Who Doesn’t Love A Picnic….Especially When You Don’t Have to Do Anything?

I have always loved the thought of going on a picnic.  What I haven’t loved is the thought of planning it and packing all the stuff to go and do it.  It’s probably why I’m soooo obsessed with this week’s hot spot of the week’s Instagram Feed – Picnics With Elegance

Picnics With Elegance is the brain child of it’s founder the beautiful Kelly.  She loves making people feel special and has a background in non-profits and event planning.

It doesn’t matter what you are celebrating there is a picnic choice for you.  Here’s a few of the ways you can celebrate with a picnic:

  • Bridal Shower
  • Baby Shower
  • Birthday Parties
  • Engagements
  • Anniversary
  • Weekend Brunch with Your BFFs
  • First Date

Now I know what you’re thinking we live in Oregon so a picnic is going to be seasonal or what if it looks like it might rain?  Never fear Picnics with Elegance has a portable, weather proof pod for those types of days.

I know you’re wondering what exactly is included in a picnic right?  Here’s some of what you can expect:

  • One stop shop for the perfect picnic
  • Event Set Up
  • Table Decor
  • Place Settings
  • Floral Arrangements
  • Food
  • Take Down
  • Personal Hostess
  • Cell Phone Pictures
  • Personalized Touches

So what do you need to do?  Provide a date, time and theme.  They do have add ons available at an additional charge.

Packages start at around $250.00 and a picnic is typically 1.5 to 2 hours in length. Be sure to check out their website for more detailed information.

So my only question is how are you going to use a picnic to celebrate?

 

 

 

You Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression…..

How many times in life have you heard that statement above?  Probably a million.  It’s something you think about when you go on a blind date, or go for a job interview.  You want to put your best foot forward because you know you won’t get the opportunity to do it again.  It’s the same way with your home when you are selling or are wanting to spruce it up.  You only get one chance to make your home memorable, and your front door can help.

Last month my friend and business partner, Rebecca Nelson, and I were out doing the monthly Ding, Dong, Ditch Pop-bys.  The very first home we stopped at caught our attention because of it’s AMAZING front door.  That’s right, we choose that home to drop off a succulent to because we fell in love with their red front door.

I personally like to look at the front door of your home as the place to put some personality because a fire engine red house would probably be a bit over the top, but a fire engine red front door is WOW!

So how does one go about picking the perfect front door color?  Here are a few things that you will want to keep in mind:

  1. How will it look with the existing color scheme of your home?
  2. How will it look next to brick, stone or wood?
  3. If the front of your home faces the sun you need to think about how much sun hits your front door, and choose a color that will still look fab sun faded.
  4. How will it look when it’s time to put up the holiday decorations?  Will it clash and stick out like a sore thumb?
  5. Will everyone in your family feel joy when they walk up to the front of your home or will they want to gouge their eyeballs out every time the walk up to the front door?  Being honest, you may love pink and think a pink front door would be spectacular.  Your partner or spouse may not feel the same way and a pink front door may make them cringe every time they come home.

Now that you’ve thought about those things, how do you decided what to choose.  Here are a few tips.

  1. Neutrals – a grey front door will pop against neutral paint colors.
  2. Yellow – can provide a cheery welcome and pairs well with grey.
  3. Blue – provides a calming feel when you walk up to it and pairs well with many different colors.
  4. Purple – while a bold choice it can make the entrance to your home feel regal as it’s the color of royalty.
  5. Teal Blue – the color of the ocean this color is bold without being too obnoxious.

There are many more colors that you can choose from so don’t feel as though you can only choose one of the five I’ve listed.  Whatever you choose put a swatch of paint next to your house or paint a board and put it next to your home.  Live with the color for awhile before you take the plunge.  In the end by painting your front door you’re going to make a great first impression, and may find that you love walking through your front door all the time.

It’s Home Inspection Time.

You’ve got an accepted offer and now it’s time for the home inspection.  This can be a stressful time for both buyers and sellers as they wait to see what the inspector has to say, and if he finds something that could kill the deal.

As you prepare for this time it’s good to remember that the home inspector is there to tell you about the general health of the home, like your primary care doctor tells you about your general health.  If there are issues with the home that require an expert such as HVAC, roof, mold remediation the inspector should recommend that a licensed professional come out to asses the issue.

When it comes to the report a good write up will give you four main points:

What are they inspecting.

Where is it at in the home.

Why is the issue a problem.

How the buyer should consider handing the problem.

For example, in my own home purchase the report informed me that there was a duct vent from the laundry room vent that had fallen in the attic and was not property attached to the roof vent which is there to help prevent excess moisture and other problems.  As the buyer they inspector let me know that to handle this problem I needed to have the duct work reattached to the  roof vent.  It was an easy fix that my husband took care of for me after I moved in.

It doesn’t matter what the item is you should always see a what, where, why it is an issue and what you should do about it.  If it is something out of the scope of the home inspector assessing the general health of the home say cracks in the foundation, they should suggest that you get a qualified contractor or engineer to come out and assess the foundation to see if there is an issue or not.

You should also know that there are items that are not in the scope of the home inspectors work.  For example if the home were to have a pool and hot tub that would not be something that the home inspector would be looking at.  As a buyer you would want to have a pool specialist come out and tell you if the pool was in good mechanical working order.

As a seller the home inspector isn’t there to find all sorts of things to make you fix, and potentially kill the deal.  We all love our homes and think that they are in fantastic order, however when we live in them for awhile there are things that we sometimes don’t notice.

Once that home inspection is over it’s time to consider what items you want fixed and what items you can deal with and maybe fix later.  I always tell both my buyers and sellers that we ask/fix items that are of a health and safety concern, such as a leaking roof or T111 siding that is rotting at the bottom.  If the home is older you may see the inspector indicate that the home lacks GFCI outlets and recommend that they be installed.   If they recommend it for the kitchen and bathroom then yes that would fall under the health and safety items as both of those places deal with water.  However if the inspector indicates that it should be done through out the home in order to bring it up to code then I like to have a discussion with my sellers/buyers.  Codes are constantly changing and home was built to code for the time it was constructed.  Health and safety should not constitute bringing the home up to current code.  It would be costly as well as very time/labor intensive.

As you prepare for your home inspection please keep these things in mind, and hopefully it will help make the process a little less stressful.  You also might consider picking up Matt Fellman’s book Home Inspector Confidential. It provides some fabulous information from a well respected Portland area home inspector.

You’re Ready to Move-Up to Your Next Home, but Where Do You Start?

As a first time seller, or a seller who hasn’t sold a home in many years you may be wondering where to start.  You may believe that you find a Realtor® sign a contract and put a sign up in the yard then wait for the offers to come rolling in.  You certainly can use this approach however, if you receive and accept an offer quickly you will only have 30-45 days to get packed up and ready to move, all while going through the transaction process, and that can be STRESSFUL!

I know you’re wondering what can I do to help reduce some of the stress during the home selling process?  Here are a few ways that I help my clients to reduce some of the stress of selling their home.

  1.  Meeting with them two to three months before they are ready to put their home on the market.  At this time we discuss the time frame of when they would like to list their home and set a target “Go Live” date.  During this meeting we discuss any improvements if any that they are considering doing to determine if they are worth it.  Often sellers know that they need new carpet but decide that they won’t install it because the buyer will want to choose their own.  The reality is that this can lead to lowball offers because the buyer’s see that the home needs new carpet and start to wonder what else hasn’t been taken care of in the home so they offer a low price to offset those costs.  Being able to say home has new carpet in the listing is always beneficial.
  2. I look at your home through the lens of a prospective buyer.  We talk about what items you should remove from your walls and pack as you prepare for your move.  Buyers need to be able to see themselves living in your home.  They often have a hard time doing that with family photos out.
  3. I help you “stage” your home with items you already own, and if needed will add in some neutral decor items to help your home “pop”.
  4. I discuss the benefits of a pre-listing inspection with you.  You bring in a home inspector and have them do an inspection on your home just like they would for a buyer during the transaction process.  This allows you to know up front if there are any major issues with your home that would come up in an inspection, and gives you the opportunity to address them prior to listing your home, or to determine how you will proceed during the transaction process.  Keep in mind that anything you learn during this inspection will need to be disclosed.
  5. I recommend that you start packing things that you do not need now such as seasonal clothing items that you won’t be needing.  It’s also a great time to determine what you want to take to your new home, and the items that can be donated or thrown away.  This also takes some of the packing pressure off of you because you’ve already started.

Once your home is “camera ready” it’s time to bring in the photographer and prepare to list your home.  Depending on the location, size of your home/lot I do bring in a drone for drone photography.  These photos can provide a potential buyer with a great view of the neighborhood and if you are on a large lot allows them to see just how big the lot is in comparison to other homes in the area.

I know that not everyone has the opportunity to take time when listing your home so I hope that these tips will help if you find yourself in a position that you need to list and sell your home fast.

So You Wanna Buy A House…….

When you start to think about the process of buying a house one of the first questions a future buyer asks is how much home can I afford?   There is so much more to this question that you would think.

The first step and most often the longest step in preparing to buy a home is to start saving money.  Why?  You’ll need money for your downpayment.  There are some loan programs out that will allow you to put down as little as 3.5% of the purchase price to be put down towards the purchase of your home.  Many folks think that they need the traditional 20% like their parents did.  While this is great if you are able to save up for it, it isn’t always realistic.  If you find yourself in a situation where it’s hard to save money one way to help is to look for loan programs that offer downpayment assistance.  They can often be found at your state and local levels.  Not to mention that if you are a first time home buyer there are often incentive programs out there for you.  To find out what options are available to you talking to a trusted local lender is important.

While you’re saving for your downpayment another expense to remember when you buy a home is that you will have closing costs – the fees associated with conducting the real estate transaction that will need to be paid as well.  These feels are on top of your downpayment.  Having your lender and/or title company prepare an estimated closing cost sheet will help you plan for these expenses.

Once you’ve saved for your downpayment and closing costs you may think that you’re good to go, however there’s something else that you need to consider because your lender certainly is.  It’s your debt to income ratio.  Lenders look at this to see how much debt you have compared to how much income you’re bringing in.  Many buyers do not realize that lenders will be looking at this in addition to your credit score.  While your credit score allows the lender to see your track record with making payments on time, the debt to income ratio allows the lender to see how well you handle your money and if you are capable of taking on more debt.

As the lender looks at this ratio they like to see a debt to income ratio under 50%.  If your debt to income ratio is above 50% it is a good idea to take steps to lower it before applying for a home loan.  This ratio is going to greatly factor into how much a lender is willing to lend to you, what your interest rate will be, and other loan terms.  If you are sitting at close to that 50% mark I would encourage you to work to pay it down if at all possible.

After preparing for all of these things you may say I’m ready to buy that house and find out how much I can afford.  As you prepare make sure that you also have some funds saved up for moving expenses, utility hook ups (yes some do request a deposit), any new furniture you may need to buy (do not buy this while in the process of purchasing your home, any large purchases can change your debt to income ratio and affect your ability to procure your home loan) and finally any home improvements you may want to make after you move in.

There are many factors that go into determining how much home you can afford but what I ultimately like to tell my clients is that it’s not about how much you were approved for, it’s about the monthly payment you are comfortable with.  If the loan amount you are approved for is going to put you with a mortgage payment that you are stressed out about making each month then you will be missing out on the joy that is home ownership.

 

For more great information on preparing to purchase a home be sure to check out Fannie Mae!