Tag Archives: realestate

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!

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!

White Walls? Positive or Negative?

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Fresh, crisp white walls have always been popular, but keep in mind that all whites are not the same. Depending on the natural light that flows into the room as well as the interior lighting used at night, the color white can change from warm and inviting to cold and stark.

Here are three points to consider before painting your walls white.

1.     Avoid that sterile hospital look
White is associated with cleanliness, which is why many kitchen and bathroom walls are painted white. However, white walls paired with white trim and white cabinets can seem boring and sterile. Creating some texture on the walls with paintable beadboard wallpaper can increase the visual appeal of the room.

2.     Classic, formal and refined
The age of your house as well as its architectural style may create the “need” for white walls. For example, houses that are decorated with antiques and more formal furnishings often draw attention to the interior decor by having a neutral white background. Ultramodern houses with dramatic architectural lines and curves also appear more prominent against simple white walls.

3.     White expands spaces
White walls make rooms appear larger and lighter. Small bedrooms, baths and closets can benefit from this optical illusion. It’s also valuable to keep white in mind when you’re getting your house ready to sell and want to make the best impression on potential buyers.

For more information please call, email, or text.

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!

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.

Five Star award recipient 2011-2018 honoring the top 7% of real estate professionals in Oregon.

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, Realtors

Direct 503.380.9634

Email- Homesforyou@frontier.com

View ALL available Houses on the market on my website

Licensed in the State of Oregon

***I’M ALWAYS HAPPY TO HELP YOU AND YOUR REFERRALS***

9 Ways homeowners can save on utility costs

  1. Wash full loads of dishes and clothes.
  2. Air-dry dishes, sheets and lightweight clothing, whenever possible.
  3. Use timers and motion sensors to turn lights off and on.
  4. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to 120°
  5. Use weatherstripping and caulking around doors and windows to prevent drafts.
  6. Regularly replace HVAC filters, and have a licensed professional inspect your heating and cooling systems twice a year.
  7. Use spray foam insulation to seal gaps around pipes, chimneys, lights, windows, and brickwork.
  8. Invest in a programmable thermostat to conserve resources and money.
  9. As they burn out, replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs.

In addition, contact your utility company and ask if they offer a free home energy audit. According to AmericaSaves.org, energy lost from a basement, unfinished room, attic, or garage can be an expensive waste of money. Sealing leaky ductwork can provide additional savings.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!

Five Star award Winner 2011- 2018 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-    homesforyou@frontier.com

View a current list of ALL available Houses on the market go to my website

Licensed in the State of Oregon

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

A low home appraisal can stall mortgage approval

What happens when a buyer and seller agree on a price, but then the lender’s appraisal comes back lower than the agreed-upon amount? Until the financing is approved, the deal can fall through. This is why you see the words “Contract Pending” on the agent’s yard sign.

Approximately 10 percent of real estate agents report on a monthly basis that a low home appraisal negatively impacted a sale, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Here are some ways that sellers and buyers can protect themselves from a low appraisal.

Sellers

  • Before you list your property, pay to have an appraisal done. In a seller’s market where some buyers are making offers significantly above the listing price, sellers need to understand how critical the appraisal is to closing the deal.
  • Do your homework and use a qualified appraiser who has a membership designation such as SRA or MAI from the Appraisal Institute.
  • Be sure the appraiser is comparing your home to the latest data about homes just sold or under contract in your area. Also, highlight any improvements to your home or landscaping that may positively affect the selling price.

Buyers

  • Ask your lender to choose one name among 2 or 3 qualified appraisers that you recommend.
  • Meet with the appraiser when the inspection is being done, and ask questions about the process.
  • If you receive a low appraisal, follow up and ask questions. The appraiser or supervisor may have overlooked the newest information.

I anticipate this happening more in the future. For information on pricing your home, or buy strategically to do all possible to prevent appraisal woes, please call, email, or text me to talk more about it.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!

Five Star award Winner 2011- 2018 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-    homesforyou@frontier.com

View a current list of ALL available Houses on the market go to my website

Licensed in the State of Oregon

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

 

To the suburbs and beyond …

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While some people prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of urban living, sometimes suburbs are not rural enough for their lifestyles. They want to live in the “exurbs,” which are farther outside the city than the suburbs.

Some home buyers are seeking several acres of usable land for extensive gardening with room for chickens, goats or horses. The exurbs are often preferred by people who work from home or want a second home or vacation property.

The larger lots in the exurbs allow for more privacy and less crime. However, few exurbs provide sidewalks or jogging trails. And there’s not a Starbucks on every corner. For more information on options for a Suburban move call, email, or test me to start the conversation.

IT’S A GOOD LIFE!

Five Star award Winner 2011- 2018 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-    homesforyou@frontier.com

View a current list of ALL available Houses on the market go to my website

Licensed in the State of Oregon

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