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Hidden Dangers of Investing in Real Estate - Vancouver, Wa. - 07/31/08 10:58 AM
The Dangers of Investing in Real Estate - Vancouver, Wa. Real estate investing can be a dangerous game. Real estate markets rise and real estate markets fall. Any of the professional real estate investors will tell you that it is impossible to "Time" any market. Interest rates climb quickly and drop slowly. Deals close and deals fall apart. Real estate investing is like a real life puzzle in which you are constantly over coming roadblocks and dodging pitfalls. Janice and I have been active investors for several years now. It started out as a weekend method of reinforcing our retirement and (2 comments)
Green vs. Sustainable - What's the difference? - 07/30/08 12:03 AM
As a real estate agent here in Vancouver , Washington, I often get this question: What is the difference between Green Building and Sustainable Building? Here is the answer as defined by Earth Advantage in Portland, Oregon: Green usually refers to a product or practice that requires less resources and has fewer negative impacts on the environment than its conventional counterpart. Sustainable in its strictest sense is a higher standard than green and refers to a product or practice that is forever renewable and has no harmful impacts on the environment or the people that provide or manufacture it.
Photo: noticias-tic (3 comments)
Tips for "Green Curious" Clients - WE are the Teachers! - 07/28/08 06:07 PM
As members of the real estate community, we find ourselves responsible for educating most of the population on Green building practices. The simple fact is that most people don't give a whole lot of thought to green or sustainable building until they start their search for a new home. There is a good chance they will be with a realtor when they start that search. Here are a few tips that I have learned while working with clients who are curious about "that whole Green Building thing." Please note that in this post I am not addressing clients who may already (5 comments)
ECO-Terrorism in Vancouver, Washington? - 07/28/08 11:24 AM
ECO-Terrorism in Vancouver, Washington?I found this yesterday on the side of a new home being built here in Vancouver, Washington. While I applaud the message, I can't condone the method. Also, I can't help but wonder if the culprit used low VOC paint with a HVLP sprayer to minimize any unnecessary pollution during the caper! Before any of you start accusing Vancouver, Washington's first "Green Certified" real estate agent (me!), no, I didn't do it and you can't prove anything anyhow! Just kidding! Stay GREEN!
Mark VS. The Deer - AKA The WAR of the Roses in Vancouver, Washington - 07/27/08 07:01 PM
Mark VS. The Deer - AKA The WAR of the Roses in Vancouver, Washington As a real estate agent here in Vancouver, Washington writing a Real Estate Blog, most people would expect me to blab on and on exclusively about real estate, real estate trends, and real estate related topics here in Vancouver, Washington. Of course, if you were to talk to my family and friends, they would be happy to tell you that I would never be able to stay focused that long and before too long I would wander off in search of shiny objects that have caught my (7 comments)
Foreclosure Rather Than Short Sale? - 07/27/08 12:50 PM
Janice and I went on a listing appointment last week with a past client of ours who is needing to sell her home. She has been there for about 2 years and the ARM on her Vancouver, Washington home is adjusting soon. The new rate will be out of range for her and she is thinking about selling the home before she gets in too deep. Of course, our first priority was to see if there was a way to help her keep her home. We put her in touch with our preferred Vancouver, Washington lender, but with the current rates, (7 comments)
How Not Using an Agent COST Buyers More Than $10,000 in Vancouver, Washington! - 07/26/08 11:06 AM
On a follow up call with a mortgage banker friend of mine the other day in Vancouver, Washington, I asked him about a couple who he had referred me to a month or so back. To protect their identities, I will just call them the Jones family. At the time, they were in search of a new home in the Vancouver, Washington area. They did the right thing and contacted a lender (my buddy) to find out how much they would qualify to borrow and to get pre approved before they started their search. He learned that they didn't have a (2 comments)
The World’s Cheapest Marketing - 07/23/08 07:17 PM
When I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10 years old, there was an old timer in my neighborhood who would wave at everyone he passed on the street. I remember it as if it were yesterday; a powder blue late model Dodge, stock hubcaps, and the driver's window always rolled down. If he was passing a group of us kids he always flashed us the, ever so cool, "peace sign." We would always laugh and we would always wave back. I remember seeing him year after year until I grew to be an adult and finally moved away. One day (14 comments)
The Difference Between Mortgage Banks and Brokers - 07/22/08 05:36 PM
Most people here in Vancouver, Washington are not aware that there exist 3 major sources for getting a mortgage on their new home: 1) Retail Banks 2) Mortgage Brokers 3) Mortgage Banks There are distinctions for each and you should know these before you start shopping for a home loan. With rates rising, it's very important that you have the best mortgage source available as you look to buy Vancouver, Wa. real estate. Here are the differences: Retail Banks - When you purchase a new car, do you expect to pay the lowest price by walking off the street into a (0 comments)
June Market Report for Clark County, Washington - 07/21/08 05:33 PM
Residential Highlights for June According to RMLS Market Action Report, June's sales numbers indicate a 33.9% decrease in closed sales when comparing this year to June 2007. Pending sales have also dropped 36.8%. Surprisingly, new listings dropped 13.7%. At the month's rate of sales, the current listings (approx. 5276) would last on the market about 12.6 months. That number remains the same as May 2008. Second Quarter The activity in the 2nd quarter shows a 33% decrease in pending sales (1,342 vs 2,004) when compared to the 2nd quarter of 2007. Closed sales also dropped by 32.6%. New listings for the (0 comments)
Active Rain? Outside Blog? My personal blog? Need SEO HELP - 07/21/08 10:38 AM
I have a question for you all regarding the use of an Active Rain blog, an outside blog, and a personal blog. I have all three. What is your opinion on SEO strategies for this type of situation? My Active Rain account has climbed through the google ranks fairly quickly for my key words. My AR outside blog is fairly new, maybe a week or so, but hasn't made it into the first 30 pages. My personal blog, which I use to give my website the google juice, has been moving up in the rank. I can't help but think that (2 comments)
The Power of Pictures - How to Sell More Homes with Visual Tours - 07/20/08 07:23 PM
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Is it worth a thousand dollars? Ten thousand dollars? More?There was a time here in Vancouver, Washington, when the MLS system was a Xeroxed book that was distributed to the real estate brokers every week. Realtors would comb through the listings trying to match their clients' needs with the latest batch of homes to hit the market. If there were any pictures at all, they were a 3rd generation copy of the outside of the home. Real estate in Vancouver, Washington was a business of driving to and touring houses. Buyers (4 comments)
What is a Green House? - 07/18/08 10:15 PM
Being a real estate agent here in Vancouver, Washington, I have had an increasing number of clients ask me," exactly what is a green home.?" My definition (actually my 15 second elevator speech) is as follows: A green home is a home that minimizes its use of outside energy, minimizes the pollution that it expels, while maximizing the comfort, health, safety, and wellbeing of its inhabitants. Ultimately it is better for you, better for the earth, and better for your wallet. So that is the opinion of just one real estate agent (me!) who is interested in eco-friendly building and living. How do (31 comments)
How is the Green Movement Affecting Real Estate in Vancouver, Washington? - 07/17/08 04:44 PM
Sadly, I have to report that it is barely moving at all. I am one of only ten agents in all of Washington to be certified by Earth Advantage as a "Green Realtor." There are several hundred certified agents working in the Portland market. We are certainly being overshadowed by our Oregon cousins but all is not lost. The Building Industry Association of Clark County has been embracing green building ideas for more than a year now. This year's Parade of Homes in Vancouver, Washington's Felida neighborhood will feature a special tent dedicated to green building techniques. While the homes that (2 comments)
I WAS Going To Rant. But Now I'm Not! - 07/16/08 05:57 PM
Let me tell you! I was ready to rant today. I needed gas in the car and I was driving down a street in Vancouver, Washington, that has a Chevron on one side of the street and an Arco on the other. At a glance, I could see that Arco was 2 cents cheaper so I pulled up to the pump. I know that Arco cuts costs by not accepting credit cards so I pulled out my trusty ATM card in inserted it. Guess what? They now charge a $.50 surcharge to use an ATM card! My gas now cost me (8 comments)
Read The Fine Print! Gov. Loan Re Evaluates Qualifications Every Two Years! - 07/16/08 05:08 PM
I just hung up the phone with a past client of ours who called me in a very panicked state of mind. She had just received a letter from her lender telling her that she no longer qualifies for the loan program that they put her in two years ago? Her rate is adjusting, her payments are going to increase by a little less than $500 per month, and the payment with the first increase is due in 9 days! She was a first time buyer and we helped her buy her first home about two years ago. At the time, (3 comments)
Are New Homes Getting Smaller? - 07/15/08 01:55 PM
I was asked during my weekly meeting with a local custom home builder here in Vancouver, Washington, my opinion as to whether or not new home buying trends were pointing towards smaller homes in the future. I hate it when I do this, but my answer started with, "It depends..." My experience is that it is a very rare event to have anyone walk into a home, look around, and say, "Oh no, this is waaaaaay to big." I have had a few empty nesters who have let me know early in the buyer's interview that they are not interested in (1 comments)
Why You Should Own Your Own Home - 07/15/08 09:24 AM
An acquaintance of ours just called me on the phone to discuss investing in real estate. He and his wife have been reading up on the subject and have decided that the market is right for them to jump in and make a few investments. They are primarily looking for rental properties as long term investments but will consider other opportunities if they pencil out. Single family residences will be their primary target but they are open to multi family situations as well. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "These guys have really done their homework." I asked about pre approvals and (1 comments)
Waiting to Buy Your New Home May be a Big Mistake! - 07/14/08 01:19 PM
Here is a qick note from my friend Anthony at First Horizon regarding the risks involved with buying that dream home that you have been looking. Trying to time the market can be a dangerous game. The biggest risk for today's home buyers is interest rates not price depreciation. Yes, home prices are under pressure and there is inventory in the market, but waiting to define a "bottom" in a real estate downturn that is 24 months old and where prices have already adjusted, is very difficult. The bigger issue and real risk to buyers are interest rates. A sudden rise (0 comments)
Are First Time Buyers Leading the Market? - 07/14/08 10:07 AM
I just read some interesting information regarding our current market: According to househunters.com, first-time home buyers led the way during April, May and June; buying up an estimated 54 percent of existing homes purchases! And why not? First time buyers are in the perfect position to take advantage of the high inventory and bargain prices. They don't have another home to sell so their contracts aren't contingent on another sale. They are generally very flexible which enables them to offer terms which are attractive to sellers and makes it possible for us to negotiate a killer deal for them. I wish (4 comments)
Owners Survive Haunted House Experience! - 07/13/08 07:01 PM
A week or so back, I wrote about some clients who purchased a haunted house. http://www.activerain.com/blogsview/577956/Should-I-Charge-a At the prompting of some of our ActiveRain members, I followed up with them this morning. I am happy to report that they are still alive. When asked about any paranormal activity, Mr.s Buyer shared that the kids have made claims of hearing voices but nothing has been confirmed by an adult. At least not a "living" adult. However, she did tell me about a questionable experience that happened the second night in the house: The family was airing out the house as it had (6 comments)
The Power of Flowers Pt. 2 - 07/13/08 06:08 PM
The Power of Flowers Pt. 2 Our Vancouver, Washington, real estate careers started when Janice bought our first investment property. We were just a few blocks away from our house in Felida when we stumbled across a mid ‘70's split for sale that seemed to be way too cheap for the neighborhood. After touring the home, we went home to crunch some numbers and submitted an offer the next day. After some negotiation, the offer was accepted and about 30 days later we were the proud owners of our first rental property. Now it was time for the fun part, the (3 comments)
Certified Negotiation Expert - Vancouver Washington Real Estate - 07/09/08 11:11 PM
Early last year Washington Association or Realtors approved a new accreditation for realtors called a Certified Negotiation Expert or a CNE. I immediately signed up for the first available class. To be clear about this, I didn't take the course to be able to add more sets of letter to my business card and I didn't take it to have them add my link to their website. There are a lot of agents out there who will take most any course just to be able to add it to their stack of certificates. I tend to swim against the stream when (1 comments)
Do You Take Technology for Granted? - 07/09/08 02:51 PM
Isn't it strange how much we take technology for granted? Today we had a black out in my neighborhood. (Vancouver, Washington) I was surprised when it happened but then I gathered my thoughts and figured that I would push on through. I mean man has lived on the earth for many centuries without electricity. Right? Right! But those men weren't realtors. And those men didn't have cordless phones or computers with email, or air conditioners, or fax machines, or... I am sure that you get it by now. I am a big baby! Even babies can learn and here are a (5 comments)
When is a Non Occupied Home, Occupied? Vancouver, Washington Real Estate - 07/08/08 10:05 PM
Washington State has recently made changes to laws surrounding the topic of "Distressed Properties." Actually the law applies to "Distressed Owners" more than homes. In a nut shell, a distressed property is a property in which the owner is, or will be, behind in payments. One of the primary criteria in determining whether a property qualifies as a distressed property is whether or not the owner occupies the home as their primary property. The term "Owner Occupied" has prompted the following question to our legal council. Please be advised before you continue to read that this is posted in an effort (5 comments)
New Home Construction Report - Clark County, Washington - 07/07/08 07:41 PM
I just read a report regarding new home building in Clark County, Washington. The Columbian is reporting another weak month for building and new home sales with only 55 permits pulled in June, but what I found to be amazing how poor that is compared to the past 3 years: Year over year for June2008 552007 1502006 1542005 2362004 57 June is usually the hot month for builders but I am sure that our current sales inventory is weighing heavily on their minds. Rising interest rates are certainly another concern as they start new projects. According to the most recent report (1 comments)
Mortgage Brokers. Aren't they all the same? - 07/07/08 09:57 AM
Our buyer's agent closed a deal a few weeks back for a young family buying their first home. As with all of our buyers, the first visit was a sit down in our office to get our buyer's agreement signed, to verify financing, and of course to find out exactly what their "dream home" should look like. When we reached the financial portion of the questionnaire, we asked whether or not the young couple had secured financing. Their response was that Mr. Buyer worked at a local credit union and that they were already pre approved up to $275,000. I asked (7 comments)
Green Living in Vancouver, Washington - 07/06/08 04:11 PM
As one of only ten Earth Advantage certified real estate agents here in Clark County (actually there are only ten of us in the state of Washington) it is be safe to say that I have a passion for green building, green living, and ideas that foster a more ecologically responsible way of living. I have spent a great deal of time and money educating myself on what green living is and I have put a lot of effort into finding ways to can make it easier for average families to lead greener lives. As I travel farther down the path (1 comments)
Would you continue to do business with this inspector? - 07/06/08 11:04 AM
Would you continue to do business with this inspector? About two years ago Janice and I sold a house to a client in Vancouver, Washington. I met the buyer at a model home in a sub division that we had listed. The new homes were a bit out of his price range but he had found a home that he liked about three blocks away. We view it that day along with a few others that I pulled from the MLS. He liked his original choice the best and one thing led to another until we were signed around and headed (12 comments)
Selling Your Home? Think Like a Buyer! Selling Homes in Vancouver WA - 07/04/08 02:00 PM
As the seller, you can control three factors that will affect the sale of your home: * The home''s condition* Asking price* Marketing strategyHowever, it''s important to note that there are numerous other factors that influence a buyer, and you need to understand these consumer trends when you enter the sellers'' market. The more your home matches these qualifications, the more competitive it will be in the marketplace. We can advise you on how to best position and market your home to overcome any perceived downsides. LocationUnfortunately, the most influential factor in determining your home''s appeal to buyers is something you (0 comments)
I think it will be a good day - 07/04/08 11:32 AM
Not much time to write this morning. I am headed out the door to meet some new leads. I think that today will be a good day for real estate in Vancouver, Washington. It is the Fourth of July and forecasts show that it should be bright and sunny. Most folks have the day off. Generally, people are in a good mood on days like today. Scooting around town, planning picnics and barbeques. There are already people out walking the neighborhood and riding bikes. It should be a great open house day. People are wandering the neighborhood without very much to (0 comments)
Should I Charge a Premium for Selling Haunted Houses? O.K. I have to admit it. I saw a blog by Angela Byrne regarding haunted houses and it reminded me of a deal that Janice and I just closed two weeks ago. I can't believe that I haven't blogged about it before! Our buyer's agent, Shawna, had been helping a friend of hers find a fairly unusual home for our current Vancouver, Washington market. She was looking for a 5 to 6 bedroom house 3 to 4 bathrooms with a sensible floor plan. Size was not a huge concern but a (4 comments)
Are Open Houses a Waste of Time? Homes For Sale in Vancouver WA - 07/03/08 04:23 PM
Are Open Houses a Waste of Time? I get quite a bit of feedback from other agents complaining that open houses are a waste of time. They will tell me that they don't know about the real estate market in Vancouver, Washington, but in THEIR market nobody ever shows up to open houses. My answer is always the same, "I agree. A lot of open houses are a waste of time!" I will keep this brief, but fist I will give you some context behind my remarks. As I write this, at 1:25 p.m. pacific time, I am sitting in an (7 comments)
The Power of Flowers - Pt. 1 - 07/02/08 11:26 AM
The Power of Flowers About ten years ago I was living in Redondo Beach, California and I had put my small bungalow up for sale. It was about 1100 sq. feet on an oversized lot for the area, about 12,000 sq. feet, with a panoramic view from Los Angeles to Malibu. The little 1947 home was in perfect restored condition right down to the original kitchen tile, antique cast iron gas stove (Edgewood?), and beautifully refinished hardwood floors. It was priced competitively for the time at $475,000. I wasn't a real estate agent at the time. I used a close friend (1 comments)
Open House - The Key to Building Your Database - 07/01/08 07:30 PM
Open House - The Key to Building Your Database One of the classes that I teach for our Keller Williams office is called The Secrets to a Successful Open House. Many new agents struggle with open houses. More often than not, their challenge is in the area of getting visitors to give them personal information and permission to follow up. That will be the basis for today's blog. How do you get people to give you their personal information? When I first got into the real estate business, I was lucky enough to have met an agent in our office who (6 comments)
Mark and Janice Hall of Elite Realty NW lead a dedicated team of real estate agents in the Vancouver Washington area. Each one passionate about providing the highest quality customer service. Each is focused on getting you into the Vancouver Washington home of your dreams.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.