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.

May 23, 2022

Is It Possible to Remove a Restrictive Covenant on a Property?

You purchase a home and have expectant plans to renovate it a little bit. You decide you would like to put in a great outdoor kitchen space for entertaining. You begin dreaming about all of your friends coming over to enjoy patio parties in your posh outdoor kitchen area with plenty of seating and those fun string lights that everybody loves. You have plans for not just eating but an outdoor fireplace with a chimney that you can also hang up a big flatscreen TV to enjoy games with friends.Is It Possible to Remove a Restrictive Covenant on a Property

The construction has begun and you're getting very excited for the end date and warmer weather around the corner. Then you find a notice on your front door that is from the neighborhood association letting you know that your renovation plans are not within the covenant restrictions. What is a covenant restriction? Especially when you don’t remember agreeing to any. Is the neighborhood association allowed to tell you what you can do with your own backyard?

The short answer to that last question is actually yes. If there is a restrictive covenant on the property, they are able to request that you stop and adhere. Restrictive covenants are an agreement between a property owner and the other authoritative parties in the neighborhood that limit the use of the property. Most often restrictive covenants are written into the deed of the property, or at least referenced in the deed, and kept on file with your local government or the homeowners association.

In simple legal terms, a restrictive covenant “runs the land.” This means that these covenants apply to the property itself and not a specific owner who purchases the property or originally made the agreement. This means that these limitations are legally binding for any future property owners.

Restrictive covenants began in America as a means of zoning to help prevent livestock and machinery from encroaching in on residential real estate areas. In the 1920s these covenants were mostly used for the purpose of keeping the standards of a neighborhood neat and tidy and uniform. This is mostly what these covenants are used for today and many of them come through homeowners’ associations.

Are restrictive covenants enforceable?

The only way a covenant is no longer enforceable is if it expires. They can also be overturned if there is a history of the covenant being violated several times by other properties in the community or if an individual or group is no longer benefiting from the covenant. You want to make sure that a covenant is in fact void before you violate it, however. Failing to do so could mean paying a fine or facing legal action.

Can you do anything to overturn a restrictive covenant?

If you have a homeowners association governing your deed restrictions you can take a proactive approach in finding a solution to the restrictive covenant. HOAs exist to ensure property values for every resident in the neighborhood boundaries remain at as high a level as possible. First, you want to read your deed and the restrictions carefully. Most often this is included in a secondary document and not the deed itself. This is usually known as the CC and Rs, or list of covenants, conditions, and restrictions. In some cases, you may be able to bring your case to the board and ask them to reconsider the restrictive covenant. In some more difficult situations where the HOA will not budge on their decision you could ask other homeowners in the neighborhood how they feel about the issue and maybe get enough people to ask for it to be changed. This would require a vote by all homeowners in the community.

Beyond these measures, you could opt to take legal action to have a judge void the restriction from the deed. This route however is very difficult and requires you to prove beyond a doubt that the HOA does not have the authority to enforce the particular restriction.

For more information on purchasing a home in Portland and surrounding areas please contact us anytime.

Posted in Buying
May 23, 2022

Should You Worry About Recent Foreclosure News?

Should You Worry About Recent Foreclosure News

There have been a few recent stories about the volumes of foreclosures increasing currently but it is important to know the full picture of the current state of the real estate market before getting too concerned with this headline. Over the course of the pandemic as several Americans were out of work, there were many homeowners able to benefit from mortgage forbearance programs. This meant that they put their mortgage payments on pause during the uncertainty of the health crisis. These programs were meant to be a help Americans in uncertain financial situations.

In the beginning when a large number of homeowners were opting to go into forbearance programs some market experts became concerned that it could create a large wave of foreclosures in the near future. Today some people are still worried that this foreclosure wave could come and we might see a housing crash as we did in 2008.

But in order to get a good picture of what is actually going on where foreclosures are concerned in today’s market, we need to look at several factors.

There are currently fewer homeowners likely to face foreclosure

The most current real estate data shows that a large number of American homeowners are coming out of their forbearance mortgage plans either being completely caught up in mortgage payments or making a plan with their mortgage holder to restructure their loan and make payments affordable again.

The latest data collected from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that of the homeowners that chose to go into a forbearance program during the pandemic about 37% have paid in full and exited their program. There are 44.6% of homeowners that we're able to work out a new repayment plan on their mortgage and exit forbearance. While there were just 18.4% of homeowners still in a forbearance program unsure of how they will return to mortgage payments. Of that 18%, just 1.3% found themselves needing to let go of the property.

A majority of homeowners have plenty of equity to be able to sell their home

For homeowners still waiting to exit their forbearance program without having a plan in place many of those homeowners have a promising opportunity to sell their homes instead of facing a foreclosure with the amount of equity held in the property. This is due to the rapid increase in home values over the last two years.

Even with mortgage rates on the rise, there is still a high demand for homes and a low inventory of homes for sale continuing the strong seller’s market. Borrowers also have more choices in refinancing instead of foreclosing when they have a larger amount of equity to bring to the negotiation table.

The last two years have shown fewer foreclosures

Though some experts were skeptical of offering forbearance programs during the pandemic one of the not so shared benefits of these programs were giving homeowners facing financial difficulty extra time to get back on their feet and work out a plan with their lender. This helped prevent many foreclosures that would have come if these programs were not in place.

While foreclosures may have seen a slight increase recently they are still lower than the numbers from before the pandemic.

So when you see headlines about an increasing number of foreclosures, they are true but these numbers are still much lower than when the economy seemed like it had no issues prior to the pandemic. It is important to make sure you know the entire picture about the state of the real estate market.

For more information on purchasing a home in Portland or surrounding areas please contact us anytime.

More Tips for Home Buyers:

Who Pays Realtor Fees?

What Type of House Does a Half a Million Get You in Portland?

Tips for Buying a Condo in Portland

What Millennials Want in the Housing Market

Why do School Ratings Impact Home Value?

Single-Level Homes are in High Demand in Portland

Don't Wait too Long to Find the Perfect House

 

Posted in News and Media
May 18, 2022

4 of the Best Hiking Spots Near Portland

What does one do with all this free time now that things are starting to return to normal? Summer is here! Many wooded trails within just a couple hours of the city provide rest and relaxation from the crowds. Here is rundown of the best hiking places just outside of Portland. Each one offers varying terrain, views, wildlife, elevation and distances, providing a unique experience for all skill levels, whether you’re looking for a simple stroll through an urban park or a more difficult climb up a rugged mountain.4 of the Best Hiking Spots Near Portland 

Lower Punch Bowl Falls

A series of  inclines wind high above the titular creek down below until the tail lets up and brings you back down to Punchbowl Falls, which is arguably one of the most iconic nature selfie spots within a 60-mile radius of Portland. The glacier melt from nearby Mt. Hood that feeds the falls is as cold as you’d expect, but it’s great for cooling off and splashing around after the trail leads hikers through several high-elevation spots with very little tree cover. The creek bed is covered in smooth rocks.

Angel's Rest

The hike that leads up to Angel’s Rest is a perfect medium in terms of proximity to Portland, effort and reward. Located about half an hour away from Downtown, Angel’s Rest is a popular diversion among locals. The ascent checks all the boxes when it comes to the scenery one would expect in the PNW, and the awe-inspiring panorama at the top is a great way to provoke thoughts of quitting the day job back home and moving out west in order to be closer to this type of action. This one gets a bit packed on weekends and late afternoons.

Trail of Ten Loops

The Trail of Ten Loops boasts 1,100 feet of elevation gain and views from above, behind and besides 10 different waterfalls, making it one of the most majestic hikes available in the entire state. A series of truncated trails are available if you insist on bringing your dog.

Cape Falcon

Oregon’s Coastal Range certainly has no shortage of awesome hikes with stunning views, but few pack as big of a punch in such a short distance as the Cape Falcon hike. Located in the truly epic Oswald West State Park, this 4.8 mile out-and-back hike starts in Arch Cape and wriggles its way through an old growth forest that’s at times perilously close to the jagged, salt-battered shoreline that give way to the bosom of the Pacific down below. The trail’s terminus offers a breathtaking view of Neahkahnie Mountain and the town of Manzanita to the South, and an endless expanse of massive trees teetering on cliffs is visible to the north.

Portland is an oasis for hiking and outdoor recreation in general. In fact, many residents live here primarily for the city’s outdoorsy vibe and convenient access to nature and all its wonders. You don’t have to go very far from the city to be completely immersed in the great outdoors, from forests to lakes and mountains to waterfalls.

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Posted in Portland
May 16, 2022

Mistakes People Make When Purchasing Homeowners Insurance

Mistakes People Make When Purchasing Homeowners Insurance

If you are mortgaging a home, you will be required to purchase homeowners’ insurance before signing the final paperwork to close out the mortgage and purchase the home. Regardless of how you purchase a home, every homeowner should make sure they have homeowners’ insurance to help cover the cost should accidents or natural disasters arise.

It is not uncommon for people to make mistakes when obtaining their homeowner's insurance. As such it is a good idea to make sure you are as knowledgeable about the process as possible to ensure you have proper coverage for your home.

Here are four of the most common mistakes people make when they purchase homeowners’ insurance

Not getting enough coverage

A majority of people purchase homeowners’ insurance with the intent to satisfy their mortgage lender requirements. What they don’t realize is that these requirements are often far below what would be adequate coverage for your home should you need help during a disaster or if an accident happens.

The majority of homeowners do this in hopes to save money on their premium costs but a large component of homeowners insurance policies is the replacement cost coverage. It is best to obtain enough coverage to be able to rebuild your home in the event that it is destroyed completely. If you merely stick to what your lender is requiring at the time of purchase this could leave you with less coverage money than you actually need. It is also good to revisit how much coverage you have over a certain amount of time as your home value appreciates.

Doing one-stop shopping

Every homeowner’s insurance company is going to offer its own rate and coverage plans. There is no one set law that states how much an insurance company has to cover or how much they can charge for that coverage. For this reason, it is best to get quotes from a few different companies before settling on which policy you are going to purchase. You also want to make sure you are not just going with the cheapest policy. You want to go with a company that can be trusted and is going to come through when you need them even if that means paying a little more.

Not asking about bundling options

Many times, homeowners looking for homeowners’ insurance have other possessions that they currently insure. Most often this means an automobile. It is a good idea to check in with your automobile insurance company or your life insurance policyholder to see if they offer other types of coverage sometimes you will be able to get a cheaper rate on adding another type of coverage through bundling options. You also want to make sure that you’re not just assuming that this bundling deal is the most cost-effective offer however you still want to compare rates with other companies.

Assuming that everything will be covered by your policy

A majority of homeowners insurance policies will cover items like natural disasters storms a fire or unfortunate accidents but that majority will not cover the cost of a flood. You want to make sure you know exactly what your policy is covering and purchase more coverage should you need to.

There are many homeowners for example who have made improvements to their home and then something unfortunate happens only to find out that their policy covered the home before it was renovated and that the difference will not be covered by your insurance company. Or something unfortunate happens to an outbuilding on the property that was never covered in the original policy in the first place.

Is very important to make sure you have correct proper coverage of your home when it comes to insurance. You also want to periodically check in with your insurance company to ensure that you are carrying sufficient coverage as your home value increases.

For more information on purchasing a home in Portland and surrounding areas please contact us anytime.

More On Homeowner's Insurance

How Much Homeowners Insurance Should I Have?

Do I Need Extra or Different Insurance When Buying a Condo?

Homeowners Insurance – Ways to Save and Why You Need it

Is Your Home Under-Insured?

10 Things All New Homeowners Should Know

What to Know About Title Insurance

Homeowners Insurance and the Different Policies

 

Posted in Buying
May 3, 2022

How to Avoid Closing Delays in Escrow

How to Avoid Closing Delays in Escrow

Once you have entered escrow, the exciting countdown to closing day begins. There are many common mistakes buyers make that cause delays in closing, sometimes even causing the buyer to lose the contract completely.

Unforseen circumstances can lead your lender to reevaluate your approval for your loan, or cause concern over the condition or value of the home. Avoid these common mistakes by being aware of actions that will trigger a delay, and how to handle it if a delay does occur.

Financing

One of the most common delays is triggered by complications with funding, most commonly the buyer's approval status. The best way to avoid unforeseen delays with the financing process is by being upfront, honest, and communicative with your lender. It is imperative that you do not try to hide any of your financial information from the lender. For example, if they discover unpaid child support during the underwriting process that you failed to disclose, this may delay or even eliminate your funding.

Another common mistake buyers make is taking any action that will change their credit score or employment status during escrow. Avoid taking on any new debt, changing jobs, or opening new lines of credit until after closing on the home.

Contingencies can also cause funding delays. If the buyer must sell their current home to secure the new mortgage, but it unable to sell their current home in time, there is a possibility of forfeiting, or at least delaying, the purchase.

Appraisal

Another common delay that may arise is related to the value of the home. If the home you are in escrow to purchase appraises for less than you have offered to pay, your lender may refuse to fund the loan. They are taking on significant liability to loan you money for an asset that is not worth the debt you will owe.

Your options in this case include:

  • Asking the seller to lower the price to meet the appraised value
  • Spending more out of pocket to lower the loan amount
  • Challenge the appraisal and request a review

Home Inspection

We always recommend a home inspection by a respected professional inspector during the escrow process. It is nearly impossible to accurately assess the condition of a home in a regular showing, but a professional inspection will uncover any flaws in the home or indications that a repair is needed.

Should a major issue arise as a result of the inspection, you may experience a delay in escrow. Depending on a variety of details, you may ask the seller to repair the issue before closing, to offer cash or a lower selling price to accommodate for the repair you will need to pay for after closing, or you may even decide you would like to back out of the deal altogether.

Title Problems

Part of the escrow process involves reviewing the home's title information. In some cases, a delay will be caused by issues being revealed during a title search. Sometimes called clouds on a title, these problem might include a variety of claims or discrepancies that make ownership of the property unclear. Some examples of issues with the title include:

  • Unpaid property taxes
  • Lien on the property from unpaid utility bills
  • Violation of an easement

Until the title is found to be clear, the property will not be able to be sold. This process can be known to cause delays, which can be brief of lengthy depending on a myriad of factors.

Homeowners Association Approval

If the home you are looking to buy is part of a community with a homeowners association, in some cases you will need approval from that HOA. To avoid any delays in this process, find out at the beginning of the escrow process what the HOA will require from you to approve your application to become part of the association, and provide them with any documentation they need as quickly as possible.

Final Walk-Through

Finally, there are some issues that may arise during the final walk-through that may cause delay. For example, if a repair is required and was agreed upon, but has not been satisfactorily completed, the closing of escrow will need to be delayed until the repair is complete. All terms of the sale must be met before closing.

To find out more about the home buying process, or looking for your ideal property in Portland contact my office at any time. 

More Tips for Home Buyers:

Who Pays Realtor Fees?

What Type of House Does a Half a Million Get You in Portland?

Tips for Buying a Condo in Portland

What Millennials Want in the Housing Market

Why do School Ratings Impact Home Value?

Single-Level Homes are in High Demand in Portland

Don't Wait too Long to Find the Perfect House

The difference Between Second Homes and Investment Properties

Posted in Buying
May 2, 2022

What to Know About Portland's Food Scene

Portland thriving food sceneWhat to Know About Portland's Food Scene

With its tangle of rivers, bevy of urban farms, and surplus of talented chefs, Portland is a dining city to its core. At food carts, subterranean bars, and white-tablecloth restaurants, chefs gather some of the region’s finest ingredients to transform into immaculate sushi, handmade pastas, and imaginative pinto's. For a city its size, Portland’s restaurant scene is impressively multifaceted. It offers traditional, offbeat, casual, stylish, and covers hundreds of cuisines from various countries and regions around the world. The through-line comes from the city’s collaborative nature, a desire to work with other farmers, producers, and even competitors to make something fun and new.

Coquine — Tucked away among quiet houses at the base of Mount Tabor, Coquine is at once a sweet neighborhood spot for breakfast and light lunch, and a bona fide dining destination worth driving across town for. Dishes are prepared with precision, elegance and with the utmost attention to the seasons. And the flavors will often surprise you.

Le Pigeon — Two-time James Beard-winning chef Gabriel Rucker is Portland’s culinary mad hatter. No one mashes up more disparate flavors more successfully than he. At his tiny, rustically elegant dining room you might find pickled jalapeños on your foie gras, or passionfruit on your chicken hearts. Just let go of your preconceived notions and let the chef take your taste buds on the ride of their lives.

Ox — The food by James Beard Award-winning Chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton is reliably delicious with excellent service. As you'd expect, the wood-fired meats are all pretty spectacular but it's their seasonal vegetable side dishes that really steal the show.

Sammich Portland — Portland does a lot of great sandwiches. The Montreal-style pastrami with slaw and Swiss is a masterpiece and a favorite among all the chefs in town. Make sure someone in your group also gets a burger, because it's the underground favorite in Portland.

Gracie’s Apizza-Pizzaiolo Craig Melillo slings sourdough pies and top-notch ice cream out of this small St. Johns pizzeria, often selling out before the night ends. Tangy, char-dotted crusts support thin sheets of mortadella or house-pickled accouterment, served alongside pints of flavors like amarena cherry or tahini chip.

Ringside Steakhouse-Ringside is Portland’s essential steakhouse, serving slabs of beef and James Beard’s beloved onion rings since 1944. Its cozy dining room — replete with fireplaces, burgundy booths, and white tablecloths — screams steakhouse, and the menu echoes the same: Diners start with a prawn cocktail or an iceberg wedge, maybe a bowl of French onion soup encrusted with gruyere. Dry-aged rib-eyes or buttery filet mignon sit next to a gargantuan pile of garlic mashed potatoes, drenched in bearnaise or lavish foie gras butter.

There are a lot of opinions around what to eat in Portland. If you're a foodie, start with this list and eat your way through Portland. 

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Posted in Portland
April 24, 2022

Why Should I Live in Portland?

Why should you live in Portland?Why Should I Live in Portland?

It can be hard to remember the pleasant sunny days when you are deep in the depths of winter, but the diverse seasons are a major draw for PNW living! Sure, There is quite a bit of rainfall, but there are also gorgeous summers and falls to balance it all out. Other always-sunny or always-snowy areas don’t experience the ebbs and flows of all four seasons, as beautiful blooms burst forth through frosty grounds in the spring and tree groves transform to seas of orange, red and yellow in the fall. In Portland you will experience the extremes of all four seasons, and appreciate them all for their varying colors, temperatures and other conditions.

Great Points About Living in Portland

Portland is an outdoorsy town. It offers diverse geography that appeals to outdoorsmen of all kinds. You can explore the mountains on ski, weave through a forest on a bike, or paddle in the ocean — all within just minutes of home.
Arts and culture are alive in Portland. The city has a particularly artsy population, including artists, musicians, filmmakers, authors, actors, artisans and other creative folks. Portland celebrates the arts with its venues and events, as it is home to plenty of art galleries, performing arts centers, music venues, museums, and more. Along those lines, there’s always something going on in Portland. Whether it’s a concert, a festival, a weekly farmers’ market, or another event. Portland is also a particularly bike-friendly city, due to improved bike paths and other initiatives by the city.

Taste the City

You will never run out of new flavors and dishes to try in Portland. Portland is filled to the brim with talented chefs serving up all types of cuisine out of restaurants, cafes, and even food carts. Portland bars and restaurants treat their drink making like a form of art, whether it’s at a coffee shop, a cocktail bar, a brewery, a kombucha taproom or a winery.

You don’t have to live smackdab in the middle of Portland to experience all it has to offer. The city is surrounded by thriving communities and suburbs, from Hillsboro to Beaverton and Lake Oswego to Vancouver, Washington. Each provides its own sense of community, with local businesses, events, and other attractions, while still maintaining access to whatever is going on in Portland.

Not only is Portland a great place to live, but it’s also a great place to shop! That’s right. Oregon is one of just five states in the country without sales tax. With all this enticing information, why not consider making Portland your home? This ever-growing city promises to keep up with current trends while maintaining its unique history.

Here are more great things about Portland

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Sharing "Some Good News"- Portland Man Quits Job to Clean Portland Bike Paths

New C2C Trail Has Just Opened in the Willamette Valley

5 Most Sought After Portland Suburbs

Portland Making Waves with Recognition as the Pest Pizza City in America

 

Posted in Portland
April 22, 2022

Don't Wait Too Long to Find the Perfect Home

Don't Wait Too Long to Find the Perfect Home

With a highly competitive market and a low inventory of homes, it can be hard to find the house you were hoping to purchase. Shopping for homes is very similar to dating you could spend years searching for the perfect one only to wait too long and miss out on a better opportunity. And then all of a sudden you are alone wondering if you should have jumped at the chance when you had it.

It's very easy to drive yourself crazy searching for the perfect home when you’re house hunting. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you are house hunting while inventory is low about finding a home that will work for you.

Do I have realistic expectations about my next home?

Everyone has their own dreams that quickly come to mind especially when it comes to living in the perfect house. For each person, this is going to be different and can even be different if you are purchasing a home with another person between the two of you. For some, a nice home may look like a mid-century modern trendy home with all of the minimalist luxury finishes in neutral tones.

For others, it looks something more like a historical home that has its own character and is not what the average buyer deems ideal. For some, they want a home that has its own unique character and does not look like the house right next to it.

But when you think about it, is your particular dream home something that really does exist or would need to be fixed to become existent? No homeowner is going to find a home that meets every single one of their wants and their needs. And it’s a good idea to make a list of the features you want in a home and categorize them into wants and needs. Many times, you will find a home that meets 80 to 90% of your list and when you find this house this is worth considering putting an offer in.

How many properties have I seen and turned down?

When you’re house hunting and the inventory is low it can be tough to make the decision of when you’ve seen enough properties. After all, a few more homes are coming to the market. the perfect home of your dreams could be listed any day now.

A good method is to search for online listings all you want. Going to tour more than a dozen homes that are very close to your criteria could mean that you may be trying to piece together a home that just doesn’t exist.

Do I have any level of willingness to compromise?

If you have looked at a fair number of houses and feel you have set realistic expectations you might want to make a few decisions to tweak your search. It could be that the home you are looking for does not exist in the location where you want to live. Or it could be that exactly what you’re looking for is going to require a custom build or remodeling of a home that almost meets your needs.

If you are at this point you might want to ask yourself if you are willing to compromise with location or purchase a home just under budget that you could turn into your perfect home.

In this, you also want to make sure that you are not making a compromise that you will regret later. You want to take in the reality of making these compromises such as loving your everyday quality of life in a different location or being willing to take on a project that might take longer than you expect.

One exception to the rule of compromise

After months of searching for homes in a highly competitive market and not finding what you love or losing out to competition might bring the pressure to choose just any house to get into homeownership.

You don’t want to compromise so much just to get into a home that you feel buyer’s remorse. This is becoming more common for many buyers who purchased in the last two years as the competition was so tight that eager buyers focused more on the competition of having a winning bid than making sure they were purchasing a great home that worked for them.

One of the best things you can do in a tough competitive market is to work with an expert local agent that has your best interest at heart. Someone who knows what you want in a home and can help you to consider just the right level of compromise but not so much that you hate your home.

For more information on purchasing a home in Portland or surrounding areas please contact us anytime.

Posted in Buying
April 21, 2022

Investing Wisely: Backyard Renovations & Upgrades

Are you bored with your current outdoor space? Adding a sunroom to mounting a large-scale landscaping expedition, there are various ways bring your outdoor living space to life. While enhancing the backyard could enhance family time spent outside — on top of increasing resale value — it can also create a costly mistake. Here is a quick peek into certain backyard renovations you may want to reconsider when investing in your family’s future.

However, before jumping in on the DIY home improvement game, be sure to research the best strategies to boost your home’s value. For more examples of costly backyard mistakes, please see the accompanying resource.

Graphic created by Pool Troopers.

Posted in Homeowners
April 21, 2022

Reaping The Benefits Of A Peaceful Backyard Oasis

Does the stress of the day have you longing for an outdoor escape? Instead of obsessing over your next vacation, consider unwinding in the peace and security of your backyard. Having a serene open-air space mere steps away can provide sunshine and fresh air for the whole family.

Studies have shown people who spend time in nature are less likely[SS1]  to suffer from depression or anxiety. Even if you happen to be short on room, however, it’s more than possible to transform a deck, patio or courtyard into a beautiful place of refuge. Here are some words of advice to create a stress-reducing garden getaway.

 

For more ways to create the backyard escape of your dreams, please see the accompanying resource.

 



Graphic created by Apex Land Surveying and Mapping LLC.

Posted in Homeowners