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Check back often for new posts, updates on events and local activities and advice on buying or selling Portland real estate, condos, homes and properties.

Sept. 21, 2017

Making Area Rugs Work when Staging a Home

 

Area rugs are great for many different reasons. When many of us think of area rugs we think of adding a decorative touch to a room. in many ways, an area rug can change the theme, mood, and spacing in room, but there are more benefits to area rugs than merely cosmetics.

Area rugs also help to protect the floors in the area that they are placed, and can act as sort of a floor slipcover in spaces that we may think are beyond repair that could use a cover-up. Area rugs are versatile, protective, come in many shapes, styles, colors, and materials, and have a wide range of uses. One is used over wall to wall carpet.

Some people think that using an area rug on wall to wall carpet will look like too much. Just because you already have carpet in a room doesn't mean you can't add in an area rug. While wall to wall carpet can be looked at as serving a function an area rug can be placed over it to be used as a work of art, setting a style tone for the room. (and/or maybe to cover up an unsightly stain or two that juswon'tnt come out of the carpet)

Here are some great styling tricks to help you make area rugs work for your carpeted room whether you are staging to sell or just need a makeover.

Area Rugs

Avoid Too Much Plush

Take the pile of your carpet into consideration when choosing a rug. You don't want to choose a rug with a thick lush pile if your carpet already has one. You run the risk of sending a retirement home vibe.  Too much plush also creates a tripping hazard. Create contrast between the piles and dimension to add interest, not an eyesore that draws negative attention as well as a safety hazard.

Add Visual Interest with Contrasting Color and Texture

In most homes carpet is basic, neutral, and all one pile length. This is a great background to bring in any color and pattern of rug.  The rug should bring color and life to the floor and room. Grab a rug with a different and contrasting texture/color/ pattern to distinguish itself as an important design element in the room.

Related: How to make a large custom rug from smaller ones

Making Area Rugs Work

Choose the Right Size

You can create smaller spaces in a room with area rugs. Want the main sitting area and maybe another area that is used as a reading nook in a great room? Define each space with a rug. You can also find large rugs almost the entire size of the room to tie everything in together. To decide on rug size first solidify the purpose and space for the rug.

Don't Forget About Rug Pads

A rug and rug pad go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is still a great idea to have a pad even with an area rug over carpet. Look for a rug pad made for use with carpet or some double- stick rug tape to keep your rug in the place you intended it to be.

Read More: 5 ways to make your home Pinterest Worthy

Whether bringing a new style, defining spaces, or covering over unsightly stains, an area rug can bring new life into a  carpeted room. Just make sure to remember purpose and contrast with the existing carpet.

 

 

Posted in Selling
Sept. 18, 2017

The First Thing to Do If You Can't Make Your Mortgage Payment

You have used every last penny in your savings to continue to pay your bills, but you just are unable to continue to make your mortgage payments. Next month you will miss your payment so what do you do now?The First Thing to Do If You Can't Make Your Mortgage Payment What happens when you miss a mortgage payment? In most

Next month you will miss your payment so what do you do now?miss a mortgage payment

The First Thing to Do If You Can't Make Your Mortgage Payment

What happens when you miss a mortgage payment?

In most cases, if it is your very first missed payment you will receive a late payment fee 15 days after the missed payment. 30 days after a missed payment the lender will report the missed payment to the credit bureaus and your credit score will drop. When you are two months past due on a payment your lender has the ability to begin the foreclosure process.

Many other articles with similar titles will tell you to call up the bank that processes your loan or owns your loan to try and work something out. While this is fine advice it is not the best advice especially for residents of Washington State. 

The first thing you should do when you are facing a missed mortgage payment is to contact your lender and/or a foreclosure lawyer for a complimentary consultation. Many homeowners believe that they need to contact their lender and are solely at the mercy of what the lender tells them even if they reject a request for modification. What many homeowners in the situation of missed mortgage payments don't know is that they can employ legal help to come to an agreement with their lender and have a much higher chance at success.

There are actually a few different options you have as a homeowner in Washington to help you when you are no longer able to continue making mortgage payments. It is not uncommon for a mortgage company to deny homeowners a modification for a number of reasons. Sometimes the lender’s employee may not even realize they have not offered other options available because they are unaware of the laws themselves. If you have more questions, contact our experts in the loan department for Oregon foreclosure specialists and mortgage modifications.

 

Posted in Finance
Sept. 15, 2017

Caring for Quartz Counter Tops

Countertops are the crown jewel of your kitchen design. A gorgeous quartz stone countertop can and will be the first thing people notice about your kitchen. Quartz is a beautiful and durable yet costly countertop investment, if you have invested in quartz counters for your kitchen you no doubt will want to take care of them well so that your kitchen remains a gorgeous hub in/of your home.

 

 caring for quartz

Of course two of the most well-known care tips for quartz are to use gentle cleaners only made for stone and to clean spills as soon as they happen to prevent and avoid staining. Here are some more extensive quartz care tips to help you keep your quartz beautiful for a lifetime.

 

Use Soft Cloths for Cleaning

 

Using soft clean cloths to clean your quartz is important to keep the quartz’s shine and luster. A soft cloth should be used in conjunction with a gentle cleaner made for stone. You can also use mild hand dishwashing soap such as Dawn, Simple Green, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar products, denatured alcohol, Rug Doctor Cleaner, or Hope’s Surface Cleaner. Using simple and gentle products will make a huge difference in the life, look, and quality of your quartz countertops.

 

Quartz Care Don’ts

 

-Refrain from mixing homemade cleaners over your quartz countertops. You don't want to accidentally spill of splash something on your beautiful counter and have an adverse chemical reaction that stains or damages them. There is a very limited set of items that can come in contact with your quartz as far as chemicals go so leave the chemicals in the laundry room or another area.

-     Like the point above, don't let kids do home science experiments in the kitchen over the quartz counter.

-     Some solvents and chemicals that are very bad to come in contact with quartz include oils, dyes, paint thinners, solvents, chlorinated items, and chemicals with a pH of greater than 10.

 

How to Clean an Accidental Chemical Spill

 

If your quartz does accidentally come in contact with a harsh chemical from the above section, the best thing you can do for your quartz is to rinse it right away with copious amounts of water.  If you should accidentally get nail polish, gum, or something similar on the quartz let it dry and then gently scrape it from the stone’s surface with a plastic scraper or putty knife very gently and follow with usual routine cleaning procedures.

 

Professional Cleaning and Sealing

 

In addition to great in-home care and regular cleaning, it is a good idea to have natural stone countertops professionally deep cleaned and sealed at least once a year. A sealant helps to keep a protective barrier between the surface of the stone and anything it comes in contact with to give you a little extra protection against stains and spills.

Image above by By Stonetopgranite (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Posted in Selling
Sept. 12, 2017

Pricing a Property so it Sells Without Going Broke

Anyone can price a property so that it sells fast, it's another thing doing it so that the homeowner feels that they are getting their money's worth out of the property. Here is the best way to price a property to sell.

Pricing a Property to Sell

#1. Find comparables.

There are several ways to find comparable properties. You want to look for active listings, those homes that are currently on the market as well as pending properties, those that already have an accepted offer, and sold properties. It's a good idea to get at least 3 to 5 properties in all three of these brackets. This will give you a good baseline as to what is currently listed and what is sold. Most pending properties will not show what offer was accepted so we may not know what the home is actually going to sell for at this point, but it's a good idea to know what properties actually with pending so you know what homes are attractive to potential buyers. 

More: The gap between the asking price and sales price

#2. Find a range.

You want to find comparable properties that match the lowest price on the list and the highest price on the list. This will give you the range in which you are willing to list the property. You also want to pick a goal that you feel is appropriate and price that you won't go below. You need to find out how much you need from the sale of the property in order to cover any first or second mortgages and potentially a down payment on another house.

Read More: How you can sell your house in 48 hours

#3. Will the property appraise for the set amount?

You can list a property at whatever price you want and buyers can choose to pay that amount, but if they are getting a loan, the lender will determine whether or not the home is worth as much as the buyer is offering. If the lender does not feel that the home will appraise for the amount offered, the buyer either needs to come up with the difference or the seller needs to lower their price.

Coming up with this price doesn't necessarily mean setting the bar too high. Many homeowners feel that they can list their home at a higher price and simply drop the price if they don't get an offer. This has several pitfalls, however, in that by the time the home is priced appropriately, it is become still on the market in many buyers simply stay away.

Read More: When should you reduce the price?

It truly is an art to pricing your home correctly but with these proven steps, we can price your home correctly from the beginning and get the right offer on the table quickly. Give us a call to find out how much your Portland area or Vancouver home could be worth.

Posted in Selling
Sept. 8, 2017

How to Make Your Home Pinterest Worthy

Pinterest is all the rage. Even Pinterest fails are making the rounds because somehow we just can't make our homes, decor, cooking or baking look as fabulous as those Pinterest pictures. But there are little things you can do to make your home pop!

Here are 5 ways to make your home Pinterest-worthy.Pinterest Worthy Home

#1. Layer

The reason rooms look so put together is because the designer has layered it. Don't just have a bed; have a bed with a big comforter draped over it or a coverlet. Have wood floors? Put a soft rug on it. Have a couch? Add multiple pillows and blankets. BUT there is a balance; don't add 10 pillows when 3 does the job. Add just enough.

#2. Create Illusions

Create an illusion to each room. The key to making a room bigger is to add a large rug. Higher ceilings - add tall drapes. Extend the height of cabinets in kitchens or build book shelves that reach to the roof. Floor to ceiling mirrors and mirrors, in general, can make a room seem larger than it is. 

#3. Use Lighting

The right lighting can make all the difference in the world. Whether it's a shiny chandelier in the foyer or a beautiful piece over the dining room table, keep the bulbs to a soft light and the accent pieces classic and you'll have the perfect lighting for any room. 

#4. Add one or two splurge items

 Think of decorating your house as you would your wardrobe. One expensive piece layered and paired with other, non-expensive things. Spending a little more on classic, key pieces you can keep forever will be a great addition to your home and one you can change with the seasons and times to fit the current look. 

#5. Choose the right art.

  1. Evaluate your style: what art are you attracted to? Abstract, photography, oil paintings or illustrations?
  2. Match your art style with the décor of the room: classic spaces mix well with photography and traditional paintings, while contemporary and modern areas are better suited for abstract works.
  3. Browse around: flea markets are great for picking up bargains. Local online stores such as Superbalist, Etsy and Mono Shop are also good spots for finding affordable printed artwork.
  4. Frame it right: keep it simple and neutral so that the art (and not the frame) stands out.
  5. Find a focal point in a room where you can hang art: you want your art to steal the show, after all.

Thank you to Rawson.co.za for the above tips from their blog

There are simple ways to make your home more Pinterest-worthy and home buyers love walking into a room perfectly decorated. If this is not  your forte you might consider hiring a home stager or even a friend that you know is amazing in this department.

 

Posted in Things to Do
Sept. 4, 2017

What Do Home Buyers Notice First in a Property?

Buying or selling, this information is important. As a seller, you want to know what buyers are looking for; as a buyer, you don't want to miss these things either. Because we work with both buyers and sellers, we know the inside scoop on both sides of the transaction to make each party the most informed during the process.

What Do Home Buyers Notice First in a Property?

Here's what WE think most buyers notice first in a home.

#1. Cleanliness.

It's next to Godliness, right? Well, some people might think that and if the home is seriously lacking in basic cleanliness, buyers think what else the sellers have neglected if they can't even clean up the place before a showing. For starters, you might not get as much is you hoped for the house. If buyers think that you are overpriced, they are certainly not gonna pay full price for a messy house. It's important to clean the house really well, including places you may not even think to clean such as window and door tracks, ceiling fans and blinds.

Read More: 6 Ways to make your home seem bigger

#2. The smell.

Smells and odors can remind you of a memory more than anything and if your home reminds them of the smoke-filled houses they grew up in, wet dog on a rainy day, or that you have a change the garbage in a week, you might need to rethink the odors in your house. If there's something serious such as mold or mildew, that should be addressed right away. If you just need to take out the garbage, the carpets a good cleaning by a professional, or bake a batch of snickerdoodle cookies right before a showing, then do it.

Read More: 10 Adjustments to your kitchen that make buyers say WOW!

#3. Clutter.

Clutter can come in the form of too much furniture for a room, too many things on tables and counters, or too much in the cabinets, cupboards, and closets.It's time to clear off every flat service you can think of and about half of the items in closets and pantries. Buyers want to see that there is plenty of room, that there's no crowding, and they will have plenty of space for their items.

Related: Things to inspect on a beachfront home

#4. Odd colors, weird layout, or loud decorations.

Buyers don't want to see a bright red kitchen, neon green bathroom, or Princess pink bedrooms. They want neutral, they want something that will appeal to everyone, and they don't want to look for a lot of work to be done once they live in. Any bright color in a room could turn the buyer off so you want to make sure every color is as neutral, warm and as inviting as possible. They also don't want loud decorations, memorabilia, personal photos, or weird collections. It's time to lovingly pack these things away until you sell.

We'd love to add to this list. What do YOU notice when you go into a house? 

Ready to list, sell or buy? Call us! Let's do this!

Posted in Selling
Sept. 1, 2017

Does Oregon Work Well for Single Parents?

The high cost of living in Oregon makes it difficult for single parents to make it and this is especially true in major cities like Portland. Is portland good for single parents

A recent article in MSN Money listed the entire state of Oregon farther down on the list than we'd like when it comes to affordability for single parents. It's the 8th highest average home listing price coming in at $409,270 and it's not dropping anytime soon. We also have the 4th highest in grocery costs and child care. The state's median household income of $51,234, which is below the national median, HOWEVER, many low-income families can take advantage of the state's earned-income tax credit and of course, we don't have sales tax - so there is that. 

But what can single parents do?

There are great places just south of Portland OR in Vancouver that have a much lower median home price. For instance, in Vancouver, the median home value is only $285,000 and rents are also cheaper. It is a hot market right now, which bumps up the price slightly but overall, it's much more affordable than Oregon if you don't mind the commute across the bridge if you need to. 

Rents are closer to $1700 compared to $2150 in Portland. This makes even renting much more attractive. 

And then there are the schools. The highest rated schools in Vancouver are the Eisenhower, Lake Shore, Pleasant Valley elementary schools and the Jefferson, Pleasant Valley, and Laurin middle school, and the Columbia River and Prairie High School with ratings of 6-8. 

Read More: Great tips for single women home buyers

Portland schools do rank higher with several boasting a 10 out of 10 including the Richmond, Laurelhurst and Llewellyn elementary school, the Laurelhurst, Riverdale and Lake Oswego middle school, and the Lincoln, Riverdale and Sunset highschools. 

No, we are not the cheapest place to live in the country and that's okay. That's why a lot of people are coming here. They like the higher standards but if you're looking to live a little more affordable, it can be done. You can enjoy all that Portland has to offer without the big price tag.

Posted in News and Media
Aug. 28, 2017

How to Plan and Prepare Your Home for Natural Disasters

In the light of what's going on in the Houston Texas and San Antonio areas with hurricane Harvey, it always prompts a safety post. We want to be safe and even though there's not too much threat of hurricanes or tornadoes in the Pacific Northwest, we do have a thread of the upcoming "big ones", the earthquake that is supposed a level most of the Pacific Northwest. But, who knows when that's actually coming. The important part is to stay safe and whether you are looking at improving the safety of your home are looking at a newer home to buy, there are ways to plan and prepare for a natural disaster.How to prepare your home for natural disaster

While there are probably 100 different things you could be doing, here are some basics to consider.

Make sure your water heater meets safety codes and is properly strapped down. Any loose fittings or ill proper installation of a water heater could be disastrous. Literally, the thing could go flying right straight to your house if something should go wrong. It's important to have an expansion tank and that it is properly strapped down or have a tankless water heater system for your house.

Disengage or remove any rollers from major appliances. You certainly don't want this in Norma's, heavy appliance rolling around the room, potentially trapping you or your pets should there be an earthquake.

Make sure you know where your emergency shut-off valves are for water, gas, and electricity. This could be extremely important if you have a gas leak, water leak or there's electricity shooting out from some appliance in the house.

Make sure you don't have any flammable liquids in the living areas of your house. Gas cans, propane tanks, and other items should be stored in the garage or outside.

Make sure that your roof and chimney are secured with sheet metal straps so that they don't blow over or not down onto the ground, causing injury to pets or people.

Check with your homeowner's insurance to see if it covers things like earthquakes and flooding. You'd be surprised at how many policies don't cover natural disasters but yet, it could be just a few extra dollars a month to add it on.

See More: How to keep your home safe during the holidays

Protect all of your things in the cloud. If you have valuable albums, photos or documents it's important to take pictures of them or keep them in a safe place, not necessarily in your home. Storing these items on the cloud is important because it can usually be accessed even if your home birds down or get started. This could be taking pictures of all of your identification, credit cards, and other information that will be necessary for identification or security later on.

Make sure you have bags or backpacks full of safety items in both the garage, the car, and/or your bedroom. Have a good list of emergency supplies such as food, water, flashlights, a radio, extra socks and shoes, cash and other items that you might need to get to quickly should a disaster strike where you are or overnight while you're sleeping.

Make sure any pets are taking care of as well. Have a feeding supply for your pets and make sure that they are safe during a disaster. Have your pets a license and microchipped in case they escape and can be identified later.

One of the biggest things to protecting you and your family is to be prepared now and plan ahead. Don't wait if there's an evacuation. Pack up now and don't risk your lives simply to save a few material items. For more information visit the gobankingrates.com on preparing your home for a natural disaster. The expand on a lot more items and have more details to help you.

Posted in News and Media
Aug. 18, 2017

Get Ready for Back to School with a Clean Home

As summer seems to be quickly coming to a close and attention is turning from swimming and playing outside to new wardrobes and sports tryouts, there is so much to do to get prepared. With the shift in focus and schedule changes, you will want to prepare by making some changes in the home to help life during the school year go a bit more smoothly.

 Get Ready for Back to School with a Clean Home

A great way to make a busy schedule seem less hectic is with a clean and organized home to return to at the end of the day. Here is a short Back-to-School Cleaning checklist to help get your family ready for the coming school year.

 

1.    De-clutter: go through the home and pull out anything that just sits around unused. These could be items such as last year’s worn out and unusable school supplies, toys, clothes that don't fit, books that go unread, and anything that you plan on purchasing new. Who needs the old backpack when you have a brand new one? Donate or give the items to friends who may be able to put them to good use.

2.    Kids Rooms: Get kids excited about the coming school year with a clean and organized room. Maybe even get them excited about homework by sprucing up or creating a work space all their own. Let them be part of the process and they will take pride and ownership in the space and may even be more willing to keep their space tidy. For younger school aged children create a routine for them to get ready in the mornings and make a checklist you can hang on the wall. Make sure they have everything they need to get ready on their own.

3.    Entry/Mudroom: Take inventory of this catch-all space, and decide what would help to create a more organized and streamlined area. Are shoes piling up? Go through them and decide just how many pairs are truly needed. Give away the old and make sure there is ample storage for the new. Remember: making a space that is easy and inviting for inhabitants of the home and guests to remove shoes at the door keeps floors exponentially more clean. Hang some hooks for back packs and coats and maybe even add a bench or chair to make shoe removal and putting on easier.

4.    Main Living Area Spruce Ups: Get these most used spaces ready for after school friend hangouts and study group sessions. Make lunch prep easier with fridge organizers. Get the pantry in ship shape and easy to find a snack after school with clear bins, containers, and shelf organizers. Create a central command center that includes a family calendar, chore chart, mail slots, and weekly menu,

5.    Deep Cleaning: With all the time the family has been spending in the home during the summer it could probably use a deep cleaning to get it fresh and ready for the coming year. What better time to have the carpets, tile/stone, and upholstery deep cleaned then when the kids are in school and out of the home? Schedule your appointment now for the first week or two when they are in school and your home will be fresh and ready to start a new school year successfully and receive guests again.

 

 

Starting off with a clean home will make everything seem much more organized. Call us for more information on Portland real estate.

External Resource : Clever tricks to keeping the whole house clean

Posted in Portland
Aug. 14, 2017

6 Ways to Make Your Home Seem Bigger

I'm not necessarily talking about deceiving buyers or even anyone enters your home. But, if you wanting to make a small space look larger there are little tips, tricks and sneaky ways to do so. It will be very clear to buyers that the home is a certain size, but with the addition of a few little tricks, you can make the space fill larger and more inviting.

#1. Use a light colored paint.6 Ways to make your home seem bigger

If you have a small room or maybe a bathroom, you don't want to use dark or heavy colored paint. This will bring in the walls and make the space feel smaller than it is. Make sure the ceiling is painted with as light of color as you can go and that the walls and accents are bright, eight, and neutral toned. Monochromatic design and colors throughout the room will also make it feel larger than it really is. This could mean white or light colored couch, chairs, accent pieces, lamps, and tables.

#2. Try using the window treatments.

Window treatments, especially heavy ones, can bring down the lightness of an entire room. Try using no window drapes or curtains at all to see how much light it brings into the room and opened up the walls and ceiling.

Read More:10 Tiny Adjustments that Make Buyers Say WOW About Your Kitchen

#3. Take advantage of vertical space.

If you have a small room but tall ceilings, take advantage of that vertical space to enhance the room's volume. Invest in custom floor-to-ceiling bookcases which add a unique architectural detail and draws the eye upward. Anything that pulls the eye towards the ceiling, especially in high ceiling rooms, or adds to the expansiveness of the room itself.

Read More: 5 Easy Landscaping Tips to WOW Buyers

#4. Hang mirrors, art, or pictures in a distant room. 

This is a unique way to make a space look more open. By drawing the eye to a distant spot away from the room you are in, it will create a striking visual element and expand the perceived depth of field.

#5. De-clutter the entryway.

Decluttering the entire home, in general, is one of the best ways to make a room fill larger but the entryway is even more important. If people feel crowded as soon as they walk into the space, the rest of the home will feel that way as well even if it's not actually cluttered.

More: 3 Major Rules of Home Staging

Each home is unique so if you need help figuring out a way to make your small space seem bigger give us a call.

More: 5 STupid Cheap Home Staging Tips

Image above by Tim Evanson

Posted in Selling