Stay Safe While Selling Your Home With Our Seller’s Checklist

Staying organized while uprooting your life and moving from one home to another can feel impossible. Not only are you trying to get the best financial return on your investment, but you might also be working on a tight deadline. There’s also the pressure to keep your home clean and organized at all times for prospective buyers.  One thing you can be sure of when selling your home is that there will be strangers entering your space, so it’s important for you and your agent to take certain safety precautions. Like so many things in life, they can feel more manageable once written down, so we made this handy checklist.


  • Go through your medicine cabinets and remove all prescription medications.
  • Remove or lock up precious belongings and personal information. You will want to store your jewelry, family heirlooms, and personal/financial information in a secure location to keep them from getting misplaced or stolen.
  • Remove family photos. We recommend removing your family photos during the staging process so potential buyers can see themselves living in the home. It’s also a good way to protect your privacy.
  • Check your windows and doors for secure closings before and after showings. If someone is looking to get back into your home following a showing or an open house, they will look for weak locks or they might unlock a window or door.
  • Consider extra security measures such as an alarm system or other monitoring tools like cameras.
  • Don’t show your own home! If someone you don’t know walks up to your home asking for a showing, don’t let them in. You want to have an agent present to show your home at all times. Agents should have screening precautions to keep you and them safe from potential danger.

Talk to your agent about the following safety precautions: 

  • Do a walk-through with your agent to make sure you have identified everything that needs to be removed or secured, such as medications, belongings, and photos.
  • Go over your agent’s screening process:
    • Phone screening prior to showing the home
    • Process for identifying and qualifying buyers for showings
    • Their personal safety during showings and open houses
  • Lock boxes to secure your keys for showings should be up to date. Electronic lockboxes actually track who has had access to your home.
  • Work with your agent on an open house checklist:
    • Do they collect contact information of everyone entering the home?
    • Do they work with a partner to ensure their personal safety?
  • Go through your home’s entrances and exits and share important household information so your agent can advise how to secure your property while it’s on the market.

Posted on October 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm
Windermere Community Realty | Posted in City of Portland, Market Trends, Moving Tips, Open House |

When Buying a Short Sale Home is the Right Fit

When Buying a Short Sale Home is the Right Fit

Posted in Short Sales by Richard Eastern 


Purchasing a home can feel overwhelming at times, but a short sale home offers a unique opportunity for a prospective buyer. A short sale occurs when a homeowner owes a lender more than their home is worth, and the lender agrees to let the owner sell the home and accept less than what is owed. Lenders may agree to a short sale because they believe it will net them more money than going forward with a lengthy and costly foreclosure process.

Short sales do differ in a number of ways from conventional home sales. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a short sale property.

    • Short sale homes sell for less, but not significantly less than market value.

    Buyers hoping to snap up a home for half the market value will be disappointed. The selling price for short sales averages about 10 percent less than for non-distressed properties. The bank is looking to recover as much of the value of the home as possible, so they will not accept offers that are significantly under market value. That said, with savings that can equal tens of thousands of dollars, a short sale is a great way to get more house for your money.

      • Short sale properties are sold “as is”.

      The lender will not be making repairs to the home. Any improvements that need to be made are most likely going to be the responsibility of the buyer. A savvy buyer’s agent/broker will get contractor bids for any necessary repairs and use those to help negotiate a lower sales price with the bank.

        • A short sale will take longer than a conventional home sale.

        Once you and the seller have mutual acceptance on an offer, you need to allow 60 to 90 days for the lender approval process. There are often long stretches when the offer is slowly winding its way through the bank’s system, so buyers need to be patient.

          • If you have to sell your home first, a short sale is probably not the best fit.

          Lenders generally will not take contingent offers on a short sale.

            • A short sale is one real estate transaction that you shouldn’t attempt on your own. 

            Short sales are complicated transactions that involve a different process and significantly more paperwork than a standard real estate sale. An agent/broker that is unfamiliar with short sales can write an offer in such a way that they inadvertently cause their buyers to lose the deal. An experienced short sale agent/broker will protect your interest and help the process move forward smoothly.


            The bottom line: As long as you can be patient, and are working with an agent/broker who understands the process, buying a short sale is a great way to purchase the house you want at a price you’ll love.

            Posted on July 17, 2018 at 4:44 pm
            Windermere Community Realty | Posted in Finance, Moving Tips |

            Oregonian Reports Spring Home Selling Prices Match Record High


            Spring home-selling season starts slow in Portland area; prices match record high

            The Portland area’s housing market fell into in a familiar pattern in March, with strong demand undercut by a slim supply of homes on the market.

            The resulting competition drove prices higher, sales numbers from the Regional Multiple Listing Service show, even as sales slowed.

            The median sale price in March was $395,000, which matches Portland’s record high, set last July. It represents an increase of 6.8 percent from March 2017.

            Map: Portland home sales by ZIP code 

            The 2,371 homes sold during the month, however, represent a 4.9 percent decline. The number of pending sales — contracts for sales expected to close in coming months — also fell 4.9 percent to 2,894.

            At the month’s sales rate, it would take just 1.6 months to sell every home on the market, suggesting a strong seller’s market. A balanced market usually has around six months of inventory, and Portland hasn’t cracked three months of inventory since 2015.

            “I’ve been hard pressed to put together a tour for people,” said MJ Steen, a principal broker with Windermere Real Estate in Portland. “It’s tough. You really have to dig to find listings to show them.”

            The slim supply of homes for sale means those on the market are typically spoken for quickly. Bidding wars remain common, particularly on Portland’s east side. The average home sold in March was on the market for just under eight weeks, from listing to closing.

            That’s been especially hard on first-time buyers, who had already had to contend with rapidly rising prices. It’s forced buyers to look to far-out suburban and exurban communities, said real estate broker Javier Alomia of Re/Max Equity Group, who said he’s doing a lot more driving to serve those first-time buyers.

            “One day I had inspections in Lafayette, then I was doing an inspection in deep Southeast Portland later that day,” he said. “I’m spending a lot of time in Sandy.”

            Those areas are seeing prices spike amid the new demand. The Sandy area, for example, saw prices climb 13 percent in a year.

            While prices across the metro area remain at record levels, they’ve settled into a slower rate of growth than a year ago, when they were climbing by more than 10 percent annually.

            With that kind of growth, Steen said, “We’re going to close out too many people from our market, and that would bring it to a dead halt.”

            One segment that’s doing well? The very high end of the market — above $2 million — has been busy in recent months, Steen said, with much of the activity coming from out-of-state arrivals.

            — Elliot Njus

            Posted on April 26, 2018 at 10:45 am
            Windermere Community Realty | Posted in Market Trends, Moving Tips |

            10 Key Qualities to Look for When Selecting an Agent

            10 Key Qualities to Look for When Selecting an Agent


            Buying a home is one of the most significant financial and emotional purchases of a person’s life. That’s why it is so important to find an agent that can not only help you navigate the home search process but one who can also answer your questions and represent your needs from start to finish. Most importantly, your agent should care about your happiness and ensuring that you find the home that best fits your needs.

            Here are some qualities to consider when selecting a real estate agent:

            Likable. More than likely, you will be spending a lot of time with your agent, so look for someone that you enjoy interacting with.

            Trustworthy. One of the best ways to find an agent who you feel you can trust is to ask friends and family for a referral. Another way to do this is to interview different agents and ask for client references.

            Effective listener. While your agent can’t read your mind, they should be able to make educated recommendations and offer advice by listening closely to your needs. Make sure you talk to your agent about your priorities, what types of features appeal to you, as well as any factors that could be deal breakers. This will arm your agent with everything they need to help find you the perfect home.

            Qualified and experienced. Make sure your agent has the qualifications and experience to meet your specific needs. For example, some agents have more experience with short sales, while others might be experts on certain neighborhoods or types of housing.  Your agent should also be fully trained in contract law and negotiations.

            Knowledgeable. A great agent is someone who is out in the neighborhoods, exploring communities, visiting listings, performing marketing analyses, and collecting all the information that you need to make an informed, confident decision about your real estate needs.

            Honest. Your agent should be upfront and honest with you about every aspect of your home search process – even if it involves delivering bad news. The best real estate agents are more concerned about finding the right home for their clients, not just the home that brings in the fastest commission check.

            Local. Every community is different and all real estate is local, so it’s important to find someone who really knows the local market and can provide you with whatever information you need to familiarize yourself with a particular area.

            Connected. A well-connected agent will have relationships with lenders, inspectors, appraisers, contractors, and any other service provider you might need during your home search.

            Straightforward. You want an agent who will work hard to help you find the best home, but you also want someone who will be straightforward with you about the process, the market reality, and what is realistic for you.

            Committed. Your agent should be in it for the long haul, meaning that they’re looking out for your best interests every step of the way, no matter how long the process takes. The best way to find an agent with these qualities is by asking around. In all likelihood, someone within your circle of friends or family will have experiences to share and professionals to recommend. You can also search for agents based on area, so you know you’re getting someone who is knowledgeable about the neighborhood(s) you’re interested in. Click here to learn more about the buying process.


            Posted on April 25, 2018 at 2:45 pm
            Windermere Community Realty | Posted in Moving Tips |

            A Home Addition: What to Consider Before Starting to Build

            A Home Addition: What to Consider Before Starting to Build

            Posted in SellingLiving, and Architecture by Kenady Swan 



            Adding on to your current home may be your best bet if you’re short on space, but you don’t want to move or can’t find another house in the area with all the qualities you’re seeking. It’s also an attractive option if the house you have is lacking just one significant element (a family room, another bedroom, a larger kitchen, a separate apartment, etc.).

            On the other hand, even a modest addition can turn into a major construction project, with architects and contractors to manage, construction workers traipsing through your home, hammers pounding, and sawdust everywhere. And although new additions can be a very good investment, the cost per-square-foot is typically more than building a new home, and much more than buying a larger existing home.


            Define your needs

            To determine if an addition makes sense for your particular situation, start by defining exactly what it is you want and need. By focusing on core needs, you won’t get carried away with a wish list that can push the project out of reach financially.

            If it’s a matter of needing more space, be specific. For example, instead of just jotting down “more kitchen space,” figure out just how much more space is going to make the difference, e.g., “150 square feet of floor space and six additional feet of counter space.”

            If the addition will be for aging parents, consult with their doctors or an age-in-place expert to define exactly what they’ll require for living conditions, both now and over the next five to ten years.


            Types of additions

            Bump-out addition—“Bumping out” one of more walls to make a first floor room slightly larger is something most homeowners think about at one time or another. However, when you consider the work required, and the limited amount of space created, it often figures to be one of your most expensive approaches.

            First floor addition—Adding a whole new room (or rooms) to the first floor of your home is one of the most common ways to add a family room, apartment or sunroom. But this approach can also take away yard space.

            Dormer addition—For homes with steep rooflines, adding an upper floor dormer may be all that’s needed to transform an awkward space with limited headroom. The cost is affordable and, when done well, a dormer can also improve the curb-appeal of your house.

            Second-story addition—For homes without an upper floor, adding a second story can double the size of the house without reducing surrounding yard space.

            Garage addition—Building above the garage is ideal for a space that requires more privacy, such as a rentable apartment, a teen’s bedroom, guest bedroom, guest quarters, or a family bonus room.


            Permits required

            You’ll need a building permit to construct an addition—which will require professional blueprints. Your local building department will not only want to make sure that the addition adheres to the latest building codes, but also ensure it isn’t too tall for the neighborhood or positioned too close to the property line. Some building departments will also want to ask your neighbors for their input before giving you the go-ahead.


            Requirements for a legal apartment

            While the idea of having a renter that provides an additional stream of revenue may be enticing, the realities of building and renting a legal add-on apartment can be sobering. Among the things you’ll need to consider:

            • Special permitting—Some communities don’t like the idea of “mother-in-law” units and therefore have regulations against it, or zone-approval requirements.
            • Separate utilities—In many cities, you can’t charge a tenant for heat, electricity, and water unless utilities are separated from the rest of the house (and separately controlled by the tenant).
            • ADU Requirements—When building an “accessory dwelling unit” (the formal name for a second dwelling located on a property where a primary residence already exists), building codes often contain special requirements regarding emergency exists, windows, ceiling height, off-street parking spaces, the location of main entrances, the number of bedrooms, and more.

            In addition, renters have special rights while landlords have added responsibilities. You’ll need to learn those rights and responsibilities and be prepared to adhere to them.


            Average costs

            The cost to construct an addition depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the quality of materials used, the laborers doing the work, the type of addition and its size, the age of your house and its current condition. For ballpark purposes, however, you can figure on spending about $200 per square food if your home is located in a more expensive real estate area, or about $100 per food in a lower-priced market.

            You might be wondering how much of that money might the project return if you were to sell the home a couple years later? The answer to that question depends on the aforementioned details; but the average “recoup” rate for a family-room addition is typically more than 80 percent.


            The bottom line

            While you should certainly research the existing-home marketplace before hiring an architect to map out the plans, building an addition onto your current home can be a great way to expand your living quarters, customize your home, and remain in the same neighborhood.

            Posted on March 21, 2018 at 1:40 pm
            Windermere Community Realty | Posted in Finance, Home Improvement, Moving Tips |

            Spring Clean! And 7 More Ways to Make the Most of This Weekend

            It’s time to clear out a closet, get ready for celebrations and, in some areas, get out the grill

            March 20, 2018
            Houzz Contributor. I cover topics ranging from decorating ideas, product picks, Houzz…More
            It may not look like it where you live, but spring is here! This weekend is a good time to check some cleaning tasks off your list, honor women’s history (March is Women’s History Month) and, if you’re not facing another winter storm, maybe even cook dinner on the grill. Find eight ideas for the first weekend of spring straight ahead.

            Farmhouse Living Room by A HOUSE BY THE LAKE INTERIORS

            Posted on March 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm
            Windermere Community Realty | Posted in Home Improvement, Moving Tips |

            How to Move In Without Stressing Out Your Pets


            How to move-in without stressing out your pets

            As you begin to pack, your dog or cat begins to stress, wondering why everything in their environment is suddenly changing. And while moving is stressful for human beings, it can be even more stressful for pets. After all, the tiny insular world your pet lives in is being deconstructed piece by piece.

            To help your animals move into a new home, take these extra steps to make the transition easier for them. For the sake of brevity, this article is focused on cats and dogs. However, if you own an exotic pet you should check and make sure your amazing ferret or snapping turtle is legal wherever you plan to move.

            Part of the Pack

            Be sure to pack your pet’s stuff last. Keeping Fido in a familiar environment for as long as possible is best. It may concern him or her when your stuff begins to disappear, but if the doggie bed suddenly goes missing, Fido may panic. Once you’re in your new home, it’s a good idea to keep pets in one place until the rest of the house (or at least the furniture) has been assembled. Stress considerations aside, you don’t want a cat running between your legs when you’re carrying a 200 pound bedroom dresser. Once the heavy lifting is complete, unpack your pet’s things and create a safe and familiar space, then give Fluffy time to get used to the new environment. Let pets explore on their own time. Their new home is going to be filled with tons of new textures and smells your pet hasn’t encountered before, so give them time to get used to it.

            Familiarity First

            Your pets are creatures of habit. Any major change will cause some stress, but keeping a familiar schedule helps take the edge off. If you changed time zones during your move, keep your pet’s feeding schedule the same for the first week before beginning to shift over to your current time. Acclimating your pets may be more difficult for dogs that are accustomed to regular walks. If possible, try to adjust your pet’s walking and feeding schedules gradually over time.

            Animals have stronger olfactory senses than people do so with that mind another way to make your new place feel more like home is to keep familiar smells in the house. If the first thing you do in the morning is make coffee, it’s a good idea to have a cup when you first get in. Also avoid washing sheets and blankets for the first week or so in your new apartment, doing so can help your pet feel more at home by keeping the smell of your old place around for awhile.


            Be sure to update your pet’s tags and microchips before you move. Times of stress and change are when pets are most likely to run away. If that happens, you will want to be sure that your pet’s microchip and collar have the new address. For those of you who still have landlines, it’s also a good idea to list your mobile number on your pet’s chip or tag, that way the number will remain current through the move.


            Article from

            Posted on October 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm
            Windermere Community Realty | Posted in Moving Tips |