Blog :: 02-2019

How to choose the right buyer's agent

Many first-time home buyers aren’t sure how to choose a real estate agent. The process can seem overwhelming with the thousands of choices available. We’ve gathered together some “insider” tips below to help you choose the right real estate agent.

Do Some Research:

  • Check the agent’s license standing through the state real estate agency. Here is Oregon’s Licensee Lookup.
  • Read reviews from former clients or ask for references.
  • Interview your top 2 or 3 picks.

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Things to Consider:

  • Does the agent’s communication style work well with yours?

Communication is imperative to any good relationship, and your real estate agent is no exception. You want to make sure that your communication styles work well together in order to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Is the agent knowledgeable about the local market (including your specific neighborhood)?

This is imperative. Your real estate agent needs to understand not only the market in your general area, but specifically in the neighborhoods you’re looking to buy. Having knowledge of the homes in specific neighborhoods means that the agent will be better able to negotiate on your behalf, knowing what previous homes in the neighborhood have sold for and how they compare to the home you’re interested in.

  • Does the agent possess good negotiation skills?

Your agent should have knowledge of the specific market that you’re buying in. Your agent should be able to use this knowledge to negotiate skillfully on your behalf. Alternately, you don’t want someone that doesn’t negotiate with respect and fairness, because it could cost you the home of your dreams, or the ideal buyer.

  • Is the agent working alone, or with a team? Who will you be working with directly?

This is one question most people don’t consider. A lot of agents work with a partner or a team of people, and clients can be surprised when the majority of the communication comes from someone other than the agent they interviewed. Sometimes this can be a great thing – more people means more attention to detail, but sometimes it can be a disappointment if you prefer dealing with only one person.

Have more questions, or want expert advice on buying a home? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you!

 

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Out of State Investment Property

Many real estate investors wonder if it’s worth the hassle of investing in property outside of the state that they reside. The short answer is yes… but you need to be aware of the different regulations other states may have for purchasing investment property.

For instance, loan limits can vary by area. One example is that Oregon’s conforming loan limit is about $484,350, while some areas of California are as high as $726,525. Additionally, the lender and real estate agent you plan on using will both need to be licensed in the state where you’re purchasing property (not where your home base is). Being able to find professionals you trust is of key importance, since you will primarily be dealing with them remotely. If you need recommendations for out-of-state resources, we can help!

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It’s also a good idea to buy property in an area that you’re familiar with so you know what different neighborhoods are like, and can narrow down exactly where you’d like to purchase your investment property.

Another thing to consider when buying investment property in another state is how easily you can travel there. The upside of traveling for your out-of-state investment property is that it can be tax-deductible. Keeping this in mind may encourage you to purchase an investment property somewhere you actually enjoy visiting!

Have more questions, or want a referral to a professional in another state? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you!

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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Pros and Cons of Tiny Homes

Pros of living in a tiny home:

  1. Tiny homes are less expensive.

Tiny homes are much less expensive than traditional homes, starting at about $25,000. Of course, this does not account for the cost of land to place your tiny house, which would need to be leased or purchased as well.

  1. Tiny homes use less energy.

Tiny houses are generally about 100-400 square feet. Less space means less energy usage. Additionally, since only 1-2 people can live in a tiny house comfortably, this means modest water, sewer, and garbage waste. This will also bring your utility expenses down.

  1. Tiny homes can be mobile.

Since tiny homes are so small and are usually built with wheels, they are easily transportable. That means if you decide you want to move somewhere else, it’s relatively easy to move your house with you.

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Cons of living in a tiny home:

  1. Zoning laws may restrict where you can place a tiny home.

Depending on your area, there are restrictions to where you can or can’t put a tiny home. Since most tiny houses are considered vehicles rather than residences, it can be tricky to find land to permanently place your tiny home.

  1. Tiny houses have little, if any, storage space.

Since tiny houses are so small there isn’t much storage space. If you’re not used to such a confined space, or are hoping to downsize, you’ll probably have to get rid of many of your belongings or rent a storage unit for them (which can be expensive).

  1. There’s no room for entertaining in your tiny house.

Again, since tiny homes have very little square footage, it’s difficult to have more than 1-2 people in one at the same time. This highly limits your ability to host any indoor gatherings or even host a small dinner.

  1. You can’t finance a tiny home with a mortgage if it’s mobile.

Traditional mortgage financing is not available for tiny homes that are movable because they are considered “recreational vehicles”. This means if you don’t have the cash to purchase one, you’ll likely need to take out a personal loan or an RV loan at a higher interest rate.

One way to own a tiny home without so many restrictions is to have it built on a foundation on land that you own or purchase. There is usually a minimum size requirement for homes built this way (depending on your area) but it may be the best option for those who desire a tiny home and aren’t concerned with mobility. Another upside to this option is that it could also make your tiny house eligible for a traditional home mortgage, or allow it to qualify as an ADU (additional dwelling unit) on your current property.

Still have more questions about tiny homes, or want to know your options for buying one? Contact us

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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Real Estate for Retirement

There are several ways to use real estate to your advantage if you’re starting to think about retiring, even if you’re years away. Here are three great options to consider:

1.    Downsize your home.

One of the simplest ways to save for retirement is to downsize from your current home to a smaller one. Doing this will increase your savings, lower your utility bills, and could reduce or eliminate monthly mortgage payments. If you don’t need all of the space in your current house, this is a great option.

2.    Invest in a rental property.

Another way to use real estate for retirement is by investing in a rental property. You’ll receive monthly income from renters and can potentially make a large profit once you decide to sell it. Additionally, if you invest while you’re still working and making an active income, it can serve as a tax shelter and eventually provide passive income after you retire. Rental income is also a good way to reduce debt over the long-term. Of course, this option should only be considered as a long-term investment in order to avoid any short-term tax repercussions or a fluctuating real estate market.  

3.    Rent out extra space.

If you have extra space, especially if it’s an ADU (additional dwelling unit), there are many ways to make additional income for retirement. You can rent it out short-term through sites like Airbnb.com or lease it out to tenants for longer periods of time. This is a great way to increase income and savings.  

If you’d like more information on any of these options, please Contact us! We’re happy to help explain your options. 

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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