Before you Buy a Home: 8 Steps to Getting your Finances in Order

We encourage potential homebuyers to get their financial homes in order before purchasing.

1. Develop a family budget. Instead of budgeting what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget for what you actually spent over the last six months. One advantage of this approach is that it factors in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, illnesses, etc., as well as predictable costs such as rent. Print a Basic Budget worksheet.

2. Reduce your debt. Generally speaking, lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. Since this figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 percent and 28 percent of income, you need to get the rest of installment debt-car loans, student loans, revolving balances on credit cards-down to between 8 percent and 10 percent of your total income.

3. Get a handle on expenses. You probably know how much you spend on rent and utilities, but little expenses add up. Try writing down everything you spend for one month. For instance, if you had spent some amount of money in the previous month for removing dents from your car (perhaps with the help of firms like RJ Don Panelbeaters–reputed providers of courtesy cars for bodyshops), then it would be a good idea to document the expenditure correctly. Going forward, this can help you monitor your monthly expenses and understand how they can vary depending on your different needs. Moreover, this will also enable you to find some great ways to save. Additionally, do not forget to include life insurance within your budget plan, you can get great insurance from places like Globelife to organizing everything before you even move in.

4. Increase your income. It may be necessary to take on a second, part-time job to get your income at a high-enough level to qualify for the home you want.

5. Save for a downpayment. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with only 5 percent down-or even less in some cases-you can usually get a better rate and a lower overall cost if you put down more. Shoot for saving a 20 percent downpayment.

6. Cost of living. Don’t just plan on saving whatever’s left toward a downpayment. Instead, decide on a certain amount a month you want to save, then put it away as you pay your monthly bills. In order to do this effectively, you will need to know the cost of living in the area where you want to buy a house. The cost of living can vary from city to city, or even from town to town. Comparing the cost of living in your new home with where you currently reside (using resources available at, you can determine what your expenses will be like and plan accordingly.

7. Keep your job. While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.

8. Establish a good credit history. Get a credit card and make payments by the due date. Do the same for all your other bills. Pay off the entire balance promptly.

For more helpful resources, visit our Resource Center on the Bella Casa website.

The Market is Open Sundays too!

May 29th & 30th

New Vendors This Weekend: Two Forty Wineworks, Hess Creek Farms (beef), Growing Wild Farm

Entertainment: Larry Brown with accoustical folk, playing Saturday.Want to come entertain us? Email us…we’re always looking for local talent in the form of visual entertainment and music.

The Kids Barnyard: Paint great little welcome signs on recycled barn wood. All Ages – All Day. Kids activities are offered every week and are always Free.

Protect Oregon Homes from New Oregon Transfer Tax

How would you like to see a ‘sales tax’ when you sell your home, which could be as high as 6% like it is in Seattle?

What is a Real Estate Transfer Tax?

A real estate transfer tax is a sales tax on your property. It is imposed by state or local government and collected when you transfer ownership of your home, land, or commercial real estate. It is a form of double taxation that lowers homeowner equity, negatively impacts the process of buying and selling a home, and unfairly targets property owners and lower income residents alike. Typically, once the tax is initiated, the rate can be increased by the state, county or city at any time.

Why are we opposed to a Real Estate Transfer Tax?

Double Taxation. As a resident of Oregon, you already pay taxes on your property based on a portion of your property’s assessed value. This new tax would impose a second tax on your home or property at the point-of-sale.

Loss of Equity. Since a transfer tax would be assessed against the value of your property including the amount you owe on your mortgage(s), the overall equity earned by the seller would decrease.

Damage to the Real Estate Market. Oregon’s housing market is in crisis. The overall higher costs of a transfer tax would only make it more difficult to initiate a successful sale. It would also negatively impact the commercial real estate business and efforts to stimulate our struggling economy.

Punishment of Homeowners. People who move from one house to another should not be punished while others choose not to move. In fact, this is considered discriminatory and harms access to the “American Dream” of home ownership.

An Unfair Impact on Lower-Income Oregon Residents. A real estate transfer tax would impose a higher tax burden on lower income households that typically spend a larger percentage of their income on their home.

This is serious stuff people!

Get involved, protect your home equity, and protect Oregon’s economy!

Memorial Day Weekend Events & Wine Tasting

Memorial Weekend Boat Races

Newberg Boat Club and Columbia Racing Association are happy to announce their 62nd Memorial Weekend Boat Races to be held on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30, 2010 at Rogers Landing Park, located at the south end of River Street in Newberg.  The Newberg Boat Club snack stand will be open for breakfast and lunch on both days.

This is a FREE event to the public with a small donation being welcomed by the Venture Crew for parking at the top of the hill. A shuttle van donated by Loren Berg Chevrolet will be available. For more information please call (503) 649-4064.

Memorial Day Weekend Wine Tasting at Press Wine Bar

Enjoy the most anticipated weekend of the season and taste wines from our talented local wine producers from noon-5 pm at Press Wine Bar tasting room as they present the 2010 Local Winemaker’s Showcase. $15 tasting fee will get you into the showcase featuring five wine producers from our region: deLancellotti Family Vineyards, Arterberry Maresh, Merriman Wines, Crowley Wines and Coattails Winery. Visit Press Wine Bar online for details or call 503-538-7989.

Memorial Day Tasting at The Four Graces

Wine tasting at The Four Graces, 9605 NE Fox Farm Road, Dundee from 10am-5pm. Cost: $15 for wine tasting and appetizers. Free for Club Members and up to 4 guests. Enjoy delicious appetizers from Silver Spoon Catering and try our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008 for the first time. Call Jason at 503-554-8000 or visit The Four Graces online for more information.

Coelho Winery 2008 Vintage Release Party

Coelho wines reflect our family’s Portuguese heritage and our spirit. Join us Memorial Day weekend for Coelho Winery’s 2008 Vintage Release. Open daily 11 am-5 pm. $10 tasting includes appetizers. Live Music Monday at 2 pm – celebrate our newest vintage with The Vintage Voices Jazz. 111 5th Street, Amity 503-835-9305

Memorial Day Weekend with Hip Chicks

Heading to beautiful Oregon wine country for Memorial Day Weekend? Make plans to stop in to the Hip Chicks Do Wine Tasting Room in downtown Newberg. They will be featuring a tasting of 15 wines and appetizers all weekend. $15 admission price includes a free logo glass, all wine tastes and food. Memorial Day Weekend hours are: Friday, May 28, Saturday, May 29, Sunday May 30, and Monday, May 31, noon – 7:00 P.M.

The Skinny on Short Sales

A short sale is when a home is sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage for the home. This occurs when the bank agrees to take less than the full amount due on the mortgage.

A seller does not have to be behind on a home loan to seek a short sale. If sellers wish to pursue a short sale, they must owe more than what the home is worth, demonstrate the house cannot be sold for the amount owed, and suffer from a legitimate financial hardship that makes the mortgage unaffordable.

Continue reading “The Skinny on Short Sales”

How to get Rid of Flies

Any insect infestation is frustrating and unpleasant but flies have their own particular brand of annoying. They’re noisy with all that buzzing and they seem to invite their friends over to the party. In short, not fun to have around! Use the cleaning tips below to help detract flies from hanging out around your house.

Perhaps the easiest way to prevent flies from coming to visit you in the first place is to keep food put away and the kitchen trash can closed. Flies love garbage! You can use biodegradable garbage bags (click here to know about biodegradable garbage bags on to keep away flies from the kitchen trash box. With these bags, you may be able to dispose of your garbage more easily and contribute to environmental protection. A little Borax in the bottom of a cleaned and dried trash can will act as an additional repellant.

Two other great fly repellants are citrus and cloves. If you want to create a delicious aroma in your house while purging it of flies, you can take an orange and push whole cloves into the rind, making your house smell like Christmas! You may want to wear gloves as the cloves are sharp. You can also simply scratch the rind of an orange and leave it out by itself or place a bunch of whole cloves near the problem area.

Having a mint and basil mini-garden on your windowsill is an additional way to repel your buzzing friends. Keep them watered well to produce a stronger aroma. If you don’t want to clutter your windowsill, you can crush some dried basil and mint leaves and put them in a small bag near the trouble area. Additionally, you could also have installations similar to FlyScreen Doors Melbourne at your home, so that you leave no way for pesky flies to enter your home!

Fly paper may not be very attractive but it is effective. And always keep a fly swatter in the kitchen or pantry to get those rogue flies that slip through the cracks.

Article Source: Home Staging Channel

Tax Credit Still Available for Military Members

Members of the U.S. military, Foreign Service and intelligence communities have another year to purchase a home and claim the home buyer tax credit.

Any service member who is or has been on extended duty for 90 days or more between Jan. 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010, has until April 30, 2011, to sign a sales contract and until June 30, 2011, to close on the property. Both the $8,000 first-time and the $6,500 repeat home buyer tax credits are included in the extension.

The rule that requires buyers to repay the credit if they move out of their home within three years has also been waived for qualified service members if they receive government orders to move.

Special thanks to Kevin Kenagy for providing this information.

Kevin Kenagy, Senior Loan Officer
Hyperiod Capital Group Retail
4640 SW Macadam Ave. Ste. 260
Portland, OR 97239-4232
Direct: 503-313-9072
Fax: 503-595-9330
NMLS ID: 211691

Mortgage Rates at New 2010 Lows

Stocks sold off last week which led to a “flight to safety” rally in Treasuries leading mortgage-backed security prices to new highs of the year. This allowed lenders to improve mortgage rates. We actually saw some lenders offering 4.75% at no points.

Reports from fellow mortgage professionals indicate lenders have lowered consumer borrowing costs. The par 30 year conventional rate mortgage remains in the 4.75% to 5.00% range for well qualified consumers. To secure a par interest rate on a conventional mortgage you must have a FICO credit score of 740 or higher, a loan to value at 80% or less and pay all closing costs including an estimated one point loan origination/discount/broker fee. You can always elect to pay less in closing costs but you will have to accept a higher interest rate. This is a great option for home owners or home buyers that do not plan on keeping their home for more than 3 years. Continue reading “Mortgage Rates at New 2010 Lows”

What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-Through

It’s guaranteed to be hectic right before closing, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Ideally, the sellers already have moved out. This is your last chance to check that appliances are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a detailed list of what not to overlook for on your final walk-through.

Confirm that appliances are in working order.
Typically drapery rods mounted to the wall stay with the home.

Make sure that:

  • Repairs you’ve requested have been made. Obtain copies of paid bills and warranties.
  • There are no major changes to the property since you last viewed it.
  • All items that were included in the sale price — draperies, lighting fixtures, etc. — are still there.
  • Screens and storm windows are in place or stored.
  • All appliances are operating, such as the dishwasher, washer and dryer, oven, etc.
  • Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.
  • Hot water heater is working.
  • No plants or shrubs have been removed from the yard.
  • Heating and air conditioning system is working
  • Garage door opener and other remotes are available.
  • Instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures are available.
  • All personal items of the sellers and all debris have been removed. Check the basement, attic, and every room, closet, and crawlspace.