Friday, December 31, 2010

Why? Why? Why do we do what we do??

I've wondered this often.  Why DO we do what we do? Maybe I can best illustrate it with some thoughts and stories instead of a real answer.....
When I was young-not that I'm old, but some would say I'm not really young anymore-I used to have a group of friends that I would hang out with.  We were all renters. We lived in a world of thinly spread white paint, nail holes filled with toothpaste, drafty windows, yard sale chairs and crappy appliances. Then we bought a home.  Not much of one, but it was ours.  A strange thing happened; all our buddies started hanging out at our place. It was where everyone felt comfortable-I think because it was owned by "one of us", not a faceless landlord who hated fixing things. Because we took the time to paint it with the things we held dear... our paint, our photos, our decorations.  Regardless of the price we paid for it, or how much it may be worth in 10 years, it was a HOME.  A place where we would live, love and be together.  It was an extension of us. It represented life..... our life.

NOW, we do everything we can to help others feel that same way.  We love helping someone begin their dream. We've been there and want nothing more than to pass it on. We are real.....  We are confident that we are doing the right thing.  We will tell someone if buying a home isnt a great idea for them. We will pass up an easy payday if it's not the right thing for our client. Not many other offices can look in the mirror and truly say that. We believe in what we we do and know this attitude will see us through.......

Bottom Line?......  Technology will only take you so far... Using statistics will only impress the ones that dont know the truth..... Those things are hollow without having your heart in it.  This office HAS their collective heart in it. Our focus will always be on our clients........... and improving their lives............

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010-A Year of Activity

The year is almost out and like many, I like to try to look over my shoulder at all the things that have happened in the last year for this company.  We have had some great things-like our annual dinner supporting the Loaves and Fishes group-that make me choke up with pride for having been involved. This is a great organization supporting truly needy kids.  I am so proud of our office for stepping up to make this dinner happen. We have been involved in many activities through the year-Ag Timber Parade (we got Becky to come with us), EOLS Parade, Union County Fair and the food drive to name a few.  Haley became engaged to a great guy, as did Sharron.  We are so happy for them both and puff up with pride as we watch their lives evolve. They are awesome people and great agents and we cant say enough good things about them. Ron has hit the ground running and will be a very productive agent in the coming years.  Cindy, as usual, has had a choke hold on the market in Halfway and Richland. She is our "hard work" example to follow.  Nobody works harder than she does.  Bob has quietly built himself a super business by going out and taking excellent care of his at a time.  Jon has established himself as the farm expert in our office and one of the funnest personalities in the group.  Marlena came to us this year and has folded into the group as though she was here all along. We are so thankful for how well she has recovered from heart surgery early in the year. Holly, as usual is the one who loves her work and "mother hen's" her clients.  She just might show up on your doorstep with chicken soup if she hears you are sick.  Shawna and I have had some real challenges over the last year, but they seem small in comparison to all the great things we have gotten to experience because of the amazing agents we have and the awesome clients we deal with. It's hard to call this work when you are helping out so many people that we cherish.  We are ready to move forward with what is looking like an outstanding year, but not without being incredibly thankful for all we have received in the last year. Thanks to our families and our agents that we love and most of all to our clients. Without them we would not be able to spend our time working at something we really love to do.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Maybe I Should Wait to Buy........Maybe Not!

So, you are getting ready to buy a home.  You've been watching the real estate news on TV (we always pay more attention to the things that we are interested in) and it has been telling us how bad things are.  Well, maybe for everyone else, but not for you as a buyer.  Hmmmmm.  Maybe, in spite of the advise of your agent, it would be smart to wait.  Maybe see if the bottom falls lower. Maybe the rates, although at record lows, will fall even further.  Wouldn't it be cool if we could buy at the REAL bottom of the market? Maybe, maybe, maybe.....  So, what happens if things don't get better-and get a little worse instead?  What if the rate goes up-even a little?  What really is the cost of trying to outsmart the market?  Well, if the rates go up by 1% (when they are near 4.5%, that's sure possible) it wipes out a 10% drop in the price of a house. That means the $100,000 house you wanted to buy will have to drop to $90,000 to make up for the 1% rate increase that happened while you were "waiting for the market to bottom out".  The 1% rate increase is pretty likely-do you think the 10% price drop will happen too?  Nope, not very likely........  In fact, a 1% rate increase is 10 times more likely than a 10% drop in prices...  OK, so knowing that, what are you waiting for???  There is good inventory,  great rates, best pricing in years.......  Are you going to be the one who waited too long looking for the "perfect deal"?  Now is the time, friends.  And just like all other good things, it won't last forever. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Agents-What They Are All About

I was at a conference not too long ago in Washington.  It was one of those things where realtors go to learn some things to get better at what they do. As I was walking through the hotel lobby, I overheard a Mom and daughter talking.  I assumed the daughter asked who all us people were.  I heard the Mom say "They are real estate people".  It made me think.... I am so proud of the agents in our office.  They work really hard to make sure they aren't seen as just "real estate people".  We know a home is the most important purchase most people make. We are aware that most consumers know it too. We want to make sure we remember everyday that this is the most important decision many people make.  The last thing they need is "a salesman".  We need to make doubly sure that what our client buys is sound.  That the price is right.  That we have guided them past the pitfalls that can break them later.....when it's too late to walk away.  We try to understand our clients.  In our mind a cop protects the law.  A farmer feeds people.  A real estate agent nurtures the dream of home ownership.  We are guardians of something very important to the ones we serve.  This belief guides every action we take.........  If you need someone to understand the stress-the fear-the risk of buying a home instead of treating you like a budding young paycheck.............  come see us.     

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Home Sweet Home Program

So, have you heard about the Home Sweet Home Program?  Many haven't-in fact I hadn't heard about it until a couple months ago.  What an interesting program this is for many of you.  I haven't used it yet, but I can see where it may be an awesome program!  In a nutshell, this program is partnered by the Oregon Banker's Assn and the Oregon Assn of Realtors for low and moderate income Oregonians earning lass than or equal to 100% of the area median income and are trying to purchase a home.  This money is in the form of $2000 grants disbursed by local lenders to be applied toward down payment or other out of pocket funds needed during the purchase of a principal residence home.  If you are looking to buy a home and have done like most of us-----struggled to collect enough cash to put down on a house------this program may be for you.  Contact any of the RE/MAX Realtors for more information.  We all work hard at taking great care of our clients.  You see, we don't spend our time trying to impress you by comparing ourselves to the other offices.  We choose to be honest, highly skilled and hard working and let our work speak for us.  Come see us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Old Friends

Aren't old friends the best?  Sometimes we forget just how much we love those precious few friends that are REALLY our friends.  You know, the ones that will support you when you try, pick you up when you fall, cheer you on when you are succeeding.  They are the ones you that you would do nearly anything for, a) because you love them and, b) because you know they would never hesitate to do the same for you.  I saw one of my old friends recently.  He just showed up out of the blue at a party we were having for the office.  I hadn't seen him in what seemed like forever, but it didn't matter.  We are like two people that just know what to say to the other.  His life is going so well-which wasn't always the case-and in his true form, he is now doing all he can to help other people to improve their lives.  He is a wonderful guy, been around the block and has incredible wisdom and passion for life because of it.  Ya know, isn't that a big part of what the Christmas Season is really about?  Passing along the love in our lives to the ones around us?  Take the love that was born with us and give as much of it away as possible?  Go see your old friends...... it will be the highlight of your day.... and theirs........

Friday, December 10, 2010

DEQ and Woodstoves

Many of you may already know this, but if not, it may be worth checking out. The DEQ is coming out with some new guidelines regarding existing woodstoves and the sale of homes in Oregon.  Any non certified woodstoves must be removed from the property prior to closing of the sale on the property.  Senate Bill 102 passed by the 2009 Oregon Legislature requires homeowners to remove, destroy and notify DEQ of any uncertified stove at eh time of home sale.  They are still working some of the rules including procedures for sellers to verify the stoves have been removed and destroyed.  If you think this may affect you, contact one of our agents to discuss whether this may concern you or not.  We are always looking to find ways to keep our clients informed on the latest rules and regulations as they are available to us. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Be a Safe and Savvy Shopper

The Christmas season is upon us and for many, the shopping frenzy is underway.  With it comes buying decisions, possibly planning shopping trips out of the valley and, for many of us, it will be an online buying experience.  Fifty eight percent of consumers are likely to purchase a gift online this year.  If you are one of them, here are a few ideas to make you a more "Safe and Savvy Shopper".
1) Make sure your security systems are up to date and running on your computer and only shop trusted sites.
2) Use a price comparison site such as to compare pricing. 
3) Don't click on the BUY button before you've looked for coupons and promo codes.
4) Read the retailer's privacy policy. When you fill out the online profile, retailers gather information about your shopping habits so they can target ads to you. Your web browser allows you to limit or prevent sites from installing cookies.
5) Only use sites that offer a secure transaction.  Look for a padlock icon or "https" in the check out page web address.
6) And finally, ask your friends and family. If they have used these sites and have had a bad experience, they will surely tell everyone they can.  If you hear a horror story-SHOP SOMEWHERE ELSE!!

Make your Christmas a great one....... And have a Safe and Secure Shopping Experience..

Friday, December 3, 2010

Listing During the Holidays-A GREAT IDEA!!!!

Many of you would really like to sell your home, but are reluctant to be listing during the winter months and more specifically during the Christmas season.  I used to think the same thing.  Maybe I can provide a few interesting ideas that will help you in deciding maybe this really isn't such a bad idea......... in fact it is really a GREAT idea!  Here are a few good reasons to consider:
1) The competing inventory is usually lower.  Many people take their properties off the market for the winter, so your home stands out better to the serious buyers.  Your odds of selling may actually be better this time of year!!  Also, a flood of new listings will happen in the early spring, and the increased supply without a substantial increase in demand may actually make prices drop.  To sell for the most money, now may be the best time!
2) Only serious buyers are out in the winter, so fewer people are running through your house, but the ones that DO look are usually serious.
3) Your home will show better during the Holiday season.  I know my home FEELS much better this time of year with the warmth, the decorations, tree, etc.
4) People stay home more during the winter, so internet searches go way up this time of year. With all the online marketing RE/MAX Real Estate Team provides, your chances of selling are better in December and January.

Give these great ideas some serious thought.  If you are truly interested in getting the most money for your home in the shortest amount of time, calling RE/MAX Real Estate Team and listing during the winter months is a really GREAT IDEA!!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Click to Call

So, have you ever heard of "Click to Call"?  Most haven't.  This is a new feature that is just coming to life with that many of us are both fascinated and excited about.  As we move forward over the next few weeks, the agents in our office will begin to attach this feature to their listings in the website.  Here's how it works.  As you look up properties for sale on the website, some will have a big phone icon in the body of the information about the home.  By pushing that button, you will be able to be connected to the listing agent by phone!!  It will ask you to enter your phone number and the computer will connect the listing agent with you directly so you can talk to them. Great way to save time and gather useful information!!  As always, the agents at RE/MAX Real Estate Team are here to make your real estate experience rewarding and easy.  Call one of us today for more information.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Office Website

Sometimes we in the real estate business forget thing most basic of things when visiting with our clients and customers.  I was talking to someone a few days back and we were talking about our office website. I mentioned lots of things-the blog site (this one), the nice home page photos taken in the valley, lots of things.....  What I failed to mention was property searches.  He called me later and asked how to find a property listed with another office.  He was interested in the property, wanted to look it up on the internet and didnt want to take up my time until he was somewhat sure he was really interested.  Not an exactly unusual string of events.  Lots of people want to gather information on their own-on their own timetable-and narrow down the list to the ones they are truly interested in.  All properties listed in the RMLS system (the one used in the La Grande area) are available to see through our office website.  It's easy.  Just go to and look for the property search button near the top of the page.  Click and look for the search properties tab. That takes you in to the RMLS system.  Pick your options for cities, price and other options and you are on your way.  Have fun.  Sign up for realty watcher to get email updates on all the latest listings similar to what you are interested in.  Look at our you tube videos....  When you have questions or want to learn more, call or email us from the website.  Any of us would be more than happy to assist you......

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Facebook has become a very popular social media tool for individuals and for businesses.  It has provided a way to convey information and a way to stay in touch with friends and family as well as business clients and contacts.  RE/MAX Real Estate Team has a variety of Facebook pages that contain tons of worthwhile information about real estate and about the things going on in our office.  If you havent "liked" one of our sites or become friends with one or more of our agents, I encourage you to do so.  You can find our office at RE/MAX Real Estate Team, our franchise RE/MAX International or most of our agents by looking them up by name.  You can also find Randy and Shawna's real estate page at La Grande Properties.  This is a great way to keep up on most things real estate and on the lives of our agents.  Look us up, feel free to make comments. If we can be of help to you, be sure to drop us a message, an email or call us...... 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RE/ mobile....

Have a smart phone and are looking at property?  Would you like to look up some information on a property or others in the area? mobile may be just the answer.  Here's how it works-- Open your browser and go to  The website will automatically determine that you are accessing from a smart phone and load the smart phone version of to your phone.  Really.  It's just that easy.  Try it for yourself.  No texting.  No numbers to remember.  Just type in and you are on your way.  Search, find, call one of the RE/MAX Real Estate Team agents to tour some of them!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The REAL Real Estate Guide

Maybe some of you have noticed-there are several real estate papers floating around the La Grande area lately.  A couple have been produced by local companies in order to market their own listings, but not the entire MLS.  They do an excellent job of attracting buyers with lots of color photos and nice marketing information, but the reality is, they are showing the ones they want you to buy, not all the ones available to you.  Don't be deceived.   It's very easy to make this mistake.  The REAL Real Estate Guide is called just that-The Eastern Oregon Real Estate and Homebuilders Guide.  It carries listings from many real estate companies in the area-not just one.  We at RE/MAX Real Estate Team believe buyers are entitled to knowing what properties are available for them to purchase through a variety of offices, not just the ones that benefit our office the most.  Avoid the confusion, come by or contact one of us at RE/MAX Real Estate Team so we can discuss ALL your buying options and help you decide what is best for you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Weekend

Don't miss out on the fun this weekend...  The EOU football team is at home and looking to extend a win streak!!  They are a lot of fun to watch and if the weather is bad, the football is better.  The Mountaineers are an exciting team not to be missed.  The yhave one more home game this year, so it's sort of now or never..   Go BLUE!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rural Development Loans

If you are shopping for homes in La Grande or anywhere else in Union County, make sure to ask your lender about Rural Development loans.  These loans are readily available for most Union County residents and properties through your favorite local lenders. These loans tend to be more flexible when it comes to down payments requirements, which makes it a great option in today's economy-especially for first time home buyers.  Don't be afraid of the current loan environment when trying to buy a house.  It is NOT as frightening as you have been told.  With these RD loans, it is possible for the seller to pay a portion of the buyer's closing costs, which makes home ownership much more reasonable for many people.  Come see one of us today and ask us to help guide to a recommended lender.  We are both compassionate and knowledgeable.  We work very hard to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients and build our business on satisfied clientele. Come feel the difference of working with someone who cares for you and your family...... 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Loans Are Easier Than You May Think

If you have paid attention to all the media reports regarding mortgages over the last few months, you may be assuming loans are nearly impossible to get-requiring tons of down payment money and the promise of your first born child in order to get home financing. While it is true that the requirements have gotten a bit more rigid, they are far from the daunting task they are made out to be and many of the changes are related to the condition of the house instead of the qualifications of the buyer.  Most lenders offer FHA loans, which require about 3.5% down plus closing costs as your out of pocket expense.  Some lenders offer USDA Rural Development loans-a great loan program that requires very little out of pocket money and are ideal for first time home buyers.  The helpful, experienced agents at RE/MAX Real Estate Team can help you structure sales agreements that sometimes allow you to buy a home for less out of pocket expense and lower payments than you may be paying for rent right now!!!  Don't be deterred by the negative press regarding mortgages.  They are readily available, reasonable to qualify for and sometimes require very low out of pocket investment.  Call one of our agents today and we can refer you to some of the lenders we work with every day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Visit Your Lender

If you are considering a home purchase and haven't visited your lender in the last few months, now may be a great time to do so.  The information they have may be old and out of date-which happens rapidly these days.  In order to keep yourself current should you find a home to buy, they will want current credit, income and banking information.  When you get ready to make an offer to purchase a home, having a current approval letter from your bank is a valuable asset.  Another reason to visit your lender is to update yourself on the current mortgage rates!  Most likely, the mortgage rates have dropped-maybe substantially-since the last time you checked.  With 30 year rates hovering around the 4-4 1/2% range,  you may actually qualify for a little higher purchase price, just because of the lower rates!!! With lots of inventory, historically low rates and motivated sellers, this is the ideal time to buy.  Make sure you are prepared.  Call any of our agents today to talk about the steps needed to get ready to be a home owner!!

Friday, October 29, 2010


It's the time of year when the leaves are falling, the pumpkins are on the porch, the kids are picking out their Halloween costumes and we are all dragging out our sweatshirts and flannel preparing for the fall and winter. 
One of the other things going on right now is the great fall "specials" available in real estate in La Grande.  Lots of owners are becoming aware of the problems related to keeping vacant homes through the winter, are seeing the buyer activity slow down as the Holiday season approaches and are beginning to adjust what they may see as their "bottom line".  If you are a buyer looking for a good opportunity, this is an ideal time.  The inventory is still plentiful, the mortgage rates are at or near all time lows, Rural Development loans are available and you may be able to land a great deal if willing to move in the cooler weather.  Many will tell you that you should wait, the market may get better, the rates may get lower, the inventory may grow....... They may be the same people that kept thinking the market would continue to go up and you should wait to sell-only to see the market stall and not get your house sold.  My opinion is that the factors are all lined up right now.  Sure, they may get better, but they may get worse.  Really, how likely is it that interest rates will get lower than they are now??  Don't pass up the best buying opportunity La Grande has had in years by trying to outsmart the market..... Take advantage of it instead.  Call one of our skilled and caring agents and let them help you move forward to home ownership........ now!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New, New, New

Well, here we go again! After a delay of a few weeks we are "back in the saddle again". We have a new and improved website that I invite you to check out and cruise around in. Hopefully you will find it user friendly. We look forward to your comments. We are under construction-and will be for a while-but it is already beginning to take shape.

You can also follow us on Facebook on our "RE/MAX Real Estate Team" page.  Just as on our website, you can find all kinds of helpful information and photos on the Facebook site. If you dont find what you are looking for on either site, please contact us at anytime. 

What's up with the blog name?  Good question!  We have heard in our travels in real estate that some people refer to real estate as "dirt".  Because of that, Eastern Oregon Real Estate Dirt seemed like a fitting name for a real estate blog. So, hop on board. We hope to provide interesting and sometimes useful information.  Check in often. You never know what might show up next!