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Featured Listing

For Sale: $495,000

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Monthly Newsletter from Galand Haas

Lane County Real Estate

RMLS Most Available Data For This 2014 Reporting Period

MAY HIGHLIGHTS

Lane County saw an upswing in seasonal activity this May. Pending sales, at 461, bested numbers from May 2013 (435) by 6.0% and the previous month (356) by 29.5%. New listings (654) increased 1.7% over the 643 listings posted in May 2013 and 10.1% over the 594 posted just last month. The 319 closed sales showed a 8.5% increase over April’s 294 but were 10.6% less strong than the 357 closings entered in May 2013. Florence had 35 closings this month—the best May for closed sales in Florence on the RMLS™ record.

Total market time contracted to 92 days in May, and inventory remained at 4.9 months for the third consecutive month.

YEAR-TO-DATE SUMMARY

Lane County’s real estate activity continues to be slightly cooler this year compared to 2013. New listings (2,557) have increased by 2.2% over 2013, but pending sales (1,659) and closed sales (1,287) have decreased 3.9% and 7.3%, respectively, from the first five months of 2013.

AVERAGE AND MEDIAN SALE PRICES

The average price so far in 2014 was $230,100, up 6.8% from the same period of 2013, when the average was $215,400. In the same comparison, the median has risen 8.1% from $192,000 to $207,500.

We Have Buyers Looking For These Homes

Campus Area/East Eugene

2+ bedrooms, within walking distance to U of O, priced up to $375,000

Bethel/Danebo

3+ bedrooms, 2+ baths, 1500+ sqft, priced up to $215,000

July 2014

Money Management Guide for the Time-Pressed

You don’t need as long as you think to get your financial life in order. Just squeeze in these 12 easy moves—some of which take a mere 15 minutes to tackle.

With longer work days complicating the already Herculean task of juggling job and family, you probably don’t have a minute to spare. Like many people, you’re eager to find ways to get the most done in the least amount of time. That helps explain why you find yourself answering e-mails in the grocery store checkout line and eating in the car while shuttling between activities.

Lack of time may also be to blame for the fact that financial tasks all too often fall to the bottom of your to-do list. According to government time-use studies, the average American rarely gets to money-management chores; those who do will spend a scant 15 minutes a day on them.

Granted, it’s not just time that gets in the way. Many financial projects can seem overwhelming because of the sheer number of choices (which investment is best out of the thousands available? which credit card? which cable provider?). Studies show that when people are presented with too many possibilities, they can become paralyzed, a phenomenon known in social science circles as the paradox of choice. Carnegie Mellon economist George Loewenstein, who studies consumer behavior, explains that people do nothing because they’re afraid of doing the wrong thing. But as Baltimore financial planner Tim Maurer notes, “Inaction is a decision too—and ordinarily not a good one.”

Fortunately, you don’t need more than a coffee break, a lunch hour, or a Saturday morning to make some smart moves with your money—moves that can cut your expenses, boost your savings, and protect your family’s finances. “The key to meeting long-term goals is to break them into short-term steps that are easier to accomplish,” says Loewenstein. Click on the links below for a dozen small steps with big payoff, whether you have 15 minutes or a few hours to spare.

IN 15 MINUTES OR LESS
Get on Track for Retirement

Yes, you really can devise a smart savings plan for retirement in just a quarter of an hour. The potential reward is huge: A survey by banking giant HSBC found that people who have even a rudimentary plan for reaching retirement goals are ending up with up to three times as much money as those without one.

Step one: Figure out your monthly savings target by filling in basic info like your projected retirement age and current savings rate at T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator (troweprice.com). Time needed: five minutes.

Step two: Coming up short? Use the remaining 10 minutes to pump up your 401(k) contributions on your plan’s website. If you can’t put away as much as the calculator recommends, commit to automatically increasing the amount you’re saving at the time of your raise; half of large employers offer this feature, according to Aon Hewitt.

Target Your Savings

Want to save money for a rainy day or a sunny vacation week but never have enough leftover cash to stash for these goals? Have the money taken directly from your paycheck, so you’ll never miss it. Only about 20 percent of workers split their paycheck among multiple accounts, though many employees with access to direct deposit can do so, reports electronic-payments industry group NACHA. The association found that those who take advantage save $90 more a month than those who don’t.

How to do it: If you don’t have dedicated savings accounts for each of your goals, set them up. Discover Bank (discoverbank.com) is a good option since it consistently pays higher-than-average rates, recently 1 percent a year. Opening accounts online takes 10 minutes tops. Next contact your payroll department to see if you can split your paycheck; if so, figure on filling out a form, adding another five minutes. Not an option? Set up automatic transfers from your checking account so that the money is moved on payday.

Know the Score

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling reports that only four in 10 Americans know their credit score. A good reason to be among them: This number determines what interest rate you’ll get on loans and credit cards.

How to check: Pony up $20 to get your score at myfico.com. The FICO scoring model, the one most commonly used by lenders, ranges from 300 to 850. A score of 740 or higher entitles you to the best rates; if yours is lower, see Juice Your Score for quick ways to raise it.

Download a Shopping Buddy

You know that coupons can reduce the bite groceries and other household goods take out of your budget—25 percent of take-home pay for the average family—but you can’t spend hours perusing the Sunday circulars. Fortunately, there are apps for that. Download these:

Coupon Sherpa: Delivers coupons to your phone for in-store scanning (free for iPhone and Android).

CardStar: Stores your merchant loyalty cards on your phone, so you won’t miss out on points or discounts (free for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone).

IN ONE HOUR
Increase Marital Harmony

Nine out of 10 married people avoid talking to their partner about money, an American Express poll found. Sound familiar? Dodging these discussions may help you avoid fights in the present, but you’ll pay in the long run, says Mary Claire Allvine, co-author of The Family CFO: The Couple’s Business Plan for Love and Money ($21, amazon.com). Says Allvine: “Research shows that couples who regularly look at their balance sheets together do better financially.” She recommends scheduling one-hour “dollar dates” to get on the same page.

Date one: Crack open a bottle of wine to loosen the nerves, then bring out the laptop and register on money-management site Mint.com. Take just 15 minutes to upload your accounts and you’ll get a balance sheet (how much you’ve got and what you owe) and a look at your cash flow (what’s coming in and what’s going out). For the rest of the date, divvy up a pack of index cards and separately write down your money-related goals (say, paying off debt or taking a cruise). Then come together to prioritize your top three.

Date two: Spend the first 20 minutes figuring out how much cash each of your three goals will require. Next determine when you want to accomplish each of them and how much you need to save per month to do so. Finally, program the goals into Mint, and the site will track your progress toward them.

Get Disaster-Ready

“The majority of Americans haven’t included financial documents in their disaster plan,” says Jim Judge, of the American Red Cross’s Scientific Advisory Council. Be prepared: Scan the paperwork below onto two CDs. Keep one at home and one in a safe-deposit box.

  • Driver’s license, passport
  • Social Security card
  • Health insurance card
  • Insurance policies
  • Mortgage and other loan papers
  • Property deeds
  • Car title and registration
  • Marriage license
  • Your will
  • Last year’s tax return
  • Bank and brokerage account numbers
Shrink Your Bils

Today the average wireless customer pays $1,320 annually; cable customers shell out around $800. BillShrink.com can help you reduce those costs. Fill out a quick worksheet—your address, how much you pay, favorite channels, and so on—and directly upload data from your phone account. The site will identify lower-cost providers based on your current usage and show you exactly how much you could save over two years. Use the rest of the hour to cancel your current accounts and switch to a new carrier.

Find Your Perfect Blend

Is anxiety about finding the perfect investment—high growth potential! low risk!—keeping you from making decisions about where to put your money? Don’t let it. Studies by the financial consulting firm Ibbotson Associates show that swings in your portfolio value are due more to your exposure to the stock market generally than the specific stocks, bonds, or mutual funds you pick.

How to do it: Use the portfolio models below as a guide, and if you want to fine-tune the mix, check out the asset allocator tool at cnnmoney.com/tools. Or, for a more hands-off approach, go for a target-date retirement fund from T. Rowe Price or Vanguard. These invest in a preset mix of stocks and bonds based on how far you are from retirement, and automatically grow more conservative as you near your quit date.

 
Cut the Clutter

Invest a few hours in getting rid of the financial detritus that’s filling your filing cabinet, and you’ll take a psychic load off your shoulders, says therapist Debbie Stanley, author of Organize Your Home in No Time ($17, amazon.com).

Protect Your Legacy

Who wants to spend an afternoon thinking about their mortality? No one, which is why 55 percent of Americans don’t have a will, according to FindLaw.com. “But without one, you could be leaving disposition of your assets and the guardianship of your minor children to a court,” says New Jersey attorney Gerard Brew. If you have young kids and/or significant assets, you should really consult a lawyer. For now, however, download Quicken’s WillMaker Plus ($35) from nolo.com. The program takes only 30 minutes to complete. But count on the discussion with your spouse over whether his mother or your brother would make a better guardian to add some time.

Get on Recruiters' Radars

Today 89 percent of firms use social media to find candidates, according to Jobvite. Not seeking work? “The best time to create a digital footprint is before you’re looking,” says Miriam Salpeter, author of Social Networking for Career Success ($19, amazon.com). That way your next move can find you.

How to do it: If you’re not yet on LinkedIn, the site most companies use to recruit, start by uploading your résumé. Include your entire job history, since profiles with multiple jobs are 12 times more likely to be viewed than those with one; add a photo, and your click-through rate increases by seven times. Be sure to use keywords in your summary that are important in your industry (hint: check job ads to find them) so that you’ll come up in searches.

Juice Your Credit Score

An excellent score—740 and up—is money in your pocket: On a 30-year fixed-rate $250,000 mortgage, someone with a score of 620 would pay about $240 more per month than someone with a 760. While a good score is earned over time, you can do these two things to quickly boost your number:

Step one: Get a free credit report from each of the three agencies that track consumer credit at annualcreditreport.com. Read them carefully looking for mistakes. Any errors—about one in five have them, the Policy & Economic Research Council estimates—could be costing you points. Report any problems to each of the bureaus and the lender (there’s a form at each website).

Step two: Call your card issuer to ask for an increase in your credit limit, since how much you tap of your available credit is a key factor in determining your score. The more unused credit you have, the better you look—ideally, you should use no more than 10 percent of what’s available to you.

Read more at realsimple.com | Money Management Guide for the Time-Pressed

 

Building A Vertical Herb Garden

A vertical garden can turn a plain wall into a wonderful feature wall. View this DIY Network video to find out the basics on how to build a vertical herb garden. (01:00)

Read more at diynetwork.com | Vertical Herb Garden

 

 

Spicy Crushed Hummus

Total Time: 10 mins
Yield: 4 cups
Level: Easy
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 4 cups canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Baked lavash chips, for serving

 

Directions

1. Heat the canola oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic and jalapeno until soft, about 2 minutes.

2. Put 3 cups of the chickpeas in a food processor. Add the sauteed garlic and jalapeno, 3 tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil and lemon juice and process until smooth. If too tight, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the remaining 1 cup chickpeas to the food processor and pulse a few times; the mixture should be chunky. Sprinkle the top with the smoked paprika and parsley. Serve with lavash chips.

Read more at foodnetwork.com | Spicy Crushed Hummus

Compiled from Google, 2014

 

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