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Make good neighbors: How to be & greet new arrivals


Moving is among the most stressful events for a family. It’s a time when people could really use the support of a friend — right as they’re being plucked from their familiar social circles. Adding to the isolation, neighbors in their new communities often are unsure how to welcome recent additions.

Whether you’re the newcomer or greeting one, there are steps you can take to make a great first impression on Day One and beyond.

Meet your neighbors

The lowest-effort option is to be visible in your new neighborhood. Take walks, spend time in your yard, and check out communal spaces. Also visit parks, libraries, coffee shops, stores, restaurants and bars, gyms, and the farmers market to get a beat on the community. Volunteering, subscribing to the local newspaper, and attending city council or neighborhood association meetings can bring you up to speed on issues affecting the area, too.

Now is the time to chat up your neighbors, ask questions, and seek recommendations or referrals — just pay attention to the responses. People are usually eager to welcome people to the neighborhood, offer tips, and promise future get-togethers. If you’re interested and available, don’t turn down invitations. There’s no pressure to accept all offers of assistance or friendship, but do be gracious. And when you can’t make time to talk, offer a wave or smile to those you haven’t connected with yet.

Plan a party

Kids are excellent conversation starters. Local parks are practically made for parents to bump into each other and swap information, especially if they have kids of similar ages or at the same school. Once you’ve identified some families in the area, invite them and other families they know to your house to get to know each other. This is especially helpful if your children have transferred to a new school with the move.

No one expects a housewarming party, especially not the moment you move in. If you do throw one, feel free to keep it casual. Ask neighbors — and friends from your old neighborhood, too — to drop by during a weekend afternoon. Avoid serving anything beyond a few snacks (nothing that requires more than a cocktail plate) or make it a potluck, with everyone bringing something to share. Invite as many people as you’re comfortable having in your home, but don’t be exclusive. If your place is on the small side or simply not ready for guests, plan a happy hour at a nearby bar or restaurant. You may find a go-to watering hole.

Be patient

Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t all come together at once. It takes time to know your new surroundings and feel out your social circle. Browse to find groups in your area with similar interests and events. Friends of friends are great leads, too. Ask around your circle to see if anyone has contacts in your new neighborhood.

Take initiative

Noticing new neighbors moving in can be confusing: How do you welcome them? What do you say? Should you bring something? When is it a good time? Generally speaking, any kind gesture will be appreciated. As long as you avoid times around meals and commutes, it’s OK to stop by and strike up a conversation with your new neighbors.

Recent arrivals will want to meet you and get your perspective on the neighborhood. It’s nice to give referrals or recommendations, but keep gossip out of it and remain positive about the area (they just moved in, after all). Housewarming gifts aren’t necessary, but a small plant, snack, or stack of takeout menus from nearby restaurants are thoughtful offerings.

Once you’ve made contact, bring other neighbors on board. Connect your new acquaintance with others in your circle and include them in your regular social gatherings, if they’re interested. Hosting a low-key barbecue or cocktail party with all the neighbors can be a fun, effective way for everyone to mingle and meet each other.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top individual agent in the Pacific Northwest and among the nation’s top 10 Certified Relocation Professionals. She’s an expert at helping families find and settle into their new homes and neighborhoods. To start your move on the right foot, call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100 or email

POSTED ON: May 2, 2017 5:31 pm BY:

‘Perfect’ homes that need too many fixes not always worth it

When a home meets all of the must-haves, excited buyers may overlook what it lacks. And while it’s normal to make some fixes or even plan a major remodel for their newly purchased property, buyers — especially first-timers — should be wary of biting off more than they can chew.

Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top individual broker in the Pacific Northwest, says she cautions her clients against committing to a home that requires a laundry list of repairs or renovations. For example, if the bathroom, kitchen, and the driveway all need attention, that’s too much work for one listing.

“In my opinion that’s three strikes,” Terrie says. “If you’ve got four, move on to another house, because it’s going to cost way too much money to invest in that one.”

If remodeling is unavoidable, Terrie recommends putting money into two areas first: kitchens and bathrooms.

“You can’t put too much money in a kitchen, because that’s where everybody lives,” she says.

Terrie counsels homeowners to project 5 years down the road when they plan upgrades. They should consider how the fixes they make now will affect the resale value of their homes, prioritizing those that offer the greatest return.

Aside from Terrie’s experience in Portland and Vancouver’s luxury real estate markets, she is a homeowner. Her first-hand insight into which upgrades are worth the effort and cost helps her guide clients as they make plans for their own homes. To talk with Terrie about your search, call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email

POSTED ON: April 26, 2017 7:33 pm BY:

Take in Mt. Hood views at inviting luxury-rustic lodge estate

luxury rustic mountain view lodge estate boring oregon

Secluded, semi-rural luxury can be yours at this sprawling lodge-style estate on 3.71 acres in Boring, Oregon. Driving up the circle drive amid careful landscaping, visitors will see modern rustic touches in the handsome rough-cut beams and stonework around the entry. And with views of Mt. Hood on the horizon, the property has a spirit of comfortable grandiosity.

Inside the large wooden door, floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the entry and soaring vaulted ceilings in natural light. The main floor’s open-concept floorplan enjoys a cozy flow between the impressive great room, dining spaces, and kitchen. Extensive woodwork — hand-hewn hickory floors, built-in buffet and shelving, mantle, beams, cabinetry, island, and other details — creates smart rustic charm that runs throughout the home.

The kitchen boasts custom cabinets and a walk-in pantry with plenty of convenient storage. A multi-level island and adjacent breakfast nook give families and friends spaces to gather for casual get-togethers. Big dinner parties and late-night snacks are equally simple with high-end stainless steel appliances — including a Viking gas range and a smart refrigerator — and ample counterspace.

At the top of the bright, all-wood staircase, the master suite continues the luxury-rustic tone. The plank vaulted ceiling rises over the expansive bedroom, complete with gas fireplace, large windows, and a private balcony. In the bathroom, dark slate tile covers the floors and steps ascending to the soaking tub. The double vanity is adorned by slab granite and illuminated by a designer light fixture. A huge walk-in closet and private study round out the suite’s incredible amenities.

The second floor includes four additional bedrooms. Elsewhere in the home, families will enjoy three more bathrooms, two laundry rooms, a dedicated library, and a den with a wet bar and intricate Juniper woodwork. Outside, the partially covered stone patio includes a firepit and hot tub. Mature trees tower over the beautifully manicured lawn. Beyond the grass lie raised garden beds, a play structure, and a shed. The property also includes a massive 40’x100’ barn and shop, complete with tack and stalls.

To schedule your tour of this luxury-rustic property in Boring, call or text Pacific Northwest’s leading RE/MAX broker Terrie Cox at (360) 607-4100, email or visit An Oregon native, Terrie is recognized among RE/MAX’s top 50 Realtors in the world. She is uniquely qualified to negotiate the purchase of your luxury home with personalized guidance and experienced market insights.

See more photos, a video tour and more details with the full listing.

POSTED ON: April 26, 2017 4:46 pm BY:

Architectural beauty, phenomenal views tie for Washougal home’s top feature

architectural beauty phenomenal views washougal washington

This modern ranch in Washougal, Washington, wows with spectacular views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood, as well as careful architectural details. The large, level lot is slightly raised and set back from the street, allowing unobstructed vistas without sacrificing privacy. Walking up the path, visitors will get the sense there’s plenty to see both inside and outside this interesting home.

Native Camas stone continues from the exterior into the foyer and great room. Lofty cedar ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a custom 40-foot skylight flood the home with natural light. This sophisticated space is a room for all seasons, with a full-height stone fireplace for winter nights and double sliding doors to the backyard that let summer breezes blow in.

The central living space in this unique U-shaped home includes a streamlined kitchen with stunning views on all sides. A side patio off the kitchen is perfect for casual al fresco dining and morning coffee. From the kitchen, walk through Shoji-style sliding doors to the formal dining room or to the living room toward the back of the home. Off the main hallway, an executive office looks onto the backyard’s serene water feature, lawn, and gardens.

The master wing is a peaceful retreat, with magnificent mountain views and a gas fireplace. The attached bathroom sets a relaxed, spa-inspired tone. An elevated soaking tub and oversized windows look onto the wooded sideyard and private patio. Down the hall, past two additional bedrooms and a bathroom, a cozy den opens into the backyard.

Territorial views greet backyard guests. Two decks, separated by the pond, are linked by a stone walkway. The large flat lawn includes an ample gardening plot, raised beds, and a small shed for green thumbs. A small studio offers a secluded workspace or extra room for visitors. It’s at once an energizing getaway and a place to pursue outdoor hobbies.

Call or text Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top individual broker in Washington, to get a private tour of this breathtaking Washougal home. She is specially qualified to help you craft an unbeatable offer and relocate to the luxury home of your dreams. Call (360) 607-4100, email, or visit

See more photos, a video tour, and more details with the full listing.

POSTED ON: April 25, 2017 11:59 pm BY:

The cure for cabin fever? Prepping your home & yard for warm-weather living

Spring is finally here in the Pacific Northwest, and another glorious summer is around the corner. Prepare your outdoor spaces, guests accommodations, and indoor details for the sunny days and relaxing evenings ahead.

Lawns & landscaping

Late spring is a great time to address trouble spots in your lawn. Sow new see and apply any necessary herbicides or fertilizers. Aerating compacted soil will also encourage growth and prevent weeds from taking root. Once grass is 2-3 inches tall, break out the mower (and sharpen the blade, too).

Put down new mulch or ground cover to bare spots in your landscaping. Clear dead foliage and branches and trim trees. Check your homeowners association’s CC&Rs for clearance requirements regarding trees that line the sidewalk outside your home.

Patios & decks

Over the winter, moisture accumulates and moss may cling to decks and patios. Sweep away debris and use a wet mop or broom to scrub dirt and stains. Because powerwashing may erode wooden beams or grout between patio stones, consult with (or hire) a professional. Once your deck or patio is clean and dry, apply stain or sealant as needed so it looks its best before the first barbecue.

Get your outdoor furniture in good condition, too. Take it out of storage and update faded cushions and outdoor rugs. Envision what you and your family do outside (i.e. dine, relax, entertain, garden), then arrange furniture into inviting, functional spaces.


We depend on our grills during the summer. Scrape grates clean and repair broken burners or gas lines. If you have an outdoor kitchen and storage, restock supplies, seasonings, and other necessities. Treat yourself to some sturdy grill tools, too, and some cheerful, durable outdoor dishes. When the first cookout of the season strikes, you’ll be ready.

Fire pits

Spending a warm evening around the fire pit is practically a rite of summer. Check the gas line (or firewood supply for wood-burning pits). If guests or your older children will be operating it, consider having written or typed instructions on hand for them. Prepare furniture surrounding the fire with comfortable cushions and cozy blankets — and don’t forget fireside snacks.


Your pool will be the first stop when temperatures really start to rise. Don’t wait until late summer to schedule maintenance service or address it yourself. Before opening your pool, clear debris or standing water from the cover. Top off the water level and ensure the pump, hoses, and filters are clean and in working order before turning it on. Have the water professionally tested to analyze pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and calcium hardness. Adjust your pool’s chemical level throughout the season so swimmers stay safe, water remains clean, and equipment functions properly. Add some towels and lounge chairs, and you’ll have the hottest summer hangout in your own backyard.


Warm weather affects how we live inside, as well. Spring cleaning always makes homes feel refreshed; declutter, dust ceiling fan blades, and clean windows and screens to let sunlight stream through. Add pops of color with freshly cut flowers or potted plants throughout your home. Swapping heavy, dull textiles for light, bright seasonal accessories can make furniture feel brand new.

Warm weather almost always means visits from out-of-town friends and family, so spruce up guest spaces, too. Clear out closets and drawers. Replace linens with new or freshly washed sheets and towels. Restock extra toiletries, too, so your visitors will have everything they need when they come to stay.


Terrie Cox is among RE/MAX’s top 10 individual brokers in the United States, as well as a skilled stager and designer for Home Concepts in Vancouver, WA. She enjoys spending summer days on her deck overlooking the Columbia River. For more advice on how to prepare your home for warm weather, call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email

POSTED ON: March 31, 2017 10:09 pm BY:

Skip the open house: Focus on fantastic staging & photos

Many sellers think an open house is a surefire strategy for getting offers and quickly selling their home. While they can’t hurt, open houses are less about homeowners and more about the real estate agents representing them.

“My take on open houses is they’re really for the benefit of the agent,” says Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top individual broker in Washington and top-10 in the country. “On my site, you’re open every day.”

Terrie focuses on staging her listings and taking sensational photos. She then markets them extensively online and in print. Buyers could come from down the street or anywhere in the world, so she plans for local, national, and global exposure. High-visibility placement on mainstream real estate sites, luxury property publications, social media, and other channels ensures all corners of the market are covered.

Shoppers are proactive and selective about homes they want to tour. They peruse listing sites, check out a home’s photos and details, then contact their agents for a tour. Terrie encourages sellers to hire a professional stager and photographer to make their home shine. These tactics entice high-end buyers to tour and submit offers, decreasing the days listings spend on the market.

Trust an exceptional marketer who goes beyond basic. Terrie treats every day like an open house for her clients. She diligently markets their homes and helps them negotiate the offers they attract. To talk with her about how to can get wide visibility for your property, call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email

POSTED ON: March 31, 2017 6:00 pm BY:

Pristine views, schools, and details make Washougal home a tremendous triple threat

Homeshoppers with an eye for detail and elegance will be inspired by this Washougal property, featured in Southwest Washington’s 2005 Parade of Homes. Its 3,500 square feet are adorned with gleaming wood floors, stately columns, crown molding, plantation shutters, and extensive custom woodwork. Located near the outstanding Camas school districts, this is an ideal listing for families relocating or upgrading to a new home.

The property exudes sophistication with its meticulous landscaping, fountain, and unique brick-and-shingle exterior. Anchored by a central staircase with intricate ironwork, the open concept layout creates continuous flow between living and entertaining spaces. The intimate formal sitting and dining room at the front of the home lead seamlessly to the spectacular great room, kitchen, and dedicated study.

The great room is this home’s show stopper. Its dramatic two-story arched windows and towering tray ceilings give way to views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. Impressive built-in storage flanks one of the three gas fireplaces in the home. Linking the great room, formal spaces, and deck outside, the kitchen’s high-end cabinetry and gourmet appliances leave nothing to be desired.

The upstairs landing leads to the master suite, as well as three additional spacious bedrooms, a shared bathroom, and laundry room. The master bedroom — with its vaulted ceiling and fireplace — is a relaxing sanctuary. The attached spa-like bathroom includes a soaking tub, Travertine tile floors, glass shower, and massive double vanity. Magnificent views from the private deck round out the mellow, relaxing tone of this space.

In the backyard, homeowners and their guests can enjoy the views and weather on the large Trex deck or the gazebo covering a stamped concrete patio. A play structure and dog run provide active spaces for every member of the family.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top individual broker in Washington and Pacific Northwest. She specializes in Portland and southwest Washington’s luxury markets and is skilled at helping clients find and purchase their dream homes. To schedule your private viewing of this thoughtfully built Washougal property, call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100, email, or visit

See photos, a video tour and more details with this home’s full listing.

POSTED ON: March 30, 2017 11:35 pm BY:

Stylish, spacious, exclusive Vancouver home boasts lake views & designer details

This recently built Vancouver property in the Bella Ridge community is a must-see for families looking for a perfect blend of style and space. With six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a four-stall garage, and more than 5,600 square feet, the home overlooks Vancouver Lake and other stunning surroundings. It’s located in a gated cul-de-sac, offering both security and exclusivity in this prestigious neighborhood.

The stone and wood arched entry is just one of the remarkable architectural details in this superb home. Once inside, homeowners and guests will be greeted by tall coffered ceilings and an intuitive main-floor layout. The great room’s floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace anchors the impressive space, naturally lit by several oversized custom windows. A home office and formal dining room offer focused spaces for work, leisure, and entertaining.

The home’s designer fixtures and finishes really shine in the kitchen. Gourmet stainless steel appliances, slab granite countertops, and a copper sink and ventilation hood make a luxurious statement. Ample high-end cabinetry, a butler’s pantry, and a walk-in pantry banish any storage concerns. A large, distinctive island bar and breakfast nook, give friends and family plenty of room to gather and visit.

Continuing the designer touches, the master suite boasts sophisticated lighting, window treatments, and hardware, as well as a double granite vanity. Homeowners will love to relax in the recessed soaking tub. They’ll also enjoy a glass-and-tile walk-in shower and a massive walk-in closet. The main floor includes an additional generously sized bedroom suite, ideal for visitors or older children.

Upstairs, a wet bar and feature wall imbue the bonus space with the laid-back vibe of a den or game room. Four additional bedrooms and a dedicated theater room make the entire floor a ready-made space to wind down, host a party, and everything in between.

In the large backyard, the covered patio brings the home’s interior flair outdoors with a large granite workspace and built-in barbecue. The half-acre lot features clean landscaping and a variety of young trees, as well as raised beds for gardeners.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top individual broker in the Pacific Northwest. She’s a Certified Relocation Professional, specializing in helping her clients and their families find, purchase, and settle into the luxury home of their dreams. To schedule your private tour of this picture-perfect Vancouver property and the Bella Ridge neighborhood, call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100, email, or visit

POSTED ON: March 30, 2017 9:15 pm BY:

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?


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.


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

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

See more photos and details with the full listing.

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