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Stephen Fitzmaurice's Blog

By Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor | Agent in Portland, OR
  • How I started Short Selling with Success!

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Portland, Foreclosure in Portland  |  September 7, 2010 12:13 PM  |  1,597 views  |  No comments
    Today, it is all in the offer.

    A short sale price means almost nothing.  The bank will take what it takes and no one knows for sure what that will be.  I've found setting a ridiculously low short sale price brings in an offer - EVERY TIME.  Once I have the offer the bank starts acting.  Before the offer, the bank does next to nothing. Low ball offer in - now the bank orders a BPO and establishes a price it will take.  On occasion, the bank surprises everyone and takes the low offer.  Most often the bank hands out a pre-approved short sale price.  Once that happens, the listing sells fast.

    Now, there is a little more to it than that.  I've partnered with a short sale expert that spends 40 hours a week calling banks.  I've learned their processes inside and out.

    Bring me your short sales and I'll get it done!

    Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor
  • 100% Loan or $30,000 back in Tax Credit. Available Now.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Portland  |  July 2, 2010 9:10 AM  |  1,503 views  |  No comments

    It is always amazing to me what is out there verses what the general public, or even most Real Estate Agents are aware of.  I find out because I'm immersed in Real Estate everyday, but because these programs are so fantastic - I'm still shocked they are not widely known.

    The 100% loan ( a true zero downpayment loan ) is available on certain homes through a "shelf program" run by Key Bank.  A shelf program is a custom and unique program created by an individual bank and has its own rules and regulations.  There are thousands of these homes available, some are absolutely top notch.  You have to find the home ( I know how to ) that qualifies.

    The Tax Credit up to 30,000 over the life of your fixed safe loan is another shelf type program. Only certain types of buyers qualifiy for this loan ( a large percentage of the public would ) and it can be used on almost any type of home.

    If you work with someone who has their finger on the market  - you can get a deal your friends wouldn't have imagined could exist.

  • John Ross Building - A Symbol of the Current Portland Condo Market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Portland  |  June 7, 2010 10:24 AM  |  644 views  |  2 comments

    The John Ross building is the symbol of the Portland housing bubble and its collapse.  One bedroom Units sold for 399,000 in 2005 can now be had for less than 200k, at a loss of over 50% in value in just 5 years.

    This April there was a huge auction that successfully sold the majority of available units.  There are only 10 or so left for sale.

    Bottom line: If you bought a condo in the last 5 years, my condolences.  However, condos have never been more affordable in Portland, even up to the most upscale and desirable of locations.  The leftovers are still here at rock bottom prices.

  • Should I get professional photographs for my home?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Portland  |  June 4, 2010 11:04 AM  |  273 views  |  2 comments
    As an Agent, I believe I take great photographs for my clients and have even taken some classes to enhance my skills.

    I always offer professional photography services to all my listing clients.


    Right now, there is nothing more important in selling your home than its online exposure.  I know sell more homes through the internet than even my local MLS (Realtor's source).  I pay to feature my homes (on Trulia and more) so they show up first in search results - and it makes all the difference.   

    Photographs are the most impacting part of your online presentation.

    I take great photographs, but I cannot compete with professional photographers who have the extensive education and experience to really make your house shine.  On top of it all - they are relatively inexpensive.  The best photography company in Portland is only $100 per house.

    I'm amazed at how many people will quickly drop a thousand or thousands off the price of their home, but at the same time, would never consider spending $100 to drastically help their home sell.

    Should I get professional photographs for my home?  Yes, for most houses in average or above average condition - yes.

  • April 2010 Housing Market Report. How did the $8,000 credit die?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Portland  |  May 29, 2010 2:23 PM  |  290 views  |  No comments
    We all know the first time (and repeat) home buyer's credit ended in April 2010.

    Was April 2010 a historic month for home sales?  Did the dying of the credit spur on countless fervent buyers?


    Statistics did improve in April from May, but not by much.  Homes in March averaged 7.8 months to sell.  Homes in April averaged 7.3 months to sell.  Months to sell determines whether or not we are in a buyer's or seller's market.  A seller's market is at 1 to 3 months.  A buyers market is at 5 and up.  

    Also, April sales are seasonally better than March sales year after year, regardless of this unusual promotion.

    In my opinion, the tax credit died with a silent gasp, not a loud explosion. 

    May statistics should be a good temperature gage for how the rest of the summer will turn out.

    Stephen Fitzmaurice, Realtor
  • Needed Advice on How to Short Sale and SELL.

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Portland  |  April 26, 2010 2:14 PM  |  269 views  |  No comments
    Home buyers avoid short sales.  Banks don't want to respond.  Short sales can be hard and messy.

    Without good advice and good information, most don't succeed.

    First of all, people need to know a short sale will ALWAYS hurt your credit.
    Second, you could end up owning the bank AFTER the short sale is complete.  
    Third, a short sale is not always possible.  If you are underwater more than 20% of the current market value - in general the bank WILL foreclose on you and WON'T accept the short sale.

    Here is the good news:

    Your credit can recover.
    You can make absolutely sure you owe the bank NOTHING after the short sale is complete.
    If you are less than 20% underwater compared to the current market value, it is likely a short sale WILL succeed and SELL quickly.

    I and my bank negotiator form a team that ensures you are able to sell and will owe the bank nothing once it is completed.

  • Scorching Hot Portland Foreclosure Market

    Posted Under: Foreclosure in Portland  |  April 9, 2010 10:37 AM  |  254 views  |  No comments
    Under 130k

    The property showed up at 8:05am on a Thursday morning, east of Reed college.  Twenty hours later I put in an offer with my client, the sixth offer the bank had recieved so far.  In a total of three days the bank collected a total of 17 offers, all cash.

    Are there forclosure deals out there - yes!  Can the average home buyer purchase a home in a hot part of town for under 130k - no - because they don't have that much liquid cash.

    Over 130k

    I put in an offer at 170k for a foreclosed 3 bedroom ranch in good condition in Portland with a half-acre lot and closed in 30 days with an FHA loan.  

    Bottom line: if you are an averge home buyer, don't expect miracles, but do expect your absolute best deal to be a foreclosed home.  Also, expect to use a foreclosure Realtor because many foreclosed properties are not publically available online.

    Happy Hunting,
    Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor

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