Thursday, December 27, 2018

5 Things to Expect When Selling Your Home in Winter

Winter is traditionally a slower time for home sales, but don’t despair. Here are a few ways the timing might play in your favor.

1. Buyers tend to be more motivated

Buyers looking for homes are doing so because they really must relocate due to job, family or other unavoidable circumstances. You’ll probably waste less time dealing with real estate tire-kickers.

2. Things move faster

Because there are fewer transactions during the winter, mortgage companies, home inspectors and appraisers have less on their plates. You should be able to schedule appointments sooner and expect faster turnaround for reports and approvals than in the busy warmer seasons.

3. You can leverage the smaller inventory

With fewer homes on the market, your property’s unique features stand out even more. Are you the only townhome within walking distance of downtown? The only split-level with a pool in your school district? I’ll be sure to mention it in your listing.

4. Summer buyers are looking now

Not everyone looking in the winter must move immediately. We can discuss ideas about how to market your home among local businesses and organizations with fluid populations, such as universities, or via school district websites that might attract families moving to the area.

5. You can remind buyers of warmer weather

Be sure to include images of your home during greener summer months, including lifestyle shots of your deck, patio, porch and/or yard. Feature these photos in a frame during showings to remind buyers how the home can come alive in the spring.
No matter what time of year you’re looking to sell, I’m here to help. Contact me today to get started.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Just Listed! Wonderful 4 Bedroom home in Beaverton, OR

420 SW Seminole Dr.
Beaverton, OR 97006

Watch this quick video as I walked through this wonderful home to get a feel for the features and space this home has to offer!

Call today for current information on list price, room sizes, home features or to schedule your private showing!

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash

4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the real estate market heading into 2019. That uncertainty has raised concerns that we may be headed toward another housing crash like the one we experienced a decade ago.
Here are four reasons why today’s market is much different:

1. There are fewer foreclosures now than there were in 2006

A major challenge in 2006 was the number of foreclosures. There will always be foreclosures, but they spiked by over 100% prior to the crash. Foreclosures sold at a discount and, in many cases, lowered the values of adjacent homes. We are ending 2018 with foreclosures at historic pre-crash numbers – much fewer foreclosures than we ended 2006 with.
4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

2. Most homeowners have tremendous equity in their homes

Ten years ago, many homeowners irrationally converted much, if not all, of their equity into cash with a cash-out refinance. When foreclosures rose and prices fell, they found themselves in a negative equity situation where their homes were worth less than their mortgage amounts. Many just walked away from their houses which led to even more foreclosures entering the market. Today is different. Over forty-eight percent of homeowners have at least 50% equity in their homes and they are not extracting their equity at the same rates they did in 2006.
4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

3. Lending standards are much tougher

One of the causes of the crash ten years ago was that lending standards were almost non-existent. NINJA loans (no income, no job, and no assets) no longer exist. ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) still exist but only as a fraction of the number from a decade ago. Though mortgage standards have loosened somewhat during the last few years, we are nowhere near the standards that helped create the housing crisis ten years ago.
4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

4. Affordability is better now than in 2006

Though it is difficult to afford a home for many Americans, data shows that it is more affordable to purchase a home now than it was from 1985 to 2000. And, it requires much less of a percentage of your income today than it did in 2006.
4 Quick Reasons NOT to Fear a Housing Crash | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The housing industry is facing some rough waters heading into 2019. However, the graphs above show that the market is much healthier than it was prior to the crash ten years ago.
Courtesy of

Thursday, December 13, 2018

November 2018 Real Estate Market Statistics

The following is the latest Real Estate Market Statistics for November 2018.
Click here for the full report

  • Sales:   2,144 in November 2018 vs 2,387 last November  -10.2 %
  • Pending Sales:   1,904 in November 2018 vs 2,387 last November:  -19.7%
  • New Listings:   2,310 in November 2018 vs 2,416 last November:  -4.4%
  • Average Sales Price:   $453,100 in November 2018 vs $429,000 last November:  5.6%
  • Total Market Time: 57 days in November 2018 vs 51 days last November:  13.5%
  • Inventory in Months: 2.8 months in November 2018 vs 1.9 months last November
Inventory by Area:
  • NW Washington County   2.41 months
  • Beaverton/Aloha               1.65 months
  • Hillsboro/Forest Grove      1.74 months

Monday, December 10, 2018

Why Do a Home Pre-Inspection?

The uncertainty of selling your home can be stressful. You’re left wondering if the timing of your home sale and your new living arrangements will line up right. Will you be able to get what you deserve for your home? Will the buyer follow through? One thing you can do to alleviate some of these concerns is to have a pre-inspection done before you list your home.

The cost of a pre-inspection will vary based on the age and size of your home. Although it may seem redundant because your buyer will likely insist on a new inspection as well, there are a few benefits to doing a pre-inspection.
- A clean inspection can give potential buyers peace of mind and make them more confident about submitting an offer on your home.
- You’ll know the true condition of your home’s systems and structure, including the heating and cooling, water heater, plumbing, electrical, attic, basement, exterior, and more. This will help you decide on a fair price for your home based on its condition.
-  Even if your pre-inspection reveals significant problems, you’re still a step ahead. If the problems aren’t discovered until after an offer is made, your buyer may back out of the deal. Knowing beforehand allows you to make the necessary repairs or take the issue into consideration when pricing your home.
 If you are considering a move in early 2019, now is the time to arrange for a pre-inspection to allow time to make any repairs that you may want to address prior to putting your home on the market.

Give me a call!  I have several excellent home inspectors I work with and can help you get the home inspection scheduled.  

Friday, December 7, 2018

Predictions From Housing Experts

To find out how these predictions might affect our local market and your ability to buy or sell, 
give me a call!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Keeping Your Home Warm this Winter

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying it: winter is almost here. Now’s the time to make sure you’re ready to weather the cold and keep your home warm this winter. Here are some things you should consider touching up on in your home to be prepared for winter.

Furnace - The most obvious way to keep your home warm is to make sure the heater is in good working order. Start by changing the air filter to increase the airflow, then schedule a tune-up with a licensed technician who can clean, lubricate, and adjust the furnace for maximum efficiency.

Doors - If you have gaps under doors, you’re going to end up with cold drafts coming in and hot air flowing out. You can add rubber to the bottom of your doors to fill the gap or purchase some temporary draft snakes. You can even use rolled up towels as a short term solution.

Pipes - Water pipes freezing is a common problem during winter. This is because as the water freezes, it expands, causing extensive damage to your plumbing if the pipe bursts. To prevent this, make sure your pipes are insulated, stripped, and caulked. It also helps to keep the heat on in the house.

Fireplace - A fireplace is a great way to keep your family warm…if you’ve taken the steps to use it safely. Part of that is taking time to schedule a deep clean and inspection. Also, always remember to keep pets and children away from the flames and to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

If you need help finding a contractor to assist in servicing your furnace, pipes or fireplace, let me know and I'll provide you with references to qualified contractors to help you out!

Monday, December 3, 2018

The year is coming to an end, your days are filled with holiday shopping, parties, family and just closing out the year.  It's a busy time, but also important to carve out a bit of time for some essential home maintenance items and preparing for the coming year.

In addition to the home maintenance items listed above, here are 4 small tasks for a bright (and money-saving) new year.

1. Clean light bulbs and fixtures - Get as much light in your house as you can with the shorter days!

2. Evaluate Your Homeowner's Insurance - Call your agent to go over the type of coverage you have, how much you really need and if see if there is a possibility to lower your premiums before the coming year.

3. Pack a Home Emergency Kit - Prepare for a power outage or any weather-related emergency.  Include items such as bottled water, hand-crank radio, flashlight/batteries, a portable charger for your phone, warm blankets and a first aid kit.

4. Buy Holiday Lights - After December 25th!  Take advantage of the after holiday sales to prepare for your holiday decorating next year.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Getting a Home Loan - Are You Ready to Fly?

Mike Hammel, a mortgage broker with C2 Financial Corporation, shared a list of 83 ways you may hit turbulence on the road to homeownership.  Here are just a few....
  • Buyers not telling the truth on loan applications
  • Late payments showing on Buyer credit report
  • Buyers make a large purchase on credit prior to closing
  • Seller is unable to clear liens on the property
  • Buyer loses job prior to closing
  • Appraised value is lower than purchase price
  • Inspectors or appraiser are not available as soon as needed
  • Seller needs more time to move out delaying the close date 
Your Financing Strategy Matters! Lenders can help you be aware of the do's and don'ts of using your funds or credit while in the process of purchasing a home.  Your lender can also be helpful in overcoming some of the obstacles you might encounter - or being creative in finding ways to help the home purchase move forward after incurring some unforeseen turbulence.   

When obtaining financing for purchasing a home, selecting the right lender is just as important as selecting the right Realtor.  Look for a lender:
  • Who is local to your market 
  • Has great communication skills - with you, your agent and the cooperative agent, and the title/escrow officer 
  • Has a great relationship with the lender's processing and underwriting departments 
  • Is creative in removing contingencies when needed and possible, and 
  • Has your best interests in mind while working with you on your home purchase.
If you are thinking about buying a home and want a referral to Mike Hammel, or another local mortgage lender, let me know!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

October 2018 Real Estate Market Statistics

The following is the latest Real Estate Market Statistics for October 2018.
Click here for the full report

  • Sales:   2,440 in October 2018 vs 2,565 last October  -4.9 %
  • Pending Sales:   2,484 in October 2018 vs 2,705 last October:  -8.2%
  • New Listings:   3,100 in October 2018 vs 2,981 last October:  4.0%
  • Average Sales Price:   $453,600 in October 2018 vs $429,400 last October:  5.6%
  • Total Market Time: 53 days in October 2018 vs 44 days last October:  19.7%
  • Inventory in Months: 2.7 months in October 2018 vs 2.1 months last October
Inventory by Area:
  • NW Washington County   2.83 months
  • Beaverton/Aloha               1.80months
  • Hillsboro/Forest Grove     1.55 months

Friday, November 9, 2018

What Makes You a Good Neighbor?

According to's recent Good Neighbor report, you don't necessarily need to be friendly to be considered an easy person to live next to.  Sometimes, just being quiet and respectful of others' property is enough.

Trust and dependability plays an integral part in helping a neighborhood feel like a 'home' - and most people generally think positively about their neighbors. The report found that the best trait in a neighbor is trustworthiness, whereas the worst trait was seen to be someone who is disrespectful of property.

Below is an infographic displaying some of the key findings of the Good Neighbor report.

Based on the report findings, there's a 75% chance the folks you live next to consider you a good neighbor!

Adapted from RISMedia's HouseCall Blog

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Homework Series - November 2018

HouseLogic also suggests these are 6 tasks every homeowner should do in November:

1. WASH BED PILLOWS - with fall being the height of the guest season, you want your guest pillows fresh! Pop them in the washing machine and dryer for an all-over clean feeling.

2. CLEAN THE MATTRESS TOO - the guest mattress needs to be its freshest as well. Vacuum it, then wipe it down with a cloth dampened with an upholstery shampoo. Let it dry fully before making up the bed to prevent mold.

3. INSULATE WINDOWS - keep your cozy vibe inside!  Hang drapes as close to the windows as possible and keep the heat inside.  You can also add clear Velcro strips or dots to the back of the drape and attach to fasteners on the wall to help insulate.

4. STOCK UP ON SNOW SUPPLIES - while we don't get much snow in Oregon, relative to other areas across the country, it's still important to have a minimum of supplies on hand for those few snowy days.  Take advantage of seasonal sales so you aren't rushing out to compete for supplies when the weather changes.

5. TRIM TREE BRANCHES - Take precautions to prevent loose branches from hitting the roof or allowing pests to explore the roof and inside access by trimming any branches that hang over the roof top or eaves.  Keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from the house.

6. GET A CHIMNEY SWEEP TO INSPECT THE FIREPLACE - if you have a wood burning fireplace, it's time to dust off and sweep the chimney.  A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter.
Extra Tip - If you don't already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it - and into your house!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blessed, Grateful, Thankful

My husband, Scott, and I have a passion for traveling.  A dream of mine came to reality this year when Scott and I traveled to Africa for a three week vacation.

In large part, our trip was made possible due to our clients trust and support of our roles in Real Estate - my having served my clients and their referrals in buying or selling a home, and Scott providing home inspection services.  For this, we are Thankful!

Enjoy a few photos from our safaris

Monday, October 29, 2018

Just Listed - Wonderful Forest Grove, OR Home at $345,000

Wonderful home in Forest Grove, Oregon is now ready for new homeowners!
1691 sq ft,  3 Bedroom,  2 1/2 Baths
2 Car Garage
Built in 2013 - everything is relatively new!
Peaceful backyard setting looking out over private wetlands
Call today for your private showing!  503-495-3533

Features Buyers Had to Have... but Regretted Getting

One key suggestion given to Buyers as they begin their search for their next home, is to create lists of 'must have' and 'like to have' features in the home they will ultimately purchase. Buyers often believe that attractive and desireable features they see in friends or neighbors homes would be great for them too!  They may imagine having a big yard or open kitchen is just want they've always wanted - until they actually get it. 

See the article linked below for some features home buyers pined to have, but were disappointed when it turned out the desired feature wasn't all it was cracked up to be....

The One Home Feature Buyers Had to Have... but Regretted Getting

Friday, October 26, 2018

Buying a Home Can Be Scary.... Until You Know the Facts

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Until You Know the Facts [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home which stops many of them from even trying! Here are some facts:
  • 72% of buyers who purchased homes this year have put down less than 20%.
  • 76.4% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 727 in September.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

5 Things Buyers Should Never Compromise On

When buying a home, there are some things you should never compromise on - or you'll likely regret your home purchase, according to

1. The Floor PlanIt's difficult and expensive to reconfigure a home's floor plan.  If a home doesn't have the minimum number of rooms or the flow of the main living areas you want, you should cross it off your list.

2. The School District.  You should carefully consider your neighborhood's school district, and even get a map of its exact boundaries to make sure your home is within the correct district.

3. The Neighbors.  You should pay attention to the conditino of neighboring homes.  Not only do you have to live with your neighbors on a daily basis, but they can affect your home's future resale value too.

4.  The Budget. Consider all the expenses - monthly mortgage payments, homeowner association dues, utility costs and real estate taxes - beyond the list price to make sure you'll be financially comfortable.

5.  The Commute.  Test-drive the route between your home and office to be certain you're willing to make the commute every day.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sellers - Are You 'Mentally Prepared' for a Buyers Market?

In recent years, the greater Portland Real Estate Market has faced extreme housing inventory shortages, short times for homes to be available before getting an accepted offer, multiple offers and contracts way over asking price.

It's beginning to change -

Are you, Mr. and Mrs. Seller, ready for the shifts that have begun in our local market?  What are your expectations for showing activity? Number of offers? Speed of the sale?

While the current shift isn't extreme, it is impacting the flow of real estate activity in the area.  If you are thinking about putting your home up for sale before the end of this year, here are six thoughts on 'setting your expectations' for getting your home sold.

When buyers sense a shift in the market, they take pause to see the direction it is heading. They no longer feel they need to see homes within the first hour if it going 'live' on public websites.  The 15-20 showings that we experienced on the first weekend a home became available may now happen over the first 2-3 weeks from the date of the listing.
Sellers may not receive multiple offers, or over list price offers, within a short time period. Sellers may need to seriously consider and negotiate on the first offer received as they may not receive a second offer before the first offer expires.

We've already begun to see more contingent offers being accepted by Sellers. During the hey-day of real estate activity, Sellers didn't need to consider an offer where the Buyer needed to sell their current home in order to buy.  There were plenty of Buyers who could purchase without this contingency, allowing for a shorter time to get the Sellers home sale recorded.  Now, more Buyers will want to sell first before buying their next home and will be asking for Sellers patience to allow that to happen in the same time frame.
When activity slows, and there are fewer Buyers for any one home, Buyers are less likely to submit offers that are over the current list price.

With a wildly active market, many Sellers felt they could sell their home in 'as is' condition even when there were obvious repairs needed - and they could. Slower activity will mean that Sellers will need to prepare their home to bring it closer to 'move in ready' condition.  Buyers will be looking for the best value they can find, which means the best prepared property at the lowest possible price.
Providing Seller incentives to attract Buyers may be beneficial as we head into a more normal market.  If a home is sitting on the market for 'too long', Sellers may need to begin considering providing 'extra's to attract Buyers.  In addition to ensuring the list price is well positioned in the market, some options could include providing credits toward Buyer closing costs, bonuses to co-op agents, pre-listing inspections or including a home warranty for the Buyers.
Having the right frame of mind when setting out on the process to sell your home will make it a more stress-free, manageable experience in selling.

Friday, October 19, 2018

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search | MyKCM

In today’s real estate market, with low inventory dominating the conversation in many areas of the country, it can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared.
In a recent article entitled, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind,” the author highlights some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to help carry their excitement of buying a home throughout the whole process.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search
One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.  This step will also help you narrow your search based on your budget and won’t leave you disappointed if the home you tour, and love, ends up being outside your budget!

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’
Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?  Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like and then qualify them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help keep you focused on what’s most important.

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood You Want to Live In
Every neighborhood has its own charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, the article suggests test-driving the area. Make sure that the area meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It
Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that would best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code, doesn’t mean that you need to tour every listing in that zip code.  An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”

5. Document Your Home Visits
Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy and documenting what you love and don’t love about each property you visit. They even go as far as to suggest snapping a photo of the ‘for sale’ sign on the way into the property to help keep the listings divided in your photo gallery.  Making notes on the listing sheet as you tour the property will also help you remember what the photos mean, or what you were feeling while touring the home.

Bottom Line

In a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home.

Monday, October 15, 2018

September 2018 Real Estate Market Statistics

The following is the latest Real Estate Market Statistics for September 2018.
Click here for the full report

  • Sales:   2,272 in September 2018 vs 2,660 last September  -14.6 %
  • Pending Sales:   2,471 in September 2018 vs 2,730 last September:  -9.5%
  • New Listings:   3,606 in September 2018 vs 3,644 last September:  -1.0%
  • Average Sales Price:   $453,800 in September 2018 vs $428,800 last September:  5.8%
  • Total Market Time: 45 days in September 2018 vs 37 days last September:  21%
  • Inventory in Months: 3.1 months in September 2018 vs 2.3 months last September
Inventory by Area:
  • NW Washington County   2.68 months
  • Beaverton/Aloha               1.98 months
  • Hillsboro/Forest Grove     2.10 months

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mortgage Rates on the Rise - Wait or Buy Now?

The Federal Open Market Committee recently voted for another increase to the primary credit rate.  Historically, an increase in the primary credit rate has transalted to an overall jump in mortgage interest rates as well.

As a Buyer, you may be regreting not taking action earlier to get a mortgage rate below 4%.  However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:
Mortgage Interest Rates are Still Going Up… Should You Wait to Buy? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Though you may have missed the lowest mortgage rate ever offered, you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Popular Kitchen Trends With Great Returns

In addition to being one of the most popular renovations homeowners complete, the kitchen often nets the highest return on your investment (ROI) relative to other areas in your home.  While many homeowners give the kitchen a minor update to keep it modern, others choose a full remodel to improve the style and function of the space, enjoy it more and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Here are five current trends for kitchen remodels

Open Concept Kitchen -
1. Smart Technology.  Some of the latest kitchen appliances feature technology that allows you to control the appliances from your smart phone, save energy and work more efficiently in the kitchen.  Imagine a refrigerator that tells you when you're running out of milk, an oven that preheats on your commute home and a dishwasher that alerts you when there's a leak. It's all within reach and can save you time.

2. Open-space Concepts.  Consider removing some or all of the upper cabinets and store dishes, food and other items at eye-level. Utilize more efficient storage solutions in the base cabinets and outfit tall wall cabinets with pullout storage so you can easily view and access the items you need.

3. Touch Technology.  Activate the faucet with your elbow or the back of your hand when your hands are full or dirty. Touch technology streamlines meal preparation, makes it easier to keep your sink and faucet clean and helps ensure safer food preparation.

Kitchen Gathering Spaces
4. Comfortable Gathering Space.  Creating a comfortable seating area encourages family to hang out
together while dinner is cooking. Kids can do homework and your friends can socialize during parties.

5. Purposeful Lighting.  Take your lighting to the next level by illuminating the interiors or undersides of your cabinets. Cabinet and under cabinet lighting combine function and style to add an element of sophistication to your remodeled kitchen.

Thinking of Selling Soon?
If you are thinking of sellling and you choose to renovate, you'll receive the best ROI if you 1. Keep updates in line with the style of the neighborhood, 2. Don't over-improve the room.  Make simple upgrades to lighting, fixutres, hardware and a fresh coat of paint. 3. Update appliances if they are older.

Friday, October 5, 2018

There's an Elephant in my Tent!

‘There’s an Elephant in the tent!” – a cry we heard at a recent safari camp in Africa.  A huge elephant used its tusks to tear open the side of a tent while the guests were inside. Panic ensued, the elephant moved on and all were safe and able to continue their African journey.  The travelers were just looking to enjoy their tent and sleep well, yet they were faced with an obstacle to meeting their desires when the elephant intruded their space. 

“Elephant in the room” is a metaphor for an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss. Fortunately, in the above experience, the problem was brought to the forefront! 

So, what does this have to do with selling a home?  Buyers are just looking to enjoy the homes they visit while in search of their next home to purchase.  At times, there is ‘an elephant in the room’ that may not be called out to the homeowners yet may cause the Buyer’s to continue in their search for the right home.  One big ‘elephant’ in a home for sale is Odor.  Sometimes listing agents are unsure how to tell homeowners about smells inside their homes.  Sometimes it is difficult to get feedback from showing agents on what the ‘real’ reason is for buyers to move on.  Sellers should be aware of their home’s aroma and address any issues prior to inviting Buyers inside.

Here are 5 odors that are turn-offs for potential Buyers and should be addressed by the homeowner prior to putting their home up for sale.

     PET SMELLS – dirty kitty litter box, cat or dog urine on the carpet, wet dog smell, dirty hamster cages, etc. These are often thought to be one of the most offensive smells and often very hard to get rid of.  While living in the home, homeowners either get used to, or overlook, the smell their pet leaves on the furniture or carpet but it is very present to others, especially to those sensitive to pet dander. 

     COOKING SMELLS - Strong spices, fried foods, onions, fish—they all tend to linger long after the meal is over. Some Buyers won’t be able to get further than 2 steps inside the home due to strong spice smells or burning incense. 

     PLUG-IN'S AND SPRAY AIR FRESHENERS - The use of plug-in scented air fresheners is often an attempt to mask the smell of pets, cooking or smoke.  These products can make the scent in the house even worse for people who are sensitive to smells—or allergic to the fresheners. I recently sold a single level, 1300 sq ft home that had 4 plug-in air fresheners going full blast.  During the home inspection, the Buyer, Inspector and myself were overwhelmed with the chemical mist in the air and needed to open all the windows to air the home out – and allow us to really see if a heavy dog odor was present.

     CIGARETTE SMOKE – Many Buyers feel that the smell of cigarette smoke throughout the home is a deal breaker and won’t get beyond the initial look at the home.  The thought of needing to replace carpeting, paint all the walls, change the drapery throughout the home and more become overwhelming obstacles for Buyers who are looking forward to moving into their new home.

     FUNKY ODORS – moldy or musty smells that could be caused from mold in the carpeting, rodent smells coming from under the home or unfinished basements, water issues, or staining in the attic.  The funky smell gives the impression that the home has not been well-maintained. It also causes concern from the Buyers that the smell won’t leave with the current owners and could be costly to remove.

Just like the elephant who was following his nose to find the pleasant smell of apples and oranges brought to the tent by the travelers, Buyers also buy with their noses. Make sure your home offers a fresh and inviting smell when you choose to list your home for sale.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Homework Series - October 2018

Fall is one of the most popular seasons to work on your home. Not only is the weather generally pleasant, but fall is also the time to prepare for winter. If you're looking to take on some hoem improvement projects this fall without blowign your holilday-season budget, look no further!
In addition to those listed above, here are four easy and affordable projects that will yeild big results.

Update your front door.
Your front door sets the expectation for what's inside. Update an old or worn out door with a more modern option or add a fresh, colorful coat of paint to your old door to make it look like new again.

Improve your curb appeal
Something as simple as mowing or raking your lawn can have a huge impact on your home's curb appeal. You can also do things like pull up and dispose of dead plants and branches, trim the shrubs, plant fall flowers, and pressure wash the driveway/siding.

Update your lighting.
It only takes a few years for light fixtures to start lookign dated, so bring your house back up to date with new lamps and light fixtures. Start by updating one room at a time. You'll be amazed at the difference! While you're at it, replace any old, inefficient  compate fluorescent bulbs you have hanging around with LEDs. They'll last longer and save energy.

Change the air filter.
last but not least is your air conditioner. Your AC unit did a great job keeping you cool during the long, hot sumemr and now it's time to replace the air filter.  This is not only one of the easiest jobs you can do for your home, it's an important part of maintaining the efficiency and operational capabilities of your HVAC.  If you want to go a step further, call your HVAC servicer to schedule a tune-up for your system.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Get Your Garden Ready for Fall

The weather will start cooling off soon, so now’s the time to start planning for the first frost and getting your garden ready for fall. Three things you should do to transition your garden into the fall season are listed below. 

Clean out your garden.
Make sure your perennials are ready to come back swinging next year by trimming them down as they become dormant. This will save the root of the plant. You can also go ahead and remove any spent plants from the roots up. If your garden has a mix of perennials and annuals, keep track of your garden’s layout as you go to make it easier to plan your spring planting.

Plant cover crops.
A cover crop, also known as green manure, is an organic fertilizer. Cover crops maintain the richness of the soil and protect your soil through the winter, helping you create an even better garden come spring. 

Add compost.
Organic fertilizers are becoming more and more popular. One of the best ways to get organic fertilizer is to create it yourself by composting. To compost, clean out your garden and add the plant debris to a compost pile, then mix it in with other compost material. Spread a good mix of compost over your garden in the fall to refurbish the soil and help protect the soil during the winter.

Now that the weather is cooling off, it’s a great time to spruce up your current home or to find a new house to make your own. Give me a call if you or someone you know has any questions about real estate!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Fall is here - summer vacations are now memories, children are back in school, and the pumpkins are ripening for us to enjoy this upcoming holiday season!  In the Real Estate market, the Fall selling season is typically the second busiest season for housing sales over the course of the year.  This Fall, we're seeing a bit of a shift in the Portland Metro area housing market.  Inventory is hovering around 2 - 2.5 months inventory which is still very low (in a normal market we'd see around 6 months inventory.)  This means prices should continue to appreciate at above normal levels, which many experts believe will continue into 2019.

However, two things are occurring that indicate a movement toward a more normal market.
  1. Listing supply is increasing - marginally so far, but we have moved from less than one month of inventory in some communities to over 2 months as more existing homes and new construction hoems are becoming available.  Plus, building permits are also increasing, as we're experiencing in the South Hillsboro, Cooper Mountain, Cornelius and Forest Grove areas.
  2. Buyer Demand is Softening - a recent Real Estate Broker Survey, and anecdotal input from local Realtors, suggests that buyers have grown more discerning and a level of 'pause' has taken hold in many of our surrounding cities.
What this means is that prices won't appreciate at the levels we've seen recently, nor will they depreciate.  Buyers will have more time to consider homes and possibly have the opportunity to view homes of interest a second tiem before making any decision.  More contingent offers will be accepted.  Seller will more easily be abel to move-up or move-down to a home that better suits their current lifestyles.

Returning to a normal market is a good thing.  Even thought it may feel strange after the whirlwind activity we've been experiencing since about 2013.  The housing market is not falling apart - we are just returning to a market that will be much healthier in the long run.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Where Are Interest Rates Headed in 2019?

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; the higher the rate, the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next year.
Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.2% from this time last year and are predicted to be 5.1% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become a reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next homes.

Bottom Line
Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth, so don’t wait until next year! Let’s get together to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home now.