Beach Blog

Fabulous Oceanview Building Lot $299,000

6/29/2022
This beautiful quarter acre lot in Oceanside has a view of Three Arch Rocks.  The lot gently slopes down from the street, but is not steep.  This is a pic of the lot (click on the pic for details):

drone shot sm.jpg

Call me today to view this property.
Pam Zielinski 503.880.8034



Episode 7 of FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

5/21/2022

Is the salt air and climate at the beach a big problem for home maintenance?

There is no question that the salt air is corrosive.  Outside fixtures and hardware don’t last long here. Even stainless steel rusts at the beach, it just takes a lot longer to rust! When home shopping on the Coast, if you find a house where the owner spent the extra money to use stainless steel hardware in construction, pay attention to that feature. There is tremendous value in that kind of quality and pride of ownership.

 

Besides corrosion, wind driven rain can wreak havoc on your siding.  Our winter storms can drive horizontal rain into the tiniest cracks and crevices in the exterior of your home, therefore caulking every year becomes mandatory.  Moisture collecting behind the siding can cause rot in the wood sheathing or substrate.  If allowed to continue this can result in a very expensive repair job when its discovered. 

 

Another frequent maintenance item cause by the high wind involves thermopane windows.  The vacuum seals are easily compromised causing foggy moisture between the double panes.  While some home inspectors suggest this is more of a cosmetic issue than a critical repair item, when you have a view of the ocean you don’t want it compromised by a cloudy window. 

 

Finally, rodents are continually looking for ways to get warm and cozy in your crawlspace and can make a terrible smelly mess of everything.  Keeping the grates on your foundation vents in good shape will help keep the critters out of your house.  However, they are pretty smart and sometimes will still invade by burrowing down into the sand from outside your foundation and come back up on the inside!

 

If you are right on the beach, the sandblast effect can also require more frequent painting.  Why do you think we all love that weathered Cape Cod look with natural cedar shingle siding?  Yes!  Then you don’t have to paint every 3 years.

 

I hope this isn’t scaring you away from having a house at the beach. I promise that the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.  Think of the incredible sights and sounds and smells, and the fresh cool air, and the relaxed and casual ambiance of just being at the beach.   Hakunah Matata!

Episode 6 of FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

5/16/2022

If I buy in a hot market, will my property appreciate in value?

The soaring prices in recent times may cause a buyer looking for a second home to step back and wait for a better time to buy, worrying that if they buy now the value may then decline. 

When you look at a graph of property values, over the long period of years it tends to go up, even though there are fluctuations along the way.  For example, during the Great Recession, our property values in many areas of Tillamook county dipped to around 50% of what they had been in 2006.  For years, during the recession, the values stayed low.  Then when they began to increase, they increased rapidly and now are close if not above some of the 2006 prices. 

When buying property in any rural area, it seems that one will be best assured of protecting their investment if they buy for the long haul and then wait for the right time to resell.  If forced to sell when the market is down, then losses occur.  If one can wait out the lows and sell during the highs, it’s a good way to protect your investment.  And, it seems to me that coastal property has higher highs than inland property. 

Timing is everything.

Episode 5 of FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

3/19/2022
2021 award pic 3x3.jpgWhy has this lot been on the market for years?  What’s wrong with it?

During the Great Recession the housing inventory ballooned and prices went to rock bottom.  Building costs, however, did not go down and in fact continued to rise.  Therefore, it made sense for a buyer to purchase an existing home at a low price rather than buy a lot and spend a lot more money to build a new house. 

For years, that kept buyers from buying building lots and the inventory of lots for sale grew and grew.  Only since early in 2020 did the housing inventory begin to shrink enough and prices increased enough to finally convince consumers that building a new house would be a financially viable option. 

Only recently have lots begun to sell, resulting in many listings showing histories of thousands of days on the market.  That does not mean something is wrong with the lot.  It simply means that until now, it was easier and cheaper to buy an existing house.

Episode 4 of FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

2/26/2022


2021 award pic 3x3.jpgWhat is the weather really like here on the Oregon Coast?

Every time a newcomer from out of state has asked me this question about what the weather is really like, and I give my personal overview, Mother Nature decides to make me look like a fool and she does the opposite of what I said!  So, at the risk of upsetting her and having another weird weather year, I am still going to share with you what has been my general experience over the years I have been either visiting the beach or living at the beach, starting in 1974 when I moved here from Alaska.  If there is one thing that seems to be true of most years, it’s that you cannot realize how much beautiful weather we have on the Oregon Coast unless you live here.  Generally speaking, because the ocean is the great equalizer, our weather is cooler in Summer than in the valley and it’s warmer in winter.  There are many winters where we get no snow at all and only a handful of nights where the temp even dips slightly below freezing.  There are few summers where we get up to 90 to 100 degree days, and when those happen the high temp lasts maybe one or 2 afternoons at the most.  Then it cools off at night.  Thanksgiving seems to me to be stormy most years, and oddly enough, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day seem to often provide a surprising warm sunbreak.  When it rains other than the major storms, it’s usually a drawn out drizzle.  When it’s stormy in winter, the wind gusts can often be 60 to 70mph.  The worst storm I’ve been in here had gusts to 107mph, and one year I watched a water spout travel North just offshore.  Fortunately that was a rare occurrence.  In the winter, the storms come from the Southwest, so the SW corner of your oceanfront house will take the most abuse.  In the Summer, there are often strong breezes coming in from the Northwest in the evening.  So, having a deck on the South East side of your house will give you a nice warm spot to barbecue which is sheltered from the Summer’s evening breeze.

Working from Home with High Speed Internet?

9/28/2021

Is high speed internet available here?

This is a question of growing importance in today's environment.  With more and more people working from home, reliable high speed internet may be not just a luxury but a necessity for one's livelihood.  The question "Is high speed internet available here?" is a bit of a trick question because “high speed internet” could mean different things to different users.  My understanding is that the highest speeds involve Cable internet as opposed to DSL or satellite dish.  Cable is available in much of Tillamook County.   DSL internet is available in much of the county where there is no available cable.  Otherwise, many rural properties must rely on satellite transmission for their internet connections. 

Just because one house on the street has cable internet, it does not mean the house next door to it will have cable internet available.  It could cost thousands just to extend the line to one more house, and sometimes if the cable company considers the neighborhood to be maxed out, they may simply decline to provide cable service to one more house on the same street.  Each address must be individually checked.  And, often making a phone call to the cable company will not provide a reliable answer.  More often than not, the overseas tech who answers your call will say, “Sorry, we do not provide service to that area at all” when in fact the current homeowner may have an active account with the same company!  Many people working at home have specific bandwidth and speed requirements, so you cannot rely on someone giving a best guess.  Probably the most reliable answer will be come by paying a personal visit to the local cable office to ask a local staff person about the availability.  

At this time, the provider for Tillamook County's cable internet is Spectrum/Charter.  They are located in downtown Tillamook.  Be aware, they are currently closed on Thursdays (oddly.)  I spend a lot of time going to their office because people who sell their homes here are often surprised, after they have moved out of the house, that they were supposed to return Spectrum's cable boxes and modems.  So, that is one of my courtesy services to my clients... returning their equipment to Spectrum.  

As a real estate broker, reliable high speed internet is critically important to my business as well.  I have used both cable internet and DSL in my home.  I didn't notice a lot of difference between the two except when uploading photos.  There is a noticeable difference in speed.  And, I upload a LOT of photos.


Episode 3 of FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

5/18/2021

This is the third article in my series of Frequently Asked Questions which I answer repeatedly for buyers I am working with who are looking to buy beach property on the Oregon Coast.  

Do I need flood insurance?

If the house is in a FEMA Flood Zone and you are getting a mortgage, then you will need flood insurance.  It’s important to know that flood insurance rates can be in the thousands, so make sure to find out before making irreversible decisions in negotiating to buy. 

If it is in a flood zone, you will need a Flood Elevation Certificate in order to obtain insurance.  Ask if the owner has a current Flood Elevation Certificate.  If they do not already have the certificate, then be aware that it will cost hundreds of dollars to hire a surveyor to complete an FE so that your loan can be approved.  Also, because there is a scarcity of available surveyors, it could take some time to obtain that FE certificate. 

If the home you are buying is built at ground level on a concrete slab, or if it has a basement, then your flood insurance rates could go sky high.  It’s important to find out as early as possible in your negotiations to avoid unpleasant surprises after it is too late for a remedy.

Important:  if the house is in "Tsunami Hazard Zone" but not in a FEMA flood zone, then it is not likely your lender will require flood insurance.  Some people get flood insurance anyway, just in case.  I have been told by a FEMA rep that flood insurance would cover tsunami inundation.  

FEMA flood insurance caps out at $250,000 so if you are buying a house that will cost $500,000 to rebuild, the FEMA insurance may not be enough.  There are other privatized flood insurance options out there.  Ask your insurance agent what is best.

FEMA flood insurance rates are supposed to be the same regardless of which insurance agent writes the policy, however I often hear of clients who obtained quotes from more than one agent and the quotes differed.  So, it may be a good idea to ask more than one agent for a quote.  It's possible this is explained as human error.  Not sure.  But it won't hurt to ask around.

Episode 2 of FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

5/8/2021

My last blog entry dealt with the first and most frequently asked question, in a series of FAQ which I encounter selling beach property in Tillamook County on the Oregon Coast.  Here is the second episode in that series.

Is this in tsunami zone?

The State of Oregon’s Dept of Geological and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) publishes a tsunami hazard map.  So, it is very easy to determine whether a specific property lies within the tsunami hazard zone.  There are 2 levels of tsunami hazard:  Local and Distant.  The Local is the potential for inundation in the event of the “BigOne” (Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake) and the Distant zone is the potential for inundation in the event of a distant offshore earthquake (like in Japan or Alaska)   Some houses may have the line stop right at the doorstep, so does that mean when a tsunami comes, you can stand on your porch and watch the water come up to the edge?  Maybe not.  Keep in mind that this is all theory.  It may never come to pass… or it could occur an hour from now.  And, the end result could look entirely different than what is depicted on the DOGAMI maps.  One thing is clear:  apparently the lenders and the insurance companies are not terribly worried about it because being in tsunami zone does not by itself increase your insurance rate and it does not prevent you from getting a mortgage on the house.  Many properties may be in the tsunami hazard zone but are nowhere near the flood zone.  If the property is not in the FEMA Flood Zone, then flood insurance will normally not be required by the lender, even though it may be within the tsunami hazard zone.

SERIES: FAQ for Beach Home Buyers

4/26/2021
This is the first article in my series of Frequently Asked Questions which I answer repeatedly for buyers I am working with who are looking to buy beach property on the Oregon Coast.  

Most asked question – Will I be able to do short term rental with this property?

Any given community may have special rules for short term rental.  If the property is located within a local jurisdiction, such as within an incorporated city, then the city will likely have its own ordinance pertaining to short term rental.  Some cities in Tillamook County do not allow short term rental at all.  Some “cities” in Tillamook County (like Pacific City) are not actually cities!  Pacific City, for example, is an unincorporated area of Tillamook County, so for Pacific City, and many other towns & villages in the county, the county’s ordinances will apply.  Tillamook County at this time allows short term rental, but licensing is required.  Many neighborhoods within the counties and cities have their own individual rules (CC&Rs or HOA bylaws) which restrict or limit short term rental.  The best bet for a prospective home buyer who wants to do short term rental is to be aligned with an experienced local real estate broker who knows the rules and knows the trends.  Nearly every community has had much recent discussion about the burgeoning numbers of short term rentals and many areas have proposed ordinances which may result in changes to the rental rules.  A local broker will be familiar with the current conversation and can be your best resource when deciding where to buy.  IMPORTANT:  be sure to also have a conversation with your loan officer because many people assume you can get a mortgage on your second home and then put it up as a short term rental.  That could result in a violation of the terms of your mortgage, so be sure you know before you buy what you can and cannot do.



2021 and beyond

1/7/2021
What does 2021 and the next few years hold for our local real estate market?   Sure wish I knew.  I have been trying to glue my crystal ball back together after it shattered in 2007, but it's irreparably damaged. 

My best guess is that our new Democratic government will be so happy to be in control they will not want to burst anyone's bubble, so am guessing we will be back to Kennedy's attempt to recreate Camelot.  Saving our economy will be high on the list of priorities, so surely the American Dream of home ownership, which is the wheel that greases the economy, will be preserved and promoted during the next four years.

Because I live in an area where most of the home purchases are not by first time homebuyers, promoting the American Dream does not necessarily promise continued expansion for this specific market.  However, the reasons for the very active sales activity and depleted inventory here over the last year are likely to continue.  People do forget, but it takes time for those memories to fade.  The flight from the congested city life, and from the urban unrest of 2020 will surely continue for the next few years as city folk realize the value of having a rural respite where the ocean breeze cleans the air; and where they can sequester their families during times like those we have endured over the last year.  And, our work force has retooled in ways that will continue to allow people to spend more time working from home, so why not look out upon one of Tillamook County's many water bodies while you work?  Who needs a second home when you can make your beach house your primary residence now?  Surely we will see more and more people establishing primary residency along the Oregon Coast.

My broken crystal ball is trying to say our outlook is good.  Sure hope it's right!
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