Buying a Home, Real Estate

Larry Wallace on The Housing Bubble

We’re going to be introducing some pretty amazing people to our blog to get their input and take on different topics throughout Central Oregon and real estate. To start, we connected with Larry Wallace, Branch Manager at Caliber Home Loans, to give his take on the “housing bubble” we keep hearing about.

With 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Larry has gained the knowledge and dedication required to provide the ideal financing options to borrowers in the Western US. Before he began his career in mortgage lending, he worked as a Fully Certified Ski Instructor in Park CIty, UT. The experience he gained during this time enabled him to explain technical issues in a simple, understandable, and friendly manner.

If you’re looking for loan financing, get in touch with Larry at Caliber. Their competitive loan financing rates, combined with state-of-the-art technology and dedicated support staff, enables them to provide borrowers with one or more customized loan options while minimizing any stress they may feel. In addition, since Caliber is a dedicated mortgage lender, they can offer you a wider selection of loan products than many banking institutions.

Now, here’s Larry:

A New Housing Bubble?

Wow. Plenty of headlines indicating a new housing bubble is about ready to burst.

Funny though, I have been reading articles screaming “bubble” since 2013.  Thus, I’ve become skeptical of those headlines – unless they are accompanied by actual supporting data. Seldom is such data forthcoming. Yes, like you, I hear comments such as “…it can’t keep going on like this forever” or “…we are back at the same pre-crash prices” or “…the average median income is not going up as fast as the average median home price.” But those are simply statements, not back up data. Remember when we were kids and our math teachers said “show me your work”? That’s what we should seek when we hear claims about the next real estate bubble – supporting documentation, i.e. “show me your work.”

Once past the scary headlines most housing related articles become benign and frequently state “…home price appreciation is slowing down.” That’s the evidence? That is hardly a bubble popping! But you wouldn’t know it from the headline. Can you imagine if a jet liner was taking off at a steep angle – and then eased back into a more gentle angle of ascent…and someone tried to say that was proof the plane was crashing?

Are we being bombarded with scary headlines just to get our “click” on the link? Is that how journalists get paid these days? While sensational headlines is nothing new, but it sure seems worse in this digital age. So, what can you do?  I’d suggest demanding they “show you their work” before putting off the purchase of a new home. You might want to ask good real estate agents and mortgage professionals for their “work” too. My hours and hours of work in this indicates you are safe (even smart) to buy now.

Buying a Home

Beginner’s Guide to Home Buying

Are you done with paying rent every month and dealing with landlords and are now thinking “maybe it’s time to buy my own house?”

Gearing up to set in some roots and get your own place can seem daunting at first. So many questions come up and we want to help give you the 411 on what the process looks like, what to consider and how things will go so you can feel the most prepared.

1. What are you looking for? 

First and foremost, make sure you know what you’re looking for in your new home. Make a list of your needs and think about the areas you want to be close to.

Some questions to consider are:

  • How many bedrooms do you want?
  • Do you want an office?
  • Do you have children? What do they need?
  • Do you want a garden?
  • Do you want acreage?
  • One-story or two-story?
  • Do you want to be near a school? Have you researched schools?
  • Would you like to be close to stores and shopping centers?
  • Do you want to be in a neighborhood? Or do you want to be out of town?

2. How much money do you qualify for?

Now that you have an idea of what it is you’re looking for, you’ll want to know what you can actually look at. Your pre-loan qualification is the first step in the loan process. It’s a quick conversation with a loan officer, or loan originator, who will ask about income, marital status, credit score and a few other details. Find out your credit score before scheduling an appointment with a loan officer. This will move things along quickly.

3. What documentation will you need?

Once you’ve qualified for a loan and have an idea of what that could look like, you’ll need to get the proper documentation together to aid in the loan approval process. This will include items such as tax returns, work history, other income, child support or divorce decree, and current rental or mortgage information.

4. Shopping Time

Now that you’ve been pre-approved, you and your real estate team can get together and start looking for houses. Getting a real estate agent that knows what you’re looking for puts you ahead of others who don’t have one. Your realtor can keep a look out for properties that match your needs and notify you immediately.

Enjoy the home-buying process. It can get a little stressful sometimes, but if you continue to come back to the idea that this is a new and exciting venture for you, you can bring out the fun of looking for a new home.

5. Making an Offer

So you’ve found a home you’re ready to go for. You’ve toured it a couple times and you’re excited. Your real estate agent will help you put the offer together and submit it to the seller. If accepted, escrow opens and the next phase begins.

6. What is escrow?

Escrow is a third-party company that holds funds and regulates payment transactions for the buyer and the seller. “Earnest money” is the initial escrow account deposit that you (as the buyer) will pledge, creating a contract. That earnest money can be used toward the purchase price, closing costs or it can be refunded back to you at closing. The terms are written into your contract.

7. What happens during escrow?

While escrow is open, you’ll check all the details of your hope-to-be property. This includes a home inspection that will uncover problems that may need to be taken care of before closing the sale. Depending on what comes up, you may be able to negotiate pricing or negate the deal altogether. Meanwhile, your loan lender will order a property appraisal to ensure they’re not loaning you more than necessary.

8. Escrow Closes

Once the contract has been finalized, escrow closes. This means the property title transfers to your name and closing costs are paid.

Don’t forget that your real estate team is there to assist you, answer any questions you have and help you get through this process as smoothly as possible.

Buying a Home, Properties, Real Estate

New Listing: 900 Acres Above Prineville

An iconic 900 acre mountain top with City of Prineville, Cascade and Ochoco Mountain views. It’s a legacy property for your family including 6 or 7 large private home sites or up to 102 lots of 2.5 to 5 acres for a one-of-a-kind neighborhood. This expansive property is only 10 minutes from town with gorgeous native plants to create fabulous home sites with both privacy and views. Wonderful opportunity for a developer looking for a unique project. Pristine and peaceful, this land has untamed potential.

900 Acre 2

900 Acre 3

900 Acre 4

Check out the video to take it all in.

Buying a Home, Real Estate, Selling a Home

How to Pick a Real Estate Agent

Real estate takes a lot more knowledge than just having great houses on their list. It’s having the experience, knowing the area, and the ability to represent the client’s needs above anything else.

But how do you know who is the right real estate agent for you? Maybe your friend recommended their friend or your friend recommended themselves. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the right fit in an agent.

How to Pick a Real Estate Agent

Your Agent Should Be Local – Like Central Oregon Local

You’re looking for someone who has the knowledge of Central Oregon, who understands the market, knows the inventory, is familiar with different neighborhoods, schools, doctors, traffic, and so much more.

The person who was recommended to you in a different city should not be your agent – even if he or she produces big results. You’re looking for someone who knows the area you’re interested in.

So how do you find them?

Check out who’s selling in the area. Drive around and see whose signs are up. Use Zillow,, and even Google to see who’s getting the best reviews and who is the most active in your area of interest.

Don’t Pick the First Agent You Meet

Do a little self-examination. It’s important to make sure your personalities match. So don’t just pick that one real estate agent you met when you were out to dinner. They may not be the right fit for you.

In fact, shop around. Meet several agents and get an idea of what you’re looking for, what your requirements are and be sure they have the right compatibilities for you. Ask friends for recommendations and start doing your own research – online and in person.

Don’t Pick Your Friend Just Because They’re Your Friend

Now, that doesn’t mean don’t pick your friend at all. Just make sure to do your research and consider whether or not you’ll work well together in that environment. A real estate transaction is likely going to be the biggest money deal you make in your lifetime, and it’s important to choose a partner wisely in that endeavor.

Now is not the time to toss your friend a bone who just got their real estate license. It may be a little sensitive and your friend may be a little offended, but times like these call for first-hand knowledge of the process, area, and what you’re looking for when buying or selling your home.

If things aren’t going well in the buying or selling process, you need to be able to have a professional conversation with your agent. There can’t be room for fear of hurt feelings or concerns about what their reaction might be.

You have to hire the most qualified person for you.

The Best Listing Agent Doesn’t Tell You What You Want to Hear

Obviously, you’re always hoping for top dollar. And our human nature tends to lean toward the guy who suggests the highest listing price.

This is often a poor way to make your choice.

Go with the agent that backs their price up with local data and doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear. Because they can’t necessarily deliver and will often come back to you a few weeks later asking for a price reduction.

There are many strategies to listing a house. So listen to those strategies. Some agents will price a house low and let the marketplace drive up the price. Others think pricing it high and testing the waters will get you comfortable with the idea that your house isn’t really worth as much as you though. And that is an agent who tells you what you want to hear.

Go With an Agent Who Actually Closes Deals

There are career real estate agents and there are those whom career real estate agents call “hobbyists.” Some agents use their license a few hours a week while their kids are in school or as a supplemental income.

Make sure your agent is closing a deal at least once a month.

It’s hard work to sell houses and help buyers. Make sure your agent is working the hours necessary to get the job done.