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Busting the Most Common Home-Selling Myths

Selling a home is no easy feat. In fact, it can easily become one of the most stressful experiences you will ever have to endure. So why are there so many myths and misleadings facts out there about how to best sell a home? In the era of “alternative facts,” it can be difficult to discern sound advice from shoddy suggestions, so the key is to have a foundational knowledge of what’s true and what isn’t. Below, we’ve listed the three most common myths to look out for when selling your next home.

You Must Sell in the Spring or Summer

Much like the undying myth that chewing gum takes seven years to digest, homeowners continue to think that homes can only be sold in warmer seasons. While it’s true that the spring and summer are optimal times to put your home on the market, failure isn’t inevitable if you sell during the fall or winter. In fact, there are some hidden benefits to selling your home in the fall and winter.

Competition can be stiff in the warmer months and it’s easy for your home to get lost in the dozens and dozens of listings that pop up in Central Oregon. If you sell your home in the fall or winter, there is less competition that allows your home more opportunity to shine and provides you with more negotiating power. Additionally, homebuyers are more willing to make a deal and close quickly in colder months, thereby reducing the amount of time your home sits on the market.

It’s Just Like Reality TV

Anyone that’s watched HGTV — or similar reality TV — knows how easy selling a home can be made to look. The entire process is cut down into an episode that’s 40 minutes or less and much of it is often scripted, so viewers aren’t provided a real look at the length or complexity of the selling process.

In reality, the selling process is much more than just a showing and a few phone calls. According to Zillow, the average American home sits on the market for 65 to 93 days, so things move much slower than portrayed in the media. Additionally, the closing process can sometimes even last more than a month. Speaking with a licensed real estate agent can circumvent this issue, as you can prepare a more realistic timeline of how events will play out.

It’s Cheaper to Sell Without an Agent

While it’s true that real estate agents come attached with commission fees, it’s misleading to think that they make the selling process more expensive. Real estate agents oversee a number of responsibilities, from legal negotiators to professional marketers, all which are best approached with experience. An assessment recently performed by the National Association of Realtors even found that the average FSBO home price was $185k while homes sold by realtors had an average prices of $245k. Commission fees may exist, but a quality real estate agent will more than make up for the cost with a higher selling price.

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A New Year’s Check-up for Your Home

In the spirit of making resolutions and starting the new year off with a bang, we thought a home maintenance list would fit right in. Whether you rent or own, this check list is a great place to start the year out right. It is also a great place to start if you are looking to sell your home this winter, as you will want to make sure everything is in working order before you list. Here in Central Oregon, winters are typically snowy, icy and cold. We’ve had a pretty mild season so far, but that doesn’t mean a storm isn’t right around the corner. Reviewing this list and updating some basics in your home, will help ensure a safe and warm rest of the winter. The following four suggestions will help keep your home safe year-round.

Check HVAC Systems

We rely heavily on our HVAC systems to keep our homes warm during the winter. It’s not very often that we will want to shut the entire system down, in fact, whether it’s summer or winter, most of us have our systems running all the time. Taking a few minutes to have your system inspected is worth the brief chill you might feel while the heat is turned off. Making sure to ask the specialist to inspect and clean the dryer vent is also very important and something they will routinely do. Every year, roughly 3,000 house fires in the US are attributed to dirty dryer vents. Avoid this and ensure you’ll be breathing clean filtered air by calling for an inspection today!

Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A great New Year’s home maintenance item is to change out the batteries in all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It makes it easy to remember if you do it at the beginning of each new year, and you are protecting your most important investment, you and your family. We have all experienced the annoying beep from a low battery in a smoke detector, and while it seems harmless to just remove the battery, a lot of times those batteries don’t get replaced. Order your batteries online, take an hour and walk through the house replacing each detector. It is worth the effort!

Inspect Your Deck & Railings

The extreme temperatures between summer and winter in Central Oregon can be hard on wood decking and railings. If your deck isn’t covered in snow, take a spin and review the wear and tear. Replacing part or all of the structure might be necessary for safety as well as aesthetic.

Clean Those Gutters

You may want to hire a professional for this task, depending on your level of comfort on a ladder. Some homes have easy access to the gutters and drainage systems, but others might be too high for someone to reach without proper ladders and harnesses. Packed gutters can lead to water damage, so get those pine needles and leaves cleared out before the next snow storm hits!

As you make your list of resolutions and goals for 2020, don’t forget to take care of your home to-do’s. Whether you plan to list your home or just start the year off right, you will rest easy knowing you’re safeguarding your most important contents in your home. From all of us at Duke Warner Realty, we wish you a Happy New Year!


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Duke Warner Trend Report for November 2019

Monthly Market Report Recap

Central Oregon is off and running with winter, and the end of the year is in sight. The real estate market is strong and steady, regardless of the ice, snow and chill we’ve come to expect during these cold months. With the holidays upon us, and snow on the ground, the real estate trends remain strong and encouraging. In our monthly Trend Reports, we offer valuable insights by reviewing last month’s market activity in a brief report. This information can be a wonderful resource for any upcoming trends we might see as we finish out December and head into the first month of next year.

December 1st Inventory and November Activity

With 363 active listings as of December 1st, the Bend market has a healthy selection of homes for those looking to buy. Both Bend and Redmond’s current listings boast numerous one-of-a-kind homes that won’t stick around for long. Redmond’s active listings, as of December 1st, showed 146 homes overall. The numbers have stayed consistent all year and the November numbers were no different. As we gear up for a long winter, we are seeing the combined active listings for Central Oregon at 509 homes.

November numbers for the Redmond market show us 87 homes sold, 62 new homes on the market and 72 homes pending. The bulk of active homes on the market in Redmond were in the $325,100 -$425,000 price range, showing 61. The $225,000 – $325,000 had 50 active listings, the $425,000 – $525,000 range had 28 actives, and the $525,000 & up price range showed 40 active listings.

For Bend, the numbers in November continued to illustrate a thriving market. There were 13 active listings in the $225,000-$325,000 range, 100 in the $325,100-$425,000 range, 90 in the $425,100 -$525,000 range and 50 in the $525,100 – $625,000 price range. The $625,000 – $725,000 had 41 active listings, the $725,000 – $825,000 had 28 actives and the $825,000 – $925,000 showed 29 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 82 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 231 pending homes in October, and 190 in November. These numbers remain consistent and tell us both buyers and sellers are active and hungry. For sold listings, there were 208 in October and 167 in November. In Redmond, we saw 85 sold in October and 87 in November. As history has proven, 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 are here to 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



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Toys for Tots, a Local Story

Every year, during the holidays, Duke Warner Realty supports a Nation-wide toy drive that was introduced to our community 11 years ago, with the help of a local Bend veteran, Mark Wirges. The Marine Corps league of Bend became a local community organization (LCO) for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program in 2008. Toys for Tots is a nationally recognized program that distributes toys to children in need, during the holidays. The program has been active since 1947, and in 1948, a year after the program began, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve adopted it and expanded it nationwide. Since it’s inception, Marines have collected and distributed over 548,000,000 toys to date.

Central Oregon

Here in Central Oregon, the local Toys for Tots program has been successful for over a decade, thanks to the dedication and hard work of Mark Wirges, Sr. and his team of “Elves.” The volunteers are a fine group of Bend residents who, for the most part, have been volunteers with Mark and his wife, Susie Wirges, from the start. Mr. and Mrs. Wirges were the Toys for Tots coordinators until 4 years ago when Jodie Shaffer took over and remains in the position today. There have been many local volunteers throughout the past decade and the list continues to grow as the program expands. Roger and Valerie Heegard, Roger and Bonnie Points, Tom and Martha Marple, Mike Bodell and Gary Teadtke are a few of the wonderful locals who make this program such a success. They spend countless hours collecting, organizing, and making sure every child receives at least two toys, along with stocking stuffers, every year.


The program relies on both individual community members and the support of local businesses. Without the generosity of the people who donate toys and cash, the program would not be possible. For the past two years, Blue Dog RV has graciously donated warehouse space, so Toys for Tots has a central location to store and organize all the toys and bikes while they coordinate the lists of children in need, coming in from local agencies. Because of their generosity, and the generosity of multiple storage companies in the past, it has alleviated the need for paid storage rentals, which is normally an expense Toys for Tots would incur each year. Saving money with free storage translates into more dollars being spent on the children’s toys, as well as eliminating the need to move the toys, so the volunteer staff celebrates this incredible opportunity businesses have afforded the program over the years.


The local Toys for Tots program isn’t limited to just Central Oregon. In the 11 years the program has been operating, it has expanded to reach far outside the Central Oregon area, covering towns in a multitude of Eastern Oregon communities. This year, children from Christmas Valley, Burns, Madras, Jefferson County, all the way to Wheeler, Lake and Harney Counties, will receive toys that have been collected in Madras, Prineville, Bend and Redmond. Donation boxes have been hosted in a multitude of businesses across Central Oregon since October and to date, Wirges estimates over 6,000 kids will receive gifts this year alone. And remember, each child receives at least two gifts, so that’s over 12,000 toys donated just this year! A very impressive number considering the operation is conducted by volunteers only. Every penny donated is used for the program, none of the “elves” or volunteers receive any monetary compensation for their time spent collecting, donating, campaigning, etc.

Toys for Tots is a thriving program that relies on continued support from community members and local businesses. Some of the larger local sponsors include but aren’t limited to; Les Schwab, Bi Mart, Walmart, Papa Murphy’s, Ace Hardware, Cascade Disposal, Merrill Lynch, Moonlight Mailing, Hertz, AG Edwards and of course, Duke Warner Realty. Without these gracious companies, Toys for Tots wouldn’t have the opportunity to make so many children happy this holiday season. And of course, we can’t forget to thank the man who helped grow this program at the local level, Mr. Wirges, our local version of Santa, or as his wife Susie calls him, “Central Oregon’s Top Shelf Elf.” He has a twinkle in his eye and a contagious laugh that makes even the grumpiest grinch break out in smiles. Our deepest respect and gratitude goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Wirges, Jodie Shaffer and the inspiring group of volunteers that work hard to bring joy to thousands of Oregonians each year.

There is still time, if you would like to donate a toy or make a monetary donation this season, please bring it to the box stationed in our lobby at Duke Warner Realty. If you have any questions or want to contact Jodie Shaffer about volunteering for Toys for Tots, please send your inquiry to


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How Much Do I Need to Make to Buy a House?

Purchasing a New Home? How to Figure Out the Salary You Need to Afford One

If you love Central Oregon, but don’t live here, you probably come here throughout the year to ski at Mt. Bachelor in the winter and swim in the Deschutes River during the summer. There are also many work and entertainment opportunities in Bend, Sunriver, La Pine, Sisters, Redmond and Prineville that relocating here in the near future is becoming a greater possibility. Is your salary enough to support finding the home of your dreams in Central Oregon? What factors should you take into consideration?

Home Affordability Relies on 3 Factors

You can’t just look at your salary and the home prices on the real estate market to figure out if you can afford to purchase a property. There are three factors that need to be analyzed to help you figure out the home price range that your salary can cover. You also want to have enough money left over so you can live within your means: housing payment ratio, mortgage payment ratio, and debt ratio.

Mortgage Payment Ratio

On average, you shouldn’t exceed your gross monthly salary by 28 percent when making your monthly mortgage payments. To figure out the maximum mortgage payment ratio, take your gross annual salary and divide this number by 12 months, then multiply this number by 0.28. For example, it you have a gross annual salary of $60,000, then your monthly gross salary is 5,000 (60,000 divide by 12) as your monthly mortgage payments are $1,400 (5,000 x 0.28).

Debt Ratio

You have to also take into account all the monthly and yearly debts, including your housing payments, to figure out your total debt payment ratio. You should include credit card payments, school loans, alimony, child support and car loans as debts. When you total up the number, your debt payments should be lower than 40 percent of your gross monthly salary.

Housing Payment Ratio

Your maximum housing payment ratio takes into account all your housing-related costs, such as home insurance, property taxes, association fees, and private mortgage insurance if you can’t put a down payment on the house that is larger than 20 percent of the home’s sales price. Your total housing payments per month should be lower than 32 percent of your monthly gross salary.

When looking at these three factors, you should not exceed these amounts when paying for a house or getting a mortgage loan. If you do, you may find yourself struggling financially to make all the necessary payments. Also, keep in mind that each mortgage company will have different qualification factors to figure out your debt-to-income ratio when you apply for a home mortgage. Basically, they are trying to figure out what existing debts you have to repay regularly and what debts you will be tacking on when buying your home. The mortgage company will then have a better understanding on whether you will repay your debts or end up defaulting on the mortgage loan.