Blog :: 06-2017

Five on Friday: Our Favorite Things, The July Edition

There's something about summertime in the Pacific Northwest: it's absolutely the best time to be here. It's unbelievably beautiful in wine country, on the passes, and up at Mt. Hood. The coast is the perfect getaway to cool off from the city heat. And there are so many activities happening here in town and throughout the surrounding areas. We rounded up five (or so) favorites to share with you.

1. Fourth of July: Looking for a way to celebrate the 4th while watching the fireworks? Here's a list of the area's shows, including Fort Vancouver's show and the Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo. 

2. JSO's Cathedral Park Jazz Festival: Head to Cathedral Park, under St. John's Bridge, July 14-16, to attend this amazing Portland tradition (and it's free!).

3. The Big Float: Grab a life-jacket, bring a floatie, and jump in the river for The Big Float on July 15. After a beach cleaning party, join 3,000 other people for a fun-filled float along the Williamette River. (Yes; the water is fine.)

 

4. Noon Tunes: take your lunch to Pioneer Courthouse Square and enjoy a free concert (and some great people watching)! Concerts start on Tuesday, July 11. 

5. Oregon Brewers Festival: Did you know July is Oregon's Brewers Month? It's a full month of craft beer lover events and capped with the Brewers Festival, one of the nation's longest running beer festivals. If you enjoy craft beer, you won't be disappointed thanks to the 88 beers assembled from near-and-far to Tom McCall Waterfront Park, July 26 - 30. Insider's tip: hit up the festival on the early side to avoid the weekend crowds.

PS: Not into craft beer? If you prefer to have wine wet your whistle, then you should check out the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, July 28 - 30. 

PSS: Don't forget about all the concerts and movies in Portland's parks throughout the summer, making it an ideal and easy way to entertain visiting family and friends.

What's your favorite in-town activity during July? Or what's your favorite PNW summer getaway? 

Visit us on InstagramFacebook & Twitter for updates about open houses! And follow us on Pinterest to gather ideas for your home. We're currently pinning 15 impossible-to-kill outdoor plants to our curb appeal board; all are ideal for outdoor planters or to pop in the ground. Perfect low-maintenance options if you're getting ready to put your house on the market!

Five on Friday: Keep Cool, Portland!

If getting out of Dodge for the entire weekend isn't an option as the temperatures rise, here are five ideas to keep cool during this weekend's heat wave in Portland. 

1. Summer Breeze: We already know being strategic with opening and closing windows and window coverings on hot days can help keep your home cooler, but did you know your ceiling fan also help cool your home? Set it to rotate counter-clockwise to push cooler air down. Another option: create a draft in your home by using an attic fan or window fan to help force the hot air out by drawing in the cool air overnight and early in the morning.

2. Jump & Slide: Let the kids - big and small - have fun by making your own slip'n'slide. Place a kiddie pool in the shade for a little protection from the sun between runs.

3. Day Trippers: Take a day trip to one of the many nearby nearby waterfalls and enjoy the coolness of old growth forests. Want an easy hike with kiddos in tow? Check out one of these trails or visit the always cool Audubon Society of Portland, located in Forest Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Splish-Splash: Visit one of Portland's many splash-pad parks or community pools

5. Escape: Take a mid-day trip to the movies (pro-tip: buy your tickets online to avoid the lines or sold out shows!), visit a local library or book store. Adults only? Grab a deck of cards and visit a local hotel bar. They always have the AC on. 

Bonus: Here are 20+ no-cook meal ideas so you can leave your oven off and step away from the grill this weekend. Enjoy!

Bonus Part 2: we have an open house this Sunday, from 11a - 1p, at this sweet Woodstock bungalow with an amazing backyard

Five on Friday: How To Have a Private Mortgage Insurance Removed

We realize talking about home financing isn’t a super sexy conversation, nor is it nearly as exciting as awesome landscaping ideas or great neighborhood bars. But before you click that little “x” to close this window, hear us out. This topic is worth exploring because it may save you some cash on your monthly mortgage payment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah. We thought that might get your attention.  

First, here are two important terms to help with this slightly-more-interesting-then-a- snail-race financial conversation.

  • LTV: Loan-To-Value is a percentage calculated from the loan amount divided by the purchase price. So, if you put down 15% when buying a home, in simplest terms for this discussion, your LTV would be 85%. And - here’s the important part! - this number decreases over time as you pay off your mortgage loan. This value decrease is a very, very good thing.
  • PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance is what a lender will require you to have for your loan if you put less than 20% down on a home.

Here are five ways you may qualify for a lower Loan-to-Value (LTV) thus having your Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) removed from your monthly mortgage balance - and giving you a reason to pop the champagne. 

1. If you are getting ready to buy a home, if you place a down-payment of 20% or more, you may not be required to have PMI written into your loan terms. Each lender has different guidelines, so it’s worth asking about their PMI requirements.

2. Prepay your mortgage loan, aka make extra payments on your mortgage, to build equity in your home.

3. If you remodeled your home or completed a major home restoration project, it’s worth have your home appraised. You may discover the remodel/restoration decreased your LTV.

4. If your neighborhood – or area – has seen an increased value, request a home appraisal.

5. Once your home’s equity reaches 20%, you can request to have your PMI removed (YAY!) – and once it’s below 78%, your lender should remove it if you’ve met all their requirements per the loan and the Homeowners Protection Act.

Have questions? Give us a call!

And a quick heads up: we're hosting two open houses this Sunday, 6/11/17: a beautiful 1930s one-bedroom condo in the NW District (open house: noon to 1:30p at 2743 NW Thurman #4, Portland 97210) and the other, a 3-bedroom in the hopping Woodstock neighborhood (open house: 1:30-3p at 6523 SE 84th Ave, Portland 97266). Visit our homepage for links and details. You won't want to miss these! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Five on Friday with Alexander Frane

We sat down with Portland native and beverage writer extraordinaire, Alexander Frane, to get his take on all the essential information home-seekers need about Portland libations.  

1. In your time covering local restaurants have you seen any places that have had a big enough impact to change the dynamic of a neighborhood? 

When I think about that, what I really think about most is Mississippi. That change was around ten years ago. Restaurants and bars opening in that area happened along with a major shift of the demographics of homeowners in the neighborhood. It has been a big topic of conversation in Portland; I don’t want to comment too much on that shift other than to say that it occurred in tandem with these new food and beverage businesses taking up residence. I love that neighborhood and I love those bars and restaurants - I think they are amazing - but it is indicative of how the city has changed.

Woodstock seems to be going through some of those changes Mississippi went through with a new Double Mountain Brewery and other attractive businesses moving in. I wonder if it is kind of a chicken and the egg thing. I’m curious whether these new restaurants change the neighborhood or if the neighborhood starts changing and new restaurants come in as a result. Woodstock still has many long-term residents but I also feel like it is attracting new people and the street itself is starting to look different.

I think Pok Pok on Division was successful and lead to that area being more developed as other restaurants followed suit. I imagine that had an impact on the housing and rental market in the area.

Also, Coquine. It’s such a nice area but there is less directly around it so it might be bringing people into that area that haven’t been there before.

2. On the other side of things, any restaurants you are familiar with that have struggled because the neighborhood wasn’t a good fit?

There are some restaurants in town that are great, but in areas that have continued to feel quiet and residential. The main street of restaurants in Beaumont continues to have steady but a quieter turn out which is unfortunate since some highly-underrated restaurants can be found there. Like Bang Bang, which has a great, creative menu but doesn’t seem to get lines out the door like some very comparable restaurants in other neighborhoods. Smallwares was well liked and had an amazing reputation but closed after inconsistent levels of business. There is a complex relationship between food and beverage venues and the neighborhoods they live in and influence.

3. When people are looking for a home, they might find there are certain local amenities they can’t live without. When it comes to having a neighborhood bar, what requirements should a prospective neighborhood fulfill?

I think you should have one of every variety of bar: a dive bar, a neighborhood bar, and a cocktail bar. Some people group neighborhood bars and dive bars together but I think there is a distinction there. If you have one of each of those within walking distance of your new home, you will be all set.

4. One of my favorite things you have shared are the best places for dog owners to drink in Portland with their four-legged companion in tow. Since you have perspective on this topic, which neighborhood in Portland do you think is best for drinking with dogs?

That would be Mississippi. Everyone loves dogs on Mississippi and there are a lot of dog-friendly places. Prost, Interurban, and Bar Bar are all dog-friendly. Further up when Mississippi St. turns into Albina there is Victoria which is one of the best dog-friendly bars in the city. The owner loves dogs and the patio is set up well to host them. Alberta is good too for dogs, but really Mississippi hands down though, it’s not even a question, if you want to take your dog out drinking with you.  

5. If you were to buy a home based on its proximity to your favorite bars in the city what neighborhood would you choose?

Buckman. It has the highest concentration of the best bars at every level. It is the best eating and drinking spot in town. With all the stuff on Sandy and Burnside and all the stuff in lower Buckman into the lower industrial area. Even if you are just in the inner-industrial area just by the Morrison bridge you could probably go to a different wonderful place each night. It may be difficult to find a home right there since it is less residential, but if you head east a few blocks there are more homes. My dream house would be off Stark anywhere between 15th and 20th right over near Buckman grade school, where I went. That is my favorite part of town. You can walk anywhere from there to all the best bars and half the best restaurants and it’s beautiful. I think the Division/Clinton neighborhood would be my second choice. 

Check out Alexander's articles on ThrillistThe Daily Meal and Drink Nation's Drink Portland; and follow him on Twitter and Instagram for Portland insider libation locations!