Choose A Home Inspector

I believe the choice of home inspector is one of the most important decisions in the home buying process. The most important choice is choosing the right Realtor. But hopefully after reading up on me and TEN Realty, the choice of the best Realtor is Southern Oregon is obvious and you have already decided to choose me.

The second most important decision is the choice of lender. I will leave that to another blog. But believe me, the 7 of 10 of the most difficult deals I have done have been due to an poor choice in lender. Now I can’t 100% tell someone which service providers to choose, but things always go smoother if my client allows me to refer them to the best service providers.

But what we are going to talk about it the Home Inspector.

I have a definite preference in my GO TO inspector.  And it is for a combination of reasons. First and foremost is that he is good at his job. I don’t want an inspector that overlooks things or misses things. It is the best insurance

A magnifying glass hovering over the words Inspection, centering on a house with the word Home inside it

policy you get when buying a house that on the date the inspection was done that the home was in a “known” condition. That is not to say it is in perfect condition, but that the issues are known and their risks and costs associated with them have been assessed.  My GO TO inspector quotes something I said to him years ago still. It was “if you don’t occasionally kill a deal for me, you aren’t doing your job”.  And I believe this, because some houses are just more work and need more money to fix that the buyer may have or be willing to live with.

But the next most important thing an inspector can have is being able to see the big issues from the minor issues. And to be able to communicate this to their clients. There are certainly some large issues that can go wrong on houses, but it is also the inspector’s job to find smaller items that are issues. Some inspectors make every little think look like it is a big deal  A house that was built 10 or 20 or 90 years ago will not have things as perfect as it should have as a brand new house (although brand new homes have issues all the time too). And if an inspector makes big deals over little items, it is counter productive.

There is one inspector that is in the area that has a reputation as a deal killer. I call this the WORRIER inspector Not because of major issues, but because he makes minor issues seem like big deals.  And to the inexperienced home buyer, they get scared and worried. I’ll tell you one thing as a home owner. Things break, things go wrong, and you too will defer some maintenance. We don’t all crawl under our houses and inspect that the insulation is still in good order. Or we don’t all consistently keep that beautiful climbing vine off of the side of our houses.  But if the attitude of the inspector is that all of this MUST be fixed, and that the seller REALLY should do it, that can turn a perfectly good house into one that isn’t purchased because of minor issues.

House_1Some inspectors also OVER inspect. When buying, it isn’t necessary to know every scuff of paint or snag in the carpet. Generally you want to know if the foundation is good. The roof is good. The plumbing isn’t leaking. There is no significant dry rot. ETC….  Unless you do want to have the perfect house with zero imperfections. And you are going to take the OVER inspection as a to-do list. Because generally the seller will not agree to a 100 point fix it list. But if you want that guy…I know who it is.

Then some inspectors have no people skills at all. They come in, check the boxes, do the job, fill out a report, print it and move on to the next one. I actually prefer this inspector to the OVER inspector or the WORRIER inspector. Because they do a good job. The reports point out the flaws of the house. This isn’t my GO TO inspector, but it certainly is my OKAY inspector. I’ve got a few of these.

I have also run across a report or two. An inspector or two who just seems incompetent. They may find the issues but their reports are so basic or poorly written it is hard to tell. They don’t take pictures or don’t take enough pictures to demonstrate the issues that they have found. If I am representing a seller in a deal…there are a couple of names of inspectors that I love to hear are doing the inspections. Because they are the INCOMPETENT ones. And if there is something that the seller doesn’t know about, the inspector doesn’t find…then all is good. You will not find the INCOMPETENT ones on the preferred providers section on my website.


So in order of my preferred personality inspectors when representing a buyer.

1. GO TO inspector (obviously)

2. OKAY inspector

3. OVER inspector

4. WORRIER inspector

5. INCOMPETENT inspector.


My order of preferred personality inspectors when representing a seller:

1. INCOMPETENT inspector

2. OKAY inspector

3. GO TO inspector

4. OVER inspector

5. WORRIER inspector



Power of the Designation or “Stay Out Of Danger”

I was having

a discussion with my wife this morning. It had to do with a report that was released about what the future of Real Estate might look like, and what “Dangers” there are lurking. 

Oooooohhhhh….Danger. danger

The number one “Danger” was Masses of Marginal Agents Destroy Reputation. 

It goes on to say: “The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry” and “There are too many real estate agents that are simply not qualified to the level they should be.”

So that begs the question of how does the public know the difference between a part-time or unqualified agent, and one that has spent the time to gain expertise and education to properly assist in the large and personal transaction that is real estate?

One measure is the DESIGNATION. Now these are those silly letters that some agents put behind their names. It can turn into a bit of an alphabet soup. GRI, CRS, ABR, SRES, GREEN, SRS, CCIM, e-pro, RSPS, EIEIO, ETC, ET AL. 

But here is the catch! 

They actually mean something, and in my opinion some of them mean more than others. 

crs logoTake CRS for example

. That is the Council of Residential Specialist. These are agents who have taken a lot more education than the average real estate licensee, and have done a substantial volume of business. It is the highest credential awarded to residential agents and brokers. 

Only 3% of all licensees hold the CRS designation as a Residential Specialist. There are 1 million plus Realtors in the country, yet only 30,000 are CRS members. 

Think of it this way. If you were to go to the doctor with heart issues. Would you want to go to a general practitioner? Or would you rather go to a specialist. 

The other designation that I believe sets one real estate licensee apart from another is GRI. 

That is a Graduate of the Realtor Institute. 

These agents have completed over 60 hours of additional training above the license requirements in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards and the sales process. 

When I look for an agent in another market to refer my clients, family or friends too. I first look for a CRS agent, and give them bonus points if they also hold the GRI designation. Does this guarantee that they are not a DANGER agent? No.  But is there a much greater chance that they are not part of the part-time, untrained, unethical or incompetent agents that are the DANGER agents. 

And yes…I have completed the training for both the CRS and the GRI credentials. Along with a lot of other training. GRI Logo

In addition, I am part of an elite group of trainers that is rewriting the course content for the GRI program in the state of Oregon to make it current and relevant. 

Now if I could just figure out how to educate the public that there actually is meaning to the Alphabet Soup that accompanies some agents names. I guess if you read all the way to the end of this blog post…I did my part. 

Rentals in Southern Oregon

This is an update from a previous post. Since there have been some new companies come into town, and some others leave. Unfortunately there still is not a good central location to find rentals, and it comes down to legwork.

Although I am fond of Padmapper. It is a good starting place.

I frequently get calls from people looking to rent in the Ashland or Medford area. I don’t personally do any property management, and we don’t do any property management out of my office. Property management is a specialized field that few people do well. I have a feeling dealing with bad tenants begins to negatively wear on property managers, and over time it becomes a drag…but that is just my theory.

But, if you are looking to rent, here are some resources in the area.

Best bet is probably Craig’s List. Or the local papers the Mail Tribune or theAshland Daily Tidings.

Property Management Companies are:

There are some other smaller companies, but I think if you are looking to rent, that I would scour through these places first.

And as always, the best way to get a super deal is to know someone. When first moving to the area, you may need to work through one of the property management companies…but always keep your ears open for a special deal that may be available.

Happy rental hunting…and remember, when you are looking to buy real estate in Ashland Oregon, or Medford Oregon Real estate, don’t forget the Agent In A Kilt.

Announcing-First 6 Charities of the Month

Our initial Charities have been announced. 


Charity of the Month


October: Jackson County Fuel Committee.

Their mission is to help the needy in Jackson County by providing wood for heat in the winter, and advocating for reasonable utility costs in the area. One should not have to choose between food and heat.

November: Maslow Project

Maslow Project’s mission is to offer every homeless child and youth the probability of success and the opportunity for a better life. We do this by providing resources for basic needs, removing barriers to education and employment, and fostering self-sufficiency in a collaborative and empowering environment.

December: Ashland Independent Film Festival

One of the many cultural resources in the area.

Celebrating the diversity of human experience through the art of independent film—enriching, educating and inspiring audiences of all ages.


January: Ashland Schools Foundation

Ashland Schools Foundation is focused on keeping educators in the classroom, so our students can achieve their utmost potential.  Most of these funds will be used to keep teachers, educational assistants and specialists in the schools and in the lives of our students.

February: Southern Oregon Humane Society provides quality care for dogs and cats while working to make a difference in the pet overpopulation problem. Annually, SoHumane serves 1,400 companion animals on average. In 2012, we successfully adopted out 1,338 animals, spayed or neutered 600 animals, and saved 700 animals from euthanasia at other shelters through the “Saving Train” program.  Saving Train: SoHumane rescues animals from shelters where they have already been marked for death. These are healthy, adoptable animals who have been overlooked and have run out of time at overcrowded public  facilities.

March: Ashland Emergency Food Bank

Provides emergency food supplies, without charge, to individuals and families in the Ashland/Talent area who would otherwise go hungry and will also endeavor to increase awareness about the problem of hunger in our communities.

Ashland Emergency Food Bank relies solely on donations of food and money from local individuals, faith groups, businesses, and service organizations as well as grants from private foundations.

New Company

Excited to announce that I have started my own real estate company. TEN Realty Group, powered by eXp Realty. Now I am working on going through the vast internet and finding all areas that have me at Coldwell Banker, and getting them switched over. 10 years worth of internet branding is hard to locate, but I am doing my best.

If you happen to see my profile or picture of me holding the Coldwell Banker sign, please let me know.


Transfer Into Ashland School District

We had a conversation the other day with the principal of the Ashland High School. And the main topic was what to do if we had a client looking for a house and was unable to find the suitable property in the Ashland School district…yet the client still wanted their children to attend Ashland Schools.

There are 2 ways to attend Ashland schools if you live outside of the school district.

The first way is the Inter-district transfer. The school district one would be leaving would have to approve letting the student leave in addition to the Ashland school agreeing to let the student in. This approval has to be approved every year. The main reason the schools would allow this is if there was a program or course that was not offered in the school one was leaving, but was offered in the Ashland school. One example would be orchestra. I don’t believe it is offered in the Talent-Phoenix district, but is offered in Ashland.

The other way is Open Enrollment. The school district that you are leaving has no say in letting the student leave under this way. And, under open enrollment system once the student is accepted in the Ashland school district, the student is in it until they graduate. It does not need to be applied for every year. Enrollment for the coming year opens on March 1st, and I think she said closes on April 1st. There are a number of spots available in most grades. However, if they do not get enough applicants, then they will have to reduce the number of spots.

As it was explained, and this primarily affects the middle school open enrollment process, is that if enough people want to transfer in, then they can hire additional staff. But if not enough interest is shown, then the added students would increase class size and the school doesn’t want that.

But it sounded like the elementary schools and high schools would almost certainly take all applicants from Open Enrollment.

More information can be found on the school districts website.

Britt Schedule is Out

The 2013 Britt Festival schedule has been released. I look forward every year for the release, and must admit that many years I am completely disappointed.

Then a few years ago, the Britt Festival got a new executive director Jim Fredericks, and I must say the tone of the entire establishment seemed to change. There were many improvements made on the hill, and the artists that came to play represented a wider cross section of musical taste. He brought in Primus, Crystal Method, The Decemberists, the Avett Brothers, Sarah Barellis…to go along with the geriatric standbys that the Britt had come to rely on. Artists that released their last album 30 years ago, and have been touring the has-been circuit ever since.

Now I know, I’m being a little harsh on artists like The Doobie Brothers, Cyndi Lauper, REO Speedwagon, etc….

And I’m sure people love that Michael Franti is here every year, Chris Isaak is here almost every year, Brandi Carlile has been come a regular fixture.

But I loved the last executive director’s mixture of old, new, and regulars. It gave everyone a chance to see a concert that excited them. So of course, for doing such an exemplary  job, someone came and stole Jim away.

So I awaited with baited breath for this years schedule to see if his absence would be felt.

And let me say……I Miss You Jim!


Eagle Point Inventory

I know I usually don’t report on Eagle Point homes for sale. But I am looking at property out there for a client of mine, and finding some interesting statistics. There are currently 4 houses for sale in Eagle Point for less than $200,000. There are 16 pending sales, and so far this year an average of 10 sales are happening a month. So if you have a house in that price range that isn’t selling…there must be something really wrong with it. And if you are looking to buy a house in that price range, better jump quick and be prepared for being in a multiple offer situation.

Inventory Is Low

Well, if you were looking to time the bottom of the market to buy a home, I think we found it about 6 months ago. All indications point to increasing prices. The most drastic one is the lack of inventory right now. There is a 3.5 month supply of houses to buyers right now.


2200 Houses for Sale 2010
1600 Houses for Sale 2011
1200 Houses for Sale 2012
What this means is if you are looking for a house right now, there is not a lot to choose from, but prices are still down considerably from 5 years ago.

And if you are looking to sell, now might be a good time to put your house on the market while competition is low.

From my old homepage

This website is set up to help you expolore the communities in Jackson County, including Ashland, Medford, Talent, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Central Point, Eagle Point, Rouge River, and Shady Cove. You are offered direct access to the latest properties for sale in Southern Oregon. If you go the the community links, you will find extensive community information, and answers to commonly asked real estate questions. Other links on this site allow you to explore school information, get free reports.

Always choose a CRS agent. A Broker who has their Council of Residential Specialist designation has attend the highest education classes available to Realtors. Not only do I hold my CRS designation, I am VP of the state CRS chapter and do my best to bring education classes in for all of the agents in my area to be more professional, and better able to help their clients.

So whether you are a first time buyer, or an experienced investor, I am sure you will find useful information about how to choose the right property, negotiate financing, find mortgage rates, making an offer, moving, and other information that will help you make an informed real estate decision in today’s market. The best method though still, even after one does all of their research is to choose the right agent to help you navigate the specifics of property in Ashland Oregon.

And don’t forget, your biggest resource. You can email or call me with your questions. I am passionate about answering questions and helping people.

If you want property around Ashland, but are worried about freeway noise, I have recommendations. The homes in Talent on Wagner Creek Road, or Phoenix Oregon homes on streets like Coleman Creek Road. Homes in Southwest Medford are also very close to Ashland, but away from freeway noises. If you don’t mind a little snow, I am a big fan of the Greensprings and Dead Indian Memorial areas East of Ashland.

If you currently own property in or around Ashland Oregon, and are thinking of placing it on the market, check out my latest statistics and find out why pricing your home appropriately is more important now then ever. Marketing your home in today’s market is an internet based experience, and you need an agent who is not only familiar with todays technologies, but one that teaches the other Realtors in the state how to effectively use them to market their listings.

The single most important thing you can do to assist in buying a house is to have a good credit score, to know your credit score and know how to improve your credit score. In times of a depression such as has been experienced in 2008-2010, credit scores have been sliding for a large percentage of Americans. Which makes the power of a good credit score all that much more important. Search online for your free credit report. The government passed a regulation that requires the 3 major credit agencies, (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) to share with you for free your credit report once a year. There are also companies that monitor your credit report for a fee. Unless you are fooling around with credit issues, it is probably a waste of money, but can help to educate you as to what helps or hurts your credit rating.

Feel free to contact me for ideas for increasing your credit score.