Tag Archives: houses for sale

Make Realistic Compromises When You Can

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Home buyers most often begin their house hunting with a long list of must-have features. They typically hope to find their new home in the best location, at the lowest possible price and with lots of modern upgrades. Once buyers start looking at the available homes within their price range, however, they tend to make practical compromises that they know they can live with.

Location vs. square footage is often the first compromise buyers must consider. Living closer to the city center might mean buying a smaller home than what can be purchased for the same price farther out.

Buyers with school-age children tend to want a big backyard but, depending on the cost of land, they may have to rethink just how large is large enough for an outdoor play area and a swing set. One compromise might be looking for a home with a smaller backyard that’s within walking distance of a park.

The architectural style of the house is the most important feature for some buyers. Others are more willing to be flexible with the exterior design in exchange for an additional bedroom or bath inside the home.

The size of the garage or carport and whether it’s attached or detached is another feature that buyers may have to keep an open mind about in order to get a home in their preferred location.

By working closely with a real estate professional, you’ll gain knowledgeable expertise when it comes to prioritizing your list of desired features for your new home. Feel free to give me a call or email today and I can help you with this!

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, Washington First 

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!

Organize Your Family Schedule

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Spring schedules are often filled to the brim with extra travel, sports, recitals, and school activities. Evaluate your household’s needs and choose tools that can help you stay organized.

·         Create a shared calendar. This could be a paper calendar, a dry-erase board posted in the kitchen or a digital shared calendar. This ensures that all family members know what to expect each week and can see the big picture for the month.

·         Color code your family. To organize your calendar, assign a color to each family member, and record activities in corresponding colors for quick reference.

·         Use organizational apps. Check out apps like Cozi or Wunderlist to share to-do lists, grocery lists, reminders, and more.

·         Have a weekly scheduling session. Adults and older children can gather briefly to discuss the upcoming week’s activities and any changes to the schedule.

·         Create routines. Having a predictable morning and evening routine will keep your household from feeling too rushed.

·         Schedule “free” time. Whether it’s pausing the chaotic routine for a casual dinner, an evening walk or a Saturday morning breakfast, take the time to slow down and enjoy being together.

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, Washington First 

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!

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!