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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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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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Time to Declutter and Donate!

Now that the warmer months are upon us, it’s a wonderful time to take an inventory of your home and clear out the clutter. There are many ways you can approach this project and coming up with a plan before you take on the big task, is essential. Decluttering is much easier when done systematically, for example, if you do it room by room, it isn’t as overwhelming, and you can focus on the items you use on a regular basis for that specific room in the house.

A good rule of thumb when clearing out clutter is to consider the last time you used the item or wore the piece of clothing. Many people believe it’s not worth holding on to if you haven’t used it or worn it in a year’s time. With that rule in mind, visit your drawers, open your closets and start a pile of items you are willing to part with.

A helpful exercise used by many is to imagine if you lost everything, then figure out what items you would want to replace. That gives you a good vision of where to start with the clean-out and starts the process of letting go of the items that do nothing but take up space. Depending on the size of your home, you may need to purchase bins or a storage system if there are heirlooms you want to keep but might not want to display in your home.

Focusing on the function of the item in question gives you a chance to really think about its importance in your home. Figure out if it has a specific function and if not, get rid of it. Try to leave sentimental feelings out of the consideration so you don’t get caught hanging onto things that just take up space.

Once you’ve done the declutter, it’s time to decide what you want to do with the pile of items you no longer want or need. Donating is a terrific way to get rid of a lot of it, and most household items donated can be a tax write-off. Call shelters or teen-challenge programs in your community that take donations and find out what they are currently in need of. You can also sell on eBay or craigslist if you want to make some money on certain high-value items. If you decide to donate, survey the item to make sure it still works and if it’s clothing, consider how worn it is and make sure it’s clean before you give it away.

There are so many benefits to decluttering and you’ll no doubt enjoy your space much more once it feels organized. Donating to local organizations helps your community and gives your items a new lease on life!

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A Quick Checklist for Staging Your Home for Showings

Once you decide it’s time to sell your home, you discover there are all kinds of preparations needed to get the best-selling price possible. Staging your home requires some effort and ultimately a little bit of depersonalization if you want potential buyers to connect with the home. One common assumption is that staging means getting the inside of the house looking good, but a thorough staging includes both inside and outside of the home. Consider the following tips while you prepare your home for selling.

  1. Clean out closets, drawers and storage areas- When potential buyers walk around your home, they will open every closet door, pull out every drawer and look at every square inch with a detailed eye. Clutter, messy closets, packed storage areas, and junk drawers don’t allow the buyers to see the actual storage potential in the home. Organized, clean and spacious presentations appeal to buyers because they are trying to imagine their own belongings in your home and less distraction allows them to do this.
  2. Do a deep clean, including appliances and baseboards- The first impression is the most important, so sparkling countertops, clean floors, tidy bathrooms and clean walls are a must. Clean the inside and outside of all appliances, it gives the potential buyers evidence that you’ve treated the home with care. Wash the baseboards, clean the floors, replace the carpet if it’s tattered and stained. Investing a little bit of money to replace old, worn carpet will help you get closer to the listing price when you sell.
  3. Remove furnishings that block doorways or windows, create open space- Generally less is more regarding furniture when you are showing your home. Too much furniture or oversized furniture can make rooms feel small and cramped. Potential buyers want to be able to visualize their own furniture in each room so pare down yours to allow better visualization.
  4. Bring in the light- Open those blinds or curtains and bring the light into your home. The lighter the better and buyers like to see as much natural light as possible when touring your home. Change lightbulbs before buyers walk through and replace any old lighting that doesn’t match the décor.
  5. Repair the fence, clean up the yard- Curb appeal is a big one, from the moment buyers pull up to your house, they are on point looking at every little detail. Making sure your repairs are done, the leaves are off the ground, the grass is mowed, and the dog waste is picked up, will ensure a good first impression.
  6. Eliminate orders- Our beloved pets can give off odors that we don’t even notice. Pick-up worn or tattered pet toys, store pet beds in the garage, steam clean upholstery, and carpets and be sure to take your pets to a different location during your open house. Not everyone is a dog or cat lover and having them around can be a distraction for many potential buyers.

 Selling a home can be stressful but staying organized and mindful will help reduce the stress and allow you to focus on the bigger picture. Staging your home can be fun, satisfying and give you the chance to finish projects you’ve been meaning to complete for years!

 

 

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Home Improvement Projects to Complete Using Your Tax Return

After tax time and your return comes in, you have to decide what to do with the extra money. Many people decide to reinvest the money back into their homes. They may upgrade old furnishings and appliances, bring more functionality into existing spaces, and increase the value of their homes. If you are trying to decide on a home improvement project to complete by using your tax return, check out the following suggestions.

Focus on Essentials First

While you may not like the look of your outdated kitchen cabinets or old outdoor landscape, you may want to focus the money on items that you know will need fixed soon. Replacing old appliances like your refrigerator or stove now while knowing that they might not last another year allows you to take your time and shop for the items you want.

Replace Water Heaters and HVAC Systems for Energy-Efficient Benefits

Upgrading old water units with tankless models, as well as updating heating and cooling systems, can help you save more water and electricity. You can use less electricity while having higher efficiency equipment that can lower your utility bills. Always consider replacing mechnical systems that are over 15 years to 20 years old.

Seek Simple Remodels That Make Homes More Livable

Replacing outdated cabinets, installing wood flooring, laying in new countertops and upgrading bathroom fixtures are simple home improvement projects to perform when you know that you won’t be getting a large tax return. These projects can instantly change the look of the space, make rooms more functional, and won’t require a lot of time or work to complete.

You can renovate your home so that it will be beautiful and comfortable for your needs. Using your tax return money allows you to make the changes you need to increase the value of your property.

Create a Home Inventory to Protect Your Possessions

It only takes one disaster, such as a flood or fire, to lose the possessions in your home. If you have created a home inventory, you can let the insurance adjuster know exactly what you had before the disaster as you can get compensated for the lost items in a faster manner. Check out this list on how to create a home inventory.

First, Check Your Policy Regarding What Is Covered

While people think every item will be covered at its face value, some insurance policies will have limits on what they will compensate. If you have rare and valuable possessions, such as jewelry and works of art, getting a policy rider can provide extra coverage.

Pick a Room and List Items

Record what the item is, where you bought it, the serial number, the date of purchase and any receipts that you kept. Take your time and don’t miss anything. Items such as clothing can have more generalized descriptions, such as how many jeans or dresses you have, if you didn’t keep any receipts.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Having visual recordings of your items can provide extra proof for the insurance adjuster. You can easily take photos or videos using the camera feature on your smartphone. There are also apps available that help you make a home inventory.

List Items in Storage

Don’t forget to list the items you have in an offsite storage facility. These places can also become damaged in a disaster.

Update Your List Periodically

You will have more items the longer you live in the house. Make sure to update your home inventory list. Keep a copy at a different location, such as with a family member, if the original list becomes destroyed.
Once the home inventory list is made, it becomes easier to update and remove items that you no longer have. Keeping a home inventory makes it easier to become compensated, as you can return to your normal life faster after a disaster strikes.

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3 Common and Costly Mistakes that New Homeowners Make

When you purchase a new home, you are ready to enjoy all the creature comforts it will provide. However, some new homeowners commit some common mistakes once they start doing simple remodels and renovations. These updates can be costly problems, as you can not only damage your new home but spend even more money to have the mistakes fixed. Here are the 3 most common and costly mistakes to avoid when becoming a new homeowner. 

Performing Extensive DIY Electrical and Plumbing Work 

Unless you are a licensed plumber or electrician, or have been adequately trained in such work, it’s usually a bad idea and can be extremely dangerous to perform electrical and plumbing jobs on your home. Anytime you find an electrical outlet no longer working or there is water rising up from the drain in the basement, it’s time to get professional workers to look into the issue. 

Tearing Out Walls to Make the Room Bigger 

Before tearing out a wall completely, you need to figure out if it is a load-bearing wall. Load-bearing walls help support the structural weight of floors and the trusses for the roof of the house. If you tear out a load-bearing wall, this structural weight has to be transferred to some other support structure or you will end up seriously damaging your home. 

Changing Finished Grades to Add Landscape Elements 

Finished grades on the property are designed to redirect rainwater away from the house and into nearby storm drains or creeks. Unfortunately, homeowners may change the finished grade by adding driveways, patios, in-ground pools, sidewalks and other landscape elements that impact the grade. If water is redirected back toward the house, it can cause the foundation to shift and heave as structural damage can occur. 

Avoiding these common mistakes that new homeowners make when purchasing a property will ensure that you won’t accidentally damage your home. You can make the house perfect and comfortable for you and your family so you will enjoy living there.