Tips to Spruce Up Your Portland Home: Living Room Edition

Get new curtains for your Portland home.There are many simple and cost effective ideas to revitalize one of the most used rooms in your Portland home, the living room. A no brainer to breathe new life into your living room is to choose new curtains. However, an idea you may not have considered is to use shower curtains to make over your windows. These are often less expensive than window curtains, often more durable, and come in a huge variety of colors and patterns. Many will work straight away on your current curtain rods, or a small amount of modification can make them the perfect fit for your Portland home.

Another idea that is making a comeback these days is to add glass accent pieces to your living space. That does not mean you need to dig up kitschy old vases and knickknacks, unless that’s the look you’re going for. For a more sleek look, add a tasteful etched glass door to an entryway, new coffee table, or a glass art piece to a bookcase can really make a difference. A final idea to enhance your metro Portland real estate is to change the color pattern in your living room. Change drab browns and tans into vibrant oranges or reds. Look around other parts of your home to find items that will match the new color scheme. Purchase new accent pillows to make a neutral couch pop, and choose storage containers for children’s toys other other items stored in the living room to match as well. With just a little thought and a small amount of money, homeowners can create a living space that will make you feel happy and relaxed and impress guests with your good taste.

Live in Portland and Learn About Japanese American History

Live in Portland and learn about Japanese history.All who live in Portland are invited to come and learn more about Japanese American history at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center. Located in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood, which is where Japantown once prospered in the Portland area, this facility offers a permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits. Come take a stroll through the museum anytime Tuesday through Saturday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. or Sunday from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is only $5.00, with reduced rates for large parties. Group tours of the museum are available in addition to school field trips, opportunities to do research, and traveling speaking presentations for classrooms or other community groups.

The permanent exhibits explore the beginnings of Japanese communities in the Portland area, how they grew, how the communities were interrupted after Pearl Harbor, and what today’s community looks like. There is a wealth of information online at the museum’s website and the rotating exhibits change a few times a year and guests can learn about things like Japanese labor camps, religious beliefs, and farming. Visit the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center to learn more about the story of Japanese Americans who live in Portland and plan a visit.

Portland Home Sales Way Up in December 2015

Portland home sales were up in December.December was a surprisingly active month for home sales throughout the country. The western quadrant of the country was especially active, including metro Portland real estate. Prices rose 8.2% from December 2014 to December 2015. Additionally, existing home sales jumped 11.9% in comparison to December 2014. This was in part because of a holdover from November, with home closures delayed by the implementation of the new Know Before You Owe rules. However, buyers were also motivated by increasing mortgage rates. While experts predict that the 2016 Portland home market might not reach the same level as it did in 2015, there is still much to be positive about right now.

People who desire to move to a larger Portland home will create inventory for those who are just entering the market. Low supply in general, and especially in the lower price brackets, has led to stiff competition. Buyers and sellers should also be aware that the new rules are leading to longer closing times. If you need to buy or sell on a specific time frame, consider starting a home search sooner rather than later. Be sure to work closely with your real estate agent so you can meet your deadline.

Experience Exotic Plants that Live in Portland at Hoyt Arboretum

Live in Portland and go to the arboretum.There are an abundance of outdoor activities available to all who live in Portland. The Hoyt Arboretum is one place that offers trails, programs, rentals, as well as the chance to view rare and endangered plants. Because of the temperate Pacific Northwest climate, the arboretum has the ability to house a wide variety of plants, some of which you would have to travel around the world for another chance to view them. Enjoy a stroll around the grounds by yourself or with friends, go on a guided tour, attend an event or class, or consider hosting your wedding or other special event at the Hoyt Arboretum.

A short drive for Portland property owners, the arboretum is located just two miles west of downtown Portland. Come out for a tour that occurs most Saturdays April through October. Learn more about the plants from a guide on the 90 minute tour that leaves from the Visitor Center at 12 p.m. All who live in Portland are also invited to consider becoming a member of Hoyt Arboretum. This property exists because of generous people that become members or donate when they visit. Choose a membership for as little as $25 or as much as $1,000. Enjoy perks such as a 10% discount at the gift shop, free guided tours, discounts on classes, and invitations to member only events. Visit Hoyt Arboretum to learn more about getting out and enjoying the great outdoors close to home.

Portland Home Projects with High Return on Investment

A new door improves your Portland home.It is always a good idea to think about the return on investment before deciding on improvements for your Portland home. Sure, there is value in pursuing a project because it will make you happier in your home, but also think about how it will affect your home’s resale value. Some costly projects such as adding a master suite or adding a sunroom may sound like a great idea. However they will often offer a lower return on investment simply because of how costly the project is to undertake. They may not appeal to every buyer, either. A quick chat with a trusted realtor could help you prioritize your projects for your Portland home in terms of return on investment.

Surprisingly, one inexpensive improvement that has a highly effect on your home’s value is installing a new steel front door. First impressions are very important. Other projects that often have a high return on investment are a kitchen remodel, siding replacement, installing a new fireplace, turning an attic into a bedroom, and replacing the windows. Other metro Portland real estate improvement projects that may not a high return are turning a room into a home office or adding a new upscale garage. Choose your projects based on how much longer you plan to stay in your home. If you plan to sell soon, think about investment. If you plan to stay for a while, think about your happiness as well as the investment.

Looking to Live in Portland? First Time Buyers and Boomers Lead the Market

First time home buyers live in Portland.The real estate market is changing, as more first time buyers are able to enter the market. As home values increase, more people are able to upgrade to a larger home, creating entry-level homes. People who live in Portland or are looking to move into the city will have more options as the market moves. The other big change in Portland property is that baby boomers are downsizing and moving into 55+ communities and other retirement-oriented housing. This is another change that is making room for first-time home buyers to find starter houses.

New construction is increasing, as developers are better able to get financing. This increasing inventory for first time home buyers, as well as baby boomers. A fair share of new construction is for age-specific communities. While some baby boomers are downsizing, many are looking for homes that are not necessarily smaller but are better set up to accommodate their lifestyles. Proximity to friends and activities is a premium for these buyers.

Going into 2016, we’re excited about a real estate market that is looking strong, fueled by a stronger economy over all. If you’d like to live in Portland, whether it’s your first time buying a house, you’re looking to expand, downsize, or just find something that works better for your life, get in touch with our office. We’re happy to help you find the right home for you.

Attend Events Near Your Portland Home at the Crystal Ballroom

Attend events near your Portland home.A favorite spot for many who call Portland home is McMenamins Crystal Ballroom. Located on W. Burnside in downtown Portland, this property includes Ringlers Pub, Lola’s Room, the Crystal Hotel, and the Crystal Ballroom. This historic building hosts an impressive calendar of shows and is also available to rent for special occasions such as weddings, meetings, and other social events. Come on out for a musical concert, fashion event, holiday dance, themed event, and a variety of other occasions. Big names such as Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Yonder Mountain String Band grace the stage as well as local artists looking for a great start in their Portland home.

Come to McMenamins Crystal Ballroom location for a drink after work, dinner with friends, for a special event, or for a tour. A 30 minute tour begins every day at 2 p.m. and meets at Ringlers Pub. Guests can view the Crystal Ballroom and Lola’s Room as well as take a Crystal Brewery Tour. This is a great activity for out of town guests visiting metro Portland real estate. McMenamins had its start in Portland and has since spread throughout Oregon and Washington, offering great beer, tasty food, and an unforgettable time to all who make a visit. Take a look at the Crystal Ballroom website to learn more and see a full schedule of events.

All We Wanted for Christmas was some Inventory

RMLS Inventory December 2016Realtors and homebuyers spent the holidays wishing for more inventory. They didn’t get it. The just released RMLS Market Action reports just 1.2 months of inventory for Portland Metro, the lowest level since 1999!  Metro is a five country area, if we look closer we find that North Portland’s inventory is .82 months, .92 months in NE, .94 in SE and 1.6 month on the west side.

December’s Market Action report also allows us to look at 2015. The average sales price rose 6.5% to $354,500 and the median price climbed 7.9% to $285,500. Activity was up to: closed sales up 20%, pending sales 22.5% and new listings 8.4%. We have low historically low inventory because the number of closed sales went up much more than the rate of new listings.

The Feds raised interest rates for the first time since 2006 in December. Will this cool the 2016 market? Will they raise rates again? It’s an election year. How will the market respond? The Dow is off 2000 points from its high. These are factors that could cool the market.

That said, we’ve already discussed super-low inventory. The rental market is crazy. It is often less expensive to own a home rather than to rent the same home. We understand that there are costs associated with it (down payment) but there are also tax advantages to go along with it. The average first time home buyer is putting down 4.5% on their home purchase. With any rate increase, a buyer’s buying power drops.

Portland has been in the news recently as a top migration destination and that adds to the already steep competition for a small selection of houses.

Will the questions drag the real estate market down or will the drivers continue to push it up?  Baring any major shift in the questions, the market will continue its march.

As always, if you have questions as a buyer or seller, let us know and we’re happy to chat.  Advice is always free.

Foodies Who Live in Portland Will Love Eat Adventures Food Tours

Live in Portland and learn the food scene.Eat Adventures Food Tours offer a great way to learn about the city of Portland and indulge in samples of its tastiest cuisine. Tours here are unique in that participants move from place to place in the comfortable “Eat Van”. This mode of transportation creates a casual and cozy atmosphere, perfect for interacting with the host and absorbing their knowledge of the city. Three main options are available for those who live in Portland or are new to the area and focus on wine tasting, food carts and upscale dining.

The Portland Urban Winery Tour focuses on wine tasting at its best. Chauffeured to first class local wineries, participants indulge in three separate samplings and delicious snacks while exploring the history of Pacific Northwest vineyards. Recommended for newcomers and tourists, the Portland Food Carts and Neighborhoods Tour navigates the city, showing patrons various neighborhoods and the best food cart businesses. Learning the lay of the land will help newbies find their way back to the Portland property where their their newest favorite food is waiting. The “Best of Portland” Tour has a bit of everything in it for those who live in Portland including visits to breweries, food carts and fine dining spots. Visit Eat Adventures Food Tours today to schedule a tour today.

Tips for Updating a Portland Home Kitchen

Update your Portland home kitchen.Whether you’re considering putting your Portland home up for sale or you’d like to keep your new year’s resolution to have a tidier house, the kitchen is a good place to start with upgrades and improvements. The kitchen is the heart of the house, and it should be both functional and attractive. Before rushing out to buy new appliances or compare paint chips, start with decluttering. Go through your cabinets and donate or sell appliances and dishes you don’t use. When you can easily access the items you use on a daily basis, everything is going to run more smoothly.

You probably have special occasion or seasonal dishes or linens you use to decorate your Portland home. These items should be stored apart from the everyday things, but if they’re all together, you can pull them out for the next big dinner party without a fuss.

Once your kitchen is purged of unused clutter, sit down and think about the flow of the room. Where do you do food prep? Keep knives, cutting boards, mixing bowls and measuring cups close by. Do you have your pots and pans, stirring spoons and spatulas within easy reach of the stove? Are dishes near the dining table? Organizing dishes and tools so that they live near where they’re needed will streamline cooking and serving.

If you are planning to spruce up metro Portland real estate with a big kitchen facelift, come up with a design concept and palette to help organize your shopping. Try to keep appliances in one finish. Pick a paint color that highlights the color of your dishes. When you’re updating the kitchen for the purposes of selling the house, keep things fairly neutral to appeal to a broad range of tastes but don’t be afraid to have some fun with colorful towels or a statement clock.