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How to Decorate for the Holidays, When Your Home is for Sale

When the Holiday season arrives, it can be hard to wait to decorate. Some of us have decorations up right after Halloween, and some wait until after Thanksgiving. If you are one such individual, it can be hard to tone down your holiday decorations, if your home is for sale. It’s important to consider what potential buyers might want to see, so sometimes it’s best to keep the decorations to a minimum. Here are our tips for keeping it festive, but showing appropriate this holiday season.

Holiday Lights

It’s a joy to drive through local neighborhoods this time of year and see that various styles of lighting people put up. If your house is the brightest one on the block, you might want to reconsider how festive you are this year. When you’re trying to sell your home, a ton of decoration might take away from how great your property is in the first place. Prospective buyers might also be critical of how lights are hung and displayed. Did you put decorations and lights up with nails, staples, easy-to-remove hooks, or more?

Front Yard

It can be fun to find light up or blow up decorations, but if you’re trying to sell your home, it might be best to hold off this year on those. It’s important to remember that when someone shows up for a viewing of your home, the front yard is the first thing they see. If all they notice is the bright decorations, they might miss the character of your property, or the cute front porch. Too many decorations can distract from the great features of the property, so try to keep them to a minimum.

Holiday Decorations

It’s always cozy to spend time in a home that’s decorated for the holidays, but inside you want to follow the trend from outside. Keep your decorating to a minimum. You want potential buyers to see the space, and be able to envision it as their own. So if lots of decorations are distracting them, they might miss out on the great features inside.

Try to keep your decorations tasteful and simple. People will appreciate the effort, while they’re able to take in what your property offers. Keep it simple with scented candles, and a few holiday figurines. Try to limit covering every counter-top and mantle and banister in decorations. It can make the inside of your home seem cluttered, and therefore smaller. If you’re looking for decorating ideas, use fresh plants, or seasonal fruit, like oranges and pomegranates, to add a simple festive feel to your home.

If you’re looking for advice on how much is too much, call your Bend Realtor and ask. Chances are they know what buyers are looking for, and what they aren’t. It’s the holidays, so be festive, just don’t clutter your house or front yard, and detract from what your property has to offer.

 

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First Time Home Buyers: What to Look for and What to Ignore

First time home buyers: What to look for and what to ignore

When shopping for your first home it can be hard to narrow down what you want, and stick to a list of needs. It’s easy to get distracted by staging or design work, or location, and miss great attributes or glaring problems to a future home. While house hunting it’s important to make a list of what you absolutely need in a home, and some things that you’d want in a home. You need to know what your deal breakers are before you go out hunting. Here’s a list of what to look for in a property and what you should over look.

Staging

Don’t get distracted by the staging. It’s meant to make the home look appealing to you. Try not to focus on cosmetic or topical design elements, but focus more on the structure of the home. There could be a particularly tricky room, that a stager has laid out flawlessly, but you may not possess the same furniture or design elements. Ask yourself what you could really do with that room. These staging accessories are designed to appeal to you, they can sometimes trick you into liking a property that otherwise wouldn’t appeal to you.

Good staging can help you see the potential that the home has, but be sure to ask yourself if it’s the home you love and not the furniture or design in it.

Location

You may want to find houses within a certain neighborhood or area. Maybe it has the best schools or is the most walk-able to downtown. Whatever the reason, don’t let your desire to live in this area overshadow what you’re looking for in a home. You may find a cute home in the neighborhood that you love but it could be 1-2 bedrooms or bathrooms short of what you’re looking for. If it’s a popular neighborhood, you could be priced out of what you’re looking for too. You need to decide if paying more for a smaller home is worth it to you, even if it’s in the neighborhood that you desire.

Cosmetic Changes

Even though a home may appear less attractive than you’re looking for, it’s important to consider what features are cosmetic to a home and which aren’t. For example, you may hate the external paint color, but paint colors are always things you can fix about a home. Minor adjustments can always be made, whether it’s a tiny kitchen or bathroom renovation, etc. Know what can be changed later and what’s important to focus on now. Making a layout more open by knocking down walls, is an expensive change to a home. It may be more financially smart to find a home with an existing open layout.

 

 

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Homeowner Associations: What Are They?

When it comes to looking for properties in neighborhoods sometimes this key thing can be overlooked. It’s not uncommon for homes to be within an HOA. Homeowners associations are designed to help maintain individual property values, in a development or neighborhood. If you buy a home within a neighborhood with an HOA, typically the membership is required. There are both pros and cons to living within an HOA, and our Bend Oregon Real Estate Agents are here to explain why.

Downsides

If you prefer not to be told what to do with your property, an HOA might not be for you. While HOA rules are designed to keep all homes up to a certain standard, it can sometimes be a deal breaker for home buyers. HOA’s can limit parking availability on the street, they can require specific landscaping or limit the number of colors you can paint your house. HOA’s aren’t designed to be controlling to the homeowner, but they can seem that way to some buyers.

If you run a business out of your home, it’s important to check with any potential HOA’s to make sure that it’s accepted. Some HOA’s have strict rules that do not allow businesses to be run from within a home. It’s always important to check with your  Duke Warner Bend Realtor on any HOA regulations on potential properties. No HOA is the same, and it’s important to know before you buy.

The simple fee of living within an HOA can be a deciding factor for some. It depends on the HOA and neighborhood, but fees can vary widely, and be charged monthly or yearly. The goal of an HOA is to keep your neighborhood looking like it’s taken care of and a nice place to live, which in turn helps your property value. It’s important to weigh the cost of the HOA vs. the potential loss of property value from a less maintained area.

Perks

There are many benefits to living within an HOA. The biggest is that the overall appearance of the neighborhood will be better. Higher standards are set for the properties within an HOA. Lawns must be mowed, painted, and taken care of. HOA’s can be formed by the developer of a neighborhood or development, and then run by a board of directors, until a board of residents takes over. HOA’s can also be run by a management company, so no residents are responsible for the meetings or mandates.

One of the biggest benefits of living within an HOA is that there are always proper and polite avenues for things to be dealt with. If you’re having an issue with a neighbor’s yard or a barking dog, it’s easier to notify the HOA and have them handle the situation.

HOAs

It depends on what a buyer is looking for in a property, and whether or not the buyer wants to consider HOAs. Your Bend Oregon Real Estate Agents can find properties that best fit your needs. If you’re looking for a higher standard of living try looking in an HOA, and if you want the freedom to do what you wish with your home, it’s best to look outside one. Give us a call and find out about local HOAs today, and see what fits your budget and your needs. Our office number is 541-382-8262 or you can send us an email at info@dukewarner.com.

 

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Selling Your Home: What Happens After I Accept an Offer?

Any homebuyer knows that buying a home is a process that involves many steps. For first time homebuyers or sellers, these steps can seem overwhelming and often intimidating. We understand the process and want to help you navigate the details. Our Duke Warner brokers have decades of experience, selling and buying properties, and anytime you have questions, we are available to help. The following tips can help in the process;

Home Inspection

Once you’ve accepted the offer, what happens next? The home inspection will be scheduled by the buyers, and this inspection will be done by a private home inspector. Typically, the home inspection is conducted 7 business days after the offer has been accepted. From there, the normal timeline for a buyer response is between 48-72 hours after they’ve received the home inspection report.

Repairs

The next step depends on the buyer’s response to the home inspection. If the report dictates that the home is in good condition and doesn’t need any repairs, the seller isn’t responsible to do anything at this stage. If the inspection report calls out specific repairs, then the buyer and the seller will begin negotiations based on the situations of the repairs. Once the negotiations conclude, the repairs are made. Several options can be negotiated, including but not limited to the following scenarios;

  • The buyer asks the seller to do the repairs
  • The seller pays for the repairs and leaves the home price as is
  • The selling price can be dropped to accommodate the repairs costs
  • Both the seller and the buyer discuss the selling price and find a happy medium
  • The buyer decides to pull out of the sale
  • The seller decides to pull out of the purchase

Home Appraisal & Packing

The next step is the home appraisal. The buyer’s lender conducts this appraisal and it typically takes about two weeks to execute. Generally, this is a smooth process, unless there is an issue within the appraisal report. For the seller, the next step is to pack up the contents of the home and vacate the property. The real estate contract should have a specific date listed for the transfer date, where the keys will be handed over to the buyer. The seller can plan around that date, for initiating the packing.

Utilities Final Readings & Transfers of Name

As soon as the offer has been accepted and the real estate deal is final and closed, the buyer needs to get the utilities transferred into their name. The seller will need to contact the city water department and ask for a final reading of the water meter five days before the closing date, otherwise the escrow money will be held until the next water bill is issued. This is an important step that often gets lost in translation because it seems like a minor detail. However, once the deal is closed, the seller will be anxious to receive the money, and it’s unfortunate if it gets held up on a utility technicality.

Clear to Close

The final closing signing will depend on when the lender issues a clear to close letter. More often than not, if the lender is a bank, they will wait until the last possible minute to send the letter. It usually comes one to two days before the closing date. Once the letter is received and the closing is scheduled, both the buyer and the seller will need to be available to sign closing documents. Both parties will need to bring their driver’s license to the signing. Conventional loans usually take a couple of months, so the closing date should be based on that timeline. The closing date are usually determined at the beginning of the contract negotiations.

Celebrate!

For buyers and sellers, this can be a wonderful experience. It’s an exciting time for everyone and with the right agents, the process can be executed with the proper organization and communication desired. At Duke Warner Realty, our brokers will share their experience, knowledge and excitement while they work for you. We know how to price properties according to the market trends and current housing competition. Give us a call or check us out online at www.dukewarner.com.

 

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Duke Warner Trend Report for September 2019

It’s official, Fall is here! The leaves are changing and there is a slight chill in the air. Central Oregon is as beautiful as ever and although the seasons are changing, the real estate trends are staying strong and steady. In our monthly Trend Reports, we offer valuable insights by reviewing last month’s activity, which can be a wonderful resource for any upcoming trends we might see as we finish out October and move into November.

October 1st Inventory and September Activity

With 525 active listings as of October 1st, the Bend market has a great selection of homes for those looking to buy. Both Bend and Redmond’s current listings have one-of-a-kind homes that won’t last long this Fall. Redmond’s active listings, as of October 1st, showed 215 homes overall. The numbers have stayed consistent all year and September numbers were no different. As we settle into Fall, we are seeing the combined active listings for Central Oregon at 740.

September numbers for the Redmond market show us 86 homes sold, 88 new homes on the market and 106 homes pending. The bulk of active homes on the market in Redmond were in the $325,100 -$425,000 price range, showing 73. The $225,000 – $325,000 had 63 active listings, the $425,000 – $525,000 range had 28 actives, and the $525,000 & up price range showed 42 active listings.

For Bend, the numbers in September continue to illustrate a thriving market. There were 13 active listings in the $225,000-$325,000 range, 125 in the $325,100-$425,000 range, 121 in the $425,100 -$525,000 range and 71 in the $525,100 – $625,000 price range. The $625,000 – $725,000 had 52 active listings, the $725,000 – $825,000 had 34 actives and the $825,000 – $925,000 showed 26 active homes listed. As you can see from our Market Trend Report, there were quite a few homes available in the higher price ranges as well, showing 103 homes in the $925,100 & up price range. For Central Oregon overall, there is a wide variety of homes to choose from, for potential buyers.

With a sturdy market, buyers often look for competitive pricing as they consider properties. If you are selling your home and trying to price your property, we encourage you to consult with your trusted Duke Warner Broker for seasoned, expert advice. Our brokers will share their experience, knowledge and excitement while they work for you. Our Duke brokers know how to price properties according to the market trends and current housing competition.

Sold and Pending Listings

Bend had 245 pending homes in August, and 227 in September. These numbers remain consistent and tell us both buyers and sellers are active and hungry. For sold listings, there were 252 in August and 212 in September. In Redmond, we saw 104 sold in August and 86 in September. As anticipated, we continue to see great numbers in the Bend and Redmond real estate market!

Looking Ahead          

Many of us know and value this special place we call home. Central Oregon is a beautiful place to live and no matter what stage of life you are in, there is something for everyone in the real estate market. As you consider your housing needs, start to plan and look ahead, whether you want to buy or sell a home, keep us in mind for your real estate ventures. Our professional brokers can offer great insights as you navigate your next home experience. Give us a call today and let us help you get started! We can be reached at 541.382.8262 or send us an email at info@dukewarner.com.

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Most Valuable Kinds of Property

When it comes to purchasing a home, it’s hard to keep track of everything you’re looking for. How many bedrooms you want, what kind of yard, what kind of property? Does it have good value? The later should be one of the questions you’re asking yourself when you buy. Does this property have value? We’re here to break down the properties that will hold their value in the current Central Oregon Real Estate Market. If you might be looking to sell in a few years, you’re going to want a property that gives you the best change at maintaining its value.

Condominiums

One of the most hands-off options to owning property is investing in a condo. Condos are a great option for first-time homebuyers, and they’re also great for people looking to downsize. One of the great benefits of condos is that they come with little or no land that requires upkeep. Most of the grounds of condos are taken care of by the community. You will mostly likely be required to contribute to a monthly cost, to take care of the grounds, but typically condo fees are less than neighborhood HOAs. Typically, condo fees include maintenance, insurance, elevator work, trash removal and sometimes snow removal.

Townhomes

A townhome can be difficult to define, but most consist of a narrow lot, or multilevel residence that is attached to another or other residences. When described it does sound like an apartment complex, but the deciding factor comes down to the ownership.

When you choose a townhome, you’re not responsible for as much land as you would be with a single-family residence. Townhomes are great starter homes, and the market has shown that these types of properties are great for first time home buyers. If you can buy a duplex, or two units together, some choose to rent half of it out, and use the rent to help pay the mortgage. This will eventually bring a return on your investment, when the mortgage is paid and the rent income accrues. Renting out half of a duplex does require more work, but the potential return on investment will make it worth it.

Single Family Homes

If you’re in the market for a starter home, but one with your own yard and your own lot, a single-family home is your best bet. Typically, these homes are smaller and easier to keep up with. There are no shared walls on these types of properties, so you have more freedom compared to townhomes and condos.

In most neighborhoods that you’ll find single family homes in, you will encounter HOAs, so you do need to do your research on them and be sure you can afford the fees, and live by the bylaws. HOAs have pros and cons, you won’t be able to do whatever you want with your property, as it will have to adhere to bylaws. But it also ensures that your neighbor won’t be able to paint their house a bright color, which could affect your resale value.

Weighing Your Options

When you’re looking at different properties, you need to consider how much work you’re willing to put into a home. If you want something with low maintenance, a condo might suit you best. If you want more space, but can’t afford the HOA fees on top of a mortgage, a single family home might not be best for you . Talk to your Bend Realtor, and see what sort of property they think is best for you.

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Negotiating After the Inspection

It can be a huge relief to finally make an offer or receive an offer on your listed home. Duke Warner Realtors know that even though it can feel like a big step in the home hunting process, nothing is over until it’s over. When money has changed hands, all paperwork has been signed and filed away, you can finally celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief.

One of the biggest steps to selling your home can be the home inspection. This can either help or hurt the price of your home, as some buyers use it as a negotiating point. If an inspection comes back with unexpected results, negotiating can become tricky, so we have some tips to help streamline the process and reduce your stress!

Houses Aren’t Perfect

If you’re expecting a perfect report back from the home inspector, you might be in for a rude awakening. No homes are perfect, and most inspections come back with minor fixes and notes. A good inspection will still include some changes.

Negotiating after an inspection can either be easy or one of the most stressful parts of buying or selling a home. The most important part of negotiating after an inspection, is to be prepared for a honest report. After that, you can only move forward with negotiations.

Be Prepared

If you want to be proactive about an inspection, you can do some prep work to save you a headache later. Be sure you take care of the issues in your home, that you already know exist. Fix that back deck or walkway, or missing tile in the shower. The best thing you can do with buyers is be honest. If you know your roof will need replacing in the next year, it might be best to be upfront with that information.

If you’re house hunting, you’ll want honest sellers, so why not be an honest seller yourself. If you take the time to fix things that could come up in a home inspection, you could be stopping problems before they’re even started. Some problems can cause more trouble than they’re worth, and could affect your selling price, simply because the fix was left for an inspector to find.

Buyers

No home inspection report is going to come back perfect. Inspections should be used for buyers to renegotiate for major things, like repairs to major systems in your home, like electrical or plumbing issues or roof or foundation issues.

Inspections shouldn’t be used by the buyer to get a better price on the property. The purpose of an inspection is to uncover major problems with a property. These defects could cause a buyer to reconsider the property, or renegotiate. Buyers and sellers should reach an agreement in most cases, with necessary items repaired before the sale is final. And sometimes the price is changed to account for the cost of certain repairs.

Cost Credits

If your inspection reveals something that the buyer is pushing to be fixed, there are things you can offer them. You can suggest a price reduction or a closing cost credit, rather than fix it yourself. A closing cost credit would credit the buyer the money it should cost for the repair. If a potential buyer wants repairs done, they may have opinions on the way the work gets done. It can save time and money to have the buyer do the work themselves, and hire who they prefer. This is why it can be best to credit them for the repairs in the price of your house, rather than fix it before the property is theirs.

 

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Interested in a Fixer Upper?

If you’ve ever day dreamed about fixing up a property and turning it into you dream home, it might be time to consider purchasing a “fixer-upper.” Perhaps you’ve wondered if doing it is a good idea or not? Talk to your Bend Oregon Realtor. We’re here to break down some of the reasons you should consider taking the plunge into overall heaven.

Great Deal

Reason one is that most run-down homes, in need of renovation are great deals. While most people look at them and say, it’s not worth the work, you’re different. If you’re willing to put the work in, and the time and money, you could stand to get a great deal on a property in need of a little love.

Just for You

If you’ve ever wanted to create a living space just for you, then fixing up a home is right up your alley. If you would ideally like to have everything done to your taste, but can’t afford to build a home from the ground up, it can be a better idea to renovate a home. While building a home costs much more than the purchase of a home, buying a fixer upper and adding in a renovation budget, often costs much less. It can also take far less time, and stress.

The other added benefit in making an out of date, run down or just older home, completely yours, is that you’re not starting from scratch. Rather than building a new home, you get to redesign an existing one. You get to choose how to preserve the character or history of the existing fixer upper. You never know what you’re going to find behind the drywall, perhaps original brick? Maybe you’ll find old wooden doors, that just need a little TLC before being incorporated back into the design of the home.

Be realistic

It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself while considering a project like this. While you may think you can do it all on your own, it’s highly unlikely that you can or are even legally allowed to. Some projects involving plumbing, electricity, etc. will need licensed professionals to do the work. So it’s important to consider your renovation budget, and factor in what it will cost to pay contractors to do the rest.

Take Away

Talk to your Bend Oregon Realtor, about any potential properties ready for renovation or flipping. They might just have the perfect place for you. A home that’s a little run down, but in a great location, could prove to be your dream home after a little work.

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Oregon Getaways for the Weekend

A perk of living in Bend is its easy access to a gamut of getaway locations that range from Portland and its quirky atmosphere to Ashland and its oenophilic culture. And while Bend may be a vacation hot spot itself, every person needs a change of pace, no matter how in love they are with their Central Oregon home. Using the guide below, find your next weekend getaway within the comfortable confines of Oregon.

Ashland

World-famous for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Ashland has grown from a sleepy community in the Rogue Valley to a flourishing city drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. If you make the trip between the months of March and October, be sure to attend a production at one of the repertory theaters and grab a quick bite to eat at one of their premiere restaurants like Larks or Mezcal. If you have time to spare, also try and stop by one of the wineries tucked away in the hills around the city.

Sisters

In Sisters, you’ll feel like you entered a time capsule from the 1800s. With Wild West facades stretching throughout the main part of town, you’ll truly feel like a cowboy throughout your visit. With access to renowned outdoor destinations like Black Butte, Tam McArthur Rim and Suttle Lake, there’s an endless number of ways to fill your day with fun. When coming back from a hike, make sure to stop by the famous Sno Cap Drive In for a juicy double cheeseburger and delicious Oregon huckleberry milkshake.

Hood River

Sometimes regarded as the wind surfing capital of the West, Hood River has transformed into one of Oregon’s premiere destinations in the past decade. Countless restaurants and boutiques fill the streets in downtown Hood River, all overlooking the beautiful Columbia River below. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend apple picking or adrenaline-flooded weekend of windsurfing or paddle boarding on the river, Hood River caters to anyone looking to escape the monotony of their everyday routine.

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Duke Warner Trend Report for August 2019

With Back-to-School activities and the slight shift in weather, it’s starting to look a lot like Fall in our part of the state. In Central Oregon, the active listings remained steady during the month of August. Both Bend and Redmond markets continue to provide great options for potential home buyers. Our market trend report offers valuable insight into last month’s activity and is also a great resource for any upcoming trends we hope to see during the remainder of the month and into October.

September 1st Inventory and August Activity

With 545 active listings as of September 1st, the Bend market has a bounty of wonderful homes for those looking to invest. Both Bend and Redmond’s current listings have one-of-a-kind homes that won’t last long this season. Redmond’s active listings, as of September 1st, showed 211 homes overall. The numbers stayed consistent and encouraging all summer long. As we dive into Fall, we are seeing the combined active listings for Central Oregon at 756.

August was a busy month for the Redmond market, showing 104 homes sold, 128 new homes on the market and 109 homes pending. The bulk of active homes on the market in Redmond were in the $325,100 -$425,000 price range, showing 70. The $225,000 – $325,000 had 47 active listings and the $525,000 & up price range showed 38 active listings.

For Bend, the numbers in August continued to illustrate a thriving and steady market. There were 11 active listings in the $225,000-$325,000 range, 115 in the $325,100-$425,000 range, 120 in the $425,100-$525,000 range and 68 in the $525,100-$625,000 price range. As you can see from our Market Trend Report, there were quite a few homes available in the higher price ranges as well, showing 100 active homes in the $925,100 & up price range.

In this kind of steadfast market, buyers look for competitive pricing as they consider properties. If you are selling your home and trying to price your property, we encourage you to consult with your trusted Duke Warner Broker for seasoned, expert advice. Our brokers will share their experience, knowledge and excitement while they work for you. Duke brokers know how to price properties according to the market trends and current housing competition. At Duke Warner Realty, we can help you plan, sort out the details and get you started on your home buying or selling journey.

Sold and Pending Listings

Bend had 280 pending homes in July, and 245 in August. These numbers remain consistent and tell us buyers and sellers alike are on the move. For sold listings, there were 243 in July and 252 in August. In Redmond, we saw 100 sold listings in July, and 104 in August. As expected, we continue to see great numbers in the Central Oregon real estate market!

Looking Ahead                

As many of us know and appreciate, Central Oregon is a special place to live. Both Bend and Redmond markets are active and full of options for buyers in all price ranges. As you consider your housing needs, start to plan and look ahead, whether you want to buy or sell a home, keep us in mind for your real estate ventures. Our professional brokers can offer great insights as you navigate your next home experience. Give us a call today and let us help you get started! We can be reached at 541.382.8262 or send us an email at info@dukewarner.com.