Portland, Oregon

Living in Portland, Oregon


Aug. 3, 2010

Thinking Big in a Small Way: Green, Sustainable Homes in Portland

Who wants a tiny home?  We allthinkwe want to move up in size, convenience and number of bedrooms, right?  But then, we pick paper over plastic at the grocery store and think we're changing the planet for our children’s children.  Right on! It's a small step toward a better future...but areallysmall step. We can do more.I’m guilty too.  I consider myself environmentally conscience by riding my bike on short trips around the city, making sure my car tires have the right air pressure, and blaming BP for the oil spill.  But even those are just baby-steps.  It is time to think bigger...or smaller, as it were.  According to the Green Spacewebsite, “If all buildings in the U.S. met leading green building standards, national energy use and global warming emissions would drop by ten percent. The potential for reducing waste is even greater, with the rate of construction waste recycling at over 70 percent. Green building is also critical when it comes to managing storm water runoff”.

Have you considered buying a green LEED, or a minimalist home?  After all, you care about the environment and want to invest in more than just yourownfuture, right?

Slowly, but steadily, things are beginning to change. Just like anything new, it will take time for Green Building to gain mainstream acceptance. Buyers need to be educated and prices need to stabilize at an affordable level.  Currently, Green homes can range anywhere from $140-400 per-square-foot to build, whereas a conventional home is closer $100, depending on the location. That's a big gap. Increased consumer demand and mainstream acceptance will eventually drive prices down.

For now, at least one company in Portland, Oregon is bringing affordable green homes to the masses. Minimalist+ designs homes that are affordable, efficient and stylish and range from $160-180 a square foot.

If a purely minimalist home is what you are after than check out the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.  These tiny homes start at $99. Not per-foot, though...just$99.  That’s just for the plans, which you can purchase and then build yourself. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a finished home ranging from 65 Square feet all the way up to 837.  My first apartment was 550 sf. and it was perfect for myself and a cat. I think I could go back to that someday, but it would have to be well planned space, which these are.

[caption id="attachment_668" align="alignright" width="635" caption="A Tumbleweed Tiny House"][/caption]

It was this mindset of sustainability that initially drew me to become a Realtor with eXp Realty.  I used to drive an hour a day to get to and from the office, made multiple copies of every transaction for each file and supported a brick and mortar building,  none of which I do now, thanks to inventive thinking and commitment to a smarter way of doing business.  Think about the change it would make if every real estate professional made that switch.

So the next time you are at the grocery store and choose the paper over plastic (or better yet, bring yourownbag!) I hope it reminds you to make the some kind of smart choices with your next home.

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Aug. 3, 2010

Red Fox Hills Townhomes Create Community in Lake Oswego

You may not know much about the Red Fox Hills neighborhood in Lake Oswego, as it’s quietly tucked away next to Tryon Creek Park.  I’ve lived very happily in the Red Fox Hills Townhome complex, located in the middle of the neighborhood, for 5 years.  Check out my two RFH Townhomes listings and then read the following local newspaper article we had written several months ago to give you an idea of just how wonderful it is to live at Red Fox Hills!

[caption id="attachment_648" align="alignright" width="353" caption="For more information about this 1611SF 3BR, 2BA beautifully remodeled townhome, go to www.1684bocaratandr.epropertysites.com"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647" align="alignright" width="339" caption="For information on this smaller, 864SF one level unit with 2BR’s, 1BA go to www.1400bonniebraedr.epropertysites.com"][/caption]

Still Living Foxy
Lake Oswego’s 107 Red Fox Hills townhomes aren’t just part of a housing complex, but rather a community that’s taken care of one another for decades
By Nicole DeCosta
The Lake Oswego Review, Jan 25, 2010

With sleek lines, varied roof pitches and building layouts, the townhomes, although built in 1968, maintain their character, charm and popularity.
vern uyetake / lake oswego review
Backing up to Tryon Creek State Park and tucked off the intersection of SW Country Club and Iron Mountain Boulevard in Lake Oswego sits a 14.5 acre complex run like a small community.Red Fox Hills – built in 1968 by retired builder and developer Ray Hallberg with Hallberg Homes, Inc. – has always been a bit different from other housing complexes, even on opening day. In honor of the big day, John Donnelly of Tigard, Hallberg’s then vice president, still recalls vividly carrying around the development’s mascot.

“During the grand opening we had the clubhouse open and super brochures,” Donnelly said, “and a live baby red fox that I carried around.”

With 15 mid-century modern buildings, Red Fox Hills is beloved to many who still live there today. The 107 units – located on SW Boca Ratan Drive and Bonniebrae Drive – operate like a small city. Neighbors help with landscaping, pool maintenance and clubhouse rentals by volunteering on committees and through homeowners fees. And those who walk dogs on the many pathways get to know others quickly, like real estate agent Jane Lee experienced when she moved in five years ago.

“You can hide and be quiet, but if you want to get to know people it’s so easy. It is what you make it,” she said. “I love the garden. I plant tomatoes. There’s a garden plot and about eight of us that garden.”

Now listing three properties for sale at Red Fox Hills (they have since sold!) through her company eXp Realty, she said she’s gotten to know more of her neighbors and how special this place is to them, mainly because, they don’t want to leave.

“I love the fact that it’s run by people who live here,” Jennifer Ball said of the homeowner association fees and how they cover expenses for the properties. “You always feel like you can contact them and ask questions. There’s a lot of communication. Word travels fast. It’s a nice little network. You feel like there’s people who know who should be coming and going.”

But Ball will soon be going – moving to San Diego. Ball talked about the warmth of the sunlight each morning in her master bedroom to Roundtree, marketing her property.

“I wish I could transport it with me,” she said of her home. “It’s a great little community.”

Ball has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. Before moving there, her late mother spent two decades in the complex.

“I think a lot of condos and apartment-type living are so transient. I love how this is set in a neighborhood,” she said.

And many that live here, like Bonnie Klees – the neighborhood association president – said she hopes she never has to move.

“I still have a daughter here,” she said of her daughter who is raising her own family in a nearby unit. “It’s paid off and I have retirement.”

Debbie Hagan, who’s lived at the complex 25 years, said she’s stayed because “it’s quiet and well kept.”

“I’ve had some people stop me while they’re looking to buy (a house) who didn’t even know this was here before,” Hagan said.

It seems to be a trend that many that stay at Red Fox Hills stay for a long time. That devotion intrigues some new buyers, as Roundtree has noticed of prospective clients looking for townhouse-style living that feels like a neighborhood.

Through their years, touch-ups have altered the exterior of the buildings and interior alterations have brought some units more up to date – with granite and laminate or wood flooring. But everything – and many of the residents – remains the same.

“They’re solidly built. They were built as condos. The walls are really thick with a good firewall,” Roundtree said.

Donnelly, 80, said an architect known for work at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland was used to design the buildings. And Hallberg is “a nationally known person,” Donnelly said of the man who also built Bay Roc off McVey Avenue.

“It was a well-conceived and well-designed project,” added Hallberg, 92.

Klees moved to Red Fox Hills more than 30 years ago and said, “The longer I live here the more people I get to know.”

Tidy binders in her den keep her organized as she runs the “tiny town.”

Klees said she fell into her position as neighborhood association president.

“I knew I could manage,” she said, as she used to monitor residents halls at Lewis and Clark College. “Now, we have 45 people involved in committees.”

Klees began volunteering in her neighborhood 15 years ago after she thought the hot tub was kept too hot.

“It shouldn’t be 104 degrees, you know,” she said. “I guess that started it.”

Klees and her team of 12 committees manages the 300-square-foot pool and hot tub area and 1,000-square-foot clubhouse which can be rented for parties and meetings.

“It also covers the exterior maintenance – siding, roofing, painting. And then all the landscaping – beautiful landscaping,” Roundtree said, who is in charge of organizing the complex’s clubhouse rentals.

Roundtree said that Red Fox Hills is unique because of how it’s volunteer governed.

“There isn’t a management company that we need to pay fees to,” she said of homeowner association fees of $237 a month, run by the board. “We have a larger amount of reserves than most complexes.”

Roundtree said that many other similar complexes pay assessments for necessary projects with no reserve funds to cover expenses, but Red Fox Hills “is just not in trouble financially,” she said.

Finances aside, seven owners have lived at the complex all four decades, according to Roundtree. Because owners aren’t allowed to rent their unit out, Roundtree believes that the little turnover “keeps the quality up.”

“I feel very safe here,” she said. “There are probably people who don’t know (this complex) exists.”

The three townhomes Roundtree is marketing excite her, she said, because she’s not only selling a house, but a lifestyle – and one that’s remained foxy all these years.

“It was laid out very well,” Donnelly said. “Life is what you enjoy, and I think people moving there really enjoyed it.”

And it sounds like they still do.

Jane Lee can be reached at jane@portlandpowersearch.com or by calling 503-636-5060.

Copyright 2010 Pamplin Media Group, 6605 S.E. Lake Road, Portland, OR 97222 • 503-226-6397

Click here for more information on Portland real estate!

Jane Lee is a Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty in Lake Oswego, Oregon
Jane@portlandpowersearch.com  503.806.0517

Posted in Featured, Lake Oswego
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July 19, 2010

Jazzercise is Alive and Kicking in Portland and Beaverton!

Wouldn’t this gal motivate you to jump around and get in shape?  Meet Nicole, dancing to Jazzercise tunes since before she was born, in her mom's belly, over 20 years ago.  She’s been leading happy students since December ’09, at the Beaverton Jazzercise center as well as in Corvallis where she’s attending OSU.  She started taking classes herself at age 13, going at 7:15AM, before school, in addition to playing soccer, softball, basketball and running cross country.  She was hooked!  Jazzercise does that to you.  Now she’s the newest instructor there and holds her own with confidence.  Her classes are delightful.  As she sang along with one of the dance songs the other day, “It’s never too late to get a good workout.”

I’m a major fan of Nicole’s and the other 12 or so instructors at the Beaverton center because I happen to be an absolute Jazzercise junkie, going to classes 5-6 times a week. There are 43 different classes offered Monday through Sunday, starting at 5:30AM and finishing at 7:45PM.  No excuse that you couldn’t make it to a class!  It’s become my life line, my foundation, since I restarted classes 3 years ago.  I had done Jazzercise for 4 years or so, after my 2 kids were born (20 years ago!), to get back into shape.  Then tennis came along and I left it in the dust.  I’ve never been one to enjoy going to the gym on a regular basis, but it’s always been really important to me to stay fit.  When I developed tennis elbow, I went back to Jazzercise.  If you play energizing, fun and varied music (jazz, country, rock, top 40, funk, Latin), lead me through creative dance aerobic steps, tell me I’m looking good (as they tell everybody, and they mean it!), then I’m sold on coming as often as possible.  I’m back to tennis, but won’t let go of Jazzercise this time around.

Over the years, Jazzercise has incorporated jazz dance, strength training, Pilates, hip hop, yoga, and kick boxing with an emphasis on the core muscles.  The 60 minute workouts typically start out with a slow and easy warm-up, moving into a 30 minute dance aerobic session, followed by muscle toning and strengthening using weights and resistance tubes.  We finish up with stretching.  We work hard!  And we feel so good during and after the classes.  Everyone moves at their own pace, so there’s no need for beginning, intermediate and advanced classes. You’ll see all ages, abilities and body sizes.   Ask the men who attend on a regular basis (I’ve counted 10) – they all say it’s an intense workout!

Jazzercise has been around for over 40 years, started by Judy Sheppard Missett, a professional dancer who loved jazz, in Illinois. Her philosophy is that “fitness is an important aspect of well-being and it enhances the overall quality of people’s lives.” Now the headquarters are in Carlsbad, CA, with classes taught all over the world.  In 1979 Judi began standardizing her innovative routines, sending videos every 10 weeks, of her choreographed steps, to all the certified instructors to provide consistency.  You can step into a class anywhere and recognize what to do.  Judi’s daughter, Shanna Missett Nelson, became president of the company in 2010, so we know Jazzercise will be around for a long time!  Whew!

I was excited to introduce my 24 year old daughter to Jazzercise 1 ½ years ago.  Sold!  She also runs and gets to the gym, but swears by Jazzercise. It’s especially fun when, with our busy schedules, we can take a class together.   She recently brought her boss, who has since signed up and now goes regularly, looking to lose some pounds and tone her body.

[caption id="attachment_629" align="alignright" width="368" caption="There are Jazzercise studios all over, and they are constantly having promotions."][/caption]

I’ll leave you with words of wisdom from Cheryl Burke (two time champion on Dancing with the Stars), who Jazzercises with great enthusiasm: “What are you waiting for?  Push your body.  Find your beat.  Start Jazzercise today.” No dance experience is necessary.  Cheryl says that Jazzercise is “the fitness for the dancer in all of us.”  I like feeling like a dancer!

Jane Lee is a Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty in Lake Oswego, Oregon
Jane@portlandpowersearch.com  503.806.0517

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July 16, 2010

The Oregon Coast Offers Wine, Sun, and Surf For Portland Getaways

Portland living is great for many reasons, and today I’d like to highlight one of my favorites: The Oregon Coast.

Only a beautiful 80 miles away, the Oregon Coast offers more than just the ocean, beach and sun.  It offers rest and relaxation at World-class resorts like the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort and the Overleaf Day Spa and Hotel.  It’s also home to one of the best golf courses on the West coast,  Bandon Dunes , which has been favorably compared to the famous Pebble Beach.

[caption id="attachment_603" align="alignnone" width="630" caption="Bandon Dunes Golf Course, Oregon Coast"]bandon dunes oregon coast[/caption]

Imagine sitting on the patio of your beachfront condo, watching  the waves with someone you care about... Ahhh, what could make this better?  How about a bottle of wonderful, local wine from one of Oregon's boutique vineyards?  The Flying Dutchman’s Pinot Noir is my favorite.

The Oregon Coast is known for having some of the West Coast's best surfing.  My favorite is a secluded cove with a long sandy beach called Short Sands (pictured below)  located in Oswald State Park.  Many people come to Short Sands to learn how to surf, though it is certainly a great spot for experienced riders to come and tear up the waves.

[caption id="attachment_597" align="alignnone" width="630" caption="Short Sands Beach, Oswald State Park, Oregon Coast"][/caption]

I know that Oregon isn't typically thought of as a surf destination, but it is a local secret and a big reason why we love living here so much.  So, whether you already live in Portland, or are looking for a reason to move here,  go check out the wonderful Oregon Coast for a day, or two...You'll feel refreshed and relaxed in no time!

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July 13, 2010

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Brings Ashland to Life

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon!  You don’t want to miss this!

I recently cooked up a plan with Mary, a college roommate who lives in San Rafael, CA, to meet halfway, in Ashland, to take in a play and visit.  This seemed like a momentous year to go! I have been, many summers in the past with friends and family, but it’s been several years now.  We each had about a 5 hour drive through gorgeous country.  I rolled down Interstate 5 for 280 miles through farmlands, forested hills and abundant roadside sweet peas….lovely.  The hot mid-July summer weather felt good.

Ashland is a delightful little vacation town full of fun restaurants and interesting shops.  We had a delicious dinner Saturday night at Chateaulin, with all its French charm, and breakfasted the next morning at Munchies, sitting at an outside table perched alongside Lithia Creek.  There are innumerable crafts tables to explore.  Such creativity!  And speaking of creativity, we ran into a woman on a bike that was out of this world.  No pedals, a bar that rose above her head, supporting a seat suspended by adjustable straps.  Tiny thick wheels.  You run and glide up and down hills, getting a great low impact workout.  They may be very up-and-coming!  Wish I had taken a photo.

But, I’m intending to inform you about Shakespeare in Ashland, so, more on that!  We saw, in the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre, on a beautiful warm summer night, The Merchant of Venice, a Shakespeare comedy teeming with complexity.  Good to read a synopsis prior to viewing!  The director successfully portrayed 16th century Italy with contemporary overtones.  I can imagine the characters in their elaborate costumes when it was performed the first year of the festival, in 1935.  In the rendition we saw, the main character was dressed in jeans!  In one scene a court clerk was accessing a computer!   The old and new were well integrated.

[caption id="attachment_562" align="alignnone" width="614" caption="The oldest existing Elizabethan Stage in the western hemisphere, built on the site of the old Chattaqua Theater, established in 1893, in Ashland, OR."][/caption]

There are 11 plays to choose from, 4 Shakespearean and 7 written by classic and contemporary playwrights, acted out in 3 theatres.  The festival is among the oldest and largest repertory theatre companies in the country, with approximately 550 theatre professionals and nearly 600 volunteers involved.  It’s a huge production well worth experiencing.

I recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time (we ordered online) and taking the backstage tour (which we didn’t know about, therefore didn’t do).  In addition to play-watching, you’ll need to shop and talk to the many artists selling their creations (jewelry, photographs, paintings and other unique things).  When you tire of shopping, you can walk through Lithia Park and head up the back trails, all readily accessible behind the theatres.

Mary and I had such a good time at the festival that we plan to rendezvous there annually.  I’m already looking forward to next Summer’s trip to Ashland.  The season starts in February and stretches into early November.

When are you going??  And what Shakespearean witticisms will you hear?

Jane Lee is a Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty in Lake Oswego, Oregon



Posted in Featured
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July 13, 2010

No More Plastic Bags In Oregon?

According to the Oregonian, lawmakers here in Oregon are looking at banning all disposable plastic bags at checkout for all retailers, and, in addition, charging 5 cents for every paper bag.  If passed, the disposable bag ban law could take effect as soon as 2011,  and the 5-cent fees could begin in 2012.

The city of Portland could approve an ordinance saying it will adopt a city bag ban in 2012 if the state doesn't pass the above legislation in 2011.

Better stock up on a few more reusable bags or get ready to pay a little extra for the paper ones.  I have 5 or 6 larger reusable bags that I seem to forget in the car every third or fourth trip.  I personally need to add a few more in the other vehicle as well.

To read the full story click here .

Click here for more information on Portland real estate!

Rich Peralta is a real estate professional in the Portland Metro Area. He can be reached at 503.961.2181 or by e-mail at rich.peralta@exprealty.com

Posted in Featured
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July 12, 2010

Shade Grown Coffee in Tigard: Java Mama

Come for the $1 latte's and great baked goods, stay for the customer service and atmosphere!

Just west of 217 and Washington Square Mall in the city of Tigard, is a little coffee shop that is making a name for itself.  You name the drink, latte/mocha, cappuccino/expresso, extra hot/ice blended, you get the picture, and the staff will have it up in no time.  Most of the time they're happy to chat, but if you just want the drink, they will always offer a smile.
Java Mama has some good coffee, but the baked goods are wonderful! They are made fresh on site.   My wife gets the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin.  I lean towards the marionberry muffin.  So fresh its wonderful!   My daughter gets cookies, any kind really but sugar, star shaped are her favorite.
I usually get the breakfast bagel when I need a larger serving.  I love it!  I have not tried their soups or sandwiches since I am usually there in the morning.  I hear from other customers that they are just as good as what I usually have.
Java Mama has just added hot dogs to their menu.  West Coast Chicago Hot Dogs has a kiosk for the lunch or snack crowd.  I can't wait to try them!
Java Mama has WiFi, Television, comfy couches and outdoor seating.  There are toys in the back to keep the little ones entertained. I generally go on a Saturday or Sunday, late-morning.  It is always so busy (in a good way) that it can be tough to find a table or a seat.  They just rearranged to get a couple more tables and chairs in, but sometimes it is still standing-room only.  It just goes to show that good word travels fast.  When I can get there during slower times, it's still a great place to be.
All the employees are wonderful.  The owner Salah,  is usually there walking and  talking with everyone who wants to chat with him. He loves to talk with my daughter and is always trying to give her a "special".  My dogs like to hang out in the front and greet anyone who wants to say "hello".  It is just a great place to hang out.
When you are in Tigard, stop in and see for yourself.  You can tell them I sent you... but I can't promise it will get you anything.
Click here for more information on Portland real estate!
Rich Peralta is a real estate professional in the Portland Metro Area. He can be reached at 503.961.2181 or by e-mail at rich.peralta@exprealty.com

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July 11, 2010

Portland Real Estate Buyer’s Guide

Beginning Your Search

You can begin by looking through Portland listings with our Portland Map Search or view Portland Listings by Neighborhood. Inquire via email or phone about particular listings in which you are interested. You can save your searches and have updates emailed to you on a regular basis. Here’s what to expect when you contact the Portland PowerSearch team.

  1. An agent from our team will contact you via telephone (if you have provided your telephone number), unless you request to be contacted only via email.
  2. The agent will provide you with any available details of the listings that you inquired about.
  3. The agent will ask you a number of questions about your search parameters/criteria (i.e., bed/bath, price range, square footage, area, when you’d like to buy, etc.) and they will ask if you’d like to receive more listings via email as they become available within your search criteria. This can be updated as needed.
  4. If you are from out-of-area, feel free to request a complimentary relocation package with information about the area. This will get mailed out within 24 hours.
  5. The agent can provide you with a virtual tour of any property on the market. This includes listing details, 40-50 Top Quality Digital photos of the entire property, and the surrounding area.
  6. As Buyer's Agents, we are not pushing OUR listings on you. It is our fiduciary responsibility to get you the best deal for your money.
  7. Based on your request for information and how quickly you would like to buy, you can arrange a time to meet with your agent to discuss the market, the buying process, and look at properties that interest you.
  8. Once you have looked at properties with your agent and have decided one one you'd like to buy, your agent will prepare a Purchase and Sale Agreement and begin the buying process. This can be done remotely, as well. We have the ability to email or fax any documents that need to be signed, in the event that you are unavailable in-person.

Finding a Lender

  1. It is best to get in touch with a Lender or Mortgage Broker at the beginning of the home-buying process. Pre-approval from your lender takes the guessing out of your buying-power and gives you the authority to make informed decisions. Most real estate agents will expect you to have this process in-motion before looking at homes in-person.
  2. If you don’t know who you’d like to use or if you live out of area, your Agent can help you. We work with several highly qualified and reputable lenders. In our experience, working with local lenders is preferrable. Local lenders know the market and have established relationships with the real estate community, including agents and escrow companies. This familiarity allows them to provide much more personalized service.  If the bank, itself, is local, the buying process can often be made even simpler, as the complicated underwriting procedures are performed on a local level, rather than via a complicated web of nationally dispersed departments.  Big banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase tend to have far more complicated and labyrinthine "systems", which have a tendency to add undue stress and delays to the buying process.

Deciding on a Purchase Price

The offering price for a property depends on a number of items:

  1. The Market – How fast are homes selling in the neighborhood and price range in which you are looking?  If homes are selling quickly, your offer needs to be strong...if they're selling slowly, you might have more flexibility. Remember, no matter what you hear on TV, each transaction is different. Every Seller is different, and each has their own bottom line. Don't assume that a slow market means you can make low-ball offers.  It is important to listen to your agent's advice. There is more to an offer than the price.  Other terms like the closing period, inspection period and financing details are all negotiable, and a savvy buyers and agents know how to make the most of them.
  2. Your Needs – How fast do you need to buy? How much money can you spend? Are you paying cash or getting financing? What kind of financing are you getting? Which neighborhood and price range do you want? What kind of house do you need and want? All of these questions play a key role in deciding what price to offer and your real estate agent will help guide you in making the decision.
  • For example: If you have a tight time-frame and happen to find a place you love, it might make sense to focus more on just getting the house than on haggling for the lowest possible price. After all, if you offend the Seller with an inconsiderate offer, they may not want to deal with you...and you'll be stuck spending more time, more money, and risking the possibility that you won't find another house you like.

What Happens When You Make an Offer on a Property

Once you've decided on the price and terms of your offer, it is time to present it to the Sellers.

  1. Time Frame: Usually the offer has an expiration of 24 to 48 hours from the day it is given to the Listing Agent. Your agent will be in touch with you quite a bit during this time frame to let you know of any conversations that have taken place about the possible counter-offer or of other offers that may have come in.
  2. Seller’s Choices: At this point, the Seller has the option of accepting your offer, countering your offer, or not responding at all. If a counter-offer comes back, your agent will meet you at the office or fax or email you the contract right away.
  3. Buyer’s Choices: You then have the option of accepting the counter-offer, countering back again, or not responding at all and letting it die. This, again, depends on your needs and how fast the market is moving.

What Happens When Your Offer Gets Accepted

Once you and the Seller have agreed on all terms and conditions, you have reached what is formally known as "Mutual Acceptance". It is from this point, forward, that all timelines and responsibilities set forth on the contract take effect.

  1. Portland Power Search Team Transaction Coordinator: Once your offer gets accepted, your transaction will be turned over to our Transaction Coordinator. Of course, your agent will also be in touch with you throughout the transaction and you are welcome to contact them anytime.
  2. Earnest Money: A check for the Earnest Money amount must be deposited into an Escrow account within 3 business days of mutual acceptance, as stated in Oregon Real Estate Law. Commonly, your Agent will collect the earnest Money check from you ahead of time, when you draw up the original contract. This saves you the trouble of having to meet again to present it.
  3. Escrow: Your complete contract and a contact sheet of all relevant parties will be sent to Escrow along with the Earnest Money check. As the Buyer, the Escrow Company and Closing officer are chosen according to your preference. Your Agent will likely make a recommendation, but it is technically up to you.
  4. Mortgage Broker: At this point, your Agent should already have a pre-approval letter from your Lender. It is your Agent's responsibility to provide your Lender with a copy of the Purchase and Sale agreement, so that they may set the financing process in-motion.
  5. Inspection: It is highly recommended that you hire a professional to conduct a thorough home inspection, even if it is new construction. The purpose of the inspection is to protect you against any latent defects in the house that may not be known to the Seller, but may have financial consequences for you down the line. Inspections usually cost about $300-400.00, but this depends on the age and size of the home. This cost needs to be paid up front by the Buyer.Again, your Agent will make some recommendations, but the choice is yours.  Our goal is to have the inspection ordered within 3 days of mutual acceptance and  have it completed within 5 to 7 days of mutual acceptance. The standard time frame for giving the Seller notice to remedy any items on the inspection is 10 business days from mutual acceptance.
      1. Scenario 1 – Inspection with Minor Issues: You decide either to waive the Inspection Contingency because the minor issues aren’t worth asking concessions for, or you ask the Sellers to fix them and they most likely will because they’re not very difficult or expensive. Either way, the inspection contingency is waived easily.
      2. Scenario 2 – Inspection with Major Issues: You decide to ask for the Seller to fix or replace the items (or) to credit you for the amount that you believe it will cost to fix or replace, at closing. At this point the Seller has the choice to respond to fix all the items (or credit you the money), or to offer an alternative suggestion, or to not fix any items (or not credit any money at closing). If the Seller agrees to fix all items, the Inspection Contingency is automatically Waived. If the Seller chooses either of the latter options, then you have the choice to disapprove this response and back out of the transaction and get your Earnest Money back, or you can accept the response and Waive the Inspection Contingency and proceed to closing. (Please note: In addition to this process of Buyer’s Notice and Seller’s Response, the Buyer and Seller need to keep in mind that if a lender is involved (depending on how much the Buyer is putting down) the major items, such as a defective roof, rotting floors, etc, may need to be fixed before closing in order to get financing).

  6. Seller Disclosure Statement: The Seller is required to provide the Seller Disclosure Statement once there is mutual acceptance. The Buyer has the right to revoke their offer based on the information provided in this 4-page document within 5 business days of having received it.
  7. Lead-Based Paint Disclosure: The Seller is also required to provide this form if the house was built before 1978. The Buyer again has the right to revoke their offer based on this form within 5 business days of having received it.
  8. Appraisal: The Transaction Coordinator will be in touch with the lender throughout the process to check up on how the loan process is going. One important step that the lender needs to take is to order the appraisal soon after the inspection. The appraisal is the lending company’s assessment of what the value of the house is. This is different from market value, although they often can be very close. If the Appraiser notices what he thinks are defective items on the house, he can call for a free and clear Inspection. It’s at this point that the Buyer and Seller need to negotiate how those items will be taken care of in order to continue to closing. The appraisal is paid for as part of the closing costs for the Buyer, it is usually around $600.00.
  9. Escrow: The Title company will send you a copy of the Title Insurance for the property. It is the Title Company’s responsibility to find any liens, easements or encroachments that are on the property. They will notify you and let you know what steps are being taken to remedy the situation. If there is a lien on the property, most likely the Seller knows this and has already made arrangements to have it paid off at or before closing.
    Once the Inspection has been waived and the Appraisal has come in at value, the lender notifies the Buyer if there are any last items that they need to prepare loan documents (i.e., home-owner’s insurance, tax records, etc.). The lender should have loan documents sent to Escrow by at least 4 business days before closing. It is ideal to have them at Escrow at week before closing. Once Escrow has received the loan documents, the Closing Officer will prepare the Settlement Statement. She will then call both the Buyer and Seller to come in and sign at least 24 hours before the closing date, often 3 to 4 days. Please Note: If the closing documents need to be sent out of area, this needs to be communicated with the Transaction Coordinator at least 2 weeks in advance of the closing date. Once the closing documents have been fully signed and returned to Escrow, they will be sent to the city to record and the title will officially be transferred. Escrow fees are also part of your closing costs, and they depend on the purchase price, this information can be provided for you upon request.
  10. Closing Date: In the state of Oregon, the closing date is usually 24 hours after signing. In rare circumstances the signing and closing can happen on the same day, but this depends on the lender. Most lenders cannot make this happen.
  11. Possession: Possession is written into the contract. The Buyer can request possession upon closing or closing plus 3 days. Please make arrangements for your moving vans if possession happens 3 days after closing. The key exchange will be arranged with the Transaction Coordinator and they will notify you as soon as possible as to when and where you can get your keys.

What to Expect of the Portland Powersearch  Team After Closing

  1. We will keep in touch with you via email and send you helpful hints for keeping your home in order throughout the year.
  2. We will be available for any questions that you may have about real estate, about entertainment options (i.e., restaurants, trails, parks, music, etc.), about what your house is worth as the years go by, and about whether or not we may have a potential buyer for your home if you consider selling it in the future.
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July 10, 2010

Portland's Tryon Creek State Park: Urban Hiker’s Paradise

If you're looking for some of Portland's best hiking trails, head out to Tryon Creek State Park, and take along your dogs.  They will be most thankful and you’ll get a wonderful workout.  Or maybe you’ll stroll peacefully along the more level paths, not wanting to hike the hills.  I’ve been tromping through this 670 acre park, which straddles SW Portland and Lake Oswego, for at least 25 years!   I have the advantage of living a block away, so I head in, rain or shine (or snow sometimes), about 5 times a week with Ted, my pooch.  That would be Ted’s walk of choice (the neighborhood streets don’t offer as many diverse smells).    8 miles of hiking trails keep us busy.  Life gets mighty entertaining when we venture along the horse trails and come across one of those big beasts.  The 3 mile bike path might appeal to you if you don’t want to go on foot.

Be ready for surprises…..I’m not sure which was more exciting to spot, the deer we saw last week that bounded away through the bushes, so close to our trail, or the great blue herons we’ve seen several times, swooping along the creek.  I know some very patient folks who discovered where the owl nests were this Spring and kept a keen watch on them.

We don’t often make it to the Nature Center, but maybe you should!  You can learn lots from the educational exhibits.  If you’re wheelchair bound, check out the .35 mile paved trail through the woods.  Really, there’s a reason for everybody to explore this beautiful natural environment.  Find yours!!

Click here for more information on Portland real estate!

Jane Lee is a Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty in Lake Oswego, Oregon



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July 10, 2010

Discount Brokers Treat you like Just Another Number

What ever happened to personalized service?

Have you ever been to Winco? It's quite the experience, and not in a good way.

I heard that I could save money by shopping there so I figured I would check it out. After all, it's a grocery store, right? So, I get my cart and enter the store. No one there to greet me at the door. As I was shopping, I realized not only was there no one in the store to greet me, but there was no one offering to help me find something. Could it be that all the employees are at the check out lanes? So I went about my shopping, got to to the check out line and started loading my groceries onto the conveyer belt. I was very surprised that the check out lady didn't even say 'hi" or acknowledge my existence. I even had to walk right by her to go bag my own groceries. Still, not a word from her. I was a little taken back. So, I went about my business and bagged my groceries, all the while the check out lady checked out two more people in the process. I quickly felt like I was just simply a number. It actually gave me plenty of time to think while I was stewing, "How does this compare to real estate?"

I can only tell you that a good example would be those discount brokers who offer to sell your house for virtually nothing. What do they offer you? From what I hear from customers who have tried their services, they don't offer much, except maybe putting a sign in your yard and putting the home on the MLS. Not only did they not market the house, but they did not provide good customer service. On top of that, some discount brokers even make the customer do a lot of the work themselves.

So what is my point to all of this? When I was in Winco, I felt like a number. I was extremely disappointed in the lack of customer service and yeah, maybe I saved a little money...but I walked away not happy and not wanting to go back to that store. I would much rather go to a "full service" store, get a greeting by multiple people, get approached by people who offer to help me, and then not only do I get a warm greeting when I go to the check out line, but I have someone taking care of bagging my groceries, and offering to bring them out to my vehicle. That is what customer service is all about. That is the way I run my real estate business, and I can tell you that my customers would much rather use my services than go to a discount broker.

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