Know your way around the kitchen to plan a perfect one

The kitchen is the heart of the home, where family and friends gather to share special meals and everyday moments. It’s also the room home shoppers often look forward to most in each property they tour.

If a house checks every box but the kitchen, include it during negotiations, then upgrade or renovate what doesn’t work post-sale. Sellers of great houses with lackluster kitchens may consider tackling the project before listing to ensure their home gets the attention it deserves.

“If I was going to put money into two rooms, it would be the kitchen and the bathrooms,” says RE/MAX luxury broker Terrie Cox. “You can’t put too much money in a kitchen because that’s where everybody lives.”

Understand your must-haves

Realtors often get requests from buyers to find a listing with a “gourmet kitchen.” While they’re usually referring to high-end appliances, the term can have dozens of interpretations: gleaming marble countertops, a butler’s pantry, abundant storage, etc.

So once you decide to take on the kitchen, also decide what you want it to become. What do you want and need in a kitchen? Is your style trendy or timeless? How do you and your family really use your kitchen? Which features do you rely on every day, and which are used just a few times a year? And, most importantly, what can you feasibly do with the space you have?

Appliances

Understand your habits as they are. Do you love to cook? Go for the high-end gas range (designers say stovetops get used more often than ovens). Big family? Splurge on a dependable dishwasher. Consider a built-in espresso machine if you can’t get going without a morning latte, but skip it if Mr. Coffee will do.

Be aware of the wiring, plumbing and ventilation in your kitchen when you’re evaluating appliances. Never fall for something on looks or price alone; if it breaks down, you’ll wish you had done your due diligence. And always measure — then measure again.

At the showroom, don’t shy away from negotiating on price, especially if you’re buying several appliances from the same place or if the store honors price matching. Be sure to ask for repair referrals, as well, so you know who to call in case anything goes wrong.

Countertops, Islands & Backsplashes

Sleek countertops can elevate an average kitchen to showstopper status. Granite, quartz and marble are particularly popular for their looks, as well as their durability and resistance to heat. Butcher block, concrete and stainless steel are other elegant options for this hardworking kitchen fixture.

Plan plenty of room for prep, cooking and clean-up, as well as countertop appliances you don’t plan on storing. Islands are perfect for these purposes, as well as seating and a place to serve buffet-style meals.

As far as backsplashes go, some homeowners select bold tile designs, though clean white subway tile is trendy, too. Still others opt for something simple and easy to clean, such as glass or stainless steel.

Cabinetry

From the materials to color to configuration, there are unlimited choices for cabinetry. Note that quality wood will last longer, stand up to restaining or repainting, and clean up more easily.

If your cabinets are in good shape but dated, change out the doors or swap hardware to get a quick facelift for a smaller investment. Using open shelving allows an opportunity to displace special pieces and break up enclosed storage.

Take stock of the dishes, utensils and appliances you have and use. Consider the pantry: Will it be a walk-in, a closet or a few dedicated drawers and cabinets? Organizational upgrades such as dividers, concealed pull-outs, Lazy Susans and other inserts are great space maximizers. “Soft close” drawers and doors are a nice touch, too.

Lighting & Smart Gadgets

Because there’s so much activity and traffic in the kitchen, bright lighting kitchen is a must. Start with a great overhead fixture or recessed lighting to illuminate the room. Suspending pendants or a chandelier over the table or island will set the mood for meals. Don’t pass on under-cabinet lights to see what you’re doing during food prep.

Major brands are introducing lighting, as well as appliances, switches, outlets, countertop appliances and other kitchen gadgetry that can be operated a smartphone. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home devices also are helpful devices in the kitchen; both can keep track of shopping lists, set timers, help with recipes or turn on some tunes while you cook, eat and entertain.

Additional features

If features like an outdoor kitchen, butler’s pantry or wine cellar are important fixtures for your meals and gatherings, now is the time to consider those, too. These upgrades become at-home attractions of their own — and they may add to the value of your home, should you sell someday.

An eye for design

Terrie Cox isn’t just RE/MAX’s leading individual broker in Washington and Oregon, she’s also an interior decorator with a talent for creating luxurious spaces. Terrie helps her clients visualize what’s possible and is happy to offer referrals to some of the area’s best contractors and service professionals. To get Terrie’s advice or get a private tour of any of her listings, call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net.

POSTED ON: March 9, 2017 2:17 am BY:

Brasada Ranch cabin blends the best of rugged, upscale living

Find rustic luxury in this exceptional home away from home in Powell Butte, Oregon. The 1,500-square-foot cabin is located at Brasada Ranch. Owners have access to exclusive community amenities and endless activities in this Central Oregon paradise. Ideal for small-scale entertaining or relaxing after a day enjoying the outdoors, this home boasts majestic Cascade Mountain views and wild — yet tranquil —desert scenery.

The home includes everything active vacationers or retirees need to enjoy the Bend area’s fun, rugged lifestyle. The living room, dining area and kitchen have unobstructed sightlines to many the region’s incredible peaks. Warm evenings are best spent in the deck’s hot tub, then cozying up next to the stone fireplace inside. The master suite includes its own fireplace, bathroom with double vanity and soaking tub and private entrance. Upstairs, a loft provides a comfortable reading nook, guest bedroom and additional walkout deck.

Owning a home at Brasada Ranch is just part of the fun. Named the best resort in the Pacific Northwest be Condé Nast Traveler, Brasada Ranch has outstanding community amenities, including two farm-to-table restaurants, three pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, a game room, a spa, two members-only golf courses and more. Living “the Ranch Life” means enjoying modern comforts, outstanding service and proximity to the outdoor activities residents love most: hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, rock climbing, camping, kayaking and more.

With all of these amazing options at your fingertips, Brasada Ranch is an outstanding place to live, play and explore. For more information about this listing and its breathtaking surroundings, contact Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top broker in Oregon and Washington. Call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net.

See more photos and details with the full listing.

POSTED ON: March 3, 2017 12:16 am BY:

With high-end woodwork & marble, Vancouver home a gem

Come home to a house where even the laundry room feels elegant. This dazzling Vancouver home, located in the desirable Rivercrest Estates neighborhood, is adorned with marble flooring, mahogany woodwork, tray ceilings and abundant natural light. Lived in by just one owner since it was built in 1993, the four-bedroom home is equally grand and intimate with expert craftsmanship around every corner.

Just inside the 9-foot carved mahogany double doors, the impressive entry sets the tone for the home with inset red-brown marble flooring and a soaring two-story ceiling. Moving to the column-flanked formal living room, tray ceilings and crown molding give the room height while the fireplace exudes classic luxury. The details continue into the dining room, with ample room and sophistication for entertaining.

But the home’s true focal point is its kitchen. Marble floors, countertops and backsplash shine in the light streaming in from windows that face the yard’s creative collection of trees and shrubbery. Deep brown mahogany cabinets and 24-carat gold hardware complement the rich green marble. Ample storage and a large eat-in area offer the space functional opulence. The kitchen’s unique features define the home’s character, and its style reverberate throughout each room.

The exquisite details continue to the second level with the staircase’s mahogany bannister and the dedicated office’s wainscoting, window trim and crown molding. French doors with leaded glass panes open into the master suite. The expansive bath includes a jetted soaking tub, large vanity, custom cabinetry and green marble flooring.

This home is in excellent condition and ready for its next family’s perspective. The Columbia River and Mt. Hood provide awe-inspiring views for the property and surrounding neighborhood. It’s conveniently located just off the Evergreen Highway and close to several schools, as well as Fairway Village Golf Course.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top luxury broker in Oregon and Washington. She takes pride in helping clients find the home of their dreams — then craft an unbeatable offer to make it their own. To schedule your private viewing of this magnificent Vancouver listing, call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net.

See more photos and details with the full listing.

POSTED ON: March 2, 2017 8:17 pm BY:

Spacious Vancouver home on green belt lot offers lush, secluded living

Tucked inside the private Vancouver pocket neighborhood of Hammann Farm, this sprawling three-story home is a blank canvas that will come alive with your family’s personal touch. With 6,600 square feet, five bedrooms and four bathrooms, it’s the perfect property for a home office, large parties, studio or fitness space, guests and more. The lush green belt lot’s natural landscaping and water feature blend into the woods, giving the house and its outdoor areas secluded beauty.

Towering ceilings, gleaming tile floors and the sleek, geometric fireplace in the entry and great room set a stately tone that continues throughout the house. The open concept floorplan gives the main floor an intuitive flow. Tray ceilings, recessed lighting and clean sightlines lead the eye to the curved deck and trees outside. The natural backdrop sets off the eat-in kitchen, family room, dining room and main-floor master bedroom. The suite is one of two in the home, offering flexibility for long-term guests or multi-generational families.

Downstairs, the vast finished basement features a full kitchen and granite bar. More than 2,100 square feet makes the space ideal for hosting events with friends and family, giving children a place to play and relaxing in style. Built-in storage will keep everything in its place. And the walk-out patio unites the home’s interior with the serene outdoors.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top broker in the Pacific Northwest. She’s an expert in advising clients as they purchase, personalize and relocate to their luxury homes. To schedule your private viewing of this elegant Vancouver property and see its potential for yourself, call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100, email terrie@terriecox.net or visit www.usa-relocate.com.

See more photos and details with the full listing.

POSTED ON: March 1, 2017 4:44 pm BY:

Want to sell fast? Staging will get your home looking its best for buyers

Experienced, design-driven RE/MAX broker Terrie Cox says there’s nothing like professional staging to prepare a home to go on the market. These interior designers are in tune with modern décor trends, as well as what buyers want in their next home.

One thing they definitely don’t want? Too much personal touch. Buyers need to visualize what their lives would look like in a different home. Old furniture, family photos and other details from the current owners can be distracting.

“When I go to a seller’s house, they don’t see what I see. They’re not going to see what the buyer’s looking for,” says Terrie, who knows from 30 years as a Realtor in the Pacific Northwest that professional staging means a listing spends less time on the market — meaning a greater return for owners.

Many sellers think their furniture is adequate for their listing photos, open houses and tours. But Terrie advises her clients to invest in staging, especially for those selling high-end homes — and it pays off. Professionally selected and arranged furniture can emphasize selling points, mitigate dated features and net a more attractive offer than sellers might have otherwise received.

Before you list, ask Terrie for her advice and a referral for a staging professional. Call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net.

POSTED ON: February 27, 2017 6:57 pm BY:

Choosing between real estate in Oregon & Washington? Consider the taxes

Homebuyers relocating to the Portland-Vancouver region have the flexibility of choosing a home in either Oregon or Washington. The two cities and their outlying areas each boast beautiful neighborhoods, upscale shopping and dining districts, high-performing schools and world-class events.

Living in Washington, however, has one benefit Oregon can’t match: no income tax.

Though Washingtonians pay sales tax while Oregonians do not, they’re keeping more of their annual income — to the tune of nearly 10 percent — by living in a state without income tax. And with Portland just a short drive over the bridge, southwest Washington residents can still take advantage of its attractions and its duty-free shopping.

Luxury real estate agent Terrie Cox was born and raised in Oregon, but she calls Washington home because it makes sense for her business and her budget. She cautions that those who live in Washington must work in the state to avoid paying income tax. It’s tempting to consider commuting to a job in Portland then back home to Vancouver, but you would not be exempt.

Terrie, RE/MAX’s top broker in both states, works with her clients to buy and sell some of the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular properties. Call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net to talk about your next move to Oregon or Washington.

POSTED ON: January 23, 2017 6:00 am BY:

Neighborhood Guide to Living in Vancouver, Washington

A relocation to Vancouver, Washington is a great move for anyone looking for the best of all worlds. Situated next to the Portland metro area for convenience to big-city amenities, Vancouver is perched on the north banks of the scenic Columbia River. Vancouver manages to strike the perfect balance between friendly neighborhoods, downtown services, and outdoor escapes.

No State Income Tax

Washington is one of the few states that has no state income tax. What’s more, in neighboring Oregon there’s no sales tax. Many residents find that working in Vancouver and buying goods in Portland is a great way to save money.

Fantastic Neighborhoods

Relocating to Vancouver means exploring some great areas for the perfect home. There are various excellent neighborhoods to choose from, with many close to walking trails or offering beautiful river and mountain views. Make sure to check in with Real Estate Agent Terrie Cox who knows the region well for information on specific neighborhoods.

Nature, Seasons, & Trees

While having all the conveniences expected in a city this size (the population is just over 160,000), Vancouver offers beautiful parks and miles of trails. Nature hikes are easily done without having to travel far. What’s more, the region enjoys four seasons with plenty of trees that burst into color every spring and fall.

Fun Events

The citizens of Vancouver love to have a good time. From the enormous Vancouver Farmers Market which boasts more than 250 vendors, to outdoor summer concerts under the stars, there’s something here for everyone. The city’s annual 4th of July celebration hosts what’s been named the biggest fireworks display west of the Mississippi.

Trendy Shops & Restaurants

The people here also love their food and quirky shops. Uptown Village is among the hippest places to shop, offering plenty of galleries, boutiques, and specialty eateries. After your job relocation, you’ll become accustomed to a handcrafted ice cream, local brew, and world-class lattes.

For more information about your relocation to Vancouver call or text Terrie directly at 360-607-4100.

POSTED ON: January 19, 2017 2:00 pm BY:

The Differences Between Moving for Work and Moving for Fun

Packing up to move to a different city is a major decision. Putting down roots in a new city can be a terrifying, invigorating, stressful or even a therapeutic experience. However, there is a difference between moving for work and moving for fun. Here are some tips to help you in your relocation process.

Moving for Work

Compared to moving for fun, job relocation is often considered practical. However, there are still some things to consider before leaving. You should always look up the cost of living in your new town. This can help you reevaluate and set up a new budget. You should also get a good idea of what your new commute routine is going to look like. Is it a short drive, or are you going to run into problems due to high traffic? Factor in how much you will be spending on gas or if you need to pay for parking. Make sure you keep yourself organized, and locate the important documentation you will need and have it handy. Lastly, do some research on what your new community has to offer. This will help you adjust to your new setting much faster.

Moving for Fun

For those with the freedom and a little wanderlust, moving to a new location can be enriching in more ways than one. If you are moving to a new city to try something new, it’s best to have a plan. Do extensive research on the cost of living to make sure you won’t be living outside of your means. You should also research the local job market. Find out what companies are headquartered in your new city. You will want to know where the best neighborhoods are located. An experienced real estate agent can be a great ally, as they will have first-hand knowledge of the area. Lastly, make sure you have all your new living arrangements set to ensure a smooth moving process.

POSTED ON: January 16, 2017 10:00 am BY:

Five Tips and Tricks to Get the Best Price For Your Home

Staging your home for sale is an important but often-overlooked part of the listing process. Not only can an accurate staging sell your home more quickly, but homes that have been designed so the buyer can picture themselves living in the property can earn you up to 10 percent above the listing price. Here are home staging tips and tricks to keep in mind before placing your home on the market.

1. Remove Personal Items

Your cherished photos and mementos have been carefully curated, but they aren’t a boon to buyers. Stow away your wedding photos, family albums, and other personal items that will make it difficult for buyers to imagine their family living in the property.

2. Shift Your Storage

Closet space is essential for homeowners, and buyers want to feel that their new property will be more spacious than their previous home. Avoid the temptation to put your personal items in closets, attics, and basements when home staging. Instead, invest in a storage unit.

3. Don’t Forget the Outdoor Space

Outdoor living is one of the hottest new commodities for luxury homes. Ensure that buyers can imagine themselves hosting Sunday brunch by arranging your patio furniture in an attractive display that’s conducive to guests. Pristine landscaping and fresh paint are also must-dos before listing.

4. Brighten it Up

The right light can make a big difference when it comes to making your home inviting. Maximize natural light by cleaning the windows and drapes. You should also replace your light bulbs with brighter ones when home staging.

5. Pack Up the Pets

Evidence of dogs and cats is unappealing to most buyers. If you have pets, find a great kennel or a generous friend who can watch your furry friends when showings are scheduled.

For help staging your home, Terrie Cox is available 24/7. Call or text at 360-607-4100.

POSTED ON: January 13, 2017 2:00 pm BY:

How to keep your cool in Portland & Vancouver’s hot real estate markets

You already know that the most important thing a buyer can do is create stability before submitting an offer on their next home. But how do you ensure it can compete in a hot Portland or Washington real estate market?

First, find a savvy, experienced and local Realtor. When you work with a world-ranked Realtor like Terrie Cox, you can expect unrelenting expertise and individual attention while drafting and submitting your offer. Terrie guides her clients through the entire real estate process, looking out for errors, reviewing forms, and negotiating on their behalf.

Step 1: Write a serious offer.

Once you’ve got Terrie on your side, get started on writing your offer. Getting pre-approved—a step beyond pre-qualification—shows the seller that a lender has verified your information, credit, and documentation to determine an exact loan amount. This speeds up the underwriting process, allowing buyers to act quickly and eliminating the anxiety of waiting for financing. It also shows the seller you’re prepared, enthusiastic, and trustworthy.

Including an escalation clause with your offer will guarantee it remains the highest submission, up to your maximum budget. For example, it may dictate that you’ll beat other offers by $5,000 up to $500,000, ensuring that yours is always on top.

As Terrie’s clients know, buyers shouldn’t take these steps before an inspection. Not only will that improve your knowledge of the home, it will streamline — or eliminate — contingencies. Most notably, your offer can move to the front of the pack, as it will not be awaiting inspection.

Step 2: Be accommodating.

Stay open-minded with your new home and separate your needs from your wants. If a listing meets most of your priorities, and you can let the others go (or take on a project later), place an offer. A less-than-perfect real estate property may signal easier negotiations and potentially less competition. And limiting contingencies—or even including an as-is addendum—will make you an attractive candidate. Know your deal breakers, though; you can walk away if the listing is more trouble than it’s worth.

Also, remember that the market is cutthroat, but you don’t have to be. Being gracious and making the seller’s life easier will work to your advantage. Limit negative comments about the home, be flexible with your closing and possession dates, submit a personal note with your offer, and be respectful. Your agent will fight for your interests during negotiations, so your interactions with the seller can stay light and cordial.

Step 3: Stay in the fight.

Even if your bid gets bumped for a bigger, better offer, it pays to keep tabs on the listing. Deals frequently fall through in financing, so you may find your offer on top again. Keep your credit and savings steady, and ask your agent to check in on real estate properties whose bidding wars you’ve lost to see if there’s a chance to win the battle.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top broker in the Pacific Northwest and among the highest producing in the world. She helps her clients turn their real estate dreams into reality, guided by decades of industry insights. To get her advice on how to submit an irresistible offer on your next home, call or text Terrie at (360) 607-4100, email terrie@terriecox.net.

POSTED ON: January 12, 2017 4:00 pm BY: