Investment Properties

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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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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Open Houses: November 4-5, 2017

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! 

Saturday, 11/4:

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.

Sunday, 11/5:

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!

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Open Houses: October 29, 2017

We're hosting a few open houses this weekend! 

This Sunday, 10/29, from 1-3p, an amazing three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in the Sunnyside neighborhood, near Laurelhurst Park. Listing price: $525k. (Listing link coming soon; visit our Facebook page or call us for details!)


Also this Sunday, 1-3p, this charming two-bedroom, two-bathroom Southeast Portland bungalow with a deck and backyard ideal for entertaining. Listing price: $400k

And last, but not least, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Northeast Portland, with a large backyard. Listing price: $250k.

Hope you can join us! Questions about these homes? Wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!

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Open Houses: October 21-22, 2017

We're hosting two open houses this weekend! 

On Saturday, 10/21, 10a - 12p, & Sunday, 10/22, 1-2p, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom Southeast Portland bungalow. Listing price: $400k
 

On Sunday, 10/22, 3:30 - 5:30p, we're showing a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom ranch in Gresham. NEW listing price: $299k.

 

Hope you can join us! Questions about either home? Wish to schedule a walk-thru? Give us a call!

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Five on Friday: Portland's 2035 Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is a long-range land use and public facility investment plan to guide future growth and the physical development of the city. The original plan was adopted in 1980. The new plan aims to address the needs of a growing city and takes effect in January 1, 2018. 

1) What is Zoning?

  • Zoning is a way for the city to regulate development and enact its goals for the community and the environment.

2) What does that mean for homeowners?

  • Zoning will dictate what you can and can’t build on your property. For example: if your home is in an R5 Zone, it means you are allowed one dwelling for every 5000 square feet of land. Zoning will also affect the landscape around you. If your home is in an R1 zone, you might see multifamily developments being built next door.

3) How will the Comprehensive Plan affect homeowners?

  • It depends on the zone. Some areas, especially along transit corridors will see increased density, more mixed-use construction, and taller buildings. Other neighborhoods won’t be affected at all.

4) Where can I find out if my zoning is changing?

  • Here's a link the plan's map: https://www.portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp. Per the site's FAQ page: "The Comprehensive Plan Map shows a long-term vision of how and where the city will grow and change over the next 20 years to accommodate expected population and job growth." In other words, it shows the future, while the site's Zoning Map shows what is allowed today.

5) Can PGR help me better understand this?

  • Of course! Give us a call.

FYI: we have an open house this Sunday, 9/17, from 1-3p for a brand new listing. Visit us at this amazing, mid-century 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in SE Portland; listed for $450k. Trust us. This one won't last long. You'll want to see it ASAP!

 

Have a fantastic day and a wonderful weekend, friends!
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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.