Oregon Summer 2019

Table of Contents

At some point, you stop updating your house and just live in it.

For some, that happens the day of move-in. For others, the work stops when the aching back and uncooperative knees start. The more the pain, the more satisfied with the house you become–unless it has stairs and then, well, it’s just time to move!

That trend results in a certain amount of housing stock that is either charmingly vintage or Not.

If you are inheriting a Not, you always have the option of selling it as is when the time comes. There is Nothing wrong with that option, but buyers are inordinately afraid of having to do updates and their offers are always far lower than necessary to complete cosmetic updates.

Flipping Mom’s House – Before/After

The first two pictures below are of mom’s kitchen/breakfast nook circa 1973.

Breakfast nook before

Blue textured wallpaper, outmoded vinyl floor, Formica counters, and peninsula layout with older cabinets suspended above. The bottom photos show the peninsula cabinets and their upper cabinets relocated to the wall, new flooring, countertops and backsplashes installed along with new range/hood/sink. White paint applied everywhere. Total cost: about $5000.

Together, with new flooring throughout the home and some fresh paint, offers on the final product were +150k from the 2 original as-is offers on the Not.

Total cost of all improvements: $25,000.

Buyers are influenced most by the look of a space and its functionality. If the improvement cannot be seen or felt by a buyer during a showing, it is not useful in improving proceeds.

Cost Savings

The key to saving money on updates is multiple bids. Contractor bids vary widely. Your best bet may Not be to hire a professional big-market remodeler, but instead to hire


Breakfast-nook after

If you’re working with an old house, it isn’t necessary to update with the most expensive materials. The idea is to remove the eyesores, such as the banana yellow countertop or the 70s glitter-infested linoleum. Not every house has to have granite countertops. But consider the new laminates with built-in rounded edges. They look like granite and their stain-resistant finish makes them more functional than old-style laminates. Pre-fab counters often have built-in backsplashes as well–just cut to suit and mount. They are so close to granite in appearance that buyers will have to touch them to tell the difference.


Luxury Vinyl Plank is the new product on the block. It’s a rigid-backed plank that gives a more convincing look of wood than most laminate floors, feels more like wood underfoot as well as being more forgiving than hardwood if you have dogs, small children, or dishwashers that overflow! The cost is much less than hardwood and in many cases, also less than wood laminate.


If you choose to do windows, again, it’s best not to go with the big window companies that advertise everywhere and whose prices hover around $2000 per window. Consider a small, local business that does NOT have a full-time Estimator on staff.

Kitchen before remodal


It is almost always more practical to paint over wallpaper. Removing it carries the risk of pulling off a portion of the drywall and once that happens, the complications abound. There is always the potential of installing white, textured wallpaper if the original wallpaper is smooth, or using a texturing roller to add texture to an overly smooth surface.
Warnings: Every project brings with it complications. Converting carpet to hard surface means the baseboards will now be too high and an inch or two of newly exposed wall will be unpainted. Matching paint is sometimes difficult. Same deal with countertops–if the new has a lower profile than the old, you’ll have exposed wallboard. Also, the more you do, the more you will feel compelled to do as the new materials make the old look all the more tatty. Call it Mission Creep, but it’s a recipe for never being done. Set a date certain by which you will be Done, No Matter What!

Kitchen after remodel


Do not over-invest either time or money in a house where the value is limited by unfixable things, whether those be location/neighborhood, bad neighbors, or interior floor-plans with significant functionality flaws that can’t be addressed without an engineer and a crane! Consider choosing projects that simply remove major objections to the home rather than those that seek to put a 2-carat diamond in a plastic setting.

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Refer-a-Friend Rewards Program

Picture of Lisa Baker
Lisa Baker

Principal Broker | REALTOR
RE/MAX Equity Group

It’s time for something nice to arrive in your mailbox. Starbucks coffee, Subway sandwiches or dinner at Red Robin. Yes! It could happen to YOU!

Just refer your friends to me and I’ll not only take great care of them as they shop for a house or market their houses with me, but I will send You a gift card for something delicious, too!

Is that a great deal or what?!

A Changing Real Estate Market

I’m just going to pull the band-aid right off, so brace yourself: Your property may not have appreciated at all in the past couple of months.

It’s true.

Depending on your niche in the market, it is very possible, even likely, that no appreciation has occurred recently. Brokers have been so accustomed to adjusting current pricing to reflect the ever-present appreciation every month since 2012 that they’ve in most cases over-priced in the presence of falling demand.

Price corrections now dominate the market. In some places, 45 percent of listings have undergone at least one reduction in recent weeks, and many, multiple reductions.
The most troubled demographic are houses in the $400k-$600k range, where supply has in some places outstripped demand.

Houses below $300k are continuing to sell quickly but for the first time, houses in the low-$300k range are sitting.

Mortgage rates are great (about 3.7 on average for a 30-year fixed) for buying and refinancing. Check with your mortgage professional for your scenario. Call me for referrals if you need them!

Inventory is continuing to increase in mid-level housing as major subdivisions continue toward build-out, especially in Beaverton, Newberg and McMinnville.

Home Maintenance Tips: Dingy Fiberglass Fix

Fiberglass is an inexpensive surround for showers and tubs but it is also easily stained and hard to get clean even by enterprising Pinterest followers who’ve tried everything from baking soda to Coca-Cola. Hint: Neither of these work!

Here is an approach that works better than you might expect:

Try cold formula Easy Off oven spray. I know, seems like it would be crazy damaging but I tried it on an old fiberglass shower pan and while it didn’t make it look New by any means, it took Off seemingly permanent mineral stains with very little scrubbing. First, the usual disclaimer: I’m a Realtor, not a cleaning professional! No guarantees here, but it worked for me.
I started with a general cleaning of the shower pan, rinsed and dried it with paper towels, then sprayed Easy Off all over the pan and waited for a little over an hour. Maybe longer. Not sure, was on the phone so who knows how much time actually went by! I returned and scrubbed with a brush, then rinsed. Pretty great results!

Trouble Ahead

Recent news articles have reported on the slowing of Oregon population growth, with the most dramatic changes occurring in Portland, where in the past two years, growth has been cut in half.

Among the reasons cited: Oregon’s high cost of living, particularly housing.

New state policies that tax gross business receipts rather than net profits coupled with proposed further emissions regulations that affect the cost of transporting goods via truck could mean an exodus of jobs as businesses leave the state.

Sellers leaving Portland in recent months have cited a rising discomfort with the taking over of parks and public spaces by people living on the streets. Stay tuned for city discussion on the same topic in McMinnville!