Archive for the ‘Tips When Buying a Home’ Category

Scott’s October 2014 Portland Area Market Report by Area – UPDATED

Friday, November 14th, 2014

I have been tracking numbers for probably close to three years now and have gone through tons of changes in what I track and how I track it. Just this last year eliminating an emphasis on the distressed market as we are no longer in a heavily distressed market (though, I do still track distressed activity).

The biggest change however has come recently in starting to track all 13 individual RMLS “Areas” that make up the Portland Metro real estate market in addition to the overall Portland Metro market. This change has been a difficult one at best as I am often finding a need to fine tune things; then it must be fine tuned 14 times (13 markets plus the 1 overall Portland market).

As an example, in preparing this post I realized I was taking a daily “snapshot” of the previous week worth of sales activity to generate the portion of my reports that show:

  • Inventory in days
  • Average days on market for sold homes
  • Average price per square foot for solds
  • Average list price when sold
  • Average sale price
  • Average percent of list price paid

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What is the Current Average Home Sale Price in Your Area? Got it Right Here!

Friday, November 7th, 2014

In the last few months I’ve been switching up my real estate market tracking which previously only tracked the Portland metro and surrounding areas as a whole, lumping in Molalla with say N Portland, which shows the overall conditions in the Portland real estate market at large, but doesn’t get granular enough to help folks buying or selling a home in a given area.

That has now changed. I am now tracking, daily, each of the 13 individual RMLS markets in the Portland metro region. This still may not get granular enough for some, however being that these “areas” are defined by RMLS as “markets” it should help quite a bit.

So, home sale prices in a given area? Lets get on with it! These numbers represent all logged sales in the last week (from October 30th – November 6th):

RMLS Area 141 North Portland

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Want to Buy a Home with a Recent Bankruptcy, Foreclosure or Short Sale on Your Record? Check This Out…

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Received this from my firms managing Principal Broker today, thought I would pass it along here as it’s a handy dandy chart showing expected wait time frames for someone that has a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale in their recent past and would like to buy a home.

Something else to remember as well, if you are married (or, may as well be) and you or your spouse is the one with this on their record, you may want to speak to a lender about just one of you qualifying for a loan. I had this happen very recently with clients that thought they had to wait until spring 2015 because they were applying together and turned out one of them was able to get approved (without the other) all on their own and they are now all moved in to their new home.

Something to think about. Here’s that chart:

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Interest Rates Starting to Climb a Bit, Still Low

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Checking interest rates today it looks like rates are beginning to climb a bit again with BankRate.com showing 4.10% for a standard 30 year fixed and 3.27 for 15 year fixed rate. Both are up from rates in the previous two weeks, however they are still historically very low and lower than we’ve seen in months.

This means if you’re sitting on the fence, hoping for lower interest rates, you need to make a decision soon as this trend of increasing rates could continue for the next few weeks or months and get back into the 4.5%+ range soon.

 

Mortgage rates 30-year fixed 15-year fixed 5/1 ARM 30-year jumbo
10/29/2014 4.10 3.27 3.11 4.11
10/22/2014 4.05 3.21 3.14 4.10
10/15/2014 4.01 3.23 3.09 4.09
10/8/2014 4.18 3.37 3.27 4.21
10/1/2014 4.27 3.44 3.29 4.29
9/24/2014 4.30 3.46 3.32 4.31
9/17/2014 4.33 3.46 3.35 4.37
9/10/2014 4.27 3.42 3.29 4.35
9/3/2014 4.24 3.37 3.25 4.29
8/27/2014 4.23 3.38 3.32 4.29

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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
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USDA Areas Zero Down Home Loans to Remain Secure Through 2020

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Recently a farm bill was passed that significantly and positively impacts rural areas; some of which aren’t so rural, in many ways, zero down loans being one of them.

Areas like Sandy, Estacada and Newberg qualify for what are called USDA loans (yes, that’s the US Department of Agriculture) that offer very competitive rates and to many, more importantly, 0% down to buy a home in these areas.

When I was working a large development in Estacada (and another smaller one in Sandy) these USDA loans were making up a large number of buyers home loans in those developments, new home, “in town” (well, Estacada and Sandy anyway), and nothing down. You could even still have the seller cover some closing costs and end up paying very close to nothing to get into a home.

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Fannie Mae’s 3.5% First Look Program is Available

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Just got a reminder email from Fannie Mae that their 3.5% closing costs program is available again and thought it could be of interest to potential buyers out there. This is a program that offers 3.5% in closing costs assistance towards the purchase of a fannie mae foreclosed home for owner occupant buyers. I looked up how many qualifying fannie mae properties there are currently in the city of Portland alone and found 65 currently available, so once you take into consideration surrounding suburbs we’re likely in the realm of around 200 or so in the area that are eligible for this program.

You can find the programs details here, could be worth a look!

Scott McDonald

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Follow Up to 10 Step Guide to Buying a Home; Part Two

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Part Two:

#6 Get Funding

This one seems a bit out of place to me, seems it should be under #3 Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval. If you choose a home then decide to figure out what type of loan etc, you may find the differences in loan programs you qualify for might eliminate that home from consideration. For instance, just a few short years ago, FHA loans were extremely popular because of the low down payment and low mortgage insurance. Now, with all the recent changes in lending FHA is becoming much less popular because the mortgage insurance is now flipped and is outrageously expensive compared to conventional loans.

So sure, you could do an FHA loan with 3.5% down, but may end up with an additional $200/month; that could easily change things up for you. And if you go the conventional route instead, now on that $350,000 home you need an additional $5,250 down to avoid the high FHA Mortgage Insurance and possibly more in closing costs as well…do you have that? Can you afford the $200/month extra?

When you do step #3 and get approved, you should know what type of loan, down payment, mortgage insurance (often financed in now by the way) etc that you’re going to go with.

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Follow Up to 10 Step Guide to Buying a Home; Part One

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

In my previous post about the 10 step guide to buying a home from Realtor.com I found myself constantly writing my way into a new topic or rant, so I decided to dedicate a post or two to this subject and touch on those steps one at a time.

Step #1, Are You Ready to Become a Home Owner?

This one is easy; do you know you’re flushing money down the toilet every month when you write that rent check? Then yes, You’re ready.

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On the verge of another real estate boom? The numbers we’re seeing are suggesting it’s possible

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), just released an article detailing some of the numbers for the national 2012 real estate market and they are very encouraging. First off, total home sales in 2012 were the highest we’ve seen in 5 years, and the annual rise in home prices was the highest since 2005 (that’s right, the height of the previous boom). Completed transactions were 12.8% higher for December 2012 than December 2011 and the annual total for 2012 was 9.2% higher for the year than 2011 representing the highest volume since 2007 and strongest increase since 2004. 

It seems on the road to recovery we’re actually seeing a new mini-boom at the moment. Local Realtor’s, like myself, in the Portland metro area can attest to that as we are regularly seeing multiple offer situations and homes that, when looking at the comparables seem overpriced, yet they get scooped up anyway and often at close to asking price. Inventory is low, rates are low so buyers are scrambling trying to find something while prices are still relatively low which is putting sellers in the drivers seat in the current market.

Scott McDonald – Realtor & Principal Broker

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New to the area? A Realtor may not be your best source for some information

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

I’ve had this happen, believe it or not, more times than I can count…Pick up a client from the airport or hotel and after initial greetings I get “the question”. I’ve heard it in many different forms, but in the interest of being politically correct and avoiding a potential license violation, I’ll sum it up with:

“Since I’m not familiar with this area could you please tell me what are good areas and bad areas?”

EHHH! BUZZZZ! Wrong!

Did I mention I’ve heard this question way worse on many occasions (racially motivated, religious etc)? I mean really bad…almost, “I’m kicking you out of my car” bad.

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Sellers do not have to sell at list price and in fact, they don’t have to sell at all

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

In reading through some of my daily articles on real estate I came across a Q&A about a foreclosure where a buyer was countered by the bank well above asking price and was asking if that was legal or not. I’m not going to bother linking to the site here as it was more of a forum then anything else, but it’s a decent topic to cover as I’ve come across this question with buyers/sellers myself a few times.

When a seller lists their home for sale they are in no way actually required to sell the home. Why? Well, it’s the same as anything else you list for sale, you can list / offer something for sale as much as you want, but no one can force you to sell (well, no one except for a court of law or judge). Heck, even on eBay you can refuse to sell once a buyer has won your auction, but you’re likely going to get negative feedback for it; but eBay, nor the buyer, can actually force you to sell the item.

However, in real estate sales if there is a signed contract agreeing to sell to X buyer and X buyer has upheld their end of the contract, refusing to sell at that point could easily land you in court. If however a home is just listed for sale, the seller has zero obligation to accept any offer, even at or over asking price and in fact they can (and sometimes do) counter offers over asking price.

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As the economy picks up mortgage rates will begin climbing

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Mortgage rates are still low compared to last year, however with the economy beginning to recover they are starting to climb again and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As cited by Inman News rates last week were 3.34% for a 30 year fixed mortgage and are now at 3.4% – not a huge jump, but tack on a few weeks/months and we’ll easily be back up over 4%.

Even though rates are climbing and will continue to do so, they are still at historical lows and they are not here to stay folks; we will get back to 5-7% rates within the next few years.

To give you an idea of how much of a difference rates make in what you can afford, at today’ current rate of 3.4% on a 30 year fixed, assuming $3,000/year for property taxes and $500/year for home owners insurance (both low estimates mind you) the payment on a $300,000 loan would be $1,622.11. That same scenario at 5.5% brings your payment to $1,995.03, an increase of $372.92 a month! Additionally, 5.5% sounds like a huge percentage rate these days, but consider, that’s actually a fairly reasonable rate historically and we are heading back to that soon.

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Housing affordability on the rise, 2012 may be a record

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org) index on affordable housing is arranged such that a score of 100 essentially means that a median income is exactly enough to afford a median priced home, the higher above 100 the number is the more affordable a median priced home is on a median income and at a present score of 194 (compared to 186 in 2011) for 2012 that means the median income is almost twice what is needed to afford a median priced home.

This number for 2012 could be a record setter and it also means if you’ve been on the fence about buying a home, the time to get off the fence is absolutely here. Current market conditions show that buyers are, by and large, jumping off that fence already as inventory is very low and multiple offer situations are becoming more and more common.

SOURCE Article

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Single buyers having a more difficult time obtaining financing NAR says, but zero down loans still exist!

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

With the meltdown over the last few years in the real estate market, lending, in case you haven’t heard, has been significantly more stringent and it’s hurting single buyers more while married buyers are having better luck qualifying as a whole.

Before 2010 market shares between single buyers, married buyers, men, women etc moved only 1-2 percent each year. This last year however the numbers have moved significantly into the favor of married couples, with 65% of all homes sales being married couples compared to just 58% a year ago and 20% last year were single this year it’s down to just 16%.

According to The National Association of Realtors Buyers and Sellers Profile, one of the many studies NAR does each year, married couples are the driving force of real estate sales this year in a less than forgiving lending climate. To me this isn’t much of a surprise as when you’re a married couple your combined income, credit reports, assets etc generally do look better to lenders then a single individual. What is surprising to me is that lending went from “ninja loans” (No Income, No Job, no Assets = “sure, we’ll give you a loan”) in 2006-2007 to, well, if I must be honest, where lending should never have strayed from in the first place; you need a good job, a good income and good credit score to get a loan.

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Even with the real estate market heating back up, rentals are still in high demand, prices rising…another reason to buy a home!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Vacancy rates in rental properties across the Portland metro area are falling and thus the rental rates for properties are increasing; this is in spite of the housing market recovery as typically when home ownership is on the rise, naturally rentals would be on the decline (as those renters become home owners). The thing is with foreclosure and short sale numbers being just astronomically high over the last few years those previous home owners still needed a place to live and thus the rental markets heated up; seems they’re still increasing now and this is inline with current market stats because though we are in recovery mode, we’re still seeing high foreclosure and short sales rates; they are declining, but they’re still high and thus still turning owners into renters.

If however you have not [recently?] owned a home and are renting, it may be time to ditch that idea of flushing money down the toilet every month (sorry, but that is my opinion of renting) and get in on the recovery and become a home owner.

By now, hopefully, you should know who to call for assistance there too!

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Portland Real Estate Tips: Installing Rain Collection Barrels Can Save You Money and Save Our Rivers

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Ever looked outside on a rainy day and thought about capturing some of that water to use later? One local business, Portland Purple Water, is hoping to make that idea a widespread reality by installing rainwater collection devices for homes and businesses in Portland. At their most basic, rain barrels are simple rainwater collectors that capture and store a portion of the runoff from a roof downspout. Stored water can be used for non-potable purposes such as irrigating lawns, washing cars, or flushing toilets. Harvesting rainwater can lower your water bill, save energy and reduce demand on Portland’s drinking water systems.

Curious about how to get a rain barrel installed in your home? If you’re super handy, you can build your own rain barrel (You don’t need any permits to use collected rainwater outside the house!), otherwise, professionals can get you set up in no time. Rainwater collection has the potential to be a huge project in Oregon – a 1,000 square foot house catches 26,000 gallons of water in Portland – that’s water that could be used in a lot of ways! By capturing rainwater in a rain barrel or a rain garden, water-savers can make the city of Portland function more like a natural area where rain is a source of clean water and not a vehicle for transferring fertilizers and chemicals to our rivers and watersheds.

Interested in finding out where the water from your home property goes when it heads down the gutters? Check out the Oregon Environmental Council’s new site loveyourriver.org, type in the ZIP code of your home, business, or apartment and  you’ll find a page dedicated to the watershed and river that receives what you release from your property. We here at the McDonald Group realtors love our rivers, and we’re all in favor of green renovations that help keep the Pacific Northwest beautiful.

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Portland Short Sale Real Estate: February Will Bring New Rules to Ease Short Sale Transactions

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Starting February 1st, there will be some new rules from the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program that should help ease the pain of buying or selling a short sale in Portland. First, “Once a sales contract has been initiated, loan servicers then have 30 days to approve or reject the transaction.”  This should speed up the rate at which it takes to close on a short sale.  Right now there are twice as many short sale listings than bank owned listings on the active market, but there are 2-3 times as many sale pending bank owned properties than short sale properties.  It’s pretty obvious what’s more attractive to buyers. Also, “Another big change: Loan servicers will no longer be restricted on paying second-lien holders, allowing them more freedom particularly when dealing with second-lien holders when borrowers owe less than $100,000. Loan servicers used to be restricted to paying second-lien holders no more than 6 percent of outstanding loan balance (with an overall limit of $6,000) in exchange for releasing subordinate liens. Second-lien holders have been another big obstacle to completing short sale transactions.”

What is a Short Sale? A Short Sale is when the seller is trying to sell their home for less than what is owed on it. If the seller will be unable to pay the difference at the time of closing then he will need to obtain the bank/lenders approval (“3rd party approval”) to “sell short” of what he owes before the home can be sold to another party. A home isn’t necessarily in pre-foreclosure for it to be a short sale; they may have been able to keep up with the payments avoiding the pre-foreclosure process.

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Portland Realtor Guide: Oregonians Can Now “Go Solar” for as little as $20 a month!

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Thanks to new regulations that took effect on New Year’s Day, Oregonians can now take advantage of lease offers from contractors to install solar panels and eliminate upfront costs. The Portland branch of SolarCity, a major national solar company providing residential solar panels, announced a lease program today that will allow Portland area homeowners and residents of the entire state of Oregon to install alternative-energy solar panels for low monthly payments. This new lease program allows homeowners to enjoy the energy-bill slashing qualities of solar instantly, rather than waiting for the payoff on the initial investment to kick in after a few years. If you’re buying a home in Portland, renovating a historic home, selling your home and looking for ways to make it competitive in the Portland real estate market, or just looking for ways to update your home and reduce your carbon footprint, this new deal is definitely worth a second look.

Oregon homeowners can now go solar for as little as $20 a month with no money down, thanks to the new contractor offers and state and federal tax credits, with no hidden costs. This means you can cut your total energy costs instantly, with money in your pocket, all while going green, How awesome is that?!

Customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power are eligible for the lease arrangement. In addition to the reduction of installation costs, new solar customers can also claim tax credits or apply for pilot programs that could pay a premium for energy they generate and consume. If you’re interested in installing solar panels on your home, just visit SolarCity’s website and enter your address, upload a photo of your home, and get quotes over the internet. You can also get more information at any Home Depot in Oregon. Under SolarCity’s program, the company guarantees a certain level of power generation from an installed system, promising to compensate the customers if panels underperform. If you end up selling your home in Portland, you can transfer their contracts to buyers. It seems like a great system overall.

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Portland Real Estate Insider: NEW Overlook Real Estate Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Overlook Real Estate Neighborhood GuideCheck out the New Overlook Real Estate Neighborhood Guide detailing the growing Overlook neighborhood in the “fifth quadrant,” North Portland. Combining the best of urban accessibility and up-and-coming neighborhood atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to live. Play with the dogs at Overlook Park while catching the sunset over the west hills across the Willamette, visit the Interstate Farmers’ Market for the best local produce, or take a trip to the Portland International Raceway for a NASCAR Night. If you’re looking for homes, apartments, or condos for sale around the Overlook District, check out our Overlook Real Estate Neighborhood Guide filled with tons of interesting historical facts, the best restaurants in North Portland, and the top parks and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes and condos for sale in North Portland and the Overlook Neighborhood!

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Portland Realtor Guide: NEW Troutdale Real Estate Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Check out the new Troutdale Real Estate guide and neighborhood profile detailing the city of Troutdale, Oregon, located just east of Portland. Combining the best of urban accessibility and small town atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to live. Check out some of the charming and quirky shops and cafes in Historic Downtown Troutdale, catch some sun at a concert at Edgefield, or ride your bike down the charming neighborhood streets. If you’re looking for homes, apartments, or condos for sale around Troutdale or other Portland Suburbs, check out this the new new Troutdale Real Estate guide and neighborhood profile filled with the best restaurants in Troutdale, the top neighborhood events, and Troutdale history. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes for sale in Troutdale.

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Portland Real Estate Insider: Trees Add Monetary Value to Homes for Sale in Portland

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Everyone loves a home with mature, beautiful trees, but how much value does greenery add to homes for sale? As covered in a recent article published in Nursery Magazine, new research from the Pacific Northwest Research Station determined specific dollar values for neighborhood trees in Portland. This is great news for those of us that treasure the trees and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest, resources that can often be placed second to new construction and development. The main factors considered in determining these dollar values were “environmental and social amenities” including cleaner air, moderated storm runoff, reduction of environmental CO2, elevated property values, reduced heating and cooling costs, and improved human health. Similar studies in New York City determined that the five boroughs’ 600,000 street trees provide a financial benefit of $122 million a year, which totals more than five times the cost of maintaining them, but the Portland housing study is one of the first to look at the value of street trees on the Portland real estate market.

Across the board in Portland Neighborhoods, you can easily see a general correlation between trees and homes – bigger trees tend to be in higher valued neighborhoods. The researchers at the Pacific Northwest Research Station used actual house price sales to determine the monetary value of trees. They determined that trees added measurable value to homes for sale in Portland, just like a third bedroom or extra square-footage. On average, street trees add $8,870 to the price of homes for sale, the equivalent of 129 extra finished square feet. What’s more, street trees decreased the time on the market of homes for sale in Portland by nearly two days, and one single tree can raise the value of multiple houses. Overall, Portland’s trees have an added real estate value of $1.1 billion dollars! As part of Portland’s 5-year Grey to Green initiative, the city plans to plant 33,000 yard trees and 50,000 street trees by July 2013. Included in the Grey to Green budget is the Treebate program, which provides a utility-bill credit to homeowners who plant trees in their yards. Trees can further save money by reducing energy bills. Yard trees add shade and lowering air conditioning costs in the summer, and provide protection from the wind, lowering heating costs in the winter.

Earlier this year, CNN featured an interesting study done by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest and Southern Research Stations in the Portland area that found that areas with larger, taller, well-maintained trees had less neighborhood theft and overall crime than areas with smaller trees. It turns out that tall trees “can reduce crime by signaling to a potential criminal that a neighborhood is better cared for and, therefore, a criminal is more likely to be caught…Large yard trees also were associated with lower crime rates, most likely because they are less view-obstructing than smaller trees.” All of this is great news for people who love nature, and anyone who loves the beautiful city of Portland. All of the tree-related research findings help convince taxpayers and property owners that cities have a legitimate public interest in cultivating and protecting their trees.

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Southwest Portland Real Estate: NEW Maplewood Real Estate Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Southwest Portland Real EstateCheck out the new Maplewood Real Estate neighborhood guide detailing the neighborhood of Maplewood nestled in the Southwest Hills in Portland. The neighborhood is home to Maplewood Elementary and other rich neighborhood treasures that contribute to the community’s small-town feel. The winding, tree-lined streets, rolling hills, and friendly residents will fool you into thinking Maplewood is far away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Portland, but commuters will find easy access to the commercial center of the city.  Combining the best of urban accessibility and comfortable, luxury country atmosphere, Maplewood is truly exceptional.

If you’re looking for homes, condos, or other real estate in Maplewood or other Southwest Portland neighborhoods, check out the Maplewood Real Estate neighborhood guide filled with the best restaurants nearby Maplewood, top hikes and green spaces, and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

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Suburban Portland Real Estate Guide: NEW City of Newberg Real Estate Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Check out the new Newberg Real Estate neighborhood guide detailing the city of Newberg, Oregon,one of the best small towns located just southwest of Portland. Combining the best of urban accessibility, lively small-town living, and natural atmosphere, Newberg, Oregon is the best of all worlds. If you’re looking for homes for sale or other real estate in Newberg or other Portland Suburbs, check out our Newberg Real Estate neighborhood guide filled with the best restaurants in Newberg, the best parks and green spaces, as well as city events and neighborhood resources. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side. Contact the McDonald Group realtors to find out about homes for sale in Newberg, Oregon, today!

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YourRoadMapToHome.com is your resource for McDonald Group Realtors, Portland’s premiere real estate agents. Find new construction, foreclosure/short-sell updates and Portland neighborhood info, as well as search properties easily here.

Mt. Hood Real Estate: Real Estate Agents Can Help You Navigate Forest Service Land Fees

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This time of year, many people dream of owning their own piece of land in the mountains to fully enjoy the sights and snows of winter. Mt. Hood real estate is booming, thanks to continuous redevelopment and new construction in the mountain communities. We’ve got the inside scoop on homes for sale in Mt. Hood and other winter wonderlands. Many cabins, winter homes, and ski chalets in the mountain towns are very inexpensive and can provide the perfect getaway in these magical winter months. However, one important thing to remember when considering buying Mt. Hood area homes for sale is new regulations that started in 2007 that changed the way the US Forest Service appraises the value of forest land, which can impact fees on existing cabin and ski properties within forest land. Under the new system, the Forest Service charges fees based on private real estate market value of the land, although the owners of properties on public forest land are not granted all of the privileges of cabin owners on private land. Currently, Congress is being asked to put a moratorium on the fees for 2010, as it did for 2009, to prevent the controversial fees from being implemented for another year. Mt. Hood real estate is still a great investment, but new legislation may impact the annual payments for properties, depending on the status of the land.

If you’re interested in buying some mountain property for a second home winter getaway, we can help you navigate these new fees, including finding a cabin on private land with all of the beauty and peaceful serenity of forest land properties. The Mount Hood Forest Homeowner’s Association is working on making sense of the future implementation of US Forestry Service land value appraisals, but until then, it can be a bit tricky. Let your Portland Real Estate agents help you find the winter escape you’re dreaming of. Contact us today for information on homes on and surrounding Mt. Hood, many of which are priced under $200,000! Call us today at the McDonald Group, your Portland Real Estate experts! (503) 577-9395

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