Email Susan to chat about your real estate project!

National Association of REALTORSFair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO)

Susan's Real Estate Blog



A Dramatic Year for Expandable Soils

The native top soils of our Willamette Valley contain a lot of clay. These are "expandable soils" which contract as they dry, and expand in the rainy season. This last summer was SO dry, that we are now seeing a number of foundations with new cracking... more than I recall in years past. Sometimes the damage is severe, often it's not. Have your house inspected. If settling has occured, you may want to call on a structural engineer to evaluate the severity, and offer sound advice for securing the structure.



Staging properties for sale — More important than ever

It has gotten so proper staging of homes for sale is almost crucial for a speedy sale, and top dollar. Staging might mean working with your own furnishings, or it might mean renting furnishings for a vacant house. In any case, well-staged homes often net 5% or more and sell quicker. The photos online are more appealing, for sure!


The market holds steady!

Many are asking... "What is the state of our current local market?" Although I am seeing the average and median prices up-tick slightly, and properties selling at a healthy rate, the market is not crazy-good. It is simply much stronger and consistent than in recent years. If you are selling, and you price right and stage well, you should sell well. If you are buying, be prepared to pay near asking prices for homes well-priced!

2014-0 3-18

More to Choose from in 2014

For the last few years many who wanted to sell their house either elected to wait, or simply could not sell, due to the market downturn. This spring I am seeing a healthy amount of new listings coming to market. My phone is ringing once again with sellers getting gearing up. This is good news! Hopefully buyer demand will maintain, and indeed 2014 will be a strong year for our local real estate economy.




Ten Reasons to Buy a Brand New Home

Eugene, like much of the country, is starting to see more new construction. Why buy new? Here are ten great reasons...




Did my home value go up that much?

You've likely heard home prices are heading upward. Depending on your source, the number changes. Markets are very specific, so a nationwide figure will likely be different than Lane County's figures. And Lane County's figures may or may not apply to your house! If prices are up 12% in Lane County, your house might still have taken a slight dip in the last few months. Or, your house might be up 20% over where it would have sold a year ago! Considering selling? Give me a call.




Happy New Year! LET'S GET MOVING!

Have you been thinking about buying? Seriously, don't wait... 2014 looks to be a relatively robust year for real estate. This means prices will be inching up. And, probably most importantly, interest rates will likely continue to tick up as well. The longer you wait, the more it'll cost you. Call me! Let's get moving! 541-520-2246



Send us a buyer—get a free vacation!

Julie King Rice and 2 others shared a link .

Ted Rice and I are trying to sell our house in Eugene, Oregon. We really need to sell the house. You can also go to to view details. Find us a buyer and if they close on the house we will pay for your family to go on vacation, our choice. Details to be discussed upon close. Let's get the competition started!



Addition vs. Buying

You are outgrowing your house. Should you add on to the house you're in? Or sell, and buy something else? That's a tough decision! Susan's input: If you're going to add on, be sure that the overall look and feel of the addition is in keeping with the rest of the house. If the finished product is going to look like an addition, I suggest buying a different house. Often, additions can give a house a "funky" character.


CAULK: Worth Its Weight in Gold

I say this a lot. Now is a great time to examine seams in your siding, and caulk where needed. While it's still dry and wonderful outside!


Prices Are Up in Lane County:

The average price through July is $226,800, up 15.2% from this time in 2012, when the average was $196,800. In the same comparison, the median price increased 15.7% from $172,800 last year to $199,900 this year. -RMLS


Top Homeowner Regrets:

34% I wish I had chosen a larger home

27% I wish I had done more remodeling when I bought the house

22% I wish I had more information about the house before I decided to buy

18% I wish I had put more money down for the down payment

16% I wish I had been more financially secure before I decided to buy



An organized garage SELLS!

Think the garage doesn't matter? Think again! When buyers are looking at houses, and they open the garage, they see a lot. Not only are they evaluating the size of the garage, but they cannot help judge the cleanliness and organization--or lack there of. A tidy and well-organized garage speaks volumes about how the property as a whole has been kept. Buyers assume that owners of a neat garage are most likely the type to have cleaned air filters, cleared gutters, and kept up with repairs on regular schedules. Not only are neat garages appealing, they give buyers a tad more confidence that the whole property is in good shape, thus increasing buyers' perception of value!


Price per square foot doesn't always add up

When I am looking at home value--either for buyers or sellers--I acknowledge price per square foot. I don't give this calculation a LOT of weight, however. What $/sf doesn't factor in: quality of construction, quality of finishes, location, flow, and overall appeal for buyers. Also, keep in mind that kitchens and bathrooms are much more expensive to build than large empty rooms. You can easily have an awesome, high-end 1,500sf house worth more than a 2,500sf house. So, this calculation of $/sf is only helpful when comparing very similar properties, side by side.


Garage conversions are odd

I completely understand why home owners would consider a garage conversion, to add space. My suggestion—do not make it a permanent alteration. And don't spend too much money on this project. When you go to sell, understand that most conversions actually lessen value. So, enjoy the space now if you'd like—but plan to revert back to a garage, for sale.


Garage doors talk

Thinking of selling? How does your garage door look from the street? Does it need paint? Or worse, do the panels sag, and does the door look tired all together? If so, pay attention. A tired door suggests other elements of the house are dated and worn. Painting, and replacing if necessary, will add a lot to the overall appearance of your house and add value.


Keep records of your appliances and upgrades

There's something very reassuring about a seller who passes on a folder or binder of all household appliance manuals, product registrations and house upgrades information. Not only is it helpful to a buyer, but it says a lot about the care that has gone into a property. This is valuable and treasured information! Buyers typically buy with greater confidence.


Clean your air filters!

Anyone else suffering from seasonal alergies this week? Ugh, grass season is the worst, for me.

One tip: For those of you with central air, now is a great time to change your air filters if you haven't done so lately. Then, try running the fan to filter your air. Obviously windows should be closed for this to work well. As much as I love fresh air—especially at night—"conditioned air" might be better.


Eugene and expandable soils

Many Eugene homes are built on "expandable soils." I am not an expert, but here's my general understanding of what this means for home buyers and owners... This soil is clay-like and expands with excessive moisture in wet months, and then contracts in the driest months. This can wreak havoc with a house foundation, causing it to shift and crack. A widely-recognized remedy is to have helical piers driven into the bedrock below, securing the foundation in place. Management of proper water drainage is also important. TIP: When buying, ask the seller and your house inspector about any knowledge they may have, or clues they see, which might identify a negative issue. NOTE: Buyers should NOT always stay clear of houses which have had foundation work/helical piers, etc. In fact, it could be considered good news if such an issue has been properly identified and remedied. It is likely the issue is in the past. ONE MORE THOUGHT: Things change. Natural water drainage direction can shift over time. Springs can pop up anywhere without warning. Our land is always in some slow state of flux, so there are never any guarantees that what is sound now, will forever be sound. :)


Hire the professionals!

Do you have house projects which are just a bit beyond your capabilites? Hire a professional! Doing so nearly always pays in the long run. Trust me on this one...


CASH: The new star player!

The weirdest thing... I have seen several transactions lately for all-cash. At first I thought it was just my coincidence. But alas, the more I talk to my peers, the more I'm hearing the same. Typically all-cash transactions are far and few between. To have so many such buyers surfacing is unusual! Sellers are loving the cash buyers since such transactions do not require an appraisal, and are a much surer (and quicker) closing. Competing buyers with financing are less enthralled, as they are getting beat out by the cash offers. Cash IS king, indeed. And yes, there is usually a cash discount. Most sellers would rather take considerably less money with the sure thing, than risk losing it for slightly more in pocket—assuming the buyer's loan comes through. What's that saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." ?


It's a good time for pruning

Itching to do a little something outside in the yard? Now is a good time to cut shrubs back away from the house, and prune other trees and shrubs. Aim for clean, stong lines, with branches and forms.


When do you need a City permit?

Whatever you do... do NOT do serious remodeling or construction without a City permit. You may pay for it in the end. Not sure what needs a permit and what does not? Visit this site:


Landscaping: Think Hardscape

Itching to get outside in the yard? Wanting to really spiff things ups this year? Consider putting in additional hardscape. By this I mean, (relatively) permanent features like a concrete patio, walkway, or decking. I've found that concrete, in particular, is much cheaper than I expected. Professionally installed pavers are also great. If done well, it'll not only look great, but it will add value to your house.


Buyers--Get pre-approved before shopping!

Thinking of buying this year? After you've poked around a tad looking at homes online, start with talking to a reputable lender. Find out how much $ you qualify for, and how much $ you're comfortable with borrowing-- before shopping. Contact your community credit union, a mortgage broker, or even your bank. If you need suggestions, feel free to ask me!


The rain WILL come...

January was a very dry month for us. But don't worry—the rain will come. Double-check that your gutters are clear, drains are ready, and the sump pump is operational. I cannot stress this enough! Make sure water is easily diverted AWAY from your your house.


Making the most of a half-bathroom

Sometimes it is possible to get more out of a half-bathroom, by adding a shower. Whether it be your current house, or one you're looking at buying, look for this potential. Is the room currently big enough? If not, is there a closet you could bump out, or an adjacent room you could bump into? Often, making a half-bath into a full-bathroom adds convenience, appeal, and value.


Susan Heisey is now a Principal Broker

I recently completed further education and licensing to obtain my Principal Broker's license. Cool! Essentially this means I've been at it for a while, I know what I am doing, and I can legally oversee other brokers. My goal is to never stop exploring education, and the depths of my profession. There is no substitute for education!


Buyers—Get ready for competition!

In 2012 I was part of FIFTEEN multiple-offer situations. That was not fun for my clients. My first offer of 2013? Yep, there was another offer on the table. The good news is that, with my counsel, in most of these situations my clients get the house. When they don't, it's because the bidding war is too steep.   BUYERS: If you are looking for a house that's just right, at a great price—know that others are doing the same. Inventory is still VERY low. Lots of people are checking online daily, waiting for new listings to come up. When a juicy one hits (great appeal, great value), it'll have lot's of interest. Be ready!


Appealing your taxes before 12/31

Do you consider your taxes this year to be exessively high? Let me know. I've found a company which offers free consulations. If they believe you have a case (and many do), they'll assist you with the appeal, and take 1/3rd the tax savings (for one year) as payment. (I think that's how it works...) Give me a call and I'll get you their contact info.  susan: 541-520-2246


Solartube, or skylight?

I say, if it's in a small area like a hall or bathroom, I'd go solartube. If you're trying to illuminate a larger room, I'd go with skylight(s). I've seen solartubes in a living room—and to me—they just look a little weird.


Sump pumps are not scary

New buyers, or buyers new to our area are sometimes startled to find out the house they're interested in purchasing has or needs a sump pump under the house. Needing a sump pump in and of itself is not scary! We do get quite a bit of rain, after all. In fact, NOT having a sump pump, might be scarier! The truth is I'd say most houses in our area, particularly on lower flat ground, are good candidates for a sump pump.


The rainy season is a great time to see what you're buying!

Really want to know if a property has drainage issues? A problem with the roof? A leaky chimney? Buy it when it's pouring rain! If a house and its yard are appealing to you now, just wait until next summer. You'll really love it then.


Prices Are Stabilizing

The average sale price for the three quarters completed this year is $200,600, about 2% lower than the $204,400 in the same period last year. The median comparison is positive, with this year’s $176,500 just topping last year’s $175,000 by about one percent. -RMLS Market Action


New Listing Coming Up in SE Eugene

Not yet on market: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath, 1592 sq ft.   Camas Ridge/Spencer Butte/South   $215,000

Give me a call if you'd like more info or a preview tour! 541-520-2246


Sales Are UP, Inventory Is DOWN

Sellers and home owners —the news is good . Sales are up! In some areas, prices have even started to creep upward. Buyers —your choices are not as plentiful. Have you noticed how few homes are for sale? It's not just your imagination... Inventory is the lowest it has been in years! If you find a property you really like, be prepared to be aggressive in making it yours.


Sellers: Keep House Bright!

If your house is on the market, be sure you're presenting with as much light as possible. Blinds UP! Windows CLEAN! And when you know you're expecting a showing, leave lights ON for the Realtor.



Time for an HVAC Call?

We are getting near that time of year where we'll need to run heating systems. Do you have ducted heat? You might want to schedule a service call from an HVAC company to be sure your furnace/heat pump is ready for the season. And if it has been a while, you might also wish to have your ductwork cleaned out. Remember, this is the air you'll be breathing at home for the next several months! If you do nothing else, be sure to change your air filters.


Sweet Life in McMinville, OR

Our family went up to the Evergreen Air Museum and Waterpark today in McMinville. What a lovely town! And both the museums and waterpark are top-knotch. The landscape is delicious, especially on a day like today. I wonder, what are property values like in McMinville? Going to have to find out.


Distressed Properties are H-O-T

The funkier the better! Every so often a truly distressed property comes on market at a reasonable price. Multiple offers! Thinking you're going to pick up a house and flip it or put a little love in and hold? Be prepared to be in a bidding war to the door. If the price is low, it may be just a starting place for offers.


Never Too Late to List

True, most houses in our area sell March-October. If you are needing sell ASAP, however, I say it's never too late to list it. This is especially true for a vacant property. Do NOT let a vacant house sit until spring! Keep in mind that the holidays are very slow... but otherwise, houses do sell all year long.


Ah, Sunshine!

Maximize these beautiful days! Clean your windows! While you're at it, really scrub those tracks. Do an awesome job. Years of gunk can pile up if you don't. When you go to sell, you want your windows to sparkle, and show that you took care of them all along the way.


Still Got Popcorn Ceilings? They Gotta Go.

Looking to make a modest but important improvement to your house? If you have popcorn celings, have them redone with new textured finishes. Not only will your house look better, but it will improve its value and ease of re-sale. If your test positive for aesbestos, it can be a big deal. If they don't, not so much. Either way, it's worth it!


Keep Your House Cool!

Is your house stifling in this heat? Have ceiling heat with no AC? You might consider upgrading your climate control to a ductless heat pump system. Not only will your house stay cool in summer, but it will heat much more efficiently in winter. This is an upgrade which does add value! Much less expensive than a ducted heat pump system. :)



There is a 4-plex for sale which I think looks dynamite. Not sexy looking, but the numbers will turn your head! CAll me for details. Won't last long.


Buying AS IS

You may come across houses which are being sold AS IS. What does this mean? Simply, do not ask Seller to fix anything. However... Seller ususally is prepared to make allowances with the sale price. Say, in inspections, you find that the roof needs to be replaced. Rather than asking for a new roof, adjust the sale price for the allowance. Two things: 1) Often you can get a better deal with AS IS properties becuase you'll be absorbing the hassle factor. 2) Sometimes AS IS properties are not financeable, and must be paid with cash. If a house needs a new roof, a bank will not loan on the property!


Portland Real Estate Market Sizzles

I understand the Portland market is HOT. Does this affect us? It does and will. Eugene's market may not mirror Portland's, but it will likely follow it to some extent. Although recovering, I wouldn't say Eugene's market is currently "HOT." So hopefully we'll still see improvement down the road.


Metal Windows Aren't All Bad

True, older metal windows are often less-desirable than more current vinyl models. But don't rule out all metal windows. Some high-end (for their time), double-pained, metal models are terrific. If the seals are not broken and they function well, replacing them is not neccessary. I tend to think that at some point white vinyl windows will become dated, and those well-made metal windows might actually be more favorable.


Photograph Your Property

Even if you're not planning to sell in the near future, you might start photographing your property as the seasons unfold. Aren't these days beautiful? Is your yard and garden looking especially grand? Having handsome photos of your property's potential may be handy to have on file, should you choose to sell down the road!


Stuck in the Middle

As I've said, the most-affordable homes are being gobbled up rather quickly these days. What about the mid-range properties? What's interesting is that many home owners who would normally be looking to "move up" to their next house (bigger, better, etc.) are stuck with little or no (or negative) equity in their current home—and are therefore not able to do so.  Yes, the market is moving again—but it's still slower-going for mid-range properties.


Locally-Owned and Independent

All things being equal, I'd rather support locally-owned businesses. I like knowing that the money I spend circulates in my community. I think many of us feel this way. Did you know that Bailey & Casey Real Estate is locally-owned, and that many of the other brokerage firms are not? We are a no-nonsense business. Our office doors have been open for 20 years, and we continue to assist our clients in making smart moves in real estate.


Swing By My Office Today 12-2:00pm

As part of "Shop SouthTowne Saturday" today (May 12) my alley office door will be open. Swing by to say hello and/or chat about the state of the market or your upcoming real estate projects! Have a cookie -- kids welcome.


Hey Eugene! The Under-$250k Market is ON FIRE

A little frustrating for buyers -- HUGELY welcome by everyone else -- the under-$250k real estate market is moving this season. I have personally dealt with several multiple-offer situations, and have seen fairly-priced homes go pending within the first week, MANY times recently. Are you a buyer looking in this price range? Be prepared to act fast and jump on the property which strikes you. Give me a call and we'll get moving!


Sellers: Your First Offer Is Usually Your Best Offer

Often painful to hear -- more than often, true.


Winning the Multiple-Offer Situation

Oh shoot! You just made an offer on a property, only to find out someone else did too. What to do? I have been in several situations just like this with my buyers, and have always come out the winner. Wha t are the keys to success? 1) Have me in your corner! 2) Define "success" and stick to it.


Don't Believe Everything You Read

As you might imagine, I read a lot of articles about real estate -- both online and in print. I am quite often at odds with "advice" or "how to" material. Sometimes the advice may be sound, but not accurate for where we live. Other times it is just downright poor and unresponsible. If you'd like to discuss something you've read recently, give me a call! I'd be more than happy to chat.


Watch for Poison Oak!

Apparently I am not the only one to have gotten into poison oak in my own (city) backyard this season. I hear there have been MANY severe cases so far this season already. Perhaps this noxious plant is thriving this year more so than in recent history? Careful, I say! Remeber, it can take many shapes and is just as potent without leaves.


Wet Weather Makes for Ideal Inspections Conditions

Another reason why buying now is advantageous: lousy wet weather. Why? 1) If you love the house now, wait until summer! You are seeing it at its worst. 2) If there are water intrusion problems, they'll be evident now, for sure. When you have the house inspected you'll know if water is pooling under the house or it the roof is failing, etc.


OK to Cut Some Trees!

As Oregonians, we honor trees. I wouldn't have it any other way. Sometimes, however, it is absolutely OK to cut trees down in your yard! Doing so might open up a view, provide light to your home or garden, and improve the aesthetics of your property. Doing so might also be a safety measure. The tall firs we love can be a threat. These trees need each other to withstand wind storms. If you have just one on its own by your house, it could blow over in high winds. Also, if you suspect a tree is diseased or dying, best to take it down before it dies completely. Waiting can be more dangerous and costly. Always consult a professional arborist! Cutting large limbs or trees is not something you should try yourself.


Foreclosures v. Short Sales

In a nutshell, I love selling foreclosures. Short sales? Not as much... Curious as to why? Give me a call or email me, and I'll explain.


Finally: More Pending Sales Than Price Reductions

For over three years, our office has been keeping daily score of "pendings" vs. "price reductions." The theory is, when the pendings go back to out-numbering the price reductions, we'll have turned the corner. Happy to say that JUST YESTERDAY there were 20 pendings and only 7 price reductions. This is a first since we started tracking!


Investor Talk: "Cap Rate Formula / What's Your Property Worth?"

Mystified by the cap rate conversation? Totally understandable. I love-love this guy's explainations:


Sellers Find Satiating Buyers' Expectations, PAYS

We find ourselves in the strongest “buyers’ real estate market,” possibly of our lifetime. Certainly there were eras of greater affordability—but today’s modern client has other tools in their quiver, making them ultra-savvy buyers. A perfect storm of depressed prices, historically-low interest rates, and reality-based TV education for home buying has bred a new breed of home buyers—one with exceedingly high expectations. The key to success for sellers is capturing the attention of today’s buyers, by meeting buyer expectations, to the extent that the sellers are able. 

Most Buyers Start Online: Most home buyers today start their search online, before ever contacting a real estate agent. They are screening inventory with two filters; price and presentation (photos). An average-priced property with unattractive photos may quickly be dismissed. Sellers must understand that their price and their presentation must BOTH be compelling for their listing to even be considered for a showing.

Most Buyers Have Seen HGTV: Television programming such as HGTV, House Hunters, and the like, are wildly popular. Such “education” has had an impact on today’s buyers. They see homes with a scrutinous eye which empowers them to make judgements regarding the property’s value, and even the seller’s position. This “HGTV Effect” raises expectations, for better or worse. Buyers now expect properties to be updated, spotless, presented with appealing marketing, and priced at (or preferably below) market value.

Sellers Who Meet Buyers’ Expectations Net More: Exceedingly high standards can be daunting for some sellers to meet. It can even feel unfair to many that in order to sell, they must cater to such a demanding market. The reality is that those who do meet buyers’ expectations will sell, will do so in a shorter amount of time than market average, and will likely net more money in the end. It is common today for sellers of average-priced homes to spend $2,000-$5,000 dollars readying their property for sale. Keep in mind, buyers (and their agents) are keen to see pre-inspections, repairs made, a solid roof, fresh paint, clean carpets, and even tasteful staging. When homes are listed in less-than-compelling condition, buyers are quick to discount them, or dismiss them all together. It’s true that many sellers are not in a position to improve their property for sale. In these cases, it is even more important that they have a great agent with effective marketing, and that the price be absolutely realistic and compelling.



Shortage of Inventory

Believe it or not, I believe there's a real shortage of inventory in Eugene right now. I am specifically talking about appealing family homes in SE Eugene: $275k-$350k, 1800-2500 sq ft, 3-4 bedrooms, usable yard space. Open floor plans and architectural interest are also in demand. I am currently working with a handful of (relatively) young couples and families who are waiting for that next "cool" house to come on market. Are you considering selling your home? CAll me! 541-520-2246


Empty Those Gutters!

Great weather we've been having here, yes? Ah, but the rain WILL come. :) Be sure to clear out your gutters so that when that water falls from the sky this season, it flushes out AWAY from your house. This is important maintenance. Not doing so may cause water intrusion to your home, or rot to your siding. Can't reach? Can't deal? Call for help! Don't know who to call? Call me. I'll help you find someone.


Congrats Blog Readers and Winners of DWELL!

Congrats to Beverly and Ajit for winning a year's subscription to DWELL Magazine for reading my blog in November and December, respectively. I select a winner monthly. To enter to win, you must click, "Read My Blog" from my monthly email newsletter. Not on my mailing list? Email or call with your address!


"Like" me on Facebook!

Find me at: Susan Heisey at Bailey & Casey RE


Regarding First Offers

Sellers: Your first offer is almost always your best offer. This can be hard to swallow sometimes, but it's true. Google it—you'll see I am not alone on this! What to do with that first offer you're not crazy about? Try to work with these buyers. Counter if it's appropriate, but be grateful you're in negotiations! Remind yourself that these people are (probably) very reasonable people.