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Shopping For The Best Real Estate Loan

Over 50% of home buyers don’t shop to find the best interest rate for their mortgage.

While a buyer would rarely purchase the first home they look at, they will accept the rate and terms offered by only one lender. While the borrower and the property affect the rate and terms that a lender may offer, not all lenders offer the same service, terms and rates to the same buyer.

I advise my clients that shopping around to compare rate and terms for a mortgage is a reasonable exercise considering that a half percent less interest rate could not only lower the payment but the cumulative interest that is paid while that loan is outstanding. When meeting with buyers, I am always amazed when buyers don’t shop for the best rates and fees for a mortgage.

Over the years, I have also found many mortgage brokers/lenders promise the moon but fail to deliver.  In addition, some buyers seem to think out-of-state, big-box companies with loan services, somehow offer the best products for you. Frankly, I have found this not to be true.

Many times I am asked for a mortgage broker/loan officer referral for those buyers.  Because of my years selling real estate, I have consistently worked with tried and true mortgage brokers.  It behooves a buyer to work with someone locally that I routinely work with.  I do not get a referral fee or make any money when referring my favorite and best loan officers to you.  My only pay-off is that since I have worked with them for many years, I know they will take excellent care of you and deliver what they promise to give you the best rates and loan product available. And, to get your transaction closed on time.

Equally important is hiring a mortgage broker that best suits your needs, and not doing so can derail a transaction quickly.  Being available and paying attention to your specific real estate transaction and its conditions is something extremely important.

Rates are increasing, and if you’re ready to take the plunge to purchase a new home and get pre-approved for a loan, give me a call at 503-804-9685. I will be happy to refer you to the best Portland-metro area loan officers in the business.

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2018. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is in violation of federal copyright laws.

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It’s What’s Under The Hood That Matters

Recently a past client of mine made an offer on a home that was completely updated.  We knew this from what was stated in the RMLS™ listing and from looking at the house. This home had all the bells and whistles and shined with the latest decorating trends. I was a bit leery about the home’s condition because it was a “flip” and knew, as they say, ‘it’s what’s under the hood” that mattered a lot more than what we were able to see with our own eyes.https://lakeoswegorealestateblog.wordpress.com/

As I always do, regardless if the home is brand new, or looks like the home is in good condition, I recommend a full home inspection along with other inspections such as a tank scan, sewer scope, roof inspection, etc., etc.

Prepare for Home Inspection Surprises

My client proceeded to have all the necessary  home inspections and I have to say, even I was surprised with all the defects that were presented to us as a result of the inspection reports.

Oil Tanks, Sewer Blockages, Even a “Live” Animal Oy’vey

While home buyers are sometimes strapped, don’t have extra cash and are reluctant to spend money on a home they may or may not be buying, the cost of home inspections are minimal compared to keeping from making a huge financial mistake. It is the best insurance a buyer can have that the home being purchased is indeed in good condition.

During this particular transaction and as a result of the home inspections, the buyer was information of roofing issues, structural issues, electrical and plumbing repairs/improvements not up to code, siding and foundation sill rot, beams not anchored, lack of heat from vents, large foundation cracks, ceilings buckling, water pooling, to mention only a “few” of the issues.  On top of the updated “flip” deficiencies, there was an oil tank, a sewer blockage that extended the entire length of the front yard and to top it off a wild animal living and nesting in the crawl space.

Don’t Get Fooled By Shiny Objects

At first sight the house was perfect. It was exactly what my buyer was looking for in the location where he wanted. Looking at the house you would never have known there were so many problems.

During the height of our most recent “hot” housing market, buyers in many cases, especially in multiple offer situations, waived their right to have any kind of home inspection(s). I cringed when I heard that buyers were doing that, while I never recommended my clients go that route just to “win” a home.

Walking Away Vs. Negotiating Repairs

Problems with a home can derail a transaction causing buyers to “walk away”.  In this case my buyer did not continue with the purchase as the repairs were just too daunting. They did purchase another home that was “perfect” in the same area.

Buyers need to, however, understand the differences between health and safety issues, versus normal wear and tear. There are many options open to buyers when repairs are an issue. Many times sellers are willing to negotiate repairs as well. Buyers should be prepared for surprises and make a plan, with their Real Estate Broker’s help,  for those unpredictable repairs.

Inventory is tight in our Lake Oswego and Portland metro real estate market and a faulty home inspection doesn’t always have to result in not purchasing the home of your dreams. Sometimes it just takes talking through the inspection issues if the home meets all the other requirements you are looking for.

But, in any and all cases, please have those home inspections.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2018. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

 

Lake Oswego Real Estate First Time Homebuyer

Are You A First Time Homebuyer?

There’s lots to know about purchasing your first home.  I am sure you have lots of questions about Lake Oswego Real Estate and home buying.

Here’s a tip about Homeowners’ Insurance from Prime Lending:

Becoming a first-time homebuyer can be both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. There are a lot of expenses you’ve probably heard about that come with closing on your first home, for instance the down payment, closing costs and agent fees. One expense you may be less familiar with is homeowners’ insurance. Don’t get blindsided by the cost insurance might add to your financial responsibilities – take time to understand your options and get estimates before putting down a large sum on your home.

We’ve assembled a number of most commonly asked questions that first-time homebuyers ask to help give you a better sense of what you need to know when shopping for homeowners’ insurance.

How Much Coverage Do I Need? A Home Inventory Will Tell You.

Start by completing a home inventory (a comprehensive list of everything you own and each item’s value). Make a list or your possessions, describing each item, and noting the make and model and where each item was purchased. Include sales receipts, purchase contracts and appraisals if you have them. Organize your clothing into categories so they are easier to reference.

Here are some handy tips to help you organize your inventory:

  • List big-ticket items such as jewelry, artwork and collectibles
  • Take pictures of important individual items and store with descriptions
  • Describe the contents of each room
  • Save your inventory list on your computer and store it on an external hard drive or disk (you can also send it to a trusted family member for safe-keeping as well)
  • Put all the photos, lists and any other documentation (electronic or paper) in a safe deposit box

What Coverages Are Included?

Standard homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage of:

  • The structure of the home – if your home is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril (fire, windstorms, hail, lightning, theft, vandalism, explosion, water damage and riots)
  • Your home’s contents – if your belongings are damaged or destroyed, it’s typically set between 50 and 70% of your home’s structural coverage; high-value items have a cap on repair/replacement value so you may need a rider policy added
  • Liability – if someone is injured on your property, the liability portion of your insurance policy can help pay for medical, rehab, funeral expenses and legal fees in the event of a lawsuit
  • Other structures – if your detached garage or toolshed is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril (see structure of the home for covered perils), your insurance can help pay to have it repaired or rebuilt
  • Additional living expenses – in the event that you home is destroyed and needs to be rebuilt, this coverage can help pay for living expenses (hotel and food bills) while you’re displaced

Why Won’t Your Insurance Costs Be The Same As The Current Owner’s?

Many first-time homebuyers assume that they will be paying the same for insurance as the previous owner. In fact, many ask the previous homeowners how much they paid for electricity, school and property taxes, along with the insurance cost when deciding on whether or not to buy the home.

What a previous owner paid in insurance is not always a good indicator of what you’ll pay. There are some predictable and consistent factors, such as if the home is in a flood area, or in an area with many windstorms, hail or tornado claims. But, insurance companies like lenders, take into account your personal information to establish the cost; your age, credit rating, profession and other personal choices are used to determine what kind of insurance they choose and how much you’ll pay.

What Factors Can Affect How Much I Pay For Homeowners Insurance?

The following variables can impact the cost of your homeowners’ insurance premium:

  • Home features and characteristics – your home’s age, type of structure, wiring, roof, garage and more can affect your homeowners’ insurance premium. Older homes tend to cost more to insure, and those costs can depend on whether your home is brick, frame, stone or has synthetic siding.
  • Location – where your home is located can impact your premium. Proximity to a police or fire station, exposure to extreme weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods) or theft-prone neighborhoods all factor in.
  • Protective devices – burglar alarms, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and deadbolt locks can lower your insurance premium.
  • Personal factors – believe it or not, being a smoker may cause you to pay more for your home insurance than a nonsmoker; in their eyes there’s a greater chance for an accidental fire. A good credit history can also lower your insurance.
  • Claims history – if you have a history of claims, you’ll pay more and if you made a claim under a previous insurance policy, like a renter’s policy, you’re not eligible for a claims-free discount.
  • Previous insurance history – factors like if you’ve never had previous insurance on a residence, have a gap in your insurance history, or if you’ve been previously cancelled by an insurance company for non-payment can impact coverage and cost.

How Can I Save Money On Insurance?

It is possible to cut the costs by making certain adjustments. Some of these are immediate solutions and some require a longer term modification.

  • Discounts – Most insurers offer a laundry list of discounts for policyholders. One of the most common is bundling; by bundling your home and auto insurance with the same provide, you’ll be entitled to a discount. As mentioned earlier, safety/protective devices can also reduce your premiums.
  • Raise Your Deductible – Raising the amount you agree to pay toward a claim before the insurance kicks will lower your premiums. However, setting it too high can come to bite you in the end if disaster strikes.
  • Improve Your Credit Score – Most insurance providers use your credit score as an indicator of how likely you are to file a claim. Studies have shown that those with low credit scores were more prone to filing claims than those who could afford to tackle replacements or repairs on their own.

Does Having Renters Insurance Help Me Lower Costs When I Buy My First Home?

Yes. In addition to the obvious protection from unexpected financial pains in the posterior such as the cat knocking down a candle and starting a fire, or the local thief who decides your TV is his – renters insurance sets you up to save money on your home or condo insurance when you buy your first home. If you show a loss-free claims history, you could be eligible for a discount. Waiting until you buy your first home could cost you up to 25% more for your home insurance as compared to if you had renters insurance for years.

How Do I Pay For My Homeowners’ Insurance?

There are two ways to pay your annual homeowners’ insurance premium. You can pay it once annually, in cash, to your insurer or elect to pay it as part of your mortgage (escrowing), one month-at-a-time. Homeowners choosing to optionally escrow their homeowners’ insurance can typically negotiate lower mortgage rates or loan fees with their lender. A PrimeLending home loan expert can help you evaluate the potential benefits of escrowing your insurance payments.

How Do I Choose A Provider?

The best advice we can give is to shop around for the rates and programs which best meet your needs. Like mortgage rates, homeowners’ insurance vary between carriers. They also vary in terms of coverage. Don’t be shy about asking friends for recommendations either, referrals are great ways to validate the quality of a provider. However you identify potential providers, be sure to get quotes from several companies and compare them.

Source: Prime Lending

Searching for Real Estate

My phone app http://app.summarealty.com/SMAFZ, has recently been updated.  If you are looking to purchase, this is a great way to search.  Or, if you want instant notifications from RMLS™, please let me know and I can arrange for you to receive alerts for listings as soon as they come on the market for sale.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. Buyers are ready and willing to purchase your home. Call me at 503-804-9685 if you are thinking of making a move. I can help you move forward.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

Having worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and lived in Lake Oswego since 1988, I know all the neighborhoods. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2017. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

 

Spring_in_Lake_Oswego

When Buying A Lake Oswego Home Listen to What Your Eyes See

https://lakeoswegorealestateblog.wordpress.com/

Spring Isn’t That Far Away!

Recently while showing homes in the Lake Oswego and Portland metro areas, I was reminded once again how important it is to listen to what your eyes see.  No that isn’t a typo in the headline, because often I find buyers see flaws in a home while looking, but they tend to ignore them and don’t listen to what their instincts are actually telling them.

Buyers get emotionally involved when looking for their home of their dreams.  As a real estate agent I wouldn’t want it any other way, but I feel it is also my job to point out possible issues.

Many years ago, a colleague of mine wanted my opinion along with another friend’s, who was also a real estate agent, before she purchased a home.  The house was exactly what she was looking for.  While it was in a subdivision, it seemed to be on an island of its home, surrounded by nature and a pond. I remember succinctly standing in front of the garage and looking up to my right where there was a huge hill.  Immediately I thought since the home was at the bottom of that very large hill, if there ever was a landslide, it would wipe out the house.  Even though I said that to my friend, she purchased the home.  Sure enough, many years later, there was a landslide and it not only wiped out the pond but also flattened her home.  I saw the potential danger, she saw the potential danger, but she did not listen to what her eyes saw.

Buying A Lake Oswego Home In The Winter Months

Showing houses in the rain, ice and snow recently, there were two houses I showed that both had water issues.  There was obvious mold in one home and in another home, the basement and garage also showed a lot of water intrusion. While you will have a full home inspection, and possible other inspections, if you can actually see damage, know there could be an even great problem.

Keep Your Eyes Open When Buying A Lake Oswego Home

In another situation, I had a client who wanted to see a condo in a particular complex.  I knew a lot about that complex going back many years having HOA problems and not having sufficient funds for repairs.  Through the years, the homeowners were hit with large assessments to make major repairs.  I remember this was an on-going issue with that complex, but my buyer insisted on seeing a unit there.

While showing her the property, I asked her to stop in the middle of the complex and look around.  What we saw were roofs heavy with moss and showed wear, decks had obvious dry rot, the swimming pool needed major work and there was raw siding with little to no paint or peeling paint.

Once she stopped and listened to what her eyes saw, she decided, on her own, not to purchase in that complex.

Your Lake Oswego Home Maybe The Largest Investment You  Make

Once you purchase your home, I certainly don’t want you to have any further issues, but only to enjoy your new home to the fullest. In addition to your overall due diligence, keep your eyes open, look around, and listen to what your eyes see.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Interest rates are still low and there is still a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. Call me at 503-804-9685 if you are thinking of making a move.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978, have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2017. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

 

Lake Oswego Real Estate New Condo Rules

The U.S. Senate passed H.R. 3700 a couple days ago, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” by unanimous consent. This legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, among other provisions, and is long supported by the National Association of Realtors®.

Changes include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” while lowering FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent. The bill also requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.Condos

NAR testified last year in support of the bill, which passed in the House of Representatives 427-0 in February.

Tom Salomone, president of NAR and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, praised the legislation as a significant step towards eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos.

Following is a statement from Mr. Salomone:

“Condominiums often represent an affordable option that’s just right for first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers. Unfortunately, overly-burdensome restrictions on condo financing have for too long put that option out of reach for many creditworthy borrowers.

“This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans.

“Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today’s market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they’re ready, and this legislation does just that.”

Inventory At All Time Low

With housing inventory at all time lows, buyers are also looking at other options.  Now that the new FHA condo rules benefit homebuyers, you  might want to see what your options are as to the availability of condos, townhouses or an attached home.

Lake Oswego Condos

Looking for a Lake Oswego Condo?  There are currently 31 available in Lake Oswego for sale.  There are a limited number of views available when clicking on this link, but you can see them here at http://goo.gl/B7qEe2

Pre-Approval

If you are looking to purchase a condo, attached dwelling or townhouse and new to get pre-approved, give me a call at 503-804-9685 and I can help.  Remember if you found the home of your dreams today and you are not pre-approved, you might miss out on the opportunity to purchase that condo, townhouse or attached dwelling without a pre-approval letter.

 

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2016. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

Lake Oswego Real Estate Due Diligence

In the mid-70s when I first started selling real estate, the only inspection available for a buyer was a termite/dry rot inspection. In all the years after that and since, I have only sold two houses that have actually had termites, although many homes have had and still have dry rot.

PortlandRadonZIPCodeMap

Unfortunately, many of the cities and counties also did not keep records at that time. There were no well reports or Well Master, water potability samples weren’t taken, radon hot spots weren’t even on our radar, there were no landslide reports, FEMA flood zone maps weren’t available, no floor plans were on file, zoning and zoning maps were not available, cities didn’t keep permit records, there was no DEQ to decommission oil tanks or records kept, lead base paint wasn’t an issue at that time, and there were no soil samples taken etc. not to mention all the other issues that come with buying a home. There was really no where to go and get any information about anything.

What Is Due Diligence?

One of the many ways to protect yourself against purchasing a home with any major defects, is the opportunity for you to perform your due diligence within the inspection time period.

What is due diligence? After your offer has been accepted by a seller, you may order inspections, research permits and zoning, obtain hazard insurance and investigate environmental or any other factors that may affect the property.  Licensed contractors perform a home inspection, alerting you to any potential problems, but you may also need further inspections by licensed and bonded specialists for specific inspections.

Types of Home Inspections During Your Due Diligence Time Period

In addition to a full home inspection, a buyer has the opportunity to have other specialty contractors perform some of these specific inspections:

  • asbestos
  • electrical
  • exterior siding
  • fireplace/chimney
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Land Survey
  • Mold/Mildew
  • Pest/Dry Rot
  • Plumbing
  • Radon
  • Roof
  • Structural
  • Toxic/Hazardous Substances
  • Underground sprinklers
  • Underground storage tank
  • Sewer Scope
  • Well test
  • Septic/Sewage System
  • Water Potability

At the end of the due-diligence period, a homebuyer has several options.  A buyer can negotiate with the seller for necessary repairs or credits for work to be done, accept the property in its present condition or cancel the sale.

In A Hot Housing Market

Many buyers are certainly educated about the specific inspections that can be performed.  However, the reason I am writing this post to begin with is because of my concern that in this “hot” housing market we are experiencing in the Portland metro real estate areas, some buyers in their efforts to “get that house”, are waiving their right to have home inspections.  I never suggest to my buyers they do that.  In fact, some of my buyers have lost out on houses because they did not waive their right to have any/all home inspections available and miss out on their chance to perform their due diligence.

I am concerned about those buyers who have waived that right in this real estate market, who may down the road find major issues that far outweigh the price or rush to get their offers accepted.

Exercise your right to conduct home inspections. It is extremely important you perform your due diligence.

 

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2016. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

Lake Oswego Real Estate Using Your Tax Refund To Buy A Home

Are you getting a tax refund this year?  Will you be using the funds towards purchasing a Lake Oswego home?

49.2 Percent of Surveyed Americans Will Save Their Tax Refund

https:/lakeoswegorealestateblog.wordpress.comApril may start off with some lighthearted fools jokes, but the month turns very serious right around the 15th. As Americans work feverishly to submit their taxes by midnight on April 15, or the extended deadline this year of Monday, April 18, due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. (Maine and Mass. taxpayers actually have until April 19, due to Patriots’ Day). Regardless of if taxpayers filed in January or wait to file in mid-April, the IRS anticipates that more than 150 million tax returns will be filed this year, and 70 percent of the nation’s workforce will happily await a tax refund from Uncle Sam. Last year’s average tax refund amount totaled $2,797 dollars.

If you’re expecting a tax refund this year, what do you plan to do with it? According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual Tax Returns Survey, 49.2 percent (the highest percentage in the survey’s history) of taxpayers plan to save their tax refund rather than spend it right away. Here are some of the most common ways people choose to use their tax refund:

Risky Spending

According to the NRF survey, 8.3 percent of taxpayers are planning for big splurges with their tax refund. Many people still like to treat their refund as a gift or free money from the government, instead of remembering that these dollars belonged to them all along. So in celebration, some taxpayers spend their entire refund on lavish vacations, expensive merchandise and/or tons of individual retail purchases. While it may feel good at the time to reward yourself — with money that was always yours — you might be putting yourself at higher risk for experiencing buyer’s remorse. After all, once it’s gone … it’s gone!

Business as Usual

On the flip side, 22.4 percent reported that they plan to simply deposit their refund into the bank and continue on with business as usual, budgeting for groceries, gas, family expenditures, car payments, household bills, etc. Think about it this way: when you return damaged or unwanted merchandise to a store and receive a cash refund, you probably don’t think of it as free cash to liberally spend on anything. You likely deposit it back into your bank, or your wallet, and use it to pay for the next necessity. Likewise, if a tax refund is treated as just what it is — a refund of your annual earnings held by the government — it will make sense for some taxpayers to just add the money to their everyday funds and continue on as normal. While these taxpayers may not experience the thrill of instant-gratification spending, they are preventing any regrets due to impulse buying.

Smart Financing

NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release, “Americans this year see refund season as a time to improve their financial health by using their refunds to get ahead on savings goals, pay down debt and plan for purchases in the future. Money saved is spending potential down the road.”

In fact, 34.9 percent of the NRF study’s respondents indicated that they intend to use their refund to pay down debt. Some other popular financial-saving decisions that many taxpayers use their refund for, include:

  • Having an Emergency Fund — Making it twelve months without incurring any unexpected expenses can prove a hard feat for anyone. So using your tax refund to either start, replenish or grow your emergency fund is a positively safe and smart decision.
  • Increasing Retirement Savings — Putting money into a retirement savings account is always a good decision, as the more you save, the more financially secure you’ll be in the future.
  • Opening an Extra Savings Account — An extra savings account can become a money hero for the expected and unexpected special events in life, such as weddings, anniversary trips, senior care for aging family, etc. Don’t be afraid to think ahead and start saving money for those unique times.
  • Growing a College Fund — If you’ve got children, you might consider adding to or starting college funds. College may still be a long way off for junior, but growing a college fund now could mean the difference between him pursuing his dreams with your help, or taking up permanent residency on your living room sofa.
  • Building a Young Adult’s Savings Account — For older dependents that are earning an income, consider helping them open a Roth IRA account that will help them begin investing in their own financial future. Eligible dependents can contribute up to $5,500 dollars, or the amount of their annual income, whichever is lower.

Smart Spending

If you like the idea of saving, but you also feel like your tax refund is burning a hole in your pocket, you might find enjoy some smart spending. Smart spending includes decisions that have a high probability of leading to a more positive financial future, like:

  • Investing in a Home — I bet it’s no surprise that PrimeLending’s favorite smart refund spending idea is to use those extra dollars as a down payment on a new home. With home loan options that fit a wide range of budgets, some requiring as little as 3% down, and today’s low interest rates, it’s a great time to purchase. Check out our Why 2016 Is The Year To Quit Renting and Buy blog for more on the benefits of homeownership.
  • Taking Care of Repairs — If there are costly repairs to your home, vehicle or other lifestyle necessities, consider using your tax refund to take care of everything. You won’t regret it, especially when all of your repair worries are behind you.
  • Giving to Others — It always feels good to help others in need. Donate some of your tax refund to your favorite local charity. You’ll be helping your community, plus setting yourself up with a tax benefit for your 2016 tax return.
  • Shopping the Sales Rack — Treat yourself a little bit, but just don’t overdo it! Remember that this is your hard-earned money. So celebrate yourself with some light pampering, and allocate the rest to smart saving and smart spending.

Happy tax month! If you’re receiving a tax refund, I hope your influx of extra cash aids you in your long-term financial goals or to purchase that dream home.

Source:  Prime Lending

 

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate Copyright 2008-2016. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

 

Lake Oswego Real Estate Multiple Offer Bidding Wars

https://lakeoswegorealestateblog.wordpress.com/LakeOswegoRealEstateSellersDoingTheHappyDance

Photo Source: Pinterest

For at least the past two years, sellers in our Portland/Lake Oswego real estate market have been doing the happy dance.

While housing prices were depressed and on a downhill slide during the past recession, the real estate market has done a total reversal.

Sellers are in the unique position of having multiple offers and above list price offers submitted on their houses. While this is great for sellers, it has been increasingly difficult for buyers to obtain their American dream of owning their own home.  And to make it even more difficult for buyers, recently, there was a news article that stated Portland had the fastest growing prices in the U.S., up 11.8% within the last year.

What Buyers And Sellers Are Doing 

I have heard several cases where there were up to 60 offers that had been written on houses and prices went $100,00 above asking price.  And, most of those buyers did not successfully get their offers accepted.

So if you are a buyer, just how can you get your offer accepted?

Getting Your Offer Accepted

What are buyers doing to get their offers accepted?

Here is a short list of what some buyers are doing:

  • paying cash
  • writing offers with escalation clauses increasing the sales price
  • waiving and removing the inspection contingency
  • removing the financing contingency
  • waiving the appraisal contingency
  • making offers sight unseen
  • not asking for concessions or closing costs
  • quick closing dates
  • large down payments
  • free rent backs for the sellers
  • moving expenses paid for seller by the buyers
  • seller closing costs paid for seller
  • making your highest and best offer
  • “love letters” submitted to seller
  • underwriter loan approvals
  • non refundable earnest money deposits
  • calls from the lender to the seller regarding buyers pre-approval

Sellers are:

  • reviewing all multiple offers at the same time at a pre-determined date/time

Even if you do all the above plus some other additional things to benefit the seller, there is still no assurance you will become the winning bidder of that home you love.

However, remember these old sayings “try, try and try again” and “never give up”.  Interest rates are still low and eventually, the home of your dreams will be yours.

 

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate Copyright 2008-2016. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

Lake Oswego Real Estate Why You Should Buy A Lake Oswego Home And Not Rent

There are many reasons to purchase a Lake Oswego home instead of renting.  Either way in both cases, you are paying off a mortgage.  When you rent, you are helping to pay off your landlord’s mortgage with your monthly payments.  When you buy a Lake Oswego home, you build equity and continue to pay off your own mortgage instead. Wouldn’t you rather have any payment be to your benefit?https://lakeoswegorealestateblog.wordpress.com

Buy a Lake Oswego Home vs. Renting

Gallon of paint: $30. Paintbrush: $17. Not having to ask permission from a landlord to paint that living room accent wall the color you’ve always dreamed of: priceless.

If you’re thinking about buying a home and you like saving money, 2016 is the year to become a homeowner. Thanks to relaxed requirements, it’s easier than in previous years to unlock the door to your dream home. Plus, now is an affordable time to buy, and owning a home comes with many benefits that renting doesn’t offer.

Here are some reasons why you should consider buying this year:

The Cost of Rent is Insanely High

Rental rates across the country are surging and don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Rents increased an average of 3.7% from 2014 to 2015. But they spiked even more in larger rental markets, jumping up a whopping 14.9% in San Francisco, 12.9% in San Jose, 11.6% in Denver and 9.5% in Kansas City, Mo.

Despite such increases, most renters’ incomes have not gone up, raising an issue of affordability. In the last decade, the number of renters spending more than half of their incomes on rent has risen from 7.5 million to 11.4 million. Yikes! That’s a lot to be spending on housing each month.

These days, it’s cheaper to own a home. Home buyers can expect to pay about 15.3% of their incomes on mortgages.

You’ll Build Equity

Unlike renting, owning a home is an investment that builds equity. When you write a rent check each month, sure, you’re paying for a place to live, but you don’t get to see the value of the building you’re living in appreciate. If you’re planning on sticking in a particular area for at least 5 years, it might be in your best interest to go ahead and buy. After those 5 years are up, you’ll already have equity in your home. You can’t say the same after 5 years of renting.

Low Interest Rates

Interest rates are historically low right now, at around 4% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and around 3% for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. Rates that low are hard to beat – it wasn’t that long ago that they were in the double digits. Not many people in years past have been able to say they got their dream home for a 4% interest rate. By locking in a low rate now, you won’t have to worry about when rates will start creeping back up again.

Down Payments are Lower

Over the past few years, many lenders have lowered down payment requirements. That’s especially helpful for home buyers who may have a reliable income and good credit, but who haven’t been able to save much money for a home due to high rental rates. In some cases, down payments can be as low as 3% to 5%. Federal Housing Administration loans, or FHA loans, also usually come with lower down payments, around 3.5%. FHA loans require mortgage insurance, but the monthly premiums for that insurance has dropped, making them more affordable for potential home buyers.

You Don’t Need to Have Perfect Credit

Credit requirements for buying a home aren’t nearly as stringent as they once were. Of course, the higher your credit score, the better, but if you have less-than-perfect credit, your dream home isn’t necessarily out of reach. A score of 720 or higher is usually considered to be outstanding by most lenders. However, in spring of 2014, 33% of loans were for borrowers with a credit score below 700. That percentage was up from 27% in 2013.

Source: PrimeLending

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs!

“There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2016. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is in violation of federal copyright laws

5 Surprising Factors That Make A Happy Lake Oswego Home5 Surprising Factors That Make A Happy Lake Oswego Home.lakeoswegorealestateblog.wordpress.com

According to a recent REALTOR.com® article, there are several new studies that reveal ways to increase happiness based on where you buy, how you renovate, and other characteristics on what makes a home happy. Among the recent findings to unlocking true happiness with home ownership:

1. Green or yellow walls: Could the color of your walls have the power to change your mood? A study from Vrije University in Amsterdam found that yellow and green walls brought about the most feelings of happiness. “Green gives a feeling of comfort and serenity, so it’s an ideal choice for a bedroom, while yellow brings out creativity and playfulness, so you might consider that tone for a playroom,” Victoria Shtainer, a real estate broker for Compass, told REALTOR.com®.

Read more: Serving Clients: Focus on Details (and Happiness)

2. Short commutes: Home owners prefer a shorter drive to work while long commutes have been shown to hamper contentment levels with home ownership. A study from the Office for National Statistics shows that commutes under 15 minutes make happier home owners, while over 15 minutes, commuters start to get anxious. For commutes that stretch over an hour, home owners say they’re depressed.

3. Cleanliness: Clutter creates stress, according to the UCLS Center on Everyday Lives and Families. Its study found that a “higher density” of objects in a home caused women especially to see increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Men, on the other hand, in the study did not tend to show any physical reactions from clutter. “Clutter definitely costs you both emotionally and financially,” says Dana Korey, a professional organizer. “If your rent is $2,000 a month and half of your home is filled with non-usable space, then it is effectively costing you $1,000 a month. One short-term solution is to pack this stuff into boxes and pay to have them put into storage. That way when you see the actual dollar amount every month that the clutter is costing you, you are likely to take action and unload.”

4. Pay off more of your home. Paying down a home loan can also increase home owners’ moods. Home owners without mortgages have the happiest homes, according to the Halifax Happiest Home Report.

5. Get friendly with the neighbors. “Relationships with neighbors” also creates a sense of well-being with home ownership, according to the Halifax Happiest Home Report. “I’d recommend that people make it part of their routine to cultivate a sense of neighborhood,” says Grant Brenner, co-author of “Ir-relationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide From Intimacy.” “This is missing nowadays, especially in large urban centers where people tend to isolate from one another.”

Source: “The Scientific Secrets of What Makes a Happy Home,” REALTOR.com® (Nov. 19, 2015).

SEARCH FOR REAL ESTATE

There are links above to search for real estate.  Or, I have a new website where you can search or you can use my mobile phone app as well. My website and mobile app provide you with access to all listings available on the RMLS™ system regardless of who the listing agent or brokerage may be. Listings are updated frequently throughout the day giving you the information you need, when you need it.

Thinking of Selling Your Lake Oswego Home?

Prices are increasing at a fast pace in Lake Oswego. Interest rates are still low and there is a huge pool of buyer demand. I have ready, willing and able buyers ready to purchase your home. If you want to know the value of your home in today’s real estate market, please call me at 503-804-9685.

Moving to Lake Oswego?

Want to know more about Lake Oswego? I’d love to be your buyer’s agent, please give me a call at 503-804-9685.

I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1978 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

ALL ABOUT…..Lake Oswego Real Estate. Copyright 2008-2016. Betty Jung. All Rights Reserved. Use of this article, photos and images without permission is a violation of Federal copyright laws.

 

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Contact Betty Jung

Betty Jung, Broker
REALTOR®
CRS, GRI, ABR, SRES, CNHSS

MORE Realty, Inc.
14945 SW Sequoia Parkway, #150
Portland, OR. 97224

503-804-9685 Cell

or email:betty@bettyjung.com

"Selling Real Estate Since 1978. There Is No Substitute For Experience!"

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