Oregon Autumn 2018

Table of Contents
Sniper in the bushes
Beware of the Enemy Agent!

Open houses are fearsome, yet irresistible things.

On the one hand, they are an opportunity to see houses without the hassle of making appointments or calling a buyer’s agent.

On the other hand, they expose you to….The enemy agent. The one who can, just by being in the room, force you to reveal information that could jeopardize either your future negotiating stance or make it appear as if you Need an agent, which will then trigger all manner of phone calls from rabid Realtors looking for business.

So, it’s best if you can slip into the house unnoticed, maybe behind another couple who is engaging the agent in a conversation. Stay low and out of sight if you can. If there’s no way to avoid being seen, look extremely casual and nonchalant. Slouch.

If the enemy agent talks to you and you must respond, say as little as possible and whatever you say, say it disinterestedly, off-handedly. Never admit that you are really house-shopping – say that you were “in the neighborhood”.

If she forces you to sign in, make up a fictitious name or write your real name so illegibly that she’ll never know who you are.

Very important: Keep control of yourself no matter what you see – Sistine Chapel archways, clawfoot tubs, marble counters, a dedicated RV garage – do not let her see you gasp in delight. Shore up those weak knees!

In fact, if the house is Perfect for you, make sure and find anything that could be considered an imperfection and Play It Up. “Is that a seam I see in the drywall? No really, look! It’s Right There. This whole room is going to have to be re-rocked and painted!” *snort* “That’ll be expensive!”

You should use the opportunity to do your own inspection: flush all the toilets – all of them, look in the tank (not sure what you’re looking for? Just something unusual). Turn lights on and off, over and over – make sure they work. Run the disposal. Jump up and down—see if the floor moves at all. Look under throw rugs (you never know what they’re hiding under there). If the agent’s not looking, put your headlamp on and pop down to the crawlspace for a look-see.


Covert or not, the more cagey and sneaky you are, the more likely the agent will call the cops or — better yet — drop you with her stun gun.

Best practice on an open house is to enter (no need to knock), introduce yourself to the agent and sign her book honestly but ask not to be contacted. If you are on the do-not-call registry, tell her so. She will honor it. In the current climate, many agents are attempting a modicum of security for their sellers and at some point, attendance at open houses will likely require a driver’s license number.

Remove your shoes if asked but carry them with you if you think you will be venturing out to the backyard.

Please don’t attempt an amateur inspection! I do not want to call 911 because my open house guest got stuck in the crawlspace! Be assured that if you offer on a house, you will make your offer subject to a Professional Inspection—at least, you Should! So, you will know whether that foundation crack is a deal-breaker, or normal settling. You will know whether a water problem is a simple plumbing leak or the harbinger of Actual Doom.

Covert or not, if you bring children to an open, please—I beg you — do not let them run around the house, leave their fingerprints on the sliding door, or their gum in the carpet. It’s also best if they don’t handle the seller’s thousand-dollar telescope.

Lastly, I would agree with the Covert Advisor that it’s best not to actually swoon at an open house or use the word LOVE. If the agent hosting the open house is the seller’s agent (sometimes she is, sometimes she’s a buyer specialist), then it’s a fair bet it will compromise you in negotiations.

continued below...

Refer-a-Friend Rewards Program

Picture of Lisa Baker
Lisa Baker

Principal Broker | REALTOR
RE/MAX Equity Group

It’s time for something nice to arrive in your mailbox. Starbucks coffee, Subway sandwiches or dinner at Red Robin. Yes! It could happen to YOU!

Just refer your friends to me and I’ll not only take great care of them as they shop for a house or market their houses with me, but I will send You a gift card for something delicious, too!

Is that a great deal or what?!

The Care and Feeding of Your Disposal

It’s your faithful friend – the eliminator of all manner of things that otherwise would stink up your garbage can. You feed it regularly all the things you don’t care to eat. When you’ve left veggies in the crisper just long enough for them to turn to weepy slime, yes, this is where you dump it: the disposal.

So when it clogs, freezes, tosses your slimy package back at you, it’s disturbing.

How do you prevent such a calamity?

It appears that depending on whom you talk to, advice varies exceedingly on disposals, beginning on what to call them. Some say it is improper to call it a disposal, since that is a trademark name. Disposer, they say, is correct. I know that probably shocks you, so I’ll give you a minute to recover.


Let’s start with eggshells.

These are bad, right? Absolutely! You should Never put them down the disposal, according to Bob Vila. But Plumbing Supply and InSinkerator both say, sure, why not? Plumbing Supply wants you to know, however, that you should not put the actual carton in the disposal, so if you’re doing that, stop it.


You’ve been told that these are Good for the disposal – they freshen it and the acidic quality helps break down debris. Bob Vila says so. InSinkerator agrees. Bill Howe Plumbing says no, these peels will clog the system in time. So the answer is yes and also, no.


Some plumbers swear by bleach and hot water to cleanse a disposal. But home warranty companies say harsh chemicals like bleach in a disposal are a no-no.

So what do the experts agree on?

You might be surprised, but most experts agree that rice and pasta should not go in the disposal. Ditto coffee grounds. You might already know that celery and other fibrous things should not. That includes carrots and pumpkin. And potato peels.

Also, feeding the disposal with bits at a time is better than cramming an entire Cornish game hen down at once; always use Cold water while grinding, and do not put any Large animal bones in the disposal.

And most agree that ice cubes are Good for sharpening disposal blades. Even better, vinegar frozen into ice cubes. Feeling that ambitious? No?

Helpfully, nearly Every expert warns you Not to put your hands in the disposal.

Yes, really. You’ll want to write that one down.

It’s the Climate, Stupid

And we’re not talking global warming. We’re talking market climate.

And it’s changing.

The latest interest rate increase, combined with still-high housing prices, has caused many buyers to be washed out of the market completely.

Those who remain are not in a good mood.

Ditto sellers who saw their neighbors sell at sky-high prices just a few months ago.

The immediate effect has been price reductions, and long repair addendums demanding that sellers pay for updates and remodels rather than just repairs.

Fixer houses that would have drawn competent flippers are drawing buyers hoping they can not only take advantage of the under-market price but also be made move-in ready on the seller’s dime.

The take-away?

Sellers should take into account the declining buyer numbers in the market and the fact that their credit-power has decreased substantially and either price accordingly or improve the product so that it is unquestionably worth it.

It seems nonsensical in a time of still-low, picked-over inventory to have to still be lovely. It’s like this: You’re in the produce section and that last banana is black and greasy. Good news! It’s price-reduced! Do you buy it? Nah! You wait for a day when there are More Bananas!