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Why it's not worth to pay points

4/6/2021



According to Freddie Mac, mortgage interest rates are still hovering at all-time lows, signaling that the COVID-impacted economy is still struggling.  With interest rates well under three percent, it’s an ideal time to buy or refinance a home. Can you get an even better rate by paying points? 

When you’re quoted a rate like 2.73%, it may only be available if you pay points, such as .07%. Points are also known as discount points, a fee that’s paid directly to the lender at closing to reduce the interest rate on your loan. Explains BankofAmerica.com, one point costs 1% of your mortgage amount, or $1,000 for every $100,000. Essentially, you’re prepaying some of the interest to get a lower rate. 

The longer you plan to stay in your home, the more likely it is that you’ll “break even” or recoup the cost of buying points. Divide the cost of the points by how much you save on your monthly payment. Let’s say you buy two points for $4,000. The monthly savings to you is $58.54, so it will take you 68 months, or 5.67 years, to break even. If you’re planning to stay in your home a shorter time than that, buying points isn’t a good deal, and it may not be a good deal even if you plan to stay years longer. 

That $4,000 would be better spent toward your down payment, especially if you’re paying mortgage insurance. Your lender can help advise you which is best. 

Is there a Real Estate Bubble?

4/5/2021

Navigating today's market

The impact of the Great Recession is still very much alive in our Real Estate memories. This is somewhat misleading when trying to compare to our market today. We went into 2008 with 10-12 months of housing supply. That is nearly two times the historical normal of 6 months. 

On top of that, many home buyers in the years leading up to the crisis qualified for just too much home relative to their income.

In today's market we see many things that are, in fact, very different. Most notably, that we went into this market with half the amount of housing supply (less than 3 months) and since that time, almost every market has seen a reduction in the number of homes for sale since the pandemic.

Additionally, mortgage programs today are very conservative in terms of homeowner's eligibility and qualifications.  

We're projecting that 2021 will have the highest number of sales in 15 years.

 

What should potential buyers know about the 2021 market?

Over 50% of buyers are concerned about paying too much for a property. Most homeowners are staying in properties between 10 and 13 years. So, rather than being concerned about any short term hits to value, due to a possible future market correction, think about the longevity of the horizon that you might stay in the property. The more important question is, what does the value look like 8, 10 to 12 years down the road. Historically speaking, regardless of any short term corrections, the overall health and longevity of the real estate appreciation is very favorable.

 

What advice would you give to sellers who are waiting to sell their homes?

With interest rates hovering over historical lows, many of today's buyers are moving up. Which effectively could mean that from a demand perspective, we may have forecasted to see in future years, actually, today's transactions being pulled forward. Which may mean, that in the coming years as interest rates rise, and future years buyers purchase their forever homes now, we could see the industry's transaction volume cool, which could mean that values and appreciations cool as well. In other words, it's hard to time the perfect apex of any market. So, to sellers that have been on the fence about selling, either because they're looking to time the height of the market, or they've had concerns around Covid; I think 2021 is the year to consult with a professional and consider what are the options of selling now, versus what may unfold in the coming years.

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink

3/23/2021

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink

In the wide world of kitchen décor, the sink is rarely a star. Sandwiched between the granite countertops and the kitchen backsplash, it is perhaps the last thing homeowners think about. But considering how often we use it, and the different chores we use it for, the sink deserves a considered choice.

Kitchen design consultants at HGTV provide kitchen sink basics to think about:


Size and Shape
 

Classic Farmhouse
A large, single-basin sink, this classic design works well if you plan to use it for multiple chores beyond washing dishes, such as cleaning over-sized pots, pans and baking sheets, or bathing dogs or babies. More common is the double farmhouse sink, with two basins of equal size. 

Traditional Double Sink
With two basins of different size, these allow the user to prep in the smaller size and clean up in the larger one, or separately wash small items you don’t want to put in the dishwasher. While the 60/40 split is most common, many models offer two sinks of varied size options.

Three-Basin
This sink features two basins of equal size, with one small one and a garbage disposal in the center. It’s a good choice if you want to keep food scraps away from the basins where you prep and clean.

Rounded Sides
Some homeowners consider a curved sink easier to clean than one with square edges, and the sleek, minimalist look is attractive.


Materials

Stainless Steel
This is easy to clean and offers a contemporary look, but metal can scratch. Most manufacturers offer bottom grids—wire trays placed in the bottom of the sink to prevent scratching. If you live in an area with hard water, water spots can be a problem.

Porcelain
This looks authentic in kitchens with a vintage style, and if you love color, the choices are endless. Porcelain sinks can chip, however, and metal pans can leave black scuff marks that are difficult to remove.

Granite Composite
Made of granite particles and polymers, these sinks resist scratches and chips and do not show water spots. Lighter-colored granite composite sinks can stain, however, and some special maintenance may be required.

Natural Stone
Natural stone (soapstone being the most common choice) can exactly match your countertop material. But it’s costly, and it can scratch and chip. Special cleaning products may be required.


 

Coming Soon..Larkspur Community Center - Bend Park and Recreation District

3/23/2021

Larkspur Community Center - Bend Park and Recreation District
Larkspur Community Center will welcome people of all ages and abilities while continuing the legacy of the Bend Senior Center and further enhancing programs and opportunities for older adults.

Designed to be a gathering place for all, this newly expanded facility will include approximately 34,000 square feet of additional space and offer a multitude of opportunities to enhance lifelong fitness, learning and enrichment.

  • A 5,000 square foot warm-water lifestyle pool with current channel and spa
  • A 6,000 square foot fitness center
  • An indoor walk/jog track with 14 laps to a mile
  • Group Exercise and Mind and Body rooms
  • Locker rooms and private changing rooms
  • Welcome desk and café area
  • Outdoor spaces
  • New and expanded parking with entrances off of 15th and Reed Market

     

    Current Update: BPRD plans to open Larkspur Community Center in early 2021. This is adjusted from previous plans to open this fall.

    1600 SE Reed Market RoadLarkspur Community Center - Bend Park and Recreation District

5 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

3/22/2021


The savings rate in America is pretty abysmal. Fifty-seven percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, according to a 2017 GOBanking Rates survey.

Without savings, people can be forced to take on debt when they lose their job, get sick or have major car repairs. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to trick yourself into saving money, whether for retirement, college, a new car, vacation or a rainy day. Here are five:

Automatic Transfers
Having money automatically moved from your paycheck to a retirement account, or from your checking account to savings, can be a painless way to save money without realizing you’re doing it. It’s called “Pay yourself first” and it is meant to pay into your retirement or other savings accounts so that you pay your future self first. Otherwise, it’s money you’re likely to spend.

Hide It
Automatic transfers are one way to hide your money and keep it out of your sight so you don’t spend it. There are other ways to hide your savings, though you don’t want to hide it so well that you forget it exists.

Set up savings accounts at another bank than where your checking account is. This will help you avoid seeing the balance when you log in to your checking account. It also makes the savings account a little more difficult to get to since it’s not at the same institution as your checking account.

Sign up for paperless statements where your savings accounts are, such as retirement accounts, so you don’t see the balance too often. Check in a few times a year and set up text or email alerts for withdrawals or unusual activity so you aren’t a victim of fraud.

Digital Savings
Did you ever have a container at home to put your spare change into? Apps on your phone can do the same thing. Apps such as Digit and Acorns transfer spare money from your checking account to a savings account, or invests it. Some banks round up debit card purchases and transfer the change to your savings account.

Bank Any Extra Money
If you save money by canceling a cable TV subscription or other service, move that monthly savings into a savings account each month with an automatic transfer. Otherwise, the money will stay in your checking account and will likely be spent elsewhere.

For one-time windfalls, such as a tax refund, deposit it into your savings account or buy a one-year certificate of deposit. If you try to take out the money early from a CD, you’ll be charged a small penalty.

Did you recently get a raise at work? Bank that extra money in your paycheck, as well.

Stuff $1 Bills Away.
Along with saving your coins at the end of the day, put aside every $1 bill you have in your pocket. Put them in a change jar and, at the end of the week or the end of the month, gather them all and deposit them into your savings account.

If you really want to save big, save your $5 and $10 bills.

How to Spot Foundation Problems

3/20/2021



The foundation provides support for your entire house, so keeping it level and in good condition is critical to the protection of the entire structure and the safety of your family. A foundation can become damaged by a variety of problems and natural occurrences. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should have your foundation inspected as soon as possible.

Cracks
The most glaring sign of a foundation problem is cracking in the foundation, walls or floors. This can be a result of movement in the soil that causes the house to sink. Even if a crack appears small, it can indicate that there is a serious problem. This should be addressed as soon as possible.

Settling or Heaving
You may notice that the house is settling or sinking on one side. This indicates a significant foundation problem that can result in safety issues. Ignoring even a small change will only allow the problem to get worse.

Sometimes the opposite happens and the foundation moves upward. You may notice that hallways, doors or garage walls are no longer level. This problem can be caused by expansion and contraction of the soil under the house or by moisture issues.

Moisture in the Crawl Space
You may notice excessive moisture, mold and mildew in your crawl space and may smell a musty odor inside the house. This problem can be addressed by improving the drainage system.

Problems Inside the House
The floors may sag or become uneven. This can be dangerous, especially for children and people with limited mobility, because it raises the risk of falls and injuries.

You may notice that the doors are difficult to open and close or do not line up properly. While this is common after a heavy rainstorm because of moisture in the air, if it happens during dry weather, it could be a sign of an issue with the foundation. You may see gaps around the window frames or exterior doors, or you may no longer be able to lock doors—this creates obvious safety concerns.

If you notice that your cabinets and counters are separating from the walls, that is a sign of a foundation problem. Even a small amount of movement can indicate that there is a serious issue.

Have Your Home Inspected
A foundation problem is something that needs to be taken seriously. Even something that seems like a minor change can be a sign of a significant structural issue. If you notice any of these signs, contact a local contractor immediately to have your house inspected. It’s necessary to correct foundation issues quickly to avoid further problems and prevent major structural damage.

Oregon now says all adults will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine May 1

3/19/2021

Source: Kristin Foden-Vencil OPB

 

The Oregon Health Authority told OPB on Wednesday that all adult Oregonians will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by May 1.

President Joe Biden set the May 1 timeline earlier this month, but Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that while she would like to meet that timeline, she wouldn’t change the state’s schedule until she was sure enough vaccines would arrive.

The hesitation stems from a promises made for vaccines under the Trump administration, which then did not arrive.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has sent Oregon an order to make all Oregonians eligible by May 1.

Speaking on Think Out Loud on Wednesday, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said the state will comply with the federal request.

“It leaves us a little bit nervous,” Allen said. “To be fair, this administration has generally been pretty good about what it has assured us we will be able to see.”

The timeline doesn’t mean everyone will be able to get a vaccine May 1, but they can start to apply for an appointment then.

Allen said the Oregon Health Authority is considering making some people eligible sooner if they would have been permitted May 1, such as frontline workers, people in multi-generational households and younger people with pre-existing conditions.

Biden also said the federal government is looking into making it easier for people to secure appointments to get vaccinated.

Allen said he doesn’t know what that new federal system might look like, but he thinks that vaccine supplies heading to Oregon should double by May 1.

“These problems actually get easier rather than harder, because effectively you start being able to find vaccine everywhere,” Allen said. “At that point you find it at your local health care providers office. You find it at your local pharmacy in more quantities that it is now.”

The state will also continue to offer the shots at mass vaccination clinics currently in operation.

Charles Boyle with Governor Brown’s office said she is following up with the Biden administration for more specifics about when vaccine shipments will increase, “But in a briefing with governors earlier this week, it was clear the White House has worked hard to secure additional vaccine supplies for states in the coming weeks,” he said.

“We will continue to center equity in all of our vaccine distribution efforts, whether that means ensuring that seniors, people with underlying conditions, frontline workers, and the Oregonians most vulnerable to COVID-19 have the opportunity for vaccinations prior to May 1––or after May 1, working with local health partners to ensure these priority groups continue to have access to appointments.”

The Oregon Health Authority partnered with Google to create a tool for vaccine registration. The website, getvaccinated.oregon.gov, won’t provide appointments, but it will find a provider when someone is eligible.


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Spa Brasada Reopening April 1, 2021

3/18/2021

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One of our favorite places in Central Oregon is Brasada Resort.  We are so excited to learn that Spa Brasada is reopening.  They have a range of massages, body treatments, and nail services- featuring their signature scents and essential oil blends. They're offering a special welcome amenity, complimentary Metolius Teas and lavender short bread cookies. Come visit Central Oregon and emerge from their Signature experience feeling renewed and refreshed.

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