Tag Archives: house for sale

The ROI of home improvements

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All home improvements are not created equal. The ever-important factor to consider is the “ROI,” return on investment. Here are three projects, according to the National Association of Realtors®, that add significant equity to your property, even if you have to hire a professional to do all or part of the work.

• Insulation: While adding or replacing insulation is not a glamorous project, it does pay off at resale time and can save you up to 50 percent on your heating/cooling expenses.

• Hardwood flooring: The investment in refinishing existing hardwood or having new hardwood installed will easily pay for itself at resale time. Homeowners love the look and feel of wood floors.

• New roof: “How old is the roof?” is one of the first questions potential buyers ask when viewing the outside of a property. Re-roofing your home with the newest, eco-friendly materials can increase your equity position as well as help lower your energy bills.

For more information about the ROI of specific improvements to your property, consult your local real estate professional.

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!

Be Aware Of These Home-Buying Fees

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In addition to a down payment, here are some other expenses home buyers need to be aware of. According to WorkableWealth.com, “Just because you’re spending hundreds of thousands on a home doesn’t mean you should be comfortable throwing thousands of dollars at fees.”

Be sure to ask your lender or Realtor® any questions you have concerning the fees you’re being charged. In addition, your real estate agent may be able to help you negotiate the cost of some of these home-buying expenses.

Home inspection: Inspectors will look for any signs of structural issues, mold and leaks. They also assess the condition of the roof, gutters, HVAC, water heater, plumbing, electrical system, and more.

Appraisal: Mortgage lenders require an appraisal report to ensure that the property is worth the sales price agreed upon by the buyer and seller.

Loan application: Thelender will charge fees for running your credit report and processing your application. Be sure to ask for an itemized list of these charges.

Mortgage loan origination fees: These upfront costs, which are associated with underwriting and funding the loan, are quoted as a percentage (typically 0.5 to 1.5 percent) of the total amount borrowed.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI): Lenders generally require buyers to put down at least 20 percent of the purchase price of the home. Otherwise, PMI is required to protect the lender if the buyer should default on the loan. The PMI should be automatically canceled once the buyer reaches 78 percent of the loan-to-value ratio.

Tax service: This fee ensures that the seller’s tax payments on the property are up to date and that the buyer’s payments are correctly credited.

Property survey: This report outlines the boundaries, dimensions and major features of the property.

Title services: Title companies charge fees to cover the title search, notary costs, government filing fees, and more to ensure the buyer receives a clear title to the property.

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!

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

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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!

5 Tips On When You Should Buy A Retirement Home!

Have you talked about moving away when you retire? Have you decided on a location? Do you know when you are going to find “the place?”

If you know the “where” part of the equation, have you started taking regular vacations to that place?

If you are planning to retire in the next five to seven years, it’s not too early to start thinking about your retirement residence.

Here are five financial and non-financial reasons why you should consider buying your retirement house before you retire, especially if you are going to have a mortgage:

1. The mortgage

It is easier to qualify for a mortgage if you are still working. For most people your income is higher before you retire so your debt-to-income ratio is more favorable. If you wait until retirement, you may be limited to a smaller mortgage size.

Interest rates are still relatively low are showing signs of moving upward. Locking in a low-interest rate mortgage now could positively impact your retirement budget.

Caution: A mortgage on a second home is more difficult to obtain. In addition to an excellent credit rating, you’ll need a down payment of 20 percent or more. A mortgage for a second home or “vacation” home usually has a better rate than a mortgage that would be used to obtain a rental or “investment” property.

2. DIVERSIFICATION

Any additional real estate could expand and diversify your portfolio. If you can manage an extra mortgage payment, consider buying the house now and possibly renting it out for a few years, or even seasons.

If the house is in a location you can frequently access, consider using a service like vrbo.com(Vacation Rentals By Owner), or Airbnb.com.  If the property is across the country, you might consider a long-term lease, with a local property manager to tend to your renters.

Caution: Carefully read your homeowner’s insurance policy and your mortgage note. Each one of these may have clauses that prevent you from renting the property.

3. CASH FLOW FOR REPAIRS AND UPGRADES

Unless you purchase a brand-new home or one that has been newly remodeled, you’ll probably want to make some upgrades. Your current income combined with the time prior to retirement should give you the opportunity to complete the improvements and repairs. You may be able to rent the house out for a while to accumulated the funds for the upgrades you want.

4. BUDGET PLANNING

Buying the house now will give you very accurate dollar figures for your monthly expenses in retirement.  You will know your monthly housing, utilities, property taxes, and local costs.

5. LOWER STRESS

While you’re working, you might have a nagging item on your to-do list about where you’re going to live in retirement.

If you make your purchase before you quit the workforce, knock one thing off your list for some peace of mind regarding the decision. If after spending vacations at this house you find its’ not the ideal house for retirement, it might be easier for you to sell it and find a replacement while you are still employed.

If retirement means moving to a new location, give some consideration to finding that place before you retire. There is no magic answer, but you need to determine what is important to you.

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!