Blog :: 03-2016

5 Questions on Friday with Kol Peterson

adu portlandThis week we spoke with Kol Peterson, an ADU advocate and educator.

Question 1: House listings often state ADU potential as a benefit of the home. What should home buyers look out for when looking for a home with ADU potential?

It's a very good question. Remember this old realtor maxim: Location, Location, Location, I interpret the maxim this way: Location (Walkscore); Location ('micro-neighborhood'-by which I mean the adjacent properties); Location (placement of the ADU and site plan).

Question 2: Where can people start when considering building an ADU? is a good starting point if you've heard about ADUs and want to learn more about them and whether one might be a good idea for you.

Question 3: Why are you passionate about ADUs?

I am coming at this from an environmental angle, though this is rarely what I cover with people. What I like about ADUs is that they're twice green--good environmental and potentially profitable at the same time.

Question 4: What green building concepts should people consider for their ADU?

Building an ADU is building green. Without even trying, ADUs are inherently one of the greenest forms of housing possible.

Question 5: How much do ADUs cost?

Depending on a number of factors, $10K-$300K.


5 Questions on Friday with Libby Davidson 

   Question 1: What are the benefits of hiring a designer?

So many! We work really hard with and for our clients to create unique spaces that are both attractive and functional. We typically study the behaviors and amovements of individuals in their specific working and living environments to create this balance. And we can help you save tons of time and money in the long run!

Question 2: Do you sketch your designs, or do you work digitally? How do you share your design ideas for a project?

Initially, I prefer to sketch my ideas and plans to show clients what I'm thinking. I feel like showing clients something digital right away makes them feel that plans are more permanent and not as easily changeable. Once ideas are close to finalized and agreed upon, then I'll create it digitally. Almost always I will bring samples of whatever soft and hard goods (i.e. countertop, wallpaper, textiles, fabrics, etc.) to let them get a better idea of what they may or may not like up close and personal.

Question 3: Where do you pull your design inspiration?

For me, each project's inspiration is unique dependent upon the client. Upon our first meeting, I like to get a good grasp on the clients' hobbies, interests, and general background. Then I usually have them create a Pinterest board showing me examples of different styles they like so I can come up with ideas that are unique and specific to them. For example, the project pictured here was for a fitness and wellness instructor's office, and my concept was to embrace the idea of renewal. He was already helping his clients take what they already have, i.e. their bodies, and turn them into something better and more useful. Within the space, as many elements as possible were used to reflect this including: old basketball floors, old airplane parts, World War II military fabric, vintage lockers, and old sailboat sails. 

Question 4: When designing a room, what's the most important factor for you?

The most important thing for me is FUNCTIONALITY! We can cover up that functionality with whatever style and décor that is right for the client.

Question5: How do you use light in your designs?

Without good lighting, the impact of all other well-thought out details will be lost. I always try to have a mix of light sources at different levels, with consideration of natural light, to create a flattering ambiance. Appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space (i.e. reading, food prep, getting dressed) is key.

What are the benefits of going Solar?

This week we reached out to SolarCity about being our 5 on Friday spotlight; they sent us in the direction of a wonderful recent blog post, which we are re-posting with permission. More questions about solar? Give us a call!


The Facts of Light: What are the Benefits of Going Solar?

By SolarCity | Febuary 24, 2016

We get a lot of questions about solar power. That's why we've introduced "The Facts of Light"--a place where you can inquire about all things solar, and we'll do our best to get you the answers.

Homeowners who choose rooftop solar are, no doubt, aware of its number-one benefit: saving money. They're reminded of it monthly every time they pay less to power their home.

Fact is, solar from your rooftop costs less than traditional utility power in many areas of the country.

But saving money is just the start. Going solar brings a host of other benefits--ranging from environmental to economic--that anybody can feel good about.


Going solar can help reduce our country's carbon footprint

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar could play an important role in helping the country meet the carbon dioxide emissions reduction goal set forth in the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan. The plan calls for power plants to reduce their emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Going solar means choosing reliability

Scientists predict the sun will shine for another 5 billion years. Until then, rooftop solar provides a source of energy that's as reliable as the dawn. The emergence of easy-to-use battery backup systems can offer homeowners and businesses even greater reliability and freedom from grid outages.

Going solar contributes to the country's energy independence

According to the White House, our country's move toward energy independence is increasing our energy security, cutting carbon emissions, and enhancing economic growth. A variety of factors are helping drive this move, including the adoption of solar and other renewables. Energy produced on your roof is definitely not energy created by imported fuel.

Going solar may improve your home's appeal when it's time to sell

In 2014, we surveyed home buyers and sellers who had participated in a transfer of a solar lease or PPA agreement. About 70 percent of both buyers and sellers said they thought solar panels added to the overall appeal of the home. This complements a 2014 study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. It concluded that owned solar power systems can add significantly to a home's value.

Going solar helps create jobs

According to The Solar Foundation's 2015 National Solar Jobs Census, there are nearly 209,000 solar workers in the United States. Industry employment has increased by 123 percent in the last six years, with 2015 marking the third year in a row that the U.S. solar workforce grew by over 20 percent. In the last year, solar created jobs at a rate 12 times higher than the overall economy.

Going solar puts you on the cutting edge

These are exciting times. According to our 2015 Clean Energy survey, Americans named solar as the most important energy source for the country's future, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported that 868,954 U.S. homes and businesses had already gone solar by the third quarter of 2015.* People who choose solar today are still considered early adopters, but expect that to change in the not-too-distant future as solar becomes even more mainstream.

It's easier to go solar today than ever before. Financing options range from no money down to paying in full. Service agreements often include permitting, installation and repair services.

All you have to do is sit back, save money and enjoy these many benefits.

U.S. Solar Market Insight by Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research

5 Questions on Friday with Molly Paris

This week for 5 on Friday, we were so happy to chat with our Principal Broker, Molly Paris!

Question 1  What do you wish clients knew before you worked together? 

 To be quite honest, it is easy for me to work with clients that know nothing about real estate as well as an experienced Buyer or Seller.  I have no expectation of a client and always start with the same questions when I interview them.  I need to find out how much knowledge they have and/or how much knowledge they want to learn.  It's different for everyone.  So the answer is that I don't wish clients knew anything before we start working.

Question 2. What do you hope they learn with you after you close on a transaction? 

What I hope a client learns from me in a transaction is that if you have enough information in most situations, it will often eliminate fear and hesitation.

Question 3.  Looking through an inspection  report, what items are you most concerned about? 

 When I look through an inspection report, I am often looking for items where the client would be concerned and what those issues would cost.  Trying to decide with the client whether  "the condition is "typical" for the price and location" is often difficult.  I am rarely concerned about what is on an inspection for myself.

Question 4. Do you have any personal deal breakers with properties? 

I personally do not have any deal breakers, if the price of the property is right for the location and condition.  There is an old real estate quote that says, "There is no objection price won't overcome."  I've found that to be true with all my real estate transactions.

Question 5.  What part of a real estate transaction is your favorite? 

 My favorite part in a real estate transaction is helping my client achieve their dreams and then watching their reaction when they obtain them.