Real Estate Information Archive


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7 Ways to Trace Your Home's History

by Galand Haas

Have you ever wondered about your home's history?

Most owners of older homes eventually come to terms with the fact that they will never know everything about their property. If the last set of homeowners didn't share much about the origin of your house, who else is there to ask? Details like the year it was built, its initial layout, and the original occupants can always feel just out of reach. Fortunately for the curious homeowner, answers are easier to come by than you may think. Check out these seven sources for the extra insight to help you uncover the story behind your own home.


Start with the tax records. Assuming they've been conscientiously maintained, these will list every owner of the land on which your house sits, along with the assessed property value from year to year. Spot a sudden jump in valuation? That suggests the construction of a new home (likely yours) or the completion of a substantial addition or renovation. Copy the date down to review against additional research.


Next, you’re interested in three files at the county clerk's office: the Registrar of Deeds, the tract index, and the grantor-grantee index. These offer a comprehensive listing of all transactions that have involved your lot, including names and dates of previous owners, as well as the salient details of any lawsuits or liens filed over the years.


Also ask your local building inspector to see any building permit applications associated with your street address. Required for most new construction and remodeling, these documents may reward you with information about any major changes that have been made to the structure. Compare these with the other dates you've accrued, and use them to narrow your scope when researching community documents.


Many libraries devote sections to local history, archiving historical maps, original building plans, and even old photographs. Scour the real estate listings in decades-old newspapers around the time you believe the property was built for stories mentioning your address, and consult the census records for your area.


Your home's materials speak volumes about when it was constructed—so long as your home has not been completely renovated. For example, asphalt tile flooring exploded into popularity around 1920, but had been virtually forgotten by 1960. One handy trick: If at least one of your bathrooms still has the original fixtures, you can usually find a manufacturing date stamped on the underside of the toilet tank cover!


Fire insurance maps are yet another source of trustworthy particulars. These maps, which in many cases date back to the 1870s, can help you determine the framing, flooring, and roofing materials used in the initial construction of your home—knowledge that helped early insurance agents determine the degree of fire hazards of any particular property.


Finally, know that, like any trend, the popularity of certain architectural style waxes and wanes. Use your knowledge of these to determine when your own home was built. Italianate style was an 1850s favorite; Colonial Revival was all the rage in the 1890s; and by the 1900s, Craftsman-style houses had started cropping up everywhere. Not sure where to begin researching? You can always consult a professional architectural investigator for help.

Article originally posted on

Ways to Brighten Up Your Space When the Sun Goes Down Early

by Galand Haas

Daylight savings time... that glorious day when early risers get an additional hour of sunlight as they greet the merry morning. That horrifying day when commuters find they are cloaked in darkness on their nightly drive home. However you feel about it, one thing is for certain: daylight savings time is here. We're falling back, so what are we going to do about it?

Well, for starters, we're going to make sure it's light and bright in our homes. After all, our health may depend on it.

"Over time, that increase in darkness can lead to feeling blue and even experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder," said Huffington Post. "According to the NIH, symptoms of SAD typically start in late autumn and winter and include increased appetite, increased daytime sleepiness, decreased energy in the afternoon, loss of interest in work, unhappiness and lethargy."

Even if you're not personally affected by the time change, your house is. It's dark in there! Here are some ways to lighten it up.

1. Lose the solar shades

If you have solar shades on your windows to keep the bright sun out and lower your electric bills in summer, consider removing them until spring. You'll get more light streaming into the house, which could also help with your heating bills.

2. Lose the dark drapes

See No. 1. Plus, sheer fabrics and/or lighter colors could re-energize your décor.

"Some window treatments, such as Roman shades, block sunlight even when they're open. But sheer draperies hung on rings are easy to open fully to let in light," said Reader's Digest. "Venetian blinds are also a good choice: They allow you to control the amount of light that comes in, and you can angle them to direct the light into a particular area.

3. Bump up your task lighting

Scour the living areas for dark corners or areas that need a boost. Placing a desk lamp or floor lamp strategically could make your place feel brighter and more inviting.

4. Increase your wattage to the maximum allowed on your lamps

You may have opted for softer light when you purchased your light bulbs, or you may not even know what you have—or what's allowed. Check the lamps for the max wattage and pump up the light accordingly. You'll see a real difference in the amount of brightness in your room.


5. Cut through your roof

Installing a skylight can bring light into your house year-round. An option like Solatube is easy to install and surprising affordable and effective.

6. Make it fun

Who says lighting has to be traditional? Use this as an opportunity to show your creativity. And that goes for placement too. If you don't have the perfect spot to put a desk or floor lamp, wall mount it.

Don't have an electrical outlet in a place where you want lighting? Go solar.

You can see some more examples of wall lighting on Houzz.

7. Lighten up

"Dark walls absorb light while brighter walls tend to reflect it," said Build Direct. "On this note, painting your walls white is a great way to get more use out of the natural light that filters through your home's windows."

8. Use mirrors

Mirrors reflect light, so you can actually create the illusion of a lighter space. "Hanging or propping a large mirror on a wall opposite a window doubles the light streaming in," said Reader's Digest. "You can use smaller mirrors to line the backs of bookshelves, or arrange several of them on one wall. Another idea is to buy furniture with glass, chrome, or mirrored accents."

The bonus: mirrors can also make a small space look larger.

9. Clean it up

Don't want to get new mirrors? Clean the ones you have.

"It's amazing just how much sunlight is lost through a window pane covered with dirt, grime and soot. Thoroughly clean one or two windows or mirrors in your home," said The Order Expert. "There's no need to go on a cleaning binge if you don't want to; cleaning just one carefully selected window can work lighting wonders. When you're finished, take a step back and enjoy the fresh, bright light!"

Article originally posted on RealtyTimes

Good Monday Morning!

Here are the residential home sales numbers for October of 2014.  October was one of the best sales months in the Eugene and Springfield area in years.  Note that the inventory of homes currently on the market for sale has declined to 3.8 months of active inventory.  This is also the lowest inventory of homes actively for sale that we have seen in many years.

If you are considering the sale of your home, I have one word of advice and that is to get your home on the market," NOW"!  Take advantage of the low inventory and lack of competition.  It won't last!

October Residential Highlights

October brought an uptick in closed sales to Lane County! The 404 closings represented 15.8% increase over September’s 349 and a 33.3% increase over last October’s 303. It was the best October for closings in Lane County since 2005, when there were 455. Pending sales (370) were also strong this month, a 5.4% increase from September’s 351 and 25.4% increase from last October’s accepted offers. New listings, at 394, cooled 9.6% from September’s 436 but fared 6.5% better than the 370 new listings posted last October.

Inventory contracted to 3.8 months in October, and total market time decreased to 88 days.

Year to Date Summary

Lane County has nearly caught up to its 2013 activity. In the first ten months of the year, new listings

(5,308) and pending sales (3,504) have increased 4.0% and 3.6% over the same period in 2013. Closed sales (3,259) have decreased 0.2% from the same time last year.

Average and Median Sale Prices

The average price during the first ten months of 2014 was $236,000, up 4.0% from the same period of 2013, when the average was $227,000. In the same comparison, the median has risen 4.5% from $202,000 to $211,000. 

Have An Awesome Week!


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393 Lenore LOOP
Price: $249,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 1649
Pristine & brand new! This beautiful home offers spacious entry, laminate wood floors, granite counters, vaulted ceiling, gas fireplace & Great Room. Dining area with slider, kitchen with stainless steel appliances, island, eating bar & recessed lig...


Winter Home Care Tips!

by Galand Haas

Now that we are well into Fall and the weather has certainly changed, it is that time of year to make sure that your home is prepared for the weather ahead.  Here is an informative article from Realty Times that gives you some great inofrmation on winterizing your home.

April may bring showers, but winter weather can bring all sorts of other unexpected and expensive damages to your home. Fall's cool temperatures are a reminder that winter days are on their way - take stock of what you may need to do to prepare your home beforehand, and you'll be ready for the onslaught of ice and snow. Here are several simple, cost-effective tasks you can do now to make the transition into the colder months easier.

1. Clean Out Your Gutter

Once the leaves are off the trees it's time to clean out your gutters. Poorly maintained gutters can damage the roof of your home as well the exterior. When snow and ice mix with clogged gutters, it's a recipe for disaster, inside and out. Leaves and debris will prevent moisture from running off the roof, resulting in ice dams and water leaks. Before flurries form make sure to clear out any waste that's accumulated, and also be sure to note any missing or broken pieces and have them repaired. Remove potentially hazardous branches, or structurally unsound trees that could pose problems under the weight of snow or in the midst of a dangerous windstorm.

2. Have Your Heating System Checked

You don't want to be the person waiting in the frigid cold for a repairman to come when your heater stops in the dead of winter. Instead, have an inspector come in and make sure that the system is well ventilated and running smoothly before the first cold snap hits. Inspections generally run between $70-$100. If you live in an area where winter storms consistently knock out both electricity and heat, consider investing in a small generatorLearn more about what you can do to ensure that your system is operating properly, and give yourself time to make any needed repairs before winter comes and the heating companies are overbooked.

3. Have a Snow Preparedness Kit

It's happened to all of us. Waking up to discover a solid two feet of fluffy white snow layering the ground, only to realize that we've just got one old, dull shovel to dig ourselves free. Before stores are bought out of the necessities, make sure you have everything you need in case of a blizzard:  a shovel, flashlights with extra batteries, one or two bags of road salt to coat the driveway, sidewalk, and walkways, and an ice scraper or two. Keep an emergency kit in a designated spot, and when you awake and find yourself trapped in a winter wonderland, you won't be stuck trying to come up with new and inventive ways of unearthing your car tires.

4. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans aren't only useful in the summer months. If your fan has a reverse switch, you can keep your home extra warm in the winter by reversing the cycle of the blades. Having the blades rotate in the opposite direction will create an updraft. Since heat rises, this pushes the hot air down and re-distributes it throughout your house. It's especially useful for homes that have high ceilings.

5. Caulk Doors and Windows

In the depths of winter the average home can lose nearly one third of its heat through drafty windows and doors. If the gap between your windows and doors is greater than the width of a nickel, it's time to reapply some exterior caulk to prevent this heat from escaping. Silicone caulk is highly recommended due to its non-shrinking quality and impermeability to the harsh elements. Block drafts from coming under doors with "draft dodger" door stoppers. You can easily make your own at home. Taking these extra steps will ensure that when the temperature drops, the cold and unforgiving air will stay outside where it belongs, and save you any money you'd be spending on additional heating.

Have An Wesome Week!




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393 Lenore LOOP
Price: $249,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 1649
Pristine & brand new! This beautiful home offers spacious entry, laminate wood floors, granite counters, vaulted ceiling, gas fireplace & Great Room. Dining area with slider, kitchen with stainless steel appliances, island, eating bar & recessed lig...


Home Sales are up Nationally as Home Prices Decline!

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

National home sales were up again for October 2014 as the average price of homes dropped. The intersting part of this is that mortgage interest rates are down again and now holding below 4% for 30 year fixed loans.  I would guess that the historic low interest rates continue to buoy the market up and that first time home buyers remain the largest portion of new home sales.  This is good news, but it also indicates that our current strong housing market continues to rely on low interest rates and not necessarily a strong economic situation.  The fact that we are not seeing inflation with home prices is good.  This kind of situation will certainly help keep home sales strong as long as we do not see a large change in mortgage interest rates.

Have An Awesome Week!


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Price: $995,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 2 Partial Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 2930
Live where the eagles fly. Gorgeous valley and coast range views from a serene lofted location in the exclusive Country View Estates gated community. An elegant, top quality home offering spacious rooms, built-ins, and beautiful views, including spe...


4 Easy-Living Design Tips for Any Home

by Galand Haas

One of the basic principles of universal design, also called ageless design, is that it makes homes more practical and safer for everyone — not just the elderly or people with limited mobility.

These days, universal design features are an everyday fact of life for many households, with architects and other professional designers adding universal design ideas as a matter of course.

You don’t have to be a pro designer to incorporate this smart thinking into your own home. If you’re remodeling or simply adding a few upgrades, be sure to keep universal design features in mind. There are lots of resources that’ll give you some great starting points.

As we remodel our 1972 ranch-style house (we’re on the multi-year, budget-as-you-go plan), my wife and I have incorporated several low-cost, easy-to-do UD features. A few of our favorites:

1. Switch out doorknobs for lever-style handles. Doorknobs require lots of dexterity and torque to open; with levers you simply press and go.

Makes sense for folks with arthritis, of course, but think about an emergency situation when everyone, including small kids, needs to exit fast: A lever handle is a safe, foolproof way to open a door.

A big plus: Levers are good-looking and can contribute to the value of your home. A standard interior passage door lever in a satin nickel finish costs $12 to $25; you’ll pay $25 to $50 for a lockable lever set for your bath or bedroom. Replacing door hardware is an easy DIY job.

2. Replace toggle light switches with rocker-style switches. Rocker switches feature a big on/off plate that you can operate with a finger, a knuckle, or even your elbow when you’re laden with bags of groceries.

Rocker switches are sleek and good-looking, too. Ever notice how conventional toggle switches get dirt and grime embedded in them after a couple of years? No more! You’ll pay $3 for a single-pole rocker switch, up to $25 for a set of three-way switches.

3. Anti-scald devices for your bathroom prevent water from reaching unsafe temps. An anti-scald shower head ($15 to $50) reduces water flow to a trickle if the water gets too hot. An anti-scald faucet device ($30 to $50) replaces your faucet aerator and also reduces hot water flow.

Anti-scald valves — also known as pressure-balancing valves — prevent changes in water pressure from creating sudden bursts of hot or cold water. An anti-scald valve ($80 to $170) installs on plumbing pipes inside your walls. If you don’t have DIY skills, you’ll pay a plumber $100 to $200 for installation.

4. Motion sensor light controls add light when you need it. They come in a variety of styles and simple technologies. I like the plug-in sensors ($10 to $15). You simply stick them into existing receptacles, then plug your table or floor lamps into them. When the sensor detects motion, it turns on the light.

They’re great for 2 a.m. snacking, or if your young kids are at that age when they migrate into your bed in the middle of the night. The lights turn off after about 10 minutes if no more motion is detected.

Article orginially posted on

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6




Contact Information

Photo of Galand Haas Team  Real Estate
Galand Haas Team
Keller Williams Realty Eugene and Springfield
2644 Suzanne Way
Eugene OR 97408
Direct: (541) 349-2620
Fax: 541-687-6411

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