Articles & Media

 

Mike is a regular contributor in the Lake Oswego Review and occasionally other local papers in the “Insiders” section. Each month he writes thoughtful articles addressing common—and uncommon—questions, concerns, & practices surrounding home ownership and real estate.

 
The Equifax breach and your home


This breach could impact your ability to buy or sell a home even for cash. Take it from someone who knows the credit world intimately: If you're wondering whether to be concerned, the answer is "Yes." Read more...


Contingent Sales, yea or nay? 

For the past couple years, the very heated Portland metro real estate market was unforgiving to buyers that didn't have the perfect offer. Trying to buy a home contingent upon selling another one was imperfect and mostly wishful thinking. Read more...


Belt-and-Suspenders Approach


In his first full year as a Realtor, Mike Hall was in the top third of agents at the Hasson Company. No small feat, as the firm is the top producing per-agent company in the entire northwest region. But then he wasn’t your typical rookie. His first “real job” was in his parents’ real estate firm. Read more...


Real Estate at the Speed of Blood


Blood, and breath, and ideas, all flow through the body at a certain pace. They can go a little faster or slower, but their speed is not measured in nanoseconds like we measure computers. In the past 10 or 20 years, technology has made an amazing impact in the way we do business. Read more…


Small Steps to a Smarter Home


Technology for your home doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, there are some fun and easy ways to a smarter home. Assuming you already have Wi-Fi at home, try one of my favorite home-tech starters: The Roost 9V Smart Battery: easy at just $35, this includes a sensor chip and supports any smoke and CO alarms Read more…


Pet Owner? Chew on this


Dogs, cats, chickens — you name it, we love our pets! But for pet parents selling a home, there’s extra work if you want to sell for top dollar. Starting with the biggie: While sellers may not notice their own pet’s odors, buyers surely will. Read more…


Gear up for open-house season


Whether you are a visitor or a seller, here are some smart tips to make open house season worthwhile: As a seller: Your open house is a big debut. Plan to make a splash. Even in a strong seller's market, remember you’re not selling in a vacuum. Your agent should recommend how best to prepare your home the big day. First impressions are important, Read more…


Sell first or buy first? A classic dilemma


Which comes first — selling your home or buying another? It’s a quandary, unless carrying two homes is no trouble for you. Buying first might require you to write an offer “contingent” on your sale … not ideal in a seller’s market. Selling first makes your purchase “non-contingent” and stronger, but could leave you without a home temporarily. Read more…


Seasonality in home sales: Urban myth?


Of course there's seasonality in home sales. But let's ask exactly WHAT it is that's seasonal? Ease of showing homes may be the biggest seasonal difference. Days are longer, shorter, wetter or drier. Holidays and school cycles happen. Total unit volumes peak in summer while days are long and school is out. No surprise. Read more…


What should I know about Escrow?


Among unfamiliar terms in real estate, “escrow” ranks near the top. When a buyer and seller come to contract, but haven’t yet closed, the deal is said to be pending or “in escrow.” Escrow fundamentally refers to a neutral third party, and in some states that function is held by an attorney. In Oregon, we usually use a “title company”. One company usually provides both escrow services and issues title insurance. Read more…


Is your property line where you think it is?


Recently a homeowner discovered their beautiful backyard fountain and garden were placed over the lot line onto a neighbor’s property. The mistake was made years before their purchase and compounded by successive owners over time. Now, the only fix may be tearing out a gorgeous yard. Read more…


Conquering the dark side when selling a home


Not all homes have soaring glass and abundant natural light, giving that airy, bright feeling we all respond well to. When prospective buyers enter a home for sale, one of the most compelling, feel-good features is light. As we enter the darkest time of the year, what can sellers do to make sure their home in shown in its best light? Read more…


Seeking the sun in your next home?


If you built your own home today, how would you want it oriented? Rising sun in the East, kissing your master bedroom or breakfast area? Sunsets on a West-facing patio? Shade just right for midsummer afternoons? With so many choices and compromises to be made in finding a home, I find often that this one is often overlooked. Read more…


Maximize your Blurb Appeal


Looking at homes online and finding either poor-quality photos or sparse details, I cringe, knowing that the agent (and maybe the seller) doesn’t understand or care what kind of impression is being made. In the internet age, with a tidal wave of information and shorter attention spans, making a first impression has never been more important. With big dollars at stake, your Realtor should go all out for appeal in pictures and words, partnering with you to capture the best of your home. Read more…


Guidance for your rent-vs.-buy decision


The new year is here, raising the perplexing question, "Is this the year to stop renting and finally buy a home?" In about two-thirds of the country – or 66 percent of the largest U.S. counties – it's more affordable to buy a home now than to rent one, according to a recent report by ATTOM Data Solutions. Read more…


Nature's lessons in maintaining your home


With homes selling so quickly these days, it might seem just a little less important to keep a home and yard well-maintained prior to sale. This winter's snow, ice and rain are teaching a hard lesson to many homeowners. Pipes burst, trees toppled, walkways cracked. Since "Snowmaggedon," many contractors in town have been slammed making weather-related repairs, slowing down the sales and closing process on damaged homes.Read more…


Is your float ready for the parade?


Preparing a home for sale, remember you're not getting the home ready for your own preferences. You're staging for "buyer's eyes." Here's how to sell fast for maximum net. You're moving. You might as well get packing and "move out half-way." Half of your stuff can go. This is temporary. Get a pod or storage unit, or just give stuff away. Your whole house will feel bigger and there will be less to distract buyers from picturing themselves making it home. Read more…


Coming soon: Your first solar home


Enough solar energy hits Earth in one hour to power all of humanity for a year. That's an impressive factoid, and it's just a matter of time until the technology and economics of solar bring it to every home. Further interest in home solar spiked in early May, when Tesla began taking orders for its revolutionary solar roof tiles.Read more…


Multiple Offers: This too shall pass


Buyers: Fear not! Multiple offers are a reality today, and while competition is tough, it can be managed. Expect that you may lose one or two before winning. Get prepared and resolved about what you need and where you can compromise. Sellers: most sales don't involve multiple offers. You should understand and prepare for them, it but not necessarily expect them. If it happens, the buyers will each offer different terms, so choosing the best isn't usually obvious. They don't all close, so buyer motivation and qualification matter. Sometimes countering one near perfect offer can make it perfect. Read more…


News about Radon and home safety


Many folks know a little about Radon, but there's more. It's common to have Radon checked at the time of purchase. But if you didn't buy recently, you may not know your own home's Radon reading. Read more…

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