Home Life

Pros and Cons of Tiny Homes

Pros of living in a tiny home:

  1. Tiny homes are less expensive.

Tiny homes are much less expensive than traditional homes, starting at about $25,000. Of course, this does not account for the cost of land to place your tiny house, which would need to be leased or purchased as well.

  1. Tiny homes use less energy.

Tiny houses are generally about 100-400 square feet. Less space means less energy usage. Additionally, since only 1-2 people can live in a tiny house comfortably, this means modest water, sewer, and garbage waste. This will also bring your utility expenses down.

  1. Tiny homes can be mobile.

Since tiny homes are so small and are usually built with wheels, they are easily transportable. That means if you decide you want to move somewhere else, it’s relatively easy to move your house with you.

(Scroll down for cons of tiny homes...)

Cons of living in a tiny home:

  1. Zoning laws may restrict where you can place a tiny home.

Depending on your area, there are restrictions to where you can or can’t put a tiny home. Since most tiny houses are considered vehicles rather than residences, it can be tricky to find land to permanently place your tiny home.

  1. Tiny houses have little, if any, storage space.

Since tiny houses are so small there isn’t much storage space. If you’re not used to such a confined space, or are hoping to downsize, you’ll probably have to get rid of many of your belongings or rent a storage unit for them (which can be expensive).

  1. There’s no room for entertaining in your tiny house.

Again, since tiny homes have very little square footage, it’s difficult to have more than 1-2 people in one at the same time. This highly limits your ability to host any indoor gatherings or even host a small dinner.

  1. You can’t finance a tiny home with a mortgage if it’s mobile.

Traditional mortgage financing is not available for tiny homes that are movable because they are considered “recreational vehicles”. This means if you don’t have the cash to purchase one, you’ll likely need to take out a personal loan or an RV loan at a higher interest rate.

One way to own a tiny home without so many restrictions is to have it built on a foundation on land that you own or purchase. There is usually a minimum size requirement for homes built this way (depending on your area) but it may be the best option for those who desire a tiny home and aren’t concerned with mobility. Another upside to this option is that it could also make your tiny house eligible for a traditional home mortgage, or allow it to qualify as an ADU (additional dwelling unit) on your current property.

Still have more questions about tiny homes, or want to know your options for buying one? Contact us

 

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 Start a Commune

Communes or communal housing is more commonly known today as “co-housing”. Co-housing, according to Wikipedia is “is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces”. Co-housing may also be in the form of apartments in a building or portion of a building, such as the “Commonspace Community” in Syracuse, New York. As with any housing community, there are both challenges and benefits to living in a co-housing. Members of co-housing communities site health benefits thanks to the decreased loneliness, while others find the increased socialization daunting.

(Scroll down to find out how to start your own commune...)

            While most people seem apprehensive about joining an existing co-housing community, a lot of people want to know if it’s possible to start their own “commune”. While it may sound ideal, it’s also quite complex! Once you have 3 or 4 households that want to create a co-housing community, there are a lot of steps involved – in addition to finding the land or space you want to buy. According to co-housing.org, these are just the first steps you’d need to take in order to start your own co-housing project:

  1. Create a vision/goal statement to define the intentions and directions of the community.
  2. Create a group decision and communications process.
  3. Create a financial structure.
  4. Form an LLC (limited liability company) or incorporate.
  5. Create bylaws for the community.
  6. Open a separate bank account for the community.
  7. Collect assessments from members.
  8. Do your research and learn from already-operating co-housing communities.

Additionally, there are steps to register your community, various tax laws for co-housing, and of course, developing and building on the land or space you have purchased. So, if you do plan on creating your own co-housing community, be sure you know what you’re getting into! For more information, you can visit cohousing.org.

Have more questions? Feel free to Contact us

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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Home Ownership: Your First Year

10 Things to Remember During Your First Year of Home Ownership

  1. Hire a locksmith to change your locks.
  2. Switch all utilities (electric, gas, water/sewer, garbage, cable/internet, etc.) into your name as of your move-in date.
  3. Be sure to change your address with the post office and anyone you receive bills from (bank, credit card companies, student loans, etc.). USPS will forward mail to your new address for up to 6 months.
  4. Make note of where all your shut-off valves and electric panel are in your new home.
  5. Change all smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

  6. Have your heating, air conditioning, and all major appliances serviced if not done recently. And be sure to change your furnace air filter regularly!
  7. Hire a yard care company, or purchase any yard care tools you may need for each season (including lawn mower, weed-wacker, shovel, etc.).
  8. Check and clean your gutters as needed.
  9. Check and clean your dryer vent regularly.
  10. Winterize your home during cold months by disconnecting and insulating outdoor faucets.

Want more home maintenance tips? Contact us, or check out our YouTube channel series on 5-minute home maintenance 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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Winter Home Maintenance List

Here’s our checklist of home maintenance tips to give you a jump start on Winter and keep your home in tip-top shape. And be sure to check the rules in your city or town to see what homeowners are responsible for during snowy days!

Safety Maintenance:

  • Rake and compost fallen leaves to prevent slips.
  • Check and repair entry stairs and railing.
  • Inspect and replace outdoor lighting.
  • Shovel snow and add salt to walkways as needed*.

*Note: In Portland, the sidewalk in front of your property is considered homeowner responsibility. In other words, if someone were to slip and fall due to unmoved snow, the homeowner would be held responsible, not the city.

(Scroll down for exterior and interior home maintenance lists...)

Exterior Home Maintenance:

  • Seal any cracks in walls or foundation.
  • Update or repair weather-stripping.
  • Clean leaves and debris from gutters.
  • Cover and insulate hose bibs.
  • Protect or move outdoor furniture.
  • Remove and clean window screens.
  • Cover air conditioner.
  • Store seasonal yard tools.

Interior Home Maintenance:

  • Protect indoor flooring by adding an interior entry mat to collect outdoor water and debris.
  • Check and replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned.
  • Check and repair attic insulation if needed.
  • Check and repair caulking around doors and windows.
  • Insulate pipes near windows and doors, or other unheated areas.
  • Reverse ceiling fan to turn clockwise (this pushes heated air down, as opposed to up).
  • Keep the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher when away from your home to prevent pipes from freezing.

 

Want more home maintenance tips? Contact us, or check out our YouTube channel series on 5-minute home maintenance 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 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 Exterior

 

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. Make sure to disconnect your hose from your hose bibb on any exterior faucets. 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 pipe freezing. You can purchase products specifically for this (like a frost-proof hose bibb) at places like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Alternatively, you can use something simple from around your house like a small towel or rag to insulate your exterior faucet. Just make sure it’s secured around the bibb and won’t fall off. Check out our video showing you exactly how to disconnect your hose from your outdoor faucet 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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