Portland Real Estate Blog

This is a top 100 real estate blog in the world according to Feedspot.com. In particular this is a Portland real estate blog written by a top 1% Portland real estate agent, Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor. Stephen regularly reports on the Portland real estate market, including short sale and foreclosure news. He gives home selling and home buying tips. He also writes informative articles on Portland neighborhoods. Finally, he writes to inform the general public about real estate agents and the industry.

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oil tank testing

Portland Home Tests: Oil Tank Sweep

July 15, 2014

Portland homes are heated in many ways. Some use electricity, some natural gas, and there are even a few homes that just use a wood stove or fireplace (not to mention Geo-thermal, heat pumps, and a variety of alternative methods!). Oil heat is not as common but it has been in use since the 1940s, heating about 10% of all homes in the United States. Oil heating systems are different in that oil must be delivered to the property and stored for use, much like you store gasoline in your car’s gas tank. The life span on Portland heating oil tanks is about 20 years, after which they pose an environmental hazard because of leaks. Unfortunately, once a tank is...


Portland Pocket Listings – Bad for the real estate market

July 1, 2014

The phenomenon has been around for as long as real estate agents: When inventory is low and buyers aren’t finding what they’re looking for on the market, some Realtors will go door to door in the target neighborhood to find a home that the owners are willing to sell, or they will make a “secret” pact with home sellers they know. The practice is known as “pocket listing”, because the seller never lists their home on the public MLS. Instead, they sell to the buyer that the real estate agent has in mind, often for less than they might have if they had advertised to the entire public market. In the Portland real estate market last month, according to the...


asbestos in portland

Portland Real Estate Danger: Asbestos

June 17, 2014

It’s not a mold or a metal; a fungus or a gas. It’s not a chemical from a lab or something beamed in from space – in fact, this household hazard has been in use for 4,000 years! Asbestos is actually a mineral that forms long fibers with a wide array of uses. Unfortunately, its dangers were not recognized until the early 1900’s, and the Environmental Protection Agency still hasn’t completely banned it. That’s right, we’re one of the few developed countries where cancer-causing asbestos can still be found in everything from brake pads to oven mitts! In home construction prior to 1990, asbestos was a common material for floor tiles, siding, insulation and ceilings because of its ability to...


sewer scope portland

Portland Home Tests: Sewer Scope!

May 29, 2014

Continuing our series on home tests Portland real estate agents recommend on older Portland homes, let’s talk about everybody’s favorite subject: Sewage. Okay, most of us would rather not think about what happens when we flush the toilet or run the garbage disposal, but just as you wouldn’t buy a home with fraying electrical lines or rusted-out water pipes, you should look into the condition of your potential home’s sewer system before you commit. In case you weren’t aware, all of the drains in your home’s kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc., are connected to a sewer pipe that you become responsible for when you buy the home. Your sewer pipe runs under your front or back yard to connect to a...


portland home sales

Portland Home Sales, Acquisition Statistics, First Half 2014

May 21, 2014

Okay, so the 2014 Portland real estate market is not quite half over yet, but we are close and I find the acquisition numbers fascinating so far. In the last six months, 3734 Portland homes have sold and 961 Portland townhomes and condos. Of the regular Portland home sales, 762 or 20% were cash sales. A whopping 2533, or 67%, were conventional loan sales. 344, or 9% were FHA loan sales, and finally 95 or 3% were VA loans. The remaining 1% of sales were “other” financed, either seller financed, lease option, trade, or a rehab loan. In regards to townhomes and condos in Portland, 961 sold in the last six month. An amazing number of those sales were cash,...


radon tests portland

Portland Home Tests: Radon Gas

May 14, 2014

What’s invisible, odorless, creeps in your basement, and kills 21,000 people a year in the US alone according to the EPA? The answer is radon gas, and to be more specific, it comes from naturally occurring uranium in the rocks and soil underneath homes, including many in the Portland, Oregon area. And homes without basements can have a radon problem, although it is less likely. Pro tip: If your Portland home is on a crawlspace, be sure that all the crawlspace vents are open and not blocked with debris. If the crawlspace is open and well ventilated the chances of failing a Radon test drop to nearly zero in the Portland area. Here’s what you need to know: Radon gas...


portland real estate market

Portland Real Estate Market March 2014: Fresher than ever

May 7, 2014

Things that aren’t very good stale: Crackers, beer and the Portland real estate market. Luckily, Portlanders can fear no more this spring about stale real estate because the real estate market is fresh as a newly hatched chick (besides, here in the rainy Northwest, soggyness is a greater danger than staleness). According to a recent Trulia report, relative to the rest of the country, the Portland real estate market sells homes at one of the fastest rates in the nation. This month’s RMLS numbers back up the report. Inventory, an important marker of how quickly homes are passing from the hands of sellers to buyers, fell to 3.1 months in March. Average total time on the market was 85 days....


portland home appraisal

Appraisal FAQ – Need to know info. for Portland Home Appraisals

April 22, 2014

A home appraisal is part of nearly 95% of Portland real estate home sales. It is not 100% because around 5% of sales in Portland, Oregon are cash and do not require an appraisal. (Pro Tip: A cash buyer can hire an independent appraiser to evaluate the home and make their offer contingent on their satisfaction of that independent appraisal. This is not common, but also not a bad idea.) Also appraisals are used for home refinances, but in this article we will focus on an appraisal for a real estate transaction in Portland. Here is what you need to know about Portland home appraisals: Who pays for the appraisal? The buyer pays for it and it is not included...


lead pipe testing portland

Portland Home Buyer Tests: Lead Based Paint, Lead in Pipes

April 21, 2014

Many home buyers come to their Portland real estate agent with concerns about potential hazards and unseen risks in the Portland home they have their eye on. And well they should! Just because a home looks perfect on the surface doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dig a little deeper, especially if it’s an older home. Based on the experience of a Portland real estate agent, I’ll be doing a series of blog posts on home buyer tests – simple ways for you, the home buyer, to know if materials like lead, asbestos and radon are a problem for a given Portland home. Let’s start with lead. Once considered a great base for paints and water pipes because of its corrosion-resisting properties,...


portland real estate market

Best time to sell a house in the Portland real estate market.

April 9, 2014

There is a lot of debate in the Portland real estate industry surrounding the best time of the year to sell a Portland home. What I’ve found listening to the debate is that most Portland real estate agents are talking about it based on their experience. Experience can be useful, but when you’re considering broad questions, a bigger data picture is much more useful than one agent’s experience. So I will share my experience as a top Portland real estate agent, but I will also use the official Portland real estate market data as obtained from RMLS. (You can also sign up here to get it for free.) Big data picture for the Portland real estate market. Take a look...