My Realtor Story

Me on my 12th birthday. Just about ready to sell your house.

Me on my 12th birthday. Just about ready to sell your house.

Real estate is often the second, third, or fourth career for Realtors. Or it’s a side hustle, a part time gig, more of a hobby than a full time career. Not for me! I had dreamed of being a real estate agent since I was about 12 years old. I thought I would be a high school social studies teacher, do real estate on the side/in the summer, and then go full time when my kids were grown. Really, as a 12 year old this was my plan! I made it through getting my Master's in Education, but really hated the experience of student teaching. My sheltered butt was super surprised that kids didn’t stop what they were doing when an adult walked into the classroom.

I knew that working with people to buy and sell homes was a job because of my childhood neighbor, Dorothy Moothart. My family's Realtor, Dorothy lived across the street in Corvallis, Oregon. I watched her sell houses, raise her 4 sons as a widow, and she was a boss! I knew that I could be an independent, professional, respected woman like her. She sold my parents house in 1998 after she worked with us for about 3 years. We shopped all over Corvallis, Albany, and North Albany. We looked at resale houses, new construction, and lots owned by builders. My parents ended up buying a lot and having a house built. Dorothy was there every step of the way, going over the pros and cons of every property, and reminding my family of the goals we had initially started out with. I loved going to open houses, looking at neighborhoods, looking at lots, planning out where the house would go, and looking at books and books of floor plans. I also loved drawing out my own house plans on graph paper, although I knew that there was way too much math involved for me to be an architect! When we did build that house, I was involved way too much for a middle schooler. I went to every meeting, even for the loan at the bank. My dad and I redrew some of the layout, including redesigning my room and bathroom, and making my closet bigger than the master's. We visited the building site every evening, and I really loved seeing how a house is built. In high school some of the shenanigans my friends and I got up to included going to new developments at night. Not to do anything destructive or illegal, but so I could look at the layout and see where the bathrooms, kitchen, and view were going to be. Such a nerd!

With working in traditional eduction crossed off my list, thankfully, I took a huge leap. In 2008, right after moving to Portland, getting married, and in the middle of the real estate and economic crisis, I got my license. In the 11 year since then I’ve integrated my passion for houses with my interests in history and my talent for educating. I love to learn information, and then pass that on to others- in my job this is learning the history of a neighborhood, town, region, house style, house usage, or how people used to live. My classic example is pointing out the old orchards that gave the names for the oldest neighborhoods, and that closets were small because the average person had 3 outfits in 1900. Also, post WWII housing for a family of 4 was 2 bedrooms because kids were expected to share a room. And that kitchens used to be closed off because cooking wasn't a social thing, and you never wanted guests to see you cooking. And wall to wall carpet was seen as a luxury after WWII, so installing carpet over beautiful hardwoods was the expression of having made it to middle class! The list goes on and on, and I can’t help myself!

Now that you know my story, tell me yours! Are you working in the field you got your education in? Is it a career you knew about as a child? Did it even exist when you were a kid? Did you know about buying and selling houses when you were a kid? Did you move a lot?

5-4-3-2-1 Countdown to Making an Offer

What are the steps you can’t skip before buying the home of your dreams? How about before even making an offer on a home you love? You MUST MUST MUST get a real pre-approval letter from your mortgage broker. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I won’t write an offer for you, and neither will any other experienced and qualified Realtor.

pre-approval-necessities.gif

If you have never applied for a mortgage, or its been more than 10 years, then you might be a little shocked (and even miffed) by the amount of documentation and financial detail you will go into. I get it. Its very important that you don’t settle for a lender who doesn’t ask for this much info. The nightmare scenario that I’ve seen once and heard about a lot is this: You have a lender, they get some financial info from you, maybe a pay stub and some tax returns. They say you are good to go, and pre-qualified to buy a house up to $X. We look and look, write lots of offers, finally get the right house. You spend $700 on home inspections. You give notice on moving out of your apartment, pack up your storage unit, tell all your friends, family, and colleagues. We post pictures and videos of your new home, and we plan your House Warming party!

Leading up to closing your lender is asking for more and more financial documents. You gather them and get them all in. The week before closing, 8 days before you plan on moving into your new home, your lender calls with bad news. It turns out some of you income is based on bonuses, and can’t count as salary. Or your student loans were deferred and the underwriter can’t approve your loan with that debt. Or your employer has actually hired you through a temporary agency and you are not a full time contract employee. The list can go on and on for reasons why the mortgage company can’t give you the loan. Most of these issues could be resolved in a few weeks or months, but since we are only 7 days before closing, nothing can be done. Your loan is denied.

We terminate the sale of the house due to failure to qualify for a mortgage. You get your $5000 in earnest money back, but it takes two weeks. You don’t get your inspection costs or appraisal fee back. You still have to move out of your apartment, and find a new one with only a week. You end up paying more in rent on the new place, and the whole house buying thing seems years off now.

Let’s avoid this whole mess, and go from 8 days out from moving day, through signing and closing smoothly! Get a full pre-approval before we start house shopping. I work with some amazing lenders, so please ask for a referral! Many of my clients start working with a lender to get set up for the best possible mortgage 12-24 months before they purchase their first home.

Echo Boomers are Making Moves

Echo Boomer is the original name for Millennials, since they (me!) are the children of the Baby Boomers, are a larger generation than the Boomers, and are the largest generation alive today. This generation is having a giant impact on housing trends and needs, as the Boomers did before them. I attended a fantastic class put on by my local Realtor association, presented by Dr Jessica Lautz, the Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of REALTORS®. She gave us a Top 11 trends to watch, most of which are focused on Echo Boomers:

  1. Lack of Affordable Housing Inventory: Long Coastal and big city issue, now it’s nationwide in all areas that affordable homes are not being built, the demand for them is high, and therefore the prices are rising quickly. Getting into a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house is expensive, and not getting cheaper anywhere.

  2. Buyers are Swiping Left on Love: or really just skipping the legal wedding. Unmarried couples, single women, single men, and un-romantic twosomes (friends!) are buying houses more and more. The traditional expectation of everyone getting married, then buying a house, then having a baby is no longer the reality, and we will see it less and less over the coming decade.

  3. Care Taking for Pets: Many buyers are not planning on having kids, or at least not for a long time, so pets are a main priority. Think dog parks and windows for cats to gaze out of instead of schools.

  4. Student Loan Debt: It’s a huge issue for buyers of all ages, from those that just graduated, to large loans that take decades to pay off, co-signing on kid’s loans, and going back to school in middle age. This affects what buyers can qualify for, when they can buy, if they can ever buy.

  5. Bank of Mom and Dad: Boomers hold all the money (That means that baby boomer households in 2016 had 12 times the net worth of millennial households.) but they are loaning, gifting, co-signing and buying houses with and for the Echo Boomers. This means that extended family is having a greater input into what and where buyers are deciding to buy.

  6. The Bar Has Risen: HGTV has given buyers an unrealistic standard of what homes will look like. They are not all updated with the cutest or coolest finishes. On the other side, I see sellers also having unrealistic expectations of the market and what buyers are willing and able to do to buy a house. We need to meet in the middle as the market stabilizes.

  7. Tenure is Longer: Buyers are planning on staying in homes 10-20 years, not the 6-7 of a few years ago. Owners are not moving, which also decreases supply and continues to raise prices.

  8. Budding Issues: Recreational and medicinal cannabis is legal in Oregon and Washington, and spreading across the nation quickly. This is having a big affect on commercial and retail real estate, and while I’m not sure why or how this is affecting our market… it’s pretty great! Property managers are putting in marijuana use clauses into leases, so watch out if you are a renter now!

  9. iBuyers: Do you know what they are? Most people don’t! an iBuyer is a real estate company that buys homes from sellers who sign up online. After receiving a description of the property, the iBuyer makes an offer to the seller within a couple days, but it’s usually 13-15% lower than market value. Only about 2% of the small group who fill out the application follow through with it, but as a buyer or seller watch this trend. You may very well buy your house from an iBuyer who did a light flip or will be managing the sale from out of state. This will be similar to buying a bank owned home.

  10. Real Estate Agents are still trusted: Thanks! I have committed 10 years and countless hours to becoming an expert, as have most of my colleagues. Buyer and seller trust in Realtors allows us to act as your agent, and work hard to get you the best deal, in the place you want, in the house you want, without putting our own interests or paychecks even into consideration.

  11. NAR members: 1.4 million Realtors in 2019, a record high! 63% are women. We are all (mostly)independent contractors, so support local women owned businesses

The big takeaway is that Echo Boomers are buying houses. In droves. They are doing it differently than Gen X or Boomers, but home ownership is still a core of the American Dream.

Market Report 2019, So Far

The Portland Metro Area seasonal real estate calendar runs Early Spring (March) to Mid Summer (July) and then takes a big break before a Fall Season (September to Thanksgiving). Does this seem compressed and weird? It is. The prices and number of listings and sales rises and falls with this calendar. It probably happens nationwide, it seems especially extreme in the Pacific Northwest, where our weather and activities really impact how we live season to season. No one wants to look at houses in January, when it’s 38° and dark. No one wants to look at houses in August when it’s 90° and sunny! So let’s take a look at 2019 so far, before we see how the Fall Season treats prices and availability.

Year to Date Summary Activity is a bit cooler so far in 2019 compared with 2018. New listings (30,458) are down 0.9%, pending sales (21,585) are down 1.1% and closed sales (19,902) are down 3.3%. Average and Median Sale Prices Comparing 2019 to 2018 through August, the average sale price has increased 1.0% from $454,500 to $458,900. In the same comparison, the median sale price has increased 2.2% from $401,000 to $410,000.

sales price graph aug 19.png

In years past, since prices started to steadily and quickly rise in February 2012, the rise in sales prices have been much higher. Generally, economists like to see about 3% appreciation, so the 1-2.2% rise seems low this year. The slow down in the rise in prices is accompanied by longer days on the market for listings. The graph on the right shows our seasonal ups and downs, but the year to year gains. 2019 might be a little lower in sales, but higher in price than 2018, so overall we are heading into a steadier market. I would rather have 1% gains for a few years than 10% followed by drops in value. How about you?

 

How are prices around the Metro Area? Take a look at the map, it might surprise you! Rural Clark County is keeping up and even surpassing the SW suburbs in Oregon, but Vancouver still is affordable compared to Portland. Milwaukie now has a higher median sales price than SE Portland! I only see prices rising in Milwaukie and Oregon City as both communities continue to invest in their down towns, parks, and small businesses.

Median sale price 2019 august.png

The big take away in a market update is to remember that every house, every neighborhood, every buyer, is different. Contact me today to start making a plan for selling and/or buying a home in the Portland Metro Area! I service this entire area… even Yamhill County for cool people!

A Buyer's Story

The classic tale of buying a home takes time. Sometimes, a lot of time. When we bought our house (2009) we looked for 18 months! Can you believe it? Being a Realtor made it easy to visit houses, but hard to settle on The One*. I recently worked with home buyers and we had the opposite situation.

Follow along for story of an amazing whirlwind adventure that has a happy ending!

Kensington+pic+2.jpg

I got a call on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 from a fellow Realtor, referred by past clients. His friends (and clients), an amazing couple, were relocating from Everett and hoped to be closed by July 26th. Of this year. I said “Yes! Yes I can do that!” 

I sent several long emails with lots of questions, they replied thoroughly and thoughtfully. That Sunday we had a phone conference about areas, houses, goals, dreams, hobbies, house history, and lifestyle. I sent them about 20 hand picked houses that very day.

We narrowed down the initial list to 5 houses. On Monday, I did personal video tours of them, took photos, neighborhood pictures, and pointed out things like freeway noise, a hidden park, access to Fred Meyer and Costco (all the important things!).

That week they made an offer, we got in contract, did a 4 hour home inspection, began to negotiate repairs, were rebuffed, and terminated that transaction. My clients were able to come to town for 2 days for the home inspection at  house #1 (cancelled due to termination). Since they were in town, we visited another 5 houses the next morning. I immediately wrote a new offer for a better home (house #2), and within 24 hours we were back in escrow. We jumped into the full spectrum of home inspections, negotiated repairs, completed repairs, and the sellers (with their kids, dogs, and giving notice at work) moved out in less than 3 weeks. 

Why hire an experienced professional that has your goals and best interest at heart? This is why.  My clients were able to buy a home they love in the area they wanted, all before starting a new job and while still living in a different state. They even made a new friend in the process.

Kensington Review.png

* There’s no such thing as The One, in real estate or anywhere else!

2020 Vision: Home Ownership

What do you think of when you hear 2020? The election? Perfect vision? Only 4 months away?

5630_SE_Mall_St_WebRes_04.jpg

How about home ownership? If you have never bought a house, it’s so daunting and scary. Can I buy? How much can I afford? What will my monthly payments be? How long will it take? What are the costs of home inspections and moving? Where should I buy?

These are all important questions, and my job is to work through them with you, your mortgage lender (I can refer you to several great mortgage providers), and the people in your life that you make decisions with.

If you have a house or condo to sell, now is also the time to start getting ready. In the Portland Metro Area the Buying Season is in full swing by April, and pretty much over by June. If you have repairs, cosmetic work, or upgrades to do, budget and plan them now so that you aren’t scrambling while your neighbors are selling.

2020 is coming quickly, let’s get ready!

Home Buying with Small Children

2019-moving-with-kids.png

Having young children at home is the best! They are the cutest, they say the silliest things, they love cuddles and always want to play with you. They are also the most challenging, as you know. Buying a home is one of the most stressful and challenging endevors, and doing it with small kids in tow is even tougher. Luckily I have a lot of experience with both! The National Association of Realtors did a big survey of home buyers with children under 18, and the results quantify what I’ve been thinking are the added challengers for you (and me).

  1. Childcare costs (Oregon was 15th in the country in 2018 at $11,322) are the biggest issue. 26% of buyers delay or change their home search due to the cost of childcare. Are you in this boat?

  2. Location desirability is driven by quality of schools and proximity to schools. Portland is definetly affected by this deeply. You can research schools, districts, and private and charter schools at Great Schools.

  3. Parents make compromises. Um, did a non-parent come up with this bombshell? You guys, parents actually take the quality of life of their children and families into account when they make huge decisions! Right? Parents will sacrifice on the condition and size of the property, price, lot size, and architectural style due to the costs of childcare or be near the best school for their children.

  4. Communication: Texting is King! Buyers with children prefer that their real estate agent communicate via text message—more so than buyers without children under the age of 18. I also am going to add in my experience and preference- no communication between 5 and 8pm. This is the general dinner, play, bath, bedtime window, so let’s not talk or even text then. We will all be ready at about 8pm! Or up at 6am together! When you know, you know.

  5. More Space is a Must! On average, buyers with children purchased a 2,110-square-foot home with four bedrooms and two full bathrooms. That’s still pretty compact living compared to McMansions, and hopefully provides enough room for family and friends to be a part of the household. Multigenerational living is a passion of mine, read more here!

Childcare compromises.png

Selling Your House Too? 23% of survery participants with children under the age of 18 sold their home “very urgently,” and 46% say they had to sell “somewhat urgently.” Sellers with children sold their previous for reasons such as the home was too small (25%), job relocation (19%), or a change in family situation (13%).

Selling your current home quickly, efficiently, and for the most is my mission, and makes the whole process much easier for kids. Go to the beach for a long weekend, let’s have it in contract within 5 days.

Parent Sellers.png

If you are planning on buying or selling in the Portland Metro Area (including SW Washington!) this fall or Spring 2020, don’t hesitate to reach out now.

My Fiduciary Duty to You

Welcome Home Beth.jpg

Real estate has a lot of jargon, and like most professions, we take it for granted and don’t explain it to our clients well. A very good example of this in my industry is “fiduciary duty.” As a member of the National Association of Realtors, on top of being a real estate broker licensed in Oregon and Washington, I have a fiduciary duty to my clients. What is this duty, and why do (my client obs) care? A fiduciary duty is an “obligation to act in the best interest of another party” and to put their interest above my own. When I represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction, I put their interests above all else. More of a breakdown of these duties:

OLDCAR is an acronym for the central fiduciary duties required of a real estate professional acting as an agent of their client.

  • Obedience: As an agent of your client, you must obey their instructions, barring illegal, unethical requests, or requests which contradict terms of the contract.

  • Loyalty: As the agent for your client, you must be loyal and keep their best interests ahead of those of any other party, including yourself. How much commission you might make, particularly in competing offer situations, should not be a consideration and would be disloyal to your client.

  • Disclosure: In many states the law requires a real estate agent, whether in an "agency" capacity or not, to disclose material facts to their client. Material facts are those which, if known by the buyer or seller, might affect purchase or sale actions.

  • Confidentiality: Your fiduciary duty of confidentiality means that you do not disclose anything that you learn about your client, their business, financial or personal affairs or motivations.

  • Accounting: Accounting for all documents and funds in the transaction is a fiduciary duty. Accurate reporting of the whereabouts of all monies pertaining to the transaction and their ultimate disposition is a fiduciary responsibility.

  • Reasonable Care: This duty is one to which special care should always be paid. The words "reasonable care" are only finally fully defined in many cases by a judge or jury when it's too late to change your actions, but amount essentially to the duty owed to any client by an agent/brokerage through state and Federal agency/common law and Federal regulatory law.

Some real world examples include:

  • Getting a lower purchase price for my buyers which results in my commission being lower.

  • Negotiating repairs and concessions that benefit my client.

  • Disclosing info on a house that I have previewed in the past to buyers.

  • Keeping the reasons for clients moving confidential. This can affect how the other side negotiates. I found out recently that one party of a selling couple (not my clients) has already moved out of state. We asked for a lot of repairs and got them due to us knowing they are highly motivated.

Bathrooms: Overlooked Factors in Home Buying

master suite bath_upper_5314 SE Milwaukie Ave_053_webres.jpg

Helping people find the right home can be a very intimate process. Not only do I learn all about my client’s families, and see them make important decisions, I also work through the nitty gritty details of houses and how they live. What does that mean? All things bathroom related! From the lighting being bright enough for doing make up to the sewer line, I think about it all! Here are a few of my top bathroom things to consider when buying a house:

Tub Shrine in Action! In the 4 years my clients lived here, they didn’t use it once.

Tub Shrine in Action! In the 4 years my clients lived here, they didn’t use it once.

  1. Bathroom location: My biggest pet peeve for powder rooms is location. Why would anyone put a guest bathroom adjascent to the dining room? Just imagine it for a moment. It’s Thanksgiving, you’ve all been eating and drinking too much, then Great Uncle Joe gets up to use the bathroom. It’s only separated from you and your food by a hollow pocket door… If you host meals or game nights frequently, the half bath location is important!

  2. Lighting: There is some terrible lighting out there. The best bathrooms have two sets, a bright overhead for cleaning and daily use, and a softer light for early mornings and general use.

  3. Giant Tubs: Do you or your kids take a bath on a regular basis? Is the 1990s Tub Shrine (an elevated, jetted, two-person tiled platform) a good use of space? More and more large showers are taking over the master bath. Make sure that the bathing options fit your lifestyle and needs. A seat in the shower, a smaller tub, a tub you can get in and out of, these are the things you need to factor into your home search.

  4. Bad Toilets: Low flow toilets are very important. Toilets that flush well with just one flush are also important. As long as they are functional, mostly clean, and not loose, toilets get overlooked in the shopping and inspections. It makes sense, it’s not really a topic that is discussed in polite society, but real estate is not polite society! So try out the toilet when you are at a house you want to make an offer on, try it again at the home inspection, look up the reviews, and be ready to replace it when you move in. I found an amazing resource for toilet reviews! MaP-Testing.com tests and rates all toilets, and they use a soybean paste to test the flush! It’s awesome.

  5. Sewer Lines: This is a little more traditional in the real estate realm. Sewer lines from the front of the house to the city main line are routinely scoped during the inspection period. I’ve seen rats, lots of tree roots, cracks, separation, pools, built up blockages, and even a line terminate into a hole under a main road way! The line had collapsed before it met up with the main, and a hole under Holgate Ave in SE Portland was acting like an informal (and gross) cess pit. For $120-150, a sewer scope is well worth avoiding thousands of dollars in repairs. Here’s another good tip no one likes to talk about: tampons and flush-able wipes are not flush-able, and are really bad for sewer lines. Blockages build up quickly, can exhaserbate a minor issue, and cause giant expensive repairs.

Storage is another factor to consider, and the lighting is great in this bathroom.

Storage is another factor to consider, and the lighting is great in this bathroom.

9 Mistakes Home Sellers Make... And How to Avoid Them!

Daphne helps me with putting the Sold sticker on a recent successful listing.

Daphne helps me with putting the Sold sticker on a recent successful listing.

1. Overpricing the home. You can avoid this by have your Realtor work with you the appropraitly price the listing, not too high, not too low.

2. Failing to accept that not everyone has the same taste they do. Even if it’s trendy! Even if it’s classic! Even if it’s “just like everything on HGTV.”

3. Not paying attention to the market. What are the active listings that buyers are going to be looking at when they are also looking at your home. Go visit them, or at least scour the listing and photos.

4. Not choosing the right agent. Choose the agent that will not only market the listing, but also represent you and your best interest in the sale negotitations. I’m a great candidate for this!

5. Not using an agent at all. You are selling your biggest asset, don’t go it alone.

6. Keeping décor that's too taste-specific. Even if it’s great taste! Make the edges a little softer to appeal to the most buyers.

7. Not decluttering the home before listing. Pack up 90% of your belongnings, get them out of the house. You are moving anyway!

8. Failing to make their home as beautiful as possible. Inside and out, really make it beautiful. Get rid of extra yard supplies and debris, inside fix and finish any home projects.

9. Not staging the home. This has a great return on a few thousand dollars. It can even be done for less, ask me how!

City of Roses: Rose Festival 2019

A rose in my neighborhood, photo taken 5.23.19

A rose in my neighborhood, photo taken 5.23.19

One of my favorite things about Portland is the Rose Festival! This year I want to watch the Starlight Parade, the Junior Rose Parade, and the International Test Garden. I have yet, in the 11 years I’ve lived in PDX, to attend the Grand Floral Parade. Now I’m holding out until Ramona and Daphne are old enough to go and watch the whole thing! Maybe 2 more years? We have participated in the Junior Parade with Hike it Baby for the last 4 years, this year we are going to actually watch and enjoy it! Here are a few important dates, and let me know what you like about the Rose Festival!

Starlight Parade, Downtown Portland: Friday June 1st, 8:30pm- you don’t have to save seats, just show up as the close the roads down and put up your chairs in the intersections. Just before the parade is the run, and the costumes are great!

Junior Rose Parade: Hollywood, NE PDX, Wednesday June 5th 1pm: This one is so cute! Kids groups, middle school marching bands, very short and silly parade, best for the pre-K and early elementary school crowd.

Grand Floral Parade: Memorial Coliseum, down MLK BLVD, Downtown, Saturday June 8th, 10am-2pm: You can buy tickets and reserve seats, or start staking out your spot days in advance! See all the princesses, the best marching bands, and of course, the floats completely covered in flowers. I really should go to this sometime, it sounds great!

International Rose Test Garden, Washington Park: This is one of my absolute favorite places in Portland. Take a picnic, and spend a few hours smelling the roses. Seriously, now through the end of June, GO!

Beautiful New Modern Craftsman Home for Sale

7315 N Newell Ave, Portland OR 97203

$625,000 | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Full Baths | 2278 SQFT

Open Houses: Saturday April 13th, 1-4pm Sunday April 14th, 1-3pm

Come visit me and see all that this fantastic home has to offer! I’ll have some snacks and drinks, too!

This modern Craftsman style home is move in ready on a fantastic University Park side street. The large living room has box beam ceiling, gas fireplace, and traditional built in shelves. Flow through an arched opening into a spacious dining room with coffered ceiling. The open gourmet kitchen features quartz counters, tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances, pendant lights over the island, and a pantry. 

Upstairs is the Master Suite, two more large bedrooms, large hall bathroom with twin sinks, and a laundry room with extra counter and storage. AC and high efficiency furnace make this home comfortable year round. 

The fenced back yard has alley access; the parking pad doubles as a fantastic patio for dining or play time! 

New Seasons and McKenna park are less than 3 blocks away! Within 1 mile you will find: Fred Meyer, McKenna Park, Cathedral Coffee, Starbucks, and much more! And it’s a cyclist's dream: 92 Bike Score, take Willamette Blvd for the view!

Check out the 3-D Tour!

Listing Details:

  • Master Suite: Upstairs, Extra Large Walk-in Closet, Soaking Tub and Large Glass Shower

  • Detached 1 Car Garage, Alley Access and Parking Pad

  • Guest Room and Full Bath on Main

  • Open Kitchen with Quartz Counters

  • Stainless Steel Appliances

  • Hardwood Floors on Main

  • Astor K-8, Roosevelt High School

  • MLS #19120856

  • Bike Score: 92 Walk Score: 75

Living MultiGenerational in the Pacific Northwest

IMG_20190214_071525270_HDR.jpg

One of the biggest trends in housing, and a big buzzword, has been MultiGenerational Living. Often it’s described as this new thing that’s a necessity due to the cost of Elder Housing, or Millenials not being able to get jobs and out of the basement. My background is in American history (BA from Southern Oregon University) and one thing I know for sure: this is the way most people lived all around the world until post WWII.

It’s often the best way to have childcare before or after school, when kids are little and only a do a half day or 3x a week daycare, or sick days. It’s also great to have grandparents be a daily presence in grandkids lives. In my own childhood, I had one set of grandparents in town, and even before they retired when I was about 9, I saw them two or three times a week, and more in the summer. They picked me up from school when I got sick, or took me to the dentist in the middle of the morning. If they are in the same house, or one the same property, kids can see them every day! My mom, and sometimes my dad, stay with us 2 nights a week to help out with childcare. This picture is from Valentine’s Day, my dad made oatmeal hearts for breakfast, then took the girls to school. You don’t get Papa’s oatmeal hearts on a Thursday if you don’t live together!

Other the other side, with aging parents, there’s no better way to keep active, agile, and engaged than to be living with younger people! We adult children can also keep an eye on the older folks. It’s much easier to do after surgery or illness care if you are already in the same house. Here are some of my tips for successfully beginning multigenerational shared housing!

  1. Set Expectations: Have open and honest discussions about who will do what, and when. Who is picking up and dropping off kids? Are meals shared? All meals? Once a week? How about cleaning and yard work?

  2. Finances: Honesty, again, is always the best policy. Are bills shared? Is any rent/mortgage being paid? How about food? Extras like take out dinner, Netflix? If more than bills and entertainment costs are being shared, I highly recommend making a contract and talking to an attorney. Will an adult sibling who is not having parents there have an issue if they are contributing to your mortgage and providing childcare? Will this affect will and estate planning?

  3. Boundaries: Are you an all together family? Do you need quiet space and time? How much and when? Parenting boundaries are also important. Your mom may have hated cursing, almost swears, and potty talk when you were a kid. Do you? If not, make the language allowed by kids (and adults if you have a cursing grandpa!) in the house and who will enforce it. Speaking of enforcing rules, does Grandma do time outs until 5:30, then mom and dad take over? How does it look now, how do you want it to change?

  4. Babysitting: If grandparents are helping with childcare, other than the regular times, is extra babysitting ok? How often? Are the grandparents getting time alone as well? An easy way to build up a resentment is to set up a pattern of last minute childcare. Date nights are important though!

  5. Use a professional: Set up a family counseling session before you move in together. Come with the agenda to go over #1-4. Family meetings monthly or quarterly to see if things are still going well and everyone is happy are also beneficial. Don’t hesitate to go back to a counselor if things are not working out.

If Multi-Generational Living is one of your goals, let’s talk about finding the right home to make it the easiest!

I've moved for MORE!

MORE logo Mark only.jpg

I recently chose to move my real estate licensed to MORE Realty. I’m licensed in both Oregon and Washington, and this brokerage provides me with amazing support and tools in both states. I’ve been licensed in Washington for just over 2 years, and still am learning a lot! I’m excited for our cute office in downtown Camas, since I spend so much time in Camas!

Thank you all for your continuing support! My clients are friends, family, and referrals, and I could not do it without you!

Hot Neighborhoods Portland Metro 2018

Portland Business Journal pulled all the market data for the Portland Metro Area for 2018, and compiled a list of the 50 hottest neighborhoods. The headline of "Portland’s Hottest Neighborhoods” is a bit misleading, we are a big Metro spanning 5 counties in 2 states, it’s not just Portland. The top neighborhood is Forest Heights/Cedar Hills/Bethany, which is Portland, but #2-4 are parts of Beaverton, Tigard, and Hillsboro. We are a Metro, get used to it! The areas that I was most interested in (living in NE Portland) are the close in Portland neighborhoods, which continue to dominate. I’ve been selling houses in FoPo for years, and it’s top of the list for the Eastside. I was also happy to see Arbor Lodge/Kenton so highly ranked! It’s such a great areas, but many buyers skip it due to Lombard and I-5. Don’t skip it!

hot hood 1.JPG

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for information on your specific neighborhood, and areas you are interested in living in. I’m licensed in both Oregon and Washington, and my business is rooted in working with friends, family, and referrals!

Oregon First Time Buyer Savings Program

Oregon has a brand new savings account for home buyers! You can save $5,000-$10,000 annually, tax free. 5-10% down payments are really common, so you can get enough for a down payment and closing costs really fast! I do feel that the list fees that can be paid with these funds are misleading, buyer’s don’t pay Realtor fees. The seller pays both agents. Buyer costs are down payment, closing costs (loan, title, county fees, taxes), appraisal and home inspections. I wish they would let buyers use these funds towards inspections, they run $500-1500! Contact a tax professional for more info, but call me when you want start the process of buying a house!

First-timeHomeBuyer_101-013-page-001.jpg

Hawthorne Carriage House ADU

This adorable little ADU is perched atop a 2 car garage in the Hawthorne neighborhood. In only 384 sqft , it has a full kitchen with dishwasher, a full bath with custom tile and full sized tub, an open plan with queen sized bed and sleeper sofa. This is a great example of how so much can be thoughtfully fit into such a small space. It could be used for a long term rental, a short term rental (think of the Airbnb rates you could get in Hawthorne!), or a fantastic guest house for family and friends. ADU by SQFT Studios, photos by me, and yet another example of why I always hire a professional photographer for listings!

2019 Real Estate Forecast

A pretty and fun house in my neighborhood! It’s not for sale, it just makes me happy. I’m sick of dark blue, gray, and black houses!

A pretty and fun house in my neighborhood! It’s not for sale, it just makes me happy. I’m sick of dark blue, gray, and black houses!

Everyone wants a crystal ball for the real estate market in the coming year. No one has one. We do have evidence that leads economists and experts to predict a slowing market, rising interest rates, and more inventory in the mid to upper price range of houses for sale. If you’ve asked me, then you’ve heard me say for years that prices have been rising too quickly, and that a slow down is needed. The thing that is tough to swallow is that there won’t be a real change in affordability or inventory for those of us buying in the Portland Metro area for under $400,000.

Here’s how it will probably shake out, based on Realtor.com’s 2019 forecast. Nationally, house prices are expected to still go up 2.2%, much slower than previous years, but still going up. Rising mortgages rates will combine with rising house prices to reduce affordability.

Realtor.com economists expects mortgage rates to hit 5.5% by the end of 2019. In real money, this means that the average home will cost 8% more per month than in 2018. Home sales could decline by 2% next year. These numbers aren’t startling by themselves. It is really tough to face this reality after coming of age and coming into the real estate market during record low mortgage rates (that lasted for years and years) and housing prices going down. When we first looked at buying a house in 2008, rates where at 6.5%, which was considered really low! 18 months later we actually closed on a house, rates where under 6%, then we refinanced a few years later in the low 4% range. It’s hard to give that up and change my expectations, even working in the industry for more than 10 years! I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to make a plan to buy, save and save, only to have affordability keep moving up and out of range. That’s a reality today though, so watch out for old strategies to re-emerge, like assuming low interest rate loans and seller carried financing.

No forecast is complete without a look at generational buying habits! As a very old Millennial myself, I’m very excited for my generation finally being able to move into ownership, and the new ways that we are doing it! They are actually old ways, but not idealized during the Nuclear Family/American Dream/Perfect Home period of 1945-2008. Millennials are making up the key share of buyers as their income increases and as they start and grow their families. Realtor.com expects, Millennials will account for 45% of 2019 mortgages, with 37% going to Gen Xers and 17% to baby boomers. Boomers are buying a lot still, but using cash. I’m continuing to see the trend of multi-generational housing, co-housing, house sharing, building ADUs, etc, to add rental income and built-in child/pet care. This is a return to pre WWII patterns, and I think a much healthier community. Less financial strain on new homeowners is also a great benefit!

The takeaway is that house prices are still going up, we are not heading into a housing downturn. Everyone, especially younger buyers, are getting creative to make home buying possible. It’s not too late to buy a great house, and rates will not be up in the really crazy range for years. We aren’t getting even close to 17%, which was the mortgage rate in October 1981.

Source: Forbes.com, Yahoo Finance, Wikipedia

Contingent Sales

IMG_20170917_184046_703.jpg

A contingent sale is when something must happen before a house can be sold. There are many contingencies within a normal transaction- inspection, appraisal, financing. The contingencies that are more of a challenge are when 1 house has to be sold before a new one can be purchased. Here are my tips for making multiple transactions flow smoothly and everyone has an easy move!

  1. Start shopping before you sell your house: Are there houses you like, in your price range, and enough of them coming on the market that you can reasonably assume there will be a house you can buy once your current house is pending?

  2. Prep Prep Prep your house for sale: This will need to be a quick sale, with highly motivated buyers that are willing to sign off on waiting for you to find your dream home, before they can buy theirs. Clean, do repairs, move out as much as you can, get a dumpster and throw everything away, have a garage sale. Paint, stage the house, clean up the landscaping.

  3. If you find your dream house first: Make an offer contingent on the sale of your current home, and it has to go on the market in x number of days, usually 10 or less. Did you Prep Prep Prep? If not, then get to work, or price your house accordingly.

  4. See the Big Picture: If you want to sell your house for the maximum amount, then work with me to see when that is in your neighborhood, how to make your house pop, and make the improvements buyers value. If you already found the dream house, then the price on your current house may be lower, but you’ll get the dream house. Also, pricing lower may lead to multiple offers, buyers that are willing to wait for this house because of the deal they are getting on it, and backup offers so you don’t have to go back on the market if the 1st buyers walk away.

  5. Rent Backs and Closing Dates: Be open from the beginning with all sides. How long will it really take you to move? Do you need to hire a moving company to make it happen in one day? What kind of cleaning does each house need? The best thing is to ask for extra, and then be able to let the new owners of your house have it early. The closing dates are usually 2 days apart, shoot for a early in the week, and early in the month, title and mortgage companies will be less busy and able to focus on your closings happening on time.

  6. You are Unique: Every house, buyer, seller, family, is unique, on all sides in contingent sales. What is important to you? What is important to the sellers/buyers? Be generous where you can, real estate karma is real, and giving up things that don’t matter in the long run will get you into that dream house in a positive and happy way.

Mayor Wheeler on How Portland is Addressing Housing Issues

Today I received an email from the office of the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler. I haven’t been as attached to Mayor Wheeler as I have previous mayors (I miss always seeing Sam Adams around town) but I was excited to see what the 10 things the City is doing to address housing issues. I think we will need a lot more than 10. But it’s a start! Here’s what Mayor Wheeler sent out:

Ted Wheeler Home Forward.jpg

“Like many cities, Portland, Oregon has had a massive influx of new residents in the last decade. More than 100 people move to Portland every day-and more than 100,000 more are projected to move here over the next 20 years.

portland homeless.jpeg

This growth is undoubtedly exciting: Portland is often listed as one of the most desirable places in America to live. Situated in a park-like setting, thanks to the green trees, parks, and the various rose gardens Portland is known for, visitors and new residents alike enjoy our creativity evidenced through our celebrations, our maker culture, and our pioneering spirit. This has created an economic draw for many of our visitors and new residents. The Seattle Times recently called Portland's economy "transformational." Forbes called Portland the best place in America for careers and business.

I'm taking on these challenges. So are mayors across the country. It is our responsibility to grow smart, which we are doing by protecting renters, preserving existing units, and producing new units.

Here are 10 ways Portland is tackling housing-along a spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, and creating affordable solutions along that spectrum. We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities:

  1. We are implementing a fee on short-term rental units, including Airbnb, to create additional homeownership opportunities. Because short-term rental companies have a significant impact on the availability of rental units, we are modestly increasing the fee to create a dedicated fund for homeownership opportunities in our gentrifying neighborhoods in our community.

  2. We are leveraging Portland dollars to create 1300 units in five to seven years with a Housing Bond. We are delivering well ahead of schedule on this promise-announcing four projects totaling more than 560 units of permanently affordable housing planned or purchased to date under the Bond only 18 months in. We are also pushing for a constitutional amendment statewide to allow us to leverage our dollars by combining them with private resources to create more housing units.

  3. We are implementing Tax Increment Funding in urban renewal areas- We have over 600 units (and hundreds more on the way) in the construction or permitting process in our urban renewal districts.

  4. We utilize public and private sector partnerships to increase housing opportunities. Portland continues to work with longtime partner Kaiser Permanente, who recently joined Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment. Kaiser committed a record $200M into a new community investment fund to preserve and expand affordable housing.

  5. We utilize methods of creating permanent affordability. We continue to partner with our local land trust housing provider, Proud Ground, and our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to create permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for Portland area residents.

  6. We work with local and state agencies to create funding availability for permanent supportive housing units. This funding opportunity marks the first-time funding to build affordable housing has been bundled with funding for the services residents will need to thrive in that housing. By packaging construction capital and support services funding together for the first time, the City and its partners hope to achieve a minimum of 50 permanent supportive housing units.

  7. We are using a Smart Cities PDX Priorities Framework to ensure our growth is equitable. As the City evaluates new technologies, uses of information, and related partnerships, we must ensure they promote equity, address inequities and disparities in our city, and provide tangible benefits to the people of Portland. We intend to expand this framework into how we approach housing-promoting equity and addressing inequities and disparities in our city.

  8. We are increasing renter protections with an expungement program. The pilot program reduces barriers for those with a criminal record trying to rent homes and increases access to housing opportunities. Those with violations, misdemeanors or low-level felonies are eligible for expungement.

  9. We leverage market rate developments to include affordable housing. The Multiple-Unit Limited Tax Exemption program incentivizes those with market rate developments in the pipeline to include affordable housing units in their projects, so we can more quickly put more affordable housing units on the ground.

  10. We utilize Inclusionary Zoning.  We require any new development of 20 units or more to have affordable housing units included in the development.

We have focused our efforts on leveraging funding sources, and maximizing strategic investment opportunities because I want to ensure that Portland remains a city that is accessible and affordable for everyone. I don't want millionaires to be the only people who can afford to live downtown. I don't want service industry workers to have a two-hour commute. I want a city where we actively create housing options at every income level and for people of all ages.

Portland City Council has consistently voted in favor of more housing despite otherwise important and competing values-and I want to be clear that our efforts have paid off.

Annual production and permitting levels are higher than at any point in the last 15 years. In 2017, there were 14,000 units in the production pipeline, including permits. More than 600 affordable housing units came online in 2017-more than double the number of units in the prior year.

And this year will be another record year. There are currently more than 700 newly affordable units under construction and slated to open in 2018. This will be the largest number of affordable units ever produced by the City of Portland in a single year in modern history.

As Mayor, I will continue to prioritize policies to protect renters, preserve existing units, and produce new units.  

-Ted Wheeler”

So, there are a lot of things in the works, including a lot more affordable units, but what else can we do? I think putting social workers in our public libraries would be helpful! And paying more taxes to have more money to put towards all of these projects, but I’m a Democratic Socialist, so I always think that the state supporting people is a good idea.