Beach Blog

WILL OCEANSIDE BECOME OREGON’s NEWEST CITY?

10/20/2022

 

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Oceanside is a sleepy little town of over 1000 individual homes and building lots.  Because this is a beach town, about 2/3 of those properties are owned by people who do not live full time in Oceanside.  To be a registered voter, you must be a full-time resident.  Therefore, fewer than 350 people in Oceanside are registered to vote and will be making this decision and future decisions which impact the lives and livelihoods of over 1000 property owners.

 

This tipping of the scale sets up a very undemocratic rule-making dynamic.  If Oceanside’s voters choose to incorporate, then there will be 5 City Councilors in power who will make decisions for their neighbors and friends, all 1000 of them.  When you live in a small village, everyone in the village is your neighbor.  If we become a city, the rule-making process will pit neighbor against neighbor. 

 

Imagine that you own a lot in Oceanside, and you discover you need a variance to build your house.  You apply for the variance only to discover that the house you’ll be building will affect the ocean view from the homes of 3 of the city councilors who will be deciding whether your request is approved.  Wouldn’t it be better if the people making those decisions were not your neighbors who will themselves be personally impacted by the decision they make?  Currently those decisions are made by the Tillamook County Commissioners.  That provides a more “arms-length” distancing from the potential for personal bias.

 

If we vote to incorporate, we will want to elect councilors we are convinced will rise above their human failings by being selfless and scrupulously unbiased in their decision making.  When you have only a small pool of people to choose from, the odds of finding 5 human beings with those superior qualities can be low.

 

The solution is to leave everything as it is.  Keep Oceanside unincorporated.  Keep the rule-making arms-length at the county level and allow us to continue enjoying the peace, beauty, and serenity of living in a tiny hamlet by the sea.  Please vote “NO.”

 

#Oceanside #Election #Unincorporated #VoteNo

Update on STR licensing in Tillamook County

9/18/2022
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July 2022 saw a setback for home sales on the Coast in Tillamook County.  The County Commissioners implemented what they termed a "pause" on the issuance of new Short Term Rental (STR) licenses in the unincorporated areas of Tillamook County.  They deliberately avoided calling it a moratorium, although the net effect is the same.  It has put a damper on beach home sales in this area because 90% of the buyers want to be able to defray the cost of owning a second home through deriving income from short term rental use.  The pause is set to last for a year, or until such time as the county's Short Term Rental advisory committee provides to the Commissioners an acceptable plan for revamping the county's STR licensing program.  The STR advisory committee meets once a month, so the process is moving along at a snail's pace... in my opinion, not likely to bring relief before July 2023. 

One of the revisions being strongly considered is applying a percentage cap to the number of STR licenses allowed in each area.  It seems likely that a cap of maybe 20% or thereabouts may be implemented.  Some areas, such as Pacific City and Oceanside, have already reached 20%, so in July if the county resumes issuing new licenses, there will almost certainly be some kind of waiting list for new license applications.  Currently, during this pause, a buyer can assume an existing STR license if the home was previously licensed.  The ability to transfer a license is available at this time, but is also at risk of disappearing when the Commissioners reach a final conclusion on the revision of the current ordinance.  As of the date of this post, the only area in Tillamook County where new STR licenses can be issued is within the city limits of Rockaway Beach.  




Summer is over!

9/15/2022

How can Summer already be over?  I didn’t really notice that Summer ever arrived this year, and now it’s already over.  I think we had one day when the temperature rose almost to 100.  While it has not rained much at all this Summer in Tillamook County, the heat in the valley kept us shrouded in the marine layer of fog… far more than any Summer I remember since I came to Oregon in 1972. 

 

       

Surely all this means that this October will be beautiful, as it so often is here. Coincidentally, October is also usually my best sales month all year.  I think it has a lot to do with the frequency of beautiful weather days.  And it seems that people who want to buy on the Coast may spend all Summer going to different parts of the Coast to help them determine which area they like best.  Then as the end of Summer arrives, they have that all figured out and they are ready to make buying decisions.  So, I am gearing up for some good sales activity in the next 6 weeks.

 

Looking at the MLS market stats, however, it is clear that someone flipped a switch somewhere and the market activity has taken a very distinct turn.  Listings are staying on the market longer with an average market time now of 2.5 months, as compared to 4 weeks average back in January this year.  Also, just 3 months ago, the average Sale Price to List Price ratio was 102%.  Now it is 92%.  Prices, too, have undergone an adjustment, with the average list price of Sold homes at around $500,000 in May declining to an average of around $400,000 in August.  That is not telling me that the price of a specific house has gone down, it is just telling me that the houses people are buying right now are in lower price ranges as opposed to the higher price ranges.

 

Our market is actually still really good!  I don’t see any problem with taking 60 to 90 days to sell a house.  That feels normal and manageable.  And interest rates, compared to the early 1980’s, are fabulous.  Inventory is still pretty low, so that should keep prices somewhat steady. 

 

A few more blue sky days and buyers will be lining up to buy that special beach house for the beauty and serenity, and for the clean salt sea air that let’s you BREATHE.

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):

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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.

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