Real Estate Blog

We wondered the December 31st expiration date spelled the end of the Act..... Literally!

Here is what our friend Lambros Politis of The Ark Law Group had to say: 

As if distressed homeowners didn't have enough to worry about, with the pending foreclosure of their homes, they should also be mindful of the tax implications associated with the December 31, 2013 expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. 

There is hope, as Congress has introduced three bills that call for the extension of tax relief to distressed homeowners--there are currently two in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. According to the Washington Post, one of the House bills enjoys strong bipartisan support from members on both sides of the aisle, with

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We have been hearing about some upcoming changes to the FHA Loan Limits so we spoke with our friend Paul Martinez at Prospect Mortgage and he shared this with us:

Loan limits for the country's highest-cost areas are about to be reduced.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it will implement new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family loan limits January 1, 2014.


The new national maximum "ceiling" loan limit for a one-unit property in a high-cost area will be reduced from $729,750 to $625,500. The current standard minimum "floor" loan limit for a one-unit property in a low-cost area will remain unchanged at $271,050.


Loan limits in other areas have also changed, with both increased and

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Why Hang onto a Property as a Rental? 

Our clients ask us this all the time.  We checked in with our friend Troy Rappold last week and here is what he had to say:

There are several reasons, if you live in Oregon...

According to a recent US Census, the rental vacancy rate in Portland was at 5.2% as of the end of last year. With a statewide vacancy rate of 6.1%, the third lowest in the nation, it has never been a better time to own rental housing properties in Oregon. Many homeowners and investors face the choice of whether to sell now, or keep the property as a rental. Although property values have seen some moderate increases this year, they are not yet fully recovered. Data supports a positive trend, albeit slowly, in Portland area home values over

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A little good insight from our friend Tom:        With the end of the year approaching quickly, I wanted to remind rental real estate investors that this is the time to check-in on a few key areas to make sure you are getting the most tax benefits from your rental real estate this year.   

By taking a little time to do this now, you'll gain the opportunity to make adjustments before the end of the year and it will reduce the time required by you and your tax preparer when it comes time to prepare your tax return next year. 

Here are the key areas I think all real estate investors need to review: 

#1 Improvements and Repairs 
What is the difference between an improvement and a repair? The general difference is this: 

A repair simply keeps the…
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Fannie Mae is making some changes this month that may have an effect your financing choices.

Effective November 16, 2013, Fannie Mae is changing the LTV/CLTV from 97% to 95% on all conventional, HomePath® Mortgage and My Community loans. Clients who have already pre-qualified for a Fannie Mae loan, depending on their closing date, may still be able to close based on the previous LTV requirements, with as little as 3% down.

New Fannie loan files created after November 16 will require 5% down. That difference can make or break many buyers!

And, certain changes to the loan can require that the loan file go through Underwriting again, at which time, the new LTV rules would apply.

What can you do? Consider the benefits of FHA loans. FHA still

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OPB | Oct. 17, 2013 7:46 a.m. | Portland, Oregon

Investors are making tidy profits flipping homes in Portland, according to a new report from the Internet housing data company RealtyTrac.

More than 400 homes were “flipped” in the third quarter of last year in Portland — that means investors bought and sold the homes within six months. 

Four hundred is an increase of 16 percent, from the same period last year. The homes cost on average about $215,000 and then sold for about $290,000.

RealtyTrac spokesman, Daren Blomquist, says Portland is catching up to other areas of the country where investors have been buying up foreclosures to sell quickly. 

“Because of some legislation and court rulings in Oregon that slowed down the foreclosure process, it

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Everyone knows that Spring is the best time to sell you home, right?  Actually, that is a myth. Here's why.  While each season holds the right reason for some sellers, consider what November, December and January have to offer.  Buyers that are looking for houses in Winter tend to be serious buyers, not browsers.  Nobody wants to trudge around in the cold, often wet weather conditions for fun.  When these buyers spot a home that meets their needs, they are ready to make a move.  Additionally, with fewer homes on the market, buyers tend to make solid offers.  Competing offers often drive up the price and this could net you more money for your home.  For these reasons, several of our sellers are choosing to list their homes for sale in Winter.

You may

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Sales of new single-family homes bounced back in August, helping to offset a large decrease in July after borrowers pulled back from higher mortgage rates, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Pending home sales, however, showed signs of backtracking, the National Association of REALTORS® says.

New-home sales rose 7.9 percent in August following July's 14.1 percent decline, a sign that higher interest rates haven't put a long-lasting damper on home-buying activity, says Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. 

"Consumers are adjusting to the reality of today's higher rates following a period of record-setting lows, and today's sales

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America's 10 Most Energy-Efficient Cities

Boston is America’s most energy-efficient city, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. ACEE ranked the nation’s 34 largest cities based on their efforts to promote energy efficiency through their buildings, transportation, energy and water utility, local government operations, and community-wide initiatives.

Here are the cities that took the top spots in ACEE’s rankings:

Portland, Ore.
San Francisco
New York City
Austin, Texas
Washington, D.C.
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Julie Schmit, USA TODAY1:16p.m. EST January 15, 2013

Home prices rose 7.5% last year, largest increase in six years, and will rise 6% in 2013, market researcher CoreLogic predicts in a report out today.

The same forces that helped propel prices last year will be in play this year, including improved housing demand fueled by good affordability, fewer foreclosed homes for sale and a low inventory of unsold homes, the company says.

Total home sales increased 6% last year, to 4.2 million, marking the first increase since 2005, CoreLogic's data show.

The healthy jump in home prices in 2012 "was really a big surprise," from what many economists expected earlier in the year, says Patrick Newport, IHS Global Insight economist.

Whether this year will

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