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Wishing You a Spooktacular Day!

by Amy McLeod Group


A real estate listing can tell you an awful lot about a home, beyond just the price—essential stats like the year the property was built and the price per square foot. But one of the most important numbers to be aware of is the days on market, or DOM, the amount of time the home has been listed for sale on the multiple listing service. The DOM gives you an idea of how other buyers are reacting to the property and whether it's priced high or low.

Properties with a high DOM are commonly referred to as stale listings, meaning the house has been languishing on the market for a long time. Depending on the specifics of local housing markets, experts consider that a house starts becoming stale around three to five weeks—and it usually causes one of two possible reactions. Some buyers think such homes are a bit tainted, while others believe they'll have more bargaining power and can get the house at a steal. Which is more true?

Buyer beware?

First of all, let’s dispel the myth that there’s always something wrong with the house when it doesn’t sell quickly. There are a lot of factors that could come into play.

For example, Dolly Hertz, licensed associate real estate broker at Engel & Völkers in New York, says there’s a backlog of unsold inventory in the greater New York market—both city and suburbs. Hertz says some homes have languished on these markets for two or even three years.

Shawn Breyer of Breyer House Buyers, in Atlanta, tells us he’s seen a lot of great homes that are simply overpriced.

“As homeowners progressively lower the price on the home, the perception is that something is wrong with it—and this perception sometimes keeps would-be buyers from looking at the house,” he says.

Sometimes, a high DOM may be due to factors out of the seller's control.

“Perhaps the seller accepted a contract at some point, but it fell through because the buyer couldn't qualify for financing,” says Shafaq Chawla, a real estate professional with Compass in Los Gatos, CA.

But the problem could also be the home itself. Outdated interiors or big-ticket items in need of repair can scare buyers away. Some people would never gamble on buying a house with roof damage.

“Buyers are also turned off by homes that need a new paint job, landscaping work, and upgrades to decks, floors, and appliances,” Hertz says.

Location is yet another factor that could stall a home’s sale.

“Houses on busy roads or in a flood zone typically have longer days on market,” says Sarah M. Drennan, at broker/manager at Terrie O’Connor Realtors, in Allendale, NJ.

And, of course, bad listing photos can tarnish buyers' opinion of the house before they even set foot inside.

Deal or no deal

Does a high DOM give buyers more bargaining power? Sometimes.

“Remember, market value is what a buyer is willing to pay for a home, not what a seller expects,” says Chawla. When there is no demand for the home, she says sellers and agents may be willing to accept less than the initial asking price.

“Many deals may be found by salvaging stale listings,” says Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby's International in Wilmington, DE. “To see if I have any bargaining power, I tend to suggest presenting a low offer to see how the seller will react.”

Just be aware: Sellers aren’t always desperate, regardless of how long the home has been on the market.

“Some are just fishing for the highest price they can get and won't sell unless they get the price that they have in mind,” says Breyer. He recommends asking your real estate broker to find out why the homeowner wants to sell, since this can help you determine if you have any bargaining power.

For example, the sellers may just be testing the market and not desperate to sell, and Drennan says they may not be willing to take less than they’re asking. However, if circumstances dictate that they have to sell the home, you’re dealing with a motivated seller and can negotiate accordingly.

Proceed with caution

Finding a house with a high DOM that actually meets all of your criteria may feel like finding a designer blouse at the bottom of a bargain bin, but don't get excited just yet. You may be able to strike a deal, but the first move is to understand why the house is overpriced.

“Is it the location, a major defect, repairs needed, or difficult sellers?” asks Breyer.

If you do make an offer, be sure to include house inspection contingencies in the contract.

“The house may seem fine, but there may be issues that are not immediately apparent,” Hertz says.

A home inspector will reveal the house's flaw that may cost you an arm and a leg to repair. But a contingency will give you the right to back out of the sale if something looks fishy.

The McLeod Group Network is here to assist in all your home-buying needs. Reach us at 971.208.5093 or [email protected]

By: Realtor.com, Terri Williams

Serenity Now! 8 Ways to Turn Your Home Into a Peaceful Retreat

by Amy McLeod Group


When you open the door to your home, do you breathe a sigh of relief? Or do you cringe at the pile of mail on the counter and the overstuffed closet where you hang your coat?

Our home should be our retreat from the world, where we feel calm and relaxed. So if that's not how you feel at home, it may be time to rethink your design or decor. To aid your quest for serenity, here are eight ways to set up a peaceful refuge at home.

1. Interview yourself


Photo by Martha O'Hara Interiors

Everyone has a slightly different definition of what makes a peaceful home, so experts urge homeowners to start by asking a few personal questions, such as "Who am I?" and "What do I want from this space?"

"For example, if books are important to you and make you feel at peace, get a great bookshelf and organize them. But if the sight of all your books makes you feel stressed out and reminds you of cramming for exams, consider hiding them away in cabinets," suggests Drew Henry of Design Dudes.

Just keep in mind that a plethora of clutter isn't necessarily bad if those objects bring you joy. Julie Coraccio, a professional organizer with Reawaken Your Brilliance, is at peace with all the cat toys in her home.

"We're a cat family and are fostering them, and yes, their toys are everywhere, but the cats make me happy," she explains.

2. Consider the flow

Photo by Huntington House 

A serene home is one that's easily navigated. If you find yourself tripping over the dog bed in the kitchen or struggling around a too-big couch to enter the den, you'll lose out on those Zen vibes.

"Think of the best traffic patterns for each room and then arrange furniture so it's easy to access and sit down," urges Karen Gray-Plaistedof Design Solutions KGP. Too much furniture or items that are too large can be draining, so pick and place your pieces carefully.

3. Serenity starts at your front door

Photo by Crisp Architects 

Coming home at the end of the day should be painless. In other words, don't let your foyer become a catch-all for everyone's belongings! Make sure you have a place to sit so you can untie your shoes, a spot to corral footwear, hooks for coats, and a container for keys and mail.

4. Get organized

Photo by Heidi Caillier Design 

You've heard it before—and it's still true. Clutter can overwhelm a homeowner and kill any chance of serenity.

"Clutter makes you lose peace of mind, because it takes up so much space, reminding you of what needs to be done," notes Coraccio.

In fact, clutter is the chief complaint that homeowners say affects their mood.

"Simply put, people don't feel happy or comfortable creating meals in a cluttered kitchen," says Jamie Gold, a San Diego-based wellness design consultant and author of the forthcoming book "Healthy Living, Healthy Home."

5. Define stations

Photo by Vincent Longo Custom Builders 

"Creating a zoned space definitely adds to the potential for harmony," says Gold. Zones in your kitchen make for easier meal prep (put all the critical tools in one area) and zones in the garage make you happier to return after work.

If you're a reader, a book nook is a smart idea, while dog owners need an organized station for puppy chow and toys.

"I have a meditation chair, and as I walk toward it, my body begins to relax, because it knows what's going to happen there," Coraccio says.

6. Let colors soothe

Photo by Ethan Allen Design Center Viera 

Gold says that blues and greens are connected to nature's healing elements, including the sky, ocean, and forest. But one size doesn't fit all when it comes to colors that promote joy. An all-white room may calm one person but annoy another, she adds.

Sara Chiarilli, an interior designer with Artful Conceptions, votes for cool colors for the most serenity at home. "Shades on the cool side of the color wheel evoke a sense of calm in the brain," she says. But Henry picks whites and grays, as lots of blue can look too beachy. "Of course, the beach is relaxing, but this theme can be a little kitschy, and kitsch is not relaxing," he explains.

7. Choose comfort above all

Photo by Ben Gebo Photography

Your chairs should look great—but feel even better. If your pieces are stunning but no one wants to sit in them, what good are they? asks Chiarilli. And a streamlined look adds to a sense of calm in the room, says Henry, because it's peaceful to the eye.

8. Add textures

Photo by Serena & Lily 

A chunky throw on a bed is an easy way to add texture to the home.

"I love mixing jute with cottons and leather, and velvets combine nicely with wools and linen," says Chiarilli.

Along with metals, wood, and stone, you'll have a full complement of textures, which the brain needs to see to truly relax in a space, she adds.

Contact The McLeod Group Network at 971.208.5093 or [email protected] for tips on remodeling and design.

By: Realtor.com, Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Exploring Salem Oregon: Deepwood Children’s Halloween Party

by Amy McLeod Group


Join us for our annual Children’s Halloween Party on the beautiful historic grounds of Deepwood. The registration fee includes one souvenir photo per family, crafts, activities, and treats. Costumes are encouraged.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of this event, we need to register adults and children as attendance is limited. Crafts and entertainment are all planned with children 12 and under in mind.

All proceeds support the care, preservation, and programs of Deepwood.

Saturday, October 26, 2019 – 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Deepwood Museum & Gardens
1116 Mission Street SE
Salem, OR

Purchase Tickets HERE

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit: evensi.us

2359 Ptarmigan St: Nicely Updated Home in West Salem!

by Amy McLeod Group

Salem-Keizer OR Real Estate For Sale
2359 Ptarmigan St NW, Salem, OR  97304

Nestled in the West Salem Hillside, giving quiet sanctuary, sits this nicely updated home with possible dual living!  Appreciate and enjoy the fresh interior paint, new flooring, interior doors and trim, plus a freshly renovated kitchen, finished lower level, 4 spacious bedrooms and 3 full baths that 2359 Ptarmigan St has to offer! Large windows let the sunlight in this generously sized main level living room. A cozy wood burning fireplace will help keep you warm on those upcoming winter nights. The connecting dining area is highlighted by a modern chandelier creating an elegant space to dine. New stainless steel appliances, an abundance of white cabinetry and open shelving, plus plenty of counterspace for meal prep make this kitchen a delightful space. The eat in area and dining room have deck access making easy indoor/outdoor entertaining options. Plush carpeting, plentiful closet space and a private bath help you relax and rejuvenate in this soothing master suite. Two secondary bedrooms and a full bath complete the main level. The lower level is an ideal set up for dual living with a spacious family room, bedroom, bonus room, a large laundry and full bath. The tree lined backyard and a large deck are perfect for BBQ’s. This convenient location has you minutes to shopping, dining, parks and recreation. Say Hello to Your New Home!  

The McLeod Group Network has distinguished themselves as a leader in the Salem Oregon real estate market. As a full service, real estate team - focused on working with our Seller and Buyer clients to help achieve their real estate goals!

We bring a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Salem Oregon home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why our clients benefit from our unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, focused on the Future –The McLeod Group Network will help make the most of your Salem Oregon real estate experience. With over 40 years of combined experience, you can rest assured that your real estate transaction will be handled and cared for with the utmost respect and attention to detail. Give us a call today 503-798-4001 and discover the difference we can make during your family's move.

Haunted (Open) Houses: Real-Life Ghost Stories From Real Estate Pros

by Amy McLeod Group


For anyone who’s ever experienced the hair-raising presence of the paranormal, you’ll know that spooky things can happen any time of year—and not just on Halloween. Just check out the recent ghost stories related to the “Watcher House” (which is exactly as creepy as it sounds), or this summer’s sale of "The Conjuring” house—there’s never a shortage of insanely scary stories if you know where to find them.

And fortunately for you, we do! In celebration of everyone’s favorite haunted holiday, we’re bringing you three crazy (and true) spooky stories from real estate agents across the country. Read at your own peril—preferably with the lights on.

The blue room with a tragic history

Have you ever walked into a room and just felt that something wasn’t right? That’s what happened to broker Brad Pauly when touring a house with his client in Austin, TX, several years back.

“As I entered a back bedroom with all navy walls, I got a chill and goosebumps,” he said. “I didn't know why, but I had to get out of the house and catch my breath.”

 

After running outside to recover, Pauly did a little digging to find out what was going on in the house.

“When I asked the agent why the seller was selling, she told me that someone had committed suicide in the navy blue bedroom two weeks prior to our showing,” Pauly recalls.

A curse on the house

It’s one thing to have a ghost lurking around the house, but what do you do when a living person is casting curses? That’s exactly what Yawar Charlie, director of estates at the Aaron Kirman Group in Los Angeles, was forced to figure out.

“A couple of years ago I was given the opportunity to list a major house in Beverly Hills in a gated community,” he recalls. “It was a gigantic house, well over 15,000 [square] feet, and we were brought in to sell it because the couple who owned it were going through a bitter divorce.”

Although the husband was keen on selling, the wife, who was a practicing Wiccan, didn’t want to—a fact that quickly became apparent.

“She had put up roadblocks at almost every turn on our way up to the property, and one of them was a curse on the house,” Charlie explains.

After days of spooky happenings in the home—including unexplained and sudden power outages—Charlie decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I paid $5,000 to bring in one of my spiritual advisers to cleanse the home,” he recalls. “Once they were in the house, not knowing anything about the owners except that the wife was a practicing Wiccan, they told me they could feel the fights that the couple had had in various rooms of the house.”

The 'restless bride'

While touring a potential fixer-upper in a trendy neighborhood in Knoxville, TN, Cassidy Melhorn and his agent ran into an unwelcome and creepy surprise.

“I met my Realtor® at a property that was built in the late 1940s and appeared to have great bones, only needing some updating,” explains Melhorn, who's also the  founder of Volhomes.

After doing a walk-through of the home together, Melhorn noticed something weird about one wall of the hallway. Being an experienced engineer, he decided to take a closer look.

“I told my agent, ‘There’s a large dead space here,’” he recalls.

Melhorn assumed it was an old fireplace that could be restored, so he got to work carefully prying off the loose paneling that covered the hidden space.

“Behind the panel was a staircase to a second floor of the house that had been boarded completely shut,” he says. “I had so many questions. First of all, why would someone board up a second level and then cover the staircase completely? Secondly, how did I not realize the house had a second level?”

Melhorn ran outside to have a better look at the house. He asked his agent if she'd known the house had two floors. She hadn’t.

Once back inside, things started to get even creepier.

“As we rounded the corner through the kitchen on our way to the dining room, I noticed it,” he says. “Hanging in the middle of the large opening between the dining room and living room was a large silk wedding dress complete with veil, and slightly yellowed from years of aging. The hair on my neck stood straight up as I asked my agent, ‘Was that there when we came through?’”

Neither Melhorn nor his agent had seen the dress on their first walk-through.

“We immediately left,” he explains. Since the discovery of the enclosed second floor and the mysteriously appearing dress, Melhorn has kept tabs on the property.

“The house has been listed for rent many, many times,” he explains. “It’s currently vacant.”

Contact The McLeod Group Network at 971.208.5093 or [email protected] for ALL your Real Estate needs! 

By: Realtor.com, Larissa Runkle

You'd Better Ask These 5 Crucial Questions Before You Buy a House

by Amy McLeod Group


No matter how many episodes of “House Hunters” or “Love It or List It” you've watched, buying a home inevitably comes with surprises. Though a sharp real estate agent will help you navigate these hidden challenges, before you start shopping for a house, you should take account of some important things that you probably haven’t considered.

Curious what you might be missing? Here are five questions you’d never think to ask yourself but totally should before buying a home.

1. Have I checked my credit report?

When you apply for a mortgage to buy a home, lenders want some reassurance that you’ll repay them later. Of course they do! One way they assess this is to check your creditworthiness, by scrutinizing your credit report and score. Having a high credit rating or FICO score (named after the company that created it, the Fair Isaac Corporation) proves that you have reliably paid off past debts, whether they're from a credit card, college loan, or other forms of debt.

Credit scores can range from 300 to 850; in general, what's considered an excellent credit score is in the range of 750 to 850. A good credit score is from 700 to 749; a fair credit score, 650 to 699. A credit score lower than 650 is deemed poor, meaning that your credit history has had some rough patches.

The three nationwide consumer credit-reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—are each required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report annually if you request it. You can order all three at once, or stagger them throughout the year, from one central source: AnnualCreditReport.com.

You should closely examine each report before you meet with a mortgage lender. Why? Because even if you're fairly sure you've never made a late payment, 1 in 4 Americans find errors on their credit file, according to a 2013 Federal Trade Commission survey. The simple truth is that creditors make mistakes reporting customer slip-ups.

If you discover errors, you can remove them from your credit report by contacting Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion with proof that the information was incorrect. From there, they will remove these flaws from your report, which will later be reflected in your FICO score.

2. Who's the best real estate agent for me?

Finding the right real estate agent to partner with can be a daunting task. A lot’s at stake, and there’s certainly no shortage of options. Should you go for a savvy veteran agent or eager newbie?

Veteran real estate agents can provide sage advice, based on the breadth of knowledge they've built up over the years. Having dealt with just about every issue that can affect a sale, they can help you navigate any complicated problems that may arise.

However, experienced agents are usually in high demand, working with several clients at once. Because their time is limited, they may not be available to show you as many homes in person, meet you for last-minute showings, or handle other pressing issues.

Rookie agents, meanwhile, bring fresh energy and enthusiasm to their job. And, because beginners usually have fewer clients than more seasoned agents, they may be able to spend more time with you than an experienced agent who's juggling multiple clients.

In short, choosing the right agent boils down to what kind of customer service you’re looking for. Learn more about the professional's with The McLeod Group Network

3. If I get a new job, am I likely to have to relocate?

Your career plans play a pivotal role in determining whether it makes sense for you to buy a house.

“Previous generations planned to get one job, keep it forever, and ultimately retire. Buying into a house because they were looking for a permanent living situation made a lot more sense,” says Chandler Crouch, broker at Chandler Crouch Realtors in Fort Worth, TX. “Now, job-hopping is prevalent.”

Indeed, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median tenure of workers of ages 55 to 64 is a whopping 10.1 years, more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34, who stay at a job for 2.8 years on average.

Changing jobs won’t be a big deal if your new gig is in your current city, but if there aren’t a ton of job opportunities in your industry in your area, you may find yourself having to relocate a year or two after you bought your home—in which case you may not be able to recoup the amount of money it cost you to purchase the house.

“It honestly isn't a good idea to buy a house unless you plan on staying there for at least five years,” Crouch says. If you're considering buying a house but already know you are likely to move in that time frame, remaining a renter may be your best choice.

4. Can I afford to pay closing costs?

Getting a mortgage comes with a number of closing fees, which borrowers have to pay when they reach the settlement table. These are out-of-pocket expenses that you need to budget for.

Although buyers and sellers both typically pitch in to cover closing costs, buyers shoulder the lion's share of the load (3% to 4% of the home's price) compared with sellers. So, on a $250,000 home, your closing costs could come to about $7,500 to $10,000.

Typical closing fees include the following:

  • Closing fee ($300 to $600): A representative from the title company will come to your closing to supervise the transfer of title, and you'll have to pay for the service.
  • Lender's title insurance (usually 0.5% of the purchase price): This protects your lender if something was missed in the title search. The cost depends on the size of the policy and is set by the state.
  • Title search ($300 to $600): Your lender will do a search to ensure there are no liens on the property or anything that could prevent you from purchasing it. Sometimes this will be bundled with other title fees in your closing document.
  • Wire or courier fees ($30 to $100): If documents need to be sent overnight or money needs to be wired, you'll pay these fees at closing.
  • Document recording fees for the deed and mortgage ($125 on average): Every time a home is sold, the government must record the change of ownership; this fee is typically paid by the home buyer.

Under federal law, borrowers must receive what’s called a “loan estimate” form (previously called a "good-faith estimate”) that outlines their approximate closing costs from their mortgage lender. When you obtain this information, you’ll be able to gauge whether you can pay for closing costs and truly afford to purchase a home.

5. Am I dead set on finding my ‘dream home’?

People throw around the words “dream home” a lot. (Heck, we’re guilty of it.) However, the honest truth is this: "There’s no such thing as a perfect house,” says Daniel Gyomory, a real estate agent in Northville, MI.

Some home buyers, though, have a hard time accepting this, Gyomory says, and make the mistake of holding out for their ultimate forever home.

If your list of “must-haves” is immensely long (you’re looking for great schools, affordable home prices, easy access to public transportation, good walkability, and lots of shops and restaurants) but you’re not willing to budge on anything, shopping for a house may wind up being a waste of your time.

This is why it’s important to sit down and identify your housing criteria in order to get a better picture of what it is you’re looking for—and whether that kind of home exists.

Contact The McLeod Group Network at 971.208.5093 or [email protected] to start the search for your new home! 

By: Realtor.com, Daniel Bortz

Exploring Salem Oregon: Barn Dance & BBQ!

by Amy McLeod Group


Barn Dance & BBQ at The Oregon Gardens!

Onsite Activities

Oct 19, 2019 8:00 PM – Oct 20, 2019 2:00 AM

Pull on your boots and join us for a night of good old fashioned fun at the 8th Annual Barn Dance & BBQ!

The Oregon Garden
879 West Main Street
Silverton, OR

For more information and to purchase tickets click HERE

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

The Secret to Buying a Foreclosure That Isn't a Dud

by Amy McLeod Group


Who doesn’t love a bargain? Nabbing a great deal on a house is every home buyer’s dream. One way to make it come true is by purchasing a foreclosed home.

The caveat? Buying a foreclosure isn’t like buying an ordinary house. It’s important to understand what, exactly, a foreclosure is, how to find one, and how to pay for it.

Here are six crucial questions to ask yourself before purchasing a foreclosure.

What is a foreclosure, exactly?

When a property enters foreclosure, the homeowners' mortgage lender repossesses the house for lack of payment (i.e., the homeowners defaulting on their mortgage) and then sells it, to recoup some of its money. Foreclosed homes are sold at a public auction to the highest bidder, and the buyer can't even go inside before the purchase. If the house doesn’t sell at auction, it becomes what's known as an REO, or real estate-owned property, where the bank looks for a buyer through traditional means, like advertising the property in the multiple listing service (MLS).

Since banks are often eager to unload these foreclosure properties, they aim to break even with an asking price that's typically the sum of the remaining mortgage note, plus interest, lawyers' fees, and penalties. On average, this ends up at about 15% below the home's actual value, enabling home buyers to score a terrific bargain.

How do I find foreclosures in my area?

The best way to find foreclosures depends on where you live. (Here's where you can search foreclosures in your area.) Foreclosures might also be marked as “bank-owned” or "REO.” If you spot a home you like, contact the real estate agent on the listing as usual.

Am I willing to buy a home 'as is'?

Generally, foreclosed homes are sold “as is,” meaning that the house is being sold in its current condition and cannot be inspected for structural problems, mold, infestations, or other issues before the auction. Buyers of REO properties, though, can perform a home inspection, but the bank usually won’t fix any problems with the house or offer any kind of credit at closing.

Naturally, these conditions can be a deal breaker for some home buyers, says Cathy Baumbusch, a real estate agent with Re/Max Allegiance in Alexandria, VA. “Keep in mind that a foreclosed home sold at the courthouse is bought without warranty, and sight unseen,” Baumbusch cautions.

Read: You have to be willing to assume some risk if you’re going to buy a foreclosure.

Can I qualify for a mortgage for a foreclosure?

Financing the purchase of a foreclosed home can be trickier than getting a regular mortgage. Some lenders don't want to fund the purchase of foreclosure homes, especially if the property requires heavy-duty TLC. This forces home buyers to buy foreclosures with all cash, or to find a mortgage lender that is willing to take on some risk.

To qualify for a mortgage to buy a foreclosure, you’ll have to meet the same credit score requirements that apply when obtaining a mortgage for a traditional home.

A credit score of 620 is generally considered the minimum, says Gaurav Mahajan, vice president of residential lending at Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp. Many lenders, though, are willing to work with applicants with lower credit scores by offering them Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, which are available to applicants with scores as low as 580.

Not sure what your credit score is? You can get a free score online at CreditKarma.com. You can also check with your credit card company, since some (like Discover and Capital One) offer a free credit score.

Will I have enough money left over to pay for renovations?

Often, buying a foreclosure means you’re buying a fixer-upper that may require extensive home improvements. Hidden expenses could be lurking beneath the surface, like electrical or plumbing problems. Depending on the house’s condition, you may need tens of thousands of dollars to make these changes.

As a result, you’ll want to have a good chunk of cash in your pocket after the purchase is complete, to pay for home improvements and repairs, so don’t stretch yourself too thin with your offer.

How long am I willing to wait for the sale to go through?

Buying an REO? It can take a while for the foreclosed home to be sold after the bank accepts your offer, potentially several months (as opposed to a traditional home sale, which takes about 30 to 45 days to close).

Why so long? One reason is because asset managers at banks often have backlogs of work, which can make the closing process a lot more time-consuming. It may also be more labor intensive, depending on whether there are liens on the property. Therefore, patience is key.

Bottom line? Buying a foreclosure isn’t a decision to make lightly. It takes careful planning, an honest assessment of your risk tolerance, and finding the right property, if everything is to work out in your favor. Contact The McLeod Group Network at 971.208.5093 or [email protected] to get started! 

By: Realtor.com, Daniel Bortz

8 Home Improvement Hacks That Won't Break Your Back

by Amy McLeod Group


Part of the adventure of owning a home is tackling a few home improvement projects. But now that it's fall, what if you don't want your last few warm weekends swallowed in renovation hell?

The solution: knowing which home improvements can be done quickly, with minimal effort. And that's where this article can help!

Below are eight home improvement hacks that won't break your back or your bank account. Read on to reclaim your weekend, while still renovating your way to domestic bliss.

1. Pressure-wash your home's exterior

One of the easiest ways to give your home's exterior a face-lift is to clean it. And to be honest, there's just something satisfying about aiming a blast of water at a surface and watching it come clean, with no scrubbing or elbow grease required.

"Pressure-washing is safe for brick, concrete, masonry, wood, and siding," says Kealia Reynolds, an editor at House Method. (Avoid pressure-washing painted surfaces, asphalt roofing, and stained wood.) Plus, you can pressure-wash most homes in under two hours.

You can generally rent pressure-washers for $50 to $100 a day at your local home improvement store. Just note that pressure-washing is different from power washing: Power washing removes extreme dirt, grease, and moss from hard surfaces—think driveways—that can withstand high heat and pressure.

2. Caulk your first-floor windows

Most window-frames are made from wood, vinyl, or metal, which expand and contract over time. This causes old caulk to crack and open small openings where air can flow freely into your walls.

"Focus solely on caulking your first-floor windows—to save time and avoid having to balance on a ladder," says Teris Pantazes, co-founder of Settle Rite, which helps sellers prepare post-inspection repairs in Maryland.

Sealing up holes properly insulates your home and reduces your energy consumption, by keeping heat rising instead of escaping on the ground floor.

Caulking is not only an easy job that might take 10 minutes per window, it's also piecework.

"You can do one or two windows at a time, as you feel up for the task," says Pantazes.

Here's more on how to seal windows and other areas of the home.

3. Fake new countertops

​thehandymansdaughter.com

Vineta Jackson of The Handyman's Daughter plans to remodel her kitchen in a few years. "But I didn't want to live with my ugly blue countertops for that long," says Jackson.

So she covered the countertops with heavy-duty, faux-granite contact paper. Not only did it take only an hour, but the whole job also cost less than $50.

"And it held up great and is still going strong after three years," says Jackson.

4. Use painting shortcuts

If painting a whole room seems like too much work, try just painting your door frames, doors, and baseboards. This will freshen up your room in a quarter of the time of a full-on paint job (plus you'll save a ton on paint).

"Paint door and trim in an accent color you already have in the room," says Marty Basher, home organization and improvement expert with ModularClosets.com. You can also simply paint one wall in a room to add some color and interest.

Next up: kitchens. We all know changing the color of cabinets can breathe new life into a drab kitchen space, but painting them all is a lot of work. So go two-toned with your cabinets.

Paint only the bottom half under your countertops, says Kate Gailunas, interior designer and owner of N-Hance Wood Refinishing.

If you have light floors and countertops, go for dark colors (or vice versa). Think navy blues, with whites, pastels, and wood, or gray with bold colors.

5. Update outlet and switch covers


Photo by MS Colours Inc.

An easy and inexpensive improvement that refreshes a room's appearance is to replace dirty, crusty switch-plate covers with an upgrade from the standard plastic ones.

"If it isn't in your budget to replace them all, refresh your old ones," says a licensed real estate agent and all-around DIYer Kimberly Blaker.

Remove the covers, soak them in water, and then scrape off any old paint.

"Then simply spray-paint them with a metallic or colored hue, and in an hour, they'll be ready to put back on," says Blaker.

6. Refinish your bathtub

"Instead of buying a new tub for hundreds of dollars, refresh your old porcelain, ceramic, or fiberglass tub’s finish," says Michelle Felux, a DIY home renovator at BreakingDowntheBox.com.

You just need an epoxy kit for tubs, which will run you about $30 at the hardware store, an abrasive cleaner, tub repair product to fill in holes (about $20), sandpaper, and some caulk.

Prep your tub by removing the hardware, and then clean it with the abrasive cleaner. Next, repair the tub’s imperfections with your tub repair product and sand it smooth.

"Finally, mix up the epoxy and paint it on in two thin coats, letting each coat dry thoroughly," says Felux.

Wait three days before running water in it, and then caulk to seal it—you'll have a tub that looks brand-new!

Here's more on how to paint a bathtub.

7. Stick on a wood accent wall


timberchic.com

A fast and easy upgrade to your home is to create an accent using real reclaimed wood planks that you can peel and stick.

"Wood planks are easy to install and, in just a few hours, will instantly transform the look of any room in your home," says Tom Shafer, founder of TimberChic.com.

The planks, which come in lengths of 1 or 2 feet, can also be used for creating interesting walls, ceilings, doors, beams, and columns. And they are right on trend (just ask Joanna Gaines).

8. Swap out ceiling-fan blades

If your ceiling fans are looking decrepit, there's no need to buy a whole new unit. Not only are new fans costly, but swapping out the whole thing also usually means calling in an electrician.

"Instead, try this cost-effective and easy fix: Buy a package of new ceiling fan blades that fit your existing motor," says Blaker. Your ceiling fans will look as good as new again.

Contact The McLeod Group Network for ALL your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected] 

By: Realtor.com, Margaret Heidenry

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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.