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A hot market in a cool place

Here’s a Realtor’s or a real estate attorney’s dream or nightmare. Maybe both.

What if you had so many sales and deals working that you couldn’t get them all closed because your county didn’t have enough real estate appraisers?

True story out of Astoria, Oregon, which is situated not far from where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. On a clear day, you can see Washington state, its forests and its lumber mills across the river. My wife and I visited the Pacific Northwest in June and highly recommend the nearby Willamette Valley wine country. It’s easy to see why people would be hot to trot to move there.

Astoria is in Clatsop County, which has a population of about 37,000 people. And how many of those people are licensed real estate appraisers. Um, eight.

That number is bit small, considering the county’s competitive housing market. There is a big backlog.

Debbie Morrow, the executive director of the Clatsop Association of Realtors, said transactions that would normally take a few weeks are now taking eight weeks or longer.

And sellers are antsy to move their properties. Alaina Giguere, a broker with RE/MAX Coastal Advantage, noted that some sellers don’t want to wait for appraisals to take place, leaving some deals at risk of falling through.

Maybe it’s possible to be too hot to trot to sell.

— Paul Fletcher, with material from The Associated Press