Recession, Depression, Pandemic, Oh My!

As we slowly return to normal, and we can find toilet paper in the stores and restaurants with open doors, we do have to wonder if we’ll ever be the same. 

I look back on my life and how all the economic events shaped it and changed its course. I know our current pandemic, and resulting recession, will most likely have as much or more effect as past events in my life. I can only guess what the long lasting effects will be, but I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the past economic events shaping the course of my life and creating the road I took. 

The first economic event that changed the course of my life was the boom, then the subsequent bust in early 2000’s. I was living in the San Francisco bay area and had started a web development company that I named eBusiness Design. We helped pre-existing and new companies develop and implement their online strategies. There was an incredible boom and massive growth in the use and adoption of the internet and business was booming. Money flowed in from investors all over the world to fund start-ups. At the peak, the NASDAQ index rose 400%, only to come crashing down 78% from the peak by October 2002 creating the first recession that changed my life. Needless to say, most of my business with companies disappeared and the majority of companies in the high-tech field were economically devastated.  Knowing high-tech would not recover for a few years, I had to reinvent myself and my career. I have always vacationed in Southern Oregon and it was my favorite place to visit, so it made sense, if I was going to start over, I should do it in a place I loved. Because I love our area so much, I knew I would be good at selling Southern Oregon and that is exactly what I did. I moved to Southern Oregon, became a Realtor, and started selling Southern Oregon all because of a recession that had changed my life. 

The next economic event that changed my life was the real estate crash and recession of 2007. Whether you call it a recession or depression, millions of families lost their homes all because of excessive speculation in the housing market combined with poor oversight of the lending institutions. I went from selling over a hundred homes a year to just a few. Home prices declined so quickly that buyers were understandably scared off and homeowners gave their homes back to the lending banks as their home values became less than what they owed. My partner and I sat down and asked ourselves how are we going to survive this housing crash? We knew we couldn’t sell most of our client’s homes because they owed more than we could sell their house for. Our idea was, if we can’t sell our clients homes, we could rent them out, cover their mortgage cost until home prices increase and then sell them. We were worried that the depression and growing unemployment rate would cause the rental market to drop but the opposite happened. So many families lost their homes and entered the rental market that the demand outstripped the supply and rental prices went up. Fast forward to today and home values far surpassed 2007 values and are increasing by about 6% a year. Many of the home owners who chose to rent out their homes in 2007, are still renting them out through us
and enjoying a monthly income stream.  Some of our clients have purchased additional rental homes and have become true real estate investors. Now we sell real estate, have a property management company and a short term furnished rental company for travelers and house hunters. Again, my life was changed by economic events out of my control.

This brings us to the current pandemic and the recession it has caused.  How will this change our lives, what will be different moving forward? During the pandemic, millions of American workers were forced to work from home. In many cases the employees have been more productive and enjoy not commuting. We are already seeing more buyers from California looking to move here while continuing to work for their California based employers. It’s very likely we will see more employees working from home and having the choice to live where they want to live and not where their company is headquartered.  

Life has seemed to slow down, I have less desire to go out all the time and I have no desire to be in large crowds. Spending time at home with my family seems more inviting than it has been in the past. I don’t want to leave my little town of Jacksonville and I want to support all of our local merchants and not national restaurants and big box chain stores. Community now seems more important, and traveling less inviting. I’m happier to be where I am today and thankful for the past events that created the road that got me here! 

Buyers: Are You Ready for a Bidding War?

With businesses reopening throughout the country and some experts indicating early signs of a much-anticipated economic recovery, more homebuyers are actively entering the housing market this summer. Today, housing is truly driving the U.S. economy forward. With so many buyers looking for homes to purchase and so few houses for sale right now, there’s a disconnect between supply and demand. This imbalance is pushing home prices upward while driving more bidding wars and multiple-offer scenarios. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at explains:

People are surprised that prices are rising, not falling, because in the last recession home prices fell, the difference this time is the severe shortage of homes for sale…We are seeing bigger price increases with [a limited] number of homes…That is likely to lead to more competition and potentially multiple offers and bidding wars.

According to the recent Realtors Confidence Index (RCI) survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), this trend is growing:

On average, there were about three offers on a home that closed in May, up from just about two in April 2020 and in May 2019 (2.3 offers).

HousingWire also indicates:

“42% of homeowners who made a purchase during the January to May time period ended up in a bidding war, demonstrating the strong demand for homes amid low inventory.”

With more people returning to work we’ll continue to see the number of interested buyers increase. So, if you’re among the many people looking for a home to buy this summer, it’s important to ensure you have the right guidance from the start. This way, you make sure your offer stands out from the crowd when it really counts. Here are two tips to follow.

1. Hire a Trusted Local Expert

A trusted local real estate professional matters more than ever right now, as noted in a recent survey shared by NAR. In fact, according to respondents, 54% of buyers and 62% of sellers indicated that Particularly during the pandemic, a real estate agent’s guidance is especially valued.
We’re not in a normal market. We are in one of the greatest health crises our nation has ever seen. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the journey consumers must take to purchase a home. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need a true expert on your side. (Hello! That’s where we come in!)

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

When there are more buyers than sellers on the market, the process to find a home becomes much more challenging. One way to show you’re serious about buying a home is to work with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. With a pre-approval letter, sellers will see your true desire to buy this year, potentially helping your offer rise to the top.

Bottom Line

If this is the year you’re ready to buy, let’s connect to get the process started so you can make sure your offer is a strong one when the competition heats up.

Need an Expert to help you navigate this crazy market? Let us know.

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Home Prices Rise During Pandemic… Will it Continue?

The economy is shrinking, businesses are closing and jobs are disappearing due to the coronavirus pandemic. But in the housing market, prices keep climbing higher.

Home prices plunged during the last recession after the 2007 housing crash caused millions of families to lose their homes, but that hasn’t been the case this time. The median home price nationwide rose 8% year-over-year to $280,600 in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. In the same period, in Jackson County, the median home price rose 11.5% to $310,000. While buyer demand has softened during the pandemic, the number of homes sold has fallen by over 30% in Jackson County; but the supply of homes on the market is contracting even faster. Demand is outstripping supply, causing prices to rise. Homes priced under $350,000 are often seeing multiple offers and selling in a few days. Higher-end homes, over $600,000, are still waiting for more out-of-state buyers to arrive. Here in Jacksonville, it’s another story. Even though active listings are down by 27%, we have seen the number of homes sold increase by 84% year-to-date.

For the first time in my career, I’m seeing out-of-state buyers purchasing homes without seeing the home in person. They are making offers on homes after viewing the listing online and viewing a walk-through video. In one case, a retiring couple had their brother, who lives in Jacksonville, walk through a home and make a final decision for them. Many others are calling to inquire on homes but waiting for stay-at-home orders to ease before deciding whether to make the trip to buy. Once the states lift their stay-at-home orders, we will see how home sales are affected. It’s hard to say what the world will look like post-pandemic, but it will change many people’s’ behavior.

On one hand, the cancellation of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Britt Festival will mean the loss of thousands of monthly tourists who often decide at the end of their vacation to move to our area. But, on the other hand, thousands of families and retirees will most likely decide to move out of crowed metropolitan areas in favor of smaller, safer communities like ours. Southern Oregon lacks job opportunities, but many employers may be more open to their employees working from home after favorable experiences during the pandemic.

Bottom line: the housing market has been under-supplied for years and during the pandemic it has gotten worse. We are currently facing lots of demand for housing which will increase as the pandemic subsides. Unless we see a drastic increase in the number of homes that come on the market for sale, we will certainly see home prices continue to rise throughout 2020.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let us know:

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Help is On the Way!

We hope you are all faring well and that you are healthy and still have a job. We know some of you will be hit hard financially, but there is help on the way. Whether you have lost your job, your hours were cut, or you have become sick, there is help for the self-employed, 1099 workers and W2 workers. We have done some extensive digging to find resources that extend relief to those affected. Here are our findings:

Cash to you
-Every adult making less than $75,000 will receive a $1,200 check.
-Every child under the age of 17 will get a check for $500
-If you file electronically you should be receiving your check before mid-April. If you don’t file electronically, it will be mailed and will take longer.

Tax Relief
Both your Federal and State 2019 income tax is not due until July 15th 2020, so if you owe, you don’t have to pay now.

Student Loans
You can suspend payments on your student loans until September 30th. Interest shall not accrue and there are no negative credit ramifications

Unemployment benefits have expanded
-Unemployment has been increased by an additional $600 a week. See what you qualify for.
-Unemployment has now been expanded to include Self- employed and Independent contractors or those workers receiving a 1099 instead of a W2.
-Unemployment has been expanded to include those who are still working, but have reduced hours
-Unemployment has been expanded to 39 weeks (Almost 10 months)
To apply go to

Receive forbearance on your mortgage
Borrowers with mortgages on properties designed for 1-4 families can request 180 days forbearance from their mortgage servicer if they are unable to pay due to COVID-19. Mortgage servicers are required to grant the request upon attestation of the borrower’s hardship without additional documentation and with no fees, penalties, or interest beyond the amounts scheduled or calculated as if the borrower made all contractual payments on time and in full under the terms of the mortgage contract.

Section 8 voucher has been Expanded
The section 8 voucher rental assistance for Seniors, the disabled and low-income working families has been expanded
For more information, contact Jackson County Housing authority: 1-888-276-7890

Auto Loans & Credit Cards
Many Credit unions and banks are allowing borrowers to delay auto and credit card payments. Call your credit union or bank for individual details and qualifications.

Loans for Small Business Owners
-The SBA (Small Business Administration) has expanded their loans to those businesses making less money than before Covid-19 (see YouTube videos below to explain)
-Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
(This may be forgivable)
-Emergency Economic Injury Grant of $10,000
-May not have to pay back is a check box on the Business Debt relief application
-Small Business Debt Relief Program
-2 YouTube videos to explain the programs:
PPP: payroll protection
Loan $10,000 grant:

Retirement Accounts
If you have money saved in a retirement account such as a 401K or IRA, you can now take out that money for emergency. The 10% early withdrawal penalty is waived and you have 3 years to pay it back.

Meals and Rental assistance
Housing and rental assistance / food pantry network
Contact them at 541-779-6691 or

Companies hiring temporary employees

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for health care professionals working on the front lines of this crisis and all other essential workers like grocery store employees for keeping food stocked and risking your own health to provide for others.

If you have questions about how to access any of the programs mentioned here or want more information, reach out via the contact form below or give us a call at 541-899-7788.

All of us at Expert Properties

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let us know:

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Jacksonville Review

Due to COVID-19 and the number of event cancellations, restrictions on business operations, and other factors out of anyone’s control, the Publisher of the Jacksonville Review has decided NOT to run a print issue of the April Jacksonville Review. Here at Expert Properties, we are aware that many of our community members use the Jacksonville Review publication to stay up to date on real estate listings in Jacksonville and all of Southern Oregon. So in lieu of a printed copy, here is a digital copy just for you!

See something you like? Let us know:

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Getting Top Dollar for Your Home

Getting top dollar for your home is everyone’s goal. Sometimes the answer is simply staging your home and completing some minor repairs. There are some improvements that increase the value of a home and some just increase its salability. Most sellers are prepared to get their home staged to sell; but, in some cases, they can dramatically increase the value of their home by replacing or remodeling. Here is a look at how to get the top dollar for your home by staging, replacing or remodeling.


The key to create salability is to create a clean, decluttered, and depersonalized home. Curb appeal, or more importantly, web appeal, while viewing online is critical. When a buyer approaches the home or sees the first photo online, they should be visually attracted to the home. Groomed front gardens, fresh bark, fresh flowers, power washed siding, and a clean or newly painted front door all increase curb appeal. Once inside, the same theory applies – clean and decluttered surfaces, free of personal photos, is the key. You may need new carpet or fresh paint, but in all cases you know you’re going to move, so start packing and decluttering. When a buyer feels comfortable enough to sit down on your living room couch, they have begun the process of envisioning the home as theirs.
Replace or Remodel

Replace or Remodel

Going beyond staging can yield a higher home value, but jumping into a home remodeling project isn’t for the faint of heart, especially since you’ll want to make sure you can recoup a good part of your investment when it comes time to sell. To help you pinpoint the right projects, Remodeling Magazine has just released its annual Cost vs. Value report highlighting how much various projects cost, and their corresponding return on investment when you sell the home.

Review the chart below and you’ll notice a pattern. With the exception of the minor kitchen remodel, the items with the highest cost recouped all center around enhancing the curb appeal. First impressions are important. The replacements that offer the greatest payback to sellers are the ones that are most obvious to buyers when they first view the house in person or online. You may choose to do a major remodel or addition to provide you with a few years of enjoyment while still offering decent payback down the road, like a kitchen remodel; but, be careful, you may increase the salability of the home but you may not recoup your investment.

Another way of drastically increasing the value of your home is by adding square feet; but, unless you can do it cheaply, you’re not likely to get back your full cost. New construction cost per square foot is high, and in many cases, higher than the resell price per square foot.

If you do decide to remodel your home before selling, a few words of advice – make sure you complete all projects before putting your house on the market. There is nothing that turns buyers off faster than a house filled with the owner’s unfinished remodeling projects.

So whether you decide to Stage, Replace or Remodel, consult with your Realtor® on projects that will get you top dollar and allow you to recoup the greatest percentage of your investment. If you’re handy, doing the projects yourself can help in recouping the remodeling cost.

The number of homes for sale in Jackson County is down 25% from the same time last year. Demand for homes priced under $400,000 is very high, and supply is very low, so it’s a seller market. If you have been thinking of selling your home, now may be time!

Have questions about how to get top dollar for your home? Let us know.

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