Tag Archives: real estate agent

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!

7 Tasks to do after moving into your new home

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The safety and security of your family, guests and pets are the most important reasons to complete these tasks as soon as possible after moving in.

1. Change the locks and the garage door entry code. You have no idea how many of the former owner’s neighbors, friends or relatives have a key or know the garage code.

2. Hide an extra key in a combination lock box. Burglars know all of the usual spots where people hide keys such as under a flower pot or in a fake rock.

3. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If there aren’t any or they look dated, make sure to install new ones.

4. Check the temperature on your water heater, especially if you have young children. The safest and most eco-friendly setting is 120° F.

5. Make sure there’s a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and one on each additional floor.

6. Check motion lights and other security lights to make sure they have working bulbs.

7. Locate the main gas and water shut-off valves. Find the circuit box and label all of the breakers.

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!

Tool Safety For DIYers

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Tackling DIY projects can be satisfying, just make sure you don’t end up in the hospital. Porch.com analyzed data from ER visits and found that ladders caused the most injuries for DIYers, followed by hardware (nails, screws, etc.), lawn mowers and power saws. The report also found that more people were hurt using cleaning agents than chain saws. Remember: “No matter how modest your home improvement project may appear, exercise caution and focus at every stage.”

Consider these tips from the safety consulting and certification company Underwriter Laboratories:

·         Use the “4-to-1 rule” for ladders: For every four feet of height, the base should be one foot away from the wall.

·         Protect your eyes by wearing safety goggles when operating power tools, and avoid wearing bracelets, watches or loose-fitting clothing.

·         When painting inside, ensure proper ventilation by opening windows, using fans and wearing a respirator mask. Take breaks often to get away from the fumes.

·         Be aware of where other people (and pets) in the household are at all times, and keep your work space clean and well-lit.

·         Know your limits. If you don’t feel comfortable with a specific tool or project, call a professional rather than risk getting hurt.

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!

BENEFITS OF SELLING DURING THE HOLIDAYS

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Each year, the holiday season seems to arrive quicker and quicker. Now that we’re officially in October, it’s time to start thinking about what the holiday market looks like.

Are you considering selling your home soon? There’s no denying that spring is one of the best times to sell your home, but there are also benefits to selling during an off-peak season. Let’s break down the benefits of selling in the last few months of the year and look at tips to get your home off the market faster.

The Benefits

Shopping, and baking, and houseguests… oh my. As busy as your holiday season can be, it may be worth it to take a year off from decking the halls to sell your home.

There’s less competition is cooler months. A large reason for seller success in the springtime is due to the warming temperatures and longer days. Both of these benefits actually create a very competitive market, so sellers listing in the cooler months will find fewer homes to compete with.

Buyers are more serious. In the spring and summer, buyers tend to shop without a clear plan to purchase because they know their options are plentiful. During the holidays, on the other hand, buyers are less likely to waste their already limited time browsing multiple homes.

Transfers are looking for housing. As the end of the year draws near, employees who need to transfer to a new city, or even a new state, will be home shopping through the holidays. These homebuyers don’t have time to wait until the spring, so time is on your side in this scenario.

Your neighborhood is decorated. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away and Christmas shortly after that, homes in your neighborhood will be adorned with plenty of pumpkins, and later, Christmas lights or decorations. As buyers drive by, they will have the chance to experience what their own holiday festivities will look like in the upcoming year. You can also make your home festive on the inside with warm scents and colors that are welcoming to visitors.

Holiday Selling Tips

Are you ready to take the leap and sell your home? Selling in the last few months of the year can be tricky, but we have a few tips to make the process easier.

Get your finances in order. No matter what time of the year you sell, you’ll need a trusted lender to guide you through the home loan process.

Hire a reliable real estate agent. Call, email or text Rachel Sheller today to start the selling process. No matter what time of the year, she will always make time for you and your family. You are a priority and so is your future or current house goals.

Seek out motivated buyers. Request that Rachel find buyers or investors on specific deadlines to buy if you’re also on a deadline to sell. College students and military personnel are two more recommended groups that sellers target during October through December.

It might also be beneficial to price your home to sell, right off the bat. Rather than slowly dropping the price, list your home at a reasonable price from the get-go. 

Decorate… to an extent. Curb appeal should be a top priority of buyers during winter months. This means clearing out dead plants, raking leaves, and keeping gutters cleaned out. On top of yard maintenance, minimal outdoor decorations are welcome. For example, single-colored string lights and door wreaths. Large blow-up displays or overwhelming lights could distract buyers from the house itself.

This rule goes for inside the home as well. By all means, embrace the holiday spirit and decorate, but don’t clutter shelves and walls past the point of enjoyment for potential buyers. Their main focus should still be on the home, rather than your festive display.

Have photos taken of your home. When the cold winds start blowing, no one wants to begin their home shopping journey outside. Listing your home with professional photos will allow buyers to get a good idea of what your home features before ever stepping inside.

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!

Financially Preparing For A Baby

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Considering growing your family can be an exciting time. Planning ahead for the financial responsibilities of parenthood will help you avoid being blindsided by debt, so you can focus on the joy of your new baby. Here are some steps you can take to prepare.

  • Anticipate medical expenses early in the pregnancy by calculating which costs for prenatal care and labor and delivery will be covered by health insurance, and which ones you’ll be responsible to pay out of pocket.
  • Build your savings. No matter how well you budget each month, unexpected costs will arise as your baby grows. Be prepared with an emergency fund for health-related expenses and another savings account for everything else.
  • Ask friends for approximate costs of ongoing baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula/food, etc. Include these estimated expenses in your current budget and begin adjusting your spending habits before the baby arrives. (Safeguard this unspent monthly amount by transferring it to your savings account.)
  • Don’t overspend on baby gear. Borrow from friends or buy gently used items from children’s consignment events. Consider what’s necessary and what will fit in your living space before purchasing every gadget advertised.
  • Plan ahead for time off. If your employer doesn’t offer paid maternity/paternity leave, save extra money ahead of time to cover the income gap. Find out your company’s policy on using earned vacation or sick days for extra time at home after your baby’s birth.
  • If you are a dual-income family, calculate the cost of childcare versus one of you changing to part-time or staying home full-time. Evaluate the best fit for your family.
  • Plan for the future. Set up a life insurance policy and create or adjust your will. Start saving for your child’s education, but don’t neglect funding your own retirement in the process.

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!