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!