Pattern Shows People Moving to Affordable Political Red and Purple Counties

The average home in a blue county costs around $360,000—more than 62 percent more than homes in red counties

Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(October 16, 2017)

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)– (NASDAQ: RDFN) — In the first half of 2017, 7.4 percent more people moved out of politically blue counties than to them, according to a new analysis from Redfin (www.redfin.com), the next-generation real estate brokerage. Red counties saw about 1 percent more people moving in than moving out. Purple counties, where there’s a more balanced share of Democrats and Republicans, saw 3.9 percent more migrants moving in than out.

The trend is even more pronounced in swing states, which saw blue counties lose 9.2 percent more people than they gained, while Republican counties gained 2.3 percent more than they lost.

Redfin analyzed Redfin.com user search data, comparing where prospective homebuyers currently live to where they are searching for a home to buy. Redfin’s user data covers more than 72 percent of the voting age population and is concentrated in urban metropolises, which gives the company a specific and recent look at where residents of blue counties are looking to move. Counties were classified as “blue” if the Democratic candidate for 2016 won by more than 20 percentage points and vice versa for “red” counties.

High housing costs in blue counties are driving this trend. Nationwide, the average home in a blue county costs around $360,000—more than 62 percent more than that of homes in red counties ($223,000).

“As blue counties are becoming increasingly less affordable, we see a great number of residents moving to red counties where they can afford the lifestyle they want,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “At Redfin, we see this as a sign of hope for a less divided country, where people with differing views gain better understanding and tolerance of each other through sheer proximity.”

However, politics can be a key factor for people in deciding where to move. A Redfin survey found that 41 percent of recent homebuyers reported hesitations about moving to a place where most people have political views different from their own. In contrast, fewer than one in 10 respondents was enthusiastic about moving to a different political climate, with the remaining half neutral.

While the evidence that people will continue to self-sort by political beliefs is strong, Redfin contends that the housing affordability crisis in the bluest counties is unprecedented. With no sign of a drastic drop in prices anytime soon, there’s an argument that many more people, regardless of politics, will move to where they can buy a comfortable home.

To read the report, complete with data, interactive visuals and methodology, visit https://www.redfin.com/blog/2017/10/migration-patterns-show-more-people-leaving-politically-blue-counties.html.

[Source: Redfin press release]

Contacts
Redfin Journalist Services:
Alina Ptaszynski, 206-588-6863
press@redfin.com

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Categories: Real Estate

September New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Down 7.5 Percent Year over Year

 Applications decreased by 20 percent when compared to August 2017

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(October 13, 2017)

canstockphoto17668349down arrowThe Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Applications Survey (BAS) data for September 2017 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased 7.5 percent when compared to September 2016. Additionally, applications decreased by 20 percent when compared to August 2017. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.

“Applications for new home purchases were down year over year in large part due the impacts of hurricane activity,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “In particular monthly applications fell by 37 percent in Florida and 11 percent in Texas, which account for a large share of the applications in the survey.”

Conventional loans composed 72.3 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 13.9 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.0 percent and VA loans composed 12.7 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $334,940 in August to $334,722 in September.

For additional information on MBA’s Builder Applications Survey, please click here.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

How to Become an Authorized Home Energy Assessor in Portland, Oregon

This entire process to get authorized is estimated to take a minimum of four weeks

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(October 4, 2017)

canstockphoto49733006 energy audit(PORTLAND-OR)  – Outlined below are the required steps to become an authorized home energy assessor with the City of Portland Home Energy Score program. This entire process is estimated to take a minimum of four weeks and $625 to complete. To complete the process, you must hold an Oregon CCB license for residential contractor, residential specialty contractor license, or residential restricted Home Energy Performance Score Contractor. Interested persons need to follow these steps to get authroized:

  1. Obtain and verify qualifying US Department of Energy (US DOE) credentials.
  2. Complete Home Energy Score Simulation training.
  3. Obtain and verify home energy assessor Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) certificate.
  4. Complete the home energy assessor participation agreement.
  5. Attend mandatory orientation.
  6. Successfully complete required mentoring session.
  7. Authorization.

Step 1: Complete at least one of the following US Department of Energy (US DOE) qualifying credentials listed on the ODOE – Home Energy Assessor Training Certification Form. After completing the training, email completed form to PDXHES@earthadvantage.org. Note: If you have yet to complete the US DOE Home Energy Score Simulation Training, disregard the “USDOE online simulation training” fields on the form. Estimated cost: varies by market rates. Estimated timeframe: varies by training provider.

STEP 2: US DOE will email you access to the Simulation Training. This is a self-paced training process where you will conduct virtual home walk-throughs designed to show a variety of situations you might encounter, in order to learn how to produce an accurate home energy score. Once complete, US DOE will email you to confirm you passed a series of test homes and a multiple choice exam training through Earth Advantage. Recommended for those without experience in on-line simulation training modules. Estimated cost: Free (unguided) or $100 (guided) Estimated timeframe: 12+ hours, usually over a few weeks (unguided) or 12-16 hours over 1.5 to 2 days (guided)

STEP 3: Earth Advantage will email you the approved ODOE – Home Energy Assessor Training Certification Form from Step 1. Submit this approved Form to CCB, WITH the CCB Home Energy Assessor Certification Application. Upon approval, CCB will mail you a certificate and CCB number. Email this information to PDXHES@earthadvantage.org. Note: In order to qualify for this certification, you must have a CCB residential contractor license (16-hour contractror pre-licensing course required), residential specialty contractor license, or residential restricted Home Energy Performance Score Contractor license – see CCB Endorsements Form for descriptions. Estimated cost: $100 Application Fee + $100 One-Year Certification Fee. The ongoing annual renewal fee is $100. Estimated time frame: 5-7 business days

STEP 4: Complete the home energy assessor participation agreement. (Download form HERE). Submit agreement to Earth Advantage at PDXHES@earthadvantage.org. Estimated cost: None. Estimated time frame: 1-2 business days to process. Step 5: Contact Earth Advantage to register for the mandatory orientation. Learn about specific local program requirements and messaging to homeowners about the home energy report. Upon completion, Earth Advantage will send an introductory email with next steps to start generating scores. Estimated cost: $75 Estimated time frame: 2 hr. Orientation session.

Step 5: Contact Earth Advantage to register for the mandatory orientation. Learn about specific local program requirements and messaging to homeowners about the home energy report. Upon completion, Earth Advantage will send an introductory email with next steps to start generating scores. Estimated cost: $75 Estimated time frame: 2 hr. Orientation session.

STEP 6: As required by US DOE, you must schedule and score your first home accompanied by a mentor designated by Earth Advantage (unless you already completed this as part of a guided in-person simulation training – see Step 3). Estimated cost: $150. Estimated time frame: 2 hr. field visit + energy modeling. STEP 7: You are now authorized to conduct City of Portland Home Energy Score assessments and generate the home energy report! Estimated cost: $25/score quality assurance fee. Estimated time frame: 1.5 hr./home – field assessment, energy modeling, home energy report generation

STEP 7: You are now authorized to conduct City of Portland Home Energy Score assessments and generate the home energy report! Estimated cost: $25/score quality assurance fee. Estimated time frame: 1.5 hr./home – field assessment, energy modeling, home energy report generation

Beyond the use of the US DOE Home Energy Score modeling tool, a number of other third-party software providers have successfully integrated with the Home Energy Score API to allow home energy assessors to produce the home energy report along with the other outputs the software produces. Click HERE and scroll to Compatible Software section for list of approved third-party software providers. Licensing may be required between the home energy assessor and software provider. Estimated cost: Varies. US DOE’s Home Energy Score software tool is free. Other third-party software providers may charge licensing fees for use.

While the Home Energy Assessor certification belongs to a person, that certification must be associated with a CCB license in order to be active. The CCB license it’s associated with can be one that already exists, or it can be a new CCB license that the Home Energy Assessor is applying for. If energy scoring is the only service the business is conducting, then the Home Energy Assessor can apply for the Home Energy Performance Score Contractor license. No pre-license training or testing is required to obtain this license, but absolutely no other construction activities may be performed.

Those in need of an Oregon CCB license can get the 16-hour online prerequisite training from OnlineEd for only $68 plus $3.50 shipping* (*shipping may vary slightly depending on location).

If you have further questions related to becoming an authorized home energy assessor for the City of Portland Home Energy Score program, review the Oregon Revised Statutes  or contact : MacKenzie Winchel, Program Manager / Quality Assurance, Email: PDXHES@earthadvantage.org.  Phone: 503-468-3482.

If you need the education to become an Oregon licensed contractor, contact an education specialist for information about Oregon’s OnlineEd CCB training 16-hour online training program: Telephone 503.670.9278, Email: Mail@OnlineEd.com, or just click here to read more about the online training program.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Categories: Contractor, Real Estate

CFPB Orders Meridian Title to Pay up to Pay up to $1.25 million & Disclose its Interests in Future Transactions

CFPB Takes Action Against Settlement Services Provider for Steering Consumers to Affiliated Business

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(October 2, 2017)

canstockphoto24908732consumer protectionThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took action against real estate settlement services provider Meridian Title Corporation for steering consumers to a title insurer owned in part by several of its executives without making disclosures about the businesses’ affiliation. The CFPB found that Meridian failed to disclose its relationship with the title insurer and illegally benefitted from the referrals for title insurance—which is usually required in real estate purchases involving a mortgage loan. Under today’s consent order, the CFPB is ordering Meridian to ensure that it ceases the illegal practice, provide disclosures whenever it makes a covered referral, and pay up to $1.25 million in redress to consumers.

“Meridian Title illegally steered consumers into purchasing a product from an affiliated company to add to its bottom line,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We’re ordering it to halt this practice and pay up to $1.25 million to consumers who were harmed.”

Meridian Title Corporation is a real estate settlement agent and title insurance agency headquartered in South Bend, Indiana. As a settlement agent, Meridian provides real estate settlement services and conducts loan closings in connection with residential real estate transactions. Lenders normally require title insurance to protect their interests when providing a mortgage loan in the event someone else can collect on a lien or there are back taxes owed on the property. Consumers are normally able to select the title insurance provider during the home-buying process, as long as the title insurance policy complies with lender requirements. As a title insurance agent, Meridian receives orders for title insurance policies from lenders and real estate agents, and in some cases directly from consumers, and assigns those orders to title insurance underwriters.

The CFPB found that Meridian routinely selected Arsenal Insurance Corporation, a company owned in part by three of Meridian’s own executives, as the title insurance underwriter for its customers. When it selected Arsenal, the CFPB found that Meridian was able to keep extra money beyond the commission it would normally have been entitled to collect, based on an understanding that Meridian would select Arsenal as underwriter. A company like Meridian that receives anything of value pursuant to an agreement or understanding that business will be referred to an affiliated business like Arsenal must generally disclose its relationship to the consumer in question, among other conditions, in order to avoid a violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. In its investigation, the CFPB found that Meridian failed to make the necessary disclosures to more than 7,000 consumers when it selected Arsenal to provide title insurance and also did not satisfy other conditions for avoiding a violation of the law.

Enforcement Action
Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions or individuals violating consumer financial laws, including engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. The CFPB’s order requires Meridian to:

  • Pay up to $1.25 million to harmed consumers: Under the order, Meridian is required to pay up to $1.25 million in redress to consumers who were referred to and purchased title insurance from Arsenal but did not receive appropriate disclosures.
  • Stop violating the law and start providing disclosures: Meridian must not violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and must implement policies and procedures to ensure it properly discloses to consumers whenever it makes an applicable referral.

A copy of the consent order filed today is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201709_cfpb_meridian-title-corp_consent-order.pdf

[Source: CFPB press release]

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Millennials Going Over Budget to Buy – Generation Z Enters the Market as Renters

Report explores affordability challenges facing renters and a first look at Generation Z’s housing patterns

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(September 27, 2017)

canstockphoto6991152 first timersSEATTLE, Sept. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Millennials poured some $514 billion into the U.S. housing market over the last year as the largest generation of home buyers. But new survey data shows their homeownership aspirations are stymied by affordability issues, frustration with the buying and selling process, and a cutthroat housing market.

More than half of young buyers (53 percent) make multiple offers to buy their first home, and only two in five Millennials (39 percent) are able to make the recommended 20 percent or more down payment.

Today, the results of the Zillow® Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends 2017 show how the nation’s highly competitive housing market is changing the way a new generation approaches buying a home. The second annual report is the largest and most comprehensive survey of real estate consumers ever conducted.

More than half of millennials (62 percent) shop for a rental while they’re looking to buy a home, indicating they accept the fact that buying a home is not a sure thing. They are more likely to say they struggled to find a home in their price range and on their time frame, and over one-third (37 percent) of millennial buyers say they went over their budget, compared to 29 percent of all buyers.

Coming up with a down payment is one of the biggest hurdles young buyers face, and the Zillow Group Report sheds light on previously unknown statistics about how millennials are pulling together enough cash. Less than half (39 percent) of millennials put down the recommended 20 percent or more on their home purchase, while one in four (21 percent) put down the bare minimum –5 percent or less — to secure a home loan.

One in three (29 percent) millennial buyers now gets financial help from friends or family to make a down payment, and one in three (31 percent) millennial buyers cobbles together a down payment from multiple sources.

“In many cities across the US, the housing market is extremely competitive, especially for first-time buyers who are looking to purchase a starter home,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Young buyers often start their careers in fast-growing cities in which the market is particularly tough – and they’re trying to save for a down payment while making record-high rent payments. The Zillow Group Report gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how young buyers, in particular, are finding resourceful ways to cope with high home prices and fierce competition. Whether it’s searching for a rental as a Plan B, looking outside their preferred neighborhood, or cobbling together a down payment from multiple sources, these buyers are willing to try every trick in the book to find a place to call home.”

Renters can’t afford to stay, can’t afford to move

Homeownership is simply out of reach for many Americans, including many families. In today’s hot housing market, more Americans are renting than at any time in recent history. Forty percent of families with children at home are renters.

Renters typically face higher monthly payments than homeowners, and 79 percent of renters who moved in the last year said their rent increased before they moved. More than half — 57 percent of renters who moved in the last year — said a rent increase is the reason they moved. And to find their new affordable rental, a quarter (25 percent) of renters had to look beyond the area they initially considered moving.

More than a third (37 percent) of renters who have not moved in the past year say they can’t afford to move elsewhere. Nearly half (48 percent) of renters who make less than $25,000 a year say they can’t afford to move.

Generation Z

Gen Z — those born between 1995 and 2010 — already makes up more than 21 percent of the U.S. population and is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in U.S. history. They are beginning to enter the housing market as renters. The Zillow Group Report reveals that those in Gen Z are just as likely as those in older generations to say owning a home is a key component of the American Dream; 57 percent say they considered buying a home when they looked for their last rental. Generation Z renters work hard to win a home and end up submitting more rental applications than any other generation (3.1 applications compared to 2.5 for all renters), yet they also move quickly through the process, spending the least amount of time searching (less than one month, compared to 26 percent of all renters).

“It’s encouraging to see that Generation Z is inheriting the same notion of what home means as their parents and Millennial siblings,” said Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow Group chief marketing officer. “These tech-savvy, yet risk adverse renters are bringing their social personalities home, desiring communal amenities geared toward bringing people together. They prefer living with others to living alone, and they put their vast social networks to work during every step of the rental search process. As they mature and look toward homeownership, it will be interesting to see how their aspirations and preferences will shape the housing market.”

The 2017 Zillow Group Report is the 2nd annual largest-ever survey of U.S. home buyers, sellers, owners and renters, and asked more than 13,000 U.S. residents aged 18 to 75 about their homes – how they search for them, pay for them, maintain and improve them, and what frustrations and aspirations color their decisions. The full report is available for free to the public at www.zillow.com/report.

[SOURCE Zillow Group]

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Categories: Mortgage, Real Estate

Financial Crimes Enforcement Targets Shell Companies Purchasing Luxury Properties

Geographic Targeting Orders expanded to include Honolulu, Hawaii 

OnlineEd Blog

(August 23, 2017)

canstockphoto5735968- luxury building(WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2017/FinCEN) The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced the issuance of revised Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) that require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay for high-end residential real estate in seven metropolitan areas.  Following the recent enactment of the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, FinCEN is revising the GTOs to capture a broader range of transactions and include transactions involving wire transfers.  FinCEN also expanded the GTOs to include transactions conducted in the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii.

In addition, FinCEN today published an Advisory to provide financial institutions and the real estate industry with information on the money laundering risks associated with real estate transactions, including those involving luxury property purchased through shell companies, particularly when conducted without traditional financing.  Such transactions are vulnerable to abuse by criminals seeking to launder illegal proceeds and mask their identities.  The Advisory provides information on how to detect and report these transactions to FinCEN.

“Through this advisory and other outreach to the private sector, FinCEN, industry, and law enforcement will be better positioned to protect the real estate markets from serving as a vehicle to launder illicit proceeds,” said FinCEN Acting Director Jamal El-Hindi.  “FinCEN also thanks Congress for its modification of the Geographic Targeting Order authority, the first use of which will enable FinCEN to collect further information to combat the potential misuse of shell companies to purchase luxury real estate.”

In January 2016, FinCEN issued GTOs to require U.S. title insurance companies to report beneficial ownership information on legal entities, including shell companies, used to purchase certain luxury residential real estate in Manhattan and Miami—specifically, luxury residential property purchased by a shell company without a bank loan and made at least in part using a cashier’s check or similar instrument.  In July 2016 and February 2017, FinCEN reissued the original GTOs and extended coverage to all boroughs of New York City, two additional counties in the Miami metropolitan area, five counties in California (including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego), and the Texas county that includes San Antonio.

Within this narrow scope of real estate transactions covered by the GTOs, FinCEN data indicate that about 30 percent of reported transactions involve a beneficial owner or purchaser representative that was also the subject of a previous suspicious activity report.  This corroborates FinCEN’s concerns about this small segment of the market in which shell companies are used to buy luxury real estate in “all-cash” transactions.  In addition, feedback from law enforcement indicates that the reporting has advanced criminal investigations.  The expanded GTOs will further help law enforcement and inform FinCEN’s future efforts to assess and combat the money laundering risks associated with luxury residential real estate purchases.

FinCEN appreciates the continued assistance and cooperation of the title insurance companies and the American Land Title Association in protecting the real estate markets from abuse by illicit actors.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Homeless Population Increases as Rents Rise

Portland and Seattle have declared states of emergency in response to the number of people experiencing homelessness

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto8313695evicted(PORTLAND, Aug. 3, 2017/Zillow®/) Rising rents urban areas are creating crisis levels of homelessness that will continue or accelerate as rents rise, Zillow® research has found. The connection between homelessness and increasing rents is especially strong in places that are already facing rapidly growing homeless populations: New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

A five percent increase in New York rents over the next year would force almost 3,000 more people into homelessness, according to a new analysis from Zillow. In Los Angeles, the homeless population would grow by roughly 2,000, and Seattle would see its homeless population increase by nearly 260.

Relying solely on the number of homeless people counted during a one-night survey is an imperfect method. Previous research has found that as few as 59 percent of unsheltered homeless people are included in a given count.

Rents are at record highs across the country, and income growth did not keep pace as rents grew, making paying the rent increasingly unaffordable. Seattle and Portland, Ore. have declared states of emergency in response to the number of people experiencing homelessness. The median rent payment in Los Angeles requires 49 percent of the typical household income, leaving little opportunity to save in case of an unexpected medical bill, or loss of a job – events which could push a family into homelessness.

“We’ve seen so much pressure in rental housing markets that it’s created a rental affordability crisis that has spilled over into a homelessness crisis at lower income levels,” said Zillow Senior Economist Dr. Skylar Olsen. “Often, the rental demand in these markets isn’t being met with a sufficient supply. There are several cities grappling with this problem, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. This report puts a number on the link between rising rents and homelessness, highlighting the very real human impact that rent increases are having across the country.”

 

[Source: Zillow press release]

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Environmental Series: Molds and Fungi in the Home

Molds and Fungi are simple organisms medically known to cause a host of health symptoms

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(July 21, 2017)

canstockphoto8624069mold(PORTLAND-OR) – Fungi are medically known to cause allergies, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), humidifier fever, infections, mushroom poisoning, mycotoxicoses, and mucous membrane irritation. Some of the Penicillium, Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, Paecilomyces, and Fusarium can be hazardous to health under ideal conditions.

Molds and Fungi are simple organisms, and microfungi are only visible through a microscope. Plaster and wood-rotting fungi are known as macrofungi because they produce sporing bodies that are visible to the naked eye. Molds and mildews are names given to thousands of species of Filamentous Fungi. Most molds and fungi do not cause health problems and are found on plants, foods, dry leaves, and other organic materials. In fact, molds and fungi perform a valuable function as they assist in breaking down dead material.

Mold spores are very tiny and lightweight, which allows them to travel freely through the air. Other types of mold colonize as a network of filaments by attaching themselves to host material. For molds to grow, they need a food source and moisture. Hydrophilic types of fungi need conditions close to saturation, or at least very damp conditions. The Xerophilic types of fungi grow in drier conditions, with only minimal moisture. Molds that have food and moisture will grow in an indoor environment – even in an arid climate. Evidence of mold growths can often be seen in the form of discoloration ranging from white to orange and from green to brown to black growing on various materials found inside and outside the house.

Adverse health effects from fungi usually depend on the dose and duration of exposure to the mold source. The methods of exposure are inhalation, exposure to skin, and ingestion. The groups of people at higher risk are elderly individuals, pregnant women, children, and those with compromised immune or respiratory systems. Health problems generally may be grouped as follows:

  • Infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nasal passage problems
  • Eye problems
  • Central nervous system problems
  • Fever
  • Possible death if exposure results from extremely toxic varieties

Remediation should be implemented when a structure has a mold or mildew problem. The following are regarded as the necessary steps in any remediation or cleanup process:

  • Identify and correct the moisture source. No permanent solution to the identified mold problem can be realized unless the source of the moisture fueling the mold growth is identified and corrected.
  • Hard materials that are not absorbent, such as glass, plastic or metal, must be properly disinfected. Disposal of these is not necessary.
  • Carpets, rugs, furniture, and other items with absorbent material must be removed and discarded if not thoroughly dried within 24 hours of water contamination. This type of material, even if disinfected, will usually continue to harbor unsafe mold after decontamination attempts. Therefore, it is best to remove and discard all porous material.
  • All stained ceiling tiles, carpets, or wallboard should be removed and properly discarded.
  • If a structure was flooded, the sheetrock should be removed to at least 12 inches above the high water mark. After sheetrock removal, the wall interior should be inspected for signs of mold.

The following cleanup steps should be followed in a mold remediation situation:

  • Identify whether contaminated material can be saved or should be removed and discarded.
  • If the material can be saved, before disinfecting the contaminated area or materials, clean the materials and surfaces to remove as much of the mold as possible.
  • After the contaminated area has been cleaned, the nonporous surfaces must be disinfected.

The removal of contaminated material should be regarded as a hazardous process, and contaminated materials should be disposed of properly.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Oregon Real Estate Agents Who Flip Houses May Need a Contractor License

Sometimes an Oregon real estate licensee will be operating as a contractor and not even know it!

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(July 21, 2017)

canstockphoto7462396suit with hard hat(PORTLAND-OR) Sometimes an Oregon real estate licensee will be operating as a contractor and not even know it! ORS 701 defines a contractor as

” . . . a person who, for compensation or with the intent to sell, arranges or undertakes or offers to undertake or submits a bid to construct, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, inspect, move, wreck or demolish, for another, any building, highway, road, railroad, excavation or other structure, project, development or improvement attached to real estate or to do any part thereof.”

Under this statutory definition, the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) will use the following three-question test to determine if one is acting as a contractor, thereby requiring a contractor’s license.

  • Is the work being done construction related?It does not matter if the work being done is new home construction, remodeling, upgrades, or repairs. It also does not matter whether the licensee is doing the work or if it is being done by others who are licensed or unlicensed.
  • Is the real estate licensee offering the property for sale?  If the licensee buys the house for a rental or primary residence, then the licensee would not have to be licensed as a general contractor to hire contractors.  If the licensee buys the house with intent to resell, then the licensee might need a contractor license.
  • Is the real estate licensee the direct beneficiary of the sale?If the licensee is the direct beneficiary of the sale – in other words, the party who will receive the proceeds from the sale – then a contractor’s license would be required. If the real estate licensee is acting as an agent for the seller by arranging for the work to be done, the licensee would not have to be licensed as a general contractor because the licensee is not a direct beneficiary of the sale.

If the real estate licensee answers yes to all three of the above questions, then the licensee probably would be violating the contractor license law if operating without a contractor’s license.

There are two exemptions under ORS 701.010 that would exempt a licensee from having to register as an Oregon contractor:

  1. If the licensee owns the property and occupies the property, the licensee is not a contractor if the licensee has contractor work performed on the property.
  2. If the licensee owns the property and rents the property, the licensee is not a contractor if the licensee has contractor work performed on the property.

What these rules mean for Oregon real estate licensees:

  • If a real estate licensee buys and moves into an existing house, then fixes it up and sells it, the licensee fits the exemption and a contractor’s license is not necessary.
  • If a real estate licensee buys a property, fixes it up, rents the house, and then sells it, the licensee fits the exemption, and a contractor’s license is not required.
  • If a real estate licensee builds a new house, lives in it, and then sells it, the licensee fits the exemption, and a contractor’s license is not necessary.
  • If the real estate licensee builds a new house, lives in it, and then sells it, and does this on a regular basis, the licensee will not fit the exemption, and the licensee will be deemed a contractor who must have a contractor’s license. This law states that a person is operating as a contractor if the person sells two or more new homes within a three-years. Therefore, a licensee can build one new house and live in it for three years and not be required to have a contractor’s license. But, if that person arranges for or does construction work on two or more newly built properties for compensation and with the intent to sell them within a 36 month period, a contractor’s license is required.

Note: Licensing rules are fluid. Please be sure to check with the CCB to find out if you are exempt from CCB licensing.

ORS 701.010 outlines those who are exempt from construction contractor licensing by includes the following definition:

“An owner who contracts for one or more licensed contractors to perform work wholly or partially within the same calendar year on not more than three existing residential structures of the owner.”

However, this exemption does not apply to “an owner contracting for work that requires a building permit unless the work that requires a permit is performed by or under the direction of a general contractor.” The above exemption means that an owner may contract with one or more licensed contractors to perform work within the same calendar year on not more than three residential properties of an owner.

For the exemption from contractor licensure to apply, the type of work the contractors can perform are those things that do not require a permit. Examples include painting, installing carpet, repairing a roof, or installing new cabinets. If any work requires a permit, then the owner cannot use the licensure exemption and must hire a general contractor.

Getting a contractor license is pretty easy and includes completing the OnlineEd 16-hour Oregon CCB approved contractor pre-license course and passing the CCB’s open-book licensing exam.  Learn more about the OnlineEd $68 Contractor Pre-License Course.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

Environmental Series: Volatile Organic Compounds in the Home

Exposure to these compounds can have acute health effects on humans and their pets.

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

(July 20, 2017)

canstockphoto3219894toxic(PORTLAND, OR) Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain types of solids or liquids. A typical indoor environment may contain as many as 100 different compounds causing concentrations up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors.

Pesticides, cleaning agents, cosmetics, dry-cleaned clothing and fabrics, paints, varnishes, and waxes all contain organic solvents. All of these can release organic compounds while they are being used. Some can even release compounds while stored.

A common characteristic of all VOCs is that they will release gases into the atmosphere. These volatile compounds can be emitted as a gas for short or extended periods.

Exposure to VOCs can have acute or chronic health effects on humans and pets. Since the existing knowledge base of the toxicological effects of VOCs and their mixtures is incomplete, exposure to them should be minimized.

Two of the more common VOCs found in or about residential structures are formaldehyde and pesticides. As an example, let’s take a look at formaldehyde-containing building materials:

  • Glues and adhesives
  • Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)
  • Pressed wood products (e.g., plywood, particleboard, paneling, and wood finishes)
  • Carpet
  • Laminated flooring materials
  • Cabinet fiberboards
  • Drapery materials
  • Used as a preservative in some paints and coating products

If the formaldehyde measurement levels are too high, further exposure to formaldehyde may be decreased by the following measures:

  • Use of exterior-grade pressed wood products. These products are lower emitting because they contain phenol resins and not urea resins.
  • Finding and removing the source is the most effective remedy, but is often unacceptable due to cost factors.
  • Avoid using building materials, furnishings, or other products that emit formaldehyde.
  • Increase ventilation after bringing new sources of formaldehyde into the home.
  • Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to maintain moderate temperature and reduce humidity levels. The rate at which formaldehyde is released is accelerated by heat and may depend on the humidity levels present in the structure. Formaldehyde tends to double its level of off-gassing for every 10-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature.
  • Use alternative products such as lumber, metal, or solid wood furniture and cabinets.
  • Avoid the use of foamed-in-place insulation materials containing formaldehyde.
  • Enclose unfinished pressed wood surfaces of furniture, cabinets, and shelving with laminate, a water-based sealant, polyurethane varnish, oil-based alkyd resin paint, or thick vinyl film.
  • If purchasing a mobile home, insist that outdoor air is capable of being circulated into the home. Mobile home sellers are required under HUD standards to give prospective buyers a ventilation improvement information sheet before a sales agreement is reached.

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For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark