A New Concept: Realtor Match Making

Choosing the perfect Realtor to work with can be more than a bit daunting. I’m sure you’ve heard some horror stories from your friends and co-workers — there are so many junctures in a real estate transaction where one can go wrong.  

Yet relationships play such an important role in real estate. That’s why I’m pleased to announce that I have started my own real estate company, Portland Homes & Living, to fill an important niche: a Realtor Match Making service.

It may very well be the first of its kind! It’s very common to refer a client moving out of state to an out-of-state Realtor, but never a Realtor Match Making service in their own town. Indeed, it’s a new concept, but I’ve already made numerous matches that have all worked brilliantly.

Best of all, I’m offering this service at no cost to my clients.

As an insider and top Realtor in the Portland market, I’m employing my first-hand knowledge to match you with the best Realtor for your needs and your area. Over my 12 years, I’ve worked with the best in Portland. I know who picks up the phone and who does everything possible on their clients’ behalf — indeed, those with the highest skills and integrity in representing their clients’ wishes and needs. I truly have seen both sides of the coin.

I hope you are as excited about this new service and concept as I am, and I look forward to telling you more when your real estate needs arise through Portland Homes & Living.

Many thanks to you who have worked with me and continue to refer me to your friends, family members and colleagues. I am always honored and deeply touched to have your trust and confidence.  Happy New Year!




Bedford Brown Fieldtrip

bedfordbrown4 About a year ago, I was struggling to find the right gift for a client. Flowers were nice, but didn’t last very long. Gift cards were too impersonal, unless I was privy to some inside information about a favorite restaurant or shop.

Luckily, I recalled an earlier trip to Bedford Brown. My first purchase was an exquisite white orchid in the pot of my choice (and there are many to choose from). I had honestly never seen a grander orchid, the boxed presentation of the plant was beautiful and my client was thrilled that it was still going strong several months later.

Located in NW Portland, the 12,000 square foot showroom features unique furnishings, gifts, accessories, art and garden objects. And their selection of large-scale indoor plants is truly spectacular. As you wander through, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how intimate each elegantly designed space feels. The staff members are incredibly helpful, friendly and will make you feel at home. It's clear how they have made a go of this business for 15 years.

Stop by, and if you haven’t been to their neighbor, School House Electric, drop by and explore. They have a nifty espresso bar, and they don’t seem to mind if one browses through the space cup in hand.

Visit Bedford Brown

Airbnb Vacation Rentals Spawn Vibrant Sub-Economy

SE Portland Airbnb It has been eight years since the concept of Airbnb was launched in the Bay Area, and it continues to grow each year. In Portland alone, visitors can choose from over 300 lodging options from beds in shared rooms to private suites and full residences ranging in price $35 to $750 per night. But homeowners are not the only ones benefitting from the concept. Airbnb has created its own sub-economy filled with young start ups hoping to grab a piece of this fast growing market. It is not uncommon for homebuyers in today’s market to look specifically for properties that offer good layouts for vacation rentals that can augment their mortgage payments. Note,  banks do require the purchasers to qualify for the mortgage without the income.

Many owners of Airbnb’s have found it difficult to manage all of the aspects of the rental process, so many are trying to fill the void.  Companies like Guesty, Airspruce, and Portland-based White Spider Rental Concierge are all in the mix.

These lesser known (but probably not for long) companies are helping owners with everything from guest screening and check-in and marketing. “A lot of our clients are people who do not have time to do this 24/7, 365 day a year job,” says Mel Hignell of White Spider Rental Concierge. “We also work with people who travel abroad a lot. A large majority of our clients have homes around the world, so they are traveling quite often.” Like in Real Estate, Hignell and others recognized the importance of capturing the prospective guest’s attention through professionally written descriptions and photography.  Airspruce features a pool of professional travel writers to help entice visitors and White Spider was the first company in the world to pair design services (staging) with specifically Airbnb rental. “Our rental in Portland was chosen to be converted into one of Airbnb’s conference rooms in San Francisco [each Airbnb conference room reflects an actual Airbnb room from around the world],” says Hignell. “Once that happened, we thought that maybe other people needed help with that aspect, and we just branched out from there.”

Visit this SE Portland Airbnb here.

To read more about Airbnb’s impact on support start-ups, please visit: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-10/how-airbnb-makes-property-investors-rich-despite-the-neighbors


Portland Dining Month


Last December, The Washington Post ranked Portland as the number one food city in the US.  With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, persistent rain and a little bit of ice, many of us have been hunkered down at home avoiding the wet and working off the holiday excess. Here’s your chance to explore our incredibly diverse restaurant scene at a price that may just tempt you away from the home treadmill literally and figuratively.

Portland Dining Month celebrates its 8th year next month. From March 1st to 31st, you can enjoy three course meals for $29 at over 120 restaurants.  There are favorite hot spots on the list from the Pearl to Downtown, North Portland and even the ‘burbs’ offering something for every palette and location.  Some of my favorites, such as Bar Avignon, Little Bird and The Country Cat are included, and the following list may inspire you to sit down at a new table.

Learn more and download the entire list of participating restaurants at: Portland Dining Month 2016


Featured Listing: Kenton Charmer

IMG_9893 Yes, it is a strong seller’s market, but how does one take a home and make it even more marketable to get to that multiple offer scenario for your listing client?  You’ve professionally staged, videoed, photographed and power washed. You asked the stager come back out and rearrange the seating in the living room because you were worried it looked too small. You’re holding it open both Saturday and Sunday to give ample time for buyer visits and letting everyone know you are looking at offers on Monday. And now you wait for the response.

And once everything possible has been done to enhance the property, I must put on my navigator hat to get the seller through it all.  By Sunday there were three offers. All Monday was spent answering queries from buyer’s agents such as what terms the seller is looking for, acknowledging received offers, and calling lenders to verify solid financing. There are spreadsheets, strength and risk calculations, there are calls from brokers wanting to submit after the deadline, there are calls from brokers wanting to amend their clients offers, there are texts asking about the current number of offers.  Your mom calls to chat. Throughout the day, new offers are coming in, right up until 2:51pm. The offer deadline was 3:00.

There is much hope and fear, and the clock is ticking as 18 brokers and their clients anxiously await the seller’s decision. Each one of these buyers has a story, and each one of their realtors has shown countless properties and given of their personal time to get their client’s offer in before the deadline. Assessing the top offers, I make calls to several of the buyer’s brokers in order that I understand the motivation of the prospective purchaser and whether there are areas the buyer is open to a potential counter from the seller. It’s 7:00pm and I am only now able to present the offers to the seller in a manner that is clear and understandable, so they can make the best decision possible. In the end, it will be up to the seller to choose their direction.

Surprisingly, it is not always the highest offer that is the best for the seller’s needs.

We are currently pending with an accepted offer and two back up offers.

Now here’s the home-

Built in 2012, this home meets Earth Advantage Gold Construction standards, which equates to incredibly low utility costs, last years costs averaged under a hundred dollars a month. And with the Solar World System, it’s even more economical, with the panels producing a monthly credit for the owner.

The open floor plan concept has been a favorite amongst many of my recent purchasing clients, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  All the finishes and appliances have been upgraded, and the home’s systems include on-demand hot water, built-in vacuum, and a high-efficiency furnace.

To view the photo gallery link here: Kenton Charmer

To view the video tour link here: Kenton Video Walk-Through

Close to All, Yet Nestled in Nature


Who says you can’t have it all?

This impeccable town home is situated within a stone’s throw of great shopping, the Sunset Max station and lush nature trails.  Part of the highly sought after Peterkort Woods development, residents love the community’s design: like a modern-day Ladd’s Addition with back of the homes facing a joined alley. Earth Advantage construction makes for incredible efficiency, durability and healthier indoor air quality.

This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom town home features a spacious master suite with walk in closet and double vanity, lower level media room, and an open, elegant living room with a welcoming electric fireplace. The attached 2-car garage makes bringing your groceries in from the new Cedar Hills Market of Choice a breeze. Enjoy the covered deck for year-round grilling, upscale community clubhouse, pool, and convenience of low-maintenance town home living.

More Photos Here...



Sweet Success

IMG_8539 How do 40 kids use up almost 15 pounds of frosting in a few hours? Gleefully!

The eighth year of my cookie decorating project at the Parry Center was a great success. With much appreciated help, nearly 400 cookies were baked, icing prepared and duct taped into bags to prevent icing explosions, and pounds more sprinkles were loaded into my Mini and delivered to the Parry. We laid out colorful tablecloths to host our cookies & decors as small groups of kids began to come through.

Most cookies do not make it back to the kids units, their colorful creations devoured toot sweet- some cookies fairly groaning beneath the weight of their decorations. I am highly dubious that much dinner was eaten that evening.

The Parry kids live in residence where they receive help for a range of emotional issues and this event, held in their cafeteria, has become a seasonal favorite. Several visiting parents joined in decorating with their children, as well as many staff members. I like to imagine that I am encouraging the children’s creativity, but with kids this is always in abundance. It is a wonder to see the joy and sense of play that the simple act of gathering around tables and decorating cookies can bring.

A big thank you to all my helpers this year, including my kids Lauren and Spencer and my dear assistant, Lauren Marrone for mixing icing and real estate. I hope we will all gather again later in 2016 to bring this event together once more.

Not to Miss: Portland Winter Lights Festival Debuts Next Month

Portland Light Festival[1] copy As a fan of Lite Brite as a child, for me, this is a sure hit. While searching for upcoming events in the city, I stumbled upon the Portland Winter Light Festival, and was intrigued to learn more.

In its inaugural year, the festival will bring together more than a dozen artists who will illuminate their innovative, vibrant and colorful artwork outdoors. Each eye-catching piece will be featured along the east bank of the Willamette River surrounding OMSI.

Bringing existing outdoor spaces to life, large-scale interactive light exhibits will engage and spark imagination. Buildings will transform into massive canvases for innovative animated projection displays. Performers will manipulate light and fire. Together they all create a dazzling spectacle not to be missed this February 3-6.

“I chose each of the artists because they are gifted and create interesting work,” says Artistic Director Chris Herring.

“We have 13 artists presenting their installations every night of the festival, with several more performers and additional artists who will join us at different times throughout the festival,” says media representative Chad Carter. “The main festival will be outdoors surrounding the OMSI campus. We will also have affiliate events that will be taking place at several locations throughout the city.”

The Portland Winter Light Festival invites the community together during a time of year when the city is traditionally quiet. Portlanders are known for enjoying outdoor activities year round and supporting unique arts events, so this seems like the perfect fit for all.

The festival is free and open to all ages. Prepare to be wowed: Portland Winter Light Festival

White Hot Paint Trends for 2016

Color of the Year[1] copy Really Panton? A periwinkle blue and a pink that borders on mauve? Those are fighting words for some...

The word on the street is that white is the hot color for the New Year. Recently, several of the major paint retailers across the US released their top picks. And almost across the board, various and layered shades of white were at the top of the heap. Benjamin Moore, which had featured shades of blue and green as their top picks for the past two years, has selected “Simply White” as its “color” for 2016.

Justin Riordin, owner of Spade & Archer Design Agency says, “I could not agree more. The American populace has been beaten over the head with color during the last umpteen design waves. Every HGTV DIY show has been screaming about color pops since HGTV started doing DIY shows. We are just sick of it. We need a rest, a place to go to that allows us to change our minds a year later or even an hour later. White is the new easy; it allows us to update, swap, change, mix and match, and it stays out of the way. White allows us to be creative on a daily basis, rather then once every 10 years when we decide to paint again. I think Simply White was not a brave choice, it was the right choice.”

But maybe you’re not quite ready to make the jump to such a bright white? You can still stay on trend with the slightly deeper “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore. David Peterson, owner of Synergy Staging says “We have tended to lean toward White Dove more often than not because it’s soft and not too bright. We recommend it for trim color as well when the wall isn’t white.”

Sherwin Williams, Behr and Glidden have all followed suit as well. And while the shades vary within their depth and tone, it is very clear that white is hot for 2016.

To read more about the color trends for 2016, please visit Benjamin Moore's site and video.

Holiday Wish Come True: The Parry Center

IMG_5992 While eating lunch at our Windermere office eight years ago, I remarked to one of my co-workers that I wished I could share my love of cookie baking by hosting a cookie decorating party for children that were in need. Wouldn't you know that person was on the board of the Parry Center, a residential treatment center for severely troubled children, and my wish was granted.

The first few years, I baked hundreds of cookies on my own, mixed up tens of pounds of confectioners sugar to make colored icing with my daughter Erin, then loading up a carful of sprinkles, tablecloths and other goods with my other kids Spencer and Lauren,  taking the show on the road to host a party on-site for up to 40 kids and staff.

Now I am pleased in my eighth year to have a great number of other helpers to bake at a neighborhood church who kindly donates their kitchen. Friends and co-workers help make icing and dough.  It really is gratifying to all involved. I like to imagine that I am encouraging the inner artiste of the kids who pile on dangerous amounts of icing or arrange sprinkles "just so" to their cookies.  Some gingerbread or sugar cookies become so laden they need to be picked up with a spatula in order transfer it to a paper plate. Many of the kids immediately start decorating their cookies as gifts for their mom or siblings. The Parry staff seems to enjoy the decorating party as much as their charges, and often the older kids seem to show the delight of younger children in the simple joy of decorating cookies.

This year I've been told, I'll be hosting as many as 45 children and up to 20 staff. It's time to start taking stock of the sprinkles.

Windermere Foundation and $100 Pies

foundation1 I’m proud to share that the Windermere Foundation has been recognized by the Portland Business Journal as one of the top three medium-sized companies in corporate philanthropy in all of Oregon and SW Washington. Last year alone, the Windermere Foundation donated over $350,000 and over 6,000 volunteer hours to local charities that support the homeless and low-income programs for children and families.

As part of every real estate transaction, I make an extra donation in my client’s name to the Foundation. Not surprisingly, our Stellar Windermere offices compete with one another to raise the most money, and we brainstorm imaginative ways to do so. Our latest sales meeting found us taking part in a rousing auction for a “Sinful Southern Pecan Pie”  (baked by one of our brokers) that I scored for $100, while another was sold for $10 a slice. That should certainly slow down the pie eating!

All calories aside, it’s very important to me to be part of a company that gives back to our community and makes a positive impact on those in need. If you’d like to learn more about the Windermere Foundation, please visit: