Spring Staging Tips for Home Sellers

Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 8.55.30 AMSpringtime   brings   sunshine,   showers – and   plenty of opportunities for home staging. Make the most of the season with these fresh updates that are sure to attract buyers.
Tip 1

Whip your yard into shape. When you’re selling in the spring, you need to get your yard in shape as quickly as possible. Clear winter yard debris, and get frost-resistant plants that won’t be affected if a late cold spell hits.

Tip 2

Box up your winter wardrobe. Bulky winter clothes take up lots of space, so move them out as you de-clutter your closets. You’ll impress buyers with all that closet space.

Tip 3

Spruce up the entryway. If your welcome mat is covered with winter dirt, pick up a new one. A clean, pretty doorway will help set the tone for the entire showing.

Tip 4

Bring spring aromas indoors. Spring is not only a colorful season, but a fragrant one. Bring the aroma indoors. Scents have a profound effect on mood, so infusing scent into your decor with diffusers, candles, fresh cut flowers, or incense can change the overall feeling of a space.

Tip 5

Bring out the bright colors. Tuck away the heavy, winter flannel comforter and pull out crisp linens with coverlets for color. Bring in the spring with floral-designed spreads or colorful solids. Don’t forget accent pillows for added style and comfort.

Start your Spring Garden Today!
Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 9.03.05 AMVeggie Seeds to Start Now

March is the perfect time to start planning your veggie garden. Cool weather vegetables can be planted now like arugula, broad beans, collards, corn salad, kale, peas, radishes and spinach. For April, in addition to the March list, you can also plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots (unless we are having a colder/wetter spring) fennel, green onions, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, parsnips, swiss chard and turnips.

Borders and Flower Gardens

March is the month to feed your garden. Trees, shrubs, hedges, roses, perennials, vines, and small fruits can all be fertilized now. Plant winter hardy flowers like lilies and hostas after March 1 and non-winter hardy types like dahlias and glads after April 1.

For planting new trees, shrubs, roses, perennials, pansies, small fruits and hardy herbs use peat moss or your own compost when planting and don’t forget to water new transplants frequently.

Persistent Weeds

To successfully control the weeds in your garden, learn to recognize them when they’re young. Cultivate (disturbing the soil through digging) around the weed’s roots using a hoe or garden tiller. If your weeds have already blossomed, it’s best to hand pull. After the weeds are clear, it’s good to lay black plastic over the soil in your vegetable garden prior to planting and apply mulch to reduce new weed growth.

 

Brought to you by HGTV.


Buyers Love Our Interactive Micro-Market Real Estate Reports

Prudential NW Market Watch micro market snapshotHome buyers love our interactive micro-market real estate reports for accessing the latest homes for sale activity and market trend information.

Our Market Watch area snapshot reports give users an interactive look at homes for sale and what’s happening in any of the market areas we serve. See active listings and trends for Beaverton OR here.

Prudential Northwest Properties Market Watch reports merge school and community information, along with stats that include time on market and price changes, and users can easily use the interactive map to adjust their radius of interest.

The Prudential NW Market Watch system uses current MLS market data to give users accurate and timely information on homes for sale throughout the market areas we serve, which include the greater Portland/Vancouver metro area, Central Oregon, SW Washington and Oregon coastal communities.

Visit our website at www.pru-nw.com and try out Market Watch yourself. Once you pinpoint an area of interest, click “Schedule Weekly Updates” and an automated email will deliver the information to you each week. Give it a try and let us know what you think!


Nationwide Open House Weekend Starts Tomorrow — Plan Your Tour Here

Open-Houses-April-20-21

Use the Prudential Northwest Properties interactive search map to plan your Open House tour this weekend.

Attention home buyers: Prudential Northwest Properties and REALTORS across the country are participating in Nationwide Open House Weekend April 20-21. This is a great opportunity to get inside the homes that pique your interest.

Click here to plan your tour.

Our website features Open Houses and homes for sale in the greater Portland / Vancouver metro area and includes Central Oregon, the Oregon Coast and SW Washington.

Which Home Remodeling Projects Deliver the Most Value?

Remodeling DIYAccording to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for the Portland area, the projects with the greatest potential for recouping a portion of the cost of mid-range projects) are:

1. Entry Door Replacement (steel) – 104%

2. Garage Door Replacement – 101.8%

3. Attic Bedroom Remodel – 90.9%

4. Window Replacement – 85%

5. Basement Remodel – 84.8%

See the chart below for other project highlights…

Remodeling_cost_vs_value_Portland

 

 

Need a reliable service provider? Visit HomeServices at www.HomeServicesNW.com for a directory of carefully screened vendors committed to meeting our high standards of customer service.

If you’re thinking about updating your home and would like to read more about the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, complete data from the report can be downloaded at www.costvsvalue.com.  © 2013 Hanley Wood, LLC.


Tips for protecting your home from frozen pipes this winter

frozen pipesRain, ice and snow can play havoc with water pipes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent plumbing emergencies.

Outside plumbing tips:

  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or Styrofoam blocks
  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you don’t have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulation covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and drain in-ground irrigation systems.

For inside plumbing:

  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces and basements.
  • When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
  • If you leave home for several days, put your furnace on a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes but it can help.
  • Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing. Use cold water to avoid water heating charges.

What if pipes freeze?

  • Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer or heat lamp. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
  • Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.

What if pipes break?

  • Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shut-off valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
  • Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.
  • Remember, the repair of broker pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work.

Hopefully these tips will help prevent problems at your house this winter! Click here to learn more about protecting your home from frozen pipes.

Information courtesy of the Portland Water Bureau.

 


Buying Now Makes A Lot of Sense

The Portland Business Journal reports today that the average Portland apartment rents for $927 per month, according to Real Facts. In downtown Portland, the average rent for an apartment is $1.68 per square foot, or about $1,344 for an 800 square foot unit.

Makes Sense to Buy Now

With today’s low interest rates, it may be wise to consider buying and building equity, especially if you think you’ll stay put for a few years.

Check out our Open Houses this weekend at www.pru-nw.com.

If you’d like to see what your financing options are and learn how much you can afford, visit our mortgage partner HomeServices Lending of Oregon.

 


Homeowners Advice: Get Ready for Fall

Fall treeFall is just around the corner in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s a great time to think about home maintenance. To retain your home’s best value, it’s important to stay on top of projects and repairs, both large and small. At Prudential Northwest Properties, we believe seasonal maintenance is a great way to stay aware of issues that need to be addressed.

Small repairs may seem insignificant, but letting them add up over time can lead to an overwhelming list down the road.

Take a personal inventory of repairs that need to be addressed. These could range from paver stones that need to be repositioned in a patio to a large-scale roof replacement. Walk your home inside and out, from top to bottom, and make a list of issues.

Look for paint that could use some retouching, tiles that need to be grouted, loose or scuffed baseboards, broken screens, squeaky doors, and everything in-between.

Budget and prioritize what can be addressed now, what needs a professional to fix, and what needs to wait for available funds.

Fall is also the time of year to prepare your home for the coming winter months. It is much easier to install storm windows during temperate weather than during a blizzard!

Be sure to address each of these issues each fall:

  • Call the HVAC guy:  Your unit has been working hard all summer during our hot weather. Now is a great time to service your unit before the chill of winter sets in.
  • Check and clean chimney:  Dirty chimneys cause hundreds of home fires every year. Be sure to have a professional clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney each fall.
  • Clean the gutters:  It’s not just about appearances, though clean gutters do look better. A clogged gutter system can back-up water on your roof and cause leaks.
  • Check your attic and roof:  Inspect the metal flashing around chimneys, pipes and vents. Look for loose shingles or tiles. Some observations can be made from the ground with binoculars or from a ladder, but think safety first and call in a professional if you need assistance.
  • Yard maintenance:  Be sure to rake leaves and pick up downed limbs during Fall. Empty and put away flower pots. Address flower beds and put down new mulch for a clean appearance.
  • Check your windows and doors:  Are there seals that need attention? If you have storm windows, now is a good time to install them.
  • Prepare winter equipment:  Put away your lawn mower (yay!) and service your chainsaw. Check to be sure your snow shovel is in working order in case you need it. It’s better to know now that a tool isn’t working than to discover this on a day you need it! 

Fall is a great time to address the needs of your property, while the weather is still warm and the sun still shines. Take an inventory of your home’s needs and be sure to follow through with proper home maintenance. When it comes to your home’s value, you’ll be glad you took care of things early.

If you need professional assistance, our HomeServices program is the place to turn. Their vendors have all been carefully screened to meet the highest standards of customer service. Visit www.HomeservicesNW.com today for details.

A Few Things to Consider Before You Sell

Deciding to put your home on the market can bring on a wide range of emotions. You may feel excitement at the prospect of moving on or moving up. Some sellers feel anticipation about what the future holds and about what kind of deals buyers may bring to the table.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may be feeling sadness or even regret. That’s because selling your house can feel a lot more like selling your home. Any and all of these emotional responses are normal! In order to stick to your guns and to keep on the sunnier side of the selling process it’s important to do five key things before you sell. Feeling prepared and in control of a situation is paramount to feeling good about your decision.

Before You Sell

Here are the five pre-selling tips:

  • Organize Paperwork: You most likely have papers regarding any home warranties. Prospective buyers are going to want to have these. Having them ready for viewing is a great selling point. You might also consider putting together a list of your current contacts for pool maintenance, lawn care, and even repair work companies.
  • Get an Inspection: Even “almost new” homes can have hidden damage. Most every buyer in today’s market will be getting an inspection. Beat them to the punch and have your own inspection performed so that you are not surprised come negotiation time.
  • Perform Repairs/Get Estimates: Having your own inspection gives you the time to identify problem areas and either repair them or get estimates to have ready for prospective buyers. They’ll appreciate how organized and up-front you are!
  • Get Organized: Start packing as soon as you decide to list your home. Removing or packing away some of your personal belongings has two great benefits. First, it allows some breathing room for your home to be staged and cleaned for showings (see below). Buyers want to be able to see the house, not your stuff. Second, it starts the process of moving on. As you pack up your things you’ll find that the house will feel less and less familiar, which can be great for letting go.
  • Stage: This means it’s time to amp up your curb appeal for starters. Trim trees and shrubs and pick up any debris from your yard. Keep your lawn in showing ready state all year around. You should also consider staging outdoor areas with freshly potted flowers, comfy chairs, and even outdoor accessories, such as lanterns, throws, and dinnerware. You may wonder what these very practical tasks have to do with emotions, but the truth is, they are so inextricably linked! Our experiences dictate our emotions. So, take the time to prepare for the selling process. Dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s and then sit back and enjoy your journey into a new stage of life!

If you’re thinking of selling and would like to talk it over with a real estate professional first, please contact one of our trusted brokers at Prudential Northwest Properties. We would be happy to answer your questions to help you make the best decision possible.


The Scoop on Closing Costs

Are you a buyer preparing to close on a house? Now is a good time to refresh yourself on the most common closing costs.

There are more expenses to buying a house than just the monthly mortgage payment. More than likely you’ll need to come up with some cold, hard cash in order to finalize the deal.

Here’s some common closing costs to consider:Girl painting home

  • Down Payment: Due to today’s economic climate most buyers will need to put down at least 20 percent. This makes good financial sense. If you can’t afford to put 20 percent down then it’s very likely you can’t afford to buy that particular house.
  • Loan Origination: This is what the lender charges you to underwrite the loan, meaning what they charge for their time and all the paperwork they need to do.
  • Points: You’ll often see that different lenders have different “rates” and different “points” they charge. By paying points you can receive a lower interest rate, but this means more cash at closing.
  • Credit Score: You can access your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com, however, in order to see your credit “score” — the magic number that lenders use to determine your interest rate — you’ll likely need to pay a small fee.
  • Home Inspection: You want to be sure, no matter if the house is new or old, that you get a home inspection by a qualified inspector. You may love the house and the price, but if you find out that a big ticket item needs to be replaced you will be able to renegotiate the price or decide to change your tune on buying the home. A typical inspection will run you from around $300 to $500.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): This is what a lender charges if you are putting less than 20 percent down on the cost of the home. It usually runs about .5 to 1 percent of the total cost of the loan and is simply a safeguard to protect the lender should you default.
  • Other Small Fees: Insurance escrow, property tax escrow, notary feeds, land surveys, deed recording, etc. Be sure to ask your Prudential Northwest Properties real estate professional which will apply to your contract and what the expected costs will be.

Congratulations on the decision to buy. Owning a home can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience. Just be sure you’re ready for the closing costs coming your way!

Still have questions? Click here to contact HomeServices Lending NW online or call 503-970-8515 to speak to a lending specialist.

©2016 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity.