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What to fix and what to leave when you sell

When you’re selling your home, it can be hard to determine what little fixes will give you the most value. It’s hard to look at upgrades and figure out which will be worth the investment when you’re selling your home. We’re here to break it down for you.

Appliances

While a buyer may have specific tastes in appliances, there’s nothing worse than walking into a home with old appliances. It might be worth your time to invest in new appliances, or it might not. This really depends upon the buyer’s preferences. If your appliances are looking run down or old, it might be best to spruce them up with stainless steel or paint, just so that they don’t detract from an otherwise structurally sound kitchen.

Wood Floors

Buyers love original wood floors now. If you have carpeting over wood floors, you might find that it’s well worth your time and money to have the hardwood floors brought back to life and featured in your home. If your floors are scratched and old, it might be time to update them. Again, this is entirely up to you and your budget, but there’s nothing quite like the selling point of “new hardwood flooring.”

Old Windows

While some old windows may add character, some might be letting in more of a draft than you realize. If you’re looking ahead at possibly selling your home in the future, this might be a great project for now. But if you’re selling your house soon, this is best left for future buyers, who will actually reap the lower utility costs of replacing old windows with new.

Cracked Tiles

While it’s just one cracked tile, and you know how it happened; something heavy fell, etc. a cracked tile might look bad to a potential buyer. This can be an easy fix, especially if you have extra tile from the original project on hand. Replace the tile and give the floor a seamless look, that won’t catch the buyers attention.

Take Away

Anything in your home that you think could be seen as a serious issue when selling should be fixed. Some things will be written into contracts when it goes time to sell, some things may be contingent upon an inspection. If it’s something small, and something that would deter you from considering a property, it’s probably best to fix it and move on. If it’s a big undertaking like replacing windows or appliances, it’s best to leave that for the buyers. If it’s something serious you’re leaving, be prepared to negotiate on it when it comes time to close. Talk to your Bend Realtor about what’s best before getting your home listed.

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Fall Staging Tips for Selling your Home

If your home or property is on the market this fall, there are somethings you can do to improve the results of your showings. There are some things potential buyers love to see, and some things that can be hurting your chances of selling. We’re here to make sure that out of the other homes for sale in Bend, Oregon, your home stands out. Here are some things you might want to consider before your next showing.

Fall Decorations

While it can seem homey and welcoming to put up fall or Halloween-themed decorations, it might not be the best idea if you’re showing your home. Too many decorations can take the focus off of your home, and the space prospective buyers should be considering.

Rather than put up Halloween decorations, try for something a little more understated. Bowls of seasonal fruit or squash, or fall flowers or foliage are the perfect substitute for skeletons and spider webs. Fresh flowers and plants around the house always make a space feel more warm and inviting.

Pop of color

Try livening up your space with a fresh coat of paint. Suggestions for fall include warm earth tones, like red, brown or muted orange.

If you’re not ready to commit to a painting project, try simply adding smaller pops of color to your space. Find new red-focused art, pillows or lamps to add to your home.

Another great way to add some color, is by adding blankets or throws to your space. This not only brightens up your space with color, but adds an even cozier feel to it with the comfort of warm blankets.

Light

With the shorter and darker days of fall approaching, it’s important to focus on the light in your home. You want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of all the light you can. Open up your blinds, to let in as much natural lighting as possible, and be sure to have lit lamps placed throughout your home.

In trending with light, and keeping things cozy, if you have a fireplace, now is the time to show it off. Orient your furniture around the fireplace, to make prospective buyers picture themselves surrounding the fire, warm at night. Try drawing attention to the fireplace with artwork on the mantle.

Curb Appeal

Don’t forget that first impressions matter, and that a buyers first glimpse of your home is most likely the front yard. Be sure to stay on top of fall yard maintenance, like raking leaves, and cleaning up garden beds.

Talk to your Bend Realtor about helpful tips for preparing to show your home. Always keep your home tidy and clean, so you’re prepared to show it at a moment’s notice, and your Bend Oregon Realtor will help find the perfect buyer for your home.

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What to ask your home inspector

If you’re getting a potential property inspected, it can be important to understand what your home inspector is looking for. It’s best to ask certain questions before the inspection takes place, so that you can be sure to know specifically what is getting looked at, and what isn’t. Communication before the inspection can be important, as the inspector and your Bend Oregon Realtor are going to give you information about this property that will influence your decision to purchase or not purchase this property.

What gets checked

If you have a better understanding of what exactly will be checked by a home inspector, before the inspection takes place, it could prevent future headaches or misunderstanding. Heading into the inspection itself, knowing what will be checked, ensures that you’ll leave the inspection satisfied.  Typically, inspectors look at everything from the roof to the foundation of the home, including everything in between.

It’s also important to know what isn’t getting checked in an inspection. An inspector can only do what’s called a visual inspection, so they can’t cut into walls, or the HVAC system for example. If the inspector has reason to believe there are problems with another system, they will often call in another specialist, like a roofer, HVAC person, electrician, etc. to do a more detailed inspection of the potentially problematic area.

Cost

Home inspections can cost anywhere from $600 to $300, but it can vary. It really depends on the market that the house is in, and how big the house is. It’s important to ask your inspector what the inspection will cost before the inspection is done. Most inspectors are paid on the day of the inspection, so it’s good to know what to expect.

Should you go?

Always ask your inspector if you can come along, before showing up at the inspection. Most inspectors will agree to this, as most want to have the prospective homebuyers at the inspection. It’s more beneficial to the inspector to be able to walk through the home with them, and explain everything that they’re noting, or concerned about.

Importance of an inspection

The findings of a home inspection can determine whether or not you still want to go through with the purchase of the home. Often times home inspections can be written into transactions, as the sale is dependent on a good inspection finding. If you have communication with the home inspector, it can save a headache after the inspection is completed. Inspectors are used to curious potential home buyers, so don’t be shy to ask any questions you have and go along on the inspection.

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August Real Estate Forecast shows an active market will continue into Fall

With one of the highest numbers of active inventory in the Central Oregon Real Estate Market we’ve seen all year, we can expect to see more market activity before we head into cooler months. While the market slowed down during the Eclipse and smoke from forest fires, we still had a highly active August.

Inventory         

The number of active listings grew from 442 in June, to 570 in July and grew even more to 638 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. The majority of properties go to pending sale have typically been on the market for less than two weeks.  Time doesn’t appear to be in buyers favor when it comes to looking for homes.

The inventory in August was much higher compared to August 2016. August and the beginning of September has the highest active inventory we’ve seen all year. August also featured more price reductions and properties spent more days on the market than last year. As of the beginning of September inventory was back down to 606, as it’s expected to drop as we head toward winter months.

Around 30 percent of current inventory is new construction, and around 5 percent of it has no building permit. This means that the home won’t be built until there is a buyer in contract. While it’s listed as inventory, the properties don’t physically exist yet and they’re not move-in ready. For most buyers, even though inventory appears to be high, it’s lower than it appears.

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’s its appropriate for the market.

Sold and Pending Listings stay consistent

If the number of active listings doesn’t show how active the market has been in August, the number of pending and sold listings will. Staying consistent from June and July, pending listings fell two from 246 to 244. Sold listings grew to 243 from 246 in the month of August. Buyer’s still aren’t slowing down, and they’re taking advantage of the high number of listings to choose from.

While the number of pending and completed sales are consistent, when compared to the higher number of active listings, they are actually slightly lower. Due to the anticipated Eclipse madness and the fires and smoke we’ve had in Central Oregon lately, buyers weren’t out in normal numbers. We’re waiting for the smoke to clear before we can predict what this means heading into fall.

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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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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Real Estate Glossary

Buying a home can be confusing, there’s a lot involved. To complete a sale, there’s lots of paper work. To start looking at homes, you need to find the best Bend Realtor. There’s a lot to decide, and understanding exactly what you’re looking at can be difficult. We’re here to define some common real estate terms, so that you can walk away with the perfect home or property for you.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is crucial before you begin seriously looking for homes. A mortgage pre-approval typically comes in a letter. Getting pre-approved helps you know how much you can borrow, and lets you know the price range of home you can afford. When you’re pre-approved it shows sellers that you already have financing in place, and can speed up the homebuying process.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Sometimes your house search will include using MLS. A multiple listing service, or MLS, is a database that Bend Oregon Realtors use to access all of the homes and properties listed in your area. It also includes information on those properties in your area, and can be a great resource to use in finding new listings.

Appraisal

Getting your home appraised lets you know how much your home, or a potential property, has in estimated value. This helps determine what kind of mortgage you can be approved for.

Appreciation and Depreciation

Over time the value of your home can change. It’s mostly dependent on the current real estate market. If your house appreciates, it’s gaining value over time. If it depreciates, your property has lost value over time. In most markets, and with most properties, this will fluctuate.

Earnest Money

This is a small deposit that you put down when you an offer on a house. Essentially, it’s a show of good faith, and lets the seller know that you have intent to go through with the purchase of the home. When you put this money down it’s typically held by an escrow agent, until the sale is completed or finalized. A typical amount of earnest money is 1 to 2 percent of the property’s price. The benefit of earnest money is that if the sale is completed, the earnest money goes toward the down payment on the house. If the sale is not completed, due to the seller rejecting the offer, the money comes right back to you.

Down Payment

Down payments are an important process of buying a home. Rather than paying the total amount of the home, you can pay a down payment on the price of the home. If you’re working with a lender, it shows that you are planning financially to afford the home. Down payments can be anywhere from 3 to 20 percent of the total price. Down payments are usually required so that a lender can provide a home loan, which covers the rest of the cost of the property.

Escrow

If you put funds down on a property, like earnest money, this money goes into escrow. This also applies to documents. When these documents or funds are put down on a property, it’s then held by a third party, like an escrow agent, until the sale goes through.

Contingency

A contingency can seem like a scary term, but it’s not. It just means that there are conditions that need to be met in order for the sale to go through. Most contingencies have to do with results of home inspections. If you make an offer on a potential property, with a contingency on the home inspection, and you find that there’s a lot of damage to one of the systems in the home, you might require it to be fixed by the current owner, before the sale is finalized. Because you had a contingency in place, you can walk away from the contract without being required to go through with the sale, if the current owner refuses to fix anything.

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Break down: Home Owners Associations

When it comes to looking for properties in neighborhoods sometimes this key thing can be over looked. It’s not uncommon for homes to be within an HOA. Home owners 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 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. Talk to your Bend Oregon Realtor about local HOAs today, and see what fits your budget and your needs.

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July Real Estate Forecast shows a highly active Summer market

The height of summer is here and the number of available listings proves that it’s been a busy summer for Bend Oregon Realtors. With things climbing in the market, like number of active listings, and the highest median home price in Bend has seen in the past 10 years, it’s been an active couple of months.

High Inventory

While it’s known that the summer months are typically the most active, this summer in the Central Oregon Real Estate Market has been highly active. The number of available listings grew from 442 to 570 in July, which goes to show that summer sales are in full swing. Everyone is getting their property listed, which means that it has officially become a buyer’s market. At the beginning of August, the number of listings has grown to 638, showing even more growth since the end of July.

Buyers can pick and choose the properties they want to look at, as there are plenty of different options available right now. With the influx of listings, sellers have to be careful of pricing. Buyer’s will can find exactly what they’re looking for, at multiple price points, so it’s important to talk listing price with your Bend Oregon Realtor before listing your home. It’s important to price your listing competitively, and increase your chances of a fast sale in this sellers’ market.

Median Sales Price

For a few months before the boom of summer, the median sales price of homes in Bend was on a decline. But that ended in June, when the median sales price jumped to $409,000. This is a record high for the past 10 years, and the first time in 10 years that the median price has topped $400,000.

June’s median home price was 7.9 percent higher than May’s median price, which is the highest month-to-month price jump we’ve seen since 2011. The median is the middle number of all listing prices, and not the average number of prices, which means that the number isn’t being skewed by high end home prices.

Consistent Sold and Pending Listings

There have been very slight changes to the pending and sold number of properties from June to July. Sold properties only varied by 3, going from 246 in June to 243 in July. With a consistent number of pending sales from June to July, 259 to 246, it shows that buyers aren’t slowing down. Buyers are taking advantage of the available number of listings, and it’s showing in sales and pending sales.

Take Away

Now is a great time to start looking for the perfect home for you, with lots of different properties to look at, call your Bend Realtor now. Duke Warner is available to help you buy the perfect home, or get a property listed. Visit us today at dukewarner.com, check out our Facebook page, or call us at (541) 382-8262.

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Location Vs. Space

When it comes to buying a home, the biggest debate almost always falls to what’s more important, location or space. While this is definitely a matter of budget, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each. As your Bend Oregon Realtors, we’re here to break it down for you.

Location

For many the location of a future home has a lot to do with family. If you have children you want to be near good schools, parks, and in a good neighborhood. If you don’t have children, you might desire to be closer to different amenities, like shopping or restaurants. If you’re in between perhaps you’re planning ahead and want a different space to grow into.

If you’re looking with a family it can be hard to find the home of your dreams while still being close to the amenities you desire. Many new homes that are built have much smaller living spaces and bedrooms, which can put some buyers off that are looking for more space.

Size

As homes get smaller, so that developers can fit more homes in, size is becoming much more important than location. New build homes are getting close to half the size of homes build in the 50s. Three-bedroom homes are no longer a big three bedrooms, they feature two small bedrooms, and one smaller room that can function as a small office, but is legally defined as a bedroom. Two-bedroom homes are now more like one bedroom, with a small office. With a growing population in most areas, and especially in the Central Oregon Real Estate Market, size is now a hot commodity.

Finding the perfect location is still important to buyers, but the need for enough space is now overwhelmingly more important. In the great debate between location and space, location is now winning out, with many more buyers sacrificing their location needs in order to have more space to love comfortably enough.

Take Away

As the trend continues, the larger homes and properties with more space will become harder to find. Enlist the help of your Bend Oregon Realtor to find the perfect property before space is less common. When spacious homes become scarce, home buyers will turn to the location less and less.

Either way you get onto the property ladder is recommended. If you buy the property of your dreams but outside of the location you desire, or a small home close to everything you want, you’re still becoming a property owner. Call Duke Warner today if you have questions about how location vs. size could impact your house hunt in Central Oregon. Our Bend Realtors are ready to help find what’s best for you.

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Eclipse Preparedness: What you Need to Know

The Total Solar Eclipse is right around the corner, and soon we’ll start to see tourists pouring into Central Oregon. Madras will take the brunt of influx but we will definitely feel it here in Bend as well. There are an estimated 1 million visitors coming to Oregon alone to see the eclipse, and with Madras in the path of totality and named one of the best places in the country to see it, we’re going to get crowded. Here are some tips for surviving the eclipse and staying safe.

Prepare

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: get stocked up. With the eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, and the influx of people, you should be getting gas, groceries and all the essentials. Something most people may over look are prescriptions. If you take a daily prescription that you cannot live without, you should be checking how many you have left, and when you’ll be due for more. Be sure to get prescriptions filled before the Eclipse, and before the crush of people arrives in town.

Don’t forget your furry friends either. While you’re stocking up on food and water for your family, be sure to check and see if you have enough pet food to last through the eclipse.

Traffic

With all of the people coming to or through town, it’s important to note that getting anywhere quickly won’t be easy. If you’re planning to show your house, our tour around town to see available properties call you Bend Oregon Real Estate Agent and talk about rescheduling viewings, so it will be easier to get around town.

The advice that ODOT is giving is to leave for places early, and be prepared to stay there, and leave late. There will be traffic delays, backups and more. Check the ODOT traffic cams if you can, before you leave. Traffic is predicted to pick up on Thursday, August 17 the week before the eclipse, so be ready.

The Main Event

If you’re planning to enjoy the event, you’ll need viewing glasses. Sunglasses will not work, and the eclipse can harm your eyes, so it’s best to be sure you have proper eclipse eyewear. There are a few festivals that have been planned in the area in honor of the Eclipse, like the Oregon Solarfest in Madras.

However  you plan to spend Monday, August 21, be prepared for the unexpected, be prepared to wait, and be safe. If you need to, check in with the Central Oregon Emergency Information Network to stay up to date.