Earth Advantage Designation

I am pleased to let you know that I have become an Earth Advantage Designated Broker. What does this mean? It means that I have attended and passed a course that gives me this accreditation. I have a very strong personal interest in living my life sustain-ably and making choices based upon being environmentally aware (yes, I used cloth diapers on my children and adore re-usable grocery bags). So this felt like an easy and natural thing to take on. I want to share with you a bit of what I have learned.

Earth Advantage is a third-party organization that is very active here in Oregon. These organizations tend to be regional with about 70 of them around the United States. What they do is set standards that are regionally acknowledged to allow home owners, builders, and Realtors to have a basis of understanding a criteria of environmental sustainability.

Earth Advantage is commonly seen in new construction. Builders long ago learned that building to these standards is popular with home buyers. An Earth Advantage designation on a new home makes that home more competitive as a commodity to be sold. So it not only helps the environment, but it helps the profitability of the home for the builder. An Earth Advantage home must have met sustainability standards that are 15% more stringent than building just to local code requirements. This means the house is built to be energy efficient, it takes into consideration where materials come from, and how materials are disposed of. Did you know that it takes an average of 13 years for the world to recover the resources that go into building a new home?

Earth Advantage designations can also be given to homes that are already built. In fact, the most sustainable home you can buy is one that is already built. You can do improvements to an already built home, think new windows, insulation, water conservation, that will make the existing home come up to modern standards for sustainability. A good place to start is by contacting Energy Trust of Oregon ( and obtaining one of their free energy saver kits. To go straight to the website, click here.

This is going to come into play in a big way, particularly in the City of Portland. Beginning January 1, 2018, selling a house in Portland will require providing a home energy score to prospective purchasers. While this is not going to be required in Lake Oswego, I do believe it is going to raise awareness of houses energy efficiency for consumers, and that we will see buyers of homes in Lake Oswego asking for similar accommodations from sellers.

I think we pretty easily understand the benefits of energy efficiency and sustainability for houses. It saves money, particularly over time. It can be better for our health. And it is environmentally responsible. I think some of the most exciting things you can do when you start to prioritize energy efficiency and sustainability are also just super easy. Did you know that putting in a $10 low-flow shower head can save you about $150 a year? Wrapping your water heater with a $25 insulated blanket can save you $200 a year? Things like light bulbs, programmable thermostats, and smart power strips are inexpensive and give you big pay back.

OK. I’ll get down off of my soap box. I hope you can tell that this is a subject that I really like. Feel free to reach out with questions on this subject. All three of us, Linda, Whitney, and myself, love to hear from you.

News & Notes

Real Estate News ~

Have a wood stove?  Planning to buy or sell a home with one? Note that beginning August 1st, 2010, in an effort to control emissions from smoke, when selling a home you will be required to remove the wood stove if it is “uncertified” by the DEQ.  Here is a link for more information: Woodstoves in Oregon

Greece and Mortgage Rates MBS Quoteline reports: ” Despite stronger than expected economic data, the financial situation in Greece held the greatest influence on mortgage rates this week. A flight to quality and prospects of slower economic growth in Europe were favorable for mortgage markets and negative for the stock market, and mortgage rates ended the week lower.”

Current Mortgage Rates and Mortgage Insurance Updates – According to Pat Goodell of Academy Mortgage:

  • “Some of the Mortgage Insurance companies have gone to tiered pricing based on credit scores which is good news to those with good credit scores.  Mortgage insurance companies also will now allow “up front mortgage insurance” (in lieu of monthly mortgage insurance) to be paid by the seller.  The potential advantage of this is that the seller can pay the up front mortgage insurance as part of any allowable closing costs that a buyer might negotiate for a seller to pay.  Then the buyer has no mortgage insurance premium to pay as part of their mortgage – this may or may not be an advantage to the buyer depending on their situation; but it does help for qualifying by reducing their monthly mortgage payment.  There are qualifying parameters for this option and the lender also has to approve this option as well.”
  • “Interest rates are holding steady now with the 30-yr fixed still hovering around 5% — 30-yr fixed today is actually available at 4.875% with 0 pts, depending on the buyer’s qualifications.”
  • Community Notes ~

    Farmers Market opens this Saturday, May 15th in Lake Oswego. (yay!)  This is the 10th Anniversary Celebration.  You can find the food  & fun at Millennium Plaza Park from 8:30AM – 1:30PM on Saturdays through October 9th.   Local musical group, Southern Nights, will perform from 10:30AM till 12:30PM at the kickoff, and the Bike Gallery will be there to check your kids’ helmets!

    May is Sustainability Action Month. Take advantage of these local events:

    • Free screening of the film Deep Green with local film-maker Matt Briggs. This is an insightful look at “uncovering the best people with the best solutions for “de-carbonizing energy and restoring the natural world.” It will be held Saturday evening, May 15th at 7:30Pm at the Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, 4040 Sunset Drive.  Bring your family and friends!
    • Get a good look at Lake Oswego’s Century Trees on the Century Tree Bike Ride, May 22nd.  The bike ride is hosted by the Planning Dept.’s Green Team, and more information can be had by contacting Laura Weigel at .

    Lake Oswego’s city council created the Sustainability Action Board (SAB) in 2008. For more information on sustainability, visit: The Sustainability Resource Page

    To Move or Not To Move / Lifestyle Options for Older Adults , an educational program for seniors and their families is designed to give information on housing options and resources in Lake Oswego.  You are invited to attend on May 16th, from 2:00PM to 5:00Pm at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue.