Thursday, September 24, 2009

New IRS Rules May Help Stave Off CMBS Defaults and Foreclosures

The IRS has just issued new guidelines allowing certain commercial mortgage borrowers to modify and restructure their securitized loans without triggering massive tax penalties. These new tax changes could give many borrowers more flexibility in working with lenders. The catch: those already drowning in debt may be out of luck.

Read more at CoStar online > > >

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Putting apartment curb appeal into focus.

What makes a property appealing to just about anyone? what makes it difficult for a renter to leave?  Aesthetics. Curb Appeal. Pretty Dirt. Call it what you will, what your building looks like can have a big impact on the ability to attract and retain renters.  Jeffrey Steele, contributing editor of Multi-Housing News, provides a quick method of determining whether your property has it, or not. Check it out.

What will you do with a Swine flu outbreak in your apartment complex?

The CDC keeps a weekly update of the status of the swine flu outbreak. Read the latest tips and find links to state emergency preparedness plans here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Today's Leading Economic Index Report Consistent With Recession's End

Economists see today's report as a positive indicator for the economy.

Bedbugs in apartment buildings: a new national problem.

Not something we wanted to post but you probably should take a look.  A poster on how to identify bedbugs and what to do about them.  Sigh.  Do it yourself pest control has some answers if you see them. There is also an interview with a chemical manufacturer online at

Friday, September 18, 2009

Predictions for slow economic growth now through 2011

Economist Jack Kern is generally quite optimistic about the U.S. economic outlook, saying there are a lot of signs for growth.  He cites America's ability to innovate as a key method of job creation.  He says "remember, while unmployment is high, the economy is still functioning at a high level and sustaining growth in many areas." He does not see inflation as a problem in the next 18-24 months and, he points to apartments as a stable asset class. Read more > > >

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Law Effective January 1 Relating to Deceased Apartment Tenants

As a landlord with tenants who live alone -- what do you do if they die?

A new Oregon law taking effect January 1 2010 provides the same rights as a tenant to the certain individuals. These individuals, if claiming rights, must be able to provide reasonable evidence of their status: (a) personal representatives (b) heirs or devisees, or (c) any person designated in writing by the tenant to be contacted by the landlord if the tenant dies.

The bill provides for certain specific language to be contained in any abandoned property notice, and that a copy of the notice be sent to: the Oregon Department of State Lands, any personal representative, heir, devisee, or designated person the landlord knows of.

Landlords must NOT release any property until the Oregon Department of State Lands approves the disposition.

If a landlord complies with this process, they are not liable to others who have claims to the property.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Price just reduced on this Tigard 4-plex - now $350,000

This Tigard 4-plex offers a buyer a unique opportunity to acquire 4 units consisting of a single family home and a triplex all on one tax lot. The house has 2 bedrooms and measures aprox. 850 sq. ft.; the triplex has 3 one-bedroom apartments measuring approx. 650 square feet. The property has been well maintained and the windows were recently replaced. The home features a large garage and an additional covered parking space. Each unit has its own parking and there is one covered parking space. On-site laundry and storage shed.  For information download the marketing flyer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

National Retail Federation economist believes recession is ending

The chief economist for the National Retail Federation said in a report released Tuesday that figures suggest “the recession is ending,” and she forecast a growing economy in the second half of 2009 despite ongoing weakness in consumer spending. Read more > > >

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New MAX Rail Line Opens Saturday, Bringing "Green" to Clackamas

The MAX train green line opens to Clackamas this Saturday. Read more about the history of the line's development in a special feature article published today in the Portland Tribune. Learn all about the celebratory activities at TriMet's homepage.

Like all MAX line openings, the train is expected to spur additional development along the rail line, including the development and increased desirability of multifamily properties.

The Portland Tribune recently ran a story regarding local city leaders arguing over who should be first to get the next MAX line. The piece is available here at: Cities Fight to Avoid Being Left at the Station. Currently, the next lines are set to run from Portland to Milwaukie (opening 2015) and top priorities for new lines include from Portland to Sherwood along Hwy 99 and from Portland to Gresham via SE Powell.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Look Ahead at New Jobs Coming to Vancouver, Washington

Recent events in Vancouver are priming the pump of the city’s economic engine. On August 13th 2009, the Port of Vancouver dedicated a new marine terminal, Terminal 5. The terminal is part of the West Vancouver Freight Access Project, a $137 million rail project expected to be completed next summer. The Washington State Department of Transportation expects the project to yield up to 4,000 new jobs, nearly doubling local and state tax revenues and attracting millions in private investment. The Port is receiving $2.5 million in federal stimulus money for the project.

In June 2009, SEH America -- a Japanese manufacturer of solar equipment and computer chip components -- purchased the 174-acre Vancouver campus of HP for $55 million. HP is leasing back part of the property for the time being. SEH America is expected to use the former HP facilities for manufacturing its products. A company spokesman referred to the purchase as part of its long term investment in Vancouver. Since 2006 the company has spent $350 million upgrading its East Vancouver plant. The company announced in February it would double its Vancouver workforce, which would mean ultimately adding as many as 1,000 jobs.

Also in June, developers submitted plans to transform a 26-acre industrial site along Vancouver’s waterfront into a bustling riverfront extension of Vancouver’s downtown district. Work is scheduled to begin in 2011. (From news reports.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update on Oregon Legislative Changes On Tenant Fees

Legislative update by J. Norton Cabell, from the Rental Housing Association of Greater Portland. Download their complete newsletter here. HFO Investment Real Estate encourages membership in the RHAGP. Visit their membership section here.

Effective January 1, 2010, SB 771 passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, provide the following with regard to tenant fees:

Prohibited fees.
All one-time fees such as cleaning fees, pet fees, carpet cleaning fees, move-in fees and fees for service or companion animals are prohibited.

Allowed fees.
Certain noncompliance fees are allowed.
Non-compliance fees that are allowed and are not to exceed $50 are:
  1. Late payment of utilities to the landlord
  2. Failure to clean up pet waste
  3. Failure to clean up garbage from outside the dwelling unit
  4. Parking violations
  5. Improper use of vehicles, such as speeding, on the premises
Other allowed fees that may be more than $50 are:
  1. Late charges for a bounced check, plus any amount the landlord was charged by the bank
  2. Any pet violations in a manufactured home
  3. Breaking a lease (limited to 1.5x rent) - in the alternative, the landlord may charge for damages
  4. Charges for services requested by the tenant and not required by law such as
  • Key replacements
  • Lock-out fees
Written Disclosures Required for Deposits and Fees
Landlords must give written disclosure of rent, deposits and fees when preparing a rental agreement or when taking a deposit for future rental.

Security deposits
  • Landlords may not charge a security or pet deposit for companion or service animal
  • Landlords can charge for their own labor when making repairs or cleaning
  • Rent for the time a rental unit is unavailable for renting because of cleaning or repairs necessitated by the tenant can be charged to a security deposit
  • If agreed to in the rental agreement, if the carpet was cleaned before the tenant moved in, the landlord can charge from teh deposit carpet cleaning expenses, even if the tenant had the carpet cleaned, and regardless of the condition of the carpet
  • If a tenant terminates a fixed-term tenancy before expiration, a landlord may charge actual damages, including rent and cost of re-renting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oregon Job Market Seeing Signs of Hope

Oregonian reporter Lisa Grace Lednicer reports that there are glimmers of hope in the state job market.

Read More > > >

Factory Orders Rising at Highest Annualized Rate Since 2006

One of the key measures of whether a recession is ending has always been the status of factory orders. Wells Fargo reports today that factory orders have risen for the fourth straight month, rising 1.3% in July. Notable gains were seen in the transportation sector. Excluding the volatile transportation sector (which did not see a jump in July as a result of the cash for clunkers program), orders shed 0.7 percent but remain positive on a three-month annualized basis. The three month annualized rate is the highest since 2006 and suggests orders have turned the corner, Wells Fargo Economics Group reports.