The Good City to the North

Chihuly Garden & Glass How lucky are we that within a few hours drive we can be in the great City of Seattle?

Here are a few of my favorite things…

Have you been up the Space Needle in a while?  For an extra hoot, take the monorail there from downtown. The SN venue is completely updated, and after enjoying the awesome views, your ticket gets you into the Chihuly Glass Museum- one has to experience it to believe the scale, color, and spectacular display of these incredible works of art.

Chihuly Gardens.

For dining, try Walrus and Carpenter in Ballard for the best of the best seafood and hip vibe. For a more formal dinner, Spinasse is my favorite. The tajarin with sage is one of the most sublime pasta dishes I’ve ever had.  Sitka and Spruce has a bright and charming atmosphere that is perfect for brunch with top- flight ingredients (but won’t leave you needing to go back to bed!). But just in case you wish to, the Hotel Andra is a lovely boutique hotel, with wonderful beds and linens, and very walkable.

And there are many free attractions as well. The outdoor sculpture park has massive pieces, with a view of the Puget Sound behind you.  At The Seattle Public Library, a neon lit escalator takes you by views of the stacks behind glass, and then opens up to a multi-level space. Don’t miss the large flat-screen display that shows which books are being checked out in real time.

Driving back into Portland after a weekend away still gives me a great sense of pride in our fair city- but one doesn't have to choose, we can enjoy both.

To see more stunning images, visit

The Changing Landscape of Portland’s Hottest Neighborhoods

Oregon City Barbers The Portland Business Journal recently named the hottest neighborhoods in the Portland metropolitan area based on recent numbers of home sales. You may be thinking that the top contenders include Hawthorne-Division or The Pearl District, but did Oregon City or Foster/Powell come to mind?  They are in the top three.

It’s been fascinating to watch the areas surrounding our city develop and become more desirable as rising prices and other factors push buyers out of the close-in neighborhoods.  And businesses are taking note as well, moving into up and coming areas and creating thriving pockets of shopping and dining. Note the transformation of North Williams and the Lloyd Center in the last few years.

Who would have foreseen that a cutting edge video production company like Funnelbox would share a location on historic Main Street in Oregon City with the state’s oldest running barbershop? (pictured here) To see the list of the top 25 neighborhoods, visit:

Portland Business Journals/Portland's Hottest Neighborhoods

A New Kind of "Flyer" in Real Estate Marketing

Scholls Mid-Century at Twilight Gone are the days when a nice color flyer was the leading marketing tool in selling a home. Today, international buyers are being escorted over neighborhoods in helicopters and drones are providing a true “virtual tour” of properties. In a recent NPR story, it was reported that video productions costing tens of thousands of dollars, complete with professional actors, are being produced and delivered for viewing on iPads to potential luxury home buyers in California and abroad . In this niche market, such expenses are now seen as “the cost of doing business.”

I recently had my first experience with the utilization of a drone for marketing purposes at my listing on Scholls Ferry Road.  I was seeking a creative way for potential buyers to experience this magnificent home online, and while the photographs were beautiful, they couldn’t provide the same experience that the drone could.  It’s ability to maneuver into the pool house and shoot from above, highlight the serene grounds and setting, and show the property’s setback from the road just couldn’t be captured otherwise. It was the perfect opportunity for me to test the waters with the latest technology in Real Estate marketing, with a crack architectural photographer and the drone operator who does the drone work for the Portlandia show.

Experience this lovely local Mid-Century here:



Win Free Movie Nights!

CinetopiaHere’s your chance to win a basket of goodies filled with treats for both a cozy movie night at home, and one at Cinetopia, compliments of Contract Furnishings Mart. If you’re not familiar with CFM, it’s certainly worth a visit. They stock a large, high quality selection of hardwoods, cabinets, carpeting, vinyl and much more. CFM is not open to the public, but as a valued client, I am happy to share the use of my account with you. Not only will you have access to any location, but you’ll also save 20-40%. Visit anytime, and just mention that you’re my client at the door of one of the several Portland-area locations. To learn more, please visit: The first person to respond correctly to this Oregon-related movie trivia question wins the basket and Cinteopia gift card:

Which was the final bridge that Reese Witherspoon crossed in the 2014 film, “Wild?”

Portland Makes History, Again.

Orange Line[1]Tilikum Crossing, the first bridge to span the Willamette River since 1973, opens this week in Portland. Home of Tri-met’s new Orange Line, which connects SE Portland, Milwaukie and Oak Grove with downtown, the bridge is the first of its kind in the United States. It is truly “Portland” in so many ways, including its sleek, cable-stayed design and extra wide pedestrian and bike paths. Tonight, September 10th, a spectacular event associated with the opening takes place, called “First Light.”  The 178 aesthetically placed lights on the bridge will be permanently lit at approximately 9 p.m., and will change based on the Willamette River’s speed, temperature and height. The light program was designed by artists Anna Valentina Murch and Doug Hollis as part of Tri-met’s public art program. For more information about the Orange Line, visit their really lovely website at:

Slab town Field Trip

school house interior If you haven’t found a purpose to enjoy the NW area known as Slabtown, here are a few good reasons to spend several delightful hours there.

Once known for its lumber mill on Northrup, where its discarded log remnants were stacked outside the homes of the area’s working class, more recently it’s been the forgotten industrial area north of NW “trendy-third,” and it offers a somewhat grittier and interesting area to explore.

The longtime Bedford Brown is a favorite place to buy arguably the best orchids in town, the perfect alternative to the standard bouquet which wilts in a week. While there, hobnob with decorators and the friendly and stylishly dressed staff and peruse the decorator items. It is also one of the best places to buy indoor plants and has an amazing selection of pots, indoor and out.

Just a mile away, stop into the expanded newer home of Schoolhouse Electric, which adjoins their factory facility.  Admire the home furnishings and well designed light fixtures and partake in caffeine at the attached coffee house.

A little jaunt on a side road under 405 gives some lovely dining choices such as the NW outpost of Olympic Provisions, great for both lunch and dinner. Pick up some tea at the nearby Smith Teas, a calm and tastefully designed oasis. Not far away, slurp noodles at the NW Boke Bowl outpost at the base of the Addy building.

Now that there’s a New Seasons at NW Raleigh and 21st, it won’t be long until the area really starts to develop. Explore now while one still feels like a bit of an explorer.

California-Style Mid Century

AJ0A8765_original Set behind a wall of trees, this delightful Mid-Century home has an amazing quality of light, flow and gracious living from times past. Nearly 5000 sq ft, all on one level with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, with a superlative layout and sited on 1.6 acres. The double gated approach from either the front of the property or side is discreet and tucks into the landscape, while the back of the home opens to an inner courtyard reminiscent of early California ranches and perfect for entertaining. There are three separate living areas including a great room off the kitchen with vaulted ceiling, a formal living room, also vaulted, then a media room at the opposite end of the property.  A lovely den, with vintage copper-hooded fireplace creates a cozy workspace.  The hardwoods, kitchen and baths have been updated. The exterior grounds include a sport court and covered, heated pool. There is a two car attached garage as well as one detached. Listed at $1,775,000

The home has mid-century architectural significance with many intact period details.

But enough talk. The virtual tour is pretty amazing. Peek here.

A Great Resource: Angie's List

angies list For the past several years, I have utilized Angie’s List as both a personal and professional resource when searching for reputable vendors. I often look for companies who have received the Super Service Award, which is presented to those who have demonstrated excellence in their field. As a recipient of the award myself since 2013, I know the value of and importance of meaningful client reviews and I’m very grateful to all of you who have shared your positive experiences on the site.

I’ve discovered great companies for everything from hardwood floors to carpet cleaning, and even sewer scopes. When I need of information for personal home projects, it’s my go-to resource. What many people don’t know about membership is that it’s very economical and risk-free. Membership is just $3.75 for one month, or $9.99 for one year.  If you subscribe for a year and are unhappy with the service at any time during that year, you can cancel and receive a 110% refund.

Portland Permits: No Aversion to Conversions

stairs copy 2 The desire to create more living space in vintage homes has become more prevalent in recent years due to both the need for more room and the popularity of ADU’s (accessory dwelling units). For the most part, the city encourages the use of all spaces in our homes. At a recent class by the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services, I learned a great deal about the permit process pertaining to the remodeling of rooms and utilization of spaces such as attics and basements. The three main factors in the renovation of your space are typically the ceiling height, windows, and stairs. In many cases, if a component of the space was installed legally at the time of its installation, for example, the stairs or a window, it can be “grandfathered in,” and only required to meet the requirements of what was legal at that time. On the other hand, if you change out that window for better weather efficiency, you are then required to bring it up to code, which may mean you’re going to need a bigger window. Or how about converting a basement space into a legal bedroom? A good start is to find out the requirements for an egress window. To learn more about the conversion of spaces, visit

The Charming Town of Carlton

cArlton foodcart Nearly everyone has taken a day trip to the coast or Mt. Hood, but if you head just a short drive southwest of Portland, a delightful town awaits. Carlton is one of the true gems of Oregon’s Wine Country, highlighted by a charming, picturesque main street. On a recent visit, I enjoyed rich, buttery shortbread at the Carlton Bakery and fell in love with Carlton’s first food cart, Henry’s Diner where I had some of the best pancakes ever, full stop. If you’re enticed to stay longer than the day, a number of stylish retreats offer lodging for every taste, whether that be a classic Bed and Breakfast, modern loft, or even a silo!

Housing Market is Tight, Especially for Renters

Rental Rates Perhaps you, a friend, or a relative has been searching for a home to purchase in Portland.  It’s tough, especially in our close-in neighborhoods. But as challenging as it is to find the right home to purchase, it’s even tougher for those who wish to rent. A recent Willamette Week story cited a 3% vacancy rate and an average rental rate of $1,100 per month. In short, we’re seeing the fewest number of available apartments for rent in over 10 years… at the highest price. Yes, there are more apartments being built today (518 rental units in 2011 to 4,413 in 2014), but the influx of new residents is substantially outpacing the growth. And, many developers have opted to replace single-family home sites with larger homes, skinny houses, or condos, as opposed to apartments. The competitive landscape of the rental market has increased in the number of potential homebuyers in our market, as renters weigh the pros and cons of renting vs buying.

Renters are being forced into split second decision-making, and are often subjected to the application process and associated fees without ever seeing their future dwelling in person.  It’s a simple, yet painful, case of supply and demand, and prices in our city are likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

Read more, in Willamette Week-

Pet Friendly Portland



Portlanders love their pets, and summer is the perfect season to spend some quality time with a furry friend or family member. Whether you’re up for a snack, a stroll or a snuggle, our fair city fits the bill.

Tin Shed Garden Cafe

Tin Shed Garden Café has been featured on both national and local television, and is known as one of Portland’s most dog friendly spots.  Bring your pooch anytime, but keep in mind that Tuesday night is Dog Lover’s Night and with every human meal purchased you get one free doggie meal! Tin Shed.

Gabriel Park

The 1.7 acres of land that is now Gabriel Park was purchased by the city of Portland in 1950 for $120,000. Centrally located in SW Portland between Vermont and Canby Streets, dog lovers can treat their pups to a lush, off-leash area from 5 a.m. to Midnight every day. Gabriel Park.

Purrington’s Cat Lounge

And, not to leave the kitty lovers out, we’re sure fond of Purrington’s Cat Lounge.  In the mood for a “meowmosa” along with your feline fix? They’ve got you covered! And, best of all, every cat at Purrington’s is adoptable. A truly unique Portland experience for a great cause. Purrington's.

Why Bother to Stage?

Staging Photo2 "Why bother in this market?" is what I was asked at a recent dinner party. And really one would have to be living under a rock for the last six months to have missed that we are in the hottest market since 2006. So why bother to stage, dear reader, when the belief is that everything is selling as fast as the proverbial hotcake?

The average days of market time for all Portland listings so far this year is 68 days. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. My average is 18. Virtually all my sellers agree to do some form of staging on their properties.

Very few of us live in homes that are "ready for their closeup." There are all manners of staging devices that can be employed; from supplementing the homeowner's existing art and furniture with a "re-arrange" of the home, to full staging of a vacant home. Every buyer shops- and screens the use of their valuable time prior to any home visit, first online. If we cannot create excitement online through our photographs we cannot get them into the home. The more buyers we get into the home in the shortest amount of time, the best chance we have of getting a full price offer and competing offers.

Every buyer asks the magic question, "How long has this house been on the market?" It follows then, if a house has been on the market- in this market, even past a week or so, the buyer thinks "If no one else has bought it for this price, why should I?" I never like to invite lower offers on my listings.

Staging gives my photographer something great for me to market, an aspirational home that sets us apart from hundreds of other listings, our competition. The National Association of Realtors finds that not only do staged homes sell 80% faster, they do so for up to 11% more return.  That's because a well staged home creates excitement and desire. It shows buyers how spaces can be used, especially those awkward spaces that we lived with or underutilized.  Potential homeowners do not have to guess if a king-sized bed fits or where to place the sofa. They are that much closer to imagining their life to-be.

In the end, most of my clients that are selling have somewhere else to go, and what they redeem from the sale of their homes is very important to them in terms of realizing their next dream. And that is why we bother to stage.

May 2015 Market Action Update

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.32.56 PMHottest markets in the nation? That would be Denver and San Francisco with a 10% plus gain over this time last year. The same source ranks Portland at 7th with a 7.1% increase in the same time period. Redfin reports a surge this year in buyers in the Bay area searching for homes in other tech towns including Portland. One of the questions I've added to my conversations with buyer's brokers making offers on my listings is "have both buyers visited the property?" ---lest one go into contract inadvertently with buyers offering to purchase only based only their online views of a home. With "sale-fails" as high as 17% now, one often does not need to take this risk.

I've had buyers actively seeking the walkability of Hawthorne, while other clients look to sell and seek escape from a neighborhood more alive with traffic and life than they are accustomed to.

It's quite common for sellers to choose to keep their property's available for offers for up to a week in order to ensure they can select the best terms for their homes. On the other hand, this can give the buyer the opportunity to visit the home more than once and ponder how much heart they wish to put into a given home and how strong their offer should be to acquire it.

Terms of Endearment: Cash

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 1.47.39 PM Why, I'm asked often now, is cash such an important term to sellers today? Isn't it the same net for sellers when you finance?

The answer is no, it's not the same net. With many homes going over list price, a seller accepting the highest offer may run into trouble when the buyer's lender sends the appraiser out to assess the value. It's difficult for appraisers to keep up with value in an ascending market, so the appraisal may come in low and put the sale in jeopardy.

A cash sale means no appraisal, so no one else determines the value but the seller and the buyer. Therefore the sellers net can actually be higher with no risk to the seller in maintaining the offer at the same price as when it was submitted. Minus the lender, a cash offer can also close very quickly. I had one transaction with an offer on Monday that closed that Friday.

What to do when competing with a cash offer? There are terms that one can offer within the contract even when financing to address the challenge of the appraisal. There are multiple opportunities within the sales contract that can also appeal to the sellers needs. Long story short, though cash offers are around 25% in some areas of Portland, remember that 75% of offers are being accepted with financing.

Don't give up hope, a good strategy on how to use the contract to your advantage when constructing an offer can still be very persuasive.

Better Than Dwell: Rediscovering Van Evera Bailey

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 12.45.32 PMPortland born Van Evera Bailey is lesser know than contemporaries, Belluschi, Yeon and Zaik, but made significant contributions to the style of Northwest Regional Modern architecture. His career began in the late 1920's and spanned another 40 years including numerous commissions in Palm Springs and Pasadena.  Shown here is his David Eyre house featured in Better Homes in 1954. Using our primary local material of wood rather than copy the brick or stucco styles of other regions, he created stunning rooflines taking into consideration our famous rain, adapted buildings with extensive stilt-work to extend buildings over our hillsides, and created closely seamed window glazing to bring in our amazing outdoor views inside.

For the first time ever, Restore Oregon has arranged a self guided tour of his homes on May 9th, with a complementary program/lecture the evening before featuring an expert panel.  I'm a proud sponsor of their mid-century tour this year and a wholehearted supporter of Restore Oregon's effort to preserve our architectural heritage.  Restore Oregon MCM Tour.

What's Hot in Portland's Live Kitchens

basco kitchen Have you ever stood in someone's kitchen with their hood fan turned on and suddenly had to yell over the noise? Or perhaps yourself had a fan, intrusive as a jetliner, that you would rather put up with the smoke than turn it on? Avoid similar costly mistakes by visiting a "live" kitchen such as Basco or Eastbank Contractor Appliances.

There you can actually hear the fan when it's on, you can test the simmer setting on the gas range and see how amazingly fast an induction stovetop boils water.

Plus, you can see and hear about the newest in appliances. Sub Zeros are making a comeback from their heyday, offering an array of finishes to blend into your kitchen.  The opposite is also available with retro style refrigerators in a crayon-like array of colors. Warming drawers are all the rage to protect your food from the shock of hitting a cold plate, internet connectivity is becoming more common and one of the biggest trends? Steam ovens. Michael Ringo, has been at Basco in the Pearl for many years recounted how his rep for the steam oven brought in a chicken, first steaming it to keep it moist and then switching to regular heat to brown the bird. Customers are coming in requesting it for healthful preparation of vegetables and reconstituting dry bread.

There are multiple kitchens set up throughout the stores, making such a visit a must whether choosing a single appliance or re-doing ones kitchen. For anyone that's a cook, it's kitchen Nirvana.


March 2015: Market Action

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.10.12 PM It's pretty inescapable news that Portland's real estate inventory is low, but it's now confirmed at 1.9 months in March, the lowest level since 2005. Closed sales are up 32% over March 2014, and average Days On Market lessened by 6 days from the previous month to 75.

North Portland is also trending very hot with the lowest DOM of 35. This is pretty spectacular, considering this includes averaging market time of properties that started out overpriced or in poor condition. The neighborhood of St. Johns looks to increasingly show the pressure of a market whose prices that have heated up in other areas,  forcing sales into an area that has been overlooked and undervalued for some time. With a New Seasons opening on Lombard and the main street infrastructure already in place in the town's center, more changes in the neighborhood look pretty certain.

Read the whole Market Action report here.

The Inside Scoop: What You Inherit When You Buy


Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.36.10 PM

New construction should be easy, right? But a recent transaction proved otherwise when I looked up the permits and found a good half dozen open. The inspection discovered the builders subs had forgotten to install the ceiling and floor insulation, plus the usual punch list items. Another wrinkle was the shared garage, which I knew the lender would require a recorded upkeep agreement on.  To further add complications, the neighboring property had closed without concluding similar issues and was none to happy with the builder.

At a certain point, the only leverage the buyer has are strong contract terms and closing. Whether the property has open permits, un-permitted additions and remodeling or water in the crawl space, the purchaser owns these issues, along with the home, once they have closed.

In our case, this transaction required almost daily phone calls to check in with the listing broker and press for progress. At times it seemed unlikely that we would actually close, but close we did, with all the important items finished, and some very tough and savvy buyers that know what they bought, all of it.