Portland Metro Highlights
Portland Market Update - April 2016

Portland Metro Real Estate market continues to enjoy seasonal gains this April.
  • New Listings (4,082) are up 19.7% above the 3,409 new listiings offered in March 2016.
  • Pending Sales at 3,432 rose 11.6% over the 3,076 offers accepted in March 2016.
  • Closed Sales (2,611) edged up 1.8% compared to March 2016.
  • Inventory for the Portland metro area saw a slight increase to 1.4 months. Total market time decreaed to 43 days.

Average and Median Sales Prices rose as compared with the previous 12 months.
  • Average sales price change 8.7% - $365,100 vs. $336,000
  • Median sales price change 9.8% - $318,500 vs. $290,000

For the Latest Portland Real Estate Market Highlights - check out the Market Action Report & Neighborhood Stats below.

In the event you or someone you know is thinking about selling or buying a home, give me a call at 503-319-5684 or email arnett@realtytrust.com to discuss current market activity and conditions.
Avoid Moving Day Mishaps

Moving day is an exciting transition to a new future. The information below can help you make sure it's a great experience that goes smoothly:

1. Consider "Full Replacement Value" insurance rather than the moving company's default insurance.

Many people assume their homeowner's insurance covers them during a move, but it may offer minimal or no coverage once your possessions leave your home. Moving companies usually offer extra insurance that covers your belongings for the full cost of repair or replacement. (This is not the standard "Released Value" insurance that all companies offer by default.) The Yelp review below demonstrates the danger of using the Released Value insurance option:

"Our Adirondack chairs were so disassembled they were nothing but kindling. LOTS of breakage, lots of missing items, items that were not ours were mixed in.... the total insurance offer for almost $8000 in damage was $272.30." ( Yelp review.)

There is no additional charge for Released Value insurance, but it typically insures your belongings for only around 60 cents per pound, meaning that if your 40-pound, 50-inch flat-screen TV gets broken you'll receive around $24 rather than the $800 it would take to replace it. (Possibly even less if the move is within the same state.) This is why experts consider Full Replacement Value insurance a much better option.

Read more about the different types of moving insurance here. Independent insurance companies such as MovingInsurance.com also offer policies specifically for moves.

2. Make sure you know who will do the actual moving, and always obtain the proper documents from the moving service.

A moving company has its own trucks and equipment, whereas a moving broker contracts out to one of many companies, making it much harder to research the people who will ultimately be handling your possessions. In addition, a moving company may not be obliged to abide by the broker's estimate, according to the MovingScam website.

Not being clear on this kind of information can lead to stories like this one:

"Vera made it to Dallas all right, but her stuff never arrived. We’re talking about a lifetime of memories and mementos and possessions, all gone without explanation." ( KOB4 News.)

This trusting customer believed the movers when they told her the reason they showed up in a U-Haul truck was because their regular moving truck broke down. They were a subcontractor of the company she initially contacted, and because she never received a bill of lading she has no way of proving they ever had her possessions.

The Protect Your Move website recommends that you always obtain the following documents:

a) Estimate; b) Order for Service; c) Bill of Lading; d) Inventory List.

There are many good moving brokers out there; however, because relying on someone else's judgment to choose a company you may know nothing about can increase your risk, when working with a broker it's helpful if you can find out who the subcontractor will be.

3. Go above and beyond to research companies in order to find someone honest who values their own good reputation.

Moving day is a time when an ethical company can make all the difference in the world. Customers with travel deadlines to meet and no last minute options create a playground for unscrupulous contractors, and anyone who drives away with all of your possessions in their truck will always have the upper hand to some extent. Choosing the wrong company resulted in this homeowner's complaint:

"I put down a $150 deposit, and was told before the movers showed up that the rest of the $1869 would be due on delivery. When the movers showed up, the price jumped to $5012.50, and the movers demanded half of that on the spot or else there wouldn’t be a delivery!" ( MovingScam website.)

When considering a moving service, search online for the company name followed by the word "reviews" or "complaints". Again, if you're working with a broker try to find out who their subcontractors are. It's a good idea to read through the reviews rather than just relying on the number of stars in the overall rating.

Tip: Don't rely solely on BBB reviews, and on Yelp also read "other reviews that are not currently recommended", linked to in light grey at the bottom of many Yelp review pages.

Moving Service Red Flags:

- The moving company or broker won't do an in-home estimate. Experts recommend never agreeing to a phone estimate.

- They require a hefty deposit up front. (A small deposit of $100 or so may be reasonable to protect moving companies from people who book a moving date just to receive free packing supplies.)

- The company vans are unmarked. A common excuse is that it's because they're so busy that they had to rent an extra truck.

- They want you to pay based on volume, which means the price can be inflated by movers who pack only one or two items per box. Interstate moves should be charged by weight, while intrastate moves are often charged by the hour.

- The company phone is answered with a generic "Movers" or "Moving Company".

- There is no listed physical address. Moving companies need storage locations for trucks and furniture.

- The movers demand more money on moving day. The original estimate is affirmed once they start loading, which is why dishonest companies sometimes refuse to start loading until the customer signs a new, higher estimate, according to MovingScam.com.

- The moving company does not have a DOT (Dept. of Transportation) number or MC (Federal Motor Carrier) number.

When Self-Moving Is an Option:

The "You pack, we ship" alternative has become more popular in recent years. The MovingScam.com website recommends ABF U-Pack service. While you do more legwork this way, one benefit in addition to the lower cost is that long-distance shipments tend to arrive within 2 to 5 business days, compared to 7 to 14 days with full-service companies.

Excellent Moving Resources:

"Understanding Moving Estimates"

It's good to understand which of the three main types of moving estimates you may be offered. The best is a "Binding Not-to-Exceed" estimate, according to the article.

"Understanding Valuation and Insurance"

The title makes the article sound like a slow read, but it's actually extremely helpful and clearly explained - definitely worth taking a look at before moving day.

"Tips for a Successful Move"

Helpful tips for interstate moves. (Interstate moves are federally regulated, while moves within states are regulated by the individual state.) The site also provides a list of state-level enforcement agencies here.

The tips above can help make moving day an exciting transition and a good experience. Please feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you know who is planning a move this year.

Recent Market Highlights
Market chart icon

- U.S. home prices rose 5.3 percent year-to-year in February, according to a recent S&P/Case-Shiller report. They rose 6.7 percent year-to-year in March, according to CoreLogic, a data and analytics company.

- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is in the high 3-percent range.

The March Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.4 percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Note: Housing statistics based on closed sales typically reflect market conditions of two or three months ago. To find out what's going on right now in your local market, please contact me directly.

Contact Me for Market Information
Are you curious about your home's current market value, or do you have a question about home buying? Just reply to this email, or call me at (503) 319-5684.
Links that Make Life Easier

Sometimes real estate-related, sometimes not... these are assorted links that come in handy:

Gas Buddy
Gas Buddy helps you save on gas prices in the U.S. and Canada by allowing you to see information from local motorists about the lowest priced fuel stations.

Moving With Pets
From horses to tropical fish, the Pets Welcome website has some helpful tips on how to successfully move with your pet.

One Project Closer Home Improvement Blog
A really helpful home improvement website run by four homeowners, with product reviews, how-to articles, and advice,.

Remodelista's "Steal this Look"
Browse the Remodelista website for home decor themes that you might want to use for yourself.

The 50 Recipes You Need for Summer
Fifty great summer recipes for dinners, salads, drinks and desserts.

The Lighter Side

In this sweet transition story you can see exhausted, 50-year-old Santaya the elephant being taken from her job giving rides to tourists and delivered to Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary, where she finally gets a chance to relax and enjoy a taste of freedom.

screenshot and link to video

(The article calls her "abused", but according to the Sanctuary her owners cared about her and gave her up voluntarily when they saw how tired she was.) Click here or on the image to see the article and photos, or here to see more recent pictures of Santaya enjoying the forest with her new elephant pals.

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Are you thinking of buying or selling a home in the next year, or could you use some remodeling advice? Even if you just need the name of a good service provider, please remember that I'm always here to help you. I welcome the opportunity to serve you, your friends and associates with my expertise and recommendations.
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