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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. 20, 2019

8 Handy-Man Fixes You Can Probably Do Yourself

If you have a middle schooler, you know that YouTube is probably being played 24 hours a day your house, but while they might use it to watch gamers and silly shows, you can actually use it to fix just about anything in your house. Before spending tons of money on a handyman, see if you can do these eight simple fixes throughout your house by yourself.

#1. Change a lightbulb.8 Handy-Man Fixes You Can Probably Do Yourself

How many people does it take to change a lightbulb? It should only take you. It depends on where the light bulbs are in your house, but chances are, a simple light fixture can easily be swapped out but if you don't have the right light changing equipment you could risk a fall or broken glass so if it's taller than 20 feet in the air, get a pro to handle it.

#2. Weatherstripping.

Weatherstripping and caulking around door frames and window frames is a great way to seal up your home for the winter. The last thing you want is for the warm air in your house to get out or cold air to come in making your energy bills skyrocket. This is an easy thing to do by simply buying weatherstripping that has a sticky side and a non-sticky side in a role in the cut the appropriate link for doors and windows.

#3. Installing a light fixture.

Yes, this is a little bit more complicated than a lightbulb, but most light fixtures, as long as you can easily reach them, should be fairly simple to put in, especially if you are replacing an existing one. The key is to remember to turn off of the electricity to that outlet so this might be a two-person job depending on where your electrical box is.

#4. Hanging shelves.

Frames are easy to hang up, especially when you use those command strips but shelving might be a little bit more tricky. However, most come with all the equipment necessary and if you're going to hang a heavier shelf or put heavier things on the shelves, remember to use drywall anchors.

#5. Painting and prep.

Painting a room or even just one large wall with an accent color is a great way to add new life to a room but a lot of homeowners think that they need to pay someone for that. As long as you have the tools on hand such as brushes, rollers, and drop cloths, painting and prepping for painting can be easy. When should you call a pro? Exterior painting or power washing might need a professional's touch.

#6. Patching holes.

Whether you are in the paint prep process or you're just looking to freshen up a room, patching holes is easy. Simply scrape peeling paint from the whole to even it out, put spackling paste in its place, smooth it down, and paint over it.

#7. Leaky faucet.

A leaky faucet can be easily fixed with a washer change or even just tightening. You might need to shut off the water completely, put new tape around the threads, or simply do a few tightening with a wrench. The tricky part is finding the right size washer for your faucet. But, any major plumbing problem should probably be handled by the Pro.

#8. Assembling furniture.

IKEA is the king of assembled furniture but you don't need a professional to help you do this. Only if you're ordering a custom piece of furniture from a specialty carpenter, you should be able to put together anything else but remember, take your time, make sure you have all the equipment laid out ahead of time, and you are organized. Nothing can cause more marital spat then assembling furniture together.

With a few home and tools, you can easily tackle a lot of these issues that are common as a homeowner.

More great homeowner tips.

Posted in Selling
Sept. 16, 2019

Portland Buyer's Agent

Do I really need a buyer's agent to purchase a home?

If you're new to the real estate market you may not be aware that there are typically two agents involved in every real estate transaction; the listing agent and the buyer's agent. While the listing agent, who originally works for the seller, and lists and advertises the property, can also be a buyer's agent and assist buyers in purchasing that home, it may not be in the buyer's best interest to do so.Portland Buyer's Agent

A buyer's agent works solely for the buyer in any real estate transaction and they do not have a hidden agenda at selling any one particular property over another. As a Portland buyer's agent it is my duty to make sure you find the right home in the right neighborhood and for the right price regardless of any homes I may personally have listed.

There tends to be a conflict of interest when dealing with dual agency. Because the listing agent originally started working for the seller first their interest is to the seller and not necessarily the buyer. Their only goal for the seller is to sell that home not necessarily finding the buyer the best home for their needs or price. Also, letting the listing agent become aware of all of your financial details and pricing strategies may not work for your benefit is the buyer.

Let me show you an example:

Say, a couple of buyers were looking at an open house and when touring that home the listing agent, sitting the open house, asks politely if they are working with a buyer's agent. If not, the listing agent will promote themselves as their buyer's agent and if the couple finds the home desirable can put an offer into the sellers through that listing agent. Most listing agents will want to know if the buyers have been preapproved for home loan if they’re financing the property. The listing agent will also want to know how much they have been preapproved for to verify they can afford the home they are looking at. Here's where it gets tricky; let's say the home is listed for $300,000. The buyers have been approved for $350,000, but the home has been on the market a while and the buyer's want to offer $275,000. Although they love the home and would probably pay full price they want to offer less to see where the seller sits. Because the listing agent knows how much they are approved for, knows how much they love the house, and also knows they would probably pay full price, they are armed with this knowledge to return with to their sellers. Because the sellers now know this as well they counter offer for $295,000. The buyers are unsure if the seller can take any less or if there other offers on the table because the listing agent can manipulate the deal (although it's unethical to do so). The buyers end up paying $295,000 for the home and the listing agent now walks away with the full commission.

Now let's see the same scenario on this example with the help of a buyer's agent!

Posted in Buying
Sept. 16, 2019

Benefits of Using a Buyer's Agent

Now let's see the same scenario with the buyer's enlisting the help of their own buyer's agent.

(Read the first part of this scenario here)Benefits of Using a Buyer's Agent


The buyers enter the open house and quickly inform the listing agent they are already working with a buyer's agent. Immediately the pressure and stress has been lifted and the buyers can tour the home in peace knowing their buyer's agent can help them answer any additional questions they may have about purchasing the home.

The buyers decide to offer the same amount as before on the home at $275,000. The listing agent knows nothing of the preapproval amount or their financial situation. The listing agent presents the offer to the sellers without any additional knowledge. From here, the sellers and the listing agent are unaware if the buyers can actually afford anymore or if they have any offers or pending offers anywhere else. The sellers are nervous about losing this offer, considering the home has been on the market for quite some time, and if they counter offer the deal may be terminated altogether.

Because of the uncertainty of the buyers, the sellers agree to the reduced price of $275,000. When the deal closes, the buyer's agent and listing agent now split the commission meaning the buyer pays their agent nothing to negotiate the transaction for them. This is also another fabulous perk of using a buyer's agent. So, not only have the buyers found a home they love but they have saved $20,000 over the purchase price when using a buyer's agent versus going with the listing agent.

You can see how beneficial this is for buyers to have a dedicated and exclusive buyer's agent helping you find the right Portland home in the right Portland neighborhood. Again, you pay me nothing out of pocket for my services and I keep all your financial and negotiating strategies confidential throughout the transaction. I'm here to get you the best price on the right home in Portland Oregon.


Posted in Buying
Sept. 9, 2019

Is September a Good Garage Sale Month?

Most of us here about garage sales and yard sales as soon as it starts getting a little bit sunny outside but now that the rain has come in and even though we're not in fall, it certainly feels that way, should you still carry out got yard sale?

Whether your home is on the market or not, decluttering and making it presentable is one of the top things that will Is September a Good Garage Sale Month?impress buyers. If you're looking to sell your home, and, as we discussed last week, now the kids are back in school, this is actually a good time, setting up and quick and easy garage sale is the best way to Declutter.

With the new tax laws, a lot of our tax deductions on charitable giving have been lumped into the standard deduction and you may not qualify for additional deductions with donations, hence, entered the garage sale.

Go through every single room one by one looking through closets, pulling out all the items and only putting back what's necessary, boxing up items for donations, tossing items that you know are broken or you just don't want to move with, and set aside others for the garage sale.

Go through items one by one and set categories for pricing. Dedicate the garage or a room in the home as sales headquarters. Organize kitchen items, toys, books, electronics, and clothes and price out everything individually. Remember, you're trying to get things sold and out of your way, not necessarily the best price.

Don't forget to advertise your sale. You can run an ad in the local newspaper, make an ad on Facebook marketplace, or even just throw out ads on Craigslist and other social media. Put up signs with a will get the most traffic and make your letter in large and easy to read. Busy signs usually get forgotten about.

Make sure you have a cash box or money pouch ready to make change and expect early birds even if your ad clearly states that you won't start until a certain time. Remember, those early birds will usually swoop in, and buyout a lot of things. Put a few interesting things near the end of the driveway or on the sidewalk to encourage people to stop by. A lot of people simply drive by to see if there's anything interesting.

Know what to do with the leftovers. Chances are you're not going to sell everything so make a quick inventory and take it to a charitable tax deduction resale store like Value Village, thrift stores, or Goodwill.

Nope, September is not a bad time to do a garage sale but plan accordingly with the weather. Clear out the garage so that you put tables and items in the garage just in case it rains.

Find Out What Your Home is Worth

Check out the Portland Real Estate Market Now

Posted in Things to Do
Sept. 4, 2019

How Much Are Starter Homes in Vancouver?

Vancouver Washington is the new hotness. Portland has literally priced a lot of first time home buyers right out of the market and so they're moving north to Washington. Just across the river, home prices are approximately $100,000 less on average than they are in Portland and rent is about three to $400 less expensive as well. So if you're thinking about living in the Portland Metro area, don't negate Vancouver off of that list. So how much are starter homes in Vancouver Washington?Vancouver Washington Starter Homes

Condominiums, townhouses, and older, smaller homes with just one bedroom and one bath, less than 1000 ft.² can start anywhere from around $115,000-$180,000. Some of these properties it may need a little bit of work, however, unless you choose a smaller square footage property.

For around $160,000 you can get a three-bedroom, two-bath home, with around 1700 ft.² but again, it might need a little bit of work.

Condominiums with one bedroom and one bath for around 700 ft.² can start at about $150,000.

Manufacturer homes can also start between $125,000 and $200,000.

Higher-end townhouses with over 1000 ft.² start at about $175,000.

Currently, as of the publishing of this post, there were 43 properties for sale between $100,000 and $200,000. But jump up into the $200,000-$300,000 markets and we're talking 135,000 results. This is quite a bit different than the Portland area where you're likely to have less than 50.

Three bedrooms, two bath townhouses in Vancouver with about 1300 ft.² are priced at $210,000.

Starter homes on a little bit of land may be upwards of $250,000 but again, this is for a smaller property, typically around 1000 ft.².

Moving to the $240,000 mark, you have a lot more choices with townhouses up to 1800 ft.², condominiums with the garages and two and three bedrooms, buildable lots for around $250,000 that offer at least a half an acre, and even a few move-in ready brand-new homes that are less than 1000 ft.².

Now, jump up to the $300,000-$400,000 mark and you're really getting into the sweet spot of starter homes. Here you're looking at about $1800-$2200 mortgage, which is about average for most homeowners in the Vancouver area. Here we're talking brand-new homes, starter homes, or homes on larger lots. We're really talking about size and condition in this price range. You might get a smaller home on a larger lot for the same price as a brand-new home on a small lot. There are a lot of different choices within this price range but again, this is where the difference between Portland and Vancouver really is evident. A $350,000 house in Vancouver will be $480,000 in Portland and your less than a half an hour away.

Of course, you do have traffic and commute issues. There are two major freeways going to and from Vancouver and Portland, Interstate 5 and Interstate 205. Both of them can be pretty congested during heavy traffic hours so it's important to plan accordingly to where you work if you work in Portland. (Image above from MLS Listing of Vancouver Homes)

Browse all current and available listings in Vancouver Washington.

Posted in Market Reports
Sept. 2, 2019

What's the Difference in Price Between Vancouver and Portland?

Currently, as of the publishing of this post, the average home price in Portland is $417,000 and the average home price in Vancouver is $323,000. Quite a big difference for folks looking for a single-family home. In addition, the market is now hotter in Vancouver than it is in Portland and Portland has been cooling off for some time. Many people feel that they have been priced right out of Portland and they can either go south to Wilsonville or Tualatin or North to Vancouver. The downside is that if you work in Portland you will have to deal with traffic and that can be a bear going from Vancouver to Portland and back again.Portland versus Vancouver

Home values in Portland have actually declined over the past year at a rate of 1.9% but have gone up in Vancouver at 4.6%, even though the average price is still nearly $100,000 less than Portland.

The average rent is quite a bit higher in Portland as well. The current median rent per month in Portland is about $2200 but it's only $1850 in Vancouver.

According to Trulia the median sales price in Vancouver is $345,000 but the median sales price in Portland is nearly $436,000. We have a price per square foot coming in at about $300 whereas in Vancouver it's only $215.

But of course, the market is a little bit hotter. Now that school has started sellers will be more motivated to get rid of their homes and so buyers may have a great new platform to work with. Homes that didn't sell over the summer may be taking lower-priced offers and you may be able to get a great home at a great price if you don't mind going across the water.

Start your online search for all Vancouver homes here

Posted in Buying
Aug. 30, 2019

Is September The Last Big Push for Real Estate?

Is September The Last Big Push for Real Estate?

I've noticed the last couple of months the real estate market in Portland and Vancouver is starting to taper off slightly. Home prices in Portland have been through the roof, which means a lot of people are moving to Vancouver, a more affordable option across the river. However, with traffic, congestion, and the current demand for rentals in Vancouver, prices are starting to creep up.

As we head into fall, kids are going back to school, families are getting reorganized, and now that everyone has a chance to breathe, September is actually a great time to consider selling your property. Towards the end of summer things tend to slow down because people are focused on school, getting things back to a routine, and just don't think about buying or selling a property, however, now is definitely the time. By listing within the next couple of weeks, you can get that last little bit of push for the summer buyers. Now the kids are back in school buyers can breathe a little easier and now think about buying. Most of these buyers are not going to be purchasing out of the county or even out of the city, but probably staying within a certain school zone, that doesn't matter to you, the homeowner. People will be buying regardless of where it is even if it's just across the neighborhood.

You might see an uptick in open houses, new listings on the market or reduced prices. Homeowners that have been on the market for a while now feel that they need to reduce the price of the home in order to get it sold, which is a great incentive for buyers.

Buyers will all of a sudden have an influx of new properties in this next month but that shouldn't deter sellers from listing. Chances are, you have a home that many buyers have been waiting for. Now that school has started and thinks of calm down, buyers will now be on the lookout for the right home for them and they will feel like they have a little more time to consider the property rather than cutthroat, multiple offer situations like we saw a couple of months ago.

Find Out What Your Home is Worth

Check out the Portland Real Estate Market Now

Posted in Selling
Aug. 28, 2019

8 DIY Home Projects That Are Not Worth the Money

You don't want to put hundreds of dollars into home improvement projects only to have them not offer you the value that they once first claimed. There are some home projects and renovations that simply cost more money than they're worth. Here are 8 DIY home projects that are not worth the money.

#1. Extravagant landscaping.8 DIY Home Projects That Are Not Worth the Money

Yes, it may look pretty but to buyers it just looks like work. You can simply clean up the front yard, green up the grass, mow and trim, and get the same amount of curb appeal as spending thousands of dollars in expensive landscaping

#2. Professional-grade appliances.

Unless you happen to be selling your home to Gordon Ramsay, spending $10,000 on a six burner Viking range is not going to give you the same value as just a brand-new, nice stainless steel range.

#3. Major laundry room upgrades.

You want your laundry room to be as clean and neat as possible but by spending tons of money renovating the space, adding counters, sinks, and custom cabinets may just not be worth it.

#4. Hardwood floors.

And I'm talking about real hardwood floors that cost 2 to 3 times more than laminate's and per go that look exactly the same. Plus, these new laminate floors hold up to a lot more wear and tear than traditional hardwoods and most buyers don't care.

#5. High-end Windows.

Unless you have a window or two that have lost its seal, putting in all new windows can be really expensive and probably not worth fixing unless required with the home inspection.

#6. Upscale kitchen cabinets.

You can redo an entire kitchen with all the cabinets for less than $10,000 but you can also put $50,000 or more in the cabinets alone. If your existing cabinets are in reasonably good condition you might consider selling as is or just fixing a couple broken doors or damage shelves rather than replace everything.

#7. Bathroom tile.

Unless something is chipped or missing, redoing an entire bathroom in all new tile can be extremely expensive. Avoid elaborate mosaics and trendy designs and stick to clean, neutral, and simple.

#8. Elaborate lighting.

Replace any light fixtures or bulbs that don't work and maybe a fixture or two that dates your home back to the 1980s, but other than that, spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on updated lighting is really just not worth it.

For more information on fixing up your Portland or Vancouver home to sell feel free to contact our office at any time.

Check out more for the homeowner/seller here

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Can I Give Money to the Buyers at Closing for Repairs?

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Posted in Selling
Aug. 14, 2019

North Bethany Commons - Portland's Newest

North Bethany Commons is one of DR Horton's newest developments in the Bethany area of Portland and Beaverton Oregon. Located on NW. Brugger Rd. in West Portland close to Beaverton and Hillsboro, this new townhouse community provides easy access to nearby freeways, great schools, and entertainment and dining.North Bethany Commons - Portland's Newest

There are several floor plans to choose from ranging in sizes from 1590 ft.² to just over 2000 ft.². DR Horton offers a 10-year limited warranty and exceptional materials and features. Enjoy gorgeous wood floors, spacious lighting, open floor plan concept, two-story design, spacious kitchen with stainless steel appliances and several floor plans to choose from. You're just minutes from the Cascade Mountains, the Willamette Valley, and downtown Portland. Floor plans with 2 to 4 story designs and 2 to 4 bathrooms. Each home comes with a two-car garage as well.

Residents are part of the Beaverton school district and are assigned to the Sato elementary school, the Stroller middle school, and the Westview high school. Other school districts close by including the  Centennial district, North Clackamas, Scappoose, and the West Linn Wilsonville school district.

Residents of north Bethany Commons are just 10 minutes from downtown Portland, dozens of hiking and biking trails and easy access to Tri-Met, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon featuring mass transit service with buses, light rails, six commuter rails, and Portland streetcars just a couple of minutes away. The Alberta Arts District is 10 to 15 minutes featuring local artists, trendy coffee shops, and eclectic restaurants and bookstores.

Townhouses are currently priced from about $380,000 and incentives may be available for first-time buyers. For more information Contact Us or schedule your showing here for a private and personal to her of the new homes for sale in North Bethany Commons. 


Image above via MLS listings for North Bethany Commons

Posted in Communities
Aug. 12, 2019

Don't Let These Things Ruin Your Home's Value

When listing and selling your Portland home you want to add value, not destroy it, yet many people do some things or they might forget to do some things that actually can kill your home's value. Here are some of the top things that could ruin the value of your house.

Cracks in the pavement.Don't Let These Things Ruin Your Home's Value

This is one of those things that nobody really pays attention to unless you're buying a home or having one inspected. Cracks in your driveway, sidewalk, and pavement can be a sign of larger problems. It may be a good idea to re-seal the surface of your driveway before putting your house on the market. These cracks can also affect the appraisal process so you don't want to decrease the value of your home.

Unkept yard.

Buyers will see the outside of your house first whether it's in a listing flyer or online so your outside curb appeal has to be amazing. If there are weeds growing up, and unmaintained yard, trees, and bushes that are overgrown, it can be assigned to potential buyers that the inside is even worse. When the outside is amazing buyers will want to see the inside.

Water features.

Ponds, pools, and fountains might be great to look at but buyers immediately see a high maintenance issue. If you have a pond or a pool on your property make sure it is as clean as possible. Buyers don't want to see algae, grass, leaves, or other things clogging up any type of water feature but this doesn't necessarily mean you have to fill it in either. Just try carefully if you have a water feature and talk to your agent about the best way to promote it and showcase it.

Bad neighbors.

This can be a tricky one because there's not much you can do about it. If your neighbor's homes are a zombie property, meaning that they are boarded up and vacant or if they just don't take care of their property and it easily shows on the outside, this can be a hard selling point for buyers. Buyers see neighbors houses and if there sugar cars in the driveway or on the yard and the house looks like it's falling apart, buyers probably won't want to look at your house either.

Street traffic.

If you live in a busy road it can decrease your property's value. While there's not a lot you can do about it, considering putting up a fence or showcasing more appealing and attractive offers of your house might be your only option.

Related: How to Sell a House on a Busy Street

Outdated materials.

While keeping up with the Joneses can be a struggle, not doing so it all can really lower your home's value. Do you still have paneling on the basement walls? Avocado green kitchen or bathroom appliances, or carpet that has simply lost its luster? It's time to upgrade. You have to know what buyers are seeing that's comparable to your property and if they're finding homes with beautiful upgrades, they're not going to pay more for yours.

Buyers want to see the house as they might envision it and while that might be difficult to do, if you know what else they're looking at out there you can create a home that's very comparable.

Every home is different so for details and suggestions on how to stage your home for sale give us a call. Our agents are very familiar with how to stage, market, list, and sell your Portland or Vancouver area home.

Find Out What Your Home is Worth


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Posted in Selling