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Thursday, November 16, 2017

6 Tips for Homebuyers in 2018


Are you thinking of buying a home next year? Here is a list of things you need to do first.

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Many of you are considering either purchasing your first home or a larger home in 2018. Before you get started, here are a few things you should consider:

1. Check your credit scores.
These range from 300 to 850. The higher the score, the better mortgage rate you'll get. A good score could get you an interest rate as low as 1% or 2%. That’s thousands of dollars saved every year throughout the life of your mortgage. Your credit score is very important.
   
2. Don’t max out your credit cards. Keep around 30% debt on your card and no more. If you can achieve that, your scores will rise considerably.


3. Don’t overspend or open new credit cards. This is one of the worst traps you can fall victim to as a homebuyer.
   

The higher your credit score, the better.


4. Interview at least three agents and pick the one who is best for you. You want someone who is personable, knowledgeable, and has a good work ethic and communication skills.
   
5. Keep tabs on interest rates. They are in the paper every day. If you have the ability, I'd also research a mortgage broker at this time. They can help research rates for you.
   
6. Get pre-approved before you start looking for homes.

If you get all these things in line before 2018, you'll be way ahead of the game
If you have any questions for me, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home


Which type of home purchase is best, new or resale? It depends on what you’re looking for, but here are the pros and cons of each.

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If you’re thinking about buying a home, you may be having a tough time deciding between buying an existing home or buying/building a new one. Of course, your budget is always the big player in this, but for the sake of the argument, let’s say you have the ability to do either.

Some of the pros of buying an existing home include the fact that you already know what the home looks like, what the neighborhood looks like, as well as what you can and can’t change about the home. If you want to know exactly what you're getting going in, this is a good option.

However, there are some disadvantages to buying a home on the resale market. These include higher utility costs because of less efficient appliances. There will be additional maintenance costs from time to time as well that you probably wouldn’t see in a brand new home.


Give me a call or send me an email to get your pie reserved.



As far as brand new homes are concerned, the advantages are numerous. You are able to customize the home to your liking. You can make it more spacious, add certain features, and benefit from brand new energy-efficient appliances as well. However, all those upgrades can send the price through the roof. Another thing to know is that in Eugene, all of the prime building sites were taken years ago. If you build a new home around here, it will have to be on the outskirts of the city. Also, with the recent devastation in California, Texas, and Florida, it’s inevitable that building costs are going to rise—just another thing to keep in mind.

I wanted to quickly mention one more thing. If you’re a client of mine, don’t forget that our annual pie day is coming up on November 20th. Give me a call or send me an email to get your pie reserved.

If you have any other questions in the meantime about buying a home or anything else about real estate, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

All Your Real Estate Questions Answered


Today I want to take the opportunity to answer some questions I’ve been asked recently about our market.

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Here are some important questions I’ve been getting asked recently about our market and my answers to them.

“Is this still a seller’s market?”

Yes, it is. We’ve only got about two months of inventory and as long as that number stays under six months, we’ll remain in a seller’s market.

“What does the current housing inventory look like?”

Like I said, we currently have two months of inventory, and I don’t see a big change coming in the future. We’ve been at two months of inventory for the last two months, and before that we were as low as 1.6 months. Inventory may creep up as far as three months, but it should stay how it is for a while.

“How does the current inventory affect home values?”


We all know the real answer—as long as we’re in a seller’s market, the price of homes will rise. As I’ve mentioned before, home prices have risen 10% in the past 12 months, and they’re expected to continue at that pace.


We expect home prices to continue rising for the next several years.



“What can we expect from interest rates?”


That’s the good news for both buyers and sellers, because we expect them to stay fairly steady for the next 12 months. It might rise slightly but it won’t do any sharp increases. This will help make homes more affordable for buyers and help sellers have quicker sales.

“Is there a chance we could see a collapse in our market like in 2007 and 2008?”


According to experts, we have more controls and safeguards that will prevent a market collapse from happening. On the contrary, we expect home prices to continue rising for the next several years. As a seller, that’s good news. As a buyer, the sooner you make a purchase, the better off you’ll be.

If you have any more questions you’d like me to answer or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in our market, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to help you.

Friday, October 6, 2017

These Missed Details Could Give You Buyer’s Remorse


Buying a home can be exciting, but don’t get ahead of yourself and forget to look into details. Here are some that you should consider before buying.

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Sometimes when we get anxious to buy a home, we overlook a few things that are kind of important.

For my first example, suppose you’ve visited a home during the day when you could see it in full light. But have you been by the home at all hours of the day and night? Noise levels change throughout the day. If at all possible, visit the home at different times of the day to be sure that you will enjoy living there.

Second, think about your daily commute. From an outsider’s perspective, it might not seem that far to go to work. Maybe it’s only 10 or 20 miles, but when you own the home and realize that it’s 10 or 20 miles every day, both ways, you may see things differently. This may not be a problem for some, but it is something to think about.

Third, check over your CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) carefully. Some people will bring their RVs to the new property, only to discover they were unable to park. Little things like that can become a real downside if you haven’t checked the CC&R thoroughly.


If at all possible, visit the home at different times of day to be sure that you will enjoy living there.



As a fourth example, you should always think about your bedroom-to-bathroom ratio. Is this home one that you’ll be able to grow in? In other words, are children in your future? If so, and you don’t have enough bathroom space to fit your family’s needs, you’ll quickly outgrow your home. And of course, the best way to gain equity is to stay in your home for six to seven years, so moving early could affect your position there.

You should also think about features that can’t be changed without major remodeling. It may not seem as important when you walk through the house for the first few times to put an offer in, but it likely will down the line.

The final point would be to consider the resale value of your home. Is the home in an area that will be attractive to prospective buyers down the road, or will it possibly become an area with several rental houses on the same block? There, the resale value wouldn’t go up as fast.

I hope this helps. Remember, buying a home is a great investment, and I strongly encourage it. It sure beats renting! Take care, and I’ll be back next week.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Is Lane County Still in a Seller’s Market?


Lane County is still in a seller’s market, but the right time for buyers to buy is now.

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As you know, we’ve been in a seller’s market for quite some time in Lane County, and according to the latest reports, we basically still are.

680 new listings came on the market last month, which is a good sign. Still, we can’t say inventory is rising, because we also had 519 new properties close and 524 go under contract.

We’re still at about two months of inventory. To put that into perspective, the normal level of inventory for Lane County is six months. This means that if no new homes came on the market starting now, we’d be completely out of homes to sell in two months.

Our market is still strong and will be for the next couple years.


The median home price has risen a little over 10% from $230,000 to $254,000 in the past 12 months.

Buyers shouldn’t look at these numbers and consider this a bad situation, though, because the market continues to rise and interest rates are still low. If you were to put off buying for a year, the same homes available now would cost 10% more to buy. In other words, the sooner you buy, the better off you’ll probably be.

In summation, we’re in a strong market, and it will continue to be a strong market for the next couple years. If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Is It Worth It to Make a Backup Offer on a Home?


By writing a backup offer, you still have hope of winning the home you want while retaining the freedom to search for other homes.

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As you know, multiple offer situations happen a lot in our market. In each situation, though, only one offer can be accepted.

In this case, most of the buyers whose offers were rejected go away, but a smart buyer will put in a backup offer in case the first offer falls through.

When buyers who’ve been beaten out before in multiple offer situations encounter another multiple offer situation, they can sometimes put in their offer too hastily, overbid for the property, and get cold feet. If and when the first offer falls through, that means your offer is automatically put in first position and no one else can drag you into another bidding war for the home.

Putting in a backup offer is a good strategy for any buyer involved in a multiple offer situation.



Putting in a backup offer doesn’t stop you from looking at other properties, either. If you find another property you like, make an offer for it, and get that offer accepted, you can simply cancel your backup offer. If you’re not in first position for a home, you can cancel your backup offer anytime.

Putting in a backup offer is a good strategy for any buyer involved in a multiple offer situation and has worked out well for many buyers in our market. If you have any questions about this or any other real estate topic or you’re looking to buy or sell a home, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Keep Cool This Summer & Save on Energy Costs


Don’t sweat out the summer—there are nine simple things you can do to stay cool and save money on energy costs.

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Some of the same routines we use in the winter to keep warm can actually keep you cool during the summer and save you money on your energy bills. There are nine simple things you can do:

1. Plug any holes around your windows using some kind of foam substance. If it’s in your budget, consider replacing your windows with double-paned vinyl windows, which makes a huge difference.

2. Lower your shades. Drawing the shades cuts the solar heat in your home and helps keep cold air in your house.

3. Keep your filters clean if you have an A/C unit.

4. Use a programmable thermostat. Adjust the thermostat so that if you’re not in the house, your air conditioning will stop for awhile. You can schedule the thermostat to turn the AC back on about a half an hour before you return.


Skip the oven and cook dinner outside on the grill.


5. Unplug your computer and other electronics. There are things we leave plugged in all the time that can have a huge drain on your power. If you can, consider unplugging your computer and turning it off when you’re not using it, which can also protect you from hackers.

6. Use your oven less often. Don’t heat up your house on a hot summer night—use your grill and cook outdoors instead.

7. Turn down the temperature on your water heater. You can do this in the winter to save money as well. The water heater is usually set at 130°, but you can set it at 115° and save at least $50 a year.

8. Get your air conditioner serviced. You should get your furnace and your air conditioner serviced once a year.

9. Change your lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs. If you can, switch over to LED bulbs, which will make a huge difference in your power savings for the year.

These are great, simple ways to help you save money and stay cool this summer. If you have any other questions or need to be put in touch with someone to help you with any of these tasks, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is It Worth It to Stage Your Eugene Home This Summer?



If you're thinking of selling your home this summer, I highly encourage you to try some form of staging. It can create an invaluable connection between buyers and your home.

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Summer is officially here and I know many of you are thinking about taking advantage of this hot Eugene market by selling your home.

Should you stage your home to sell it? Is it really worth it?

You may have heard from the pros that using a stager is advantageous to your sale, and they're absolutely right. It's even documented that staging your home can help you sell for about 5% higher.


Staging allows your home to make an emotional connection with buyers.


I believe that staging is really important because it allows you to truly make your home look like one that a buyer would want to move into. So what's the best way to do it? You have a couple good options.

First, you can hire a professional stager, who will undoubtedly do a great job making your home look its best. You can also hop online and find tons of great information on staging and do it yourself. There are many low-cost ways to improve your home's looks. 

Remember, staging adds an emotional effect to your home. When buyers come through, emotion is the first thing they'll base their decisions on. Logical decisions almost always come after. 

We want to grab buyers' attention as quickly as we can with our emotional senses when selling. That's why I think staging is such a high priority. If you'd like, I'd be happy to send you our booklet with staging tips and tricks. 

If you'd like a copy or you have any questions about the Eugene market, don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I'd be honored to serve you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Top 5 Upgrades That Don't Add Value to Your Home



When updating your home, avoid these five renovations that won't bring you much value.

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Whether you want to get your home ready for the market or just to enjoy it a little bit more, there are five upgrades that won't add any value.


Spend your renovation money in the kitchen and bathrooms for the best return.

  1. Extensive landscaping: It simply won't give you a good return on your dollar.
  2. A new roof: The bottom line is that people who buy a new home typically expect a roof that works already. 
  3. Swimming pools and hot tubs: Chances are good that new buyers won't want a hot tub, and in some cases, it can even bring down the value of your home. 
  4. New paint: This will help the house look better, but like the roof, buyers expect houses to be painted already. Adding a fresh coat won't really add value unless you do the labor aspect yourself. 
  5. Solar panels: This is a big one up here in the Northwest. Even though they might cut down on your electricity costs and a small number of buyers really love solar panels, most buyers don't really think much of it or attribute any value to it.


If you have any questions about upgrades that will add value to your specific home, just give me a call or send me an email. I'd be happy to advise on some updates or renovations that will bring you a good return on your money.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Selling Your House



If you want to sell your house in the Eugene market, avoid these five mistakes at all costs.

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When the time comes to sell your house, there are some big mistakes that you need to be sure to avoid:


Don't just hire the Realtor who says they can get the highest price for your house.

  1. Overpricing it: People hear about how good the market is and try to add an extra cost. The problem is that if it's competing against comparable homes that are priced lower, it will sit on the market. Once buyers see that it has been on the market for a long time, they start to think something is wrong with it and shy away. Then, you'll have to lower the price until it sells, and many times you'll end up having to sell for less money than you could have sold for by pricing it correctly in the first place. 
  2. Not decluttering the home: The more you do, the better it will look to prospective buyers. Box up everything you haven't used in the last few months and either put it in the garage or a storage unit. From there, you can stage your home any way you want.
  3. Not making simple repairs: This is the easy stuff like a ripped screen door or scratched linoleum. They're very noticeable to a buyer and can cause the price to drop. The good part is that it doesn't cost much to make these repairs ahead of time.
  4. Staying emotional about your home: You love your home. It's why you bought it in the first place. You've made a ton of good memories there, too. However, you want to avoid getting emotional when selling it. Buyers may try to lowball you, which might offend you, but just counter their offer like you should. They might also talk about remodeling the home or tearing out things you've worked on over the years, but remember that your goal is simply to get a particular price for the home.
  5. Not hiring the right Realtor: Don't just hire the Realtor who says they can get the highest price for your house because some Realtors will inflate that number just to get your business. You want someone who is straightforward and honest and tells you what you need to know, not what you want to know.


If you're thinking about selling your house, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be glad to help!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Where Is Our Crazy Market Headed?



Our market is favoring sellers, but buyers should be careful to avoid overzealous buying.

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Is this a crazy time in the Lane County real estate world or what?

As you probably know, back in February we only had 1.9 months of inventory, which means at that rate of consumption, we’d be out of properties in 1.9 months. To give you some perspective, six months is considered a balanced level of inventory between buyers and sellers. 1.9 months was not a good number, but I got encouraged when it shot up to 2.2 months in March. This means we’re getting more listings, which will help the market. 

There is a huge demand from buyers right now, and the market needs more inventory. Otherwise, prices will continue to skyrocket for the lower-end properties. I’ve gotten calls from several sellers lately asking me if I could sell their house at a great price. My response to them was that I could, but only if they priced it right first. If you price a property correctly, it should sell easily and quite possibly generate multiple offers in doing so. If you price it above its value because you think the market will support it, it won’t.

There is a huge demand for buyers right now, and our market needs more inventory.


How do you price your home correctly? 

You need to confer with your Realtor and have them do a comparative market analysis of homes that have sold recently that are similar to yours to give you a legitimate price point basis. If you price your home high and it doesn’t sell right away, you’ll have to lower the price. After that, your home will become a stale listing in this market. For example, if you price your home at $275,000 or lower, there will be high demand for it. If you price it higher than that, your pool of potential buyers will be much smaller. 

On the buyer’s side, I want to warn you about overzealous buying. Right now, many homes listed in the $225,000 to $250,000 price range are receiving multiple offers. The problem with this is each buyer is trying to position themselves higher than the other by putting in escalation clauses in their offers, which means they’ll pay more than the highest competing offer up to a certain price. The danger here is that this drives prices up and may cause you to overpay for a home.

If you’re a buyer of an entry-level home, be patient for the next couple of months because the recent surge in demand should cease. Don’t wait too long though, because interest rates may go up. If you’re a seller, don’t get greedy. 

If you have any questions about our market or are looking to buy or sell a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’d be glad to help. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

We Can Refer You to Reputable Home Care Professionals



Buying and selling real estate aren’t the only things we know about. We’ve worked with the best local service providers in the area and would love to share our list with you.

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There are a lot of needs that come up in and around your house that don’t involve buying and selling. Maybe you need your carpets cleaned or windows washed. The best way to avoid bad experiences when hiring someone is to get a referral from someone you trust, like me.

We’ve seen just about everything when it comes to home maintenance and repairs, so we know who in the area does the best job. We are happy to refer you to those people for any job in and around your home. You want to hire people who have experience and good references.

Whatever your needs are, we can refer you to someone who can help.

Whether you’re getting your carpets cleaned, bathroom remodeled, or a simple electrical job done, nothing gives you more peace of mind as a homeowner than knowing the person you hired to take care of the job is a trusted and reputable professional. We’ve got a list of great preferred service providers for all your household needs.

Don’t try to do things like electrical work on your own. You will end up being liable in the end because you are the one doing the work. Hire a licensed, bonded contractor who can protect you.

If you have any questions for me or need any recommendations, don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to hear from you.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Should You Buy a Home Now?



Home prices are incredibly high right now, so why is it a good time to buy a home? I’ll explain today.

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Since home prices are so high, is now really a good time to buy a home?

While price is certainly an important factor to consider, you should also pay attention to the long-term cost of your home’s mortgage.

Right now, it’s especially important to consider how much the home will appreciate in the next several years and how much it will cost to borrow the funds to purchase the home. In other words, you need to pay attention to interest rates. 

Pay attention to interest rates and appreciation.

The Fed has signaled a faster pace for raising interest rates in 2017. By the end of the year, rates could go up as much as 0.75%. We also don’t expect home prices to go down anytime soon. As a buyer, the longer you wait, the higher the price of that home will be. Rising interest rates can also have a huge impact on the cost of the home.

In order to make up for a 1% increase in rates, the cost of the home would have to go down by 10% if you want to keep mortgage payments the same. As you can see, interest rates have a huge effect on home purchasing power.

Such a sharp decrease in home prices does not seem likely given the current demand in Lane County. Our market is No. 1 or 2 in the nation in terms of appreciation.

Ultimately, if you plan on buying a house in 2017, I encourage you to do so sooner rather than later. If you have any questions about buying in our current market, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is Now the Right Time to Sell Your Home?



Is now the right time to sell your home? I would say yes, and there are a few reasons why.

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Is now the right time to sell your home?

As you know, inventory in our market has been very low the past few months. In December, we only had 1.7 months of inventory. Now we’re up to 2.1 months of inventory, but that is still extremely low. If no new listings came onto the market, there would be no homes left for buyers to purchase in two months.

If you want to sell your home, now is a good time to be on the market. It is a seller’s market and there is a lot of demand from buyers who want to make their move before interest rates go up again.

Now is a great time to sell your home.

I also want to mention that if you have a mortgage on your home, as most of us do, you should consider making one extra payment a year. Doing so will take seven years off of a 30-year mortgage and three years off a 20-year mortgage.

Finally, I also want to offer you a free copy of my book, “Moving Forward: 25 Essential Rules for Buying and Selling Real Estate Without Going Crazy.” Go to  www.movingforwardfreegift.com or send me an email to get your free copy.

As always, if you have any real estate questions, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Will Prices Stabilize in 2017?



We have one of the lowest inventory levels in the country. What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

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A very recent report came out stating that Portland was No. 8 on the list of the worst sufferers of the housing crunch nationwide. Seattle was ranked No. 1. Guess who was No. 2? Eugene, Oregon. It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Here in Lane County, we’re down to just 1.7 months of inventory.

This means if no new listings came on the market, we would be out of homes to sell in under two months. This has stressed the rental market as well.

As a result, prices in Lane County have risen about 8.3% in the last year. This is good news if you’re a seller, but not so much if you’re a buyer. The question is, will it continue? The real estate gurus say it will, at least for the next year.

If you’re on the fence, it’s time to get off.

Interest rates are also expected to climb up to 5% by the end of the year. This will increase the cost to buyers and cause fewer of them to be out in the market. We have been spoiled for the last decade with these incredibly low rates. Even if we do get up to 5%, that’s still a historically low number.

What does this all mean for you? If you’re on the fence about buying or selling, it would benefit you to act sooner rather than later.

If you have any questions for us or are interested in buying or selling, give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to send you a copy of my book “Moving Forward” which contains the 25 essential rules for buying and selling. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Market Update & a Valentine’s Day Surprise



I’m here today with a musical real estate market update. I’ll go over the latest trends and explain how you can surprise your loved ones with a singing Valentine this year.

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How is our February real estate market doing so far?

So far, Eugene home prices are still inching upwards. However, inventory remains very low at 1.7 months. That is not good news for buyers; they need more listings to choose from! If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now is a great time to get on the market.

Now, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Many of you may know that I am part of a quartet called Social Insecurity with the Cascade Chorus. Cascade Chorus will provide many singing Valentines over the next couple of weeks.

Reserve your singing Valentine and surprise your significant other!

Basically, a quartet will go to your significant other’s office and sing a couple of ballads to them. This only costs $45, so call 541-607-6937 to reserve your Valentine and surprise your significant other.

Check out the video above for a quick sample of a singing Valentine. In the meantime, if you have any real estate questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!