Buying or selling real estate is a big task, with a lot of little details. This blog is designed to help you in your progress through the process. You will find weekly articles outlining things from how to prepare your home for sales, to renovations that will help you make the most of your investment. You will also find articles helping you prepare to buy a new home. You may even find some useful information about our community, with reviews of local hotspots, activities to do with your friends and family and more. 

As always, if you have any questions or comments about the things you read here or suggestions for future articles, please contact us at 503.297.1014.


Have a great day!

Apr 25, 2017

Buying a Home - Home Inspection

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Northstar

You put in an offer, and it’s been accepted by the sellers, that’s fantastic! What’s next? You have 10-15 days to get your home inspection done and negotiate any repairs. Sound scary? Don’t sweat it, your realtor will have a network of inspectors they have a strong working relationship with, these are tried and truly high-quality inspectors that they’ve used in the past. The inspection usually takes about 2-3 hours, and the inspector will want to go over the photos they take, and their findings at the time of the inspection. You’ll want to be present for the inspection so they can explain things that might be more difficult to understand or picture from photos alone. Make sure to have your payment method ready, because you will be paying the inspector at this time.

Remember to wear comfy clothing and shoes. Your inspector may ask you to go into the basement, attic, or around to some outbuildings and you could get a little dirty.

Once the inspector finishes their work, they will write a report, and email it to your agent, who will then email you. This is the time to discuss what repairs, if any you want to have done, or negotiate a reduction in sales price to compensate for repairs you’ll be doing when you close on the home. There are a lot of options, but the important thing to remember is that your broker is the negotiation expert that is in your corner to back you up. 

If there are any questions, or concerns that come up during the inspection, or during the inspection period, just contact your broker. 


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Apr 25, 2017

Buying a Home - Making an Offer

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Northstar

You’ve found the perfect home in your house hunting, and you’re ready to make an offer – Great!

There are some details we’ll need to have a conversation about before we can write an offer.

  • What is the full legal name of each person who will be on the contract? 
  • What is the best email address for each person on the contract?
  • Based on your budget, and the condition of the home, and the comparable homes, and the neighborhood, and all the other things that are affecting your choice, what do you want to make your initial offer? There are two ways people tend to approach this. Traditionally, you’d offer a little lower than you’re willing to go with the intent of negotiating. This tactic works in a slower market, but in this fast-paced market, you’re likely to lose out on the home of your dreams to another offer made at full price. The second is to bring your best and highest offer. Make sure it’s strong with as few contingencies as you are able.
  • What is your “walk away” price? In some situations, immediate acceptance may be possible, but in most cases, you’ll receive a counter-offer. This is where the sellers liked your offer, but want to change some detail of it, most often it’s price, sometimes it’s closing date or even the preferred title company. At what point do you want to walk away from negotiations?
  • Typically, closing should be 45-60 days from the date of your offer. Sometimes, lenders can close sooner, but appraisals are booked out so far that they are experiencing longer closing times. This is especially true for special lender programs, such as USDA, FHA, and VA loans, because these types of loans have additional requirements for the loan to be processed. Establish what closing date you’d like to ask for and the agents on both sides of the transaction will work hard to meet that date. 
  • How much are you going to put down on your Earnest Money Deposit (EMD)? At a minimum, you should expect to put $2000 down for your EMD. In the past, the expectation has been 5-10% of the sales price. This will be applied toward your down payment at closing. The EMD is a good faith payment to prove that you are invested in the success of the transaction, and will work toward a common goal of completing the transaction. 
  • How much are you putting down on the home? Depending on your loan program, this can range from 0-20% as a minimum and maybe even more if you choose.
  • Will you be asking for any closing credits? If you are not sure what this means, your agent can go into more detail about that before writing the offer.
  • Will you pay for the home warranty, or ask the sellers to pay? If the sellers are paying, what warranty do you want them to purchase? This warranty covers the breakdown of any major appliances in the first year after you buy the home.
  • Are there any contingencies on the sale that will need to be addressed? Do you need to find a buyer for your home to afford your down payment? Or are you waiting for an inheritance to process through probate, etc? 

After these details have been discussed, your agent will write up a contract, send it to you for review, and have you digitally sign it through a program called “DotLoop”. This is a secured virtual signature platform that allows the documents to be seamlessly shared between you, your agent, your lender, and the title company. This makes the process easier if you are relocating, and need to return to your current home during the process. All files can be signed remotely, including but not limited to addendums, contingencies, etc. 

It can take up to 2-3 days to hear back from the seller's agent, so patience is the key here. But if your offer is accepted, it will be worth the wait. 


For further questions on the process, please contact your agent, or call the office at 503.297.1014

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Apr 25, 2017

Buying a Home - House Hunting

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Northstar


When you think of your dream home, there are a lot of things that you’d  like to see in it, but it isn’t always within reach. It is time to put forth the things you need to have in your homes and the things that you want to have in your home. These will help us find a home that you will love, but that is still in your budget. 

Some examples: You have a family of 4 with 2 dogs, do a 3 bedroom with a yard is a need, but you also want a 2 car garage and soaking tub in the master suite. 

Often, this is a point where some home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, find themselves in a reality check. For many, this is the first time they’re seeing how much their dollar can really buy in their market. Don’t expect the experience to match what you’ve seen on HGTV and DIY Network. These are unrealistic expectations.

Make sure your agent has a copy of your wants and needs list at least a week before you start house hunting, they will put the needs into a personalized search in the RMLS, over the next week or so, they can send you homes that match your needs, and some of your wants in daily emails. If any of these strike your fancy, your agent will schedule showings for them. 

Homes move incredibly fast in the market, make sure that you are ready to offer as soon as you find a home you love. Many homes aren’t even staying on the market past the first week. 

Showings must be scheduled at least 24 hours ahead in most cases, and always in cases when the home is occupied by a renter. 



  • A full day of showings can be incredibly tiring. Here are a few tips to keep you going.
  • Wear clothing that is comfortable, and shoes that can be slipped on and off easily. Many homes will require shoes to be covered or taken off to protect the floors, especially in the rainy weather we experience in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
  • Dress in Layers. Our Portland area weather can be a little weird, raining one minute and perfect sunshine the next. Some homes, if they’re vacant, may not have the utilities on, and can be cold.
  • Don’t expect the bathrooms to be usable, again if utilities are shut off, there will be no running water. Plan a rest stop between homes at some point for a bathroom break, and to check out local businesses in the area.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in the things in the house, and not see the space the things are in. You’re buying the house and not the belongings. Try hard to see the space as you’d live in it, not how the current occupants are using it.
  • Paint colors and flooring can change. Don’t let the paint in a room or the material on the floors deter you from seeing the potential of the space.
  • Some homeowners install security cameras or nanny cams in the homes. Expect that you are being recorded. Don’t discuss your plans to offer, the amount you can offer or any other details about the financial side of the home until you are back in the car. This can be detrimental to our negotiation position. 
  • Sometimes, sellers remain int he home during your showing. It can feel awkward, but you can make it less so by introducing yourself politely, viewing the home, and heading back to the car. Don’t discuss anything about the home until you are back in the car and away from the seller’s space. 

The day before, your agent will call you, finalize the list of homes, print off information sheets for each one, and figure out where you will be meeting. You’ll need to decide if you’re going to drive your own car or ride with the agent. Ready,

Set, House Hunt!

Apr 12, 2017

Buying a Home - Mortgage Preapproval

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Northstar

Interview your Lender – Get Pre-approved

Your mortgage lender is another crucially important member of your home buying team. It is important to find a lender that can root around and find the best programs and rates you qualify, and let you know what you can afford to spend on your home. You wouldn’t go on vacation without knowing what you have for spending money, so why go house shopping without knowing your budget? In this rapidly moving market, not having that pre-approval letter will mean you can’t offer on a property until you get it. Your lender’s entire professional existence is dedicated to helping you make the most of your investment in what is likely the largest expense to date in your life.

Having a lender that you trust will be the deciding factor in your transaction experience. A quality lender is crucial to hitting all the deadlines and making sure that you close the sale on time, and within budget. A bad lender can make the experience traumatic, with missed deadlines, delayed processing, and sometimes even a failure to fund, causing you to lose out on your dream home, and your earnest money deposit. Lender regret is real, and disorganization is the first sign of a bad lender.

To help you prepare for your meeting with a lender, you’ll find a list of documents they’ll likely ask for.

  • Documents
    • A complete application – provided by the lender
    • Two months (recent) of asset information: 401K, stocks, Retirement funds, checking, savings, mutual funds, IRAs, CDs, etc. (These items will be listed on the application as well)
    • Most recent month of paystubs
    • The past 3 years of W-2s
    • The past 3 years of tax returns
    • The past 3 years of Corporate Tax Returns (if self-employed)

Your lender of choice will generally be able to provide a pre-approval letter within 2-3 days. The exception to this is in cases where additional documentation is required. This may seem like an inconvenience, but they aren’t intending to be difficult. Lenders are under significantly more restrictions, regulations and mandates than they were 10 years ago, this is an effort to avoid another housing bubble crash like we saw in 2007. Once you and your lender have collected all the required paperwork, your lender will show you details about your loan including estimated payments, PMI, taxes, and insurance. Make sure these numbers are comfortable for you. Ask questions if you are unsure of anything.

Grants and Free Money

Speak to your lender about federal grants to help with down payment assistance, closing cost coverage and more. Your lender will be able to use your application to find any programs you may qualify for and help you apply.

Understanding your Loan Estimate and Closing Costs

Your lender will provide a Loan Estimate (LE) within 3 days of your pre-approval. This is a Federally mandated document to ensure that you know what you can expect for the life of your loan. This is a regulation that is in place to protect you against being charged fees you aren’t aware of, and so that you can responsibly make an informed choice regarding your loan and purchase.

Please look over the sample LE available below, this will outline the costs you should expect to see. Notice that the closing costs include lender fees. Make sure you understand all of these numbers before you move forward.

Shop Around for Lenders

Shopping for a lender is a fantastic way to guarantee the best rates. However, applying to more than one lender in a given period can detrimentally affect your credit score, so we recommend waiting two weeks between lender meetings, and meeting with at least two lenders. Below are a couple links to lenders that we trust and have worked with successfully in the past. 

Cesar Gastiaburu – Land Home Financial

Angelique Arnason – Pacific Residential Mortgage

Our next Blog post will outline some of the more confusing terminologies you will encounter in the buying process.

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Apr 12, 2017

Buying a Home - Find a Realtor

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Northstar

Buying a home is a big deal, a huge investment. For most people, the purchase of a home is the largest and scariest purchase they will make in their adult lives. 

Finding the right professional to help you in this process is the key to having a positive buying experience. When you choose a broker from Century 21 Turner Properties, you know that you’re in good hands. Century 21 Turner Properties is a relatively small company with the training and resources available to the big companies, this means that your Realtor is able to give you the small brokerage dedication without lacking the big brokerage training and capabilities. Century 21 is an industry leader, and as Century 21 trained brokers we strive to keep those standards high. 

It doesn’t matter if this is your first home or your 12th. C21 Turner Properties Brokers are 100% dedicated to your needs and trained by long-time industry professionals to ensure that we are ready to handle any bumps in the road. You deserve the best resources the industry has to offer, from our knowledge of the market to the network of vendors to make your transaction smooth. We strive to educate and walk you through the sales process from start to finish and beyond to ensure a positive experience. If at any point you have questions, ask your broker.

To read reviews, and see why Century 21 Turner Properties Brokers are valued so highly by previous clients, check us out on Yelp, Trulia, Zillow and our Facebook page.

To get started, give us a call at 503.297.1014, or look us up at

Over the next couple of blog posts, you will find information about the steps to get you ready for the buying process. Before a contract is written and an offer made on a property, these steps will ensure you are in the best possible position for a successful purchase transaction.


Find a Realtor©

There is a real and marked difference between a Real Estate Agent/Broker and a Realtor©. The latter is held to a higher standard and provided more in-depth training to ensure the best possible service to you during the home buying process. Realtors are there for you-From the initial meeting to the closing table and beyond.

Searching for homes on the various home search websites is an option, but it’s time-consuming, and often those sites do not provide accurate information. By using you are sure you’re received up-to-date information from the RMLS. When you choose your Realtor from C21 Turner Properties, you will have an in-depth conversation about your wants and needs, your expectations and how to make your experience the best it can be. Tey will set up a search profile in our Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS), and you’ll receive notifications every day of new listings that meet your criteria.

You can read our reviews, and talk to our clients, but we would love the opportunity to meet in person, and get to know your needs. If you’d still like to look at some other options, we understand.  Not all Realtors are the same. You need to find someone you feel comfortable with in sharing your criteria and confidential financial information, you will spend quite a lot of time with your Realtor. They also need to be dedicated and good at their job. Sit down, have coffee or a quick bite to eat and a conversation to see if you click before you start working together. Start by looking at the response time from that first email or phone call. This can show you how quickly your needs will be addressed in your working relationship. If your Realtor doesn’t respond within 24, chances are they won’t be able to respond in a timely manner to get that home you dream of. This industry moves fast. If you can’t rely on your Realtor to respond and take action quickly, you will be very dissatisfied with the process. 

In your coffee chat, remember that it is an interview. You shouldn’t be the only one answering questions. Ask about credentials, and previous sales experiences, get to know how they will handle stressful things that may come up, and what resources they can provide to you during the process. It isn’t always about quantity, but more about how they handle themselves and your transactions. 

Go into a meeting like this with the expectation to sign a legally binding Buyer Representation Agreement. Before you share any confidential financial information, this should be signed to protect both you and your Realtor.

If you have any questions, let us know.


Our next blog post will share what to look for in a lender, and how to get your mortgage preapproval.

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