or sell your home in Willamette Valley! To learn more, please contact us at 503-455-4050.
If you’ve been an apartment dweller all your life, figuring out what you can afford to pay for rent is pretty straightforward. The generally accepted recommendation is to spend no more than a third of your monthly income on rent. Therefore, if you earn $4,000 a month, you should look for a place that charges $1,300 or less per month.
But how does renting an apartment compare to owning a home? Determining what mortgage you can afford is a bit more complicated. Use this guide for first-time homebuyers to help you understand mortgages better.
Consider All the Costs of Owning a Home
Your monthly payments encompass more than just your mortgage. Remember that owning a home means you might also owe property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees and private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Use Your Income as a Guide
The guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suggest spending no more than 35 percent of your pretax monthly income on housing costs, including mortgage, taxes and insurance. These organizations also recommend keeping your overall debt – including car loans, student loans, personal loans and credit card debt – below 45 percent of your pretax monthly income.
Therefore, if you carry higher debt in other areas, it’s wise to take out a smaller mortgage to prevent being “house poor.” Don’t assume that just because a bank approves you for a higher loan that you can actually afford it. Critically assess your income, debt and expenses to ensure you can comfortably afford the house you buy.
Consider Your Home Loan Options
Traditional mortgages require flawless credit and a down payment of at least 20 percent. However, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to make it easier for first-time homebuyers to get their foot in the door.
While FHA home loans are available with as little as 3.5 percent down, they require homebuyers to obtain private mortgage insurance, which increases your monthly premium payments. Once you pay down the balance to under 78 percent loan to value (LTV), you can cancel your PMI.
Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying for a Mortgage
No matter what type of home loan you apply for, we recommend getting your credit as high as possible first. For instance, if your credit score is below 580, you’ll need to pay at least 10 percent down to qualify for an FHA home loan. You can also qualify for lower interest rates with good credit. Follow these tips to increase your credit score in as little as 30 to 45 days:
When you’re ready to buy a home, Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group can help. We strive to build relationships with our clients as we help them track down the perfect home for their needs. To learn more, please call us at 503-455-4050.
What’s the best way to increase the value of your home before you put it on the market? Should you renovate or just redecorate? Do some areas of improvement yield a better return on investment than others? With a little bit of strategy, you can come up with a plan that will bring you a good price when it’s time to list the house.
When you’re ready to sell your house, you can trust Harcourts NW Oregon Realty to help you every step of the way. We’ve been in business in Silverton, Oregon since 1994, and our agents are full-time, experienced professionals who provide our clients with exemplary service, building relationships instead of just collecting paychecks. We’d love to help you sell your home, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have, or offer you a free market analysis, to help determine your home’s value. If you have a home to sell in the Portland or Silverton, Oregon area, contact us at 503-455-4050.
We all have the same goals when putting our homes on the market: sell them quickly and for the best possible price. What’s the best way to accomplish these objectives? Take some advice from the experts on preparing your home to sell.
When you’re ready to sell your home, Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group can help. We’ve been in business in Silverton, Oregon since 1994, and our agents are full-time, experienced professionals who provide our clients with exemplary service. Our focus is on building relationships instead of just collecting paychecks. We’d love to help you sell your home, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have, or offer you a free market analysis, to help determine your home’s value. If you have a home to sell in Northwest Oregon, contact us at 503-455-4050.
Is it time to sell your home? You may have heard that the market is in a good place, or you may be looking to get into a different house. While these are good reasons to sell, they may not be the most important factors to consider. Whether or not you should sell your house depends largely on whether it’s a smart move financially.
If you think it may be the right time to sell your home, it’s time to find a real estate professional who knows the market and understands your needs. Since 1994, the agents at NW Oregon Realty Group have been helping people in Silverton, Oregon buy and sell houses, helping them stay well-informed about the process every step of the way. We’d love to help you sell your home or find a new one, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have, or offer you a free market analysis, to help determine your home’s value. If you have a home to sell in the Portland or Silverton, Oregon area, contact us at 503-455-4050.
These days, it seems like downsizing is the latest trend. From tiny homes to KonMari, everyone seems to be of the opinion that less is more. All this reduction can seem appealing; a simpler life can be less stressful and hectic. But is it a good move to downsize your home? Before you decide to downsize, consider these factors.
If you’ve asked yourself these questions and decided it’s time to downsize, the next step is finding a real estate professional who understands your needs. Since 1994, the agents at Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group have been helping people in Silverton, Oregon find the houses that fit them, meet their needs, and exceed their expectations. We’d love to help you sell your home or find a new one, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have, or offer you a free market analysis, to help determine your home’s value. If you have a home to sell in the Portland or Silverton, Oregon area, contact us at 503-455-4050.
If you currently rent a house or apartment, you may be tired of dealing with your landlord. Are you ready to pursue the American dream of becoming a homeowner? Buying a house is an exciting prospect. Just consider all the reasons to buy instead of rent:
If these reasons to buy instead of rent sound appealing to you, now could be the time to become a homebuyer. Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group can help! We have served the Silverton, OR area since 1994, and our Realtors will help you find a house that’s right for you. We offer expert advice you can count on as a first-time homebuyer. To learn more, please contact us at 503-455-4050.
If you’re serious about buying a home, one of the most important steps is to get approved for a mortgage. After all, you’ll most likely need a loan to buy a house in Silverton, OR where the average home value hovers around $300,000.
When you’re looking at borrowing this much money, even a percentage point or two makes a big difference in the amount of interest you pay over the next 30 years or more. That’s why you need to lower your rate as much as possible. Follow these tips to help you secure a better mortgage rate.
Improve Your Credit Score
The higher your credit score is, the more a bank will trust you to make your mortgage payments, which opens the door to lower interest rates. It takes time to improve your credit score, but effective methods include:
You should also avoid applying for other lines of credit, such as a car loan, when you’re trying to qualify for a mortgage.
Hold a Steady Job
You prove to banks that you’re less of a risk if you can show two or more years of steady employment and predictable earnings, especially if these come from a single employer. Self-employed people and freelancers may have a harder time.
Put More Money Down
In general, larger down payments qualify homebuyers for lower interest rates. The gold standard is 20 percent. If you don’t have that kind of money, lenders will accept a lot less, but you’ll probably need to obtain private mortgage insurance (PMI), which adds to your monthly payments.
Consider an ARM
If you plan on selling the house in five to seven years, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with a low-interest introductory period may make more sense than a 30-year fixed mortgage with a higher interest rate.
There’s no reason to settle for getting a loan from the financial institution you normally bank with. Research different options and seek pre-approval from several different lenders. You might find that one bank is willing to offer a lower rate than the rest.
Lock in Your Pre-Approved Rate
Mortgage rates fluctuate daily. If you get approved for a low rate that you’re afraid might go up next week, you have the option to lock it in, protecting you from fluctuating rates as long as your mortgage closes by a specific date. This may come with a fee, but it could pay for itself if it helps you avoid a higher interest rate.
When you’re ready to buy a home in Northwest Oregon, turn to Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group for help. We have nearly 25 years of experience helping buyers find the home of their dreams with a mortgage rate they can afford. To learn more about our real estate services in Willamette Valley, please contact us at 503-455-4050.
Are you thinking about investing in real estate? It can be a tricky business, and difficult to navigate without experience, but can also be quite lucrative with the right approach. Here, we offer some useful information to help you get started.
First, what kind of real estate investment interests you? You can actively invest, buying properties to flip or rent. On the other hand, you can engage in passive real estate investing, through a private equity fund or another type of fund, like an opportunity fund or a REIT (real estate investment trust), which allow investors to share the risk. If you’re looking to actively invest, we have some tips from experts that can put you on the right track.
No matter what kind of active investing you’re looking to do, it’s smart to take your time before your first purchase, learning as much as you can about the market. Look into plans for new development, roads, and so on, and don’t try to do it on your own. Find an expert real estate agent to advise you, and tap into the expertise of people who have made the kind of investment that interests you.
If you’re interested in investing in real estate, it’s time to talk to a real estate professional who can help you make a good decision. Since 1994, the agents at NW Oregon Realty Group have been helping people in Silverton, Oregon buy and sell houses, helping them stay well-informed about the process every step of the way. We’d love to help you find your next investment, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes. If you’re looking to invest or you have property to sell in the Portland or Silverton, Oregon area, contact us at 503-455-4050.
When you’re ready to sell, there’s no shortage of agents with whom you could list your property. In fact, it probably seems like every third person you know is either a listing agent or knows one. How do you choose? It’s an important decision because the right agent can make selling a breeze, while the wrong one can leave you stuck in a bad situation. What should you look for when choosing a listing agent for your property?
If you think it may be the right time to sell your home, it’s time to find a real estate professional who knows the market and understands your needs. Since 1994, the agents at Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group have been helping people in and around Silverton, Oregon buy and sell houses, helping them stay well-informed about the process every step of the way. We’d love to help you sell your home or find a new one, but we’re also happy to answer any questions you may have, or offer you a free market analysis, to help determine your home’s value. If you have a home to sell in the Portland or Silverton, Oregon area, contact us at 503-455-4050.