Unfinished Business of the Current Congress

The elections are over. The party in power will change at the national level as well as in many states. The public should expect those currently in office to address non partisan issues in the best interest of homeowners. One such issue is the extension of the ‘Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief Act’.

If the act is allowed to lapse as it is scheduled to do at the end of the year any debt forgiven by a lender because of a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure will be taxed as income. It doesn’t seem right that a homeowner should be taxed on money they never had. If you bought a home before the bubble burst for $200,000 and now must either sell it for $150,000 or deed it back to the lender you will be liable for ‘income’ tax on the $50,000 of debt that was forgiven. Without re-authorization of the Act the IRS will once again be ‘pouring salt in the wounds’ of those caught in the collapse of the real estate market.

Let your Congressman & Senators know you think it is only fair that the act be extended. Without the extension additional properties will remain in the ‘shadow inventory’ depressing the market values and slowing the recovery. What you read about the market in metropolitan areas does not translate to rural areas. The rural market is still very slow to recover to post crash levels.

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Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity Women Build 2014

CGHfH SignOne of the great benefits of working in the real estate field is that you get the opportunity to participate in community service events that benefit the very people you work with and are around all the time. The nurse. The postal worker. The grocery store clerk. The single parent working two jobs. Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity is one such organization that pays it forward to the people that call Wasco and Hood River Counties in Oregon, and Klickitat County, Washington, home.


So many of us take that word for granted, but each day, in each community in each county in every state, there are people who struggle to keep a roof over their heads, to keep their families safe and healthy in a house they call home. Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity, based out of The Dalles, OR, works with homeowners to rebuild/refurbish a current home, or build a new home. C.G.H.f.H. is nearly complete with their 20th build.

T ShirtOn November 1st, I had the distinct pleasure in participating in one of these builds as a volunteer.

Lynn OBrien 1 Lynn OBrien 2

The Women Build 2014 event had 18 women volunteers, the home owners and several Habitat construction volunteers on hand. From 8 am until 2 pm,  work was moving along at a steady pace to put in window sills, paint the porch roof and shed, and drywall tape and mud all of the rooms.


A Little About Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, Georgia. In 1984, former President and First Wife Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter took their first Habitat build trip to New York City. Their involvement brought the Habitat mission national visibility and attention. Now Habitat has helped build or repair over 800,000 houses around the world.

How Can You Get Involved

Donate to ReStore.
Join a committee.

It will change your world.

For more information, please contact Kayleen Warner, Exec. Director, at (541) 296-8817 or columbiagorgehfh@gmail.com. We have the link to the website as well, Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity, or you can check out their Facebook page at Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity.

Posted in Living In Dufur OR, Living in The Dalles OR, Real Estate News, Things to do in Dufur OR, Things to do in The Dalles OR | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Check for Air Leaks in Windows and Doors

While we are enjoying a beautiful fall, winter is not that far away.  Now is a good time to check your doors and windows for air leaks that could be costly.  Fixing them now will keep you cozy this winter and save you money!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


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Stress Free Home Closing

If it is your first time buying, or it has been a while, all of the paperwork can seem overwhelming!  From the Mortgage Brokers, to the Title Company there are stacks and stacks of paperwork.  Learn what you are signing so that you are confident with your purchase and ready to move into your new home!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


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Homecoming Week



A Hero’s Homecoming-Dufur Rangers 2014 Homecoming.  The week kicks off with America Day, and there are fun activities all week leading up to the game on Friday and Parade Saturday morning.   Enjoy some of the fun with the Chili Cookoff Wednesday evening during Powder Puff Football.  For a complete list of activities visit http://www.dufur.k12.or.us/site/default.aspx?PageID=1.

Thinking you might want to live in Dufur?  Check out these listing at http://columbiariverproperties.com/category/location/dufur/  Visit Dufur, look at property and take part in A Hero’s Homecoming!

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Change of Colors means Change of Seasons

I woke up this m9-11-Never-Forgetorning, readied myself for the day, and then stepped outside and took a moment of silence in remembrance of Patriot Day (9/11). What greeted me was crisp, cool temps, blindingly, bright sun, and the smell of autumn leaves in the air. Fall was saying, “Hello, I’m almost here!”

With the arrival of cooler temps, football tailgating and back to school (can I get a WAHOO from all the parents out there!), now you have Fall Cleanup and Winter Prep!

Great tips from Smead for Fall Cleaning.

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Back to School in The Dalles, Oregon

Back to SchoolIt’s Back to School time here in The Dalles, and with it many parents and children are looking forward to the changing of the year and seasons. Football games and homecoming dances, new teachers and old friends, school projects and class trips. It’s an exciting time for everyone, except of course the dreaded earlier mornings!

Start your school days off on the right foot and avoid school day meltdowns with these great tips from PBS.org, Starting School. Good for grade school to high school, these tips are easy to follow.

For parents of new and returning high schoolers, here are some tips geared specially toward you from the Redondo Beach Educational Foundation, Tips for New High Schoolers. Above all establish clear and routine communication with your children and their teachers. Be that parent that takes a proactive approach to making sure your child’s school year is the best it can be.

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Local July Market Stats (The Dalles)

There were 22 closed sales in July which is 5 less than 2013 but the average price was 7.9% higher than the previous year. The average time on the market for the sold homes was 146 days and the average price was $181,200. For the year the average sale price was $168,800 and the median sale price was $155,000. Commercial sales are few and far between. Put all these numbers together and you have a sluggish market that is coming off the bottom. It is not bad but it is not experiencing the gains metropolitan areas are showing. Continued unemployment and underemployment in the area compounded with ever tighter lending standards continues to keep pressure on the market.

Hope is on the horizon. Wal-Mart won the latest appeal that has been stalling their construction start. Other companies are waiting for that construction to start before they make their commitment to the area.  Jobs/economic growth are on the horizon!

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Your Home and Wildfires

Rowena Fire 2014Living in Rural Oregon, wildfires are a common occurrence and fear for residents of smaller communities. Lightning, field burning, cigarettes carelessly tossed out a window…so much potential for so much loss and devastation. It is a terrifying prospect that you could lose all you have worked and saved for, but there are steps you can take to help protect your home, and those of your neighbors and loved ones.

Read the article below from Ready.gov.

Wildfires | Ready.gov

Posted in Home Improvement, Living In Dufur OR, Living in The Dalles OR, Things to do in Dufur OR, Things to do in The Dalles OR | Leave a comment

Investing in Your Neighborhood & Community

community workA recent post on social media site Facebook today got me to thinking about how investing in your community means the community will invest in you. A homeowner was talking about the condition of her home, the neighboring houses, and the neighborhood as a whole; what could she do to improve it. She has hired a property management company to manage and rent out her home.

My first thought was that the property management company is responsible for hiring, scheduling, and supervising any needed repairs or remodels to the property, with the homeowner’s approval, cooperation and prompt communication.

My second thought was why not talk to the neighbors and see what their viewpoint and ideas are? After a time, homeowners who have lived in a property often get used to the way it looks, and don’t see it through a neighbor or potential tenant’s eyes. They also might be financially or physically incapable of doing any needed or wanted repairs or updates.

Invest in your community! Barter and trade services with each other and do it as a community. Lending a helping hand up will reap rewards far greater than being concerned with only your own little world. Offer to pull someone’s weeds in exchange for them mowing your lawn. Offer to repair a fence in exchange for them painting your garage door. Form a group of neighbors who will watch out for each other, offering help when it is needed. The possibilities are endless!

Do you see my point?

If we all do our part, we can make our neighborhoods and towns places to be proud of, to show off, that people will want to move to and visit. What you put out in the Universe will come back to you, so why not put out the best you’ve got?

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