Archive for the ‘Short Sales’ Category

Portland Real Estate Market Update: Inventory Down, Distressed Homes Up

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Normally during this time of year we do see inventory shrinking and indeed this year is no different. Down from roughly 6,400 homes on the market back in late August to 5,640 as of today as this graph shows:




Real Estate Tracking Data & Reports: BIG Changes Coming; Area Reports, Pricing & Days on Market in Tow

Friday, March 7th, 2014

I just wanted to get an FYI out to everyone that I am currently working on revamping the tracking report as I get a lot of requests for area specific reports (people asking for my tracking reports for Happy Valley, or Lake Oswego real estate reports etc).

Additionally short sales and foreclosures have been edging ever closer to market pricing these days, often no longer the “steal of a deal” they once were and there are a lot less of them now. So, with that said, I am *considering* ditching that portion of the tracking data in favor of adding new data points like:

  • Median Sale Price Tracking
  • Average Sale Price Tracking
  • Days on Market for Pending Sales
  • Average Price Per Square Foot Tracking
  • (more…)

Tax Forgiveness Act; Still Expired…Not Seeing Any Renewal News; Yet…

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Just a quick heads up [that honestly I should have done weeks ago], for anyone looking to short sale their home or are facing a foreclosure. For those not familiar with this act, or maybe not familiar with the need for this act, here’s how it works.

You short sale your home or get foreclosed on. The bank gets say $275,000 for your home (when you sell it on a short sale, or when they resell it as a foreclosure later), but you owed $375,000 on it, leaving a loss to the bank of $100,000.

Now, I know there are many people out there that think that $100,000 would be entirely the banks problem, and while that particular $100k is their problem, you as the seller have a not so new problem that just returned on December 31st due to this 2007 act not being renewed (yet?).


New Creative Financing for Short Sellers and Foreclosure”e”‘s (I know, not a word)

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Typically I don’t post on hearsay or other “through the grapevine” type stuff but this one peeked my interest as I have a number of clients currently waiting for short sales or foreclosures on their record to “time out” before they can buy a home again and this; if it becomes reality, could really help them get into a home sooner.

Essentially the deal is this company buys the house for them, they pay 8% down,  make monthly payments and it’s their home, they can remodel it, add a pool; whatever…with the option to buy it later from said company that bought it for them with a 2%/year appreciation; which isn’t bad at all assuming the market isn’t going down.

The details are still a big unknown, however the National Real Estate Post (which I obviously frequently check into) has the warm and fuzzies in regard to this as of yet unknown company…Could be great? Could be…nothing…Keep an eye out for it though; once i hear anything more concrete on it I’ll post it up here.


New Listings Slipping Slightly Coming into Mid-February

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Looking at the daily market tracking for the Portland real estate market I’m seeing a bit of a dip in new listings coming onto the market for the past week. Yesterday for example there were 23 and on the 8th just 19 compared to the average of over 70 homes per day being listed; here’s that graph:




New Home Listings and Pending Sales Down For Portland

Friday, January 31st, 2014

In the last week we’re seeing a decline in new listings and pending sales in the Portland real estate market; both are gradual slips with a difference of only a handful per day, however the average is slipping.

Here’s the current graph for January for new listings:




New home listings increasing in the new year pending sales flat lining and closings dropping

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

So we’re just two weeks into the new year and we’re seeing some trending happening with the daily tracking of RMLS data that I do and it’s a bit mixed.

First off, inventory is still declining for the most part, down to 4,478 homes currently listed as of today which is well off of the 6,174 homes listed back when I started tracking this information in October which was right around when the decline really started to kick into gear. That’s about a 28% decline in available inventory in just three months time.

This trend however appears to be shifting as new listings after the first of the year have begun to increase from an average of 40 new listings per day through most of December to now peaking just over 60 homes per day listed on average:


Slight increase in distressed homes activity in the Portland real estate market

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

This last week in the Portland real estate market we’ve seen a number of things. First off is that the slide in inventory seems to be leveling off and likely to stay right around 5,400 homes listed. New listings saw a tiny uptick for the week ending with 72 newly listed homes on Friday the 9th, however the next day that dropped to 19, the lowest number of new listings in a single day for all of November so far.

Pending home sales have continued their downward trend from an average of almost 80 new pending home sales per day in early October to just under 60 per day now.



NAR: Home sales slipped a bit in September, but prices still moving up and inventory still moving down

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

The National Association of Realtors, (NAR) reported on Friday that existing home sales “declined modestly” in September, however in the same article stated inventory is still declining and prices are still rising. As for distressed home sales (foreclosures and short sales), they accounted for a whopping 24% of sales nationally in September. Essentially this means we’re still in a heavily distressed market but it is improving as buyers become more active and motivated.

Also, with the short sales and foreclosures, foreclosures were discounted an average of 21% below market value while short sales were only 13% below market value. I say “only” because for the hassle that short sales create and the need for a lot of patience with short sales, 13% just seems low when compared to the 21% of foreclosures which are relatively painless to purchase.

So if you’ve been considering diving into the foreclosure market to get in on some of those discounts you really need to start moving now as the value and the market for them is still here, but it’s going to be declining steadily from here on out and with prices rising and inventory shrinking the competition to get those deals is heating up.


NAR to Lenders: Stop foreclosing, keep people in their homes or go short sale instead

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Short sales are notoriously risky, unreliable and frustrating primarily because of how the banks are processing them; at a snails pace and often void of logic and reason. As Realtors in the Portland market we’ve seen more than our share of short sale transactions and we’ve seen a number of them go to foreclosure, list and sell for a price very close to a short sale offer that was on the property before it foreclosed, occasionally for more than the REO list price. This is doing a dis-service to everyone involved including the bank itself as it’s not cheap to foreclose on a home. The National Association of Realtors yesterday aired some grievances about the foreclosure, loan modification and short sale processes and have apparently been meeting with some of the largest banks to discuss these issues, like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and they have meetings scheduled with JP Morgan Chase and Citi. Read more about it here if you’re an Inman subscriber or here if you are not (yes, the latter is a blog, but it posted the article subscription free).

NAR would like to see more loan modification efforts on the part of the banks and if that cannot lead to resolution, a streamlined predictable and rational short sale process rather than resorting to foreclosure. One of the problems cited that we see often ourselves is that banks will not currently approve a short sale without a current offer on the property; this is primarily what takes so much time. As a result we are hearing about agents “ghosting offers” on short sales to find out what the bank will actually accept then advertising “bank approved at X price!” and these are indeed more desirable short sales to go after but it’s problematic at best that it’s come down to this. With NAR, we agree some sanity in these processes is needed and it’s good to see NAR and the mega banks out there meeting and discussing the issues.

Scott ~Your Portland Real Estate Agent

Portland Foreclosures: Oregon Working on Creative Ways to Help Homeowners with Federal Relief Funds

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Portland ForeclosuresLast week, Oregon received an additional $82.7 million from the federal TARP fund, adding to the previous allotments of $137.3 million, bringing the state total relief fund for homeowners threatened by foreclosure to around $220 million. The state is working to find the best use of this federal relief money in order to help the over 8,400 homeowners facing pre-foreclosure process. Relief for many homeowners could come as soon as December, though the means of this assistance is still unclear – state officials are working with several models of relief programs designed by Oregon Housing and Community Services.

The state agency created a non-profit organization in order to receive the federal relief funds, the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative. The nonprofit is necessary because the federal government insists that TARP funds only be released to nonprofits, and the nonprofit formation process took longer than expected – almost four months – but with the effective organization in place, models of relief are being established to bring real relief to Oregon homeowners. Here at the McDonald Group Realtors, we support relief initiatives for at-risk homeowners, and we hope that the process goes smoothly and quickly so we can pair the right home buyers with the right homes instead of scrambling to find a buyer for foreclosures and short-sales. We will get through this tough market, and this federal funding could really make a difference for a lot of Portlanders and Oregonians. It’s not all doom and gloom until then, though. Just this week Kristie McDonald of the McDonald Group realtors said, “We are experiencing an increase in successful short sales overall; I think the banks are starting to figure it out!” We’re closing successful short sales and foreclosures in the Portland real estate market, so even if the state and federal government take a bit more time to come through with TARP funds, we are able to help out home owners in need of a quick sale process.

As for the actual Oregon relief programs, they come in two types, traditional and creative. The more traditional programs include: “loan modification assistance; mortgage payment assistance for unemployed owners of distressed homes; financial assistance to help owners catch up on fees and penalties after a period of unemployment; and transitional assistance to help pay for moving expenses after a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure.” The creative program is pretty neat; The nonprofit will purchase homes facing foreclosure at a fair market rate and then refinance them at prices affordable for the original homeowners. Combined the programs aim to assist over 10,000 households. Here’s to getting the foreclosure problem addressed effectively  – as long as there are tons of foreclosures in the Portland real estate market, home values will continue to drop, and we want to get back to a strong market as soon as possible! (more…)

Wells Fargo getting tough on foreclosures & short sale extensions!

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Take a peak at this video, these guys keep me up to date on all the mortgage lending issues pertinent to the real estate industry!  Sounds like Wells Fargo won’t be sitting on their foreclosure inventory like many of the other banks have been doing…. I agree that we need to rip the band aid off and get through this market.

The BIG news is that Wells Fargo is saying they won’t extend foreclosure dates on short sales. This is a big one guys, this means if you write an offer on a short sale it is even LESS likely that you will make it to the finish line. The banks, Wells Fargo included, do not respond to short sale offers promptly as it is, if they aren’t going to push out the foreclosure date then that not only leaves the listing agent scrambling to find a buyer in shorter time, but means it’s even less likely that if they do find the right home buyer, that everything will come together before the drop dead foreclosure date. 

On a positive note I will say that we are experiencing an increase in successful short sales overall; I think the bank’s are starting to figure it out! Close one just last week in fact!  -Kristie, Your Portland Oregon Short Sale Realtor!

Portland Short Sale Homes: Pre-approved Short Sale! $234k in Clackamas just Off Sunnyside!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

A pre-approved short sale!  (What does that mean you ask?- Read further below).  In the meantime, a GREAT HOUSE at a great price!

  • 2337 sf / 2.1 bath
  • 4 bedrooms w/ 2 car
  • 2003 / backs to greenspace
  • 15477 SE Thornbridge Dr. Clackamas ML# 9049856

So what is a pre-approved short sale? It means that the seller had an offer, the listing agent worked their butt off with the bank to get it through, the bank finally processed the offer, did all their broker price opinions, accepted the offer, etc. and then the buyer walked (likely had already found and moved into a home because it took the bank so long to respond). So THE GOOD NEWS- Another buyer like yourself can slide in where that offer left off, basically “take cuts in the line” and purchase at the pre-approved price. (if you think you can offer less than the pre-approved short sale amount you will likely find your self at the end of the line with a several month wait)


Portland Real Estate Trends: Homeowners Slashing Prices

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

In a report published in the Portland Business Journal yesterday, we learned that thirty-two percent of Portland homes for sale, listed since the beginning of this month, experienced at least one price reduction. That ranked Portland No. 16 on the website Trulia’s list of price reductions in America’s 50 largest cities.

The average reduction for Portland homes was 9 percent, just under the national average of a 10 percent reduction on 25 percent of newly listed homes. With historically low interest rates, cutting-edge sustainability renovation rebates and low remodeling costs, and a high supply of beautiful homes for sale with great Walk Scores, this is a perfect time to grab a great deal.

As Scott McDonald of the McDonald Group said back in June, “We all know mortgage rates are low right now, but Freddie Mac really put a light on it by saying they are currently lower than they have been since they began tracking this data in 1971 and states the last time they were this low was in the 1950′s. Yup, the economy stinks right now, but if you’re in a position that’s somewhat insulated from economic trends and are thinking of buying a home, now really is the time.”


Bank Owned Home Sales in Portland Soar

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

According to the most recent RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service) report, one in six homes bought in Portland were bank-owned homes. Buying at or near the bottom of the real estate cycle can be the best time to buy a home. It also may be the best time to sell if you are moving into a replacement home that suits your needs better than your existing home. Why buy now? Let me count the reasons. It is now a “buyers market” meaning the asking prices on property is at or near the bottom of their cycle and homes are not receiving multiple offers as they were during the “bubble” days. As you can see from the statistics on bank-owned homes above, there is a high percentage of bank owned real estate and short sale deals out there if you have the right agent to walk you through the maze.

“When you start seeing more distressed sales, that’s actually a good thing,” says Todd Williams, a divisional vice president for Skyline Financial Corp. in Portland. That means buyers are convinced the housing market has bottomed out and is starting to turn, Williams says, and it’s time to buy properties discounted by the banks.

This situation gives you and your agent the luxury of possibly finding the “perfect home”.  The interest rates on new home purchases are at or near historical lows. This means your payments on a thirty year mortgage will be the most reasonable  in decades for the life of the loan. Appraised values that determine tax basis are down so many home buyers are seeing less money going for taxes. So even if home values take some years to kick back
into climbing appreciation you will be building equity  just by the virtue of lower starting costs than traditional real estate cycles.


Wow! Short Sales are FINALLY breaking Loose!

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Scott and I  have written alot of offers on short sales, few of them result in a happy ending….. HOWEVER, I’ve had 3 of them break loose in the last 4 weeks. What exactly does that mean? It means that you can write an offer on a short sale and with some patience you have a better than 25% chance of getting the home! (with a reasonable offer of course).

SHORT SALE CASE ONE:  We wrote an offer several months ago, there was already one at the bank and two in back up. The bank finally came back with a pre-approved amount and all offers before ours had either found another home and never withdrew their offer (until now) or had changed their mind.. leaving us in first position. So far we are moving forward fluently!

SHORT SALE CASE TWO: We wrote an offer on two different units in the same townhome complex….  one looked like it was going somewhere- could be promising and about a month later the other unit got it’s approval!  In this case there is a 3rd party mitigation that brought this was out of darkness; we expect to close in a week!


Typical Short Sale Story- Limbo for Buyer & Seller

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Yep, this is a typical story. It’s amazing! I am always explaining these types of stories to buyers but it’s so hard to believe that the process is this awful!  There are “some” circumstances that will allow for a smoother process but in most cases your chances of pulling off a short sale are minimal. To make the short sale process worse, I frequently see listing agents that don’t know what they’re doing in a normal transaction let alone a short sale. IF YOU ARE SELLING SHORT, MAKE SURE YOUR LISTING AGENT IS A SEASONED SHORT SALE AGENT!  Anyhow, take a read at the Oregonian’s “Short Sale Leaves Homebuyers, Sellers in Limbo” .  -Kristie McD. Your Portland, Oregon Realtor!

Look at the price on that SHORT SALE! It’s too good to be true!

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

dealYep! It probably is.  Until an offer is received, the short sale process between the homeowner and the lender(s) cannot begin. In other words, the seller & listing agent need an offer, any offer, before they can turn in the initial packet required to get the process started.  You are likely being used; they just want your offer.

Let’s look at pricing. Firstly, agents and buyers know that short sales are a long shot regardless, so there must be a price incentive for the short sale to look better than the bank owned properties that can close in 30 days.  With this in mind, if a short sale were to be priced at a fair market value it would likely never generate that first offer, if a short sale home were “priced to sell” it may get an offer, if a short sale home was priced at a ridiculously low price (it doesn’t matter if the bank would even consider it or not) then you are certain to generate atleast one offer to get the short sale process started and likely even multiple ones!

So if you see a short sale in your price range that looks too good to be true, remember that the listed price may be the equivalent of an Ebay minimum bid, and the reserve price (what the bank will accept -if they accept anything at all) may be closer to that fair market value price. 


Hey Short Sale Listing Agents Out There! HELP ME OUT would ya?

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Short SaleI find myself having to call the listing agents of short sales all the time with the same questions, over and over and over. Even the “famous” ones (well they are the worst actually) do little in their listings to help me out (or other real estate agents for that matter). Please short sale listing agents, note answers to the following in the agent remarks of your listings so I don’t have to bug you!!!!! Every short sale is different!

  1. How many lenders are involved? (of course I would prefer to know that Countrywide isn’t one of them)
  2. How many offers do you currently have on the home?
  3. Has the seller already accepted an offer and sent it to the bank? If so will they send additional offers through or will they only allow one through at a time making additional offers backup only?
  4. Has your seller given you permission to disclose what the highest offer is?
  5. What is your rough guess for a bank response time? About 3 months or possibly more than 6?
  6. Has the seller already turned in the hardship package to the bank(s) yet?
  7. Do you think the bank will accept your list price or did you underprice it to generate offers? (okay, I don’t expect you to answer that one)


First time home buyers; time is running out to get your tax credit!

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

timeSo I was discussing with a client today when she should have a home picked out, negotiated and in escrow to ensure she gets the tax credit when I realized, we’re less than 3 weeks away from what I consider a safe bet, September 30th.

You may be thinking “wait, I thought November 30th was the deadline?”…It is, but in case you didn’t know you have to be closed on the transaction and have keys in hand by that date. Additionally lending / escrow usually takes about 30 days from the time that you make an offer, go through negotiations, inspections, lending requirements etc to close. Because of the expiration of the tax credit though we’re anticipating a last minute rush from first time home buyers and we’re seeing it starting now. What this means is it’s not just possible, but likely (and again, we’re seeing it already) that lending time frames are going to go from 30 days, to 45+ days and possibly even up to 60 days. So if you think you’re safe getting something in escrow by say October 25th; think again – the deadline would more than likely come and go while you’re in escrow and POOF, no tax credit.

What I see as a safe date is September 30th and the reason is that if lending time frames do increase significantly over the next few weeks being in escrow by September 30th would ensure you have a full 60 days to close…Now, obviously there’s a good chance you would close earlier than that, but there’s an equally good chance you may just barely close in time for the deadline too and wouldn’t you rather be closed with time to spare than find yourself having paid the $300-400 for an inspection and $400 for an appraisal just to find out that you are going to lose the $8,000 Uncle Sam would have given you?

Also, there is talk of extending the tax credit and speaking strictly in the realm of real estate (political views aside), we would like to see it extended; it’s moved homes for sure! BUT, we’re also hearing that since the economy seems to be recovering, slowly but surely, and the folks in Washington apparently have other things on their mind, they may not extend it; so this could be it.


What we’re seeing: Market activity picking up, homes priced right are moving

Friday, May 29th, 2009

We’re seeing lots of new activity in the market and RMLS’ posting of Oregon and Washington lockbox activity numbers shows the increased activity:



Heading into summer we normally see an uptick in activity, but we didn’t see such a significant uptick as we are seeing now last summer.

Competition is gaining in the market and while it’s still primarily bank owned homes and short sales priced to attract multiple offers getting the buyers, from what we’re seeing it doesn’t appear to be limited to the rock-bottom-jaw-dropping priced homes any longer; we’re seeing homes priced a bit closer to market asking prices getting multiple offers now too. To give you an idea of what I mean, when asking prices are around say $130 per square foot in a given area, listings that are priced around or under $100/psf have been moving fast for months and are usually bank owned or an occassional short sale. Now however, we’re seeing $115-$120/PSF getting multiple offers as well; it’s not a massive increase but we’re seeing it regularly now. Buyers a year ago weren’t across the board savvy in terms of going after short sales and bank owned homes, but they are now. The demand for “bank owned” and “short sales” (in quotes as they are obivously buzz words at this point) seems to be generating a lot more competition out there, at least from what we’re seeing.


Still waiting to buy a home? Your ship is sailing…

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Here’s a cartoon that says it all:


We’ve been talking about it here for a few months now and even though a few months ago it was primarily optimism on our part speaking now it’s the majority of economists and media outlets speaking, about:  Hitting bottom, recovery, the end of the recession. If you haven’t taken the hints by now you’ve probably missed the boat because one of the signs that the “best time to buy” boat is sailing is interest rates going up and guess what, they’re climbing – FAST. Been hearing of 4.5% rates? They’re gone now and are not likely to return anytime soon, from 4.98% last week (which by the way was up from the week before that), to over 5% now (according to Home prices? Yup, those are climbing again too and housing inventory is decreasing which shows we are moving to a more stable market, take a look at our RMLS Market Action Report commentary page on our main site to get those reports.

It’s easy to think that when the Realtor you look to for real estate advice says they think we’ve hit bottom, now is the time to buy that it may just be that Realtor wants you to buy so they can get another paycheck, problem is we don’t work that way. We frequently tell people NOT to buy or NOT to sell if we don’t think it’s in their best interest to do so in their situation; we’ve converted a lot of home owners into landlords in the last two years with our advice. Regardless people should always look to multiple sources for information so here’s a few:


Having to Sell Your Home as a Short Sale? Phantom Tax Beware!

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

forgivenessIf you are needing to sell your home “short” (a short sale) there is always the question as to whether you will have to pay taxes on the difference of what it sells for and what you owed… when the bank forgives the difference it is often referred to as a “phantom” income in that you never see it but it’s there when the bank forgives it so that the home can be sold.

Well… you can get taxed on that phantom income just like any other income and that is where the real estate agent will always tell the homeowner to talk with an attorney and/or their accountant.

The good news is that you may not get taxed on that forgiven phantom amount. It’s not often that I link to other bloggers but this blogger in Orlando, Florida did a great job summarizing who gets taxed and who doesn’t.  For more information on the Debt Foregiveness Act of 2007 click here!  (Thanks Jerry! I loved Florida by the way!)


Having to Sell Your Home Short? 7 Short Sale Legal Pitfalls

Saturday, April 11th, 2009
realtorFrequently I find myself at a listing appointment and find that the homeowner owes the bank far more than what their home will sell for. If they are needing to sell because they can no longer afford the home, need to move, etc. they will likely fall into a short sale scenario.  In many cases the homeowner will seek a second opinion, even a third or fourth. Unfortunately they may eventually find a Realtor that either doesn’t know better and takes an overpriced listing or “buys the listing” because they are hoping to generate new buyers/clients from the listing. Regardless, the homeowners can lose alot of time which is frequently the one thing they do not have.

EDUCATE YOURSELF:There are many things to be aware of if you are having to sell your home short and I was impressed with REALTOR’s recent article as it touches on many things a seller should be aware of and asking about. 



Friday, March 20th, 2009

In this market bank owned and short sale transactions are extremely common and when buying a bank owned home your offer is likely to be responded to with a contract, sometimes 2 pages, sometimes 10 pages or more. These contracts have been fairly harmless in most cases, specifically restating things that are already in the standard Oregon Real Estate Forms Earnest Money Agreement  usually adding verbiage, conditions etc that are within reason.contract

Sometimes however these contracts have things buried in them that is completely unacceptable. For example one banks contract reserves their right to take all appliances, light fixtures etc from the home at any time before closing…Most of the time they won’t, but simply reserving their right to do so is a risk and concern you should know about. One that we are working with now however, that prompted this blog post, specifically states that even if lending fails or the home does not appraise the bank will keep the buyers earnest money (after 10 calendar days). In the standard OREF sales forms the buyer is specifically protected from such a thing, but these bank contracts state they supersede all other contracts including the OREF offer you made. Not just does this put your earnest money at significant risk, but it also shortens up the typical 10 business day inspection period as well.

Banks are seeing an increase of buyers backing out of transactions, lending failures etc and it’s understandable that they would want to minimize these problems, however removing all buyer protections in a proprietary contract to do so is in our opinion is the wrong way to minimize that risk. Buyers need and deserve such protections and it’s disturbing to see this in a bank owned home / REO contract to sell…If we see an increase in this or see it with other banks we’ll be sure to mention it, in the meantime just be sure you are reading EVERYTHING you see/sign with every contract and every sale and if you’re dealing with a bank owned home / REO or short sale read the contract twice!