RE/MAX Agent Matt Kennedy Earns Lifetime Achievement Award!

Matt Kennedy, with The Kennedy Team and RE/MAX Equity Group, has been presented with the RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors highly successful agents who have completed a minimum of seven years of service with the company and consistently produced at a very high level. Less than five percent of the RE/MAX network has achieved this prestigious award.

“Matt has been an integral member of our team and is more than deserving of this very prestigious award,” said Bill Brewer, managing principle broker of RE/MAX Equity Group. “Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment. Matt Kennedy continues to raise the bar in real estate, making us and this community proud.”

Bank of America Customers Eligible to Receive $2K to $30K for Short Sale Participation

Image Bank of America has announced that they are enhancing their Short Sale Relocation Program and that eligible customers could receive anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 in relocation assistance funds.  With the highest amounts being offered to customers that choose to participate in a ‘Pre-Approved Short Sale’ that qualify for HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives).  There are a lot of options out there these days for homeowners that are looking to avoid foreclosure and this increased level of financial incentive from Bank of America is fantastic news for those underwater in their mortgages and can’t obtain a home modification!  Below is the link to Bank of America’s Short Sale Program overview webpage.  As always if you or anyone you know is considering a short sale and has any questions feel free to give us a call anytime!

http://homeloanhelp.bankofamerica.com/en/short-sale.html

12 Tips for Selling Your Home in a Down Market

Great tips and advice from businessinsider.com.  Below are just a few of the tips gleaned from the article.  Click here or on any of the bullets below to read the entire article and get more in depth information and advice!

  • “Price it right from the get-go!” – Comps! Comps! Comps!  Comparable sales (not unsold listings), of homes that have actually sold in your neighborhood (that are similar to yours) are truly the best indicator of what your home’s current value is at this point.  The National Association of Realtors has reported that nearly half of all sellers accepted offers that were less than 90% of the asking price.
  • “Put your best foot forward” – Some of the most impactful actions you can take when it comes to selling are often times just addressing the little things.  Which also means that these efforts are generally some of the most cost effective methods of making your home stand out.  Try paying extra attention to the details of your home.  Replacing that worn or missing caulking, sharpen up the landscaping with more timely trimmings or making sure the windows truly shine can all help your house chirp “buy me!” just a little bit louder.
  • “Be flexible” – Today’s real estate market is clearly a buyers market so be prepared to flex in all directions when it comes to attracting and keeping buyers on the line.  Offering incentives such as paying the buyer’s closing costs or leaving behind those beautifully matched appliances are a great start!
  • “Don’t fall victim!” – Scams abound in these distressed times of ours.  Always proceed with caution when approached by “investors” seeking out desperate homeowners.
  • “Finance 101” – Realize that it’s harder for a buyer to obtain financing these days due to more stringent borrowing standards and intensified scrutiny from lenders.  It is also important to always take the time to consider cash offers even if they are lower than you had hoped to receive.  No one wants to just “give it away” but you also don’t want the bank to come and take it away either!  Counter offers are always an option!

As always if you or anyone you know has any questions regarding buying or selling real estate in the Portland or Wilsonville metro areas then please feel free to contact us at anytime!

– The Kennedy Team
RE/MAX equity group
503-981-9146
kennedyteamhomes@gmail.com

New Discounts for Mortgage Borrowers

Great article below from SmartMoney.com regarding today’s current rates for new mortgages.  Provides even further insight as to why everyone should always shop around for the best loan possible.  With the average rate for a 30-year fixed loan sitting currently at 4.25% that’s a .75 percentage point spread from today’s lowest advertised rates.  Still incredible rates prevail in today’s market for buyers that are able and willing to take the plunge into homeownership!

Lenders are cutting closing costs and offering other discounts to go along with low rates. What’s the catch? (click through to read article from SmartMoney.com)

West Linn & Sherwood ranked in Top 100 cities to live in the US!

Not surprisingly the beautiful cities of West Linn & Sherwood here in our great state of Oregon have just been ranked in the Top 100 cities to live in the US!  Oregon’s collection of crown jewels continues to expand – congrats to both cities!!

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/snapshots/PL4180150.html

Update Your Kitchen without Breaking the Bank!

Tips to Help You Avoid a Budget Busting Kitchen Remodel

We’re all aware of how central our kitchens are to our family’s everyday activities, not to mention our special occasions.  More often than not, these culinary spaces provide more than a mere space to prepare nutrition. For many people their home’s kitchen has the capacity to bring together generations and provide sustenance for the mind, body and soul.  As such this space remains one of the most popular areas of our homes to update and remodel.  After all who wouldn’t want to create a welcoming space that truly reflects their own individual vibrancy?  Exactly.  So now that we’ve decided to pursue this journey of kitchen reform how do we avoid busting our individual budgets?  Read on dear friends, read on…

Refaced Cabinetry - Before and After

Cabinetry:
As the largest occupant of your invaluable kitchen real estate these particular sultans of storage often have the most profound visual effect on your kitchen’s environment.  That being said you can easily spend anywhere between $5,000 to $25,000 purchasing brand new replacements.  Now unless you are one of the lucky few that was miraculously spared the assault of our current economic storms, you are probably not anxious to shell out the purchase price of a new car merely re-shelving the walls.  Don’t!  Rather than replacing each individual cabinet you could save yourself upwards of 80% by simply refacing or painting your existing cabinetry.  Install new or vintage hardware to achieve a polished new look.

Hint:  Shopping for hardware online allows for extensive price comparisons and use of promo codes for additional savings!      

Countertops:
Considerably one of the most important surfaces in your home, your countertops are the visual equivalent of a kitchen “lawn”.  Who doesn’t love the look of a well manicured lawn?  That being said natural material counters such as granite and quartz are the current epitome of the beautifully maintained kitchen “lawn”.  As such they can cost anywhere from $40 to several hundred dollars per sq. foot.  So rather than installing materials with prices that leave you gasping for air, why not consider a natural block hardwood countertop or the modern appeal of current ceramic tiles?  These alternatives can offer the same visual and tactile appeal of other natural materials but at half the cost!

Butcher Block Countertop

Tip:  Think twice about purchasing “professional-grade” appliances.  While their swanky features are quite tantalizing, multiple ovens are generally not a “seal-the-deal” feature when re-selling your home.  Instead, ditch the diva style, dual-fuel range and opt for replacing the aged appliances with energy-efficient, standard models.                

Flooring:
Quite literally the foundation of a beautiful kitchen is it’s flooring.  Despite hardwood and laminates remaining popular choices, 3) the latest trend in high-end flooring is marble.  So for those of us who would prefer to retain our financial marbles rather than scattering them about the floor, we have a solution!  Rather than selling off vital organs to replace your flooring we would recommend the far more affordable alternatives of using ceramic or porcelain tiles.  Especially considering that marble flooring will run you an average of $10-$40 per sq. foot versus glazed ceramic tile costs of $1-$20 per sq. foot and porcelain tiles cost of $2-$4 per sq. foot, saving you up to 95%!

Tip:  Quickest route to a kitchen revamp is with a fresh coat of paint.  Best to remember though that if you plan to sell soon earth toned paint is your friend!

Fact: The average kitchen renovation takes 2 years to complete and has a return on investment (ROI) of 68.7%. 1), 2)

Sources:
1) National Kitchen and Bath Association
2) National Association of Realtors 2010-2011
(Remodeling Cost v. Value Report)
3) National Kitchen and Bath Association


So Where is the Most Affordable Place to Buy in Oregon?

We're having a sale! Ground Floor - Housing!!

We're having a sale! Ground Floor - Housing!!

Glad you asked!  According to a recent survey published by Coldwell Banker RE LLC, Woodburn is Oregon’s most affordable home market and Lake Oswego is the least affordable among the 21 real estate markets surveyed.

Utilizing a unique take on the residential industry that looks solely at the prices of four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes listed between September of 2010 and March of 2011.  It should be noted that only markets with at least 10 homes on the market that met the criteria during the survey period were included in the report.

The average price of a Woodburn midsize home was $198,812, marking it as the 763rd cheapest market currently in the U.S.  Additionally Woodburn is one of only 775 U.S. cities where such a home commands $200,000 or less.

Whereas Lake Oswego’s (Oregon’s most expensive city to own in), average 4 bed, 2 bath home costs an average of $524,100, ranking it as 2,113th in the nation for comparative affordability.  Interesting stuff you say?  Read on for the complete list of Oregon cities, ranked from the most affordable to least affordable:

  1. Woodburn: Average price, $198,812; national rank, 763.
  2. Lebanon: Average price, $200,422; national rank, 782.
  3. Pendleton: Average price, $214,027; national rank, 936.
  4. Keizer: Average price, $216,665; national rank, 964.
  5. Prineville: Average price, $222,213; national rank, 1010.
  6. Coos Bay: Average price, $243,854; national rank, 1192.
  7. Klamath Falls: Average price, $257,250; national rank, 1303.
  8. Roseburg: Average price, $269,506; national rank, 1396.
  9. Albany: Average price, $272,840; national rank, 1415.
  10. Beaverton: Average price, $277,341; national rank, 1435.
  11. Silverton: Average price, $277,708; national rank, 1437.
  12. Redmond: Average price, $278,029; national rank, 1440.
  13. Salem: Average price, $286,850; national rank, 1488.
  14. Eugene: Average price, $287,946; national rank, 1495.
  15. Springfield: Average price, $1291,632; national rank, 1508.
  16. Bend: Average price, $311,521; national rank, 1598.
  17. Medford: Average price, $332,625; national rank, 1666.
  18. Portland: Average price, $356,769; national rank, 1752.
  19. Tigard: Average price, $371,877; national rank, 1795.
  20. Corvallis: Average price, $373,200; national rank, 1802.
  21. Lake Oswego: Average price, $524,100; national rank, 2112.