Portland Sites & Activities

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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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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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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Our Favorite Things : Holiday Edition

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.


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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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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!

Our Favorite Portland Fall Activities

We're falling for Fall! Our team is sharing their favorite fall activities to do with family and friends.

1. "I love nesting so taking a break from travel and summer activities to spend time at home rates really high. I also love going to see the swifts at Chapman Elementary with friends. I try and go at least once every year." Britta Schwartz, Realtor

2. "We love the Portland Nursery Apple Festival. They have it every year the first 2 weeks of October. Every variety of apple and pear you can imagine is available for taking and purchase. There is delicious food and fun for the kids." Heather Paris, Realtor

3. "Making soup and wearing sweaters." Chelsea McAlister, Licensed Assistant

4. "My favorite fall activity is heading out to Hood River for the day to pick apples!" Kate Ray, Lead Transaction Coordinator & Licensed Assistant; a few of Kate's favorite stops include: Draper Girls Country Farm, Apple Valley Country Store ("their jams are to die for!"), Mt Hood Winery, & Double Mountain Brewery ("for the pizza").

5. "I love to watch the swifts, go apple tasting, and enjoy pumpkin carving." Deanna Cintas, Realtor

What's your favorite fall activity? Tell us below!

In other news, we have an Open House today, 10/1/17, 1-3p at 8507 SE 144TH Dr (Portland, 97236) at this amazing 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom modern home with incredible views of Mt Hood.

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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: Heat Wave Edition

We're getting proactive with this heat wave and sharing a few favorite ways we're keeping cool this August.

1. Create Cool: If you don't have an air conditioner, but heavily considering it, here's a reference guide for picking out the right size. While in-window units are popular, portable units allow you to move it where you need it the most. And don't forget to lower blinds and keep the curtains closed during the day to help keep the heat out.

2. Cool Cooking: Gazpacho could your saving grace. It's easy to prep in the morning and is all the better after sitting in the fridge for a few hours, when the flavors have a chance to meld. Tomatoes are in season. Sprinkle a little feta on it. This chilled soup offers a bit of a relief while your home is cooling off in the evening.

3. Cool Retreat: Instead of getting caught up in Saturday morning's mass exodus to the coast's beaches, head out once it starts heating up. This way you'll enjoy that cool morning air before closing up your home for the day - and miss a bit of the traffic. When you head back, say after dinner, you'll miss the heat peaking in the city - and can open up your home in (slightly) cooler temperatures. 

4. Cool Culture: This heat offers a great reason to check out the newest exhibits at the Portland Museum of Art, the Pompeii exhibit at OMSI, or to roam through the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.

5. Play Cool: Along with numerous splash-pads and pools, or setting up your backyard sprinklers and inflatable pool, there's an amazing number of swimming holes, lakes and waterways an easy drive away.

Don't forget to check out Portland General Electric's blog for great tips to keep your home and family safe during a heat wave.

Looking for a new home? We're hosting two open houses this weekend! Visit us in Alameda on Saturday, 11a-1p at a charming 2-bedroom with 2.5 bathrooms home, and in Woodstock on Sunday, 1-3p at 3-bedroom & 2.5-bathroom home full of great potential. Click the links for details and addresses. Have questions? Give a call!

Have a great weekend, friends!