Karen Malanga: Hi, welcome to House Talk. This is Karen Malanga, principal broker at RE/MAX Key Properties. As usual, we’re always available to help you buy and sell home. And you can reach us at 541-292-3326.

I’m really happy to have my daughter, Kristin Marshall, on the program today. She’s also a broker.

So Kristin, thanks for taking the time. We just got an offer on a property. So we’re going to be working on that right after the show. So thank you for coming in.

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely! Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Karen Malanga: So today, we thought we’d talk a little bit about the listing process. There were 69 changes on our forms, on our real estate forms, for the state of Oregon between December 31st and I guess, basically, they went into effect January 1st. And a lot of those have to do with the listing paperwork itself.

We definitely don’t want to bore you with too much detail. But if you have questions about changes to the seller’s disclosures or any of the other forms, you can always visit NestBend.com, and we’ll have some explanations on our website about the changes on the Oregon real estate forms.

So Kristin, do you want to take it from the beginning, like when we meet with someone and the listing contract, or maybe the property features form. Let’s talk about the property features form.

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely! Well, the first thing we do is visit the home which I think is the most important, to walk through the home with our client, the seller, hear what they appreciate about the home. That’s really important.

Karen Malanga: Definitely!

Kristin Marshall: And also, here, the upgrades that they may have done as well as extra features that they’ve added and any green features which are really popular right now as well.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. And both Kristin and I have that Earth Advantage Broker designation which means we know a little bit about a very large topic. But on the property features forms, we do get questions all the time because they have some interesting questions and boxes to fill out.

Kristin Marshall: They do! It’s everything from formaldehyde-free cabinets, whether your home has those, to reclaimed or recycled cabinets, green carpet, a green or living roof—which you don’t see too many of those.

Karen Malanga: And can you give us a better definition of what a greener living roof is?

Kristin Marshall: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium planted over waterproofing membrane.

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Karen Malanga: We don’t have a lot of those in Central Oregon.

Kristin Marshall: We have a few.

Karen Malanga: Well, I know there’s one in […] Commons because I’ve seen it, but wow…

Kristin Marshall: I think the parks and rec building actually by the Old Mill might have part of their roof as a green roof. But those are options when we put your home NMLS into the system.

Karen Malanga: And also, I think maybe we better explain. The property features form is a form that you as a seller sign. And it does have all kinds of categories, whether it’s in green features. And once those boxes are checked, that’s what we then can input into MLS.

So, the more boxes that you can check on a property features form, the more substantial your listing appears. And the more searches it may appear in when people are searching for things.

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely! And it’s everything from the type of foundation, the type of roof, all the way to whether or not your counters are a solid surface or a tiled surface. I mean it really goes into depth and detail.

And one of the most recent features that they’ve added are the different types of green certifications for homes.

Karen Malanga: Yeah, and you can tell us a little bit about what’s the definition of an Energy Star appliance.

Kristin Marshall: Yeah. Well, let’s start with an Energy Star roof.

Karen Malanga: I didn’t even know there was one.

Kristin Marshall: There is…

Karen Malanga: So go for it.

Kristin Marshall: It’s a reflective roof product that lowers roof surface temperature, and thereby decreasing the amount of heat transferred into the building’s interior.

Karen Malanga: Okay… I know we always check the box for Energy Star appliances. How does a seller know if they have Energy Star appliances?

Kristin Marshall: Usually, when they purchased it, it’ll usually be on the paperwork or it’s actually sometimes even on like, for instance, the dishwasher, there will be a little sticker on them. But you can always look at the manufacturer and where you purchased it in the model.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. And I’ve also noticed that buyers from out of state are really concerned about water. And so we also have updated categories about Water Sense features underneath bathrooms and all that, so that people can know that you’re using less water in this particular home than you may be…

And when you’re coming from a state like California that has water issues, some of these things are very important to people.

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely! I think one of the things that I get often when I’m with buyers looking at home is the heating system and the heating features…

Karen Malanga: Yes.

Kristin Marshall: …and whether or not the heating feature is Energy Star—you know, the water heaters or the furnaces, whether or not those are new and green. Those seem to be quite important.

Karen Malanga: …and updated.

Kristin Marshall: …and updated.

Karen Malanga: And I also think for those sellers out there that may be listening, or potential sellers, if you have an older system, that doesn’t necessarily that it’s a bad thing. But just keep it serviced or have a current service done on your system. And that seems to make potential buyers feel much more comfortable with an older system. Wouldn’t you agree, Kristin?

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely! When they service your furnace or your heating system, they always write the date that it was serviced on it. And that’s huge because, clients, when they’re looking at a home, will actually go and look for the date on the furnace. But inspectors as well, when they inspect your home during escrow while it’s pending, they will note whether or not it’s been serviced within the past year.

So, I think one thing to really do when you go to list a home is definitely just get a company out there to service it.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. And this time of year, obviously, you can’t get your air-conditioner serviced, but you can do the heating system.

Anyway, we’ll be right back. We’re going to take a short break.

[commercial break]: Stay with us! More House Talk is straight ahead on 104.5 FM, 1340 AM and KBNWTalk.com.

♪ [music] ♪

[commercial break]: This is House Talk. Now, once again, here’s your host, Karen Malanga.

Karen Malanga: Hi! Welcome back to House Talk. This is Karen Malanga, principal broker at RE/MAX Key Properties. And you can always reach me at 541-292-3326.

I’m visiting with my daughter, Kristin Marshall. She’s  also a broker. We work together at RE/MAX.

Kristin Marshall: Hi!

Karen Malanga: So, we were talking about the property features form and kind of some listing tips that we have and the process that we go through when we’re listing a home.

So, after we’ve really gone through the features of the home, at the same time, we’re also reviewing the Dial Report. And the Dial Report is the Deschutes County report on your home.

So Kristin, do you want to speak to some of the things that we’re looking at on that report?

Kristin Marshall: Yeah, this report is really important. It will say how many bedrooms or bathrooms per square footage that the county has on record for your home. And a lot of things pull from that Dial Report.

So, to make sure that it’s accurate when we go to list is really crucial in my opinion.

Karen Malanga: Yeah, because sometimes we’ll have clients that say, “Well, on Zillow, it says that I have one bedroom when I really have three.” And I’ll say, “Well, the MLS listing says three. But as we mentioned when we met with you originally, the county records only show one. And so, companies like Zillow, they pull from the  county records, not always from MLS.”

“So, if you’ve done an addition—maybe you’ve punched out a wall and you’ve added 400 sq. ft.—the county might not necessarily know that. Your square footage is going to be higher than what some of the Internet websites are going to be pulling.”

Kristin Marshall: We’ve even had an instance in Northwest Crossing last year where Dial had the wrong street address. And that was a big of an issue.

It was really easy to fix. I just called the county and we resolved it with the property owners before we put it in the MLS.

Karen Malanga: The tax lot was correct The tax lot, all that was correct.

Kristin Marshall: And the tax ID.

Karen Malanga: But it was just the street number was wrong. Yeah, we’ve run into that maybe twice. So it’s not that common. But when it does happen, that’s a pretty important mistake.

Kristin Marshall: Yeah, you just want to make sure that everything is proper with the county.

Karen Malanga: So, when we go out to meet with a seller, and we’re going over the property features, we usually bring the Dial Report with us and have them review it. It’s not something that everyone pulls up all the time to check on. But it is important to know what the county is saying about your  property.

Then we schedule the photos. And I think that, because of the strong Internet presence and the marketing on the Internet, there’s really nothing more important than your photos. We had a listing appointment this morning, and it’s going well. They had listed it previously. And they only had 16 photos. On MLS, you’re allowed up to 25. And you really need 25, right, Kristin?

Kristin Marshall: Yeah, it’s funny. A lot of photographers in town, their photo packages really are 16.

Karen Malanga: I know.

Kristin Marshall: …or 20. And then we always ask…

Karen Malanga: You have to pay additional.

Kristin Marshall: …an additional package because we like to have that full 25 since we do live in the age where everything is broadcasted online. It’s important to have as many photos as possible on the different websites—Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, MLS.

It’s important, we feel, to have as many photos as possible and to have them look really nice.

We always have a professional photographer on-hand to come and shoot our listings, whether it’s a vacant land all the way up to $3 million. It doesn’t matter to us. We always have a professional photographer on hand. We’re not using our iPhone.

Karen Malanga: And we’re always on-site too, clearing up the kitchen counter or removing the children’s art work from the front of the fridge or whatever.

But also, when you have 25 photos, your property is weighted a little differently on Zillow. It moves it up a little bit. And so anything you can get to increase that Internet exposure is really critical.

So, when you do go to list your home, just make sure that whoever you hire, if it’s not us, they’re going to give you a full photo package.

I think that’s really probably the most important thing.

Kristin Marshall: It is!

Karen Malanga: I mean, the  features obviously are super important. Correcting the county records is also very important. But visually, that’s what’s going to draw someone into your home.

Kristin Marshall: Well, I think, also, real pictures. Sometimes, you’ll look at a picture of a family room, and then you go to the home and be like, “Wait a minute! Is this even the same home?”

Karen Malanga: Sure.

Kristin Marshall: I think real pictures are important. And even if you have tenants in your listing, in your property, it’s important to shoot the inside.

I was looking at one yesterday in MLS, and it had three shots in MLS—the  front of the house, the back of the house and the side. And you really want a buyer or an agent even who’s looking in MLS to see some of the inside of the home…

Karen Malanga: Definitely.

Kristin Marshall: Whether the bed is made or not sometimes, I think it’s important just to kind of visually see what’s going on in there.

Karen Malanga: And I think also too if you’re getting in the process of selling, and maybe you’re going to be painting one of your rooms, but you don’t have it painted yet, we can still go in and take photos. And then we can edit that paint color to become the paint color that it’s going to be once we go live on MLS.

Kristin Marshall: Yeah.

Karen Malanga: It’s a pretty simple process. We can make a red wall neutral. We can do all kinds of things. And it’s actually a lot of fun.

Kristin Marshall: Yeah, we have a great program that we use. And we’re able to—you know, if you have, for instance, a large piano that you’re moving out next week after the photos, and it’s there in the photos, but it would really open up the room, we can actually have that program remove the piano. So it really helps with the photos.

Karen Malanga: I think it helps tremendously.

So, anyway, what else should we talk about. So we’ve touched on photos. We’ve touched on property features. Do you want to go over how we announce the listing first after we get the photos?

Kristin Marshall: Yeah, absolutely. Well, once we have a signed listing contract, and we receive the photos, we then do a pre-announcement. We’ll send it to our office as well as, sometimes, the top 250 agents in Central Oregon and just kind of say, “Coming soon! Here’s what we have. Just a bit of a teaser before it’s actually in the system which helps a lot and actually really helps with activity.

Karen Malanga: And I also think we sit down every Monday and we look at each property and say, “How can we market this better?” And we’ve brought in a marketing company that helps us market our listings. And we’ll touch on that after we get back from the break. So, we’ll be back shortly.

[commercial break]: Stay with us! More House Talk is straight ahead on 104.5 FM, 1340 AM and KBNWTalk.com.

♪ [music] ♪

[commercial break]: This is House Talk. Now, once again, here’s your host, Karen Malanga.

Karen Malanga: Hi, welcome back to House Talk. This is Karen Malanga, principal broker at RE/MAX Key Properties.  And again, my phone number is 541-390-3326. If you’re thinking about listing or buying a home, we’d love to help.

Today, I’ve got Kristin Marshall, my daughter, here.

Kristin Marshall: Hi!

Karen Malanga: I’ve already introduced her a couple of times. But if you’re new to the program, she’s a broker, and we work together at RE/MAX in the Old Mill.

So, we’ve been talking a little bit about the importance of beefing up your listing. Basically, it’s been our topic…

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely!

Karen Malanga: Yeah, like property features forms—let’s get as many features on your property onto the system as possible—the importance of making sure that your county records are correct (and if they aren’t, then we can help), and also, the most important thing is the perception of the public about your property, and that’s going to come through your photography.

We touched a little bit on marketing. And I wanted Kristin to speak to who we have that we have in addition to the RE/MAX marketing (which is terrific). Can you explain what else we do, Kristin, with marketing?

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely! We have a company called Seed Spring that we have on retainer every month, that we have partnered with just to help us get our listings out there further. They do fabulous Internet marketing on Facebook and other websites. And they can even target the people that are viewing the listings.

And we’ve actually used this quite often recently.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. Yeah, do you want me to explain it a little bit?

Kristin Marshall: Yes please.

Karen Malanga: So, usually, we get a weekly report from Seed Spring on our listings. And I’m all about numbers and details. So it’s really fun for me to look at. And it will come in from Keith. Keith and Marissa are their names that own Seed Spring.

And so, what’s very cool about it is he’ll say, “Okay, we got so many hits from the Bay Area, so many hits from Portland, so many hits from Seattle.” I don’t know why we’re popular in Arkansas. But anyway, we get this demographics of who’s looking at our paid Internet advertising which we—

I guess we should step back. But we pay additional fees to have your listing broadcast to different markets throughout the country. And what we do weekly then is we say, “Okay,  so not only do we find out where people are looking at the listing, where they’re from, but we find out a little bit about who they are.”

So, is it people in the 40 to 55 range? Is it 55 and older? If we’ve got a three-story town home say in Deschutes Landing listed, and all of the people that are viewing it are 65 and older, we think, “Well, we need to change our wording because that’s three stories. And generally, people maybe want a master and a main or something as they get older.”

Kristin Marshall: Main level living…

Karen Malanga: Yeah. And this product isn’t going to work for that. So, we go back and then we tweak either the verbiage on our listing, we tweak the photography on our listing to try and reach that demographic that we know we’ll get the buyer from.

And it’s really fun to be able to fine-tune our listings in this manner. I think it’s beneficial to the sellers definitely. We’re reaching out to more buyers.

Kristin Marshall: It is! And it’s fun to watch and to see who’s looking at the different kinds of homes and which picture is the most popular.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. We’ve also been using Alaska Airlines Magazine for some of our properties as well. And that’s been…

Kristin Marshall: I love this magazine.

Karen Malanga: Oh, it’s super cool! And since Alaska merged with Virgin, it goes on all Virgin aircraft too. So it’s not only Horizon. It’s Alaska and Virgin.

And the calls we get from that and the inquiries are pretty amazing. It’s pretty phenomenal. People are reading that. They’re stuck on a plane for a couple of hours. So if your property is featured there, that’s kind of a nice touch I believe too, just another way to get some activity.

Kristin Marshall: It is, definitely.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. So, the other thing that we do beyond Seed Spring marketing and Alaska Airlines and the weekly reports is we also call our sellers every Monday.

Kristin Marshall: We do, we call our sellers every Monday. And we also work with them to put paper work together for inside their home for showings. For some of our listings, we have them work on fill out this piece of paper that says, “Why I love my home,” and the features about it. For instance, if it’s a riverfront property, they love just to be able to put their canoe in the river on the front yard. And hopefully, that can resonate to a buyer that’s in the home.

Karen Malanga: Yeah, I think with 2019 and a brand new year, we’re all kind of—not on pins and needles. But we’re watching a distinct change in our market here. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. I do think that it’s just making the right decision on who you want to work with and how much your property is going to get promoted.

Our markets are always ever changing. And that’s just part of living in Central Oregon. They go up, they go down, they flatten out. And right now, it’s over the holidays, if we look at last year’s trends and what’s happening, and if you read the Bend Bulletin, it’s a little flat. But that doesn’t mean that your particular home can’t stand out, or that if you’re shopping for a home, that it won’t be difficult to find a terrific home on the market. We have fewer listings but that also means that those sellers are highly motivated. And also, if you’re a seller, we have fewer buyers. But the buyers that are walking through the snow to view your home, those are buyers that really need to buy.

Kristin Marshall: Serious buyers,  yeah.

Karen Malanga: They’re serious buyers. And so I think every market brings change. It also brings opportunity. And it’s all about getting that group and that team together to help you promote your property or your purchase in the best way possible. Wouldn’t you agree, Kristin?

Kristin Marshall: I would…

Karen Malanga: Yeah.

Kristin Marshall: You know, buying or selling a home, it’s a business decision. And we respect that.

Karen Malanga: And it’s an emotional decision many times.

Kristin Marshall: Absolutely.

Karen Malanga: Yeah. So if you’d like more information about how we work, or some general tips—we’ve got some staging tips on our website, we have some simple updates that can be handled easily. And we’re here to help. We’re here to help with the updates. We’re here to help with staging. We’re here to help with decluttering. We do it all.

And so, you could find out a lot more information at NestBend.com. And that’s N-E-S-T-B-E-N-D dot-com. Or you can call me, Karen Malanga, at 541-390-3326. And Kristin, would you like to give your contact information?

Kristin Marshall: Sure, Kristin Marshall. [email protected] and 541-350-3897.

Karen Malanga: Thanks so much for listening to House Talk. And we’ll talk to you next week.

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