Home Remodeling

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.

 

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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!


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Open House Update :: October 6 & 7

Join us this weekend to view these homes! 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.

35 NE Holman St, Portland (map/directions
Listing Price: $475k
Open House: Oct 6, Saturday, 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)

15836 NE Broadway, Portland (map/directions)
Listing Price: $325k
Open House: Oct 6, Saturday, 1-3p & Oct 7, Sunday, 1:30-3:30p

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: Oct 7, 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)

10319 N Oswego Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listing Price: $415k
Open House: Sunday, 10/7, 1-3p

Details: Completely remodeled, well-appointed 4-bedroom, 2-1.-bathroom home close to St. Johns' treasures. Not only does the home live large, but is also bright thanks to natural light streaming through the ample windows. Open living and dining room with chef's kitchen will make holiday gatherings a breeze as well as quiet evening at home. With 4 bedrooms plus an office means there's room for everyone! The garage is perfect for all your storage needs! For additional details and pictures, visit our site or see it for yourself on Sunday! (Listing by: Claire Paris)

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What is an ADU?

If you’ve heard of a mother-in-law suite, a multigenerational home, or a garage apartment, you’re already familiar with the idea of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). An ADU is an attached or detached structure that accompanies a home on the same piece of property. With the extra space, homeowners enjoy a flexible home design that increases the value of a home and offers a communal living concept without compromising privacy. This creative home addition also makes it possible to earn a passive income as a rental unit.

The concept is designed around a communal style of living without compromising privacy.

Though often much smaller than a typical house, an Accessory Dwelling Unit differs from a tiny home because an ADU must be built to standard building codes, requires building permits, and remains a fixed structure. Tiny homes aren’t usually held to those same requirements. Tiny homes also get their own quirky tv shows and inexplicable storage space.

Benefits of an Accessory Dwelling Unit:

  • Increases value and marketability of a property
  • Adds (mostly) passive income as a rental unit
  • Creates a communal living style while offering privacy
  • Accommodates family and friends who need temporary living arrangements
  • Allows for in-home health care services
  • Provides a reasonably priced rental in an established community

What to Expect When Building an ADU in Portland
In recent years, Portland has become known as an industry leader for ADUs and a city where this flexible home concept has been encouraged. City planners discovered that Accessory Dwelling Units help address the shortage of affordable rental homes in a rental market with quickly rising rental prices. Portland has developed especially flexible ADU regulations creating a thriving market for a creative solution to a common urban problem. When homeowners can add a separate structure to their property specifically as a rental unit, not only does their property value increase but also tenants have affordable housing options in established communities. The homeowners and tenants reap the benefits while helping to balancing out the overall rental market rates.

Designed to Help You Stay Flexible During Life’s Changes
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone, especially a prospective buyer, disappointed with extra room that can designed to fit just about any lifestyle.

Accessory Dwelling Units can accommodate many different situations for homeowners whether they want to bring family members closer, make their property more marketable to potential buyers, or earn extra income by offering the ADU as a rented space. They can even maximize the potential income by renting out the main home while living in the extra space themselves.

When your property includes an ADU, that space can transform with each major (and minor) life change. A separate garage apartment might serve as a dedicated area to focus on new hobbies, somewhere for younger children to play, or a private living area for teens to gain more independence at home. A new business can take advantage of the separation of work and life when there’s a designated office space. That same dwelling can give college students a comfortable place to live during the short transition into adulthood or an elderly parent an autonomous lifestyle within close reach of their loved ones.

Have questions about ADUs? Please contact us any time, by phone or email! We always look forward to helping others better understand real estate, the home buying and selling process, and investment properties.

 

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Open House Update :: September 8 & 9

While enjoying the gorgeous weekend, we'd love to see you this weekend at these amazing homes during our open house viewings. Stop by and check them out!

2207 NE 14th Ave, Portland (map/directions); Listing Price: $725k
Open House: Sept 8, Saturday, 1-3p


Details: Unique opportunity to own a grand 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom duplex home in Irvington. Currently rented for $3200/month, you can have a duplex in one of Portland's premier neighborhoods or convert it back to a single family home, it's up to you! This home has original woodwork and an expansive front porch. The home opens up to a huge, open plan kitchen and the living room is complemented by two fireplaces. The bedrooms and bathrooms are bright and spacious. The basement has all the space you need and is wired separately for you to use as your own personal shop! This house is a one-of-a-kind! (Listing by: Heather Paris)

1836 SE 45th, Portland (map/directions); NEW PRICE: $425k
Open House: Sept 8 & 9, Sat & Sun, 2-4p


Details: An investors dream come true! This 3-bedroom,1-bathroom classic bungalow home is perfectly located between the amazing districts of Hawthorne and Division, so you're just blocks away from all the excitement. There's plenty of potential in this fixer-upper. The kitchen and living rooms are bright and inviting, ready for all of your additions. The loft space is spacious, perfect to refurbish as a den or as a space to host guests. The 960 sq ft unfinished basement would be great addition as a family room or movie room. Bring your vision and your tool belt! Link coming soon! (Listing by: Chelsea McAlister)

1300 NE 68th Ave #12, Portland (map/directions); Listing Price: $250k
Open House: Sept 9, Sunday, 12-1p

Details: 
Sophisticated and affordable, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo in easily accessible Montavilla. Open floor plan with wood floors and remodeled kitchen. Two nicely appointed bedrooms and remodeled bath. Two covered parking spaces and private storage unit to boot. Shared outdoor deck and BBQ ideal for hosting get-togethers with friends.(Listing by: Claire Paris)

4401 SE 66th Ave, Portland (map/directions); Listing Price: $325k
Open House: Sept 9, Sunday, 12-2p

Details: Best bargain in Foster/Powell! This 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom 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. Link coming soon! Contact us for details. (Listing by: Claire Paris)

4724 N Missouri Ave, Portland (map/directions); Listing Price: $435k
Open House: Sept 9, Sunday, 1-3p

Details:
 This spacious 4-bedroom, 1.1 bathroom home is close to Mississippi District's cafes, shops, restaurants, and more! Well-appointed and remodeled with large picture windows facing west, charming built-ins, and hardwood floors gleaming with light. With an easy flow from inside to the deck and backyard, it's ideal for entertaining during these gorgeous late summer nights. (Listing by: Claire Paris)

9119 N Richmond Ave, Portland (map/directions); Price: $375k
Open House: Sept 9, Sunday, 1-3p

Details:
 This charming Victorian 2-bedroom, 1.1 bathroom home is located just blocks from downtown St. Johns! Features include high ceilings, warm wood floors, stained glass window, and French doors that lead out to your private deck and yard. The remodeled kitchen makes entertaining easy, and with 2 bathrooms - including a claw-foot tub! - hosting overnight guests is a breeze. The additional 200 square feet basement space makes for a great storage solution. A must-see gem! (Listing by: Claire Paris)

 

Can't make this weekend? Contact us to schedule a visit by email or phone, 503.998.4878.

Our end-of-year goal is to reach 100 YouTube subscribers! Help us reach our goal by subscribing here.
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Do sellers have to clean the house or are buyers responsible for cleaning a new house before moving in?

how to leave your home upon moving out

There are a few crucial steps every responsible seller must do when selling their home and moving out. It can be quite the journey to selling your home. Your home is a place where you have spent a lot of time and made a lot of memories and when you have a house cleaning after moving, it gives the buyer a chance to relax, as well. When all the furniture is gone, and the moving boxes are packed away, there are still a few things to keep in mind before you close the door, literally. Here’s an easy to follow checklist of steps for house cleaning after moving; time to get out the rubber gloves!

Item 1: Cleaning a house before moving out

Cleaning your home should go beyond the usual weekly or day-to-day chore. If you don’t have the time to commit to deep cleaning every corner of your home, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to help. When you deep clean your house before moving it helps to emphasize your commitment to the selling process and it doesn’t hurt to make your last impression for your buyers a positive one. Make sure to take everything with you. Unless the buyer specifically asks for a piece of furniture or an appliance, pack everything up and double-check all the rooms, especially basements and attics, for items you may have missed.

cleaning a house before moving out

Item 2: Disconnect all your utilities

When thinking through cleaning a house before moving out, make sure you take the time to turn off everything electric, disconnect all the appliances you aren’t taking with you, and most importantly, disconnecting all the water sources in your home. A small leak can cause a massive financial headache, if left untreated.

Item 3: Be meticulous inside and outside

It will be important to make a thorough cleaning checklist of every room in the space. Maybe it’s time to fix that leaky faucet or those cracks in the bathroom tiles. As far as the exterior of the home goes, start with front door, the focal point of the home and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Putting in the extra effort will show the buyers of your home a level of appreciation for the home buying process.

Item 4: Agreed-upon items

As you are in the process of deep cleaning, make sure any previously agreed-upon items (like furniture or appliances left for the new buyer) are properly repaired or replaced, as agreed upon in the final documents, or are scheduled to be repaired.

Feel free to reach out to me with your additional questions at any time! Through phone or by email, I’m ready to help you through the home-selling process.

 

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Open House Update :: August 11 & 12

August is here in full bloom. We're enjoying the summer days spent outside with friends, maybe barbequing or trying out a new dinner recipe. While you're out and about this weekend, stop by and see us for three open houses this weekend (one of which is a new listing!) We'll see you out there!

1836 SE 45th, Portland (map/directions); Price: $450,000
Open House: Aug 11 & 12 (Sat & Sun), 12-2p

Details: An investors dream come true! This 3-bedroom,1-bathroom classic bungalow home is perfectly located between the amazing districts of Hawthorne and Division, so you're just blocks away from all the excitement. There's plenty of potential in this fixer-upper. The kitchen and living rooms are bright and inviting, ready for all of your additions. The loft space is spacious, perfect to refurbish as a den or as a space to host guests. The 960 sq ft unfinished basement would be great addition as a family room or movie room. Bring your vision and your tool belt! Link coming soon! (Listing by: Chelsea McAlister)

4724 N Missouri Ave, Portland (map/directions); Price: $475,000
Open House: Aug 11 (Sat), 1-3p

Details: This spacious 4-bedroom, 1.1 bathroom home is close to Mississippi District's cafes, shops, restaurants, and more! Well-appointed and remodeled with large picture windows facing west, charming built-ins, and hardwood floors gleaming with light. With an easy flow from inside to the deck and backyard, it's ideal for entertaining in these long summer nights. (Listing by: Claire Paris)

4405 NE 75th Ave, Portland (map/directions); NEW PRICE: $465,000
Open House: Aug 11, 10a-12p & Aug 12, 1-3p

Details: This fantastic 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom home in NE Portland has everything you could want! A large living room, an upstairs lounge, and basement movie room provide plenty of living and entertaining space. Hardwood floors, Schoolhouse Electric fixtures, and ample light provide abundant charm throughout. A big backyard makes it ideal for summer evening gatherings and BBQs. (Listing by: Claire Paris)

 

Can't make this weekend? Contact us to schedule a visit by email or phone, 503.998.4878.

 

Our summer goal is to reach 100 YouTube subscribers! Help us reach our goal by subscribing here. Don't forget to turn on the notification bell to get all the updates!

 

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The May Edition

May has finally arrived and it. is. amazing. Today is gorgeous. The forecast for tomorrow and the upcoming days look promising. Here are a few things we're looking forward to this month:

1. Taste: It's Oregon Wine Month, which means it's the ideal time to learn about the region's incredible wineries and the perfect reason to pop into your favorite wine shop.

2. Maintain: If you're like us, you probably waited until the evenings warmed up a bit more before prepping the deck for use. With all the great weather at our doorstep in the upcoming week (or two!), it's the perfect time to clean and maintain your deck before it becomes your home's MVP for backyard gatherings and lazy mornings with a cup a coffee.

3. Plant: Speaking of backyards, if you're thinking about creating your own produce, kitchen herbs, and/or flower garden, now is the time to get everything in their pots or in the ground! 

4. Enjoy: last, but certainly not least, Mother's Day is coming up soon: May 13th! Celebrate the special lady in your life with a delicious brunch on a clean deck, looking over a freshly maintained garden, while sipping a favorite Oregon wine. (See what we did there?)

In other news, the Portland market is starting to move and open houses are popping up everywhere! If you spy a home you'd love to check out, give us a call! We're always happy set up a visit for you. Also be sure to follow us here or on social media to track our weekend open houses and new listings!

 

Don't forget to join Claire and Heather on Tuesdays at 1pm for their weekly Facebook Live chat!

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Open House :: April 28

Join us this Saturday, April 28, 12-2p, for an open house in the St Johns neighborhood! 

If you're looking for your own fixer upper, this one might be the one for you! Located in the heart of St. Johns, this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home needs a little updating - and TLC - to shine. It's a solid house on quiet street, blocks from all the fun! Big windows in the front room, open kitchen dining area, large master bedroom, and a basement for storage. Be sure to see it this weekend - or contact us to schedule a walk-thru!

Stay tuned for an open house in NE Portland next weekend and be sure to join us on Tuesdays for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series!

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Does Location, Size or Condition Matter the Most?

When looking for a home with my clients, I'm often asked what's more important: the home's location, size or condition. Heather and I talked about this yesterday on our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live session - and here's a few more questions to ask yourself when looking at homes:

Size: Does it fit your lifestyle? And what about future lifestyle?
If a two-bedroom bungalow is calling your name today, that's awesome! But if you're also planning on starting a family or possibly thinking about having an aging parent live with you in the next few years, will that bungalow fit your long-term needs? While selling a home is always a possibility, it's also important to know you may not see returns on your purchase within the first few years depending on the market.

Condition: Does it need repairs?
When viewing a home, you'll want to make an honest assessment of your own handiness, abilities, and time. No matter the project, it can take a lot of dedication and finances. Many buyers look only at what their monthly payment is going to be, and of course, you’d like that to be as low as possible. But if you buy a house needing $75,000 worth of work - for instance, a new kitchen - financial wisdom tells us cash now is worth more than cash later. Following that advice, you might want to consider buying a house $75,000 more expensive, with a kitchen you want already installed, because you’ll be paying for it over time, instead of all up front.

Location: Is it everything?
As Heather noted in the video, "location is everything"; but when buying solely based on location, you’ll have to compromise on other things. A family of 6 buying a 2-bedroom home with a semi-finished basement in a fantastic location is compromising on square footage. There may be a 5-bedroom home further out, at the same price. One location might enable you to get home in an easy 15-minute trip, but there isn’t easy hang out space for the whole family, while the bigger house affords you tons of space, but means you’re commuting 45 minutes to and from work. These are the difficult considerations when deciding between properties and unfortunately not a decision we can help you make, because you ultimately have to live with the choice; but we're ready to help you talk through your options.

Budget: What does your budget allow you to do?
If you're already stretching your budget to buy a home and pay the mortgage, you'll want to consider what your finances will be afterwards, as you adjust to being a homeowner. After moving in, you may discover you need new curtains and a cute couch; and you’ll want some extra cash for that. However, there are ways we can structure a loan to minimize your out of pocket costs and will help with your cash reserves after closing (perhaps seller pays some of your closing costs!).

Bottom line: ultimately it's about what is important to you and what fits your lifestyle, both current and potential. Sometimes those top priorities can be in conflict and our job is to help you figure out what’s most important to you.

 

Have a real estate question you want Claire and Heather to answer on their weekly live chat? Let us know below!

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