Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 17

Warm Wishes for a Safe and Happy Labor Day!

by Amy McLeod Group

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Exploring Salem Oregon: Labor Day Cuban Style

by Amy McLeod Group

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Cubanisimo Vineyards
1754 Best Rd. NW
Salem, OR 97304


Join us for this year’s celebration! Live music from Pura Vida!  Salsa lessons by Mz. Jitterbug!

Tickets are $20 pre-sale general admission (for admission into event) or $30 for an afternoon package that includes admission, Cubanisimo wine glass, tapas plate and entry into raffle!

There is also a $10 ticket available for DESIGNATED DRIVERS (admission and special bracelet)

$5 for children under the age of 12.

$9 tapas plates served by Pura Vida Cocina.

Tickets increase $10 at door, so purchase tickets in advance HERE.

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit:

The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Cabinets: Which Style Is Right for You?

by Amy McLeod Group

One of the hardest choices you'll have to make during a kitchen remodel is what kind of cabinets to get. After all, this is where all your dishes and more get stored, so whatever you choose must suit your needs and tastes, and fit the space and your budget.

In this latest installment of our Dream Kitchen Remodeling Guide, we'll lay out all your options, as well as the pros, cons, and costs. Here's what to consider in order to identify the right kitchen cabinets for you.

Off the shelf or custom-made?

Cabinets come in three different categories. Which one you go with will largely depend on how much space you have, as well as your budget.

1. Stock cabinetsYou can buy these cabinets right off the shelf at a big-box store such as Ikea.

  • Cost: $60 to $200 per linear foot
  • Pros: Theyre the value-minded choice, says Nancy Vayo, senior interior design leader for Ikea North America.
  • Cons: If you have an unusually sized space, you might not find stock cabinets that fit. Your options for color, hardware, and accessories will be limited, too.

2. Semicustom cabinets: These cabinets are a slightly pricier, hybrid option. You get to add some custom details—such as style, finish, and specific measurements—to stock cabinets.

  • Cost: $100 to $650 per linear foot
  • Pros: You'll have more say over the final product than you would with stock cabinets. (And without breaking the bank.)
  • Cons: Your options, including what materials your cabinets are made from, will still be restricted.

3. Custom cabinets: Color, material, and size are all in your control.

  • Cost: $500 to $1,200 per linear foot
  • Pros: Custom-made cabinets will fit your kitchen and specifications exactly.  Think of them like a bespoke suit compared with one you buy off the rack
  • Con: Cha-ching. Theyre the priciest cabinet optionespecially if theyre made from solid wood.

Want the cheapest option of all? Keep the cabinets you already have and replace the doors for a new look at a very low cost.

Types of cabinets

“Take a serious inventory of what is used and where it is to be located and stored for optimal functionality,” says Ana Cummings of ANA Interiors, an interior design and decorating firm. “You can house practically anything, from the smallest piece of cutlery to the largest stock pot.”

That info (and the physical space you're working in) will help you decide on the type of cabinets you need. Here are the main options.

Base cabinet

Photo by Carla Aston | Interior Designer 

A standard base cabinet measures 24 inches deep and 36 inches tall. For convenience, this type of cabinet comes on a recessed riser called a toe kick, which leaves room for your feet to slide in while you're prepping food up top.

“Drawers on base cabinets offer a more user-friendly solution as you can pull them out and look inside; no more getting on your hands and knees and rummaging around in the back of a dark cabinet to find the colander,” says Vayo.

Yet, base corners are often difficult spots to get the maximum use of space. If you go this route, choose a corner cabinet with a carousel inside.

“It will not only enhance the storage capacity but also provide an easy-to-access solution for larger kitchen accessories like heavy stockpots,” says Vayo.

Wall cabinets

Photo by Studio 212 Interiors

Upper cabinets are excellent for storing both food and kitchen gear. Bonus: You can choose your own height. A wall cabinet can reach all the way to the ceiling or as high up as you need.

Tall cabinets

Photo by The Hammer & Nail, Inc. 

Think pantry or broom closet—these skinny cabinets are the perfect shape to store tall items or when you want to make the most of a narrow area. A typical height is around 84 inches.

Open shelving

Photo by Kitchen Distributors 

“Open shelving makes items easier to access, and it can be efficient not having to open and close doors and for small spaces,” says Stephanie Pierce, director of designs and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets.

While these shelves themselves may not be pricey, the brackets can be. And beware: “Many people cite the concern of dust or animal hair landing on their dishes,” says Pierce.

What about cabinet hardware?

Photo by Venegas and Company 

Drawers, handles, pulls, and knobs are purely aesthetic choices, says Vayo. Keep them as simple as you like or make your hardware a full-on accent.

Knobs and handles can be used together, depending on the door or drawer being opened.

“Wider drawers work better with handles, while narrow drawers can often be outfitted with a matching knob,” explains Vayo.

For a more modern style, “knob- and handle-free is another option,” Vayo says. These have push latches, and a simple press to the corner of the door opens it.

With an electric push opener, a slight push and your doors and drawers will open and close automatically—especially helpful when your hands are full and you need quick access to the trash can.

If you feel decision fatigue coming on, tap into the expertise of a designer, whether in-store or one you privately hire. With the help of a pro, you can land on a cabinet style that suits your needs, fits your home, maximizes your budget, and perfectly houses every cumbersome kitchen object you own.

Contact the experts with McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Stephanie Booth,

Exploring Salem Oregon: The Oregon State Fair

by Amy McLeod Group

August 24, 2018 - September 4, 2018

Come have fun at the Oregon State Fair!  Celebrate the best that Oregon has to offer with concerts, livestock, competitions, yummy fair food, shopping and so much more!

Oregon State Fairgrounds
2330 17th St. NE
Salem, OR 97301

Event Website

Purchase Tickets

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit:

Oops! 5 Mortgage Moves You May Not Realize You Need to Do

by Amy McLeod Group

Getting a mortgage is easy, right? You’ve seen the TV commercials and the billboard ads touting promises like, “Get approved for a mortgage today!” Well, sorry to break the news, but the reality is that obtaining a home loan isn’t just one mouse click or phone call away.

There are a number of hoops to jump through and hurdles to cross before a mortgage lender will issue you a loan. To switch metaphors, it's less of a sprint, more of a triathlon—and it’s easy to overlook an important stage or two as you move toward the finish line.

Curious what home buyers often miss, much to their chagrin? Here are five essential steps that many people don't realize are needed for a mortgage.

1. Get pre-approved

In any highly competitive housing market, it's akin to self-sabotage not to get pre-approved before making an offer on a house.

Pre-approval is a commitment from a lender to provide you with a home loan of up to a certain amount. This will set your home-buying budget, and also show sellers that you’re serious about buying when it comes time to put in an offer. In fact, many sellers will accept offers only from pre-approved buyers, says Ray Rodriguez, New York City regional mortgage sales manager at TD Bank.

Mortgage pre-qualification should not be confused with pre-approval. Pre-qualification is based solely on verbal information you give a lender about your income and savings—meaning that it shows how much you could theoretically borrow. But make no mistake, it's no guarantee. Pre-approval, on the other hand, means the lender has already done its due diligence and is willing to loan you the money.

How to do it: To get pre-approved, you’ll have to provide a mortgage lender with a good amount of paperwork. For the typical home buyer, this includes the following:

  • Pay stubs from the past 30 days showing your year-to-date income
  • Two years of federal tax returns
  • Two years of W-2 forms from your employer
  • 60 days or a quarterly statement of all of your asset accounts, which include your checking and savings, as well as any investment accounts, such as CDs, IRAs, and other stocks or bonds
  • Any other current real estate holdings
  • Residential history for the past two years, including landlord contact information if you rented
  • Proof of funds for the down payment, such as a bank account statement. (If the cash is a gift from your parents, you need to provide a letter that clearly states that the money is a gift and not a loan.)

2. Ace the home appraisal

Lenders require a home appraisal before they’ll issue a loan, because the home you’re buying is going to serve as collateral. If you can’t make your mortgage payments, the lender will have to foreclose upon your home, and then sell the property to recoup its costs. Which is why it wants to make sure the property is worth the amount of money you’re paying for it.

If the home’s appraised value is the same as what you've agreed to pay, you’ve passed the appraisal. If the appraisal comes in at a figure higher than what you're paying, you’re golden—in fact, you’ve gained instant equity! But, if the appraisal comes in lower than what you've agreed to pay, you have a problem.

How to do it: A lender won't loan more than a home's appraised value, which could leave you, the borrower, to cover the difference, says Chris Dossman, a real estate agent with Century 21 Scheetz in Indianapolis. But if you’re unwilling or able to do that, you have a few options:

  1. Negotiate with the seller. For the appraisal to pass, the seller may agree to lower the sales price. Of course, this might require some negotiating by your real estate agent with the sellers agent.
  2. Appeal the appraisal. Sometimes called a rebuttal of value, an appeal involves your loan officer and agent working together to find better comparable market data to justify a higher valuation. If you file an appeal, the appraiser will review the information and then make a judgment call on whether or not to adjust the info.
  3. Order a second appraisal. If you believe the initial appraisal is significantly off base, for whatever reasonmaybe the appraiser overlooked a good comp or wasnt familiar with the local housing marketyou can order a second appraisal. Youll have to pony up for the expense, and appraisals can range between a few hundred dollars and $1,000, depending on the area.
  4. Walk away. This is a total bummer, but it may not be worth overpaying for a home, says Dossman.

3. Keep your credit score stable while under contract

Depending on the loan program, lender, and applicant’s specific credit history, the minimum credit score necessary to buy a home varies. The minimum requirement could be as low as 580 for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, or as high as 660 for a conventional loan, says Theresa Williams-Barrett, vice president of consumer lending and loan administration for Affinity Federal Credit Union. However, lenders vary in their requirements.

The caveat, though, is that your credit score must remain stable while you’re under contract on a house. Why? Because the lender’s final clearance and a loan commitment are subject to a last-minute credit check (and other verifications) shortly before closing.

How to do it: To avoid jeopardizing your final loan approval, follow these guidelines:

  • Dont open new credit accounts. Applying for a new credit card can ding your score, says Beverly Harzog, a consumer credit expert and author of The Debt Escape Plan, because it results in a hard inquiry on your credit report. Buying a car, boat, or any other large purchase that has to be financed can also dock your score.
  • Dont close old credit accounts. Closing an old account can hurt your debt-to-credit utilization ratioa term for how much debt youve accumulated on your credit card accounts, divided by the credit limit on the sum of your accounts. This ratio comprises 30% of your credit score. By closing a credit card account, you reduce your available creditmaking it more difficult to keep your debt-to-credit utilization ratio below 30% (the recommended percentage).
  • Dont miss a credit payment. Even one late payment can cause as much as a 90- to 110-point drop on a FICO score of 780 or higher, according to

4. Review the closing disclosure form

Lenders must provide borrowers with a closing disclosure, or CD, at least three business days before closing. Essentially, the CD is the official follow-up to a more preliminary document you received when you first applied for your loan, called the loan estimate, or LE (also known as a good-faith estimate).

The LE outlined the approximate fees you would be expected to pay if you move forward with a lender to close on a home. But your closing disclosure is the real deal—it outlines exactly what fees you’re going to pay at settlement. You have to scrutinize it carefully, especially considering that a recent survey of real estate agents by the National Association of Realtors® found that half of agents have detected errors on CDs.

How to do it: Ask your real estate agent to sit down with you and compare the CD and LE. Here's a list of things to triple-check:

  • The spelling of your name
  • Loan term (15 years? 30 years? Something different?)
  • Loan type (a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage)
  • Interest rate
  • Cash to close amount (down payment and closing costs)
  • Closing costs (fees paid to third parties)
  • Loan amount
  • Estimated total monthly payment
  • Estimated taxes, insurance, and other payments

5. Pass the underwriting process

Before your lender issues final loan approval, your mortgage has to go through the underwriting process. Underwriters are like real estate detectives. It’s their job to make sure you have represented yourself and your finances truthfully, and that you haven’t made any false or misleading claims on your loan application.

Underwriters will pull your credit score from the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—to make sure it hasn’t changed since you were pre-approved. They will also review the appraisal of your prospective home to make sure its value matches the size of the loan you are requesting, and check that you haven't taken on any new debts.

Many underwriters will also contact your employer to verify the job and salary that you listed on your loan application. This sounds like a basic step, but you’d be surprised how many people lie on their mortgage application.

How to do it: This one’s pretty simple. Assuming you’ve been diligent about keeping your credit score, job status, and debts stable, you’ll pass with flying colors. If the underwriter has a question, don’t panic—the best thing you can do is respond with prompt and complete information. Your agent is also there to help you troubleshoot any issues.

Let the professionals on The McLeod Group Network help guide you through the home-buying process. 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Daniel Bortz,

Exploring Salem Oregon: The Great Salem Race

by Amy McLeod Group

Saturday, 8/18/18 - Downtown Salem

Discover Salem during the team building event of the year! Team up with your co-workers, family, or friends as you experience the city by solving clues and completing challenges.  This family friendly event is your opportunity to experience the city like never before!

Wear comfortable shoes! There will be approximately 3-5 miles traveled by foot and a party to celebrate afterward.  Bringing kids? There is a family division course that is shorter.

This even is for everyone! Families, friends, co-workers, church groups, youth groups, sports teams, and businesses are all encouraged to participate in this wonderful event!  Groups of 2-4 participants per team will compete.  This is a public event and people of all ages are encouraged to join in!


Registration opens: 9:00 AM

Start Time: 10:00 AM

End Time:  12:00 PM

Awards: 12:15 PM

Event Website

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit:

How Proximity Affects Home Value

by Amy McLeod Group

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network


4340 Toni Ave N: Lovingly Cared for Home in Desirable Manbrin Garden!

by Amy McLeod Group

Salem-Keizer OR Home For Sale
4340 Toni Ave N, Keizer, OR  97303

Bright and clean, this darling home in desirable Manbrin Garden is just waiting for you to call it home! 4340 Toni Ave has been lovingly cared for and offers 2 generously sized bedrooms, a full bath, lots of natural light, a fireplace, neutral colors, plus hardwood floors underneath all the carpeted areas! The sun filled living room is an inviting place to kick back and relax. A charming eat in kitchen features plentiful cabinet and counter space, modern lighting and easy care flooring. Keep things tidy in the spacious laundry room. A bonus family room or use as a third bedroom provides so much extra living space and possibilities. The well manicured yard is surrounded by mature trees and plants with a shed for all your gardening supplies. Do not let this home, in this location slip through your fingers – come take a look today!

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.

588 Dearborn Ave N: Darling Cottage in Great Location!

by Amy McLeod Group

Salem-Keizer OR Home For Sale
588 Dearborn Ave N, Keizer, OR  97301

Welcome home to 588 Dearborn Ave, a darling cottage on a large lot conveniently located near shopping, dining and other services. Relax in this nicely sized living room with a gas stove that flows into the dining area for formal entertaining. This well-organized kitchen makes meal prep a breeze with tons of storage space, counters, a large sink and durable tile flooring. The two generously sized bedrooms feature wood floors and built in closet organizers. Keep things tidy in this bright laundry room complete with stacking washer and dryer! Enjoy BBQ’s and relaxing on the patio overlooking your fenced yard with so much room to run and play. Low maintenance vinyl siding is another desirable feature! Turn this lovely house into your 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.

It should come as no surprise that buying a home in a good school district is important to homebuyers. According to a report from, 86% of 18-34 year-olds and 84% of those aged 35-54 indicated that their home search areas were defined by school district boundaries.

What is surprising, however, is that 78% of recent homebuyers sacrificed features from their “must-have”lists in order to find homes within their dream school districts.

The top feature sacrificed was a garage at 19%, followed closely by a large backyard, an updated kitchen, the desired number of bedrooms, and an outdoor living area. The full results are shown in the graph below.

Buyers are attracted to schools with high test scores, accelerated academic programs, art and music programs, diversity, and before and after-school programs.

With a limited number of homes available to buy in today’s real estate market, competition is fierce for homes in good school districts. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for, explained further,

“Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list, but our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise.

For many buyers and not just buyers with children, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’” (emphasis added)

Bottom Line
For buyers across the country, the quality of their children’s (or future children’s) education ranks highest on their must-have lists.

Before you start the search for your next home, let’s get together to discuss the market conditions in our area. 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: KCM Crew

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 17

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of The McLeod Group Network Real Estate
The McLeod Group Network
Keller Williams Capital City
1900 Hines St SE #220
Salem OR 97302
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.