I could be wrong on this because nobody can predict the real estate market, but this summer, fall and winter of 2022 might be the best time to buy real estate in the Portland Metro Market for the next 2 years. Here are the key factors why I’m sharing this with you:
High mortgage interest rate: But utilizing 2/1 buy-down loan programs can lower the payment for the first or up to the second year, with a plan to refinance if the rate comes down around year 2024.
Highest sellers’ motivation to sell:
Very abrupt home price cooling due to the interest rate hike earlier this year, the number of listings with price reductions is the highest I’ve seen in the last 5-6 years. So price adjustment/price correction is happening as we speak.
Some sellers are offering seller concessions (seller credit) toward buyers’ closing costs and/or prepaid (tax, insurance) and now rate buy-down as well.
Increasing number of homes for sale = More choices of homes for the buyers.
A lot less buyers in the market, which means a lot less competition to buy. No need to bid $100k over asking price like in 2021 and the beginning of 2022.
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What is the worst thing that could happen to a home buyer in the home buying process? In my opinion, losing your downpayment and your closing costs completely due to wire fraud. This could mean losing years of savings for many of us.
Every year, there are innocent online users who lose about $1 billion dollars due to cyber security breaches. Out of that, $200 – 300 million dollars are lost in real estate transactions in the US. Anywhere between 10,000 to 15,000 innocent buyers become the victims, lose their money and are not able to buy their homes. I just can’t imagine what those buyers would be going through…
How hackers do this:
The hackers use spoofing and/or phishing. They might even have the email login information of the people who are involved in the transactions. Escrow officer, attorney, realtor, loan officer and the buyer. Hackers intercept the fund wiring information email and replace the escrow bank account with their own bank account. Or, sending emails from accounts that look just like the escrow’s email address. It can be really hard to tell.
How to prevent these attack to home buyers:
Use cashier’s check. Go to the bank, cut a cashier’s check and deliver it to the escrow office in person. This way, there’s No Entry Point for the hackers.
If you have to wire, pick up printed wiring information from your escrow office when you go to deposit the earnest money. Again, no Entry Point. Paper copy wins here again.
If you can’t visit the escrow office (out of town, etc), then call the escrow office. Talk to the escrow officer to verify the account info. The key here is to make the outbound call, not inbound call which can be faked by hackers. I suppose this could be unsafe if hackers are routing calls, Mission Impossible style. Let’s hope that they are not there yet, but let’s not risk it.
Use end-to-end encrypted texting apps like Signal if you have to text. Regular texts can be easily hacked.
Use DRM technique (“Don’t Rush Me” from a tennis book by Brad Gilbert). A hacker’s message will likely add high urgency like, “to avoid delay of closing, send the wiring by the end of today…” Delaying the closing is better than losing the funds. Listen to your gut and be early and/or delay the closing by extending the closing date, so no hackers can rush you.
Here are some day-to-day cyber security practices:
Don’t use public wi-fi at places like Starbucks or hotels. You will be giving Entry Points to hackers. Some viruses can read your every key stroke, including your passwords. If you have to use public wi-fi, use VPN (Virtual Private Network) made by reputable companies.
Change passwords often on your email and website login at least several times a year, with phrase-like long passwords with a mix of capital and lower case letters and special characters. Don’t save the passwords on the computer files. Turn on 2-step verifications while you’re at it.
Don’t pick up phone calls from unknown numbers.
Don’t click any links from unknown number texts.
For realtors, do not get involved in forwarding any wiring info. Your email could be the Entry Point for the hackers. Also, do everything listed above and more to protect the buyers.
Lastly, hackers will use more advanced tricks in the future, so always educate yourself with a No-Entry-Point approach to your online living.
For the hackers, do something better with your life.
If you are needing some work space, take a look at a video I did of a condo I listed, which gives some ideas about how to use a small space.
I would probably use this as my main workspace. You could probably put, like, a 70 inches desk, you know, with a double monitor. Then, nice speakers right there. I could put a curtain here, or maybe I could put up a wall. Or some kind of divider, or just leave it alone.
And having this south-facing [window], looking at the southern sky, with a bunch of sun, I think it’s going to be a very very productive workspace.