Friday, November 30, 2012

You get what you pay for...

And when you use Craigslist, you definitely get what you pay for.

Don't get me wrong, craigslist is a wonderful tool that really has no equal when it comes to advertising and getting your property, be it real or personal, on the web. Need to sell an old lawn mower, throw it up on Craigslist. The garage sale of the internet will take all ads.


Unfortunately, that's ALL ads. Scammers, phishing, Nigerians trying to make a buck or anyone else. They're all there. With the advent of email came spam. With craigslist, we have to be ever vigilant that the scammers aren't going to take advantage of us. Typically when you look at ads on craigslist, you can often times tell that something isn't right. The ad may use British English, or dropping "the" "on" "an" or "a"are all good indicators of someone overseas trying to bilk you out of money.

However, there are other ways that people scam on Craigslist as well. Most recently we have seen people posting houses listed for sale, either through other Craigslist ads or simply stealing photos and descriptions from the MLS and posting them as "for rent". They then will tell you they're out of the country, and need you to send the money to them somewhere, go to Western Union, or send them money some other way. This does not happen if it's a legitimate sale! You will more often than not have to fill out an application to rent, call and talk to the person who is renting the house, or talk to a local property manager. NEVER send money if you haven't met with someone to show you the house first!

Most recently, I heard of someone who had posted an ad looking for a place to rent. The person who was looking was contacted by a "real estate agent" who had a place to rent. The problem was, the person who was claiming to be a real estate agent wasn't. The house for rent was managed by another property management company.

We need to be ever vigilant when dealing with posting or replying to ads placed on Craigslist. Before replying to an ad, think about the quality of the ad. Is it legitimate, or is there something that just "isn't quite right?" If you are contacted by someone, are they asking you to send money or receive money before looking at a property or before sending you an item? Are they asking you to receive money via some form and send money back to them?

Be aware of what you're looking at, and what you're clicking on. Hover over links before clicking and see what URL the link is actually taking you to. It may say, however does it really go there?

As I said, craigslist is a great tool for finding advertising for properties or other products to buy locally, but if you REALLY want to see what's on the market, look at my website and do a specific property search for properties that interest you, rather than everything that is thrown up on Craigslist. Visit to search for properties you'd like to see, and give me a call for more information on anything that you might find.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac support

For those who are dealing with the fall out from Hurricane Sandy, there may be a little help for some:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans have forbearance for those affected by natural disasters.

Those who have been dealing with the wrath of the storm, or other natural disasters may be able to get help from Fannie and Freddie. Look into in some more and find out what your options may be.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"union" scammers ripping off Realtors

One would think that I'd be on the "union" scammers do not call list. After going through this before with and, previously and who knows how many others, after one of their people reported me on ripoffreport with a false report, one would think they'd steer clear of me.

They didn't.

I did receive a call last week from someone on the east coast who did a little searching around and found my posting and information. I'm glad she did. I only hope that her friend can get her money back from these people or at least cancel the charge from her bank.

This time around a very nice woman called as "the union rep" for Oregon... She sounded very nice, and very innocent of the true scam. I do feel bad for her.

She had me speak with one of the managers in their call center. He tried telling me that the american union resource center is not related to workforce united and that workforce united stole their website design... stole website design 2 years before was created?

They call representing unions, however no unions use their website. Their website is only links (poorly made links) to other websites, e.g. New York Times, Sacramento Bee, etc. RSS (automatic) news feeds. Nothing on their website is content generated by them or anyone else with ties to their organization. Their website has HUGE gaps in place where other organizations should be. If you look you see Realtors, but hardly any other companies. I don't know why, but Realtors are their main target.

If you get a call from, please look at their website a bit more before falling for their scam. They'll do what they say they will. You pay them money and they will drop your photo and information on their website. Don't expect to get calls from anyone in a union however. Save your marketing dollars for legitimate uses or just donate the money to a worthy cause that you'd have spent on their website. We'll all be better off when scams like this are gone.

Update 10-2014: new url for this year is and is also linked to

Update 6-2016: It looks like they're still at it. I received a call a few months ago about a new union website, but here's a new twist,, or Same layout, same look, same scam, but now they're targeting veterans instead of unions.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When is the right time to sell your home?

There is a question that often arises, and people often gamble that they're going to make the right decision. They often times will lose.

The question is "When is the right time to sell my home?" or "When is the right time to put my house on the market?"

People often times will think about this in a cost analysis route, weighing how much money they will get at the right time, judging the top of the market, the top of the season, getting the most people to view their property or looking at when there are the most properties on the market to list.

The Realtor answer is usually "Yesterday!" or "LAST WEEK!"

Honestly there is no "right" time to list a house. There may be more ideal times to list a home than others. Putting your home on the market the day before Thanksgiving might not be the most ideal time, but when is your house the cleanest? During the holidays when you're going to be entertaining? The house will be decorated wonderfully and you may entice people with the smell of fresh baked cookies. Perhaps you're going on summer vacation and your home will be vacant for three weeks, clean up first and then your real estate agent will be able to show the property any time rather than working around a hectic schedule. During the summer with kids out of school and the long days, many people think about looking at houses and some even buy. During the winter we're busy with school and life, weather, rain and drudgery that may not get people excited about moving.


If you've been in a 3 bedroom house with 5 kids and one bathroom you've probably been wanting to move for quite some time. The ideal time to put your house on the market would have been years ago. We can't go into the past (yet) so therefore you're stuck. This means that the ideal time to put your home on the market is RIGHT NOW!

You've been in a house for a number of years and the kids have all left for college. You may be getting older and getting annoyed with having to go upstairs all the time (it's certainly NOT our bodies getting older) and now you're looking to downsize. The perfect time would have been right after the kids left the nest, but that was in the past. Therefore the correct time to put your home on the market is NOW!

"But what about the timing?!"  -  "But what about the market?!"

The truth is there are always people looking to move. Our lives change. things happen in our lives, children are born, leave the house (or Heaven forbid come BACK to the house!), pass away, divorce, or marry! Whenever we have a life altering situation we often times reevaluate where we are living and decide that moment that it's time for change. This is why putting your house on the market NOW is the right time to do it.

Do you really want to wait until next spring, another winter in that drafty old house? Do you really want to spend another winter paying the heating bills in that OVERSIZED 5 bedroom house when you only use two of the rooms?

Many people want to wait until "the market heats up". This typically starts in the spring and runs through October when kids start back to school and we start back to concentrating on work (and ignoring that we live in the Pacific Northwest where winter means a lot of rain). The problem with this is that when the market "heats up" there are more houses on the market. More houses means more competition.

Since we're in the fall, putting your house on the market now will benefit you with:decorating, less competition, serious buyers (not just those looking at homes), and faster closing times (less sales means faster processing with underwriters).

So if you've been thinking about listing your home, and aren't quite sure. NOW is the time to list! Call me today 541.231.9473 and let's talk about listing your home. You can visit my website to see what properties compare with yours on the market.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's Fall!

It's fall. Like it or not, it's here. Summer is winding down and we're in for bad weather ahead. It's now mid morning Sunday and currently a beautiful day in Corvallis. Today is a great day for doing a few quick things around the house.

1) Check your foundation vents. Yes we're going into winter, but open them back up. The foundation vents are there for allowing the ground under the house to breathe and exhaust, dry out, and improve the general health of your home. If you've looked at older homes, you'll see a few vents on each side of the house. If you look at new homes you'll see nearly twice as many vents that are much larger... There MIGHT be a good reason for this. OPEN THE VENTS UP!

2) Are your gutters cleaned out and free flowing? Get those pine needles out now, leaves and whatever else the squirrels have put in there over the summer and start the rainy season with clean gutters before they start overflowing. While you're doing this, check that your gutters are in good condition, were they leaking before? Do you need to caulk the ends or joints? Now is a great time to do this, it's DRY!

3) While you're cleaning the gutters, get the debris off the roof too! Roofs are important for keeping water out of your home. Shingles are important to prevent the water coming in. If you have debris on the roof, the moisture doesn't leave, and similar to having the foundation vents closed up, moisture is BAD for houses.

If you decide that you don't want to do any of this, that's ok... It might just be time to move. If you decide it might be time to just move instead of cleaning up, I'd be happy to list your home. Head over to for more information about the Corvallis and Albany real estate market.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Coming soon...

Coming soon, more information about real estate.