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IF YOUR KID HAS SPECIAL NEEDS, YOU HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS

My son is on the spectrum. ASD and SPD. So trying to buy a home was especially stressful. Not just because I was looking for certain specific things in a house and a neighborhood, but also because the whole home buying process can be a little nutty.

Long story short, I decided to become a real estate agent myself.

The way I see it, they call it ‘Special Needs’ because we have needs that are special. Not just in a house and a neighborhood, but in the way we look for a home, the way we sell the home we have, the things that make a transaction go smoothly.

And in a real estate agent.

If you’re looking to move in Oregon, give me a call. I’d love to meet and see if we’re a good match.

If you’re looking to move outside of Oregon, give me a call. There are a lot of us out there, parents with kids who come with initials after their names –– ASD, SPD, ADD, ADHD, OCD. I might be able to connect you with a real estate agent where you are who, like me, understands your needs.

You can reach me at 503-71…
Recent posts

How The Inuit Keep Their Cool

I call this blog 'Avoiding The Snarl' because two things make both real estate and raising an autistic kid pretty tough. Anger. And complicated shit.

Put those two together and it's hard not to blow your top.

So I came across this article by Michaeleen Doucleff on NPR's site about the way Inuit people raise their kids. I intuitively do a lot of the things the article talks about and I think that's one of the reasons my son and I are so tight, but reading the article makes me realize I could do better, and not just with my son. With my daughter. With my friends. With my ex. With my clients.

Anyway, here's a link to the article. Hope it helps.

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/03/13/685533353/a-playful-way-to-teach-kids-to-control-their-anger

If you want to talk, give me a call. I promise not to yell. You can reach me by phone at 310 854 2458 or at my very fancy new email address, BrianYourFavoriteRealtor (at) gmail (dot) com.

In Which I Call Bullshit On A HousingWire Story

Did you see the headline from a couple of days ago? “It costs more to own a home than to rent one in every U.S. state.

The story talks about how using US Census Bureau data, CNBC was able to compare the median cost of renting a home to the median cost of owning a home.

Remember what a median is? A median is “the value or quantity lying at the midpoint of a frequency distribution of observed values or quantities.” In other words, if you have 1,001 houses, exactly 500 will cost more and 500 will cost less than the median home.

And this is where the methodology is screwed up. RentCafe took the same data that CNBC used and figured out that in the US, there are 73% more apartments rented than houses. And the Terner Center at Berkley took that same data and determined that “Today, single-family detached homes make up more than 62 percent of the housing stock in the United States…

So the median rental is way more likely to be an apartment, while the median home that’s owned is way more li…

Zillow, Seriously?

Zillow just announced that it’s going into the house flipping business. Wall Street loves the announcement. The stock is up more than 23%. 
But you know me. I have questions. 
The first question has to do with its current business. As far as current users are concerned, Zillow does three things: It tells you what your current home is worth, it helps you find a new home, and it tells you what the homes you’re looking for are worth.
Does this new business line support the current business model? How credible is a Zerestimate® if you know it comes from a company that wants to make money by buying your home?
They may be able to walk that line. It’s hard to know. But I’ll tell you this, there’s a good reason car dealers aren’t in the business of valuing used cars –– they leave that to Kelly Blue Book
But let’s assume the new business line doesn’t devalue Zillow’s current business line. How exactly does this new venture work?
Presumably, I go onto Zillow and see that my house is “worth” $400,00…

Well, I done did it. I switched brokerages.

Big news (for me, anyway, but you might find it mildly interesting). From now on you’ll find me at Inhabit Realty
I’m excited to be working with a company that’s more in line with my values and by that I don’t mean anything disparaging about Keller Williams. 
Inhabit is a small operation –– the plucky Bad News Bears who by dint of their courage and smarts and integrity are determined to make a name for themselves in the increasingly impersonal, digital, sales-heavy world of real estate. They –– we –– are people who drink more tea than coffee and more kombucha than tea. (Okay, bad example. I don’t drink kombucha. It scares me.)
But I do get to work with people who feel the same way I do about Portland, access to tons more relevant resources, and a logo that’s not red. 
So if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, or you know anybody who is, please think of me. Me and the not-red logo.
Thanks. 
You can reach me by phone at 310 854 2458 or at my very fancy new email address, Bri…

BUYER'S MARKET? SELLER'S MARKET? I SEE CRANKY MARKET!

If you've been paying any attention at all, you know that interest rates are rising.

This is so not news. We had 10 years where the Fed rate was effectively 0%. It was only a matter of time.

But just because you see a wave coming doesn’t mean you’re going to stay dry. 
Realtors and lenders are pretty much taking the position that after years of artificially low rates, we’re finally going to return to “normal,” which is probably true. But normal isn’t normal if you’re not used to it.

Fun with math: For every 1% increase in interest rates, the affordability of a house goes down by 12%.

What that means is if you can afford a downpayment of $40,000 and can make monthly mortgage payments of $1750.00, when rates were 3.5%, you could buy a house that’s $430,000. When rates went up to 4.5%, the most expensive house you could afford is $385,000.
That’s a $45,000 difference.

Oh, and today? According to Wells Fargo (who by the way, I'm not a huge fan of for a lot of reasons, but whatever…

JUMBO LOANS ARE BIGGER. THAT'S GOOD NEWS.

As a real estate agent, I’m stoked that home prices around here keep going up. As a person, it’s not quite as simple. Sure, my own home is worth more. But if I were to sell it, where would I go? Any house I’d buy would be more expensive, too. 
Plus, I have lots of friends who don’t own their own homes yet and that has nothing to do with how persuasive I am. Houses around here are expensive. Even a 3% downpayment can be hard to save up when you’re subsidizing your landlord’s mortgage. 
But hey, there’s a silver lining to that huge, dark cloud. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that starting in 2018, maximum conforming loan limits were increased to $453,100. 
What does that mean in English?
Up to a certain amount a home loan is what’s called “Conforming.” Above that, it’s “Jumbo.” Conforming loans require you to put less money down than jumbo loans. They also come with better interest rates. And allow your lender to consider a higher percentage of your income for you to qualify f…

WHAT IS AN ENERGY SCORE AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

You probably heard that there’s a new law in Portland requiring that starting in 2018, any home that’s sold has to have an Energy Score.
Here’s a quick overview of what that means: You can’t game the score. A house’s Energy Score has nothing to do with how many times you flush the toilet or what temperature the thermostat is set to. It’s a measurement of how efficient the home is: The effectiveness of its insulation, the energy efficiency of its appliances, stuff like that. The idea is to give buyers a sense of what it would cost to live in the home. The score is relative. A house that scores a 4 is less efficient than a house that scores a 5. Since so many houses in Portland were built in the early 20th century, nobody expects a ton of houses to score super well.The requirement isn’t just for houses. It applies to “...any residential structure containing at least one dwelling unit or house, regardless of size, on its own lot.” This includes attached single dwelling units: row house, …