Aug. 3, 2022

Where are real estate prices heading?

Where are real estate prices heading?

June 2, 2022

Are We in a Housing Bubble?

Selling  a house - are we in a housing bubble?

April 28, 2022

Inspiring Interior Design Ideas for Staging a Home on the Market

Inspiring Interior Design Ideas for Staging a Home on the Market


Staging is one of the most important things someone can do when selling their home. Not only does good staging allow you to sell your home faster (on average, within a week), but it also ensures you get more money for your home and more interest in it.


Whether you're considering putting your home on the market or it's been up for months with no bites, these are the most important things you can do to ensure your home sells quickly and for the money you want. 

Replacing Small Details En Masse

The best small thing you can do to refresh the feeling of your entire property is to replace all of the small details. This means doorknobs, handles on cabinets, light fixtures, switch plates, faucets, and more. Although none of these purchases alone will cost more than a hundred dollars, they can add up to thousands of dollars of perceived value. Because these details are small, the eyes will skim over them, and the value that people assume they have will come to the front.

Adding Moisture Resistant Paint


Water is one of the most damaging things on Earth. Not only can it erode rock, but even just hanging in the air can let it ruin paint and wood. If you want to protect your home from mold, and ensure buyers feel secure in their purchase, consider using moisture-resistant paint throughout your home! This is most important in areas like basements and bathrooms, where moisture hangs out more and can do more damage. Any fresh paint on walls will make a space feel fresh, but adding moisture-resistant paint can allow the entire area to feel new and clean.

Updating Wood Stains to Play Well Together

If your home has far too many furniture and wood stain colors playing against each other in every room: it'll start to clash. Instead, it's a good idea to try to stick to one or two main colors so that the rooms feel cohesive and purposeful. To do this, use a stain stripper, sand down the surface, stain, and then seal the surface. Doing this to multiple pieces of furniture will create rooms that feel like they're designed intelligently.

Adding Perks Like Heated Floors

Heated floors are a wonderful perk that can excite people into feeling like they’ve found a touch of luxury when looking at your home. Not only are heated floors great for keeping cozy on cool mornings, but they also help fight off moisture. Taking it further and adding a heated shower floor will ensure there’s no chilly morning that you can’t take on, and the buyers will appreciate it!

Allow More Light Into Your Home


We could all use more natural light in our lives. Not only is sunlight good for mental health, but it can also help you spend less every month on lighting instead of having to turn on a light switch every time you enter a room. Look into getting replacement window inserts that will let in far more sunlight, and consider arranging your furniture so that the sunlight splashes across it on sunny days. This will help get more buyers to feel attached to the rooms.

Deep Cleaning From Top to Bottom


Although you may have taken care of your property while you've lived there, a deep clean is still necessary. People want to picture their lives in these properties, and that's easier if they don't see the grime and dead skin cells of whoever lived there before them. The most important places to focus your cleaning efforts are in your kitchen and your bathrooms. These areas are the ones people want to be cleaned more than any other, and refreshing them will allow you to make the rooms look brand new.

Pull All Couches and Seating Away From Walls

Although this may sound strange: pulling furniture away from your walls is a vital part of staging. Having at least a foot of space between your seating and the walls creates the illusion of a larger and more spacious area. This will inspire buyers as they walk through and give them the chance to picture how all of their furniture will fit into a room.

Increase Your Entrance Appeal

When buyers first enter your home, what do they see? Why not create a space that invites them to look around and may even feel like home to them? To do this, add details like paintings, good lighting, a shoe and coat rack, and a welcome rug. Avoid adding things that feel personal to you or your family, and instead, make it as welcoming as possible to anyone who might walk through your door.

Every Home Can Be Staged to Sell Quickly

Staging may feel like a lot to take on, but anyone can do it if you take the time to study up and get to know what it means. Get to know your property and update it, so it sells quickly!


Andrea Erickson is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the real estate industry. Andrea is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes. 


Jan. 21, 2022

5 Trending and High-Value Remodeling Projects for Your Home


When remodeling, it's important to think about the future returns from the work and money you're putting into a property. Although there's no way to guarantee you'll make 100% of your money back plus profit, avoiding it altogether is just going to leave your home possibly tens of thousands of dollars lower in value.


These are the top trending high-value remodeling projects for the average homeowner: and how they can be an awesome addition to your property!

1. Gorgeous Kitchen Remodel


When's the last time your kitchen was updated? Are the tiles original? Although this might be a positive if your home was built in the last five years: any kitchen over fifteen needs a remodel.


A full kitchen remodel will win you a large return on investment: but you can gain an even larger percentage back by doing a partial or mini kitchen remodel. This means updating vinyl kitchen flooring, or replacing the counters and painting cabinets, instead of gutting the entire room.


Of course, if you think there’s no saving your kitchen, you can always go the drastic route, but going smaller can gain you a larger return.

2. Inspiring New Fun Floors

Floors are the part of our home that our body is in contact with the most. We walk from room to room, welcome guests in on them, and rest rugs, bookshelves, and furniture on them: why wouldn't you want anything but the best version of them?


Updating your floors to something like faux hardwood, or laminate can change the look of your entire home. Although carpet is expensive and fancy to some, it holds onto smells, stains, and animal fur and is hard to keep clean. 


Simple hard flooring with rugs on it for softness can bring across a look buyers will love that will also save you a lot of money and work.

3. Keeping Your Home Above Water

Fifteen million homes are at risk of flooding in the USA, which means it's important to keep up to date on your property and what it needs. For example, if you notice that your yard floods a little when it rains, it could be time to look into driveway drainage solutions to help get that water away from your property and vehicles and back into the soil or drains. 


This can be a large project to take on if you’ve never done anything like it before, so contact a contractor who has worked on something like this before.


A less drastic thing you can do to help divert some of the water is to build a rain garden. These gardens have deep roots that help hold the soil in place while absorbing as much water as possible. Although it can't stop all flooding, it's a beautiful way to help fight against water overflow.

4. Adding Attractive Detail

Detail is something that, if you add correctly, nobody will notice, but it will make your entire home feel fresh and new. An awesome way to add detail is by adding something like white trim wood doors, or even molding above your cabinets, to help make rooms feel more complete. These are inexpensive and small projects: but the results they give off are fantastic.


Other nice details you can add are things like heated towel racks, in-floor heating in bathrooms, smart light switches, and little details that make living there feel like a luxury.

5. Updating Your HVAC System

What's your HVAC system like? Do you notice you have a lot of allergy issues inside, or have you been watching your heating and cooling bills skyrocket in recent years? If so, it might be time to update your system.


While replacing your filters regularly can help to some degree, it’s also a good idea to have the system inspected at least once a year to ensure it’s running well.


Another awesome way to add value is to add a smart thermostat. These thermostats allow you to know the temperature regardless of where you are in the world and enable you to change it so that you don't have to worry about your heating and cooling constantly running while you're away. This can help lower heating and cooling bills and are a great selling point to buyers.

You Can Reimagine Your Home in No Time


Your home is something you can build value into if you know how to do it right. Take the time to create a space people will want to buy, and you can inspire a bidding war in no time!


Andrea Erickson is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the real estate industry. Andrea is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes. 

Jan. 5, 2022

New Higher Conventional Loan Limits

The MASSIVE jump in loan limits for conventional loans in 2022 puts buying a better home within reach for many homeowners looking to upgrade! We'd be happy to meet and show you how these changes affect your home buying or selling process!

Information about the new higher loan limits for buying a house

Jan. 4, 2022

Learn More About the True Costs of Buying a Home

Costs of buying a home - stacks of coins

Down Payment:  That is the percentage of the purchase price required by the lender (i.e.,3.5%, 5%, 10%, or more or zero down payment  for VA loans

Closing Costs: These are charges that the lender makes for lending a buyer the money to buy the home.  There are also other closing costs (i.e., escrow fees, notary fees, prepaid interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance).  The closing costs average around 2% to 3.5%

 Deposit:  When an offer is accepted by the seller, the buyer generally needs to deposit money into escrow (usually between 1% to 2% of the purchase price).  The deposit is considered part of the buyer’s down payment.

 Appraisal:  If a buyer is obtaining financing, their lender requires an appraisal of the property.  It is the responsibility of the buyer to pay for this (average cost between $400 to $700.

Inspections:  When buying a house, it is important for the buyer to learn what they can about the condition. We always recommend that the buyer have a professional home inspection done during escrow.  There may be other inspections to consider, depending on the property.  The buyer pays for the home inspection.

 Supplemental property taxes: The buyer will usually receive a bill for supplemental taxes – which are separate from your regular property taxes.

Move in costs:  This can include things such as moving expenses, cleaning, painting, minor repair, etc.

Dec. 18, 2021

Staging Helps Sell Homes

Staging your home before putting it on the market is a very important and cost-effective part of the home selling process.

Basic Home Staging Recommendations:

1)   De-personalize – Buyers need to picture themselves in a house – not you.  Pictures of you and your family are a distraction to buyers.  De-personalizing your home will help buyers picture their family in the home.

2)     De-clutter -  You are moving anyways, so pack up a big share of the items in the home.  Fewer things in the house helps your house look larger and buyers will more readily pay close attention to the house itself and its architectural elements rather than looking at your “things.”   Consider renting an offsite storage unit to store furniture and boxes in while your house is on the market. 

3)     Clean – Clean – Clean – The cheapest and easiest way to stage your home is to clean it.   Buyers LOVE clean houses.  The extra elbow grease in cleaning floors, walls, baseboards, ceiling fans and window is well worth it.  Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms.

4)     Modernize  - There are simple, easy and cheap ways to update your house.  Swapping out outdated lighting, cabinet and drawer pulls and handles and fixtures for new ones is a great way to help update your home.

5)     Neutralize -  Color can make or break a buyer’s interest in your home.   Painting your home with neutral colors is the most inexpensive way to change the look of a home.  This is also another way to update a house.

Don and Vicki Pedersen provide a free staging consultation and recommendations to all our sellerecommendations to all our seller clients. 

Before Home Staging                                                        After Home Staging

Home staging - to sell your house        Home staging to help sell your house

Posted in Selling Your Home
Dec. 3, 2021

Buying a New Home? Features to Look for

6 Top Features to Look for When Buying a New Home


Buying a new home is a thrilling process that ensures you can make whatever life you want for yourself. Every home you look at, every area you visit, and each listing you read could be the difference between renting and finding your forever home.


Everything can be overwhelming when going through this process, so you must keep a clear image of the parts of a home that matter the most to you. These are the top features to seek out when you're lost and why they matter!

1. Gorgeous Roofing You'll Want to Show Off


Your roof is what keeps you safe and allows your belongings to stay dry and kept away from the weather: so it's a good idea to seek out a home with a good roof. If the roof is older, you'll have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to replace it, and that's not acceptable for most people. Instead, consider giving yourself the chance to get a roof that is both attractive and will last as long as possible.


An extremely popular choice is a terracotta roof, which will last anywhere from fifty to a hundred years, is weather-resistant, and looks gorgeous. Terracotta roof tiles are strong against the element, and because of their unique makeup, you can find them in a large range of colors, styles, and sizes, unlike most types of roof shingles. This is a must-seek item for any home buyers.

2. A Pool and Deck Combo for Lounging


With how scorching the summers have been lately, there's a large push for people to gain their pools. Therefore, it's important when shopping for homes that have pools that you know what you're looking at. A good pool should have a pool deck drain and the ability to fence it off for safety in many cities. 


Consider how often you'll be able to clean it, or if you'll want to hire a service and the amount of water it needs. If you're house shopping somewhere that is constantly in a drought, this may be a portion of the home that you'll want to skip since it might not be able to be used often enough to be worth it.

3. Updated Doors and Windows

The better your doors and windows are, the better chance that your heating and cooling bills will stay low. This means all windows and doors. If you visit a property and the garage door looks older or dented: you'll want to start looking up garage door replacement costs


Good garage doors help keep the garage at a comfortable temperature, which protects the door that leads into the home through it and ensures that anything you own in your garage is safe and not being damaged from heat or water.

4. A Location Near Most Things You Want and Need

Location matters! Where you live affects what items you have nearby and what matters most to you. Although it can be expensive if you want to live downtown in a city or close to higher-paying jobs, it's a good idea to consider the distance you'll have to drive to get where you need to go.


This includes schools since students will have to make that trip 180 days a year. So if you have kids, or are planning on having them soon, consider what school system you want them in and how far they'll have to travel to get to class every day.

5. Siding that Makes You Proud of Your Property

What siding you have will change everything. Not only because of the attractiveness of your home, like how steel siding catches everyone’s eyes- but also because of your insulation and how well it blocks out moisture, insects, and weather. The outside of your home should be gorgeous and should make you proud to call it your home when you move in, but it should also protect everything that’s indoors the way steel siding does.

6. An HVAC System That’s Safe and Comfortable

How old is the HVAC system of the properties you're looking at? An older HVAC system will take time to heat or cool your home, and it might not even keep it at the temperatures you want: which means it will run longer and cost more money. So it's important to consider if you can afford to replace or update it and whether that makes a property worth it.


Also, keep an eye out for smart products like a smart home thermostat that will allow you to control the temperature even when you’re not home.

Your New Home Can Be a Dream Come True


Buying a home allows you to set yourself up for a possible future that can be hard to avoid getting excited about! This is a huge step towards the next part of your life, so it's important to consider everything you want that step to include. Then, find a home that suits you: and you'll never regret it!


Andrea Erickson is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the real estate industry. Andrea is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes. 

Nov. 9, 2021

Legal Mistakes Home Sellers Sometimes Make


 Some Serious Legal Mistakes Home Sellers Sometimes Make


If you are planning to sell your home and are considering doing it as a 'for sale by owner', there are some things to be aware of.  Yes, you can save money by not paying for a listing agent.  But there are definite advantages to working with a Realtor® in the sale of your home to help keep you from some legal disputes. home for sale - for sale sign

Here are the top 10 legal mistakes that home sellers make:


1.  Accepting the highest offer without regard to the other terms in the contract.

2.     Not properly handling multiple offers from multiple buyers.

3.      Not properly handling back up offers.

4.   Going into contract with no earnest money deposit from the buyer or a very low amount of deposit.

5.      Accepting an offer before verifying the buyer’s financial ability to close escrow.

6.      Not disclosing material facts that affect the value or desirability of the property. 

7.   Not providing the buyer with the legally required disclosures.

8.      Not obtaining the buyer’s written acknowledgement of disclosures.

9.      Not considering whether to require the buyer to remove contingencies.

10.   Not excluding items from the sale that the seller wants to keep that a buyer might assume stays with the property. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 25, 2020

Zillow Canceling Home Purchase Contracts

Zillow Canceling Home Purchase Contracts

3/25/2020  by Don Pedersen

We just got this email yesterday from Zillow, the buyer of one of our client’s home.  

It is notifying us that they are canceling escrow on the purchase of a home.  They are stating the reason for the canceling all of their escrows and suspends home buying in all 24 Zillow Offers markets because of the COVID-19 virus.   


I have to wonder what is the real underlining reason for this mass cancellation of contracts other than concern their concerns about the  “impact of COVID-19” safety issues. 

Remember that Zillow says it is “committed to helping you find the best path to selling your home” by offering all cash offers, quick escrows, and once you are in contract a hassle free experience.

Also consider that to get into escrow with Zillow all you have to do is:

Allow them to come and inspect your home to determine what they will charge for repairs

Then accept the low ball price for your house.

Accept their estimated cost for their repairs.

Accept their large administrative fees; from 4.4% to 7.5% (these are not called commissions, only “bad” Real Estate Agents Charge Commission and they are BAD for charging 3-5%). 

Once you accept the offer then there is nothing left to do except for the Seller to find another home. 


So my question is; “Why is Zillow Cancelling hundreds of escrows because of COVID-19?” 


There is NO further contact with the seller or their home, except a final inspection of a vacant home once the seller has moved out…


No contact with Escrow except for a possible mobile notary.


So where is the great risk of contact?


This action is devastating to the sellers, they trusted Zillow to keep it word,  to make this transaction as easy and hassle free as possible, that is why they are reducing their home price and accepting the large “administrative fees.” 


Our seller is probably like most sellers affected by Zillow’s canceling of their purchase contract, they in escrow with another house that they have invested large amounts of cash for earnest money deposits, home inspections, and appraisals. 


And the sellers could be in a position of even losing their earnest money deposit since they took Zillow’s word that this transaction was a “risk free Zillow offer” which is the “same as cash.”


So some probably shortened their contingency periods and in many cases even “removed their contingencies” thus putting their earnest money as risk of loss.  They could lose thousands of dollars and the home of their dreams.


All for what???  What could Zillow’s real reason be for using the COVID-19 virus crisis to get out of thousands of contracts? 


Maybe they anticipate a home values declining during this crisis and they want to get out now and buy again later (as stated in the email below). 


Maybe they even hope that this move by such a large market player might cause a panic in the market and create a crash similar to the crash with the stock markets?


Maybe, like some inside investors and politicians who knew about the COVID-19 virus sold their stock prior to the crash (Short Selling) so they can buy it up again at a much lower price and capitalize on the recovering market after the COVID-19 scare?


Regardless this action has really hurt our client who trusted Zillow along with probably hundreds if not more, other sellers. Our clients trusted Zillow’s promises to move on to new and bright future in a new home only to have this hope dashed to pieces.




From: Zillow Offers No Reply <>
Date: Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 7:22 AM
Subject: An update on your client’s Zillow Offer


I’m writing to inform you that, starting today, Zillow is temporarily pausing home purchasing due to the impact of COVID-19 and latest public health orders issued. This was a difficult decision that we did not make lightly, but one that we felt was necessary for the safety of our customers and employees.

These are unprecedented times and we are actively monitoring our communities, public health authority recommendations, and local housing markets to adapt to conditions as they continue to change.

As a result, we will be reaching out as soon as we can to discuss next steps. As the leader of the Zillow Offers Advisor Team, I am working with our representatives to ensure they’re able to connect with each person who we have under contract. We have a large volume of customers to connect with, and please know that we are working as diligently as we can to reach you and will be reaching out as soon as possible.

We are still committed to helping you find the best path to selling your home. If your client has flexibility in timing and is still interested in working with Zillow Offers, we will adjust our timeline so we can provide you an updated offer on your home at a later date. I must note that, given the current state of the market, we may need to generate a new market value on your client’s home, but our goal is to hit the ground running as soon as the time is right.

If you have questions prior to us reaching out, please email us at and we will do our best to get you the information you need.


Scott Bond

Senior Director, Zillow Offers Advisors


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