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April 29, 2019

10 Ways to Stick to a Financial Plan - 3


Find a Coach

You can get a coach for anything these days and maybe just a meeting a month will keep you focuses. Life coaches don't tell you what to do, they keep you on task for what you want to do. Daily or weekly reminders about keeping you on task, listening to podcasts or reading books and blogs are great ways to keep your finances a priority.


Yes, visualizing your goals really works. Create a vision board or just put affirmations on your fridge, mirror, or nightstand so you are motivated by your goals every day. What will your goals look like and how will you feel when you achieve them? Simply visualizing the results can put you in a better place overall. 

Don't Forget Yourself

Take time to find joy in the process. Reward yourself from time to time without going backward. You want to stay motivated and inspired but if you're constantly looking toward the future instead of enjoying the journey now, you'll burn out quick. Take the time to enjoy your life today.

Contact Me Today for Financial Advice on Home Buying


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Posted in Finance
April 29, 2019

10 Ways to Stick to a Financial Plan

Whether you're planning on buying a home this year or just want to gain some financial freedom, making, creating and sticking to a budget and financial plan does take some will power and discipline. But what do you do when you want to cheat? Adapted from an MSN Money article, here are 10 ways to stick to your financial plan. 


Make the Plan and Set Aside Time to Focus on it.

Where your focus is, that's where your energy will flow. If you never think about it or carve out any time to focus on it, it just won't happen. If you're a planner, write down an hour a week to go over your finances, see if you are on budget and on time and then put your financial plan somewhere where you can see it every day. Maybe on the fridge or the bathroom mirror. Keeping it in front of your face will keep it fresh in your mind and top of your priority list.

Set Realistic Goals

Don't set long-term, 5-year plans with thousands of dollars in the bank... just yet anyway. Make realistic goals that you can achieve in just a couple of months. The progress will motivate you to keep going and help you achieve bigger goals along the way. 

Make Daily Goals

Just like in weight loss, nothing happens overnight but you can decide to make daily choices that help you toward your goal. Skip the latte a couple of times a week or take your lunch to work more often. Balance your checkbook or transfer a small amount into savings. Do something little a day to help you get closer to your goals.



More Resources:

How hard is it to get a home loan if you're self-employed?

Posted in Finance
April 29, 2019

10 Ways to Stick to a Financial Plan - 2



The more you automate your payments and savings, the more it's off your mind and before you know it you're saving more than you thought. Round every transaction up to the nearest dollar amount and at the end of the week balance your checkbook and transfer the extra into your savings. Remember, you still have to set aside time to do this.

Learn New Skills

Save hundreds if not thousands of dollars by learning to fix things yourself. With YouTube, there's almost nothing you can't research and find out how to do on your own. So whether it's changing your oil or fixing a plumbing problem, you're saving a boatload in parts and labor by doing it yourself.

Don't Be Drawn to the Media

Watching the stocks and investments too closely could send you into a panic. It's best to turn off the TV and listen to positive affirmations rather than when to sell and what you buy. STick to your plan and don't sabotage your efforts in building wealth.

Be Methodical

Find a method that works for you. What works for one person may not for another. You have to find the tools that work and you can stick with. IF you need to ask for feedback and when you fail or fall, get up and get going again rather than give up,


Related Resources:

7 Steps to Getting Out of Debt

Posted in Finance
April 18, 2019

How to Create a Clean House All the Time

The new year brings much motivation for improving different aspects of our lives from physical fitness and diet to organization. One aspect many people try to work on is improving their home and how efficiently it is run. Many of us could use a polishing of our daily cleaning habits.

Whether you are cleaning something incorrectly without realizing it, or you are just wanting to make the most out of your time cleaning follow these tips:

Cleaning Rags

The clothes you use to clean your home matter. Don’t use just any old scrap of material to clean everything in your home. You will find that not all cleaning rags are created equal for every job. Yes, there are some jobs that you could use just any old scrap of fabric for, but some jobs are much more effective when the proper tools are used. Here is what we mean:

Dusting: The best cloth for dusting is a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is able to grab and hold on to dust particles. Instead of just moving dust around it is getting grabbed by the cloth and then later deposited in the trash and cleaned away in the laundry. Make sure to have plenty of these on hand and change out your cloth when it is full. Using a full cloth brings you back to ineffective dusting.

Carpet Spot Cleaning: when cleaning spots/spills/stains from the carpet only use a freshly laundered white cloth or plain white high-quality paper towel. You don’t want to risk the dyes from a colored cloth reacting with a cleaning solvent and transferring into your carpet.

Television Screens: Today’s new flat and thin televisions are not like the ones of yesterday. You can do some significant damage to your screen if you clean it with the wrong cloth. We suggest pre-moistened wipes made specifically for the task or a clean microfiber cloth.

Windows and Glass: You don’t want to clean your windows and mirrors with a cloth that is going to leave a bunch of tiny pieces of very visible lint in a place you want to be crystal clear. The best cleaning tool for glass is a special glass cleaning cloth or a microfiber cloth. *Tip- remember to wash microfiber cloths without using fabric softener. This will leave a film and damage the cleaning magic of the cloth.

Applying Cleaning Solvents

When you are using a cleaning solvent for almost any cleaning task you want to apply the cleaner to the cleaning tool rather than to the surface that needs to be cleaned. You actually need a lot less clean than you instinctively think. The use of too much cleaning solution leaves a buildup behind on the surface which attracts more dirt and grime leaving it dirtier.  Applying cleaner to the cleaning tool will allow for just enough to get your job done. 


So many people are actually vacuuming wrong without even realizing it. A lot of us instinctively turn on the machine and quickly run it over the floor in whatever pattern seems comfortable until we believe we have hit every spot. The correct way to vacuum is on a regular basis once or twice a week with slow linear strokes that overlap similar to lawn mowing. The slower the vacuum is moving over the floor the more suction power you will have.


The best strategy for mopping is not to use too much cleaner and to make sure you rinse the cleaner from the floors, especially if you have wood floors. The last thing you want on your hard surface floors is cleaner build-up attracting more dirt.

Deep Cleaning

This is a very important part of keeping your home in its best condition. Professional deep cleaning of carpet, upholstery, tile, grout, and natural stone will not only have your surfaces looking their best and deeply sanitized it will extend the life of your surfaces saving you money on replacement costs.

Pro Tip: "Deep cleaning at least twice a year will keep your carpet in great shape without wearing it out. We've seen homes where they shampoo it every week and it really takes a beating on the carpet after a few years." - Orlando Buyer's Agent Erika Phelan

Starting in the Right Spot

Clean your home from top to bottom. It is a cliche for a reason. Start by cleaning the highest up surfaces and work your way down to cleaning the floors last. This way you are not getting surfaces dirty that have already been cleaned with falling debris. For example: when dusting, even with a microfiber cloth, some dust is going to fall to lower level surfaces like the floor. To be sure you get everything clean starting at the top.

With more efficient cleaning practices, you are on your way to a cleaner home. Why not kick off your cleaning practices with the deepest clean possible? Call me for great references in the Portland and Vancouver area for deep cleanings. 

Ready to List your Portland home? Call me today for a free home valuation

Read More: How to Keep Your Carpets Clean During the Peak Real Estate Season

5 Things People with Clean Homes Don't Do

Posted in Selling
April 15, 2019

Can I Make an Offer on a Pending Sale?


Perhaps you’ve driven by a real estate sign before that has an additional sign tacked onto the top of the post saying, “sale pending”, but what does this actually mean and what happens if you love the house and are thinking about buying the home yourself? But what does it mean when the property is pending?Can I Make an Offer on a Pending Sale?

A pending home sale takes place after the seller has accepted an offer from the buyer of the property is under a contract between the parties. During the negotiations on the initial offer, the property is not pending but simply has an “accepted offer”. When a home is pending, it’s typically no longer considered an active listing as at this point, the timeframe is simply running down to closing as long as all contingencies and addendums are met. However, depending on where you are in the country, the term “pending” can mean different things. In some cases, this could include the due diligence period, where the property undergoes an inspection and title check.

In other markets, pending could start after that due diligence phase. However, pending home sales usually are an indicator of market activity and that the home is no longer active, but what if the buyer really wants to make an offer? Well the opportunity is not great, it’s not impossible either. The home is technically not sold yet so there could be a chance that you could buy the home. There are several ways to go about this:

Talk to the listing agent.

Have your buyer’s agent talk to the listing agent about the possibility of a backup offer. Perhaps the original offer doesn’t look that solid and the seller wants to see if anyone else is interested in the property. While they legally cannot just drop the existing offer and go with the new offer, they can keep it in their back pocket as an option should the first transaction fall through.

Contingent sale.

If the contract between buyer and seller is contingent upon the buyer selling their current home, a backup offer is typically accepted. The buyer of the home has a certain amount of time to sell their existing home and if they don’t sell within that timeframe, the backup offer can be considered. Contingent buyer can be “bumped” if another, noncontingent buyers submits an acceptable offer.

Read More: This is why being pre-approved before submitting an offer is the best plan

Guardian sale.

Although very uncommon, sellers can become incapacitated and a court-appointed guardian is assigned to handle their financial affairs. This Guardian may sell the real estate, but the transaction lightly requires court approval. Guardian laws can allow for a second buyer to “bump” the original buyer within certain time frames if the second offers sufficiently better than the first.

Granted, these are unusual circumstances but not impossible. If you truly love a home even if it says sale pending, opening dialogue and conversation about the possibility of a backup offer is not that uncommon. Transactions do fall through all the time, typically because of an unsatisfactory inspection, the buyer’s finances, or simply buyer’s remorse, see you never know when you might get an opportunity to buy the home of your dreams.

Contact Me Today for Advice on Making an Offer

Posted in Buying
April 12, 2019

5 Ways to Make Your Neighbors Jealous of Your Backyard

Looking for ways to make your backyard stand out? Maybe you just want to make your neighbors jealous? Perhaps you've purchased a new home and now you're working on making an amazing backyard. Whatever the case, there are five ways to change up the look of your backyard and really make your neighbors jealous.

Garden5 Ways to Make Your Neighbors Jealous of Your Backyard

If you enjoy being out in the yard surrounded by nature a garden might be the perfect addition to your backyard. There are so many benefits to having a card because not only does it provide fresh food straight from your own backyard, but it's a beautiful way to give her your yard some color. If you don't want to grow vegetables you could grow a flower garden or even an urban succulent garden. Garden beds, framed containers, or even pots make a beautiful garden and a great addition to your backyard. Check out these garden ideas

Outdoor kitchen

You can bring the indoors outdoors by creating a beautiful backyard outdoor kitchen. Perhaps you want to build in a permanent barbecue or barbecue pit complete with a countertop and a built-in fridge. This is a great way to entertain outside, especially if you like to have summer parties. Check out these outdoor kitchens


If you don't like to take care of a lot of landscaping or yard maintenance, a patio can be a great addition to the backyard. It requires just a little bit of upkeep is a great place to spend late nights or afternoons depending on where the sun hits your house. Check out these patio ideas


I know this is a little out there, but if you have a family or plan to have small children, tree houses are great way to add unique character to your backyard. If you have large trees, you can get kids online or hire someone to build a tree house for you. Check out these unique treehouses

Swimming pool or hot tub

Even in the Pacific Northwest, having a pool or hot tub in the backyard is a great addition to any property. They are a little bit of maintenance but pools are a great way to beat the heat in the summer or warm-up in the winter. Custom pools can be built with the waterfalls and rocker he or a hot tub can have a beautiful umbrella over it to shade from the sun or protection from the rain.

These are five unique and interesting ways to boost the appeal of your backyard. Perhaps you're looking for a home that already has one of these features. If so, give us a call and we can do the research for you.

Posted in Portland
April 8, 2019

Want to Boost Your Home's Sale Price By 30%? Do This

I may have some reservations about how Zillow prices homes but they have done a recent report that stated certain features of home made the property sell for about 30% more than the expected price. So what were those features?Want to Boost Your Home's Sale Price By 30%? Do This

Some of the biggest moneymaking features were steam ovens, which are wall ovens that produce steam to cook food in a healthier way. Surprisingly, these features increased home sales by about 34%, higher than any other feature. Six of the 10 features that offer the biggest boost were kitchen related. This could mean professional grade appliances, wine sellers, and faucets over stoves and ovens.

Other features that were not kitchen related included steam showers, garage studios, and heated floors. But, the steam oven brought a whopping 34% return from the expected price. Professional appliances brought in about 32% more where is wine sellers and steam showers brought in 31%. The lowest was a prep sink either in an island or in the utility room, which brought in about 24%, still nothing to sneeze at.

However, just because the home brought in more than expected doesn't mean that they actually sold faster. Homes with steam ovens surprisingly took the slowest to sell, taking 22 days longer than similar homes without a steam oven. This means that these features appeal to a certain target demographic, and that might be smaller than the normal homebuyer pool. But that's okay... if you had to wait 20 more days to sell your home but still netted a 34% increase in the market value, which you hold out?

Faster sales usually are associated with homes that have features popularized by remodeling shows, such as open shelving, granite or quartz counters, or just a lot of great storage space. Craftsman style homes tend to sell for about 38% above their expected price simply because they are popularized by shows like "Fixer Upper".

Other popular features that have shown up in starter homes that sell quickly include pizza ovens and coffered ceilings. Freestanding bathtubs, solar panels, and dual range ovens also brought in a little bit higher for the starter homes, but again, these are not the target demographics with these high-end features we first talked about. And, the starter homes that have these simple features are not the only selling point. The property has to be in the right location, the right size, and even the right school district for certain target audiences, but if you're going to put in a steam oven, chances are the rest of the house is pretty fly as well.

Let me know if you're looking for a home with a steam oven!



Image BBCLCD [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Posted in Selling
April 3, 2019

20 Ways the Real Estate Market Has Really Changed in 50 Years

20 Ways the Real Estate Market Has Really Changed in 50 Years

The real estate market has obviously changed dramatically in the last 50 years from the way we buy to how much we spend. But does that just justify inflation or are there other factors at work? Is it actually harder to get a home now than it was in 1970? We look at 20 major ways the housing industry has changed in the last 50 years. 

Cost vs. Income

In 1970 first time home buyers were spending 1.7 times their annual income on a home but now we spend closer to 2.7 times. Home prices increase for sure but so does how much we're willing to pay for it.

We're renting longer.

In 1970, most home buyers rented about 2.6 years before buying but in the last couple years that average rental time was over 6 years before buying.

Down payment has decreased.

In the 1970s and even 1980s, buyers were required to put down at least 10% on a home but today the average is only 6% and about 14% for repeat buyers

Increase in house size.

Bigger is always better, right? Well, maybe not but Americans are now looking at homes over 2,600 square feet, whereas in 1970 the average home was only around 1500 square feet.

Starter homes have decreased.

Around the mid-century, starter homes were everywhere on the market, but today that number has decreased 17% EACH YEAR making it even harder for first time home buyers to find a starter property.

Lower inventory.

The number of new construction homes has dropped nearly 50% from what they were in 1970. 

Fewer loan options.

Before the 2008 crash, there were multiple ways to buy a house and now it's just back to a fixed rate or adjustable rate, which is probably better since those creative loan options are what got us into the mess in the first place.

Young adults are not scared to buy.

Buying a home in the 1970s was a huge undertaking and seems scary and downright overwhelming but with so much more information on the Internet, buyers can feel more confident in their purchase and knowledge of the process.

The Internet

In 1995, only 2% of homebuyers used the internet to look for homes while today that number is 90%! That's probably the most significant number so far.

Fewer homes sold.

The number of homes sold has dramatically decreased over the years. In 2005, there were over 7 million home sales while in 2008 that number dropped to just over 4 million.

Manufactured homes have increased.

In 1970 only 1.18 million people lived in manufactured homes compared to today's 22 million, making this the ideal "affordable" housing.

Millennials are buying.

Millennials are the ones buying the homes now. It was Gen X in 2015 and baby boomers before that.

The invention of Assisted Living.

Before 1985, assisted living didn't really exist and nursing homes were for people recovering or with health problems, but today, active adult and assisted living places are on the rise dramatically.

No more city living.

In the 1950s, people moved out of big cities and into the suburbs and today over half the population of the U.S. lives in suburban neighborhoods.

Rural living has not changed.

Probably one of the only things that hasn't changed is people living in rural counties. In 2000 about 45 million people lived in rural counties and in 2016 that number only had a 3% increase.

The surge of rental homes.

AirBNB and similar websites have launched allowing short term rentals to skyrocket. So much so that many cities are putting restrictions on how these rentals can be managed. 

Home Improvements on the rise.

in 2018, people spent over $340 billion on upgrades, more than any other year so far but this is also attuned to higher labor and lumber costs as well.

Appraisal roadblocks.

Appraisers and lenders are no longer able to communicate directly whereas, before the crash, they could comingle information to get the home's valuation that was needed. This actually improved things and people were not buying homes they couldn't afford or spend more on a home than needed.

Increase in homelessness.

Since the 1980s, homelessness has rapidly increased to where there are at least a half a million people living on the streets. 

Real estate is risky.

Fifty years ago, buying a home was seen as a great investment but with the housing crash just 10 years behind us, potential homeowners are a little more nervous about pulling the trigger.

How will it change in the next fifty? Let's stick around to find out.


Posted in News and Media
April 1, 2019

5 Things to Think About Before Buying That Condo

If you’re in the market for a new home in Seattle, a condominium can be a charming and convenient option. Condos are often less expensive to buy than houses or townhouses, and they can offer conveniences you might not otherwise be able to afford. Yet there are caveats to condo ownership, as well.

Five things to think about before buying a condo:what to know before buying a condo

1. You Don’t Own the Land

A condo is a building made up of multiple apartments that are individually owned. Each owner contributes to the cost and upkeep of the exterior structure and any common areas and amenities. Condo owners do not hold title to the land on which the building rests.

2. Condos Offer Convenience

For the homebuyer, the advantages of condos are numerous. In some built-up neighborhoods, condos may be the only available option for home buyers, or the most practical because of their proximity to shopping centers and work.

Condo communities may also feature amenities that you may not otherwise be able to afford if purchasing a townhouse or single family house, such as pools, play areas or tennis courts. Another nice perk to condo ownership is that condos can save you of the need to manage the building maintenance and any amenities. That’s right…no mowing lawns! Some interior issues, such as plumbing and electricity, may be managed by the complex’s community association as well.

3. Built-In Social Network

As far as connecting socially, condos can be great for singles, couples, and families. You’re elbow to elbow with your neighbors and shared access areas mean greater opportunities for you to meet new people.

What is the downside? Less privacy. With neighbors in close proximity, sharing walls and building access, neighbors might be able to hear your conversations or the music you play, while watching the movements you and others make to and from your condo unit. Before buying, it’s recommended to check to see that the other condo owners are friendly and seem likely to be people you’d get along with.

Related: What to look for to get a discount on a condo purchase

4. Calculate Costs

Condos are known to be cheaper than townhouses or single-family houses, as the use of the available space has been maximized, with many condos built on a piece of land. However, in a declining market, condos can be more difficult to sell if the condominium community association is a pain or the association fees are astronomical.

Most associations will impose fees for building maintenance, whereas in another type of home you pay for expensive renovations or maintenance projects at a time when you can afford them.

Be sure to check out the minutes of the community association’s meetings to see if there are outstanding maintenance issues that are likely to be expensive on the unit you’re considering. Additionally, obtain a copy of the building’s certificate of insurance and see if building development costs will be covered.

5. Don’t Be Hasty

When considering a condo purchase, take your time to look at the building, all contracts, rules and paperwork. Do you like its size? Is it in the right neighborhood? Is the building properly maintained and are the amenities all you’d hoped for?

Be leery if there are a lot of condos for sale in the building. This could mean that there is a high level of unhappiness with the building and living conditions.

Ready to look at condos in Portland or maybe a single family house? Give me a call or start here!

Schedule a consultation now

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Posted in Buying
March 29, 2019

Portland's April Festivals 2019

Portland is packed with amazing festivals this next month. Here's what's going on in the month of April, 2019 when it comes to festivals and major events around Portland Oregon.


Portland Design FestivalPortland April Events


This spirited week of programming presented each year features hundreds of independent events, open houses, and activities put on by Portland's vital creative community. Design week features several different events in the world of architecture, arts and crafts, graphic design, manufacturing, music, landscape, creative writing, product design, illustration, education, fashion, and more. There are open houses throughout many different districts and regions of Portland from April 6 through the 13th. This event brings the selection of Festival events related to architecture and urban design. Several programs and panels cover the past, present, and future of our built entertainment and expand from heritage to sustainability to technology. There's so much going on this week that you have to check out the website to find events and activities as well as some amazing after parties that suit exactly your creative vibe.

Soul'd Out Music Festival

If soul music is your jam, you won't want to miss this amazing music Festival running April 16 through the 21st 2019. Whether you are a soul fan for life or just a casual listener looking for your next favorite band, this Portland Music Festival, originally founded in 2010, unites music lovers of all generations. If you love soul music, you won't want to miss this amazing event held at venues all around Portland including A wonder Ballroom, Doug Fir Lounge, Crystal Ballroom, Star Theater, Roseland, Mississippi Studios, Goodfoot Lounge, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and Dantes. Either by an all-access pass order tickets to just one or two events but make sure if you love soul music you check out the Soul'd Out Music Festival happening this next month.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

The 35th annual Tulip Festival is happening at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm through April 29. This is one of our favorite times of year with beautiful flowers, food, and fun for the entire family. You can jump on the wagon for a Tulip wine wagon tours, bring your four-legged friend, take home a collection of gorgeous tulips and grab some tasty food. This is happening at 33814 South Meridian Rd. in Woodburn Oregon.

Whatever you choose to do, remember, if it's time to buy or sell real estate anywhere throughout the Vancouver and Portland area give us a call.

Posted in Portland