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Common Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make

If you own your home, you know that buying a home can be a lot of work. There are many facets to the process, the hunting, approvals, the gathering of paperwork, and the anxiety of finding the right home. It can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, but if you find a great broker to help guide you through some of the challenges, you’ll be in good hands. We have collected some tips to make the process easier, so you can learn what not to do while shopping for your first home!

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

It is very important that you do your research on the neighborhood where your home will be. If you fall in love with a house, consider the community its part of and make sure it’s a neighborhood you are comfortable with. Things to consider might be what school district it’s in, and what school would your kids or future kids go to. You’ll want to know if it’s a safe neighborhood, for example, what is the crime rate. Is it a place where you’d feel comfortable letting your kids roam the neighborhood during the day or night? Check to see if it’s near a noisy highway or train tracks. A great way to learn about the neighborhood is to talk to potential neighbors and ask direct questions or share your concerns about buying in that neighborhood.

DO YOU GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING?

When you fall in love with a home, and you’re ready to make an offer right away, be sure to take caution and think through some of the details. When you can look things over with a more critical approach, you often notice details that you missed at first glance. as you might miss something important. Be sure to apply your list of needs, wishes and wants to this property. You may have fallen in love with it, but it might not meet the standards you’ve set for yourself, like being close to town, 3 bedrooms, etc.

PRE-APPROVAL IS KEY

We hear it all the time: getting pre-approved is crucial to house hunting. There is no reason to hunt for properties that you’re not sure you can afford. Who wants to make an offer on a property only to find out your loan is denied? The best way to get out ahead of this problem is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. That way you know what the bank will loan you and what you can afford. This will stop you from looking at houses that are out of your budget and prevent you from wasting time and getting your hopes up.

REPAIRS & UTILITIES

If you’ve only ever rented before, the cost of paying for full utilities might come as a shock to you. Water and sewer typically are included in rent, but as a homeowner, you’re on the hook for everything. If your washing machine breaks down, you can’t call a landlord to come and fix it, you’re responsible for the repairs and the repair bill. If your roof leaks in the winter, it’s up to you to get it fixed and shovel the roof. These are all typical growing pains that come with owning a house. The obvious benefit of owning over renting is that you’re putting equity in something, and depending on your market, you could stand to earn more in the value of your home as time goes on. It’s important to note that most mortgages are less expensive than monthly rents, so the extra money you’re saving can go to cover unforeseen expenses.

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a home for the first time. Making sure you have an experienced broker to walk you through the process, and answer any questions you have, can be crucial. Find someone you trust, both to find you the perfect home, and to help you close the deal. Consider our brokers at Duke Warner Realty to help you find your dream home!

 

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Duke Trend Report for Bend and Redmond for August 2018

In August, we saw some of the highest numbers of active inventory in the Central Oregon Real Estate Market that we’ve seen in a while. This tells us that we can expect to see more market activity before we head into the colder, winter months. We head into Fall with the high numbers of active listings from August, as well as a steady number of new homes on the market.

Inventory         

The number of active listings grew from 522 in June, to 547 in July and grew even more to 634 in August. With the highest number of inventory Bend Oregon Realtors have seen in months, now is the time for buyers to find exactly what they want. While it seems that there are many properties to choose from, Bend Oregon Realtors are seeing lots of properties sell before even hitting the market. Most properties that go into pending sale have typically been on the market for less than two weeks.

The inventory of August was very similar to the inventory in August of 2017. August and the beginning of September has the highest active inventory we’ve seen all year. August showed fewer price reductions than in July whereas properties spent about the same amount of days on the market for both July and August.

It’s still important for home sellers to keep their pricing competitive. If choosing between your property and another that’s similar, buyers will choose the property that’s more competitively priced. Be sure to talk about your listing price with your Bend Realtor and be sure that it’s appropriate for the market.

Sold and Pending Listings stay consistent

The number of pending and sold listings increased in August, from July’s numbers, which is another way to see how busy the market is as we head into Fall. Staying consistent from June and July, pending listings rose from 240 in July to 257 in August, for the Bend market. In Redmond, we saw the number of pending homes at 100 in July and then increase to 110 in August. Sold listings in Redmond grew from 78 in July to 101 in the month of August. In the Bend market, we saw pending sales at 240 in July and 257 in August. Buyers still aren’t slowing down, and they’re taking advantage of the high number of listings to choose from.

Heading into Fall

As we head into the relief of cooler days (and hopefully less smoke in Central Oregon) we still expect to see a highly active market. With the high number of active listings, and the consistent sales numbers, we expect buyers to continue to find what they’re looking for. Get out and see what’s available for your budget, especially with price reductions at a seasonal high and low-interest rates.

Call your Bend Realtor and schedule an appointment if you’re interested in looking at properties. Duke Warner is available to help you buy the perfect home, or get a home listed. Visit us today at dukewarner.com, check out our Facebook page, or call us at (541) 382-8262.

 

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Staying Organized During the Search

Fall and winter house shopping can be fun but also a very stressful time. It’s a very exciting time, looking at options for your potential future home. There are a lot of moving parts to house hunting, lots of paperwork to keep track of, finding the right agent or broker, getting pre-approved, finding properties within your budget, appraisals, etc. Here are some tips for keeping your house hunt as organized as possible.

Keeping House Options Organized

Touring all the open houses and available properties can get confusing and overwhelming. Properties can blend together in your mind and trying to keep important features of a home straight can also start to blur. Before you start your official hunt, it would be wise to sit down and list out all of the features you want in a home. It can be easy to visit a house and say this is perfect and forget that you’re missing out on key features that you really wanted in the first place. Take into consideration what all of the members of your family want in a home, backyard for the kids or pets, dual sinks in the master bath – whatever it is, list it out. Then narrow the list down to a top three to five. When you visit a property, compare it to your list of wants and needs. Make sure your broker knows what your top wants and needs are, so they can be sure to show you properties that align with your list. It can also help to make a comparison chart. Listing out what you want and comparing it with properties you’ve seen can help you stay on track. It can also help you keep track of properties you’ve seen, if you keep a running list or chart, and prevent them from running together.

Touring the Homes Available

It can be helpful to walk through a home more than once. Enjoy walking through the home the first time, take in the feel of the layout. Try not to get swept up in exciting features or other distracting things. On your second time through, using a slightly harsher lens, consider your list of desired features and think about if this home really has what you are looking for. It’s important to keep these things in mind, and not get swept up in dazzling features. It’s also important to note, that your first impression of the house, on your first walkthrough, can be the best indicator. Notice if it has what you’re looking for, but if your gut says no when you’re walking through a home, listen to that internal alarm. Even if this home has all the things on your desired list. Asking to take photos of a home that you like is never a bad idea. It may remind you why you liked the home in the first place. Taking a moment to visualize how you would use the space in the home to make it yours can also be helpful.

Keep Track of Each Home You Visit

Keeping track of the homes you liked and homes that you didn’t can make your house hunt less stressful. Keep in mind features that are deal breakers, things you want, and things you don’t. Consider the different neighborhoods the homes are in and decide which one fits for you and/or your family. Communication with your broker is key as well. Keep them in the loop as to what you like and what you didn’t. If they have all the tools they need from you, they should be able to produce a wonderful list of properties for you to look at. Don’t save any info on the houses that are definite no’s, that way you don’t add those properties to the possibilities list.

Some of the most important tips are to take your time, consider all the options and really try to imagine your own belongings and routines in each home that you are considering. Staying organized and deliberate will help you make your final decision and you will be happy with that final choice because you’ll know you’ve considered everything.

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Summer Is in Full Swing; August Real Estate Forecast

As we enjoy the height of summer, with great weather and bustling community activities, we are seeing the real estate market reflect the high season for home buying and selling. July proved to be a busy month, showing more active listings than in June. We saw 522 active listings in June and July turned out 547. For buyers and sellers, the market is ripe and everchanging, with a great inventory to choose from. We also saw great numbers of new homes on the market, although a slight decrease from June, the numbers were steady.

Inventory

Summertime is always a great time to buy or sell and right now, real estate in Central Oregon offers a nice variety to choose from. The largest inventory of homes available in July was in the $325,100-$425,000 range, showing 166 active listings.

Pending Sales

We saw a slight decrease in pending sales in July, showing 240 pending sales, where we saw 256 in June. We are seeing consistent pending and sold listings as we move through summer and slight changes are typical this time of year. Buyers are still responding to the market and grabbing the homes that are available.

Price Reductions

In June, there were 184 listing reductions and July presented 230 reduced listings. The increase in price reductions offers a larger variety to choose from, which is why we saw an increase in the $325,100-$425,000 range. We might see this number increase even more as summer winds down and fall trends move in.

Duke Warner

As you enjoy the last month of summertime, keep us in mind if you are in the market to buy or sell a property. Call any of our brokers at Duke Warner Realty at 541-382-8262 or visit us at dukewarner.com. You can also browse our Facebook page or stop in for a visit!

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6 Rules to Successfully Invest in Real Estate

More and more people are interested in investing in real estate these days. Some may see this as an opportunity to make a career change that they can be passionate about, and there are also some people who turn to real estate investment as another way to diversify their portfolios. Then there are people who want to get into real estate investments to bring in a secondary income. If you are interested in successfully investing in real estate, consider these 6 rules so you can make the smart real estate choices that best fit your needs.

Get Help

Getting guidance from other real estate investors and professionals will allow you to tap their knowledge and experience so you answer the door when the real estate opportunity knocks. It helps you be better prepared to make the right investments. Do remember to exercise caution when selecting help, as there are people out there claiming to be successful investors who simply make their money from the books and classes that they get people to sign up to as you walk away no more knowledgeable than when you first began.

Know What You Want

There are so many investment opportunities in real estate that it can almost feel overwhelming. Do you want to invest in single-family homes, luxury properties, commercial real estate, or rental properties? Do you plan to instantly flip and resale property, or hold on to it for some time? Research about the types of real estate investments that appeal to you, then make a plan of action on how you want to achieve your set goals.

Decide Your Own Path

It’s easy to see a successful real estate investor and think that you will do the exact same thing they did to become wealthy. It’s possible you put in the same amount of time and investments yet see less than stellar results. Something you should keep in mind is that this real estate investor wasn’t afraid to go out and do their own thing, recognize and overcome the challenges, and persevere to reach such success. Remember it will be your hard work, research, decisions, and investments that will make your investments a success. Staying the course is a huge benefit because things in the market can change rapidly. Connecting with a local broker can also help because they might be able to offer market trend insights.

Remember to Re-Invest

Most successful investors don’t just use their money to pay for their yacht gas after they hit the big deals. Successful investors understand the importance of re-investing what they earned to bring in more profits in the future. They realize it’s a cycle of re-investing. It’s great to celebrate the huge deals yet spend the money wisely and within your current means. Always take a portion of the money to move on to bigger and better investment deals so you can have a larger bank account.

Prepare for Risks and Losses

You could do everything right with your real estate investments and then suddenly the market tanks, sending you into a spiral of losses that can be hard to recover from to get back on your financial feet. Consider the risks and prepare for the worst to protect your portfolio investments so you don’t see your earnings take a significant nosedive. This can be challenging, even for a seasoned investor, so prepare as best you can and try not to get too discouraged when the losses happen.

Pull the Trigger, Act!

Some people will research and study the market looking for the right time to invest. They will sit idle while claiming they need more experience and knowledge. While it is fine to learn all that you can with real estate investing before making the plunge, don’t psych yourself out from making that first move. Eventually, you must commit your money and time, or you will continually be second-guessing yourself as great opportunities pass by. Even if you stumble the first few times, you can learn from the experience to become a better real estate investor.

 

 

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Ways to Getting to Know Your New Neighborhood

Relocating to a new neighborhood can be an exciting time for everyone. There is so much to explore in the neighborhood as you want to find local shops, entertainment venues, parks, and other exciting places. In addition, it is also time to get friendly and know the neighbors. Yet how do you break through the proverbial ice and introduce yourself without knocking on everyone’s door? Here are a few ways to get to know your neighborhood and be friendly with the neighbors.

Hold a Yard Sale

If you didn’t get a chance to clear out the old things that you no longer needed or wanted before the move, which happens often with people who live in an apartment building and are moving into their first home, you can hold a yard sale at the new place. Your stuff can find a great new home while you are meeting the neighbors who are grateful to take the things off your hands.

Have an Open House Party

An open house party is a way to allow others to enjoy a great event on their terms as they can come and go as they please. The party is usually held for six hours as you can offer a range of different food and entertainment. You may want to also have a theme for your open house party, like a pool party, barbecue party or meet and greet.

Do Bake Sales for Local Charities

Another great way to gain friends in the neighborhood while doing some good for the community is to hold a bake sale. The proceeds from the sale can go to a local charity to strengthen and grow community ties.

Volunteer

Volunteering your time will allow you to learn about your neighbor’s interest and find people who like the same things that you do. There are many ways to be a volunteer. You can work at charity events, chaperone school or club activities, or get involved in organizations that help preserve the community through tree planting, lot cleanup, and keep parks tidy.

Organize a Block Party

One way to meet all the neighbors at once is to organize a block party. Make sure to follow all local codes and regulations for the outdoor event, such as obtaining a permit, while arranging for food, music, and entertainment. Decide on a location and time to hold the party, then delegate who will be in charge of certain aspects of it. You can have a theme for the party, or just make it a general gathering for everyone.

Meeting the neighbors doesn’t have to be a stiff or formal affair. Instead, there are many ways to learn about the neighborhood and become friends with your neighbors. Use the above ideas that best fit into your schedule, budget and comfort level so you can make the new neighborhood feel like a welcoming home.

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Summer is here; June Real Estate Forecast

Summer is the time of year when the real estate market in Central Oregon really takes off. Buyers and sellers alike should pay attention to the market, learn how higher inventory on the market can affect real estate decisions, both listing and buying. As active listings have increased from April to May and now into June, we see an increase in reduced pricing as well as an increase in pending sales.

Inventory
Over the past couple of months, there has been a 25% increase in active listings. In June the number of listings soared to 522 from 416 in May. This is expected, as the late spring and early summer months is the time when the real estate market really takes off in Central Oregon.

With summer typically being the most active time for real estate activity, we do expect to see this trend to continue throughout the summer, along with more sold listings and pending sales.

Pending Sales

When there is a drop in the number of pending sales, it usually means that buyers are getting more cautious and spending more time considering their options, before purchasing. With the consistent pending sales from April to June, it shows that buyers are responding to the market and sealing the deal once they’ve done their research and compared pricing. In April we saw 78 home prices reduced, in May there were 129 and in June we saw 184 homes reduced. This shows the competitiveness in pricing and helps sellers decide how to initially list their home on the market.

More Sold Listings

The number of sold listings stayed somewhat consistent in April (190) and in May (223), and the number has climbed in June (260). The numbers show us that summer is here, and the time to buy is now. With plenty of available listings on the market, there’s bound to be a home that suits your needs.

Typically, when there’s a wide inventory of properties, sellers must consider a more competitive pricing for their listing. When buyers are looking for the perfect home, they might be able to find generally comparable homes at different price points. If you are a seller, now is the perfect time to talk to your Bend real estate broker, and make sure your home is priced competitively enough to sell. An effective way to know if your pricing is competitively priced in your neighborhood is to check out the homes that have sold and see what the final sale numbers looked like. Getting the help of a broker will ensure that your pricing is where it should be. Making your home sale a competitive price will guarantee you more views and ultimately, a sale if priced right. Taking the time to review the trends in your area, compare pricing in comparable homes that have sold and discussing your selling intentions with a broker can help you sell your home quickly in a competitive market.

Absorption Rate

In years past, we’ve seen an increase from May to June, in more new listings, however this year the new listings fell from May to June. Our average inventory levels have diminished for the past ten years and in the last three months, we’ve seen the absorption rate increase, which makes it feel like there are fewer options than in the previous months. Summertime has historically brought an increase in new listings, so this summer is presenting a changeup that puts a higher demand on the pool of new listings.

Duke Warner and the Perfect Home

Spring and Summer is the busiest time of the year for real estate in Central Oregon. If you’re looking for a new property, or want to get your home listed, Duke Warner Realty is ready to help. Visit us today at dukewarner.com, browse our Facebook page, call us at (541) 382-8262 or stop in for a visit, we would love to sell your home!

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One-Story or Two-Story Home? Understanding the Benefits

When purchasing a home, there are many house styles to select from, including Victorian, Colonial, ranch, cottage, Spanish revival or bungalow, just to name a few. The style of the house dictates the architectural look of the building as well as the floor plan. You often see ranch, cottage and bungalow homes as one story places, while Victorian, Colonial and Spanish revival homes have two stories.

So which type of house should you get: a one-story or two-story place? Let’s take a look at the benefits of each floor plan so you can decide on which one would be better for your needs.

One-Story Home Benefits

Easier to navigate

Perhaps the biggest benefit to a one-story home is that all the rooms are at the same level. There are no stairs to navigate, which is great for seniors, toddlers and people with disabilities. If you plan to purchase a home where you will age in, take into consideration your future medical and mobility needs.

Simple to maintain

With everything located closer to ground level, maintenance such as painting the siding, washing the windows and making repairs are simpler as you don’t need to be up high on long ladders to reach upper floors. Maintaining mechanical systems such as ductwork, electrical and plumbing may also be easier as you don’t have to run lines going up walls to reach higher levels in the house.

Faster to leave during emergencies

In case of fire or an earthquake, it is easier to exit out windows if the door is blocked since they are at ground-floor level. So long as the window isn’t blocked by obstacles or plants outside, everyone should be able to exit and meet at a designated safe location.

Two-Story Home Benefits

Better Privacy

Bedrooms are usually located on second floors, so you don’t have to worry about anyone walking along the sidewalk and looking into a bedroom while you are changing your clothes. Another story can also be designed to keep private spaces more separate than public rooms, as people can sleep away from the hustle and bustle of living rooms, kitchens, and entertainment rooms that can get loud.

More Yard Space

Unlike a one-story house with all the rooms spread out over a lot, the rooms are stacked onto other floors. This setup can provide more yard space on smaller lots. Having a bigger yard space is ideal for families with children and for people who love outdoor living spaces.

Great Scenic Views

A two-story house allows you to look out over other homes in the neighborhood. So if you live in a location that has splendid scenic views of the mountain, ocean, forest or lake, you can see everything from second-floor windows without dealing with any impediments.

The right floor plan should fit into your present and future needs as well as lifestyle. Consider all the benefits and then reach out to us at Duke Warner Realty, we’d love to help pick the home that you most desire!

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May Real Estate Forecast Shows Strong Focus On Home Buying in Bend

Pricing in the Central Oregon real estate market is reaching record numbers, numbers we haven’t seen since the crash of the market. Pricing is growing each month, and several people are curious if we’re entering another housing bubble.

Housing bubbles are typically reached with faulty lending and speculation in the real estate market, amongst other things. The reason we know we’re not entering a bubble is that the housing prices in Central Oregon are being driven up by sheer demand and competitive pricing.

First Time Homebuyers

With a high number of first-time homebuyers, consisting of mostly millennials, affordable starter homes are selling quickly. Because we’re still experiencing a seller’s market, there aren’t as many available properties on the market, so when starter homes do become available, multiple offers are often received.

Given the low inventory, sellers are able to list their properties for higher prices. The market has sped up because of this. The time that properties are sitting on the market is decreasing. With offers being made quickly- properties are moving very fast.

Bend is a desirable place to live. Last summer we experienced lower than 1 percent vacancy in rental units, and our housing market is experiencing something similar to this at the moment. Typically, properties stay listed for a few months before a serious offer is made. This time has drastically decreased. The number of active available properties has stayed fairly consistent from spring, growing from 416 in April to 437 in May and June is 522.

Interest rates slowly rising

While pricing may be high, interest rates on mortgages are stable but slightly lifted from last summer. Average interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have increased to 4.41 from the all-time calendar low of 3.95 last summer. So even though pricing may be high, buyers are still feeling confident in the encouraging mortgage rates available, and offers are still being made in abundance.

National Real Estate Forecast

Nationally there has been a predicted rise in home prices of up to 4.9 percent. This figure doesn’t represent towns that are growing as rapidly as Bend. There’s a possibility that prices may increase in Bend, even more than the national average predicts.

If you’re looking to list a property in Central Oregon, or need help making a competitive offer, Duke Warner Realty is ready to help. Visit us today at dukewarner.com, browse our Facebook page, or call us at (541) 382-8262.

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Easy Summertime Lawn Care

After you’ve found your dream house, moved in and unpacked, you may want to turn your attention to the yard and your lawn. Living in the high desert can be tricky when it comes to upkeep and care for your lawn. A dry climate requires more watering and the heat can burn the grass if it isn’t properly cared for, so to combat the heat and stress of summer, lawns need the proper amount of fertilization and water to thrive. Keep in mind that an excess of water or fertilizer can be just as harmful to the grass and environment as an application of too little. Summertime lawn care may vary slightly based on soil type, but for the most part, the basics are straightforward. Mowing, watering, weeding and fertilizing are the four major topics of care that will help to make your lawn the perfect spot for outdoor parties, family BBQs, and other summertime fun activities. The following tips offer some easy summertime lawn care;

Keep your mower blade sharp and high:

Most grass varieties perform better with a higher mow. Tall grass grows deeper roots with those roots reaching moisture that is farther down in the soil. A clean cut is also important, so make sure you keep your mower blades sharp. A dull blade can shred grass, making it lose moisture and turning shredded tips brown in color. This can give the appearance that your lawn is dead, which is not the look you want for those summertime parties in your new neighborhood!

Don’t overwater and water in the morning:

Watering your lawn between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is the most efficient time. Less water is lost to evaporation in the morning hours and your lawn has time to dry off before nightfall. A lawn that stays wet during the night encourages disease. Most turfgrass varieties perform well with a half inch of water twice a week or one inch per week. Be sure to not water daily, this can kill your grass quickly!

Control weeds:

The best weed control is often keeping a healthy lawn and regular mowing. Summer annual weeds germinate from seeds and grow to maturity. These weeds typically germinate at the end of spring or the beginning of summer, die after the first frost, then reappear the following year. To stop weeds before they begin growing, you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent weeds such as crabgrass and other grassy weeds from germinating. Remember to always read and follow label instructions before applying any chemical to your lawn. Be sure to use pet and kid-friendly products if you have either, some of the products on the market can be extremely harmful to animals and humans.

If you are currently looking for a new home in Central Oregon and want to find the perfect place with a great lawn, the brokers at Duke Warner Realty can help you find the perfect place to call your own!