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How to Remodel Your Kitchen in Three Days (Really!)

by Amy McLeod Group


How long does a kitchen remodel take? On average, four to eight weeks—long enough to become sick to death of takeout food options in your area. But it doesn’t have to be that way. These days, a kitchen remodel can be done in the far shorter time span of a mere three days. That’s right! ThreeDays.

OK, maybe you can’t do a full gut renovation in that span of time, but you can certainly give your kitchen a whole new look over a long weekend. Here’s how, with renovation tips and cool products that are easy (and cheap) to install.

Give your cabinets a face-lift

Many homeowners love their kitchen layout, but they simply desire an updated look. Enter the cabinet makeover. Most existing cabinet boxes are in excellent condition; it’s just the exterior color that’s outdated.

By leaving these cabinet boxes intact and building off of them, homeowners get a whole new look in three to five days.

You can simply paint the existing kitchen cabinets. Or you can swap out just the doors.

Another option is the Home Depot Cabinet Makeover program. Here’s how it works: “The makeover keeps the base cabinets in a kitchen, but includes new custom doors, drawers, and drawer fronts, hinges, and glides,” says Eva Rich, Home Depot’s interior program merchant. “Existing cabinet boxes are refaced via a lamination refacing process.”

Give your kitchen cabinets a face-lift.
Give your kitchen cabinets a face-lift. Photo from HomeDepot.com
Meh kitchen cabinets before a quick makeover...
Meh kitchen cabinets before a quick makeover… photo from HomeDepot.com

The best part about all three options? You’ll have full use of your kitchen before and during installation.

... and after! (OK, the appliances and lighting were upgraded, too—but those are also easy to do.)
HomeDepot.com

The cost: The average cost to repaint cabinet doors runs about $1,000. To buy new ones, prepare to spend around $70 to $100 per door. Ikea’s Bodbyn door costs $80 and has a beveled panel for a traditional look.

A cabinet makeover varies by layout and desired features, but the cost is typically only a few thousand dollars. (Remember, it generally costs $30,000 for new cabinets.)

Time it’ll take: Painting cabinets can take three days, a lot of which is drying time allowing for other kitchen work to get done. Swapping out doors takes a half-day. Plan on a few hours to meet with experts in your home in the beginning of a cabinet makeover. Then once the new doors arrive, installation takes about three to five days.

Upgrade your countertops

Don’t have the time or cash to replace your laminate countertops? Paint them instead! Or you can add adhesive onto your current countertops that looks just like real slab granite, only without the high price.

“It’s so simple, yet adds a realistic granite look that elevates your counters for a fraction of the cost,” says Sophie Kaemmerle at real estate site NeighborWho.com.

The cost: To paint countertops, you need to spend about $100 for sand paper, primer, paint rollers, a gallon of acrylic interior paint, and polyurethane seal. Granite adhesive typically costs $40 to $120, which is way more affordable than real slab granite. It’s also a breeze to install—almost the same as applying contact paper, but at a much higher level of quality.

Time it’ll take: About 2 hours for the work. Several days for the paint to cure.

Install new hardware


Photo by Elizabeth Lawson Design.

“Unscrew old hardware and take one knob or pull to your local hardware store,” says Megan Neugebauer of letspaintfurniture.com. Have a store attendant help you measure the length between the holes. This will ensure your new hardware will match up perfectly with your existing cabinet holes.

“You can add blasts of color by choosing knobs in the color du jour, like navy and dark green, or go whimsical and quirky with animal figures,” says Sayre Ziskin of SVZ Interior Design.

The cost: Small drawer pulls may cost as little as $5, although the price can rise depending on the size and finish. An 8-inch Edgecliff Pull in natural brass from Schoolhouse, for instance, costs $44.

Time it’ll take: Plan for six hours total. Shopping will take several hours, as will installation.

Add a peel-and-stick backsplash

Create a cool DIY backsplash.
HomeDepot.com

Adding a peel-and-stick backsplash is as simple to install as it sounds.

“It’s a great way to easily and quickly update your decor,” says Home Depot’s Matt Kunkle. Just make sure the tiles you select are heat- and moisture-resistant.

The cost: A 4-pack of Metro Campagnola Mosaic Wall Tile Backsplash that covers 2.20 square feet costs $26.95.

Time it’ll take: 2 to 3 hours.

Upgrade your lighting

Photo by Synergy Building Design.

“Changing a light fixture in your home can take less than 20 minutes and yet makes some of the biggest differences to a space,” says Mark Luongo, owner and project Manager at Luongo Electric.

Many older homes have small fixtures, leaving rooms feeling dark and gloomy.

By replacing them with a new, higher-output LED fixture, the color of your walls can appear different and the wood grain in your furniture can pop. Also replace old or broken plugs and switches.

“There is nothing uglier—and more dangerous—than broken counter plugs and stained cover plates,” says Luongo. For a couple of dollars a unit, replacing your plugs and switches makes your home safer and gives it a new look.

The cost: Price varies, but to give you an idea, an Amanda 3-Light Kitchen Island Pendant costs $153.99.

Time it’ll take: Plan for 20 to 30 minutes a fixture and about 10 minutes per outlet. Always hire a licensed electrician if you are not comfortable dealing with electricity.

Replace your faucet


Photo by Kitchen Kraft

“Hardware styles and even the metals used can date your kitchen today,” says J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly company.

Bring your sink up to date with a new chrome, stainless-steel, brushed-aluminum, or even a dark nickel sink faucet. This small change will do wonders for your kitchen’s appearance.

The cost: A chrome Project Source pull-down kitchen faucet goes for $79.


Time it’ll take: 2 hours. Here’s more on how to replace a kitchen faucet.

Finally, floors
Luxury vinyl plank can go over existing floors.

HomeDepot.com

Consider putting luxury vinyl plank, or LVP, flooring over a worn-out tile or hardwood kitchen floor.

The new LVP flooring looks just like wood but is 100% waterproof and scratch-resistant. It is also easier to install, so it’s less expensive than previous options.

Cost: The above Woodacres Oak flooring is available at Home Depot at $59.98 for a case that covers 20.06 square feet.

Time it’ll take: You can lay an LVP floor in a 10-by-20-square-foot room in 2 or 3 hours.

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

By: Realtor.com, Margaret Heidenry 

7 Home Maintenance Projects You Might Overlook—but Really Need to Do

by Amy McLeod Group


The big improvements always get all the glory—the classic kitchen remodel, the bathroom addition, the transformation of a once creepy basement into a media room. But what about all those little projects around the house?

Sure, they may not be as gratifying as ripping out 1980s cabinets, but tackling necessary home maintenance chores now will save you big headaches down the road. So before you undertake another huge home improvement, check out these projects that you might have neglected—but really should take on.

1. Clean your exhaust fans

"Two maintenance areas that home buyers often overlook have to do with fans—bathroom exhaust fans and attic or ventilation fans," says Kathleen Kuhn, the CEO and president of HouseMaster.com, a home inspection franchise.

Bathroom exhaust fans play an important role in reducing odor as well as moisture, which helps prevent mold and mildew. And attic or ventilation fans are designed to expel hot air from the top of a home and draw cooler air in. This helps save energy and reduces the potential for costly heat-related damage to the roof or roof framing.

 

Both fans should be cleaned and wiped down every three months to ensure they are functioning properly.

2. Fix broken window seals

"One of the most harmful delayed maintenance issues I see in the field is broken window seals," says real estate agent Jodi Moody of Smoky Mountain Realty in Lenoir City, TN. A homeowner might notice a piece of caulk peeling up around a window's edge and think it’s no big deal. Most often, it simply goes unnoticed.

"Unfortunately, once a window seal is broken, problems are created that homeowners can’t see until major damage occurs," says Moody.

Those problems include moisture, condensation, mildew, mold, and wood rot, which build up in the window framing and eventually move into the wall. Entire window frames and even sections of flooring can eventually rot, due to the moisture seeping in through missing or damaged window caulk.

"Homeowners should inspect their windows twice a year, and repair any cracked or torn caulk, rubber seals, or damaged wood as soon as possible," says Moody.

3. Repair small foundation cracks

Foundation cracks can naturally develop over time. And though tiny cracks may not be a problem at first, it's a good idea to patch them before they increase in size. Large cracks could result in your having to replace the foundation completely, which could cost you big bucks.

"You can repair a small crack with a concrete sealer that you can find at any home improvement store," says Sacha Ferrandi, founder and principal of Texas Hard Money and Source Capital Funding.

4. Lube your garage door springs

Preserve the longevity of your garage door with some simple maintenance, so you won’t have to replace it sooner than needed.

"Lubricating the springs will help a garage door last a lot longer," says Ferrandi.

Be sure to apply a lubricant annually to the rollers, hinges, and tracks. Since garage doors have a heavy workload, use a heavy-duty lubricant such as silicon spray or motor oil.

5. Drain and clean the water heater

Water heaters naturally build up mineral deposits over time. This forms a thick, crusty coating that will begin to chip off and clog faucets, drains, and the water heater valve. Such deposits can also cause your water heater to run constantly, which can crack the inner lining and run up your utility bills.

"You may even end up needing to replace your water heater, which can cost you a good amount of money," says Shawn Breyer of Atlanta's Breyer Home Buyers.

The good news is that the fix is simple. Every six to 12 months, place a small bucket underneath the drain valve on your water heater and drain the sediment out of the tank. Here's more on how to flush a water heater.

6. Check out your crawl space

One commonly overlooked area of the home is the crawl space below your house.

"That cramped underbelly of your house actually has a purpose, and just like any other part of a home, it needs maintenance and can save a home from costly damage," says Nick Rorabaugh, brand advocate for Rev Sells, a realty group based in Athens, GA. "I have seen several instances where a homeowner received the unpleasant news after a house inspection that their crawl space had moisture damage."

Avoid that possibility by laying a vapor barrier or installing a humidifier to protect against mold, water damage, and termites. Bonus: This can improve the air quality of a house as well.

7. Caulk your kitchen sink

The sink is subject to daily wear and tear. And the chemicals in cleansers added to the frequent exposure to water, can damage the caulking.

"Avoid leakage under the sink, with the simple fix of recaulking," says Vivian Young, senior content manager at GoodNightsRest.com.

Removing all traces of the old caulking is key and a trusty utility knife will do the trick. Clean up any loose grout, rinse off the area, let it dry completely, and you’re ready to caulk. Here's more on how to caulk sinks, windows, and more.

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

By: Realtor.com, Margaret Heidenry 

The #1 Reason to List Your House in the Winter

by Amy McLeod Group


Many sellers believe spring is the best time to put their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. What they don’t realize is if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that’s when they’ll have the most competition.

So, what’s the #1 reason to list your house in the winter? Less competition.

Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the months supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.

As you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your house for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – January). 

Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!

In 2018, listings increased from December to May. Don’t wait for these listings and the competition that comes with them to come to the market before you decide to list your house.

Added Bonus: Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter

At this time of year, purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s get together to determine the best time to list your houseReach us at 971.208.5093 or [email protected]

By: KCM Crew

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

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

3 Fast Fixes for the Home Features Millennial Buyers Hate

by Amy McLeod Group


When it comes to selling a house, you want to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. For years, that meant targeting baby boomers and Gen Xers; but today, millennials are buying homes in larger numbers than ever. In fact, by early 2019, they represented 42% of all new home loans. This means that any seller would be wise to keep millennial buyers in mind when getting a house ready to show.

While there are definitely upgrades that sellers can make to catch the eye of millennial home buyers, there are also some home features that are known to send millennial buyers running. Curious if your own home has any of these features? Check what these real estate agents say repel millennial homes buyers today—and how to fix these problems with minimal money and effort.

1. Wood cabinets in the kitchen

Interior decor choices might seem trivial, but they can have a big impact on buyers. For instance, Yuri Blanco, the owner of Re/Max Executives in Idaho, says that old-fashioned wood cabinetry in the kitchen is a huge turnoff for most millennial home buyers.

Photo by CDH Designs LLC 
 

"Millennials aren’t looking for oak cabinets like we saw in the 20th century," she says. "They like more clean lines and cabinets with flat doors."

Photo by Dawn Hearn Interior Design 
 

The fast fix: If your budget doesn't allow for tearing out dated cabinets, there's still hope. Consider other ways to update the kitchen, such as sanding and painting the existing cabinetry.

2. Closed floor plans

Photo by Roundhouse
 

Blanco says the classic closed floor plan is a turnoff for most millennials, and suggests that sellers take whatever steps necessary to fix the issue.

"Before selling, try knocking out some walls," she says. "Millennials want wide, open spaces."

Photo by Niki Papadopoulos
 

The fast fix: Of course, not everyone can afford to knock down walls when preparing a home for sale.

If your budget doesn't allow for major remodels, do what you can to emphasize the flow between rooms. Removing doors in favor of open archways between common spaces, for example, can help.

3. Formal dining rooms

Some home trends are especially generational—and experts put formal dining rooms firmly in that category. Millennials as a group tend to favor flexible spaces, Blanco explains.

Photo by McCroskey Interiors
 

"A generation ago, formal dining rooms may have been on every buyer’s wish list," she says. "But today there really isn’t much appeal to the formal dining room. An open space that can easily transition from kitchen to TV room is high on the list of the perfect home for young buyers. We are seeing upticks in areas with bar stools and breakfast nooks instead."

Photo by Normandy Remodeling 
 

The fast fix: If your property has a formal dining room and you can't afford to change the layout, consider staging the space creatively to show how it could be used in a more modern, functional way. For instance, you could stage the space as a home office or entertainment room instead.

Looking to sell your home? Contact The McLeod Group Network to find out how much it's worth! 971.208.5093 or [email protected] 

 By: Realtor.com, Kayleigh Roberts

"Millennials aren’t looking for oak cabinets like we saw in the 20th century," she says. "They like more clean lines and cabinets with flat doors."

The fast fix: If your budget doesn't allow for tearing out dated cabinets, there's still hope. Consider other ways to update the kitchen, such as sanding and painting the existing cabinetry.

2. Closed floor plans

Blanco says the classic closed floor plan is a turnoff for most millennials, and suggests that sellers take whatever steps necessary to fix the issue.

How Does the Supply of Homes for Sale Impact Buyer Demand?

by Amy McLeod Group


The price of any item is determined by supply, as well as the market’s demand for the item. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 3 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now very strong; only 2 of the 50 states have a ‘weak’ demand. Overall, buyer demand is slightly lower than this time last year but remains strong.

Seller Supply 

The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”

As the map below shows, 18 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 29 states and Washington, D.C. reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 3 states reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are looking for homes.

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in our market now.

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

By: KCM Crew

Don't Fall Short! 6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle This Autumn

by Amy McLeod Group


Autumn brings pumpkins and—love 'em or hate 'em—pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, and spooky skeletons. But most importantly, fall brings an end to a summer of outdoor adventures—and tedious yard tasks like weeding, mowing, and watering the lawn.

But just because the weather's cooling off doesn't mean your to-do list will, too. Before busting out the cinnamon spice and mulled wine, take on a few home maintenance tasks that will put you in good standing once temperatures dip.

"It's easier to prepare for a winter emergency in the fall," says Jericho McClellan, who works in construction management.

But fear not: We've got you covered with our checklist of home maintenance chores to tackle this season. Read on for details about where to start, and whom to call if you need backup.

1. Properly store your yard equipment

Storage shed
Björn Forenius/iStock

 

One of the best parts about fall: You can usually put your lawn mower into hibernation mode until spring.

But before you forget about that pesky piece of machinery entirely, remember this: Spring will suck if you don't prep your equipment this fall. That's because gasoline reacts with the air in the tank if left long enough, causing oxidation, which creates small deposits that can affect the performance of your mower.

And it's not just gas-powered equipment that needs a fall refresh.

Lester Poole, Lowe's live-nursery specialist, recommends running pressurized air through your pressure washers to remove any remaining water in the system, which will prevent freeze damage to the pumping mechanisms.

If your winter is particularly snowy and gritty, you'll be glad to have your pressure washer on high alert.

DIY: This project is easy to do yourself—just get rid of any spare gasoline. Many cities and counties have hazardous-waste programs, or your local auto parts store might take the old gas for you, too.

2. Protect your pipes

When temps dip below freezing, unprotected pipes can burst from exposure. Guard against burst pipes by wrapping them in foam insulation, closing foundation vents (more on that below), and opening cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to flow around supply lines. And make sure to keep your thermostat at 60 degrees or higher overnight.

If you haven't tracked down your home's water shut-offs yet, now's the time. They might be located outside your house or in your crawl space. Once you've found them, give them a test.

"The winter is not a fun time to try to figure that out, especially should a pipe burst," McClellan says. (More on that, too, in a minute.)

Now's also a good time to drain all of your exterior water hoses to prevent an icy emergency.

DIY: If your pipes do freeze, leave the affected faucets on and turn off your water supply, says Jenny Popis, a Lowe's Home Improvement spokeswoman. Then locate the freeze point by feeling the length of frozen pipes to determine which area is coldest. You can attempt to thaw it by wrapping the frozen section in washcloths soaked in hot water—then thaw until you have full water pressure.

Call in the pros: If you can't locate the freeze point or your pipes have burst, call in a licensed plumber, which will run $150 to $600 on average(depending on the severity of the leak).

3. Clear out your crawl space

While you're winterizing your pipes, peek around your crawl space. Is your HVAC system blocked by boxes of 50-year-old Mason jars? Can you get to any leaking pipes quickly?

DIY: While it's still warm, clear out any debris from your crawl space to ensure clear passage when winter's worst happens.

Call in the pros: Creeped out by the idea of crawling around under your house? Professional crawl space cleaners charge about $500 to $4,500, depending on the size of your house and the state of the space.

4. Close your crawl space vents

During your crawl space expedition, this is a must-do: Close the vents that circle your home's perimeter.

"The vents were placed there for a functional reason, not just aesthetics," says real estate agent, broker, and construction expert Ron Humes. "The problem is that most homeowners have no idea why they are there."

Here's why: In warm, wet seasons, crawl space vents allow airflow, which prevents moisture buildup. But if you leave them open during cold, dry weather, that chilly air will cool down your floorboards—making mornings uncomfortable.

DIY: "When the temperatures drop, slide those crawl space vents closed," Humes says. "Just remember to open them again in the spring."

If one of your vents is broken, replacements range from $20 to $50.

Call in the pros: If your crawl space stays damp through the fall and winter, you might want to consider waterproofing, dehumidifying, and sealing off your crawl space to prevent wet air. This can cost $1,500 to $15,000.

5. Kick-start your composting efforts

Compost bin in the garden

fotomem/iStock

Now's the perfect time, with all those leaves and dead plants, to start a compost pile. You don't even need a fancy compost spinner; sectioning off a corner of your yard is enough.

"Put yard waste to work by piling green leaves and clippings into a pile near your garden," Poole says. Next, layer with brown materials such as soil, dead leaves, and coffee grounds. Next up: kitchen scraps.

"Through the season, turn your mound using a pitchfork to expose oxygen to all ingredients and use it in the spring for fertilizer," Poole says.

Next year's tomatoes will thank you.

DIY: If your yard lacks space for a compost corner—or you have no interest in regular pitchforking—consider a tumbling composter. 

6. Protect your trees

Not all species of trees are winter-hardy—especially thin-barked ones like beech, aspens, or cherry trees. For these varietals, "sun-warmed sap quickly freezes at night and causes bark to split," Poole says.

He recommends wrapping your tree trunks with paper tree wrap, covering the entire bark from an inch above the soil to the lowest branches. Adhere the wrapping to the tree using duct tape to keep your trees in tiptop condition.

DIY: You can find 150 feet of paper tree wrap on Amazon for $18, although you may need a few rolls depending on how many trees need winter protection.

Call in the pros: Are your trees already looking the worse for wear? A tree service can help you sort out what's wrong. Pruning costs anywhere from $75 to $1,000.

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

By: Realtor.com, Jamie Wiebe
Holly Amaya contributed to this article

Small Kitchens Can Be Chic! 5 Ideas to Try Based on Your Design Style

by Amy McLeod Group


Small kitchens
 may not cater to the taste of every homeowner, but they certainly have their benefits. In a compact kitchen, there are fewer surfaces to clean, and everything you need—from olive oil to an extra hand towel—is within arm's reach.

And while living with a small kitchen means that you have less space to play with the decor, you can still make your mark. The trick, according to Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP, is to keep it simple.

"Don't overdo the finishes and surfaces," she says, "otherwise it'll look too cluttered. For example, if you have a stainless fridge, install the hardware around it in a similar-looking finish. And keep cabinetry and counters in the same color family, so your kitchen feels more spacious."

To get you started, we've come up with five fun styles for a small kitchen, with recommendations on how to achieve these looks. The result? Easy upgrades that'll make your small kitchen a space where you love to spend time.

Modern farmhouse


Photo by G.W. Smith Lumber Co. 

Yes, you can channel Joanna Gaines and her wildly popular decor of choice, modern farmhouse, in a small kitchen. Jamie Novak, an organizing whiz and author of "Keep This Toss That," recommends a white color palette and opening shelving. "This type of shelf actually makes a small kitchen appear larger," she says. Incorporate wood tones into a modern farmhouse kitchen by installing rough planks as shelves, or try an industrial-style rolling cart made from wood, says Julie Coraccio of Reawaken Your Brilliance.

Stick to a simple palette of grays, taupes, and charcoal paint on the walls, and complete the look with a subway tile backsplash, a farmhouse sink, Shaker-style cabinets, and vintage accoutrements such as a clock or a worn wooden sign.

Feminine


Photo by The ABL Group 

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to include a single pink element to achieve a feminine-style kitchen. For this look, choose elegant metallic fixtures for the sink, drawer and cabinet pulls, and lighting.

Novak says your window treatments and dish towels are great ways to incorporate delicate touches like ruffles or floral prints. "But steer clear of small prints, as they'll make the space feel cramped and cluttered," she says.

Coraccio recommends artwork to bring a feminine style to the fore. Or consider a dramatic chandelier over the kitchen island and fresh flowers or potted herbs to brighten up the room.

Rustic


Photo by Laura Medicus Interiors

A rustic kitchen is characterized by lots of wood (on floors, cabinets, the table, and countertops), but beware: It could look heavy in a small space. To lighten up this look, Novak suggests choosing paler versions of these materials. For example, if you have wooden countertops, consider painting your cabinets white.

Chunky drawer pulls and wrought-iron brackets to prop up shelves are two smart additions.

And don't forget texture in a rustic space. Leather door pulls, woven wicker baskets for fruit and veggies, and touches of metal and stone (a copper faucet or earthenware dishes) will enhance this design. "A butcher block or live-edge counter, black or rubbed-bronze fixtures, and farmhouse sinks are also common components in this kitchen style," says Gray-Plaisted.

Modern


Photo by Vertebrae Architecture 

Minimalism is the name of the game when it comes to designing a modern small kitchen. Shoot for a monochromatic color scheme, contrasted with pops of an edgy shade like orange, turquoise, or lime green. "Sleek hardware and flat panel cabinet doors are also appropriate," says Novak.

Forgo anything that could be misconstrued as clutter. Excess decor and too many countertop items are a definite no-no when going modern. Instead, invest in shiny finishes, frosted glass on cabinet fronts, and industrial light fixtures and bulbs to channel a modern vibe. Gray-Plaisted says matte black finishes, as well as cement flooring and countertops, are trending in modern kitchens.

Shabby chic


Photo by Big Chill 

Shabby chic style is all about showcasing timeworn treasures that look as if they were sourced from an antique shop. The color palette is always light and bright, so when painting your walls or cabinets, choose cream, off-whites, or pastels like robin's-egg blue, soft pink, or buttery yellow.

Don't be afraid to use mismatched dishes, mugs, and serving ware. "Vintage hand-me-downs and rescued items that you refinish yourself help with this eclectic, mismatched look," says Novak. Hit up a flea market for hand towels covered in Battenberg lace, delicate embroidery, or a floral pattern. A vintage metal sign is also a quintessential shabby chic accessory. Extra points for sourcing a retro stove or refrigerator! Just make sure it's fully functional.

Get tips on remodeling and design inspiration by contacting The McLeod Group Network at 971.208.5093 or [email protected]

By: Realtor.com, Jennifer Kelly Geddes 

Help, We Have a Leaky Roof! What to Do If This Happens to You

by Amy McLeod Group


I’ve known we needed to replace the roof above our front porch for some time now. It’s flat (water doesn’t drain well from it); we live in Florida (there are downpours nearly every day); and I can see the spreading stains on the stucco from my office window. It’s been on my expensive-things-we-should-do list for a while.

As we started to gather estimates on the repair job, however, we began wondering if we should replace the roof on our entire house instead. It’s already 20 years old, and even though it’s largely in good shape now, we know it has to be done sooner or later. Since roofers would be up there anyway, maybe it was the right move, even though the idea of spending money on something so boring—yes essential, but boring—wasn’t on my things-I-want-to-spend-money-on list.

How much does it cost to replace a roof, anyway?

If you had asked me what a new roof might cost a month ago, I would have given you an estimate so laughably short of the mark that Bob Barker would have forever banned me from the “Price Is Right." The initial quotes we got for a new roof were jaw-dropping—upward of $50,000 jaw-dropping.

Of course, there are many variables when it comes to cost, including the type of roof, where you live, and the size of your house.

We happen to have a concrete tile roof, and our home is over 3,000 square feet. So, we’re on the high end when it comes to roof replacements, but it's a big expense any way you look at it.

On average, the cost of a new roof ranges from about $22,636 for asphalt shingles to $38,600 for a metal roof nationwide, according to Remodeling magazine.

With these figures burning my eyes, my next question was: Do we really need to replace the whole roof? Or could we do just the necessary repairs?

How long does a roof last?

Complicating this decision, we’d like to sell this house in the near future so we can move closer to a new job. So, can we just wait it out and hope for the best?

Experts say most roofs last between 15 and 40 years, while some, such as those made of tile shingle, are meant to last hundreds of years. However, how long a roof is meant to last and how long it actually lasts are often two very different things.

For example, Connor Sullivan, a storm restoration specialist with American Roofing, says a three-tab shingle roof is supposed to last 20 to 25 years, but most last only 12 to 15 years due to weather, improper installation, and lack of ventilation. An architectural shingle roof is designed to last up to 40 years, but he says most usually last only 25 to 30 years.

That means we could have 10-plus more years with this roof—or not.

To reroof or repair?

It all seems like an expensive gamble, but industry experts say there are some important factors to consider.

“If you're only going to be living there for a couple more years and then selling, it may make sense to make minor repairs and move on, assuming the roof is in generally good shape,” says Corey Crossman, a real estate agent and broker in Raleigh, NC.

“If you plan on staying for the long haul and your roof is giving you trouble, it's better to replace it right away and enjoy years of a good roof rather than put it off and battle roof leaks and other problems.”

He says what you don’t want to do is continue repairing a roof that has outlived its life expectancy.

“Many homeowners would rather spend a few hundred dollars here and there to make repairs than take the big hit and spend several thousand for a new roof," he says. "But in most cases, they'd be better off investing in a roof replacement, enjoying the best years of the roof, and then reaping the rewards if and when they sell the home.”

If your roof has been damaged due to weather, don’t forget to contact your insurance company, as some repairs or replacements may be covered under your homeowners policy.

“Going through insurance should always be your first option to save you from spending an arm and a leg on something your insurance should be helping you with,” Sullivan says.

We did indeed contact our insurance company, and it deemed a small portion of our porch roof damage to be weather-related. We got a small check to help cover the cost of repairs.

What's the ROI on a new roof?

The question of a new roof’s return on investment,or ROI, is a big variable to consider as well. Of course, there are no guarantees, and experts have varying opinions on the ROI of a new roof. Most say it’s not 100%, but it can make a significant difference when it comes to selling a home.

“If your house needs a new roof and the roof costs $10,000, it probably doesn't mean you'll be able to sell the home for $10,000 more than your competition,” Crossman says.

“However, where you can really cash in is the speed at which your house will sell. A home with an old or failing roof just begs for lowball offers and will likely be sitting on the market for quite some time before a buyer is willing to step in and pay market price for it," Crossman continues. "If you don't want to sell your home at a discount and you want to sell fast, opt for the new roof.”

Demetrius Gray, former roofing company owner and CEO of WeatherCheck, a technology startup that monitors properties for hail damage, offered this insight. “The ROI can vary a lot because a bad roof can be a deal breaker when it’s time to sell because they cause appraisals to fail,” he says. “A new roof should be about a 5% increase in value, and more if the workmanship and material warranties are transferable.”

Repair or replace: What we did with our roof

In the end, we decided to repair our roof where necessary and focus our funds on other home improvement projects. We’re painting the exterior, replacing the outdoor lights and fixtures, getting a new front door, and doing some other cosmetic changes to make the house look more modern. We’re hoping this adds some value and curb appeal and will allow us to enjoy the house more for the remaining time we spend in it.

We don’t assume the ROI on these improvements will be as high as that for a new roof, and we realize we may end up having to replace our entire roof down the line. In the meantime, we’re excited about our home makeover, crossing our fingers we made the right decision and hoping the hurricane seasons are mild.

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

By: Realtor.com, Julie Ryan Evans

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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.