Friday, October 26, 2012

Darn those leaves? Maybe not.

This time of year, many of us grumble about falling leaves and the work they cause for us; raking, clogged gutters, slippery sidewalks and so on.  Add that to falling limbs, their wear on sidewalks and one might just as soon get rid of trees.

But not so fast.  We all know trees provide clean air, shade for cooler streets and home in summer, habitat and more.  Some of us just plain feel better with trees around; enjoying the sound of wind in the leaves, the dappled shadows they cast and the smell of wet fall leaves.  I know, I know all that touchy feely stuff.

Recently, Money Magazine ran an article entitled, Trim the Risk of Tree Ownership.  My seldom seen pessimistic side jumped to the conclusion that this money focused magazine would suggest getting rid of trees to minimize risk and hassle.  My active mind went pretty far down that road.  I was delighted, upon reading the article, to see it reference the perceived 8-10% contribution to your home's value those trees may add. Here is a bit from the Arbor Day Foundation about the value of trees.

Indeed, there are times when trees need to be removed  and there are things to do to minimize the risk and hassle of trees.  We have a huge and ancient cherry tree in the back yard of our old house(now a rental).  We have babied it for years, having professional work done to extend its life.  But this spring and summer  about half the tree didn't leaf out :(  Should this tree fall, no matter what direction, it will do damage to a house, and quite possibly not ours.  Time to go.  We're glad to have a pretty good sized cedar in the yard  that "volunteered" a few years ago.

Trees are good, even the money people think so.  Now, I'm off to go do some raking.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall is for buying (and planting)

The RMLS just released the statistics for the month of September, and they reflect what we've been seeing in my office. We continue to see increases in activity; the amount of pending and closed sales.  There were 10.6% more accepted offers in September 2012 than in September 2011. Though we are seeing a bit of seasonal slowing with 13.8% fewer pending sales, in September 2012 than in August 2012. Similarly, closed sales were up 19.4% in September 2012 when compared to September  2011, but down  18.0% from August 2012.

Prices continue to show gains.  The median year to date sales price rose 3.8% when comparing September 2012 to September 2011; $230,420 compared with a median year to date sales price of $222,000 in 2011. 

Inventory, the number of homes available on the market, is bumping along, slightly higher in September 2012 at 4.6 months than August's low of 3.9 months.  That is, at our current rate of sales, it would take 4.6 months to sell all available properties.  This is still quite low, with a balanced market thought to be somewhere around 6 months. We continue to see multiple offers and very short market times for well priced properties in good condition.

So far in October, we are seeing the predicted seasonal slowing.  Indeed, most of my current buyer clients right now are investors. Still reasonable prices, low interest rates, Portland's low vacancy rates and dismal investment returns from other investment vehicles, make buying that rental house or plex kind of attractive. In addition, buyers who REALLY want to be in their new homes by Christmas are pretty motivated too.

I'd be glad to talk with you about what is happening in your neighborhood.  Give me a call at 503-312-8038 or email me at

Read the full RMLS market report.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Then do it for the dog.

I have REALLY been having trouble getting the exercise thing together. There have been many years of my life where I was a good, regular, devoted exerciser. For the past few years, this has not been the case.  I attempt to use the"time" excuse, but can easily find time for other commitments (they must be a higher priority).

So eight weeks ago, one of my dogs had cruciate ligament surgery (TPLO). I won't go into the gory details, but she was then confined to a crate for eight weeks (but for going potty), and has now been freed and is on an exercise regime; several 10 minute walks a days (as in 4-6), increasing by five minutes every two weeks, for another eight weeks.  Okay, so this is just day six of the first week, and the weather is lovely.  But I am having NO trouble finding the time to take Mollie on these walks, and oh yes, I happen to be getting a bit of exercise myself.  Indeed, getting home during the day for these walks takes far more time than the walks themselves.

And if you were to design a program to get someone back exercising, wouldn't it look a whole lot like this; starting small and regular, with gradual increases? hmm.  I'm glad to have found the motivation, but am a bit disappointed not to have found it within myself.

In Mollie's case, the exercise will actually stimulate bone growth so it can fill in where it is needed; pretty essential stuff. In my case, well, we all know the of benefits of exercise and how that list grows as we age.

After having been crated for eight weeks, Mollie's stamina isn't what it had been. So after five ten minute walks yesterday. She was beat.  A tired dog is a good dog.  I'm not  beat, but can certainly tell that I've been moving more than usual.

Thanks Mollie!