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What to Know Before a Remodel

Remodel Tips

There are a lot of beautiful homes for sale in Albany and Corvallis. If you've found the perfect home or are ready to sell your current home, but it could use a little work, then you've come to the right place. Our real estate agents know that remodeling projects can possibly add value to your home. Here are the key things they want you to know before taking on a home remodel.

  • Consider the Return on Investment
    Remodeling your home is often a wise financial choice because it increases your home's value. However, some remodeling projects offer a greater ROI than others. Kitchen remodels tend to have the highest ROI. Bathroom remodels, and exterior remodels also have a high return on investment. Remodeling a bedroom, hallway, or dining room comes with a lower ROI in most cases.

  • Upgrade Based on Neighborhood Value
    In each neighborhood, there is a "ceiling" for home values. In other words, no matter how much work you put into a home, it will never sell for significantly more than the other homes nearby. Take this into account when planning a remodel. For instance, if the average sale price of homes on your street is $250,000, spending $100,000 on an extensive kitchen remodel is unlikely to increase your home's value by a full $100,000. Consult your real estate agent for a better idea of how much your home will be worth with certain upgrades.

  • Set a Budget
    It's really easy to spend more than you planned on a remodel. The best way to keep remodeling affordable is to set a budget from day one. Then, choose materials and designs that fit into that budget. If you need to put off larger projects for later, then so be it. You can always start off with smaller projects, such as a bedroom or entryway makeover, when your budget is limited.

  • Know What You Can DIY
    DIY remodels can save you a lot of money, but you need to know what you are capable of. You should never DIY any project that involves HVAC, electrical, or plumbing work, as mistakes could prove dangerous. On the other hand, tasks like painting walls, putting down vinyl flooring, and installing new shelves are quite approachable if you have basic skills.

  • Choose Timeless Looks for Permanent Changes
    Decorating trends change quickly. So, when you are making expensive upgrades, such as installing new floors, counters, or cabinets, try to choose timeless options. You can add more trendy styles with decor like wall art and drapes. These are easier and less expensive to replace when the styles change. Homes with timeless "bones" hold their value better and are easier to sell.

  • Take Your Time
    So many homeowners dive head-first into a remodeling effort, take on too much all at once, and end up feeling overwhelmed. If you take things slower, remodeling will be more fun. Make a list of projects you want to tackle. Then, decide what order you'll tackle them in. Handle one project at a time, only moving on to the next one once the previous project is complete. This will keep you organized and will also make it easier to stay on budget.

It's amazing what a new coat of paint, some new flooring, or a few new appliances can do for a place. If you're still searching for the perfect home, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll help you find the perfect place for you and your family.


Staging Tips for Your Home

Staging Tips

When selling your home, staging is a valuable way to make your home more attractive to potential buyers and help you obtain the highest possible price.

Our real estate agents encourage you to use staging techniques that showcase your home's strengths. Whether you're selling your house in Corvallis or Albany, the same rules apply and work to impress potential buyers. Here are some tips to help you with the staging process.

  • Remove Clutter and Furniture
    Go through your entire home and remove items that are overly personal, part of a collection, or out of season. Next, survey the remaining items for a second round of decluttering. Pack most of your small kitchen appliances away to help your counters look larger. Remove half of your furniture in each room to maximize the space of the room. While it might seem like a lot of furniture will showcase the room's size, it will actually make the space look cramped and small. Remove enough clothing from your closets to ensure there's space between each item. This makes your closet look larger and more organized. 
  • See That Every Room Has a Distinct Purpose
    Every room and space in your home should have a specific purpose; this will help homebuyers better envision themselves living in your home. Spare bedrooms can function as a guest room or home office. Turn an unused space in your garage or attic into a home workout area. Add a dining table or sectional to your deck so that buyers have an idea of how they can use your home's outside areas. 
  • Use Mirrors to Help Your Home Look Larger
    A mirror works as a neutral statement piece in nearly any room; adding the mirror will also reflect more light, helping the room appear brighter and larger. Any room in your home can benefit from this tip! You can even use a collection of small mirrors or reflective artwork if you want a more contemporary look for your home. 
  • Revamp Your Shelves
    Prior to listing your home, make sure that your bookshelves aren't stuffed to the brim with books. Instead, remove enough books from each shelf so that you have space to add a small vase or decorative item. This will help break up the bookcase so that it doesn't appear overly cluttered. The room as a whole will also appear more welcoming and inviting. 
  • Update Your Kitchen
    Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, and it's smart to spend a little time making sure that it looks its best. If your cabinets are old and dated, consider painting them or replacing the cabinet doors and hardware. Make sure that every kitchen surface, including the inside of appliances, is gleaming. See that your kitchen has ample lighting and uses bulbs with a high wattage. More lighting is an easy way to help your kitchen look bright and inviting. 
  • Greet Buyers with an Inviting Front Entryway
    When staging, don't forget your interior and exterior entryways. For your front porch, add a new doormat and a few flower planters to ensure your home makes a stellar first impression. In your front entryway, set up a vase of fresh flowers to greet buyers and help your home smell welcoming.

Staging is an effective way to sell your home faster and potentially for more money. Ready to list your home for sale? Contact us to get started. 


How to Keep Your Yard Looking Its Best This Fall

Fall Landscaping

Thanks to rainy fall days and falling autumn leaves, it's important to remain vigilant about your lawn care during the upcoming months. Otherwise, you risk the high precipitation levels and leaves permanently damaging your lawn. Here in the Willamette Valley, fall weather brings its fair share of landscaping challenges. Whether you live in Corvallis or Albany, you're probably all too familiar with what this season can do to your yard. 

The good news is, with a few simple steps, you can keep your yard well-maintained during this season!

Our real estate agents encourage you to consider completing the following tasks to keep your yard healthy and green through the autumn months. 

  • Keep Mowing Your Lawn
    Though your grass will likely grow slower during the fall months, make mowing a part of your weekly lawn care regimen until your lawn stops growing. During your last mowing session of the season, mow the grass about half an inch high to prevent mold caused by snow and winter precipitation. When it's time to stop mowing, spend a couple of hours on lawnmower maintenance, like sharpening the blades, changing the oil, and completing any repairs, so it's ready when spring rolls around. 
  • Water Your Lawn as Needed
    Keep an eye on your lawn during the autumn months to see if it needs watering. If your lawn doesn't get an inch or more of moisture per week, make time for a quick watering session. 
  • Regularly Rake Your Leaves
    It's important to make sure that you regularly rake throughout the fall months. When leaves stay on your lawn for an extended period, they can cause excessive moisture that leads to fungi.
  • Aerate Your Lawn
    Aerating your lawn will remove soil plugs so that your soil isn't as compact; this makes it easier for nutrients to reach your grass. Fall aeration ensures that your grass is ready to grow during the spring months. 
  • Fertilize Your Lawn
    Fall is the best time for you to fertilize your lawn. Your lawn will get the nutrients it needs to survive the winter months, and when spring arrives, the nutrients will help strengthen your grass. Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer throughout your lawn. 
  • Seed Your Lawn as Needed
    If your lawn has bare patches from the summer heat or wear and tear from your kids and pets, reseed these bare spots with a grass blend that's suited to your lawn's needs. A quick-growing grass blend can help you fill in these bare areas before winter arrives. 
  • Prune Your Plants and Bushes
    Remove dead branches and old flowers from your plants and bushes. This will help keep them healthy and encourage them to produce even more blooms next year. Pruning also helps your garden look tidy during the winter months when your plants aren't blooming. 

Spending time working on your yard will ensure that your gardens and grass look their best during the fall and winter months. Want to upgrade to a home with more outdoor space? Contact us to get started!


Landscaping Ideas for Your Front Yard

Front Yard

If you're planning to put your home on the market in the Albany or Corvallis area, our real estate agents know that updating your front yard is an excellent way to help your home sell faster and look its best. Follow this guide to add valuable curb appeal to your home.

  • Start with the Basics
    Before you decide to undertake a huge landscaping project or give your home a fresh coat of paint, make sure that your front yard is clean, clutter-free, and well-maintained. A clean, maintained yard instantly appeals to potential buyers. Pick up any old toys, stray sticks, or wayward trash, as these items make your yard look cluttered and "dirty." Then, see that any garden tools or outdoor toys and accessories have a dedicated storage spot, like a shed or storage chest. Examine your front yard for anything that's broken or past due for repairs. For example, if your mailbox has a dent, fix the dent or replace it. If your gutters are broken, they should be replaced or repaired. 
  • Upgrade Your House Numbers
    House numbers are frequently overlooked as a design element by many homeowners. Your house numbers should use an attractive font and complement your home's style, color, and other exterior features. 
  • Refresh Your Front Entryway
    Giving your front entryway a makeover instantly adds more curb appeal to your home. If your door is in bad shape or doesn't suit your home, replace it with a door that helps your home make a terrific first impression. If your entryway has vinyl siding or cement, use a pressure washer to ensure that these areas are dirt-free. Add a fresh coat of paint to your front door and any trim or features in your entryway. Consider replacing your front door knob with an updated piece that complements the style of your home. Use decorative items, like doormats, potted plants, and outdoor furniture, to make your front entryway appear inviting and attractive to potential buyers. 
  • Check That Your Garage Door Works
    Before you list your home, make sure that your garage door works properly and coordinates with the rest of your home. See that it's clean, free of dents, and open and closes with ease. A garage door that looks old and worn-out will negatively impact your home's entire exterior appearance. Replace a garage door that's past its prime so that it doesn't detract from your home's positive features. If you have a garage door opener, confirm that it's programmed correctly and working properly. 
  • Add Flowers and Hardscaping
    Your landscaping is a vital element for optimizing your home's curb appeal. Start with your lawn; it should be neatly mowed, free of grass clippings, and appear healthy. If your lawn has bare patches, use sod or a fast-growing grass blend to fill them in. Next, turn your attention to your trees, shrubs, and bushes; they should all be neatly trimmed. Consider planting colorful flowers in your garden so that your home appears vibrant and welcoming. A fresh layer of mulch is also useful for helping your front yard look its best. Make sure to remove any dead plants or decaying vegetation. Now that your plants are tended to, consider adding hardscaping elements to your yard. These are especially appealing since they are low maintenance and offer a visual break from your greenery. Elements like stones and brick paths help make a visual impact. 

By making a few simple changes, you can add features to your front yard that will help your home sell. Ready to list your home? Contact us to get started!


Tips for Updating Your Home Security Features

home security

Home is where the heart is! And a part of having a home you love is making sure you feel safe and secure. This is why home security features are more popular than ever among homebuyers or those who just recently purchased a home.

If you just purchased a new home and it's not quite as buttoned-up as you'd like, then it's time to make changes. Our real estate agents know that home security features are both impressive and functional. Consider these security updates.

  • Check Your Window Locks
    People often focus on their doors in terms of security, but a lot of break-ins happen through windows. Window locks can fail and become less functional as windows age. So, especially if your home has older windows, it's a good idea to walk around and check all of the window locks.

    If you find window locks that don't work, you have two options. You can have that window replaced, or you can buy an aftermarket window lock to add. Most hardware stores sell them. Also, make sure everyone in your home knows to lock the windows before they leave home.

  • Install a WiFi Camera
    WiFi cameras, or smart cameras, have come a long way in recent years. You can set one up near your home's main door. You'll get an alert on your phone whenever someone walks within the camera's range. If you look at the video and see someone trying to break in, you can easily contact the police. You'll even have the video footage to help them catch the perpetrator.

    If you have multiple doors, set up a WiFi camera at each door. The apps associated with these systems make it easy to monitor multiple cameras.

  • Install Motion-Activated Lights
    Lights are a really simple deterrent for criminals. If a potential thief is walking up to your home and a light suddenly kicks on, they're likely to be scared off.

    You can purchase motion-activated lights at most hardware stores. If you don't already have wiring to connect them to, consider hiring an electrician to install them. Also, keep in mind that many WiFi security cameras come with a built-in motion-activated light for this purpose.

  • Add a Deadbolt
    Deadbolts have been around for years, but they remain a tried-and-true way to secure your home's doors. You can lock the deadbolt to keep yourself and your family safer when you're home.

    Today, there are even deadbolts you can connect to your smart home monitoring system. With this technology, you can lock and unlock them remotely. This makes it easy to let your kids in the door if they get home before you do or to let a trusted friend or family member into your home while you're away.

  • Adjust Your Door's Position
    Look closely at the way your door sits in its frame. Is there a gap between the door and the sash? Is that gap wide enough for someone to stick an object, such as a credit card, down? If so, you will want to adjust the way your door sits in the frame in order to close that gap.

    Often, you can adjust a door's position simply by tightening or loosening some screws that hold the door on its hinges. If this does not work, consider contacting a door company or handyman service.

With the tips above, your new home will feel like a fortress. If you're still looking for Albany homes for sale or Corvallis homes for sale, feel free to contact us. We'll help you navigate the housing market and find the perfect place for your family.


9 Plants for Your First Garden

New Gardener Tips

When you finally find your dream home, one of the biggest benefits will be having a place to plant your own garden. 

After all, the Willamette Valley is home to many fantastic farms, and after visiting one, you might be inspired to start your own mini version with a backyard garden!

If you're new to the hobby and don't have much experience in the garden, your plants might not grow how you want. Don't worry. Here are a few easy plants to start with that will grow with just a little care and practice!

  1. Cucumbers
    The main thing to remember about cucumbers is to water them once a week - more if it's really hot. Without proper moisture, they'll still grow, but they may have a bitter taste. Other than that, just make sure they get plenty of sunlight, and your cucumbers will flourish.

  2. Sweet Asylum
    These beautiful, fragrant flowers come in snowy white as well as shades of pink and purple. Bees like them, which means they propagate well. They do best in a little sun, but they'll still grow in the shade and even a light frost.

  3. Strawberries
    The taste of homegrown strawberries beats the store-bought variety any day. Put them in a planter or a small pot, water them regularly, and give them at least six hours of sunlight per day. They'll yield their delicious, sweet fruit from spring all the way through autumn.

  4. Marigold
    There's no flower easier to grow than marigolds - and there are few that are as pretty. They'll thrive in both wet and dry conditions and can survive both heat and cold. For the best results, give them a heavy watering once a week.

  5. Tomatoes
    The main thing tomatoes need is a metal cage to support them as their heavy fruit grows. Other than that, give them direct sunlight and water them once a week, and you'll have delicious, vine-ripe tomatoes better than anything in the store. One caveat: if you plant both tomatoes and strawberries, keep them far apart. They don't grow well together.

  6. Jade
    These plants thrive on neglect. They store moisture in their leaves, so they'll survive weeks without being watered. Give them direct or indirect sunlight, or even shade, and they'll survive for years. Not only are they pretty, but they're also great for the environment, absorbing high amounts of CO2.

  7. Zucchini
    The difficult thing about zucchini is getting it to stop growing. Give it a few hours of sunlight and water it daily, and you'll have zucchini all summer, not just for yourself but plenty for your friends and neighbors too.

  8. Begonias
    These beautiful flowers come in a variety of vibrant colors. They grow well in both sun and shade. Water them every few days, and they'll grow well. They're particularly good in window boxes and porch planters.

  9. Herbs
    Most herbs are really easy to grow. Basil will thrive as long as temperatures stay above 50 degrees. Parsley tolerates a wide range of temperatures. Sage will thrive in a drought. Most common herbs are fairly low maintenance. The only one to be careful of is mint - not because it's difficult but because it grows TOO well. It grows in virtually any condition and can take over the rest of your garden unless you keep it carefully contained.

Even if you don't have much experience growing things, you can still have a beautiful, thriving garden. If you're ready to find a home in Corvallis or Albany where you can plant that garden, contact us. Our real estate agents will help you find the perfect home to meet your needs.


Weekend Projects to Get Your Home Ready to List

Weekend Projects

Planning to list your home this spring? Now is the time to tackle those last-minute repairs and upgrades, so your home will be ready to impress potential buyers. We're not talking about major renovations, but fixing up some basic things around the house can really help shape a buyer's perception of the property. And the good news is, all you need is one weekend to put some sweat equity into your home.

If you're spending your weekends preparing your home for the market in the Corvallis or Albany area, here are some important projects our real estate agents recommend you prioritize:

  • Paint The Front Door
    The front door is the center of your home, and one of the first things buyers see both on your listing photos and when viewing your property in person. Therefore, a fresh coat of paint on your front door can give your home a shiny fresh look invites buyers to look inside. Don't forget to clean and sand your door before you paint. 

  • Reapply Caulk In The Bathroom
    Old, dirty, peeling caulking around the top or bathroom sink can be a major turnoff and can give buyers the impression that the room needs work. Worst of all, as water makes its way under old, cracked caulking, it can become a prime location for mold or mildew growth. Go through your bathroom and remove any old caulk, thoroughly clean the area, and reapply a new layer. 

  • Organize Your Garage
    The garage is often a neglected part of the home staging process, but buyers want to see a nice clean space with lots of storage opportunities. Make good use of shelving and wall hooks to neatly organize your tools, hardware, and home care materials. Your garage doesn't need to be perfectly clean, but you should make every attempt to organize it.

  • Spruce Up Your Landscaping
    Spring is almost here, which means you'll want your yard to stand out. Once weather permits, get outside and rake up any remaining leaves, tree branches, or other leftover winter debris. Come April, you can even begin planting your garden.
  • Add A Tile Backsplash
    A major kitchen renovation is one of the most expensive home investments. If your kitchen is looking a bit dated, adding a new tile backsplash can make a big difference. Tile backsplashes are so versatile, it's easy to try a new color or pattern. They're also fairly easy to install.

  • Install New House Numbers
    Once your home is on the market, you can expect to have a lot of visitors looking for your property. Make it easy for them by adding some new, shiny house numbers next to your front door. Choose colors or designs that match your lighting and front door. 

Preparing your home to sell can be a lot of work, but chipping away at several projects on the weekends can be very manageable. For more tips on selling your property and best practices for getting it ready to list, contact us today. 

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/01/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/01/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of RMLS (last updated Thu 12/01/2022 10:30:39 PM EST) or Willamette Valley MLS (last updated Thu 12/01/2022 10:31:36 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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