Blog :: 10-2018

Open House Update :: Oct 20 & 21

While you're enjoying the weekend - and this incredible weather! - come see us at these incredible homes!

878 Beach St, Manzanita (map/directions)
Listed at $700k
Open House: Saturday, 10/21, 12-2p

Details: Stellar location in heart of Manzanita with panoramic ocean views. Top to bottom remodel with high-end finishes and open floor plan. Cook your favorite meal in the open kitchen and eat it outside on the spacious deck overlooking one of Oregon's most spectacular beaches. House lives large thanks to the 5 bedrooms and 2 big bathrooms. Only 4 blocks to downtown Manzanita and across the street from the ocean, life doesn't get much better than this. Listing by: Molly Paris

274 NW 215th Terrace, Beaverton (map/directions)
Listed at $275k
Open House: Sunday, 10/21, 12-2p
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. Listing by: Claire Paris

306 SE 61st Ave, Portland (map/directions)
Listed at $800k
Open House: Sunday, 10/21, from 3-4p

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

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.

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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-conserving improvements made to your home. The new extension allows you to get a tax credit of 10 percent of what you spent on certain 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 save energy!

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 the winter. You can find inexpensive insulation from Lowe’s or Home Depot to fill in all those areas that might allow heat to escape in the winter and cool air in the summer.

  • If you have an unfinished attic, it can save you energy and money in the long term.

2. Seal All the Windows and Doors.

  • Use window treatments that improve energy efficiency.

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

3. Use the Sun to Your Advantage

  • When the sun is out, you can open up your window coverings and let that sun in! The heat from the sun can pass through your windows and help keep that room warm.

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 heating your home when no one is there.

  • Limit space heater use.

6. Tune Up & Maintain Your HVAC System

  • A well maintained furnace and vents will reduce energy consumption. Check your furnace’s filter monthly and replace regularly.

  • Replace an older furnace with a high-efficiency system. While it can

7. Turn Down Hot Water Heater Setting to 120

  • Many conventional water heaters have their temperature set too high, which can cause you to lose a lot of energy because it’s keeping water warm even 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 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 areas of your home that don’t.

Simple Tricks to Easily Conserve Energy

9. Bundle Up!

  • Pull out those cozy sweaters, blankets, and socks to keep warm without cranking the heat. You can even add area rugs to insulate floors.

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 warmer during cooler months.

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

  • LED holiday lights use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than the older, incandescent lighting. 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 more energy.

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 :: 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)

Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series. 
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2018 Tax Laws for Real Estate: 3 Deductions That Could Affect Homeowners

When the new tax laws for 2018 were announced, taxpayers grew anxious about how these changes would affect them and it was difficult to sort facts from rumors and misleading media sources. Even with the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act officially in effect, many taxpayers and industry professionals admitted they didn’t fully understand the likely effects for them or their clients.

3 Important Changes to Deductions for Homeowners:

  1. Mortgage Interest Deduction (includes home equity and refinancing)
  2. Deduction Cap for Property Taxes
  3. Private Mortgage Insurance Deduction

While these changes might seem major for homeowners, many taxpayers are likely to overlook the marginal differences when they file their 2018 taxes compared to 2017. It’s important to understand how these three deductions have changed for current homeowners and anyone that expects to buy a home in the near future.

Mortgage Interest Deduction
The mortgage interest deduction is still in effect for both first and second homes, but moving forward in 2018 and beyond, the qualifying mortgage amount decreases from $1 million for joint filers ($500,000 for single filers) to $750,000 for joint and $375,000 for single. This applies to mortgage loan contracts that were signed before Dec. 15, 2017 for homes purchased before April 15, 2018. All mortgages prior are grandfathered in.

For taxpayers who own second homes, they can deduct their mortgage interest for second homes. However, the qualifying mortgage amount would include all mortgages together. So if you have a $500,000 mortgage for your primary and $400,000 for your second home, you can only include $750,000 in the total qualifying mortgage amount. The remaining $150,000 would not be included in that deduction.

While this has been a widely discussed with the new tax law change, most home buyers are purchasing homes worth less than $750,000. So this affects home buyers in the $750k+ market who are borrowing over $750k. While this is not as dramatic of an effect as the media has pushed it, it can create a disincentive for current homeowners to move.

Home Equity Line Interest
Previously included in the mortgage interest deduction, you could deduct up to $100,000 worth of interest on a home equity loan taken out if you were using for something other than buying, building, or improving your home. For 2018, this type of home equity deduction has not been renewed. And there is no grandfather clause so it does affect taxpayers who previously took advantage of this deduction.

And if you refinance and borrow more in the refinancing for any reason other than improving the home, then the extra funds will not be deductible.

(scroll below for information about deduction caps and private mortgage insurance)

Deduction Cap for Property Taxes

Prior to the 2018 tax reform, you could claim all property taxes paid to state and local governments as an itemized deduction. You could also deduct state and local income or sales taxes.

The new tax law bundles all of these taxes together and limits the deduction to $10,000 for both individuals and married couples. This deduction will have a significant impact on states with higher property taxes like New Jersey and New York. Oregon sits right in the middle of the property tax ranking compared to other states, so it’s important to know what to expect how this will affect you in the future.

Private Mortgage Insurance
Previously, private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments on conventional loans and the mortgage insurance premiums charged on FHA and USDA loans were included in the mortgage interest provision. The provision that included PMI in the home mortgage interest expired at the end of 2016 but was then retroactively renewed for 2017.

So far, the provision has not been renewed for the 2018 tax year. Unless the mortgage insurance provision is revisited and retroactively renewed, this can affect borrowers paying mortgage insurance and previously benefited from deducting their premiums. Since PMI is required when the borrower makes a down payment of less than 20%, any changes to deductions for private mortgage insurance payments will likely affect first-time buyers and home buyers.

Is it Time to Panic Yet? (Probably not.)
For real estate professionals and homebuyers, the changes could have had a much more impactful effect if earlier versions of the tax plan had passed. One of the earlier versions made it more difficult to exclude capital gains from the sale of a primary residence by preventing higher-income taxpayers from claiming it at all and increasing the ownership and use requirements.

While these changes can affect our Portland real estate market, most changes are not expected to significantly affect the amount of taxes owed for individuals. Many homeowners and buyers won’t be affected. It’s important to keep up with these changes so that you know what to expect to be able to deduct from your taxes in the future and how that might affect any home purchase or financing decisions.

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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Don't forget to turn on the notification bell to get all the updates!

Join us on Tuesdays at 1p for our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live series!

Follow us on facebook and instagram to learn about our upcoming open houses
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