Protect Your Investment-De-moss your roof

One of the things I notice from the number of houses I visit, plus the house I own is the accumulation of moss on the roofs in our area. This happens most often on the north side of a house, or if there is a tree that is shading a portion of the roof. The moss is a slow growing organism that will over time cause enough damage to considerable shorten the life of the roof.

I recommend the following:

  • Inspecting the roof annually
  • Remove the accumulated moss
  • Copper and Zinc can inhibit future moss growth

Now since I am not a contractor (roofing, or otherwise) here are a couple of links to some articles about moss removal.

Ask the Builder

This Old House (video about installing Zinc Strips. I like the idea, but would prefer to use copper if accessible and affordable. Later in the video, they recommend using a bleach solution to kill existing moss, most sites I saw recommended against using bleach)

Non-bleach moss killer

Or Ace Hardware shows online that they sell a moss removal spray for $20 and that they have zinc strips for about $20 for 30 feet (although they show they are sold out at this time).

ZincShield online shows that they sell a 50 foot roll for $36.50.

I could not find affordable copper strips.

Current Foreclosures in Jackson County

Foreclosure-Notice-300x200A quick search of the Southern Oregon MLS shows that today there are 133 bank owned (REO) forclosed houses currently for sale.

These properties are all kinds…in all price ranges.

On the bottom end is a $55,000 house in Evans Creek on an acre that has fire damage. But more realistically, there is a house in West Medford on Grape street that is listed at $65,000.

Then on the other end of the spectrum, there is a 388 acre Rogue river front property with 3 houses, plus fitness center….etc….that would make an awesome retreat. It is listed for sale at $4,850,000.  Or perhaps a 26 acre horse ranch is Ashland is your idea of a great foreclosure deal, that one listed at $1,200,000.

Here is a breakdown by Area

  • East Medford    32
  • West Medford   17
  • Central Point     16
  • Talent                     1
  • Ashland                  6
  • Jacksonville         1
  • Eagle Point            9
  • Shady Cove         12
  • White City            15
  • Gold Hill               10
  • Other areas          14

Price range for the active forclosed houses are:

  • Under $100k       7
  • $100-140k          31
  • $140-200k          39
  • $200-250k          25
  • $250-350k          17
  • $350-500k           9
  • Over $500k          5

So whether you are looking for a $4 million dollar foreclosure deal, or a $65,000 foreclosure deal, I can help. There are some special requirements when dealing with negotiations with bank owned properties, but I would be happy to assist you with them.

If you would like to be put on a list and have new foreclosure properties (in whatever price range) sent to your email as they become available, contact me and I will set that up for you.

As always, you can conduct your own searches for Ashland Oregon Real Estate at my website

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Original Listing Price to Selling Price

I admit it has been a long time since I have posted on my blog.  Blame in on the weather, the slightly more active real estate market…or probably the real cause. I have been out of town for something or other almost every week for a day or two.

Or perhaps I just couldn’t think of anything interesting to say…although that has not stopped me before.

I just received some interesting statistics from the local MLS. I have been asking for this graph for quite a while, and finally we have it.

The average list to sales price in Ashland is now, and has been for ages 95-97% of the asking price. I have talked about this before. What that means is that buyers won’t make offers, and/or sellers will not except offers that are not listed close to the market value. The idea of low-balling sellers is not something that works very often in our area. So buyers won’t make acceptable offers on properties until there have been price reductions that put the house in the proper range.

So what I really wanted to know was what was the average selling price in comparison the the “Original” listing price.  Below is the graph for Jackson County Oregon Real estate.

Ashland shows that at this time, the houses that are selling are selling at 85.5% of their original asking price. This is down about 4% from a year ago. That to me is an accurate representation of what I have noticed. Houses that are listed optimistically in the first place do sell when they reach the level. And apparently that level is about 10% less than the original asking price. 


By the numbers–short sales and REO’s

In the last 3 months in Jackson County

  • 384 total sold residential properties
  • 125 sold REO properties
  • 35 sold Short Sale properties
  • Median price of REO/short sale properties is 20% lower than non-duress properties

Total 42% of the sold market is REO/Short sale

In the last 3 months in Ashland

  • 39 total sold residential properties
  • 4 sold REO properties
  • 2 sold Short Sale properties

Total 15% of the Ashland real estate sold market is REO/Short sale

In the last 3 months in East Medford

  • 91 total sold residential properties
  • 27 sold REO properties
  • 7 sold Short Sale properties

Total 37% of the East Medford real estate sold market is REO/Short sale

In the last 3 months in West Medford

  • 60 total sold residential properties
  • 19 sold REO properties
  • 4 sold Short Sale properties

Total 38% of the West Medford real estate sold market is REO/Short sale

In the last 3 months in Central Point

  • 65 total sold residential properties
  • 28 sold REO properties
  • 11 sold Short Sale properties

Total 60% of the Central Point real estate sold market is REO/Short sale

In the last 3 months in Eagle Point

  • 34 total sold residential properties
  • 15 sold REO properties
  • 3 sold Short Sale properties

Total 53% of the Eagle Point real estate sold market is REO/Short sale

To search for properties, please visit or

Tax Benefit for Home Ownership


I am looking at the affordability of a first time buyer buying a condo in Ashland that is listed at $175,000 with a $10,000 credit from the seller offered. It is close to making sense to buy even with home owner association fees at $175 a month. The 4.5% interest rate, and 20% down have the monthly payments after tax benefits around $700 a month…add the homeowners fee and the payment is about $875 a month.

The rent on this place is appoximately $850 a month.

So here is a chance for an Ashland first time buyer to own a place for just over what it would cost to rent it….plus get the benefit of equity building…

The following information came from my website’s financial calculator. It is a useful tool if you want to figure out your own financial tax benefits.

When determining your tax benefits, you need to gather together quite a bit of information. Among the pieces of information you will need are:

  • The current value of your home
  • The number of years before you plan to sell the home
  • The amount of your loan
  • The interest rate on your loan
  • The length of your loan
  • The number of points applied to your loan
  • The closing costs when you purchased the home
  • The annual taxes for the property
  • The annual insurance for the property
  • The PMI rate
  • The Federal tax rate
  • The State tax rate
  • The amount of your deductions


After plugging in all of this information, you can determine the tax benefit of your home, which will help you determine the amount you are really paying for your mortgage each month.

If your home has a value of $175,000.00, for example, and you take out a loan for $140,000.00, your total monthly payment may come out to $826.03 (after considering all of the other factors described above). Due to the savings you will receive from your tax benefit, however, your average payment will be $709.77 during the first 5 years. If you’ll decide to live in your home after this period, you will only pay $702.22 per month in average.

Rates at 4.5% and prices are low


I am so excited about the possibilities out there for first time buyers to be able to get a house at an affordable cost.

For many years in the Ashland/Medford area, it has been a struggle to be able to buy your first home.

But I think this winter will be a good time to get a home, and have payments that are comparable to the cost of rent. And in many instances could even be cheaper than rent. Not to mention the tax advantages given to home owners.

I got notice today from a lender friend of mine that the 30 year fixed interest rate has hit 4.5%. With an interest rate that low, a first time buyer who can qualify for a FHA loan at 3% down could buy a house of $150,000 with around $7,000 investment and have Principle and interest payments for under $750 a month.

In Jackson county there are currently 130 properties listed for %150,000 or less.

Currently I have a property listed in Ashland for $175,00 with the sellers contributing up to $10,000 back for closing costs and possibly a rate buy-down. 

And lets not forget the $7500 tax incentive for first time buyers.

There are opportunites out there for those who can step out and seize them.

Short Sales Success in Southern Oregon

I have been tracking for close to a year the properties that are listed as short sales in Jackson county.

Short sales for those who don’t know are properties that are for sale that the proceeds of the sale if the seller gets market value are less than what the seller owes on the property.

I was working on short sales for a period of time last year, but came to the conclusion that they were not a very good way for the average buyer to get into a house. While the deals may seem good, one doesn’t really know if the bank will accept the asking price. There is a joke among Realtors that they are not really short sales, but they should be called long sales.

By the time you know if the bank will accept the short, you can have waited for 2 months or even more. One can be in line to buy a  house for months, and have the bank foreclose on it without even responding to the offers.Pie chart of Short Sale Success

So I was interested to track what the success rate was for properties that were listed as short sales, and how the asking price to selling price was affected. Short sale list to sales price graphOf the 379 properties I tracked, roughly 14% of them successfully closed. 44% of them were foreclosed on or came off the market for some other reason.

The average sales to list price was in line with our valley in the high ninety percentile.

So if you are looking to buy a short sale, you should know that the success rates are low…and it doesn’t pay to fall in love with a house, because who knows if you can actually buy it. And chances are high that it will become bank owned eventually, and then is the best time to try to get a bargain. At least once the bank actually owns the property, you can get a timely response.

Banks are working hard at workouts

It seems that as the economic situation in this country is still a bit on the scary side, more and more people, media, companies and politicians recognize that the housing market is the key to a stable economy.

Houses are an investment that people can really relate to them. You can touch a house, you can clean a house, you can demolish a house. Unless you are Bear Stearn, it isn’t quite so easy to demolish a stock.

So Fannie and Freddy are getting presure put on them, and in turn are pressuring companies such as Wells Fargo to make deal with homeowners to keep them in their homes. The latest article I read today was that they were looking at doing loan workouts that dropped the monthly payments of properties to 38% of the property owners income. That is historically where the banks wanted payments to be in order to loan money.

How this is really going to work is anyones guess. What happens if the homeowner is one of the thousands of people who have lost their jobs? 38% of nothing is ?????? nothing?

The good news is that the banks/politicicans recognize the problem. They are listening to the Realtor association about what us professionals have found to be the kinks in how they are trying to solve problems.

If you are a homeowner at this point who is having problems paying your mortgage…hang in there. There look to be some workout options around the corner.

Top Ten Rules When Buying a Home Part 2

Number Two: Money matters. If you’re considering a mortgage, shore up your credit and get a copy of
your credit report.

This was the MOST important thing you could do to secure credit 2 years ago. A good credit score could get you a loan. Now, it is just one of the things you need to do. It is very important that your credit score is accurate, and decent.

However, this is not the only important issue as it once was. What you need to consider, (as you alway had) is if you can afford the payments you need to make with the income you have. However, not only do you need to be comfortable with the payment the banks want to make sure that you can make the payment as well. Seems logical, but a couple of years ago, the banks didn’t really care if you could make the payments. They just wanted a good credit score.

Money Matters

But as opposed to a few years ago,
To buy a house today, you need

  1. 1. a downpayment (there are some exceptions to this, but they have been dwindling),
  2. 2. a verifiable job or income source,
  3. 3. and good credit.

Gone are the days where you could buy a house for nothing. Can you believe these bankers, just because of a few billion dollars are now wanting the home buyers of America to have have money, and some skin in the game?  Ridiculous!!

Stay tuned for part 3….and I have a feeling it will be a long one.

Ten Rules to Follow When Buying A Home

1. Make a commitment. Commit yourself to your new home for at least a couple of years
before making your next move.
2. Money matters. If you’re considering a mortgage, shore up your credit and get a copy of
your credit report.
3. Get pre-approved. Save yourself the time and grief of looking at houses you can’t afford.
4. Determine how large your mortgage can be. Explore different loan options to determine
what is best for you.
5. Decide what (and where) you want to buy. Prioritize your needs (i.e., location, schools,
6. Consider your re-sale value. Even if you don’t have school-aged kids, a strong school
district is a good thing.
7. Do your homework. Bid based on sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood.
8. Calculate the hidden costs. Property taxes, insurance, maintenance and association
fees can impact your wallet over time.
9. Don’t be house poor. Double and triple check to be sure you haven’t maxed yourself out
on the cost of your home and left nothing for maintenance, etc.
10. Get help. Hire a REALTOR® to get the most for your money. It pays to have
someone looking out for your interests. (note: when it says Hire a Realtor, make sure you sign a buyers service contract with the Realtor that spells out the Realtor’s responsibilities to you.)

It is not too late to register to vote

It is not too late to register to vote in the up coming election. There are a number of ballot measures, and local races to vote on in addition to the Presidential race.

If you still need to register, you can follow the link below for an online voter registration card, but will still need to get it into the county elections office.

If you are a resident of Jackson County, it needs to be to

Christine Walker
Jackson County Clerk
1101 W. Main St. Suite 201
Medford, OR 97501-2369
(541) 774-6148 / TTY (541) 774-6719

Prior to the end of the business day on Tuesday the 14th.

See you at the polls (or as the case is in Oregon, I think I’ll vote in the comfort of my own home, and mail it in.)