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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.

Jan. 28, 2019

New Construction Happening in Tigard

There are several new construction projects going on around Tigard Oregon. Here's some of our favorites.New construction in Tigard

Burgundy Ridge. Built by Stone Bridge Homes Northwest, these homes are located on Bull Mountain with beautiful panoramic views of the valley. These homes are priced starting at about $720,000 and feature large four and five bedroom floor plans, three luxury designs, and in sizes up to 3500 ft.². Residents are part of the Tigard Tualatin school district and are assigned to the Alberta Rider elementary school, Twality middle school, and the Tualatin high school.

Madeline Heights. Built by Lennar, this new home community is almost sold out. There are several home designs to choose from with two-story layouts and a two-car garage. Homes are priced from $580,000 and feature 3 to 5 bedrooms in sizes from 2500 ft.² to nearly 3500 ft.². Residents are part of the Tigard/Tualatin school district and attend the same schools as Burgundy Rich.

Willow Brook. Built by Pacific Lifestyle Homes, there are several quick move-in homes available and 21 new home designs ready to be built. These are priced from $490,000 to about $690,000 in sizes from 1700 ft.² to 2900 ft.². Willow Brook is located near Interstate 5 and Pacific Highway, surrounded by several amenities such as Bridgeport Village, restaurants, parks, and more. They've already started to sell out. Residents will attend the James Templeton elementary school, Twality middle school, and Tigard high school.

These are the most prominent new construction subdivisions in Tigard but there are others and surrounding communities like Tualatin and Lake Oswego. For more information please contact our office today. We can send you an updated list of all current homes for sale and those currently being built. (Home image by Lennar in Madeline Heights.)

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Posted in Communities
Jan. 21, 2019

What's the Difference Between a Deposit and a Down Payment?

This is a pretty common question, the difference between an earnest money deposit in your down payment.

Earnest MoneyWhat's the Difference Between a Deposit and a Down Payment?

An earnest money deposit is offered by at a potential buyer as a symbol of good faith when entering into a contract to purchase. This earnest money is a security for the buyer that the seller will not sell the property to anyone else while under contract. Although it's not necessary, it does technically mean that there's a mutual promise with both parties to buy and sell. If the buyer completes the purchase or closes on the deal, this earnest money deposit is applied toward the purchase price just like a down payment. If the buyer defaults, the seller could retain the deposit in certain circumstances, but, most likely, if the deal doesn't go through, the earnest money will be returned to the buyer.

Sellers should require a decent deposit of at least $1000 or more. Typically, the earnest money deposit is between 1% and 3% of the entire purchase price of the property.

Down Payment

The down payment is the amount of cash a buyer will pay at the time of purchase toward the property. Even though this down payment usually includes the earnest money deposit as well, the down payment is due at closing, not toward the beginning of the purchase process.

Earnest money is presented with the real estate offer or intent to purchase. It is only deposited in an escrow account once the seller agrees to the purchase and sale contract. It sits in the escrow account until closing or until the buyer defaults, the sale falls through, or the seller requires the earnest money due to negligence on the buyer's side. If the real estate deal goes through, the earnest money is collected with the down payment towards the purchase price of the home. The down payment is only deposited at final closing once the deal is guaranteed to go through. The down payment can be anywhere from 3% on an FHA loan to 20% or even more. Often, buyers selling one home and purchasing another will have their escrow and lenders roll the money from one sale into the purchase price of another so that no actual money exchanges hands at all.

Again, the earnest money is simply the first initial good faith move on the buyer's behalf to secure the property during the purchase process. If something happens with the inspection or financing falls through, more often than not, the buyer's earnest money will be returned to the buyer. If the buyer just defaults without explanation, the seller can ask for the earnest money because now the seller must relist the property and go through the process again with another buyer.

For more information, stay tuned to our blog or feel free to browse all current Portland real estate listings on my website for free.

Posted in Finance
Jan. 9, 2019

What Improvements Should I Make When Selling?

What Improvements Should I Make When Selling?

If you’re considering selling you probably want the most out of your return. Whether it’s an investment property or your primary residence, getting back a good return on investment. You probably don’t want to put in $10,000 worth of renovations if they are only going to return a $5,000 profit. Here are some of the best things to add or upgrade for an ideal return on investment.

Kitchen and Bathroom Updates

Yes, it seems we live in a granite countertop and stainless steel world these days but if you want to compete with new homes and model showrooms this is the direction you'll need to go. Not everyone loves these materials of course, but the majority of buyers out there are seeing these more and more so competing with model showrooms and hoping to get the most return from your investment may involve upgrading to these materials.

Also, simply upgrading an older or outdated kitchen or bathroom really can do wonders. You don't have to spend a lot of money to really get the look of an updated bathroom or kitchen. Kitchens will tend to be the most expensive but if you have older fixtures such as a baby blue bathtub or pink toilet, those can start to add up as you replace them with white, crisp fixtures. Lighting shouldn't be too expensive as you can get updated, brushed chrome or nickel fixtures at any home improvement store for less than $100. Flooring is also another thing that you should be concerned about. When updating the flooring in a kitchen you'll want something that does not have breaks or cracks in it such as laminate tiles or floating wood floors. Anything that water can get underneath, swell and mildew is probably not the best for a kitchen. Bathrooms as well should be one solid piece of linoleum or a grouted tile so that water, if flooding occurs, does not seep underneath. Make sure that door frames, bathtubs and edging around the wall is all sealed and caulked properly.

Read More: Is staging worth the investment?

Windows also make a great ROI

The cost versus value report estimates that the average cost to replace 10 double hung windows with energy efficient vinyl windows is about $10,000. Homeowners can recoup about 72% to 85% of that cost depending on what part of the country the home is in. Replacing Windows has so many other advantages besides monetary. New windows can add a bright and shiny look to your home, give your home and external curb appeal and can preserve the home's value by protecting siding and window frames. [Source]


Surprisingly enough, entryways are another great return on investment. Nationwide insurance claims that only 15% of homeowners knew that the front door is one of the most common points of entry for burglars so updating the front entryway with a more secure system really appeals to buyers. Still, entry doors can be an expensive and fairly easy to install plus they carry and nearly 100% return on investments. Fiberglass and wood frame to doors will last longer but tend to be a lot more expensive.

Finding the right return on your investment can be all relative. For the Portland real estate area, buyers do want the latest and greatest in materials and fixtures so figuring out your home improvement budget and how much you want from the home can be all relative depending on the location and the style of home. Be sure to check with your local real estate agent for more information on getting the most profit from the sale of your home.

Check out all the insights about staging and improvement when selling

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Posted in Selling
Jan. 7, 2019

Is Staging Your Home Worth the Investment


Is Staging Your Home Worth the InvestmentIt is common knowledge that when a home is put on the market for sale, it should be in the best shape possible for the prospective buyers.  This involves thorough cleaning, removing of clutter and making sure it is well lit.  However, is it worth the extra time and investment to stage your home?

Realtors say, taking the extra step to stage a home can make a difference in how a buyer values it and the price a seller might get for it, according to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Staging report.

The report found that 49 percent of surveyed Realtors who work with buyers believe staging usually has an effect on the buyer’s view of the home. Another 47 percent believe that staging only sometimes has an impact on a buyer’s view of the home only. Only 4 percent of Realtors said staging has no impact on buyer perceptions.

Realtors on the buyer side believe that staging makes an impact in several ways; 81 percent said staging helps buyers visualize the property as a future home, while 46 percent said it makes prospective buyers more willing to walk through a home they saw online. Forty-five percent said a home decorated to a buyer’s tastes positively impacts its value; however, 10 percent of Realtors said a home decorated against a buyer’s tastes could negatively impact the home’s value.

From the seller side, a majority of Realtors utilize staging as a tool in at least some instances. Just over a third of Realtors (34 percent) utilize staging on all homes, while 13 percent tend to stage only those homes difficult to sell, and another 4 percent will do so only for higher priced homes. The median cost spent on staging a home is $675. Sixty-two percent of Realtors® representing sellers say they offer home staging service to sellers, while 39 percent say the seller pays before listing the home.

Realtors believe that buyers most often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home (37 percent from Realtors representing sellers and 32 percent from Realtors representing buyers). Additionally, 22 percent of Realtors representing sellers and 16 percent of Realtors representing buyers said the increase is closer to 6 to 10 percent.

The median price of homes currently listed in Portland Oregon is $423,200. So if staging a home at that price increases the value by just 3 percent, that equates to over $12,000.  The rooms that have the most impact when staged are as follows, in the order of importance:

  • Living room
  • Kitchen
  • Master Bedroom
  • Dining Room
  • Bathroom
  • Children's Bedroom
  • Guest Bedroom

Working with an experienced Realtor can give buyers, sellers and investors the advantage of the best way to stage and market a home.  Staging a home can give you a little more advantage in selling a home.  The impact it may have and the value it can bring is evident by both buyers and sellers.

For more information about staging, selling or buying a home in Portland or Vancouver contact us anytime! 

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Posted in Selling
Dec. 31, 2018

4 Resolutions You Should Make in the New Year

Here we are. The last day of 2018. What a weird and sometimes exhausting year it's been and I know for some it's been full of heartache and sorrow. But if you're looking forward to 2019 you may want to make some achievable resolutions. Sure we all want to lose weight but are there other resolutions we can make to just make the world a better place? Here are some I'm making this year.4 Resolutions You Should Make in the New Year

#1. Never talk about someone that you wouldn't say to their face. 

If you wouldn't say the thing to their face, don't say it to someone else. This is a part of being authentic and real. Sure, we all need to vent from time to time and rant, but these should be done in the privacy of our home with ourselves, not anyone else. Think about what you are accomplishing when you talk negatively about someone else behind their back? A bad reputation? Will that person wonder what you say about them behind their own back? It follows the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" mantra and I think it's valid.

#2. Rest.

This seems almost impossible in our hectic lives, but I am resolving to rest more in 2019. Whether that means getting an hour more sleep a night, a cat nap during the day, or taking a few more "personal days", I vow to be good to myself and consider self-care a priority.

#3. Read

Even if it's just one or two books this year, reading boosts our memory, keeps us learning, and keeps us curious. Stagnant people without a vision usually don't read. I vow not to be like that.

#4. Ask more questions.

Rather than waiting to talk, waiting to tell your side of the story or one-up someone, ask questions. I notice that really good employers and highly valued people ask more questions than they inform people. Be genuinely interested in someone instead of waiting to talk.

These may be simple but they also may be doable. Goals should achievable. However, we do have to be intentional about it and remind ourselves these things every day or so. What are your resolutions? I think if we all try and be a little kinder, this world will be a better place, even if it's just for the person we are interacting with for the day.

All the best and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Posted in Things to Do
Dec. 10, 2018

Page 4 - Home Values and Outdated Staging to Avoid

10 Ways Your House Could Feel Outdated

There's something to be said for timeless decorations and furnishings. Sometimes an old hutch, family heirloom, or memento, as to the charm and design of an entire room but there are also things that are simply outdated and there's not much you can do about it but replace it altogether. If you're looking at updating your house, either for sale, or you're just tired of living in the past, these are 10 things that make any house feel outdated.

Simple Decluttering Tricks to Give Your Home a Refresher

Simple Decluttering Tricks to Give Your Home a RefresherThe minimalistic approach is the newest trend in home design but it doesn't mean we have to get rid of everything. Decluttering a home, whether you are selling or not, can make you feel much better, open up your life a little bit more and make the entire house feel a lot fresher. There are some simple tips to decluttering your house.


4 of the Worst Home Improvement Projects for Return

If you're planning on or remodel or home improvement project the last thing you want to do is start with some projects that just don't offer you the best rate of return. You don't want to put more money in then you're likely to get out so by doing a little bit of research ahead of time, you can be ahead of the game, essentially, with finding some of the best projects instead.

8 Ways to Improve the Look of Your Home Fast!

When it comes time to list and sell your Portland home you may need to conduct some home improvement renovations or updates in order to compete with your competition. Buyers are looking for the best home for the cheapest price, and there are some ways you can improve the look of your home quickly and inexpensively.

3 Hidden House Issues That Could Be Affecting Your Home's Value

If you are planning on selling your home within the next six months you are probably wondering what you can do to maintain its value, increase its value, or simply not lose its value. Prices in the Portland real estate area are going up tremendously but if you have some issues with your home, it could damage the value. Whether you're planning on staying in your home or selling within the next year, make a checklist of these three items to verify that you're not losing the value of your home.

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Posted in Selling
Dec. 10, 2018

Page 3 - Best Home Staging Tips for Portland Sellers

3 Major Rules of Home Staging

Home staging is no longer a fad or something that very few homeowners do to sell their home anymore. Most homeowners are doing everything they can to set up, stage and present their homes in the best possible light for potential homebuyers. If you're planning on selling your Portland area home, you've probably already done a little bit of research when it comes to home staging. While there are hundreds of articles, blogs and reports out there you can listen to, it really comes down to three major points or rules. By following these three simple rules, okay, maybe they're not simple because you actually have to do something, but, if you do follow these rules, chances are you're going to get more people through the door and more potential offers on the table.

Simple and Timeless Staging Tips When it's Time to Sell

Staging your Portland Home to SellSimple and Timeless Staging Tips When it's Time to Sell

If you are planning to sell your home in Portland you might know that there are slightly different tricks and tips to keep in mind when staging for today's buyers. While all home buyers like a clean and organized home,  buyers are looking for something a little bit unique.

5 Easy Landscaping Tips to Wow Buyers

Whether it feels like it or not, spring is certainly here and we are seeing a lot less cooler days even though the sun has been playing hide and seek with us for several months. If you're planning on selling your home this spring or even summer, you're probably considering starting on the outside and working in. When it comes to staging your home you don't want to neglect the outside. The curb appeal is often the first impression many buyers see before purchasing your home. If the outside looks great, the inside is sure to follow.

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.


Posted in Selling
Dec. 10, 2018

Page 2 - Best Home Improvement Staging and Prep When Selling

Valuable Staging Tips When Selling Your Portland Home

Although we are licensed real estate brokers and perform most all and sometimes far beyond what a typical Realtor might do, there are some tactics you, the seller, can take into your own hands to ensure you have showings and ultimately an offer.

Because I cannot be in your home at all times, it’s up to you to set up your home in such a way to make it easy for short notice showings.

10 Tiny Adjustments that Make Buyers Say WOW About Your Kitchenmake your kitchen look bigger

The kitchen is probably one of the most prominent rooms in the house in which buyers are drawn to. It's important to make this room shine as much as possible. This is more than just clearing off the counters and wiping down the floors; it takes a little bit of finesse to really make your kitchen stand out from all the others the buyers may be seen. Here are 10 quick fixes that will make your kitchen pop.

7 Small Things to Change to Make a Big Impact in the Kitchen

It seems there are a lot of people updating their kitchens these days. Whether it's for selling, staging, or you just can't stand it anymore, changing kitchen items and materials are very popular as I was in Home Depot yesterday and there was literally a line in the kitchen design center. So it got me thinking about how people can make little changes in their kitchen that really make a big impact.


Posted in Selling
Dec. 10, 2018

Best Home Improvement Projects When Selling Your Home

We always want our sellers to have the most valuable information when staging, prepping and selling, which is why we've compiled a list of our favorite and most important home selling/staging/and cleaning tips out there. Pick your favorite or read them all... they will give you countless ways to make your home the most amazing listing on the market.

How Much will Actual Home Renovations Cost?

Oh, the budget! That thing that's usually always inaccurate. Many homeowners are starting their own renovations as we head into spring, whether it be for selling a home or just their own enjoyment. But the budget is that tricky thing that you can set ahead of time, and promptly blow through before you know it. So many people want to know the actual price of things and it makes sense! Why wouldn't we want to know what we're actually paying out? Well, with a little research we can almost plan for the most accurate budget possible on 4 of the top renovation projects out there.stagint

12 Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Home

We're always looking for ways to add value whether it's to ourselves with the pedicure, manicure, or great new haircut, or our home. Even if you're not selling your house, adding value is something that not just improves the value monetarily wise, but it makes you feel good when you look around a clean and highly valued home. If you're looking to update your house a little bit, here are 15 easy ways to add value and style to your house.

Is Your Home Move-in Ready or Needs Updating?

If you're planning on selling your Portland home, our real estate agent will verify whether the home is move-in ready or it needs some updating first. If you're looking to get the very most profit from the sale of your home, and who isn't, then you'll need to do some preliminary maintenance and check up on your home before listing in marketing the property.

Living in your home for some time can make you blind to a lot of the maintenance issues that homebuyers will see right away. To get around this issue it's best to have a trusted friend or even your real estate agent to tour the home pointing out any issues that buyers might notice immediately. Buyers don't want to make a mental list of all the items that need to be fixed as soon as they move in. The more move-in-ready you make your home, the more attractive it will be to potential homebuyers.


Posted in Selling
Dec. 5, 2018

Don't Make These 4 Real Estate Closing Mistakes

Don't Make These 4 Real Estate Closing Mistakes

The closing process happens when you finalize all the documents and paperwork necessary for buying real estate and all deeds are recorded and funds are dispersed. This closing can only happen when every notch falls into place and there are a lot of notches! So, there's a chance that something can fall through. You're dealing with a lot of involved parties when buying property, the title and escrow company, several real estate agents, buyers and sellers, appraisers, inspectors, and lenders. So, for everything to come together it can be challenging. And... you don't want to sabotage that sale. So here are 4 things that can ruin your closing.

#1. Insufficient closing funds.

Your lender should give you a good faith estimate as to exactly how much you'll be paying for the property in terms of closing costs, actual purchase price, down payment, and any other fees. If for some reason you don't bring the amount of closing costs needed to the table, the property cannot close. It's important to be preapproved for a loan before finalizing any closing documents. A buyer and a seller may need to cover some closing costs such as the title search, home inspection, or any prorated homeowner association dues or taxes. This can add up to several thousands of dollars to bring to the closing table and if for some reason either party does not have those funds, it can cause a major glitch in the closing process. Be sure to contact your lender and know exactly what you need to bring to the table at closing.

#2. Renters or tenants in the property.

If you lease your home while you are trying to sell it you now have other people involved. Let's go back to that list of people involved in the process and add another one, tenants. Make sure your lease agreement provides enough time for renters to move on before closing so that it's not an awkward eviction situation.

#3. Pests.

Most homeowners will have a home inspection completed before final closing but if you are unable to prove that your home is been treated for pests or do something seriously wrong with pests or pest damage, buyers may back out of the deal and ruin the closing situation. Many contracts are drafted with contingencies that allow the buyer to inspect the property before finalizing the sale. Make sure you have completed anything and everything on the home inspection report contingency before finalizing documents.

#4. Any additional liens on the property.

Before selling a property you have to be the sole owner of the property or the one allowed to sell the property and if you have any unpaid bills from delinquent property taxes, homeowners association dues, or even additional mortgages, it could put a major glitch on your closing. Title searches will make sure that any liens found in public records are completed before closing, but if things are found at the last minute, it could really terminate or at the very minimum, delay the closing process.

As a seller, and even as a buyer, finalizing these documents before being called in by escrow to sign is really the key to a smooth and stress-free closing. Good communication with your listing agent and the buyers lender can make sure that all of these loose ends are tied up so that you don't have a huge surprise at the closing table.

More on Closing

How Much Money to Bring to Closing

What Happens When Sellers Attend Closing Without Enough Money?

Contingent on Offer or Subject to Closing?

How Much are Closing Costs and Fees?

Posted in Buying