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New Website Live April 28 2016

Wow, its been a long four months of work updating and moving the new website to the Sierra platform. The website went live about 4:00am this morning, the move went well and the site is blazing fast!

It's been 12 years since I put up my first little Real Estate website. I had high hopes but never really dreamed it would become so integral to my business. I love that I have been able to connect with people literally all over the world. It is very satisfying to take an online conversation and turn it into first a business relationship, but often true friendship.

Zillow changed the world of Real Estate a few years ago unfortunately. It was in 2011 that I first started to see the effect on my website. I worked so hard to present unique relavent information on my site as well as access to information about homes for sale. My website had been #1 in the search results for most searches about Vancouver WA Homes for Sale. Within a couple of years my site had lost it's position...

Columbia River View Homes

Here in Vancouver WA some of the best views in the city are of the Columbia River. But if you want a great river view, chances are you're going to need to consider remodeling an existing home. In every city across America, view property, especially waterfront views, are difficult to find. They are scarce because they aren't making anymore land. Even 100 years ago people loved having a view, so some of the first homes that were built have views and water views have always commanded a higher price. There are other reasons why it can be smarter to remodel an existing home. Keep the parts of the home you like and change the rest or add on what you want. New construction is always more expensive than remodeling. A few weeks ago I listed an amazing home overlooking the Columbia River. Over 4700 sq ft with a great room open floor plan, perfect for entertaining. Take a look at this Rivercrest Home.

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What Home Buyers need to know about Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com

In today's hot Real Estate market it's incredibly important for Home Buyers to get up to date, current information about local homes for sale. In some cases homes are selling within hours of going on the market.  Now more than ever buyers need to make sure they are getting accurate information.  On April 7th 2015, two of the most popular Real Estate websites, Zillow and Trulia, lost their feed from Listhub which provided them with listing information for most homes on the market in the United States. Since that date the data feed may or may not be accurate or up to date. 

Why is this important to home buyers? Because when homes are selling this fast, you need accurate, current information in order to stay on top homes as they come on the market. Where should you search to find the latest data? The best source of listing information is on Local Realtor websites like this one, and Realtor.com. Our websites have a direct feed from the MLS, so you will see the most recent...

Listing your home, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

When listing your home, it is so important to get it right the first time. Get your home is ready for showings, declutter, go thru and homogenize your home. Make it easy for prospective buyers to visualize themselves living there by removing most of your personal pictures.

Price your home at the correct price, usually within 5-10% of the expected sales price. Even in a hot market todays savvy buyers have compared your home to others on the market and recent sales. Many sellers make the mistake of listing their home for a too high price, thinking that buyers will make an offer or they can always reduce their price. But those first few weeks on the market are the best time for your home to sell at the listed price. As weeks go by, your listing is perceived by buyers to be stale, something must be wrong, the price is too high or it would have sold. 

Take the time to get your home ready to sell, price it right, and make sure you have great photos. In this great market your home...

Rare one level condo under $100,000

Vancouver has never had enough one level condos, and many of the ones out there have no private outdoor spaces. I was really happy to be able to list this unit in Pepper Tree Condominiums. The kitchen has newer white cabinets and updated appliances. There is a nice sized pantry and utility room off the kitchen with the same white cabinets, including some custom features like pull out pantry shelves, not usually found in this price range. Pepper Tree is an over 55 community of what is typically called "Patio Homes" in the Southwest. Five minutes to I-5, yet quiet and peaceful with mature landscaping. For a private showing call 360-600-0817.

Update! This condo sold in less than a week for full price!

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Great photos of Vancouver and Clark County, Hymas Images

As I've been remodeling my website over the last several months I spent quite a bit of time looking for some truly special photos to show off the best of Vancouver and Clark county. It didn't take me long to find that all the photos that I loved on the web were created by Duane and Shirleen Hymas of Hymas Images. I gave Duane a call and asked him if he had some photos that I could feature on my website. We've been emailing back and forth for months, and couple of weeks ago, we finally met for coffee.

Duane and Shirleen, AKA "Team Hymas", have become renowned for their unique perspective and photos of the Southwest Washington and Clark county. Their photos have been featured on the Washington state tourism website and featured in books about the Northwest. The Columbian newspaper has featured their photos and also wrote an article...

Before you remodel your home, call me!

Before you make any major improvements in your Vancouver WA home it's a good idea to consult a Realtor to make sure your investment will add to the value of your home. Nothing is worse than spending money on remodeling only to find you are not getting a good return on your investment.

I often see Vancouver homeowners make improvements that don't add value to their home. One of the most common mistakes is throwing good money after bad, like putting granite countertops on top of older cabinets, adding a bath or shower to a bathroom that is too small to accommodate the fixture, or converting a garage to a family room.

Take the time to figure out what your true motivation is for a remodel, if you want a more open floor plan, consider knocking down some walls to get rid of that seldom used formal living room rather than adding space to a smaller family room. And if you live in the Pacific Northwest, don't add a pool unless you never plan to sell your home. A home with a swimming pool here...

Making it easier, searching by Price Range

I'm still experimenting, trying to make it easier for my clients to quickly do a home search. One of the features I have added is the ability to search by Price Range. 
For example, if you are on the Area Home page for Camas, just below the picture of downtown Camas and the informational paragraph, are price range links. The links are for 200,000-300,000, 300,000-400,000 going up to over a million.
Every city page on my website now has a pre-defined search by price range.
As always, if you have any questions please give us a call.
Roianne Cox
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Don't miss the Details on the Home Detail page

After you have entered all the search parameters that are important to you, be sure not to miss any of the  information available in the Home Detail page.
There is so much to go through it is easy to overlook some of the most important data.
Under "Essential Information" you will find most of the home stats, price, number of bedrooms, baths and year built. A couple of things to notice in this area, year built is most important if it is the current year. New homes are often listed as "To be built" which means they are not even started. So if you see artist renderings in the photos, it is likely this home is not yet built. That might not be a problem, but it can take 4-6 months or longer for construction to be completed. Good to know.
Number of levels and Master bedroom level are both things to consider, as well as the Sub-type, which might be attached or detached. Townhouses and condos are most often attached. Single family detached homes share no walls with any...

Searching for Homes online, Do It Right!

It's easy to use any one of the myriad of home search tools online, isn't it? Nope.  Sure, anyone can plug in the price range and number of bedrooms and hit the "Search" button. But the results you get might not be accurate, and they might not truly reflect what you are searching for.

First, and most important get on the right website. If you are looking for homes in Vancouver WA, hopefully it's mine:). Seriously, do a search on Google, Bing or your favorite search engine for "your city homes for sale"  when you get to the results page, skip over the ads at the top and the national websites like Zillow and Trulia. Most people don't realize those large National websites do not have accurate results, they don't even have all the homes listed on their websites! That's a whole other blog post topic:). And you may want to skip over even the local results, in my market many of those are property management companies. Look for a local Realtor website.  

Once you have found a local...