Volunteer Opportunities in Bandon

You may have seen a number of notices lately in the Coffee Break calling for volunteers in a wide variety of areas.  This winter might be a perfect time for you to take your extra time and your talent and donate it to a worthy cause!

The ways your volunteered time benefits others are many and varied, but did you know that it can benefit volunteers of all ages just as much?  Volunteering helps tie people to the community and widen their support systems; develop social, employment, and general life skills; maintain mental and physical health; and live a longer and happier life.  Find our more on the benefits of volunteering.

There are many different volunteer opportunities right here in the greater Bandon area.  Whether you are interested in working with children, the sick and elderly, animals, hungry families or books, everyone is sure to find something to fit their needs and interests.

BRAVO: Bandon Readers and Volunteers Organization
Join others at Ocean Crest Elementary on Tuesday afternoons to help 1st and 2nd graders develop their reading skills by reading with them.  Contact the Ocean Crest principal Mary Rae Anderson at 541-347-9282 for more information.

CHH Hospice
Coastal Home Health and Hospice is looking for compassionate volunteers to help support patients and their families in the home and in indirect care with administrative-office support.  Volunteers help families and the CHH Hospice staff throughout Coos and Curry Counties.  For more information, call Lynnie Denne at 541-512-5040 or email her at

CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates
If you are interested in helping children who have been abused or neglected, consider becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate.  CASA volunteers work with the court system and Oregon Department of Human Services to ensure that all necessary information is given to the court so judges can make the best decisions for children.  If you are interested, attend an informational meeting on January 28 from 2-4 p.m. at The Grounds coffee shop inside Books by the Bay at 1875 Sherman in North Bend.  Volunteers will receive 30 hours of free training in March and April.  If you are interested, contact Laila Dunham at 441-435-7013 or email her at

Bandon Public Library
For those looking for flexibility and a bookish environment, consider volunteering your time at the Bandon Public Library.  They are always looking for helpers to check in and shelve books.  Stop in at the library at 1204 11th St. SW or call 541-347-3221 if you are interested.

Bandon Library Friends and Foundation (BLFF)
The BLFF’s mission is to furnish and continue to improve the Bandon Library with a view towards the inevitable growth and needs of the community.  They sponsor activities to advance literature and learning as well as special programs that enrich the lives of Bandon’s children, families, seniors, and new readers of all ages.  Volunteers are needed to help coordinate, prepare for and run their quality events.  Email the BLFF at if you are interested.

Coos County Animal Shelter 
Many people find themselves drawn to helping the non-human animals in our community.  To volunteer with the Coos County Animal Shelter, pick up an application at the shelter or use their website to download an application. To volunteer, you must be 18 years old and pass a simple background check, then you’ll be on your way to many of the positions available. For more information, contact Stacy, the volunteer coordinator at 541-297-5115

Bandon Feeds the Hungry
Bandon Feeds the Hungry is an umbrella organization incorporating Everyone At Table (E.A.T.), Good Neighbors Food Bank, and Senior Nutrition (Meals on Wheels).
Bandon Senior Nutrition/Meals on Wheels
Contact Bandon Senior Nutrition to find out how to volunteer.
1100 West 11TH
E.A.T. – Everyone At Table
E.A.T., Inc., run entirely by volunteers, has been dedicated to serving nutritious meals to community members on a limited income since 2004. They are often looking for volunteers to sweep and mop, make salads, serve salads, and wash dishes. Call Allison Hundley, 541-404-2268, for more information.
Good Neighbors Community Food Bank
Volunteer-run Good Neighbors needs volunteers to assist them in acquiring and distributing food to needy individuals and families in the geographic area of Bandon, Oregon. They serve approximately 165 Bandon families a month.  For information, contact Keith Young at 541-347-3268.

Bandon Chamber of Commerce
Helping visitors and tourists might be right up your volunteer alley.  The Bandon Chamber of Commerce is looking for volunteers who love Bandon and enjoy meeting new people to help with the only regional visitor information center staffed by volunteers year-’round.  Volunteers are needed four hours a week for meeting visitors and locals and answering questions about area businesses, activities and events. Training is provided.  Call 541-347-9616 for more information.

Volunteering does not have to be confined to organizations with websites and email addresses.  Look around you, and pay attention to the needs in the community.  Perhaps you would enjoy working in your child’s classroom.  Or you see that your elderly neighbor’s grass needs cutting.  You might notice that the single mom across the street doesn’t have time to walk her dog.  Whatever you choose to do, a little time and energy on your part can go a long ways in your community!

Amenities Every Vacation Home Should Have


Many vacation rental owners attempt to reduce their costs by reducing the extra amenities available to renters, but this can backfire as they find they have fewer bookings and fewer repeat guests.

When asking yourself what amenities you should offer to your guests, think about your own travels.  Consider the last time you went on vacation and stayed in a hotel or a vacation rental home.  What did you really appreciate having?  What did you wish was provided?  The amenities offered in a vacation rental can be the icing on the cake for your renters, and can make the difference between them returning or finding a different place to rent next time.

Free Wireless Internet

Free wireless should no longer be seen as optional.  In this world, people want and need to stay connected.  They want to share their pictures and experiences from their vacation; stream movies or TV shows; stay in touch with email, Facebook, and Twitter; and many people do a little work when away from home.

TV, Cable Channels, DVD Players, and games

After a day of play and activities, families appreciate being able to wind down with cable TV or a movie.  Basic channels will do, but cable is a must.  It may be a good idea to start a library of DVDs in all categories, including gamesfamily friendly ones, as guests may not think to bring their own.  Keep your eyes open at thrift stores and garage sales as they are inexpensive sources of a variety of movies.   If possible, place a TV with cable and/or a DVD player in each bedroom, and, keeping in mind that happy kids make parents happy, having a game system with a few games wouldn’t hurt.

Believe it or not, some families enjoy playing games that do not require a system or a monitor!  It’s a great idea to have some games available such as Scattergories, Pictionary, Apples 2 Apples, a few decks of cards, and a cribbage board.

Fully-Stocked Kitchen

Remember, one perk of staying in a vacation rental home over a hotel is the ability to make meals at home.  Look around your kitchen.  What are your basics?  If you don’t cook much, ask a friend who does.  Be sure that your kitchen is stocked with all the tools necessary for eating, drinking, cooking, and baking.  Include pots and pans, a pots panscookie sheet, coffee maker (with filters!), microwave, dishes, wine glasses, silverware, a set of knives, cutting board, and a variety of gadgets such as a can opener, corkscrew, spatula, wooden spoon, etc.  Also include the things necessary for cleaning up, such as kitchen towels and dish soap.  An outdoor grill will attract those who enjoy doing their cooking outside.

Pet-Friendly Policies

The decision to allow pets in your vacation rental or not is a personal one, but pet-friendly policies do open your rental to families who may otherwise need to look elsewhere.  Guests with pets typically expect to pay a non-refundable pet fee to use to deep-clean the carpet after each guest, and you won’t have to worry about future guests with allergies or sensitivity to pet smell. dog

Washer and Dryer

As airlines are charging more and more to check baggage, many travelers limit themselves to one carry-on bag on the airplane.  With the option to wash their clothes during their stay, everyone will feel less packing pressure and be more relaxed about getting their clothes a bit dirty while on vacation.  Be sure to include laundry detergent as well as instructions to use the machines.

Welcome Basket

A welcome basket visible as guests enter is a nice touch.  It doesn’t have to include fancy wine and crackers, but a few simple free necessities can go a long way, especially things that guests will want to buy but don’t want to have to on their first day rolling into town.  Consider including items such as hand soap, a small bottle of shampoo and tube of toothpaste, a new kitchen sponge, a small packet of coffee, a few different types of tea, and a few cookies or pieces of candy.

Fireplace, Pool or Hot Tub

Depending on where your vacation home is rented, one of these options firecan make your guests’ stay more comfortable and fun.

Things to Do Binder

Many travelers staying in vacation homes do so so they can feel like they are living like locals.  Think about the great places there are to visit and see, and spend some time collecting brochures and menus from various establishments in town as well as some of your own thoughts about to do in the area.  Gather these ideas into a binder with sections for restaurants, art galleries, entertainment for kids, parks, beaches, rentals, shopping, etc, and make it easy to find and use.  You may be surprised at how helpful and appreciated that is!

A great way to get a feel for amenities guests would appreciate is to stock your vacation rental home with the things you think they will want, and then book a stay there yourself.  Take only the things you would take to a hotel, and during your stay, make a list of the things you wish you had.

Happy guests will be return guests!  Going the extra mile to ensure that renters are happy, comfortable and entertained will increase the likelihood that they will return and will recommend your rental to their friends.

Tips for Buying Your Vacation Rental

In part 2 of the Vacation Rental Home Series, we have put together a few tips that will help you in your quest to purchase the perfect vacation rental home.

Location, Location, Location


This is real estate we’re talking about, so the location x 3 rule still applies.  You may be using your vacation rental for yourself at times, but if your primary intent for the home is as a vacation rental, consider looking at popular destination areas such as the beach or mountains within a 2-3 hour drive of an urban area with a large airport to make travel to your rental easier.  The home should also be in a pleasant location with activities such as beach walking, shopping, theater, restaurants, or horseback riding for the whole family to enjoy, and accessibility to these activities is key.  An oceanfront home may be outside your budget, but one a block away and still within an easy walk to the beach could be much more affordable and will open you up to a larger pool of potential renters.

The Four Seasons

Palm Springs, California might be a wonderful place for renters to enjoy golfing, sun, and 70-80 degree days in the winter, but temps in the 100s will keep many travelers away in the summer.  Similarly, a spot near great hiking trailheads in the summer and fall may have impassable roads in the winter snows.  The Oregon coast with its refreshing cooler summer days and cozy winters could be an ideal four-season vacation spot.


You know that your vacation rental will produce some income for you, but do you have a good idea of how much you can count on and what your additional costs will be?  First, you need to make an educated guess about how many days a year you expect your home to be rented.  Research other vacation rentals using websites such as or, and talk to vacation rental property managers and ask about homes similar to one you might consider purchasing.  How available are they?  Are their calendars clear or full?  How much business do they seem to get?  When you get an estimate of how many weeks your house may be rented, cut that down by 1/3 to be safe, and do the math to come up with your potential rental income.  Then add up all of your expenses.  Compare that to your potential income, and if your expenses outpace your income, decide whether or not you can afford the difference.  Keep in mind, there may be stretches of time your vacation rental sits empty.

You may find a great deal on a home to use as a vacation rental, but the expenses go beyond the purchase price.  Put yourself in the shoes of a potential renter.  What would you want and expect out of a place you were renting?  Then, figure out which of those are ongoing costs.  Expect to pay for cable and high-speed wireless internet, landscape maintenance, and pool or hot tub maintenance if applicable.  Expect, too, to decorate for the masses.  New, clean, simple furniture that is pleasing to the majority of renters will make your guests feel at home.

Remember, too, to budget in typical home costs such as taxes and insurance, as well as maintenance and repairs.  A good rule of thumb is to expect that repairs should cost around 1.5% of the value of the house per year.  If you buy a $200,000 home, budget for $3000 a year in repairs.  You may not need all of it in a given year, but save it for larger repairs down the road.


There are a number of factors that might increase how rentable your new vacation rental might be.  When you identify homes you are interested in, find out if they have been rentals in the past, and look at the rental history or talk to the rental agencies if any were used.  If it has not been used as a rental, talk to rental agencies about how much vacation homes in the specific areas and of that type tend to be rented.  It’s also important to look at vacation home rental websites such as,, or  Look at several properties to learn which houses tend to have the busiest calendars.  Are they close to shopping?  Do they have views?  How many bedrooms do they have?

One of the first things to learn in your hunt is whether there any restrictions on short-term rentals in the city or the specific neighborhood you are considering.  Talk to your real estate agent and the city’s planning department to find out if there are any zoning restrictions that would prevent you from renting your home on a nightly or weekly basis.

Rent Before You Buy

As you will likely be using this as a vacation home for yourself as well as a rental for others, be sure that you and your family enjoy the area in which you’re considering buying.  Find a home or a hotel room to rent for at least a couple weeks.  This will give you time to experience the day-to-day life in the town, explore, and experience some of the activities available.  You can also spend time driving or walking through different parts of towns with an eye towards neighborhoods you would enjoy as well as any hidden annoyances like noise or traffic.  It will also give you time to look at the town and area through the eyes of someone looking for a vacation rental.  A real estate agent who knows the area can be very helpful as you are learning its various nuances.

Type of Home

The condo vs. single family home debate comes down to a few basic things.  First, how much do you want to manage the property?  Condo associations take care of all exterior maintenance while with a single family home, you or someone you hire will need to deal with any and all maintenance issues.  Consider amenities as well.  A single-family home may have more bedrooms and bathrooms, larger family spaces, and a yard for kids and pets, but many condos have extras such as a hot tub, pool, a tennis court, or fitness center.  Most condos have a home owners’ association with a monthly fee, and there may be restrictions related to renting the condos to third parties.  Finally, in your comparison with other rentals in the area, pay attention to whether condos or single-family homes rent better.  It may not be a good idea to buy a condo if most of the successful rentals are single-family homes, or vise versa.

Size of Home

Square feet in a home may not be as important as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms available.  Families and groups of friends traveling together value their own spaces and accessibility to a bathroom, and the more people they can sleep in one house, the more money they will save, and the more they can enjoy each other’s company.  Again, it is a good idea to see what other successful rentals in the area are like.  In general, your goal should be to cater to the typical renters who come to your area.

Tax Implications

Just as you do on your primary home, you will be paying property tax on your new home.  Be sure to talk to your real estate agent, county officials who determine property taxes, and/or an accountant to know exactly what you’ll be getting into.  You will also be paying income tax on any rental income you receive from the home as well, but you’ll also be able to deduct the expenses of owning the home, including taxes, homeowner dues, and management fees.

The thinking and legwork that needs to be done prior to making an offer on the vacation rental home of your dreams may take some time and energy, but it will pay you back in fewer surprises, rental income, and a vacation home you will enjoy using yourself!

Why Buy a Vacation Rental Home


Anyone with a small nest egg they’d like to grow is looking for wise investing strategies, and many are considering purchasing a second home to double as a vacation home and an income-producing vacation rental.  The stock market goes up and down, but people will always travel and increasingly will be looking for more affordable and creative ways to do it.  Many travelers are looking to stay closer to home and avoid hotels and restaurants, and vacation rental homes fit the bill.

In our Vacation Rental Home Series, we will be exploring the reasons a vacation rental may be a good investment for you, tips for looking for the right home, marketing tips, important amenities to offer, how to ensure repeat business, and more.

Three trends in Robin Amster’s article “Six Trends to Watch in 2014 & Beyond”  point to clear reasons why now is a good time to invest in a vacation rental property.  The first trend is the fact that millennials, 18-30 year olds, are more likely to travel in pursuit of favorite interests or activities and are more likely to travel with friends in organized groups.  This is clear in the number of people in this age group gathering friends together for a ski or beach vacation, or travel to a town for a specific event such as a music festival or a marathon.  As many in this demographic are becoming increasingly financially powerful, they are not to be ignored.  Paying attention to and marketing to this group of people will be a wise use of time and energy.

Another trend Amster points out is the growth of “creative tourism,” travel with the intent to be engaged in the community, connecting with and interacting with locals.  As vacation rental homes are often in residential areas as opposed to hotels off of the interstates, in tourist areas, or in urban downtowns, it’s very easy for travelers to live as a local, shopping at farmers’ markets and participating in community events.

The third trend to pay attention to is more multigenerational travel.  As baby boomers age and their extended families grow, they are motivated to do more family traveling, especially to celebrate big events such as retirements, anniversaries or birthdays.  As this trend and demand grows, the market must respond with affordable options with services, amenities, and interesting activities for all ages.  Hotels can be expensive, especially during holiday times, and the addition of restaurant meals for several people stretch budgets to the breaking point.  Some cruise lines and all-inclusive resorts can meet the activity demands but are well outside many travelers’ budgets.  People are starting to realize that it’s much cheaper to rent a house with a kitchen and cook than it is to take everyone out for each meal.

Not only is a house cheaper for multigenerational vacations, but it allows for a vacation lifestyle focused on the family.  As everyone is all together under one roof, interactions among all present are possible; people can relax and enjoy meals, movies, and games together.  Vacation rentals allow multigenerational family travelers a home-away-from-home where family members can do their own thing during the day and come together again in the afternoons and evenings.

Vacation rentals in towns such as Bandon, Oregon can meet all of these needs; there are many affordable options as well as activities to satisfy families with school-aged kids, seniors, and all ages in between.  Bandon also offers experiences millennials are looking for; located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the Oregon coast, it is ideal for a long beach weekend.  The Cape Blanco Music Festival  also draws country music fans of all ages from all over the country.  The small beach town is an ideal spot for visitors to engage in creative tourism.  The locals are friendly and welcoming, and there are activities and educational opportunities to participate in year-round.

If you’ve been considering purchasing a vacation rental home as an investment, a source of income, and as a place for you to get away, there are some very compelling reasons to go ahead and do it sooner rather than later.  The next post in the vacation rental home series will include some tips for buying the perfect vacation rental home, so stay tuned.

Bandon Showcase Presents The Voetberg Family

The Sprague Theater was full last Friday night for the season’s first Bandon Showcase presentation, the Voetberg Family Band.  The self-proclaimed “Eight is Enough Voetberg Family Band,” is made up of 8 siblings, ranging in age from 12 to 25, two of whom are national fiddle champions.  The family’s spokessibling said at the beginning, “This evening is all about family,” and no one was disappointed.  Together, they put on a powerful, moving, and entertaining show.

The Voetbergs featured mainly Celtic fiddling but worked in American fiddle, oldies, rag, and jazz, as well as some pieces written by the siblings themselves.  They are clearly well-versed with and comfortable singing the variety of styles, moving smoothly from one to another.  Along with their two older siblings who are no longer in the band, they began their musical endeavors together in their living room, singing multi-part harmonies with their mother.  They all work together extremely well on stage, down to the youngest member, and seem to enjoy performing together.  With smiles on their faces and a natural stage presence, they all look happy to be there and are quite relaxed, save the flying fingers.

The eldest Voetberg Family Band member, Liddy, has written, arranged and produced several pieces for the family band.  She has won several championships and contests, and has even released her own solo project.  She impressed the audience with her crisp, precise fiddling, but her talent does not stop there.  She stepped in front of the microphone to sing early in the performance with her youngest brother Rudy, and her voice is as clear and true as the music she produces with her fiddle.  She also took her turns at the piano, the first of the family to display the many musical talents possessed by all of the siblings.

Elisha, the emcee of sorts, kept the audience entertained with the one-sided banter and quips he kept up whenever he was in front of the microphone.  He explained much about the family, including the fact that the Voetberg children have all been homeschooled to enable their travels and performances (he jokingly illustrated this with a segue into the song “Wonderful World” which begins, “Don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology…” sung by the 3 youngest boys of the group).  Elisha had a lot of nice things to say about the Bandon Showcase and our beautiful town of Bandon but promised not to say anything about our well-kept secret.

Elisha’s talent goes far being a comedian; he is the band’s amazing guitarist and has won several regional picking championships with his guitar and mandolin.  He doesn’t stop there, however.  Liddy told the audience at one point during the performance that with enough applause, he would play the fiddle.  True to her word, after an enthusiastic round of applause, Elisha picked up his fiddle and showed his mastery of it.  Like his older sister, he has won several fiddle championships and has placed in the top 5 at other competitions.

Annie, age 22, was the first in the family to win a fiddle championship.  She had a calm presence on stage, but by no means did that mean she was meek.  She joined her siblings in perfectly synchronized fiddling, had her turns at the piano, and helped with background singing, but her primary instrument is the cello, and it would not have been at all surprising to see smoke coming out of it at times.  Although the cello is typically a mournful-sounding instrument, Annie brought it to enthusiastic life with jigs and reels, her fingers veritably dancing on the fingerboard.

Lilja spent most of the evening at the piano, trading with her sister Liddy, but the 20 year old plays fiddle as well.  She is also a fiddle champion and top 5 finisher at the national fiddle competition.

Tucker, the band’s drummer and a golfer, is 18 years old.  He spent part of the evening at the drums, behind his brothers and sisters, but by no means did he stay back there.  He joined two of his brothers dancing to and singing “Wonderful World.”  He too is a fiddler and fiddle champion.

Also a golfer, 16 year old Deter plays the bass for the band, but the instrument he played is unlike any bass most people have ever seen.  Unlike the original huge, towering bass cellos we’re used to, the bass Deter played was thin and short, a perfect travelling size.  It was not short on sound, however.  Along with Tucker, he expertly kept the band’s rhythm moving along.  Deter, of course, is a regional fiddle champ and won 6th place at the national fiddle championships.

Vance, age 14, and his fiddle stayed front and center the majority of the night.  He is a National Jr. Jr. fiddle champion, a two-time state fiddle champion, and has won several regional competitions, and dazzled the audience with his talent.

The youngest at age 12, Rudy is also a regional fiddle champion.  He appears to play his fiddle as naturally and joyfully as his older siblings, but is a very talented singer as well.  Besides singing “Wonderful World” and back-up for many songs throughout the evening, he joined Liddy early on in a duet, and then amazed everyone with his solo rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “All of Me” later on.

Behind this spectacular group of young people are their parents.  Their mother, whom Elisha affectionately referred to as “Mommy,” had some stage time herself.  Her first song, a waltz, was about a sailor and his first mate (clearly a man and his wife) who eventually had a crew on board with them.  This brought chuckles from the audience, thinking about their ten children.  She is also their teacher, clearly a big job.  Their father helped run the lights, drives their van, and, as Elisha explained, is their biggest fan.

The Voetberg’s final number was a fiddling standard, “The Orange Blossom Special” which required some audience yee-hawing and incorporated some classic TV show theme songs, but they returned to the stage for an encore.  The encore, an Elisha original, was not exactly what folks were expecting.  While Vance played a beautiful tune on his violin, Elisha told a story of how he was moved, watching an eagle soaring.  When he said, “…and this is what the eagle said to me…”, the audience expected a lovely tune on his guitar but were instead treated to his version of an eagle’s song: several shrieks that filled the theater and incited roars of laughter.

The Voetberg Family Band was a fabulous kickoff to this season of the Bandon Showcase shows, an incredible display of talent, right here in our own Bandon’s Sprague Theater.  The Bandon Showcase continues in January with a John Denver musical tribute, a comedy ventriloquist and Irish comedian in March, and then wraps up in May with Anthony Kerns, the star of the Irish Tenors.

The mission of the Bandon Showcase is to bring professional music to the community and to provide outreach opportunities for youth.  The Bandon Showcase brings several quality shows to the Sprague Theater each year.

Bandon Beach and City Park Cleanup on Saturday

face rock with sky and sand crop

If you love Bandon’s parks and beaches, this weekend is your opportunity to give back and help keep them as beautiful as they are.  This Saturday, September 27, all are welcome to join in the SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup, part of the International Coastal Cleanup and National Public Lands Day.  Each year, thousands of volunteers in local communities from all over Oregon work with local waste haulers to remove litter from beaches, rivers, parks, and neighborhoods.  Over 110,000 volunteers have removed 1.5 million pounds of litter since 1984!

Bandon is proud to participate in this important state-wide event.  Individuals wishing to help can choose from two projects or split their time between them.

If the park is your passion, join others at Bandon City Park in cleaning up general debris, planting trees and shrubs, and planting native plants.  Clean up activities run from 10-1.  Meet at the park on 11th Avenue to participate.  Parking anywhere at the park, and meet at the south side of 11th Ave. near the center ballfields.

Coordinator Michelle Hampton is happy to answer questions and give more information.  She can be reached at 541-347-2437, ext. 231.  For registration questions, contact Kathleen Boyle at 503-844-9574, ext. 332 or 1-800-333-7658, ext. 332, or visit SOLVE’s Bandon City Park Cleanup website.

If you prefer to help on the beach, meet first at the Bandon City Park gazebo between 10-1 to learn what kinds of debris don’t belong on the beautiful ocean beaches and need to be removed, get your supplies, and then head to the beach to get to work.  SOLVE and its partners will provide gloves and bags, Washed Ashore and Oregon State Parks will pass out supplies, assist with paperwork, and haul away items that litter our beaches.  Washed Ashore will keep much of the debris for use in their next sculpture.  Bandon Transfer and Recycling will be donating their time and services to haul and dispose or recycle the debris.

Community volunteers for the beach cleanup project are advised to bring clothing appropriate for the weather, a refillable water bottle and an old colander to sift small bits of plastic and other trash out of the sand.  Remember that although beautiful, the beaches can be dangerous, so please do not climb on logs with water around them, and take care not to turn your back to the ocean.

For information, contact Kathleen Boyle at 503-844-9574, ext. 332 or 1-800-333-7658, ext. 332 or visit SOLVE’s Bandon Beach Cleanup website.

SOLVE is a non-profit organization bringing together individuals, business groups, and service and conservation groups through volunteering and education to restore our natural spaces and take care of our amazing state.  Originally called S.O.L.V. (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism), SOLVE was created in 1969 by Governor Tom McCall and other community leaders to address the need for community action in a state that had always been beautiful and whose population was quickly growing.  Today, their mission remains the same as they tirelessly work to clean up and restore a variety of natural sites.

Many thanks to SOLVE, Oregon State Parks, Washed Ashore, Bandon Transfer and Recycling, and the many volunteers for setting up this project.  It looks like it will be a dry day for cleaning our beaches and park; so grab a friend or your family and come on out to help!

Eleven Threats to the Value of Your Home

Eleven Threats to the Value of Your Home
(and how to mitigate them without going broke)

When you’re getting ready to sell your home, it may seem difficult to determine its value. When you look at your home, you see the place you raised your family or the place you spent your retirement years, or the first home you and your spouse purchased together. Potential buyers, however, see none of that. Instead, they see the condition of the carpets, the distance from the elementary school, or an open floor plan.

In order to get the highest price possible, it’s helpful to know which factors could be harmful to the value of your home, whether you plan to sell now or sometime in the future. Some factors, such as location, are outside of your control; however, others are easy to solve.

Although people in different communities value different factors when looking for a home, these 13 threats to your home’s value and their potential impacts can help you know where to focus your efforts in increasing it.

1. Location
Threat to value: Potentially high – 50% or more

We’ve all heard it; the three most important factors in determining a home’s value are location, location, location.

You most likely considered location when you bought your home, but the surroundings may have changed since then. An increase in crime, rezoning, or a newly city dump can negatively affect value.

It’s possible to change the house, remodel it or change its layout, but unless you plan to move the house, not much can be done about its location.

So, what can you do? First, consider what it is about the location that is bringing down its value. If it’s the view of the city dump, consider planting privacy hedges to block it. Be sure to emphasize the house’s strengths by perfecting its interior and exterior features. It’s possible that someone will overlook location if everything else about the house is just right.

2. Lack of Updates
Threat to value: Low to medium – typically at least 10%

When there is a large supply of homes on the market, buyers can be picky. If they see an outdated kitchen with old appliances and don’t want to undertake a remodel project, they will simply keep looking for a house where they don’t have

Fortunately, a lack of updates is a threat that can easily be fixed. Spending money on new carpets, appliances, paint and countertops can you a return of at least 2-3 times what you spend when it’s time to sell.

3. Undesirable Floor Plan
Threat to value: Medium to high – up to 25%

Many buyers are looking for open floor plans. Again, with an oversupply of homes on the market, they will pass up homes with spaces that feel small and closed in.

Short of completely restructuring the interior of your home, there isn’t much you can do about the floor plan. However, you can maximize the spaces by keeping them sparsely furnished, free of clutter, and bright with as much natural light as possible.

4. Foreclosures
Threat to value: Varies

A number of foreclosures in your neighborhood will cause your home to lose value, but just how much is difficult to quantify. In areas with a high volume of
foreclosure properties, it can bring down the rest of the market, partially due to the fact that appraisers use those homes as comparables.

It is impossible for you to control the number of foreclosures in your area, but you do need to understand its impact. It may be that the only way to sell your home is to price it according to the market, as if it was in foreclosure. If at all possible, if you are surrounded by foreclosures and don’t need to sell your home right away, wait to sell until things have changed.

5. Rental Properties
Threat to value: Medium – up to 15%

The presence of renters is not so much a threat to your home’s value as is the fact that the rental homes are often not well maintained. Both absentee owners and the renters are often unmotivated to put time and money into maintaining the homes. Buyers are aware of this, and often avoid neighborhoods with a high percentage of rentals.

Although you can’t change the number of rentals in your neighborhood, you can maintain good relationships with owners and renters, and you can volunteer to help maintain the homes.

6. Major Systems and Structures
Threat to value: Medium to high – up to 20%

When buyers walk into a home and see a roof that needs replacing or learn that the plumbing material is faulty after an inspection, they immediately start thinking about how much it will cost for them to take on the repairs. Issues like this can stop a deal in its tracks, especially in high-end neighborhoods. A roof that needs replacing could reduce a home’s value by 15% , a heating and air conditioning system in need of repair could reduce it by 20%, electrical system problems by 8-10%.

Before listing your home, have an inspection done. It may seem redundant as buyers will want one done, however, fixing the major things brought up in an inspection before your home is on the market will mean a higher sale price for you.

7. No garage
Threat to value: Varies – usually about $5,000 per stall

Without question, a garage adds value to a home, however, the type of garage will depend on the type of house. A one-car garage attached to a small starter home is a great feature, but on a large high-end home, that will present a problem.

8. No fence
Threat to value: Low – 5 to 10%

Many buyers are looking for homes with fences to safely contain children or pets, and they see future expenses when they see a home without one. There is also value in outdoor living spaces such as patios or decks.

Having a fence built is a relatively low cost that will pay off when you sell your home, and many times neighbors are willing to split the cost of a fence when it benefits them as well. While you’re at it, building a deck or patio onto your home will increase the value of your home as well.

9. Stigma
Threat to value: Varies

At times, a house’s history can affect the perceived value of a home. If a death occurred in the home, if it was once a center of drug or criminal activity, or if other houses in the area were lost to a flood, buyers’ interest can be affected.

Topics in the news can also affect a home’s value. After news reports of health affects of living near power lines or cell phone towers, homes near them may be difficult to sell for a while.

It can be difficult but not impossible to change the stigma attached to a home or area. Making your house look comfortable, clean and bright can help potential buyers focus on the positive aspects instead of a nearby perceived problem or a checkered past.

10. Allergens
Threat to value: Low to medium – up to 15%

An increasing number of people are affected by allergens such as mold, pet dander and cigarette smoke. Buyers’ interest can be killed in an instant by the
sight of mold growing in the closet or by a sneezing attack as they walk in the door.

Some of these issues, such as a dog in your family, may not be fixable, but others are well within your control. If you have issues with mold, have those dealt with as well as possible before listing your home. Although it often lingers in furniture and linens, the smell of cigarette smoke can be partially eliminated by a new coat of paint and replacing the carpet.

11. Fit and Polish
Threat to value: Low – 5-10%

How’s your curb appeal? Does your lawn need mowing? Is the paint on the outside of your house chipping and peeling? Is your garage door rusting?

The outside of a home is the first thing potential buyers see when they step out of the car. Visual unattractiveness can negatively affect your home’s value and quickly turn buyers off. They begin to wonder what else they will find that will need work.

Inside your home, small things like a stain in the bathtub or a hole in the drywall can stand out to buyers. Although inexpensive repairs, they could make a big difference when it’s time to sell.

Fit and polish is relatively easy yet important for you to put effort into when selling your house. Fresh details like new paint on the walls or a new carpet can go a long ways.