I have a few rentals and for two of them, I pay the water bill. A couple of times in the past I’ve received what I consider freakishly high water bills. The City of Portland has been really good to deal with. They have even sent me a letter pointing out the bill seemed excessive. IF you can get to the bottom of what is causing the problem and you fix it, they will sometimes adjust your past bills – no guarantee but worth investigating. They suggest you turn off all water and then check your meter, if it’s still running you’ve got a problem. It can be a toilet that’s running or a small hole in one of the pipes. All that said, the current problem with my rental has NOT been resolved and the last water bill was $944.00 – ouch!
Click here to view this past quarter’s Oregon and Southwest Washington real estate market analysis, provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. I hope this information helps you with making better-informed real estate decisions. Of course, if you have a question about this report or your specific neighborhood, please call or email me.
For the less fortunate, these warm items are essential during the winter months. As part of Windermere’s long-standing commitment to help those in need, our offices throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington will be collecting coats and blankets NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 19th, M–F, 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Help our offices share the warmth by bringing new or gently used adult-sized coats and twin-sized blankets to my office at 825 NE Multnomah St, #120, or I will gladly pick them up if that makes it easier! Give me a call at 503-793-3605. Your donation benefits those in need right here in our local community.
Good question and does anyone really know for sure? What I can say from observation is: houses are staying on the market a little longer and there are more price reductions and fewer multiple offers. The regional RMLS stats for September in the tri-county area also indicate the market is slowing down. The inventory levels are higher than they were in 2017, and the average time a house stays on the market is longer, but it is still a seller’s market. Even though the interest rates are still really great they are getting higher. All of this makes it a little easier if you’re trying to buy a house and in most cases, it will take longer to sell your house.
Remember where you keep your passport!
Here is a tip that I hope you never have to take advantage of… We went to Europe in September. A little over a week before we left I started getting all the stuff gathered that I would l need for the trip. I ALWAYS keep my passport in the same place – always well except for this time! Tore the house apart, couldn’t find it anywhere. Yes, I was very mad at myself! There are numerous online options and at that point, cost wasn’t the biggest issue. The biggest issue was: will these companies really get it done when they say they will? What we ended up doing was going to the Federal website, filled out all the forms, drove to Seattle, got there early, waited in long lines AND got my replacement passport that day, and it cost about $265.00. Yes, I wanted to kiss the ground as we walked out of the office. My passport is now where it’s supposed, and it is staying there!!!
I am constantly amazed by how much information there is out there! Here are a few websites (and apps) that can be helpful when you are buying or selling a home or just want to know a little more about your neighborhood or the city you live in:
Walc is an app. If you want to take a leisurely stroll in a neighborhood you can check it out before you step out your front door.
Walkscore: this site gives you not only your home’s walk score but your bike and transit score as well. I use it all the time!
Greatschools.org: you have a chance to read school report cards with reviews from teachers, parents and students.
Mylocalcrime.com: Pull up any recent local crimes from vandalism to car break ins.
Gravy is an app that gives you the rundown on events from rock concerts to church suppers.
Last but not least – Portlandmaps.com: If you’ve never been to this site you just have to go. You will find specific information about permits, crime, taxes and more for the City of Portland!
Well, it would be an exaggeration to say Zillow is the bane of my existence, but it’s kinda true! Sometimes their Zestimates are high, sometimes they’re low, and sometimes they get it right. Pretty reliable, huh?
Here are a few things that come into play:
- Zillow has never been in your house. They don’t know if you just spent $100,000 on a kitchen remodel, have the original kitchen, or did a little sprucing with paint and formica.
- They pull some of their data from the tax records which are often inaccurate. So, they might not only have the wrong amount of square footage BUT again, they haven’t been in your house so is the basement finished or a leaky mess with low ceilings??
- I recently had a client whose Zestimate was more than $200,000 over what the house actually sold for in this really hot market. Also, I recently sold a wee little house for more than $40,000 over the Zestimate.
So what does all that mean? Zillow definitely serves a purpose, but that being said, I would never take their word for what a house is worth, and you shouldn’t either. If you want to know more, you should talk to a real estate agent that comes to your home and compares it to current comparable houses in your neighborhood. That is my job, and I would like you to call me, of course.
As I’m sure you know 2017 brought us new tax laws. If there has ever been a time that you want to talk to your tax consultant preemptively it is now. Of course everyone’s tax situation is different but a couple things that affect real estate are:
- The final tax bill has a limit on deductible mortgage debt of $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/2017.
- The final tax bill allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. The limit applies for both single and married filers.
Again, be sure talk to your tax preparer so you understand how the changes affect you!!
I have mentioned that as of the first of 2018 the City of Portland is requiring that you have a Home Energy Audit prior to putting your house on the market. I decided to have an audit done on our house to be more familiar with how the process works.
The scoring system is from 1 – 10 with 10 being the best. If you live in an older home, especially if it is large, the likelihood of getting a score over 4 is probably low.
The cost seems to be in a range of $150 – $300 depending on the size of the house and the company you use; and, it will probably take between 45-90 minutes.
IF you have done any upgrades such as: insulation, new furnace, water heater, new windows it is helpful to let them know upfront. Also, for instance, if it’s something they can’t see – like insulation – having a receipt to substantiate it could be necessary. Additionally, they will suggest some things that you might do to increase your energy score.
IF you are thinking about selling your house OR would just like to have one done for your own edification, give me a call. I am certainly no expert, but we can talk it through, and I can help point you in the right direction!! By the way, we got a 5 and are making a few of the inexpensive changes they suggested!!
One of the very best parts of my job is visiting people that I helped find a home. Not only do I get to catch up with what they’re doing and find out how much they love their house – I get to see what they’ve done to the house to make it home.
In this case, my buyer bought their house in 2013 and completely redid the kitchen and bathroom. They didn’t stop there; the next project was gutting the upstairs and transforming a large, modest bedroom into a fabulous master suite. The entire space is custom including the cabinetry in the bathroom and bedroom. Now, instead of just a bedroom there is a deluxe bathroom, built-in desk and cabinets and a skylight. In addition to how much this adds to the livability of the home it was a very wise investment.