DIY Projects & Home Care

The May Edition

May has finally arrived and it. is. amazing. Today is gorgeous. The forecast for tomorrow and the upcoming days look promising. Here are a few things we're looking forward to this month:

1. Taste: It's Oregon Wine Month, which means it's the ideal time to learn about the region's incredible wineries and the perfect reason to pop into your favorite wine shop.

2. Maintain: If you're like us, you probably waited until the evenings warmed up a bit more before prepping the deck for use. With all the great weather at our doorstep in the upcoming week (or two!), it's the perfect time to clean and maintain your deck before it becomes your home's MVP for backyard gatherings and lazy mornings with a cup a coffee.

3. Plant: Speaking of backyards, if you're thinking about creating your own produce, kitchen herbs, and/or flower garden, now is the time to get everything in their pots or in the ground! 

4. Enjoy: last, but certainly not least, Mother's Day is coming up soon: May 13th! Celebrate the special lady in your life with a delicious brunch on a clean deck, looking over a freshly maintained garden, while sipping a favorite Oregon wine. (See what we did there?)

In other news, the Portland market is starting to move and open houses are popping up everywhere! If you spy a home you'd love to check out, give us a call! We're always happy set up a visit for you. Also be sure to follow us here or on social media to track our weekend open houses and new listings!

 

Don't forget to join Claire and Heather on Tuesdays at 1pm for their weekly Facebook Live chat!

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Does Location, Size or Condition Matter the Most?

When looking for a home with my clients, I'm often asked what's more important: the home's location, size or condition. Heather and I talked about this yesterday on our "Dear Claire" Facebook Live session - and here's a few more questions to ask yourself when looking at homes:

Size: Does it fit your lifestyle? And what about future lifestyle?
If a two-bedroom bungalow is calling your name today, that's awesome! But if you're also planning on starting a family or possibly thinking about having an aging parent live with you in the next few years, will that bungalow fit your long-term needs? While selling a home is always a possibility, it's also important to know you may not see returns on your purchase within the first few years depending on the market.

Condition: Does it need repairs?
When viewing a home, you'll want to make an honest assessment of your own handiness, abilities, and time. No matter the project, it can take a lot of dedication and finances. Many buyers look only at what their monthly payment is going to be, and of course, you’d like that to be as low as possible. But if you buy a house needing $75,000 worth of work - for instance, a new kitchen - financial wisdom tells us cash now is worth more than cash later. Following that advice, you might want to consider buying a house $75,000 more expensive, with a kitchen you want already installed, because you’ll be paying for it over time, instead of all up front.

Location: Is it everything?
As Heather noted in the video, "location is everything"; but when buying solely based on location, you’ll have to compromise on other things. A family of 6 buying a 2-bedroom home with a semi-finished basement in a fantastic location is compromising on square footage. There may be a 5-bedroom home further out, at the same price. One location might enable you to get home in an easy 15-minute trip, but there isn’t easy hang out space for the whole family, while the bigger house affords you tons of space, but means you’re commuting 45 minutes to and from work. These are the difficult considerations when deciding between properties and unfortunately not a decision we can help you make, because you ultimately have to live with the choice; but we're ready to help you talk through your options.

Budget: What does your budget allow you to do?
If you're already stretching your budget to buy a home and pay the mortgage, you'll want to consider what your finances will be afterwards, as you adjust to being a homeowner. After moving in, you may discover you need new curtains and a cute couch; and you’ll want some extra cash for that. However, there are ways we can structure a loan to minimize your out of pocket costs and will help with your cash reserves after closing (perhaps seller pays some of your closing costs!).

Bottom line: ultimately it's about what is important to you and what fits your lifestyle, both current and potential. Sometimes those top priorities can be in conflict and our job is to help you figure out what’s most important to you.

 

Have a real estate question you want Claire and Heather to answer on their weekly live chat? Let us know below!

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The April Edition

April is Portland is one of best times of the year. From viewing the cherry blossoms by the river to shedding the winter jackets, here are three things we're excited about this month:

1) Out & About: Sometimes during the bustle of daily life, it's easy to forget so many amazing wineries are right at our doorstep thanks to the Willamette Valley and Columbia Gorge. They have all the makings for a fun day trip - or fantastic weekend getaway. Can't make it out? Check out Portland's Grand Tasting on April 12 at the Lefthand Annex.

2) Build Community: Join our team on Thursday, April 19th, for a day of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. If you'd like more details and wish to sign up, please email us.

3) In the Garden: We're excited about enjoying evening meals in our backyards and watching our gardens grow as the weather warms up. Want to get the most from your space whether it's a yard or deck? Check out Portland Nursery's blog, which offers great care tips for plants both in and outdoors.

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home or investment property, please let us know!
We're always excited to help people set and reach their real estate goals.

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The March Edition

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friends, good news: Spring officially arrives next week, which means it's time to air out, clean up, and check off our spring maintenance list - and get our yards ready for summer entertaining!

1. Portland Eats: There's still time to enjoy Portland Dining Month! Try a few new-to-you spots and be sure to make your reservations at participating restaurants using OpenTable to support Oregon Food Bank. (We think it's the perfect way to reward yourself after a conquering the below lists and projects.)

2. Spring Clean: we know some people love spring cleaning; and others, well, not so much. To help make the process easier, here are some great articles to bookmark for future reference: cleaning and organizing closets and storage spaces, how to price used furniture, and a spring cleaning checklist for your home.

3. Spring Maintenance: it's time to roll up your sleeves and get through the seasonal home maintenance checklist. It's a great time to change your home's air filters, check your roof, and - grab your work-gloves! - clean the gutters. 

4. Homes for Sale: The market is starting to heat up with inventory. Thinking about selling or buying in 2018 or 2019? Give us a call. We're here to help whether it's sorting out a short or long-term timeline to meet your homeownership goals.

And speaking of help, that leads us to... 

5. Are you a Facebook user? We are too - and we just created a special Facebook Group for our friends! We'd love for you to join us for weekly insights from Claire and the PGR team, via videos and articles, as they share their experiences in and around the Portland-area real estate market. (And yes, please answer those anti-bot questions to join!)

If you're thinking about buying a home or investment property, please let us know!
We're always excited to help people set and reach their real estate goals.

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Portland's Home Energy Score

You may have heard single-family homes for sale within the City of Portland are now required to include a home energy score in their listings.

To answer a common question: this doesn’t replace a home inspection, which the buyer pays for, prior to purchasing a home. The home energy score audit, paid by the seller, needs to be conducted prior to listing a home for sale.

Why? Per the City of Portland's website:

Home energy scores are a market-based solution for conveying previously unknown but critical information to both buyers and sellers of homes. When homeowners invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, those costs may be recouped as scores translate into a value that can be recognized by the market. A recent analysis that included over 20 studies worldwide of homes with green certifications demonstrated that green-certified homes sell for up to four percent higher than a comparable home.

Beyond lower energy bills and greater housing affordability, energy-efficient homes are more comfortable and livable. The indoor air quality of these homes is better, leading to healthier lives. Home energy scores afford consumers a measure of protection when making one of the biggest financial investments most people ever make. [more below]


Benefits for Owners
- Information on money-saving home improvements.

Benefits for Buyers
- Better insight into the full costs of owning or renting a home.
- Ability to compare energy costs and performance between homes.
- Knowledge of potential home improvements in advance of purchase.
- Access to additional mortgage products.

Benefits for Sellers
- Recoup investments in energy efficiency upgrades at time of sale.

Have questions? Not to worry, we're here to help answer questions and help you understand these changes - and benefits - regardless if you're a currently a homeowner thinking about remodeling, looking to buy, or thinking about selling.

 

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Beat January's Chilly Blues

Happy New Year! 

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.

3. Winter Prep: If you haven't already prepped your home for winter weather and checked off your seasonal maintenance list, now is a great time to get it done before the rain returns.

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.

5. Say "No" to Cabin Fever: There are a lot of events happening this month, like Chinese New Year celebrations and OMSI's Bourbon & Bacon Fest 2018, as well as plenty of great wet-weather (local) hikes. A few of our favorite calendar resources: Thrillist, Portland Monthly, and Oregon Hikers. If you rather stay cozy while perfecting the art of Hygge, find a great book to enjoy in front of the fireplace (or visit one if needed).

What are your plans this month? Any favorite activities?

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Light the Candles & Deck the Halls

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...).

2) Holiday Happenings: Expecting company this month and want to avoid cabin fever? We hear you loud and clear. We found a few calendars and activity guides you may want to bookmark for future reference: Portland Monthly's Holiday Guide & Mt Hood Activity Guide; Travel Portland's December Event Calendar; and Thrillist's Portland Holidays & Christmas Guide.

3) Holiday Spirits: Our very own Chelsea McAllister has an incredible Tres Leches Eggnog recipe you'll want serve at your holiday gathering. 

Be sure to follow us here on the blog and on Instagram as we share a few of our favorite holiday activities and recipes throughout the month.

IN OTHER PGR NEWS: Join us in St Johns tomorrow (12/3) from 1-3p for an open house at a darling 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom home. Can't make it? Give us a call to schedule a walk-thru.

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Finding Home : Heather

"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!

IN OTHER PGR NEWS:

We have a few homes on the market: a 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom ranch home in Southeast Portland's Powellhurst neighborhood; 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom bungalow in Milwaukie, OR; and a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom Tudor home in Gladstone, OR. Click the links for details. Interested in touring one? Give us a call!

 

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!

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Getting Ready for Holiday Guests


The holiday season is officially upon us, which means the March of Guests is about to begin. Whether it's for a party, an open house, or a long weekend, we're sharing a few tips to help get your home holiday-ready this season.

1. Signature Scent: Skip the candle and create a scent that suits your home perfectly. Here are four scents you can simmer on the stove as you get ready for visitors - or to help you relax.

2. Stock Up: Get your fridge and pantry ready for the holidays by stocking up on delicious - and practical - goods. Need some ideas for last-minute snacks? Here are 10 great ideas for when a neighbor drops by or to quickly recharge after an outing with visiting family. 

3. Set the Stage: Not quite ready to haul out the boxes and bins full of holiday decor? Or wish to keep your decor minimal yet welcoming? We hear you loud and clear. Here are 10 simple ideas to get your home holiday guest ready.

Have your home on the market during the holidays? A simple wreath on the door, a mat to wipe wet shoes, and a standing coat rack in the entryway's corner will help potential buyers feel welcomed during an open house.

4. Schedule It Out: A packed agenda can feel overwhelming for some visitors, but having a general plan for a group outing or two helps prevent cabin fever from hitting your home. Bonus points if you post it on the fridge for all to see. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our bookmarked pages: Portland Monthly's weekly events update, Williamette Weekly's calendar, Red Tricycle Portland for family-specific activities, and Oregon Live's holiday event guide. Need a holiday cocktail? We'll check out Eater PDX for a few ideas.

How do you get ready for holiday house guests? Have an annual tradition? Please share below!

IN OTHER PGR NEWS: We have a few open houses coming up this weekend! Check back here tomorrow for details, or visit our Facebook page and Instagram feed for updates!

3746 SE Washington, Portland OR (click for details)

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Finding Home: Claire

Over the next few months, we're sharing stories from our team, friends, and clients about adventures in buying their first home, remodeling lessons, and other discoveries of owning a home. 

1. How did you know you wanted to buy your home?
My brother and I had been looking for a year. It was 2001 and a seller’s market, which meant properties sold quickly and for over listing price. We were looking for something we could fix up. Andy and I walked into the house and it was a wreck: blue walls, weird wall paper, dirty carpeting and more. We saw past all of that to the built-in bookcases and china hutch, the hardwood floors, and the fantastic layout. We were sold.

2. Was there a trade-off you felt was necessary to make to purchasing your home?
Our budget was low, so we’d already agreed to compromise on condition. But this house could be fixed up and look beautiful.


3. Any lessons learned while remodeling?
I had my mom layout the kitchen perfectly and we went to a discount cabinet store (long before Ikea was here!). They didn’t have one of the cabinet sizes my mom had instructed us to buy. I figured if I added the inch and a half the cabinet that was in stock to another cabinet, it wouldn’t make any different in the length of the cabinets, so why not? I didn’t realize my mom had centered that particular cabinet so the stove began past the windowsill. So instead, the windowsill was broken with the stove.

It was a small error, but it was a big lesson in paying attention to the details. Every time I go in my kitchen, I think about it.

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We have THREE open houses this weekend! Two in Gresham and one in Portland. Click to preview a lovely ranch-style home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (Gresham; listing price: $310k)a well-maintained 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom ranch-style home (Gresham; listing price: $269,900), and a sweet 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom bungalow in Portland's North Williams neighborhood (listing price: $375k).

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!

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