Claire Paris

How to prepare for a home showing

When you have your home listed for sale, it can be a bit overwhelming. Most sellers aren’t sure how to prepare for home showings or open houses. To help give you a better idea, we’ve compiled a list of how to prepare your home (and yourself!) for home showings: 


1. Keep your home clean and tidy. A buyer’s first impression is important, and nothing detracts from a good impression more than an unkempt house. Before your home goes on the market, deep clean it (or hire a professional cleaner) and then tidy up before any home showings. Make sure beds are made, toys are put away, and no dirty dishes or laundry are visible.


2. Remove clutter and unnecessary items. Your home should be clutter-free for home showings. Buyers won’t be able to picture their own belongings fitting into the house if the space is already filled with too much stuff. Box up all unnecessary items and store them out of sight. 

3. Create an inviting space. When a buyers walk into your home, they should feel welcomed. The more comfortable they feel in the house, the more likely they are to want to live there. To create an inviting space, be sure to turn on lights, open curtains, and leave the heat or A/C on prior to showings. If you want to set your house apart from others, you can also create pleasant smells by baking cookies or heating cinnamon in a pan right before an open house. Just make sure the scent isn't too overpowering because that can backfire!

4. Make sure pets are removed or crated. We love pets, but not everyone does! Make sure your pets are secured prior to showings by either removing them from the home, or crating them. Remember that putting your pet in a closed room will prevent buyers from seeing that room and should be avoided. 

5. Leave the house prior to potential buyers arriving! This is the most important way to prepare for a home showing. Buyers want to be able to envision themselves living in the house, and if you (and/or your family) is there, they won’t be able to see it as their potential new home. 

It can be difficult to leave for showings, particularly if you have small children at home, but it doesn’t have to be boring! Here’s a list of things to do around Portland that are sure to keep your little ones entertained.

Want more tips? Contact us! We're always happy to answer any questions you may have about the home selling process.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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How to Winterize Your Home

 

Preparing your home for the cold Winter months ahead can be fast and simple! One of the first things you should do is to winterize the exterior of your home to prevent your pipes from freezing. A simple way to do this is to disconnect your hose from your hose bibb. To do this, unscrew the hose attachment and let the water drain from the hose bibb. Once you’ve done that, insulate the hose bibb to prevent freezing. You can purchase products specifically for this at places like Home Depot or Lowe’s, but you can also use something simple from around your house like a small towel or rag. Just make sure it’s secured around the bibb and won’t fall off. Check out our video showing you exactly how to do this here!

Want more home maintenance tips? Contact us or check out our YouTube series on 5-minute home maintenance tips throughout the year. 

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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What's The Difference Between a Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse?

There are several differences between condos, townhouses, and co-ops, the largest being that co-ops are not considered “property”, whereas condos and townhouses are.

When you own a townhouse, you own the interior of your unit, the exterior walls outside your unit and land that your unit occupies, but not the common areas. When you own a condo, you own the interior (walls in) of your unit, but not the exterior walls, land, or common areas.

With a co-op, you own “shares” of the building equal to the value of the unit you occupy, but not the unit itself or any part of the building, structure, land, or common areas.

Another difference is that townhouses and condos are often part of a homeowner’s association that manages the common areas, and may also manage the exterior maintenance of the structure, in exchange for HOA dues. HOAs are often run by property management companies, which are also paid for through the HOA.

Additionally, with townhouses and condos, you may sell your unit of your own accord, to whomever you choose, without approval from the HOA. In other words, you are not subject to any restrictions on who you sell to. Also, with townhouses and condos, you can often make interior improvements without approval from the HOA.

(keep scrolling to learn about co-ops!)

With co-ops, on the other hand, you usually pay a higher monthly “maintenance fee” to the co-op board (all of the share owners), that go towards maintenance, repairs, and taxes. Additionally, co-ops are subject to many restrictive rules when selling your shares (all new owners or renters must be approved by the board), and you must get board approval before making any changes to your unit.

Another significant difference between townhouses and condos verses co-ops are that the latter do not qualify for traditional home mortgages. A co-op would require a loan to purchase shares, rather than a mortgage to purchase property (such as a condo or townhouse).

It’s important to know the difference between these three types of housing, so you know what your individual responsibilities are, as well as what type of loan you may qualify for to purchase.

Purchasing a co-op is often a more complicated process than purchasing a townhouse or condo, so it’s important to plan accordingly if you plan on going that route. Note, however, that co-ops are not very common in Portland, and are found most frequently in New York city.

Have more questions? Contact us! We're always happy to answer any questions you may have about your different home purchase options.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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6 tips for saving money to buy a home

The first step in saving for a home down payment is to assess your financial situation. Take a look at your income, debt, and where your money is going each month.

Getting a better idea of where you are financially now will help you figure out the best ways to save a larger down payment, faster. When you have a handle on your current financial situation, consider the following six ways to help you start saving money for a home: 

1.    Cut out the extras.


Once you’ve assessed where your money is being allocated, you may be able to see areas where you can cut back. Do you have an expansive cable plan but rarely watch TV? Are you paying an annual fee for a gym membership but work out at home? Did you forget to cancel a free introductory offer that you’re now being charged for? All of these small extras can add up, and by eliminating them you can save for a home faster.   

2.    Dine in instead of eating out. 


Speaking of unnecessary expenses, a huge way to save money for a home purchase is by making your own meals rather than going out. All of those morning coffees, delivered lunches, and expensive dinners can add up quickly. Make the most of your money by buying groceries and preparing meals yourself.

A great way to do this is by meal-prepping. Make it a weekly routine to plan meals ahead of time. Set your coffee maker, pack your lunches, and cook dinner at home. You’ll be amazed at how much money this will save you! 

3.    Pay off or consolidate debt.


If you’re accruing and paying a high interest rate on your current debt, it will undoubtedly affect your ability to save for a down payment on a house. 

To maximize your down payment saving potential, begin by planning how and when you will pay off your debt. A good way to start is to pay down the debt that has the highest interest rate first until it has been paid off. Keep in mind, however, that certain debt is better to have than others (for instance, student loan interest is tax-deductible, whereas credit card interest is not). 

If paying off debt seems too insurmountable, consider consolidating it. Many credit unions have lower-interest credit cards and may be willing to increase your credit limit if you transfer your outstanding balance from another (higher interest) credit card.

There are also debt consolidation companies that will work with you to negotiate with companies to consolidate all your debt at a fixed interest rate and fixed payment every month. 

4.    Set up an automatic savings deposit each month.


One way to ensure you’re saving money each month is to set up an automatic deposit into your savings account. You can do this through most online banking systems by setting up a recurring transfer from your checking into your savings on a particular day of the month. Setting aside $300 a month would add $3,600 into your down payment fund per year!

5.    Consider a second part-time job. 


Depending on your availability, a second part-time job may be a great way to save up extra cash. It doesn’t have to be a conventional job, either. Do you have a special talent you’re not utilizing? Are you experienced in wood working, art, or knitting? You could start an etsy shop and sell your handmade goods, or run a booth at a local craft fair!

6.    Look into down payment assistance programs, such as the Oregon Bond Residential Loan Program through Portland Housing Center.


Certain areas (including Portland!) have buyer assistance programs that help you save by matching some of your down payment funds (or giving you a lower interest rate on your home mortgage) if you fall within certain income limits, and take home-buying classes. For more information about this program, check out the website here

Have more questions? Contact us! We're always happy to offer tips or advice about saving for your first home!

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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How to stage your home to sell


(With Special Guest, Appetite Shop)

In a recent digital newsletter we sent out, we talked about the importance of making a good first impression on buyers when you’re selling your home. As we noted, first impressions make a big difference in how fast your home sells, and for what price. And If you’re looking to make a good first impression and don’t know where to start, a good place to focus is on staging your home. We called in local experts to get their advice on how to best stage your home so that it makes a good impression on potential buyers. Erin and Megan, from Appetite Shop here in Portland, graciously agreed to lend their expertise in home decorating and home staging. Here are just a few of her valuable tips on how to stage a bedroom to make it look cozy...

1. Start with a blank canvas. Remove all clutter and unnecessary items so you can really see the space and furniture:

2. Add textiles (such as blankets and throw pillows that have an interesting design or pop of color) and texture (such as baskets, rugs, and weavings).

3. Add plants and personal touches. Plants and other personal touches such as books or figurines create an inviting space and give a bedroom that cozy feel that people desire.

All of these small changes can make your home more desirable to buyers, and get your home sold faster and at a potentially higher price! You can find the all of the items shown here (and more!) by visiting Appetite Shop in person at: 2136 E Burnside St. Portland, OR 97214, or checking out their website here.

Have more questions? Contact us! We're always happy to offer tips or advice about staging and selling your home.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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What is leverage in real estate, and how do I use it?

Defined, “leverage” is the “borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable”. So, what is leverage in real estate? Essentially, leverage in real estate is the loan used to buy property, and the amount of potential profit earned during ownership. The amount of leverage you have in real estate depends on several factors: how much cash you’ve invested in the property (think down payment or repair costs), the amount of the loan and interest rate, and the appreciation in property value (the more appreciation, the more your investment is worth and the more profit you will gain from selling it).

In other words, someone that invests a small amount of money in a property and has more liquid assets to invest in something else generally has more leverage than someone who invests a large amount of money and cannot invest in anything else (their entire investment would be in one place, in this case, the property they purchased). Additionally, if both people have equal amounts of liquid assets available for the purchase of real property, the person with the smaller cash investment would see a greater percentage return on that investment.

As an example, take a piece of real estate that will sell for $100,000. Investor A could pay all cash and investor B could put 20% down (or $20,000) and take out a loan for the remaining 80% (or $80,000). If we assume the house appreciates by 10%, investor A (the all cash buyer) would have made a profit on their initial investment of 10% ($10,000 profit divided by $100,000 initial investment). Conversely, investor B (the buyer who used leverage) would have had a 50% gain on their original investment ($10,000 profit divided by $20,000 initial investment). Additionally, investor A would now have $80,000 less cash to invest than investor B because he has $80,000 more cash tied up in this property.

(Scroll down for risks in using leverage)

Leverage works great in an up market, as in the example above; however, it can be risky in a down market. Taking the same example above, if there were a downturn in the housing market and a 10% decline in the home value, the all cash investor has lost 10% of their initial investment, while the leveraged buyer has lost 50% of their initial investment.

As such, it is wiser and more advantageous to use leverage in the real estate market over a sustained period of time (generally five or more years) because historically, real estate has been shown to increase in value over the long-term. It is much riskier to use leverage over a short-term period of time because the market is much less predictable from year to year, than from decade to decade.

Have more questions? Contact us! We're always happy to help you fully understand your options.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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Open House Update :: November 11

Join us this weekend in Piedmont for an open house at this NEW LISTING: a beautiful and highly energy efficient home!

7418 N Williams Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listed at $450k
Open House: Sunday, 11/11, 1 - 3p

A beautiful 3-bedroom, 2.1-bathroom home in NE Portland's Piedmont neighborhood, near parks, restaurants, and shops. This home lives bright and airy thanks to an open living room/dining area, warm fireplace, beautiful kitchen, & powder bathroom on the main floor. Upstairs there's plenty of room for visiting guests thanks to two well-sized bedrooms and a full guest bathroom. Create your own master bedroom sanctuary with its own bathroom including a dual vanity and walk-in closet. The deck and fully fenced backyard is a perfect spot to enjoy warmer mornings with a cup of coffee - or to build a snowman in the winter. Listed by: Claire Paris of PGR

Look forward to seeing you this weekend! Can't make it to an open house? Give us a call to schedule a viewing ASAP at 503-998-4878.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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Is it cheaper to remodel my home or move to a new home?

A lot of factors can affect a decision of whether to remodel your home or buy a new (or already-renovated) home. What is the most cost-effective option to upgrade your house? How difficult is it to get a home equity line of credit? How difficult will it be to sell my house? Can I afford a new house?

The thought of moving into a new house may seem overwhelming, but in most cases, moving into a new house is easier and more cost-effective than remodeling your home. There are several different reasons for this, the biggest being that mortgage loans tend to be easier to qualify for and are usually at a lower, fixed rate than home equity lines of credit.

Home equity lines of credit tend to be higher and at a variable rate, similar to a credit card. So, unless you have a substantial cash savings to pull from, a major renovation or remodeling home project (such as a bathroom or kitchen) may not be a great option for you. In these instances, buying a new home that already has the upgrades you are looking for is probably smarter.

To find out what types of loans and interest rates that you may qualify for, it’s best to contact your local lender or credit union. They’ll be able to help you understand your loan options, and what you may qualify for, including home equity lines of credit, should you choose to go that route.

For those who have enough cash savings to cover remodeling costs, it’s best to compare the out of pocket costs verses potential home value increase. To do this, answer the following questions as accurately as possible:

(scroll below for 3 questions to ask before you renovate)

  1. How much money will my renovation cost? This includes contractor time, labor, and materials. It’s best to get estimates from at least two or three contractors who are licensed and bonded, and who have a good reputation in the community. Be sure to tell the contractor exactly what type of materials you’d like to use in your renovation (i.e. quartz counters vs. granite counters, type of wood and style of cabinetry, carpeting vs. laminate vs. wood floors, etc.) so they can estimate material costs more accurately.
  2. How much value will this renovation add to my home? The best way to find out the potential added value now verses after remodeling is to consult an experienced real estate expert who is familiar with your area or neighborhood. A Realtor can help you find out what your current home value is, and what your home may be worth after the renovations have been completed.
  3. Given this information, is remodeling my home the best investment of my cash? If the renovation cost is higher than the potential increase in home value, then it’s probably better to move than to remodel. If, on the other hand, the renovation will add a significant amount of value to your house that outweighs the cost of the remodel, then it’s probably better to renovate.

Have more questions? Contact us! We're always happy to help you fully understand your options.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1pm PST for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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How to Remove a Name From a Mortgage or Deed

We get a lot of questions about how to remove someone from a mortgage and/or deed, and if it's possible to do so without refinancing or selling your home. First, let’s go over the difference between your liability on a mortgage vs. your liability on a deed. 

When you finance your home mortgage jointly with another person, the lender is accounting for both of your assets, liabilities, and income. Your risk as borrowers is also looked at jointly, and your future liability on the home loan is equal. If, at some point, you want to remove one person from the mortgage loan (this commonly happens in divorce or breakup situations), the other person would have to re-qualify for the loan separately. In order to do this, you would have to either refinance (change the terms of your mortgage loan, including who is liable to pay the loan back), or sell your home and remove both parties’ liability to pay the loan back. 

(Scroll down for how to remove a name from a deed)

A deed, on the other hand, is vastly different from a mortgage. A deed is not a loan liability, but rather proof of ownership and legal right to property. To remove someone from a deed, there are two ways to do this (other than refinancing or selling your home): by mutual agreement, or by legal recourse. If either of these scenarios applies, then you can remove someone from a deed by going through a title company and re-recording the deed with the county in one party’s name.

Keep in mind, however, that removing someone from a deed will not remove that person’s liability to pay the mortgage back if that person is also on the loan. If the person being removed from the deed is not on the loan, then it would make sense to remove that party from the deed as well. However, if that person is also on the mortgage loan, it would not make sense to remove that party from the deed alone, as it does not remove the liability of paying the loan back; the loan liability would remain, but the person removed from the deed would no longer have a legal right to the property. 

So, in short, you can remove someone from a deed if all parties agree, or if it’s been legally mandated, without refinancing your mortgage or selling your home. However, you cannot remove someone from a mortgage loan without refinancing or selling.

Have more questions? Contact us! We're always happy to help you fully understand your options.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

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Open House Update :: November 3

Join us this weekend in Piedmont for an open house at this NEW LISTING: a beautiful and highly energy efficient home!

7418 N Williams Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listed at $450k
Open House: Saturday, 11/3, 1 - 3p

A beautiful 3-bedroom, 2.1-bathroom home in NE Portland's Piedmont neighborhood, near parks, restaurants, and shops. This home lives bright and airy thanks to an open living room/dining area, warm fireplace, beautiful kitchen, & powder bathroom on the main floor. Upstairs there's plenty of room for visiting guests thanks to two well-sized bedrooms and a full guest bathroom. Create your own master bedroom sanctuary with its own bathroom including a dual vanity and walk-in closet. The deck and fully fenced backyard is a perfect spot to enjoy warmer mornings with a cup of coffee - or to build a snowman in the winter. Listed by: Claire Paris of PGR

Look forward to seeing you this weekend! Can't make it to an open house? Give us a call to schedule a viewing ASAP at 503-998-4878.

 

Follow our Facebook events page, or visit our Instagram or Twitter feeds to see the most current open house updates and details.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. Subscribe to our YouTube channel today to help us reach our goal of 100 subscribers.

facebook // instagram // pinterest // twitter // youtube