Thought Leader Post

I wish I had more time to write more of these Thought Leader blog posts for other sites. I find them fun to do. But don’t always have time to do them. This article was for a company that provides online continuing education for Realtors® across the country. While I take almost all of my continuing education in person, companies like PDH are a valuable asset to Realtors who prefer to take some or all of their continuing education classes online.

Here is a link to the article I wrote for them.

501c 3 Files: Ashland Emergency Food Bank

501c3 Files

Ashland Emergency Food Bank

By Adam Bogle

One could easily argue that the most basic human need is food. Of course we can argue about what constitutes food. I mean, is American cheese really food? And this basic need is where the Ashland Emergency Food Bank (AEFB) comes in.

Who do they help?

The amazing fact is that the people they are helping may well be your neighbor. And you probably don’t even know it.

I personally know the story of a person who was helped by the AEFB awhile ago. You may or may not remember, but a few years ago there was a giant recession that hit the USA. The heart of this started with a crash of the real estate market. There were some people who saw this coming, although I don’t think anyone saw how bad it was going to be. This person I know was a Realtor® who had only been selling homes for a couple of years before the recession hit and was just not prepared for it. 

Did you know that Realtors® for the most part are self employed, and cannot receive unemployment benefits. Even if they go months without selling a house! Even food stamps are difficult to get because the applications aren’t geared toward people who make lump sums.

So when crash came, he used the little money he did have to pay the power bill, and keep the Internet on, and pay for all of the expenses that come with being a Realtor®. Because there would be no digging out if he couldn’t continue to go to work.

It is hard for a prideful person who is seen as a success in the community to admit they need assistance. Fortunately, his understanding wife was happy to undertake the monthly trips to AEFB for some peanut butter, pasta, etc. She said that the experience was always pleasant, and was impressed at how organized they were.

The Ashland Emergency Food Bank helped a lot of people through that recession and they are still at it. Last year, 2015, they served 611 households each month, or about 1500 people. Their customers include the unemployed, chronically ill and disabled, working poor, families, students, seniors and homeless that live regularly in Ashland. They do provide a one-time small bag of food to the traveling homeless, because their mission is that no one should go hungry. However, they reserve the “shopping” for Ashland residents, including the homeless residents.

How do they help?

The Ashland Emergency Food Bank is located in the old KFC building at 560 Clover Lane. They are open Monday-Friday and the first Saturday of the month from 9:30-12:30.  In addition to being a place that those in need can come by and pick up enough rations for 2-3 days of meal, AEFB also distributes food to several local organizations that share their mission, including SOU food pantry, Maslow Project and others.

How Can You Help?

There are a number of ways to help. The easiest is to support the Ashland Food Project green bag drive and leave your green bag out on the 2nd Saturday of every other month. Cereal is always an item that they seem to run short of, so consider adding a box or two to the bag.

AEFB also needs hundreds of volunteers on a regular basis. Their family of volunteers collectively donated 6045 hours of time to daily operations last year.

And monetary donations help with the purchase of perishable foods, and are always welcome.

The Rest of the Story

Now this is the part where everyone who remembers Paul Harvey, gets to know “the rest of the story”. As you know, the real estate market picked back up and my family, who needed that assistance during the crash recovered and picked themselves up as well.

  Yes, I was the Realtor® in need, and because of this experience my family decided to take the term “bank” seriously; not just as a place just to make withdrawals, but also as a place that needs regular deposits made into it. I hope to never have to make another withdrawal from the “bank”, but we will continue to provide food, volunteer time at the bimonthly food drive, and monetary support.

For more info on how you can help, check out their Facebook page, or contact their executive director Pam Marsh at 541-488-9544 weekdays between 9:30 and noon.

Weather In Oregon

I have lived in most areas in the state of Oregon at some point in my life. And one thing that I know is that the weather is very different depending on where you live.

People have a view of Oregon as being gray and rainy.  While that is true for the majority of the population of Oregon, that’s because the majority of Oregon’s population live the in the Willamette Valley.

So I’m going to break the state into a few general areas, and give a couple of stats for the differences in the weather. You will find that I believe the Rogue Valley has the best weather in the state. However, my daughter lives in Eugene, and thinks the weather there is the best. But she cannot stand the sun, or warm weather. So that is true for her.

To me the Willamette Valley is too grey and wet. Bend and east of the Cascades is too cold in the winter. Funny thing is that Central Oregon is considered to be very sunny, but the Rogue Valley has more days of full sunshine. That actually surprise me a little.

Rogue Valley (Ashland, Medford, Central Point).  In town properties. With the radical elevation differences, there are variations if you get into the mountains, but overall the houses are located in the valley.

  1. Average Rainfall per year:  24 Inches

  2. Average Days of Full Sunshine: 113

  3. Average High Temperature July:  85

  4. Average Low Temperature January:  29

Adorable little toddler girl having fun with umbrella in yellow rain boots and umbrella in summer park.

Grants Pass  (just 30 miles up I-5 and their motto is “It’s the Climate”)

  1. Average Rainfall per year:  37.5 Inches

  2. Average Days of Full Sunshine: 104

  3. Average High Temperature July:  84

  4. Average Low Temperature January:  31

Portland Metro

  1. Average Rainfall per year:  45 Inches

  2. Average Days of Full Sunshine: 67

  3. Average High Temperature July:  75

  4. Average Low Temperature January:  36

Bend

  1. Average Rainfall per year:  9 Inches  (But also 31 inches of snow which is rare in the other areas)

  2. Average Days of Full Sunshine: 83

  3. Average High Temperature July:  80

  4. Average Low Temperature January:  20

Oregon Coast  (Actually I’m taking this from Florence which is middle of the state. But compares to all of the Oregon Coast)

  1. Average Rainfall per year:  85 Inches

  2. Average Days of Full Sunshine: 68

  3. Average High Temperature July:  72

  4. Average Low Temperature January:  36

Chasing Down the Foreclosure Part 3 – REO

See part 1 for pre-foreclosure

See part 2 for Auctions

REO- (Real Estate Owned-a fancy way to say the bank owns the real estate)

This is actually the easiest and most doable way to buy a house that is foreclosed. 95% of the time if you hear someone said they bought a foreclosure, this is what they meant.  It is a way to get a fairly good deal on a property, but it is still not the steal people envision from the infomercials they have consumed.

There are 2 main types or REO properties. Ones that have been listed with an agent, and ones that have not. I will cover the listed ones first, because it is pretty straight forward. Each bank usually has a local agent that they list their REO properties with. The Realtor gives the bank a price they think will sell the house in 30 days, and put it on the market. This price is generally about 10% under fair market value, and it is listed there to generate that fast sale.  So if you keep your eyes open, this is the best way to get a deal on a foreclosure.

I DO work on this kind of sale. And I highly recommend having an agent who has experience with REO properties to help you. The sale usually if full of headaches. The banks generally don’t want to do any repairs unless they are lender required. And frequently these homes are in bad shape. They have deferred maintenance, and may have sat vacant for years. They may not qualify for FHA or VA loans. So definitely have a good agent help on these purchases

If you would like to be put on a list to receive new listings of REO properties as they come on the market, contact me and I will set up that for you. Or follow this link. Jackson County Foreclosures

The 2nd kind is REO properties that have not yet been listed. My experience is the banks have a set way that they do things, and selling directly without putting them on the open market is not one of them. They will let the property just sit vacant, sometimes for years, until they get around to wanting to get it off the books.

There are many theories of why they are doing this. The so called “shadow inventory”. One popular theory is they are waiting for the value to increase before they put it up for sale. Another is they don’t want to drive the prices of real estate down by flooding the market with too many at one time.

I think there is validity to both of those theories, but my personal theory is just disorganization. There are thousands of these properties across the country. And a paper pusher sitting at a central desk has them all on his plate, along with probably a bunch of other things. And as he weeds his way through the pile, some places just take forever to get to.  And now that the new foreclosure rate has gone down, the banks will probably move these people to other departments.

Is it possible to directly contact the bank, find the asset manager, and make an offer to purchase without the property hitting the open market? Yes, I guess. I just don’t know of anyone who has succeeded at this with the major REO holding companies. Primarily Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. They are regulated government agencies with policies, procedures and red tape. It is hard enough to work with these asset managers AFTER they have put the house up for sale, let alone before.

 

So there is it. My 3 part series on distressed properties.

That doesn’t cover short sales, or the Oregon program that can help some homeowners keep their home, but lower their principle called Further Development. I can assist with both of those transactions.

 

 

Chasing Down the Foreclosure Part 2 – Auctions

See part 1 for houses that are in default or pre-foreclosures.

See part 3 for REO

Going to Auction. 

You may have heard a story on someone who bought a $400,000 house on the courthouse steps for $80,000. While not impossible, this is highly, highly unlikely.

This is how it usually goes. The notice is filed saying there will be an auction date for 123 Main Street on May 1st. You go to the courthouse steps, and the official who is auctioning the property announces that the auction has been postponed to a yet to be determined date.

But you are determined to buy 123 Main Street, so you make the next, and the next, and the next auction date. So finally it comes up for auction and you are sure to steal it because you are the only one there. www.SouthernOregonHomeValues.com says the property is worth $300,000. The opening bid on the property is $375,000. Where’s the deal?  Essentially the bank that is in first position on the property has a bid in for at least what they are owed. And by default, it usually wins, because if the house had a loan on it for way less, the previous owners would have sold it instead of letting it foreclose, and pocketed the cash.

Another pitfall is they will actually auction off the 2nd note on a property. So lets say someone has a property with a $250,000 first and an $80,000 second on it. They may auction what you think is the property, but it is actually just the $80,000 second. So you think you bought the house for $80,000 just to find out that in order to get the house, you have to clear the first too. So you either sink another $250,000 into the house, or hope that somehow you can get the borrower to pay the note that you now own. 

So let’s say now that 123 Main is your dream house, and they are auctioning it for $275,000 and you think it is worth $300,000. So you go ahead an make the bid. This is a whole new set of pitfalls. First, you need cash. 2nd, you get the house as-is with no inspections. So if the foundation is no good, too bad. 3rd, you don’t get a title report and title insurance. So there might be other judgements or the title may not be clean and someone could possibly lay claim to ownership.

To me, buying a house on the courthouse steps is Graduate level investor stuff. The risks are huge, and the investor really needs to be able to afford to be wrong every once in awhile. I cannot recommend to anyone who doesn’t do that kind of investing full time to get involved.

Like on Part 1, I don’t specialize in this kind of property sale. It involves a lot of leg work on a lot of properties that never make it to the courthouse steps, or aren’t a good deal when they do. I would not have time to take care of my clients in the market for houses that were actually for sale, or my clients who are wanting to sell their houses. If I stood to gain $100,000 a year from it, it could be worth the full time job. But not for a small percentage (no compensation is actually offered on the courthouse steps) that my client would pay me for assistance, and the risk involved, it is not worthwhile.

 

 

Chasing Down the Foreclosure Part 1- PreForeclosure

See part 2 for Auctions

See part 3 for REO

 

I have written versions of this blog post as emails to a number of people over the years, but thought it might be time to put the general theory in a post that all of those curious could read.

I am not sure where the notion that one can pick up a house that is in foreclosure for a fraction of the value of the property came from. I think it is probably a combination of some urban myth story and television informercials on how to get rich in real estate. The secret to the how to get rich is real estate is to sell the book on how to get rich in real estate.

Is it possible to buy a house that is in pre-foreclosure?Home

Pre-foreclosure basically is a fancy way to say that the owner of the house has not made some mortgage payments, and has been given notice that they are in default.

So the person who “owns” this house is still the homeowner. And that is who you would have to purchase it from. And it is possible that they owe more money on the mortgage than the property is worth. So not only do they have to agree to sell it to you, they have to convince the bank to take less for the payoff than they are owed (short sale).

So is it possible? Technically yes. But first you have to find the owner. So if the house is vacant, then there is the work of chasing them down. Then you have to have that conversation with them that says “I know you haven’t been paying your bills, can I buy your house? And oh, by the way Mr. Seller. The bank is going to ask for a ton of paperwork on you, your finances and why you aren’t paying the bill. Plus, there is a chance you will have to pay taxes on the amount of debt that was forgiven.”

If the seller is still living in the house, they might be there without paying their mortgage. And to move, they would suddenly have to start paying rent somewhere else. So there is little incentive to leave until the bank forces them to.

So it pretty much takes a perfect lining up of the stars to find a house one wants that is in pre-foreclosure, find a seller that is willing to sell and go through the work that entails for them, and convince the bank that they are better off with that deal than going through with the foreclosure.

And after all of that, the amount you save might be 15-20% at the most.

Because in a short sale, the banks have an independent Realtor or Appraiser go look at the property and give them an opinion of value. They look at that opinion of value, and see if they would be better off accepting the offer before them, or if they would net more if they foreclosed and sold it as an REO. In my experience, that figure ends up being at the very most 80% of the opinion of value. But usually closer to 10-15%.  So a house that if put on the open market would be valued at $300,000, you might be able to pick it up for $250,000. It’s still a good deal…but not a steal. But you wouldn’t be able to buy it for $150,000.
And that doesn’t take into account if there are other liens on the property, back taxes or judgements.

I do not specialize in chasing down pre-foreclosures and trying to make the stars all align. The amount of time and effort compared to the probability of success would make me go broke. I wouldn’t have time to take care of my clients who were looking at houses that were actually for sale, or selling homes for my clients who wanted to sell.

It can be done, but generally by someone who is an investor or flipper. This is their job, for themselves. And that potential $50,000 gain goes a fair way into being an annual income. Success twice a year is a good investment. For $100,000 it might be worth it. But for $7,000 it isn’t.

 

 

 

 

TEN salutes ReSolve (Formerly Mediation Works)

I don’t think it matters if you are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or Tea Partier (calling them Partiers kinda makes me want to be one), I think one thing everyone can agree on is that the criminal justice system in this country is completely broke. With more people incarcerated per capita then almost every country in the world, there is definitely a break down and issue in this country that needs someone to do something about it. The question is what…and is anyone doing anything about it now.

The good news around here is there is a local non-profit who is tackling this issue, and making a real difference in people’s lives. Just one part of what Resolve does is a Restorative Justice program, and when young people are involved a program called Victim Assistance, Youth Accountability (VAYA). Their key goal is not to punish an individual who has committed a crime by incarceration, but instead to heal the relationships that have been harmed as a result of the crime.

As they refer to it, there is a ripple effect for every action we take…either good or bad…and when an individual commits a crime, the victim is affected in ways that the “criminal” doesn’t recognize. And when faced with the results of the ripple effect, both the criminal and the victim can come together to make things right.resolvelogo

One local story involves a young man named Alex. (While most everything as Resolve is confidential, Alex came forward publicly with his story)  When in his teenage years, Alex had a bad relationship with alcohol, and regularly drank to the point of being disoriented and out of control. On one such evening, Alex was drinking and wandering the neighborhood with no real idea of where he was. Not being able to find his way home, he punched his arm through a neighbors window and proceeded to pass out on their couch.

Imagine the surprise and feeling the neighbor had when finding a strange man in her house. Police were called, and Alex was charged with Burglary and Criminal Mischief.

This case could have gone through the justice system, and had large impacts on Alex’s life and prospects for his future. Instead, he went through a month long program with VAYA where he learned of the ripple effect caused by his actions. The fear he had created with the victim.

Alex and the neighbor agreed to meet in person and have the opportunity to talk about the incident so that they could repair the harm and move forward. It was a successful and powerful meeting. The neighbor saw that Alex was not the scary criminal that was who she saw when he was found in her house, but a kid who was going through a rough patch in his life. And that she saw he understood the negative effects that he caused in her life.

Four years later, Alex called Resolve out of the blue to thank them for the positive impact that VAYA had on his life. Alex said “There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I didn’t think of VAYA, the impact it left upon me was tremendous. I constantly wonder how different my life would look behind bars in a cell in Portland.  Alex is currently serving in the Marine Corp. He says “I want my career after the military to have affiliations with restorative justice programs similar to Mediation Works (now Resolve).”

And this is just one arm of what Resolve does. They teach Mediation to local schools, organizations and community workplaces.  In fact, I went through one of their training sessions just a couple of months ago. One of the volunteer jobs I do is I am an Ombudsman for the local Realtor Association, to help resolve conflict that Realtors or the public have with each other in the event of a bad real estate transaction.

Resolve also provides Mediation and Facilitation services in the valley.

TEN Realty Group is proud to have named Resolve our Charity of the Month for January, 2016

Thought Leader Series

I was waiting for this blog post to come out before I continued writing for this company.  I was approached to be a “thought leader” and write articles that would be useful to other companies.

Now that I have seen the article…I think I like it and will do more.  Part of the agreement is that I don’t repost the whole article on my own blog…but as a link to the page I wrote for.

Man Installing Smoke Or Carbon Monoxide DetectorSo follow this link  HERE

The article is about quick fixes a home owner should do prior to getting a home inspection. Because there are small items that the home inspector always calls out, the home owner almost always has to fix for the buyer, and they are easy and inexpensive to take care of.

 

 

The Siskiyou Field Institute

The Siskiyou Field Institute.

Can you imagine taking a class about “Birding at Sea”, and suddenly having your boat surrounded by a group of humpback whales? This is what happened for Karen Phillips, a big fan of the Siskiyou Field Institute, during one of the classes provided by this local non-profit. Karen is currently the Development Director for the Maslow Project in Medford (another great non-profit) Karen says: “I’ve had many wonderful experiences in Siskiyou Field Institute classes over the years: exploring a hillside Darlingtonia fen (I had to look that up too) and learning about the ancient plants that live there, standing atop Big Red Mountain and starting to understand some of the geology of the Siskiyou Crest, discovering the intricacies of a wildflower through a microscope…”

We really are so fortunate here in the Rogue Valley to have such close proximity to the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains. The Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument includes the mountains you see all around us in the Rogue Valley but especially east and south. They are noted for their significant botanical diversity. The range of elevations and diversity of habitat means that we have over 300 plants growing here that are literally found nowhere else on the planet! The mountains are weathered into red soils and slippery green rock outcrops called serpentine. This is a place of wild rivers brawling through stunning canyons and amazing trees. (I know, I sound like Chef Ramsey.)

(Cardamine nuttallii var. gemmata. Photo by Norman Jensen, Photo·grafica botanii.)

SFI flowerI know much of this because of a dear friend who has dedicated most of her adult life to the biology of this region. Taking a hike with my friend Kristi Mergenthaler can be a fantastic, if somewhat overwhelming, education for someone like me who is a destination hiker. I like to hike to get  somewhere, see something cool, then hike back. But when one hikes with Kristi, or one of the many other instructors that volunteer their time for SFI, you find yourself looking at our environment with completely new eyes. Did you know that lichens are actually a form of fungus?

So for those people who are into the experience of the hike itself instead of the destination, taking classes from the Siskiyou Field Institute might be just up your alley. (Although considering there are barely any roads, I guess there aren’t any alleys)

The Siskiyou Field Institute provides educational classes for both adults and children. For adults you can take bird watching classes in Gold Beach, learn about the Flora of the Lava beds in Tulelake, identify the mushrooms of SW Oregon or gain a new appreciation of the colorful world of lichens. A number of youth programs are also offered. Many of them include overnight stays in a yurt at the Siskiyou Field Institute headquarters located near Selma. Whether learning about songbirds, mammals, the watershed, or just general botany, these youth education classes are a fantastic resource for educating our valley’s youth in the natural sciences in a fun way. SFI wants all the local kids (urban, rural, rich and poor) to understand that they live in one of the most biologically special places in the world. Over the past year, they have taught over 2,000 kids from over 18 different schools at their site in Selma. They also teach in schools throughout the region, and on wilderness backpacking trips.

“Whether you’re new to the area or just want to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for this beautiful region we live in, I’d highly recommend taking a class with Siskiyou Field Institute!” Karen Phillips

There are a number of ways to get involved and help this fantastic non-profit. Memberships in the SFI are as low as $50 per individual and $80 for a family. In addition to helping keep this program up and running, memberships get you 10% off course tuition and SFI merchandise.

Siskiyou Field Institute can be reached at 541-597-8530 or emailed at institute@thesfi.org. For more information on their classes, the catalogue can be viewed and downloaded from their website. www.thesfi.org.

TEN Realty Group is proud to name the Siskiyou Field Institute as their Charity of the Month for December 2015.

Winter, When the Serious Shoppers Come Out

While it is true that many home shoppers stop looking during the winter, many shoppers still are active. 

In the Rogue Valley, we usually do not have to deal with snow or slick roads to hamper home shopping.  The biggest issue I usually face in the winter is having enough daylight to show properties to those people who work full time jobs. Starting right about now, by the time it is 6 O’clock, it is hard to see outside. And that will only continue to be a smaller window of time as we approach Winter Solstice. 

Reasons why shopping in the winter is tricky

  • Roads are slick
  • It gets dark early
  • Don’t want to change schools for children mid-yearRed bird house hanging outdoors in winter on tree covered with snow


  • Fewer homes on the market than in the spring
  • Properties are looking their “worst”

Advantages to shopping in the winter

  • Houses look their worst…they only get better from there
  • Sellers may be more motivated
  • Less competition from other buyers
  • Might be more likely to take contingency offer
  • Home inspections more likely to find bad gutters or water in the crawlspace