Living July 23, 2024

The Life Expectancy of Your Home

SOURCE: Windermere

Every component of your home has a lifespan. Common questions asked by homeowners include when to replace the flooring or how long to expect their siding to last. This information can help when budgeting for improvements or deciding between repairing and replacing when the time comes. We’re all familiar with the cliché: They just don’t build things like they used to. And while this may be true when it comes to brick siding or slate roofing, lifespans of other household components have increased in recent years. Here are the life expectancies of the most common household items (courtesy of NAHB):


Among major appliances, gas ranges have a longer life expectancy than things like dishwashers and microwaves.

Kitchen & Bath:

When choosing your countertops, factor in the life expectancies of different materials.


If you’re looking for longevity, wood floors are the way to go. Certain rooms in your home will be better suited for carpeting, but you can expect they’ll need replacing within a decade.

Siding & Roofing:

When choosing roofing and siding for your home, climate and maintenance level factor into the life expectancy of the material. However, brick siding and slate roofing are known to be dependable for decades.

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty.

You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you. For some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also consider if the cost outweighs the value of the item. In some cases it may be less expensive to replace a broken appliance than to pay for insurance or a warranty.

SOURCE: Windermere

Buying July 2, 2024

How to Increase Your Buying Power

SOURCE: Windermere

One of the best ways prospective home buyers can empower themselves when purchasing a home is to improve their buying power. The numbers may seem daunting but identifying ways to strengthen your financial standing will help you each step of the way.

When visualizing your dream home, it’s common for buyers to focus on the physical characteristics. But to mortgage lenders, a home is a numbers game. The following categories related to your buying power demonstrate how lenders identify your financial standing and determine your eligibility for a home purchase. Improvements in these areas will increase your buying power, propelling the strength of your offer when you’re ready to put it on the table.

How to Increase Your Buying Power

Increase Savings For Your Down Payment

As the saying goes, cash is king. The down payment—often 20% of the home’s sale price—can sometimes be the deciding factor between competing offers for a particular home.

Try stashing away a little of each paycheck to build up your savings over time. Set a savings goal, commit a dedicated amount to each pay period, and watch the savings build as time goes on. If you prefer to keep your money separate, open a new account to which you can dedicate the added savings. Another way to save for your down payment is to generate additional income. If you have interest or experience in an area outside of your current job, explore opportunities for part-time work and dedicate the income earned to your down payment savings.

There are numerous benefits to offering a serious down payment. Putting 20% or more down can help your offer stand out, it may allow you to negotiate a lower interest rate on your mortgage and could remove the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Improve Your Credit Score

Plain and simple—a better credit score leads to better interest rate on your mortgage. Your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit all factor into your credit score. Although improving it will not happen overnight, a higher credit score will pay dividends in the long run.

To improve your credit score, focus on paying down your credit cards, especially those with high interest. Refrain from opening new lines of credit that aren’t necessary and stay away from large purchases leading up to the time when you are preparing to make an offer. Keep in mind that student loans factor into your financial picture. Paying them off consistently will improve your financial standing in the eyes of lenders.

Stabilize Your Debt to Increase Buying Power

When assessing what you can afford, banks will examine your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders want to know that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage on top of your remaining debt.

They do this by looking at your housing ratio, or front-end ratio, to determine what portion of your income will go to paying your mortgage. Your front-end ratio is calculated by taking your monthly mortgage payment and dividing by your monthly gross income. The higher the ratio, the higher risk of default.

Next, your back-end ratio, or debt-to-income ratio, is used to determine how much of your monthly income goes toward paying your debts. Your back-end ratio is calculated by taking your monthly debt expense (the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance of your mortgage payments, credit card payments, student loans, and any other loan payments), and dividing it by your gross monthly income.

Similar to your credit score, paying off credit cards, and making steady, consistent progress on your loans will help to decrease your debt and improve your debt-to-income ratios, which will increase your buying power.

Although these aspects of your finances don’t cover everything that goes into the purchase of a home, they do play a significant role in how lenders assess your financial standing and thereby eligibility for approval. Increasing your buying power takes time and strategy. Plan accordingly so that when you find your dream home, you’re in the best position possible to buy it.

SOURCE: Windermere

Design June 11, 2024

Decorating for a Stress-Free Home

SOURCE: Windermere

Your home should be your sanctuary—a place to relax, spend time with loved ones, and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. But with many of us working from home, even partially, the lines between life and work can become blurry. And with other stressors bleeding over into personal time, home can start to feel less like a sanctuary and more like the focal point for life’s anxieties.

If you are looking to reduce stress when you’re home and turn your space back into a place of respite, a few DIY redecorating projects could do the trick.


How we light our homes (and when we turn the lights off) can have an enormous impact on our mental health. Natural light from unobstructed windows is ideal for boosting your mood during the day, but if you don’t have many windows or prefer your privacy, lamps that produce warm light can be soothing.

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to manage stress. Once the sun sets, dim the lights in your house and use blackout curtains to achieve full darkness while you sleep. Avoid lightbulbs that claim to mimic daylight unless you are using them for Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter months.

Décor idea: Turn off overhead lighting and invest in lamps with variable or dimmable light settings.


Though some homeowners are bucking the trends for simple and opting for a “maximalist” style, clutter stresses many of us out. You can go through your house and get rid of all the items that aren’t sparking joy, or you can invest in attractive storage systems that allow you to hold onto your things while keeping them organized. At the very least, make sure you don’t have “to do” stacks or piles in the bedroom.

Décor idea: Try a flip-top bench in hallways or at the foot of your bed to hide away infrequently used items.

Feng Shui

The ancient art of Feng Shui has been helping people create calm inside their homes for thousands of years. Whether or not you believe that sleeping with the head of your bed on the north wall of the bedroom promotes deeper sleep, it’s hard to argue with other Feng Shui practices. One such principle is bringing nature indoors. This can be accomplished with living plants or even art featuring wilderness landscapes.

Décor idea: Select one wall in your home and devote it to photographs of living plants or natural settings.

Rounded shapes

Though clean lines and order may feel comforting to some, too many right angles can be overly stimulating. Circles and ovals, on the other hand, feel more organic and soothing. While you may not be able to round out the corners or entry ways in your home, you can add round touches with circular ottomans, oval frames for mirrors and art, and spherical elements such as a globe or orbs on a bookshelf.

Décor idea: Consider wallpaper or wall designs the include flowing, organic shapes such as wood grain or florals.


The hues and shades you use in your home can have the biggest impact on your mood. Bright colors can be energizing, and reds are great for stimulating appetites in kitchen and dining rooms. But if you are looking to bring a sense of calm to a room, muted shades of blue and green or earth tones are best. Don’t mistake “muted” for “light” though; deep ocean blues and forest greens can be soothing while still making a statement.

Décor idea: If you’re hesitant to commit to painting a whole room, experiment with calming colors by incorporating throw blankets, pillows, and artwork.

SOURCE: Windermere

Living May 28, 2024

Easy Earth-Friendly Energy Fixes

SOURCE: Windermere

There are plenty of good reasons to make your house a little greener, including saving money on energy expenses and ensuring a more livable planet for future generations. No matter what your motivation, making eco-friendly changes doesn’t have to be a daunting proposition.

The following relatively simple tips will help to not only reduce your carbon footprint to realize savings but also bring the peace of mind that comes from making smart choices for the environment.

Reduce Water Usage

For many homeowners, the highest utility expense is the water bill. We all know that taking shorter showers and only running the dishwasher when it’s full can help reduce water usage, but there are other ways to find savings.

If you are an ardent gardener, collect water in a rain barrel during the wetter months to use on plants and yards when outside temperatures go up. Installing a low-flow or dual-flush toilet (or retrofitting your existing toilets) can also reduce the amount of water that goes down the drain.

Invest in Energy Star® Appliances

If your appliances—including your washer and dryer, refrigerator, water heater, or television—are more than ten years old, buying new ones could be all it takes to save money.

For an even bigger bang for your buck, invest in Energy Star appliances. To be certified as Energy Star, appliances must meet strict standards for energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The upfront cost of these products can be a little heftier than other appliances, but rebates and federal tax credits can help offset that initial expense.

Get a Smart Thermostat

Many thermostats have a scheduling feature to help manage your heating and cooling. This can be helpful if you have a consistent daily routine of when you will be home and out of the house to save energy during the hours when you’re away or asleep.

You can now find thermostats that meet the EPA’s criteria for energy efficiency. Energy Star smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-enabled and give you better control over the heating and cooling of your home. Many of these options have apps on your smartphone that give you the power to adjust from your fingertips. And over time, they can learn your preferences, including times you are away from home and when you sleep, to improve efficiency. They can also provide insight into your energy usage so you can make adjustments yourself for optimal performance.

Plant a Tree or Two

Trees not only suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere while producing the oxygen we need for fresh air, but they also provide shade for homes in the summer months, which can cut down on the time you need to run an air-conditioning unit or the AC function of your HVAC system. Plant trees on the south and west side of your home for the best results. Trees that shed their leaves in the fall can provide mulch for your yard or garden, thus reducing the amount you’ll need to water them in the summer and fall.

SOURCE: Windermere

Windermere Community May 14, 2024

Kicking Off the 35th Anniversary of the Windermere Foundation

SOURCE: Windermere

This year we’re celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Windermere Foundation, the non-profit arm of Windermere Real Estate. Since 1989, agents and offices across our network have given back to the communities where Windermere operates. We’ve raised over $53 million and supported thousands of our neighbors in need throughout the Western U.S.

Last year the Windermere Foundation donated $3.7 million to 607 non-profit organizations dedicated to assisting low-income and homeless families. Donations provided emergency assistance, supported youth programs, food support, and shelter.

Our 2023 Community Impact Report outlines our efforts and is available to download and read here.

To start off 2024 on the right foot, our offices in Spokane, WA, and Lake Oswego, OR are doing their part to support low-income and homeless families in their communities through grants and fundraising events.


Helping Refugees Thrive in Spokane, WA

Five white people pose smiling with a giant check in a boardroom. The Thrive International logo is on the wall behind them.

Image Source: Windermere Spokane

In their annual grant review, Windermere Spokane considered 32 applications for their 2024 Windermere Foundation donations and were able to grant funds to 11 organizations. While they were able to support a handful of organizations they have donated to previously, they were able to add some new non-profits to their list, including Thrive International.

The stories submitted by Thrive about their temporary housing for refugees struck a chord with a group of Windermere Foundation representatives who come from seven Spokane-area Windermere offices. The funds will help refugee families access housing in a moment when shelter is so important. In addition to temporary housing, Thrive also offers education and empowerment programs to residents, which have helped lead so many into further housing and successful transitions as immigrants to the greater Spokane area. Read on for a story about Yuliia, a Ukrainian refugee who was assisted by Thrive.

Yuliia’s Story

Yuliia smiles in front of a lit neon sign in the shape of the Thrive International logo.

Image Source: With Permission from Thrive International and Windermere Spokane

Yuliia is from Ukraine. She unexpectedly started her journey to come to the United States in May of 2022, just three months after the Russian-Ukrainian war started. Initially, leaving her homeland was not a part of Yuliia’s plans. However, when bombs blasted in her city, she made the difficult decision to seek a secure haven for her family.

“Everything was so good. My life was good before everything happened,” said Yuliia. She was a hardworking administrative manager at a company in Ukraine. Yuliia and her husband had just bought their first home; however, their lives took an abrupt turn when their city became a danger zone, leading them to sell their car to afford flights for their journey to the United States in pursuit of refuge.

Arriving in the U.S. with little more than the clothes in their suitcases, Yuliia faced the daunting challenge of rebuilding her life from scratch. She said, “When we came here, we didn’t have anything. We didn’t have money. We didn’t have any documents. It just looked like we were starting from zero.”

Amidst linguistic and cultural barriers, Yuliia discovered Thrive Center in June, becoming one of its first residents. With the support of Thrive staff, she found not only employment but also a community where she could make connections with other Ukrainian refugees and get help with medical insurance, workshops, and educational resources. Starting as a front desk assistant at a dental clinic, Yuliia’s journey has come full circle as she now serves as the Assistant to the General Manager at Thrive Center.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunities she’s been given, Yuliia finds joy in empowering others to thrive. Yuliia’s story shows resilience and hope amidst adversity. From the once-thriving administrative manager in Ukraine to the unexpected refugee seeking safety in the United States and helping others at Thrive Center, her journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Stories like Yuliiua’s inspired the Windermere team reviewing applications to fulfill the grant with their available Windermere Foundation funds.

Emma Reeves, with the Windermere Foundation in Spokane, said, “we are excited to continue working with Thrive in the future to ensure that having a ‘home’ is a possibility for all.”


Sally Knauss Tulip Sale in Lake Oswego, OR

Four white women stand, smiling, behind a table with tulip bouquets wrapped in brown paper. They’re in rain jackets and they stand in front of the Windermere Spokane office, with the Windermere logo displayed on the wall behind them.

Image Source: Windermere Lake Oswego

The agents at the Windermere office in Lake Oswego, OR hosted their 27th annual Sally Knauss Tulip Sale in March. Named for the Realty Trust agent who started it, who has since passed away, the tulip sale culminated in an order for 8,000 tulips from Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, which were used to create 800 bouquets.

“Rain or shine each year [our office] is happy to enable this iconic event,” said Valerie Ross, Principal Broker at Windermere-Lake Oswego

Taking shifts from 8am to 1pm on Friday, March 29, fifteen Windermere agents volunteered for the cause, which raises money for the office’s Windermere Foundation fund. Donations from the sale allow the office to support local non-profits throughout the year. This year’s sale raised $5,800 which will go to one or more of their favorite organizations, like Clackamas County Women’s Shelter, Bridge Meadows, New Avenues for Youth, and Friends of the Children.

SOURCE: Windermere

BuyersBuying April 22, 2024

What is Wire Fraud and How to Avoid It

SOURCE: Windermere

A form of cybercrime, wire fraud has led to major losses for homebuyers in recent years. Get to know what it is and what steps you can take to avoid it.

What is wire fraud?

Real estate wire fraud is a scam that targets buyers while making payments during the home buying process. Attackers have taken advantage of the fact that there are several people and entities involved in real estate transactions. Between real estate agents title and escrow companies, mortgage lenders and more, there are many steps, some of which involve sharing financial information and transferring money. This gives ample opportunity for scammers to slip through the cracks somewhere along the line.

The timing of wire fraud is typically during closing using a sophisticated phishing scam. Attackers apply the use of fake emails, phone numbers, or websites, often posing as the buyer’s real estate agent and directing them to allocate funds to a fraudulent account. Because the attacker will have scanned, scrubbed, and lifted your personal information in preparation for the scam, their forms of communication can often look familiar and legitimate.

The mission of the cyberattack is to get your funds into an account the attacker owns. To do this, it is common for them to say that you had previously sent funds incorrectly, that they were never received, that there are new instructions for payment, or that there has been a last-minute change in the closing process. These are all major red flags. It is imperative to take extra caution during the final steps of purchasing a home because transfers, once initiated, are difficult to remedy and can delay your closing process.

How can I avoid wire fraud?

  • Get to know the closing process: Talk with your Windermere agent ahead of time about what to expect throughout the closing process. Discuss payment options with your lender and ask specifically about instructions for wiring funds. It is safer to share this information over the phone than through email, as scammers could accumulate this information to use against you.
  • Record contact information: Keep a list of the personnel involved in your closing process. Beyond your real estate agent, keep a record of contacts at your mortgage lender, title company, and attorney’s office. In the event that someone new reaches out to you with a request, confirm their identity with one of your contacts.
  • Call to confirm: Call to confirm wiring instructions before sending the transaction through. Talk to a trusted representative and ask them to repeat the information to verify its legitimacy. After sending the funds, make same-day follow-up calls to ensure they were received.
  • Trust your gut: If you receive an iffy email or phone call, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s the perfect time to reach out to your contacts, discuss your hesitancy, and get advice before proceeding.

The threat of wire fraud emphasizes the importance of working closely with everyone involved in the purchase of your home. If you believe you have been scammed, contact your bank or wire transfer company immediately and request that they issue a recall notice for your wire. Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and report the activity with as much information as you can gather. For more information about how to protect yourself from wire fraud, visit the National Association of Realtors’ Wire Fraud resources page.

Selling March 19, 2024

10 Costs Associated with Selling Your Home

SOURCE: Windermere

Selling a home is an exciting time for homeowners. Once you and your household have decided that you’ll hit the market, it’s easy to think solely about the revenue that comes with the sale. However, selling a home comes with its own set of costs. Knowing what these costs are will help you budget throughout the selling process. Here are ten most of the most common costs that come with selling a home.

10 Costs Associated With Selling Your Home

1. Commission Fees

Of all the expenses that come with the sale of a home, agent commission fees are usually the largest and for good reason. Real estate agents are professionals, wielding their industry knowledge and local expertise to get the job done and save countless hours of work for the homeowner. The commission is split by the agents representing both buyer and seller

2. Pre-sale Home Inspection

Pre-sale home inspections are not mandatory; however, if a seller does not conduct one, it could lead to major costs down the road. The inspection allows the seller to find any issues with the home and properly disclose them to the buyer. If the buyer’s home inspector finds repairs that need to be made, they can ask the seller for a price reduction or require that they be fixed in order for the sale to go through.

3. Home Repairs

There are varying degrees of home repairs that can increase the value of your home. Cosmetic fixes like improving your landscaping will do wonders for your curb appeal. Painting and decluttering help to present the home in the best light for buyers. Larger projects like replacing appliances, roofing, plumbing, and full-scale upgrades are a more significant investment but can increase your home’s value.

4. Staging Costs

During the selling process, it pays to put effort into the presentation of your home. Staging helps buyers to visualize living in the home. Professional stagers will enhance your home’s qualities while minimizing its deficiencies. Their cost will depend on the level of staging your home requires.

5. Utilities

In the interim period between when you move out and the buyers move in, you’ll want to continue paying utilities. Without running water, electricity, and heat, your home could be difficult to show to buyers.

6. Remaining Mortgage

Another cost of selling your home is the remaining loan balance on your mortgage. If you have been steadily paying your mortgage, your home sale will greatly aid in paying back the remaining amount, if not cover it completely.

7. Escrow Fees

In a home sale, there’s always the question: Who handles the cash? That’s where escrow comes in. It’s common for buyers and sellers to split the cost of escrow services. Be mindful of additional costs during escrow such as transfer fees and notary services.

8. Capital Gains Tax

The capital gains tax is assessed by taking the difference between what you paid for your house and what you sold it for. There are common exclusions for the tax, but there are situations where the exclusions may not apply. For example, if the home was not your primary residence, you could end up paying taxes on the whole gain. Talk to your Windermere agent for more information.

9. Property Tax

If your home sale takes place after you’ve paid taxes for the year, you may get a rebate at closing. In this case, the buyer reimburses the seller for the applicable taxes paid. Otherwise, the seller should pay the prorated share of property tax until the sale closes, placing the money in escrow.

10. Moving costs

Finally, the home sale is final, and you’re ready to move. Whether you’re moving locally or across the country, moving costs can add up quickly. Moving as many of your items yourself can save money, but for larger, more difficult to transport items, you’ll likely need to incur the cost of hiring professional movers to ensure your items arrive at your new home safely.


These are just some of the costs associated with selling your home. Each home sale is different, and the costs vary accordingly. Knowing what you can expect to spend throughout the selling process will help you budget accordingly. For more information on the costs in the selling process and how to sell your home, connect with me today.

SOURCE: Windermere

Living March 5, 2024

Toolbox Essentials for Homeowners

SOURCE: Windermere

For all its perks—stability, tax breaks, building equity—being a homeowner comes with the responsibility of maintaining your home and the occasional repair. Some jobs require a professional, but if you are willing to take on minor repairs or DIY projects, you’ll need the right tools. Whether you’re starting a toolbox from scratch or looking to round out your tool collection, here are the basics every homeowner should have on hand.

Helpful hint: A toolbox filled with all or a few of these items makes a great housewarming, wedding, or graduation present.


You don’t need to own a home to know that a screwdriver is a life staple. From replacing batteries in toys to installing shelves on walls, owning a pair of quality screwdrivers—one flathead and one Phillips—is a must. Not many home projects call for extra small screwdrivers but having a set can be handy for fixing eye- and sunglasses.


When you think of the word “tool,” a hammer likely comes to mind. Whether that’s because a pounding tool was likely humankind’s first invention or because you need one for nearly any type of handiwork, you’ll be glad you have a traditional claw hammer on hand.


Like a hammer but with a rubber or wood surface, a mallet comes in handy when you need to drive wooden dowels or for more delicate projects that require a softer touch. The non-slip surface is also better for holding parts in place or applying pressure than the slippery metal edge of a traditional hammer.

Tape measure

You know the saying, “Measure twice, cut once”? It’s really good advice when it comes to DIY home projects, and a good tape measure makes the measuring part easier. Get one that is at least 25 feet long, with bold, easy-to-read numbers on both sides and that has a locking mechanism.

Utility knife

If all you do with a utility knife is open boxes, you’ll still use it quite frequently (given how often we all get deliveries of home goods these days). But there are tons of other uses for a very sharp item to cut with, including scoring wood or hanging wallpaper.


There are a few ways to attach things to each other. Nails and screws have their place, which is why you need a hammer and screwdrivers. But nuts and bolts hold a lot of things together too, and for those you’ll need a wrench. Buying an adjustable one is not only more cost effective but it’ll save space in your toolbox.


When you need leverage to tighten or loosen plumbing pipes or bolts, pliers can’t be beat. They can also help you hold things in place as well as bend or shape wire.


When hanging pictures, mounting shelves, or needing to drill multiple holes in a line, you’ll need a level to keep you straight. And, yes, many of us have a level app on our mobile devices, but phones can be clunky and might not be reliable if you have a hard-shell case on your phone. A sturdy level isn’t expensive and can last a lifetime.

Wire cutters

How many of us have dulled a perfectly fine pair of kitchen shears cutting through cables or wires one too many times? (Just us?) Using high-quality wire cutters will not only save your scissors, but it will also ensure a cleaner cut through your wire or cable.

Cordless drill

Though screwdrivers are good for small jobs, a drill is better for screwing into harder surfaces or when the job calls for a lot of holes. Going cordless frees you from the need for extension cords, but spring for the extra battery pack so you always have one fully charged when you need it.

Safety gear

Before you start any home project, make sure you have the right protection for your eyes, ears, hands, and lungs. Safety goggles, ear plugs, heavy-duty gloves, and respirator masks will keep you safe while you’re DIYing.

Nice to haves

Though these items might not be considered essential, you never know when you might need a headlamp or flashlight, hand saw, stud finder, duct tape, or wood glue. You won’t regret keeping them on hand.

SOURCE: Windermere

Design February 20, 2024

Benefits, Risks and Things to Consider Before You Add an Accessory Dwelling Unit to Your Home

SOURCE: Windermere

Have you ever rented a unit in someone’s basement? Maybe your significant other’s mom moved into the apartment above your garage? Or have you ever travelled and stayed in a pool house? Commonly referred to as “Mother-In-Law” units, homeowners use these as a way to fill the space in their home and gain residual income, either from vacationers or long-term tenants.

The official terms for these units are Additional Dwelling Units (ADU) or Detached Additional Dwelling Units (DADU), and are defined as extra spaces in homes and on properties where someone can live completely independent of the main house.

These units can be almost anywhere on the property, but they are usually located in the basement, in the backyard, or above the garage. They have their own bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping space and they will sometimes share laundry with the residents in the main house.

Thinking of adding a unit to your home? Here are some benefits and risks, as well as important aspects to consider before you build:



Homeowners can maximize their investment by renting out the extra space to long-term tenants or short-term vacationers. These tenants can help pay off debt or create an extra stream of income.

Depending on several factors, including the size of the unit, the local real estate market, and other factors, each homeowner should decide which option they are more comfortable with. These decisions should be made before they list the unit for rent to find the right audience.



If you’re considering renting your space to someone for a long-term lease, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of ending up with a tenant who turns into a financial burden. It’s strongly recommended that you use an application process to check backgrounds and employment history as a tool to get to know the potential tenant. Make sure to adhere to the National Fair Housing Laws and your local regulations.

If a short-term vacation rental makes more sense for you, many of the posting sites available have regulations and procedures to minimize the risks of having ill-intended strangers come through your property. You can determine which options are the best for you and be sure to take precautions like changing codes between visitors.


Things to Consider:

What are shared spaces?  

Identify the areas where it will be comfortable sharing those spaces, and potentially appliances, with other people. This is just as much about your privacy preferences as it is a consideration of what makes the most sense depending on your set up and what you’re willing to invest to make it more comfortable.

For example, you might be okay with sharing the washer and dryer with tenants, but if those are located in the main house and the unit is detached, it might not make sense. For long-term tenants that likely means adding laundry to the unit, however you don’t need to supply a washer or dryer for vacation renters who will only stay for short periods.


How close are the units and what noise level are you comfortable with? 

As a long-term landlord, tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment without the landlord impeding on their space or controlling their activities. If the unit is in the basement and the tenant has friends or family over, that noise could permeate into your unit in the late hours of the night. A way to prevent this is to be sure to layout quiet hours and expectations before they sign the lease or make an agreement so that you and the tenant are on the same page.

The same goes for the rules in the vacation rental listing. Managing expectations is the first way to create a relationship with the tenants, even for those who are only there for the weekend. Be clear in your rules and guidelines and have reminders in the unit.


What improvements are required?

Consider what elements and amenities the unit needs for the type of renter you want to attract. For example, long-term renters will need a kitchen, but vacationers will only likely need a kitchenette. Depending on the project, you might not get your money back in the short term, but if you’re dedicated to making the space worth it to rent it out over the next few years, improvements can be well worth the investment.


Whatever you decide, it’s important to be familiar with the rental market and regulations in both your local region and your neighborhood.


SOURCE: Windermere

Buying February 6, 2024

Buying with Your Pets in Mind

SOURCE: Windermere

For many of us, pets play a central role in our home life, so taking into account what is best for them when buying a home is important for both their happiness and that of your entire household.

Is the Neighborhood A Good Match For Your Pet?

When looking for homes that are well suited to both you and your furry companion, consider the area surrounding the home. If your pet is an indoor/outdoor animal, it’s important to examine the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood. If your pet spends time outside, a busy neighborhood could be dangerous, and depending on the level of traffic, he or she may need to be on a leash at all times.

How conducive is the neighborhood for taking your pet on walks? If you frequently walk your pet, look for neighborhoods with sidewalks. If your pet enjoys being off-leash, consider prioritizing homes with green belts, parks, trails, or designated off-leash areas nearby. It’s also a good idea to identify where the local emergency pet centers and veterinarian clinics are to insure there is sufficient medical care for your pet in proximity to where you live.


Does The House Meet the Needs of Your Pet?

  • Size: Is the house big enough? Depending on the type of pet, or breed of animal, space may be the most important factor in picking a pet-friendly home. If you are moving into a bigger space than you were in previously, understand your pet will likely take to the additional room differently. On the flip side, if you are downsizing, be mindful of how it might impact your pet.
  • Yard: If you have a pet that spends time outside, it’s important to pay particular attention to the yard. Is it large enough? Does it have a secure fence? Is there easy access between the home and the yard?
  • Flooring: Pet-friendly flooring can be tough. Surfaces that can be repaired or refinished when scratched are typically the best options for homes with pets. Sealing additional layers will build up the resistance to damage from paws, claws, and general pet wear and tear.
  • Carpet: Cats are notorious for clawing and scratching at carpet, and dogs are infamous for bringing the outdoors in with them. Consider carpeting of a lesser quality in the area where your pets spend most of the time, or search for carpets that are stain resistant and easy to clean.
  • Stairs: Older pets and multileveled homes are at odds. Consider the age of your pet and how active you expect them to be so that you don’t find yourself in a position where you’re having to carry your pet between floors.
  • Additions: If you’re comfortable with doing a little work on your potential home, you can consider adjustments that might make it a little more safe and comfortable for your pets. Adding an enclosed outdoor space for your cat called a catio or carving out space in the yard for a dog run can be just what your fur babies need.


What Does the HOA Say About Pets?

When looking at a home, ask whether or not it is a part of a Homeowners Association and what restrictions may apply to the property. For instance, certain HOA developments limit the number and/or type of pets per household.

Most pet owners take the needs of their pets seriously. In fact, in a recent survey, 95% of pet owners said that their pets needs were an important consideration when finding the right home to buy. When it comes down to it, prioritizing your pet when buying a home not only insures your pet’s well-being, but that of your household, as well.

SOURCE: Windermere