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Karla Divine's Blog

By Karla Divine | Broker in Portland, OR
  • 4 Big Mistakes Buyers Should Avoid

    Posted Under: General Area in Portland, Home Buying in Portland, In My Neighborhood in Portland  |  February 18, 2014 11:17 AM  |  83 views  |  No comments

    Buying a house is an exciting process and buyer's often get really organized when they are ready to look; they think about the neighborhood, imagine their new dog enjoying the back yard they will have in their new home and their kids shooting hoops in the driveway with the neighbor kids, find out all about the schools and where you can walk or shop.  They get their down payment together, and submit their taxes to the lender.  But once the offer is made, there are some very serious mistakes to avoid that are critical to enjoying their new home without any regrets.

    1. Consider the details!  Think through the details that will be part of your life in the home you choose: who do you consider living there in 10 years? Is there room for a parent if necessary, or kids who fail to leave the nest? How will you spend your time in this house, both inside and outside? Do you want to maintain the garden and yard? Is there room for your fly tying hobby? Is there a place for your television or library?  How will everyone who lives with  your get to work or school? Is there a bus stop near? or a school? are bike paths important to your way of life?  Keeping these things in mind while you are selecting your new home will  increase your enjoyment and decrease any potential regrets.

    2. Don't Ignore Important Information! The home buying process gives you lots of information about your new home. Don't skip reading the seller's property disclosures or the preliminary title report. It is very exciting to have your offer accepted by the seller, but the process is not over! Even if you don't plan on negotiating on repair items, read and understand the inspection report so you know your house,  Also, ask for extra time to actually read your loan documents before you sign them. It takes some time, but really, you are agreeing to pay back a substantial amount of money; don't you agree that you should read the terms of that contract?

    3. Don't Sabotage Your Financials! Sometime is seems like a long time between getting your offer accepted and taking possession of your new home. It is easy to get excited; you see a new 72 inch television on the wall above the fireplace, a new electric car in the driveway. Don't get carried away by this! The lender will be reviewing your debt to income ratio and big expenses before closing so don't make a common mistake such as increasing your credit card debt, buying a car, paying bills late or changing jobs. Wait.

    4. But Don't Wait Too Long:  When it comes to making a move, don't procrastinate.  If you are looking for a home in a particular neighborhood, don't hesitate to pull the trigger on writing an offer. Get your financial documents to the lender in a timely manner.....as in, right away...., make time to review property reports and other paperwork. Real estate buying is driven by timelines, so once you decide to move forward, do it promptly. Understand what needs to be done, and be prepared. Don't write an offer with a closing date or 10 day inspection period and the leave on a long planned vacation for 2 weeks.

    More About Karla:

    My work is to help people buy and sell their homes or investment properties. How can you use my lifetime of real estate experience to help you reach your goals of buying a new home or selling the home you love? What can I offer you to make your experience more productive and less stressful?   Exposure to available housing as soon as possible* Competitive Market Analysis and Pricing information* Investment property analysis* Current market knowledge* 30 years of experience in buying and selling real estate* Professional negotiation skills* Extensive network of resources to smooth the wrinkles in any transaction.   My promise to you is to give you the best, most professional, service available to help you accomplish your goal, just as I have done for many other happy clients. I will put YOUR business first! Return your calls, answer your concerns, provide resources and trustworthy counsel so you so you can make the best decision for you and your family, honor your time and money, exceed your expectations. 
    Karla Divine Principal Broker / Owner Divine NW Realty 503-819-6923 www.karladivine.com

  • 15% of Sold Properties for 2013 were short sales or REO bank owned

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Portland, Foreclosure in Portland, Investment Properties in Portland  |  February 10, 2014 10:14 AM  |  107 views  |  No comments
    The data is 'in'. In 2013, about 15% of the property that sold in the greater Portland metro area was classified as distressed, which means either short sales or bank owned REO properties.

    Read the full report here.  What does this mean?

    Buyers:
      For buyers, this means the window of opportunity to purchase a short sale or bank owned property is narrowing. Whether or not short sales are a good investment is very subjective. REO properties are, in my opion, a good choice. Both take time and patience.
    2. Sellers:  Buyers are tired of waiting for banks to act on their offers to purchase short sale properties. While inventory may not be plentiful, the short sale market remains the definition of distressed, and when considering time, money and opportunity, the distresseed market may not be the best option for qualified buyers. Sellers who are trying to salvage their credit by selling short need to get positioned in the market with agents who can get the job done for them. This is strictly a numbers deal, and sellers should be prepared to be as helpful as possible in pricing, staging and providing information to the lenders.
    3. Investors:  The distressed property market is a good entry into real estate investment. Understand the value of location and get prepared to upgrade condition of the property. There is opportunity at every price level. With proper negotiation and patience, a short sale can provide a great entre to an area that will pay you back on your investment. Use the conventional buyer's constraints on financing and time to your advantage.

    More about the author, Karla Divine: 

    My work is to help people buy and sell their homes or investment properties. How can you use my lifetime of real estate experience to help you reach your goals of buying a new home or selling the home you love? What can I offer you to make your experience more productive and less stressful?   Exposure to available housing as soon as possible* Competitive Market Analysis and Pricing information* Investment property analysis* Current market knowledge* 30 years of experience in buying and selling real estate* Professional negotiation skills* Extensive network of resources to smooth the wrinkles in any transaction.   My promise to you is to give you the best, most professional, service available to help you accomplish your goal, just as I have done for many other happy clients. I will put YOUR business first! Return your calls, answer your concerns, provide resources and trustworthy counsel so you so you can make the best decision for you and your family, honor your time and money, exceed your expectations. 
    Karla Divine Principal Broker / Owner Divine NW Realty 503-819-6923 www.karladivine.com

  • Conventional Financing Rules 2014

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Portland, Financing in Portland, Property Q&A in Portland  |  January 29, 2014 9:14 AM  |  71 views  |  No comments
     
    Money. It's the name of the game in real estate finance today. Here is just one of the new guidelines to use when thinking about how to buy a new home.

    Age of Documentation

    Credit documents

    • All credit documents must be dated within 4 months of closing, with the following exceptions:

    o Pay stubs must be dated within 30 days of closing.

    o Verbal VOE's are required for all borrowers with earned income and must be completed:

    _ Within 10 business days prior to note date of new loan (30 days for self-employed)

    _ Within 5 business days of funding of the new loan

    • Monthly asset statements must be dated within 45 days of initial loan application date.

    • Quarterly asset statements must be dated within 90 days of initial loan application date.


    What does this mean for Buyers?  Get aquainted with  your lender. Go through the process of interviewing each of the lenders you get referred to by your expert real estate consultant (Broker).  Choose the one you feel confident in, and the one whose phone calls and emails yyou will pay attention to every day. Important!! you will need to communicate with your lender.  OK...what does VOE mean? Verification of Employment. So don't change jobs in the middle of buying your new house unless you are moving to Portland to take a new job. Notice the time lines in the above information. Keep in mind that buying a home and obtaining a mortgage is a process that takes some time. Then, it's over. So while the process is taking place, understand and stick to the timelines. Keep your paperwork together. Document all of your income and deposits to your bank account. Be willing and able to explain how that $2500 got into your account as a result of a garage sale or the sale of a boat you inherited from your uncle. Treat your lender as your friend; reveal all. No surprises. Be prepared.

    More about the author, Karla Divine, Principal Broker/Owner Divine NW Realty:
     My work is to help people buy and sell their homes or investment properties. How can you use my lifetime of real estate experience to help you reach your goals of buying a new home or selling the home you love? What can I offer you to make your experience more productive and less stressful?   Exposure to available housing as soon as possible* Competitive Market Analysis and Pricing information* Investment property analysis* Current market knowledge* 30 years of experience in buying and selling real estate* Professional negotiation skills* Extensive network of resources to smooth the wrinkles in any transaction. 
      My promise to you is to give you the best, most professional, service available to help you accomplish your goal, just as I have done for many other happy clients. I will put YOUR business first! Return your calls, answer your concerns, provide resources and trustworthy counsel so you so you can make the best decision for you and your family, honor your time and money, exceed your expectations. 
    Karla Divine Principal Broker / Owner Divine NW Realty 503-819-6923 www.karladivine.com

  • Financing is becoming challenging again

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Portland, Financing in Portland, Credit Score in Portland  |  October 23, 2013 11:30 AM  |  90 views  |  No comments

    ..the Fannie Mae pendulum is swinging the changes below at us….

     

    • Interest-only loans and amortizations greater than 360 months will no longer be eligible.
    • 7/1 and 10/1 ARMS will qualify at the greater of the fully-indexed rate (index+margin) or the note rate.
    • 6 month to 5/1 ARMS will qualify at the greater of the fully-indexed rate or note rate + 2%.
    • MAXIMUM 95% Loan-to-values. (no more 97% LTV mortgages)
    • Deed-in-Lieu Foreclosures or Pre-Foreclosures
      • The lender will need to document that the event was completed 2 or more years from the credit report date.
    • Bank statements will be needed covering a 2 month period (as compared to 1 month presently).
    • Credit reports will be good for 4 months.
    • Quarterly asset statements will be good for 4 months.
  • Easy Living in a Small Space

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Portland, Home Buying in Portland, Design & Decor in Portland  |  March 21, 2013 10:55 AM  |  1,141 views  |  1 comment

    As you watch this (I know it is kind of poor quality) video about this amazing furniture, picture yourself living in a small space and feeling good about it! I love the way this furniture transforms, without having to take all the stuff off your desk or bedside table or shelf.
    I often find myself explaining to buyer clients the open possibilities of wall bed systems to maximize space in small condos or floating homes. Sometimes they have difficulty envisioning it. But look at what possibilities this furniture opens up! People who are looking at floating homes notice the lack of basement space for example, or wonder how their old furniture will fit. I suggest to them they buy new furniture that fits the space; buy for the scale of your current home. Since floating homes often only have one or at the most two bedrooms, this furniture style makes it completely believable that the owner would be able to make whatever space is available into several performing spaces: office, workspace, craft room, guest room, what have you. With high quality transforming hinges and levers, transforming your space can be cool and easy. Check it out! What do you think?
  • You Don't Get It, Do You

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Portland, Home Selling in Portland, In My Neighborhood in Portland  |  March 20, 2013 9:13 AM  |  1,021 views  |  No comments

    Realtors have an incredible wealth of resources. We know all kinds of stuff other people don't know; We know repair people, handy people, best places to eat, best places to drink, how to change your address, your voter registration, your lawncare person. We know how to fire your other Realtor, who to refer to you in other cities, how to junk out your rentals, who can do your taxes, your hair, your teeth.  We know bankers, credit repair people, tax appeal companies, movers, shakers and dog trainers.
    In my case, I know all these people for land homes and condominiums, AND I know them for floating home dwellers. And here is the issue; I make my living by knowing all these resources, having them all on speed dial....on their cell phones. I can call the lender on Sunday afternoon to get a loan rate. I know who inspects the floats and who repairs them. I know the appraisers and the inspectors. I know who rents the barges so you can move in or out. I know who has the best guys to hump your television sets up the ramps from the docks. I know "the guy" who installs or repairs honey pots, water lines, cable television and the electricity. I know the roofers who work on steep roofs on the water and the painters who install scaffolding on a deck and paint up high on the river.
    And I want you to 'get it'.  I make my living by knowing all these folks, and using them when I sell a floating home. Yes, I blog about it here and on my website, but getting it means that you understand why I get an edge to my voice when you call me up to ask for the name and phone number for all of my resources because you are buying a floating home from some guy who owns it or you are using another Realtor who doesn't sell floating homes  so they don't know who to call.
    "Getting it" means you know that in the long run, you won't be saving money by not using a professional with all the professional resources to buy or sell your floating home or other property. "Getting it" means you won't call me for my resources unless you are paying me for my expertise, just like you wouldn't call a random doctor and ask for a perscription because you don't really believe in doctors but you do want that pain reliever or antibiotic.
    And as the video says at the end......and I realize it is a long video......you don't get it, but you will.
  • When the Realtor is also the Seller

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Portland, Home Selling in Portland, Agent2Agent in Portland  |  March 19, 2013 11:47 AM  |  1,027 views  |  No comments


    While you listen to Miranda Lambert sing about her childhood home, which she no longer owns or lives in, think about what it brings to selling your own home.
    I recently had an experience of representing buyers in the purchase of buying a home from a Realtor who was selling her own house. I mean, we learn from the get go that this is a bad idea. It is next to impossible to separate yourself from the personal attachments to your personal home. This was no exception.
    The Realtor was very experienced, and a big producer. You'd think (and she did think) that she would not get trapped by her relationship to her own house. But of course, she did. No sooner that I presented my buyer's first offer, than the words "money pit" slipped, unbidden, from her lips. And she followed up that mistake with lots of reasons why we should proceed with the purchase without too close a look. She tallyed up all the money she had spent on recent repairs and improvements. Windows, brickwork, leaks in the roof, evidence of water damage. All of it came with a price tag that she wanted the buyer to acknowledge and appreciate.
    Here's the thing: The house may have built her, and may have lots of memories attached to it, but none of that is important to the current buyer. What IS important is the current market condtions, and the current condition of the house. If the roof is patched up, damaged, and has evidence of recent leaks, they want a new roof on the house. We Realtors can sometimes look insensitive about the big numbers associated with big repairs such as a new roof; 'take a price reduction' is the easiest way to resolve that issue, BUT at some point, someone, has to come up with the cash in hand to fix that roof.
    At the end of the day, Realtors fall into the same category as anyone else; they change into Sellers and leave their professionalism behind. They don't mean to do it. They know better. But somehow, they can't stop themselves from singing a song about what the house has meant to them and why it is perfect even if it isn't.
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