Category Archives: Industry news

Now with RE/MAX Equity Group!

Visit my RE/MAX Equity home page at SteveStrode.Realtor

 Early Summer Greetings       

I hope you are well, and enjoying all that life has to offer. What I love most about my career are the people I meet along the way – from the most diverse backgrounds and with diverse tastes and needs. And I’m so happy to count you among this group. Every transaction is unique, with its own set of surprises and challenges!

I really care about what I do, and want to give my clients every advantage possible. To that end, I’m proud to announce that I’ve moved to RE/MAX Equity Group.

A little about the RE/MAX brand and Equity Group:

  • RE/MAX is the most productive real estate network.
  • RE/MAX agents make up less than 2 percent of real estate agents, but account for nearly 10 percent of all agents’ sales.
  • RE/MAX is in more countries than any other real estate brand(I can refer you, family, and friends globally).
  • RE/MAX dominates national real estate TV advertising.
  • RE/MAX Equity Group Foundation has invested over $1,067,235 back into the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area.

As many of you know, I believe our industry plays a key role in promoting and protecting home ownership for everyone. We’re in this together. Your business or referrals enable me to volunteer at the local, state, and National Association of Realtors. For that, I am so thankful.

 

Hey, How is the Market?

THE HOME FRONT “Hey, how is the market?”

By Steve Strode,  originally published in PQ Monthly, November, 2013

It’s the question always asked at a cocktail party, when one learns there’s a realtor in their midst. People are used to hearing daily news on the macro-level—national foreclosure rates, price appreciation, inventory shortages. But what they really want to know is: How are things in their neighborhood? So now my standard response is, “Where do you live?” While that’s sometimes interpreted as a pick up line, it’s a completely necessary question.

Nothing is more local than real estate. Chiefly, it’s how we build community—one block at a time. Coming out of the recession, the majority of foreclosures were confined to a handful of states. But we still felt collectively paralyzed—that it was doom and gloom everywhere. And then we noticed. Places like Portland were starting to do okay; then later, doing well.

As I’m writing this article, I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in San Francisco, about to attend a Symposium on Sustainable Development. The program reads, “Sustainable development begins from the ground up. The first step is to change the way we think.” And I smile, knowing that what we live and breathe in Portland is not quirky or weird. It’s the future, but we’ve been experiencing it for years.

The National Association of Realtors just published survey results entitled, “Neighborhood Preferences are Changing,” which provides further support that Portland is getting it right—in the big picture. Sixty percent of respondents want a mix of housing, shops and services that are walkable. The majority responded they would give up a larger yard or would buy a smaller home if they could have a shorter commute. Seventy-eight percent said the neighborhood is more important than the house size. Having access to different types of transportation modes also rank very highly.

And what we’re seeing are buyers and renters willing to walk the talk. In major cities everywhere, Millennials are leading the charge. They are trading the car-dependent suburban culture they grew up in, exchanging them for an urban lifestyle, choosing micro-apartments of 400 square feet or less. The apartment is a place to sleep; the neighborhood and its amenities have become the living room.

These trends are playing out daily with buyers and colleagues I know. Professionally-marketed homes in close-in Portland are getting offers soon after hitting the market—often multiple ones. We’re seeing hot building trends in Portland, too. For example, every vacant lot along Southeast Division appears to be an apartment construction zone. A few builders are selling their formulaic “McInfill” homes on every available lot (I’m trying to coin that term as an urban version of “McMansion”—you read it here first). We all have friends desperately seeking an apartment, or know first-time buyers competing for homes.

All is not perfect. Re-development and new urban development is often viewed as a zero-sum game. The LGBT community is often associated with gentrification. We’ve moved into areas that have been maligned by the majority, renovated homes, and created vibrant neighborhoods. But these same neighborhoods have also been home to other groups for generations—and they often reach a tipping point where it becomes too costly for long-term residents to remain.

In the nationwide public radio show “State of the Re:Union,” host Al Letson featured Portland, discussed the North Williams corridor and interviewed African-American residents who have experienced the changes. In an only-in-Portland fashion, it was the bike lane proposals that helped bring racial issues to the surface, but also brought an opportunity for dialogue. Imagine being a multi-generational black resident, getting frequent calls to sell your house. You see this as your family’s neighborhood—and while the white callers meant no harm, they are not realizing that same call has been received dozens of times previously. (Disclaimer: as a realtor I am not suggesting “black” and “white” neighborhoods, but sharing an anecdote from Letson’s program.) As affordability has waned, we see various population shifts. And unfortunately, the same things that people like best about living close-in are not yet prevalent in neighborhoods on the periphery. Children have lost their sidewalks. Commute times are longer.

Local community is built through local involvement, and as someone on that radio show quipped, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you don’t get fed.” Engagement has to be at the neighborhood level. If surveys indicate that we want walkable neighborhoods, this cannot be tied to income. On the whole, we’re getting it right in Portland and we’re well-poised for the future. But to create a sustainable model for all, we have to create that same sense of “local” in all Portland neighborhoods.

Steve Strode is a realtor in the Portland metro area, and co-founder of rEqual – an LGBT housing and advocacy organization. Steve is also President of Portland Frontrunners. He can be reached at steve@sagepacificliving.com.

It Takes a Village

THE HOME FRONT The Home Front: It takes a village

Originally published in PQ Monthly, August, 2013.

Maybe it’s because the campaign for “Hillary 2016” already seems to be full swing that the title of her 1996 book came to mind. But it does tie in nicely to the theme for this month’s article. Over the course of the our queer civil rights movement, our tent has continued to enlarge (and get more fabulous); in my lifetime I’ve seen the evolution from “Gay & Lesbian,” to LGB, to LGBT to LGBTQ — and the initialism continues to grow.

On the home front, our needs and wants continue to evolve, too. No longer marginalized to specific neighborhoods, our housing choices tend to mirror the public at-large. Some of us want to walk/bike/bus to work, some want that extra space and privacy in the suburbs, while others seek a little place in the country — “Brokeback Mountain”-style. And more commonly, our households have become more multi-generational; we’re having or adopting children, or moving in parents during their final years. And in higher cost-of-living places like Portland, countless of us have housemates to share expenses.

Portland is city of in-migration. How often do we find ourselves simply asking, “Where are you from originally?” It’s almost presumptive that that person came from elsewhere. “I’m a Portlandia interloper, so you must be too!” Many of us have biological families far outside of Portland, which we visit as often as we can. But on a day-to-day basis, it’s our chosen family that we see, rely on, and love as our own. We form these chosen families through joining groups or getting involved in community organizations. In my case, one of those is Portland Frontrunners. Most of the group has moved to Portland from elsewhere, so newbies are warmly welcomed. The same can be said for groups like the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, the Amazon Dragons, OutKayaking, our synagogue, and so on.

We also embrace the concept of intentional living. Intentional living is the desire to live in a manner that is consistent with our core beliefs and values. Whether it be an ecological consciousness, concern for fair trade, or social equality, Oregonians see the global big picture in how we live locally. Basically, we want to walk the talk.

In the world of real estate, nowhere are the ideas of “chosen family” and “intentional living” better manifested than in cohousing. Cohousing is not a hippie commune. With cohousing, people buy and sell their homes just as any other condominium. But there are inherent features that set it apart from most condos; for many this is exactly what they are looking for in their community. Recently, my running buddy turned client, Bill Cunnighame, bought a unit at Daybreak Cohousing. He offered to share his reason for buying and his experience thus far.

Steve: Why compelled you to buy?

Bill: I knew I wanted to downsize so I went to an open house. It was conducted by both the homeowner community and the realtors. The room was packed with interested parties.

Steve: What caught your attention about cohousing vs. a regular condo?

Bill: The intentional way of living in the community. You have to buy in to the concept. You’re not just sharing common walls — but share maintenance, landscaping, garden spaces, group dinners. Everyone knows the children.

Steve: What do you like most about the community?

Bill: The pleasant surprises — it’s truly multi-generational. I work from home during the day and I crank open my windows just to hear the kids playing. In some ways it’s an extension of my First Unitarian Church community — inclusiveness, concern for sustainable environments, or shared spaces like the woodworking room, which minimize excessive possessions.

Steve: What appeal do you see for the LGBTQ community?

Bill: It’s very diverse — straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual. A single lesbian just had a baby and the community offered to chip in with babysitting. I wanted it to be a mixed environment with all ages and types of people, with lots to learn from each other.

Steve: Any advice or things you would’ve done differently?

Bill: Just be very thorough. Attend group dinners before buying; ask tons of questions. Meet everyone.

As Bill summed up, cohousing is not for everyone. You interact much more with neighbors than a conventional condominium, and there is an expectation that everyone is engaged in operations to the best of their ability. But it fills an important niche for the homebuying segment who seeks something just a little bit different and a little bit more. How Portland indeed!

Steve Strode is Portland-area realtor with Meadows Group Inc., Realtors. He is also co-founder of a newly forming non-profit organization called rEqual, a nationwide LGBT real estate coalition.

Rally to Protect the American Dream


I was proud to be part of the Rally in Washington, DC, this past month. Pictured above is my Principal Broker, Eva Sanders, and me during the rally.

Below is the Press Release for the event:

At the Rally to Protect the American Dream, Realtors® from every state in the country joined invited members of Congress to demonstrate their commitment to preserving access to homeownership and robust real estate investment.

“Realtors® know that homeownership is an investment in our collective futures, and we’re here today to protect the American Dream of homeownership,” said National Association of Realtors® President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “Homeownership and investment in real estate impacts families, communities, small businesses and the nation’s economy in a very meaningful way. Today, we’re proud to be showing the country that homeownership matters.”

In the current economic and political climate, Realtors® are working to ensure that people who want to own a home or invest in real estate and can responsibly afford to do so will continue to have the opportunity to do that. Toward that end, Realtors® are advocating better access to affordable financing, reform of the secondary mortgage market, improved liquidity in residential and commercial lending, and preservation of the tax benefits associated with homeownership.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) addressed the crowd of Realtors® at the event.

“I commend the National Association of Realtors® for keeping the issue of homeownership at the forefront when we talk about our economic recovery,” said Rep. Hoyer. “Stabilizing the housing market remains a central issue for Democrats, who understand we will not have robust economic growth without a vibrant housing market and that access to homeownership remains a critical component of the American Dream.”

Sen. Isakson said, “Homeownership always has been, and remains to this day, a part of the American dream. It is the biggest and most important investment that the average American family makes, and that’s why we should remain focused on the value of the housing market and the important role it plays in our country. It is my hope that this rally encourages Congress and the president to move forward with policies that are supportive of housing, which is vital to job creation and the recovery of our economy.”

The rally was part of NAR’s week-long Midyear Legislative Meetings, during which Realtors® and guests meet with members of Congress, federal regulators and industry experts to address pressing real estate issues and public policies in support of private property rights, homeownership and housing issues.

Photos and videos from the rally are available at www.realtorrally.org.

Press Release

<<<For Immediate Release>>>

Portland, Oregon. March 28, 2011.

Steve Strode was installed to FIABCI-USA’s Board of Directors, during the organization’s Spring Business Meetings in Alexandria, Virginia. Founded in 1948, FIABCI (the International Real Estate Federation), is based in Paris and is comprised of chapters in over 60 countries worldwide.  FIABCI-USA is the only international real estate organization representing the entire spectrum of the real estate industry in the United States.  FIABCI also maintains an NGO (non-governmental) Consultative Status within the United Nations.  Steve is currently a broker with Meadows Group Inc., Realtors®, in Portland. He is also the current Advisory Board Chair of the International Business Council at the Oregon Association of Realtors®.

For more information, please visit www.fiabci-usa.com, or contact steve@sagepacificliving.com, phone 503-490-4116

 

New Carbon Monoxide Alarm Rules


Effective April 1, 2011
, sellers are required to have one or more properly functioning carbon monoxide alarms installed prior to conveying title or transferring possession of a dwelling.  This applies to sellers of one and two family dwellings, multifamily housing and manufactured  dwellings containing a carbon monoxide source. The alarms must be located on each level of the home with a sleeping area and in each bedroom or within 15 feet outside each sleeping area.

Click here for a link to a FAQ page published by the State of Oregon

Pent Up Demand?

  • In 2010, there were more than 70 million young adults aged 18 to 34 living in the US.  The share of adults under age 35 living at home, especially among those aged 25 to 34, is at the highest level since 1981.  More than 30 percent of those 18 to 34 lived with parents[1]; the historical average is under 28 percent.  The share was 13.4 percent among those aged 25 to 34.  The historical average for this group is only 11.5 percent.
  • At the same time, a little more than 25 million households were headed by those under age 35.  This group has a homeownership rate of just under 40 percent.  Breaking it down further, households headed by those aged 25 to 34 have a homeownership rate of 45.2 percent compared to 23.3 percent for those under 25.
  • The ratio between the number of households headed by 24 to 35 year-olds and the number of 24 to 35-year olds living at home in 2010 (46.9 percent) was the lowest since 1981.  For the ratio to return to the historical average (48.3 percent) assuming no population growth, nearly 600,000 households would be formed.  With a home ownership rate of more than 45 percent among this group, these households translate into 270,000 owner households.  It’s worth noting that the current home ownership rate among this group is slightly below the historic average.
  • Data from the 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers show that first-time buyers were more likely to have lived with parents, relatives, or friends than in the past.  Twenty-one percent reported that living arrangement in 2010 compared to a historic average of 18 percent.

[1] Note:  In CPS data, unmarried college students living in dormitories are counted as living in their parent(s) home.

Reprint from NAR Research, January 18, 2011.