My Blog

What is an ADU?

7/19/2018

ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit...you might know ADUs by their other names such as granny-flats, mother-in-law-apartments and so on. They are dwellings–either attached or detached from a main house–that exist on a lot with another house. Many ADUs are built above garages.

ADUs have tremendous benefits such as:

  • Creating a secondary rental income.
  • Increasing the occupancy of a given plot of land.
  • Creating more communal living, while still providing autonomy and privacy for both homes.
  • People who may have once needed a large home–e.g. parents whose children have moved out–can move into the ADU and rent out the main home. 

For those looking to install an ADU on their property, but who don’t want the headache of designing a custom home, there are many prefabricated options.

What’s great about ADUs is that they provide a way of optimizing traditional the American home, whose lot size is often considerably larger than its home. We realize many people who want to live an edited life live in traditional American homes; moreover they neither want to move into a micro apartment in the city or a tiny house in the country. The ADU provides a great way of working with existing resources, while providing extra income, increasing the efficiency of a property and creating a more community-oriented lives.

Top Seller Procrastinations

6/29/2018

For some, the decision to sell a home is 100% necessary: job change, seller’s market, need more room or need to downsize, etc. For others, there could be a number of reasons why a property owner might hesitate, or procrastinate, to sell. If you’ve thought about selling, but haven't taken the first step, you could have fallen victim to some of these common seller procrastinations below: 

1) "I'm waiting for the value of my property to increase"

Waiting to sell a property might seem like a good idea, especially in real estate markets that are still growing. But in cities where real estate markets have seen lots of competition (like the Portland metro area), waiting to sell a property in order to see a larger return may backfire if other nearby areas also see a rise in property values. If you’re procrastinating selling a property because of a hope that the property’s value will increase, it’s best to talk to a real estate agent about the local market to see if now is the time to sell or not.

2) "I'm waiting for my last child to leave for college"

While it may seem like a great idea to stay in one home while your children grow, the reality is real estate markets all over the country go up and down year to year, and if you’re hoping to make a large return on your home once your kids have left the nest, you might be out of luck. Markets that are popular now might not be in 7 to 17 years. When it comes to real estate, nothing is guaranteed, especially in the not so foreseeable future. By waiting, you’re betting on an increase for real estate in your area, and while that bet might seem like a sure thing right now, the future is unknown.

3) "I'm waiting until I retire"

For many Americans who have recently retired, the homes they bought 30 to 40 years ago have seen a very large return on investment. The median home value in the U.S. in 1980 was $47,200. As of 2014 numbers, that value rose to $188,900 (and for those markets that have seen large gains, the median value may be hundreds of thousands greater). For those just entering the real estate market, buying a home is incredibly expensive and requires a lot more money than it did when our parents bought their first home. Real estate, especially for younger people, should almost act as a financial strategy, where one plays the local real estate market by buying low and selling high in a relatively short amount of time to fully maximize an investment. Staying in a home for only three to five years could be a much more financially sound strategy than hoping a single home’s value increases x amount over the next 40 years. The economy is completely different than it was when Baby Boomers first entered the job market. Don’t procrastinate on selling with the hope that you’ll see a greater return on your property when you retire like many of our parents are seeing.

 

Selling a home is a big decision. For some the decision is easy, for others it can mean years and years of delay. Don’t fall prey to seller procrastination - contact me today to discuss your selling options. 

Four Key Factors for Deciding Your Move Location

6/29/2018

Here are 4 home location components that deserve a spot on your house-hunting priorities list.

 

1. Daily commutes and ease of getting around
A daily commute can directly impact your quality of life. It tends to dictate what time you wake up, how much free time you have after work, and your daily stress levels. Do some dry runs to see what your new commute would be like during your travel times.

 

2. Walkability and public transportation options
The freedom of around-the-corner shopping, walking to work, and using public transit can be desirable for some, but uncomfortable or limiting to others. Consider everything from your travel preferences to your shopping habits. Do you tend to pick up your groceries fresh as you need them, or are you a buy-in-bulk kind of family?

 

3. Square footage, lot size, and privacy
How much house you can afford is going to change based on location. A willingness to live in a distant suburb most often translates into more square footage on a larger lot. Most people are going to know what they want in lot size, but when house hunting, it’s all about priorities. You may be surprised at what you’re unwilling to sacrifice in exchange for that extra half-bathroom.

 

4. Social life and cultural amenities
A major draw to city life is an abundance of activities. However, some suburbs boast city-like activities on a smaller scale, or you might find that the occasional city trip is enough. Think about how you spend your weekends now, where and how often you eat out, and where your social circle is.

Moving with Young Children

6/15/2018

*Information provided courtesy of First American Title Company

Your family's move can be an exciting time for you and your children. It can also be a stressful and sad time. Moving represents change which can be difficult at any age. Sharing and reading picture books about moving is a great way to prepare kids for what's ahead and give voice to the range of feelings that they may be experiencing. 

Most children have an adventurous, curious side to them. Try appealing to this side when telling them that the family is moving. This way, you'll help them view the move as an experience that can lead to exciting discoveries. 

Even in their excitement, young children will feel saddened at leaving familiar people, places and activities. Help your kids with concrete ways to make the "old place to the new place" transition. Below are some tips for you to help your young children cope with the move.

 

Telling Younger Children About the Move

  • Explain where and why you are moving. 
  • Highlight benefits of moving that your kids can understand. 
  • Use maps and pictures to help illustrate where you are going and make the move more concrete. 
  • Reassure them that their life won't change dramatically. 

 

What to Expect

  • Moving to a new place can affect a child's behavior and emotions. Toddlers and young children are egocentric. When you show stress, they may think it's because of something they did. Be mindful of your emotions and actions in their presence and give them plenty of reassurance. 
  • Younger kids may be the most eager members of your moving team. Let your kids help by assigning tasks you know they can handle.

 

Moving Tips

  • Make a list of all the questions your child has about moving. 
  • Create an address book. 
  • Be sure to allocate enough time to say your special goodbyes. 
  • Make a last visit to their favorite places.
  • Plan their new bedroom. 

 

Helpful Advice From Parents Who Have Been There

  • Keep your kids in the loop on important moving information. 
  • Visit the new school and community before you move. 
  • try to keep things and routines familiar.
  • Set up a toddler's new room similar to their old one.
  • This about volunteering at school. It might be nice for your child to have a reassuring presence in an unfamiliar environment. 

Updating Your Outdoor Living Space

6/8/2018

Add some lights

If you’re using your patio in the evening, you’ll definitely need some lights. Adding lights is relatively inexpensive, and it’s an easy way to show off your personality. Buy a few strings of hanging lights and drape them around the space or hang a few bohemian lanterns. The options are almost endless.

Create planters from pavers or cinderblocks

Planters and pre-planted flowers can be expensive, but you can save money and add colorful accents to your patio by making your own planters using pavers or cinderblocks. Simply arrange them into your preferred shape and, if needed, secure the sides with adhesive or screws then add soil and plants. 

Throw in some color

You can easily find inexpensive accent items to help add color and pop to your patio. Add a couple of bright outdoor throw pillows to your furniture, buy a cheery, colorful umbrella for your pool patio, or place brightly colored knick knacks on your tables. These items are easy to find during the spring and summer.

Add height

Arbors and trellises are easy ways to add visual interest to your patio. Decorate them with plants, hanging lights or other materials to add extra interest. They’re easy to install, and they’re eye-catching features that are sure to be the center of conversation at any gathering. If you’d prefer, find some wood or PVC pipe and colorful curtains to make a simple cabana.

Breathe in some new light with paint

It’s amazing what a difference a coat of paint can make. If your patio floor is looking a bit rough, freshen it up by painting it a solid color, or get ambitious and create a pattern. Don’t want to commit to something that permanent? No problem. Purchase an inexpensive drop cloth and some paint to make a cheap outdoor rug.

The Five Requirements Every 1031 Seller Should Know

5/25/2018

QUESTIONS ON THE 1031 EXCHANGE? IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU, I HAVE BULLET POINTED THE FIVE MAJOR REQUIREMENTS TO USE AS A GUIDE WHEN BUYERING OR SELLING A 1031 EXCHANGE

 

#1: Like for Like--The property being sold (the rollover) and the new property being purchased need to be like for like. The original property and the new property must be held for investment, or utilized as a trade or business. Vacant land will also always qualify for 1031 exchange. 

 

#2: 45 Day Identification Period--The new property being purchased must be identified within 45 days of the close of escrow on the original property. Up to three potential new properties can be identified. (The IRS limits the total value of all the properties being identified to be less than double the value of the property being sold.)

 

#3: 180 Day Total Purchase Period—closing of the new property must occur within 180 days since the sale of the original property. The property being purchased must be one that was identified during the 45 day identification period. 

 

#4: Title Must Be Held By The Same Owner—the taxpayer listed on the old property must be the same taxpayer on the new property. Including both spouses, a corporation name, trust holder etc.

 

#5: Equal or Lesser Value—The new property must be of equal or lesser value and all of the cash from the sale of the previous investment must be reinvested. If any amount of the cash from a previous investment is not used, the amount not reinvested will be taxed.

 

 

Prepping to Meet with a Morgage Broker

5/18/2018

Deciding that you’re interested in purchasing a house is just the first step. Where do you turn next?

Consider making an appointment to meet with a mortgage broker.

Below are five things to have in order before you make the call to schedule an appointment.

1. Income details.
The mortgage broker will want to know the current details of your income. Recent pay stubs and tax returns will suffice. They will use this information to determine your borrowing power for a loan.

2. Savings.
Your savings balance will help give the broker a better idea of how much you can actually afford. Be sure to print out the balance of all savings accounts that you are currently using.

3. Assets and liabilities.
This will enable the broker to get a grasp of where you are financially. It will also help with the loan process. For assets, you’ll want to compile any type of investments, savings accounts, and motor vehicle records. For liabilities, take note at any personal loans, credit cards, and car loans.

4. Identification.
Not only should you bring your license with you, but also a back-up method like a passport. Detailed identification will help when it's time for your credit check.

5. Questions.
Come prepared with questions. This is the time to get any concerns that you may have out in the open. Even if you just need clarification on a topic, now is the time to ask. 

 

3 Things to Do As Soon As You Move Into Your Home

5/11/2018

The boxes are unpacked and you are loving your new home....now what?

Do these three easy things as soon as you are settled into your new home. You will thank yourself later!

1. Install LED light bulbs.
Although they’re more costly than regular bulbs, LED lights can save you a lot of money and energy use in the long run. Consider installing them in places where the lights might be left on for a long time—the kitchen, living room, closet, and basement. It’s a simple change that can save you a lot of money.

 

2. Unblock your air vents.
After putting the furniture in your new house, take a quick look around to see if any of your new pieces are blocking the vents. Obstructed vents can cause inadequate airflow. Giving your vents room to breathe not only helps your system from working overtime, but also reduces your electric bill.

 

3. Make spare keys.
Yes, you know that you need to change the locks, but did you think of making a set of spare keys? Whether you leave an extra key under the doormat or give it to somebody you trust, it will eliminate the chance of having to shell out money for calling a locksmith to come let you in.

Checklist to Prepare Your Home to Sell

5/4/2018

From cleaning to staging, you might not know where to begin.  Break each room into sections, and tackle the room head on.

 

Living Room

  • Use pillows and throw blankets to soften up the room.
  • Clear off the coffee table.
  • Store toys/clutter out of sight.

Dining Room

  • Clear off the dining table—only leave the centerpiece.
  • Remove extra chairs from the table.
  • Set the table with 4 to 6 place settings.

Kitchen

  • Clean the appliances—stove, oven, and microwave.
  • Remove magnets/photos from the refrigerator.
  • Empty the trash can before each showing.

Bedrooms

  • Invest in new bedspreads if necessary.
  • Remove distracting wall decor.
  • Keep daily necessities in either bins, drawers, or closets.

Bathrooms

  • Display a new bottle of hand soap.
  • Replace shower curtains if necessary.
  • Keep fresh towel hanging on towel racks.

Laundry Room

  • Store soap and supplies in a cupboard.
  • Clear out all clothing.
  • Keep all surfaces clean.

Ready to Stop Renting?

4/27/2018

It’s normal to be afraid to take the plunge into home-buying territory, but with the help of a great agent and a little research, you can determine if the time is right for you.

  • If you have a healthy savings account.
    Perhaps the scariest part about buying a home is making the financial commitment, but if you’ve managed to save enough (and then some) to put a down payment of at least 10 percent, you should feel confident in your ability to make the purchase.
  • If you’re ready to commit.
    Another common qualm about buying a home is the uncertainty of where you will be a year or two from now. However, if you have a steady job and are happy with the location, there’s really no reason for concern.
  • If the price is right.
    An agent can help you determine whether or not the price you are looking to pay is reasonable for your specifications and needs in a home, but ultimately, if the market is favorable and you’ve found the right deal, there’s no better time than the present.
  • If you’re sick of pouring money into someone else’s pocket.
    It sounds harsh, but if you’ve been renting for three, five, or even ten years, you have been spending thousands of dollars on something that doesn’t even truly belong to you when all is said and done. Sure, a mortgage is likely more than your current rent, but you’ll have a place to really call your own.
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