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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 26, 2017

Should Your Agent Help You Clean the Property?

Should the agent help clean the property

Most of us know that when it comes time to list your property you should clean up the house, duh... But how much responsibility falls on the homeowner and how much should the agent really help?

This was posed in our office this week my homeowner who felt that the listing agent should clean the house if they want to list and sell the property. It brought on a good debate about how much the agent should really do to help the seller. I'll admit, in the early days when we first got started in the real estate business, we would do quite a bit to gain the sale and get as much from the profit. I remember one of my very first listings was an older gentleman that had a very small house of just under 900 ft.² but he had lived in it for 30 years and he had also smoked in the home. It was very difficult for him to clean the house so I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floors, shampoo the carpets, organized bedrooms, staged beds, and did my very best to get as much of a cigarette smell out of the property. Would I do that today? It all depends on the situation but more likely we would consider hiring either a professional stager and/or a maid service. The property only brought $112,000 at the sale so it's not like we had a lot of money to work with for staging, cleaning, and repairs.

I believe in today's society, and agency due diligence is to tell the homeowner what the property needs in order to gain the max amount of profit and then offer referrals for repairs, cleanings, and maybe a stager. Real estate agents should not have the responsibility of actually cleaning the house but in cases such as short sales or foreclosures, often times the homeowner will leave the property as is and it is up to the agent or the next buyer to take care of whatever is left over.

In our world of short sales just 10 years ago, many homeowners simply left everything on-site. Properties were filled to the max with the junk and trash that needed to be hauled off. It can be a unique tug-of-war when it comes to who's paying for the removal of all the trash. This is something that should be written into the contract but I also informed my buyers that should they choose a short sale or foreclosure, they run the risk of this type of property and the downfalls that can come with it.

Bottom line, the homeowner wants to get the very most from the sale of the property they need to take on the responsibility of cleaning it and presenting it as best as they can. If they can do it themselves, real estate agent should find creative ways to offer their insight, suggestions, and resources.

More resources:

5 Stupid Cheap Home Staging Tips

Do You Hate These 5 Things in Your Home?

Posted in Selling
April 21, 2017

Simple Ways to Make Your Home More Efficient

There are A lot of ways to make your home more efficient but it also depends on your budget. From expensive to cheap fixes, here are some simple ways to make your home more energy efficient.Energy Efficient homes

#1. Replace windows. Of course, this is the most expensive way to make your home more energy efficient but it is one of the best. You can do it window by window or find windows that need replacing and maybe have lost their seal and replace them step-by-step. A cheaper version of this is to weatherize all of your windows. You can get a low-emissivity coating on Windows the  U-factor and the seller heat gain coefficient.

#2. Check for any leakage. You can check the homes thermal envelope if you have any energy waste. Infiltration makes heating and cooling systems work harder, which can cost you more money. Check noticeable leaks around windows, doors, pennies baseboards and around flues and chimneys and see off as much is possible.

#3. Increase insulation. Most homes only have the minimum required insulation and older homes may have even less. Be time to increase insulation and more to attics and setting if possible.

#4. Use of programmable thermostat. Companies like NEST and other programmable thermostats are an excellent way to maintain the energy in your home. If you're gone for any length of time your homes temperature will drop dramatically saving you handle on your energy costs. You can even check some of these remotely so that you can warm up the house before you get home from a vacation.

#5. Talk to your utility department. Often times, utility departments can offer discounts for certain energy-efficient appliances for usage. Them about the potential ways you can save money.

Want a home that already has all this? Call us today!

Posted in Portland
April 17, 2017

Portland Real Estate Market Update April 2017

Portland Real Estate Market Update April 2017

According to recent market reports for the Portland area, the median sales price is currently $375,000. The median list price, however, is $649,990. This is up about 13% over last year at this time. There are over 300 properties currently for sale including foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, for sale by owner homes, vacant lands and single-family properties. The average days on the market are between 30 and 40 days.

According to one recent study by a national real estate website, the median rent is about $1950 per month. Just across the river in Vancouver Washington, the median rent is $1645 per month with the median sales price of $272,000. We are finding a lot of people that can no longer afford downtown Portland are moving to Vancouver. One of the biggest drawbacks as if you have to work in Portland and the traffic in the area. Getting across the bridges can be a nightmare. However, if you're looking to save a few hundred dollars a month on your mortgage payment or rental payment, you might consider Vancouver over Portland. Theft, assault, and crime, in general, is a little bit lower in Vancouver than in Portland, however, Vancouver is smaller than Portland so this might have something to do with it as well. 60% of residents in Portland are homeowners compared to 74% in Vancouver. 95% of residents in Vancouver commute by car to just 3% by public transportation. This is compared to 80% commuting in Portland and 11% by public transportation.

For neighboring cities, the Beaverton area has a median sales price of $350,000 and Lake Oswego has a $570,000 median price.

It's very clear that homes in Portland are continuing to increase in value, which is great news for sellers, not so great of news for buyers. Especially those buyers that need to sell and then purchase a home in the same area. They might be selling at the peak of the market but they may also need to buy at the peak of the market as well. A lot of recent clients are selling their home in Portland and moving to the Vancouver area.

If you'd like more information about your home's current value and how quickly it could sell or if you're looking to buy in Vancouver or even the Portland area contact our office today.

Posted in Market Reports
April 14, 2017

5 Easy Landscaping Tips to Wow Buyers

Whether it feels like it or not, spring is certainly here and we are seeing a lot less cooler days even though the sun has been playing hide and seek with us for several months. If you're planning on selling your home this spring or even summer, you're probably considering starting on the outside and working in. When it comes to staging your home you don't want to neglect the outside. The curb appeal is often the first impression many buyers see before purchasing your home. If the outside looks great, the inside is sure to follow.

5 Easy Landscaping Tips to Wow Buyers

Here are five easy landscaping tips to really impress potential buyers.

#1. Keep the grass mode and keep it green.

A good dose of nitrogen will keep the grass looking green throughout the listing process as long as you continue to mow it on a regular basis. By keeping it trimmed against the sidewalk, shrubs, walkways and edges, it will also look more tailored and neat and clean. This is the equivalent of simply cleaning your house. A nicely trimmed and mowed yard does wonders for the look.

Read More: 5 More Ways to Improve Your Landscaping

#2. Plant a couple Evergreen shade trees.

Evergreen stay green year-round so even after the leaves have fallen off of many trees and the forests can look pretty bare, evergreens will give you that splash of green as Northwest ambiance year-round. They also add great shade for different spots of the front yard.

#3. Consider outdoor lighting.

Outdoor lighting adds another depth of staging to the outside. IT's also a great idea for buyers that might not be able to look at homes during the day. You can illuminate a path or highlight a favorite tree with uplighting. It's just something that makes your house stand out.

RELATED: 4 Things to Know Before Listing

#4. More color, but not too much.

Having a nicely trimmed yard with bright green grass is definitely the color you want but adding too much color can seem distracting and cluttered. You don't want every color under the sun when it comes to flowers and potted plants but having one or two colors that complement the color of the house can make a striking presentation. Choose a few perennials because it means less maintenance for the seller and the new homeowner. Choose one color or one flower and duplicated throughout the front yard.

Read More on Curb Appeal Here

#5. Keep it clean.

Just as you with the inside of your house, the outside needs to be clean at all times. Keeping the lawn trimmed should be a given but you also want to clean up dirt, moss, and rocks that tend to cover walkways, driveways, and stairs. You don't want to at any hazardous issues to buyers walking up steps, so it's a good idea to pressure washed driveways, concrete stairs, and walkways before listing and keep them nicely cleared.

For more information on staging your Portland home for sale: office today.

Posted in Selling
April 10, 2017

2017 Portland April Events

Tulip Festival Apr 7-30


Ballet Apr 13-22


Spring Beer & Wine Fest Apr 14-15


Old House Revival Tour Apr 15


Easter in the Pearl District Apr 15


Rabbit Romp at the Zoo Apr 15


Ceramics Show Apr 21-23


Design Week Portland Apr 21-29


Earth Day Fair Apr 22


Oregon Orchid Show Apr 22-23


Astoria Seafood Festival Apr 28-30


Spring Paddle Festival Apr 29-30

Posted in Portland, Things to Do
April 10, 2017

How to Buy a House in Your 20s

If you are reading this article you are probably already ahead of the game. You are in your 20s and you're How to Buy a House in Your 20salready thinking of buying real estate. Your friends are talking about getting a loft apartment together, traveling, or maybe just trying to move out of their parent's basement, while you are thinking ahead for your future in considering owning a piece of property.

There are several ways to know whether you are ready to buy or not.

  • You saved a little bit of money
  • You're planning on owning the property for a while
  • You're ready to start investing in yourself

These three little attributes help you make a better decision when it comes to buying real estate. If you haven't saved money or you're not ready to be tied down to a mortgage, owning real estate might not be right for you at this time. That doesn't mean that in 10 years or even five years you will be ready then, but for now, you're having fun being free. However, if you'd really like to jumpstart your real estate investment in your 20s, there are some tips to keep in mind.

#1. Know where you want to live.

If you're looking around the Portland Metro area you probably already know the prices are pretty expensive in downtown. Are you looking for a condominium that's close to entertainment? Are you looking for a home in one of the outlying suburban areas such as Tigard or Beaverton? Are you looking for a long-term investment or something to gain equity for a while and then sell? Consider your job, the commute time, and where you want to live before jumping in.

Read More Home Values Will Soar In These 40 Portland Neighborhoods

#2. Talk to a lender about your options.

You don't need to have every I dotted in every T crossed before talking with a lender. You can start with your bank or credit union or even go through a mortgage officer, who has access to hundreds of different loans through different banks. Talk to them about your long-term financial goals, how much money you currently have, and your credit history. They can recommend different loan options and programs that will work best for your situation. They will usually give you a good snapshot of your credit score and report, how much mortgage you can afford, and how much you should be saving for a down payment.

#3. Talk to a real estate agent about the best time to buy.

There are good and bad times to buy throughout the year. And, those times can change depending on the market. Winter might be a really hot market in the Portland area and you could get a good deal for you might be better to wait until spring or summer as you have more choices. At Marcus Brown Properties, our agents specifically help our buyers in whatever stage of financing or if they might be in. Because we are very familiar with many of the micro markets around the Portland area we can help you find the right home, the right location, the right mortgage and tell you the right time to buy.

Read More: The Real Estate Market in 3 of Portland's Hottest Neighborhoods

If you're ready to get started us a call today. We have tips and tricks from years of experience that can help you get a down payment, lower your rate when searching for a mortgage, and be your one-stop shop for everything Portland real estate. Call us today.

Posted in Buying
April 7, 2017

Oregon's Coolest Coastal Towns

Though Oregon's wild and scenic coast is much more sparsely populated than its inland Western valleys, it boasts many highly sought-out communities.

Thus, in the spirit of Portland Business Journal's popular Hottest 'Hoods of Portland feature, they collected the same data — 2016 homes sold, average sales price and average days on the market — from the state's largest multiple listing service, RMLS, encompassing the 40 ZIP codes directly adjacent to the Pacific Ocean along Oregon's coastline.

Click here to view the full list!


Posted in Buying, Portland
April 7, 2017

Home Values Will Soar In These 40 Portland Neighborhoods

If you own your home, you're wondering how Portland's skyrocketing sales are impacting the value of your place. If you don't yet have a mortgage, but hope to, you may want to figure out which neighborhoods will take off this year.

No one can predict the future, especially when it comes to real estate investments, including sentimental properties such as your family home. But the data czars at Zillow crunched numbers at our request and came up with a ranking of what they predict could be the hottest Portland neighborhoods over the next year.Image title

They compiled the current median home value of each neighborhood, forecast the value in a year and calculated the percent of the increase. For example, the median home in the Southwest Hills could cost 3.8 percent more over the next year, bumping the cost up more than $36,000.

Topping the list with a predicted 5.2 percent jump: St. Johns (expect to pay a median extra of $17,539), Mount Scott ($18,412 more) and Brentwood-Darlington ($15,634 more). See other predictions on how homes in specific neighborhoods might appreciate.

Click here to view the full list!

Posted in Buying, Portland, Selling
April 7, 2017

Small Format Target Coming To Site Of SE Portland Bowling Alley

A Southeast Portland bowling alley will be turned into a small-format Target store by July 2018.

The Minneapolis-based retailer confirmed Tuesday it had signed a lease for the building at 3031 S.E. Powell Blvd., currently the site of the AMF Pro 300 Lanes bowling alley. It will move in after a significant renovation.Image title

The bowling company has told media outlets that it plans to remain open through the end of its lease and perhaps longer. But the owner of the site, Vancouver-based MAJ Development, says it plans to begin renovating the building in August.

Target said the 32,000-square-foot store would include groceries, a pharmacy and other typical departments, and that customers will be able to pick up online orders there. Renderings show the building's exterior with a sign intended to evoke the alley's retro "BOWL" sign.

It's the company's second small-format store in the Northwest, following the downtown Portland Galleria location. It has 35 such stores in total, and plans to open 100 more over the next three years.

The store also will make use of the building's 100-stall covered parking garage.

It's not the first bowling alley in the city to be converted into a store for a national retailer. In 2014, Hollywood Bowl in Northeast Portland closed so its building could be turned into an Orchard Supply Hardware.

Article Source.

Posted in Portland
April 6, 2017

Alaska Airlines Announces New Longhaul Service From Portland Oregon And Los Angeles

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America today announces new daily, nonstop service between Portland, Oregon, and New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) beginning Nov. 6; Portland and Detroit beginning Aug. 30; and Los Angeles and Philadelphia beginning Sept. 1.

"Alaska Airlines continues to expand service from our West Coast hubs by adding convenient, nonstop flights to popular destinations like New York City, Philadelphia and Detroit," said John Kirby, vice president of capacity planning at Alaska Airlines. "Whether traveling for business or leisure, we continue to meet the needs of our valued guests with more than 800 daily flights in over 300 markets originating from the West Coast."Image title

With this new service, Alaska and Virgin America will provide Portland residents access to 130 daily nonstop flights to 58 destinations, more than any other carrier serving Portland International Airport.

This added service provides Rose City flyers greater access to two New York metropolitan area airports – JFK and Newark. JFK is the country's busiest international gateway, and is a prime jumping off point for customers traveling to Europe and beyond on Alaska Global Partners including British Airways, Icelandair and Condor. Members of the Alaska Mileage Plan can earn and redeem miles when flying on one of Alaska's global airline partners to over 900 destinations around the globe.

With the new service to Detroit, Alaska Airlines will offer the only daily, year-round nonstop service from Portland to the Motor City, home to auto industry giants such as General Motors and Ford Motor Company. Guests will now have access to low fare options, with the reliability and award-winning customer service they have come to expect from their go-to airline on the West Coast.

The new Los Angeles-Philadelphia flight builds on the 27 new markets the combined airline has added from California, since merging with Virgin America in December. Virgin America previously served this market from April 2012 to October 2014.

Schedule of new service: 

Start Date

City pair





Aug 30


10:30 p.m.

5:30 a.m.



Aug 31


7 a.m.

8:45 a.m.



Sep 1

Los Angeles-Philadelphia

8:45 p.m.

5 a.m.

A320 family


Sep 2

Philadelphia-Los Angeles

6:30 a.m.

9:26 a.m.

A320 family


Nov 6

Portland-New York (JFK)

11:05 p.m.

7:30 a.m.



Nov 7

New York (JFK)-Portland

9:30 a.m.

12:55 p.m.




Flight times based on local time zones.

Article Source.

Posted in Portland