Home Life

Finiding Home : Jasmine

"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!

 

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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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Halloween Edition


We asked our team about their favorite neighborhoods to trick'or'treat. 

"Mine! I live in Piedmont and I’m pretty much just pitching my neighborhood to encourage trick or treaters since I love handing out candy and seeing all the creative costumes." - Britta Schwartz, Realtor

"Laurelhurst!" - Chelsea McAlister, Licensed Assistant

"I think the best neighborhood to go trick or treating in is the one you live in. Great neighborhoods come from neighbors knowing each other, and trick or treating gives you a chance to say hello and introduce yourself to neighbors you’ve seen walking around, but have maybe never met. " - Brigette Robinson, Realtor

"We always trick or treat in our neighborhood, South Tabor.  There are tons of kids out and about.  The kids usually head out in with a gaggle of friends and neighbors and everyone is home to give out candy.  Once we tire out of trick or treating, we come home to hand out candy to the later crowd which is always fun to see the costumes." - Heather Paris, Realtor

"I imagine Alameda or Grant Park would be an awesome neighborhoods for trick or treating." - Kate Ray, Lead Transaction Coordinator

"St. Johns!" - Jasmine Deatherage, Transaction Coordinator

"I haven’t personally trick or treated in a while, but I’d say Alameda and Irvington would be fantastic trick or treating neighborhoods." - Claire Paris, Principal Broker

Have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!

Finding Home: Kate

"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 our Lead Transaction Coordinator, Kate, shares her home search adventure and discovering the perfect spot may be in an unlikely place. 

1) How did you know you wanted to buy your home?
When we went to the open house I just felt a sense that it was the perfect house. I always wanted a classic 60’s ranch and the layout was perfect. The previous owners had done a beautiful job updating the home so the work needed was minimal. But the yard... the yard won us over. 

2) Was there a trade-off you felt was necessary to make to purchasing your home? 
The location wasn’t my favorite – we’re now just east of I-205; we were living in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood just off of 60th in an apartment. But we felt we would never find that perfect of a home anywhere closer in, remotely close to our budget. Now that we live there, I realize it was a silly concern because we don’t feel far away from anything. It’s a lot quieter, the neighborhood is super friendly, and with quick access to the freeways and the Max we can get across town (or out of town) way faster than before. 

3) Any surprises discovered *after* moving in?
We just moved in this past August, so far there haven’t been any major surprises. We’ve been working through some of the issues that came up on our home inspection, which are all pretty typical for most homes – getting electrical junction boxes up to code, having the heating ducts cleaned, the furnace serviced, getting a new roof installed, replacing old appliances…

4) How did you fix them? 
We’ve hired contractors to take care of all the work, with the exception of installing the appliances – we were able to handle that.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Kate! Best of luck as you two settle into your new home!

 

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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Finding Home: Brigitte

We're sharing interviews with our team, friends and clients about adventures in buying their first home, remodeling lessons, and other discoveries of owning a home. Today Brigitte, one of PGR's agents, is sharing why she and her husband bought their first home, what led them to buy a new home, and what plans they have in the works for it.

1) How did you know you wanted to buy your first home? 
Our St. Johns house (which we just sold) was a tiny place, just 775sf; but I fell in love with St. Johns. I loved how walkable our community was and its many resources for families. And I love how the local businesses supported the schools: James John, Sitton, George Middle School and Roosevelt.

Painting the new home's walls (with a trusty helper). 2) Was there a trade-off you felt necessary in purchasing your first home?
We bought our first house because we could afford it. We needed to find a house with a mortgage payment of about $1400 per month, so price was our biggest consideration. We definitely took a trade-off for walkability in St. Johns verses more space, but no sidewalks, in Brentwood Darlington. We bought this house in May of 2014 and am so thankful we bought when we did.

 3) And what led you to buying your new home? (Congratulations, by the way!!)
This summer, a few weeks after our second child was born, I finally admitted our first house was too small. Our new place is in Roseway and has it has TWO bathrooms, which we think is amazing. The new house has great guts; new electrical, new plumbing and went through an earthquake retrofit. Plus there’s a finished basement with gorgeous pour concrete floors. But the entire first floor of the house was painted goldenrod yellow and the wood floors had seen better days.

We got lucky on this house purchase; we wrote the offer the Friday before the eclipse this summer. I think most people were staring at the sun rather than looking at houses.

 

 

4) Do you have plans in the works for your new home?
There are two cesspools on the property we need to decommission and there’s no grass. The previous owners were gardeners and they put in gravel paths around the house and garden beds. I am going to feel a little guilty ripping some of their garden apart, but we have two kids and a dog, and need some grass in the backyard. The backyard is also just a postage stamp - it’s so tiny! But it’s fenced so I’m happy about that.

5) Any other surprises you discovered *after* moving in?
I noticed carpenter ants at the house when I was painting a few days after close. The $375 to Columbia Pest Control stung a bit, but carpenter ants can cause a lot of damage, so I just wanted it taken care of. 

6) Any advice you wish to share with future homeowners?
With every house, there are going to be surprises as you get to know your new home, so things like this are just part of being a homeowner.

Thanks Brigitte for sharing your adventures with us! Best of luck as you and your family settle into your new home!

IN OTHER PGR NEWS:

This Sunday, 10/15, we have two open houses in Portland: a 1-bedroom/1-bathroom home in North Williams and a 3-bedroom/2.1 bathroom in Woodstock. Both open houses are from 1-3p. Questions? Wish to schedule a walk-thru? 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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Five on Friday: September Edition

It's September! Time to say good-bye to the Summer and hello to the Fall. Here are five items we're tackling, excited about, and celebrating this month.

  1. The Eagle Creek Fire. It's already consumed enough heartbreak and we don't want to dwell on it, so instead we're helping take action to support the communities affected, the firefighters and first responders, and the Gorge itself. The are three ways to get started:
    - "Here’s Where to Eat, Drink, and Donate to Support Eagle Creek Fire Relief Efforts", Portland Monthly Magazine
    - Follow Friends of the Gorge.
    - Follow Red Cross Cascade Chapter
  2. Hit Refresh: we're bringing in a few new plants into the fold to help clean the air inside. Our favorites: placing a potted lavender plant in the bedroom and a peace lily in the living room.
  3. Project #1: it's that time to take advantage of the cooler, sunny days and check your home and make necessary repairs. From replacing old weather-stripping to removing dead branches to cleaning and repairing gutters, it's best to tackle your home's fall maintenance list before the rains arrive.
  4. Celebrate Fall: Looking for an activity to get you in the fall spirit? Visit Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Rock for their Fall Harvest Cider Squeeze on September 16 or Sauvie Island's numerous farms to enjoy their fall harvest. 
  5. Project #2: if you haven't heard yet, Equifax, a major consumer credit score provider, was cyberattacked. If you haven't checked yet to see if your information was impacted by this security breech, please take a moment to do so. Also, this has served as a good reminder to protect your information online. It's not as much fun as picking apples with family and friends, but, these it's an important task to take care of ASAP.

Have a fantastic day, friends, and we hope you enjoy the weekend!

 

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Five on Friday: This Beautiful Day

Investment properties are purchased for numerous reasons. A vacation home. For an elderly parent or college-age child. An income property. Today we’re incredibly excited to share Lisa Ng’s story about her and her husband’s beach rental purchase in Lincoln City, Oregon. Lisa, Portland dweller and the creative force behind the lifestyle blog This Beautiful Day, wrote about their experiences and decision making process in a series of informative blog posts about purchasing, building, and furnishing their property. 

1. When you first moved to Portland, what surprised you the most about the local real estate market?

I was surprised at how hot the real estate market was. We put an offer in on a condo and two other offers came in at the same time. The winning bid had put in an all-cash offer with no conditions - including waiving a bank appraisal. A few of the units we saw would likely require a bit of updating to make it look more modern and to our tastes - so factoring that into the budget, coupled with the bidding wars and rising prices - we decided to look for a different solution.

2. What led you to look at investment properties instead of buying a traditional first home?

We are ok with renting for now, so we decided to look at a vacation rental that we could lease out on airbnb instead. We wanted to make our money work for us. Many of our friends are airbnb hosts and we’ve used airbnb many times when we travel. It was a tried and true model for us, especially on the coast where demand is high during the warm summer months. We were lucky to have found the Olivia Beach development in Lincoln City. Our brand new 3 bedroom home on the coast was still cheaper than the 700 square foot condo we bid on in the Pearl District.

3. When you bought the property, it was still under construction. What was biggest lesson in working with a construction team long-distance? 

We were so lucky to be working with such an amazing builder, contractor, project manager and crew. Before we bought our beach house in Lincoln City, we met with another developer and they were SO rude to us and our real estate agent. I’ve never had such an icy interaction with someone whose job it was to sell something. Obviously, they were turned off by us and we were not the type of buyers they were looking for. 

If you experience anything like this - RUN!

My advice is to go with your gut and work with the BEST team possible. When I met the folks over at Olivia Beach, they were SO accommodating and just really nice people that we could see ourselves collaborating with. I look back and think, we were meant to have that first negative interaction - because it led us to the right team and the right people.

My other advice is to get on the phone and talk things out. Don’t rely on solely email to convey design ideas. Save Pinterest pictures, send them to your construction team so they know exactly what you’re asking for. You’re also going to want to go out to the site at least every other weekend because projects move fast and you want to keep an eye on things. Do build that into your schedule and don’t plan any crazy travel.

4. How did you set a budget and priorities for furnishing and decorating your property? What was important to you and Paul during this process? And how have you budgeted to replace items if they're damaged by a renter or from general wear and tear?

We set a budget and we did go over as we decided to spring for a few upgrades. Everything just adds up, so get ready for it mentally. It was important to us have fresh, new furniture and decor. I’ve seen rentals online where it looks like furniture just goes there to die. You won’t get a great rental return with mismatched cast-offs and we were aiming to be a more upscale property to differentiate ourselves from what is already out there. So we shopped at a lot of budget-friendly places with lots of style like Target, World Market, Ikea, Wayfair and West Elm. Our pieces turned out great, but didn’t cost so much that we would be disappointed if we had to replace them after a few years of wear and tear.

I really wanted to create a space that was a dream home that we would want to rent and we’ve had tons of guests compliment our furniture and decor. It’s 10x nicer than our rental apartment!

5. Aside from a fully booked calendar and word-of-mouth, part of owning a successful vacation rental are renters who return on a regular basis. What’s your advice about creating a space people will want to return to year after year? 

People want to book a relaxing place that’s just as nice as their own home or even nicer! Make sure your property feels like home and don’t forget all the little details like spices in the cupboard, tea, kitchen gadgets etc. Resist the urge to add clutter - guests want blank space to place their own things down.

BONUS QUESTION ROUND BELOW! 

Bonus Q #1: Why did you pick Airbnb as your rental portal? What made you decide to manage the property personally instead of hiring a 3rd-party management firm?

Management firms can take 30% or more plus a restocking fee for supplies. That really cuts into your profit. Definitely consider whether you have the time and energy to manage your own property during the busy summer months. I like airbnb because I can screen my guests and make sure they are well-reviewed before I decide to share my home with them.

Bonus Q #2: What would be your top three recommendations for someone looking to buy an investment property and turn it into a vacation rental? 

Make sure you have a decent size budget to work with for furniture and decor. Find an amazing housekeeper that is reliable and that you like working with.  Be prepared to spend a few months getting this project off the ground.

Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your story with us (and the amazing images above)!

Interested in seeing Lisa and Paul’s beach home? Please visit their page

If you're considering buying an investment property and have questions about the process, the type of loans available or financing, give us a call! We'd be happy to help you explore your options.

Five on Friday: Keep Cool, Portland!

If getting out of Dodge for the entire weekend isn't an option as the temperatures rise, here are five ideas to keep cool during this weekend's heat wave in Portland. 

1. Summer Breeze: We already know being strategic with opening and closing windows and window coverings on hot days can help keep your home cooler, but did you know your ceiling fan also help cool your home? Set it to rotate counter-clockwise to push cooler air down. Another option: create a draft in your home by using an attic fan or window fan to help force the hot air out by drawing in the cool air overnight and early in the morning.

2. Jump & Slide: Let the kids - big and small - have fun by making your own slip'n'slide. Place a kiddie pool in the shade for a little protection from the sun between runs.

3. Day Trippers: Take a day trip to one of the many nearby nearby waterfalls and enjoy the coolness of old growth forests. Want an easy hike with kiddos in tow? Check out one of these trails or visit the always cool Audubon Society of Portland, located in Forest Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Splish-Splash: Visit one of Portland's many splash-pad parks or community pools

5. Escape: Take a mid-day trip to the movies (pro-tip: buy your tickets online to avoid the lines or sold out shows!), visit a local library or book store. Adults only? Grab a deck of cards and visit a local hotel bar. They always have the AC on. 

Bonus: Here are 20+ no-cook meal ideas so you can leave your oven off and step away from the grill this weekend. Enjoy!

Bonus Part 2: we have an open house this Sunday, from 11a - 1p, at this sweet Woodstock bungalow with an amazing backyard