Wednesday, March 21, 2018

9 Gorgeous Spring Decorating Ideas to Usher in the New Season

Spring is officially here, and the days are longer and lighter—if not warmer, in some places. And with the new season comes a chance to hit the reset button on your home's decor. It's time to stash away heavy throws and that snowflake-themed doormat and bring out a brighter look.
"Springtime is your chance to renew the spaces you live in and take them out of hibernation," says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.
To help you ease into the new season, we've gathered nine gorgeous ways to upgrade your interior and exterior style. The best part? They're cheap and easy. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and bring some spring fling into your home.

1. Add cheery wallpaper

Photo by Ed Ritger Photography

Quick and easy peel-and-stick wallpaper is ideal for spring, especially if you choose a joyful, bright print. Seek out lively patterns, including pink and green branches, pastel polka dots, or bird themes.
And if you're not sure you want to redo the entire room, put this temporary look on an accent wall. You'll still have a pop of springtime color, but with less commitment.

2. Display rustic birds' nests

Photo by Adrienne DeRosa 
What says "rejuvenation" more than the very structures that nurture life? Bring these natural elements inside by collecting old nests that you're certain aren't in use or by hitting up the crafts store for faux versions.
Place your nest collection under a glass cloche or fill it with fruit, flowers, or, as Easter approaches, colored eggs and bunnies.

3. Show off fresh flowers

Fresh flowers are a must this time of year.
"I love calla lilies, irises, and tulips in a bouquet placed in a nontypical spot such as your nightstand or bar cart," says Sara Chiarilli, an interior designer with Artful Conceptions in Tampa, FL.
And in the yard, look to pansies and azaleas.
"Azaleas [can act] as colorful and well-behaved foundation plants on the east side of your house, where they'll receive afternoon shade," recommends Matt Michaels of Lowe's.
"Pansies are a great springtime bloom because they're hardy in cold weather and come in an array of shades, many with bicolor faces," adds Rhianna Miller of RubberMulch. Plus, they thrive in both full sun and part shade and can be planted in pots, flower beds, and hanging baskets.

4. Change up your throw pillows

The beauty of a neutral couch is that you can change out your accessories with every season, Chiarilli notes. Pack away dark throw pillows and accent blankets, and go for lighter colors.
"If you live in a warm-toned house, pick yellows, soft pinks, and orange—and for cool tones, select light blues, greens, and silvers," she says.

5. Swap in brighter lampshades

Out with dark, tweedy toppers, and in with paler, more delicate shades. Pinks, lavenders, and lime greens herald the season, offering your living room a spring glow for not much money. Check out chain stores such as T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, and Target for inexpensive lampshades for every room.

6. Switch to lightweight bedding

If you've been hibernating underneath dark, fuzzy throw blankets and heavy duvets, it's time to strip the bed! With warmer temps and brighter days on the horizon, consider lighter pastels for pillows and throw blankets.
"Rose quartz, for example, is the perfect springtime color, and it mixes beautifully with gray paint tones that have become so popular lately," Chiarilli says.
And remember, spring can bring on allergies. If you have special pillows and sheets (Allergy Asthma Technology makes hypoallergenic bedding), now's the time to bring them out, says Julie Coraccio, the home organizing expert at Reawaken Your Brilliance.

7. Display fragrant herbs and fruits

Spring is all about the green. Line up small pots of basil, thyme, and mint on your kitchen or laundry room windowsill, and breathe in the fresh, vernal scent.
Or pile bright green fruits such as Granny Smith apples, limes, pomelos, or Anjou pears into a bowl or shallow platter on the counter or dining room hutch.

8. Change your bathroom linens

A zippy new shower curtain is an easy spring upgrade—and it'll likely cost less than $30.
"And don't forget to change out your hand towels and candles," Chiarilli says. "It's so important that your home smell like spring when you walk through the door, so try jasmine, the perfect soft scent."

9. Paint the front door

The entrance to your home deserves a little springtime love, too. Consider slapping a fresh coat of paint on your front door—and think vibrant spring colors such as a zesty coral, a tranquil aqua, or a bright lemon yellow.
"Get a new doormat, and add a pretty wreath or door basket with silk flowers and greens," Gray-Plaisted suggests.
If you live in a cooler climate, try putting cold-hardy bulbs in your outdoor planters and then adding one to each side of your door or garage. Voila—a fresh entryway that makes it clear spring has sprung at your house.
By:, Jennifer Kelly Geddes
Contact McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Are You Aware of How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 675,000 US homeowners regained positive equity in their homes in 2017. This is great news for the country, as 95.1% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.
U.S homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all the properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of $908.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2016, an increase of 12.2%, year over year.”

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank NothaftCoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

Home-price growth has been the primary driver of home-equity wealth creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.2 percent during 2017. The largest calendar-year increase since 2013. Likewise, the average growth in home equity was more than $15,000 during 2017, the most in four years.”

He also believes this is a great sign for the market in 2018, saying:

“Because wealth gains spur additional consumer purchases, the rise in home-equity wealth during 2017 should add more than $50 billion to U.S. consumption spending over the next two to three years.”  

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their homes as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 4.9% of homes are in that position (down from 6.3% in Q4 2016).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%) when in actuality, 83% do!

This means that 46% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a house (either larger or smaller) that better meets their current needs.

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2018!

Let’s get together to evaluate your situation! 971.208.5093 or

BY: KCM Crew

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Moving up Is MORE Affordable Now Than Almost Any Other Time in 40 Years

If you are considering selling your current home, to either move up to a larger home or into a home in an area that better suits your current family needs, great news was just revealed.

Last week, Trulia posted a blog, Not Your Father’s Housing Market, which examined home affordability over the last 40+ years (1975-2016). Their research revealed that:

“Nationally, homes are just about the most affordable they’ve been in the last 40 years… the median household could afford a home 1.5 times more expensive than the median home price. In 1980, the median household could only afford about 3/4 of the median home price.
Despite relatively stagnant incomes, affordability has grown due to the sharp drop in mortgage rates over the last 30 years – from a high of over 16% in the 1980s to under 4% by 2016.

Of the nation’s 100 largest metros, only Miami became unaffordable between 1990 and 2016. Meanwhile, 22 metros have flipped from being unaffordable to becoming affordable in that same time frame.”

Here is a graph showing the Affordability Index compared to the 40-year average:
The graph shows that housing affordability is better now than at any other time in the last forty years, except during the housing crash last decade.

(Remember that during the crash you could purchase distressed properties – foreclosures and short sales – at 20-50% discounts.)

There is no doubt that with home prices and mortgage rates on the rise, the affordability index will continue to fall. That is why if you are thinking of moving up, you probably shouldn’t wait.

Bottom Line
If you have held off on moving up to your family’s dream home because you were hoping to time the market, that time has come. 
Let’s get together and discuss your options! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Monday, March 12, 2018

4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.
The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.
An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.
Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.
But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?
Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Let’s get together and start your home search today! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Friday, March 9, 2018

Exploring Salem Oregon: Nature Talk - Saving the Sea Otters

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Learn about the history of sea otters in Oregon, their ecological and cultural importance, their disappearance, and the prospects for their return and recovery. Free admission.

Eco Hub @ Willamette Heritage Center
1313 Mill St. SE, Ste. 107
Salem, OR 97301


Photo Credit:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Housing Market Expected To “Spring Forward” This Year

Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon “spring forward!” Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.
Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.
Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with the recent increase in rates, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Many more buyers are jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the Top 10 Dates sellers listed their homes in 2017 all fell in April, May, or June.
Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2018, let’s get together to evaluate the opportunities in our market. 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It’s Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings!

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals; for anyone looking to buy a home in 2018, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state. (The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)

Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%, with Veterans Affairs Loans allowing many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Alabama looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 69% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

Contact The McLeod Group Network to start your home search! 971.208.5093 or

By: KCM Crew