Saturday, May 25, 2019

Helpful Flag Etiquette Tips for Memorial Day

Millions of Americans will be displaying their flags over Memorial Day weekend, and it’s a wonderful way to show respect. Do you know the right way to do it?
Here are a few helpful reminders:
  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon; then it should be hoisted to the very top of the staff.
  • The flag should never touch the ground or the floor.
  • The stars on the flag should always be up; it’s a signal of distress when a flag is hung upside-down.
  • If you’re suspending the flag vertically, or against a wall, the stars should be to the flag’s own right, and to the left of the person hanging it.
  • The flag should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset; if it’s hung overnight, it should be lit up.
For more on flag etiquette, visit the Veterans of Foreign Wars website at Download the Federal Flag Code at
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and take a moment on Monday to give thanks and  remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

May 2019 Homework Series

If you need help finding professionals who can assist you with this checklist, I can provide you with a list of preferred contractors and vendors!  Just give me a call at 503-956-3505.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Flow Into Spring - Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Spring is here and homeowners are sprucing up their homes to usher in the new season. In addition to house cleaning and yard work, plumbing systems can use a little spring TLC, too. Here are some helpful spring plumbing maintenance tips to share with your clients or to use in your own home:
Check the strainers in your sink, bath, and shower drain openings for holes or signs of wear and tear. Strainers can help prevent clogs, so replace them if they aren’t in good shape.
If you have a sink clog, pour several shakes of baking soda down the drain, followed by about a cup or more of vinegar. Then, carefully pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. Repeat until the drain is clear.
When you’re spring cleaning, don’t forget your disposal! With the disposal turned on, simply pour a tray of ice cubes down it. You can also follow with some sliced citrus, such as lemon, orange, or grapefruit, to keep the disposal smelling fresh.
Clear any winter debris from your home’s gutters to keep them from clogging and potentially overflowing and causing leaks. Make sure downspouts are facing away from your home’s walls and foundation, too.
Do you know the location of your home’s main water shut-off valve? If not, take advantage of a pretty spring day to get outside and find it.
Courtesy of American Home Shield

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

April 2019 Real Estate Market Statistics

(For the past few years, I've used my photographs for the headline photos on the monthly market updates, using local area scenes in 2017 and roof tops of homes sold in 2018.  This year I'm featuring public art that can be found in our local communities.)

The following is the latest Real Estate Market Statistics for April 2019.
Click here for the full report

  • Sales:   2,409 in April 2019 vs 2,523 last April:  -4.5 %
  • Pending Sales:   3,102 in April 2019 vs 3,008 last April:  3.1%
  • New Listings:   4,210 in April 2019 vs 3,990 last April:  5.5%
  • Average Sales Price:   $445,900 in April 2019 vs $444,600 last April:  0.3%
  • Total Market Time: 53 days in April 2019 vs 42 days last April:  26.3%
  • Inventory in Months: 2.2 months in April 2019 vs 1.8 months last April
Inventory by Area:
  • NW Washington County   2.40 months
  • Beaverton/Aloha               1.16 months
  • Hillsboro/Forest Grove     1.99 months

5 Household Hazards Hidden in Plain Sight

Your health and the health of your loved ones is one of the most important factors you have to account for each day. However, even the most conscientious person can overlook some of these potentially lethal household hazards.

An odorless, colorless gas, carbon monoxide is almost impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Prevent headaches, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning by investing in an alarm for your home.

Like carbon monoxide, radon is a colorless, odorless gas. This naturally occurring gas is the second most common cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S., second only to smoking. The only way to know if your home has dangerous amounts of radon is by doing a radon test. You can pick up radon test kits at most hardware stores or call a local Home Inspector to have a 48-hour test run in your home.

Everyone knows that asbestos is bad for you, but many don’t realize they may have asbestos in their homes. Asbestos can still be found in ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and insulation in many homes across the U.S. When they start to degrade, asbestos fibers can get into the air and, if inhaled enough, cause you and your family to develop lung disease. If you think your home may have asbestos, have an asbestos professional inspect your home.

Lead is most notorious for its presence in paint, but it can also be in your plumbing and other building materials. Lead is typically safe unless it's digested, making it a more dangerous hazard for young children since they’re more likely to stick potentially contaminated items in their mouths.

Smoke detectors are only effective if they’re in working order and near the fire. Be sure to test your smoke detector’s every six months.  If they are the battery operated kind, replace the batteries each year. Current standards are to have smoke detectors located in the hallway and each bedroom, and at least one on each floor (but not in the kitchen or garage).

If you're concerned about the potential presence of any of these hazards in your home, let me help you get connected with the right people to get testing done.

Monday, May 13, 2019

5 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

American homeowners rarely stay in their first home forever; they buy and sell several homes over the years to meet the changing needs of their family. How can you tell if it’s time to sell your current home?

1. Your family has grown.
There are many reasons your once spacious home might begin to feel like it’s shrinking. Whether it’s the birth of a new baby, the kids getting older and needing their own rooms, or your parents moving in, you may find the need for more space a compelling reason to sell.

2. Your family has shrunk.
After years of hard work, kids grow up, become independent adults, and move out. When that happens, parents are often left in a home that no longer suits their needs and takes a lot to maintain. If you find yourself in this position, congratulations! It may be a good time for you to sell.

3. You’ve changed jobs since you bought your home.
If you got a new job and your commute grew as a consequence, you may want to find a home more conveniently located.

4. Your kids are starting school.
The right home when you have a baby on the way isn’t necessarily the right home when your child is heading off to school. If the schools in your area aren’t the best, it may be a good time to sell your home and move to a different school zone.

5. Home upkeep is too much.
If you purchased your current home when you were young, you may not have accounted for how much more difficult the upkeep and maintenance would be when you got older. When it does get to be too much, consider moving into something easier to manage.

If you think it's time for you to make a change and you need some assistance, 
give me a call, 503-495-3533

Friday, May 10, 2019

Four Benefits of a 20% Down Payment

The Benefits of a 20% Down Payment | MyKCM

If you are in the market to buy a home this year, you may be confused about how much money you need to come up with for your down payment. Many people you talk to will tell you that you need to save 20% or you won’t be able to secure a mortgage.
The truth is that there are many programs available that let you put down as little as 3%. Those who have served our country could qualify for a Veterans Affairs Home Loan (VA) without needing a down payment.
These programs have cut the savings time that many families would need to compile a large down payment from five or more years down to a year or two. This allows them to start building family wealth sooner.
So then, why do so many people believe that they need a 20% down payment to buy a home? There has to be a reason! Today, we want to talk about four reasons why putting 20% down is a good plan, if you can afford it.

1. Your interest rate will be lower.

Putting down a 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment shows your lender/bank that you are more financially stable, thus a good credit risk. The more confident your bank is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the rate they will be willing to give you.

2. You’ll end up paying less for your home.

The bigger your down payment, the lower your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you are able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you will only pay interest on the remaining 80%. If you put down a 5% down payment, the extra 15% on your loan will accrue interest and end up costing you more in the long run!

3. Your offer will stand out in a competitive market!

In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. The seller gains the same confidence that the bank did above. You are seen as a stronger buyer whose financing is more likely to be approved. Therefore, the deal will be more likely to go through!

4. You won’t have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Simply put, PMI is “an insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.”
As we mentioned earlier, when you put down less than 20% to buy a home, your lender/bank will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps them recover their investment in you if you are unable to pay your loan. This insurance is not required if you are able to put down 20% or more.
Many times, home sellers looking to move up to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put down 20% on their next home.
If you are looking to buy your first home, you will have to weigh the benefits of saving a 20% down payment vs. the time and cost of continuing to rent while you save that amount.

Bottom Line

If your plan for your future includes buying a home and you’re already saving for your down payment, let’s get together to help you decide what down payment size best fits with your long-term plan!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

What Would Make You Sell Your House?

What Would Make You Sell Your House? | MyKCM

There are many reasons why a homeowner decides to sell their house and move. The latest Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors asked recent home sellers to share their reason for moving.

The younger the respondents, the more likely their top response centered around needing a larger home (ages 29 to 53). Relocating for a job was the top reason for those ages 54 to 63 and the second most popular response for those under 53. The chart below shows the breakdown for these two reasons.
What Would Make You Sell Your House? | MyKCM

For homeowners over the age of 64, wanting to be closer to friends and family served as the top motivator to move. Downsizing to a smaller home or moving due to retirement came in as a close second and third.
What Would Make You Sell Your House? | MyKCM

Have you outgrown your current house? Are you a homeowner who can relate to wanting to be closer to family and friends? Is your house becoming a burden to clean now that the kids have moved out?

Bottom Line

Let’s get together to set you on the path to selling your current house and finding the home that fits your needs, today!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

New Study Reveals One Surprising Reason for the Inventory Shortage

New Study Reveals One Surprising Reason for the Inventory Shortage | MyKCM

There has been a great amount written on millennials and their impact on the housing market. However, the headlines often contradict each other. Some claim this generation is becoming the largest share of first-time home buyers, while others claim millennials don’t want to own a home, blaming them for the dip in homeownership rate.
While it is true that millennials have achieved milestones like getting married, having kids, and buying homes later in life than their parents and grandparents did, they are not solely to blame for today’s housing market trends.
Freddie Mac’s Insight Report explored the impact of the Silent and Baby Boomer Generations on the housing market.
If millennials are unable to find a home to buy at a young age like their predecessors, then who is living in those homes?
The answer: Seniors born after 1931 are staying in their homes longer than previous generations, instead choosing to “age in place.”
Freddie Mac found that,
“this trend accounts for about 1.6 million houses held back from the market through 2018, representing about one year’s typical supply of new construction, or more than half of the current shortfall of 2.5 million housing units estimated in December’s Insight.
Older Americans prefer to age in place because they are satisfied with their communities, their homes, and their quality of life.”
According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.5-month supply nationally (2.2 months in the Portland, Oregon metro area), which means that we are in a seller’s market. A ‘normal’ housing market requires 6-7 months inventory, a level we have not achieved since August 2012.
“The most important fundamental in today’s housing market is the lack of houses for sale. This shortage has been identified as an important barrier to young adults buying their first homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many seniors who desires to retire in the same area you’ve always lived, you’re not alone. Will your current house fit your needs throughout retirement? If you have any questions about demand for your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available today!

Monday, April 29, 2019

5 Mistakes Buyers Make when Buying a Home

To avoid these mistakes in your home buying process, be sure to connect with a Realtor who will represent you 100% in the purchase, who can guide you in preparing for buying a home,  and who will be your advocate throughout the search and purchase processes to ensure your best interests are represented.

Friday, April 26, 2019

2019 Furniture and Design Trends

A local home staging consultant, Lisa Shipley with Imagine Home Staging and Design, recently had the opportunity to attend the Furniture Trade Market in Las Vegas to learn about current, up-to-date furniture and design trends for the home.

Similar to suggestions to focus on 'stories' for making compelling social media posts, Lisa commented that  speaker Tom Mirable of the Pantone Color Institute, shared  that consumers are looking for sensory experiences that tell a story.  A story that focuses on aspiration, wellness, happiness, contentment, serenity, sustainability and 'kindfulness'.  

Home furnishings can create this experience by using soft fabrics, rounded and over-stuffed furniture, returning to earthy and feminine colors, and incorporating natural materials such as metals, reclaimed wood and natural textures. 

Some of trends Lisa noticed include:

  • Velvet upholstery and natural linen fabrics
  • Furnishings with rounded edges and feminine shapes and colors
  • Black accents and metal tables
  • Shag rugs, faux fur, macrame and over-stuffed furnishings           
  • Floral designs or accessories - huge florals!
  • Colors will reflect a mix of earth, sea and sky with jewel tones as accents.  Olive green, coral, red & pink peony, and orange & rust combinations will all be making an entrance this year.  
  • Greys will still be around but trending toward charcoal or black, or with warmer brown undertones.

Are you ready for a change in your home? Will you follow along with the forecast for more rich browns, rust, corals, sea, sky and earth colors?  As you begin planning for a re-design or update of furnishings in your home, you'll begin to see some of these trends in furniture, paint colors and furnishings on display in local stores.

If you are interested in learning more about Lisa's findings at the Furniture Trade Market, read her blog post 2019 Furniture and Design Trends.  

If you're thinking of selling your home this spring or summer, give me a call and let's arrange a time to meet with Lisa to get you assistance in preparing your home for the market! 

Lisa Shipley at Imagine Home Staging and Design, 503-643-0282.

Friday, April 19, 2019

7 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Home To Retire In

What to Consider When Choosing Your Home To Retire In |MyKCM

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether they should sell their homes and move has become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.
According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. AFFORDABILITY  It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. EQUITY  If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $9,700 in equity last year.

3. MAINTENANCE  As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.

As mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. SECURITY  Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security is helpful. An extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. PETS  Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.

Consider all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. MOBILITY  No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. CONVENIENCE  Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Eight Steps to Ensure a Smooth Home Inspection

A home inspector I work with recently shared some tips that would help the inspector do the best job possible during the home inspection.  Once your home is under contract, the last thing you want is a delay in getting to the closing table.  Here are some ways you can ensure the home inspection goes smoothly.

1. Give Them Gas.  The inspector needs the gas (including pilot lights), electric and water supplies on.  Many inspectors won't light a pilot light to the water heater or gas fireplace if it is not on during the inspection, requiring them to make a second trip to the house once the pilot light is active.  Without electricity or water, the home inspector is not able to test electrical outlet, furnaces, plumbing fixtures for leaks etc.  Buyer will want these to be inspected, so make sure all the utilities are turned on and in working order prior to the scheduled home inspection.

2. Fur, Tails and Scales.  Whether we're talking about a Chihuahua or a 10-foot Boa, the inspector doesn't want to deal with pets.  Warn the inspector about any pets prior to arrival to avoid surprises.    Avoid putting dogs or cats to run loose in the backyard as the inspector needs to evaluate the siding, foundation, windows and more on the exterior of the home and won't be able to keep an eye out for any escaping pets. The best bet is to take the pet away from the home or secure them is a kennel or cage during the inspection.

3. Light It Up.   Take the time to check all the lights.  Something as simple as a burned out bulb can result in the inspector questioning if the light fixture is operable and including it on the inspection report.

4.  Running on Empty.  Something homeowners don't think of until it is needed, is ensuring the batteries in the thermostat are good.  If the batteries are low or dead, the inspector may not be able to test the HVAC system.  Check the batteries in the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors too as they will also be tested during the inspection.  When in doubt, always replace the battery.

5. Dirty Dozen.  Locate all the HVAC filters and make sure they are clean.  It is recommended that the furnace filters be changed every 3-6 months.  If it's been awhile since they have been replaced, install new filters prior to the inspection.

6. Ants in the Plants.  Two words: conducive conditions.  If there are trees, plants, a wood pile or other debris up against the home, now is the time to trim them back or remove them.  It is recommended that any foliage be trimmed away from the home by at least 6 inches.  Inspectors must report these areas because they can attract termites, ants, wood boring beetles and other wood destroying organisms.

7. Locked and Loaded.  Ensure all areas needing to be accessed by the inspector are either open and accessible or provide a key for easy access.  Some homeowners have rooms that they lock when away from the home for safe keeping of personal items, some times the attic access or crawl space access are locked. Ensure the inspector has easy access to all spaces needing to be viewed.  Easy access also means moving any boxes or storage items out of the way.  Many inspectors won't move old furniture, lawn tools, bikes, shoes, boxes, etc. to be able to get to the crawl space hatch, attic access or backyard garages.

8. Repair or Replace.  Hopefully, many of the minor repairs needed around the home were done prior to putting the home up for sale, but if not, now is the time to do them. If the homeowner can safely and confidently repair things that are currently broken (windows, doors, cabinets, knobs, faucets, light fixtures, etc.), do it now.  If not, reach out to a professional handyman or contractor to get the to-do list taken care of prior to the home inspection.

A little proactive effort on the part of the homeowner can help the home inspection go smoothly and keep the sale of the home moving forward.
Edited from Lee Sellick, Home Inspections NW email

Monday, April 15, 2019

Asbestos: What You Need to Know!

Many of us love the characteristics of older homes and choose to update them as we continue to live in the home.  Or, perhaps we have rental properties that may be of an older vintage that need to be updated at times to make them livable for future tenants.

One of the factors property owners need to be aware of when modifying older homes is the presence of asbestos.  Homes constructed prior to 2004 may contain asbestos, which is a natural occurring mineral that was used in many construction materials.  Properly handling asbestos protects public health. When asbestos is disturbed, tiny fibers are released into the air and may cause lung cancer and other illnesses.  There is no known safe level of exposure.  While the use of asbestos in building materials has decreased over the years, it may still exist in the older homes.

Oregon adopted new requirements in fall 2018 for handling asbestos.  The Oregon department of Environmental Quality requires property owners and contractors to identify asbestos and to properly handle, package and dispose of asbestos waste from demolition and renovation projects. A new requirement that is especially applicable to the real esate industry is the new Residential Renovation Survey Requirement.

There are three main changes to Oregon's Asbestos requirements:

1. Residential renovation asbestos survey: All houses and other residential buildings constructed prior to 2004 must now have an asbestos survey conducted by an accredited inspector prior to demolition and renovation activities, with one main exception for owner-occupants doing their own renovation work. This expands an existing asbestos survey requirement for residential demolitions and for commercial demolitions and renovations.

2.  Updated disposal requirements for nonfriable waste: Nonfriable asbestos waste must now be packaged the same as friable asbestos waste. Friable materials are those that can be easily crumbled and release asbestos fibers. Applying the same packaging standard for nonfriable and friable materials streamlines the packaging requirements for all asbestos waste and ensures a safer work environment for employees, residents, neighbors and disposal facility workers.

3.  Accredited laboratories for asbestos testing: Starting January 1, 2021, the bulk asbestos samples collected during the asbestos surveying must be analyzed by a laboratory that participates in a nationally recognized accreditation or testing program. This new requirement establishes a common level of competency and reliability in analysis to properly identify asbestos content. DEQ will maintain a public list of accredited laboratories on its website.

If you are thinking about hiring contractors to renovate your current home or a rental property, that was built prior to 2004, you'll want to be aware of the new requirements regarding testing for, and eliminating, asbestos from the property.  More information can be found at Department of Environmental Quality Asbestos Information web page.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

March 2019 Real Estate Market Statistics

(For the past few years, I've used my photographs for the headline photos on the monthly market updates, using local area scenes in 2017 and roof tops of homes sold in 2018.  This year I'm featuring public art that can be found in our local communities.)

The following is the latest Real Estate Market Statistics for March 2019.
Click here for the full report

  • Sales:   2,183 in March 2019 vs 2,371 last March:  -7.9 %
  • Pending Sales:   2,738 in March 2019 vs 2.894 last March:  -5.4%
  • New Listings:   3,504 in March 2019 vs 3,648 last March:  -3.9%
  • Average Sales Price:   $452,700 in March 2019 vs $434,800 last March:  4.1%
  • Total Market Time: 68 days in March 2019 vs 55 days last March:  22.2%
  • Inventory in Months: 2.2 months in March 2019 vs 1.6 months last March
Inventory by Area:
  • NW Washington County   2.01 months
  • Beaverton/Aloha               1.14months
  • Hillsboro/Forest Grove     1.55 months

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Home of Tomorrow

The future is now for homeowners, as more and more people are looking to smart devices to improve their everyday living.  From thermostats, to fire and carbon monoxide detectors, technology and automation is getting more sophisticated.  What's the current state of smart technology, and where is it going?  Here are a few new devices that can make your home a touch smarter.

LAUNDRY FOLDING ROBOT - The Laundroid from Seven Dreamers uses AI to sort and fold your clothes.  Place your clothes into a drawer at the bottom of the machine, and watch as it folds your wardrobe, along with being able to separate clothes for each family member.

SMART REFRIGERATOR - LG's InstaView ThinQ has a touchscreen on the front of the fridge that keeps track of what food or drink you put in and take out. When you're running low on a certain item, it even reminds you that it's time to restock.

INTERACTIVE MIRROR - Kohler's Vedra Voice Lighted Mirror has a built-in version of Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, so you can access important information while getting ready in the morning or preparing to go to bed.

INTELLIGENT SECURITY LIGHT - A floodlight with a two-way speaker and motion activated camera, Maximus is perfect for monitoring activity outside of your house. It detects movement up to 70 feet away and relays a message to your smart phone for instant alerts about potential visitors or trespassers.

SMART PLUMBING - Flo is a smart plumbing monitoring system that can tell a homeowner not only about leaks, but also water pressure, temperature and flow rate.

While I have seen the smart doorbells, Alexa, Nest thermostats, smart refrigerators and security cameras in homes, I have not yet seen some of the other smart devices mentioned above.  It will be interesting to see how fast they become 'standard' in homes - if ever.
Courtesy of The Residential Specialist Magazine Mar-Apr 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April 2019 Homework Series

For months we've been looking out the window waiting for spring.... and it's finally here!
Every spring, your home needs some extra TLC. Doing this regular maintenance will help ensure your home functions well for the rest of the year.  So..... it's time to get out of the house and take care of some of the outdoor maintenance items to fully enjoy your home and yard this season.  

Here are 9 maintenance items to check off your list-

1.  GUTTERS - pull leaves and debris out of the gutters, run a hose on the roof and check if there are any leaks that need to be fixed.

2.  SIDING - power wash vinyl siding to prevent mold from forming. If you have wood siding, there may be areas that need a paint touch-up.

3.  WINDOWS & DOOR SCREENS - check screens for holes and replace them if necessary. Clean windows inside and out! Enjoy the view to the outside!

4.  HOT WATER HEATER - lubricate the circulating pump and motor. If you are not familiar with these parts, you may want to call in a professional for maintenance.

5.  ROOF - inspect the roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles that need to be replaced.

6.  DECK OR PORCH - check the deck or porch to see if they need to be weather treated or re-stained. check railings for sturdiness and adjust them if needed.

7.  SPRINKLER SYSTEM - replace or fix any valves that are leaking or not working!

8.  LANDSCAPING - whether you do it yourself or call in a pro, make sure to trim any overgrown plants and remove weeds. Don't forget to add a pop of color with seasonal flowers!

9.  FOUNDATION - check floors, concrete and walls for any cracking or deterioration. If needed, call a foundation professional who can help.

If you need hlep finding professionals who can assist you with this checklist, I can provide you with a list of preferred contractors and vendors!  Just give me a call at 503-956-3505.

Monday, April 8, 2019

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | MyKCM

The Housing Market has been a hot-topic in the news lately. Depending on which media outlet you watch, it can start to be a bit confusing to understand what’s really going on with interest rates and home prices!

The best way to show what’s really going on in today’s real estate market is to go straight to the data! We put together the following three graphs along with a quote from Chief Economists that have their finger on the pulse of what each graph illustrates.

Interest Rates:

“The real estate market is thawing in response to the sustained decline in mortgage rates and rebound in consumer confidence – two of the most important drivers of home sales. Rising sales demand coupled with more inventory than previous spring seasons suggests that the housing market is in the early stages of regaining momentum.”Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac
3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters


“A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence is driving the sales rebound.”Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR

3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

 Home Prices:

“Price growth has been too strong for several years, fueled in part by abnormally low interest rates. A mild deceleration in home sales and Home Price Index growth is actually healthy, because it will calm excessive price growth — which has pushed many markets, particularly in the West, into overvalued territory.” – Ralph DeFranco, Global Chief Economist at Arch Capital Services Inc.
 3 Graphs that Show What You Need to Know About Today's Real Estate Market | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

These three graphs indicate good news for the spring housing market! Interest rates are low, income is rising, and home prices have experienced mild deceleration over the last 9 months. If you are considering buying a home or selling your house, let’s get together to chat about our market!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Millennial Mythbuster - Homeownership is Not Out of the Question

Some Millennials still believe they will never be abel to afford a down payment.  This isn't true!

Let's get together to talk about homeownership - it isn't as much of a stretch as you may think!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Looking to Upgrade Your Current Home? Now's the Time to Move-Up!

Looking to Upgrade Your Current Home? Now’s the Time to Move-Up! | MyKCM

In every area of the country, homes that are priced at the top 25% of the price range for that area are considered to be Premium Homes. In today’s real estate market there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners who want to upgrade from their current house and move-up to a premium home.
Much of the demand for housing over the past couple years has come from first-time buyers looking for their starter home, which means that many of the more expensive homes that have been listed for sale have not seen as much interest.
This mismatch in demand and inventory has created a Buyer’s Market in the luxury and premium home markets according to the ILHM’s latest Luxury Report. For the purpose of the report, a luxury home is defined as one that costs $1 million or more.
“A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point."
The authors of the report were quick to point out that the current conditions at the higher end of the market are no cause for concern,
“While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.”
Luxury can mean different things to different people. It could mean a secluded home with a ton of property for privacy to one person, or a penthouse in the center of it all for someone else. Knowing what characteristics you are looking for in a premium home and what luxury means to you will help your agent find your dream home.

Bottom Line

If you are debating upgrading your current house to a premium or luxury home, now is the time!

Friday, March 22, 2019

4 Reasons This Spring Market Is Better Than Last Year

If you're looking to buy or sell a home this year, now is a great time! Let's get together today to go over what is happening in the Spring Market and what it means for you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Empty Nester and Thinking of Change?

hearts in a nest

While the time you’ve spent in your current home will always be a special part of your life, now that the nest has emptied, you’ve possibly begun thinking about moving into another home, or modifying your current home, to achieve a living space that more accurately reflects your family’s particular situation. 

Your empty nest years are an opportunity to renovate your idea of home, whether it's modifying your current home or relocating to a property that better suits your needs. 

Whatever your choice, if you need referrals to contractors to make changes in your current home or would like to sell and find a home that will support you for the next phase of your life, give me a call I'm happy to help!  503-495-3533

Monday, March 18, 2019

Kitchen and Bath Renovations That Will Age With You

Renovating your kitchen or bathroom isn't just an exciting way to customize your home; a well-planned renovation can also improve the long-term livability of your home. These kitchen and bathroom renovation ideas help to increase the long-term livability of your home by helping the elderly, increasing access for the disabled, and improving usability for someone recovering from an injury or illness.  They are also great modifications to the home for enhancing re-sale value when you're ready to sell.


Kitchen renovations tend to recoup a large portion of renovation dollars in resale value and also improve the entertainment and hosting capacity of a home. These factors have made the kitchen the most popular room of the home to renovate. to make your kitchen renovation work for you and your family long-term, consider replacing your kitchen sink with an apron-front or farmhouse sink to make it easier to use from a stool or wheelchair. Instead of knobs on your cabinets, choose handles - they're easier to grip. Swing-out shelving will make hard to reach items easier to access, and sensor-activated lights and water can help both children and adults.


Another popular room to renovate is the bathroom, and like the kitchen, the bathroom is a great place to keep future mobility and usability in mind. Some features you should consider including are a no-threshold shower that doesn't require a high leg lift to bather, non-skid floor tiles to reduce slipperiness, and taller toilets that are easier to rise from.

Whether you're getting ready to purchase your first home, looking for ways to pay off your current home, or thinking about updating your home to help it sell, I'm here to help.  let me know if you or someone you know has questions about real estate!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low!

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | MyKCM

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019.  Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018!
As of March 14th, survey results reported an interest rate of 4.31%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. And this 30-year fixed mortgage rate is the lowest since February 2018. This can be seen in the chart below reflecting interest rates through February 2019.
Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low! | MyKCM
Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Sam Khater, had this to say:
“Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year.
Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase!