Blog :: 04-2016

Five Ways to Get Involved With Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East


Today, Paris Group Realty will be spending our day with Habitat for Humanity. With that in mind, we asked them to share with us 5 ways people can get involved with Habitat for Humanity! For more information head over to


If swinging a hammer and sawing wood sound like your style, you can sign up to help build affordable homes with Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers help Habitat build homes alongside future homeowners who put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" in building their home. If heavy lifting and power tools sound scary, don't worry! Volunteers do everything from painting walls and landscaping, to sorting supplies and pouring coffee.

Donate Money

Habitat for Humanity runs on the generosity of our friends and neighbors. Donations from the community help Habitat build more homes with more low-income families, and in Portland's increasingly expensive housing market, low-income families are the most at-risk of being displaced from their communities. 91.7% of every dollar donated goes directly towards building homes, and as an added bonus, your donation is tax-deductible!

Donate Goods or Services

A donation of goods or services allows Habitat to stretch each dollar we raise even further. If you have extra stock of things like cabinets, flooring, appliances, or windows & doors, we may be interested! If your company does construction services and would be willing to donate your service, we may be interested in that too! Contact Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East to see if you have what we're looking for.

Attend an Event

Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East has two annual events you can attend to learn more about and become more involved with the program. In the spring, the HopeBuilder Breakfast is a free-one hour event that features inspirational speakers and testimonials from future Habitat homeowners. In the fall, the Hard Hat & Black Tie Dinner and Auction is an exciting silent and live auction, with all proceeds going directly to Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East. You can learn more about our events at

Volunteer at the ReStore

The ReStore depends on volunteers to do a variety of jobs that keep the stores running smoothly. They need truck drivers, office assistants, customer service assistants, receiving assistants, stockers and cleaners, and so much more. Look for your closest ReStore and contact them for volunteer opportunities.


  1. Mark Aalto on

    You guys are awesome. Give me a shout when you do this next time!! Mark Aalto
    • claire paris on

      You got it Mark!

      Janikka Byman is joining our team at Paris Group!

      Janikka Byman is joining our team at Paris Group! To help welcome her, we wanted to feature her in this week's 5 on Friday. Here goes!

      1. Why do you enjoy being a Realtor?

      I feel honored to be able to help people at such a pivotal time in their life. I love showing people this city, and finding new neighborhoods to explore.  There is so much creativity and budding culture here. I've been in Portland and the surrounding area most of my life, and to show newcomers all the beauty and excitement here is always a treat. But - nothing is more rewarding than handing a new homeowner their keys.

      2. When you're not showing houses, what do you like to do?

      I exercise, I explore. I love live music, spending time with my friends and family, getting out and discovering new things and places, and nurturing my indoor plants.

      3. If you were to pick one spot, where would you go out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

      Breakfast - Broder Nord

      Lunch - Luce on E Burnside

      Dinner - Tanuki

      4. Our city is changing, but what part of Portland do you hope remains unchanged?

      Some things I know won't change, but I would never want to see Forest Park, or our bridges change. Other parts of old Portland that I hold in my heart and would never want to change are Gino's in Sellwood, My Father's Place, the Delta Café.

      5. It's going to be 88 on Monday. If you aren't showing houses, where would you like to be?

      My life has a lot to do with food and drink, it always has.  I recently discovered the Skunk Brothers Spirits Distillery in the Gorge, in tiny Stevenson, WA.  There's a great spot next to their parking lot to sit and look out at the river. I imagine that a warm and sunny (non-working) day might include a drive up there, with a driftwood log sit and a tasty beverage.


      5 Quesions on Friday with Zach Bay

      This week, we were so happy to be able to chat with Zach Bay from WFG Title.

      Question 1. What do title companies do?

      A title company makes sure that the title to a piece of real estate is legitimate and then issues title insurance for that property. Title insurance protects the lender and/or owner against lawsuits or claims against the property that result from disputes over the title.

      Title companies also often maintain escrow accounts -- these contain the funds needed to close on the home -- to ensure that this money is used only for settlement and closing costs, and may conduct the formal closing on the home. At the closing, a settlement agent from the title company will bring all the necessary documentation, explain it to the parties, collect closing costs and distribute monies. Finally, the title company will ensure that the new titles, deeds and other documents are filed with the appropriate entities.

      Question 2. People often use the words Title and Escrow interchangeably; is there a difference?  

      Title Insurance protects an owner's or a lender's financial interest in real property against loss due to title defects, liens or other matters.

      Escrow is an agreement in which a neutral third party assembles and manages many components of the Real Estate Transaction. The Escrow Agent acts on behalf of the buyer and seller under the Escrow law as set forth by the State of Oregon Real Estate Agency. Escrow carries out written instructions relating to the transaction and insures mutual agreement of the written terms.

      Question 3. When does title transfer to a new home owner?  

      Title Transfers to a new home owner when escrow has all the funds needed to record the deed in the county recorder's office. Once the recorder has recorded the conveyance document to the new owner title is official transferred.

       Question 4. Does it matter which title company you use?  

      A title company plays a very important role during a real estate transaction. It conducts the title search and ensures the title is clear and the sale is legal. But your title company assists with paperwork and communication between the parties, facilitates document filing and recording, and may even serve as an escrow agent.

      Choosing an incompetent, slow or irresponsible title company could jeopardize your real estate transaction. And there is often more than one side that wants to do the choosing--from a real estate agent, to the lender and seller's attorney or broker, everyone has their own agenda. Besides the obvious financial aspect, there are also other things to take into consideration when negotiating who pays for each part of the title insurance. The person who pays for both policies is typically the one who gets to choose the title company that issues the insurance. If the policies are split, the person covering the Owner's Policy is someone who has the biggest say in the matter.

      Both buyers and sellers (or their representatives), and often even lenders, want their trusted title company to perform the closing. Sometimes, real estate brokers may specify the company they want to use in the property listing or a real estate agent will work their favorite title company into the purchase offer. It often makes sense for the buyer or buyer's agent to make the choice because, after all, they are the ones benefiting from title insurance. Moreover, according to the Section 9 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the seller is prohibited from requiring the buyer to use a specific title company as a condition of the sale. The seller may still request their chosen company to be used, but it can't be a "take it or leave it" scenario, where buyer's refusal would terminate the deal.

      In some situations, especially during a mortgage refinancing, the lender might ask you to use their preferred title company. They have the right to do this, and because many homeowners don't have their preferences, the lenders often get their way. However, if you have a trusted title company you've used before or have a recommendation from a relative, you can ask the lender to go with your choice.

      If you don't have your own preference, it's wise to go with your agent's choice. If, however, someone recommended you a good company, know that as a buyer you have a say in this matter. Just make sure that the company you suggest has the knowledge and expertise to handle your transaction, no matter how complex it is.

      Question 5. What is title insurance? What does it cover?

      You probably know that title insurance is typically required by the lender and is, in general, a good policy to have. But did you know that title insurance is actually two separate policies?

      • Owner's Title Insurance (OTP) is known as Owner's Policy. It is issued in the amount of the real estate purchase and is obtained at closing for a one-time fee. OTP protects the buyer from any mistakes, forgery or claims against the title.
      • Lender's Title Insurance (LTP) is known as Loan Policy. It is issued in the amount of the loan (unless it's a cash transaction) and is also obtained at closing for a single premium payment. LTP protects the lender should a problem with the title arise after closing.

      Despite the clear labeling--owner's and lender's insurance--respective title insurance is not always paid by the parties it protects. For example, your bank is unlikely to pay for the lender's policy. As a buyer, you will probably be picking up the tab. Even if the lender pays this expense initially, it may later defer the costs to you. Owner's Policy is the responsibility of the buyer, but in your contract of sale you may negotiate that the seller pays it, or maybe even the lender's portion too. Additionally, local state and county laws may have provisions for each party's responsibility when it comes to title insurance.

      5 on Friday with Trash for Peace

      Question 1: What is Trash for Peace?

      Trash for Peace is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization founded in Portland in 2012. The mission is to educate communities about sustainability through hands-on learning and functional art. We focus on all aspects of sustainability, which includes environmental, economic, and social well-being. Each year, we work directly with over 300 youth and divert over 1,000 plastic bottles, bottle caps, plastic bags, and other items from the landfill.

      Question 2: What is Trash for Peace doing in and around Portland?

      We have two main programs. The first is a Sustainability Education Program that is in partnership with low-income housing organizations and other community organizations that serve underprivileged communities. Our programming occurs on-site at properties throughout the greater Portland area, mostly NE and East County, and focuses on youth and families. It rotates between waste reduction and recycling education through functional art, gardening and renewable energy education, and nutrition education through zero waste cooking classes.   We also have a pop-up zero waste café on Thursdays that serves to teach business and job skills to older youth that participate in our programs.

      Our second program is in-schools (locally, nationally, and internationally), where we build recycle bins out of trash and do other hands-on and innovative activities in the classroom to educate about waste reduction and sustainability. We also consult with businesses to help reduce waste using creativity and innovation.

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       Question 3: How can local businesses benefit or get involved with Trash for Peace?

      There are many ways! Businesses can email us at to have us do a hands-on and engaging workshop or training with staff, our team can consult on how to reduce their waste, or they can sponsor our programming on low-income housing sites across the region. We are currently working with 5 housing properties and hoping to expand to more! Please check out our website at for more information.

      Question 4: What items should people be reducing, reusing, and recycling that they aren't now?

      Plastic waste is by far the most difficult item to recycle and never truly decomposes, often creating severe environmental problems. The best way to reduce it is to avoid buying plastic bags and water bottles and use a reusable water bottle and tap water whenever possible--you will also save money doing this!

      Recycle your food! Food waste is about 45% of most Americans' trash, and it can be turned into great compost for your garden!

      Think before you toss! Many items can be easily fixed instead of throwing them out, and be creative! You can make a beautiful coat hanger out of wood from old bed bunk or fence frames, toilet paper rolls make excellent bird feeders, and yogurt containers make great seed starters. Email us or check out our Facebook page for even more ideas, and can answer any and all recycling questions as well.

      Question 5: How can individuals get involved/ volunteer with Trash for Peace?

      We are ALWAYS looking for more volunteers to assist us with weekly programming. We love to have more ideas, perspectives, and creativity to help make our programming as enriching as possible. The best way to get involved is to email our Director, Laura, at