Tag Archives: homes on the market

Should You Upgrade To USB Electrical Outlets?

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Not Your Parent’s Electrical Outlet

The last time your home’s electrical outlets had a significant redesign was 50 years ago, when, for safety reasons, the three-prong outlet became standard for use with all major appliances. That surprised look on three-prong’s face that we’ve all grown accustomed to has been transforming, as USB ports are built into more electrical socket designs to accommodate the multiple devices we need to charge every day.

When USB wall outlets first started showing up, they were mainly in airport terminals and hospitals. Now you often find them in hotels and even your favorite coffee bar. Chances are, you’ve plugged a device into one somewhere in recent years. They’re so easy and convenient when your phone or tablet’s battery runs low. So why haven’t you upgraded any of the electrical outlets in your home with them?

Why Haven’t You Made the Switch?

Maybe you haven’t upgraded any outlets to USB yet because you think it involves getting an electrician to your house and that’s always costly!
Maybe you wonder if you really need to install USB outlets because you’ve already invested in a charging station that you placed in the most useful spot in your home.
Maybe you heard USB outlets constantly draw power even when they’re not in use.
Or maybe wall warts, power strips, adapters, and a bunch of dangling charging cords just don’t bother you.

Whatever your reason, here’s why it’s time to upgrade to USB outlets in certain places in your home:

You don’t need an electrician–if you’re the DIY type. You can change an outlet to a new USB receptacle in under an hour. The cost to upgrade will only be your time and about $25 per receptacle.
You don’t need that charging station anymore. A USB wall outlet is a better long-term solution and aesthetically, these slim and sleek new outlets just look better.
You can be expect a USB outlet to be more energy efficient than a charging station. Although USB outlets do draw a very small amount of current when not in use, you can buy one with a switch and easily turn off power to the outlet until you need to plug in a device.

Check This Before You Make the Switch

USB receptacles have a bit more to their backsides than do the standard three-prong receptacles. Follow these steps* to check that the outlet you plan to switch has a junction box that can accommodate the larger size:

  1. Use a voltage tester to check that electricity is present in the outlet. A red light on the voltage tester indicates “hot” to show the outlet has an electrical current. Watch a few how-to videos if this is your first time using a voltage tester.
  2. Next, cut off power to the room where you’d be replacing a socket via the main circuit breaker panel. To be extra safe, or if you are not sure which breaker controls which room, always turn off the power to your whole home.
  3. After turning off the power, use the voltage tester on the outlet again to ensure the current is off. The voltage tester green indicator lights up if the power is off. Then remove the outlet’s faceplate and unscrew the receptacle from the junction box.
  4. Check that the junction box for the outlet you are upgrading has about 3 inches of depth to it to fit the bulkier USB outlet. If you have an older home you may have slimmer junction boxes. Repeat steps for every outlet you want to switch. If any of the junction boxes are too small, you can either not upgrade that outlet, or call an electrician.

*If you have doubts about your electrical DIY skills, stop now and call an electrician. Better to stay safe, and keep in mind that USB wall outlets are safe when installed correctly as well.

Pro tip: You cannot switch a GFCI outlet for a USB one. USB outlets do not have built-in GFCI capability.

The Best Places for USB Outlets

Now that you know these new USB receptacles can fit in at your house, it’s time to consider all of the places where switching an outlet makes the most sense. Here are rooms where upgrading to USB works best:

  • Bedrooms on nightstands where sleeping gadgets lie.
  • Kitchens next to countertops but not for switching GFCIs.
  • Living rooms by entertainment areas or near tables by a chair.
  • Guest rooms by nightstands or nearest to the sleeping area.
  • Home offices near to desks, or see “Gadgets” section at end of article for another idea.
  • Garages by tool benches or sturdy shelves, but only buy USB outlets with port covers here.

Unfortunately, for now, you can’t add USB outlets outside on a porch or patio, even if your outdoor outlet has an insulated metal cover. That’s because the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires outdoor electricity outlets to use GFCI. If you have an enclosed porch, where the outlet is high off ground level, you could consult an electrician. But it may be better to simply wait for the next innovation to come along.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Five Star award Winner 2011- 2019 honoring the top 7% of real estate professionals in Oregon.

Rachel Sheller- Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, Earth Advantage Broker, MASTERS CIRCLE, CSA-Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First-Principal Broker, Washington First-Managing Broker

Direct 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View ALL available Houses on the market on my website

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!

What Comes With The House?

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Imagine walking into your new home to find all the light fixtures, doorknobs and cabinetry hardware missing. Though uncommon, some buyers have faced this very scenario. Protect yourself by understanding the difference between permanent fixtures and personal property. 

As a buyer, you’re legally entitled to a home’s fixtures unless they are specifically excluded in the property listing. Realtor.com® describes fixtures as anything “physically affixed to a property.” Personal property, on the other hand, is anything that can be moved, such as area rugs, curtains and some appliances – most often the refrigerator, washer and dryer.

Some items end up in a gray area, which is why it’s important to work with your Realtor® and be very specific about what you’d like to have stay with the home. You can further mitigate any surprises by doing a final walk-through before closing.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Five Star award Winner 2011- 2019 honoring the top 7% of real estate professionals in Oregon.

Rachel Sheller, Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, Earth Advantage Broker, MASTERS CIRCLE,CSA-Certified Staging Agent,Oregon First-Principal Broker, Washington First-Managing Broker

Direct 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View ALL available Houses on the market on my website

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!

5 DIY tips for building a deck

Image result for building a deck

An outdoor deck on your home provides valuable living and entertaining space. If you’re planning to extend your current deck or to build a new one yourself, here are five points to consider. Avoiding construction mistakes now can save you both time and money.

1.     Follow building codes and obtain permits. DIYers often think they can build whatever they want because it’s on the back of their home, but ignoring decking and railing codes can be a safety hazard. 84 Lumber warns against not filing for a city or county permit: “If your project is flagged by a building inspector, you may have to rebuild significant portions, or maybe even tear the deck down.”

2.     Choose quality building materials. A large selection of woods and treatments are available at most home improvement stores. Ask an associate for suggestions based on your budget. Depending on how long you’ll be living in your current home, maintenance-free composite decking may be worth the investment.

3.     Follow IRC specs for railings and stairs. The International Residential Code (IRC) outlines the safety requirements for railings around elevated decks and handrails on stairs. For example, the IRC says that stairs longer than four steps must have a handrail on at least one side, and it must be graspable for the full run of the stairs.

4.     Use exterior-grade hardware and fasteners. Regular nails tend to pop out as wood expands and contracts in changing weather. Exterior-grade screws, on the other hand, are less likely to come loose, but can still be removed if you need to replace a board in the future. Stainless-steel, polymer-coated and hot-dipped galvanized hardware and fasteners are some of the best options for deck-building materials.

5.     Pay attention to the aesthetic details. Be sure your deck is as attractive as it is safe and sturdy. Your neighbors will appreciate the look of a well-designed deck as will future buyers whenever it’s time to resell your house.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Five Star award Winner 2011-2019 honoring the top 7% of real estate professionals in Oregon.  

Rachel Sheller,Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES,MASTERS CIRCLE, Earth Advantage Broker, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, CSA-Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First, Washington First 

Direct 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View this ALL available Houses on the market on my website. 

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington 

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!

One Main Reason Fall Is The Best Time Of Year To Buy A House!

image from: H Sundholm (henriksundholm.com) on Flickr

What if your home no longer suits your needs, because it’s too big, or too small, or in the wrong part of town, or … well, there are all kinds of reasons you may want to move. Luckily, fall is a great time to buy a new house and make it into your cozy new home.

Motivated Sellers= More negotiating power

People who sell their homes in fall and winter are often in a hurry to make a sale. They want to be settled before the holidays come, or they want to get a tax break* for this year rather than next year, or they have a new job and they need to relocate. These sellers are looking to close the sale as quickly and smoothly as possible. 

When you buy in fall, the combination of motivated sellers and fewer other homebuyers competing with you for available homes means more negotiating power in your hands, which often results in a better deal. This could mean a lower sales price, seller-paid repairs or upgrades, and even seller-paid closing costs. 

Buying a home in the fall gives you the best of all worlds — lower prices and less competition but still enough inventory to find the home you want. 

If you’re serious about buying a home, doing so this fall may save you money or help you afford more than you expect. Contact me today to discuss your options before you miss out on the fall homebuying season! 

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Rachel Sheller,Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES,MASTERS CIRCLE, Earth Advantage Broker, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, CSA-Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First, Washington First 

Direct 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View this ALL available Houses on the market on my website. 

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington 

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!

Metro Areas With Significant Home Appreciation

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For most Americans, the home they own is their largest investment and most valuable asset. These 10 metro areas have some of the highest home appreciation percentages over the past five years, reports Realtor.com®.

1.     Santa Maria, CA – 95 percent

2.     Nashville, TN – 89.4 percent

3.     College Station, TX – 85.3 percent

4.     Charlotte, NC – 82.9 percent

5.     Omaha, NE – 73.5 percent

6.     Grand Rapids, MI – 72.5 percent

7.     Fort Wayne, IN – 67.9 percent

8.     Columbus, OH – 66.4 percent

9.     New Orleans, LA – 62.4 percent

10.  Lexington, KY – 61.7 percent

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Rachel Sheller,Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES,MASTERS CIRCLE, Earth Advantage Broker, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, CSA-Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First, Washington First 

Direct 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View this ALL available Houses on the market on my website. 

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington 

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!

Home Flipping Can Be Highly Profitable

Image result for flipping houses

During the Great Recession (2007-09), many properties lost equity as the housing market began falling. Short-term investors then started buying up properties that had fallen into foreclosure in order to flip them at a profit.

By contrast, flipping houses in today’s seller’s market is all about buying fixer-upper properties, making improvements and then reselling them to millennials and other first-time buyers.

Since the data firm CoreLogic first began tracking quarterly statistics on home flipping in 2002, the highest rate of home flipping as a percentage of all residential properties sold occurred during the first quarter of 2018 at 11.4 percent.

This upward trend continued last year with a higher rate in the fourth quarter than any previous fourth quarter – reaching almost 10.9 percent of all home sales. This marked the culmination of 12 consecutive quarters with residential flipping rates increasing on a year-over-year basis.

While flipping rates as a percentage of all homes sold vary widely across the U.S., the numbers tend to be highest in the Sun Belt. Eight of the top 10 metro areas are located in the southern half of the country: Birmingham, AL; Memphis, TN; Tampa, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Camden, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Palm Bay, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Lakeland, FL; and Atlanta, GA.

Most of the metros where flipping has the highest rate of return on investment (ROI) are in areas that have a significant number of older homes to flip: Detroit, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Cleveland, OH; Akron, OH; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Wilmington, DE; Toledo, OH; and Milwaukee, WI.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Five Star award Winner 2011-2019 honoring the top 7% of
real estate professionals in Oregon. 
 

Rachel Sheller,Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI,
SRES,MASTERS CIRCLE, Earth Advantage Broker, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, -Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First, Washington First 

Direct: 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View this ALL available Houses on the market on my website.

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!

To Repair Or Replace? That Is The Question.

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A creaking floorboard. A finicky toaster. Are these bothersome quirks serious enough to be replaced or can you get by with a simple repair?

Kitchen appliances Small appliances such as a toaster or coffee pot probably cost more to repair than replace. For dishwashers, ovens and other large appliances, consider replacing older models with energy-efficient new ones.

Exterior door If it’s leaking, drafty or made of poor-quality materials, replace it. You will save money on heating and cooling, which will pay for itself over time. Plus, replacing an older front door with a new one will increase not only the security of your property, but the curb appeal as well.

Old wooden flooring Depending on the condition of your wood floors, repairing and refinishing is more affordable than replacing – especially if you’re willing to do some or all of the work yourself. Keep in mind that it’s not always necessary to sand the floors down to the raw wood. It’s wise to consult a flooring contractor to find out just how much work the job will require.

Drafty windows Replace warped, poorly fitting windows with today’s energy-efficient styles. Your energy bills will shrink and your home’s value will increase with this popular upgrade.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!!

Five Star award Winner 2011-2019 honoring the top 7% of
real estate professionals in Oregon. 
 

Rachel Sheller,Principal Broker, Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI,
SRES,MASTERS CIRCLE, Earth Advantage Broker, Diversity Specialist-HOWNW, -Certified Staging Agent, Oregon First, Washington First 

Direct: 503.380.9634, Email- rachel@rachelsheller.com

View this ALL available Houses on the market on my website.

Licensed in the State of Oregon and Washington

My business is referral based.
If you’ve enjoyed my service, please refer me!