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According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals; for anyone looking to buy a home in 2018, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state. (The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)

Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%, with Veterans Affairs Loans allowing many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Alabama looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 69% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

Contact The McLeod Group Network to start your home search! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: KCM Crew

Salem Keizer OR Real Estate For Sale
4328 Wheat Ave NE, Salem, OR  97305

Perfectly situated on a quiet cul-de-sac in Jan Ree Meadows sits this move in ready 4 bedroom, 2 bath home just waiting for you to arrive! This hard to find open floor plan is loaded with tasteful amenities….soaring high ceilings, easy care wood laminate and tile flooring, neutral colors, modern fixtures, recessed lighting, plus plenty of off street parking and an attached 2 car garage. Vaulted ceilings and a gas fireplace highlight the combined living and dining room where entertaining guests and family function will be a delight. Abundant cabinet and counter space, a breakfast bar, a pantry, and new stainless steel range and microwave create a kitchen any chef will appreciate! A large picture window, double closets and a private bath make this master suite a soothing oasis. High ceilings continue into the three secondary bedrooms with plush carpeting and cooling ceiling fans. The fenced backyard and patio is the perfect spot for BBQ’s and basking in the sun. Beautiful one level living awaits at 4328 Wheat Ave NE – you do not want to miss this one!

The McLeod Group Network has distinguished themselves as a leader in the Salem Oregon real estate market. As a full service, real estate team - focused on working with our Seller and Buyer clients to help achieve their real estate goals!

We bring a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Salem Oregon home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why our clients benefit from our unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, focused on the Future –The McLeod Group Network will help make the most of your Salem Oregon real estate experience. With over 40 years of combined experience, you can rest assured that your real estate transaction will be handled and cared for with the utmost respect and attention to detail. Give us a call today 503-798-4001 and discover the difference we can make during your family's move.

Exploring Salem Oregon: The Young Dubliners

by Amy McLeod Group

Saturday, February 24, 2018
8:00 PM to 10:00 PM

A year after releasing their latest Celtic rock album, NINE, they are still out promoting the old-fashioned way. That means hitting the road and playing every show like it's the last. $20-$30 admission.

Elsinore Theatre
170 High St. SE
Salem, OR 97301

503-375-3574

Event Website

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit: Travel Salem

2874 Monterey Court SE: Lovingly Cared For Sunset Meadows Home!

by Amy McLeod Group

Salem-Keizer OR Real Estate For Sale
2874 Monterey Court SE, Salem, OR  97306

Lovingly cared for 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home in desirable Sunset Meadows! This spacious flowing floor plan offers impressive formal rooms combined with comfortable everyday spaces highlighted by high ceilings, easy care wood laminate flooring, recessed lighting, modern fixtures, cooling ceiling fans, central air, plus an attached 2 car garage for all your storage needs. An atmosphere for entertaining guests awaits in the formal living and dining rooms with a toasty gas fireplace and large windows letting the natural light in. The spacious eat-in kitchen features a center island with gas cooktop, an abundance of cabinet and counter space, a pantry and breakfast nook opening to the family room. Double doors open to the main floor office or den. Upstairs you will find 4 generously sized bedrooms including the master suite with vaulted ceilings, plush carpeting, a walk-in closet, dual vanity and a tub to soak your cares away! Stay organized in the main level laundry room with cabinetry. The covered rear deck that overlooks your private, fenced yard is the perfect outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing! Appreciate the easy access to I-5 and Kuebler. Do not hesitate, this spectacular home will not last long!

The McLeod Group Network has distinguished themselves as a leader in the Salem Oregon real estate market. As a full service, real estate team - focused on working with our Seller and Buyer clients to help achieve their real estate goals!

We bring a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Salem Oregon home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why our clients benefit from our unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, focused on the Future –The McLeod Group Network will help make the most of your Salem Oregon real estate experience. With over 40 years of combined experience, you can rest assured that your real estate transaction will be handled and cared for with the utmost respect and attention to detail. Give us a call today 503-798-4001 and discover the difference we can make during your family's move.

Escalation Clauses: A Little-Known Bidding-War Strategy for Salem, OR

by Amy McLeod Group

For home buyers locked in a heated bidding war, there is one weapon that may help ensure victory: an escalation clause.

It’s an addendum to a real-estate contract, typically when the offer is made, in which a prospective buyer says, “I will pay X dollars for this house, but if another buyer submits a verifiable bid that’s higher, I will raise my offer in increments of Y dollars to a maximum price of Z.”

These clauses are particularly useful in a competitive real-estate market where homes typically get multiple bids. If a bidding war erupts on a home, the escalation clause will automatically raise the buyer’s offer on the house by the predetermined increment, up to the maximum amount the buyer authorizes. It eliminates the back and forth of offer and counteroffer and helps the buyer avoid paying too much for a house by getting caught up in the frenzy of a bidding war. But they can be risky for buyers who use them.

“A buyer can think of an escalation clause as a ‘have your cake and eat it, too’ clause,” says David Reiss, a Brooklyn Law School professor who specializes in real estate. “But in real estate, as with cake, it is hard to have it all.”

One concern is that the buyer is tipping his hand to the seller by using an escalation clause, Prof. Reiss says.

By indicating the maximum amount he will pay for the house, a buyer is revealing important information—that he’s willing to pay more. For example: Seller lists the house for $1 million. The buyer bids $950,000 with an escalation up to $975,000. The seller can counteroffer at $975,000, knowing that the buyer can both afford it at that price and is willing to pay it.

“Sellers get more money than they ever thought they would have,” says Carrie DeBuys, a real-estate agent with Realogics Sotheby’s Realty in Seattle. In her market, it isn’t uncommon for a seller to receive “10, 15 or 20 offers on a property.”

On the flip side, an escalation clause may not be in the seller’s best interest, explains Prof. Reiss.

Say a house is listed for $1 million, and there are three bidders. Buyer A offers $950,000. Buyer B offers $975,000 with an escalation clause that could go up to $1 million in $5,000 increments. Buyer C offers $980,000. In this scenario, the seller would get $985,000 from Buyer B after the initial offer escalates over Buyer C’s offer. But, had the seller not relied on the escalation clause and instead asked the bidders for their best and final offer, he might have sold the house for $1 million. “We know that the buyer was willing and able to go up that high,” Mr. Reiss says. “Thus, the seller is likely getting $15,000 less in the escalation-clause scenario.”

While escalation clauses are commonly seen in competitive markets like San Francisco and Seattle, they are less common at the top end of the market. “They’re not really happening at the ultrahigh end because the X amount—the increment—has got to be pretty significant,” says Billy Rose, president and co-founder of the Agency, a brokerage in Beverly Hills. “If you’re talking about a $15 million house, the X amount needs to be substantial enough to be material. A $2,000 increment is not going to make a difference.”

Escalation clause tips

Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking of using an escalation clause.

• Be aware of the mortgage. If an escalation clause is invoked, buyers may need additional cash on hand for a larger down payment. The escalated price can also affect the type of mortgages available to the buyer—as well as the appraisal, which may not match the escalated price.

• Feel out the seller first. “Some agents and sellers do not react favorably to escalation clauses because they think they are unfair,” says Michael Nourmand, president of Nourmand & Associates, a brokerage in Los Angeles. “You should know their position before blindly using this strategy.” Otherwise, the seller may not consider your offer.

• Get it in writing. Buyers should specify the type of documentation the seller must provide before the escalation clause kicks in. For example, the escalation clause could specify that the seller must provide a copy of the highest offer received.

Let’s get together to discuss your options! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By and photo credit: Realtor.com, Robyn A. Friedman 

Salem-Keizer OR Real Estate For Sale
1140 Harbour Lane NE, Keizer, OR  97303

Beautiful and spacious, this desirable Avalon Meadows home is just what you have been searching for! An open floor plan highlighted by 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, easy care flooring, neutral colors, recessed lighting, central air, plus an insulated 2 car garage. You will enjoy preparing a meal in this stylish and functional kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, a tile backsplash and breakfast bar open to the sun filled dining area. The connecting great room offers a toasty gas fireplace setting the scene for entertaining guests and comfortable every day living.  Plush carpeting, a tray ceiling, walk in closet, dual granite vanity and tub/shower combo make this a master suite you are sure to enjoy after a long day. Two generously sized secondary bedrooms, a shared full bath and the laundry room complete the second level. Your new favorite spot is sure to be the lovely patio in your fenced yard for BBQ’s and outdoor enjoyment! Call today to start living the good life in Keizer OR!

The McLeod Group Network has distinguished themselves as a leader in the Salem Oregon real estate market. As a full service, real estate team - focused on working with our Seller and Buyer clients to help achieve their real estate goals!

We bring a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Salem Oregon home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why our clients benefit from our unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, focused on the Future –The McLeod Group Network will help make the most of your Salem Oregon real estate experience. With over 40 years of combined experience, you can rest assured that your real estate transaction will be handled and cared for with the utmost respect and attention to detail. Give us a call today 503-798-4001 and discover the difference we can make during your family's move.

Saturday, February 17, 2018
1
0:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Come and celebrate the 159th birthday of Oregon’s statehood.  Celebrate in style with costumed interpreters, cupcakes, period music, and a bevy of activities that are fun for the entire family!  Free admission.

Oregon State Capitol
900 Court St. NE
Salem, OR 97301

503-986-1388

Event Website

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo credit: travelsalem.com

Low Inventory Pushes Home Prices Higher

by Amy McLeod Group

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices appreciated by 6.9% year-over-year from December 2016 to December 2017 on a national level. This marks the fifth month in a row with at least a 6.9% increase.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, gave insight into the reason behind the large appreciation,

“The number of homes for sale has remained very low. Job growth lowered the unemployment rate to 4.1 percent by year’s end, the lowest level in 17 years. Rising income and consumer confidence has increased the number of prospective homebuyers. The net result of rising demand and limited for-sale inventory is a continued appreciation in home prices.”

This is great news for homeowners who have gained nearly $15,000 in equity (on average) in their homes over the last year! Those homeowners who had been on the fence as to whether or not to sell will be pleasantly surprised to find out that they now have an even larger profit to help cover a down payment on their dream homes.

As we near the traditionally busy spring buyers season, there is still hope for buyers as mortgage rates remain low compared to recent decades. The report also predicted that home price appreciation will slow slightly, rising by 4.3% by this time next year.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in our neighborhood and discuss your options! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: KCM Crew

Happy Valentine's Day!

by Amy McLeod Group

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

The #1 Reason to Sell Now Before Spring

by Amy McLeod Group

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand.’ If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring. As an example, here is what happened to housing inventory at the beginning of 2017:

Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for increased competition in the spring might make a lot of sense.

Bottom Line

Buyers in the market during the winter months are truly motivated purchasers. They want to buy now. With limited inventory currently available in most markets, sellers are in a great position to negotiate.

Want to know how much your home is worth? Contact The McLeod Group Network today! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: KCM Crew

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Contact Information

Photo of The McLeod Group Network Real Estate
The McLeod Group Network
Keller Williams Capital City
1900 Hines St SE #220
Salem OR 97302
971-208-5093
Fax: 971-599-5229

**Disclaimer: Amy McLeod, and her team, do not initiate, process, or service mortgages.  And provide this information only as a service.  You should confirm information here with your Licensed Mortgage Lender.