Nationwide Open House Weekend April 10-11

Yamhill County! Now is the Time to Buy!

Thinking of buying a home? Your options are many! Take a look at the possibilities April 10-11 during the Nationwide Open House Weekend. The timing of this event is perfect for last minute home shoppers looking to benefit from the tax credit that expires at the end of April. See list of OPEN HOUSES.

What is the Nationwide Open House Weekend?
REALTORS® around the nation will be holding open houses on the weekend of April 10 and 11, 2010 during REALTOR® Nationwide Open House Weekend!  Many people who have listed their home for sale will open their doors for you to tour. Look for the REALTOR® balloons.


How is this weekend different than any other weekend in April?
This is an incredible opportunity for consumers to shop for a new home while:
•   Interest rates are still low
•   Home prices are lower
•   The variety of home choices available
•   The Expanded First-time Homebuyers Federal Tax Credit is still available.
Eventually, home prices and interest rates will climb, inventory will become scarce and the tax credit will be gone. So get out and visit all the open houses in Yamhill County on April 10-11. After all, one of the open houses you visit may be the one you’ve been looking for.

Learn More About the Home Buyer Tax Credit
Take advantage of the Home Buyer Tax Credit which expires April 30, 2010. The Tax Credit grants up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers until April 30, 2010 and up to $6,500 to current qualifying home owners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Click here to learn more!

Top 5 Responsibilities of your Listing Agent

The first responsibility of your Listing Agent for getting your property sold is to Price your Property Properly.

Pricing is not about what the seller needs or wants for the property, nor is it about one’s intuition or the impression the home gives. Pricing is about hard-core research data obtained from comparable sold properties (real value), and then strategically assessing the competition to achieve the seller’s goals. There is no responsibility more important than this. An honest Realtor® will still occasionally be corrected by the marketplace (that keeps us humble) but no Realtor® can pull-one-over on the marketplace. The market is the most powerful force; no one controls it.

We have a saying that the listing agent begins as a hero in the eyes of the seller (great expectations!), but it goes downhill from there, sometimes way down because the end result is less than the dream. On the other hand, a buyer’s agent, begins at a disadvantage without trust from the buyers, but in the end achieves a dream for the buyers, and so ends the transaction as a hero.

While it is good to interview more than one Realtor®, sometimes the competition to win the client can cause the promise of price to be overstated. Learn more about establishing value and ask your Realtor® to show you the data to support their claim.

Click the Bella Casa links below to learn about the remaining top responsibilities.

2. Promote your Property Far and Wide

3. Present your Property in its Best Light

4. Persuade the Buyer of your Property’s Value

5. Persist Through Challenges Until Closing

Bella Casa Real Estate Celebrates 3rd Anniversary!

It’s no secret; the past few years are considered to be the toughest market since the Great Depression. We began our company only months before the sudden downturn and we are thrilled and thankful to be celebrating our third year in Yamhill County!

Since opening our doors on March 15, 2007, we have experienced consistent growth each new year, both in talented Realtors® joining our team and in overall sales volume. In fact, in 2008 when virtually everything else was in decline we more than doubled our sales volume. We ended 2009 having helped more buyers purchase properties in Yamhill County than any other office*

We are excited to be here for the long haul. We are excited to be growing. We are excited to be a part of this community with you.

Writing an Offer

In the spirit of motivating buyers to submit offers, I thought it might be helpful to share what exactly goes into an offer…so that you can make an offer…today…because time is running out! (I hope I’m making myself clear).

Your Realtor® will help you understand the terms and conditions of the sale and plan a strategy for achieving an accepted offer. Sometimes this process involves an initial offer and several counter offers. Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate so every offer is presented in a formal written contract. This contract specifies price and all the terms and conditions of the purchase. For example, if the sellers said they’d contribute $2,000 toward your closing costs, be sure that is included in your written offer and in the final completed contract, or you will not have grounds to collect it later. After the offer is drawn up and signed, it will be presented to the seller agent by your Bella Casa Realtor® .

These happy homebuyers made an offer before the April 30th Deadline, and they received an $8,000 Tax Credit!*

What the Offer Contains
The offer you submit, if accepted as it stands, will become a binding sales contract (known in some areas as a purchase agreement, earnest money agreement or deposit receipt). It’s important, therefore, that it contains all the items that will serve as a “blueprint for the final sale.” Items may include such things as:

  • Address and sometimes a legal description of the property
  • Sale price
  • Terms — for example, all cash or subject to your obtaining a mortgage for a given amount
  • Seller’s promise to provide clear title (ownership)
  • Target date for closing (the actual sale)
  • Amount of earnest money deposit accompanying the offer, and whether it’s a check, cash or promissory note, and how it’s to be returned to you if the offer is rejected — or kept as damages if you later back out for no good reason
  • Method by which real estate taxes, rents, fuel, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted (prorated) between buyer and seller
  • Provisions about who will pay for title insurance, survey, termite inspections and the like
  • Type of deed to be given
  • Other requirements specific to your state, which might include a chance for attorney review of the contract, disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other state-specific clauses
  • A provision that the buyer may make a last-minute walk-through inspection of the property just before the closing
  • A time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire
  • Contingencies, which are an extremely important matter and are discussed in detail below.
If your offer says, “this offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event,” you’re saying that you will only go through with the purchase if that event occurs. The following are three common contingencies contained in a purchase order:
  • The buyer obtaining specific financing from a lending institution. If the loan can’t be found, the buyer won’t be bound by the contract.
  • A satisfactory report by a home inspector “within 10 days (for example) after acceptance of the offer.” The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void.
  • The sale is dependent on the buyer selling his current home.
When the Offer is Accepted
After many signatures and lots more initials, we have a willing seller and a willing buyer. Congratulations! Now the work begins:
  • The Realtor® representing the seller will open escrow with a copy of the Earnest Money Agreement. The title company will begin producing a Preliminary Title Report.
  • Copies of the Earnest Money Agreement will be given to the buyer’s mortgage broker to begin the loan process immediately (a contractual requirement).
  • Earnest money offered by a promissory note must be deposited by the due date, or you risk losing the property and your earnest money.
  • The buyer hires a home inspector and notifies an insurance agent to obtain homeowner’s coverage.

To read more articles about The Process of Buying and Important Buyer Information, visit Bella Casa’s website.

*This could be you, but only if you make an offer before the tax credit expires on April 30th. Otherwise you won’t be quite as happy as these people.

New Real Estate Market Report for Portland-Metro areas

The most recent Market Action Report has been published. Read Randy McCreith’s analysis and view or download the January Market Action Report.

Here is a snippet of Randy’s analysis:

For over a year now, the sales numbers for the Portland metropolitan area have continued to improve each month, although the progress is slow. Properties have not been this affordable since 2004, prices on average are at 2005 levels, and the numbers of sales continues to rise. Inventories have reduced significantly.

One year ago we began the climb out of the pit created by the financial melt-down of late 2008. Pending and closed sales have improved 25-34% since one year ago. The drop in closed sales from December and the dramatic increase in inventory since last month reflect normal seasonal activity. There was low sales activity in December and in January people put their properties on the market with the hope of selling (and buying) during this year. Continued high figures for ‘days on market’ have conditioned sellers to list their properties sooner rather than later.

Improved Short Sale Process Begins April 5, 2010

Warning: Confusing Acronyms Approaching Immediately.

HAFA = Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives

HAMP = Home Affordable Modification Program.

On April 5, 2010, the U.S. government will implement a new program to help homeowners who qualify avoid foreclosure. Part of the Home Affordable Modification Program, HAFA helps homeowners who are unable to retain their home under HAMP by simplifying and streamlining the use of short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosures.

How will HAFA improve the short sale process? Continue reading “Improved Short Sale Process Begins April 5, 2010”

The New Bella Casa Website

This week we launched our new and improved website. We’ve added more features, design elements, articles and resources.  Striving to provide our clients and Yamhill County with comprehensive local real estate information, our website will be a continual work in progress with frequent updates and a growing library of articles. Most articles are written by our very own knowledgeable and experienced brokers.

We encourage you peruse the Bella Casa website! There is a lot to look at. As always, please call us to talk about your next real estate goal. 503-437-9005

Articles for Buyers

Basic Principles of Buying Real Estate

Understanding How Real Estate Works

The Process of Buying

Articles for Sellers

Listing and Marketing Your Home

Your Property’s Value

The Selling Process

Protect the Value of Your Home

Are you a homeowner? If so, your house and its content are probably among your most prized possessions.

Consequently, it is fundamental that you take steps to protect your property and the belongings contained within it. This can be done a multitude of ways where one is the most important (we’ll get into that soon), but one way you can protect your home is getting new windows fitted, old windows put you at risk of people breaking in or damage happening to your home structure. If you are based in the South you can get your window replacements from but not to worry, no matter where you live you’ll have a company that can help you with any replacements that you need.

One way to safeguard your property from most cases of damage and theft is by taking out a home insurance policy, be it from the best insurance broker in Toronto or from another provider.

However, there are so many different home insurance policies out there, finding the coverage you need at an affordable price is not always easy.

Ultimately, when looking for home insurance, it is strongly recommended that you do as much research as possible.

Not sure where to start? Why not take a look at this geico home insurance review from simply insurance for an overview of a policy that could work for you.

From there, you can go on to compare policies and find the home insurance coverage that can provide you with peace of mind that your property and belongings are safe.

We also want to share a great resource with you — Check it out!

What is HouseLogic?

HouseLogic is a free source of information and tools-from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®-that can help you make smart and timely decisions about your home.

What can HouseLogic do for me?

With content covering home improvement, maintenance, taxes, finance, insurance, and even ways you can get involved in and enrich your community, HouseLogic can help you increase and protect the value of your home by helping you make confident decisions. If you’re considering whether to invest in custom blinds for your home, this may help you make your final decision.

Why did NAR create HouseLogic?

NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights and opportunities for more than a century. Helping consumers become more informed, responsible homeowners is important to the stability and value of the housing market – and your overall enjoyment of your home.

Here are just a few examples of the types of articles you will find on

Tax Deductions, Seasonal Maintenance, Home Improvement Budgeting, Add an Attic Dormer Window, Smart Options for Kitchen Flooring, Heating Equipment: Repair or Replace?, Guide to Outdoor Maintenance in the Northwest

Since we’re on the topic of sharing resources, let me point your attention to Bella Casa Real Estate Group’s NEW and IMPROVED website. You will find a wealth of brand new articles for buyers, sellers, and anyone interested in real estate topics. See Friday’s blog post for more details about our new website.