Rent vs Own?

With rents going up many people are deciding between continuing to rent or purchasing a home. Some are still saddled with poor credit from the economic turndown but those feeling buyer confidence are feeling the squeeze put on by increasing rents

As reported in “Accelerating Housing Costs Has Renters Feeling the Squeeze” Posted in Economist Commentaries”, by Nadia Evangelou, Research Economist on March 17, 2015:
The top markets where renters have seen the highest increase in rents since 2009 are:

New York, NY-NJ-PA (50.7%),
Seattle, WA(32.4%),
San Jose, CA (25.6%),
Denver, CO (24.1%),
St. Louis, MO-IL (22.3%).

Portland Oregon is seeing a 20%+ increase.

The Salem area has not experienced that high of an increase but local renters will tell you the increase can definitely be felt and is trending in that direction.

With home prices continuing to rise in this area and speculation of rate increases many current renters may make the move to home ownership sooner rather than later.

Multiple Offers!

Multiple offers are becoming more commonplace in Salem and the Willamette valley. When competing in what’s known as a “bidding war” it is important to make your offer as strong and clean as possible. It should be the highest and best offer you are comfortable making. Ask yourself and the other parties involved in the purchase how willing you/they are in losing this property. Your offer should reflect that intention. It is common to hear agents talking about how close their buyer was to getting a deal put together on a home they loved but outside sources such as well intentioned friends and family members gave them advice that was not pertaining to this property or the current market. Make sure you seek competent advice and are solid in your understanding of the current market especially as it pertains to your price range. Your agent can provide statistics to help support your decision as well as their expertise from being out in the field day to day seeing fluctuations and market conditions.

Inventory is down in The Willamette Valley

Homes for sale in Salem Oregon

According to year to date statistics from Willamette Valley Multiple Listing Service, real estate inventory is down 13.35% from last year. Agents are noting an increase in traffic at open houses and the number of calls received per listing is up.

There is a definite shift in how buyers are reacting to new listings on the market and the sense of urgency in viewing homes and writing offers.
Sellers planning on putting their homes on the market can expect to have good traffic and fewer days on the market unless they overprice their home.
We have the “makings” for a productive market this summer in the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas!

Is Flood Insurance In Your Future?

In response to recent natural disasters like Super Storm Sandy,  the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. This act calls upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),  to make a number of changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is run.  Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders.  The changes will mean premium rate increases for many policyholders .

I asked my insurance agent for some examples of increases and he said one of his clients policies increased from $900 per year to $4500, and yet another from $300 to $1600 per year. If you think you may be anywhere near a flood plain he suggests that you call your insurance agent and ask for a flood plain determination. If it is determined that your property is in a flood plain then the next step is obtaining an elevation certificate. Elevation certificates are completed by a survey company and will cost approxiamately $400-$500.

Homeowners and future homeowners should ask their insurance carrier what effect this new reform act will have on their premiums.

This blog post was submitted By Eric Larson, Principal Broker, licensed in the State of Oregon.  (10/30/13)

To Stage or Not to Stage, That is the Question.

Most People assume that staging a home prior to marketing it is always better and creates an inviting setting for prospective buyers. Remember, however, to consider if the home is a long term resale or a fixer/flipper type home. In the case of appealing to investors it may be best to leave it as clean as possible with as many of the “good bones” showing through on their own merit but not staging it with cool Kitchen gadgets and over the top outdoor living spaces. Having it staged may indicate a different motivation from the seller so do put thought into the process. A staged home may unintentionally eliminate a sector of the buyer pool.

If your home is large and cavernous then by all means bring in some large anchor type pieces to make it feel inviting but don’t crowd a small room and make certain the decor matches the style of the home or at lease compliments it. Many professional stagers do magical things with an otherwise boring space and help to sell a home much more quickly. However, stop and think before you stage what your goal is and if maybe instead of an exhausting elaborate process maybe what your home needs is an honest price correction, a coat of paint or perhaps a painting to draw the eye away from the nasty neighbor’s yard! A Realtor with a good eye should be able to tell you whether no staging, moderate staging or the need of a professional stager is in order.

What is a Comparative Market Analysis?

Comparative Market Analysis is used to help evaluate what your home is worth.  How your home compares to the competition?  It looks at both homes that are currently listed and also those recently sold.  The purpose is to find the best and highest price that will make your home competitive on the open market.
A CMA includes information such as number of bedrooms, baths, square footage, age of home, tax information, and other information regarding your home.  The CMA will compare properties that are similar to yours that are on the active market and sold within a time range and area that the agent specifies in the analysis.  The CMA summary will include the comparable properties that were used in the analysis, both active and sold.
At the end of the CMA, is a summary that includes the price per square foot that properties sold for.  This gives you an idea of the price per square foot that your property may be worth.  This will also give you a pretty good idea of what the market looks like at the time.

Cathi Olson


A Leveling Market in Willamette Valley

Did you know that throughout the past 8 months the market has slowly been leveling out from a buyer’s market (increased inventory and empowered buyers) to a more level playingfield for both buyers and sellers?  This means that there is no more reason to wait to list your home for the market to turn, and also means homes are not staying on the market for long.  Kick it into high gear and start looking for that home that fits your needs by investing in a quality real estate agent that will do the proper research and help protect you in the buying and selling process.  Summer is coming and a lot of the homes on the market won’t last long so act now!

It is a quick and painless process for me to set up a search that fits what you are looking for to see if something is out there that fits your needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to see what is available.

Joshua Crain

HomeStar Brokers

503-551-4813 (Call or text!)

Live Work Play Explore

Searching for homes in Salem couldn’t be more simple, with the help of a HomeStar Brokers Real Estate Agent. As a matter of fact, we have agents in our office that have areas of expertise that span the entire Willamette Valley. If this is your first home purchase, or even your fifteenth, we can help you.

Salem, Oregon is an amazing place to live, work, play and explore. As a born and raised Salemite I can assist you in any way possible with your home search. Getting your questions answered in a through and timely manner is my specialty. From, what are the available houses in south Salem up to $300,000 to where can I get a great cup of coffee, and where’s the best dry cleaner in town? I can help.

Send me an email or text, or just call! 503.302.8166 or – I’m here to help you!

Now, let’s find you a house!


Brittany Sevall


Searching for Foreclosure Homes

There are many variables to consider when shopping for foreclosure homes, is it a bank owned home or is it a short sale.  Are there any special incentives or restrictions if it is bank owned. Who is the loan servicer and how many lien holders if it is a short sale.  These are questions that a good Realtor can help you navigate.  In our market we are seeing more and more short sales as existing bank owned inventory is drying up.  When looking at short sale properties it is also very important that the broker that is helping you is experienced in negotiating short sales, as these purchases are very complicated and an experienced short sale broker can assist the seller’s broker thru the process.  I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert and closed over 30 short sales last year.  If you are looking for a foreclosure property please give me a call.

Matt Mahoney