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Habitat for Humanity Sets Example for Portland Real Estate Lawyers and Their Clients


Slinde Nelson supports Habitat for Humanity, and for good reason. Habitat has long been recognized as one of the country's (and the world's) top hands-on charities. In case you've been living under a rock, Habitat builds homes for the underprivileged, largely through the efforts of volunteers.

The economic disaster that hit the United States in 2008 hit no sector harder than the real estate market. True in Oregon, true nationwide. Again, this is no surprise unless you've been living like a potato bug.

Habitat's Portland branch seized on the opportunity, launching a fundraising campaign to come up with liquidity to snatch up land at bargain prices. Over the last several months, the group has reportedly purchased enough land to build as many as 150 houses--at least a five-year supply.

Habitat hopes to boost its production by at least 50 percent.

Portland real estate lawyers know that raw land has taken a huge hit, given that the purchaser not only has to finance the land and build out, but ride in a down market until a sale.

Habitat's project is similar to what a Portland or Seattle real estate lawyer might be seeing with its cash-rich clients--opportunistic, bargain basement shopping. This particular bargain shopper, however, is unique. After construction, Habitat turns around and sells its volunteer-built homes to families with a income of 30 to 60 percent of the area's median income.

The families put 1 percent down and put in 500 hours of volunteer work for the group. In return, the families not only get a newly constructed home, but also something so many people during the economic recession have been lacking: peace of mind.

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