Home Life

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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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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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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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.

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What to Expect When Refinancing Your Home in 7 Simple Steps

In our last blog post, we explained why you may want to refinance your home loan; which means paying off your current mortgage with a new mortgage. Homeowners often take advantage of this option to have a more desirable mortgage loan, usually at a lower interest rate or over a shorter period of time.

In today's post, we're explaining what to expect when refinancing a home.

Our big tip: Different lenders have different home refinancing loans to offer, so it’s good to shop around periodically to see if there’s a better mortgage loan available to you. Pay attention to all the fine print to make sure you are getting a better refinanced mortgage than the one you already have.                               

How to Refinance Your Home in 7 Simple Steps

1. Determine Your Financial Goals

  • Estimate how long you plan to live in your home.
  • Consider every debt and how much interest you are paying.
  • Review your current mortgage terms.
  • What do you expect to achieve by refinancing?                

2. Talk to More Than One Lender

  • You don’t have to refinance your home with your current lender! This is something homeowners don’t always consider; or they assume the options will be the same with every lender.
  • You should get 3-4 refinancing loan quotes from lenders to make sure you are getting the best deal.

3. Apply & Receive a Pre-Approval

  • When you’ve found the best refinancing loan offer - and have reviewed for any unexpected fees and costs - submit your application to the lender! The mortgage company will review your current and past finances to see if you qualify for a good mortgage refinancing option. This review could include your income, credit, assets, and property type.

(Keep scrolling for knowing when the property review takes place and our tips for refinancing.)

4. Wait for the Appraisal & Property Review

  • A title report will be requested and the homeowner’s insurance binder will be ordered.
  • The lender will hire a licensed appraiser to make a complete assessment of the current value of the property. The appraiser is an impartial party who will visit your home to take notes and pictures before making a final assessment. The terms of the loan will be based on the appraiser’s property value.
  • The appraiser could determine that your home is worth more or less than you and your lender expected, which would then change the terms of the refinanced loan.

5. Receive the Official Approval

  • All of the information on your financial position and the property will be carefully evaluated by an underwriter. At this point, you may need to provide additional documentation so that the underwriter can make a properly informed decision.
  • When the underwriter has made a final decision and approved the loan terms, you will receive an approval letter with all the terms of the new loan.
  • Read through the terms carefully and look for any unexpected expenses that might cost you more money over time.

6. Submit Documents & Sign the Papers

  • After the underwriter has cleared your documentation, the refinanced loan documents will be prepared and delivered to the title company.
  • The escrow office will receive the loan documentation from the lender, prepare the new documents, and contact you to sign.

7. Start Fresh With Your New Mortgage Terms             

  • The funds will be released for disbursement once the lender has reviewed everything and all the terms have been met.
  • When all the funds have been disbursed, the title company will record your new lien at the county.
  • Depending on your new loan terms, you can now enjoy a lower monthly payment, plan for a shorter loan term, or use the money you received to improve your household’s finances!

Helpful Tips for Refinancing
You can save yourself money and create opportunities by refinancing your home mortgage. To make sure your refinancing process is as successful as possible, save these tips:

  • Be prepared financially and with proper documentation.
  • Understand the mortgage process.
  • Avoid high fees and credit issues.
  • Read the terms of the new loan carefully.
  • Compare the benefits of the new loan vs. your current loan.
  • Ask your lender about anything you’re not sure of.

Knowing what to expect when refinancing your home will help the process go more smoothly. It’ll also make it easier to understand the terms of the new loan and the differences between your current loan and your new refinanced loan options. Remember the goal of any refinancing process is to put you in a better financial position now and in the future!

Have questions? Give us a call! 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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Why should I refinance my home mortgage?

Thinking about refinancing a home mortgage loan and not sure where to start? We're reviewing what to expect in a typical process and why you may want to refinance sooner rather than later. 

What Does It Mean To Refinance Your Mortgage? 
When you refinance your home loan, you're paying off your existing mortgage with a new mortgage. Homeowners typically take advantage of this refinancing option to reduce their interest rate and/or payment, or to change the terms of their mortgage loan (such as switching to a shorter or longer loan term).

You can also borrow against your home equity in order to receive cash. This “cash-out refinancing” option allows you to use proceeds from the refinancing to pay off non-mortgage debts or renovate your home.

However in 2018, you can no longer deduct the interest payments on extra funds pulled from refinancing, so renovation financing would likely be a better option if you’re planning on renovating your home. (Read more about how the new laws for taxes in 2018 will affect deductions taken for things like mortgage interest payments and property taxes.)          

Should You Refinance or Build Equity? 
Is it better to refinance your mortgage OR let the equity build up as much as possible? It really depends on your financial situation. If you’re in the position to refinance your home, that’s a sign you’re on the right financial path! It means your financial situation has given you options that can prove beneficial in the short or long term. It’s important to understand those options and make the best decision for your financial health.

7 Reasons to Consider Refinancing Your Mortgage            

  • You want to lower your monthly payments.
  • You want to pay off your mortgage sooner.
  • You have an adjustable rate mortgage.
  • You have an interest-only loan.
  • You have a high interest rate.
  • You’re paying mortgage insurance.
  • You need cash-in-hand to pay non-mortgage higher-interest debt.

(keep scrolling for our refinancing tips!)
"Is there any point to refinancing if my monthly payment amount doesn’t change?"

Yes! Even if you’d still pay the same amount every month after refinancing a home mortgage, it may still save you money if you can shave years off the life of your loan. You could pay off your mortgage early and save tens of thousands of dollars. This is why it’s so important to go over all your options carefully with a mortgage specialist to find out whether it's worth to to refinance your home.

Helpful Tips for Refinancing
You can save yourself money and create opportunities by refinancing a home mortgage, if done properly. To make sure your refinancing process is as successful as possible, bookmark these tips:

  • Be prepared financially and with proper documentation.
  • Understand the mortgage process.
  • Avoid high fees and credit issues.
  • Read the terms of the new loan carefully.
  • Compare the benefits of the new loan vs. your current loan.
  • Ask your lender about anything you’re not sure of.

Talk to Your Lender About Refinancing Options 
Even if you wouldn’t expect to benefit from or qualify for refinancing, you should understand the process of refinancing your home and how it can benefit your household budget. You might be pleasantly surprised with the options your lender can offer!

Even if you decide not to refinance your mortgage after speaking with your lender, talking about the possibility can show you how your budget could potentially improve to create better mortgage lending opportunities in the future. A successfully refinanced mortgage can reduce your monthly payments, shorten your loan terms, and create opportunities with cash from equity.

Have questions? Give us a call! 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 :: October 27 & 28


While you're out and about this weekend, join us at these amazing homes in Beaverton and North Portland!

7315 N Fenwick Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listed at $300k
Open House: Saturday, 10/27, 10a - 12p & Sunday, 10/28, 12-2p

Details: This 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom North Portland bungalow has a spacious backyard with private back deck and just blocks from Max line & Kenton neighborhood shops and restaurants. Thanks to hardwoods throughout and a kitchen skylight, this cozy home is bright even on the cloudiest of days. Parking for two with an over-sized garage, and separate entrance leads to basement with tall ceilings. Could easily be converted to a 2-bedroom. This sweet home has incredible potential; it's just waiting for your imagination and finishing touches! Listed by: Michael Toews

306 SE 61st Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listed at $800k
Open House: Saturday, 10/27, 11a-1p

Details: Grand 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom Craftsman estate on Mt Tabor! Ample front porch to enjoy your morning, looking at a spectacular view. Classic light and bright living room with a sophisticated fireplace will make transform cold winter nights into cozy ones. The master bedroom will quickly become your favorite sanctuary. A large dining room and kitchen are ideal for entertaining guests. French doors open to a magical backyard, complete with fruit trees, berries bushes, a patio with deck, and a kid's play house! A finished oversized, attached garage will make storing off-season toys a snap! See it this Sunday! Listing by: Claire Paris

17737 SW Lawton St, Beaverton (map/directions)
Listed at $350k
Open House: Saturday, 10/27, 1-3p & Sunday, 10/28, 1-3p

Details: Stunning 4-bedroom, 2.1 bathroom home in Beaverton's Autumn Meadows neighborhood. With an open floor plan with wood floors and vaulted ceilings, this house has an eye for design and lives large. Stainless steel appliances and huge kitchen island provide ideal space for entertaining. Great location in the heart of Beaverton with easy access to Nike, Costco, local amenities, and freeways. Listed by Heather Paris

274 NW 215th Terrace, Beaverton (map/directions)
Listed at $275k
Open House: Sunday, 10/28, 1-2p
Details: A well-appointed 2-bedroom, 2.1-bathroom townhome, close to Orenco Station and numerous amenities: grocery shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries! Thanks to big windows and great layout, this home lives bright. With a deck off the open living room/kitchen area and a backyard, there's plenty of room to enjoy these gorgeous fall days with family and guests alike. Ideal for those looking for a sweet, bright space to call their own. Listing by: Claire Paris

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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How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient: 12 Energy Saving Tips Everyone Should Know

“Responsible homeowner” may not be be a very exciting way to describe yourself, but it’ll definitely save you money and keep you warm this winter! We’ve gathered the best tips to make your home energy efficient without breaking the bank so you can enjoy a Portland winter like a pro.

Bonus! Potentially useful tax benefits that initially expired but were then retroactively renewed for 2017 involve energy-conservation and improvements made to your home. The new extension allows you to get a tax credit of 10 percent of what you spent on certain energy saving improvements such as insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, and roofs. Check with your tax professional to see how you can take advantage of this benefit and make your home more energy efficient!

In the meantime, try implementing these DIY home energy saving ideas:

Start at the Source: Walls, Windows, and Doors

1. Add Insulation Especially to Leaky Areas

  • Escaping heat can become an easy way to lose a huge amount of energy in your home during the winter. You can find inexpensive insulation from Lowe’s or Home Depot to fill in all the areas in your home that might allow heat to escape in the winter or cool air in the summer.

  • If you have an unfinished attic in your home, adding insulation to it can save energy and money in the long term.

2. Seal All the Windows and Doors.

  • Use window treatments that improve energy efficiency throughout your home.

  • Add foam weather stripping for your doors and windows. It’s easy to apply and an affordable way to conserve heat.

3. Use the Sun to Your Advantage

  • When the sun is out, open window coverings and let the sun heat your home! Sun can pass through your windows and help keep rooms in your home warm without turning on your furnace, making it both cost-effective and energy saving. 

4. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

  • Moist air feels warmer AND holds heat better, so you can feel more comfortable even when your thermostat is set to a lower temp.

Create Efficient Systems: Water Heaters, Thermostats, and HVAC (continued below)

5. Lower Your Thermostat - Invest in a Smart Thermostat

  • Set times that you’re not typically home for cooler temps. Change the heat setting (or automatically schedule with a smart thermostat) from anywhere to avoid wasting energy heating your home when no one is there.

  • Limit space heater use, which can be more expensive and less energy-efficient to heat your home.

6. Tune Up & Maintain Your HVAC System

  • A well maintained furnace and vent system will reduce home energy consumption. Check your furnace’s filter monthly and replace it regularly to keep your home systems energy efficient.

  • Consider replacing an older furnace with a new high-efficiency furnace system. 

7. Turn Down Hot Water Heater Setting to 120 Degrees

  • Many conventional water heaters have their temperature set too high, which can cause you to lose a lot of energy in your home because it’s keeping water warm when no one is using it. Turn the temperature setting down to 120 degrees, which will easily get your clothes and dishes clean without wasting excessive home energy.

8. Consider a Zone Heating & Cooling System

  • A zone heating and cooling system allows you to heat the areas of your home that need more warmth without wasting heat in areas of your home that don’t need it. 

Simple Tricks to Easily Conserve Home Energy

9. Bundle Up!

  • Pull out those cozy sweaters, blankets, and socks to keep warm without cranking up the heat. You can even add area rugs to insulate floors, reducing the amount of heat energy you use.

10. Adjust Ceiling Fans

  • Create better airflow by changing your ceiling fans to turn clockwise on a low setting in the winter. This will trap heat inside to keep rooms in your home warmer during cooler months.

11. When decorating for the holidays, use LED lights to reduce cost and energy.

  • If you want to conserve energy but still want to decorate with lights this holiday season, replace older, incandescent lighting with new LED holiday lights (these use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than the incandescent lights). They also don’t emit as much heat and are less likely to break.

12. Only use exhaust fans when necessary.

  • Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air up and out of your home. Use them sparingly to save home energy for where it's really needed.

We’re always available to talk through any additional questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone to contact us!


Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. 
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Open House Update :: September 22 & 23

Join us this weekend at our open houses throughout Portland's eastside! 

2511 SE 49th Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listing Price: $600k
Open House: Sept 22, Saturday, 11:30a-1:30p, & Sept 23, Sunday, 12-2p

Details: A stunning Portland Craftsman home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, lives large and bright thanks to recently refinished hardwood floors, and open main floor including a formal dining room perfect for large gatherings. The house sits on a large lot, making it ideal for outdoor entertaining. This one won't last long so see it this weekend! (Listed by: Heather Paris)

15836 NE Broadway, Portland (map/directions)
Listing Price: $325k
Open House: Sept 22 & 23, Saturday & Sunday, 1-3p

Details: A well-maintained home with 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms in Wilkes! The open living-dining space is ready for you to enjoy and the 2-car garage offers plenty of space for storing off-season toys. The covered patio and large fenced backyard makes for an ideal sanctuary away from the daily grind. (Listing by: Brigitte Robinson & Britta Schwartz)

4401 SE 66th Ave, Portland (map/directions
Listing Price: $325k
Open House: Sept 23, Sunday, 12-2p

Details: A great bargain in Foster-Powell! This 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom bungalow includes an open living/dining room with warm wood floors. Nicely appointed, remodeled kitchen and an amazing yard, with an end of summer harvest waiting for you. Alley access to your garage for your cars and bikes. (Listing by: Claire Paris)

35 NE Holman St, Portland (map/directions) 
Listing Price: $475k
Open House: Sept 23, Sunday, 1-3p

Details: Smart design combo of 1941 Mid-Century and cozy bungalow in this 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom Piedmont home on a corner lot. Thanks to the white oak floors and big original windows, the rooms are flooded with light. Entertaining is a breeze thanks to a large kitchen and fluid floor plan. The 2-car garage, full basement, and the house's amble space offer a lot of storage options. (Listing by: Claire Paris)

 

Can't make this weekend? Contact us to schedule a visit by email or phone, 503.998.4878.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn about our upcoming open houses & current listings!

Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. 
Help us reach out end-of-year goal of 100 YouTube subscribers.
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