Aug. 11, 2017

The 4 Biggest Home Loan Myths Busted


Let's take look at 4 very common lending myths that are floating around out there and shed a little light on why they’re not always so accurate.  Before we do, I just want to mention that while I am a licensed real estate broker, I am not a licensed mortgage broker - and I don’t pretend to be one.  

Without further adieu...

Myth #1 - "I have to have perfect credit to get a loan.”

Truth - While there are some advantages to having good credit score - and a good lender will talk to you about what those things are, the 2017 FHA loan application guidelines now require just a 580 credit score to qualify for their 3.5% low down payment program.  There are other factors involved in getting pre-approved, but a perfect credit score is not one of them.

Myth #2 - “I have to have a large down payment saved up before I can buy.”

Truth - While a down payment does help keep the monthly payments down, you don’t have to have a large down payment saved up in order to buy a home.  There are grant and loan programs that offer anywhere from 0% to 5% down.  A good lender will go over your specific situation and find a loan type that works for you.

Myth #3 - “I’m approved for X, therefore I should buy a home worth X."

Truth - Just because you can get a loan for a certain dollar amount doesn’t mean that the monthly payments that come with it are going to be comfortable for your budget.  There is nothing worse than being house-poor.  I believe that tomorrow is built by today’s decisions so I recommend that all of my clients look not only at the total amount they can get approved for but more importantly, those monthly payments. Let's make sure that we’re setting your household up for success. 

Myth #4 - “I should wait until I’m ready to buy a house to talk to a lender"

Truth - Almost every day I chat with folks who are thinking about buying a home but are hesitant to talk to a lender because they just “aren’t ready yet”.  The lender is the person that helps you get ready!  Talk to a trusted lender 6mo to a year out from when you anticipate starting to look for your home.  A good lender will coach you through what you can do to make your credit and finances home-buying ready.  

At the end of the day, every person’s journey to getting a home loan is going to look a little different.  A good lender is going to help walk you through all of your options and help you find the best package that’s right for you.  If you’re thinking about buying and you’d like to know what your options are, let’s connect and I’ll provide you the names of a few lenders I know and trust.


More Information

Posted in Buyer Tips
June 19, 2017

The Key Players In A Typical Real Estate Transaction

This likely doesn't come as a shock to you - but there are more people involved in your average real estate transaction than just a buyer, a seller, and their respective Realtors.  The question for today is - who is involved in your typical real estate transaction?

First, let's take a look at the listing side of the transaction

  • I’ve already given this one away - but, first, you have the Seller and their Realtor.  If you have a good, quality, experienced Realtor, they’re going to have a network of specialists who will help you prepare your home for the market.
  • Often this will include the services of a General Contractor (and any subs he may bring on), a stager, a photographer, a videographer, a 3D-ographer, a sign installation company, and a title company - who will serve as the neutral 3rd party to the transaction. 

Sellers - while it’s possible that you may end up needing to use the services of all of these professionals - I’m here to help you decide which, if any, of these services will make sense for your goals and your bottom line.  The end goal is the most money in your pocket, right?  That’s why I’m here to help.

Now, to the buying side…

30 percent of homes purchased in Portland in 2016 were purchased with all cash.  This means that the majority of homes, around 70% of them, were purchased with some form of financing.

  • So, in addition to the buyer and their Realtor, there’s likely going to be a mortgage broker or lender involved.  
  • Once the buyer and seller have agreed upon the conditions of purchase and the home is under contract, the buyer will enter their inspection period.
  • Typical inspections include the services of a home inspector (who will typically perform general inspections, pest and dry rot inspections, and, occasionally, the radon inspection) and a sewer scope company. Depending on the home and your individual needs and concerns there may be more inspectors at play like septic inspectors, well testers, tank sweepers and more but let’s keep this list to the basics. 
  • Once the inspection is completed and the buyer has an idea of what might need to be done to the home - the wise thing to do is to get professionals who focus on those specialties such as electrical, roofing, windows, mold remediation, flooring installers, etc. out to do a bid so that you know what you’re working with - getting preferably 2 or 3 bids for each. 
  • Based on my experience, the average in a typical transaction ends up totaling about 3-4 contractors
  • Now, most banks will only loan out on a home if they think it’s worth loaning money on.  Because of this, the banks use a 3rd party home appraiser to come in, once the inspection period has passed, to assess the value of the home and give the bank the green light on the loan amount and condition of the home.  Their main focus will be on the safety and structural soundness of the dwelling, as well as, to assess the home's value. 
  • Lastly, while the mortgage broker is on the offensive side of the ball, so-to-speak, getting the buyer into a bank's loan package that’s right for them, the bank also has someone playing defense called the underwriter.  They’re the person with the final say on whether or not the buyer will be able to actually close on the loan with that financial institution.

Whew… that seems like a lot of players, right?  So far, in just a typical transaction, we’re looking at around 20 people that are involved.  In some of the more complicated transactions it’s realistic to see as many as 25-30 people involved - in one way or another.

While this can seem a little overwhelming on your own, I am here to help you make sure that all of the deadlines are met, all of the legal contracts and documentation are properly executed and filed, and that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it.

I’m your consultant, your guide, your advocate, and at times even your lightening rod.  In other words - I’m here for you and here to help!

Posted in Seller Tips
June 11, 2017

Setting Your List Price

Why We Price It Right The First Time

When selling your home, establishing that all important “list price” has a huge impact on who sees your home and what they might offer.  

Price it too high…

…and everyone who can afford your home at or slightly above its fair market value won’t even see it!  The 92% of home buyers that are shopping online typically have saved searches on websites that will email them when new properties with what they’re looking for hit the market.  Those searches have a “max price” parameter that will filter your property out if it’s listed above the top end of their budget.  

Before you think “well we can always lower the price later” - don't forget that you'll want as many eyes on your property as possible at one time so that you take advantage of supply and demand.

Price it too low…

…and, you run the risk of receiving an offer slightly below what you may have otherwise received had you priced it correctly. The market will typically correct for this mistake automatically in the first-time home buyer price range because there are more buyers (supply and demand).  In the higher home price ranges, however, pricing the home correctly the first time becomes imperative.

Price it just right…

…and you can maximize the number of buyers that see your property who can actually afford it at or above its market value.  Pricing a home is actually pretty straightforward. 

  • A good buyer’s broker is going to look at comparable homes that sold within a 1-mile radius of your home in the last 3-6 months.  They will use this as a guide to help the buyer determine how much to offer.
  • The bank’s appraiser will use a similar approach.

Therefore, we will sit down with you and look over that same information.  No guesswork necessary.  With that price range in hand, we will then determine, together, where in that range to list your home based on your goals.


More Information

Contact us today by emailing us at or give us a call at 503.7017023!

Posted in Seller Tips
June 8, 2017

The 10 Commandments of Home Loans

Please enjoy this tongue in cheek look at some pretty serious recommendations regarding a borrower's behavior during the home loan acquisition process...


  1. Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job. 
  2. Thou shalt not buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it)! 
  3. Thou shalt not use charge cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind. 
  4. Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing. 
  5. Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application. 
  6. Thou shalt not buy furniture. 
  7. Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit. 
  8. Thou shalt not make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer. 
  9. Thou shalt not change bank accounts. 
  10. Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone. 


More Information

Posted in Buyer Tips
June 8, 2017

Getting Pre-Approved

Please note - any one of these lenders will have much more comprehensive information regarding getting pre-approved.  If you are ready to get the home buying process started and have not yet been pre-approved, I recommend starting there.

There are a number of documents you will need to gather for your lender and loan officer. A loan officer or lender will need to review these documents in order to understand what your qualifications are for getting a loan as well as helping you understand which loan programs best suit you and your financial plans. 

Income Verification:

Names and address of all your employers for the last two consecutive years, and supporting documents verifying income figures

Debt Verification:

Any car, student, mortgage, home equity, loans, bankruptcy proceedings, credit card accounts, divorce decrees and separations agreements

Asset Verification:

All savings, checking, mutual fund, IRA, 401k, security accounts. Also Bank statements and and gift letters if you are receiving funds from family or friends.

Other Documentation:

A list of the past 2 years of addresses, social security number, last two years of tax returns and a loan application. Once you have supplied your loan officer all this documentation they will determine how much you can afford as well as go over the costs of that loan.  During the home buying process ask any questions that arise, be sure to make all your payments on time, and if you do not have an insurance representative, let me know and I can help you find one.


More Information

Posted in Buyer Tips
June 8, 2017

Timeframes For The Home Buying Process

Going from getting your offer accepted to getting your keys in hand on your new home usually takes about 45-60 days if you aren’t paying in cash.  There are several things that need to occur during that time period:

  • Home Inspection Period: 10 business days
  • Home Appraisal: 7-14 days
  • Loan Underwriting: 2-5 days
  • Loan Approval & Condition Collection: 1-5 days
  • Cleared to close by Underwriter: 1-2 days
  • Final Review by the lender after signing loan documents: 3-5 days

Every home buying situation is a little different and timeframes can be pretty significantly altered by new laws and regulations from time to time - but these are pretty accurate estimated timelines as of the Spring of 2019.


More Information



Posted in Buyer Tips
June 8, 2017

The 10-Step Process To Buying A Home

Step 1: Get Loan Pre-Approval (If You’re Not Buying With Cash)

Before looking at homes, it’s important to determine your budget - what you qualify for and, more importantly, what is comfortable for you financially.  A good lender will help you determine both. If you're not pre-approved, start here:

Step 2: Identify Homes & Go View Them

I send you homes the moment they hit the market and you let me know which ones you want to go see.  In a seller’s market, we’ll want to see them quickly - time is of the essence. 

Step 3: Write The Offer

Once you have found the property you want, we’ll write the seller an offer.  While much of the offer is standard, there are a few areas that we can negotiate:

  • The Price   What you offer on a property depends on a number of factors, including its condition, length of time on the market, buyer activity, and the urgency of the seller.
  • The Move-in Date  If you can be flexible on the possession date, the seller will be more apt to choose your offer over others.
  • Additional Property  Often, the seller plans on leaving major appliances in the home; however, which items stay or go is often a matter of negotiation.

Step 4: Present The Offer 

Typically, you will not be present at the offer presentation - we will present it to the listing broker and/or seller over the phone and/or email. The seller will then do one of the following:

  • Accept the offer
  • Reject the offer
  • Counter the offer with changes
  • Not respond at all

When a counteroffer is presented, you and I will work together to review each specific area of it, making sure that we move forward with your goals in mind and that we negotiate the best possible price and terms on your behalf.

Step 5: Start The Home Inspection Period

This is the most important part of the buying the home. Home inspections are an out-of-pocket buyer expense and the inspections that are needed will vary per house due to the age of the home and the available historical documentation. 

You will want to get your inspections ordered and completed as soon as possible after receiving an accepted offer. These are some of them more common inspections: Whole House Visual Inspection, Sewer Scope, Radon Testing, Oil Tank Locating, Oil Tank Soil Testing, Lead Based Paint Testing, Roof, and Structural Inspection.

Step 6: Title

In order to change ownership of the property, its title has to be transferred.  Before transferring the title, the title company that is hired will search for clouds and encumbrances to ensure that you know exactly what you are purchasing.  At this point title insurance will also be purchased to protect against loss coming from unforeseen defects on the title.

Step 7: Complete Mortgage Requirements

Before officially securing the loan, the lender will require a few last steps and double checks.

  • Appraisals - An appraisal is ordered by your lender and paid for by the buyer.
  • Income Verification - Though often covered in your pre-approval, the bank will ensure that nothing has changed with your employment or income. 
  • Credit Report - Credit will be checked again at this point to make sure that your credit score hasn’t changed which usually implies accounts opened and closed as well as on time payments and a myriad of other things. Again, for more on this, please see the included Ten Commandments section.

Step 8: Underwriting

This is an important part of the loan approval process and the person who does the underwriting for your lender can reject, approve, or give conditions that must be addressed before they will approve the loan.

Step 9: Signing Day

Signing day marks almost-the-end of your home-buying process and the beginning of your new life!  To make sure your signing goes smoothly, you should bring the following:

  • A certified check or wired funds ahead of time for closing costs and down payment. 
  • An insurance binder and paid receipt
  • Two pieces of Photo ID per buyer

Step 10: Recording - You Own It!

Transfer of title moves ownership of the property from the seller to you. The two events that make this happen are:

  • Delivery of the buyers funds - This is the check or wire funds provided by your lender in the amount of the loan.
  • Delivery of the deed - A deed is the document that transfers ownership of real estate. The deed names the seller and buyer, gives a legal description of the property, and contains the notarized signatures of the seller and witnesses. 

At the end of closing, the deed will be taken and recorded at the county clerk’s office. This is also the day that you get your keys!


More Information


Posted in Buyer Tips
May 25, 2017

May 2017 - Portland Housing Market


Today we’re going to take a minute to zoom out and look at how the Portland metro area’s Median List Price compares to the other medium to large west coast markets.


Let’s take a look...


1. San Francisco Metro Area at $799,000

2. Los Angeles County at $599,995

3. San Diego Metro Area at $595,999

4. Seattle Metro Area at $414,950

5. Sacramento Metro Area at $409,700

6. Portland Metro Area at $393,900


According to the United Van Lines national mover study, Oregon is near the top of the “most moved to states” list. 


We came in 1st place in 2013, 14, and 15 and trailed only South Dakota and Vermont in 2016. 


It’s fair to say that when you combine the fact that we are still the most desired and affordable destination on the west coast… our Portland Metro Area market is still very healthy. 



Julie Lais, LIC OR RE Broker

Premiere Property Group, LLC

C: 503.701.7023




Posted in Market Updates
May 10, 2017

Should I Buy Or Sell First?


Are you thinking about selling your home this season and buying another - but you're curious - should I sell or buy first? 

Navigating something like this on your own can seem quite daunting - but you have me! And I’m here to help the transition goes as smooth as possible!

Let’s take a look at the two most common strategies…

Everyone’s situation is unique to them - and perhaps yours will require us to put together a plan that looks a little different. 

STRATEGY 1: Sell Then Buy

In a hot seller’s market like we have today, it can be difficult to get your offer accepted - as there are often multiple buyers vying for one property.  The path that will give you the most buying power will be... putting your home on the market, leveraging your position as the seller by negotiating a long closing timeline and/or 30-60 days of what we call “rent back”, and then - once your home is under contract with a buyer - making what we call a “contingent” offer on the home you’d like to purchase.  

If the seller of the home you’re attempting to purchase sees that you are already under contract on the sale of your home (or have already closed on the sale of your home) and has the choice between that offer and another that perhaps hasn’t put their house on the market yet or isn’t under contract yet - and all other variables are the same - your offer will likely be considered more desirable.  

You’re putting yourself in a stronger buying position than many other buyers on the market by choosing the "Sell then Buy” approach. 

One side note, it occasionally happens that the home you’re selling closes, the rent back period ends, and you’ve still not found the home that you’d like to purchase and you’ve found yourself temporarily homeless.  

Don’t fret!  There are strategies here, too.  

If this is something that you’re concerned about - call me and let’s chat about what your options will be.

STRATEGY 2: Buy Then Sell

The biggest reason clients lean towards this strategy is because, quite simply, they don’t want to sell their house if they don’t have somewhere to move to.

The problem with this approach, however, is - in a seller’s market - there are often multiple offers on the same property and in order to get yours selected, your offer needs to be strong.  

Let me ask you this - hypothetically, you have 2 offers in on a home that you’re selling. 

They are the same price, the same loan type, have the same provisions, and they both need to sell their current home to purchase yours.  One of the offers is under contract and has a closing date already on the calendar.  The other is “waiting to find the home they want to purchase” before listing their home.  Which of those 2 offers are you inclined to select?

Obviously, it’s going to be the one that’s already under contract…We see scenarios like this all the time.   

When you finally find the home that you want to purchase, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a strong offer ready to go - and almost always, this means that you should either be under contract or at least on the market prior to making offers.

That said - the majority of the time - it’s going to be best to sell THEN buy.

If you’d like some help planning the logistics of your home transition this season, reach out.  No two scenarios are exactly the same and we can put together a strategy that will help you accomplish your goals.

As always I'm just a phone call, text message, or email away.  Reach out and let's connect. 


More Information


Posted in Seller Tips
April 25, 2017

April 2017 - East Side's Hottest Hoods



Today we’re going to take a look at the top 10 hottest neighborhoods on the east side (of the Portland Metro Area) in the first quarter of 2017 - as determined by how quickly homes sold.


The statistic that tracks this is called “Days on Market”.  This is the number of days between the day the property is listed to the day that the property goes under contract on an accepted offer.


As we go through the list, keep in mind that the average for all homes large or small in our entire market is 59 days...


OK, let’s see if your neighborhood made the cut!


9. Rockwood: 45

9. Sellwood / Eastmoreland: 45

8. Foster / Powell: 42

7. Montavilla / Hazelwood: 41

5. Troutdale: 37

5. Cully: 37

3. St Johns: 35

3. Hawthorne / North Tabor: 35

2. Ladd’s Addition/Hawthorn: 34

1. North Tabor/Hollywood: 33 days on market


Buyers, if you’re looking to get into one of these hot neighborhoods, let’s chat about a few of the things that we can do to help your offer standout above the rest.  


Sellers, whether your neighborhood made the list or not and if you're looking to make a move this year, let’s chat about what we can do to not only take advantage of this fast paced market - but to to also make sure that you can maximize the money you end up putting in your pocket.


As always I'm just a phone call text message or email away reach out and let's chat. 



Julie Lais, LIC OR RE Broker

Premiere Property Group, LLC

C: 503.701.7023




Posted in Market Updates