Home Ownership

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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Did You Buy a Home in 2017?

Did you buy a home in 2017? If so, congratulations! One of the perks of home-ownership: you’ll have several great tax deductions this year! You may be able to write off portions of your mortgage payment, your interest, insurance, property taxes, and mortgage insurance, to name a few.

If you bought a home with a Paris Group Realty agent in 2017, we recently sent you a final settlement statement for your real estate transactions from the year. You, or your accountant, can use this to document deductions - and lower your tax burden! If you have questions about your deductions or if you have not received your letter yet, please reach out to us. We're always happy to help!

Wish to better understand home-related tax deductions? Here are a few articles worth referencing as you prepare taxes:

Want someone to double-check the boxes? I’m happy to recommend several great accountants who can help you maximize your tax deductions this year. 

As a reminder taxes are due on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Good luck!

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.

Planning to buy your first home in 2018 or 2019? Come to our First Time
Homebuyers Session on Thursday, 3/1/18. Click for details & RSVP today!

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The February Edition

February is finally here! To celebrate, we're heading into off to our neighborhood's Winter Lights Festival celebrations tonight. Here's what else we're looking forward to this month.

1. Tax Prep: maybe not much look forward to, but worth getting ready for instead of scrambling in March or early April. If you bought a home in 2017, don't forget to review what deductions you may be eligible for when filing. If you bought a home through us, you should receive a letter soon with tax information. (Quick reminder: the Tax Bill recently passed does not affect 2017 taxes.)

2. Mid-Winter Getaway: while escaping to a sunny tropical location may not quite be in the books, a weekend escape always feels good this time of year. We think a visit to the Coast or Willamette's Wine Valley is in order for a change of scenery.

3. Super Bowl: Ok... truth be told, we're looking forward to gathering with friends, the food, and the commercials. Here are two recipes you can easily whip up regardless if you're hosting or need to bring a something to share this Sunday. These Crispy Chickpeas remind us the ones at Oven & Shaker, with a generous serving of salt flakes and rosemary; a delicious Salsa Verde Queso (don't forget the chips!); or if those don't float your boat, here are 50 more ideas.

4. Save the Date for our First Time Homebuyers Session! Our team will be hosting a session on Thursday, March 1, from 5:30- 7p, to review the home buying process here in Portland, tips to get ready loan applications, and how we work alongside our clients to help them find the right home for their lifestyle. Please RSVP so we can save you a seat!


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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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Open House: December 17

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.

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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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Open House: December 2-3

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.

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Real Estate 101: Home Inspections

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!

Follow Associated Master Inspectors on Facebook.

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Open Houses: November 19, 2017

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!

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