No need to get overwhelmed by March spring cleaning — take it room by room in manageable groups of threes. After all, three’s a charm!
In your living room
- Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures
- Vacuum or dry clean curtains and clean window blinds (Thinking about updating your blinds? CLICK HERE to check out our Real Talk Episode all about custom blinds for your home with Heidi the Blind Lady)
- Wipe down baseboards and clear corners of dust bunnies and cobwebs
In your bedrooms
- Clean out drawers and closets (CLICK HERE for our list of local Portland and Willamette Valley donation sites to drop off gently used items)
- Wash comforters, shams, and blankets
- Rotate and/or flip your mattress (CLEANING TIP: Mix Baking soda and lavender essential oil and sprinkle over your bare mattress, let sit for a few minutes and vacuum up for a clean and fresh smelling bed)
In your kitchen
- Empty the fridge and wipe down all the shelves (or stick them in the dishwasher if they’ll fit)
- Go through and organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers. Donate items you have multiples of or no longer use.
- Wipe down your microwave, stovetop, coffeemaker, and any other small appliances
In your bathrooms
- Toss out expired makeup, toiletries, and medicines* (How long have you been using that toothbrush? If you’ve had it longer than four months, toss that sucker in the garbage and open up a fresh one.)
- Wash the shower curtain and floor mats
- Clean your grout (TIP: We have been seeing a lot of people on TikTok using toilet bowl cleaner and a toothbrush to get their grout looking brand new! Have you tried this?)
*Most Portland/Willamette Valley Area Walgreens have medication disposal kiosks to drop your old/expired medications, just like putting a letter in a mailbox. Click Here for the list of locations and more information.
Spring cleaning is definitely not our favorite activity at Lovejoy Real Estate, but we love how we feel and how our home looks after a serious cleaning session! Want this checklist in a printable version? Click the Link and Download the PDF below!
Decluttering Done, Time to Donate
If you have spring cleaning on the brain, or just read our March Home Maintenance Checklist, you may have some gently used clothes or home items that will soon be looking for a new home. To help, here are a few local places in Portland and the Willamette Valley that we trust will make the most of your generous donations.
Portland Metro Area
1740 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR
Rose Haven is the only day shelter and community center specifically serving women, children, and gender-diverse people in Portland. Rose Haven has limited ability to accept gently used supplies and clothing, but there are certain things they can ALWAYS use such as seasonally appropriate clothing, raincoats, bras, umbrellas, flashlights, tents, sleeping bags and tarps, backpacks and suitcases. Donations are accepted Tuesdays and Thursdays anytime between 1 and 4pm.
William Temple House
2230 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR
The William Temple House Thrift Store accepts donations of new and gently-used clothing, furniture, housewares, and more. All proceeds from the sale of your donations help William Temple House support people in our community through mental health counseling and emergency assistance programs. Donations are accepted at the Thrift Store during business hours Tuesday–Sunday as space allows.
3500 NE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR
Mainspring PDX is a community pantry providing free food, clothing and hygiene products to those in need. They accept usable clean clothing, food that is unopened and not past the use by date, wearable shoes, unused personal hygiene products, clean blankets, sleeping bags, sheets, backpacks, bags, tents and towels. Donations are accepted Monday-Thursday 9am-1pm.
CAT Thrift Store
4838 SW Scholls Ferry Rd, Portland, OR
Donations support the Cat Adoption Team, a local nonprofit animal shelter helping homeless cats and kittens. CAT accepts donations of new and gently used clothing, shoes, craft supplies, books, housewares, jewelry and accessories, and other amazing unique and vintage finds. Donations are accepted by appointment only.
PO Box 402, West Linn, OR 97068
The mission of Abby’s Closet, an Oregon-based nonprofit, is to inspire confidence and respect in high school women by providing free formal dresses for prom or other memorable events. They accept new or gently used formal dresses (long and short), prom bags, shoes and jewelry. Donations are accepted year-round. They can be dropped off at one of several area business locations
NW Childrens Outreach
Multiple donation locations to choose from including Beaverton, Tualatin, NE Portland, Vancouver, WA and South Sound, WA.
Northwest Children’s Outreach supplies diapers, clothing, formula, blankets, and toys to help vulnerable children in our area. They accept New and like new clothing, Baby items, Hygiene items, Toys, Books and other gifts.
Helping Hands Resources
1755 13th Street SE, Salem, OR
Helping Hands Resources is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that gathers donated clothing, bedding and household items and provides them to anyone in need at no charge. Donations are accepted Monday-Thursday & Saturdays from 9-11am.
Willamette Humane Society Thrift Store
548 High Street NE, Salem, OR
Oregon Humane Society (OHS) Thrift Store, opened its doors in 1968 as a revenue source to support shelter services for cats and dogs. They accept donations of gently used clothing, home décor, household goods, toys, collectibles, jewelry, sporting goods, and more. Donations are accepted Monday to Saturday from 10am-4pm.
Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Willamette Valley
1249 13th Street SE, Salem, OR
Donations and purchases at the ReStore help fund the homebuilding mission, transforming lives in our community. They accept a variety of new and reclaimed building materials, furniture, decor, and appliances in good working condition. Donations are accepted Monday-Saturday from 9am-3pm.
1100 Front Street NE, Salem, OR
Whether your donations are sold at the Mission Store or given directly to UGM guests, your items help our homeless neighbors. Along with accepting good items in good condition, UGM Salem Donation Center accepts ripped, stained, and torn clothing, bags, purses, belts, stuffed animals, hats, and shoes that are ready to be tossed and recycles them.
Did we miss your favorite local donation spot? Leave us a comment below.
Selling your Portland Metro or Willamette Valley home doesn’t have to be a source of stress and anxiety. At Lovejoy Real Estate, we believe that with a little preparation, selling your home can be a smooth and enjoyable process. Here are a few tips from our experienced team of real estate professionals to help you get started:
Get to know our local housing market.
Take the time to speak with one of our agents and learn about the current value of your home and what comparable properties are selling for in your specific Portland Metro or Willamette Valley neighborhood. It’s important to remember that the value of older homes in our area can be more nuanced than just square footage or school zone, so having a local expert on your side is key.
Work with a trusted listing agent.
When it comes time to list your home, it’s crucial that you choose a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about your neighborhood and has a genuine connection with you. Your Lovejoy agent will be your trusted advisor throughout the process, offering support and guidance every step of the way.
Plan for a realistic timeline.
Selling your home is not a quick process, so it’s essential to set a realistic timeframe for your sale. Depending on the condition of your home, it may take 2-4 weeks or more to prepare your property for the market. When you’re ready, reach out to us at Lovejoy Real Estate and we can help you determine a timeline that works best for you, and provide any assistance you may need to get your home ready for sale.
67% of Americans say a housing market crash is imminent in the next three years. That means that about 7 of every 10 Portlanders are waiting for the next 2008. With all the talk in the media lately about shifts in the housing market, it makes sense why so many people feel this way. But there’s good news. Current data shows today’s market is nothing like it was before the housing crash in 2008.
During the lead-up to the housing crisis, it was much easier to get a home loan than it is today. Banks were creating artificial demand by lowering lending standards and making it easy for just about anyone to qualify for a home loan or refinance an existing one.
As a result, lending institutions took on much greater risk in both the person and the mortgage products offered. That led to mass defaults, foreclosures, and falling prices. Today, things are different, and purchasers face much higher standards from mortgage companies. I mean, really. Just try to buy a house around Portland without solid work history or with too much credit card debt and see for yourself. Even when you use our preferred lender (Stephen Bowden with Academy Mortgage… shameless plug, we know) you won’t be qualifying for a loan unless your financials show you can responsibly afford it. That being said, call Stephen anyways because you never know if it turns out you actually can afford to buy that first or next home even if you thought you couldn’t!
So then what are the facts? Don’t worry, Lovejoy brought the receipts. Check out the graph below that uses data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to help tell the real story. In this index, the higher the number, the easier it is to get a mortgage. The lower the number, the harder it is.
This graph also shows just how different things are today compared to the spike in credit availability leading up to the crash. Tighter lending standards have helped prevent a situation that could lead to a wave of foreclosures like the last time. So the cause of the crash in 2008 just can’t happen again because new standards won’t allow for those same mistakes to be made in 2023.
Another difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure when the housing bubble burst. Foreclosure activity has been lower since the crash, largely because buyers today are more qualified and less likely to default on their loans. The graph below uses data from ATTOM to show the difference between last time and now:
So even as foreclosures tick up, the total number is still very low. And on top of that, most experts don’t expect foreclosures to go up drastically like they did following the crash in 2008. Bill McBride, Founder of Calculated Risk, explains the impact a large increase in foreclosures had on home prices back then – and how that’s unlikely this time.
“The bottom line is there will be an increase in foreclosures over the next year (from record level lows), but there will not be a huge wave of distressed sales as happened following the housing bubble. The distressed sales during the housing bust led to cascading price declines, and that will not happen this time.”
For historical context, there were too many homes for sale during the housing crisis (many of which were short sales and foreclosures), and that caused prices to fall dramatically. Supply has increased since the start of this year, but there’s still a shortage of inventory available overall, primarily due to years of underbuilding homes.
The graph below uses data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to show how the months’ supply of homes available now compares to the crash. Today, unsold inventory sits at just 2.7-months’ supply at the current sales pace, which is significantly lower than the last time. There just isn’t enough inventory on the market for home prices to come crashing down like they did last time, even though some overheated markets may experience slight declines.
If recent headlines have you worried we’re headed for another housing crash, the data above should help ease those fears. Expert insights and the most current data clearly show that today’s market is nothing like it was last time. Don’t just take our word for it. The facts and stats speak for themselves. But if you aren’t quite convinced, give us a call and we can show you why, even in this market, our admin, staff and agents are still personally buying homes for themselves and as investments. Everyone here at Lovejoy doesn’t just talk the talk, we walk the… well you get it!
There are so many charming homes filled with character spread through different neighborhoods all over the Portland area. Let’s say you found a beautiful old home in your dream neighborhood but it needs some work done. How do you know if what needs to be done will end up being a money pit or your dream home? Check out the list below of 5 things to look out for PLUS Before & After photos of actual Fixer Upper properties from our team!
A fixer-upper should be structurally sound, only requiring general maintenance and cosmetic repairs. However, if there are major flaws and expensive issues, it may be best to move on. The foundation is the most important aspect to examine as it supports the entire house and without a solid foundation, the house is not structurally sound. Serious issues with the structure can be costly and time-consuming to fix. Check for cracks, uneven floors, bowing walls, and moisture in the basement or crawl space. If there are any concerns about the structural integrity of the house, it may be best to move on.
Water damage can also be a red flag for potential buyers. Uncontained water within a building can cause extensive damage and create the ideal environment for mold to grow, leading to health implications and high remediation costs. Keep an eye out for damp smells, signs of leaks, and moisture in the basement or crawl space.
Outdated Mechanical Systems
It is really important to remember if the home’s mechanical systems, such as plumbing, electrical, and heating, require a full overhaul, this could be your sign to find a new property. Updating these systems can be costly and have limited lifespans. In addition, outdated electrical systems pose serious risks such as electrocution or fire hazards. The cost of fixing these issues may exceed any potential benefits, potentially causing financial loss.
When looking at older homes, especially most fixer-uppers, you will probably find some level or roof repairs needed to be done like replacing cracked or missing shingles. But if you find evidence of more extensive damage such as signs of sagging, multiple layers of shingles, leaks, and dry, brittle shingles, you might be looking at a complete replacement. A damaged roof can be very expensive to repair or replace, especially if there is extensive damage.
Check for signs of rodents or termite damage, such as crumbling wood, buckling floors, and mud tubes climbing foundation walls. If there is an active infestation, make sure to get help from a professional to understand the full scope of the damage.
Don’t get discouraged
While the opportunity to refresh a property and add your personal touch is exciting and can be a less expensive purchase initially, it is important to make sure that the home is not a money pit in disguise. Remember to always look beyond the surface and consider the hidden costs and issues when purchasing a fixer-upper.
Having an experienced Lovejoy Real Estate professional by your side during your home buying process is essential, especially when issues come up and you need real life advice or references for trusted professionals. Check out some before and after photos below of fixer-upper homes Jenny & Charles Turner have purchased and updated.
HELLO FEBRUARY! A new month means a new home maintenance checklist. Here are the 8 tasks we recommend homeowners do this month to stay on track with maintenance tasks for the year:
Clean or replace HVAC filters
HVAC filters are essential components in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They help remove contaminants, dust, and other particles from the air before it is circulated in the home. To clean or replace HVAC filters, follow these steps:
- Locate the filter: HVAC filters are usually located in the ductwork or near the unit itself.
- Determine the type of filter: There are several types of filters, including fiberglass, pleated, and HEPA filters. Make sure you know which type of filter you have.
- Remove the old filter: Turn off the HVAC system and then carefully remove the old filter by either pulling it out or releasing it from its slot.
- Clean the filter: If the filter is not too dirty, you can clean it using a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth. If it is heavily soiled, it’s best to replace it.
- Replace the filter: Insert the new or cleaned filter back into its slot, making sure it fits securely.
- Turn the HVAC system back on: Once the filter is in place, turn the HVAC system back on and check that it’s running smoothly.
It’s important to clean or replace HVAC filters regularly, as dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system, leading to increased energy bills and potential damage to the unit.
Clean the kitchen drain/garbage disposal.
Cleaning a kitchen drain and garbage disposal can help keep your sink and kitchen smelling fresh and reduce clogs. Here are the steps to clean your kitchen drain and garbage disposal:
- Fill the sink with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap. Turn on the disposal and let it run until the water and soap have cleared the pipes.
- Clean the drain: Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar, then pour the mixture down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water.
- Scrub the disposal: Use a scrub brush or an old toothbrush to clean the interior of the disposal, removing any built-up grease or grime.
- Deodorize: You can also sprinkle a small amount of baking soda and lemon juice down the disposal and let it run for a few seconds to freshen up the smell.
- Turn the power back on: When finished, run the disposal for a few seconds to make sure it’s working properly.
Inspect each fire extinguisher in your home.
If there is ever a time you need to use your fire extinguisher, it’s important to have it in working condition. Here’s how to inspect your fire extinguishers to make sure you are prepared for a fire emergency:
- Check the pressure gauge: The pressure gauge should be in the green zone, indicating that the extinguisher is fully charged and ready to use.
- Check the pull pin: The pull pin should be in place, and the safety seal should be intact.
- Check the hose and nozzle: Make sure the hose and nozzle are not clogged and that there are no signs of damage or corrosion.
- Check the expiration date: Fire extinguishers have a limited lifespan and should be replaced after a certain period of time. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific lifespan of your fire extinguisher.
- Check for any visible signs of damage or leakage: Look for any dents, cracks, or signs of corrosion. If you see any of these, the fire extinguisher should be replaced.
- Clean the exterior: Wipe down the exterior of the fire extinguisher to remove any dirt or grime.
Vacuum your refrigerator’s coils.
The coils, located either at the back or bottom of the fridge, can accumulate dust and debris over time which can reduce the efficiency of the cooling system. To clean the coils, you’ll need a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Here are the steps to follow:
- Unplug the refrigerator: To avoid any electrical hazards, make sure to unplug the fridge before starting the cleaning process.
- Locate the coils: Look for the coils at the back or bottom of the fridge. They are usually covered by a metal grille or a plastic panel.
- Remove the grille or panel: Remove the grille or panel covering the coils. This may involve unscrewing screws or pressing clips.
- Vacuum the coils: Use the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to carefully clean the coils of any dust or debris.
- Replace the grille or panel: Once the coils are cleaned, replace the grille or panel and secure it in place.
- Plug the refrigerator back in: Finally, plug the fridge back in and turn it on.
By regularly cleaning the coils, you can help to keep your fridge running efficiently, reducing energy usage and extending its lifespan.
Clean your kitchen exhaust hood and air filter
A kitchen exhaust hood and air filter play a crucial role in removing smoke, grease, and odors from your kitchen while cooking. Cleaning them regularly helps maintain their performance and prolongs their lifespan. Here’s how you can clean them:
- Turn off the power: Before starting the cleaning process, make sure to turn off the power to the hood. This is usually done by flipping the switch or unplugging the unit.
- Remove the air filter: Most air filters are easily removable, either by pulling them out or releasing a latch. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may need to wash it in warm, soapy water or replace it.
- Clean the hood: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the hood, including the fan blades. For heavy grease build-up, a degreaser may be necessary. Avoid using abrasive cleaners as they can damage the finish.
- Clean the interior: Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the interior of the hood, including the ductwork and light fixtures. If there is heavy grease build-up, a degreaser may be necessary.
- Reinstall the air filter: Once the hood is clean, reinstall the air filter and turn the power back on.
By following these steps, you can help ensure your kitchen exhaust hood and air filter are functioning properly and removing smoke, grease, and odors effectively.
Check sinks and toilets for leaks, and make any necessary repairs.
Checking for leaks in your sinks and toilets is a simple and important step in maintaining your home. A leak can waste a lot of water and potentially cause damage to your home, so it’s important to identify and fix them promptly.
To check for leaks in your sinks, make sure the faucet is turned off and no water is running. Look under the sink for any signs of water damage or dripping. Also, check the faucet for any drips.
To check for leaks in your toilets, place a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the color starts to show up in the bowl within 15 minutes, it means you have a leak. Another sign of a leak is a constantly running toilet.
If you find a leak, it’s important to have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or waste of resources.
Check the hoses on your washing machine, dishwasher and ice maker for leaks, and replace as needed.
- Turn off the water supply: Before you start, turn off the water supply to the appliance. This will help prevent any water from spilling out and causing damage.
- Locate the hoses: Find the hoses that connect the appliance to the water supply. They are typically located at the back of the appliance.
- Look for signs of wear and tear: Check the hoses for signs of cracking, bulging, or other damage. This can indicate a potential leak.
- Check for leaks: Turn the water supply back on and check the hoses for any leaks. If you notice water spilling out or a steady stream of water, it means the hose is leaking and needs to be replaced.
- Replace the hose: If you find a leak, turn off the water supply and replace the hose. You can purchase a new hose from a hardware store.
By following these steps, you can keep your appliances in good working order and prevent potential water damage.
Test GFCI outlets in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry room.
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety device that protects people from electrical shock by detecting any loss of current in an electrical circuit and shutting off the power to that circuit if necessary. To ensure your GFCI outlets are working properly, you should test them regularly. Here’s how to do it:
- Locate the GFCI outlets in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
- Press the “test” button on each outlet. The outlet should shut off power immediately and the “reset” button should pop out.
- Press the “reset” button to turn the power back on.
- If the power does not come back on or the “reset” button does not pop out, the outlet is not working properly and should be replaced by a licensed electrician.
It is important to test your GFCI outlets regularly to make sure they are working properly and to protect yourself from electrical shock.
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The Lovejoy Office remodel is finally starting to feel like we have an end in sight! Our team has been working temporarily out of the warehouse space in the back end of our building since the remodel started at the end of August 2022. The layout and fixtures are coming together even better than we imagined and making us so excited to get to move back in and start enjoying the new beautiful space.
Scroll down to view photos and see the progress we have made so far!
Opening Fire Performance at Pioneer Courthouse Square with other pop-up art installations throughout Portland.
Tuesday, February 21st
The parade marches down North Mississippi Avenue from N Skidmore to N Fremont, starting at 7:00 PM.
Wingspan Event Center
If you’ve been following the housing market over the last couple of years, you’ve likely heard about growing affordability challenges. Well, brace yourself for some good news. Experts are saying the key factors that determine housing affordability are projected to improve this year. Selma Hepp, Executive, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, shares:
“. . . with slowly improving affordability and a more optimistic economic outlook than previously believed, the housing market could show resilience in 2023.”
The three measures used to establish home affordability are home prices, mortgage rates, and wages. Let’s dive in and see what’s in store for each one.
1. Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates shot up to over 7% last year, causing many buyers to put their plans on hold. But things are looking different today as rates are starting to come down. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com, explains:
“Let’s celebrate some good news. . . . mortgage rates are down. With inflation showing a tangible slowdown, I do expect mortgage rates to follow suit in the months ahead.”
Even a small change in rates can impact your purchasing power. Nadia Evangelou, Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), gives this context:
“With a 6% rate instead of 7%, buyers pay about $2,700 less every year on their mortgage. As a result, owning a home becomes affordable to about 1.4 million more renters and 4.3 million more homeowners.”
If 7% rates paused your homebuying plans last year, this could be the opportunity you need to get back in the game. Lovejoy recommends the most experienced and knowledgable lenders in the area with the best advice for the current Portland market.
2. Home Prices
The second factor at play is home prices. Home prices have made headlines over the past few years because they skyrocketed during the pandemic. When discussing home prices in 2023, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:
“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”
So, while prices will likely be flat this year in some markets, others could see small gains or slight declines. Currently in Portland we are seeing a stable market with opportunities for buyers and sellers. Inventory is still sufficiently low but, as we move into our historically busy Spring market, prices could resume an upward climb.
The final component in the affordability equation is wages. The graph below uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have increased over time:
When you think about affordability, remember the full picture includes more than just mortgage rates and prices. Wages need to be factored in as well. Because wages have been rising, many buyers have renewed opportunity in the market.
While affordability hurdles are not completely going away this year, based on current trends and projections, 2023 should bring some sense of relief to homebuyers who have faced growing challenges. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:
“Rates are expected to move lower for the year, and home price growth is expected to cool, both of which will help affordability challenges.”
If you have questions, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have chatted with one of our trusted local lenders so you can explore all the different financing options available to you now. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.
Level up with the Lovejoy Concierge Program to transform and sell your home with zero upfront cost or interest.
We all move-in-ready homes sell faster and for a better price than fixer-uppers, but making repairs and improvements can mean spending your savings, not to mention the hassle of finding dependable professionals to do the work. That’s where we come in! With the Lovejoy Concierge Program, you do not have to pay the initial out-of-pocket costs for your home improvement services like painting, staging, flooring, junk removal, and more. When your home sells you simply pay back the cost of the services provided.
Contact us today to get connected with an agent and start this hassle-free program!