NOTE: The City of Portland’s Get Legal Program was “suspended indefinitely” September 1, 2009.


When it comes time to sell your remodeled house, one of the first questions that will be asked is “was it done with permits?” The second question is going to be “was the permit finalized.” The savvy Realtor or buyer can find out the information themselves on PortlandMaps under the Permit/Cases link for any property in Portland.

The property disclosures ask the same questions.

The City gives homeowners the opportunity to permit their work after the fact. It’s not a free pass to remodel at will since you still have to meet all the code requirements and pay the fees. The city’s website: (more…)

Q: Are you a full service brokerage?
A: Yes. We work for Prudential Northwest Properties, the largest locally owned real estate firm in Oregon.

Q: How long have you been in real estate and how many transactions have you closed?
A: A combined eight years. In 2005, we closed 57 transactions. Real estate is our full time profession.

Q: What education and real estate designations do you have?
A: We both have MBAs. Charles is e-PRO certified and Jennifer is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative. We just recently completed the second of three parts of the GRI program.

Q: How do you give back to the community?
A: Charles is on the Jr. Board of the Oregon chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Jennifer is on the Board of Fruit and Flower Child Care Center. We support these charities and Transitional Youth with our charitable dollars.

(more…) The new 6000 pound real estate gorilla in the room? Probably not.

While admitted kind of fun entering the addresses for each of our properties to see what Zillow thought they were worth, the results were staggeringly random. Three were at least in the ballpark (but way outside the foul line), but one property was off by a factor of two.

Zillow uses the tax record to compile a lot of their valuation and at least in our market, the tax records are far from accurate. According to Zillow, my parents house was built 40 years after it really was. Nor can Zillow tell the condition of the house. No computer algorithm is going to get that right. Sure, you can tweak these things in Zillow but it doesn’t really mean much if you are forcing your own home value.

Also, it is not entirely clear where they are getting their market data from. They claim:

For Portland, the appreciation rate was 24% in 2005 vs. 13% in 2004.

Cool fact but wildly inaccurate according to RMLS. They put 2005 appreciation at 16.1%.


Your interest rate is a measure of risk. The lower the risk, the better your rate. Your credit score shows the lender just how much of a risk you are. Therefore, one of the very first things you should do when considering buying a home is to review your credit report and make sure it is accurate. Why would you want to pay for someone else’s error over the thirty year life of a loan???

You can get your credit report from any one of the three credit bureau for a fee but you are entitled to a free report each year. You can get the report at The free part is your credit report. You have to pay for the actual score which is probably worthwhile. Each bureau reports differently so scores will vary between them. (more…)