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Spring home improvement, for a Summer Sale

Selling your Home

It’s been said that there are three things that influence a home sale at any time: location, price and condition. The condition that your home is in can really influence interest from prospective buyers, even if the things they notice are minor cosmetic changes. Here are some tips for smaller home improvement projects you can get started on now, if you’re planning to list your home this summer.

Front Walk

The front of your house can be the first thing that prospective buyers notice about your house. Some brokers think that prospective buyers decide within 60 seconds if they’re interested in a house or not. It’s important to spend time weeding, mowing the lawn, and taking care of your flower beds. If you don’t have any landscaping done, it might be time to consider some. Decide how much of an investment you want to make in your home, and perhaps hire a landscaper. While some people might like a blank canvas as far as landscaping is concerned, it might be a turn off for others. Talk to your Bend Oregon realtor and see what their opinion is. They’ll know what buyers are looking for and be able to advice you as to whether or not you’ll see a return on your investment.

Indoors

A great tip if you’re selling your home is to pare down your belongs. If you have a closet stuffed full of clothes, it will make your closet look smaller. If you’re planning a move, it’s already a great idea to start waning down the possessions you don’t need. Eliminate the clutter from your home, to make the spaces open up.

Something that most sellers don’t consider, is getting rid of unneeded furniture. It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving a long distance away or a short one; no one wants to move an unneeded couch or armchair twice. If you don’t need it, chances are it’s cluttering your house. Getting rid of extras like this will help the appeal of your home.

A simple paint job can work wonders on dark rooms or nooks within your home. Remove the clutter from reading nooks or corners, and paint them a brighter color to let more light in.

Clean your carpets, especially if you have pets. While you may not smell your pets’ scent in the rug, people walking through your home will. Invest in a carpet cleaner or rent one, and clean all of the rugs and carpets in your home. If you’re lucky enough to experience warmer weather, throw open the windows in your house and let the rugs air out as they dry. This is essential to any spring cleaning session, but will go a long way if you have prospective buyers walking through your home.

Small Repairs

It may be a good option to hire your own home inspector or to ask what it is specifically that they look for. Make sure your home is up to code. You wouldn’t want to lose an offer, just because you fail a portion of the inspection. It will inevitably cost you less to fix things before a home inspection, as you’ll have time on your side. You won’t be in such a rush to find the contractor that can do the job the quickest.

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February Real Estate Forecast shows a prolonged Seller’s Market in Central Oregon

Feb. Trend

The month of February was a highly active month, following a busy January. The number of active listings fell slightly, as did sold listings, but the number of pending sales continued to stay high, promising an active March.

Continued Seller’s Market

The number of active listings continued to fall through the month of February, going from 355 active listings in January to 324 listings in February. When you have a lower number of listings available in a market, it allows property owners to keep their prices higher, as other available or similar properties are more scarce. A lower inventory is still to be expected for this time of the year, before we make our way into warmer months and the active sales trends of spring.

Pending Sales

The number of pending sales is still relatively high, continued from an active January. In December, we experienced a high number of pending listings, especially for that time of year, coming in at 145. In January, pending sales climbed to a high of 185, and then fell slightly to 172 in February. Due to the number of existing pending sales at the end of February, we expect a higher number of closed sales in March.

Number of Sold properties

Completed sales stayed consistently high for this time of year, probably a symptom of the seller’s market in Central Oregon. The completion of pending sales from January, also contributed to a consistent number of sales, going from 130 in January to 128 in February.

Final Analysis

We expect to see more active listings in the market in the coming months. The best time to get a property listed is now. It’s the right time to have your listing featured with minimal competition from similar properties, before the sales of spring take off.

We would love to help you with buying or selling real estate. Visit us at dukewarner.com, browse our Facebook page, or call us at (541) 382-8262.

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How do Real Estate Pros look for property

Real Estate Broker

Have you ever hemmed and hawed over a property before, wondering if it was the best home for you? Maybe it had everything you were looking for, and one major or minor flaw, like high traffic, busy street, no parking, no garage, etc. Here’s some expert advice, from non-other than real estate brokers themselves.

Details

When you’re looking at multiple properties you can lose track of the important details. Make sure you have a system in place for when you’re house hunting to stay as organized as possible, whether it’s a spread sheet outlining everything your top properties have or don’t. Tips from brokers: check out simple things like the sewer line. Ask how old the appliances are, don’t be dazzled by new counter tops, when the oven is about to die any day. Ask about variants in the homeowners’ insurance coverage. Are there any oddities to the coverage due to the architecture or property? Check out older trees on the property to make sure you’re not taking on a hefty removal and potential re-planting process if you do decide to purchase the home.

Lifestyle

Consider your lifestyle and what you’re really looking for in a home. If you’re looking for a property with little maintenance and you don’t want a lawn to mow, a condo might be the right style of property for you. Vice versa, if you’re sick of living in apartments or condos and having shared walls, a single-family home might be exactly what you’re looking for. The added bonus to a single-family home is that you’re not only investing in the house itself, but also the land that it’s on.

One of the biggest things real estate agents see is younger buyers who invest in a property and don’t care about the amenities, or school district it’s in, because they don’t currently have kids and maybe aren’t planning to. They often times see those younger buyers turning around and selling the property they spent 5 years in, because their family size has changed and the home no longer suits their needs. Be more forward thinking when you’re investing in a property, and you’ll save yourself the headache of having to move, buy and sell a house again.

Focus on your Priorities

Don’t let yourself be dazzled by the cosmetic things. You can always install new counter tops in the kitchen, or floors, or do a little bathroom renovation. But you can’t change the price you paid for a home or its location. If location is crucial to you in your house hunt, don’t forget that. If a home has everything you’re looking for but is another 20 minutes out of your way, it’s something you need to consider before you buy. If you find a home that’s closer, that can easily be worked on to add the things you want, and it’s at or below your budget, it might be something you want to consider. Remember you can usually always add things later to a home.

Resale

As always consider the resale value. If the home you’re looking at is far more expensive than other homes in the neighborhood, chances are you’ll have a harder time selling it at an appropriate higher price. Don’t buy something too different or unique that you’ll have a hard time selling.

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Important things to tell your realtor

House Hunting Bend

Finding a realtor that understands exactly what you’re looking for in a property can be hard. Make sure you schedule a meeting and sit down with your broker, so that you do understand each other. It’s important to make a list of the features of a home that you can’t live without, that you would prefer, and things that you don’t want in your ideal home. Take the time to sit down and go over what they should know and what your top priorities are. If your broker understands your needs, wants and dislikes, they’re much more likely to find the perfect property for you, and not waste time showing listings that you’re not interested in.

Location

It can be easy to forget when house hunting, but where you buy a house in most areas determines where your kids go to school. If you have a preference over the schools in the area that you’re looking to buy in, it’s important to tell your broker that. Even if you don’t currently have kids, it’s still something important to consider.

If having easy access to amenities, like grocery stores, theaters, shopping, restaurants, etc. is important to you, your broker needs to know that. It’s important for your broker to understand whether you want to be within walking or driving distance from cultural centers like this. If this is a like, but not a requirement it could influence the listings your broker wants to show.

Heating System

Something that can easily be forgotten when house hunting is how a home is heated. If the way a home is heated is something that truly matters, let your broker know. This may make a difference if you’re looking for properties in a colder or warmer climate. If you have a preferred method of heating, especially if it’s a deal breaker, tell your broker.  Be sure to check the heating system in place before you make an offer, or you could wind up with an expensive home to heat.

Layout

If the way the house is laid out, is important to you, again tell your broker. They need to know if you want to look at split level homes, or if you only want to see single level homes. If you want an open floor plan, a formal dining room, etc. your broker can show you properties that pertain to your wants and needs, if they know what they are.

If you only want to look at rural or urban properties, if a pool is a must or not, these are things that you need to sit down and outline in your lists with your agent. Consider the lifestyle that you live, and what aspects of a home you need to keep your comfort.

Take Away

When discussing your price range with your agent, let them know which things you’re willing to pay more for. If your budget won’t budge, they need to know that. If they find you a home with everything that you want, but it’s out of your price range, your broker needs to know where you draw the line. Find the Bend realtor you trust most, and discuss what you want in a dream property or home.

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The Strategy Behind Making an Offer

Real estate agent helping young family to buy flat

Looking at homes can be a really exciting time, but when it comes to making an offer things can get stressful if you don’t know what you’re doing or are unsure of what the best strategy is. We’ve broken down the strategy of making an offer, and included helpful tips and tricks in understanding the process.

Purchase Offers

Once you find a house that fits everything you’ve been looking for it’s time to make an offer. You will first need to make a purchase offer, or purchase agreement. This is essentially a letter of intent to purchase that property.  It’s a legal document that outlines the price that you’re willing to pay for the home, including how you plan to pay for it.

Most real estate brokers have pre-written templates of purchase offers, that are easy to update with the terms specific to your offer. The laws concerning purchase offers can vary by state, but typically are legally binding after the seller has accepted them. Purchase offers often include an earnest money deposit. This deposit shows the seller that you are serious about purchasing the home or property. In some cases, if the offer falls through the earnest money may not be refundable, but if the offer closes successfully, the earnest money is often credited toward closing costs.

Comparative Market Analysis

One of the best ways to make the strongest offer possible is to know what’s going on in the market around the property that you’re interested in. Ask your real estate broker to order a comparative market analysis, which will evaluate three recent sales of comparable properties in your desired properties’ area. It helps you to know what similar homes in a similar market are selling for, so you don’t over offer on an overpriced home. It helps you understand where the negotiation room is.

Time on Market

It’s important to consider how long a property has been on the market. If it’s been on the market for a long time, it shows that there has been little buyer interest in the property. This might indicate that it is over-priced, and that the owner might be more willing to accept a lower offer. If the home hasn’t been on the market for very long, and there seems to be a ton of interest, you may want to make an offer that is slightly above asking price.

Consider other offers that the owner may be receiving and talk to your real estate broker about what they would recommend. Brokers aren’t allowed to suggest asking prices, but they should give you recommendations and suggestions so that your offer is the strongest one. If you can try to learn about other offers on the property. Other purchase orders only become public record once the seller has accepted them.

The most important part of making an offer is to know everything you can about the seller and the available property. Once you do, you’re most likely to make an offer that they accept. Talk to your real estate broker for advice on individual listings and sellers, to see if they can help you send a winning offer.

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January Real Estate Forecast shows a strong start to the 2017 Central Oregon Real Estate Market

jan trend

The beginning of 2017 showed a strong start to the year in real estate. January was a highly active month, with a lower number of active listings, and completed sales, but high number of pending sales, expected to finish in February.

Seller’s Market

 The number of active listings decreased in January, going from 402 to 355. Central Oregon is currently experiencing a strong seller’s market, with anticipated low inventory at this time of year. The low number of listings allow for property owners to take advantage of fewer competing properties. We predict that the seller’s market will continue for at least another month, before listings increase in anticipation of spring selling trends.

High Pending Sales

January was an exceptionally strong month for pending listings. In November and December, the number of pending listings were 156 and 145, respectively, which is high. The number of pending listings in January sky rocketed to 185. We expect these pending sales to complete in February, making February sold properties higher than previously anticipated. It shows that now is a great time to buy and that the Central Oregon Real Estate Market is still thriving through the winter months.

Average Completed Sales

Given the inclement weather in early January, a lower number of completed sales is to be expected. Considering the high number of pending sales, the number of sold properties for the month of January was expected to be lower, dropping from 192 sold properties to 130 in January.

Final Analysis

The Central Oregon Real Estate market is expected to see a lot of traffic in the coming warmer months, as the Bend area is still experiencing continued interest. We’re predicting that fewer priced reductions will take place, as the low number of listings encourages more competition per property, and negates the need to price more competitively. With a strong seller’s market, now is the time to get a property listed. Learn about what we can do to help you with buying or selling real estate by visiting dukewarner.com, browsing our Facebook page, or calling us at (541) 382-8262.

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2017 Economic Outlook

Real estate training vector sketch icon isolated on background. Hand drawn Real estate training icon. Real estate training sketch icon for infographic, website or app.

Hello Central Oregonians,

Welcome to the new year! December closed out 2016 with a bang. Sales were up, home prices have seen record highs recently, all leading to a powerful seller’s market this winter.

The “Housing Bubble” of past markets is not what our area market is experiencing today.  The steady and strong market recovery over the last several years has resulted in the highest home prices within our market over the past decade.

Property inventories are very low at this time, even considering that, historically, winter months are the time of the year to expect a lower number of available properties.  There continues to be a healthy number of potential buyers looking for “the right property”. This time of year, is an optimal time for sellers to get their property on the market and take advantage of fewer competing properties.

Given the seller’s market and a consistent number of property sales in prior months, we expect to see an active beginning to 2017’s real estate market in Central Oregon. Due to increased continual interest in the Bend area, we expect to see fewer price reductions in the coming months as well.

Many ask us if we see a housing bubble happening in the future.  We don’t foresee housing prices dropping in the next couple of years. Housing prices in the area fell to their lowest point in 2010 and have been on the rise since. We expect a slow upward trend in the future.  Over the past year, home values have appreciated each month by slightly more than 1 percent.  All indications show a slower yet steady rise over the next two years.

Keeping track of the current real estate trends in Central Oregon, is our business at Duke Warner Realty. We compile comprehensive market data that is available to home sellers and buyers. We’re constantly analyzing local market trends to better help our prospective clients, buyers and sellers.

We’re already keeping an eye out for the trends of spring, and the coming warmer months. Learn about what we can do to help you with buying or selling real estate by visiting dukewarner.com, browsing our Facebook page, or calling us at 541-382-8262.

Here’s to a wonderful year ahead,

Duke Warner Realty

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Why Pre-approval should be your first step

Hand holds the magnifying glass in front of an open newspaper with paper houses. That could mean rent search purchase real estate.

If you’re starting to house hunt, and have faced the question “Are you pre-approved?” it might be time to consider investigating more.  Being pre-approved can speed up your house hunting search, and can help you secure the home or property of your dreams before someone else does. Here are some benefits of being pre-approved.

Pre-qualified and pre-approved

Understanding the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved is important. Pre-approved means that a lender has checked your credit score and verified your documentation, so that you are approved for a specific loan or mortgage amount if you need it. Being pre-approved usually lasts for a 90-day period in most states.  Pre-qualified means that an estimation of how much you can afford to spend on a mortgage from month to month has been done, but it is not final. Your final loan approval happens when you have the property that you’re going to apply the loan to and you have an appraisal done on that property.

Getting pre-approved

Bring proof of your income for the last two years. All loans currently need this proof of income. W-2s are also accepted, in addition to pay stubs. Bring bank statements, investment account statements, etc. to show that you have enough money for a down payment, closing costs, fees, etc.

You also will need to provide proof of employment, or employment verification. Today lenders want to make sure that they are loaning money to someone with stable employment, as it increases the odds of the loan being paid back in full. They may call to verify your employment and check on your salary. Don’t forget the basics: your driver’s license, a social security number and permission for the lender to pull your credit report.

Good credit

Good credit takes time, and it’s necessary to purchase a home with a loan or mortgage. If you’re considering buying a home sometime in the near future, monitor your credit and make sure it’s acceptable to be applying for a loan. Talk to a banker or lender, or financial advisor to see what you can work on to improve your credit in the meantime.

Finally

Be advised to shop around to see who is going to offer you the best mortgage rate and the best interest rate in your state and area. Apply for those rates to get pre-approved. Meet with a lender to discuss your options, find out what you may or may not be able to afford. Getting pre-approved prior to house hunting helps your search, because you know what you can or can’t feasibly afford.

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How to Sell an Inherited House

Vintage / retro style with a long shadow : Fountain pen a pocket watch on a last will and testament. A form is printed on a mulberry paper and waiting to be filled and signed by testator / testatrix.

Inheriting a home can be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes it’s a wonderful gift and sometimes it can be an unfortunate inconvenience. Sometimes inheritors will sell their own properties and move into the home, other times the home will be emptied with an estate sale and then sold. Here are some great resources and information on what to do if you inherit a house or property.

Selling it

If you’ve inherited a home and want to consider selling it, you need to be able to figure out what you can afford to sell the home for. You also need to be able to calculate what selling the home could cost you in taxes. Be sure to report sale proceeds to the IRS. It will be documented as taxable income if you sell an inherited property. Even if you don’t owe any taxes on the home sale, it’s still a good idea to report the event. Be sure to do the research on inheritance tax and estate tax, because it can differ from state to state.

If you want to proceed with selling the home, take time to clear out any personal belongings. This can be time consuming and emotionally hard. While you may want to keep everything, you may not be able to. Hiring an appraiser to look at family heirlooms or jewelry may be a good idea before you decide to sell everything in an estate sale. Be sure to get cherished possessions to heirs, and other family members, as noted in any wills.

Holding a yard sale or an estate sale can be a great way to get rid of things. Selling a home as is, or already furnished, can be a hard sell to complete. Homes show better on the market when they’re empty or staged, but not filled with the previous tenants’ belongings.

Do your research on probate. Most inherited homes have to go through probate before you can sell them. Determine or decide who in the family holds the legal responsibility to handle the transaction of sale.

Other options

Some family members decide to sell properties of their own and move into inherited homes. There are still legal loopholes to close before this can be done. Other family members may have a right to the home as well, so it’s important to follow all loose ends before you start selling property of your own.

Some may choose to rent the home out and use it as a small source of income. Either way, it’s your choice. If you’re going to sell the home, it will be beneficial to invest in a real estate agent. They may know how to hook you up with a great estate sale business, and all the steps you’ll need to complete tax-wise. In addition to being a great resource in the actual sale of the property, your real estate agent can help make the process much easier.

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December Real Estate Forecast shows a strong finish to an extremely active year in the Central Oregon Real Estate Market

dec. trend graphic

2016 was a great year for real estate in Central Oregon, and December closed out the year with a strong finish. Sales were up in December, despite lots of inclement weather and snow, inventory dipped expectedly, and a consistent number of pending sales are expected to complete in 2017. Let’s take a deeper look.

Monthly Number of Sales and Price Reductions

The monthly number of sales stayed at a consistent high in the market. The number of price reductions in the month of December were fewer than the month before, as the number had nearly stabilized in November. Price reductions typically happen when properties sit on the market too long, with little to no interest, and it typically means that the property hasn’t been priced correctly. With fewer price reductions in December, we can expect to see more sales moving into early 2017.

Inventory low

Inventory has dipped to an annual low, which is to be expected in the month of December and is typical during the holiday season. The inventory seen this month was lower than the previous four months.

The real estate market becomes more of a seller’s market during the winter months, with fewer listings available.  Property owners should take advantage of this time, with little competition for potential buyers. Duke Warner has months of inventory for every price point under $525,000 in Bend being less than two months.

Consistent Pending Sales

Pending sales stayed at a high number for the month of December, which is surprising considering the winter weather December brought.

Final Analysis

All of this proves that we can expect an active beginning to 2017, that will carry on into the coming winter months.

Sales are expected to remain at slightly above average numbers. Due to the interest in the Central Oregon Real Estate Market, we can expect that fewer price reductions will take place.

The seller’s market will continue into the new year, with fewer properties listed. The time to get a property listed is now, with the expectation of significant activity and lots of serious buyers early in 2017.