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:

3 Ways to Best Stage Your Home for Sale

The purpose of staging is to make a home look and feel its most inviting. For a quicker sale and a better offer, most realtors insist on decluttering. Staging takes this process several steps further by minimizing the amount of furniture that’s present and arranging items in an eye-catching layout. Even small changes can yield big results.

Arrange Attractive Artwork On Walls

While less is more when it comes to wall decor, a few well-positioned pieces of the right type of art will show off your spaces beautifully. Remove any personal photos and instead add artwork that brings out the best in a room. Landscapes work well. So do tasteful abstract designs with colors that complement the walls and furnishings.

Light Up Dark Areas

Rooms that are light, bright, and cheerful feel welcoming. People are drawn in and want to spend time there. Dark corners and poorly lit zones have the opposite effect – they repel people.

With your realtor, check each room carefully to make sure all areas are well lit. Replace light bulbs and add fixtures to create the right impression. A mix of lighting increases a room’s appeal; be sure to have both ambient lighting and accent lights. Then add focused lighting for desks, cabinets, nooks, and other special purpose areas.

Group Furniture Into Intimate Settings

Prospective buyers looking at a room are searching for possibilities. They want to envision what the room could be for them. Stoke their imagination by grouping furniture into cozy, intimate settings. Move pieces away from the walls and arrange them into inviting layouts. Create living spaces that are uncluttered and feel welcoming.

For example, arrange sofas, chairs, and accent tables into comfortable conversational clusters. At the same time, make sure nothing blocks the flow of traffic. As prospective buyers follow their realtor from room to room, they’ll be able to easily picture themselves enjoying each space.

For help with staging, call or text Terrie Cox at 360-607-4100.

POSTED ON: January 12, 2017 2:00 pm BY:

La Center property boasts prime fishing & design potential

Located on the east fork of the Lewis River in La Center, Washington, this home is an oasis for any outdoors enthusiast. Perched atop its 5-acre lot, the house is clear of flood danger but just steps from Mason Creek Hole, where springwaters create an ideal home for steelhead and salmon. Scenic riverbanks offer prime fishing spots, and the boat launch gives access to the creek and river, leading all the way to the Columbia. Surrounded by territorial views and peeks at Mt. Hood, the property feels rural and secluded, despite being just 15 minutes from shopping and 30 minutes from Portland International Airport.

Inside the house’s stately arched brick entry, the sweeping two-story foyer features gleaming black marble floors and a curved staircase. The formal sitting room and dining room continue an air of classic luxury. Meanwhile, the bright open-concept kitchen, dining area and living room are prepared for a buyer’s design touch. A bedroom and exercise room — as well as a massive deck for grilling, outdoor entertaining and taking in the scenery — round out the main floor.

Upstairs, double doors open into a large master suite with a wood-burning stove, executive study and bathroom with tile and marble finishes. Large windows boast the home’s most dramatic view. Two more bedrooms and a den give families individual space as well as plenty of room to spend time together.

Back outside, the landscaped yard includes a swingset and play area. The fenced-in pool gives swimmers a chance to soak up the sunshine, while the adjacent outbuilding houses a steamy sauna. The three-bay garage is outfitted with 14-foot doors to accommodate a boat or RV, and the shop inside has electricity and water access. Attached to the garage, the guest house is perfect for visitor lodging or as a second residence.

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

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

POSTED ON: January 5, 2017 11:14 pm BY:

Washougal retreat perfect for growing families, hosting friends

This modern Craftsman in Washougal, Washington, is a spacious property, spread over two tax lots in Leaptrott Estates. The abundant space — inside and out — and lush landscaping give the home and yard ample privacy amid the convenience of a neighborhood setting.

Harmonious landscaping, smart architecture and a wide open concept floorplan let the beauty of the home’s surroundings shine. The exterior stone treatment, front yard arbor and stained glass entry make an impressive statement. From the first step inside, clean sightlines yield natural light and breathtaking territorial views. Remarkable millwork and flooring – tile, wood and carpet – give each room a distinct, yet natural, character.

Consistent details and a complimentary color palette enhance the main floor’s flow. The two-story foyer and its flanking office lead to the dining room, giving way to the sunken great room with its stone hearth and spectacular vistas. The kitchen’s refined finishes, custom cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and a large granite island create a beautiful entertaining area; access to the deck streamlines outdoor dining.

Also on the main floor, the first of two luxurious master suites offers a walk-in glass shower and a soaking tub. A second suite, located upstairs with two additional bedrooms and space for a gym, is another elegant option. On top of the first suite’s amenities, it includes a fireplace and a private deck looking out over the river.

Downstairs, the finished basement houses a granite wet bar and boundless space for game tables other fun. Built-in sound system, projectors and four TVs are perfect for hosting a crowd for sporting events. A third deck includes a hot tub and plenty of room to entertain and relax. Stairs lead down to the secluded patio and waterfall feature, set against a variety of mature trees and shrubs.

This incredible home is not only an entertainer’s delight; located in the desirable Camas School District, it’s also perfect for growing families. With a four-car garage and generous storage throughout, there’s room for everyone and everything.

To schedule your tour of this exceptional Washougal property, call or text leading RE/MAX broker Terrie Cox at (360) 607-4100, email terrie@terriecox.net or visit www.usa-relocate.com. Terrie is Washington’s premier luxury real estate agent and 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: January 4, 2017 7:20 pm BY:

Unparalleled elegance, comfort & scenery at Estacada estate

Imagine coming home to this beautiful 5-acre estate in the shadow of Mt. Hood. An expansive manicured lawn, perfect for soccer fields, flanks the treed driveway, escorting visitors to the grand stone entry. Inside, territorial views of the Cascade Range and regional peaks fill nearly every window. Beamed ceilings and a full-height fireplace give the sunken great room a cozy elegance that permeates this entire Estacada, Oregon, home.

In the kitchen, classic elements balance exquisite finishes. With sumptuous dark wood details, recessed lighting and stained glass fixtures, polished granite counters and crisp stainless steel appliances, this space exudes undeniable sophistication. A separate wet bar, formal dining room and sliding door to the patio give families and their guests separate areas to gather.

Outside, the covered tile patio provides a laid-back space to grill and enjoy fireside dining in any weather. The backyard also includes a large pool, waterfall feature and hot tub, in addition to panoramic vistas. Massive mature trees line the property on one side, offering privacy without obstructing the view.

Back inside on the main floor, the master suite has all the trimmings of luxury living. Picture plush carpeting, fireplace, premium cabinetry, soaking tub, walk-in shower, high-end stone tile and a large double vanity, as well as access to the patio’s hot tub. Of course, each window looks out on the property’s incredible surroundings.

There are three additional bedrooms over two floors, including a generous guest suite with lofty exposed-beam ceilings, a fireplace and a private balcony overlooking the breathtaking scenery. With an office, a bonus room and a dedicated area for a gym, there’s ample airy space for everyone to work, play and relax at home.

To schedule your tour of this refined Estacada estate, call or text Terrie Cox, Oregon’s premier luxury real estate agent, at (360) 607-4100, email terrie@terriecox.net or visit www.usa-relocate.com. Terrie is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, recognized among RE/MAX’s top 50 Realtors in the world. Born and raised in Oregon, she understands the local market and is uniquely qualified to negotiate the purchase of your luxury home.

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

POSTED ON: January 4, 2017 7:15 pm BY:

2016 sets area’s market up for outstanding new year

The Portland-Vancouver housing market was among the hottest in the country in 2016, and it will continue to be solid in 2017.

Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top broker in Oregon and Washington, has observed positive trends and momentum in the area’s luxury real estate landscape. Her assessment? Now is a great time to purchase or sell a house, condo or land.

Portland and Vancouver, as well as their surrounding areas, are sustaining fantastic real estate activity. Buyers are submitting competitive offers, and the average property spent less time on the market in 2016 than it did in 2015 — both good signs for sellers.

Meanwhile, home prices are steadily increasing, signaling strength and stability. Prices in Portland’s market went up 10.9 percent year-over-year in 2016, putting it just behind national leader Seattle, which saw an 11 percent increase.

Terrie also notes that while the Federal Reserve plans to bump up mortgage interest rates in 2017, the move likely will have minimal impact on the market. Many prospective buyers — particularly growing numbers of foreign investors — plan to pay cash and won’t be affected by higher borrowing costs.

Terrie is an expert at navigating the area’s luxury real estate market, as well as advising both buyers and sellers. If you’re planning a move in the Pacific Northwest in 2017, call or text Terrie Cox directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net.

POSTED ON: December 23, 2016 12:05 am BY:

Appease the Appraiser & Find Your Home’s True Value

Appraisal process

Getting an appraisal — a report that states the actual market value of a property — is among the first steps to refinancing your home or preparing to put it on the market. An appraiser will analyze not just your home, but those around it, as well as the location and features of the neighborhood: proximity to restaurants, shops, grocery stores, highways, parks, schools and other important amenities.

Changes to the appraisal system

For buyers and sellers, scheduling appraisals recently has become more challenging with changes in national regulations governing appraiser fees and apprenticeships. The new rules have created a shortage in many markets, delaying and even derailing transactions.

Delays can cause a borrower’s loan lock to expire while they wait for their desired home to be evaluated, often causing a chain reaction and setting back the seller’s purchase, as well. Overburdened appraisers may charge exorbitant rush fees to move appointments up. And when appraisers can’t be found locally, they come in from other cities or states, leaving the appraisal in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the area.

The solution for both parties is scheduling enough time for the sale to accommodate a delayed appraisal. Parties on either side of a sale should talk with their real estate agents to get a sense of how long it will take to get a local appraiser. Buyers also should address the issue with their lenders to try to avoid losing rate locks or paying to extend them if the appraisal takes longer than expected.

Extra steps for sellers

While an appraisal is an objective analysis of your property (square footage, materials used, type of house, number of rooms, garage or no garage, etc.), it doesn’t hurt to spruce up. Declutter, repaint dingy walls, clean up dead or unruly landscaping, replace damaged flooring and ensure all appliances work properly. These items already should be on every homeowner’s presale to-do list.

Major upgrades don’t guarantee an increase in value — or even a total return on materials — so there’s no need to overdo it. If you renovate, concentrate on the kitchen and bathrooms. But money is better spent on smaller projects: landscaping updates, drawer pulls, paint, doorknobs, light fixtures or even a new front door. Things like a new roof, windows or furnace should be pointed out to the appraiser. Whatever project you take on, finish before the appraisal and save your receipts.

Know your neighbors — and the appraiser

An appraisal is based largely on the homes and amenities surrounding the property in question. Appraisers evaluate comparable listings and measurable qualities of the home to determine market value, which doesn’t always align with what buyers are willing to pay.

To prepare for the appraisal’s likely outcome, do your research. Tour other listings in the area and pay attention to what they sell for. Appraisers may not be as in tune with the area as the people who live there and could overlook key features. Mention how your neighborhood has improved or if new amenities have been added.

Know your appraiser’s qualifications and expectations, too. They must be licensed by the state, but check for additional distinctions, such as MAI or SRA. Before scheduling the appraisal, review the forms the appraiser will use to evaluate your home. They will give you an idea of how your home will be analyzed, giving you a thorough checklist to prepare.

Trust your Realtor

An appraisal that comes in far lower or higher than expected has consequences for buyers and sellers. Review appraisal discrepancies with your agent and create a strategy to improve the value of your home and price it appropriately (for sellers) or adjust your loan amount (for buyers).

Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top broker in the Pacific Northwest, is skilled at helping her clients prepare for and understand the appraisal process. She works with clients on either side of a real estate transaction and homeowners planning to refinance their homes. Call or text her directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net to schedule a consultation.

POSTED ON: December 9, 2016 4:53 pm BY:

Follow Realtor’s advice to sell home quickly & competitively

In a hot housing market like the Portland-Vancouver area, buyers have a lot of choices and they move quickly. To get their attention — and the most money out of their homes — the smartest thing a seller can do is listen to their Realtor. An agent’s guidance is key to netting a great sale price and shaving crucial days off the time a listing spends on the market.

“I’m looking at that house in the eyes of the buyer,” says Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top broker in Oregon and Washington. With more than 30 years of experience as a luxury real estate agent, Terrie knows what will impress buyers and elicit competitive offers.

Terrie recommends creating both a blank slate and a welcoming environment in the home so buyers can visualize themselves living there. Painting walls a warm neutral tone, decluttering and hiring a professional stager help a property shine in its online listing photos and in person.

Terrie is also skilled at evaluating market trends and pricing homes appropriately. When a listing is priced right for its size, neighborhood, features and age, it creates urgency among buyers, often attracting multiple offers and exceeding the original sale price.

Selling your home can seem overwhelming. Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top Realtor in the Pacific Northwest, is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist who is committed to helping her clients market their listings and negotiate an unbeatable sale price. Call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net to schedule your personal consultation.

POSTED ON: December 8, 2016 11:44 pm BY:

River views & vaulted ceilings enhance Vancouver home’s tranquil spirit

This impressive 2,300-square-foot Vancouver home is situated in the coveted community of Steamboat Landing along the Columbia River in Washington. Its unique features include low-maintenance landscaping, vaulted ceilings, custom finishes and an abundance of natural light. This property offers homeowners the opportunity to embrace an upscale waterfront lifestyle in a stunning natural setting.

Greeted by a stately gated courtyard, visitors will enter the main floor’s open concept living space and immediately take in the spectacular river vista. Lofty ceilings and an attractive window layout invite light into the space, illuminating slab granite countertops and a sophisticated gas fireplace. A sliding door in the kitchen extends living and entertaining options to the newly installed Trex deck and backyard.

The home’s towering ceilings and scale continue up the grand staircase to the master suite. Floor-to-ceiling windows – with custom shades – and skylights keep the bedroom and bathroom bright without sacrificing privacy. The suite includes a jetted soaking tub, granite double vanity, custom shelving and a walkout deck with panoramic river views. With two additional bedrooms, as well as the main-floor study, there’s ample space for children, guests, work and leisure.

Outside, the amenities help residents take advantage of their waterfront community’s natural beauty. Walking trails line the riverside grounds and lead to the beach, marina, fishing spots and scenic overlooks. With popular Portland shopping, dining and entertainment districts just a short drive away, all of the advantages of city living are close at hand.

This elegant home is represented exclusively by Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top Realtor in the Pacific Northwest and a specialist in luxury waterfront real estate. Terrie’s expert guidance and industry insight will help you secure the perfect home and streamline your relocation. To schedule your private viewing of this Vancouver property, call or text Terrie directly at (360) 607-4100, email terrie@terriecox.net or visit www.usa-relocate.com.

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

POSTED ON: December 7, 2016 1:33 am BY:

HOAs and CC&Rs: How What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Thinking about buying a home that’s part of a homeowners’ association (HOA)? Before submitting your offer, It’s crucial to read through the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), which govern the appearance of homes in your new neighborhood or building.

CC&Rs are generally well-intended rules, but they may interfere with future plans, upgrades or major purchases you’ve planned for your new home. Strict enough CC&Rs could lead you to reconsider your purchase altogether.

Understanding how your association functions and the extent of the CC&Rs — before you buy your home — can help you avoid major headaches and potential financial headaches in the future.

HOA BASICS

The HOA is a legal entity that manages a neighborhood or community. It collects assessments and fees to maintain the appearance and security of amenities, such as parks, pools, gyms, trails and other shared spaces. Homeowners become HOA members with the purchase of property within the community.

The CC&Rs are the rules of your neighborhood or building; they’re created and enforced by the HOA board to enhance the value of everyone’s homes and build a sense of community. How strictly the board adheres to the rules, though, varies from place to place. Be careful to note that CC&Rs can exist without an HOA; in these cases, they generally follow local municipal codes.

CC&Rs can be fairly straightforward guidelines: mow your lawn regularly, park in the garage, maintain general upkeep on your property, etc. But some rules can get specific and restrictive, limiting exterior paint options, tree planting and removal, fencing, outdoor décor and pet ownership. Extra cars, boats and RVs in the driveway are frequent nuisances for many HOAs.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  1. CC&Rs actually work in your favor.
    While it may be tough to remember while you’re fuming over a violation notice from your HOA board, their rules are in place to improve the value of the homes in your community — not to turn everyone into a nosy neighbor. Keeping houses, lawns and community spaces looking their best makes your neighborhood or building attractive to potential homebuyers and will benefit you in the long run, too, should you decide to sell.
  2. You can challenge the rules …
    As members of the HOA, homeowners in the community have a right to debate rules they feel are unfair or outdated. With enough support, they can request a change from the board of directors. It’s important to be active in your HOA, vote on decisions, maybe join a committee and get to know members of the board. They are your neighbors, after all, and you may need their support if you want to challenge the CC&Rs or run for a spot of your own.
  3. … but you can’t claim ignorance or exclusion after a violation.
    Since the purchase of your home essentially confirms that you understand the CC&Rs, ignoring them isn’t an option. Flouting HOA rules and dues can have potentially disastrous consequences, including fines, forced compliance or liens against your property — and, not to mention, tension among neighbors. Because it is a legal body, the HOA can sue over violations. But it’s not exempt from its own rules, so it, too, can be sued for noncompliance (i.e. neglecting repairs, misuse of HOA dues).
  4. If you’re not sure, ask the HOA board.
    Don’t base decisions off fuzzy interpretations of your CC&Rs. It’s worth bringing an issue up with your HOA board to avoid the hassle and potential cost of a violation. You also may find that some of your neighbors have similar questions or concerns.

Terrie Cox has decades of experience with HOAs in the Portland and Vancouver real estate markets. She’s helped her clients understand and expertly navigate their CC&Rs. Call or text her at (360) 607-4100 or email terrie@terriecox.net with your HOA questions.

POSTED ON: December 7, 2016 12:44 am BY: