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Dave Gillihan, branch manager at Churchill Mortgage, on buying and selling homes in Portland

It’s a seller’s market. But is there a good time to buy a home? 

We’re seeing seasonality. As soon as the spring flowers start to pop up, the crocuses, the daffodils, buyers are hot in the market. Homes really burst in value in those first few months of spring: March, April, May.

How can buyers prepare?

You’ve gotta have a letter of preapproval from the lender, have all the finances taken care of, so that you’re ready to make an offer on the spot. People are requesting fewer concessions, like closing costs, home inspection, repairs, that sort of thing, because it’s going to make your offer look less desirable. They’re literally drafting biographies trying to tug at the heartstrings of the sellers. Will that continue to work? I don’t know.

Any pitfalls for sellers?

You’re gonna look for the least risky offer. What is just now starting to happen is sellers are asking the listing [agent] to contact each of the lenders that have signed the preapproval letter and vet out that offer. I think that’s a wonderful thing. What I have found in our industry is that the letter written is sometimes an opinion, and it may not be valid. At the drop of a hat, you can have a prequalification letter just by having a conversation over the phone. So the seller could be at a loss.

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