Charles Buck
Portland Area Realtor®
T: 503.799.1742

Q & A


What is a “CMA”?

CMA stands for Comparative Market Analysis or Customized Market Analysis. A CMA is a reference for deciding at what price you should list or buy a home and it is performed by a Realtor.

Factors for consideration:

  Comparable properties (style, size, finish, condition, location etc.) that have recently sold.
  Comparable properties currently listed as For Sale in the RMLS.
  How long similar properties have been on the market.
  Property listings that have expired or were canceled.

A CMA is not an appraisal. Appraisals can only be performed by licensed Appraisers and depicts what a home’s value is at the time of the appraisal. An appraisal will always be performed when a lender is in the process of issuing a mortgage loan for a property. An appraisal can also be performed to determine what the total replacement cost of a structure will be. Typically, there will be slight variations in the ultimate value arrived at by different Appraisers and/or Realtors.

Why should I use a Realtor?

Pricing, preparation, technical aspects, legalities, processes, protocol, coordination and time lines… Then sometimes there is lot line issues, wells, septic systems, radon, flooding, repairs, etc. to contend with. Your Realtor is a professional in this field and should help you navigate through it all. The premium designation to look for when selecting a Realtor is CRS (Certified Residential Specialist). All CRS designees belong to the Council of Residential Specialists. The prestigious CRS designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers, and brokers. Less than 3% of all Realtors possess this certification.

How long does the Buying process usually take?

It varies greatly from one transaction to another. The shortest scenario will be a highly motivated cash buyer who wants to buy a vacant listing being sold “as-is”. This can be as quick as one week. More often than not though, when a home inspection, minor repairs and a mortgage loan are involved, around thirty days is the norm. Short Sales are different. If successful, it can take anything from four to about six months. This is due to all the complexities, processes and miles of red tape. There are exceptions though – I have had transactions which took only 30 to 60 days to close but I have heard of one which lasted two years!

What is Radon and should I be concerned about it?

Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock and gets into the air you breathe. It is estimated that at least 1 in 7 properties in the Portland Metro Area have elevated radon levels and after smoking it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. So, yes, I do feel that it is something to be concerned about. Fortunately, high radon levels are relatively easy and cheap to mitigate.

The EPA recommends:

Test your home for radon — it’s easy and inexpensive.
Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), or higher.
Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
(The World Health Organization considers levels higher than 2.7 pCi/L as dangerous).

What is a short sale?

Simply put, a short sale occurs when a home that is sold for less than the mortgage amount owed and the homeowner cannot make up the difference. For example; if your outstanding mortgage amount is $500,000 but you could realistically only sell the home for $475,000; you would owe your lender $25,000 – the amount “short”. After an application describing and proving your hardship, the bank may allow you, the homeowner, to sell the house and maybe forgive you the $25,000 difference. Simply owing more than the home is worth yet wanting to sell regardless of a lack of hardship is not reason enough for a lender to approve a short sale.

While the lender doesn’t own the house, it is used as collateral to secure the mortgage loan and the owner can’t sell it without the lender’s cooperation. In an ideal short sale, the lender would be writing off the shortage, any outstanding liens, costs and fees. Consult an attorney or a tax accountant to discuss your particular situation and to determine if any taxes will be owed to the IRS on any amount forgiven by the lender.

When payments on a mortgage loan are more than 90 days late, the lender will most likely initiate foreclosure proceedings. Please call me ASAP if this is the case – there might still be time and some options to salvage the situation!


Please contact me if you need more detailed information on any of the above topics or any other real estate related matters…

Email me with any questions which you would like to see answered here!