MorningLight Properties Kristin McKean, David & Gina Heckley

With over 100 combined years in the real estate business, you can rest assured that you are in good hands with Kristin McKean, David Heckley and Gina Heckley of MorningLight Properties. Not only are they part of a multi-generational real estate family, but they also embody their expertise as real estate investors, homeowners, property managers, and more. In today’s interview, I spoke with Kristin and Dave about their passion for offering the best possible service to all clients. When it comes to real estate transactions, it’s safe to assume there is always more to learn about the ever-changing landscape and market. That’s exactly why having the professional experience and expertise of MorningLight Properties is essential when buying real estate in Southern Oregon.

Hi Kristin and Dave, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today and also for being long-time advertisers in LocalsGuide.

Thank you, Shields! It’s always nice to talk with you, and we love the ability to talk directly with our community about real estate and what has gone on in the last year! We personally read the LocalsGuide every month and enjoy reading all the additional nuggets of information about our community. It’s fun, once a year, to be able to provide our own nuggets of information! And it’s a sweet way to connect with this wonderful town we live in and touch people we know and all those we don’t.

To begin with, I´d love for you to tell us a little bit about your family’s real estate story and history.

MorningLight Properties is a family owned and operated business consisting of Dave (dad), Kristin (daughter) and Gina (mom). We have been in the business for what feels like forever (For Kristin, this is actually 100% accurate). Dave has been in the business for 42 years and started in the Bay Area market where he was a broker/owner at Los Gatos Properties, a broker-owned co-op for many years, before moving to Ashland in 2000 where he continues in real estate. Kristin grew up in this real estate family and started working as an assistant for a realtor in Los Gatos when she was 16 years old. By the age of 18, she had her California real estate license and worked for agents in Chico, CA, while in college. Kristin jumped full-time into real estate in 2007 in San Ramon, CA, the east Bay Area. She began working at the Blackhawk Real Estate Company just as the real estate market crashed, but she found a way to work through the challenging market until she moved to Ashland with her family to join her mom and dad in their real estate business. After obtaining her Oregon broker license in 2014, MorningLight Properties was born. You might be asking where Gina fits into all of this. Gina is a licensed Oregon broker as well, and has a thriving construction design business, Idea House Consulting. Gina is our “pinch hitter” when we need extra help and support in the real estate process. She provides a huge value to our company and our clients in providing the highest level of design consultation and resources. For instance, we recently had to assist an out-of-town client with a major remodel of a rental property they had owned for your decades. She played a key role in working with the contractor to get the house ready for sale.

Dave, your family has “walked the talk” and utilized real estate as an essential asset builder for your family. Please talk more about your own experiences of working with real estate as an investment for years. What are some of the key factors that you pay attention to when working with your investor clients?

We truly do “walk our talk” in real estate. Gina and I purchased our first home when we were 19 and 21 years old and have continued the upward mobility ever since. We saw the benefit of real estate even before we were brokers. We have purchased the worst homes in the best neighborhoods, new homes in new neighborhoods, and designed and built our own custom forever home. In building our investment portfolio, we started 40 years ago purchasing rentals in San Jose, CA, some old, some new, single-family and multi-units. Those early purchases provided us the growth in equity when we moved here to Oregon. We now own local rental properties, which we manage ourselves. This has provided us the stability, passive income and diversification of assets for our retirement. When we work with investor clients, these are the same amazing results we want them to achieve. When I look for investment properties for our clients, I always start by asking myself: “Would that be a property I would invest in, if I were in their situation?”  I start by looking at the age and condition of the property. What will future repairs and maintenance be? Does the property cash flow? What’s the overall investment potential and return on investment? How easy will this be to rent? Will it attract long-term renters? Will there be a need for a tax-deferred exchange? We have resources for that!

Kristin and Dave, with rates still high and prices holding steady, what is your general recommendation for anyone needing a mortgage and why?

The reality with interest rates is: “they are what they are!” And when you look at interest rates historically over the last 30 years, we are in a time where rates are about average. We may never see them dip into the 3% to 4% like we did in 2020 and 2021. But “we get it!” – it’s hard to accept the new normal. However, we are seeing more people adjusting to current interest rates. Good news!

We live in a desirable area where local real estate values have held steady or increased! Ultimately, that is a good sign when buying and selling real estate.

You want to purchase in an area that is solid, stable and will increase in value. So our recommendation is to work with a reputable, local mortgage broker or bank to find the best possible rate and terms with solutions to get you in the market as fast as possible; because with each day you wait, you are missing the opportunity to build equity and value. Also, it’s good for borrowers to keep in mind you can always refinance, when interest rates drop and the time is right.

Kristin, the business of real estate is forever changing and that requires you to be very dynamic and up-to-date with the times. With everything that changes, how does your business continue to go above and beyond to meet the needs of your clients?

Change is inevitable in real estate… and in life! We constantly have changing forms and disclosures and platforms. Occasionally throughout the history of real estate, the entire landscape has changed to some extent. Laws and rules change, markets change, and we stay as current with all of these changes through education, accessing our local board, state and national resources, interacting with colleagues and partners in the industry. As much as things change, I think the nuts and bolts of real estate tend to remain the same. You still need a buyer and a seller to complete a transaction. As agents, we always develop a strong relationship with our clients, as well as a team of professionals to get the job done. When you get down to the details, no matter what the changes are, maintaining that relationship and having good old-fashioned communication is always key! We pride ourselves on having the most up-to-date knowledge and information about our industry and our local market and being able to effectively communicate it to our clients… always being available to answer questions and address concerns!

Dave, what do you feel sets MorningLight Properties apart from the rest?

When you work with MorningLight Properties, you don’t just get one of us… you get all of us! Our goal is to provide every client the best possible service and experience. We want our clients to feel like they are the only client we are working with, even when we have a full load. We answer the phone! We like to have a conversation and share our expertise. We love what we do, and we care! That resonates through every step of the real estate process when you work with us. We are small but mighty!

Kristin, on a day-to-day basis, what do you enjoy most about your job?

The thing I love most about real estate is interacting with my clients. I love working with people and helping them realize their dreams and get to that next step in life, whatever that may be. Whether they are moving here from a different area, upsizing or downsizing, helping them through tough times, or planning for the future – it is all about getting them to their next phase in life and that is oh so rewarding! I also love how dynamic real estate is on a day-to-day basis! One day I might be showing property, the next day I might be doing a home inspection, the next day I might have to sit at my computer and actually do paperwork (some of the more unglamorous duties). But I love the fact that no two days are alike.

Kristin and Dave, with every transaction that you process there are hundreds of questions that must be asked. What are some of the most important questions that you feel buyers and sellers should be asking right now?

Why is now a good time to buy?
What are the advantages of buying real estate instead of renting?
How do I know my price range and get the best financing?
Will I have to pay my agents commission?
How do I find the right home in my price range?
How can real estate be part of my retirement plan?

Is this a good time to put my house on the market and what is my competition?
How do I get my house ready to sell to achieve the highest price?
Do I have to pay real estate commissions?
How do I sell my home, buy a new one, and keep a roof over my head the whole time?
Are there tax ramifications in selling my property?
Each client has different circumstances and different questions. We have answers, or we have referrals and resources to help answer them. We love to share, so just give us a call!

MorningLight Properties offers a full array of services. Will you please tell us about them?

In addition to guiding clients through the multitude of transactional services such as securing financing, strategic marketing, readying properties for sale, searching for properties, negotiating contracts and terms, facilitating home inspections, evaluating necessary repairs, coordinating title and escrow, managing critical contractual dates and SO MUCH MORE… We even provide local knowledge to newcomers, such as protecting your hose bibs in the winter, never planting your tomatoes until Mother’s Day, or finding summer camps for your kids. We share our personal reviews of the latest OSF play; how to get involved in the community; our favorite restaurants, music venues, wineries, trails etc. And in this process so many clients become lifelong friends! The ultimate reward!

Kristin and Dave, are there any last thoughts that you would like to share with our readers today?

Whatever the situation, and whatever the current market may be, you can rest assured that we will continue to offer the same high caliber of service to our clients. Buying or selling real estate is one of the most important and complex transactions in life. The value of our expertise in guiding you through this process is undeniable. We are happy to have a conversation to discuss your needs and expectations. Give us a call!

Kristin: 925-895-3321

Dave: 541-890-0729

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MorningLight Properties

Kristin McKean and Dave Heckley MorningLight Properties

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