Our Best Tips for Portland Home Shopping in the Fall

Shop for a Portland home in fall.Summer and spring tend to be the most intense seasons for the metro Portland real estate market. Families want to find a new Portland home before the school year starts. Many people find they have more energy during the warmer months. However, buying a home in the fall can be a great idea. Some sellers may have missed out on higher prices and feel pressured to make a deal quickly. There are also fewer people looking, which means there’s less competition and chance of a bidding war.

If you do decide to go Portland home shopping this fall, you should have a checklist to find out how potential houses will cope with our famous rain, especially in the winter. Start with the heater and air conditioner. Be sure to get them inspected to make sure you won’t be shivering in the coming winter or sweltering when summer rolls around.

Since you’re looking around the inside, have a look at the windows. They should open easily and have good seals so you don’t let in the weather. If they’re very old, consider replacing them with modern, high-efficiency models. This can help you save on the heating and cooling bill.

The next thing to check out are the gutters, which should be able to cope with many inches of rain and possible snow. Don’t forget the property’s drainage, either. Standing puddles could indicate broken or leaky pipes. Be sure you know what you’re getting into before it starts pouring, and everything gets harder to fix. How steep is the driveway? You don’t want to be slipping around trying to get out for work during a big storm.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to meet potential new neighbors to get inside information on how the street handles rain. Be sure to ask if new construction is planned for the spring.

Follow our tips to be sure a new home will suit your needs through all four seasons.

Learn Photography Near Your Portland Home with Outdoor Viewfinder

Learn photography near your Portland home.Explore the unmatched natural beauty that is available to explore for those who call Portland home. A neat way to see some really beautiful areas of the Pacific Northwest while also honing in photography skills is to take a tour with Outdoor Viewfinder. All participants are given one-on-one attention to improve their photography. No matter if a beginner or a seasoned photographer looking for new inspiration, an Outdoor Viewfinder tour can be the perfect fit for someone who enjoys taking pictures of the outdoors.

There are classes that Portland home owners can take advantage of for free, as well as classes that run about $100.00 per participant. Classes need a minimum of 5 participants and no more than 10 to ensure a quality experience. Metro Portland real estate owners have the chance to explore areas such as Tryon Creek State Park, the Oregon Marine Reserve, and the Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center when on a tour with Outdoor Viewfinder. All licensed guides are first aid and CPR certified and also have a special land use permit that allows the business to operate on United States Forest Service property. Browse offered classes at Outdoor Viewfinder or call 503.705.6769 to set up a private class or tour.

History Buffs Who Live in Portland Love Pittock Mansion

Live in Portland and visit Pittock Mansion.A wonderful way for those who live in Portland to learn more about their beloved city is to visit Pittock Mansion. This beautiful piece of architecture that overlooks the city’s skyline was built in 1914 for the Pittock family, a very active and influential family that directly aided in the extensive growth of Portland. Henry Pittock became the owner of the Weekly Oregonian in 1860 and continued on to get a foot in the door with big businesses such as banking, railroads, steamboats, real estate, silver mining, the pulp and paper industry, and sheep ranching. His wife, Georgiana had a big heart and worked hard to help women and children in the community. An avid gardener and flower lover, their Portland property was kept beautifully and Georgiana can be thanked for the annual Rose Festival.

This beautiful home still stands thanks to concerned citizens and is richly decorated with many of the family’s original belongings. It is a great way to step back in time and truly appreciate the labors of the early residents of Portland. Tours are available daily for those who live in Portland and for out of town visitors. Admission is only $10.00 for adults, $9.00 for seniors over 65, $7.00 for children ages 6-18, and free for those under 6. Memberships are also available for individuals and businesses who would like to support this worthy historical structure. Check out Pittock Mansion to find more information and plan a visit.

Learn About Your Portland Home with Sea to Summit Tours

Portland home owners tour their city.Explore the world around metro Portland real estate with Sea to Summit’s three-hour Portland Oregon Tour. The tour is a wonderful way for locals to delve into the history of their community, for tourists to get a good feel for the outdoor spaces of the city, and for people in town shopping for a Portland home or who’ve recently moved into a Portland home to begin to appreciate Portland’s beauty.

The tour stops at four sites:

  • The Japanese Gardens are a collection of tranquil gardens influenced by traditional Japanese spirituality incorporating stone, water and plants.
  • Pittock Mansion is an eclectic early 20th century mansion and the former home of Portland rage-to-riches tycoons Henry and Georgiana Pittock.
  • Rose Gardens showcase hundreds of varieties of roses in a sprawling garden of quiet walkways and green laws.
  • Washington Park is the most versatile outdoor space in Portland, with a historic fountain rimmed with gargoyles, trails and a grassy amphitheater.

Sea to Summit is run by native Portlandians and is the oldest Portland tour company in the city. It also leads Willamette Valley Wine Tours, Columbia River Gorge Tours and Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood Tours. For more information, visit the tour company online.

LIVE in Portland: Author Readings at Powell’s City of Books

Live in Portland and get books at Powell's.Used and new books sit together on the shelves of Powell’s bookstores, the beloved Portland original. The four-story flagship store, Powell’s City of Books, is one of the most famous bookstores in the world and carries over one million books. For people who live in Portland, the bookstores are a go-to venue for book releases and signings, readings lead by world-famous authors, family events and writer’s workshops.

The City of Books location hosts authors nearly every day of the year, and many authors also visit Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing and Powell’s Books on Hawthorne.

City of Books also hosts events every Saturday morning and the first Thursday of every month. On First Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., a professional illustrator is invited to speak about their work, life and inspiration. Every Saturday morning at 11 a.m., the store hosts Kids’ Storytime, where bookstore staff and available authors read recently published children’s books aloud to young audiences who live in Portland.

Powell’s City of Books has four locations in Portland and one in Beaverton. Powell’s City of Books is located at 1005 W Burnside St. near your new downtown Portland property. Call them at (800) 878-7323. You can also visit Powell’s online.

Should I Sell with a Tenant in My Home?

iStock_000011592819XSmallIt’s clear that selling a tenant occupied home can be challenging:

  • The are notice requirements (that can be negotiated)
  • The tenant may be non-cooperative (they may be great)
  • The may refuse to leave for showings (and talk negatively about the landlord and property)
  • The property may not be in “showroom condition” for showings
  • Showing may be hard to set up
  • Agents may choose not show at all because of notice requirements

That said, you could have great tenants and there is nothing that guarantees a vacant or owner occupied property isn’t going to have some, if not all, of the issues above.  Additionally, a buyer with owner-occupied financing may be required to move into the home within 30-60 days.  If the tenant’s occupancy is for longer than that, the buyer pool may shrink.

These are all hypothetical issues.  What’s the math?  I took 500 recently sold tenant occupied properties, 500 vacant properties and 500 sold properties in Portland from RMLS and discovered the following:

Average Days on Market:

  • Tenant occupied: 49 days
  • Vacant: 38 days
  • Owner occupied: 19 days

Average Selling Price per Square Foot:

  • Tenant occupied: $166
  • Vacant: $173
  • Owner occupied: $195

We clearly see that tenant occupied properties spend more time on the market and sell for less than their vacant and owner occupied counterparts.



Case Shiller Climbs to 3% Below 2007 Peak

The Case Shiller report for May was released this morning and shows that Portland has climbed back to near pre-crash levels.  From a peak of 186 in August of 2007 to a valley of 129 in February 2012 all the way back to 18 today!  Portland’s 7.4% year-over-year increase matches Seattle’s as the fourth fastest appreciating market in the 20 city index.

Case Shiller Portland May 2015Initially there’s reason for bubble concern when we look at the Case Shiller provided chart.  I added the two trend lines and feel that concern is somewhat mitigated when we see that we’re now at a point where we’d expect to be based on steady appreciation.  The lines start at 2000 because the Index was reset to 100 1/1/2000.

A cause for concern will be if the market continues 6% or higher annual appreciation beyond 2016.  This isn’t to say the market is “safe.”  The market will respond to interest rates, the tightening of lending laws, the global and US economy, and the presidential election cycle.  Statistically, the pool of underwater buyers has dropped to those that purchased between August 2007 and January 2008 (not considering buying and selling costs in the equation).  Market value increases will increase the supply of homes that are available to come on the market and will put downward pressure on appreciation as well.

7 Staging Tips to Win with Buyers

This Guest Blog was written by the Professional Stagers at Chancellor Designs. Here are their recommended staging tips to help you win with home buyers and help sell your home:

Today’s market moves fast. Buyers expect to either find a “great deal” on a house with some rough edges, or fall madly in love with a move-in ready home. Home Staging gets your home ready to be the latter, making sure that buyers connect emotionally with your home and make a top offer. We focus on the things that increase the market value of your home, setting the stage for love at first sight.

There are seven key areas to get a home ready to win over potential buyers.

1. De-clutter and Organize
Removing extra furniture helps rooms appear more spacious and creates a flow. Also, keeping objects that are not needed for everyday use stored away, rather than displayed on horizontal surfaces, makes a home feel orderly and peaceful for showings. As an added bonus, it will help you with the impending move as you are packing up anyway!

2. Deferred Maintenance, Updates and Repairs
Has that “honey do” list piled up? Now is the time to tackle it. Completing any deferred maintenance ensures that buyers can move right in without hesitation. Consider additional updates that, though relatively inexpensive, add value to your home and get buyers excited, such as new light fixtures, appliances (almost always receive your money back) or a backsplash. If you’re at a loss for inspiration, seek out an expert opinion to get the ball rolling and to help you make the right design choices that will be most appealing to your target audience.

3. Paint
Paint is an inexpensive update with a significant return on investment. A fresh coat of a current neutral color palette makes a room fresh and inviting. Not to mention a crisp paint job creates the feeling of cleanliness. This kitchen feels brand new with just a coat of paint.

Before & After:
IMG_0011 kitchen2

4. Curb Appeal
First impressions speak the loudest. Ensure that the yard is tidy and well-watered. Fresh mulch and flowers go a long way in attracting buyers (another investment almost surely to more than pay for itself). Curb appeal makes potential buyers excited to see the inside of the home and ensure they’ll do more than a quick drive bye without venturing inside. When it comes to home buying, people definitely judge the book by its cover. Read More

May 2015 RMLS Market Action Report

The just released May 2015 RMLS Market Action shows a 1.7 month inventory, which is the lowest we’ve seen in 10 years. In addition, average prices have increased and the market time has dropped to a staggering 55 days. This amount includes the time in escrow, which means homes spent an average of a couple of weeks on the market. Check out our latest infographic below:


New listings are up compared to last month, but still lower than a year ago. This plus a solid increase in closed sales has contributed to the decreased inventory. A shortage of listings is driving a seller’s market where multiple offers in some areas is the new norm. Interest rates are starting to creep up which may cool the market (but if Greece’s economy crashes and burns it may help our rates).


Home Odor Removal

Does your home have a strong odor problem? If you have pets, smoke or cook aromatic food, it may. If your home has gone through remediation because of fire or flooding, it also might need home odor removal. It’s not something many homeowners want to think about.

Typically when we discuss odor removal, the options include treatments that require a lot of time, money and labor.  Often, the conversation includes removing carpets and the pads under them, sealing with Killz, or the “ozone machine.” Now, there is a new method that might be a viable option.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

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