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Debbie Olson
North Woods Realty, INC
340 Highway 101 North
Crescent City, CA 95531
Phone: 707-218-8055
Email: northwoodsrealty@hotmail.com

Thank you for visiting today. If this is your first visit, take your time and look around. I have plenty of information and resources available to you. If you are a return visitor, thank you. I would love to hear from you and tell you how I can serve all your real estate needs.

Consumer Tips

Could You Rent Out Your Old House While Trying to Sell It? Should You?

Can You Rent Your House While Trying to Sell It? (And Should You?)

jhorrocks/iStock; 3D_generator/iStock

So you traded up and are sitting pretty in your gorgeous new home, but your old one is just … sitting there. It’s languishing on the market, which means you’re paying two mortgages instead of one. But there is a way to ease this financial squeeze and, dare we say, even profit: Rent out your home while trying to sell it. That way, you rake in rental income while waiting for the perfect buyer to come along. Sounds sweet, right?

Well, renting out a home while trying to sell it does come with some downsides and risks. Here’s what you should know before giving it a go.

You’ll have to find a tenant who’s OK with temporary digs

There’s nothing illegal about renting out your house while trying to sell it, as long as you clue your tenants into your plans. The challenge is you’ll need to find tenants who accept that this is a temporary lease—once a buyer bites, they’ll have to skedaddle.

To make sure your tenants are crystal-clear on the arrangement, get it in writing by having them sign a legally binding lease. Tracey Hampson, a Realtor® in Valencia, CA, with Century 21 Troop Real Estate, recounts this cautionary tale of what could happen if you don’t.

“My seller had rented out her home temporarily to a friend who agreed to stay for a month or two,” says Hampson. The buyer, trusting her buddy to do the right thing, didn’t draft up a lease. Big mistake. Not only did this “friend” leave the home a wreck before showings, but once a buyer was willing to look past that, the tenant refused to leave.

“We had to get the sheriff involved, the buyer walked, and her friend stayed there for three months without paying a dime,” says Hampson. “It was a nightmare.”

Moral of the story: Draw up that lease! Also know that having a tenant is going to make it harder to show your home (more on that next).

You can’t just schedule showings any ol’ time

In most areas, a landlord needs to give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property—or arranging for someone else, like a prospective buyer, to enter it. This requires a cooperative tenant who is willing to both vacate the place for a while and keep the place clean at all times. So unless you find the perfect renter, things can get difficult.

Your renter will “have nothing to gain in keeping the home tidy and presentable,” points out Adriana Mollica, an agent with Teles Properties, in Beverly Hills, CA. “They aren’t going to make any money from the sale, so what motivation do they have to take the extra effort in keeping the home clean?”

Worse yet, you run the risk of having the tenant refuse to leave and stay home when your real estate agent shows the property—which can make buyers uncomfortable.

“It just feels weird when a tenant is lurking,” says Mollica. “That’s not the ideal environment for buyers to fall in love with a house.”

And even if buyers are willing to see past all this, they might also have to wait for a while before moving in. Why? Because most landlord-tenant laws require at least a 30-day notice to vacate, so don’t expect your renter to pick up and move as soon as you sell.

Your home might sell for less money

All things considered, if you try to rent out your home while selling it, it could linger even longer on the market. You could be looking at “a significantly reduced pool” of buyers, says Josiah Grimes, a real estate investor and owner of Atlas Wholesale Homes, in Phoenix. And those buyers might expect more out of you.

“Anyone who is willing to take on that added headache will expect a better deal,” says Grimes.

Also expect to get less rent than a traditional lease.

“If you’re expecting to sell soon, you may have to offer a better deal to entice prospective renters,” says Grimes.

Alternative No. 1: Think caretaker, not renter

Some people actually seek out a temporary situation that offers cheap rent in return for maintaining the home and keeping it ready to show on short notice. A home caretaker understands what’s expected and doesn’t count on sticking around for long. Most major cities have one or two home caretaker organizations that specialize in placing people in homes for sale.

Alternative No. 2: Consider a short-term rental

Go the very short-term rental route, leasing your home for only a few nights at time on sites such as Airbnb. This helps you avoid the annoyances of a longer-term tenant; plus you can charge more per night than you can per week or month. The downside? Your home will have to be furnished, because no one’s going to pay to sleep on the floor. Still, if you’re staging the place anyway and are in a tourist area where hotels are lacking and vacationers plentiful, it’s a good option.

Otherwise, renting out a home you’re trying to sell could mean you end up with a lower sales price and less rent. Still, if you want to try, make sure you have a tenant you trust, a legally binding lease with clear instructions on your expectations, and then heaping portions of patience to get you through. Also make sure to read up on how to become a landlord (which isn’t as easy as it looks).

The post Could You Rent Out Your Old House While Trying to Sell It? Should You? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Green Up! Here’s How to Grow a Vertical Garden

How to build a vertical garden


Love plants, but don’t have the horizontal square footage to put in a garden? Don’t feel down—look up! Refocus your sights on growing a vertical garden.

Also known as a living wall or a green wall, a vertical garden makes use of wall-mounted planters or a frame to support an assortment of foliage. It’s an efficient way to cultivate some green in your not-so-spacious property. The best part? It can be built indoors! That’s good news for those of us who live in urban areas where every single inch of space is valuable. Read on to learn how to make your walls come alive.

Follow the light

Whether you want your vertical garden to be indoors or outdoors, make sure the plants have access to sunlight. Um, that’s quite obvious, right?

“I’ve heard of people putting cacti in a dark room or a basement with no sunlight,” says Christopher Satch, plant specialist at The Sill, a plant design and maintenance company in New York City.

In fact, the amount of natural light the space receives should drive the design of your vertical garden and the plants you choose. A few hours of daily sunlight is ideal.

“Plants are not objects—they are living things that require certain conditions to live and thrive, just like we do,” Satch says.

A Sacred Space to Bathe by siol and Habitat Horticulture
Photo by Janet PaikHow much more luxurious can it get than a lush vertical garden on your bathroom wall?

Pick the perfect planter

Part of the jaw-dropping appeal of vertical gardens is in their display. Satch says the sky’s the limit when choosing a planter (the more creative, the better), as long as it’s a good environment for the plant to thrive.

Opt for one of these common planters:

  • Recycled plastic pockets (our favorites are from Woolly Pockets)
  • Terra-cotta pots
  • Frames built out of PVC piping
  • Wooden crates
  • Rain gutters


York Show House 2011
Photo by Charles C Hugo Landscape DesignA beautiful mess of plants on a vertical wall built with plastic pockets and mounted boxes.

Your vertical garden doesn’t have to be part of one connected structure. You’ll likely be using separated planters, and that’s totally fine.

“Plants can be hung from anywhere—they don’t necessarily have to be a part of a massive fixture,” Satch says.

Many vertical gardens are custom-built, but you can also order some quick-and-easy designs online. Install some vertical garden pockets or multiple-tier garden towers. Whatever you buy or build, make sure it can support your plants at maximum wetness.

“Water adds a lot of weight,” Satch says. “Also, if it’s inside, you’re going to want to make sure that it does not leak.” Otherwise, you’ll be doing a lot more horizontal cleanup.

Choose the best plants

The success of your vertical garden (or any garden, really) depends on selecting the right type of plants for your environment and lifestyle. If you are unable or unwilling to dedicate a large amount of time to maintaining the garden, you should choose plants that require very little watering. But if you have a green thumb or at least more time to put into your hobby, you can consider plants that are a little trickier to keep alive.

These plants will make great additions to your vertical garden:

Minimal maintenance:

  • Marble queen
  • Devil’s ivy
  • Jade
  • Aloe
  • Cacti
  • Echeveria
  • Lipstick plant


Moderate maintenance:

  • English ivy
  • Boston fern
  • Silver falls
  • Peace lily

You can make your living wall look even more stunning by picking plants with long tendrils, says Satch.

“Trailing plants like marble queen or English ivy are a great choice, because they’re aesthetically pleasing and their trailing ends will fill in the blanks on vertical walls,” he says.

He recommends staying away from plants that are big and woody: “You don’t want to plant trees in your vertical garden, or something like honeysuckle that will grow very quickly.”

If you’re feeling boxed in or in need of a fresh perspective, adding a vertical garden is a great way to go green—literally—in your home.

The post Green Up! Here’s How to Grow a Vertical Garden appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

7 of the Most Ridiculously Expensive Furniture Items, Ever

5 of the Most Unbelievably Expensive Furniture Pieces--Ever!

For most of us, a furniture shopping score means finding something you really like at a great price. But, as with most things, the rules are different for the 1%. For these fortunate few, filling homes with only the most ludicrously luxe furniture and accessories is the only way to live.

When money is no object, buying a sofa that costs an average salary is somehow reasonable. Sure, it may never be within reach for most of us, but isn’t it fun to gawk at the overpriced items that obscenely wealthy folks are willing to drop dough on? We sure think so.

Check out some astronomically priced household items currently for sale.

$15,400 for a set of door handles

Have you ever looked at your tired old doorknobs and thought, “Damn, I wish those cost the price of a used car”? Then we’ve got the perfect gift for you: a set of door handles for $15,400. Sold by the contemporary design store Matter, “The Morfinas” are a pair of polished bronze silicate handles inspired by Salvador Dali and Antoni Gaudi.

According to Matter, these handles are just waiting to be held: “They are intended to be gripped, pulled, and above all, to sensuously fit the hand.” Who would have thought that opening a door could be such an … arousing experience?

$15,000 bucks for two door handles....
The most expensive door handles, ever


$5,950 for a desk chair

This is the Ferrari of desk chairs. Literally, folks! Design company Pininfarina, which helped create some of the Italian carmaker’s beautiful rides, also offers the Ferrari Vaya Limited Edition Chair for those who like to strap in for a wild ride during their 9 to 5.

According to the product description, this chair features a shock-absorbing backrest and “moves with the user to promote perfectly aligned posture for greater energy and focus while working.” Sitting at a computer is becoming more exciting.


Slap the Ferrari name on it and whatever it is becomes instantly more expensive!
Slap the Ferrari name on something, and it instantly becomes more expensive.

Screengrab from gibraltarfurniture.com

$150,000 for a mattress

How much is a good night’s sleep worth to you? How about 150 grand? That’s the price of the Hästens Vividus mattress, a custom-built heavenly contraption made of layers of springs, cotton, wool, and horsehair.

Is it worth the price? Bloomberg did the math: If you keep the mattress for 25 years and get eight hours of rest each night, you’ll be paying about $2 per hour of sleep. So what is 25 years of sleeping well worth to you?

expensive mattress
You’ll pay $2 per hour of sleep if you keep this mattress for 25 years.


$51,980 for a sectional sofa

You could renovate your entire house for the price of this sofa, but then you wouldn’t have a sectional couch that can move like a snake.

The Caterpillar Sofa by Parnian Furniture comes with over two dozen segments attached by a zipper and pin hinge, allowing it to be shifted into various shapes.

As large as it is, this would prove useful around the holidays when your out-of-town relatives need to sleep on your couch—there’s plenty of room for everyone. And you can even position yourself far from those whose conversations you are dying to avoid!

It bends, curves, and also breaks the bank.
It bends, it curves, it breaks the bank.


$10,000 for a used-tire table

This racing tire will complement your Ferrari desk chair, and it certainly has a price to match. The tabletop itself is little more than a glass top (cut to your specifications); what you’re really paying for is the racing tire.

Fashioned from a tire used by Michael Schumacher during the 1997 F1 race season, the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Schumacher Race table is a whopping $10,000. But given Schumacher’s inability to race again after a tragic skiing accident three years ago, having this piece around might be bittersweet for his fans.

You could zoom circles around it on your Ferrari chair?
You could zoom circles around it on your Ferrari chair!


$1,075,000 for a tub

What better place to soak in your riches than a tub of luxury? Check out this 22,000-pound tub by Baldi Home Jewels in Italy. Designed by Luca Bojola, this ridiculously expensive tub is cut from a single block of rock crystal sourced from the Amazonian rain forest. It could be yours for a cool million euros.

Baldi's insane bathtub.
Baldi’s insane bathtub


$35,000 for a meditation pod

The rich can even meditate better. Don’t believe us? Check out the Somadome, a capsule Forbes describes as “a private escape pod that lets you drift away using a combination of color therapy and binaural beat meditation.” Sweet!

Normal people would sign up for a 20-minute session at a yoga studio or resort for around $60 a pop, but you can get on a waiting list to buy one of these futuristic Zen escapes for around $35,000. Couple this with the Hästens Vividus mattress, and you might transcend to Siddhartha levels of calm. Or just never leave your room.

The post 7 of the Most Ridiculously Expensive Furniture Items, Ever appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.