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Oct. 18, 2021

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

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


The Pacific Northwest (Cascadia) is one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. This region includes Oregon, known for its natural beauty, pleasant climate, and low cost of living. Although homes may be slightly more expensive to purchase, the Pacific Northwest has some reasonably priced homes purchased for less than half a million dollars. What Type of House Does a Half a Million Get You in Portland?

Tiny digs in tiny village $300,000

These are small house designs with great decor. They are fully furnished, air-conditioned houses that are worth staying in. It has almost all facilities with essentials being:

  • A kitchen area
  •  A mini-fridge
  •  A queen bed featuring luxury linens
  • A full shower and
  •  A flush toilet

A central courtyard features seating areas, hammocks, a fire pit, and yard games. Tiny houses are usually community-based houses that are managed by a particular community. There are specific laws that are associated with tiny houses. These laws guide the members of how they will conduct themselves during the stay in the community. Tiny homes offer solutions to the housing crisis, rising costs of living, and population displacement.

Benefits of tiny home

  • Less clutter

The space is compact, and filling it with stuff is just easy. However, you have to make some hard decisions about what to buy and what to forego.

  • Less time cleaning

More savings; tiny homes save much money in several ways. This is because you do not spend much on heating, cooling, home maintenance, and property tax.

  • High-quality lifestyle

Typically, community-organized dinners provide a space for people to stay together, share ideas, and improve their lives. In addition, utility costs are low, resulting in significant savings, directly leading to improved lifestyles.

  • Less carbon footprint

Tiny houses are greenhouses. This is to say they play a crucial role in conserving the environment. They use less energy and produce less waste.


If you are looking for a better house in Portland, Oregon, below half a million, think less and think of tiny homes. Tiny homes also come packed with many advantages, less carbon footprint, improved security, among many other benefits. Tiny does not mean you are limited, but you can access every facility like big mortgage houses.

Posted in Buying
Oct. 18, 2021

5 Ways to Get Free or Easy Money for a Down Payment

Buying a home is a big deal, and coming up with that down payment is not as easy as it sounds. Strike that, it doesn't sound easy at all. Coming up with $10,000 for a down payment is nothing to sneeze at. In today's market, having a larger down payment typically means lower interest rates and a better chance of getting your offer accepted. So how can first time home buyers come up with the money needed for a down payment? Even FHA loans need 3.5%, and on a $400,000 home, that's over $13,000. There are some unique and creative ways to come up with that down payment. Here are five ways to either make or find money for a down payment.

Down Payment

Down payment assistance programs.

Down payment help or assistance is actually available to a lot of first-time homebuyers and most don't know that. Grants and other programs are specifically designed for low-income borrowers but even if you're not low income, there are some great assistance programs and grants available for first-time homebuyers, regardless of your income.

These grants and loans can cover upfront costs such as down payment, closing costs, or even an earnest money deposit. Some assistant loans can even cover up to 3.5% and only need to be repaid if you sell, refinance, or vacate the property within the first five years. It may be worth it to look into different options for that extra push you need in getting a down payment.

Read More: How much should I put down?

See what you can sell.

Obviously, if you sell things you'll earn money, but think about all the things you may not be taking to your new home anyway. Do you have an extra car, boat, or just a lot of "things" lying around that you know you won't move to the new house? It's time to get those things sold. But, be sure to save every penny you get from the sale of those items so that it adds up to a nice down payment.

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Posted in Finance
Oct. 17, 2021

When Can a Seller Back Out of a Home Sale?

It is rare for a seller to back out of a sale, but it does happen. Especially in a highly competitive market where sellers are receiving multiple offers and several above asking. Is a seller able to back out of an offer contract, when they have accepted it and signed it?

Why Would a Seller Change Their Mind on Selling Their Home?When Can a Seller Back Out of a Home Sale

There are many different reasons why a seller may choose not to sell their home after accepting an offer. The most common reason why sellers back out of a home sale is that they are unable to find a new home that they love. In some very rare cases, a seller may try to back out of a home sale because they receive a new offer that is more beneficial to them. Is this allowed?

When Can a Home Owner Back out of the Home Sale?

Here are five examples of when a home seller is perfectly within their right to back out of a home sale:

The Contract Has Not Yet Been Signed. Any home purchase contract must be signed by both parties in the transaction in order to make it official and binding. If a seller (or even if the buyer) has yet to sign the actual paperwork but has given verbal acceptance, they can still back out of the arrangement at any time.

A Contract is in a Five-Day Attorney Review Period

Many home sales involve the use of a real estate attorney that provides a five-day attorney review provision. During this waiting period an attorney representing either party can cancel the contract at any time for any reason. This gives both parties the ability to end the sale without negative consequences to them.

There is an Escape Hatch in the Contract

Sellers can put an addendum in place in a contract as a counteroffer. For example: a seller can add in a contingency that the home sale will not go through if they cannot secure a new home to purchase.

The Buyer is in Breach of Contract

If the buyer does not hold up to their end of the contract, a seller has the right to decide not to sell the home. This most often happens when a buyer is unable to secure funding through the first lender they apply for a mortgage from.

Buyer Makes Requests the Seller is Unwilling to Accommodate

This is something that most often happens when there is an issue found in the home inspection process. Sometimes a buyer will return to the negotiation table with the inspection report and ask what the seller feels is too much in asking for repairs or money for repairs. At this point, the seller has the power to say no and walk away from the sale.

When is a Home Owner NOT Able to Back Out of a Sale?

Once a purchase agreement contract has been signed by both parties and is past the five-day attorney review, it is pretty difficult for a seller to walk away from a sale. A seller can face stiff consequences for trying to back out of a purchase contract outside of the above reasons. In standard real estate governing laws, there is a “specific performance” provision that allows a buyer to enforce the seller make good on their agreement to sell the home. This will however require taking the seller to court to prove they are not honoring the contract. This is a process that could take years. If a buyer is not willing to invest the time and money to get the home they can sue for smaller issues while shopping for a new home, such as recouping the costs of money spent in attempting to purchase the home.

For more information on Portland area real estate please contact us any time.

More Tips for Sellers:

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Highly-Rated Portland Listing Agent

Why You Should Sell Your House Now Even If You Did Not Plan on Moving

Home Gyms are Rising in Popularity


Posted in Selling
Oct. 12, 2021

Are Open Houses Still Helpful?

Pre-pandemic, open houses were seen as a great helper to get a home sold, in some markets they were seen as a crucial tool for selling a home. At the start of the pandemic, many things shut down to keep large crowds from gathering and people from coming in contact with strangers in hopes to greatly slow the spread of virus germs. This physical distancing caused a halt to in-person open houses. Now that things are slowly opening back up some agents are offering open houses with safety precautions while others have opted to move to stick with the creative alternate options they used in the height of the pandemic distancing.Are Open Houses Still Helpful

According to many real estate experts, there are two main groups of “buyers” that most often show up at open houses: those just wanting to see what that home looks like from the inside, and actual buyers that are just beginning their search not really sure of what or if they want to purchase a home yet trying to get a feel for the area.

Pre-pandemic a good open house turnout was considered about 10 to 15 people, now it is considered about 3 to 5. Some realtors are not fans of the open house, especially since the pandemic has brought out new alternatives to the good ol’ open house. While some realtors stand by the effectiveness of an open house and say they cannot wait for the day they can hold one without precautions again.

Alternatives to Open Houses

With high-quality pictures and virtual tools available to look at online any time a potential buyer wishes, a home can easily be toured through online search sites. Social media has been used much more to show live virtual tours as well and seems to draw many more watchers. With new technology offerings, a home can still be marketed successfully without an open house.

Related: What your real estate agent really wants you to know

It Really All Comes Down to the Local Market

In slower markets, in-person open houses are very helpful, in sellers’ markets they are not quite always needed. In some areas, buyers are anticipating and watching closely for new homes to hit the market and in some cases when one does an offer is made just minutes after it is listed. In these areas, a home is sold before there is even time to organize the logistics of holding an open house. In other locations, real estate agents are really missing the chance to hold an open house with no restrictions, even in this seller's market much of the country is experiencing because they really are a benefit to marketing homes.

So the answer to the question of if open houses really are needed anymore is, it depends. It really all depends upon the area in which your home is located and the culture of the local market. Some homes are perfectly fine letting go of open houses altogether, while other markets are still greatly benefitted from an in-person open house.

For more information on the Portland real estate market, contact our office at any time.  If you're looking to sell your Portland home in 2021, give us a call. We sell hundreds of homes every single year and are experts in the Portland metro area. From to Eugene and Salem, we can help you sell your home faster and for more money.


Posted in Selling
Oct. 11, 2021

Portland Area Halloween Fun in 2021

The greater Portland area is one of the best places to be in October; there are several amazing events to enjoy. From pumpkin patches to festivals, to pub crawls, Portland has so much to enjoy during the Halloween season. There are of course traditional festival activities such as hayrides and corn mazes as well as some of Oregon’s scariest haunted houses. No matter what type of festivity you are hoping to take part in, there is something for fun-seekers of all ages in the Portland area during Halloween.

FearlandiaPortland Area Halloween Fun in 2021

Fearlandia is a popular Portland area host of several haunted attractions. Fearlandia headquarters can be found at 16255 Southwest Upper Boones Ferry Road in Tigard Oregon. They put on several haunted attractions all over the Willamette River Valley, some of the most popular attractions include the Swamp and Clown Retirement, the Clackamas Scare Fair Haunted House, and Meet the Ghost of Mary or Ole Clem. Any of their events of course are enjoyed by older children and adults.

The Famous Giant Pumpkin Regatta

One of the most well-known and popular Portland area October events is the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta that takes place on the Tualatin Lake of the Commons in Tualatin. This year the regatta will be on October 16 in the town of Tuallitan just 12 miles south of Portland. In addition to the regatta, there are several fun activities before the race including a costume contest, a variety show, stilt walkers, and several food vendors and unique souvenir vendors. You can also come and play some traditional festival games or enjoy watching pumpkin carving.


The Portland Zoo will be celebrating spooky festivities in late October on the weekends of October 23 and 24th and October 30 and 31st. Come to the zoo in costume and trick-or-treat through the exhibits while learning about habitats for wildlife with an exciting scavenger hunt. There are prizes to be won at various stations throughout the zoo as well.

Spirit of Halloweentown

The famous family friendly films of Halloweentown were filmed in the town of Saint Helens just outside of Portland. Every year several people come to this famous site to enjoy festive Halloween activities. Every October the town of Saint Helens celebrates their haunted history with the fun fall festival starting September 18 and going through October 31. Visitors from all over come to enjoy the food and fun activities including Sand Island Pumpkin Art Walk and costume contest as well as trick-or-treating around the Saint Helen’s Old Town District shops.

For more information on living in and around Portland, including Portland real estate and other surrounding areas, please contact us anytime.

Posted in Things to Do
Oct. 5, 2021

3 Top Luxury Suburbs in Portland Oregon

When choosing to move to a new neighborhood, there are a number of priorities that probably come to your mind. How expensive are the average homes? What are the schools like? How many people live there? How safe is the neighborhood? These are all reasonable questions to ask when making such an important decision. The Portland metropolitan area in Oregon, home to over 2 million residents, is one of the larger metropolitan areas in the United States. Containing many popular businesses, restaurants, and airports, it’s easy to see why it attracts so many to live there. If you’re one of those who have considered living there, you may be wondering what luxury suburbs are the best in which to live. Below are some high-quality neighborhoods you should strongly consider when moving to Portland, Oregon. 3 Top Luxury Suburbs in Portland Oregon

Luxury Suburbs - Bethany

There’s simply nothing like it. Bethany, by far, is considered the best neighborhood in the Portland metro area to live according to Niche.com. Over 24,000 people live in Bethany, and the median home value stands at approximately $509,900. It’s also ranked as the number one place to raise a family in 2020! In regard to schooling, you’ll have plenty of access to quality education centers. Institutions like the School of Science and Technology, Westview High School, and Bethany Village Montessori are among the list of public and private schools from which to choose. Located about 30 minutes from Portland itself, Bethany also has a nice variety of parks and walking trails in which to take your family. It’s also a fairly safe area to live!

Luxury Suburbs - Cedar Mill

Next up on the list is Cedar Mill, a beautiful suburb located in Washington County. With a little under 18,000 residents, Cedar Mill’s population consists of fairly moderate political viewpoints. The average household income, according to niche.com, is $129,526. Similar to Bethany, Cedar Mill contains many parks and walking trails as well, with easy access to grocery stores and restaurants. Most of the residents own their own homes as opposed to rent. It’s also a decently diverse neighborhood.

Luxury Suburbs - Lake Oswego

Lake Oswego certainly has its share of beauty and peaceful living to come by if that suits your fancy. Located in Clackamas County with a population of a little under 40,000, this suburb in the Portland metropolitan area is one of the most popular areas in which to live. Residents here tend to lean more towards the conservative political viewpoint. If you enjoy a good round of golf, Lake Oswego Golf Course offers a beautiful 18-hole par 3 experience that you’ll be sure to want to check out! There’s also an indoor tennis court, a Farmers Market that operates during the summer, and a number of coffee shops as well. For more information on selling your Luxury Portland home, contact my office at any time.

Posted in Communities
Oct. 4, 2021

Oregon's New Plans to Protect Homes from Wildfires

Oregon government officials are hoping some home hardening measures can help to prevent houses from burning during a wildfire. Summers in the west are getting hotter and dryer and more fire-prone especially in the recent past few summers. The most controversial part of the sweeping new wildfire protection plan is facing pushback from property owners, agricultural industries, and homebuilders.

These opposing groups and Oregon leaders have come together to try and reach some sort of compromise and representatives from these opposing groups along with others will now spend the next year hoping to advise state agencies on how to map out the state’s most fire-prone areas and determine where home hardening rules should be required.

What is home hardening?Oregon's New Plans to Protect Homes from Wildfires

Home hardening is a means of preparing a home for wildfire. There are three main ways that homes can be exposed to wildfire: through direct flames from the fire or from burning neighboring homes, or radiant heat from nearby burning plants or structures and flying embers. Flying embers can destroy a home up to a mile away from a burning fire and have been found to be responsible for most home fires during wildfires.

There are several ways in which a home can be hardened, one of them includes a metal roof or clay or tile shingles instead of traditional shingle roofs. Another measure is removing any gutters where debris can accumulate with the proper alternative runoff measures. Another strategy is to use concrete siding or stucco and remove all vegetation from within a certain distance from the home. Some more home hardening techniques can be found here at this website: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-ready/hardening-your-home/

Most states do not require fire-resistant materials for building a home

An analysis conducted last year found that most states do not require a building with fire-resistant materials and homebuilder associations have brought stiff opposition to proposals to do that. There are a few mandates for wildfire building codes in California, but only in high-risk areas.

About a decade ago Oregon officials first push for wildfire building codes but the Oregon homebuilders association testify are the measures would add substantial cost to the price of a home. Oregon approved fireman Acacian codes in 2019 but left them optional.

Several raging wildfires of Oregon last year destroyed thousands of homes and resulted in nine deaths; this has caused Oregon lawmakers to pass a $200 million wildfire bill. The bill includes more firefighting capacity an expanded force management plan and some clean air shelters to protect the most vulnerable from smoke.

How Oregon will attempt to map out places that face the highest fire risks

It is believed that fire risk maps will have the biggest influence over which areas will see the strictest fire safe building codes for new construction in the state of Oregon. Along with this will be requirements for clearing out flammable material around homes. Leaders are looking for a balance between allowing people to do exactly what they want on private property while responding to the future threats of wildfire.

Opponents of the new proposed rules are on the advisory committee that will help figure out where these rules should be required. Some of these members include Mark Long, the CEO of the Oregon Homebuilders Association, and Dave Honeycutt, president of the Oregon Property Owners Association.

For more information on Portland area real estate please contact us anytime.

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Posted in Homeowners
Sept. 29, 2021

Whittle down options before choosing exterior house-paint colors

“Trust your eyes.”

That’s the advice one color consultant gives to homeowners who are overwhelmed when debating what colors to choose for exterior house paint.Whittle down options before choosing exterior house-paint colors

But before reaching that final stage in the decision-making process, homeowners should identify undertones found in their home’s elements that will remain unchanged after the paint project is completed. Those considerations include undertones such as grays, beiges and blues that may be present in a home’s walkways, roofs, driveways and patios. These undertones should complement whatever color choices are made for the house itself.

With undertones in mind, it’s time to check the color palettes offered by paint manufacturers. That may mean searching online or going to specialty paint stores or paint departments of hardware and big box stores to get an idea of what colors are trending that would complement the undertones. Then, put on your “rose-colored glasses” and see what combinations catch your eye.

When making decisions regarding colors, it is important to consider the architectural style of your home. For example, most paint manufacturers have a special palette they suggest for a historic craftsman, Victorian or other vintage style home.

During the decision-making process, it is also important to consider your home’s surroundings. If is it located in a grove of trees, a lighter color may be the best way to make your home contrast with the darker elements. Also, consider which colors might blend best with the streetscape and landscaping features of your home’s setting.

A rule of thumb is to choose at least three colors for the home’s color palette. The “field color” is the paint color that dominates the home’s architecture—the siding or other major exterior surfaces. Choose contrasting accent colors for shutters, doors, and other architectural features.

The third element in color selection for home exteriors is the trim. It defines and showcases features such as window and door casings, railings, and roof edgings.

While paint chips can give homeowners an indication of how the final choices will look on the home, don’t stop there. It is important to buy a quart of the “field color” you’ve selected and brush it on an inconspicuous area of your home. Before making a decision, see how this color looks in all different types of lighting after it dries.

When you have followed all the steps in the decision-making process, you will have taken into account all the color elements that need to work together to maximize your home’s curb appeal. If you’ve chosen high-quality exterior paint, the new paint job should last a decade or more. And, your sense of pride and satisfaction in your home’s new colors palette will endure along with the paint itself.

Follow our blog for more tips for Portland homeowners

Posted in Homeowners
Sept. 28, 2021

Bidding Wars Fell to Their Lowest Level Since 2020

Bidding Wars Fell to Their Lowest Level Since 2020

It is no brand-new headline that real estate all across the country has been in a strong seller’s market for over a year. Many homes saw bidding wars as there were many more buyers interested in homes than available homes for sale. The frequency of bidding wars on homes has dropped to its lowest level this year however and could be a sign that the housing market is beginning to cool and get back to its usual seasonal patterns.

A recent report compiled by the large real estate website Redfin has shown that 58.8% of the offers on homes written by their real estate agents saw strong competition in the month of August 2021. This number is down from 62.1% in the previous month and significantly down from the high peak number at 74.3% of offers facing competition in April 2021. Redfin states that they define a bidding war as any real estate purchase situation where there are at least two competing offers on the same home.

Current numbers are representing the lowest level of competition for homes since December 2020 when the bidding war rate was around 53.7%. The August 2021 numbers are also below the level posted for August 2020 which is another indicator that the real estate market is settling into its standard seasonal slowdown at the end of summer and into the beginning of fall.

Traditionally peak home-buying season starts in the spring and continues through the summer months as those seeking to purchase a home have more time to move in, especially young families with children hoping to move into a new home before the next school year begins. Last year due to the insanely competitive seller’s market and low inventory of homes as well as low mortgage rates encouraging and exciting buyers to look into the possibility of buying a home, the number of home offers and competitive offers did not decrease but increased.

Due to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, the real estate market took a huge slowdown in its typically most busy months as stay-at-home orders were strict all across the country. But shortly after, as things slowly came back to life and operation, the pandemic caused mortgage interest rates to drop to unbelievable lows and caused a record number of buyers to look for a new home that they would want to spend several hours a day in.

Suddenly several buyers found themselves wanting a home that they did not feel cramped or stuffy in or one where they could have plenty of outdoor space to themselves. The need for more and new space coupled with the ability to afford much more homes than before because of lower interest rates drove a real estate interest boom and began a highly competitive seller’s market all across the country.

The competition of several more buyers looking for homes and the record low number of homes for sale drove stiff competition in the real estate market all across the country, including areas surrounding Portland. This has also caused a large increase in home prices due to the high demand. Nearly every home for sale was seeing a bidding war with multiple offers. But in August the amount of homes in wars slowed down.

The number of bidding wars has slowed down a little bit, but real estate experts expect there to be a continued seller’s market for a significant amount of time into the foreseeable future. The best strategy a Portland home buyer can take is to hire the help of an experienced expert local agent.

For more information on real estate in Portland and the surrounding areas of Portland, please contact me anytime.

Posted in Buying
Sept. 21, 2021

Luxury Homes in Sherwood - A Neighborhood Spotlight

Sherwood has been known as one of the more popular and more affluent communities and neighborhoods in the Portland metro area. But prices and the only thing that causes a neighborhood to make the list. Other communities such as Forest ParkLake OswegoLinnton, and Hillsdale are all among the top most popular luxury neighborhoods, but Sherwood stands out in its own right is one of the hottest and most up-and-coming luxury neighborhoods.

Sherwood is a sleepy suburb a bit further south of Portland and is been a fast-growing destination for wine lovers throughout the Willamette Valley. Over the last couple of years, development has been growing fast and the urban growth boundary has been expanding yet Sherwood is able to maintain its small, close-knit community that makes it so alluring.

Sherwood History

Sherwood is practically a city all on its own. This new city with an old history features properties originally built in the late 1800s yet it's one of the fastest-growing in the state with a population of about 25,000. Nestled between Tualatin, Tigard, Laural and Newberg, Sherwood is just 20 to 30 minutes from downtown Portland with three major sections including Six Corners, city center, and the Southwest Murdoch or NE. Oregon St. section.

Dating back to 1853 when the first settlers claim this little downtown area in the Chehalem mountain range, it's now become one of the fastest-growing wine destinations in the Valley. Housing developments have been springing up everywhere in the last few years but most of the neighborhoods were actually built from the 1990s up until now. In 2018 it was voted one of the top 10 places for families and there are a lot of newer homes, activities for families, and excellent schools. This is a great juxtaposition between the old and the new creating a beautiful harmony.

Things to do in SherwoodLuxury Homes in Sherwood - A Neighborhood Spotlight

With quiet neighborhoods and children playing happily in the streets, you'd think you'd stepped into an episode of Pleasantville, but this truly is what Sherwood is all about. It's very community orientated with festivals such as the Robin Hood Festival each year, a reenactment, arts and crafts fair and music exhibitions. Folks in Sherwood love their horses and there are several equestrian communities and neighborhoods as well as stables and classes.

There are plenty of parks in Sherwood such as the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge offering a beautiful and peaceful location, miles of trails, and exceptional wildlife making you feel like you're far from the heart of the Portland metro area. Other parks include Cinnamon Hills Park, Caplinger Park, Burdock park with playgrounds and extensive landscaping, Veterans Park, the central focus for Sherwood festivals such as the Saturday farmers market, the Oregon Trail Park, Pioneer Park, and literally about 10 other parks all within Sherwood or within close proximity.

Looking to get inside? There are plenty of great places to see and visit as well as places to dine and shop. Mason is a popular favorite located on Railroad Street with delicious Italian salads, classic homemade pasta and delicious bread pudding and desserts. Fat Milo's Family Kitchen is definitely a favorite from locally sourced and made-to-order dishes for breakfast and lunch. From Thai cuisine to sushi, winery and tasting menus, Mexican, catering, burgers, and sandwiches, there just about every type of cuisine you could possibly want in Sherwood Oregon.

Sherwood Schools

Sherwood has not only been rated #4 of the best suburb to buy a house in the state of Oregon, but the schools are top-notch. 76% of residents own their own homes and most all are within the Sherwood school district. Therefore preschools, one middle school, and one high school. There's also the Sherwood charter school but all of the schools received top scores, reviews, and ratings for academics, extracurricular activities, and graduation rates as well as a teacher to student ratio.

"I am very impressed with the Principal and counselor at Middleton Elementary School. They are both very compassionate and care do everything they can in their power to get the students’ needs met, whatever that may be." - Niche.com

For more information on homes for sale in Sherwood Oregon or for the ultimate in representation and personalized real estate care, contact Marcus Brown Properties

Posted in Communities