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Exploring Salem Oregon: 32nd Westminster Festival of Fine Arts

by Amy McLeod Group


Fine Art Show featuring 70+ artists in a sale and gallery setting. Paintings, pottery, fabric art, jewelry, photography and more!

Thurs. public artist reception 7-9 pm

Fri & Sat Sale,10 am-5 pm

Saturday Breakfast With the Arts - Tickets $7.00  

Sun. Sale, 9 am-noon. Saturday Breakfast With the Arts - Tickets $7.00  

Free Admission and Parking.

Westminster Presbyterian Church
3737 Liberty Rd. S.
Salem, OR 97302

503-580-0936

www.salemwestpres.org/art-festival

Photo Credit: travelsalem.com

4765 Sesame St NE: Beautifully Renovated Home on Spacious Lot!

by Amy McLeod Group

Salem Keizer OR Real Estate For Sale
4765 Sesame St NE, Salem, OR  97305

If a beautifully renovated home with a sprawling yard tops your wish list, 4765 Sesame St is the home for you! New roof, fresh interior and exterior paint, refinished hardwood floors, new carpet and vinyl, updated kitchen, plus 3 spacious bedrooms and 2 full baths is just the start to all this incredible home has to offer! The generously sized living room is sun filled through the large windows and kept cozy warm by the gas fireplace perfectly situated in the corner of the room. Step up to the formal dining room where hosting guests is sure to be a delight. The connecting kitchen makes it easy to entertain with its new cabinets, glistening granite counters, subway tile backsplash and sparkling stainless steel appliances. The breakfast bar opens to a family room with French doors to the backyard. Built in shelving and cabinets provides storage and a space to display your treasures. The master suite is a soothing oasis with its plush carpeting, abundant closet space and private bath. Gorgeous curb appeal, an attached 2 car garage and great fenced backyard that has also been renovated with a patio ideal for entertaining and lounging. All you have to do is pack your bags and come on over, but hurry, this move in ready beauty won’t last long!

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.

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 Home Equity Affects College Aid

by Amy McLeod Group


Fall is hunting season across the U.S., a time when high-school seniors target their favorite colleges and their parents aim for financial aid.

One factor to consider when applying: the impact of your home’s equity on financial aid. But prepare yourself. It seemingly takes an advanced degree to calculate eligibility, since formulas vary widely from school to school.

“I wish it weren’t so complicated. I study this day and night,” says Paula Bishop, a college financial-aid adviser in Bellevue, Wash.

Almost all U.S. colleges and universities require financial-aid applicants to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which doesn’t ask parents about home equity. However, several hundred schools—many of them elite, private institutions—also require the College Scholarship Service Profile (or CSS Profile), an application created by the College Board for nonfederal financial aid. It asks applicants for the home’s purchase price, purchase year, current value and current debt and determines the home’s equity (value minus debt).

Here’s the catch: Schools that require the CSS Profile handle the home-equity information differently. Boston College, for example, looks at 100% of home equity. Stanford University announced last year that it won’t consider home equity at all. Cornell University will limit home equity to 1½-times the family’s adjusted gross income. So for a household with $800,000 in home equity making $200,000 a year, home equity is capped at $300,000 (200,000 x 1.5).

The school isn’t necessarily expecting parents to tap their home equity to cover their child’s tuition. Instead, the school considers home equity and other assets to determine how much parents can contribute toward college costs. The higher the assets, the more parents are expected to pay. Generally, the parental contribution is calculated at 5% of assets. At Cornell, the family with $300,000 in home equity will be expected to lay out $16,500 a year. Had the “true” home equity of $800,000 been used, the parents would be expected to cover $44,000 in costs a year.

This formula is actually more complex than I describe because schools consider other assets—not just real estate—and a number of other variables, such as the number of siblings attending college simultaneously.

But the bottom line is that the school’s home-equity formula can have an enormous impact on what parents pay—something Ms. Bishop, the financial-aid adviser, learned firsthand. In 2010, her son applied to American University in Washington, D.C., a school that uses the CSS Profile. At the time, her home equity was $700,000, even though the house had been purchased for $400,000. American says that, as a starting point, its policy is to assess 100% of home equity. Ms. Bishop says she initially received an aid package below what she expected. She appealed to the financial-aid office, arguing that her husband wasn’t working at the time and that increased home values in her area skewed the calculations of her ability to pay the parental contribution. As a result, the school agreed to cap her home’s value at two times her household earnings. Using the lower home equity resulted in an extra $6,000 in financial aid.

Real-estate holdings can affect financial-aid applications in other ways. First, unlike a primary residence, vacation homes are counted as an asset reported in both the FAFSA and CSS Profile applications. The same goes for rental properties—even if it is an apartment inside the family home leased to a nonfamily member.

If an investment property or second home is sold before applying for financial aid, the capital gains may be considered an asset if reported on a tax return and counted as income.

Also, when borrowing against your home, avoid a home-equity loan because the unspent proceeds are counted as an asset, says Julie Gross, a vice president with College Financial Consultants in Livingston, N.J. Instead, she recommends a home-equity line of credit (HELOC), which is the ability to borrow against your home.

A HELOC may also be a smart option for parents who need financing for their child’s education. Currently, HELOC rates are about 5.5% with no or low application fees, according to Bankrate.com.

By comparison, a college PLUS loan, which is a federal loan offered to parents for education expenses, charges about 7% to 8% interest with application fees up to 4% of the total loan.

If parents need to pay down credit cards or make home improvements, a HELOC actually improves their chances of getting financial aid because the line of credit lowers their home equity.


Tips For Applicants

Get the formula: Call the school’s financial-aid office and ask how it calculates home equity. Policies change, so confirm the formula early in the process.

Get an estimate: For a rough estimate of college costs, use the Net Price Calculator on schools’ websites.

Don’t overinflate home value: A high estimate can hurt your chances of qualifying for aid. Use home values based on comparable—and current—real-estate listings in your neighborhood.

Appeal the decision: Contact the financial-aid office and ask if there is a form or process for appeals. Generally, you write a letter explaining your circumstances—a job loss or medical condition—that underscore the need for more aid.

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

By: Realtor.com, Beth DeCarbo 

Exploring Salem Oregon: Harvest Festival

by Amy McLeod Group


Sat, Sep 28, 201910:00 AM  Wed, Oct 30, 20196:00 PM

October in Oregon is a magical time of year!

E Z Orchards
5504 Hazelgreen Road Northeast
Salem, OR 97305

  • Pumpkin Patch
  • Tractor-drawn Hay Rides
  • Pony Rides (12:00-4:00)
  • Corn-Oregon the Maze
  • Round House Bluegrass music (12:00-4:00)
  • Pedal Tractors Pioneer Camp
  • Corn Hole
  • Steer Roping Ring Toss and Pie Eating contest.

Admission $8.00 per person over 2 yrs (Gold & Gemstone Mining and Face Painting are not included in the admission price.)

This is a great chance to combine family fun and education in a wonderful farm setting! So bring the whole family — Journey through Corn-Oregon the Maze, which as you might guess is a corn maze in the shape of Oregon.  The pathways of the maze are the highways and roads of Oregon.  There is also the outline of a fir tree just east of Corn-Oregon There are over 40 signs indicating the Cities, Towns, place of Historic and Geographic interest in Oregon. Who says learning can’t be fun!?

Activities - As many hay rides, duck races, pedal tractors, ring toss, pony rides, visits to the petting zoo, trips through the Corn Maze, as you would like, and live bluegrass music too.

Treats
Caramel Apples, Apple Cider, Apple Cider Donuts, Pumpkin Donuts, Apple Cider Slushies, Sausage, Corn Dogs, Roasted Corn, Elephant Ears, Roasted Squash, Baked Apples, Hot Dogs, Kettle Corn, Curly Fries, Apple and Marionberry Pie, Espresso and Ice Cream Treats.

Other Activities Face Painting, Gold and Gemstone mining are available for and addition fee. 

Week-Day Price: $3 everyone over 2 years old. With your admission price you will receive $3 credit toward the purchase of pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, or straw bales.

Activities - Pumpkin patch, petting zoo, pedal tractor, duck races ring toss, and Corn Oregon the Maze.

Treats
Caramel Apples, Apple Cider, Apple Cider Donuts, and Pumpkin Donuts.

Event Website

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit: ezorchards.com

5 Surprising Financial Lessons I Learned About Paying For My First Home

by Amy McLeod Group


I pride myself on being pretty financially savvy—after all, I’m a personal finance writer. I’m well versed in best practices for saving and spending, the ins and outs of HSAs and IRAs, and the basics of investing.

But when it came time to buy my first house, I had to put my ego aside: I was way out of my depth as I navigated the world of mortgages, closing costs, and escrow.

While all of the Budgeting 101 basics still apply to purchasing a home—top tip: Don’t buy anything you can’t afford!—some aspects of the process can come as a surprise to first-time buyers.

Gearing up to buy a house of your own? Get acquainted with these five lessons that I learned the hard way before you start shopping. Then, you’ll be ahead of the curve when it comes time to make an offer on your ideal home.

1. Don't be fooled by your mortgage pre-approval amount

One of the first steps on the road to homeownership was requesting a mortgage pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. I was shocked when my husband and I received a letter with a much higher number than we had ever considered spending.

The lender thought we could afford a house that cost how much?!

I quickly learned that a pre-approval letter is just assurance from a lender that the buyer is in good financial standing to take on a mortgage of a certain size. Lenders evaluate your financial history to come up with a pre-approval amount. Don’t confuse that number, though, with your actual budget for buying a house. In other words, just because you’re pre-approved for up to, say, $300,000, doesn’t mean a $300,000 mortgage will fit in your budget.

For us, we knew we didn’t want to stretch ourselves thin with a heftier mortgage, even if we were technically approved to take one out.

2. Closing costs can add up—and be complicated

Closing costs include out-of-pocket expenses like title insurance, notary fees, and the cost of the deed—and they can add up quickly. So when we made an offer on our house, we decided to ask for a credit from the sellers toward our closing costs—a common practice in which, typically, the seller advances an amount in cash that's then tacked on to the purchase price. But I was surprised when our Realtor® urged us not to ask for too much from the sellers at closing.

“Some loan programs only allow a certain percentage of the sale price to given to the buyer as a credit,” says Joe DiRosa, a real estate agent with RealtyTopia in Pennsylvania.

That means that if you’re offering $200,000 for a house and your lender only allows you to accept 2% in closing costs, you shouldn’t ask for $5,000—that would be $1,000 down the drain, since you can only accept up to $4,000 in credit. This type of limit on closing cost credits is especially common with government loans, including FHAs, DiRosa notes.

3. PMI isn’t actually the devil

Private mortgage insurance—PMI for short—is at once a blessing and a curse. Lenders typically require it of buyers who are putting down less than 20% on their mortgage. This puts homeownership within reach for more people, but it also means an additional monthly payment that doesn't add to the new owner's equity.

For that reason, PMI sometimes gets a bad rap—better to shell out the necessary down payment cash (if you can) than waste your money on insurance, right? But in some cases, it’s in your best interest to put less money down and pay the PMI.

That was the case for my husband and me. We decided to hold on to some of the cash we would have put toward a 20% down payment and use that money to renovate our home and pay off other debts with higher interest rates. Our PMI payment has been manageable—we pay about $75 a month—and it's worth it to keep our money in our bank account, where we can use it for projects like replacing the roof, renovating bathrooms, and creating a master suite.

4. You might have to make escrow payments

“Escrow” was a foreign word to me before buying a house. (Confession: I still picture a crow every time I hear it.)

Because we took out a loan with PMI, we were required to pay into an escrow account for our property taxes and home insurance. Escrow simply refers to the separate account where that money is held; basically, our lender sets aside the money for taxes and insurance, which acts as a safety net to ensure that we sock away enough money for those expenses.

While it’s nice to know we’re saving enough for taxes and insurance by paying into escrow, it’s also frustrating for control freaks like my husband and me, who would rather manage our money ourselves—preferably by putting that cash into a high-yield savings account where it can accrue interest. We’re looking forward to canceling our escrow payments as soon as we’ve built up enough equity in our home to remove PMI.

5. You need to budget for surprises (and your own mistakes)

During our home inspection, the inspector ran the dishwasher to make sure it worked—all good. Then, the day after we moved in, we loaded the dishwasher, hit “Start”—and it was dead. After flicking the electrical circuits on and off to no avail, we finally accepted that we would need to replace the dishwasher sooner than we had bargained for.

Several hundred dollars later, we learned that dishwashers are required to have their own wall switch, per local code. It turned out the old dishwasher wasn’t broken after all—the switch was just turned off.

All we could do was laugh, too slap-happy and exhausted from renovating to beat ourselves up much about the mistake. At least we planned to replace the dishwasher sooner or later, and we had enough savings to endure the blow. But the incident was a reminder that costly surprises (and stupid mistakes) are inevitable when you’re new to homeownership—and even when you’re not.

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

By: Realtor.com, Lauren Sieben

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

6453 Jaymar Drive NE: Beautiful Keizer Home in Great Location!

by Amy McLeod Group

Salem-Keizer OR Real Estate For Sale
6453 Jaymar Drive NE, Keizer, OR  97303

01_Jaymar2.jpg08_Jaymar9.jpg15_Jaymar16.jpg23_Jaymar24.jpg27_Jaymar28.jpg30_Jaymar31.jpg37_Jaymar38.jpg13_Jaymar14.jpg14_Jaymar15.jpg

You will want to snap this one up now! Beautifully maintained! Possible multi-generational living! Close to everything! Do not miss this special opportunity in Keizer! This split entry home is loaded with the finest features including vaulted ceilings, easy care flooring, a gourmet kitchen, modern fixtures, recessed lighting, 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths, plus a hard to find 550 sqft shop plumbed for a bath with an upstairs office perfect for a home based business! Get inspired in this gorgeous custom kitchen featuring glistening granite countertops, a huge center island, an abundance of beautiful cabinetry, a tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances! Kitchens are made for bringing family together, so let your meals and memories be made here! The vaulted living room is a comfortable space to kick back and relax. These open spaces are perfect for entertaining and daily function! A stone fireplace creates an appealing focal point in the family room. Pampering you with both luxury and convenience the master suite offers plush carpeting, elegant crown molding, a walk in closet, dual vanity, soaking tub and an enclosed, tiled shower! This room will have you feeling like you are staying in a five-star resort! Relax in a whimsical backyard designed for grillin’, chillin’ and s’mores around the firepit! A deck off the kitchen has a catwalk over to the shop with plenty of room to bask in the sun! There is also an attached 2 car garage for all your storage needs. With so much to offer in quality and location, this beauty will not last! 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.

Exploring Salem Oregon: Family Apple Fest

by Amy McLeod Group


September 28, 2019

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM PDT

Free family event sponsored by Polk County Historical Society and Polk County Cultural Coalition. Demonstrations of pioneer practices. Activities for children. Country Store. Polk County Master Gardeners on site. Cider pressing and sales. Delicious desserts for sale. Fiddle music by Truman Price. Free House tours.

Event Website

Brunk Farmstead 5705 Dallas-Salem Highway Salem, OR 97304

For More Information call: Ann Gage 503-857-6413, leave a message Or 503-623-6251, M, T-Sa, 1pm-5pm

Desserts and cider for sale. Country Store items for purchase. Free House tours.

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit: polkcountyhistoricalsociety.org

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

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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
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.