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Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price is Right!

by Amy McLeod Group


If you’ve ever watched “The Price is Right,” you know that the only way to win is to be the one to correctly guess the price of the item you want without going over! That means your guess must be just slightly under the retail price.

In today’s shifting real estate market, where more inventory is coming to market and home values are projected to appreciate at lower rates, homeowners will not be able to price their homes as aggressively as they were able to just last year.

They will have to employ the same strategy: be the closest without going over!

As we have explained before, pricing your home at or slightly below market value actually increases the number of buyers who will see your home in their search!

Over the last six months, more inventory has come to market while the months’ supply of inventory available has dropped. This means that the demand for homes to buy is still very strong throughout the country!

Homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their homes will eventually have to drop the price. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drop was caused by something wrong with the homes when in reality nothing was wrong, the price was just too high!

Bottom Line
If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, let McLeod Group Network properly price your home from the start! 971.208.5093 or 
admin@mgnrealtors.com

 

By: KCM Crew

Excited About Buying A Home This Year? Here’s What to Watch

by Amy McLeod Group


As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).

Inventory

A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you. 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com

By: KCM Crew

Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner

by Amy McLeod Group


In today’s market, as home prices rise and a lack of inventory continues, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for most sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers

According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95% of buyers searched online for a home last year. That is in comparison to only 13% of buyers looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home, do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

  • 50% on the Internet
  • 28% from a real estate agent
  • 7% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by putting out a lawn sign or putting an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 7% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they can save on the real estate commission by selling on their own, but they don’t realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe that they can save on the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent. One of the main reasons for the price difference at the time of sale is that,

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property. The study showed that the difference in price between comparable homes of size and location is currently at an average of 6% this year.

Why would you choose to list on your own and manage the entire transaction when you can hire an agent and not have to pay anything more?

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, get together with The McLeod Group Network to discuss your needs.  971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com

By: KCM Crew

Your Winter 2019 Home Maintenance To-Do List: Have You Checked It Twice?

by Amy McLeod Group


We won't sugarcoat it: The thought of doing home maintenance right now is pretty blah—especially with the holidays looming and weeks of gloomy winter days on the horizon. Who wants to do housework when you can curl up and binge-watch "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" instead?

So you're forgiven if this is one article you don't want to read. But before you take up permanent residence on the couch, you should at least skim it. That's because winter chills bring a number of home-related ills—and if you don't keep up with a little maintenance now, you could be in for catastrophic repair costs later.

So pull yourself out of hibernation mode and get started. The good news? We've done the heavy lifting for you, identifying the top tasks to tackle—and what professional help will cost you if you find yourself in over your head.

Give your gutters one last scrub

Hopefully, you've been clearing out your gutters on the regular. But once every tree is bare, it's time for one final cleaning session to "avoid moisture building up against your house—and ice dams," says Derek Christian, the owner of Handyman Connection in Blue Ash, OH.

Ah, ice dams: winter's favorite boogeyman. These troublemakers happen when warm air meets a cold, wet roof, creating supersized icicles. Eventually, that ice and moisture can find their way underneath your shingles, rotting your roof, and leaking into the living spaces below.

But ice dams are easily avoided—as long as you do a little prep.

DIY: Cleaning out your gutters is simple enough to do yourself. For extra protection, Jason Metzger, the head of risk management for PURE Insurance, recommends installing heat strips on your gutter or roof edges to keep frozen precipitation from building up.

Call in the pros: Have you been really lackadaisical with your gutter cleanings? An expert can scoop out all the gunk. Expect to pay $100 to $250.

Turn on your humidifier


Holiday humidifier. istock/Qwart

Is your furnace prepped for winter? While this might vary based on your specific model, Christian advises homeowners to check their furnace for a "winter" and a "summer" switch, which controls your humidifier.

"In the summer, the airflow to the humidifier needs to be cut off; but in the winter, you want air going through it," he says.

That keeps your skin from drying out, your eyes from itching, and your floorboards from creaking.

DIY: Switching your humidifier on is an easy task. If your furnace lacks this feature, a stand-alone humidifier, like this Honeywell model, will do the job.

Call in the pros: Adding a humidifier to your furnace is simple. Costs start at about $370.

———

Insulate (and inspect) the attic

House always feel drafty? Your attic could be to blame. Check to make sure this space is sufficiently insulated. And while you're up there, make sure no rodents can shimmy in and create their own winter retreat. (Eek!)

"Make sure any gaps and holes into your attic are sealed tight," Christian says. "As winter approaches, critters will be looking for somewhere to spend it."

DIY: Stuff gaps with insulation, and fill cracks with caulk to keep the critters—and the cold—out.

Call in the pros: If you're noticing a severe lack of insulation (or you require six blankets just to keep your body temperature normal), hiring a pro to add insulation will be worth the cost. The national average to install blown-in insulation is $1,400.

———

Create a cleaning schedule for the new year


Seasonal cleaning calendar. 
istock/ RapidEye

With 2019 rapidly approaching, now's the time to institute good home habits that will keep your space clean and organized year-round. And what better time to tackle the mountain of grime that's accumulated over the year than the frigid winter months when you can't go outside?

DIY: Creating a regular cleaning schedule makes a huge difference in keeping your home tidy and organized.

"Hang a calendar in your kitchen where your whole household can see it," and assign tasks to the household, says professional organizer Kacy Burns.

Take it one step further with weekly, monthly, and quarterly reminders.

Call in the pros: Just can't bear the thought of starting a new year with chores? If you've ever considered a cleaning crew, now’s the time. Figure on paying $200 to $300 for a one-time cleaning, but you may be able to negotiate that price down with a regular cleaning schedule.

———

Fireproof your home

With temps plummeting, you've probably already switched on your heat a few times, gathered around the fireplace, or lugged out a portable heater to warm your feet on chilly nights.

"With all these heat sources in use, homeowners must take precautions to protect themselves from house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning," says Sophie Kaemmerle, a home improvement expert with NeighborWho, a property information website.

DIY: If you haven't done so recently, replace those smoke detector batteries.

Call in the pros: If you smell gas or your carbon monoxide detector starts beeping, leave the house and call 911, followed by your utility company, which will send out a team to investigate the problem. Still feeling wary? Most fire departments will do a home safety check if you request one.

———

Maintain a smart temperature

Consider installing a smart thermostat to keep your home's temperature even. Today's models —like the über-popular Nest—will alert you if the temperature inside your home suddenly falls. That can be a lifesaver when you're on vacation, preventing frozen pipes and other winter disasters.

DIY: If you're not ready to upgrade your thermostat, you can do your part to maintain an even temperature.

"Leave interior doors, cabinets, and vanities open to keep the whole home heated," Metzger says.

Call in the pros: Is your thermostat struggling to keep temperatures even? Are cold spots in your living room bugging you on snow days? A whole-home energy audit, which costs about $400, can identify the cause.

———

Hunker down for winter storms


Ice storm

istock/DenisTangneyJr

In most parts of the nation, the first snow has already fallen—and more is surely on the way. Before the next bomb cyclone/polar vortex/sharknado blizzard (hey, it could happen), make sure you're prepared for the worst-case scenario.

"Heavy snows and ice can take down power lines and leave you in the cold and dark," says Krystal Rogers-Nelson of home safety and security company SafeWise.

DIY: Make sure you have a (working) generator, and stock up on batteries for flashlights and lanterns. Invest in a solar-powered or battery-operated radio to stay up to date with news in case you lose cellphone reception. Store wintry weather supplies—such as snow shovels and window scrapers—somewhere you can access them easily.

If you live in an area particularly prone to snow, mark the sides of your driveway and other key places with reflective poles to help snow plowers see where to go, suggests home maintenance expert Laura Gaskill.

And remember: A buildup of heavy snow on tree limbs can make them more prone to breaking, Gaskill notes, so brush snow off tree limbs after each big snowfall, using a broom to extend your reach.

Thinking about buying or selling a home in the new year? Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com

By: Realtor.com, Jamie Wiebe, Holly Amaya 

Your Listing Is Turning Buyers Off! Here's Why

by Amy McLeod Group


The best way to get potential buyers through the door and interested in your home is with a stellar online listing. Photos of the house and a description of the property are standard fare, but not all listings do what they're supposed to do. In fact, some might actually do more harm than good.

In many ways, trying to sell your home is like applying for a job, and your online listing is the resume or cover letter. If it’s not polished, you’ll never even get to the next phase.

So, what are the parts of a listing that can turn buyers off? Below are some of the worst offenses.

1. Lackluster (or non-existent) description

It can be hard to sum up your home in a couple of paragraphs. However, if you want to attract buyers, you’ll need to paint an inviting picture of the property.

“If it is a lakefront home, highlight the best parts of living on the lake; if it is an urban town, mention that you are within walking distance of top-rated restaurants,” says Cynthia Emerling, listing specialist at Finger Lakes Premier Properties in Canandaigua, NY.

Work with your real estate agent to pinpoint what buyers are looking for in your area, so you can mention it as early as possible in the listing description.

For example, Emerling’s company specializes in lakefront vacation homes, so “the views, the dock, and the topography of the land are all features that we highlight prominently.”

Also keep in mind that the online listing might initially show just a couple of lines of text, so make sure the most eye-catching information appears first.

2. Too much (or the wrong type of) information

Colorful listing photos or descriptions are sure to entice, but you have to be objective. Your favorite aspects of the home might not have the same effect on buyers.

“I had one seller that wanted to include photos of bunnies that lived in the backyard,” says Kris Lippi, real estate broker and owner of Get Listed Realty in Hartford, CT.

However, Lippi didn’t think that would necessarily be a selling point—and buyers might actually be concerned that the rabbits were destroying the lawn.

3. Amateur photographs


Photography equipment should never be showing in your listing photos!

Really Bad MLS Photos/Facebook

Your smartphone takes some really good photos, but that doesn’t mean they’re good enough to be used in your online listing.

“Everyone thinks they can take quality pictures with their smartphones and save a few dollars, but you only get one chance to impress potential buyers online,” says Robert Taylor, owner of The Real Estate Solutions Guy, a house-flipping company in Sacramento, CA.

That's why it's important to feature high-quality photographs shot by someone who has experience taking photos for online listings.

“A professional photographer will have the correct camera lenses, lighting, and angles to allow the entire room to be seen in a single photo," Taylor says.

Jim Stevenson, a real estate agent at Realty One Group in Doylestown, PA, agrees that pictures taken by camera phone are no match for high-quality professional photos.

“I can't tell you how many times I've seen the infamous ‘real estate agent in a mirror' shot," Stevenson says. “When the photo quality is lacking, it sends a message that your home is low quality, too.”

4. Not staging your home


By not staging a home, you're missing out on the opportunity to show potential buyers how the space can be used.

realtor.com

While many buyers like to think of a new house as a blank canvas for their own furniture and design tastes, leaving the rooms completely devoid of furniture and art in the listing photos can hurt you in the long run. Buyers like to see the potential of the home, so staging is highly recommended.

“When a house is staged, you can get the sense of use and purpose for each space,” says Matt Morgus, a San Francisco-based real estate agent.

That's especially important for houses with open floor plans.

“Open floor plans are extremely popular to home buyers in today’s market, but sometimes it’s hard to differentiate a space with no furniture,” Morgus says.

5. Too many days on the market

Buyers look closely at the listing price and days on the market (DOM) because this information can help them determine whether the house is priced too low or too high—and how much they should offer if they're interested.

Because every real estate market is different, there isn't a hard and fast number of days it takes for a listing to be considered stale. However, most real estate agents agree that it takes about 30 days on the market for a listing to lose its luster.

So how can you revive a stale listing? Additional marketing efforts like new photos or an added incentive (free tacos with purchase, anyone?) may help. But the most effective way to generate more buzz about your property is with a price adjustment.

"If you have been on the market for a while and activity has stalled, you should consider reducing the price,” Lippi advises. “Even if you reduce it by a small amount, it will show up in buyers’ emails again and appear online as a price correction, and this gets eyes on your listing.”

The best tactic, ultimately, is to price the house correctly the first time, so it doesn't end up languishing on the market for a couple of weeks.

“An overpriced home will force a seller to drop the price of their home numerous times to reach the ‘sweet spot’ where buyers become interested in the listing,” says Breyer.

Let The McLeod Group Network help you sell your home! 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

By: Realtor.com, Terri Williams


Painting appliances is one of the best ways to update your kitchen without having to take on an expensive renovation. Like painting exposed bricks or a bathtub, putting on a fresh coat of appliance paint can make your hardworking machines look brand-new. But before you grab a paintbrush, here's what you need to know.

Appliance paint is different

You can achieve professional-looking results by painting your appliances yourself. However, this is not the time to use up that extra wall paint in those rusty cans in your garage. Appliance paint is specially formulated for metal surfaces and for the kind of extra-tough wear and tear to which appliances are subjected.


Refrigerator painted with white appliance paint- 
Rust-Oleum

Types of appliances that can be painted

The type of appliance you’re painting will determine which type of appliance paint you should get.

“Appliance paint is available in heat-resistant finishes, which would work best for your appliances that get warm over an extended period of time,” according to Amy Davis, a franchise consultant for Five Star Painting.

In fact, you should use only high-heat paint on your stove, oven, or toaster—but avoid painting the actual heat coils.

"Spray paint should not be used on any surface that comes in direct contact with food, as our paint is not tested for food safety,” says Melinda Childress, product marketing manager at Sherwin-Williams.

For appliances like the refrigerator or dishwasher that can get wet, you'll achieve the best results by choosing a moisture-resistant appliance paint.


White refrigerator painted with stainless steel appliance paint - Giani 

Choosing the right appliance paint

Rust-Oleum, Krylon, and Giani are three popular household appliance paint brands. Rust-Oleum and Krylon are both available in black, white, almond, and bisque/biscuit colors. And Giani offers Liquid Stainless Steel, a DIY kit that allows you to give your boring, outdated appliances the sleek, luxurious look of stainless steel.

Davis recommends spray paints because they are easy to use on appliances.

Prepping appliances for painting

To achieve professional-looking results, you’ll need to adhere to tried-and-true pre-painting rituals.

“A thorough cleaning will be the No.1 prep step for most appliances, since they are subject to fingerprints, grease, and food residue,” says Childress.

If the appliance is old and has traces of rust, she recommends sanding the rust to remove it before you start painting.

A lot of people try to skip the cleaning and sanding steps, but if you don’t remove grime and other residue, the paint won’t adhere to your appliances.

“You should also unplug the appliance, and remove or cover all the hardware and handles,” Davis says.

When you start painting

The best way to avoid a mishap is to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the product you're using.

To avoid inhaling paint fumes, don't paint your appliances indoors. Instead, paint outdoors or in a well-ventilated garage.

Also, it’s best to have everything that you need on hand before you start on your project.

You'll need the following tools and materials, according to Ami Gruenenfelder at the Giani paint company:

  • Painters tape
  • Paint roller tray (unless youre using spray paint)
  • Phillips head screwdriver (for detaching handles)
  • Fine #600 grit sandpaper (for sanding any accidental drips)
  • Water-based plastic primer (any plastic areas must be primed prior to using appliance paint)

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com. 

By: Realtor.com, Terri Williams

7 Reasons to List Your House For Sale This Holiday Season

by Amy McLeod Group

Every year at this time there are many homeowners who decide to wait until after the holidays to list their homes for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their new employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is minimal competition for you as a seller right now. Inventory of homes for sale traditionally slows in the late fall, early winter. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:
  6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
  7. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights which will lessen the demand for your house in 2019.

Bottom Line 
Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.

 

Let The McLeod Group Network sell your home this holiday season! Contact us today at 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

 

By: KCM Crew

Embarrassed by Your Kitchen? Try These Cheap, Fast Fixes

by Amy McLeod Group

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and nothing can bring you down—except, of course, a kitchen that's too small, too dated, too messy, or otherwise not fit to be seen by others (or on Instagram).

If your lackluster kitchen has you reluctant to host holiday festivities in your home, you're not alone. Home shame is real, and according to one survey of 1,000 homeowners, 61% of adults in the United States have admitted to not inviting guests into their home because they're embarrassed of what lies inside.

But you don't have to sit out from the hosting rotation this holiday season. We asked the experts for quick and easy solutions to your biggest kitchen problems, and their answers will have you sending out invites in no time.

Scuffed counters

Your kitchen counters are going to get a lot of attention during your holiday gathering—after all, that's where you're going to lay out that delicious spread, right? So what are you to do if yours are scratched, scuffed, or bear the marks of a few unfortunately hot pots and pans?

Interior designer Mikel Welch, of HGTV's "Design Star" and TLC's "Trading Spaces," says the fix is easier than you might think—and it doesn't involve installing new counters.

"As an on-camera designer, I often have to mask and camouflage things to look 'camera ready,'" says Welch. "You can do the same thing in your kitchen by creating a vignette of holiday decor nestled right over the top of any countertop imperfections."

Dated cabinets

Your cabinets may be straight out of the 1960s, but it's not the end of the world. Your best option, according to Sherwin-Williams director of product information Rick Watson, is to paint your cabinets.

"Paint is a great, affordable way to refresh old cabinets," he says. "It helps to cover up imperfections and stains, and you can choose from thousands of colors. However, if you want a professional, lasting finish, it requires a lot of prep work."

If you don't have time to remove cabinet doors, sand, and paint, you're not out of options.

"For a simpler update, adding new cabinet hardware can help bring them back to life," says Build.com's in-house interior designer, Lauren O’Donnell, from Chico, CA. "I often see cabinets without hardware, and I always see that as a easy opportunity to add a little flair."

Botched backsplash

A backsplash is supposed to catch the eye, but what if yours draws the eye right to a mislaid or missing tile?

"Counter backsplash can make or break a kitchen," Welch says. "Try a peel-and-stick backsplash applied directly over your botched backsplash job. There’s no grout, spaces or level needed."

For an even simpler solution, designer Susan Serra, president of Susan Serra Associates in Northport, NY, says you can always just hide those embarrassing spots on your backsplash.

"My favorite trick is to put out a decorative item or a small appliance to block the offending area," she says.

Mismatched appliances

It's not often that all your appliances stop working all at the same time, so there's a good chance the ones in your kitchen don't exactly match. If they're really different—completely different colors, for example—Welch says there's no need to purchase new ones just to make them harmonize.

"You can easily fix this problem with stainless steel contact paper that can be cut and affixed to your appliances in a jiffy," says Welch. "Within two hours, all of your family hand-me-down appliances will look like they just rolled in off a delivery truck."

Worn or cracked vinyl flooring

Redoing floors is a major expense, especially with the holidays right around the corner. But even if your floors leave a lot to be desired, you don't have to rush into a major construction job.

"If your vinyl floors are cracking, chances are the flooring is old. Which probably means the pattern is dated as well. Give new life to your floor by covering it up with peel-and-stick wood-plank vinyl floors," suggests Welch.

Lack of counter space

For some homeowners, the scariest part of holiday hosting is trying to find a place to set out all the food. Designer Leslie Saul, president of Leslie Saul & Associates, says this problem can be solved with a quick online shopping spree.

"Wayfair has many rolling islands that add counter space and can store things that you used to keep on the counter," she says, adding that this one purchase extends your counter space in two ways—by adding more surface area, and by giving you a place to store some of the clutter on your existing counters.

Scratched-up sink

White kitchen sinks are gorgeous—at least, until you use them a few times. After you've washed a few loads of dishes, they start to look scratched, stained, and a lot less attractive. But they don't have to stay that way.

"If sink stains and scratches are a problem, then you need to head down to your local hardware store and pay the paint aisle a visit," says Welch. "There are several easy to apply tub paints and tile refinishing kits that will have your sink Martha Stewart-ready in a quick weekend."

Lauren McKinney, director of marketing at Judd Builders in Asheville, NC, had an even easier solution. "Buy stainless steel grids to hide scratches and stains, if they're only on the bottom of the sink," she suggests.

Scratched table

The last thing you want to do is have friends and family sit around a scratched-up old table for the big meal. DIY expert and blogger at Heathered NestHeather Thibodeau, has a simple solution you might not have thought of.

"Grab some crayons! Yep. Crayons work great in a pinch for covering scuffs, chips and dings in furniture," she says.

If you're not comfortable turning your table into a coloring project, McKinney suggests adding a tablecloth—it's a perfect opportunity to both hide the imperfections and add a touch of holiday cheer.

Let the McLeod Group Network help you find a home with the kitchen of your dreams! Contact us today - 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

By: Realtor.com, Whitney Coy

Will Home Prices Continue To Increase?

by Amy McLeod Group

There are many unsubstantiated theories about what is happening with home prices. From those who are worried that prices are falling (data shows this is untrue), to those who are concerned that prices are again approaching boom peaks because of “irrational exuberance” (this is also untrue as prices are not at peak levels when they are adjusted for inflation), there seems to be no shortage of opinion.

However, the increase in prices is easily explained by the theory of supply & demand. Whenever there is a limited supply of an item that is in high demand, prices increase. It is that simple. In real estate, it takes a six-month supply of existing salable inventory to maintain pricing stability. In most housing markets, anything less than six months will cause home values to appreciate and anything greater than seven months will cause prices to depreciate (see chart below).


According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly inventory of homes for sale has been below six months for the last five years (see chart below).

Bottom Line

If buyer demand continues to outpace the current supply of existing homes for sale, prices will continue to appreciate. Nothing nefarious is taking place. It is simply the theory of supply & demand working as it should.

Let The McLeod Group Network assist you with all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

By: KCM Crew

We're Stuck in Our Starter Home—Will It Be Our Forever Home, Too?

by Amy McLeod Group

Right after we got married, my husband and I bought a starter house. At the time, we didn’t have much in savings (or in income), so it wasn’t our dream house. But it was our house, and that was enough. Coming from the tiny apartment where we started out, this three-bedroom, one-bath Cape Cod on a quiet street seemed like a dream. Our plan was to stay five years, tops, then sell it and move on to something bigger and better.

That was 12 years ago … and we’re still here.

At first, our long stay in our starter home happened purely by accident. We had two kids in quick succession, and I'd made a career move into an unsteady field. We were just too busy (and to be honest, too scared) to make the leap.

A few years ago, however, we decided we were ready to enter the real estate market once again. Financially, we were comfortable, and we were rapidly outgrowing the house that had once fit us perfectly. Time to move on!

But that's when it hit us that the real estate market had changed. A lot.

In Lancaster, OH, where we lived, we quickly came to realize that a seller's market reigned, filled with ambitious sellers and vicious buyers who often pounced before a "For Sale" sign was even planted in the ground. We fell in love with three homes that went into contract before we could even make an offer. When we did manage to make an offer on two other homes, we were outbid each time.

That kind of letdown was heartbreaking. After we had pictured our family in that kitchen or our cars in the driveway, it wasn't easy to trudge home in defeat to a place where we no longer wanted to live, again and again.

In short, we were stuck in our starter home ... and, lacking any other recourse, I decided to change my way of thinking.

As bad as I wanted a new house, I also knew we weren’t willing to overpay. So instead, I decided to take another look at our humble home and, rather than focus on its flaws, wonder we could turn it into the forever home we'd been searching for everywhere but here.

From starter home ... to forever home?

There are so many projects we dreamed up for this house when we bought it, and then brushed aside because we didn’t plan on staying. I can’t count how many times we said, “If we were going to stay here, I’d love to…” followed by some totally doable project we’d certainly get to with the next house.

For instance, we wanted to paint, but surely the new owners would have other colors in mind. We wanted a new couch, but figured we should probably wait until we move so we could pick out one that fit in the new house.

Finally, we realized that we are staying here—at least for now. Why should we wait? This old house has been good to us over the years. It’s where we brought home our babies and watched them grow. I learned to cook in this kitchen. I got my career off the ground at my little desk in the corner of the dining room.

I realized this wasn't our starter home—it was just home.

So this summer, I took the plunge. I took our sad, grungy, enclosed patio, and transformed it into a glorious summer retreat. New paint, new furniture, and good bit of elbow grease gave me a place I actually enjoyed sitting to watch my kids play.


My first step toward transforming our starter home to home. 

Something about that first project—even though it was a small one—made me realize that we had been approaching this all wrong. The heartbreak of not getting a house we loved didn’t sting quite so much. The prospect of staying here wasn't so bad.

I kept up the momentum. I replaced our big, hulking black fridge (I promise, they were somewhat in style in the early aughts) with one made of shiny stainless steel. I hung some new shelves in my kitchen and bought new rugs. Not a big change, but the room felt fresh to me.

I wasn't sure where to go next, but this old house led the way. An overflowing toilet led to the discovery of a rusted-out pipe under the floor. Rather than try to make the fix with minimal damage, we ripped out the old bathroom and created a whole new one that we love. I still wish we had more than one bathroom, but the one we have is pretty now, so it'll be just fine.

Next came the couch. I was all too happy to pass that 12-year-old beast off to a happy newlywed couple and buy an overstuffed sectional I’d been eyeing for years. Suddenly, my living room seems like the perfect place to get cozy and relax.

I hung new pictures. I potted succulents. My dad helped me landscape the overgrown front yard. Last weekend, I picked up paint samples.


I
t took more than a decade, but the front yard finally has nice landscaping.

At first glance, it may seem like we’ve given up on our dream, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We still pore over real estate listings, and we still go to open houses. We still talk about buying a new house—"someday." And of course, all these changes will be a major advantage when it’s finally time to list this house.

This probably isn’t our forever home. Nonetheless, taking the time to change the things I didn't like about it have made it a great place to be right now. Now, when my husband and I check out the newest listings, we don't complain when nothing seems to fit. We just sit back on our brand- new couch, look around the house we love, and know we're happy right where we are.

Let’s get together and find your starter home or move you up to your dream home! Contact The McLeod Group Network at 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

By: Realtor.com, Whitney Coy

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The McLeod Group Network
Keller Williams Capital City
1900 Hines St SE #220
Salem OR 97302
971-208-5093
Fax: 971-599-5229

**Disclaimer: Amy McLeod, and her team, do not initiate, process, or service mortgages.  And provide this information only as a service.  You should confirm information here with your Licensed Mortgage Lender.