Where to live in Portland -

Check back often for new posts, updates on events and local activities and advice on buying or selling Portland real estate, condos, homes and properties.

April 16, 2018

Can You Live in Portland Without a Car?

So, can you live in downtown Portland without a car? The answer is emphatically yes! In a recent article in Oregon live.com proved this fact with a resident living like a car-less tourist in Portland for seven days. But, this is a tourist, can someone really live in downtown without a car? Absolutely? There is so much to do and ways to get around in downtown that you may only need an Uber or a friend with a car to really get out of town.Can I live in Portland without a car?

The article states that Lizzie Acker, a Portland local gave yourself an extra challenge where she would find out what living in downtown Portland is like without a car. Most of the days she used the tri-met day pass, costing just five dollars a day, this gets you on all buses, the Max, and the streetcar. But she didn't just stay downtown either. She spent the first day viewing Northwest sites a walk starting at Pittock Mansion and visiting the Portland Japanese garden, the Rose Test Garden, and enjoying food on NW. 23rd St.

 Throughout the next few days, she visited the Lloyd Center for ice-skating, shopping and movies at the Hollywood theater. One day she took a bike ride to Mount Tabor and rented her bike from Bike Town, traveling from Mount Tabor Park North past Rose City Park and back.

One day she decided to take the bridges and the tram going back and forth from Portland's Southwest waterfront along Portland's aerial tram. This gave her a great way to check out Pine Street market, and waterfront paths.

From funky shops, restaurants, and markets a long division and Hawthorne, to the Bagdad Theater and of course Powell's bookshop, there's so much to explore on foot and with public transportation that seven days just won't cover it all.

If you really want to explore Portland you can certainly do it without a car. But, more importantly, if you want to live here are public transportation system is second to none. We have so many different options and inexpensive options as well.

Read More: Portland's Most Walkable Neighborhoods

I would suggest the Pearl District if you're looking for high-end studios and condominiums or some historical neighborhoods such as Ladds Addition and Buckman. Browse the website for listings in all of these neighborhoods or simply give me a call and let's discuss your needs and what you'd like to achieve by living in downtown Portland. Because I know the entire area I can help you make the right decision on where to live in Portland.

Image by Paul Krueger
Posted in Portland
April 13, 2018

How Much are Homes in Portland Now?

The Portland real estate market has been hot for a few years now but what is it doing now? It's 2018, has the market calm down or balanced at all? If you're thinking of moving or selling within the Portland area you might want to know what home prices are currently like. Surprisingly, our inventory is down dramatically. We only have about 300 properties listed with the median list price of around $640,000. The median days on the market are less than 30, which means that properties that are listed, typically sell within the first month.How Much are Homes in Portland Now?

The median sales price is around $412,000, which averages about $290 per square foot. Our median rent is higher than most of the country coming in at $2150 per month. However, we are starting to cool off, not dramatically by any means, but we are more in a buyers market rather than a seller's market and as we head through 2018 more likely to see more of that. The average home price is about $413,000 and the median list price per square foot for downtown Portland is a little bit higher than the entire Portland Metro area.

Slowly appreciating neighborhoods are Laurelhurst, East Moreland, Northwest Heights, Irvington, Richmond, Rose City Park, Hillsdale, and the Sellwood neighborhood. The median home values for these neighborhoods are between $500,000 and $750,000. While the hottest neighborhoods include St. John's, the Powellhurst, Brentwood, Pleasant Valley, Montavilla, Hazelwood, and Lents. Median home values for these neighborhoods rest between $280,000 and $350,000.

Surrounding neighborhoods such as Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Oregon City, Lake Oswego, Tigard, and Wilsonville continue to be hot markets as well with median home values between $300,000 and $440,000.

Portland has been one of the top markets for the last few years but as we head through 2018, our market will start to slow down some. Several real estate sites predict an increase of 4.5% growth for 2018, a little slower than our sister city of Seattle, appreciating over 6% this year.

If you're looking to buy or sell, it's still a great market to do so. Buyers are looking for great deals and sellers are still getting above average listing prices. For more information or to buy or sell a home in Portland contact our office today.

Posted in Market Reports
April 9, 2018

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home and Family for an Earthquake

We live in the Pacific Northwest and if you flitter long enough you know that eventually were up for the "big one", the big earthquake that we've all been dreading. But regardless of whether it's going to happen today, next week, or in 50 years, being prepared for an earthquake is something you should definitely do sooner rather than later. Don't procrastinate any longer. If you have not prepared your family and your home for an earthquake, start with the seven tips.

#1. Have a "to-go" bag ready.prepare your home in an earthquake

It's a good idea to have a bag ready in your house and in your car or garage. You want to make sure you have a gallon of water per day per person for at least three days and at least three days of nonperishable food. Make sure you have a flashlight, phone chargers, batteries, a first-aid kit, and anything else you might need including pet food. For a complete list visit ready.gov 

#2. Make sure everyone knows what to do.

Kids in school have earthquake drills but we don't do this at home. It's important that everyone in your family knows what to do in case of an emergency. Where to meet. How to get out of the house if you're trapped, putting a whistle in the to go back so that everyone can find each other.

#3. Consider earthquake insurance.

Most homes do not come with earthquake insurance but for around $20-$30 a month, you can add earthquake insurance to your homeowner's policy.

#4. Seismic Retrofitting.

This might be a huge project but, reinforcing your home's structure ensures that the foundation, floors, and walls are fastened together and bolted down from the ground up. This simply protection home better during earthquakes.

#5. Brace crippling walls.

You can add a plywood sheathing to shore up a crippling wall or a short wood wall, which extends from the foundation to beneath the floor of the house. This will prevent any buckling of your home under the pressure of an earthquake.

#6. Reinforcing chimneys.

Some older homes have chimneys made of brick or other masonry which are not braced securely. A licensed contractor can inspect your chimney and recommend any repairs.

#7. Prepare your car.

Make sure your car always has at least a half a tank of gas. You want to make sure that you are prepared for an emergency and can drive where you need to within a few hours.

Preparing your home, your car, and your family in case of an earthquake is just smart living. We hope it never comes to this, but being prepared will make you feel more confident should that emergency ever arise. 

Posted in Portland
April 6, 2018

This Isn't Your Parent's Interest Rate

Aren't you glad you don't have to pay what your parents probably had to pay an interest rate on a mortgage? Consider this, the monthly payment for a $300,000 house with a 4% interest is about $1500 per month. We've experienced these low-interest rates for several years now, which is a great thing, especially since home prices have been inching up moderately, instead of dropping. But in the 1980s, interest rates were anywhere from 8% to 12% and on a $300,000 loan that means your mortgage payment at 8% would be over $2200. But of course, the same home wouldn't have been $300,000 either.Interest rates

Let's say that the average home was about $100,000. At 8% interest on a 30-year mortgage that the $734 monthly mortgage payment. Doesn't sound so bad right now, but if you consider 30 years ago, $730 was actually quite a bit of money to spend on a monthly mortgage payment. If they had the 4% interest that we have now, that payment would be about $470. So, it's all relative.

Read More: 10 Housing and Buying Mistakes to Avoid

Interest rates have stayed around the 4% mark for much of 2017 which gave buyers relief from rising home prices and it help with affordability. In the first quarter of 2018, rates went up to 4.45% and experts predict that these rates will increase even more by the end of the year. Are we going to see the 8% or 12% we saw in the 1980s? No, nothing like that, but the rate you secure now impact your monthly mortgage payment until you refinance, sell, or pay it off.

The 30 year fixed rate mortgage from the last 45 years shows that in 1981 and 1982, the mortgage rates went up to nearly 18%. That's insane! That means that same $100,000 mortgage with an 18% interest rate would put your mortgage at a $1500 a month payment! You can certainly but not many people were buying houses back then. Can you imagine going from a $470 payment to a $1500 a month payment? That's triple the cost just based on interest rates.

Bottom line, be thankful that our interest rates have been historically low for years now. I don't see them going up to that crazy number as we did in the 80s, but you never know. The sooner you lock in a lower rate the better whether it's a refinance or a first-time home purchase. Give us a call today if you're interested in finding out how much home you can afford with today's interest rates.

Related: If mortgage rates rise, will home prices drop?

Does the stock market affect your chances of buying a house?

When should you start looking at homes?

Posted in Finance
April 2, 2018

Can NOT Owning a Home Cost More Than Owning One?

A recent article in Realtor.com said "buying remains the more attractive option in the long-term – that remains the American dream, and it's true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option… As people get more savings in their pockets, buying becomes the better option."Can NOT Owning a Home Cost More Than Owning One?

Of course, I'm going to tell you that buying a home is better than renting, I'm a real estate agent, for heaven sakes. But to be completely honest with you, buying probably is a better option for most people, but not all. There are some people that can really benefit from renting but if you're planning on staying in a house for at least two years, buying will actually save you money, earn you equity, and give you lots of financial benefits. Here's what I'm talking about.

Homeownership really has five major financial benefits:

  • It's a forced savings plan.
  • It provides tax savings.
  • It allows you to lock in a monthly housing cost.
  • It's usually cheaper than renting in most cities.
  • And no other investments let you use the investment while it's earning money.

Homeowners and net worth are 44 times greater than that of a renter and those that purchase a home at the beginning of 2018 have an average wealth of over $44,000 in the next five years, of course, that depends on the price of the home and how much you've put down.

Related: Is renting always a waste of money?

Renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs but, every renter that all the expenses that the landlord incurs are already rolled into the rent payment with a profit margin. You are basically paying someone else's mortgage. If you're okay with that, then renting is probably for you. If you're tired of giving someone else mortgage payment, consider investing in yourself. Because that is what I truly see homeownership as; not necessarily investing in a property but in yourself for the future.

So, can actually cost you more? Probably, since you're not actually earning any money in the house you're living in by paying someone else's mortgage. If you're tired of this, give us a call. Let's see what type of home you can afford with the rental payment you are making now.

More: 

Oregon Ranked as One of the Best States for First Time Home Buyers

 

Posted in Buying
March 30, 2018

Vegetables Grown Together Provide Different Benefits

Have you ever thought about turning your front yard into a garden? Any Portlandia and's and Oregonians are doing just that. Instead of planting arborvitae is to separate one yard from another, there planting corn, peas, and other vegetables. 

According to an article in Oregon live.com, a homeowner in Corvallis Oregon has been in Oregon State University extension service master gardener since 2011 and has been planting her vegetable garden for over 50 years.Grow Vegetables

"There are different interactions from planting certain vegetables, herbs, and flowers together." Is not necessarily about the vegetable itself, although that's a good byproduct, it's about attracting beneficial insects and plants that will complement each other. For instance, squash bugs can be difficult to control but there are a lot of plants designed to intermingle with squash that will send off these pests including chives, mint, oregano, margarine, and dill. They are deterred by the odor of the strong herbs. Nasturtium vines also confuse the bugs because the blossoms look very similar to squash blossoms.

One of the most common pairings is of corn, pole beans, and squash or pumpkins. This trio has been deemed one of the best trios since the early 1600s as corn provides the support for the climbing beans which pull nitrogen from the air and share it with the corn roots. The squash then enjoys the dappled sun from the corn and shade. Adding in the sunflowers can make a great pollinator, as well as sunflowers, take nitrogen from the soil and beans put it back in.

Related: Great tips for pruning your fruit trees right now

Companion planting is one of the best ways to utilize a small space or a front yard. Not only will it enhance the flavor but the benefits are numerous. For more information on companion planting visit Oregon live.com for more tips from this master gardener.

Posted in Things to Do
March 26, 2018

7 Small Things to Change to Make a Big Impact in the Kitchen

It seems there are a lot of people updating their kitchens these days. Whether it's for selling, staging, or you just can't stand it anymore, changing kitchen items and materials are very popular as I was in Home Depot yesterday and there was literally a line in the kitchen design center. So it got me thinking about how people can make little changes in their kitchen that really make a big impact.

New sink and/or faucet.small kitchen changes

Changing out a sink and a faucet can be a simple way to change the look of your counters. Stainless steel sinks can run anywhere from $100-$400 where farmhouse and porcelain sinks can run up to $900. Faucets, however, can start at about $50 and go to $350 but it can make a huge impact, especially when you're doing things at the sink. Looking down to a new faucet and/or sink might not make you mind doing the dishes so much.

Backsplash.

Most of the homes built in the 1970s up to about 2000 didn't do anything with the backsplash. They simply have a wood trim up against the drywall. This can cause a lot of moisture to leak behind the trim causing buckling, mold, and mildew. Sealing that off or simply changing the backsplash altogether can really make a big impact on your kitchen. There are so many detailed options now and because mosaic tiles come in a large 12 x 12 pattern, you don't have to be as detail-oriented as you use to.

Paint.

We all know that paint can make a big impact so maybe it's time to change up the paint color in your kitchen? Plus, walls in the kitchen can get dingy and grimy from grease and splatters so it may be time for good washing and painting anyway.

Hardware.

Hardware is like jewelry for the kitchen. New metal knobs and pulls can really add a different look to your kitchen without a big expense. New hardware can run anywhere from $.50 to $10 per piece so you can really go all out or stay within a decent budget.

Glass paneled cabinets.

This is an easy and simple way to change the look of your cabinets without redoing the mall. Of course, repainting or staining the cabinets can add a dramatic difference but it can be costly and very time-consuming. Instead, consider just changing one or two panels of your cabinets to a frosted, clear, or designed glass. It'll add a new dimension to the room.

New lighting.

Recessed lighting may be difficult to change but you might add pendant lighting over-the-counter, change the lighting fixture in the dining room if it's close to the kitchen, or install under cabinet lighting to add a unique glow to the countertops.

New shelving.

 Changing shelving and cabinets are a great way to change the look of your kitchen but it can be costly. Just like the glass panels, consider taking one cabinet out and adding free floating shelves instead, or taking the doors off of the cabinets, sanding down the hinge screw holes and painting over them. It's a great place to display some of your most favorite kitchen pieces.

Read More: 8 Ways to Improve the Look of your Home Fast

These are just a few ways you can add some new charm and update your kitchen on a budget. Whether you do them all or just a few, it will definitely add a new look to a small kitchen.

Posted in Selling
March 23, 2018

7 Amazing Things to Do During Spring Break

7 Amazing Things to Do During Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner and if you're looking to stay home this year instead of travel like so many other people, there are some great events and activities happening in the Portland area. Here are just a few things we suggest you might try.

#1. The Tulip Festival

from Friday, March 23 until Monday, April 30 at 33814 South Meridian Rd. in Woodburn is the annual Tulip Festival. Stroll through acres and acres of colorful tulips and daffodils. The price is just five dollars per person or $20 per car of four people or more.

#2. See Trevor Noah at the Moda Center

The host of the Daily Show host will be broadcasting a from the Moda Center on Saturday, March 24 at 1 N. Center Court St at the rows Quarter, tickets are $39-$75.

#3. Tequila and taco Festival

Okay, maybe the kids won't like the tequila haha, but it is a really fun thing to do for parents as well. There are three taco and tequila samplings and you can enjoy live music and entertainment. And I mean, who doesn't love tacos? This is happening at the Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Dr. on Saturday, March 24 from 4 PM to 10 PM. Tickets are just $35-$80.

#4. Girl Scouts Festival

If your daughters have ever decided to get curious about joining Girl Scouts, this is the event to attend. Happening at the Portland Expo Center on March 24 from 10 AM until 4 PM, explore outdoor adventures, financial literacy, arts, sports, and more. Tickets are $11-$16 (and hang around for the tequila and taco fest after that!)

#5. Bricks Cascade

if you or your kid are Lego fanatics, you can't miss this amazing event at the Oregon Convention Center at 777 Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Saturday, March 24 from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, March 25 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Adults and kids show off their most impressive designs all made with Legos. This will be something amazing to see.

#6. Best of Second City

A sister show much like the Second City Theater in Chicago, our own Portland will feature some of the best that the city has to offer on Friday, March 23 at 7:00 PM at Newmark theater, 1111 Southwest Broadway. Tickets are under $26.

These are just a few things to do over the next couple of weeks. I hope you find time to enjoy one of those and as for me, I'll be chowing down on some tacos.

Image By Larry Miller (Flickr: Tinos Tacos, Roseburg, Ore.) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Portland
March 22, 2018

Oregon Jobless Rate Remains at Historic Low of 4.1%

Oregon added another 2,700 jobs last month and the state's jobless rate remained at its lowest point on record, according to state data released Tuesday, extending Oregon's long economic expansion.

February's unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent. It's been within a tenth of a percentage point of that number for more 14 months, according to revised figures issued earlier this month by the Oregon Employment Department.

The state's job market is among the nation's strongest. New federal data shows Oregon employment grew 2.7 percent in the 12 months ended in January, fifth-fastest among all states (Utah was tops at 3.1 percent with Idaho, Nevada and Washington all at 2.8 percent.) Oregon's private-sector growth rate was second only to Utah.

Construction, leisure and hospitality, and a catchall category called "other services" remain Oregon's fastest-growing segments.

A broader measure of the state's unemployment picture, the U-6 or "underutilization" rate, fell to 8.0 percent last month – down from 8.3 percent in January. That figure, which captures workers who have dropped out of the workforce and part-time employees who would rather be working full time, is also near its lowest point in history.

Article Source.

 

Posted in Communities, Portland
March 22, 2018

University of Portland Plans New Waterfront Campus

The University of Portland announced development plans for a 35-acre campus expansion along the Willamette River.

The new campus, named Franz Campus, will include academic, sports and utilities facilities. It will have two additional soccer practice and intramural lighted fields, a tennis center, a track and field facility and a rowing center and dock.

It will also have an environmental research space, a new physical plant building and more campus parking.

A separate campus improvement project, the Dundon-Berchtold Hall, is currently underway. Construction began this winter on the new 63,000 square-foot academic building that will provide classrooms, offices, a lecture hall and an applied ethics institute.

Article Source

Posted in Communities, Portland