How to Buy Bend Oregon Vacation Rentals


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Hello again, and welcome to the Bend Real Estate Minute!  I am Thom Gardner, Bend Oregon real estate buyers’ broker at Bend Brokers Realty. You can find me at, call me at 541-480-7554, or email me at Thom—that’s T-H-O-M—  This video is How to buy Bend Oregon vacation rentals.

One of the biggest questions I get every year and especially in the summertime when people are here recreating, and tourists are having a great time in Bend, I get all these last minute calls—I probably get 10 a year—saying, “Hey, can you come meet us for a beer and talk about something?” And I say, “Sure!”  I’m always up for going out for a drink. If you want to take me out for a drink on your dime, call me!

So I go and meet folks, and the question is often the same.  “We want know how to buy Bend Oregon vacation rentals?” It sounds like a great business idea… and it is! It’s just unfortunately not an original one.

Bend Oregon vacation rentals have become very saturated over the years. In 2012, the city of Bend passed a law saying that, for one thing, they had to be 300 ft. apart because they were ruining neighborhoods. You want to live in a nice, quiet neighborhood, and you’ve got people coming and partying for the weekend, leaving trash and parking up the street, et cetera, and suddenly Bend Oregon’s West side is not so good as a permanent place to live.

So, they passed that rule. Now there are very heavy fees. You have to pay a hotel tax on vacation rentals in the city of Bend. They have code enforcement people looking at VRBO and AirBnB all the time and fining people—and the fines are pretty hefty. And there’s a $2,000 application fee.

So, because of that, if you’re looking for Bend Oregon vacation rentals on the west side, they’re very saturated, very hard to get, almost impossible to get a permit. You’ll find there is an eligibility map (I put a link up here on the video). It will show you either red or yellow for a certain address. You type in a certain address, and it will show you on the map. You can see a red or yellow box. Red means it’s not eligible.  Yellow means it might be eligible. Usually, there’ll be two or three yellows together. What it means is, “Hey, your neighbor might have already applied for that permit. It just hasn’t gone through yet.”

But don’t get seduced by a yellow box either. My house is one of the few on the West Side of Bend that have a yellow box. Wonderful, right? No, my neighborhood forbids vacation rentals; so do many others here in town. So, that’s a very difficult nut to crack.

Vacation rentals are an easier game if you want to buy some property along the river or something that has some really great attraction for a tourist outside of the city limits because there, there are no rules. But in the city of Bend, very hard.

And you can occasionally by one that already has a permit attached. Bend Oregon vacation rentals that existed prior to 2012 were grandfathered in. And some of those homes have transferable permits—many don’t, many you have to reapply for. Usually, you’ll get it, but not if your neighbor beats you.

So, those go for a premium. Here’s an example. A few streets over from me on Awbrey Road, the average price on that road is probably about $600,000. An average home there a couple of months ago went for nearly $1.1 million. We’re talking the same house as the $600,000 house next door. It went for almost $1.1 million because it was one of Bend Oregon’s vacation rentals with a transferable short-term permit.

There you go! There’s a big premium in those simply because there’s big money in those. I had people last year—several of them actually—come and say, “Hey, we’ve got about $250,000 or $300,000 to spend. We’d like to buy a Bend Oregon vacation rental!”

No, I’m sorry. Them’s the breaks. That’s the situation. I’m going to put the link up for the short-term Bend Oregon vacation rentals eligibility map on the video. And if you have questions, hey, I can help you! Thom Gardner, Bend Brokers Realty,, 541-480-7554 or 1-800-GO4BEND or Thom—T-H-O-M—

See you on the next one!

Multiple Offers in Bend Oregon Real Estate 2016


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Multiple Offers in Bend Oregon Real Estate 2016

Hey, Thom Gardner, Bend Oregon real estate agent, Principal Broker, and Pure Buyer’s Agent here again for the Bend Oregon Real Estate Minute So, it is May, middle of May. And as has happened the last several years, that means multiple offers in good old Bend Oregon real estate.
I’ve already been involved in one—actually, two. The first one was a little strange in that we got a second chance after we were beaten on our original offer because the original buyer got buyer’s remorse and pulled out within a day or two.
On the second one, we came in at full price on a $600,000 home, and ended up being beaten by a significant margin.
So, here’s what you need to know about multiple offers. First of all, we need to identify if the home you are looking at is going to be in a hot area of Bend Oregon, or a neighborhood or the home itself is such that it’s going to be subject to  multiple offers.
Now, I can tell you whether that is the case. Generally, these are going to be on the west side, generally in specific neighborhoods, and not ugly ducklings because they tend to last awhile. I can help you identify if that’s the case.
Now, if that is the case, we go to part B which is where you need to have a conversation with yourself and ask yourself “how much more than list am I willing to pay for this house in Bend?” You may only get one chance.
In the old days, we would submit an offer in multiple offers situations and they would come back and say, “Okay, we want your highest and best offer.” However, what I’m finding this year and last is that they are just taking the highest offer because, often, they’re so high that it’s a case of a bird in the hand versus two in the bush, and they want that bird now. So, you’re going to need to decide how high you’re willing to go.
And remember, it’s tough for me as your Bend Oregon real estate agent to advise you to go too high above list because often, I find that buyers, within a week or two, if they’re paying let’s say $525,000 for a house that was listed at $500,000, they have buyer’s remorse, and they think, “Gosh! Did somebody play me? Have I been jerked around on this deal? Should I have bid so high? Did I pay too much for this house?”
I hate seeing buyers in that situation. I hate seeing you have to pay more than list. But you know what? In May, June, July or August in Bend, 2016 especially with such low inventory you may have to for the home that you really desire.  So then we make the offer, we hope for the best, and we move on from there.
Now, remember, the key with multiple offers—and this is tough in a moving market like we have in Bend Oregon real estate where it’s moving so quickly in terms of price as we’re up 10% in two months—is that it has to appraise. So if you’re getting a loan, remember, it’s going to have to appraise at the amount that we go above list on. If it doesn’t, we go back and we start over again.
If you’re paying cash, that’s not a problem. You just need to figure out how much cash you’re willing to let loose with.
Okay! Again, Thom Gardner, Bend Oregon real estate agent, Principal Broker, and pure buyer’s agent for This has been the Bend Real Estate Minute. Take care!

Making Offers on Bend Oregon Real Estate


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Making offers on Bend Oregon real estate or Bend homes

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Hey everybody, Thom Gardner again, principal broker and pure buyer’s broker at which is part of Bend Brokers Realty.
So I’m going to tell you a little bit today about making an offer on Bend Oregon real estate or Bend homes. Again, most of my clients are from places different than Bend, far away. So often, we’re making offers on Bend real estate with them in a remote location and me here on the ground in Bend, making sure everything happens.
Obviously we need the offer itself. First we have to identify Bend Oregon homes or Bend Real Estate you may want to offer on. Then we have to be sure to pick the right Bend Oregon property for you. I have other videos and resources on my site which tell you how I help you do this from afar, including using a Bend Oregon MLS portal, and having me run professional videos for you on the ones that really pique your interest. So, first, we need the offer itself.
The next thing we need is earnest money. I generally recommend 1%. So let’s say you are making offers on Bend Oregon real estate in the $500,000 range. You will write a check for approximately $5000 and away we go. Now, that money stays in my desk for three business days after we get a deal. At the end of that third business day, I have to submit it to escrow and it will be cashed. So it needs to be liquid at that point.
But your money does not go to anybody else, we send ONLY a copy of the check when making offers on Bend Oregon real estate, until we get a deal. And again, then I wait the statutory period of three business days, just to protect you in case for some reason you get cold feet and you want that money back right away. It’s easier to get it back when it hasn’t gone into escrow yet.
Now, the last thing we need is proof of funds if you’re paying cash. This can be a bank statement with the number redacted, something of that sort, or even a copy of your bank statement off of the internet, again with your account numbers redacted.
Or in the case of a loan, we need a pre-qualification letter from a lender. And if you decide to go that route, you just put them in touch with me. I tell them what we need, the address of the property, the price we’re offering. And then we go.  I like to only have the price we are offering on Bend Oregon homes in the letter, so that the other side doesn’t think you have deeper pockets.
It’s a pretty simple process. Those are the three pieces we need- The Offer, The Earnest Money, and The Proof of Funds or a Pre-Qualification Letter.  And then the REAL fun begins!

Again, Thom Gardner, Bend Brokers Realty, and that’s the process of making offers on Bend Oregon real estate or Bend homes. I’m here with the Bend Real Estate Minute for Take care.

Bend Oregon Real Estate Contingency Periods


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Bend Oregon real estate contingency periods

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Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of the Bend Real Estate Minute at I am Thom Gardner, Principal Broker and Pure Buyer’s Broker at Bend Brokers Realty.
So today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the standard Bend Oregon real estate contingency periods when making an offer. Most of you probably live in different states and may have different contingency periods where you live. So here we go. I call these the basic 5/5/10 and the infinite one.
All of these Bend Oregon real estate contingency periods start the day after we get the material in question- the morning after on the next business day. Let’s say we get your disclosures on the 5th. The contingency period is going to start the morning of the 6th if it’s a business day.
The first two are five business days. First we have the Preliminary Title Report, and Codes, Covenants and Restrictions, which are the rules for your neighborhood. As I said, this period runs five days. The next one is the Disclosures, which are on a four-page form that the seller has to fill out about everything they know that is wrong, or not wrong with their home, all of the systems, et cetera. That is also five business days.
Now, the biggest of the Bend real estate contingency periods and the most important one that people generally tend to pull out on, if they’re going to pull out of a real estate deal is the Inspection contingency. This one is 10 business days. Now, that starts the day after– again that’s a business day – we get a deal on a home.
So in that 10 business days, we have to 1) obtain an inspector and get them to inspect the home, 2) get the report back, which usually takes 12 to 24 hours and, 3) this is important, we have to negotiate all repairs on the home based on those findings in the inspection report during that 10 business days. So that’s the one that can be a bugaboo. If we don’t hear back from a Bend seller in that 10 business days, we can ask to extend that period. If they don’t, then we either pull out or we decide to go ahead and trust them, which is never generally a good policy.
Now, the infinite one is the loan. If you’re getting a Bend Oregon real estate loan, and a little over half of my clients are cash these days, but if you get a mortgage, you have to be able to obtain your loan, and that runs right up to closing. If you’re denied your loan at closing, and believe me, this does occasionally happen, you’re generally still going to get your earnest money back.
And most importantly as well, even if you are paying cash, the Bend Oregon real estate has to appraise. If the home does not appraise for the value in the deal, the whole thing starts over again and you can pull out or renegotiate with the seller if they will do so.
Now lastly, we can write in contingencies for anything you want, a contingency on your home selling where you live now or a contingency on the Yankees winning the World Series. I mean you can literally write anything you want. Of course, the key is that the seller has to accept!
There you go, there are your main Bend Oregon real estate contingency periods. Again, this is Thom Gardner, Principal Broker and Pure Buyer’s Broker at Bend Brokers Realty. This has been the Bend Real Estate Minute. Take care.

How I Became a “Buyers Only” Bend Oregon Real Estate Agent


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How I became a “Buyers Only” Bend Oregon Real Estate Agent

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Hi and welcome to the Bend Real Estate Minute. I am Thom Gardner, principal broker at

So, I want to talk to you a little bit today about my origin story as a Buyer’s Bend Oregon real estate agent. People always ask me, “Why are you a buyer’s agent? Why aren’t you a regular realtor? Won’t you make more money?” And that might be true, but I wouldn’t be as happy and here’s why.

In the early part of the 2000s, I was selling furniture. Now, furniture is a business very much, again, like used-car sales. Not a lot of truth-telling going on there. A lot of them are trying to rip off the buyer. Like those 40% off sales, where the other salesmen and I were in there marking things up 60% that morning, so we can mark them down 40%. And my bosses tried to push the junk items on people, with high profits.

That really made me sick. I couldn’t stand it. And so very quickly I figured out that if I want to survive in this thing, I have to figure out a way to do this with integrity.

So, I figured out that Bend home buyers came in with certain needs. I’d go to them and listen and figure out what their needs were, and then I’d point them to what I would buy regardless of profit margin, regardless of what my bosses were telling me to sell them. I would point them to the good stuff that had the best price for them, and which wouldn’t break down in 60 days.

And so, doing that, I won the trust of my buyers very quickly. They would come back, and they would tell their friends. Over the two years I did this, I worked in two different stores. I was the highest producing salesman at both places and the second one, hired me away from the first because I was such a producer, and gave me a benefits package and weekends off, which you just don’t get in that business. And all because I simply practiced buyer advocacy!

Fast forward to 2007 and my entry as a Bend Oregon real estate agent, and it’s simply the same thing. We’re supposed to tell buyers a wonderful story about how great the neighborhoods, houses, and the Bend real estate market are, the “Wouldn’t you want to live here?” pitch and all that stuff. Well, I quickly figured out that wasn’t always true and I believe it is my duty to point out the negatives to buyers who are making one of the largest decisions of their lives. And so, I rapidly became a pure, “buyers only” Bend Oregon real estate agent, where I could help protect my buyers, and where I could tell them the truth. That’s really important to me.

I want to go home at the end of the day and feel good about what I did. I want people to come up to me later on and say, “Gosh! What you did for us is fantastic!” And that’s exactly what I get and it makes me a very happy man. So, to sum up, I believe that my job is to protect my buyers, not to play the sales game. I am not a salesperson, I work for you.

My name is Thom Gardner, I am a principal broker and pure buyer’s broker at Thanks again!

Why hire a Bend Oregon Real Estate Buyer’s Agent?


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CONTACT ME HERE if I can be of help to you in your Bend Oregon Real Estate search!

An explanation as to why a Bend Real Estate Buyer’s Agent is in your best interest.

One of the questions I often get from prospective clients is, “Why should I hire a Bend buyer’s agent instead of just a standard Bend Oregon real estate agent?”. Read more

Rising Rates and your Bend Home Purchase

Rising rates and your Bend Home buying power

Thom’s Real World story of how rapidly rising interest rates just squeezed him out of buying the Bend home he had chosen to purchase.
You might think that mortgage rates are still so low, hovering today right around 4%, that it’s really not a big deal that they have been rising quickly on the back of Ben Bernanke’s testimony on Capitol Hill this week. Uncle Ben mentioned that the Fed might start tailoring back MBS purchases during its next few meetings, and that sent mortgage rates up .09 basis points in one day, one of the largest one day increases on record. But here’s a real story, my story, as to why it is a nasty development if you are trying to get the most Bend home you can for your money (and who isn’t?).
I was called into my mortgage broker’s office on Thursday, which was great timing, as we had just sold the second Bend home we had to sell, and were ready to make an offer, THAT DAY, on a house we had been watching for weeks. The real estate market in Bend is excruciatingly hot, so I wanted to move fast.
His demeanor was sober as we walked in. I had just paid off a $16,000 credit card balance to allow us to get this home, and was raring to go. We sat down and he said, “I can’t qualify you guys for the mortgage.”
My smile fell right off. “But we talked about this a few days ago, and you said we could move ahead once we got this debt paid off.”
“Yes,” he said, “that was true a few days ago. But rates just spike today. I had you at a 44.5% DTI (debt to income ratio, which takes into account your mortgage payment and all other dent payments versus your monthly NET income- banks don’t want to loan if you are over 45%) a few days ago, but mortgage rates have moved so much, you’re now at a 45.4% DTI. So I can’t qualify you for the loan.”
Needless to say, I was not and am not pleased. It’s not his fault, of course, he’s just the messenger. But this illustrates the fragility of buying power due to rapidly moving mortgage rates in real estate markets everywhere, not just good ol’ Bend Oregon mortgage rates. If your DTI is close, you can literally be completely taken out of a price range you THOUGHT you were in just a day or two before. He said he had to make calls to several borrowers explaining the same thing to them.
Mortgage rates are really, really important. Often I tell my clients to worry less about the price of the Bend home they are trying to purchase and squeezing every last dollar out of negotiations when it is the mortgage rate that is much more important. Spend some time with your mortgage broker, ask them about how you can lower your rate with the Yield Spread (by buying down the rate for cash) if you plan to be in it a long time, or how you can take a higher rate and get cash back towards closing costs by “selling” a higher rate to the lender. Note that banks often will not give you this option, you need to talk to a mortgage broker to get the best deal.
And what am I doing? I am waiting for mortgage rates to drop, hoping that the large, knee jerk reaction of the last week will settle a little, and secondly, waiting for the new credit report of mine to come out hoping that my 720 score will improve to over a 740, which will instantly drop our rate by 1/8 of a point, and maybe, just maybe get us in the door of our chosen Bend home.
Fingers crossed that the Bend real estate market waits for us!

So you want to reduce your property taxes?

A brief summary of my short time fighting the MAN in the Deschutes County property tax assessment protest system. A cautionary tale, indeed.

My wife and I saw the writing on the wall at the end of 2010- the market had picked up, rates were low, and the number of quality foreclosed homes was rapidly diminishing. It was time to buy, so we closed on our home in January of 2011. We got a home that had sold for $460,000 in 2006 for a paltry $200,000! The last time it sold for that was in the 90’s. Yep, we feel pretty good about it.

Over the past few years I have had many clients ask me how they could protest their property tax assessment and have them reduced. I’ve taken a class on how to do so, and you will find a sheet from the Deschutes County Tax Assessor explaining how to do so on my website. But I thought there would be nothing better than firsthand experience, so, as my appraisal and home sale price were 10-15% below the County’s RMV for my home (Real Market Value), I filled out the form in November, attached my appraisal and request to drop my RMV based upon it, and dropped it off in person at the Deschutes County Clerk’s office.

Now, the class I took made it sound sooooo easy. If you had an appraisal dated around January 15th of the year in question (taxes are assessed based on January values for the year in question), it should be a pretty good slam dunk. And of course a sale in that same month of the property in question should help as well.

So, I naively waited for my hearing, feeling my case was pretty solid. The hearing was set for March 8th, and on that day my wife and I arrived at the County building to wait for our turn. Each hearing lasts about 20 minutes, depending on the complexity of the case, and you can bring an expert witness such as a Realtor, an appraiser (better), or an attorney. As we sat in the hall, the representation for Deschutes County sat next to us, and told us how the hearing would run.

I had known that we would sit in front of a panel of 4 volunteer real estate experts, as well as a stenographer, but I hadn’t known that at this level of the process we would be opposed by an appraiser for Deschutes County Tax Assessor. We presented our case, which essentially consisted of our sale paperwork and the appraisal. They very, very briefly reviewed my materials, and then turned it over to the County’s representation.

She, of course, had prepared an entirely different appraisal. Her values were much higher, and though I disagreed a bit with some of the comps, the entire thing went so quickly that I really did not have time to review them. It was a whirlwind of figures and addresses, and part of the unfair nature of this process is that the County gets to review YOUR evidence for months, while you don’t get to see theirs UNTIL THE 20 MINUTE HEARING STARTS! How are you going to review a 40 page appraisal in that time? Guess what, you are not. The County official even told us outside the hearing room that she knew the whole process was very unfair, but she had little choice but to fulfill her role.

To make a long story short, the panel liked her comps better than those of our original appraiser. I have little faith in appraisals anymore, as EVERY SINGLE ONE I have had in my transactions over the past two years has come in EXACTLY at the sale price. EXACTLY. Not one single dollar over. It is a dirty business, in my opinion, and appraisers are too afraid of being sued to do anything but comply with the sale price. The fact that they always request and are given a copy of the sales contract BEFORE doing the appraisal, should tell you that there’s something wrong with this situation.

Now, if we wanted to we could take it to the next level, which is a hearing in Salem. Our case was not large enough to waste that sort of time, and we were told it would be many months before we could get an appointment. And of course, that we would surely lose. Lovely.

So, friends, my recommendation would be to make sure you bring an appraiser WITH YOU to your Deschutes County Tax hearing, to be sure you have a chance to beat this system. Your evidence needs to be thorough and extensive. Best of luck, you will need it!

BEWARE Multiple Offers, Artificial or Natural

Beware the new monster lurking in Bend. His name is “Multiple Offer”, and he comes in both natural, and artificial, forms.

I’m here to warn you, folks, that there is an ugly monster lurking about in the bend market that we haven’t seen hide nor hair of since 2006. His name, which I don’t even like to speak, is Multiple Offer. Egads! See, that wasn’t fun.

I have been involved this year in several multiple offers in Bend, and I do NOT recommend them. They generally cause people to bid homes up to levels that the homes don’t merit. Unless this home is your dream home, you have other options and I would always suggest that you exercise them and move on to your next choice.

This year they seem to come in more flavors than usual as well. You have the legit ones, where multiple people actually do offer at once on a home and they are then told they have so many days to come up with their “highest and best” offer. These things happen, and in a hot market such as ours, you will eventually come across one. But there is another kind that really gets my goat, an artificially drummed up kind in which the Listing agent sets the price artificially low, often on a short sale so that there is no real obligation for the seller to go through with it if no other offers appear. These are ugly, and in my opinion, unethical. And there’s a new type I just saw, which blew my mind. I’ll get to it in a bit. First, a couple examples of some I have seen this year.

The first was on a West Side bank owned. Those are rarely seen anymore, as we have pretty much run through our allotment of West side foreclosures, and it’s been a long while since I have seen one. But if you do see one and you want to buy it, you will be looking at multiple offer s. The one I was in occurred in January, and my buyer came in at $1000 over the asking price, which we thought at the time might actually get us the house. How wrong we were. This house ended up going for $28,000 over asking price, and mind you this was a home listed at around $175,000, so we’re talking a large percentage here. I DO NOT recommend you ever go more than a tiny amount over list price, as it rarely works out in the end for the buyer. Buyer Beware.

The next one was a short sale on the East side. The Realtor had been unsuccessful selling it, so one day she slashed the price by a large margin, to a hard to believe low amount. Well, it was hard to believe because it was never going to happen. This price was so cheap, the cheapest ever in that neighborhood, that buyers and their agents descended upon this home en masse. I ran into several agents that said “hey, have you seen this house? My buyers want to write on it.”. So did mine, I said. The Realtor then said that she was getting so many offers that she was telling everyone to submit their “highest and best” by that Friday. My buyers were willing to come in a bit higher than list, but I quickly became aware through other agents that it had already been bid up to a HIGHER price than it sat at for months with no offers! Much, much higher than the latest asking price! DO NOT fall for this trick! If a short sale looks too good to be true, folks, it is.

And now the new wrinkle. I saw a home, a very nice home, this week and it was a standard, traditional sale. The price seemed very fair, perhaps overly so. But the eye catcher was in the agent remarks, where it said that they were accepting offers through Thursday (the house just went on the market on Monday), and would decide Friday. Wow, I thought, what the heck is this? They must have already gotten a bunch of offers. Well, it turns out, that’s what they wanted us to think. But when I called on Tuesday to ask, I was told there were no offers yet. None. They were “anticipating” a buyer frenzy based on showing interest. Yep. That smelled to me like they were trying to build a buying frenzy through buyers liking this very nice home and being afraid someone would get it before they did, and gosh, now we better make our offer HIGH if we want to win! But a win when there is no one else competing is not a win at all.

So, the moral of my tale, folks, is that sellers and their agents have come up with some new ways to get you OVERLY excited. Don’t let them. These are the days of multiple offers in Bend. And if someone else m