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Jan. 21, 2020

How to Get Your Credit Back on Track in 2020

2020 might be the year you get your credit and your finances back on track. Have you been drowning in debt? Only making the minimum payments? Unable to save any money? There are small changes that you can make this year to put your finances back on the right track.

Here are 10 ways to get your credit in check-in 2020

#1. Review your credit history.How to get your credit back on track in 2016

This should definitely be the number one thing you need to do before you start anything. It's hard to reorganize and adjust finances if you have no idea where you are credit-wise. Get a copy of your credit history, report and score by one of the three major credit score companies, Experian, Trans Union or Equifax. The usually will allow you to get one free report per year per each of these three companies. If you're really serious about getting on track, get a copy of your credit history from each and then compare. If you find any mistakes, errors, or problems now would be the time to fix it before you go in and speak to a lender, creditors or any other financial advisor. Do what you can on your own to get things corrected and understand where you sit financially.

#2. Debt collection accounts may stay on your credit for up to seven years.

There's not much you can do about this but you can write a letter to future creditors and loan officers explaining the situation. There may be a very good explanation but even if not, you can simply admit the mistake and wait till it is removed. It may or may not affect your ability to get along.

Read more: How to Sabotage your Chances of Getting a Loan

#3. Pay off the smallest debts first.

That big that may seem looming, especially a 20% interest, but if you only have $100 on this card or $200 on that card, it's best to pay those off and get them out of the way so you can focus on the larger ones at a later time. Once you have paid off the smaller once you can redirect that payment into the larger one and create a snowball effect.

#4. If you truly can only make the minimum payments and you are drowning in debt it may be time to contact your creditors or a credit consolidation company.

The information that you provide to a credit assistance company may stay on your credit history for some time but it may also be the only way for you to consolidate, stop the interest, stop harassing phone calls and get things paid off in a timely manner that is more manageable.

Read more: How much money do you really need to buy a home

#5. Pay all of your debts on time.

This may be a given for you but it may also not be. If you are prone to paying your debts late, those late fees can add up and put red flags on your credit history every time you're late for a payment.

#6. Set up auto-pay or payment reminders.

However, you can you want to make sure that you are paying those payments on time. Whatever it takes including setting up auto-pay, payment reminders on your phone or alerts on your computer when it's time to make a payment.

How to get your credit back on track in 2016#7. Speak to a lender.

If you're considering buying a home you'll want to talk to a lender after you've done all of the previous things in order to understand where you are in the grand scope of home ownership. A good lender could offer steps and strategies to get your finances on track, a payment plan, and how you can save for a down payment. They may offer solutions, tips and strategies to help you with your finances.

Related: Surprises most buyers get when buying a home

#8. Set small goals for yourself.

Just as in weight loss, setting a goal of losing 100 pounds seems almost impossible but setting a goal of losing 5 pounds is a lot more reasonable. Do the same thing with your finances. Save just the thousand dollars and then leave that there. Work towards the next goal of saving $2000, paying off one bill, not all 10 at the same time etc.

#9. Don't cancel all credit cards.

You might think that paying off a credit card and then canceling it is the best thing but it may actually hurt your credit report. The more open credit you have on credit cards the better your credit history books. If you have two credit cards and are both maxed out it looks far worse than having five credit cards with only two maxed out.

#10. File for bankruptcy only as a last ditch effort.

What we don't recommend this may be the only way to get out of the pickle you're in. This can allow you to wipe the state clean but it can have a devastating impact on your credit for some time. If you are being sued by credit debtors, your wages are being garnished, you can't pay your bills or you're in danger of losing your home, it's time to make this move.




Posted in Finance
Jan. 20, 2020

Portland Wizard World 2020

Portland Wizard World 2020

Comic Cons, wizard worlds, and all the fun festivals that celebrate comics, video games and movies are adding one more to the Portland agenda. Coming up this weekend January 24-26 at the Oregon Convention Center is Wizard World. General admission starts to just $30 with VIP packages starting at about $150. There will be photo opportunities, autographs with your favorite wizard world entertainer and celebrity as well as panels and special events.

You can join tens of thousands of other fans as they take over the Oregon Convention Center for this year's Wizard World Portland. This celebrates the best in pop-culture from movies, comics, toys, games, videos, TV, YouTube, and much more.

The event starts on Friday, January 24 at 4:00 PM until 9 PM and then Saturday from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM and Sunday 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM. All admission tickets will gain entry to the Wizard World and children 10 and under will get in free as long as they have a paid adult limit two children. Whether you're into Star Wars, the Marvel universe, comic books, TV, video gaming, or board games, there's something for everyone at this fantastic con.

The Oregon Convention Center is located at 777 Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in downtown Portland.

So who will be there?

Celebrity guests include Dylan McDermott, Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, James Marsters, Chandler Riggs, Craig Parker, Holly Marie Combs, Ross Marquand as well as voice actors, comedians, and child stars. You can have photo ops or autographs by purchasing tickets ahead of time or at the event.

This is a fun event for any gamer out there or just those of us that have a little "geek" in us. Stay tuned to my blog for more updates on local events and festivals throughout Portland.

Posted in Things to Do
Jan. 17, 2020

7 Things Your Neighbors Won't Tell You

Think you know your neighbors? Think again. Talking to neighbors is a great way to learn more about a community but neighbors are not going to tell you everything. Here are seven things your neighbors probably will never tell you.

#1. When they steal your Wi-Fi.7 Things Your Neighbors Won't Tell You

If your neighbor is close enough that they can piggyback on your Wi-Fi they probably are. Make sure you create a strong password protected and never use your name or your address or phone number.

#2. When they have bedbugs or fleas.

Did you know that fleas and bedbugs can attach themselves to people's clothes and the bottoms of their shoes tracking them into your house when they come visiting? A good way to prevent this is by making sure people leave their shoes outside the front door but other than that, there's not much you can do to prevent it.

#3. They see everything you do.

Unless your neighbors are gone most of the time, they are watching you. Not every neighbor is a nosy neighbor, but if you have a habit of keeping your blinds or drapes open, it's safe to assume that there watching everything you do, where, or don't wear. Make a habit to close the blinds as soon as the sun goes down.

#4. That pond is a den of mosquitoes.

Ever wonder why you can't have an outdoor barbecue without getting eaten alive? It could be because your neighbor has a pond, pool, or found that has gone stagnant and is now a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

#5. When they have drama.

Some people just grew up yelling at each other and now it's a common occurrence. But if you're tired of the yelling and screaming, consider soundproofing your walls or getting a fountain to drown out the noise.

#6. When they leave Christmas decorations up month afterward.

Are they late in taking them down or early and putting them up? If you can't tell, that can be frustrating. In a kind way you can ask if they need help putting decorations away. You never know when it could be something that's out of their control such as a medical emergency.

#7. When their treasure is your junk.

They may love all of those flamingos in the front yard but there more of an eyesore to anyone else. If possible, close the blinds that overlook this area or put up a privacy screen.

Living in a neighborhood can be very interesting at times but the closer you are with your neighbors the more you can have real conversations about life and things that might be irritating to both parties. I'm sure there's some things that you're doing that could be irritating to them.


Posted in News and Media
Jan. 13, 2020

Will Buyers Still Want to See My Home in the Snow?

Will Buyers Still Want to See My Home in the Snow?

With the recent winter weather warnings around the Pacific Northwest, you may be worried if your house is on the market and Snow completely covers your property. But you really shouldn't freak out that much. When buyers have to buy, whether usually means nothing. If buyers are in the market, they may actually benefit from seeing your home covered in a blanket of snow. True, they can't see all of the landscape details, but they can get a better sense of how well constructed the property is in winter weather. If they notice that the decks, porches, or exterior stairs are sagging, slippery, or leaking, this can be a big no-no so buyers are really going to be aware of all these little details on your home, especially if they choose to brave the weather and had out.

Speaking of braving the weather, you're probably not going to get a lot of lookee loo's if there are a few inches of snow on the ground. These are going to be serious buyers so don't get lackadaisical on keeping the home staged and clean. Buyers are still going to want a beautifully staged home regardless of what the weather outside is doing.

For this reason, we should also keep in mind buyer and agent safety. If you know you're going to have buyers make sure that your front porch, sidewalks, driveways, and steps are completely clean and clear of any snow or ice. The last thing you want is to have a lawsuit at the last minute or deal with homeowners' insurance while your home is trying to sell. Keep things clean, tell your listing agent to inform of the buyer's agent of any stairs or hazardous walkways, and make sure that trees or bushes are not going to dump a mountain of snow on any visitors.

So, don't worry too much about winter weather. If buyers are serious they are going to make the track to visit your home. And, now might be a great time to brag about some of the weather protective features of your home such as extra insulation, weather-stripped windows, and doors, or the stability of decks and foundations.

Thinking about selling? Want to buy in the Portland or Vancouver area? Start your online search on my website for free or Contact Us to schedule a showing at any time.

Posted in Selling
Jan. 10, 2020

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

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

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

Spring is right around the corner and if you're considering selling your property anywhere in the Portland area you need to know what buyers are looking for and what they're willing to pay. Knowing your competition and the market is half of the process to selling your property. If you don't know what buyers are looking for, have no idea what your competition is presenting, and don't know where to begin on pricing, you won't last a chance in this market.

We are leaning towards a seller's market but were not completely there yet. It all depends on the property you have, the price range that you are selling, and how you present your home. There are good and bad things to pricing your home in a range that a lot of people are shopping in. Between $200,000 and $350,000 is the biggest price range so you'll probably have more buyers but you'll also have more competition. If you price under $200,000 chances are you'll have a lot of first-time homebuyers and investors looking for your property. Pricing over $350,000 and your potential buyers do drop but those that are looking at your home may have a more serious intention.

Between $200,000 and $350,000, you'll have the most buyers but they may not be serious. They're also looking at dozens of other homes within this price range as well. So that's #1. - Knowing your competition.

Read more:  Should I Wait Until Spring to Sell My Portland Home?

So, first of all you need to figure out where to price your home. If you're unsure, check out your competition, do a search yourself for similar property sizes, bedrooms, bathrooms and features, and of course get an educated estimate from a Portland real estate agent. Because I deal with buyers and sellers I can help sellers price their home correctly for what buyers are looking for. If you use an exclusive listing agent they may not know what buyers are looking so it might be difficult to price it correctly. Pricing it correctly from day one is the key to getting the right buyers in the door and more offers on the table. What we want to do is find that sweet spot for buyers that gives them a little extra value than their competition at a lower price. Of course, I understand you don't want to give away the home but you do want to get it sold. We need to find out how much profit you need and how quickly you need to sell. It's a delicate balancing game and pricing it too high at the beginning could create a stagnant market for your home later on. And that’s #2 - Pricing it correctly from the beginning.

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

And #3 is knowing how to negotiate. Once you've priced it correctly, you know what buyers are also looking at, now you have to negotiate to keep those buyers. They may have started low but now you have them in negotiating mode. Let me, as your listing agent, help negotiate so that we don't lose the buyers but you still get the terms that you're looking for. Remember, they put an offer on your home because they love it; let's keep them loving it even through our negotiations. We need to be flexible, remember that they are buyers trying to get the best deal as well, and yet be reasonable with them.

If you think you're ready to list, let's talk about price, negotiating strategies, marketing, and staging. Give me a call today and let see where your home fits in the selling process.

Read more: Unconventional Selling Tactics

Additional: Can the Listing Agent Also Be the Buying Agent?

Posted in Selling
Jan. 6, 2020

Clients Respond to the Number One Thing They Want in a Real Estate Agent

Clients Respond to the Number One Thing They Want in a Real Estate Agent

What are you really looking for in a real estate agent? While a lot of people say communication and experience, there are a lot of other answers as well. This is in response to a Facebook poll by an Ohio real estate team. The wanted to know what buyers and sellers really want from their real estate agent, broker, or Realtor. Here is what they said.

#1. Communication.

Communication has to be one of the top things that most buyers and sellers want from the real estate agent. They want to know that they can get a hold of them if they need to see a property, make an offer, or look over an offer. Even real estate agent say that communication is imperative from one broker to another. If we are listing the property and cannot seem to get a hold of the buyer's agent on the other side, it can be a nightmare for all parties involved. And, the right type of communication is important as well. Even if there's nothing going on just informing the buyer or seller of the status keeps everyone in the loop and keeps buyers more confident.

#2. Honesty.

If your real estate agent is doing some underhanded dealings with other parties involved in your transaction, chances are they might do the same to you. A good real estate agent needs to have high integrity across all aspects of the job including dealing with the opposite party whether it's a buyer or seller, other real estate agents, appraisers, lenders, inspectors, escrow, and title companies. If you notice your real estate agent being a little dishonest, there may be no stopping them from undermining you as well.

Related: 5 Things to Keep in Mind if You're Buying a Home this Year

#3. Experience.

Experience is crucial for buyers and sellers in the real estate market. Buyers want to know that they're getting a good deal and that the agent knows how to negotiate for their particular area and sellers want to know that their pricing their home correctly and can put their faith in an agent to facilitate the transaction honestly and efficiently.

#4. Connection.

This is especially true for first-time buyers or sellers. They want to feel connected to their real estate agent, not just a number on the board or a salary in their pocket. Clients want to feel special, validated, and comfortable with their agent and not every relationship will work. If any party realizes that this is not the best relationship, both need to be mature enough to call it quits.

More: What to know about buying a home after 50

If you're ready for expert, honest, communicative connection and the real estate market for Vancouver Washington or Portland Oregon, call us today.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Jan. 3, 2020

Should I Wait Until Spring to Sell My Portland Home?

You might be considering selling your home within the next year but when it's the best time? There are many factors to consider when selling your property; how much you want to gain from the sale of your home, why you're selling, and how quickly you need to sell. All of these factors play into the timing of the sale as well. If you don't need to sell for a few months you might put it on the market now and see what happens. But, be prepared that if it does sell you have somewhere else to live. There are many variables that can happen during the purchase and sale contract. If you're planning on selling and then buying a home what precautions are you putting in place should the buyer back out? How many contingencies are you putting on the home you are buying?Should I wait to sell my portland home?

Let's talk about timing: right now we're still in winter with snow on the ground, rough weather, and very little inventory. Of course, there are people that need to sell regardless of the time of year. Those people are more motivated and therefore tend to price their homes to sell. However, there are also fewer buyers on the market so sellers have to compensate with a lower price in order to get buyers interested in their property.

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

It's kind of a catch 22; you would think that fewer buyers mean that the price could go up but that only depends on the type of house you have to. If your house is in a price range with many other competing homes, it may be more difficult to appeal to the few buyers that are out there. However, if you wait until spring or summer, you may be able to price the home higher but there will be many more buyers which means your competition will be much greater and it may be harder to sell at that point for the price you want.

The best way to determine whether you should wait or not is to figure out your motivation, your need, and your profit.

For one homeowner, pricing and selling their home now may be more beneficial overall. To another, waiting to sell may fit their budget and their timeline much better. Are you in a position where you may lose your home within the next month if you cannot sell? If so, a short sale maybe your best option but you need to start on that now. If you're planning on moving in the summer, you may wait a couple more months before pricing and listing your home.

Read more: Unconventional Selling Tactics

Honestly, as an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent in Portland, it is my advice to take in all the factors on a case-by-case basis. Feel free at any time to give me a call and let's discuss your need and where you want to go over the next 6 to 8 months. We may determine that listing now is in your best interest or waiting 2 to 3 months may offer a better result. I look forward to speaking with you about selling your Portland home.

Read more: Is a Discounted Listing Agent Really Worth it?


Posted in Selling
Jan. 3, 2020

5 Tips to Keep in Mind if You're Buying a Home This Year

5 Tips to Keep in Mind if You're Buying a Home This Year

Well, we are now into 2020 and if this is the year you're planning on buying a home there are things you can be doing now to set yourself up for homebuying success. Call it New Year's resolutions, call it a goal, whatever, these things need to be considered if you plan on purchasing a home in 2020.

#1. Stay with your job.

Job history and your income are key elements in determining your reliability for paying a loan back so lenders look at your job stability and history to determine how likely it is you'll stay with the same income, get promoted, and be able to pay your bills. You can get promoted within the same business but quitting a job completely or getting fired and that having to reapply for a new job does not look good for lenders. However, if you're moving from a commissioned or hourly job to one that salary with more compensation, it may actually help your application.

#2. Consistent monthly bills.

Monthly subscriptions these days can certainly add up. I feel like we're making monthly payments for just about everything including our razors and leggings. But even if you pay off your credit card every month, these high credit utilization of your credit report that gets monitored all the time can be hurting your score. Consider keeping monthly subscriptions to a minimum.

#3. Build that credit score.

Your credit history and score is one of the number one things lenders look at when determining your risk. Lenders prefer borrowers who have a history of paying off credit cards and other debts, especially on time. If you have too much debt or too high of debt, it may alter your debt to income ratio. Lenders want to make sure that you have enough money each month to make your debts without incurring hardships, especially if you're going to take on a housing payment.

Should you look at homes first or apply for a loan?

#4. Get a copy of your credit history.

Just bite the bullet and do it. You need to see what lenders will be seeing. If there are errors or mistakes make sure you correct it before applying for a home loan. If there is an error that cannot be corrected, make sure you have a letter of explanation ready to go.

#5. Avoid any large purchases.

Don't take any more debt on before applying for a home loan but this also means not making any large payments or purchases as well. Lenders want to see that you have reserve funds in case you lose your job and still need to make your mortgage payment.

Feel free to check out my finance section for all tips and information for those buying or borrowing. And don't forget, whether you're buying or selling in 2020 throughout the Portland real estate market give us a call.

Posted in Buying, Finance
Dec. 30, 2019

6 Helpful Carpet Cleaning Tips for Moving

Moving brings a not so common opportunity to fully clean every inch of your floors without any furniture in the way. Whether you are moving into your new home or out of your old one here are some carpet cleaning tips that you may find helpful.

Hire a Professional6 Helpful Carpet Cleaning Tips for Moving

Hire a trained and trustworthy carpet cleaner with professional truck mounted equipment. You want to make sure the carpets are truly clean to the deepest level. The only way to do so is to hire a professional with the right equipment that have extensive training in how to use it.

More: How to Create a Clean House All the Time

Hot Water Extraction is Best

There are many methods to carpet cleaning, but the best one is hot water extraction. Hot water extraction is recommended by carpet manufacturers and included in many brand new carpet care manuals and included in some warranty conditions. When hiring a professional carpet cleaner make sure they use a hot water extraction cleaning process.

Schedule Your Carpet Cleaning to Work Around the Movers

If you are moving out you want to schedule the movers first and the carpet cleaners to come in just after they are finished. If you are moving in, then you will want to schedule your carpet cleaning first and then your movers to come in and unload things at least 24 hours after the carpet cleaning is complete to ensure the carpets are dry and ready for regular use. Proper and organized scheduling will help things to run more smoothly and efficiently.

This is a Great Time for Carpet Repairs and Stain Treatment

If you have holes, burns, wrinkles, or un-removed stains now is the time to get them fixed if possible. For example: if your carpet has wrinkles it will need to be re-stretched. A carpet cannot be stretched and repaired without the removal of all the heavy objects sitting on it. Moving is a great time to get those wrinkles fixed. If there are any issues with the carpet that require professional help to get the floors back in shape now is a very good time to do them.

Related: 3 Things to Do Now if You Plan on Listing in the New Year

Ask for Special Attention on the High Traffic Areas

If you have high amounts of soil in areas that see lots of foot traffic it is a great time to have the professional carpet cleaner pay extra attention to these areas and get them looking as fresh as the rest of the floor.

Related: New Year's Resolutions to Have a Healthier Home

Get Stain Guard Applied During a Move In

Once every area of the carpet is cleaned before the furniture is moved in, have a protective stain guard applied. This stain guard will not make your carpet stain proof, but it will repel stains to give you extra time for spot treatment. The best way to start in a new home is with a fresh carpet that is stain guarded.


Posted in Selling
Dec. 27, 2019

New Year's Portland 2019 - 2020 Events

The day to ring in the new year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready to party. Luckily, Portland has events for everyone who wants to make this New Year’s Eve one to remember.New Year's Portland 2019 - 2020 Events

For those who want a real swinging party, grab tickets to the 29th annual Champagne Ball, one of the biggest New Year’s parties in the city. It will take place at the Hilton Portland Downtown, party starts at 8 p.m. and tickets start at $119 with higher levels with more access. Guests must be 21+ to attend the party since there will be 18 bars available throughout the venue to keep everyone in the dancing mood. There will also be hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Dancers can groove on one of three dance floors to music from HIT MACHINE and local DJs like DJ Paradox, OSO Fresh and DJ Sugar. Singles looking to find someone to kiss at midnight can attend the singles mixer before the party (included with tickets, profile registration is available on the website). At the stroke of midnight, guests can watch videos of the ball drop, eat pizza and raise a champagne toast to the new year. This is a formal event so only the best will be allowed; dress code is anywhere from cocktail (short dresses, button ups and slacks) to black tie (floor length dresses and full suits) and absolutely no jeans allowed.

For a more relaxed party, head over to Pix Patisserie for their midnight chocolate buffet. That’s right all of the chocolate you could ever want and only for the $10 cover fee. The event starts at 10 p.m. and it’s first come first served. Guests will be given a free glass of Cava with their entry and there is also a bar full of wine, beer, champagne and sherry for purchase, of course this means that the event is 21+ only. The party includes a best dressed contest with the winner taking home a $100 gift card, there are also raffles every 30 minutes with one winner advancing to the front of the buffet line. If that’s not enough, here is the menu: chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate meringue, chocolate ice cream, chocolate truffles, even chocolate beer. The buffet begins at midnight so bring your appetite.

If you want a meal with a little more variety, check out some of the many restaurants around the city who are featuring special menus for the holiday. Here are just a few and what they are offering for the night.

  • Beast, a fine dining spot on 30th Avenue, will serve a gourmet nine course meal for $275 a person.
  • Acadia, a New Orleans-themed bistro on Freemont Street, will serve a Southern four course meal (no vegetarian options available) for $65 a person.
  • Blossoming Lotus, a vegan restaurant on 15th Avenue, will serve a veggie-based five course meal for $60 a person.
  • Oyster Bar, a Portland seafood stop that had to close their doors will be back as a pop-up at Bar West, they will be serving an a la carte selection and a chef’s menu available through reservation for $75.

Check out more of the best restaurants for foodies

Portland is a popular foodie town in the Northwest, which means there are plenty of parties to fill your belly and satisfy your need to party. So make your reservations now before the ball drops to celebrate a brand new decade in style.

What are Portland's best neighborhoods for foodies?

Posted in Things to Do