As we put away the holiday decor and reclaim all the space in our living room, and return to our regular schedule, here are five items on our list this month.
1. Home Energy Scores: We shared this update on our Facebook page in December, but definitely wanted to remind you about this new ordnance. Single family home sellers in Portland will now be required to include a Home Energy Report Score when listing. We'll write more about this and offer examples of scores later this month, but for the time being, please visit the City of Portland's website for details or give us a call.
2. Rainy Day Activity: Have you visited the Portland Art Museum recently? It's currently hosting a great exhibit featuring LAIKA, a local film company, that made Kubo & the Two Strings, Coraline, ParaNorman, and Boxtrolls. It's a great option for a rainy day or if you're looking for something to do while your home is hosting an open house.
4. Snow Safety: Should we get more snow (how awesome was that Christmas Eve gift from Mother Nature?!), please remember to clear the sidewalk in front of your house to help your family, friends, and others safely pass by. Rather not shovel? There are a few other options to keep in the garage, like salt, a sand/gravel mixture or clean cat-litter, in case we get more snow.
Aside from cozying up in front of a fireplace, sipping on hot cocoa - or a glass of red wine - and staring at the Christmas tree, here are some of our favorite holiday activities:
"I love keeping Christmas day simple and spending it eating Chinese food and going to a movie. It use to just be my husband and me, but I think the appeal of a low-key holiday has spread to our friends. Now a lot of us meet to see a movie together, which is even more fun!" - Britta Scwartz, Broker
"Matt and I trek up to Christmas Mountain with friends, drink hot chocolate and traipse around in the snow until we find our tree. Then we cut it ourselves, and haul it home to decorate. I love making our family recipe of rooskies [recipe below]. My favorite book is an old, beat-up Christmas book my parents got us when we were little. It was scratch and sniff - that doesn’t work anymore - and it makes me smile when I pull it off the shelf to read to my nieces and nephews." - Claire Paris, Principal Broker
"My favorite holiday activity is probably getting together with friends for an ugly sweater bar crawl, and sometimes being able to see family who don’t live in Oregon. I also love New Years!" - Deanna Cintas, Broker
"My favorite holiday actives are checking out Christmas lights and different places that are done up for the holidays - grabbing cocktails at the Benson, going to the Grotto, Pittock Mansion, or seeing the tree at Pioneer Square are just a few. I also love watching the Christmas ships at Salty’s! My favorite holiday tradition is spending Christmas Eve at my sister’s house with family. We all get together for some holiday cheer, dinner, and gift opening before heading to mass. I always love making sure the Hallmark Channel Yule Log is on the TV in the background." - Kate Ray, Lead Transaction Coordinator
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones.
Between decking the halls and singing "fa-la-la," join us for an open house on Sunday, 12/17, from 1-3p, at this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom mid-century ranch in Milwaukie. (BTW: we're going on the record to say the front doors are pretty amazing.) Listed at $350k.
Can't make it? Give us a call to schedule a walk-thru.
"Finding Home" is a collection of interviews with our team, friends and clients about adventures in buying their first home, remodeling lessons, and other discoveries of owning a home.
Jasmine, PGR's Transaction Coordinator, shares why compromising on a house's size in a preferred neighborhood made perfect sense to her thanks to a fantastic layout and yard.
1) How did you know you wanted to buy your home? We bought in 2012 when inventory was very low. This was the nicest house we could afford in the neighborhood we wanted to be in. I knew it was the one because it had a wide open yard for gardening and ADU. Plus the house has a fantastic layout for an 825sq/ft house and a big kitchen to tie everything together.
2) Was there a trade-off you felt was necessary to make to purchasing your home? It is smaller than we would like, but the location makes it worth it.
3) Any surprises you discovered *after* moving in? No unfortunate surprises in our situation. We did put in radon mitigation a few months after purchasing, but not a huge surprise for St Johns.
4) Anything else you'd like to share about your home? The house was a flip by Portland Development Group so there wasn’t much to fix. Originally built in 1908, the house was brought down to the studs and everything redone, so that was part of the appeal. We added an ADU not long after buying it and we hired a contractor for that. It was a great experience!
Thank you, Jasmine for sharing your home adventures with us!
Would you like to share your home search adventures, remodeling tales, or how you made your house a home with us on our blog? Send us a quick note and we'll be in touch! We'd love to hear from you!
We're kicking off December with a hot cocoa in one hand and an umbrella in the other while holiday window shopping on Alberta... and we wouldn't want it any other way.
1) Holiday Hygge: Hygge, in a simplest translation, is a super cozy feeling, which is perfect for the holidays. We found two articles that best describe it. One containing DIY projects for the home or to make as gifts - also ideal if you're trying to keep your own or visiting kiddos busy during a rainy afternoon. Not feeling crafty? We understand; the other article contains great hygge gift ideas (BTW zero judgement if you gift yourself any of the items... like the blankets... or a wreath... or some candles...).
Join us this weekend for our open house in Portland's highly-desirable St. Johns!
From 12-2p this Saturday (12/2) and 1-3p on Sunday (12/3), come see this 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom near-by the heart of St. Johns. Thanks to bright picture windows and gorgeous hardwood floors, the open living and dining room fills with light. The remodeled kitchen, with a pantry, makes getting ready for gatherings a snap. A large backyard and multiple patios will be perfect for entertaining and relaxing throughout the warmer months. Listed at: $350k
Can't make it? Give us a call to schedule a walk-thru.
Today we're interviewing Jay Hensleigh of Associated Master Inspectors, a home inspection firm based in Tigard, OR. Jay has been an inspector since 2006 in the Portland area. We asked him to share his insights about home inspections, what buyers and sellers can expect from an inspector, and what sellers should have ready if they remodeled their home.
1) Can you please describe what a typical day looks like for you? My work day consists of either one or two inspections. For a typical home inspection, I’m onsite for about 4 hours, looking at the home and talking to the client and realtors. When you add in travel time to and from the office or between successive jobs, it can make for a very full day.
After the inspection(s), I spend an additional 2-3 hours in the office to compile my inspection findings and photos, research any unique issues discovered at the home, and review and finalize the report. Given these time investments, I find it’s logistically impossible to do more than two inspections a day. When I do have two inspections in one day, I make sure to reserve time the next morning to complete the reports.
2) What is your process for inspecting a house? In Oregon, home inspectors are required to follow and meet tightly defined rules known as the Oregon Standards for Home Inspection, which define the extent, limits, and requirement of an inspection. Within these standards, my process of performing an inspection is primarily a visual process of discovery, essentially starting at one end of the home (roof) and finishing at the other end (the crawlspace). I carry a collection of tools to help me inspect the home, including ladders, flashlights, screwdrivers, probing tools, moisture meter, various electrical testers, and a pick-hammer.
To document issues I discover, I carry a digital camera and also have my laptop on a portable stand to enter information as I move around the property. Some areas may be fully inaccessible for various reasons or my view of various areas of components may be limited by furnishings, stored items, or appliances, and these limitations are noted in the report.
I encourage my clients to attend the inspection, but to arrive towards the end of it. This allows me time to fully focus on the home. Toward the end, I meet with my client and their realtor to review my findings so everyone is aware of the more serious issues present at the home. Sometimes we walk around the home and look at any areas the client wants to see. As we wrap on onsite, payment is usually collected from the client, and I let them know when they can expect the report.
3) If a homeowner is planning a home remodel, what should they take into consideration if they decide to sell their home in the future? The three most important considerations are permits, permits, and permits. Did I mention permits?
In today’s world, making sure you obtain permits for renovations or repairs when required is very important. If you choose to do work without permits, it’s very likely it will come up when you go to sell the house. Most buyers will ask for permits to be obtained. Obtaining permits retroactively can be very expensive and time consuming. In worse-case scenarios, you may be required to open up walls to expose work for inspection or could even be required to demolish additions.
4) What’s one tip you can share with sellers? How about three? First, make sure all utilities are on. Having the water, power, or gas shut-off severely limits the inspection and almost always requires a second inspection visit that often results in added inspection fees and almost always delays.
Second, making sure attics, crawlspaces, furnaces, water heaters, and electrical panels are not blocked by stored items, furniture or appliances also ensures a complete inspection without delays.
And finally, please plan to be away from the home during the inspection. Your presence can slow down the inspection process and makes it difficult for your buyer to learn about your home without some sense of unease.
5) What’s one tip you can share with buyers? Homes are a complex compilation of materials, systems, and components. Over time, materials weather, systems age, and components wear out. As a home inspector, my primary job is to alert you to health and safety issues, structural problems, and conditions that may lead to safety and structural issues, but keep in mind that the inspection is a snapshot in time. Conditions in and around the home can and do change over time. You can be your home's best ally by consistently performing seasonal and annual maintenance, and monitoring your home to catch and resolve any conditions that may lead to significant damage.
6) BONUS Q: What drew you to home inspection? The first time I saw a home inspector in action was 1995 when I bought my first home. At the time, I was well established in a career path as a fishery biologist, but I was intrigued as I followed the inspector around the house, and later as I read the report.
Seven years later my career transition, I started working as a handyman for a property management company, which led to construction work for a local developer, which led to getting my contractor's license. While construction work was fun and rewarding, I wanted a more flexible and independent schedule, with more variety in my work tasks. I also wanted more interaction with clients. Home inspection seemed like it would meet these needs and would allow me to use the skills, knowledge, and experience I had built-up as a contractor and as a biologist. It took a little more training and testing, but soon I was working as a home inspector. I have found that indeed, it’s a great fit for me. The joy of the job is the mix of technical expertise required, camera and computer work, seeing all kinds of houses, and of course, meeting people as they proceed with the exciting, and stressful, process of buying a home.
Thanks Jay for taking the time to share your insights with us and our readers!
Join us this weekend for two open houses in the Portland area!
From 10a - 3p this Sunday at a one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo nearby Portland's bustling North Killingsworth Street. This quiet courtyard condo is in a well run community, with charm galore, including hardwood floors, a breakfast nook, and private backyard. Ideal for a student, first home-buyer, or long-distance commuter looking for metro area home. (UPDATE: the open house has been changed to 1-3p.)
Also this Sunday, from 1-3p, we'll be showing off a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home in in Portland's Sunnyside neighborhood. Nestled between SE Belmont and SE Hawthorne, this single-family home is nearby all the activities while offering a serene retreat.
Can't make it during the above times and wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!
"Finding Home" is a collection of interviews with our team, friends, and clients about adventures in buying their first home, remodeling lessons, and other discoveries of owning a home.
Today Heather, PGR realtor and Claire's sister, shares why her home was "The One," a discovery made 10 years after purchasing, and why a finding a great floor plan ranks high when searching for a home.
1. How did you know you wanted to buy your home? As soon as we walked in our house, I knew we needed to make an offer. The open floor plan, great location near Mt. Tabor, room to grow and ability to renovate all sealed the deal.
2. Was there a trade-off you felt was necessary when purchasing your home? No trade-off as it was purchased 17 years ago. However, there are always trade-offs today at any price range.
3. Was there an unfortunate surprise/issue you discovered *after* moving in? The biggest surprise we discovered after living in the house almost 10 years were the two cesspools in the backyard that needed decommissioning.
4. How did you fix it? We've done an extensive amount of work on our house and for every project we have hired contractors to do the work.
5. Would you have changed your mind about the purchase if you had known this would've happened? No, there are very few repairs that would steer me away from any house. I think finding a neighborhood, floor plan, and layout is much harder than facing any needed repairs or work.
Thank you for sharing your story with our readers, Heather!
We have some great open houses happening this weekend throughout the greater Portland area. Hope you can join us! Have questions about the homes below - or one you recently spied while out and about? Give us a call!
From 10a-12p on Saturday, at 11132 NE Morris St, Portland, this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, home with a huge yard is perfect for a first-time home buyer or someone looking to dive into investment properties. A little love and a handful of updates will make this home shine. Listing price: $250k.
New Listing! On Saturday, from 12-1:30p, at 245 W Hereford S, Gladstone, a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom Tudor home with an incredible layout, backyard, and 2-car garage. Link coming soon; call us for details. Listing price: $400k.
From 1-3p on Saturday, at 1827 SE Regner Rd, Gresham, a 3-bedroom, 1.1-bathroom, ranch home with a private yard and recent updates, including a new water heater. NEW listing price: $250k.
New Listing! From 1-2p on Sunday, at 11389 SE 35th Ave, Milwaukie, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom sweet bungalow with remodeled kitchen and large private yard with deck. Listing price: $300k.
From 1-3p on Sunday, at 3746 SE Washington St, Portland, an incredible 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom classic craftsman home a block away from Laurelhurst Park and nearby Belmont's restuarant scene. Listing price: $525k.
Can't make it during the above times and wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!