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!