As a new homeowner, (or if you are a seasoned homeowner) you’re going to have to do some regular repairs and maintenance on your home—it’s just part of owning a home. A little bit of planning can make repairs manageable, it’s a good idea plan for repairs and start budgeting for them. Set aside some funds for when the following repairs and maintenance issues inevitably come up.
- The Roof – Maintain your roof so that you get the longest life possible. Begin by agitating any large clumps of moss with a stiff brush, then you can blow the loose debris off of the roof with a backpack style blower. If you don't want to tackle this job yourself, you can call a local roof cleaning and maintenance company to come out and take of moss and debris for you. Plan on it costing around $300. More if you have a huge roof or the pitch is steep. All of the moss and debris needs to be removed and then cleared from the inside of the gutters and the downspouts. Applying a zinc sulfate to the roof will kill any of the remaining moss. It's left on the roof and kills all moss within about a month. It's pretty environmentally friendly and won't harm your plants or siding. The rain and the wind will take care of the rest of the moss. Plan to do this or have this done every couple of years, and plan for every year if your roof is surrounded by tall trees that drop leaves and needles on roof. If your home is in a shady spot, moss loves it there. Your roof should last 20-40 years for composite style asphalt shingle roof. But, if you bought your home when it was several years old already, make deposits into that saving account, roofs are not inexpensive to replace.
- Electrical replacements – Beyond light bulb replacements, wiring can occasionally go bad in a light fixture and cause issues, call an electrician to come out and check things out. Squirrels and mice can chew on wires in an attic. Simply using electricity produces heat, over time, that heat causes expanding and contracting of an electrical system. The cyclical heating and cooling can cause screws to loosen in the electrical panel. Have an electrician look at your electrical system every year or two.
- Drywall Repairs – Bumping a wall or corner when you are moving furniture is easy to do. Repairing a hole in your drywall can cost up to $300 for a professional repair that matches the texture of the wall.
- Plumbing Repairs – The moving parts inside the toilet tank can wear out over the years,, and you will need to get it fixed quickly to save on water bills and keep things working. Sometimes a slow leak can start with a water supply line, and drips build up. Damage from water is not fun to deal with and can be very expensive if left un-addressed. Professional plumbers can cost up to $150 an hour depending on the job, the plumbers availability, and the time of day that you need them.
- Flooring repairs – Your floor goes through a lot of abuse, and it's not just the day to day wear. Heavy objects, moving furniture and accidental issues can cause damage. Repair costs can vary depending on the type of flooring, i.e. carpet, laminate, wood flooring, vinyl, etc. So set aside at least $200, just for repairs.
- The furnace and A/C – It seems like one of these is running at all times. Your furnace needs a new filter ever 6 months, and you should plan to have your entire system cleaned and checked by a professional every year. the cost of filters varies, but they can cost up to $45. Annual service on the HVAC can cost between $100 – $250.
Plan ahead, make a budget and know that maintaining your home is money well spent! Remember that quote, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". It's true when it comes to maintaining your house, too!
If you would like the names of our preferred providers, let me know. We have relationships with many vendors in the area, and many of them even offer a discount to our great clients.
Denice Neddo, Broker
The really big list of things you need to do starts way before the stager comes, way before you decide on price, and needs to be discussed with your Listing Agent or Broker.
First, how fast do you need to get moved? If it is fast, you need to get started immediately and follow this step by step guide.
- De-clutter – You need to do all that you can to make the house as free of clutter as you can. If you have a lot of stuff, pack it up, and put it in a pod or a storage unit while you’re selling your home, you will be moving anyway, so start gleaning now. Nothing says “this house is cramped” like a house full of stuff.
- Clear off counter surfaces: Clear everything off the kitchen and bathroom counters, the mantel and book shelves. Less is more! Show off your space not your stuff.
- Un-personality your home: You may love the paintings and wall decor, but selling time is neutral time. Look at model homes in new construction neighborhoods, copy what they do, decorate to enhance the features of the house, not to show your personality. Keep personal photos to a minim. You want potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house, not to feel like creepy peeping Tom's looking into your life!
- Fix obvious issues that need repair: If you noticed the cracked drywall, buyers will too, take care of it before listing. If the kitchen faucet drips, take care of it, and make sure the hard water deposits the drip left are cleaned up, too. The ripped screen on the slider to the patio…..you get it, time to replace it.
- Freshen up with paint: A coat of neutral color paint will make your house shine. You may love the red kitchen, but you will want that kitchen to appeal to the masses. Some rooms may just need a touch up, but remember, if you paint the filled nail holes where your wall art was, those small circles will look like polka dots if you don't paint the entire wall. Light neutral colors will make the rooms look large and bright, too.
- Caulk it: A fresh clean line of white caulk will make your bathroom shower look fresh and bright, watch a couple of YouTube videos on how to apply it like a pro.
- Update outdated or unsightly fixtures: If your home is over 10 years old and you haven't updated the light fixtures or faucets, you can easily update that outdated look relatively inexpensively. Changing the towel racks and adding a frame to the mirror in your bathroom can update the look for not too much money.
- Replace or clean the outlet and light switch covers: With a flat blade screw driver you can remove the covers and run them through the dishwasher, if the screw heads look scraped and warn, you may want to spend a couple dollars and replace them, if not, clean is the way go. The outlets and switches will look great!
- Replace warn carpet: If the carpets are old and warn, stained or threadbare you will get more money for the house if you spend the money now and replace the carpet. You don't have to spend money on top of the line replacement carpeting, new carpet and new pad will make the house smell clean and new, and will show the features of the room off. If your carpets are relatively new, have them PROFESSIONALLY cleaned.
- Replace your light bulbs: Replace the bulbs in your light fixtures to the brightest available. Nothing will make your home show better than great lighting. Florescent bulbs that take time to warm up may take too long for a buyer to get the real feel for your home. a
- Clean the shades/curtains: The dust can collect and dull the luster of the natural light, give the curtains a good vacuuming, if they still look dull, have them cleaned or consider a trip to IKEA or Target.
- Pack up clothes and accessories: If your closets are jammed with clothes, pack away the ones you don’t need and put them in storage. The roomier you can make your closets look the better!
- Oil squeaky doors and hinges: Go around the house and oil any squeaky doors and hinges. Squeaky hinges can make a house feel old.
There are also quite a few things you can do outside the home to make sure that it has great curb appeal.
- Clean your windows: Make sure to clean your windows so that they look clean from inside and out, and let plenty of light in.
- Wash the house down: If you’ve got siding on your house, give it a good cleaning so that it looks fresh and new. Spraying it down with the hose may be all you need, if it's been awhile, a powerwash may be the answer.
- Clean the moss off the roof and walkways: If your patio and sidewalks have moss on them, you could have a slip hazard, take care of it before the first buyer comes by. There are products you can treat your roof with as well, most are available at hardware stores, or calling a roofing company could be a safer way to go.
- Paint the house and/or trim: If your house paint is peeling and is looking worn, you may want to consider painting the house. At a minimum painting the trim can be a good idea.
- Trim the bushes back: If you’ve got big overgrown bushes in front of the house you may want to consider cutting them back a bit. If bushes or undergrowth gets too out of control, it can hide the house and make it feel out of repair.
- Plant flowers and other plants: Consider planting a few bright colored, inexpensive flowers and plants, or get a planter to put in front of the house.
- Fresh barkdust: Put down a few fresh bags barkdust in the beds to define the yard and landscaping. The result shows that you maintain things, including the landscaping.
- Clean the AC unit condenser: Make sure to clear debris out of your AC unit condenser coils, and hose it down to make it clean, if it has been awhile since you have had the unit serviced, consider a preventative maintenance visit from your local HVAC company.
- Make the home’s entry inviting: Spruce up the home’s porch, front door and entry way make your home's first impression on a potential buyer. Make sure it is a good one!
- Clean, clean, clean: Your home needs to shine from top to bottom. Remember that there are multiple definitions for a clean house. You will need to meet the pickiest buyer's definition of clean. Before you list, you may want to consider hiring a professional cleaning team to come in and give your home the once over. The corners, trim, and surfaces may need a good one time deep clean before that For Sale sign goes up in the yard.
When it comes down to it, if you spend a few dollars to fix, clean and de-clutter your house before you place on the market, your home will sell for more money in less time.
Selling your home can be quite the undertaking, but if you put in the time, do your research and do what it takes to make the sale, you could end up with thousands more in your pocket because of your hard work.
When you are ready to list, call us, let us show you how you may get even more money in your pocket by hiring our team. It doesn't cost you more to go first class.
Denice Neddo 360-607-4226 Christina Waterhouse (206) 495-5015
Vancouver WA is now #1 in the nation for rising rents.
If you are a tenant in this town, you don't need a news report to tell you that your rent is super high. But, what can you do?
Scroll to the bottom to take a look at a recent news broadcast on KGW channel 8.
Here are several ways to reduce your spending so there is more money in your checking account when it is time to write the rent check:
1. Get rid of the stuff you don't need and don't use. Have a garage sale, place an ad on craigslist, or post it on Facebook. Then, SAVE THE MONEY! If you just have stuff, and it is won't sell, get rid of it. Declutter and create more space. Having more space will make the small area you live in more enjoyable and actually live larger.
2. Walk. Discover your neighborhood, meet your neighbors and check out the services that are close enough to walk to. The other benefits, regular exercise can help you reduce your wiegh, and even reduce long term medical costs. A simple walk can even improve how you feel, and increase your energy levels. How does this save you money? Spend an hour walking, not buying gas, not at the gym (which costs money) and improve your fitness.
3. Unplug appliances and electronics you are not using. Lots of those electonic devices eat up energy eeven when they are not on. That means your X-Box, the toaster, the coffee machine, the stereo you never use unless friends are over. Unplug and save that money on your electric bill. Only plug in when you use them.
4. Ditch your bank and find one that honors you. Are you paying a monthly fee for your checking account? You may need to check into a credit union or a bank that doesn't charge you for keeping your money there. Check out the ATM fees and only use ATMs that don't charge you. Check the online services, and one that will pay you interest on your checking and savings. A simple switch could save you $20 or more a month and it won't make any difference in how you live, in fact it may even make your life simplier with some good onkine banking.
5. Make a list when you go to the super market. Check your cabinets and pantry before you go to the store. Make sure you only get what is on your list, and don't buy things that you already have. Make a menu, what will you eat this week? Then eat it!
6. Shop at the lowest priced grocery store in your neighborhood. I know it may be quicker to stop a store on your way home and grab a few things, but is that store offering the best prices? Make sure you know and only shop at the store that truly offers the best prices.
7. Clip some coupons. Well, down load the app. There are several apps that can help you find all of the local coupons for your area. Then check out sites like Simple Dollar Coupon Finder, free coupons there every day. See if there are manufacturers coupons for the things you are going to buy anyway. Plan your weekly meals and needed items around what you can save money on by looking at the grocery stores weekly circular.
8. Stop by the library and borrow a movie or a book. Rentals add up, they count on you being late. So, check out the library instead.
9. Drop the satillite or cable TV. Try the 30 days of free Netflix, then if it seems like you will miss TV on cable, get the $7.99 a month deal. Then make sure you put the savings into your account marked SAVINGS!
10. Make sure you have a savings account. Even if you can only put $10 a month into that account, $10 x12 months is $120 you didn't have before. Once you start saving, guess what? You will want to save more!
11. It may be time to look at BUYING a house. Did you know that you could buy a house in Washington for zero down? If you are paying rent, and it is more than $1000 a month, with good credit, you could probably buy a house. A $200,000 house with a zero down loan, may get you a payment between $1100 and $1200 a month. Once you factor in the tax savings, you will be paying less for a house than you would for rent.
Maybe it's time to talk. Call me at 360-607-4226
Street of Dreams, Just Dreams, or Just a Street?
This year the Street of Dreams® was held in Lake Oswego, at a neighborhood called “The Highlands”. The Highlands is at the intersection of Goodall and Knauss roads, near Lake Oswego High School. The highlight of this year’s Street of Dreams® was promoted as “ A new era of Northwest style, inspired by John Yeon and his mid-century modern Shaw House.”
There was a defniate theme this year, not too much was distinctive, the whole show had the feel that we all should love and embrace the mid-century mode. From the colors to the furniture, there was the theme. In fact there were so many of the houses that had the same color scheme it is hard to remember which house was which. From the exterior, the homes were a bit different, but the interior design and decor seemed to follow the mid-century look. One home even had parquet flooring, you know just like the flooring the Boston Celtics play on.
One home really wasn't in the mid-centry wardrobe, but you couldn't tell that from the street. I was a bit confused as to who the buyer would be, it felt a bit as though the house was specifically built with a certain ethnicity in mind. Asian or South Asian?
I didn’t really see anything this year that made me say, “Wow!” This year, I say, it was just a Street.
Real Estate Broker
I have been to the Street of Dreams every year for I don't know how long. This year the Street of
Top Ten Tips for Creating “Wake-Up Money”
1. Buy residential properties – houses, condos and townhouses. Stay away from land and commercial real estate unless you are an experienced investor or are buying as a business “user”.
2. Buy “mainstream ” houses and condos. Buy properties that are at or below the average sales price. Buy properties that appeal to most buyers. Avoid high priced or unusual properties. Buy houses with at least 3 bedrooms and condos with at least 2. If possible, buy properties with a garage.
3. Don’t buy with partners, unless you have to. If you have to have partners, make sure they have the same goals and values, are of similar age, and have job, geographic, and marriage stability.
4. Believe in the long run. Real estate markets are cyclical but the long-term trend has been up. Hang in there for the long run. The great investor’s lament is “I should never have sold that property.” The other investor’s lament is, “I could have bought that property for $_________!”
5. Take care of your property and it will take care of you . . . It’s your “golden goose.” If you don’t like property management or are too busy, either hire a professional property management firm or buy condos and townhouses. They take a lot less management. The homeowner’s association takes care of most of the property management.
6. Get started early. Put time on your side. Albert Einstein was once asked what he thought was the most powerful thing in the world. His reply, “compound interest.” Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait!
7. If you don’t have the money, make a plan and a commitment to get it. You could borrow money from your personal residence but I don’t recommend this idea.
8. Know your “enough.” How much “wake-up money” do you need? Know when you are ready to stop accumulating property and start paying off what you have – and enjoying life!
9. Work with knowledgeable people. Pick Realtors, accountants, attorneys, and property managers who know what they are doing.
10. Have a goal and a plan. Develop your goals and a plan to achieve “Wake-up Money.”
Reprinted with permission of Larry Kendall and The Group, Inc.
If you're thinking about buying this summer, act soon! Prices are going up!
Don't miss your chance, interest rates are still low, but for how long? When prices and interest rates are on the rise, you need to move fast!
New loan products are available, if you have thought about buying, you owe it to yourself to make a call, you may be surprised how easily you can qualify to own your own home now.
Call me today! Denice 360-607-4226
The following are 10 ways that can actually lower the value of your home:
- Overbuilding the area. Yes, you can improve your home too much. No matter what you do, your home is only going to be worth so much in the location that it is in. Make sure that you pay very close attention to the values in your neighborhood. Look at the common features of homes in your area. Talk to a trusted real-estate agent or an appraiser, and ask for an appraisal without improvements and another with them. If it doesn't pay off, then it's not worth it.
- Overbuilding one specific room in your house. If you put $40K into your kitchen without remodeling the rest of your home, the house will not sell because it is inconsistent with the other rooms of the home. Find out what's the baseline in your particular neighborhood — and anything you can do to bring your home up to that baseline … is probably an investment worth doing,"
- Making the “White Elephant”. If you remodel your home, and eliminate common features simply because you do not use them, you could be killing your resell value. It's fine to add a personal touch to your remodel, but remember that you likely won't live in your home forever. Remember that your changes need to speak to a future homeowner. Or be prepared to eat your additional investment — and possibly more.
- Messing up the floor plan. Too many people aren't careful when they add square footage to a home. Adding a bedroom where there is a walk through to the laundry room creates 'functional obsolescence,'" Another example: adding a bedroom on the one side of the house when the bathrooms are on the other side of the house. Keep in mind the functional integrity of the floor plan and stick with it.
- Above ground pools. No need to say any more. If you want to sell your home, take it out before you put it on the market, and repair the grass under or area underneath.
- Remodeling yourself without any previous skills. You can see a self-improved remodel from a mile away. Prospective buyers will run. It pays to use a licensed and bonded contractor. You get what you pay for. It’s an investment.
- Remodeling areas that do not have space for the items that you are planning on putting into the room. Oftentimes when homeowners remodel a kitchen or a bathroom, then place larger items in there than neccessary. For example, remodeling a bathroom and adding a sink that is built in to a piece of furniture, this giant piece of furniture overwhelms the bathroom. The space ends up feeling cramped, and future homebuyers will pick up on that, and take a pass on your house.
- Getting too trendy. Styles change quickly, avoid putting in items that are too trendy and non-standard. You may regret it in a few years.
- Coverting the Garage. You can easlily create 'functional obsolescence' here. Because you've removed covered parking, the space is no longer comparable to the houses in the area that have parking. When you sell your home, buyers will see that the rest of the neighborhood has parking, while you don't. You might have spent $10,000 to convert a garage into a living room or a man cave and the appraiser might turn around and say "the additional $10,000 is lost because of the impact of not having covered parking." Don't turn the garage into a living space. If you really need additional space, consider an addition to the home.
- Not getting a permit. This can not only blow up your potential buyers financing, but it also creates problems with identifying the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that are on record with the county. The permitting agencies may require you to undo all of your work after the fact.
How to Know When to Sell Your Home
Lenders that Sell Short Sales Faster and for Less, According to RealtyTrac
Pursuing a short sale is often thought of as a painstaking process, and it’s not uncommon to hear of complaints about slow responses from servicers and last minute rejections on offers. Fortunately, not all lenders/servicers are the same when it comes to dealing with short sales, and RealtyTrac compiled a list of data revealing which institutions tend to move through the process quicker and for less.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA had the shortest timelines at 193 days in January 2012, a decrease compared to a year ago in January 2011, when short sales averaged 248 days. Ally Financial came in second at 321 days, reducing its timeline as well from 393 days a year ago.
PNC Financial Group was third, taking 353 days, though the bank takes longer than it did a year ago when the it took 206 days. Wells Fargo came in fourth (385 days). Bank of New York Mellon took the fifth longest (402 days), followed by Bank of America (403 days) and Sun Trust (404 days). The short sale timeline includes the time a property starts the foreclosure process to the time it’s sold as a pre-foreclosure property.
Recently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced new guidelines to take effect in June requiring servicers to respond within 30 days after receiving a short sale offer or a borrower application. Bank of America recently announced that its providing a decision on a short sale offer in 20 days.
In terms of pricing, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA sold homes for the least amount in January 2012, averaging $128,642, a drop from year ago prices in January 2011 when they averaged $160,982. Deutsche Bank’s average price was $132,996, followed by Sun Trust Banks ($144,024), and CitiGroup ($148,411), and PNC Financial Group Inc ($149,332). Bank of America Wells Fargo were the bottom two on the top 10 list, averaging $158,632 and $167,371, respectively, for January 2012.
As for the number of short sales, Bank of America completed the most in January 2012, with 5,276, followed by Chase (2,967), Wells Fargo (2,788), MERS (1,429), and Bank of New York Mellon (1,401).