Category Archives: Homes for Sale

First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide

Finding Your Home

Finding the perfect home in Pendleton, Or can have a lot to do with finding a compatible real estate agent, especially in today’s evolving mortgage landscape.  It’s crucial to be in contact with an agent before starting the home search, because you might be looking at x when all you can afford is y. First-time home buyers in Pendleton should make it clear what features they’re looking for and how much they’re willing to spend.

Fix Your Credit

The first step toward buying a home in Pendleton takes place months before walking into your lender’s office. It’s crucial to check your credit score at least three to six months ahead of your mortgage application.  You can request a free copy of the report from each of the three credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

Even if you don’t have great credit (720 or above) the most important thing to do is to take stock of what the figure means.  It’s more about why the number is than what the number is.”

Prepare for Down Payment and Closing Costs

A generation ago, it used to be the norm to put 20 percent down, but with the market in its current state of flux, many first-time home buyers in Pendleton are finding ways to pay just 3 to 5 percent of the total cost upfront. Federal Housing Act (FHA) loans increasingly have become a popular option for first-time buyers.  These competitively low-interest loans are ideal for buyers with less than perfect credit, and because the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) minimizes the risk of default for lenders on these loans, borrowers are only required to put down 3.5 percent of the cost–a far cry from the traditional 20 percent down payment.


Paying More at the Start

There are advantages to paying more at the start. A larger down payment ultimately means smaller monthly bills down the line. Also, if you purchase a conventional loan (i.e.: one that is not backed by a federal agency), paying 20 percent or more upfront will eliminate the need to pay Private Mortgage Insurance charges.  While it’s important to note that FHA loans also carry mortgage insurance with a down payment of under 20 percent, their low barriers to own still make them a good choice for first-time buyers.

Figure How Much House You Can Afford

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the percentage of your gross monthly income set aside for paying debts. While some loans may qualify you for up to 50 percent of your monthly gross income, it’s advisable that you use no more than 30 percent. Be realistic about how much you can pay, because an unexpected event could tear a hole in a tight budget.  So when calculating your budget, be completely honest about your spending habits, even if lenders say you qualify for more.

Make an Offer

Sellers in Pendleton can price a property however they see fit, but that doesn’t mean homebuyers should pay a ridiculous cost. “Get your agent to pull all the comparable sold properties that occurred in the last six months,” says Adamaitis. “How many were short-sales? How many were foreclosures? Then gauge by square foot the comparable cost.”

Get Your Money’s Worth

At signing, the buyer should demand that the contract be contingent on an objective appraisal of the house. Look into the history of the home and make sure there aren’t any liens against the property. You should be able to negotiate with the seller to make any necessary repairs to the house before closing on the deal.

Stay on Course

Beginning to end, you can expect the entire process to last  months. Of course, with as much great inventory on the market as there is, it’s not unusual for homebuyers to find something within two to four weeks.

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Pendleton Oregon and History

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Pendleton Oregon and History

Pendleton, Oregon a city of 16,354 in the 2000 census, sits in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The city center is built on the south bank of the Umatilla River, which runs roughly east and west through town. Pendleton’s motto is “The Real West,” and it prides itself on its agricultural and ranching past. It is home to the Pendleton Woolen Mills, which originally made blankets for trade with nearby Native Americans, and the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the ten largest rodeos in the world.

The earliest commercial business in Pendleton dates to 1851, when Dr. William C. McKay (pronounced mack-EYE) established a trading post at the confluence of McKay Creek and the Umatilla River. A post office, Marshall Station, was established in 1865. The community was later renamed Pendleton after George H. Pendleton, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate of 1864, and was incorporated on October 25, 1880.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Pendleton was home to a large population of Chinese laborers who had come to work on the railroads. An underground tour is a popular tourist attraction, where visitors are led into basements of downtown businesses where opium dens, illegal gaming parlors, and a Chinese laundry were purported to have existed during the 1890s. Take the Pendleton Underground Tours and see it for yourself!

From its early beginnings, Pendleton was a railhead that served as a shipping point for the wool industry, which included the many sheep ranches in the area and the Pendleton Woolen Mills, originally a wool-scouring plant. Early on, the company began producing blankets for trade with Native Americans, and it eventually expanded its offerings to include clothing. Pendleton blankets are now prized for their quality and distinctive designs.

The Pendleton Round-Up  Sept. 14-17  2011 is an annual event that can quadruple the town’s population. Occurring in the second full week in September, the Round-Up features four days of rodeo; two parades, including one that prohibits motorized vehicles or rubber tires; a concert; and the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant, which bills itself as the “Epic Drama of the West.” The Round-Up is known for including Native American participants in a powwow dance competition, the Indian Village, Happy Canyon princesses, and the American Indian Beauty Pageant. One of the larger-than-life figures from Pendleton’s colorful history is Sheriff Tillman “Til” Taylor, one of the founders of the Round-Up. He was shot to death in a jailbreak in 1920, and a park in downtown Pendleton bears his name.

Pendleton also has its place in Oregon literature, providing the setting for Craig Lesley’s Winterkill and likely the setting for H.L Davis’s short story, “Old Man Isbell’s Wife.” Last Go Round: A Real Western, by Ken Kesey and Ken Babb, is a fictionalized account of the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up and its legendary ending in which three cowboys—Jackson Sundown, a Nez Perce; George Fletcher, an African American; and John Spain, a Caucasian—tied for the all-around championship. When Spain won the tie-breaker, there was a general uproar from the crowd, which believed the results were skewed. Reportedly, Sheriff Taylor took up a collection from the crowd by tearing up pieces of Fletcher’s hat and selling them. He then awarded the money to Fletcher as the people’s champion.

Pendleton benefits from its proximity to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. CTUIR operates the Wild Horse Casino and golf course; the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, an interpretive center that tells the story of the effects of the Oregon Trail from the Native American perspective (the only one of its kind); and Nixya’awii, a charter school that is focused on Native American culture, native languages, and the tribal community. Nixya’awii was the Oregon charter school of the year in 2006-2007. Crow’s Shadow, an institute for the arts, was co-founded by painter James Lavadour (Walla Walla/Chinook), a Pendleton native. CTUIR also administers Wildhorse Foundation, a philanthropic agency that supports projects in northeast Oregon. While the city of Pendleton shares a border with the reservation, CTUIR has its own government and laws.

Pendleton serves as a cultural center for eastern Oregon, with two symphony orchestras, a strings program in the public schools (the only one in eastern Oregon), a thriving arts center, and Blue Mountain Community College. Many touring bands (mostly alternative and bluegrass) stop on their way from Portland to Boise to play at the Great Pacific in downtown Pendleton. Pendleton is also home to the Eastern Oregon Correctional Facility, a medium security adult-male correctional facility. The business district has undergone recent revitalization, anchored by the Hamley Building, an award-winning restoration of one of Pendleton’s earliest saddle-making establishments, and The Prodigal Son Brewery, which has resurrected Pendleton’s early brewing tradition.


Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home in Oregon part 5

Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon


If you want to get maximum value out of the home you buy, whether it’s brand new or used, make sure it’s properly landscaped. Good landscaping can enhance the appearance of  a new home in Pendleton and make it look “established.” It can compliment the architecture and provide a pleasant environment for outdoor living. Landscaping can also help create privacy and reduce noise. Landscaping can act as a windbreak and can also keep the home cooler in hot weather.

Good landscaping can often increase by 10 or 15 percent the price you can get when you sell the property in Pendleton.

But do remember that a good landscaping job can cost a lot of money. If you want a lot more than the minimum that builders usually provide, think about having the builder coordinate with a landscape architect to install it when you buy a home in Pendleton, add it to the cost of the home and then you can pay it off over the length of the mortgage rather than parting with a lot of cash at the outset. 


You own a rental property in Pendleton that has appreciated over double in value. Now, you want to buy another property in Pendleton that has about the same current value. Would it make more sense to sell the first property and then buy the second?

Not really unless you want to pay unneeded capital gains tax. It would be wiser to consider a tax-free swap. In this way, you would not have to pay any gains tax on the big profit you’ll make on the original property. In fact, you could keep the excess cash you receive over the deposit you’ll need for the second Pendleton property as a tax-free gift from Uncle Sam. A swap is a swap and not a sale.

You can only exchange like properties (like rental property for rental property) not an apartment house for a yacht or a private residence. Also, you must find a new property in Pendleton within 45 days and buy it within 180 days. Make sure you have professional real estate and legal help. An exchange is not for amateurs.


Some first-time Pendleton home buyers (actually 20 percent) are fortunate enough to buy their first homes in Pendleton with help from their parents. In these cases, parents typically provide half the down payment for would-be homeowners who otherwise would not have savings and incomes large enough to qualify for a mortgage.

Parents tend to make a gift rather than a loan in such cases because too much debt can count against prospective borrowers when qualifying for a Pendleton home loan. As long as the buyers ante up a fourth of the down payment, lenders don’t care if family generosity makes up the difference. However, they WILL ask for a gift letter, a simple document acknowledging that parents do not expect repayment.

On the other hand, if there is an actual LOAN being made from parent to child, it should be secured with the same sort of paperwork that a bank would use. That way, the interest repaid will be fully deductible as a home acquisition loan.


QUESTION: What effect does the present tax law have on capital gains tax when I sell my home in Pendleton?

ANSWER: It has a tremendous effect and it could not be better for the Pendleton homeowner. The latest tax law now allows homeowners to avoid paying taxes on the first $500,000 of profits in a home for joint filers, or on the first $250,000 of profits for single filers at the time they sell the home.

To make matters even better, a homeowner can use this $500,000 tax exemption repeatedly, as long as he or she lives in each house for at least two years.

If you are one of the few whose profit is over $500,000, there’s more good news. The top tax rate on capital gains has dropped from 28 percent to 20 percent. For those in the lowest tax bracket, it falls from 15 percent to 10 percent. The new tax look is here and it is great for Pendleton home sellers. 


Once you get a loan commitment, don’t take it for granted that you will get the loan. Since lenders take a risk when committing to a fixed-rate loan, they often put in conditions.

For example: a commitment can become null and void if the borrower fails to qualify, the appraisal falls short of the contract price, the loan isn’t closed before the commitment expires or a third party fails to provide necessary documents. To protect themselves against wide swings in interest rates, some lenders will insert a clause which releases them if rates change more than a certain amount. Often, fine print clauses allow the lender to back out should the original terms no longer be advantageous.

This is why it is extremely important that the buyer utilize the services of a real estate professional. Knowing what to look for, understanding the terminology and being able to explain every minor detail to clients is a valuable service Realtors can provide. 


Most first-time Pendleton home buyers are renters. As such, the best time to close on a home in Pendleton is when your current lease ends. Don’t sign another year-long lease if you expect to buy a home before the lease period expires. Doing so will end up with a dent in your pocketbook from writing rent and mortgage checks. If you can’t time your closing correctly, approach your landlord about a shorter lease – say, three to six months in length. One alternative is a month-to-month lease. You  may be able to ask your landlord to include an escape clause in your new lease that will allow you to get out of  your lease with 30 or 60 days’ notice.

Coming from a cramped rental, almost any home in Pendleotn will look good. Try to avoid jumping at the first house you see. Look at many to see what’s on the market. Inspect different types of homes in Pendleton including condos, duplexes, townhouses and single-family homes. Some objectivity should have returned. Now make your choice.


There are two truths about Pendleton home renovation: Every project costs more and takes longer than expected. So, before you start, keep your cost estimate high and remember the words, “Return on investment.” Whether you hire professionals or do the renovation yourself, be aware that your investment will not always result in dollar-for-dollar increase in the value of your Pendleton home. Although some homeowners do make a profit on their remodeling, history tells us that some Pendleton homeowners won’t even recover their costs.

Do your homework. Get estimates on the costs. Study the local real estate market to be sure you’re making improvements that Pendleton home buyers want and will pay for.

Don’t go overboard. Getting your money out of a house priced well above neighboring houses will be difficult. As a general rule, the value of the home AFTER renovation should not exceed the value of any house in your neighborhood by more than 20 percent.


Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home in Oregon part 4

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Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon


Do you know what’s in your credit file? Your local credit bureau may have detailed information on your financial status which they sell to interested parties. When you apply for a mortgage loan, the bank will review your bill paying history as reflected in your credit file. Negative information, even if it’s wrong, can cause your application to be rejected – or at least questioned. Don’t wait until you NEED credit before checking out your credit history. Ask your bank how to find your credit bureau.

Under the Fair Credit reporting Act, you have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. There is normally a small charge ($5 to $15) unless you’ve been turned down within the last 30 days (in which case you can review your file for free.)

You can require the bureau to investigate any item which you think is incorrect or incomplete. It must correct all mistakes and notify anyone who recently looked at your file of any correction.


Buying a home in Pendleton has never been an easy task and it’s not getting any easier. Pendleton home values continue to increase faster than the cost of living. I see would-be buyers who have searched for months to find a “dream home” only to find out they could not qualify for a loan for that price house.

Ironically, it’s a heartache most buyers can avoid simply by doing a bit of arithmetic and talking with their Realtor or Lender BEFORE they start hunting for a new home. If you know how much the bank will lend you PRIOR to your Pendleton home hunting, you won’t waste time looking for a house you may not be able to afford.

I am familiar with the local bank and can recommend a loan officer to visit with. Bring your financial numbers along (assets, debits, gross income, expenses, etc.). You’ll get an estimate of how much the bank will lend you and have something solid to work with to look for a home that fits your budget.


If you think a 5 or 10-year auto loan is a long time to pay off a car, get ready for the 40-year mortgage. It’s just popping its head over the horizon now. Climbing real estate values are forcing some borrowers to stretch home loan payments beyond the conventional 15 or 30-year periods.

So far, these 40-year mortgages have caught on only in such high-priced real estate markets such as California, New York and Washington, D.C. However, if home prices continue upward, longer term mortgages may spread.

If the 40-year mortgage becomes more popular, it should be treated gingerly – as a last resort for folks anxious to own a home in Pendleton at any price. That crucially lower monthly payment may sometimes make the difference for certain buyers to qualify for a loan. However, you’ll pay for the opportunity with a decade of extra interest. This could be a lot – like $60,000 on a $100,000 loan.


All lenders must now meet disclosure requirements for adjustable rate mortgages (ARMS). Among these are: an historical example of how the requested loan would have worked during the last 15 years; how to convert that example to the borrower’s own situation, and a worst-case illustration of how the loan could perform if rates go up through the roof.

To show how the loan will perform under the worst possible circumstances, the example starts at the initial rate and moves rapidly up to the top interest rate and payment possible. Lenders must also explain how the index is adjusted and how future interest rates and payments will be determined.

As you know, interest rates can change either upward or downward with an adjustable loan. It’s nice to know how these rate changes (in either direction) will affect your future monthly payments. That’s what the disclosure will tell you.


What can you do when you have serious damage to your home in Pendleton but not enough insurance to cover the loss? If the damage was not fully paid for from insurance proceeds, you can take a deduction on your federal income tax. What kind of losses qualify for this deduction?

Generally, to qualify for the federal casualty loss tax deduction, the cause must occur quickly and unexpectedly and not be a routine event. Examples include a fire, flood, theft, accident, earthquake, vandalism, tornado, broken water pipes, hurricane or earth slide. You should be prepared to prove such losses in case of an audit. To prove your losses, you should have before-and-after photos, professional appraisals, repair bills, police reports, purchase receipts and insurance settlement appraisals.

The amount you may deduct on a casualty loss is the decline in the property’s market value, less insurance payments and a $100 deduction. Frankly, you’re better off having enough insurance.


First impressions are important, but don’t let them keep you from missing a real gem of a home. Stop and consider the possibilities.

Does the place need just a few cosmetic improvements to feel right? Would new carpeting, appliances, contemporary hardware, different light fixtures or fresh paint and paper make the place feel like home? These are fairly minor changes and are relatively easy alterations to make.

Check your storage needs against the possibilities for expansion. How about bathrooms? If the addition of a first floor powder room would make this house perfect, is there room for one? Look at all the nooks and crannies as having potential “growing room.” Remember interior spaces can be reworked, walls removed, spaces reoriented and traffic redirected to make a chopped-up floor plan flow like magic. Built-in bookcases can be added and windows and doors can be replaced with a style and decor which feels more like “home” to you.


Cars have emission standards – now, wood stoves do too. The EPA has set strict standards on how much soot, gas and pollution can go up the chimneys of all wood-burning products. Some units now on the market already meet or exceed these standards. New technology has allowed wood stoves to clean up their pollutants and operate at new levels of efficiency.

Most of the new wood stoves are using a catalytic combustor to meet the EPA requirements. Placed on the baffle or damper inside the exhaust vent, a catalytic combustor burns the gases that otherwise would escape up the chimney. The result is 80 to 90 percent less emission and increased heat output.

Catalytic combustors can be retrofitted to existing wood stoves, although these are less efficient than built-ins. The combustor will need replacement after two to five years, but by burning only well-seasoned hardwoods, you can reduce this problem.

My next blog post will cover: First Time Home Buyer, Landscaping Can Raise Value and Like for Like Exchange.  See you then!

Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home In Oregon part 3

Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon


The value of the land UNDER the hom has taken an even more dramatic jump than the price of homes. By one estimate, the average price of a lot has jumped 420 percent since 1973. It has doubled in the last six years alone. Chances are that land accounts for over 25 percent of the cost of a hom today compared with 18 percent only 15 years ago.

Estimating the value of a lot separate from its Pendleton home is tricky because the two typically come as a unit. However, you can get a ballpark figure by subtracting the estimated value of the average house (floor space times cost per square foot) from the total sales price. This specific dollar value is not so meaningful as the percentages of land to buildings and how they change over the years. Pendleton Real estate investors should also keep a sharp eye on the mix of land and property values. Although the cost of buildings can be depreciated for tax purposes over time, land cannot.


If you have arranged an appraisal of your Pendleton home, whether it be for legal, tax or pre-sale reasons, you can make the appraiser’s job quicker, more accurate and more efficient if you have some documents ready before the appraiser arrives.

Try to have copies of your deed and mortgage; the professional survey of your property; the local tax map; your last tax assessment; any professional reports on environmental conditions in your Pendleton home (such as a test for radon); and a home inspector’s report if you have one.

Also list major improvements you have made with invoices that document their cost. If your Pendleton home is fairly new, note any special features for which you paid extra. Also list personal property that will be included in the sale, as well as items attached to the Pendleton home that you’ll take with you when you move, such as a dining room chandelier.


If you are considering selling your home in Pendleton, remember this: buyers are not looking for a roof to keep the rain out – they’re looking for a new lifestyle. You are not selling a house – you’re selling a HOME!

Set this “home” stage for buyer showings:

Keep your home in Pendleton clean, neat and cozy at all times. You might have to show it on short notice. The kitchen is the focal point of any home. Everything should be spic and span, with dishes washed and excess paraphernalia tucked away. Beds should be made, and kids’ clothes stowed and not left where kids usually leave them.

Decorator touches help a lot: vases or pots of flowers, colorful pillows, mirrors on the walls to make rooms look more spacious. Mow the lawn, touch up any peeling paint. Don’t start major renovations, but do make obviously needed small repairs, such as a leaky faucet, torn screen or peeling paint. Remember, you’re selling a “home”.


Do you heat hot water you don’t use? One of the simplest ways to save money is to lower the temperature of your hot water heater. If you have it set at 160 degrees, lower it to at least 140 and shoot for between 115 and 106 degrees, for showers and domestic needs, 105 – 110 degrees is as hot as you need. Beyond that you would scald yourself. Trying to conserve hot water by mixing it with cold water is not economical.

If you need 140 degree hot water for your dishwasher, turn your heater up just before dinner so the water will be hot when you need it. After your dishes are done, turn it back down. You don’t need 140 degree water for your morning shower and it’s a waste to have it sitting in your tank all day while you pay to keep it hot.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to put an insulation blanket around the water heater and drain the sediment every six months. A dirty heater is inefficient and more expensive to operate.


How much do you know about your home in Pendleton and appliances?

1. T/F: There is little difference in heat efficiency between a fireplace and a wood-burning stove? Answer: False. Wood-burning stoves generally give off more heat.

2. T/F: You use more water washing your dishes by hand than by running your dishwasher daily.  Answer:  True.

3. T/F: Frequent vacuuming will eventually wear out fibers in your carpet. Answer: False: Imbedded dirt will wear away at carpet fibers, so frequent vacuuming is essential for long wear.

4. T/F: Aluminum storm windows are more effective than wood-framed ones in keeping out the cold.    Answer: False. There is little significant difference in efficiency between wood and aluminum-framed windows.

5. T/F: When remodeling your home in Pendleton, improvements should not exceed 30% of the home’s current value.  Answer:  True.


Did you ever notice a neighbor’s home in Pendleton for sale being videotaped? It’s not a Hollywood production or a local TV documentary. What you are seeing are home buyers in action.

Today’s camcorders are lightweight and versatile. Many operate single-handedly at the touch of a button with no experience required. The results can be reviewed instantly (or at your leisure). Camcorders are being used everywhere for every occasion. Why not for house hunting?

Whether a camcorder can be used is entirely the option of the individual home seller. However, many sellers welcome the high-tech attention to their homes. Buyers interested in using a camcorder can check with my office. I will seek pre-approval from sellers whose home will be viewed on that day.


It’s not an easy task to straighten out the affairs of a single parent who has died. Paperwork and forms are one thing, but how do you go about selling the home if it’s located quite a distance away? Once the house is emptied of furniture, you’ll have to be concerned with its security and maintenance. In this situation there is only one logical route to take. List it with a local agency and let them take the problems off your back.

For security and maintenance reasons, time is usually of the essence. You may wish to offer the Pendleton property at a competitive price to ensure a speedy sale. Still, it does take time to sell a home in Pendleton at any price. A suggestion would be to find an agency who will offer you combined services of “manager” and “marketer.” The agency would be selling the Pendleton  property, and, at the same time, check the house on a regular basis to be sure it is well maintained and secured. I can work out arrangements of this type.

My next blog post will be focused on Checking Your Own Credit History, Checking Loan Chances Firs and Don’t Pass Up a Gem.  See you then!

Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home in Oregon Part 2

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Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why A Second Mortgage?

A second mortgage, which is so-called because it is recorded behind a senior or first loan and has a secondary priority, can be a very valuable tool for both buyers and sellers of homes.

Buyers can sometimes afford more home in Pendleton through having the seller carry back a second mortgage, and thereby enabling the purchaser to have to qualify for and secure a small first mortgage, usually from an institutional lender. Some mortgage companies and banks make second mortgages, both for purchasers and for owners to tap some of their unused equity and get cash out

For a seller willing to carry back a second mortgage, it could mean getting a higher price and a quicker sale, since doing this will expand the available pool of buyers who may not have all the cash required for a large down payment. Sometimes the willingness to carry a second in itself may bring a buyer who might have otherwise overlooked a particular piece of property.

Sell In A Hurry

Question: I am anxious to sell my home in Pendleton in the shortest amount of time possible. Any advice?

Answer: There are a few people who will drive by and see your sign. There are very few people who will see your ad in the short time you have available. The best way to sell your home in Pendleton in a hurry is to call my office (541) 215-2274. I have a ready pool of prospects. Many homes which sell in a short amount of time do so because a Realtor knows precisely the needs of a buyer he or she has been working with.

Question: My kitchen looks like a picture out of the silent movies and my bathroom would only appeal to the Ancient Mariner. Would it make more sense to remodel or “move up” to a better home?

Answer: Get an estimate from a contractor on modernizing and compare this with the cost of moving up to a better home. Kitchen and bath renovations are costly, complex and disrupting. Often, it’s better to move up to a house that already has what you want.

Appraiser and Market Estimate

Estimating the value of a home in Pendleton is not an exact science. Although everyone can have an opinion, the appraiser, because of training and background, is the person who is hired to give a documented report as to the market value of a piece of real estate at a given point in time.

Appraisers are hired by owners, buyers and lenders to look at Pendleton real estate, compare it with like properties in the same area that have recently sold, and then give an educated opinion of its value in the current market.

Appraisers have to look at many variables when doing this, such as condition of the property, circumstances of the sale, time on the market, variables because of location and adjust for differences in square footage of the home or lot for the comparable sales. After all of these have been factored in, the appraiser then compiles a written report, usually with photographs and a detailed accounting of each property compared to the subject.

The Importance of Location

Any Realtor will tell you that the three most important factors concerning the value of a house are: “Location, Location, and Location.” Unfortunately, most home buyers ignore this important advice.

Location is especially vital when buying a house in Pendleton for maximum resale value. Statistics say that you will be reselling your home long before the final mortgage payment is in the mail. Therefore, take a long, hard look, not only at the present, but the future prospects for the community and immediate neighborhood.

Select a location where raw land and house values have an increasing price trend. Especially check into the zoning laws for any unfavorable change which could cause depreciation in the value of the neighborhood and the resale price of your home in the near future.

Remember – you can remove, replace or remodel a house, but you can never change the location. So choose carefully.

Setting Selling Price

How do you set the selling price of your home in Pendleton? Probably the most dangerous way is to do it yourself. The asking price is, by far, the most important part of the selling process. You need expert input.

At our agency, we offer a comparative market analysis to help evaluate your property In Pendleton. In doing this market analysis, we walk through your house with you, often making suggestions about selling points that should be emphasized or minor changes that will enhance the sale. After this personal inspection, we will compare your Pendleton property with others similar in size and character that are currently on the market or that have been sold during the past year. In effect, the proper selling price will be determined by the local market – and you’ll probably be pleased with the suggested selling price.

This market analysis is an excellent way of rationally determining your asking price. Bear in mind, however, that it’s an estimate. You have no obligation to list your property at the suggested price.

Homeowners Tax Haven

You can forget about the old, confusing IRS regulations on tax breaks when you sell your principal home. Forget about the once-in-a-lifetime exemption of up to $125,000 in profits for those over 55 years of age. Forget about having to buy or build another house within two years of the sale which cost as much or more than the one you sold in order to defer paying capital gains taxes. The new look is here and it is great for homeowners.

The latest tax law now allows homeowners to avoid paying taxes on the first $250,000 of profits in a home if they are single, or on the first $500,000 of profits if they are married at the time they sell the home.

Because a homeowner can use the exemption repeatedly, as long as he or she lives in each house for at least two years, most will never have to pay taxes on profits from home sales. This change exempts over 99% of home sales from capital gains taxes.

Important  property tips on buy or selling your home part 3 on the way!

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Tips for Buying or Selling Your Home in Oregon Part 1

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Use these tips in any city or town in Oregon

Key Selling Points

Just like any homes for sale in Pendleton, Oregon, the marketing approach can be a key element in how fast and how much your home in Pendleton sells for. Buyers are often looking for one or two key ingredients that grab their attention. You may not be aware of it, but your home may have one of those special selling points. I am keenly aware of it! There are buyers looking for special ingredients such as open space, extra bathrooms, an in-law apartment, attached garage, home office, alarm system, near town but private, and on and on.

Finding the right selling points for your home in Pendleton that will fit current market conditions is vital. Creating interest among buyers and injecting excitement into the sales process helps attract buyers, especially those who are looking for homes in Pendleton with special qualities. These elements must be brought to the forefront quickly. I pride myself in doing this. If you want your home to stand out in the marketplace, call me. Chris Sykes (541) 215-2274

Mineral Rights

When properties in and around Pendleton are sold, the rights to the minerals in the soil below are many times held by the previous owner either for the current value or possible future benefit. Because mineral rights are usually held as separate from the right to build or occupy a piece of real property, they are often over looked, and unless reserved and made part of the purchase agreement, the rights do not automatically go to the buyer upon sale.

Because oil and mineral exploration is usually done far below the surface of the earth, and the extensive use of slant drilling today, oil and minerals can be taken from hundreds of feet below the surface without the dwellings on the ground being disturbed or even aware of what is going on. The grant deed at the time of sale will usually note if the mineral rights are included. It is not uncommon for sellers thirty or forty years earlier to still be in possession of the rights and any royalties from oil and minerals.


When either selling or buying a home in Pendleton, negotiating the best possible price and terms is an art, and it is one that often times takes much training and experience.

Usually, a third party, such as a real estate agent, can act as a buffer between the two principals and work out the differences that would be hard to overcome by both buyer and seller meeting face to face and not trained in negotiating. Also, someone not involved in the actual transaction can take a more distant and realistic look at the two sides and offer solutions that a buyer or seller who are emotionally involved would not think of.

Some of the largest and most sophisticated corporations in the country regularly hire negotiators for important projects because of their expertise, so it’s only natural that someone buying or selling a home, which usually represents one’s largest financial investment, would have an agent negotiating on their behalf.

Never A Better time

The old saying goes: “There is no time like the present.” When making the decision to move up to a larger or newer home in Pendleton, there is no better time than right now to put your home on the market. There are some wonderful opportunities to secure that home of your dreams right now at the right price.

However, before you can seriously think about a new home in Pendleton, you have to do something about your present one. The best situation is to have your present home in Pendleton under contract or sold. Without the first event, the second event may be a difficult reality. By having the dollar figures in hand from the sale of your present home in Pendleton, you can better evaluate how much cash you’ll have for a down payment and how much you can actually afford to pay for the new home in Pendleton.

Coordinating the purchase and sale of two Pendleton homes in a short time frame can be tricky. As your Realtor, I can guide you through the steps to produce a smooth sale as well as purchase.

Painting And Curb Appeal

The executive dressed in a tailored suit looks a whole lot different than he does on a weekend fishing trip. Just like the well-groomed person gets more attention, your home in Pendleton will get more favorable looks from buyers if it has a fresh face to it. It will probably sell for a higher price as well.

One of the most effective ways to dress up your home for sale is to put on a fresh coat of paint. Dollar for dollar, you will get more in terms of a higher selling price with new paint than with just about any other improvement you can make. Curb appeal is extremely important in attracting buyers. Old, weather-beaten paint can actually detract interest and buyers from a very nice home in Pendleton.

Many times, just painting the trim, doors, the eves and rain gutters is all that is needed to give a house a fresh look. Selecting contemporary colors that give a home that up-to-date look will also help in getting top dollar for your home once it goes on the market.

Do You Qualify For A Mortgage?

When buying a home in Pendleton, one of the most important aspects for most buyers once they have decided on their choice of a home, is meeting the lender’s requirements for obtaining the loan.

The elements that the lender will look for in qualifying a buyer for a loan is the amount of total income, long-term debt such as auto payments, installment loans and credit card payments. These amounts, along with the projected cost of repaying the mortgage and figuring monthly payments on principal, interest, taxes and insurance are all figured together and subtracted from the total income.

From there, the lender will allow a certain percentage of these costs, roughly a third, from the total income as allowable debt. This so-called ratio is how the lender qualifies a prospect for a home loan, along with credit history, savings reserves and stability of employment.

In My Next Blog Post I will talk about:  Why get a second Mortgage? The Importance of Location,  Selling in a Hurry,  Appraisers and Market Estimates, and Homeowners Tax Haven.    See you then!

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Pendleton Oregon Real Estate Lawyers

Commercial Real Estate Lawyers in Pendleton, Oregon

Commercial real estate is any type of land or structure in Pendleton, Oregon which is used for business purposes, primarily the sale of goods and/or services to the public.

The laws in Pendleton, Oregon which govern commercial real estate differ significantly from the laws governing the rental and purchase of residential real estate.

Buyers and renters of residential property enjoy a large number of legal protections. Many of these protections don’t apply to buyers or renters of commercial property.

For instance, residential real estate is covered by laws concerning rent control, living conditions, and other things relevant to buildings where people will be living. Most of these protections don’t apply to commercial real estate, because the law assumes that the average business person is a bit more sophisticated in such dealings than the general population, and because a place to do business is generally less important than a place to live. However, the most basic protections, such as protection from fraud and deliberate concealment of defects, still apply.

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Common Commercial Real Estate Law Issues in Pendleton, Oregon

Financing: Many businesses in Pendleton, Oregon can’t save up enough money to pay the full asking price of a decent-sized piece of real estate up front. Nonetheless, it’s sometimes necessary for businesses to acquire real estate. To solve this problem, most rely on a mortgage. A mortgage is a common type of loan, taken out to purchase real estate. The lending institution lends the full purchase price to the borrower, who then purchases the property. The property, in turn, becomes collateral for the loan, which must be paid back over a period of years, with interest.

Concealment of Defects: Sellers and lessors of commercial real estate are under a duty to disclose any defects in the property which might impact the buyer’s decision to purchase it, such as water damage, mold, or other structural problems. These defects are quite common, and the buyer has a right to know about them. If the seller doesn’t disclose these defects, where they exist, the buyer can sue for any harm this causes.

Duty to Inspect: Buyers of commercial real estate are expected to be diligent, and a court will not reward a lack of diligence. Therefore, if the buyer fails to conduct a thorough inspection of the property before buying it, and thereby fails to discover defects which such an inspection could have easily revealed, he will not be able to sue the seller over these defects later on.

Encumbrances: Encumbrances are defects of a different type: rather than physical defects, they are defects of title. In Pendleton, Oregon, an encumbrance is an interest in a piece of real estate held by a third party, such as covenants or easements. An easement is a right held by someone to use the property of someone else for a certain purpose. For example, a person might have an easement on the land of another person, allowing them to cross the land to access a public road.

Can a Pendleton, Oregon Attorney Help?

These issues are sometimes complex, and almost always very important. Therefore, it’s essential to seek the assistance of a Pendleton, Oregon real estate attorney if you have any dealings in this area.

Find a Pendleton Lawyer that Specializes in Your Area of Need:

Pendleton and Your New Community!


So, you have purchased a home in Pendleton, from Chris at, now what? Pendleton is great community that is centered around, well…. A GREAT COMMUNITY! Pendleton is known for the Pendleton Round-Up but that is another blog post, I want to focus on what makes Pendleton a great Community.

When I think of Pendleton, altruism comes to mind.  A willingness of Pendletonians to think about others before themselves.  I’m talking about non-profit organizations in Pendleton.  I tried counting, but I lost count at 120 non-profit organizations in Pendleton alone!  If you have a family and are buying a home in Pendleton, this should give you some comfort and if you are single, this is one of the most rewarding ways to meet new people.  I am currently on The Pendleton Underground Tour board and was a 7 year board member of The Pendleton Air and Military Museum, which has given me many great friends and a sense of belonging.  This gave me a connection to Pendleton and more importantly, a connection to the people of Pendleton; at a time I felt I had none. Immediately I started receiving, “Hi, how are you’s” and the “Smiles” that put an ease to a new and difficult experience.  All I had to do was donate a little bit of my time and keep my mind open.  If you are buying a home from or moving to Pendleton, keep Pendleton non-profits in mind.

I would like to name a few more organizations that help Pendleton and I will give a link to most of the organizations in Pendleton.


Here are most of the tax exempt organizations in Pendleton.

Pendleton Tax Exempt/Non-Profit Organizations

Have Fun and Welcome to Pendleton, Oregon!

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