Q & A with Nancy Johns

I’ve worked in the real estate industry for a long time and I enjoy getting to know people as I work to help them find the best home for their unique needs. Just like I enjoy learning more about people, many of my clients and potential clients want to learn more about me and my specific expertise when it comes to my involvement in real estate. Here, I answer some of the common questions I get about me and my experience.

Q: How long have you been in real estate and how did you get started in it?

A: I got involved in Clark County real estate in 1992 and since 1994, I’ve worked with Windermere.  Before that, I worked in the high-tech industry in marketing management. After transitioning out of that role, I felt like working in real estate was a natural fit for me.

Q: How has your career background helped you with your real estate career?

A: Coming from industries in high tech, I brought experience in management, budgets, and developing complex problem solutions with ‘lots of moving parts’.  All of these have been invaluable as I understand markets, help clients navigate lending and paperwork, and orchestrate all the ‘moving parts’ of every real estate transaction, whether it’s helping people move on from their current home, or helping someone find a home to buy.

Q: How has real estate evolved since you began?
A: The biggest change to Real Estate is technology.  I started when we had a printed book of homes, YIKES!  Thank goodness, now we have much better ways to search for homes, property information and communicate with clients and each other.  Of course, coming from this industry before, I was excited to see the real estate industry evolve.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: Meeting with all varieties of clients is very gratifying. I’ve worked with artists, families, professional musicians, and higher-up company leaders. As a buyer’s agent, each client comes to me with various wish lists and I work closely with them to find what they need. When it comes to selling a home, I use my experience to price your home for a fair sale. Determining the right price from the get-go is important and it can help minimize stress for sellers listing their homes. The combination of these things is what makes the job fresh and rewarding.

Contact me today for information on what it will take to embark on your journey in buying or selling a home.



Posted on March 8, 2018 at 6:53 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How does my credit score impact my purchasing ability?

If you’ve decided to buy a home this year, you may have some questions about how your credit score will impact your purchase ability. This is a common question for many potential homebuyers, so here, I will discuss some of the primary things that you’ll need to know once you start the homebuying process.

Credit scores and credit reports will affect a borrower’s ability to purchase a home in a few different ways. Credit reports are a footprint that allow banks to review a borrower’s credit history. The information found in these reports will give them the information they need to determine the level or risk they’re taking by loaning money to this person. The higher the credit rating, the lower the risk for the bank. The lower the credit score, the higher the risk for the bank. In addition, remember that your credit score will affect the interest rate of the loan you obtain.

Here are some helpful tips on how to bolster your credit score and secure a good loan on the home of your dreams.

  • Make on-time payments on all borrower accounts
    • Missed or late payments will negatively affect your credit score
  • Satisfy unpaid collections, judgements and tax liens (even if these are medical in nature, it’s ideal to pay them off or settle prior to purchasing a home)
  • Establish a credit history by opening a credit line. We are often taught that credit cards are bad. However, they’re essential for establishing a solid credit rating to borrow future funds. The key is to keep the balance below 30% of the allowed limit, always. It’s ideal to pay the balance off each month as well.
  • Minimize credit iniquities. Too many inquiries can cause credit scores to drop.
  • Don’t close existing revolving trade lines if they’re in good standing. When you close a credit card you lose the on-time payment history which influences your credit rating. (1)

The specific details as to what credit scores are needed to obtain a specific home loan:

– Conventional Mortgage: credit score of 620
– FHA Mortgage: credit score of 580
– Veteran Affairs (VA) Mortgage: While the VA does not have a minimum credit score requirement, Quicken Loans requires a 620 credit score on all VA loans. (2)

The bottom line: the better your credit score, the easier it will be to get a loan for your home. Contact me today for information on what it will take to embark on your journey in buying or selling a home.


  1. Information courtesy of: Aaron Hicks, Mortgage Consultant with Homestreet Bank
  2. Information courtesy of: Jevon Domench of Academy Mortgage Corporation
Posted on February 20, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winter Retreat Ideas

Wintertime in the Pacific Northwest is often cold and wet, but this year, we’ve had a comparatively mild winter and many folks are considering heading outside to explore the area they live in. Winter retreats or getaways are a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of regular life and get caught up on some necessary rest and relaxation. Here are some of my go-to places in the Pacific Northwest that help me recharge!

Hood River:
This area has beautiful views of the water and lots of fun things to do. It’s full of amazing hiking and walking trails that offer breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge. There are also several wineries and vineyards that are fun to explore, as well as some great dining spots. There are a variety of vacation rental homes available or stay at one of the several in-town hotels, such as the historic Hood River Hotel.  No matter what you do here, you’ll be surrounded by quintessential Pacific Northwest stunning scenery.

Skamania Lodge:
This is another great place to unwind. It’s only a short drive from Clark County and the lodge is surrounded by forest greenery and overlooks the Columbia River Gorge. The lodge is known for their outstanding weekend brunch – it’s one that you won’t want to miss! Many of the rooms have fireplaces, so if a book and a cozy blanket by the fire sounds nice for your retreat, you’re in luck. Or, venture out to one of the nearby walking trails or take a short drive to Multnomah Falls to walk around.

Oregon/Washington Coast:
If escaping to the ocean is one of the ways you can best relax, you’re in luck with many different beach options. Rockaway Beach, Long Beach, Ocean Shores, Seaside, or Cannon Beach are all great options when it comes to a winter retreat. Wintertime at the beach can sometimes be rainy and stormy, but the smell of the ocean air is invigorating, no matter what. Stay inside and read or watch some of your favorite movies if the weather is stormy, and when the weather settles down for a bit, head out for a beach walk and some famous coast clam chowder.

Clark County:
Of course, if you need a retreat but your budget doesn’t allow for any overnight getaways, there are great ways to relax in the comfort of your own home. Unplug your laptop and your phone for a day or two and recharge without any electronics. Focus on doing some things that you love doing locally, even if it’s just sitting at home with your favorite warm beverage and catching up on reading your newspaper or watching some of your favorite shows.

No matter how you decide to take a break from the stresses of every day life, setting time aside for yourself to recharge is important and a winter retreat will do great things for your soul, body, and mind!

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 9:57 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home, Vancouver History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Story of a Client’s Housing Adventure

This is the story of a family of four: Dad works in Portland, Mom works in Camas, and their two kids are in elementary and middle school. This family had lived in their 1966 home for 14 years and were ready for a change— they wanted more space, new features, and a change of schools.  But like many of us, they had to sell to buy, even though their equity position was a good one.  With the tight market of 2017 (predicted to be the same in 2018), they knew they might not be able to “step across” from one home to the other.

Their first job was to get their current house ready to put on the market. This included yard cleanup, carpet stretching, some minor paint touchup, and some other small things.  These to-do items were not expensive, but they were important to make the home look “crisper” and more appealing to a buyer.  In working with me on home value, we discovered the previous listing had overstated the square footage by several hundred square feet.  We knew the real square footage from a more recent refinance appraisal, so we used that to determine value.  Checking this is an important part of the buying process!

In mid-May, we launched the home on the market and had lots of showings with five offers in just a few days.  This can be quite overwhelming.  With my help, we dealt with all the complexity of evaluating these offers and selected one to accept.  Meanwhile, another buyer who just missed out, decided to write a backup offer just in case something happened with the first accepted buyer.

Now, came time for the home inspection. The inspector said there were “sink holes” in the crawlspace! So, the buyer backed out.  Now what?  Something as serious as this needed to be investigated.  We just don’t have “sink holes” in Clark County, so we believed there was another explanation.  Turns out, when this house was built in the mid-60’s several large trees were cut down and the stumps were not removed.  As they rotted over time, what was left was a hole – one particularly large one even had the trenches from large roots.  We worked with the backup buyer who understand the issue, got the holes filled in with gravel, and then we closed in late June.

Next came the question of where to move. Nothing had turned up in the target location for the next home, so these folks signed up for the adventure of moving temporarily into a rental.  They did this once we were through home inspection with the backup buyer, so they would have time to overlap and move over several weeks.  There are several places around town that will do leases shorter than a year.  Although the rental was smaller, they used the garage for storage of their many boxes. Now, finding the new house became our top priority.

It took a couple of months and we looked at many properties as they came onto the market.  Eventually we found one, got our offer accepted and negotiated home inspection items including unpermitted square footage.  The happy ending is that this family moved into their new place by the end of September, just in time for school to start and before the holidays!

Hopefully you will find this a positive story.  Yes, it took commitment on their part to go through the ups and downs of buying, selling, and moving into the rental, but in the end, this family is “living the dream” and everyone is excited about their new future in their new home.

Thank you to these special clients for letting me share their story! Where does your new home story begin? Contact me today for information on what it will take to embark on your journey in buying or selling a home.

Posted on January 15, 2018 at 7:30 am
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Getting Ready For the New Year: Tips That Can Help Get Your Offer Accepted

The holidays are a very busy time of year for most people, but before you know it, decorations will be put away and 2018 will be in full swing. If you’re planning to be a buyer in the new year, it’s helpful to start reading now on how to make an attractive offer to a seller in a competitive real estate market. Here are some tips that can help you make the best offer.

Tip #1: Know what you can afford.
How much do you owe in debt? What are the ins and outs of your monthly expenditures? Understanding your finances should be the first step in your home searching process, then getting a pre-approval letter from a lender will help you know what you can afford. In addition, this letter will show sellers that you’re serious about buying a home and you can put your offer in with the confidence, knowing that you can afford the monthly payment.

Tip #2: Create a stand-out offer.
When you find the home of your dreams, be ready to make a great offer right off the bat. Your agent will help you figure out what offer is the best one and will take into consideration other home sales in the area, as well as the condition of the home, and what your overall budget is.

Tip #3: Be ready to act quickly and possibly negotiate.
The Clark County real estate market is still hot, meaning that inventory is low and buyer demand is high. Because of this, buyers many times need to compete to get the home that they want. This is where working with a real estate agent is incredibly valuable. Your Realtor® will work with you on creating a great offer and will present it to the seller as soon as possible. If it’s a situation where there are multiple offers, then your agent will walk you through the process of counter-offers, if needed. The bottom line: when you find a home you love, you must be ready to act fast before it’s gone and have patience with the process, because sometimes it will take some negotiation to get your offer accepted.

Buying a home is very exciting and 2018 will be a great year to get out there and find a home that checks all the boxes on your wish list. Contact me when you’re ready to get the ball rolling on house searching so we can create a great offer that gets accepted.  In the meantime, my hope is that you have a happy holiday season that’s full of things that are warm, fun, and fulfilling.

Posted on December 18, 2017 at 7:05 am
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reduced commission vs full rate services

If you’re thinking about selling your home, you have a lot of different factors to consider. You’re thinking about where you’ll move and what it will cost, and finding a qualified Realtor is one of the biggest decisions. If one of your questions involves finding out more information regarding reduced commission versus full rate services, here I’ll cover what the three basic levels of fees and services include.

#1: Very Discounted Services: This will include access to the MLS only. The seller will input all information and will set the buyer’s agent fee. The seller pays for marketing and will negotiate elements of the contract. This can work for some situations, but being an unrepresented seller in today’s complex market can be risky and oftentimes results in a lower net price. Most buyers will have representation, so the fee you save is really only half of the full real estate fee.

#2: Cut-rate fees: This will again only save half of the real estate fee, as buyers are usually represented by an agent. With full service representation, you usually get more experienced and knowledgeable agents to work with you. This is the “secret sauce” that can save you big time in the end – especially in the areas of price negotiation, inspection negotiation, and other timing issues that can derail the overall transaction.

#3: Full-service: When using a full-service Realtor, you’ll get a fully developed and proven marketing plan. The Realtor will additionally help you develop a pricing strategy that will help get your home sold in a timely way. You’ll work together to address issues upfront that could cause a buyer to pass by your home. The key here is knowledge, knowledge, knowledge! An experienced Realtor has been part of numerous, varied transactions that can help benefit you throughout the process so you can get the best price for your home with the quickest closing date and the least hassle.

If you have decided that it’s time to make the jump to sell your home, now is a great time to do that. The information around fees can be a complex topic to consider, so if you have additional questions, I am happy to sit down and talk with you about what could work for you and your specific situation.

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 3:45 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Basic Guide to Property Taxes


If you’re new to the home buying process, there is a lot to learn and a lot of different terms that you may be unfamiliar with. Property taxes are one of those things that are just one of the forms of tax that homeowners will need to pay in order to remain compliant with the government. Taxes are made up of charges from different entities and local governments will use property tax revenue to fund important programs, with the biggest percentage going to schools.

Property Value:
Assessed value is the value placed placed by the county on your property. Every six years it is reviewed/assessed by a real person. The appraised value is the amount a trained appraiser places in the property for loan purposes and the ratio of assessed to appraised varies greatly.  If the market is going up, then the appraisal is always higher than assessed. As a homeowner, there can be several things that can cause an increase and one of those is taking on home improvements. Remodeling and home additions will add to the value of your home, but it can also cause the assessed value to increase. So, before you take on a big project, make sure you balance what the increased property taxes will be compared to what money you will make when you sell the home for a higher price.

Tax Rates:
Every jurisdiction levies on your house based on a tax rate. Several different levels of taxing entities/jurisdiction have permission to collect property tax, including counties, school districts, and others such as fire districts and libraries. All of these jurisdictions have a tax rate which add up to a total millage rate. The millage rate is the amount you’re charged for every $1,000 of assessed value of your home and it differs from location to location. Multiply the millage rate per thousand dollars your house is assessed at, and that’s what your property taxes is.

Property taxes can be confusing for many homeowners, so understanding the basics is important in understanding how to they’re calculated and what it means when you’re buying a home. Homeowners will have the option to pay their property taxes yearly in a lump sum, or they can be factored into your mortgage payment every year. If you factor them into your mortgage payment, and the property taxes fluctuate, there may be a change in the amount you’re paying every month on your mortgage bill. 

Wondering what your property taxes are and what they are being allotted to? You can look at the Clark County website here and enter your address to get the details. 

Still not sure how they work? I’m happy to go over them with you to make sure you understand what all the terminology means.

Tips Provided by Nancy Johns, Blog Written by Brooke Strickland (brookestrickland.org)

Posted on January 11, 2016 at 5:35 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Home Buying Tips, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Unique Must-Visit Retail Shops in Clark County

Clark County is home to a variety of great local businesses that are owned and staffed by delightful people that are both passionate about and invested in Clark as a whole. The “shop local” focus is alive and well in Vancouver and the surrounding cities in Clark County and because many residents in the area recognize the importance of supporting small businesses in the area, retail shop owners are able to grow, expand, and continue offering unique destinations for residents and tourists alike.  Here are three featured businesses in the area that are unique

Vintage Books
Nestled in the corner of the Mill Plain Safeway shopping complex off of Andresen Road, Vintage Books has been a local, independent bookstore that has served book lovers throughout Clark County since 1975. If you’re a reading enthusiast, you could easily spend a couple of hours in this store browsing the extensive collection of used paperbacks for hours on end. The atmosphere inside of the store is relaxed and laid back. There are old chairs for settling into read for a bit and because the inventory changes daily, you’ll always find something new when you come and visit. The staff is knowledgeable and the combined experienced and diversity in reading tastes is reflected in the assortment of books for sale. This store is a Vancouver-area gem!

If you head into Kazoodles, chances are you will run into Bob or Mary Sisson, owners of the shop. This couple has been a part of the Clark County community for decades and they are some of the best people you can find. And not only are they friendly and love serving families in the community, they are passionate about providing high quality toys, games, and books for kids of all ages in their unique toy shop. Kazoodles has been in Cascade Park since 2010 and has been voted the “Best Toy Store” for 5 years in a row by readers of Vancouver Family Magazine. It has also been named “Best Toy and Craft Store” for three years in a row by The Columbian. From classic toys to the newest and best toys on the market, Kazoodles has pretty much everything a kid could dream of. 

Camas Antiques
Located in the heart of historic downtown Camas, Camas Antiques is an antique lover’s dream come true. Gift items, garden supplies, and home décor from years past, there are all sorts of unique items here that have a rich history behind them. Most of these things, you simply won’t be able to find anywhere else. The prices are very affordable and no matter what your design preference is, you’re sure to find something simple yet elegant for your home or office space here. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the basement area, which is chock-full of even more treasures. This place is antiquing paradise.

There are some fantastic retail destinations in the area that are just waiting to be explored. So get out there and start enjoying the fantastic shopping to be had in Clark County!

Posted on February 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Vancouver History | Tagged , , , , , ,

History of Pearson Air Field

Chances are, you have driven past the 140 acre Pearson Air Field thousands of times, but have you stopped to think about the history behind it? Pearson Air Field is the oldest operating air field in the United States with its roots dating back to 1905. It is located in the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, operates completely in that area, and is the only airport in Washington that is a satellite airport. It is mostly used for general aviation, which ranges from flying clubs, gliders, powered parachutes, flight training, or agricultural aviation. You’ll often see a variety of small planes coming in and out of the airport and it can easily be seen from Highway 14 and the Columbia River.

Pearson Field is named after the first local resident of the United States Army, First Lieutenant Alexander Pearson Jr. In 1911, the first airplane landed at Pearson Air Field and a year later, a homebuilt airplane that was built on site at the Air Field first departed from it. From 1923 to 1941, Pearson Air Field was home to the US Army Air Service and in 1924, the airport served as a layover point on the Army’s first flight around the world.  In 1994, the City of Vancouver and the National Park Service partnered together to control the future of the Air Field and there are now 150T-hangars and tiedown facilities, with capacity for 175 aircraft. Today, the Pearson Air Field provides nearly 600 jobs to Clark County.

If you enjoy history as well as aircraft, Pearson Air Field is a great place to visit! Sign up for flying lessons or just walk around and learn about its unique aviation history and take in the sights.

Posted on January 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Vancouver History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Windermere Room at the Children’s Justice Center

On any given day, you can walk into the Windermere Room at the Children’s Justice Center in Vancouver and see boys and girls playing and enjoying life, just like any other child. What you might not know is that this center and the play room especially, is a safe haven for children that have been victims of criminal-level abuse. Non-offending family members can bring their children here and get valuable and necessary assistance to address incidents of child abuse. The Children’s Justice Center (CJC) is nationally accredited as a Children’s Advocacy Center and employs a team of well-trained and experienced responders to come together and help the children that have been victims of crime. Staff helps provide health services for child victims of abuse, while also working with agencies and jurisdictions to hold felony criminals and perpetrators accountable by prosecuting through the law and judicial system. CJC staff works with the following agencies in Vancouver on a regular basis:

-Clark County
-YWCA Sexual Assault Program
-City of Vancouver
-Washington State Department of Children and Family Services and the Children’s Center

These agencies, along with the CJC, seek the truth and continually work to protect the rights of victims during investigations. For the last several years, Windermere has been proud to host fundraising events and match funds from the Windermere Foundation to help the Children’s Justice Center.  To see the room and how it’s helping kids learn and become happy, well-adjusted children, watch this short video.

Posted on November 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Nancy Johns | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,