Real Estate: Molalla, Colton, Mulino By The Numbers

By The Numbers – Local Real Estate

SELLERS: The local market index numbers have not changed much. Mulino and Colton came in a little less advantaged to the sellers this week, but as mentioned before, the markets in both towns are so small that numbers are easily skewed. (There are only, for example, 6 active single family residence listings in the 97017 zip code right now and two of these are over a million dollars – which is a slower-moving segment of the real estate market and can skew the numbers badly).
Molalla is, as of this writing, in the same spot as it was in the last Bulletin – a strong seller’s market

BUYERS: Not a lot of change here either! Which is good for you. Interest rates are extremely low right now. Finding a house may be a bit more competitive right now, but it will pay off in the end when you lock in such low rates. 

A sellers’ market is when the market is in favor of the seller – meaning prices climb, bidding wars may happen, and sellers can be a bit more demanding. A buyers’ market is, or course, the opposite. On the scale I’m referring to (created by Altos Research, Inc.), 30 is the ‘break-even point’ where the market is somewhat neutral. Below 30 is in favor of the buyer, above is in the favor of the seller. The scale ranges from 0 to 100.

If you have more questions about the local market or would like the complete report, please contact me: (503) 729-9477, View local houses at 

By Robert Thompson, Lic’d OR & WA broker, Keller Williams Portland Premiere
Interest Rates, an extra $100,000, and Free Ice Cream
Let’s start with interest rates and loan payments and the like. The ice cream? Read on…we’ll save the best for last! 

OK, so what’s all of the talk about interest rates lately? Well, they’re making history because they’re as low as they’ve been since such things were tracked. Why is this important to you as a homeowner? Or potential homeowner? Or investor?
Well, let’s look at an example: a $300,000 loan, 30-year fixed. We’re going to compare 3.25% to 4.25% (4.25% is a very respectable interest rate as well, by the way, when looked at from a historical perspective). We’re not going to talk about qualifying for a loan or what your rate might be, by the way – that’s another discussion. 

Here is a table, showing our scenarios:

To explain: on a $300,000 dollar loan, your payment at 4.25% versus 3.25% goes up 13% – an extra $170 per month! Over the life of the loan, this is $61,272! That’s a lotta dough-re-mi. There are many things you could do with the money of course. But let’s just say that every month for 30 years you put that $170.20 in an account paying 3% (perhaps a stock index fund?). In 30 years, you would have about $98,000 in that account. Now, I don’t know how much that will be worth in 2050, but I do know it will be more than 0! So, you got your house and some bonus money.

As for the ice cream, that was just my attempt to make you bear with me through all of these numbers. If you feel slighted, please call me at (503) 729-9477– I’ll deliver (locally anyhow).

By Robert Thompson, Lic’d OR & WA broker, Keller Williams Portland Premiere.

Real Estate: Molalla, Colton, Mulino By The Numbers

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS, SELLERS! Mulino, Colton, and Molalla are all sellers’ markets. Molalla is particularly strong right now and has grown over the last few weeks from the low 60’s to 67 (brief explanation below of the scale). In a nutshell this boils down to supply and demand – there are a lot of buyers but there are not a lot of houses.
Mulino and Colton are also sellers’ markets at 45 and 42 respectively. These two markets are, however, very small and these numbers can be skewed by a small number of transactions. Keep track of this article every other week in the Bulletin and watch the trends to see where the market, as a whole, is heading.

BUYERS, THERE’S GOOD NEWS FOR YOU TOO! Interest rates are extremely low right now. So although finding a house may be a bit harder and more competitive right now, it will pay off in the end when you lock in such low rates.

A sellers’ market is when the market is in favor of the seller – meaning prices climb, bidding wars may happen, and sellers can be a bit more demanding. A buyers’ market is, or course, the opposite. On the scale I’m referring to (created by Altos Research, Inc.), 30 is the ‘break-even point’ where it’s somewhat neutral. Below 30 is in favor of the buyer, above is in the favor of the seller. The scale ranges from 0 to 100.

If you have more questions about the local market or would like the complete report, please contact me: (503) 729-9477, View local houses at 

By Robert Thompson, Lic’d OR & WA broker, Keller Williams Portland Premiere

Getting Ready to Sell
By Robert Thompson

12 Things to Think About
1. Let’s start with the cliché: you need to declutter, depersonalize, and clean your house. Every article you read will tell you this, and there’s a reason for that.

a. Your house should SPARKLE! Clean everything and everywhere.
b. Declutter – this is as much for you as it is for the potential buyer. Be ruthless – you don’t want to have to move all of that old stuff anyhow. Start using up the canned goods, clean your junk drawers, recycle the stack of National Geographics you’ve had for 8 years.
c. Depersonalize – inside and out. Take down family pictures, clear the refrigerator doors of magnets, get the gnomes and religious icons out of the yard. Potential buyers need to be able to visualize this house as their house.
d. Organize! Looky-Loos will pry – make no mistake. They will open cupboards, drawers, the fridge, the oven. If your cupboards are orderly, and there’s room to see and reach inside, then the Looky-Loos will think, “What ample storage.” They will also, subconsciously, think how well kept-up their new house is… it’s just an overall impression you give when things look nice. Other areas to pay special attention to include closets (fold, hang, organize shelves and floors), garage (you know what to do), countertops – clear them (and clean behind anything you don’t clear).

2. Gather warranties for appliances. That’s an easy one!

3. Fancy up those powder rooms
a. Towels, candles, soaps, coordinated colors
b. Close the toilet

4. Remember that people’s smell can be very sensitive. Bad smells can be a deal-killer. If you have indoor pets, if someone in the house smokes, if you cook fried fish every meal, your house is going to smell bad to many people. The first thing to do with all of these is to stop. Then get rid of blankets, carpets, rugs, furniture, etc. that have been pet-friendly. Get rid of litter boxes (you may not be able to smell them but someone else may). Confine your pets more to areas where odors won’t get absorbed (kitchen, laundry room, outside). Don’t cook, or at least don’t cook much. Lots of oil, lots of seafood, lots of certain kinds of meat – not good. The good news: if all you do all day is bake fresh bread and sugar cookies, you don’t have to stop. 

5. Clear your mind and walk the house with fresh eyes. Or, better yet, have someone who doesn’t live there walk the house for you (your agent is an option). Tell them to be 100% honest. Importantly, make sure they use their noses. Let them tell you if there are lingering odors. [Spoiler alert! You’ll do a fresh-eyes check on the outside too!]

6. Windows – cleaner, bigger, happier. There are some things that are simple and inexpensive but make a huge difference. It has to do with surface area: making the bed improves a room immeasurably; painting a room – same. Cleaning windows is another: if your windows sparkle, it lets in so much more light and makes the view so much more pleasant, all contributing to a better feel.

7. Get in your car and drive up to your house from both directions. Look at your house as if you’ve never seen it (again!). Does it look fresh and clean? Does it draw your eye? Make the yard look like you have a landscaping staff. Same rules apply outside as inside, by the way – declutter, depersonalize, and clean!
a. Mailbox – clean or replace.
b. Replace welcome mat with a fresh, new one – easy-peasy.
c. Replace or repair worn screens.
d. Fresh coat of paint on front door.
e. Shine your hardware.
f. Cobwebs off lights and eaves.
g. Take down Christmas lights (unless it’s Christmas time).
h. Remove bird feeders, wind chimes, yard art, tools, toys, recycle bins.

8. Landscaping
a. Mow, weed, prune, edge, water.
b. Re-seed your lawn to make it lusher.
c. Plant flowers if it’s the right time of year.

9. Make minor repairs and beautifications – tackle that to-do list! You know – the stuff you keep walking by, thinking, “I need to take care of that.” Patch holes in walls, leaky faucets, dead light bulbs, fix and tighten hardware (think cabinets and doors).

10. Sweep garage, basement, and any other unfinished areas. Just because they’re not living spaced doesn’t mean they don’t need to be clean – no one wants a dingy, dirty basement or garage.

11. Paint – so obvious, so cheap, so effective – the look is clean, and the smell says, “fresh and new”. When I smell paint upon entering a house, I immediately assume that they’ve been doing work and making the house nice.

12. Pressure wash your roof to remove unsightly dirt, moss, mold, and mildew, and Frisbees. Roofs are also on the list of ‘big surface area’ items. If your yard looks beautiful and green, great! Not so much on the green roof, though. Think, “curb appeal”. While you’re up on the roof, clean and mend the gutters where possible.


Real Estate During Covid Part 1
By Robert Thompson

Even before COVID came along, the local market was, well, interesting.  Technically a “seller’s market” or a “hot market”, buyers in the U.S. were also doing well with low interest rates.  With such low rates, purchasing power increases, allowing buyers to qualify for higher loan amounts (or to buy the same house for less money), helping counteract the effects of higher pricing that a seller’s market typically leads to. There was something for everyone.
And then along came COVID and it wreaked havoc with the mechanics of buying and selling real estate as well as with the sentiment of the buyers and sellers.  So, even though we are ostensibly in the same place – a seller’s market with very low rates – the market is completely different because of changes in our view of the world and how folks have quickly changed how things are done to accommodate a world without contact. 
As to the mechanics, real estate lending was affected greatly: banks tightened down on loan parameters, loan programs disappeared, there was more scrutiny of buyers by banks.  Rates sank even lower.  People were no longer able to transact business in the same way.  Where once buyers could just show up to an open house, now there were no open houses.  Viewing a home meant (and still means) reading and signing disclosures and caveats.  Upon arrival, one is  expected to be masked up, gloved up, sanitized.  In some houses, only agents are supposed to touch anything, so if there was a door to look behind, the agent is the official door opener.  (This was only to limit contact. It was not to insinuate that real estate agents are more hygienic than others). All of this makes viewing houses far less desirable.  Offers were even written, house unseen, with the condition that once the offer was accepted and the other terms agreed upon, the buyers could take a look at what they were buying,
Outside of these mechanics of real estate, sentiment changed overnight as everyone became suddenly more wary. Potential buyers and sellers backed off, deciding to wait and see what was coming. Even the leviathans – Zillow comes to mind – were spooked into removing huge amounts of money from existing transactions, even walking away from deals in escrow, leaving sellers high and dry. When big companies do these things, it makes everyone else pause.
The spring market, a time when things usually start to happen and new inventory shows up on the market, was handily slapped down by COVID.
But the market continues to move, if not as briskly. There are still people who must move for whatever reason and then there are those who are not scared of the market and continue with their plans (or have created new plans). No one can say with certainty what’s going to happen, though there will be long-term and unforeseen ramifications in addition to those short-term ones we’ve seen.
Today we’ve talked about some of the fundamentals that have already happened as a result of COVID. In the next release of the Bulletin (June 17th), we’ll discuss some of the future implications of COVID – and how much COVID may end up permanently affecting long-term real estate markets.

Molalla Real Estate Market Index
By Robert Thompson
Here is snapshot of Molalla’s market from last week, courtesy of Altos Research.  The Market Action Index right now is a 64 – meaning  a strong seller’s market.  The line through ‘30’ would indicate a ‘balanced’ market – not favoring buyers or sellers. Creeping below 30 indicates a buyer’s market or a potential buyer’s market.
What this means is that Molalla has more buyers than sellers (i.e. more demand than supply).  There are many factors that go into this index, not just the inventory of homes –  among them the average days a home spends on the market and the inventory numbers rising or falling.
The number of houses on the market (the inventory) has trended downward since late summer, 2019. Recent months are almost certainly a result of COVID. We’ve gotten back to where we were before the precipitous COVID drop but not to where we would have been, had all been ‘normal’.
As a seller, now is an excellent time to get your home on the market.  There is far less inventory out there than there would normally be at this time of year, so get started while the market is strongly on your side.  A seller’s market tends to indicate quicker sales and closer-to-asking-price offers (assuming you’ve priced your home correctly) as well as an edge in negotiations.  No one knows what the future holds (recovery from the pandemic being ‘new territory’).  But I think I’m safe in saying that there will be no upsurge in prices soon.  The market will remain flat or trend down.  So with lack of competition and no upside to waiting for an uncertain future, get your house on the market.  ‘A bird in the hand…’