Date Archives: April 2020

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Home Improvement Projects

Our brokers always help our clients get the best selling price they can when it comes to Portland homes for sale. Targeted renovations can help you raise your asking price. Even if you have only a few weeks before you go on the market, you can make a big difference.

Many small DIY projects can go a long way in preparing your home for sale. For example, a quick coat of exterior paint takes years off a home's appearance. General cleaning and decluttering are also essential to staging the home.

But there are some renovations and repairs that should be left to the pros.

When it comes to these larger home improvement projects, the risks of doing it yourself far outweigh the rewards. 

Call the experts on these home improvement projects:

  1. Electrical Work
    Standards are very high for who can legally perform electrical work. That includes things like adding or removing fixtures and sockets. Amateur electrical work can make a home uninsurable, requiring the seller to start all over again with professional help.

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Thanks to you – CB Bain's amazing brokers – we recently presented a $25,000 check to Domestic Violence Housing First, a program facilitated through the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. As part of the company's "Bring Hope Home" referral program – we have now contributed a total of $75,000 since the program first launched.

This effort is facilitated by CB Bain's Relocation Division, which donates $300 to Domestic Violence Housing First for every outgoing referral it receives through its national broker referral network that ended in a closed transaction. Learn more about how the program works, how you can help and available marketing materials:

In 2019, the Bring Hope Home initiative helped two organizations provide flexible financial assistance for survivors of domestic violence in need of a safe, stable home. The funding helped 60 survivor families with housing at an average cost of $833 per household. Some have needed just a little (i.e., moving costs) while others needed rental assistance over a time period of several months. For one agency, 90 percent of the funds helped survivors safely stay in their own home. The other agency used 47 percent of the funds to enable survivors to remain in their home, while the balance was used for deeper investments, including securement of housing and provision of move-in costs and rental assistance in new housing. 

A survivor of domestic violence living in urban King County was able to transition into stable housing through Bring Hope Home funds after she fled a domestic violence situation.  Her son has started pre-school and with short-term rental assistance, she was able to start a culinary apprenticeship to fulfill her dreams of becoming a chef.

The support is needed now more than ever. Bill Riss, who first initiated the charge to support domestic violence in 2018 after reviewing data showing that breaking the cycle of domestic violence is critical to ensuring that all Washington State residents have safe and stable housing, said, "We are all experiencing a situation that is increasingly challenging, even for those of us living in a stable home environment. Compound our mandated isolation with existing substance abuse and/or mental health issues, and it's understandable that the number of domestic violence incidences are increasing. I am so proud of our brokers who have enabled us to support the Coalition's efforts during this difficult time, and when resources are further limited by the situation."

Learn more about the partnership from Linda Olsen, Housing Director for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Kim Hart, CB Bain's Executive Vice President, Corporate Business Development here:


Decorating Your Home Office

Working from home is certainly a different experience than working in an office, and it brings many of its own challenges. Staying connected, staying motivated, and avoiding distractions can all be difficult when you're working from home. 

It helps to have a home office, a space dedicated to getting your work done every day. With a lot more of us working from home recently, our brokers have some helpful tips about decorating your home office. 

  1. Choose Your Space
    Not every room in your home will work as well as a home office. Ideally, you want to choose a room that's out of the way, far from the regular traffic in your house (especially if you have kids or a partner who also works from home). It's also best to choose a room that isn't also being put to another use. It should be your home office and only your home office.
  2. Let There Be Light
    If possible, try to choose a room for your home office that has a window that lets ample light in. Decorate the window with a light, airy vibe; ditch heavy drapes in favor of flowy curtails that let plenty of light in. Natural light is a great mood and creativity booster, and there's nothing better than having an office with a view!
  3. Expand the Space
    Dark, dingy spaces are not conducive to productivity. You'll get more done in a workspace that feels open. Since most of us aren't going to take down a wall to expand our home offices, the best way to open up the space is to choose a paint color that makes it feel more open. Your best option is a crisp off-white, which will make your office seem nice and airy but won't be too sterile. 
  4. Eliminate Clutter
    If your old desk at work was overflowing with a sea of clutter, consider this an opportunity to reset. Too much clutter makes it hard to concentrate, so take the time to eliminate all the unnecessary litter from your home office. You'll be amazed how much more work you get done! 
  5. Green it Up
    Bring some plants into your home office! They look great, help clean your air, and studies show that they make you happy. It's been proven that house plants improve your mood, reduce stress, and can boost creativity and concentration by up to 15 percent. This is partly because seeing greenery has the psychological effect of making us more calm and relaxed, but also because they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. 
  6. Make it Personal
    Your home office is your own space, so make it feel like it's yours! It should reflect your interests, work, and style. Bring in your favorite decor, family photos, kids' drawings, or anything else that makes it feel like your own little kingdom.
  7. Organize for Productivity
    Keep storage space in your home office as simple as possible. A few basic shelves and drawers are usually preferable to complex systems of organization, as long as it makes sense to do so. Feel free to be creative, though, and use the vertical space offered by your walls to your advantage. The idea is to have everything you need for work close at hand, but not to go overboard with cluttered storage.
  8. Keep Technology in Check
    It can be hard to avoid technology when you're working from home, and you can never keep things like your computer, printer, and phone completely out of sight. But you can hide unsightly cords. Use zip-ties to keep cords organized and as out of sight as possible, and try to run them strategically behind furniture.
  9. Make it Comfortable
    The furnishings in your home office should generally be as simple as possible. Just make sure you have what you need, and make it comfortable. This is especially true of your desk chair, which you're sure to be spending a lot of time in.

Contact us today for more tips on how to maximize the potential of your home. While many more of us have been working from home recently, our team still offers the best selection of Portland homes for sale, and we're committed to helping you live life to the fullest, wherever you may be!


Seattle Orchestra

There's nothing like enjoying a rousing orchestra performance, and you don't have to be at the concert hall to catch an amazing show. Staying home and staying safe doesn't have to mean missing out on listening to talented musicians. Our brokers have searched the globe to find seven orchestras and operas from around the world that are offering free online performances during these times.

  1. Seattle Symphony Orchestra
    Long a popular choice for a night on the town near Seattle homes for sale, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra was one of the first to offer free shows online. Their YouTube channel is packed with clips of songs from the best live performances of the 2020 season and years past, along with quick trips behind the scenes to show what orchestra life is like. If possible, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra will also be streaming live concerts on certain dates, so check back often to see when you might catch a full-length live performance. On the Seattle Symphony Orchestra website, meanwhile, you'll find a huge collection of encore performances, recordings, and "behind the stage" videos to enjoy.

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Spring Cleaning Tips

The weather is warming up and now is the perfect time to open up the windows, evict the dust bunnies, and give the whole house a deep cleaning. Here are a few tips to help make it easier.

  1. Create a Plan
    Before you dive into spring cleaning, it's a good idea to start with a plan. Walk through each room of your home and make a list of things you notice that need attention. Also, think about tasks that you usually skip during your weekly cleaning and add those to your list as well. Once you have a master list, you can decide whether you can recruit the entire family and tackle it in a single day or if you need to create a schedule to get it done over the course of a couple of weeks. It's always important to be flexible, but a general plan will help ensure that everything gets done with minimal stress.  

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stimulus calculations


By now you know that Congress last week passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, a $2 trillion economic package designed to help people and businesses affected by this global pandemic and keep the country moving in the face of it.

There are several key provisions of the bill. Among them:

  • $290 billion in direct payments (i.e., stimulus checks) to eligible taxpayers
  • $260 billion to extend unemployment insurance benefits
  • $377 billion for small businesses to help prevent layoffs or closures while workers stay home
  • Extends the deadline to file 2019 tax returns to July 15

The bill also allows homeowners hurt by COVID-19 to postpone their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. This applies to homeowners with government-backed loans (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA, FHA) as well as those with mortgages through private lenders. Plus, a moratorium on evictions means tenants who are unable to pay their rent during this trying time won't be tossed out of their homes.

In short, the primary aim of the stimulus package is dedicated to helping individuals economically hurt by the pandemic (lost jobs, lost wages, etc.) and to shore up businesses and industries hard-hit by this health crisis so that they can remain solvent and cover their operational expenses.

So, how exactly will the CARES Act likely affect the real estate market? So far, it looks like the answer is tangentially. That is, with mortgage relief, stimulus checks and unemployment benefits for laid-off employees as well as freelance and gig economy workers, the financial stress from the uncertainties of this global health crisis may be eased for a substantial number of Americans – at least in the short term

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