TurboTax of the Lending World?

Guess what is coming to Portland next? A company that claims to be able to accomplish with refinance loans what Turbo Tax accomplished with tax services.

The company is called Lenda. Mike Francis with the Oregonian reported on 02/25/15 that Lenda has just launched its service in Oregon.

Mike reports:

“The company has said it expects to ‘disrupt’ the mortgage refinancing business by conducting applications entirely online. It says it can process loans in about 25 days, on average, and ‘between 0.125 to 0.25 percent less on interest and APR than the traditional process.'”

So what does that mean for home owners that want to refinance? What does that mean for mortgage professionals? Perhaps TurboTax can provide us with some of those answers. After reviewing many on-line discussions about the affect of TurboTax on accountants it appears that the affect was positive.

Yes, some changes in philosophy and service offerings had to be made but in the end most agree that their business is better off. As for Lenda – only time will tell what the affect of this new business will be on both homeowners and the mortgage industry in general.

More Hot Trends of 2015

Today, we continue our look at the hottest real estate trends of the year. The third contender represents a trend in society where we see websites that allow you to take off-the-shelf legal documents to use for your business, off-the-shelf websites services with ready-made websites you can adapt to your personal or business use and now . . .

3. Off-the-Shelf Blueprints: Buyers who don’t want to spend time or money for a custom house have another option. House plan companies offer blueprints that can be modified for site, code, budget, and climate conditions. There are many companies to consider, but the best bets are ones that are updating layouts for today’s wish lists—open-plan living, multiple master suites, greater energy efficiency, and smaller footprints for downsizers. Many builders will accept these outsiders’ plans, though they may charge to adapt them.

4. Freestanding tubs: Freestanding tubs may conjure images of Victorian-era opulence, but the newest options can show creativity and flare or simplicity and simple lines.

victoriantub

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. Porcelain floors: If you’re going to go with imitation wood, porcelain floor faux wood is the choice in 2015. It’s less expensive and experts say it wears as well as or better than the real thing. Porcelain can be found in traditional small tiles or long, linear planks. Good places to use this material are high-traffic rooms, hallways, and areas exposed to moisture.

6. The Future is Here: Prices have come down for technologies like web-controlled security cameras and motion sensors for pets. We are seeing 2015 homes add a number of fun gadgets that we just can’t live without (once we know they exist).

7. Multiple master suites: Having two master bedroom suites, each with its own adjoining bathroom, makes a house work better for multiple generations. Such an arrangement allows grown children and aging parents to move in for long- or short-term stays, but the arrangement also welcomes out-of-town guests. When both suites are located on the main level, you hit the jackpot.

8. Fireplaces and fire pits. The sight of a flame—real or faux—has universal appeal as a signal of warmth, romance, and togetherness. New versions on the market make this popular amenity more accessible with more compact design and fewer venting concerns.

9. Wellness systems. Builders are now addressing environmental and health concerns with holistic solutions, such as heat recovery ventilation systems that filter air continuously and limit energy use. Other new ways to improve your health include lighting systems that use natural sunlight, swimming pools that kick chlorine and salt to the curb by featuring a second adjacent pool with plants and gravel that cleanse water, and edible gardens starring ingredients such as curly blue kale.

Hot Trends in 2015

What is trending in real estate this year? What has everyone talking? Let’s take a look.

In real estate, trends are slow to arrive and they often hit commercial spaces first. And though they may entice buyers and sellers, it is worth remembering that trends are just that – trends. They might stay awhile, they might not. But while they are here they certainly are appealing and create a buzz – and when selling a home a buzz certainly doesn’t hurt. In this post, we will look at the first two:

1. Coral shades. A blast of a new color is often the easiest change for sellers to make, offering the biggest bang for their buck. Sherwin-Williams says Coral Reef is 2015’s color of the year because it reflects the country’s optimism about the future. “We have a brighter outlook now that we’re out of the recession. But this isn’t a bravado color; it’s more youthful, yet still sophisticated,” says Jackie Jordan, the company’s director of color marketing. She suggests using it outside or on an accent wall. Pair it with crisp white, gray, or similar saturations of lilac, green, and violet.

2. Open spaces go mainstream. An open floor plan may feel like old hat, but it’s becoming a wish beyond the young hipster demographic, so you’ll increasingly see this layout in traditional condo buildings and single-family suburban homes in 2015. The reason? After the kitchen became the home’s hub, the next step was to remove all walls for greater togetherness. Design experts at Nurzia Construction Corp. recommend going a step further and adding windows to better meld indoors and outdoors.

Want to know other hot trends of 2015? Stay tuned – we’ll address some of them in future articles.

Real Estate Investment Tip #29

Watch The Outskirts - When the properties in a major city or town go up in price to the point where they are overpriced (think Sellwood), the areas on the outer fringes most likely will soon be in demand. Areas in close proximity to major bus and rail transportation are even more desirable. Nearly any area that is about to install a major train stop or a new major bus route will see its proverbial stock go up in value.

To find out what’s planned, you can check with the local railroad or bus company to see if they will be expanding service in the area. The local town hall or planning department will also have this information.

– Geoffrey Pohl, your expert on Portland Real Estate and Portland

Real Estate Myth #2

Real Estate Myth #2: Even when the housing market recovers, home price growth will be only 4 to 6 percent per year — much less than historical average returns for the stock market.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of realtors addresses this myth and helps to debunk it. Most buyers put less than 20 percent of their own money into a home purchase; this borrowing power can translate to a greater rate of return. This is how Yun explains it: Home price appreciation historically has been about 1 to 2 percentage points higher than consumer price inflation, which translates into about 4 to 6 percent per year. But this growth rate cannot be viewed as a rate of return like the stock market. The reason is that most people do not buy a home for all cash, instead making a cash down payment and borrowing the rest. The leverage this borrowing creates can magnify returns — and losses. If price growth returns to historic norms, the price growth of 4 percent can easily turn into 20 to 30 percent rate of return if the home buyer makes a down payment of 10 or 20 percent. Conclusion: make sure you understand your real return on your what you are investing (your monthly mortgage), factoring in tax advantages as well.

  • Geoffrey Pohl, expert on Portland real estate and Portland

How much is your home worth?

How much has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your area SuccessSignselling for?

There are many reasons why you might want to find out the value of your home and we at Pohl Real Estate would love to help you with an update. Even if it is not yet time to sell, knowing the value of your home can bring peace of mind and help you understand one of the most important pieces in your financial portfolio.

Take advantage of this free service by calling 503-488-5848 or e-mail geoffrey@pohlrealestate.com.

Geoffrey Pohl, offering expertise on Portland real estate and Portland

Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Want to Add Value to Your Home?

The Portland real estate market is appreciating so here are ten ways to increase the value of your home. Some will be easy and some more complicated but use your budget accordingly to gain the highest dollar value sale.

1. Clean and Declutter. Increase your homes inside square footage … visually that is. You would be surprised at how often this is overlooked. I  always tell my clients to pack first and commit to the sale. Removing the wall of family photos, the collections of horses or pigs or cows, and the extra furniture will go along ways towards giving it a larger cleaner look and feel.

To Read More

Has the Portland Real Estate Market Stabilized?

Being a Realtor in Portland, Oregon  sure feels like the real estate market is stabilizing.  Every month there are more and more areas and suburbs of Portland that are appreciating in value when compared to a year ago and more and more areas the Average Sales Price Percent Change are also moving into positive territory at a rapid pace. The inventory in Portland has dropped from January to July every single month and the time on market has decreased significantly as well.  All indication is yes the market is stabilized and poised for some long term steadiness rather than the sharp falls and rises that we have been accustomed to since 2008.

To Read More