Fireworks and Other Disasters

Posted July 8, 2024 in Uncategorized

Scott Hogan, Clark County WA real estate agent

I hope you and your pets have survived 2 a.m. fireworks so far this month. While fireworks, bored schoolkids and picnics are July traditions, so are buying and selling real estate. This month’s column won’t silence a Whistling Pete, a Husker Do or Husker Don’t (movie reference: “Joe Dirt”), but it may give you some thoughts that help you forget about your scheme of early morning leaf blower retaliation.

If you think it’s harder to buy a house than before, you’re right. If you think young people are just whining and could buy a house if they would just skip their coffee drive-thru, you’re wrong. In 1990, it took 2.5 times the median annual income to buy the median priced home in Clark County. Now, that figure is 6.2 times, says a Harvard study. Seattle is worse at 7 times and Longview is slightly less expensive at 5.3 times the median income.

Deciding to forego buying a home has its own downside, though. Rents are expensive; a Clark County resident must make $38/hour to afford the average two-bedroom apartment ($2,024). Even with the influx of new units being built, there’s no reason to expect rents to go down. If potential homebuyers decide to rent instead, they miss out on the fixed payment (except taxes and insurance) that a mortgage provides, and are stuck with the rental amount listed in the next landlord notice.

What’s the answer?

Talk to a mortgage lender, who can discuss with you the loan programs intended for buyers with limited down-payment, poor credit, gifts from relatives, or other factors. Talk to a Realtor who can be on the lookout for new listings, fixer-upper properties, or other areas within commuting distance. For example, we cover Skamania County, and our affiliated offices cover Cowlitz County (and more). In short, don’t give up on the possibility of home ownership and the wealth-building that it provides. Even though the overall market is not as hot as a few years ago, we’re still closing purchase and sale transactions, and people are finding ways to make it happen.

Since 1980, we’ve been fortunate to work with the best lenders and Realtors. Though impartial, we see our role as a support for all parties in the deal (buyer, seller, or refinance borrower), and their representatives. We help get the transaction closed efficiently and on-time, helping to solve problems as they arise. We’re part of the team instead of saying “come back when you’ve got it fixed.” The hard transactions are where we’ve earned the loyalty of the most-knowledgeable, repeat customers. Easy or hard, you can count on our escrow people to conduct the signing themselves, rather than handing it off to a non-staff notary whose fees are then added to the parties’ costs.

Please call us to assist you in development, buying, selling, or refinancing of real estate.

Have a great July! From your friends at Clark County Title,