Actors perform "The Three Musketeers" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., in this 2023 photo provided by the festival.
Actors perform “The Three Musketeers” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., in this 2023 photo provided by the festival.

Joe Sofranko / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland returns for another season starting on Tuesday. With new leadership and stable financial footing after the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater is ready to welcome back audiences for a full 10-show season.

On a recent day at the Angus Bowmer Theatre, crews prepared for the 2024 season. Large sections of a castle that resemble black stone were tied into the rigging and lifted into the rafters above.

Actor Kevin Kenerly is playing the namesake role in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the first show opening this season.

Kenerly has performed in every theater at OSF, and knows all of the quirks that actors have to take into consideration when working there. One of those involves making sure actors move around the stage so that everyone is able to see them.

“There’s also a space right about where that little cone is in the center of the stage,” he said, pointing from a small room above the audience seating. “That sounds like a really lovely spot. You stand on it and you speak into the space, but it’s dead. It literally sounds like you’re whispering if you speak from that space.”

Kenerly has been an actor at OSF for 29 years. He stayed because it was easy to learn stagecraft by working with other actors, some of whom had been performing for twice that long.

“We are a unique institution. We are in the middle of nowhere and people fly across the world to come and visit us and buy tickets to the seven to 11 shows we are doing,” he said.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Tim Bond at a renaming event for the theater's rehearsal hall in Ashland, Ore., in a 2023 photo provided by the festival.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Tim Bond at a renaming event for the theater’s rehearsal hall in Ashland, Ore., in a 2023 photo provided by the festival.

Joe Sofranko / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Another OSF veteran returned to Ashland for the 2024 season. Artistic director Tim Bond was the associate artistic director at OSF under Libby Appel until 2007. He said the festival’s productions are a balancing act between performing Shakespeare and introducing new plays to the stage.

“It was a company really committed to classics and doing Shakespeare, obviously, and a few new plays,” he said. “But then we really started working on bringing more diverse playwrights, more diverse actors into the company and designers as well.”

Back then, Bond said, the company worked hard to bring in new voices to the theater space. Twenty years ago, he started a successful career development program.

“That brought us many, many administrators, artists and artisans, many of whom are still with us actually on staff, and then many who I’ve met all over the country,” he said.

Bond is hoping to restart that program in 2025, as well as other programs and initiatives that took a backseat during the pandemic. One of those is improving OSF’s community engagement.

The organization’s rocky recovery has threatened Ashland’s tourism economy. Katharine Cato from Travel Ashland said her organization has shifted toward promoting other reasons to visit, including wineries and outdoor recreation. According to a 2021 survey of visitors, more people listed restaurants or outdoor activities as a motivator to visit than OSF.

“It isn’t necessarily healthy to have all our eggs in one basket,” Cato said. “And that, at one time, was OSF. But things broke open during the pandemic.”

OSF is bringing back its business alliance to collaborate on events. It’s also restarting its volunteer programs. Bond said he understands the city and the theater rely on each other to thrive, and that means making sure everyone is involved.

“I have a lot of friends here and a lot of old associates from all the years I was here that I’m reconnecting with,” Bond said. “All of us on staff are very keenly aware of how we can connect and collaborate more with the community.”

In 2023, OSF held emergency fundraisers to raise around $10 million to keep the theater running. Bond said the company is now on more stable financial footing.

It’s had to work on convincing people to return to the theater after being gone for so long. So far, that’s been successful, he said.

“We’re projecting that we’ll be 33% larger in our audiences this season than last year. So far, we’re on track, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Actors rehearse "Macbeth" before the opening of the 2024 season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., in this undated photo provided by OSF.
Actors rehearse “Macbeth” before the opening of the 2024 season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., in this undated photo provided by OSF.

Joe Sofranko / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Bond is excited for this season to bring the theater back to what it once was. He said this is the first year that OSF feels like it was back in 2019.

“It’s really important for people to know that coming in community with others has been taken away from us through the pandemic,” he said. “And the theater is one of the great ways to get that back. And when you get it back, you will realize how much you’ve been missing it.”


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Home equity borrowing is exploding across the country, thanks to the current housing market. But with multiple options to choose from, you might find yourself wondering what the difference is and which one to apply for — HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) or home equity loan.

These two programs are similar, and both offer a way to convert the equity in your home into cash that can be used for home improvements, consolidating debt, and more.

But to choose, you’ll need to understand the difference between a home equity loan and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). This guide will cover these differences and help you choose the loan program that’s right for your financial situation.

How to Calculate Home Equity

For starters, you need to understand how to calculate your home equity. The simplest way is to subtract the amount you owe toward your home from its most recent appraised value:

Home Equity = (Appraised Value) – (Amount Owed)

Remember, the amount you owe includes your primary mortgage as well as any other home equity loans or unpaid balances of other types of financing.

For example, if your home is currently valued at $300,000, and you have $120,000 remaining on your mortgage, then you have $180,000 worth of home equity.

Remember that you calculate your home equity based on how much you still owe, not how much of your mortgage you’ve paid — your monthly payments have included interest.

How to Qualify for a HELOC or Home Equity Loan

Home equity lines of credit and home equity loans both have similar eligibility requirements. Typically, you’ll need the following to qualify for this type of financing:

  • At least 20% equity in your home but this does vary by lender
  • Good credit, with a credit score on average over 620
  • Reliable income for over two years

Some lenders may approve high-risk borrowers, but the best loan terms will go to borrowers who meet the above criteria.

Is a HELOC a Good Idea Durig an Economic Crisis? -

What Is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)?

home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a type of credit that lets you borrow money up to a predetermined credit limit. This credit limit is based on how much equity you currently have in your home.

HELOCs have two phases: a draw period, during which you can borrow money, and a repayment period, during which you’ll pay back both the principal and interest. The draw period can last 5 to 10 years, while the repayment period can last 10 to 20 years.

Since a HELOC is a credit line, borrowers have no real limit on how much money they can borrow. You can take out money (again, up to your limit), then make monthly payments, then take out money again.

Home equity lines of credit function just like the credit cards in your wallet — you can keep using them during your draw period so long as you pay your balance.

Some lenders even let you make interest-only payments during the draw periods, which means you won’t have to worry about the principal until the repayment period arrives. This setup can lead to a larger monthly payment in the long run but can be great for tapping into money quickly.

Pros of a Home Equity Line of Credit

A HELOC offers advantages that include:

  • High flexibility in terms of the amount you borrow
  • Variable interest rates could cause your rates to drop if your credit improves
  • You pay interest only on the amount you draw, not the total loan amount

These loan types are ideal for those who don’t know how much money they need, such as when you’re making improvements to your home and don’t have a clear final budget.

Cons of a Home Equity Line of Credit

However, there are some disadvantages to a HELOC, including:

  • Variable interest rates could raise your rates unexpectedly
  • You can overspend during the draw period, leaving you with considerable debt
  • Your home is collateral, meaning you could lose it if you don’t pay your loan

HELOCs can be dangerous for the undisciplined. Since the draw period can be as high as ten years, that can be plenty of time to dig yourself into a financial hole if you’re not careful. Still, HELOCs can be helpful for homeowners who manage their finances responsibly.

What Is a Home Equity Loan?

home equity loan is a loan you receive based on the equity that you have in your home. Many lenders use the terms “home equity loan” and “second mortgage” interchangeably.

These loans offer fixed interest rates as well as a fixed monthly payment schedule, making them more predictable than home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Similar to personal loans, home equity loans are given in an upfront lump sum, which means that borrowers will need to know how much they need before applying for the loan.

The loan amount depends on how much equity you’ve built into the home, as well as your credit score and financial history. Qualified borrowers can often get a loan as high as 80% to 90% of the home’s appraised value. The loan terms can vary by loan amount and the lender, ranging anywhere from five to 30 years.

Depending on your lender, you may have to pay some origination fees of roughly 5%, but these costs tend to be relatively minor compared to the value of the loan itself.

Pros of a Home Equity Loan

The advantages of a home equity loan include:

  • Fixed loan amount
  • Fixed monthly payment schedule
  • Lower interest rate compared to other refinancing options

Borrowers can appreciate the predictability offered by a home equity loan, which prevents you from overspending like you might when using a HELOC.

Cons of a Home Equity Loan

There are some disadvantages of a home equity loan, including:

  • Lower flexibility if your financing needs change
  • Need to refinance your home to receive a lower interest rate
  • Your home is collateral, meaning you could lose it if you don’t pay your loan

With greater predictability comes less flexibility, which can lock you in if you discover your financial needs are greater than you initially thought.

Differences Between HELOC and Home Equity Loan

What is the real difference between HELOC and home equity loans? While both can be used for a variety of financing needs, the real difference comes in how the funds of each loan type are received.

Additionally, the interest you pay for each loan type can be deducted from your income taxes if you use your loan to make significant improvements to your home.

A HELOC offers flexible funding just like any line of credit, while a home equity loan offers the stability and predictability of a one-lump sum. The second major difference is that a home equity loan offers fixed interest payments, while a HELOC can offer variable interest.

When comparing a HELOC vs. home equity loan, the main difference is found in the level of predictability. A home equity loan offers far more predictability and stability compared to a HELOC, though a HELOC is ideal for those who need flexible financing options.

Which Option Should I Apply for?

So should you choose a HELOC or home equity loan? Both are solid options, though there may be specific times when one of these options surpasses the other.

When to Consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

You might consider a HELOC when:

  • You don’t have a final idea of how much financing you’ll need
  • You want flexible loan amounts
  • You need to withdraw money over an extended period of time

For all of these reasons, a home equity line of credit might be the better choice when undergoing a home remodeling project that you intend to complete over time. Since the cost of materials tends to vary, having access to a revolving line of credit can give you the flexibility you need.

Just be careful about how much you draw during your draw period — otherwise, you could find yourself amassing debt. Similarly, keep an eye on your variable interest rates, which can benefit you when they drop but become costly when they rise.

When to Consider a Home Equity Loan

You might consider a home equity loan when:

  • You have a specific budget for how much you intend to spend
  • You need a lump sum of quick cash
  • You want a clear, fixed repayment schedule

A home equity loan might be great for those who need quick cash for things like debt consolidation or for paying contractors who offer a clear quote on a remodeling project. You’ll also appreciate the repayment schedule and fixed interest rate. But if interest rates do drop during your loan term, you’ll need to refinance to lock in a preferable rate.


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Renovations and remodels can be excellent choices for homeowners looking to improve their home and increase their value. However, making changes to your property requires careful thought to ensure it’s the right decision as they involve varying levels of time and money.


Renovations refer to making repairs and updates to the home.

Types of Renovations

There are many different types of renovations, such as interior renovations, including updating flooring, repainting walls, and adding new fixtures. Exterior renovations could consist of repainting the outside, adding new trims, and structural renovations such as moving walls or changing the layout of the space.

Couple outside renovating and remodeling their deck space.

Reasons for Renovating

The reasons for renovation will vary, mainly depending on your goals, budgets, and how it could benefit your property. Reasons for renovations could be improving the space, making essential repairs, and/or enhancing the visual appeal of your home.

Pros and Cons of Renovation

Understanding the pros and cons of renovations is crucial before proceeding. The benefits of renovating could be that the home increases in value by modernizing or updating the property and improving the home’s functionality. However, renovations can be costly, incredibly if significant changes are involved and time-consuming.


Remodeling refers to altering, updating, or enhancing a home, including interior, exterior, and structural changes.

Types of Remodeling

There are many remodeling projects, from simple cosmetic updates to extensive structural changes. Common types of remodeling might include interior remodeling, including master suite addition, extending the home, completely redesigning a room (or multiple rooms), or exterior remodeling, such as adding stone columns, constructing a walkway, or redoing the roof or garage, including the garage door.

Reasons for Remodeling

There are many reasons for remodeling, such as improving a room’s flow and functionality through new features or modernizing old rooms. Remodeling can be an investment to increase real estate value. Remodeling can also make the home aesthetically appealing. Remodeling could also be done to adapt to changing needs or lifestyles, such as making the home more accessible or adding a home office or gym.

Pros and Cons of Remodeling

Before undertaking a remodeling project, it’s crucial to consider the benefits and drawbacks. The primary benefit of remodeling is that it increases the home’s functionality, enabling you to customize it. Also, depending on the cost of the remodel, it can be an effective way to boost property value and provide a significant return on investment. However, remodels may require a higher budget.

Considering your Options

Deciding between renovation and remodeling requires careful consideration of your goals, timelines, and budget. Each one can have a significant influence over what you choose to do.


When considering a remodeling budget, consider factors like the size of the space and the scope of the project. Renovations may be more cost-effective since they are simpler updates and are the DIY-friendly option for homeowners. Remodeling will be more involved but may require a larger budget.


Another consideration is how much time you have to complete the project. Renovations are quicker than remodeling, which may require more extensive planning and construction time. However, renovations might be the right choice if you have a tight deadline or need to minimize disruption to daily life.


The final aspect to consider is your goal for the home. Do you want to update the look and feel or do you need larger functional improvements? Are the changes necessary to increase the value of the house? Renovation projects can generally be completed more quickly and at a lower cost, but the level of transformation is lower. Remodeling projects can be more expensive and time-consuming, but they can also add significant value to a property with the right level of customization.

Mortgage Loans Available

Many financing options, such as mortgage loans, are available for remodeling and refinancing. These loans can be used to finance home remodeling and renovations.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loan allows homeowners to borrow

money using the equity in their homes as collateral. A HELOC is a revolving line of credit so borrowers can access funds up to a certain limit, depending on the home’s equity amount and credit score.

Cash-out Refinance

cash-out refinance replaces an original mortgage with a new larger one. The difference between the two amounts is given to the borrower in cash.

FHA 203K

FHA 203K renovation or remodel is a home renovation loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The program enables homeowners to purchase or refinance a home and the cost of its renovation or remodel through a single mortgage loan.

VA Renovation Loan

The VA Renovation Loan is a type of mortgage loan designed for Veterans wanting to renovate or remodel their homes. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers VA Renovation Loans and is available to Veterans who currently have a VA loan or those in the process of obtaining one.


For more information like this, please visit CrossCountry Mortgage

How many “first dates” have you been on with homes you hope to buy that ended up falling flat? The photos online looked good. On paper, the property had everything you need. But in person, you realize: No way. And at that price? Forget it.

Welcome to the depressing reality of home shopping today. Low inventory, high housing costs, and soaring mortgage rates mean that you have to either buy a house you don’t really like or put your home search on hold.

But there is another way: Try changing your perspective. Even just a few tweaks and adjustments to your home-shopping priorities might help. (This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to drastically lower your standards and settle.)

In short, it’s high time to learn the art of buying the perfectly imperfect house. Read on for insights from real-life buyers and real estate agents for guidance on how you can improve your chances of finally finding the home that spells the welcome end to your interminable home-shopping odyssey.

Can’t change the housing market? Change your criteria

In 2022, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Derek Coleman thought he knew exactly what type of house he wanted to buy.

“We were set on a three-bedroom, two-bathroom with a pool,” says the Florida-based real estate investor and founder of “Preferably on a canal so we could purchase a boat and really live the Florida lifestyle.”

Coleman worked with three real estate agents and looked at dozens of homes over the course of a year. And during that time, prices just kept going up.

“Ultimately, we accepted the fact that home prices had risen too much for us to get the home of our dreams,” Coleman says. “On the spur of the moment, we completely changed our plans and settled on a one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo in Miami.”

The take-home lesson? Looking for a house today requires more flexibility than usual. You might even have to scrap your plans completely, as Coleman did, and come up with a Plan B “dream.”

“Be open to adjusting your expectations or considering different neighborhoods to find a suitable home within your budget,” Coleman advises. “We were originally looking at just one to two neighborhoods and wouldn’t accept anything else.”

And today? “We couldn’t be happier with our decision,” Coleman says.

Put your priorities on paper

You might also want to put pen to paper (or keyboard to spreadsheet).

“As an agent, I always encourage clients to begin the house search by making a list of deal-makers and deal breakers,” says Rinal Patel, founder of We Buy Any Philly Home. “This is to make it easier to make decisions faster.”

And the list should also have a tab for “wishes” that aren’t “needs.” It’s important to distinguish between the two, and writing them down can help keep your mind from getting muddled.

“I tell them to make a new list for every house we see,” Patel says. “In it, we would make notes of what could have made a particular house The One, and if there are realistic ways to achieve those goals within their budget.”

In most cases, seeing it all on paper helps clarify which property stands out as having the edge.

Be realistic about your financial means

Money is another perpetual sticking point for would-be buyers who never seem to actually make a purchase. If you have Champagne tastes and a beer budget, it’s time to get real. Ask yourself: Are you overreaching financially, or expecting to lowball the seller?

“Stop dreaming of scoring a discounted deal,” says Glenn Phillips, the Birmingham-based CEO of Lake Homes Realty. “Understand what your financial means are, trust your agent, and shop within your true means.”

The Simple Secret to Buying the Perfectly Imperfect House in Today’s Insane Market

Get on the same page as your partner

If you’re shopping with a partner, it’s essential to make sure you’re in lockstep to avoid sabotaging your chances of finding the perfect home.

“Effective communication is key,” says Chinmay Dasgupta, a recent homebuyer in the New York City area. “We found that understanding what each person was willing to compromise on helped us avoid a lot of the misunderstandings we were having. Feeling like we were on the same team made the experience smoother and more enjoyable.”

Consider the potential

A great house with a hideous bathroom shouldn’t be nixed—especially in this market.

“There is rarely a perfect house for anyone,” Patel says. “However, there are ways to make a perfect house, if you can learn to see what a house can become, not just what it is at that moment.”

A good agent, Patel says, can help you price out a range of potential remodeling projects and determine how long they will take to pull off.

Eliminate extraneous decision-makers

Sometimes buyers need to tune out the opinions of friends and family.

“There can sometimes be too many decision-makers,” says Stephen McGee, director of National Property Buyers. “For example, parents contributing to the deposit also want to be involved in the process, which can complicate things.”

If you have a parent or other person making a significant financial contribution to your home purchase, their influence can be tough to resist—but it can help to point out that they won’t be living there and should leave the final decision to you. If they can’t, then you might have to really question whether taking their financial help is truly in your interests.

Consider what dragging your feet today may cost you tomorrow

In the end, you don’t want to spend your (and your agent’s) time touring dozens of homes with nothing but wasted weekends to show for it.

“It’s no secret that the current real estate market has presented some challenges for homebuyers,” says Loren Howard, founder of Prime Plus Mortgages in Scottsdale, AZ. “But it’s important to remember that buying a home is an investment in your future. Even if a home doesn’t check all the boxes right now, it can still be a smart financial decision in the long run.”

With historically low inventory, waiting for the perfect home might mean missing out on the opportunity to build equity and save money down the line, Howard notes.

In the end, Howard says that buying a home that doesn’t check all the boxes “may be a wise move to avoid paying high rents or even higher interest rates in the future.”


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Lower Lewis River Falls

Looking for a spot to cool off? The Pacific Northwest is your oyster. But how are you to figure out which of the dozens of swim holes near Portland are best for you? We’ve got you covered, with 16 of the best places to splash around, for different types of water lovers. We’ve nailed down all the details, and categorized which you’ll enjoy most.

This summer we challenge you to visit three new swim holes, and crown a new favorite. Let us know your picks at Let’s dive in.


Lewisville Regional Park

Distance from Portland: 40 minutes
This 159-acre park sprawled along the shores of the Lewis River holds acres of grassy expanse ripe for wheelbarrow races, plus picnic tablesbarbecue shelters, playgrounds, a baseball field, and, of course, several swimming holes. But families seeking a mellow day on the water best head for the Larch area of the park, where a smallish sand-and-pebble beach affords easy wading and swimming for those still sporting water wings. Parents can watch from the grass clearing directly behind the beach … or return alone another day for more secluded lounging in the Ponderosa part of the park, where the current is stronger and the beaches are smaller, but curtained by rows of swaying trees.

Henry Hagg Lake

Distance from Portland: 50 minutes
Despite (invalidated) rumors of ghostly underwater cemeteries at Forest Grove’s 1,113-acre dammed lake, it’s one of Portland’s best spots for recreational water sports, with picnic areas, 13 miles of hiking trails, and two boat launches. Bring your fishing rods because this lake offers great opportunities to catch big trout when not dipping in to cool off.

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Wilson River at Keenig Creek

Wilson River at Keenig Creek

Distance from Portland: 1 hour
As you head west from Portland toward the coast, a quick turn at Highway 6’s milepost 18 leads sweaty carloads to a relatively still, wide section of the Wilson River, near where it meets trickling Keenig Creek. Kids and the young-at-heart will enjoy rock steps fit for Q*bert and a rope hanging from the bridge, which offer a variety of heights from which to jump in and cool off, while risk-takers launch from the bridge deck itself. For pleasures less vertical, a rocky bar in the middle of the river is perfect for wading.

Lost Lake

Distance from Portland: 2 hours
Isolated (think 26 miles on winding back roads) but accessible (they’re good roads), Lost Lake sits high on Hood’s slopes, at a heat-blasting 3,100 feet. Besides the 10 degrees of mercury you’ll lose on your way up, you’ll also ditch the crowds. Shrouds of firs and pines ring the 175-foot-deep emerald waters, and offer prime fort-building terrain for the kids (and a welcome contrast to the scarred slopes of clear-cut you’ll pass on the way here). You’ll need a person-powered craft, like one of the paddleboats for rent outside the 1950s-esque General Store, to gain the best view of Hood’s perfect peak—from the middle of the lake—because no motorized craft are allowed. That means only one thing will interrupt your serenity: water-bound first-timers’ inaugural whoops of glee.

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Punchbowl Falls


Punchbowl Falls

Distance from Portland: 45 minutes

A little over two miles into the iconic Eagle Creek trail, hikers find refuge by scrambling down to the oft-photographed, bowl-shaped pool, fed by a powerful, 36-foot waterfall. The scars of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire are still blatant, though the forest’s quick rebound with underbrush and saplings is just as inspiring as the falls themselves.

Buck Lake

Distance from Portland: 2 hours
Pristine Buck Lake sits 70 miles from downtown Portland—15 of them corkscrewing forest service roads. But the crucial last half-mile is what keeps this stream-fed swimming hole relatively secluded and unspoiled: it’s traversable only by foot. Hike through gorgeous stands of old-growth fir, serenaded by a chorus of croaking frogs and willow flycatchers to the edge of the lake’s spectacular emerald waters—waters so clear you’ll be able to see every rock and log (and sometimes fish) beneath the placid surface. A rocky section to the left of where the trail meets the lake offers the best perch for the day—besides a raft in the middle of the lake, of course.

Moulton Falls

Distance from Portland: 1 hour 
The utility player of swimming holes, 387-acre Moulton Falls Regional Park has something for everyone: Instagram-worthy falls surrounded by plentiful flat rocks for playing lizard in the sun, inviting flat water upstream, two miles of trails tracing the Lewis River’s banks, and a three-story arch bridge daredevils (illegally) leap off. Even better, it’s free, though that means it can get crowded. Arrive early to stake out your bit of beach or stone and savor this MVP.

Just two hours from Portland, this iconic waterfall is one of the most gorgeous places to take a dip in the Pacific Northwest.

Lower Lewis River Falls

Distance from Portland: 2 hours
Photographs just don’t do this place justice. A wall of water, 200 feet across, gushes from 43 feet high into a turquoise plunge pool big enough to shelter Shamu. With a crazy (but not death-wish-crazy) vertical drop from the rim and smaller pools etched into pockets of the rock wall, this is a cliff jumper’s paradise. Hike east upriver through lush old-growth forest to discover Middle (1.5 miles) and Upper Lewis River Falls (about another mile on), stunning in their own right and ripe for swimming if the lower section is overcrowded.


Collins Beach

Distance from Portland: 40 minutes
On Sauvie Island’s northeastern shores, the sandy, one-mile stretch along the Columbia River makes for a quick, refreshing dip. Find the segment of Collins Beach that is well-known for its clothing-optional policy.

Rooster Rock State Park

Distance from Portland: 30 minutes
Oregon’s other designated nude beach (see Collins Beach above) is a straight shot east of Portland down I-84. This three-mile long stretch of Rooster Rock sits just 24 miles away on the south side of the Columbia River Gorge.

Dougan Falls/Naked Falls

Distance from Portland: 55 minutes
At the end of winding Washougal River Road, you’ll find a most picturesque landing: 19-foot-tall cascades tumbling into a giant, blue-green pool and a rocky beach for lying out below the adjacent bridge. Just beyond Dougan Falls you’ll find Naked Falls with its series of pools, rock slides, and plenty of space for sunbathing, swimming and cliff jumping. This Washington river site sits on private property, so make sure you purchase a day-use permit online or at the Washougal River Mercantile en route. 


Wahtum Lake

Distance from Portland: 2 hours
For true tranquility, you have to drive a bit. But rarely does a buttery-smooth paved road and a five-minute jaunt from the car lead to a densely forested lakeside retreat free of RVs and motorboats. Wahtum Lake is a case apart. A serpentine drive (which some years does not open till summer after the snow melts) with vistas of Mount Hood’s northeast face ends abruptly in pristine wilderness. Descend a winding staircase through hemlock, Pacific yew, and huckleberry to reach the glassy waters. Lakeside campsites are plentiful, and hiking options—including a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail—abound. Take the four-mile round trip up Chinidere Mountain for a close-up of Hood.

North Fork of the Willamette

Distance from Portland: 2 hours and 30 minutes
This fork of the state’s 187-mile artery is too far afield for the masses looking for a speedy escape from town. Look for sweet spots 1.4, 3.5, and 11 miles east of Lane County’s Westfir Covered Bridge, with protected pools of super-clear water and big boulders for sunbathing and lounging. If things get busy—and they sometimes do, owing to the river’s proximity to Eugene—simply drive a few miles farther to find a secluded patch of your own to call home.

Boulder Lake

Distance from Portland: 2 hours
Nestled in a thicket of evergreens in a remote swath southeast of Mount Hood, Boulder Lake is uncommonly still; if someone swats a fly across the lake, or an eagle swoops overhead, you’ll hear it. The 13-acre pool sits at the base of soaring scree slopes, with a sequence of rustic campsites, some with picnic tables, tucked in the woods of its east and south shores. Travel light for a day of basking, swimming, and fishing, or pack a tent and stay the night. Twilight here is stunning.


Blue Pool

Distance from Portland: 2 hours and 30 minutes
The coldest and clearest water you’ll ever experience flows up through a lava tube and into this tranquil, turquoise pool. The four-mile round-trip to take a dip is a fairly easy jaunt and is quickly accessible from other adventures along the McKenzie River where plenty of riverside campgrounds provide opportunities to stay and explore the area.

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Cleawox Lake

Cleawox Lake

Distance from Portland: 3 hours
Families take note: With dunes on one side and leafy forest on the other, the sandy-bottomed Cleawox Lake, inside the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, offers sun and shade for swimmers, paddlers, and fishers (the lake is stocked through spring with trout). A sandy beach and roped-off shallow zone, just an easy stumble from the parking lot, become kid central in the summer. Once the youth tucker out, catch the sunset from the Eye of the Needle sculpture on the lake’s eastern shore, or drive to the nearby South Jetty to watch it set over the Pacific.

Waldo Lake

Distance from Portland: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Don’t even bother taking your phone out of your car at Waldo Lake. For one thing, you probably won’t get service in this secluded basin, one of the world’s purest alpine lakes and the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Plus, you won’t want any pings and rings interrupting the silence. Thanks to a 2010 ban, nary a whir of a gas motor will tarnish your serenity at this 9.8-square-mile jewel. (Electric motors are allowed, though, at speeds under 10 mph.) In fact, except for the occasional swoosh of a bald eagle’s wings and the harmonic song of a hermit warbler, the only sound you’ll hear is the echo of your paddle dipping into Waldo’s haunting blue waters, where the view down reaches a world-record 157 feet.

Our safety reminder: Changing conditions—river currents, wildfires, weather events, late season snow blocking roads, and more—can make swimming or wading unwise. Always obey posted signs and local warnings, and enter the water at your own risk.


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Experiencing art on the wall of a museum or gallery is one thing, but to witness it within the surroundings where it was made is another, far rarer opportunity.

Luckily a small number of the world’s most famous artists, from Monet and Rodin to Jackson Pollock and Louise Bourgeois, have had their homes and studios preserved as monuments, in some cases remaining much as they were left by their celebrated occupants.

Here are 12 of the best artists’ homes you can visit around the world.

Auguste Rodin – La Villa des Brillants, Meudon, France

Artists' homes you can visit: Rodin's Villa des Brillants

Photography: Aconcagua

Rodin bought this villa in the Parisian suburbs in 1895, and by 1900 it had become the centre of his creative world, where he employed a collection of 50 assistants, casters and sitters, welcomed friends and admirers to see his work, and was ultimately buried.

Today the artist’s house has been returned to a state that the sculptor would have recognised, with his living and working environment reconstructed using period photographs. Particularly notable is its collection of early casts for some of Rodin’s most famous works, including The Gates of Hell. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Rodin’s secretary for a time, described the ‘tremendous impression’ of the ‘dazzling white sculptures [that] seem to gaze out at you from behind high glass doors, like creatures in an aquarium.’

Claude Monet’s home and garden – Giverny, France

Artists homes you can visit: Monet's kitchen

Photography: Harvey Barrison

For anyone who’s ever wanted to talk through a painting, a visit to Claude Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny is a must. The artist lived in this small Normandy village for 40 years, diverting the nearby river Epte to create the famous water garden that inspired and starred in so many of his masterpieces. The artist’s home itself is notable for its colours: it features bright pink exterior walls, and vivid blues, greens and yellows inside, chosen by Monet to align with the palette of his own works. Take a virtual tour here.

Casa Dalí, Portlligat, Spain

Photography: Alberto Gonzalez Rovira

In 1930, Salvador Dalí bought a fisherman’s hut in the tiny village of Portlligat. He envisaged a room four-metres-square that would serve as dining room, studio and bedroom, with some steps up to a tiny kitchen and bathroom. ‘I wanted it all good and small,’ he wrote in his autobiography, ‘the smaller the more womb-like.’ Over the next 40 years, these plan would change.

Photography: Alberto Gonzalez Rovira

The village became his principal residence and source of inspiration, and the house spread ‘like a real biological structure’ to include four more huts, creating a labyrinthine abode as singular as its owner. Today the artist’s house remains largely as it was, stuffed with artworks and oddities collected and treasured by Dalí. Take a virtual tour here.

Donald Judd’s home – 101 Spring Street, New York, USA


Donald Judd bought the five-storey former garment factory on Spring Street in 1968. First conceived as a private studio, he soon reconfigured it as a living space and gallery for both his own work and others.

Determined not to interrupt the clean line of the glass facade, he inserted his kitchen, bathrooms and library into the northeast corner of each floor. Museum quality pieces – a neon sculpture by Dan Flavin, a Duchamp shovel – are shown alongside the more prosaic evidence of Judd’s day-to-day life.

Frida Kahlo’s home – La Casa Azul, Coyoacán, Mexico

Casa Azul in Mexico City

Photography: Rod Waddington

La Casa Azul, or Blue House, was built by Frida Kahlo’s father in 1904: it was where she was born in 1907 and where she died, 47 years later in 1954. It was transformed into a museum in 1958, and remains almost as it was when she died, evoking her tempestuous relationship with Diego Rivera and the many passions of her life. Portraits of her heroes Lenin and Mao hang over the bed, while her clothes hang in the wardrobe. Kahlo’s art collection fills the walls, and her wheelchair sits by an unfinished portrait of Stalin. Even Kahlo’s ashes are on display in an urn. Take a virtual tour here.

Georgia O’Keefe’s home – Abiquiu, New Mexico, USA

Courtesy of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Courtesy of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Georgia O’Keefe discovered the ruins of a 5,000 sq ft Spanish colonial era compound in Abiquiu in 1935. She was struck by a black door in the wall. ‘It was something I had to have,’ she said. ‘It took me ten years to get it – three more years to fix the house so I could live in it – and after that the wall with a door was painted many times.’ Sitting within the landscape she made iconic, and preserved much as she left it, the artist’s house and studio atmospherically evokes her world, and is open for visits by appointment.

Louise Bourgeois House – 347 West 20th Street, New York, USA


Louise Bourgeois bought the Chelsea townhouse she shared with her husband Robert Goldwater in 1962. Following his death 11 years later, she transformed the house into an artist’s studio and filled every room with the processes and results of her work.

Seven years after her own death, the house is being opened to the public by The Easton Foundation. Described by the New York Times as being in a state of ‘bohemian dilapidation’, it has been little altered since the days of her famous Sunday salons, where she invited young artists to show their work and face her – often blistering – criticism.

Check the foundation’s website for updates on its grand opening. Arts club The Cultivist offers early tours of the artist’s house and studio for its members.

Barbara Hepworth’s St Ives home – Cornwall, UK

Barbara Hepworth Studio St Ives

Photography: Haarkon / India Hobson & Magnus Edmondson

Hepworth first came to St Ives – her ‘spiritual home’ – with her husband Ben Nicholson and their family at the outbreak of war in 1939. She returned, without Nicholson, in 1949 and never left, living and working at Trewyn Studios until her death in 1975. The site is now managed by Tate and remains true to the artist’s time – the gardens laid out as she designed them, punctuated by her large-scale bronzes. There is an element of tragedy too: the studio, which stands today filled with tools and unfinished works, was where she died in an accidental fire at the age of 72.

Pollock-Krasner House – East Hampton, USA

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner studio

Photography: via Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center (c) Stony Brook University

Jackson Pollock changed the landscape of modern art with his revolutionary drip paintings, many of which were created in his modest home studio in the Hamptons. Evidence of his innovation remains on the wooden floor, which is liberally spattered with paint from his perambulations around the canvases. ‘On the floor I am more at ease,’ he said. ‘I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.’ After Pollock’s death in 1956, his wife Lee Krasner took over the artist’s home and studio, working there for the rest of her life.

Frederic Leighton – Leighton House, London, UK

Leighton House Arab Hall

Photography: Will Pryce via The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Leighton House is an unassuming Victorian mansion tucked down a quiet Kensington street. Its exterior does little to prepare the visitor for the dazzling, gilded splendour to be found within. Built and extended over 30 years to the exact specifications of painter Lord Leighton, it is a private palace of art, filled with his own works – mostly biblical and classical in nature – as well as pieces by his contemporaries, and stunning flights of interior fancy such as the golden domed and richly mosaiced Arab Hall.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s summer home in Essoyes, France

Essoyes Renoir

Via Centre Culturel du Coté des Renoir. Photography: Sylvain Bordier

From 3 June visitors can go inside the home of Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir in France’s Essoyes. The town is where Renoir and his wife – model Aline Charigot – spent their summers from 1896 until his death in 1919, and the property has undergone an extensive €1m restoration to its fin-de-siècle interiors and gardens. You can also make pilgrimage to the garden studio where the painter worked, which forms part of the estate and is already open to the public.

JMW Turner – Sandycombe Lodge, Twickenham, London

JMW Turner's former home, Sandycombe Lodge in London

Photography: Anne Purkiss ©Turner’s House Trust Collection

Before becoming an artist, JMW Turner trained as an architectural draughtsman and in 1812 he even turned his hand to designing his own home, Sandycombe Lodge. Turner spent his weekends at the Twickenham retreat until he sold it in 1826. It later underwent a clumsy Victorian extension and its red bricks were hidden under a layer of white render.

Turner’s House Trust now owns the artist’s home, and it enlisted Butler Hegarty Architects to return the Grade II* listed abode to Turner’s original vision, including the ‘penny line’ pointing, and scraps of wallpaper unearthed during the restoration. Sandycombe Lodge now welcoming visitors who can learn more about Britain’s favourite landscape painter.


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Ahome inspection can be a terrifying process to newbie buyers: What if the house you adore has major problems hiding beneath that shiny new coat of paint? If you lie awake haunted by visions of mold or foundation problems, it’s time to take a deep breath.

Here’s everything you need to know about home inspections, and how (as scary as they might seem) they exist to protect you from a very bad deal.

We have insights into how to make the most of this all-important step. OK, exhale.

What First-Time Buyers Must Know About Home Inspections

Hire a top-notch home inspector

While it may be tempting to hire any run-of-the-mill home inspector to get the job done—particularly if the price is right—the inspection is no time to cut corners.

After all, buying a home is an enormous investment. “Everyone does themselves a disservice when they shop by price alone,” says Alan Singer of Sterling Home Inspections in Armonk, NY. “Plenty of inspectors don’t know what they’re doing and set up shop because it’s easy to do.”

So, first, check your local requirements: Many states require an inspector to have a license or insurance, and not having either is a huge red flag.

Even if insurance isn’t mandated, you’re better off choosing an inspector who is insured, which protects both of you against errors and omissions. Membership in a professional trade organization, such as the National Association of Home Inspectors, indicate the inspector is up-to-date on the latest developments in the field—another giant plus.

Attend the home inspection

Even though you will receive a written report after the home inspection, you should attend the inspection while it’s being done. It provides a valuable opportunity to learn all about the inner workings of your would-be new home. “I much prefer it when buyers are there so we can discuss the home in person,” Singer says. “It’s much easier to explain the ramifications of an issue when we’re standing in front of it.” Plus, it sure beats deciphering a 10-page report about HVAC issues or plumbing problems.

So, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Really stick your nose into the home inspection. You and your inspector will be looking at all sorts of things you might have skipped during your showings, like the attic and crawl space, and under the sinks. Don’t be scared to delve into the details. Even the best home will receive a laundry list of to-do’s and potential problems, and fixing them will be much easier with a hands-on understanding of the issues involved. Consider it free (and invaluable) fix-it advice.

Don’t panic (until it’s time to panic)

The vast majority of issues raised during a home inspection are repairable—after all, as Singer describes it, you’re buying a “used home.” Just like a used car or an old computer or second-hand clothing, there are bound to be problems.

Some of them may be small and easily fixed, like leaky pipes or rattling doorknobs. But if an inspector discovers a major problem—with, say, the foundation or water intrusion—even that may not be a deal killer. In fact, it could be a bargaining chip you can discuss with the sellers before closing the deal.

Work with your agent to determine the best approach. If your offer was contingent on a successful inspection (and most are), you have a good basis to request that the current owners make repairs before closing. You’ll want to get this in writing, along with provisions if the sellers fail to fix the problems.

But there’s no obligation for sellers to address the inspector’s discoveries. If they aren’t willing to shoulder the burden, you need to assess whether the cost of a large issue is worth the reward. If the home needs a new roof, mold abatement, or a foundation fix, you’ll need to do the math and be real with yourself.

With no solution beyond paying tens of thousands out of your own pocket, you might need to move on to a more habitable home. “People get very invested in the home they want to buy, and it all becomes a very overwhelmingly emotional experience,” Singer says. “But they need to listen to the advice of the inspector, take a look at the financial ramifications, and make a clear-headed decision.”


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Wondering how to choose a Realtor®? Purchasing a new home takes some serious prep work—from cleaning up your credit score to amassing a down payment.

But, hey, we’re just getting started! You also need a comrade in arms: a close ally to help steer you toward homes you’ll love more than life itself, find the best possible mortgage, and all in all help you through this emotionally and financially taxing process. That’s where a good real estate agent can make a world of difference.

Here’s how to find one who’s got your back. And your front. Every side, actually.

How to Pick a Real Estate Agent When You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home

How to choose a real estate agent

The first thing you might notice while trying to find home-buying help is all the different titles: agent, broker, Realtor®, etc. Are they all the same thing? Not exactly.

Realtor® is either an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Realtors adhere to a detailed code of ethics to treat their clients honestly and fairly. Consider it added insurance that they’re committed to your cause.

real estate agent is anyone who’s earned a license to sell property, which typically entails taking 100+ hours of course work and then passing a state exam. A broker is someone who’s continued his studies and can hire agents to work under him.

Conduct a preliminary search online

We shop online for everything these days, and finding a real estate agent is no different. To locate ones in your area, use online tools such as®‘s Find a Realtor search, which will give you useful info such as the Realtor’s number of years of job experience, number of homes sold, and the price of homes typically dealt with. Take note of a Realtor’s track record, because this can tip you off to superstar agents nearby and whether they’re a fit for your needs.

Don’t settle for ‘good enough’

According to the NAR, more than half of first-time buyers found their Realtor through a friend—and two-thirds contacted only one agent before moving forward. That’s kind of like having your friends set you up on a blind date, then marrying that person by Date No. 2. After all, how can you be sure you made the right choice without looking around? Simple: You can’t.

“One of the things I always tell my prospects is, ‘I’m flattered if I’m the only Realtor you are speaking to, but I think it’s best if you speak with two or more so you can draw comparisons and make a powerful decision,’” says Brett West, an agent with McEnearney Associates.

Trust us, there can be a huge difference between an agent who’s “good enough” and one who’s stellar—the difference between finding your dream home or not, and saving or wasting tens of thousands of dollars.

So the extra legwork you do now could really pay off in the (not so) long term. Be sure to explore at least a few options and grill them thoroughly before settling down with one.

Ask 5 key questions before picking a Realtor

Ask a prospective Realtor all of these questions. This is no time for being shy.

A true professional will have no issues with you asking questions. Reaching a certain comfort level with your agent is key to calming the anxiety around your house hunt.

1. How long have you been in real estate?

You’re looking for a seasoned agent—and while they don’t need to have decades of experience, less than a year or two of experience can be concerning.

2. How long have you lived in this area?

One noteworthy exception to the previous question is if they’ve lived in the area for a long time.

“A newly licensed agent shouldn’t be automatically removed from consideration,” says Mindy Jensen, a Realtor with Equity Colorado Real Estate. “If they’ve lived in the area their entire life, they likely know more about it than an agent who has been in the business for years but only recently moved to the region.”

Weigh overall experience against local experience when making your decision.

3. Do you have a team, or do you work alone?

Many standalone agents are excellent, but don’t ignore the value of a team.

“Working with a team is important,” says Angelo Puma, a real estate agent in Keller, TX. “It increases response time and availability. Often, solo-run agents are double-booked when you need their attention, and you may lose that perfect property.”

4. What is your schedule?

If they’re not a full-time agent, you need to know when they’ll be available.

“If the only time you can see houses is in direct conflict with times they have to be working their other jobs, you could miss out on a lot of properties,” says Jensen.

5. Do you have any vacations planned?

If they’re heading out of the city anytime soon, make sure they have a back-up in case you find the perfect home while they’re out of the country. “Murphy’s Law rules Realtor vacations,” says Jensen.


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Some of the biggest decisions about homeownership come after you’ve closed the deal. Should you renovate that dated kitchen? Will adding an additional bathroom increase the value of your home? But also: How many place settings do you actually need? Should you ever buy anything at full price? And what’s the deal with renting furniture? Is It Worth It addresses your questions big and small.

These days, it’s easy to browse online, order up a couch, and have it delivered to your door in just a few days. On the other hand, giving a well-loved vintage find a new life by reupholstering it can land you a one-of-a-kind piece of considerable quality. Still, unless you’re an avid DIY-er, it won’t come cheap. That $75 chair you snagged at the Goodwill could end up costing you $750 when all is said and done.

So, is it worth it to reupholster furniture? We talked to people who frequently level up furniture to find out.

Is It Worth It: Reupholstering Furniture

Pro: It’s (by far) the more sustainable choice.

“Reupholstering is extremely eco-friendly. There’s so much furniture out there already; we should reuse it,” says Amy McMeeken, owner of Vintage Junkies in Lansing, Michigan. She cites the environmental impact of producing and shipping new furniture as well as potential concerns about factory working conditions as reasons to rehab.

Pro: Older furniture is typically higher quality.

It’s probably not a surprise that a $700 couch made today is not as solid as a sofa made in the 1960s, but this is another significant difference. “[New furniture] is not built to last,” says McMeeken. “It’s a better value investing up front,” she adds.

Molly Burke, owner of Chairloom, which sells textiles and reupholstered vintage pieces, agrees. “If you reupholster something it should last 15 years if not more,” she says.

Pro: You can create the piece of your dreams.

When you choose to reupholster, you aren’t limited to a standard ring of swatches. It’s true that many to-die-for prints and fabrics can be staggeringly pricey, but you really can design a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture.

Con: It can get (very) expensive.

“If you’re trying to pay nothing for furniture then reupholstery is not for you,” Burke says. But if you’re shopping at what Burke refers to as “the Big Five”—West Elm, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, and Restoration Hardware—the price is comparable.

How much you pay for a piece to be reupholstered will be affected by your choice of fabric and who does the labor, but both Burke and McMeeken estimate the cost of reupholstering a chair to be $500-$700 and $1,500-$2,500 for a couch.

Expect to pay even more if a piece has nailhead trim, curved arms, intricate woodwork, etc.) And the reupholstering business is not immune to inflation and supply chain issues. The price of foam used for stuffing has gone up considerably, and that cost will likely be passed on to you.

Con: You might have to wait.

Fewer people are going into the reupholstering business these days, which means the people who are doing it can get backed up. McMeeken has waited a couple of months for a project to be completed, while Burke says something like a chair could be turned around in two to three weeks.

Con: It can be overwhelming.

If it’s not something you’re used to doing, the reupholstering process can be tough to navigate, especially when it comes to picking the right color, pattern, and texture of fabric for your piece. This is, in fact, why Burke created her company: to serve as the “middle man” with a design eye between the customers and the skilled tradespeople. (Tip: if you’ve got pets or kids, steer clear of velvet, which shows everything, and opt for a more forgiving chenille tweed.)

Con: The furniture is used.

Some people just don’t like the idea of having used furniture, while others may be worried about lingering odors or allergens. Nothing can be done about the feeling of heebie-jeebies, but smells and allergens are not a legitimate concern, says Burke.

The bottom line: 

If you’re not operating on a shoestring budget and are shopping at major furniture retailers, reupholstering is a comparably priced option that offers customization and longevity you can’t get from big brands. If you’re strapped for cash and/or need some furniture in a hurry, save your pennies and wait to invest when you have some lead time.


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We’ve all come to accept—and perhaps even expect—some of the enhanced language sellers use in real estate listings.

You know the ones we’re talking about: “Cozy” can be code for small, “charming” likely means old, “efficient” often stands in for small, and “unique” might suggest it’s hard to sell.

Yes, some sellers use language to smooth over a home’s rough spots. But when homeowners veer into actual untruths, it’s a problem.

It’s one thing to hide clutter and spruce up the living room furniture to prepare the home to sell, but it’s another thing entirely when sellers outright fib to potential buyers. Read on to get the lowdown on how white lies can torpedo a sale.

Sellers Beware! 5 White Lies That Could Hurt Your Chances of Selling Your Home for Top Dollar

Fudging the truth or telling a lie?

So what’s the difference between fluffing your home’s resume and a bona fide lie?

“Any white lie that misrepresents the condition of the home, neighborhood safety, or selling timeline can have serious consequences,” says Jennifer Spinelli, a real estate agent and the founder/owner of Niche Home Buyer in Albuquerque, NM. “Buyers are looking for honesty and transparency, so avoid any attempt to manipulate or deceive them.”

And depending on the severity of the lie, buyers might seek legal action against the seller.

“Buyers could sue the seller for misrepresentation and breach of contract,” says Martin Boonzaayer, a real estate agent in Phoenix.

To help you stay out of hot water (and sell your home), we’ve rounded up the top five white lies homeowners might be tempted to tell.

1. The house hasn’t been on the market that long

Sellers pretending their home just hit the market (when it’s been sitting for weeks) is probably one of the most common untruths told during the selling process.

Sellers tell this not-so-white lie hoping buyers won’t think something is wrong with the house if it’s been on the market for a while. Or sometimes, sellers want to create a sense of urgency so a buyer will make an offer on the home.

“The truth will eventually come out,” says Spinelli. “And no one likes being deceived.”

So seller’s beware—it’s pretty easy for a buyer’s real estate agent to look at your property’s history on the multiple listing service to determine the listing date. And if the home has been removed and relisted, that will also show up.

2. We ‘just’ installed the HVAC/roof/plumbing

Another typical white lie sellers tell is about recent upgrades that were actually made years ago.

But any fudging a seller does about the HVAC, roof, or plumbing will eventually come out during the home inspection.

“It’s a terrible idea not to disclose everything you know about your home, because it can lead to a buyer walking away from the deal if they discover the issue during an inspection,” says Diana Rodgers, a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Philadelphia.

3. This is a great neighborhood

A seller might be tempted to tell a white lie about the amenities in an area or how safe the neighborhood is. But neighborhood safety is also one of the easiest things potential buyers can find out on their own.

Buyers can research online and find out the local crime rate to determine the safety of a neighborhood. And they can also visit the local police department and request public records like police reports for the area.

“While it’s important to highlight positive attributes of the area, exaggerating or fabricating details can misrepresent what a potential buyer is getting into,” Spinelli says. “This could cause them to abandon the sale completely.”

4. The neighbors are all wonderful

A seller fibbing about their next-door neighbors might seem like a tiny white lie. But, again, when the truth comes out, it can spell bad news.

Michael Winkler, a real estate agent and co-founder of Sell Home Today, had a potential buyer who drove by a house they were interested in at night. The seller had said the neighborhood was quiet. But there was a loud party raging next door to the house for sale.

The buyer ended up looking for another property.

“A seller should never lie about disruptive neighbors,” says Winkler.

5. We’ve never had a mold problem

State laws vary on whether sellers must disclose the presence of water damage or mold.

Yet, since mold can lead to serious health issues, the ethical thing for all sellers to do is be upfront about it—even if there is no legal requirement to do so.

Failing to do so could open the seller to potential liability lawsuits.

Deni Suplee, a real estate agent with Long and Foster in Doylestown, PA, experienced firsthand a problem with a seller not disclosing the presence of mold.

Suplee and her husband bought a house that passed a home inspection. But five months later, dark spots appeared in the bathroom.

“The owners covered up the mold instead of doing remediation,” says Suplee. “So we were able to force a complete fix. This included mold cleanup, repainting, and the addition of a bathroom exhaust fan. Guess who had to pay the price for all of this? The sellers!”


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