Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remodel before selling?

Despite home price drops in many cities, remodeling projects are holding their own as a way for owners to add value.

Another good reason for that remodel is the fact that buyers are having to put more money down to get a loan, so they are using up their available cash just to get the house. Remodeling loans or second mortgages are hard to come by, consequently, buyers are starting to forego the sweat equity or light remodel homes in favor of completely "done" properties.

So what project should you tackle? Adding a bath to a one-bathroom house, adding a legal bedroom, or putting on a nice, big deck are examples of projects that are really going to help sell your home and make it more liveable. New windows, energy efficient heating and cooling, fresh paint and carpet are excellent. Custom projects that suit your hobbies or personality are a bad idea for a return on your investment. But sprucing up the house so it belongs in the twenty first century is a fabulous idea, and doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

My house was built in 1992. It should be in pretty good shape, right? Well, if I were going to put it on the market, I'd have to replace all the carpet, the kitchen appliances are well-used and looking worn, the bathroom faucets are dated, and my kitchen needs a facelift. Last year we replaced all the siding, and installed new windows in the front half of the house and a brand new deck. Things fall apart and if you don't constantly keep up with it, the scope and cost of the projects can be huge. But light fixtures, faucets, paint and great accessories will do wonders.

If your house was built in the 70's or 80's, the style may need some tweaking. Lots of wooden railings, wood paneling and angled vaults? They'll require modern paint colors, great flooring and new railings to step into 2010.

Please check with your Realtor before you install granite counters into granny's 1940 house. Period updates are worth a lot more than a kitchen that looks like it came out of Home Depot, and your Realtor can supply you with photos of other properties that were done right. Nothing is worse than the cost and effort of a bad remodel that doesn't gain you anything in your sale. Let's work on the project together and get you the most bang for your buck.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

For Tracy

Jack's Zucchini Bread

4 eggs
1 1/2 cup cooking oil
3 cups sugar
4 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups grated zucchini
4 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips or raisins or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tablespoons cinnamon (this is the secret!)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cups nuts (optional - Jack never uses nuts)
Mix together, pour into loaf pans, bake at 325 degrees for 70 minutes.
Makes 2 large loaves.

This is a large recipe - one for you and one for a friend. The heavy dose of cinnamon is correct, and it makes this recipe different from most. I like it a lot!

Hope you do too!

Adventures in Babysitting

Favorite clients/friends have a new baby boy. Her sister wondered if I might be up for a two hour babysitting gig while they went out for a birthday lunch. Are you kidding? I would love nothing more than two uninterrupted hours with a newborn. (Sarah, I'm so glad you called me!)

When I got there he was quietly awake, but after a bit.... WAH!

Hm. He didn't like the clear pacifier. Let's try this green one.

I Likey.

So comfy.

He's so smart already. Look at him showing me his pinky!

Rock on! Ok, now I'm getting really sleepy.

I think I'll take a nap for an hour and forty five minutes.

No problemo. I'll just hold you and snuggle you until Mommy gets home.

Ahhhhhh. There's nothing sweeter.

This Week

This little guy was on my doorframe.
He's noisier than he looks!

Sammy's flowers - just too pretty to pass without a photo.

I work in the prettiest office in town!

My buddy. A beautiful day calls for a chat and a cup of coffee with Kim.

Rick finally got his dream house!

Farmers Market - why does it always rain on us? A great shot before the deluge!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Whit's new condo

I'm so glad somebody in the family gets to benefit from the recession and housing slump! Whit is in the process of buying this condo in time to reap the $8000 tax credit, plus he got a loan with assistance from the Portland Development Commission that also credits you back 20% of your annual mortgage interest. It's a really smart move, and it's got
location location location. One block off the hip shopping/restaurant mecca, and he can ride the streetcar to work.

Pot Luck

Last night's pot luck dinner was really a good one, even though we didn't have our entire group. Larry, Dave, Stacy and Glen were out, but Deb, Dave, Laur, Kim, Norris and I had a great time, and Whit joined us as well.

Italian chop salad
Assorted breads
Chicken Parmigiana
Fetuccini with clam sauce
Pizelles stuffed with chocolate mousse

Lots of red wine and Italian beer.

Majorly yummy.

Next up: Debi's in November and Kim's in December (with all the kids)

A great tradition we're likely to continue for years and years. Thanks to Captain and Mrs. Fun for brainstorming this last March... so far we've had Greek, Mexican, German, and good old American BBQ.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Must Have This Book

I'm finding it awfully hard to wait until Christmas.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Who needs paint? All you need is a box of Sharpies.

Scribbler on the Wall – Charlotte Mann

Feeling down because you can’t afford the latest must-have chair, your partner is allergic to the cats you love, or the view from your window is less than stellar?

Why not just grab a black marker and paint the things you crave on your white walls instead? That’s what London artist Charlotte Mann does, which has garnered her a spot on the shortlist for the British Design Awards 2009 in the Surface Design of the Year category.

Yes, these are real rooms - see the real furniture!

reposted with thanks to MirrorMirror

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Currently ignoring this blog

In favor of this one: caryperkins.com

I took a trip to Seattle last week and really grooved on all the tecnique I learned about proper blogging to get results on Google, which is what I should be doing for my business, instead of blogging as a personal endeavor.... so I will probably veer towards keeping this one for friends and family, and putting all real estate content on caryperkins.com. It is still very much under construction, but I'm plugging away.

While we're on the subject of Seattle, I have to laugh about my midwestern upbringing, and the lack of anything LARGE. (landmarks! not big cheese eating, beer-drinking folk! That we have in abundance!)

I'm still unsettled when I see something really huge, like the Statue of Liberty, a really huge bridge, like the Mackinac Island bridge, or two landmarks that give me the creeps when I drive to Seattle: Mt. Rainier and the Tacoma Dome. Eek! I freak out when I round that curve and the Dome is right there. It's huge, and ugly, and my stomach rolls when I see it. Same for Mt. Rainier, even though I adore Mt. Hood, I guess I can abide its hugeness because I'm used to it. But Mt. Ranier still gives me a fright! Good thing it's usually obscured by clouds!

I stayed in the middle of downtown and had a meeting at Pier 66. I wasn't sure of the parking situation, though I was leaving town immediately aftewards, but I decided to hoof it, and enjoyed the most wonderful walk through the Market, got an amazing french cookie and espresso, and even brought home a bright pepper garland. On the way back to the hotel, I had to stop for some fresh made cheese (grilled with fresh tomato and basil) for the drive home.

It was such a wonderful stay that I convinced Norris to go back for a weekend to celebrate our anniversary - either the weekend of the Washington/Oregon football game, or for a more relaxing time, maybe on our actual anniversary, so we can concentrate on more important things. Shopping and eating, people!

Thanks to USGS for the great Mt. Rainier photo.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Current Obsessions

1. Tailgate food (this week's fare: meatball sandwiches & mac n cheese)
My diet is going nowhere during Ducks Football.

2. New babies
(Parker and Julie, Taylor & Jakob, Grayson, 2 great nephews/nieces on the way)

3. My new little camera - it's magenta

4. Big necklaces

5. Project Runway

6. New little friends - children of clients
(R & C, K & A)

7. My tomatoes. STILL.

8. Olive Kitteridge
(the book group is reading one I've already read, so I'm devouring a few extras)
finished and loved it. next up:
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

9. The japanese sweater store I went to in Soho. I WISH they had mail order.

10. Having Whit living at home!

11. Starting to see Christmas stuff in stores. It irritates me, but makes me want to shop.

12. My new (very old) little table

13. Potluck nights

14. The pleasure of being busy in Real Estate again.