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Time for a Home Makeover?

How to get the most bang for your renovation buck.

If your house hasn’t been keeping up with the times lately or if you’re looking to upgrade a property and flip it for a tidy profit, it would help to know what today’s buyers are looking for. Well, while we can’t exactly offer you a crystal ball, we can suggest several sure-fire tips to prioritize your remodeling efforts.

When preparing to put your home on the market, you obviously need to start by examining the major structural and internal elements of the home – the roof, HVAC system, interior and exterior paint, etc. Once you’ve determined that these are in good shape, you can turn your focus to more exciting aspects about the house. Specifically, the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and living areas.

Let’s start with the kitchen, the place where everyone gathers. Think about all of the wonderful times you’ve spent preparing and sharing food, having a drink and catching up with family and friends. The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home, a fact that isn’t lost on buyers. It needs to sparkle with delightful finishes while remaining functional for the user. Consider using a mix of materials, such as wood, stone, tile, metal and painted surfaces. Balance organic, natural finishes with those that have a human-made feel. And since the kitchen is such a vital part of the house, try to create a design theme that can be extended and incorporated in the remainder of the home.

Speaking of which, as impressive as your deck, landscaping and entertainment center may be, they are not nearly as important as having a first-rate master suite. The bedroom, obviously, is where the day begins and ends. From the lighting to the space for the TV, creature comforts and convenience are everything. And of course, the master bathroom offers a daily reprieve from the chaos of life. It is a sanctuary where one can prepare for the day or relax afterward in the comfort of a soothing shower or a deep jetted tub. If you’ve already got the perfect shower or tub, then consider resurfacing the cabinets, replacing the countertops, or updating the sink(s) or a new toilet.

If you’re not quite sure where to begin, your first course of action should be to seek inspiration from open houses, design showrooms, or remodel TV shows and remodel websites. Not only will they show you how to catch potential buyers’ attention with trendy touches, but how to keep the palette toned down to appeal to a broad demographic over many years.

Some information provided by Abbie and Rick Sams.

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To Buy or Not to Buy

What Keeps Home Buyers on the Fence

From Ranch to Colonial, from Craftsman to Contemporary Treehouse Mansion, there are hundreds of types of home styles you can live in. But when you come right down to it, there are only two types of buyers:  those who are decisive and ready to make an offer as soon as they see what they want; and those who are wishy-washy and hesitant to make an offer, even when they seem to have found their perfect home.

For folks in the latter category, the delay in pulling the trigger can be caused by multiple factors, including anxiety over market conditions, fear of missing out on a better property, or concerns of over-paying. Employment and economic concerns frequently add another layer of worry and uncertainty in the housing market, potentially creating “paralysis by analysis.” These concerns are completely understandable, as buying a home is most likely the largest purchase that most people will ever make. However, there are a several significant reasons why he and she who hesitate should hop off the fence and stop waiting for an opportunity that might never come again.

  1. Mortgage interest rates are hovering at record lows, which boosts a person’s buying power. Buyers are often surprised with how much more they can afford due to the lower monthly payments from the lower interest rates.
  2. Home prices continue to escalate almost everywhere, almost every month (certainly in Central Oregon). Clients who hesitate are continually being priced out of their desired cities or neighborhoods. No one wants to overpay on a property, but if a home is in an ideal location and checks all of the family’s boxes, it’s important to consider that real estate has proven to appreciate significantly over time in Central Oregon.
  3. The housing market has more than rebounded from the crisis of 2008 and despite uncertainties in the economy this year, prices continue to climb. This can be directly attributed to the desirability and relative affordability of the area. Bend and the Central Oregon area is on everyone’s radar from all over the country, and there continues to be a surge of new residents relocating to the area with no signs of a slowdown. Prices may seem high to some, but for those moving from metropolitan areas, this is an affordable price to pay to live in a dreamlike location.

Overall, it’s reasonable to be cautious when buying. Most hesitant buyers are hopeful that home prices will drop and that better deals are ahead—but realistically, both home prices and interest rates are more likely to go up than down. It’s never a good idea to make a hasty decision So gather all possible information, assess your personal situation and if a purchase is in your near future, get prepared to make that move sooner rather than later.

Some information provided by Abbie and Rick Sams.

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U.S. Home Ownership Rate Rises to Highest Point in Eight Years

The great American dream of home ownership is alive and well. The latest results of the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau shows how Americans place immense value in homeownership, and it is continuing to grow in the United States.

After declining to a 25-year low of 63.5% in 2016, the results indicate that the U.S. Homeownership rate increased to 65.3% for the first quarter of 2020, a level last seen in 2012.

With current social conditions, Homeownership will most likely reflect a whole new way of life that has puts a premium on spending time at home and having the security that comes that comes with having a safe place for our families to live. Add to that some of the most attractive home mortgage rates of all time, and it’s easy to see why the numbers should continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Yet they still have a long way to reach this century’s high point of 69.1% in late 2004

The Bottom Line

If you’re considering buying a home, there’s no better time to connect with a professional at Duke Warner Realty to set a plan that can help you get one step closer to achieving your dream.

Why is the rate increasing? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) explained:

“Strong owner household formation with around 2.7 million homeowners added in the first quarter has driven up the homeownership rate, especially under the decreasing mortgage interest rates and strong new home sales and existing home sales in the first two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy.”

The NAHB also emphasizes the year-over-year increase in each generational group:

“The homeownership rates among all age groups increased in the first quarter 2020. Households under 35, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains, with the homeownership rate up 1.9 percentage points from a year ago. Households ages 35-44 experienced a 1.2 percentage points gain, followed by the 55-64 age group (a 0.9 percentage point increase), the 45-54 age group (a 0.8 percentage point gain), and the 65+ group age (up by 0.2 percentage point).” (See chart below):


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Three Tips to Keep Your Home Clean and Healthy

As the month of March wears on, COVID-19 continues to tighten its grip on the world as more and more countries report their first cases of the novel virus. Drastic measures have been taken to slow its spread, from the cancellation of major sport seasons to hundreds of colleges shutting down, but new cases continue to pop up in the United States at an exponential speed. While the virus does not pose any major threats to the majority of the population, it’s vital that everyone takes certain precautions to prevent the disease’s spread. Consider the following suggestions to keep your home sanitary and your family healthy.

1.) Pull out the disinfectant wipes

One of the best ways to keep your home clean is to use disinfectant wipes — a lot of disinfectant wipes. Your hands touch hundreds of surfaces a day and spread germs between all of them, so the best way to keep those germs from spreading in your house is to routinely disinfect. Wiping down the surfaces in your home once or twice a day should normally be enough, but in the midst of a viral pandemic, it wouldn’t hurt to wipe everything down a little more often.

2.) Bleach the floors

Perhaps the only part of your body that collects more germs throughout the day than your hands is the bottom of your shoes. At the very least, you should stop wearing your shoes in the house if you haven’t already. From there, make sure to clean your floors with a mixture of bleach and water. If you’re cleaning hardwood floors, though, make sure to use vinegar instead of bleach so you don’t damage the flooring.

3.) Pour up some hydrogen peroxide

One of the most effective ways to kill rhinoviruses — or deactivate them since viruses aren’t technically alive — is to use hydrogen peroxide. Pour some of the liquid onto your bathroom or kitchen surfaces and let it sit for 15 minutes to maximize its effects. At the end of the 15 minutes, all you have to do is scrub down the area and rinse it with some water. 

By following these three tips, you will be able to keep your home clean and safe as a sanitary haven. Remember that following suggestions like these aren’t only important to prevent getting a disease yourself, but also to limit the spread to other people who might be more susceptible.


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Common Mistakes Made During a Home Remodel

A big complaint among homeowners during a remodel is the endless number of things you have to manage and stay on top of. In fact, the overwhelming stress can be so bad that there is a term coined for it: homeowner meltdown. Avoid the curse associated with home remodels and mitigate your stress by learning from the mistakes listed below. If you do, you might be able to escape your Central Oregon home’s remodel unscathed.

Forgetting Water-Resistant Floors

Time and time again, homeowners excitedly install new hardwood floors in their home but forget to consider the perils of water damage in the kitchen and bathroom. While hardwood is certainly the better alternative to carpet in a room where water is likely to spill onto the ground, it still presents its own number of challenges. Ensure that the flooring used in your Central Oregon home’s kitchen, bathroom or laundry room are all water-resistant in order to avoid any unnecessary future costs.

Eyeballing Measurements

This one may sound like common sense, but it’s a more prevalent issue that you might think. Eyeballing the dimensions of an area where a new appliance is to be installed is one way to ensure that an awkward gap is left next to the appliance. Even worse, an appliance can bump into cabinets or the wall if the dimensions of its total functionality isn’t taken into consideration. Take the time to find a measuring tape and map out exactly how a new appliance is going to fit in a space.

Disregarding Color Coordination

This mistake is especially heinous in the eyes of Central Oregon realtors because it is a mistake that doesn’t cost anything to avoid but can bring down your home’s value when you try to sell it. When picking out new paint, appliances and fixtures for your remodel, inspect their color in person and try your best to recreate the environment they will be in once incorporated into your home. Gold fixtures will never match a silver appliance, and even a brown coach might not match stained wood window shades if the shades of brown are too different from each other. By comparing colors of new additions to your home to each other in person and evaluating how the colors work together before purchasing, you will make sure that the remodel looks seamless by the time it’s done.

While it might take a little more time out of your day to avoid the mistakes listed above, the payoff makes it worth it. Your remodel won’t just look great, but you will save yourself loads of stress as well.