Posted on November 25, 2015
Many homeowners are looking for ways to make their Portland home more eco friendly. This has become very important as we have become more aware of our carbon footprint. There are many ways that we can all choose environmentally friendly options for our home that still keep it looking stunning and comfortable. Here are a few ideas to help make informed choices for your Portland home.
Look for organic fibers and recycled materials when choosing new products for your home. Hemp, bamboo, tencel, wool, and organic cotton are great choices for things like rugs, linens, curtains, and pillows. These materials are generally friendly to the environment and even hold up better to wear and everyday life. There are many who upcycle used furniture or create beautiful backsplashes and doors out of recycled glass or other materials. Sustainably harvested bamboo flooring is also a great choice when considering installing new hardwoods.
Look for low VOC in paints, finishes, and carpets. This will help keep chemicals released into the air at a minimum during home improvement projects.
Keep as many indoor and outdoor trees and plants and possible. These make lovely natural decorations and help clean the air around your metro Portland real estate.
Be sure that your home is well insulated, so as to not waste heating and cooling fuels and also choose energy efficient bulbs for lighting such as LED. Motion detecting light fixtures are also a great way to save energy.
By making a few small changes around the home and keeping these tips in mind when making home improvement choices, we can help cut our own costs and be kind to the environment.
Posted on November 23, 2015
Before indulging in a decadent Thanksgiving dinner, those who live in Portland can go for a morning run with friends and family in the annual Oregon Zoo Turkey Trot. The race begins at 8 a.m. with the 4 mile fitness walk and run. Circulating in waves, runners with strollers or little ones in back packs are asked to join the last groups. A “Tot Trot” follows at approximately 9:30 a.m. and is perfect for families that live in Portland to have fun together making their way along the quarter mile course.
Beginning at the World Forestry Center, the Turkey Trotters will wind their way to the finish line inside the zoo by the Central Lawn. At the end of the race nutritious snacks will be provided for participants. Over 100 lucky finishers will be randomly selected to receive a pumpkin pie to take home to their Portland property for Thanksgiving dessert. And having completed the course they should have no reason to say “no” to having a piece or two. Sponsored by the Oregon Road Runners Club, funds raised by the Turkey Trot benefit animal care and programs at the Zoo. This annual event is the perfect way to begin Thanksgiving morning, with animals peeking out from their enclosures almost as if they know those running past are helping to support their well being. More information regarding this traditional event may be found at the Oregon Zoo Turkey Trot webpage.
Posted on November 18, 2015
Normally we’d refer anyone asking about what schools a particular house is assigned to to look it up on Portland Public School’s Look Up page. It’s still a great resource but needs to be taken with a grain of salt and potential reality check as PPS looks at moving school boundaries throughout the Portland Metro area.
We attended one of the Growing Great Schools meetings on Monday at West Sylvan Elementary in SW Portland. The meetings are designed as a public comment period discussing two proposals put forth for enrollment balancing district-wide. The vast majority of attendees we west-side residents and focused on west-side school. The meeting was passionate but civil. I heard four themes:
- Chapman parents are concerned that growth in the Pearl will be far greater than the proposals forecast. Data from NextPortland.com was cited: there are nearly 4500 units under construction and if even a small fraction of them add kids to the school, all bets are off. Chapman is already at 112% capacity.
- Bridelmile parents are concerned about some areas being moved from a Lincoln High School track to a Wilson High School track.
- Skyline just wants to be left alone. They don’t fit on the district map and don’t fit in the district box. Becoming a K-5 and busing to West Sylvan for middle school isn’t a good plan.
- Hayhurst also hosts the Odyssey program. The library has been cut in half to make temporary classrooms and enrollment at Hayhurst is growing. The two entities have a symbyotic relationship but Odyssey needs to move, before the next school year starts.
There were a lot of good ideas floated, too many to go into here. The proof will be in whether the ideas were heard. The most important thing for people looking at a real estate purchase now is that they understand the scenarios (the two are almost identical on the west-side) and that they are just scenarios- the final version is likely to be very different or could be exactly the same.
I focused on the west-side as it’s the meeting we went to. The Growing Great Schools page has info and maps for all the areas of Portland. The scenarios are much more divergent on the east-side than they are on the west-side.
Posted on November 18, 2015
You don’t have to live in Portland for long to realize that the city is rich with history. The Oregon Historical Society is dedicated to preserving that history and bringing it to life for today’s Oregonians. The museum has both permanent and rotating exhibits. The permanent exhibit entitled “Oregon My Oregon” won the 2005 MUSE Award. It includes many fascinating artifacts that belonged to the Native Americans and the first European settlers to live in Portland. Interactive stations help visitors connect with their past. The geology of Oregon and the ways it shaped the state’s history are explored in “Oregon: 150 Years of Statehood; 150 Million Years in the Making.” Some of the propaganda of World War II is on display until February 2016. This absorbing exhibit explores the ways words and images were used to unite the country for the war effort.
The museum is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission for adults is $11; for seniors and students it’s $9; for youth ages 6 to 18 it’s $5; and children under 5 are free. If you own Portland property, bring your identification, because residents of Multnomah County get in free. You can help support the museum with a membership. Learn more about the museum and see some unique online exhibits at the Oregon Historical Society.
Selling a home is an intensely emotional experience for many people. Most of us form an attachment to the place we’ve lived in. However, in order to be successful in selling a Portland home, we advise our clients to be clear-headed and think of things from the perspective of a buyer.
First of all, it’s important to price your home in accordance with market conditions. Metro Portland real estate is a crowded market, and if your home is too expensive in comparison to similar homes, most people will just skip your listing altogether. The price you paid for the house isn’t relevant to determining the selling price. Current market conditions are.
Next, get the house into saleable condition. This means cleaning, decluttering, repairing and sprucing up the interior and exterior. New paint and light fixtures are inexpensive ways to brighten up the house and make it feel bigger. If you have pets, try to find a boarding situation for them during the selling process. Not everyone loves animals, and not having to deal with vacuuming up pet hair will lower your stress level. Most real estate agents find that houses sell faster when the owners have made the house feel more like a hotel, with neutral paint and furniture.
Be honest about potential issues. If buyers find out that the foundation of the house is in bad shape or that there are other big problems, this could mean that they back out of a deal or demand you fix the issue. Home sellers look dishonest when they don’t disclose the true state of their house, and this can give a bad reputation very quickly. Getting a pre-sale home inspection can help you determine how to proceed to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Finally, be accommodating about scheduling showings for your Portland home. It’s more comfortable for most buyers to view the house without the current owner present. Being flexible about showings will bring a lot of good will to the negotiating table, too.
Posted on November 11, 2015
A perfect date night location, couples who live in Portland enjoy fine dining at Irving Street Kitchen. Start off the evening with a glass of red or white wine and a decadent appetizer such as rosemary citrus marinated olives. The dinner menu accommodates all tastes with various selections including shrimp and dirty rice stuffed Dungeness crab with Meyer lemon Hollandaise and horseradish or TSK buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and Tasso bacon gravy.
Once the tray rolls by, dessert will not be an afterthought. Locals who live in Portland rave about the Butterscotch pudding and vanilla bean cheesecake. A charming patio is available for those wishing to dine romantically outside amongst the stars. Happy Hour at Irving Street Kitchen boasts an array of dining and drink specials every afternoon from 4:30 to 6 p.m. complete with a fun, friendly atmosphere. Friends will want to gather here and relax after their workday. Irving Street Kitchen serves a generous brunch on the weekends as well. Reservations are recommended for those wishing to dine at this vibrant Portland property, but the restaurant will make every attempt to seat those just passing by and deciding to stop in. Visit Irving Street Kitchen to see the full menu or make reservations.
Posted on November 9, 2015
Whether you’re buying or selling a Portland home in metro Portland real estate, you’re probably crunching numbers based on “comps”, that is, on recent comparable sales. While this sounds like a straightforward concept, for many people it ends up feeling opaque and complicated. Over time, most real estate agents develop a clear sense of which houses are truly comparable to each other when it comes to setting prices. It’s important to get this right for several reasons. A house priced too high for the market is probably going to stay on the market for a while. When buyers see that a house has been for sale for a couple of months, they will often wonder if something is wrong with it. Eventually, sellers may have to drop the price of their home and end up selling it for less than they would have if they had better understood market conditions and comparability of houses.
In order to come up with a price for a Portland home based on comparable recent sales, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. The first is the age of the home. Houses are usually compared within a range of five years. An older home is usually thought to need more repairs, though that can be mitigated if the owners have done a lot of upgrading. The other factor to consider is the direction the market is going. Most comps are made with reference to housing sales from the last one to three months.
It’s easy for sellers to believe the market will improve, that their house is special, and that they should price it higher to get the best deal. If there’s a big disconnect between what the seller wants to ask and what the agent thinks is reasonable, it’s time to sit down and have a conversation. For sellers, there is a lot of emotion wrapped up in the house. For the agent, it’s easier to be objective, because a house sale is just business. Most sellers find themselves happier when they listen to the advice of their agent on house prices, because the house sells faster and at a better price if the initial asking price is in line with the market.
Posted on November 4, 2015
The fall market is in full force, with both good and not so great news for people looking to live in Portland. Low inventory is predicted to continue. As of August, for existing homes, there was about five months’ worth of inventory on the market, which is a drop of 1.7% from last year. For new homes, there is inventory for 4.7 months, which is about three weeks less than the same time last year. This means that there is more competition for Portland property.
On the other hand, the housing market has fewer foreclosed properties going for cheap, which means that cash buyers looking for a quick investment are dropping out of the market. Cash buyers are also dropping out as mortgage rates climb. Economists estimate the 30-year fixed rate may be at just under 4.5% by the end of the year.
Housing prices are also on an upward trajectory. From July 2014 to July 2015, prices climed 4.7%, according to Standard & Poor’s housing price index. At the same time, some economists are predicting that lending standards may relax a bit.
They say all real estate is local, so people who would like to live in Portland and either buy or sell a home should contact a Portland real estate agent to find out how national housing trends are affecting the local market.
Posted on November 2, 2015
On a modest corner of Northeast Portland property, sits a shop dedicated to a whole new approach to the world of wines. Pairings Portland is not only a wine shop, but it is also a classroom committed to spreading the wisdom of wine, as well as a bar that serves wine. The shop’s unique perspective on this ancient beverage changes the way their customers view it by making wine approachable and fun, while pairing it to everything from different foods to their varying moods. People who live in Portland now have a place to go to find the perfect wine that will go with just about anything, whether it’s a specific movie or even a particular person.
Pairings offers many ways for the community to get involved with their wine pairing obsession. They have classes that are designed to show students how wine is actually an ingredient that is another part of a dish or meal, and there are even Seasonal Pairings Potlucks where wines are paired with the various dishes that people bring from all over the area. After learning all that Pairings offers their customers, it’s no surprise that they keep coming back for more. The owner, Jeff Weissler, has moved from his native New York to live in Portland, and with him he has brought over 30 years of experience loving and selling wine. At Pairings he brings the most beautiful, unique wines he has found over the years and makes them available to the community. His shop opens at noon from Tuesday through Saturday, and closes at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. To learn more about this charming Portland shop, visit Pairings Portland Wine Shop online, or call 541-531-7653.
Honor all veterans who call Portland home and those who live all over the country by attending the Ross Hollywood Chapel Veterans Day Parade. This has been a tradition for over 40 years and is a fun time for all who attend. Come on out on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015 at 9:45 a.m. to take part in the festivities. Be sure to get there a little early to snag a great spot to view the parade. The route begins at the corner of NE Tillamook Street and NE 40th Avenue in Portland and heads south. The route then turns onto NE Sandy Boulevard and ends at 48th Street. Parking is limited, so everyone is encouraged to use public transportation or carpool.
Enjoy spending time away from your Portland home tapping your feet to the sounds of the marching bands. Take in the creative and intricate floats designed by those in the community who want to pay homage to our nation’s veterans. Wave to friends and coworkers as they march by promoting their cause. Events such as these make metro Portland real estate owners feel proud to live in such an active and caring community. Visit Portland Veterans Day for more details and to plan your morning at the parade.