Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 22

7 Must-Know Smoke Detector Facts

by Mary Gilbert

Every morning, it’s the same thing. You get out of bed, take a shower, burn the toast and then curse the smoke detector. Although its singing the song of its people can be incredibly loud and awful to hear, the truth is that smoke detectors save lives. So, while your smoke detector may sing way off tune, it’s trying very hard to protect you and your family from smoke- and fire-related hazards, like your morning toast.

It’s time to check your smoke detector batteries yet again — and to learn more about those white pucks that hang out on the ceiling.

Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Smoke Detector

Every single day, your smoke alarms hang around next to the ceiling, just waiting for something to go wrong. They don’t ask for much, which is why most people tend to forget they even exist. But the job they do is vital to the safety and security of not only you and your family, but the families that neighbor you.

You’ve heard it a hundred times: check your smoke detector batteries. Check those batteries! Hey, by the way, have you checked your smoke alarm batteries? But for most people, that’s as intimate as they ever get with these clever devices. Here are some things to know about smoke detectors:

1. Working smoke alarms give you additional escape time in the case of an actual fire.Thirty-eight percent of home fire deaths from 2009 to 2013 were do to a lack of functioning smoke alarms. In the homes that had smoke alarms that failed, 46 percent had missing or disconnected batteries.

2. Best places to install smoke alarms are in each bedroom, in halls outside of bedrooms and in every major living area. Why so many? Closed doors can slow the spread of smoke and living areas on upper or lower floors may have a significant blaze going before smoke is noticeable.

3. Interconnected smoke alarms are considered the safest option currently on the market. These alarms are connected to each other and often directly powered through your home’s electrical system, with a battery backup. When one detects smoke, they all go off. It can be annoying if you tend to burn the toast, but when it’s a real fire, all that noise will be a life saver.

4. Smoke detectors work in one of two different ways. One type, called an ionization detector because it uses electrically charged particles to detect smoke in the air, is faster to respond to flaming fires with small smoke particles. The other, known as a photoelectric detector, uses beams of light to check for smoke particles in the air. These are better for smouldering fires. Both will get the job done, though!

5. Most people don’t realize that smoke detectors need maintenance, too! You should check the battery monthly and use the bristle attachment on your vacuum to clean any debris off of your detector twice a year. You’ll also want to change the battery twice a year. Many people do this when they change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

6. Smart Smoke Detectors can save you money on insurance. It’s true! If your smoke detectors are connected via WiFi, they can call for help or send you a message about their status. Many insurance companies love these features, as they reduce the amount of damage insured homes suffer in case of a fire. Break out the cool new tech and reap the savings!

7. There are other, similar detectors on the market. While you’re shopping for smoke detectors, you may come across heat or carbon monoxide detectors. These units look very similar, but they function very differently. Heat detectors literally detect high heat, so aren’t very fast to respond in a residential setting. They’re best used in small, confined spaces.

Carbon monoxide detectors, however, are very suitable for home use. They measure the amount of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas created by combustion, in the air. If dangerous amounts are detected, you’ll know and be able to make your home safe again. Most homes use these in conjunction with smoke detectors.

Where There’s Smoke, Well… You Know

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

By: Homekeepr

Have a Spooktacular Halloween!

by Mary Gilbert

Carve, Drill or Sculpt a Pumpkin!

by Mary Gilbert

Gone are the days of using Mom’s best kitchen knife to carve a simple jack o’ lantern with triangle-shaped eyes and a toothy grin.  Pumpkin carving is an art for many, but even those who aren’t so talented in that department can create original and fun lanterns to light our front steps for Halloween! 


  • - Cleaning out the pumpkin is messy, and best done on a paper-covered table or done outside.  Once the inside is clean of seeds and pulp, use a spray bleach cleaner such as Clorox Clean Up to spray the inside of the pumpkin to help stop it from molding quickly. 

  • - Pumpkin carving kits can be bought for just a few dollars, and they usually contain a utility saw, hand “drill,” and scraper.  Some kits offer templates to choose from. 

  • - The amount of free printable templates are almost overwhelming, and you’ll probably end up with more than one jack o’ lantern if you go through this list of available templates from The Spruce Crafts! 

  • - Find a template that compliments your skills, or find an easy one that children can help with, and print.  Tape it to your cleaned-out pumpkin, and use a pointy object to trace around the line drawing, poking through the paper and into the pumpkin. Cut the pattern using a small saw, and spray the newly cut areas with the bleach cleaner, and your piece of art should last for several days! 

  • - Metal cookie cutters can also be used for a different look for your pumpkins:  using a mallet, gently tap the cookie cutter through the carved pumpkin shell.  Go around the pumpkin using this method, or place the cutter in random places for a less-structured look. 

  • - A power drill can make creating a pumpkin lantern a breeze!  Use different bit sizes to make your pumpkin sparkle, like these from 

  • - For the more advanced pumpkin artist, grab a linoleum cutter at your local home center, and follow these directions from for a different approach to “carving.” 

  • - Battery-operated tea lights are perfect for lighting your jack o’ lantern, and last for several hours, as well as being safer than a traditional candle.  Once you purchase an inexpensive pack, replace the batteries when the old ones die, as the LED bulbs inside last much longer than any wax tealight candle. 

  • - For more festive and different approaches to decorating your porch with other members of the squash and vegetable family, check out these ideas from The Garden Glove. 


Keep the pumpkin-carving safe:  supervise younger children, and even help them when they want to use tools to cut the pumpkin’s new face.  Most children love cleaning out the “guts” of the pumpkin, so have them pick out some seeds for cleaning and roasting later for a healthy treat.  Most of all, have fun, and make memories!

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

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Exploring Roseburg Oregon: Zoobilee at Wildlife Safari

by Mary Gilbert

Come to Wildlife Safari for a family-friendly evening of animals, fun, and prizes at this year’s Harvest ZOObilee!  The Safari Village will be filled with games, light displays, face painting, crafts, candy treats, prizes, and of course…ANIMALS!  Savor favorite harvest treats and enjoy this wonderful fall event happening October 26th and 27th from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

For more information, call Guest Services at 541-679-6761 ext. 200

Wildlife Safari
1790 Safari Road
Winston, OR 97496

Event Website

Courtesy of The Mary Gilbert Group

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5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Vacation Home

by Mary Gilbert

Just imagine it! Waking up to the sound of sea and surf pounding the sand right outside your very own home. You don’t have to call ahead for reservations, you don’t need to ask anyone for a key or have a check-out time. It’s all yours to do with as you will, and you’re going take advantage of it constantly because now you own your very own vacation home.

Not to burst any vacation home-shaped bubbles, but before you get too lost in the fantasy, you need to consider some of the many pros and cons of owning a home away from home.

Vacation Homes Aren’t For Everybody

As the real estate market begins to respond to financial pressures from higher interest rates that are only set to increase further, as well as trade wars and tariffs with some of the country’s best trading partners, more people are just waiting for their favorite vacation spot to experience a market correction. If you’re one of them, don’t jump into the vacation home market without seriously considering what you’re doing.

Sure, it can be cool to have a vacation home. It can be the very best thing. But if you never use it or you never go anywhere else, it might be the wrong call. Consider these five points when buying a vacation home today or tomorrow:

1. What can you afford on your own?

It’s no secret that many vacation homes will go for several times what your personal home may be worth. Because of this, buyers like to try to pool their assets to pull off a vacation home purchase with friends or family. Don’t let your vacation home become a cautionary tale: buying a vacation home with anyone that you’re not married to could become a long term problem.

What if you and the friend or relative don’t like the same beach? What if you can’t agree on the property to purchase? Will you be resentful the rest of your life? Most importantly, perhaps, is what to do if your co-borrower has poor credit, can’t come up with their part of the downpayment or is otherwise creating a giant problem for your mortgage?

After you’ve actually bought the property, who pays for what repairs? Don’t buy with friends or family, but if you do, get a lawyer to draw up a maintenance and payment agreement that you both sign to get everything on paper and make it official.

2. Even if you do buy a vacation home on your own, it will be complicated.

This isn’t your momma’s FHA loan. When you buy a vacation home, you’re almost always going to use a conventional mortgage. You’ll need stellar credit, an excellent debt to income ratio and, most importantly, a lot of cash. Unlike primary homes, which rarely require reserves, being the lender on a secondary home feels awfully risky to the bank.

They may still lend to you, but they’ll want to see that you have anywhere from two to 12 months of reserves on hand. If you’ve not heard the term before, “reserves” are funds already in an account somewhere that are equal to a certain number of months’ worth of payments for both of your homes. This also includes anything wrapped into your payment due to escrow, like homeowners’ insurance and taxes.

3. Do you have a plan for off-season care and maintenance?

If a friend or relative lives nearby, you probably are set for someone to look in on your place, but if not, you’ve got to get this part figured out before you sign on the line. Just like an occupied home, your vacation home will develop problems over time. Wear and tear happens even when you’re not home and pipes love to freeze and burst when no one’s looking. You have to have a plan.

You should hire a handyman, property manager or other real estate expert to keep an eye out and call in help when necessary. That’s a cost you’ll have all year, so make sure you figure it into your budget. Since your property is a vacation home, it will also require more expensive insurance coverage, as well as specialty insurance if it’s in an area where floods, hurricanes or earthquakes are common.

4. Renting it out when you’re not using it makes your vacation home a rental, not a vacation home.

You absolutely can rent your vacation home from day one, provided that you purchased it as an investment home. Some buyers think this will save them a bunch of money, since someone else will take care of it part of the year, at least. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between a glorious rental partnership and a home that’s been burned to the ground. If your neighborhood, for example, won’t allow AirBnBs and their ilk, or has strict rules about maintenance, you are responsible for the rebound from missteps there, no matter how good your renters.

You will have to find the guy to mow the lawn, you’re paying for clean up every time renters move out, you’re paying for repairs and so forth. Did you want to be a long-distance landlord? A property manager can help ease the pain, but it will still cost plenty. If you do decide to proceed with a rental situation for your vacation home, make sure the house you buy is in a location that’s really hot, otherwise you may not be able to get enough rent to cover all the expenses.

5. Oh, hey, and selling can be difficult and costly.

For every one of the real estate experts who claim that buying a vacation home is a great way to make money, there are experts who realize that the market is unpredictable and you may find that you don’t love that vacation home as much as you thought in a few years.

After spending two years dealing with short term renters, you may decide it’s easier for you to go back to renting a nice hotel for your vacation stay, rather than owning a headache of a property. That’s all fine and good, until you find out that not only has the market bottomed out, you can’t even get enough money out of the place to cover the mortgage and your closing costs.

Remember, when you sell, you may also be on the hook for capital gains taxes, and you can’t take a capital loss if the property in question is classified as a second home.

If you still have the stomach for a second home after running through this list of things to consider, then proceed with caution. Don’t buy a project house unless you have someone else to do the work and even then, make sure that the only thing you do at that vacation home is relax. Going on vacation just to stress out about the lawn isn’t a fun kind of vacation, you know?

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

By: Homekeepr

How Smart is Your Smart Thermostat?

by Mary Gilbert

In the Internet Age, it seems like almost anything is possible. There are cars that can drive themselves, microwaves that you can talk to and, of course, smart thermostats. For the average homeowner, that last one might not sound all that special, but there’s really a lot of “neat” coming out of that weird little thing that hangs on your wall and controls the complicated HVAC system in your home.

But have smart thermostats lived up to the hype? Or are they really just vanity gadgets that you can use to one-up your buddies when they come over to visit?

What Can a Smart Thermostat Really Do?

There are two things every thermostat has to be exceptionally good at or it’s just not worth the effort: first, it must be able to tell what the temperature is where it’s located. Secondly, it needs to be able to turn the HVAC system on and off. Considering these two basic functions, nearly any thermostat is a pretty good one by some standards.

Your basic tilt-switch based thermostat (sometimes called Mercury thermostats because at one point they pretty much all contained the metal that’s liquid at room temperature) can get the job done, but it relies on you to do an awful lot of work if you hope to maintain any sort of efficient usage of your heating and cooling equipment.

Do you remember to turn the thermostat down when you go to bed or leave the house? It’s ok, most people have too many other things on their mind to keep track of where their thermostats are. They just set ‘em and forget ‘em. That’s where the problem lies, really.

When you have a smart thermostat, “set it and forget it” doesn’t mean that your furnace or air conditioner runs all day while you’re gone just so it’s a decent temperature inside when you finally get home from work. It means that your thermostat puts itself in economy mode when it knows you’ve left, and works the temperature back to perfection when it expects you’re on your way back.

Smart Thermostats and WiFi

Every smart thermostat on the market takes advantage of WiFi to both connect with you via your smartphone and, with most models, download the weather and other information that can be used with other smart home tools. And, of course, so you can pre-heat the house on chilly mornings without getting out of bed.

Your smart thermostat can also update its own software without bothering you via that same WiFi connection. They are very self-sufficient devices. However, any “always on” device like a smart thermostat can have problematic relationships with network security.

When they were first released, a few nefarious types found a way to hack into individual private networks using the weakest link — a smart thermostat or other smart device that hadn’t been built with security in mind. Most devices you’ll buy today are designed to protect themselves and other denizens of their network from hacking. They’re also constantly patching themselves to shield against newly discovered bugs.

But Do They Save Me Money?

According to one major smart thermostat manufacturer, their device saves users 10 to 12 percent on their heating and 15 percent on their cooling bills annually. That’s $131 to $145 a year. For a lot of smart thermostats, that means that just two years in operation will be enough for the clever little device to pay for itself.

Of course, with a smart thermostat that can learn your patterns, the longer you use it, the smarter it gets. It’s almost as good as having a robot maid — almost.

Smart thermostats have consistently earned Energy Star certifications and many utility companies will help you buy one. These days, there are plenty to choose between so you can definitely find a device you love to look at, that is compatible with your other smart devices and that has the sort of tools that help you get the most out of your HVAC dollars.

Where Do I Find Help With My Smart Thermostat?

Many smart thermostats are designed to be simple for a homeowner to install by themselves, but if you want to have a professional installation, all it takes is a quick visit to your HomeKeepr community. You’ll find recommended smart home professionals that can help you choose the perfect smart home devices to complement your lifestyle and home and they’ll make sure they’re working right!

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

By: Homekeepr

Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

by Mary Gilbert

In today’s instant gratification society, finding out just how much time the home-buying process can take surprises some first-time home buyers.  Patience is a virtue when it comes to buying a home, and mistakes can be made, slowing the process down.  These tips should help you avoid common errors a home buyer can make: 


  • - It may sound like it should be worn out by now, but make sure your credit is in good standing. 

  • - Don’t overestimate how much you can afford.  If you’re just able to scrape the rent payment together every month, don’t look at homes where your loan payment will be equal to or more than the rent. 

  • - Be certain you have enough for your down payment saved, as well as other up-front costs.   

  • - Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified, for a home loan.  Talk to different lenders to line up the best deal for you. 

  • - Speaking of loans, there are plenty of programs to assist first-time home buyers in paying a lower than 20% down payment, as well as those with credit issues, and lower income.  Go toⓇ for a list of the different programs. 

  • - Once you’ve applied for a mortgage, don’t apply for any other credit:  applying for a loan for a new car, credit cards, or even new furniture to go in your new home can hurt your credit score in the mortgage process. 

  • - Don’t underestimate open houses in the area you’re wanting to relocate to.  It can give you a good idea of what’s available, get a look at different neighborhoods, as well as the home prices.  You may even find your new home! 

  • - Look at more than one house, unless it’s a family home, or other special situation.  Upon visiting each house, keep a record of the ones you like, and a list of the pros and cons of each one.   

  • - Think ahead; if you have children leaving home soon, or if your parents will need to move in with you, look for a home with what room you’ll need then, not just for now. 


One of the most important things you can do is get your own buyer’s agent.  They have knowledge you don’t have about the market, and what’s available.  Ask your RealtorⓇ for a copy of the current market information, so you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the home-buying process, and so there won’t be any surprises. 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

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Exploring Roseburg Oregon: The Rocky Horror Dinner Show

by Mary Gilbert

The Grand Victorian
828 North Old Pacific Highway
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457

Join us for The Rocky Horror Dinner Show, where Eddy is on the menu!  A full, mouthwatering meal is served during the show. Ages 17 and over. 

Location: Grand Victorian Theatre starting October 25 and running through October 31.  Times vary. For more information call (541) 863-5000.

Event Website

Courtesy of The Mary Gilbert Group

Photo Credit:

Roseburg OR Real Estate For Sale
118 W Bodie Street, Roseburg, OR  97471

Perfectly situated on a lovely corner lot, this one of a kind Westside charmer is just waiting for you to call it home! Tastefully updated with modern elegance including gorgeous hardwood floors, spacious rooms, crown molding, neutral colors, recessed lighting, plus a carport and large deck! Impressive formal living room where you can toast your toes by the cozy gas fireplace or star gaze out the picture window. A delightful kitchen featuring an abundance of two tone cabinetry, modern fixtures, a dining nook and deck access. The soothing master suite with Venetian plastered walls, large walk in closet and private bath wait to relax and pamper you, plus access to the deck. Spacious secondary bedroom with plush carpeting and plenty of closet space. A huge deck for extended outdoor entertaining or private enjoyment overlooks the fenced yard. Start living the good life - come on over to 118 W Bodie Street, we are sure you will want to stay!  

Mary Gilbert, Licensed Realtor in Oregon has distinguished herself as a leader in the Roseburg OR real estate market. Mary assists buyers looking for Roseburg OR real estate for sale and aggressively markets Roseburg OR homes for sale. 

Mary, Licensed Realtor in Oregon brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a Roseburg OR home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future –Mary Gilbert of Keller Williams Realty Umpqua Valley will help make the most of your Roseburg OR real estate experience. Give her a call today, 541-371-5500, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

Most home buyers have in their minds a list of "deal breakers"—specific real estate features that they absolutely won't put up with in any property they purchase.

But guess what? Your deal breakers might actually be deal makers in disguise.

Waiting for that mythical perfect home to emerge can be a losing battle. Meanwhile, bargains are out there—they just need a buyer who's savvy enough to see past certain seemingly glaring flaws and realize that they're fixable problems. Here are some examples:

An outdated kitchen

Whether it’s tacky Formica countertops or clunky overhead cabinets, it’s easy to turn up your nose at a retro kitchen. And, we get it—a kitchen remodel can cost big bucks! But before you walk away, figure out if it’s salvageable; for example, maybe it’s a great layout that just needs some cosmetic work, says Christina Souretis, real estate adviser with Engel and Völkers in Duxbury, MA.

“Since a bad kitchen is probably priced into the house, I consider it a benefit to the buyer, because you'll be paying less, and then you can pick out the exact kitchen you want,” she says.

And this theory holds for almost any cosmetic horror—whether it’s wood paneling, tattered shag carpet, or foil wallpaper—provided the house has good bones and is otherwise a winner.


Wow, the very idea of asbestos definitely makes you want to run away, doesn’t it? And yes, removal can be costly. But there is one exception: If that asbestos is in the floor, the situation can typically be taken care of by encapsulation rather than costly removal, says home inspector Welmoed Sisson, with Inspections by Bob in Frederick, MD.

The goal is not to let the dust particles become airborne, so she recommends covering the flooring with a resilient material with as few seams as possible, such as sheet vinyl, which can cost as little as $1 a square foot. “This strategy will virtually eliminate the risk of future contamination,” she says.

Unpaid HOA or condo fees

If the last sellers didn't pay all their HOA or condo fees, they get passed on to a new buyer. Only who would want to take on someone else’s debts? Someone who wants a total steal, that’s who.

"I'd scored a great deal on my first investment property, simply because the previous owner owed several years’ worth of dues," says Shayan Jalali, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential in Boston. “No one else bothered to do the research to figure out how much was owed, and the amount ended up being negligible, compared to the deal I got."

So if you hear of a house or condo with lingering dues from past owners, don't be scared off until you've asked one simple question: How much?

Water damage in a basement

We’ve all heard about the dreaded issue of a wet basement. The mold! The mildew! But if you are just seeing water stains in one area, it may be pretty easily fixable, Sisson says.

“The culprit is usually downspouts that drain directly at the edge of the foundation," she says. "Adding downspout extensions will often solve this problem.” All for about $30 each and a quick trip to the hardware store.

Cracked walls

Those ominous cracks in walls don’t necessarily mean the house is going to fall over on itself, says Christian Nossum, a real estate agent with Wilson Realty in Seattle, WA.

“Many buyers think about foundation issues when they see wall cracks, but that's not necessarily the case,” he says. While drywall is now a common building material, prior to the late 1950s, interior walls were typically built with lath and plaster. Because of gravity and the normal house settling that occurs over the years, plaster can often crack, which can look very scary—but is often not a major problem.

An old roof

An old roof can be a deal breaker, since they're so pricey to replace (check out how much a new roof costs). But sometimes the condition and type of roof means that the roof has dipped into the fountain of youth, contends Luis Dominguez with Douglas Elliman in Southern Florida.

“Most home inspectors I’ve worked with will mark a barrel-tile roof as past its life expectancy after 25 years, but these roofs can last beyond 40 years in the right circumstance,” he says. Just make sure there are no leaks or visible damage, and of course, double-check that your insurer will cover it.

High radon levels

Yes, radon is a dangerous radioactive chemical. Yep, that sounds incredibly frightening. But the good news is that it is almost entirely fixable with an abatement system. The system can run you $1,500 to $3,000, Sisson estimates, but when installed properly, it'll reduce the levels to about 0.5pCi/L, which is considered "background level” and perfectly safe.


Hearing that a property has termites makes a would-be buyer picture the home being eaten alive by insects, ready to blow over in a stiff breeze, says Dominguez. But in some climates, like the humid environs of Florida, they are pretty typical, since prevailing conditions provide a great breeding ground for them.

“A house would have to have a severe termite infestation for decades before it becomes a real issue,” he says. Instead of fleeing, he recommends tenting the home to cure the infestation. He estimates you can do a 2,000-square-foot home for less than $1,500, usually accompanied by a hefty warranty.

Unappealing listing photos

Not everyone can take great pictures—you only have to scroll through your Instagram to see that many people have not yet mastered the art of the selfie, much less a professional-quality listing photo. That’s why Nossum makes sure that his home buyers don’t pass on a home just because of photos that may look as if they were taken on a flip phone with the lights off.

“Usually, you'll get a good laugh and move on to the next house,” he says. But remember: That’s what everyone else is doing, too. “If you can get past the photos and go see it in person, often you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find, which may well include an awesome deal that everyone else is passing up,” he says.

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for assistance buying a home! 541.371.5500 or [email protected]

By:, Cathie Ericson

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Photo of Mary Gilbert Real Estate
Mary Gilbert
Keller Williams Realty Umpqua Valley
2365 NW Kline Street, Suite 201
Roseburg OR 97471
Fax: 541-371-5501

© Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is a real estate franchise company. Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated. Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and supports the Fair Housing Act.