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Where to Splurge, Where to Save in Home Decor

A designer’s secret: You don’t have to fill a space with high-priced items to make it look expensive. Designers reveal how to stretch your home décor budget with a few strategic choices. 

Any savvy shopper knows that your space doesn’t have to be filled with expensive items to look expensive. However, there are some home decor categories where the splurge is well worth it. A nice design piece can set the look, feel, and tone of a room, adding substance and detail that you can both see and feel and improving your overall mood. But how do you know when to spend vs when to save?


12 Steps To a Perfect Pantry


A tidy pantry can make an entire kitchen feel more organized. But how do you make a pile of boxes and cans of food look good? Here’s a simple approach to achieve pantry envy.

4 Signs its Time to Find a New Real Estate Agent


Buying or selling a home is a huge life event, and your real estate agent is the most important person you’ll work with during the transition.

A great real estate agent is an invaluable resource; they can help break down complex real estate concepts, walk you through the logistics of buying or selling a home and can help move the process along, saving you time, money and energy in the process.

But unfortunately, not all real estate agents are created equal. And while a great real estate agent can make the buying or selling process a breeze, the wrong agent can leave you feeling frustrated with a far too long, expensive and overwhelming real estate experience.

Here are four signs it’s time to cut your current agent loose and find a new real estate agent:

1. You just don’t vibe

Just because a real estate agent is competent and capable of helping you buy or sell your home doesn’t mean they’re the right agent for you. Sometimes, no matter how experienced or skilled they are, you just don’t vibe with your agent.

During the buying or selling process, you’re going to be extremely involved with your real estate agent. Between showings and contract negotiations and phone conferences, you’ll spend more time with your agent than pretty much anyone else in your life until your home is bought or sold. Which is why it’s important that your personalities work well together.

You don’t have to be best friends with your real estate agent, but it’s ideal to have some sort of personal connection. You’re entrusting them with one of the biggest purchases or sales of your life, and it’s important that you trust them and believe they have your best interest at heart. You also have to at least be able to tolerate their personality; as mentioned, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them, and if their personality clashes with yours, it’s going to make the whole process less enjoyable.

If you find that your personality is just not a good match for your real estate agent, do yourself (and them!) a favor and find a new agent.

2. Your agent is slow to respond

Things in the real estate world happen quickly, and in order to maximize your time, effort and money, you need an agent who’s on top of things. And with today’s easy access to technology, there’s no reason your agent should be out of touch for long.

While it’s unrealistic to expect your agent to drop everything every time you reach out, they should respond to all requests (whether through phone, text or email) within a reasonable time frame – which, in the real estate world, is a few hours max. Even if the response is a simple “I’m with another client and will get in touch at X time,” a good real estate agent will make sure to give you the attention you need to successfully buy or sell your home.

If you find that your emails or calls go unanswered for an entire day or longer, you should have a conversation with your real estate agent to establish communication expectations. If things don’t improve, it’s time to look for a new agent.

3. Sellers: Your house has been on the market too long

There’s no magic number for how long your house should be on the market before it sells. But a good real estate agent should be able to sell your home in a similar timeframe of other homes in your area. If your neighbors sold their home in 30 days and your house has been sitting on the market, it’s time to start asking questions.

There are many reasons your home might not be selling, like being priced too high. But your real estate agent should advise you on the reasons your home isn’t selling and make suggestions as to how to get the house sold. If your house has been sitting on the market longer than other homes in your area and your real estate agent doesn’t have any insight or suggestions, it’s probably time to move on.

4. Buyers: You’re finding more properties on your own than through your agent

If you’re buying a home, a huge part of your real estate agent’s job is to send you properties they think would match what you’re looking for. Depending on your market, your agent should be sending you new listings on at least a weekly basis. If you’re consistently finding more properties on your own by combing through listings on real estate sites than you are through your agent, it’s time to find someone new.

Your real estate agent can make or break the process of buying or selling your house. And if you’re not happy with your agent, you owe it to yourself to find someone you feel is the best fit for you and your real estate goals.

How to Manage Money in Your 30s


Are you starting to think about buying a home? It’s important to start saving right away. Not sure where to begin? Here are some helpful tips. When you’re ready to buy, please keep me in mind for all of your home buying needs. I am an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), and specialize in first time homebuyers. Please let me know if you have any questions! 

How to Manage Money in Your 30s by Kelsey Sheehy.  © 2017 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What Do You Want and Need in a Home?


Want versus need is a concept that is sometimes hard to distinguish, especially during an exciting time like buying a home. As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), I am able to support you in your decision during the home buying process. We will get you the home that is best for you! I look forward to working with you! 

What Do You Want and Need in a Home? © 2016-2017 

The Mortgage Process Infographic


The Mortgage Process Infographic

Tax Considerations for Home Buyers and Sellers


Tax Considerations for Home-buyers, Sellers




Tax season is upon us and for those who purchased or sold a home last year, there are a number of tax deductions for which you may qualify.

For starters, the Internal Revenue Service says that if you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income as a single tax filer, or $500,000 on a joint return in most cases.

Here are some other factors to keep in mind:

1: Much of the interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible. A married couple filing jointly can deduct all of their interest on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.

2: Real estate broker commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs, and inspection fees are all considered selling costs and may be used to reduce ones taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

3: Refinanced mortgage points are deductible, but not all at once. Homeowners who refinance can immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new. Interest paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit may also be deducted.

4: Points and origination fees on a home loan, which are paid during the purchase of a home, are generally tax-deductible in full for the year that they were paid.

5: Qualifying capital improvements can sometimes be deducted, including costs of a new roof, fence, swimming pool, garage, porch, built-in appliances, insulation, heating/cooling systems or landscaping.

6: If you move because of a new job, you may be able to deduct some of your moving costs. To qualify for these deductions you must meet several IRS requirements, including that your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job. Moving-cost deductions can include travel or transportation costs, lodging expenses, and fees for storing your household goods.

7: Property taxes are fully deductible from your income. If you have an impound or escrow account, you cant deduct the money held for property taxes until the money is actually used to pay your property taxes. And a city or state property tax refund reduces your federal deduction by a like amount.

8: For those who took advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit the past two years: If within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit.

9: Another important tip for those who moved is to make sure you update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS.

Since tax laws change every year and certain tax deductions become available while others phase out, its always a good idea to speak with a professional tax consultant about these and other considerations.

Selling Your Home in Colder Months


  Winter hus

Selling in Colder Months  

Leslie Stewart
Prudential Real Estate Professionals
 While the warmer months are generally regarded as the time for home sellers to get their property ready for sale, marketing the home in winter and early spring is just as important. Homebuyers are out looking for homes 12 months a year and theres no reason to drop the ball on sprucing up a home November through March.
 Here are some tips for selling a home in the winter months.
 Heat it up: If you are planning an open house or have showings scheduled, turn up the thermostat and make the home warm and inviting. A cold home shopper will race through a house and start questioning the windows and insulation. This applies to vacant homes as well.  Cold buyers rush will rush through your home catching the highlights but not really looking for other features. Also, if you do have a vacant home over the winter months, dont forget to winterize it by draining sprinkler systems lines and pouring anti-freeze in drains and toilets.
 Light it up: For homes with fireplaces, this is the perfect opportunity to show the potential buyer how cozy a fireplace can be. Leave some marshmallows and sticks nearby and invite those seeing the home to test it out.
 Take care of snow and ice: For those selling in heavy wintry climates, make sure that the walk is clear, the driveway is shoveled and put down salt to control any icy surfaces. If a buyer pulls up to the house and has to slush through inches of snow, they may not even bother to enter. For those who arent currently living in the home that is for sale, make sure to hire someone to clear it for you.
 Use photographs: If you have a beautiful lawn, stellar landscaping or an outdoor pool or deck, many times these are quickly overlooked or passed by because of snow. Take some eye-catching photos of these amenities during the warm months and display them during a winter showing so buyers can get a better understanding of what the outside truly offers.
 Schedule Open Houses: There are still many who dont believe that selling in the winter is a good idea, so its a great time to take advantage of less competition. Many serious buyers often come out during the winter months, including corporate clients who usually need to relocate within the first quarter of the year.
 Emphasize the Positives: Does your street get plowed quickly? Is it near public transportation to make it easier to get to work in the snow? Is it within walking distance of stores? Does it have a great hill for the kids to sled down in a safe environment? If so, accentuate these features.
 Since a lot of people are waiting until spring to put their home on the market, having a home ready in winter is a great way to beat the rush.
Leslie Stewart can be reached at 503-932-8202.   Prudential Real Estate Professionals is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity. 

Sales Prices In Mill City, Gates and Lyons Oregon- September 2012


Are you selling your home in Mill City, Gates or Lyons? Did you know 3 homes in our area SOLD in the month of September? 3 homes under $125,000 sold at 96% of their list price in an average of 111 days on the market. Twenty five homes priced between $125,001 and $225,000 is still on the market and 7 homes priced between $225,001 and $325,000 are still on the market. Thirteen homes between 325,001 to over $525,000 are still on the market.   Where does your home stack up?


Call us today to see where your home will fit into this equation.  The stats say in these price ranges there is an average of 12 months of inventory left in these price ranges.  Let us help you get your home sold!

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