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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.

April 1, 2020

How to Find the Best House for Your Pets

How to Find the Best House for Your Pets

If you are a pet lover you know that our pets need a great home as well and even though most of them are just happy being with us, we need to consider them when purchasing a home. We want to find the right home, the right amenities, and the right layout not only for our own needs and budget, but in consideration of our four-legged family members as well. Here are some things to consider when finding the best house for your pets.

Check out local ordinances and rules.

Homeowner associations may have specific rules on the type of pet, how many pets, and the weight of the pet that you can have. You would want to get into a condo association or townhouse Association only to realize you can't bring your four-legged friend along. Ask about any rules and restrictions with pets, the type of pet, the quantity and size.

Related: How to Keep Pet Paws Clean on Your Floors

Find a pet-friendly real estate agent.

The last thing you want is for a real estate agent to not "get you" and completely disregard your concern for buying a home with consideration of a pet. You want a pet lover so you want someone that has the same values and perspectives as you. Find a real estate agent understands the need of the type of pet you have an knows the ordinances of the neighborhood. While that may not be everybody, just finding a real estate agent that has the same passion about caring for pets as you do will go a great distance.

Is a condo or townhouse out of the question?

Just like getting into a homeowners association, all condo, apartment, and townhouse associations will have rules on pets. They may be locks on their rules or not have that many, but they will still have some sort of rules so it's important that you understand what you can have when living in close quarters with other residents.

More: Best Dog Parks in Portland

What is your pet need?

Think about the amount of space that your pet will need both now and in the future. If you have a puppy, that puppy will probably need to get some energy out at some point. Is there a dog run? Backyard? Lots of space? Will they have an outdoor space or does your four-legged furry feline do nothing but sit on the couch all day? Consider your pet's needs, size, and age and how that will affect where you purchase.

Buying with pets and mine means that you not only care for your family members, but you want everyone to live a comfortable, stress-free life. Give us a call today. We would love to help you find the right home in Portland or Vancouver or surrounding areas that both meets your budget, your lifestyle, and makes your pet happy.

Posted in Buying
March 30, 2020

5 Remodel Projects to Think About Before Listing your Portland Home

If you're considering selling your Portland home property this year you might be wondering about renovations and remodels that could increase the value of your home and help it sell quicker. While every home is different and what buyers and sellers see in a home can vary greatly, here are some items you may want to consider adding value to before listing your property.

Are there enough bathrooms?5 Remodel projects to think about before listing your home

Depending on the age of the home, many older homes may only have one or one and a half baths. Buyers are looking for a little bit more than that depending on how many rooms the home has in total. Typically for every 1 1/2 to 2 bedrooms, one bathroom is plenty. For homes that have four or more bedrooms, it's best to have 2.5 or three bathrooms or more. If you're unsure where an additional bathroom could be created to speak to a local remodeling expert and get a consultation on price and how much it would increase the value of your home.

Updated kitchen.

Many buyers are looking for updated kitchens with all the latest bells and whistles. Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, pristine flooring and upgraded cabinetry are all on the list for home buyers these days. While you may not be able to complete all of the tasks, simply adding granite countertops for new appliances can work wonders for potential buyers.

Read more: 3 Things You Need to Be Doing If You Plan on Listing Your Home

New flooring.

Whether it's carpet, tile or hardwood, new flooring can take years off the age of the house. New flooring is often expected in new listings and can really add a professional sense of cleanliness, freshness and life. Consider bathrooms with new linoleum or professional tile, hardwood in the kitchen and dining room, and carpets in the bedroom. At the very least get your carpets cleaned well!

Fresh landscaping.

It's amazing what a fresh landscaping job can do for the external photographs of your home. Fresh mulch, trimmed back bushes and colorful flowers add a pop and charm to the curb appeal of any house. If you have trees or shrubs that are over growing stairways, garages, the side of the house or sidewalks, it's time to trim back or have them completely removed and start over. Remember, you're competing with model showrooms that have professional landscaping that just went in.

Related: How Long Does it Take to Sell a Portland Home?

New paint inside and out.

This is where your budget will really come into play. Find where you can spend the right amount of money with touchups or a complete overhaul of the paint inside and out. If you have just a little bit of funds for this type of update you might consider painting just the trim and the front door on the exterior part of the house. If interior walls are scuffed or paint is missing, it's time to give them a fresh coat to really liven and freshen up the room.

Read more: Unconventional Selling Tactics

Again, every home is different and for specifics on your particular Portland area home or property give me a call. I would be happy to walk through your home offering tips and suggestions on what buyers are looking for and what should change before listing.

Posted in Selling
March 27, 2020

Being as Prepared as Possible When Selling Your House

Being as Prepared as Possible When Selling  Your House

If you're like a lot of people you want to be completely prepared before you list your property. Some people don't have that luxury and need to list immediately, either a recent job change, relocation, familial status change or another major life incident. But, if you do have a little bit of time to prep before listing your home being as prepared as possible can save you time, energy, and gain a lot of extra profit in your pocket at closing.

Here are some things to consider when prepping your home for marketing.

Plan out showings.

You already know that you will have people coming through your home so be prepared by organizing things that you may not be able to see on the surface such as drawers, cupboards, pantries, closets and cabinets. Buyers will look through everything so pack up about half of the items in all of these areas so that it looks like you have plenty more space.

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Hide the evidence.

Once you pack up everything you need you don't want to store it in multiple boxes in the garage. Buyers will put together that all of this went into the house and that once all of those items are back in the house it may not feel the same with as much room. It's best to rent one of those storage containers or PODS to hide your items, either have it be off-site or already at your new location if you can.

Read more: 5 Ways to Improve Your Kitchen for Home Buyers

Along the same lines as this, you want to hide all evidence of any major political, religious or, at the very worst, illegal paraphernalia. You don't want people to find items that you may not want discovered. This can go for either legal items such as cigarettes or alcohol. You may not want small children to find your stash and then parents assuming the worst from the homeowner. I know, I know, but you would be surprised as to the stigma and perception some buyers have. It simply best to keep everything out of sight. You certainly wouldn't find these items in a model showroom; so consider this when prepping your own home.

Be ready in under 30 minutes.Being as Prepared as Possible When Selling  Your House

Sometimes, showings can happen within 30 to 60 minutes and you need to be prepared to leave the home within that time. If you have small children, make an agreement that whatever they pull out to play with can be easily picked up within 30 minutes. Minimize the number of cooking utensils, entertainment items and toys they get called out at any one given time. Keep laundry done at least every 2 to 3 days so that you don't have piles stacking up in the corner and try to be diligent about hanging up coats, backpacks and putting away shoes when you enter the door. Yes, this can be very tedious, especially if you're not used to it, but having this quick cleanup will be a lifesaver when that agent calls ready to show your home and they're already in the neighborhood.

More: Can People Buy and Sell Real Estate Completely Online?

Be prepared for feedback.

Your agent will discuss any type of feedback you might get at it's best not to get insulted by this feedback. There are things that we have no control over such as location or home layout but if buyers feel that either a pet caused too much of a bad odor or that the curb appeal was lacking, these are things that can easily be fixed before the next showing. Listen to feedback with an open mind and try to adhere to as much advice as possible.

You can be prepared for showing and the more you are prepared ahead of time the less amount of time your home will be on the market. For more details on staging, prepping and listing your particular Portland home please call me anytime.

Read more: 4 Ways to Save Money When Selling a House

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Posted in Selling
March 24, 2020

Should You Be Buying a House During a Pandemic?

Should You Be Buying a House During a Pandemic?

How can home buyers still look for and purchase a home during this Coronavirus crisis? It's no secret that we are in some odd times. But if you were looking for a home before all this broke out and you haven't found one, you might still be on the hunt but worried about going out. Regardless of what's happening, the housing market really hasn't been hit just yet. But it probably will.

There's a lot of uncertainty over what will happen within the next few weeks to even a few months. But interest rates are lower than ever and most lenders say that they don't plan on changing anything to the underwriting process making buying a home just as easy as it ever has been.

But, everyone needs someplace to live and in several markets across the country, houses for sale will be more attractive than houses for rent increasing the need for more sellers and more buyers. Several people sold their home in January and February hoping to buy this spring and renting in the meantime, however, with the drastic change in society, that plan has been put on hold.

For others, the choice to put the home on the market now or wait is a weighty one. However, knowing what we learned from the 2008 housing crisis and looking back, people are choosing to buy now rather than wait. Many people are looking forward 5 to 10 years and assuming now would be the time to buy rather than wait too much longer.

So how can buyers brave the pandemic?

Right now one of the best things to do is prepare your finances. You can start looking at homes and many homes have virtual tours and your buyer's agent or the listing agent can give you a virtual walk-through of the property without ever having to leave your home. You can take a look at the neighborhood in the streets on Google maps using the street view option, and get a good sense of the property before actually visiting it. Many properties are actually vacant right now making touring homes a little bit safer.

The bottom line is that people still need to buy and sell properties. If you need to buy don't hesitate to contact our office and we can help you however we can safely do so. If you need to sell, our expert marketing skills and negotiations can help advertise your home in a unique way that will appeal to today's buyers. Give us a call today. 503-957-1179 or start your search here for free.

Posted in Buying
March 18, 2020

Upholstery Cleaning in Allergy Season is Important

Upholstery Cleaning in Allergy Season is Important

Spring is allergy season and for those that suffer from seasonal allergies, it can be a tough time. One thing we may not think about to help get us through the season is professional deep cleaning in our homes, especially professionally cleaning our upholstered furniture.

Here are some reasons why it is important to have professional upholstery cleaning done just before or during allergy season.

Upholstery Traps and Holds on to Allergens

Your furniture is inside your home, so how does it come in contact with allergens from outside?

When you go outside, you may not realize it, but the stuff floating in the air (which is not visible to the naked eye) settles onto your clothing. You carry these allergens around with you even back into your home. When you have a seat on the sofa those allergens hanging out on your clothes rub off and get comfy in the sofa too. Your upholstery fabric is actually holding a number of things you don’t see. Over time the gunk builds up and becomes airborne again.

Dirt/Gunk/Allergens Wear on the Fabric

The biggest enemy of the fabric on your furniture is dirt. Dirt acts like fine grit sandpaper gradually rubbing away at the fibers in the fabric. The longer the dirt hangs out and the more it builds up the more it grates at the fabric and shortens the life of the upholstery. This is also true for carpets and rugs.

Professional Cleaning is the Only Way to Get Your Upholstery Its Deepest Clean

There are many methods to upholstery cleaning from personal steamers, to store rented machines, to hand shampoo/soap, and various professional methods. The absolute best way to ensure your upholstery has been cleaned to the furthest reaches is with professional hot water extraction cleaning. Professional hot water extraction is performed with high powered truck mounted equipment. The power that the equipment alone provides gives a much deeper and more thorough clean than any other method. The heat is higher killing more germs and the suction is much greater to extract nearly all of the moisture back out again instantly. Less moisture means a faster drying time and a faster drying time is crucial to preventing the growth of mold or mildew and attracting dirt back into the fabric.

Clean and sanitized surfaces are important in homes of allergy sufferers to reduce exposure to immune system irritants. Homes with allergy sufferers require more frequent deep cleaning than others depending upon the severity of the allergy.

More Good Stuff

Is a Bagless Vacuum Better for Allergy Sufferers?

Helpful Carpet Cleaning Hacks When Moving

Does Your Home Have Funky Odors?

Posted in Portland
March 13, 2020

14 Hidden Things to Look For When Buying a House

14 Hidden Things to Look For When Buying a House

Whether this is your first home purchase or you are a repeat buyer, there are things to look for when touring a home that you may not of thought of. Here are 15 things to look for and inspect when checking out home to buy.

#1. Awkward Features.

Is the bathroom off the kitchen and is that a problem for you? Is the layout of the house in conducive to your lifestyle? Either enough bedrooms, bathrooms, or too many stairs? Many of these things may be difficult to change and therefore may be difficult to resell later on. You might be willing to live with it but if other people can't, you might have a difficult time selling it in the future.

#2. Filters and Ducts.Things to look for in a home inspection

These things get forgotten about especially with home sellers that are not as careful to clean. Check the vent over the range of see how dirty and grimy it is. Double check the hood and see if there's a lot of grease buildup, and check any standing fans or furnace filters that you can find. If they're coated with a desk, you know that the rest of the house that you can't see hasn't been properly maintained either.

#3. Cracks.

A check for cracks in foundations, walls, where the wall meets the ceiling, any windows, stairs, outside porch or decks.

#4. Holes in screens.

Check for any holes or rips in sliding glass door screens or window screens. Also, if they're missing, inquire with the seller about having them replaced before closing. If there's a lot of marks or holes in the screens, there could be other issues that you're not paying attention to.

#5. Door jams and window tracks.

Double check how dirty the window tracks and/or tracks of sliding doors are. A lot of dust, dirt and bugs can collect in their and even though this is something that can be cleaned, it could give you an indication on other items that may not be as clean.

#6. Unusual smells or odors.

If a basement smells like mildew or mold than there could be an underlying issue that you cannot see from the surface. Press on any walls or floors that feel damp or maybe emitting an older. This would be a sign of mold and mildew behind the sheet rock or under the flooring, which can cause major problems later on.

#7. Look in drawers and enter cabinets. 

Squeaky drawers, loose cabinets, and closet doors that don't open properly could be a sign of mismanagement and neglect. These will be things that you will need to take care of once you are in the home so it's best to address them now if you can.

#8. Faulty wiring.

Double check around the outside of the house for any wiring, cords, or electrical outlets that look like they need some attention. There's a lot of confusing wires going every which way, your electrical inspector should be able to tell you what's going on there. But, make a note of it now so that you can ask your inspector later on or the seller if they are there.

Related: How to Learn About a Neighborhood You're Considering

#9. Check the drains.

Run water down all of the drains in the sinks, bathtubs and flushed the toilets. If anything does not look right or sound right, this will give you a good indication of faulty plumbing.

things to look for when buying a house#10. Taste the water.

If you're moving from a new city to the Portland area you might be surprised to know that our water will taste different. If you don't like the water, now would be the best time to discover it. Perhaps there are some dirty pipes or outdated piping and plumbing that could cause problems and knowing them now will help you prepare for a whole house filter.

#11. Open the windows.

Open all the windows, sliding doors and regular doors to make sure they don't creak and open smoothly. Make notes along the way as to any issues.

#12. Run the furnace and/or air-conditioning. 

Even though your inspector will do this for you, it's best to know now before investing in an inspection whether or not these major appliances work.

#13. Check the carpet. 

You don't want to be pulling up their carpet but looking at the lowest side of the room and pulling back a small corner could allow you to see the condition of the floors below.

#14. Check the fireplace.

You may not be able to light a wood burning fire in the fireplace while you are simply touring the home but you can flip on a switch if it's a gas fireplace or propane. Check to make sure that the flu is open and that everything is working properly. Make sure you don't sell any gas if you do turn on gas fireplace and that it lights right away from the pilot light.

For more information on tidbits and secrets to check out when touring homes feel free to give me a call. I can mention all of these things while we are looking at homes so that you can make notes and make an informed decision on your next purchase.

More Great Stuff:

Hidden Costs of an FHA Loan

8 Mistakes Most First Time Home Buyers Make

3 Things to Do Now if You're Buying This Spring

4 Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Posted in Buying
March 9, 2020

5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying That Condo

Are you considering purchasing a condominium or townhouse? There are different rules when it comes to buying a single-family home versus a condo or townhouse and it's important to understand all of the rules, finances, differences in loans, and the condo association. If you're considering a condo in Portland here are five important questions you should ask before buying.

#1. What are the rules?5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying That Condo

You will be part of a homeowner or condo association once you join the other residents so it's important that you understand the rules, agreed to follow them, and if there any questions, deal with those before finalizing the documents. The CC & R bylaws which stand for covenants, conditions, and rules of the Association will cover everything from pet rules, satellite dishes, noise ordinances, and interior remodel. If there's a specific question you should definitely ask that before finalizing the documents. These rules can be somewhat extensive so if there's a specific question, ask it directly to the Association or have a real estate attorney review all of the documents. You never know, there could be something in those documents that you disagree with that might come back to bite you later on once you've moved in.

#2. How healthy is the budget?

Because you will be paying into this condo association, the treasury should have some reserve funds available for external and exterior issues. Remember, as a condo owner you are not directly responsible for the replacement of the roof, siding, paint, or common area landscape, however, you are association dues go towards these costs and if there are no reserved funds available when a roof needs to be replaced, residents may be stuck with a hefty bill.

#3. How is the management team?

Some associations are run by a board of residents while others are completely external from those that live in the complex. Ask neighbors what they think about the Association and how the board runs things. Sit down with the condo manager personally and ask how decisions are made. Some communities that have lower homeowner association fees tend to manage the community alongside other residents so it's important you agree with how the Association is managed and what other people in the complex think about the board.

#4. What do your monthly association fees cover?

You want to make sure that you agree with how your money is being spent each month. Fees have to include maintenance of the property depending on the number of units, funds set aside for repairs and litigation, and any other issues that might come up. Make sure you agree with how those funds are being spent.

#5. What is the delinquency rate?

Many condo and even homeowners and single-family developments with associations don't understand that those in delinquency of their association fees can be a huge burden onto those that actually pay their bills on time. Ask about the delinquency rate because some lenders won't even approve a mortgage for condos with delinquency rates above 15%.

There are several questions to ask when choosing a condominium over single-family home, however, these are some of the more common questions and definitely things to be aware of before finalizing your sale.

Search all Portland condos here


More Details for Condo Buyers

Posted in Buying
March 4, 2020

Does My House Have Lead Based Paint?

Lead Based Paint... no one likes the sound of that but the reality is, if you're home was built before 1978, chances are it probably does. That's not something to be freaked out about though. If your kids are not gnawing on the walls or peeling the paint and stirring it into their morning coco puffs you're probably okay, but there are still some things you should know about lead based paint and why its so dangerous. Lead Based Paint in a home in POrtland

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD requires homeowners to disclose to potential buyers if a home has in fact lead based paint. Since most homeowners have not been in their home that long, they usually must disclose that they "don't know". Lead in paint has been linked to learning disabilities, seizures and even death if injected. But there's the big difference .... IF INJECTED. If it simply sits on your wall it brings no harm to anyone. But anyone can bring lead based paint into the home if the paint mixes with dust, mud or dirt and then kids stick their fingers in their mouths, like they normally do. If kids are chewing on paint chips or playing in soil contaminated with lead paint then it becomes hazardous. 

So what can you do? If you don't want to remove it, you can wipe down flat surfaces, mop floors and take off shoes before entering the house. Vacuum with a high efficiency HEPA filter and keep loose paint chips picked up. This can be of concern when remodeling as old paint can flake off easy and become mixed with new paint or all over floor. 

If you really want to remove all evidence of lead-based paint you will need to perform a risk assessment. This locates the paint, evaluates the extent and the cause of deterioration. Only if there is broken or peeling paint is this really an issue but if you want to remove it altogether you will need to track down all the sources of the paint in your home. The EPA strongly recommends this process is done by a professional so that you are not at risk. Any tampering with lead based paint without proper materials could cause inhalation. If you want it completely removed you will need to hire a certified lead abatement contractor. This means either removing it or sealing it permanently. 

Related: Tips to help prevent winter water damage

The reality is, if you don't have small children, are not making major remodels where you are stripping paint or you just don't have to worry about kids chewing on paint chips, you're fine. However you must disclose it. Most paint has been painted over several times since 1978 so sealing has probably already happened. If you are concerned or need more information you can contact the National Lead Information Center 1-800-424 LEAD. Image by Bart Everson FLickr Commons


Posted in Buying, Selling
Feb. 24, 2020

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home in an Up and Coming Neighborhood - 2

Here are 10 ways to prepare your home for an up and coming neighborhood - Great tips by experienced agents and brokers across the country. 

#4. Update, update, update.

"Not only should you know your competition but your home should be updated as well. Even if this is a vintage neighborhood or older neighborhood, people are still looking for functional, updated, practical, and safe materials and functionality of the house. So it might be time to remodel your bathroom, especially if you're dealing with 1970s appliances and colors. However, this can be tricky because if you are living in an up-and-coming historic neighborhood, renovating the home might be better than updating. Keeping that beautiful clawfoot tub in the bathroom or pedestal sink in the powder room might just be the exact thing that a buyer is looking for for this area. If you are unsure what your home needs, talk to your real estate agent about what buyers are really looking for in this particular neighborhood." Ellen Bruya – Snohomish commercial real estate agent

#5. Verify that the sewage is up to code.

"This is a tricky one because older neighborhoods that are starting to flourish may have a lot of unique permits and codes that the only to adhere to if new homeowners move in. Of course, this is one of the least appealing tasks for a homeowner but if you don't properly care for sewage lines or septic tanks, it can create extremely costly and dangerous situations. You may need your sewer pipe realigned depending on the zoning in the neighborhood or you might need your septic tank at least pumped or replaced depending on its age. This is something to take care of before listing your property so buyers know that a lot of the major details are taken care of." Donald Payne – Columbus Ohio Realtor®

#6. Be Move-in Ready

"If you've noticed a lot of new construction going up around your neighborhood, chances are home prices in your neighborhood will skyrocket as well. Not everyone loves a brand-new home so you can appeal to those homebuyers by providing finished basements, fenced yards, and established landscaping. A lot of new homebuyers simply don't want to deal with all the landscaping a new property needs and if you are appealing to people with small children or pets, a fenced yard might be exactly what they're looking for. Move-in ready is huge." Eve Alexander - Orlando Buyers Broker


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Posted in Selling
Feb. 24, 2020

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home in an Up and Coming Neighborhood - 3

Here are 10 ways to prepare your home for an up and coming neighborhood - Great tips by experienced agents and brokers across the country.  Revisit Page 1 or Page 2


#7. Promote nearby businesses.

"One of the major reasons that a neighbor could become an up-and-coming neighborhood is the development or opening of new trendy businesses nearby. New businesses, especially those that do very well, are one of the best reasons that an area turns around, as in the same way when businesses close, the neighborhood may be going the other direction. New developments and businesses can bring in a lot of jobs and all these people need somewhere to live. Trader Joe's, Starbucks, trendy breweries and coffee shops are some of the hottest businesses to perk the interest of a neighborhood or city region. If you know of some of these great businesses in your area and you're trying to increase the value of your home, promote them on social media, talk about them, tag them or hashtag their trends and mottos for more exposure." Todd Blair – Mirasol Country Club Realtor®

More: How to Make a Good Impression When  Selling Your Home

#8. Personalize the home.

"I know most real estate agents tell you to depersonalize your home, but if you are trying to appeal to a wealth of buyers for an up-and-coming neighborhood, you might need to stand out from the crowd. Talk to your real estate agent or neighboring businesses about the type of clientele they tend to see around here. This can give you a better idea of who's buying such as millennial's, retirees, artists, musicians, etc. By knowing your target audience, a little bit of pizzazz and personalization in your home may not be a bad thing." – Dale Corpus - San Ramon Realtor®

More: What is an Up and Coming Neighborhood?

#9. Increased sense of community.

"While you may not be able to have instant block parties the minute you meet your neighbors, if you have a good rapport with your neighbors, it can have a positive effect of the value of the home. Buyers are looking for a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood to find an existing sense of community where most people can fit in and thrive. Being friendly with your neighbors, lending a helping hand, or mowing your neighbor's yard, mages provide that extra little personal touch your neighborhood needs to draw in more buyers and increase your home's value." Stephen Proski– McCormick Arizona real estate agent

#10. Improved schools and walkability.

"Access to great schools or if your home is within a great school district with a high rating, this can be a huge perk for buyers. And, it doesn't even matter if the home buyers have children. Many buyers are looking for resell value of their own so focusing on the scores or reviews of local schools, awards and such, can really boost your own home's value.

Walkability is another one. If people are within 2 to 3 blocks from the grocery store, banks, gas stations, schools, or community centers, it can really benefit your home's value and make it appealing to all types of buyers." Kenny Raymond – Miami Beach Realtor®


Let's Get Your Home Ready to Sell

Posted in Selling