Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What did you buy your house for?

Was there  particular feature that made you buy your house?  That sealed the deal?  Was it that specific location?  We always hear the three features one should look for are location location, location.  Or was it how the living room, and dining room integrated with the kitchen?

When I'm working with buyer clients, I'm often trying to help them decide what to buy a house for; what is important to them.  And when we say location, location, location, what does that mean for them?  There is no wrong answer, as it is all quite specific and personal.

I'm working with a young couple who have just about nailed that question, and I'm guessing the question will be completely answered in the next few weeks when we find them their home.  For this couple, a good location means close-in, east side.  They are both bike and public transportation commuters.  But more than that, they want to be walkable to great restaurants and food carts and the like.  So, what others might think of as good neighborhoods: Alameda, Rose City, Mt. Tabor, feel too far away to them.

When Don and I were looking, about ten years ago, we looked in some of those neighborhoods also, but realized, after living four houses from SE 35th Place and Hawthorne, that we were more urban than we'd thought. So when we saw our current home, right on SE 26th (yes, the busy part), the location didn't bother us, and it's walkability was a plus.  But what really sold us was the unpainted wood work, including the builtins, fireplance mantle, box beam ceiling and more.  Later, the builder mentioned he'd though of doing the cabinetry and woodwork in in a composite product such that it would have been painted, and asked what we'd have thought. I realized, I probably wouldn't have wanted the house.  So I guess we bought it for the woodwork.

Back to my current "young couple" clients.  We saw a house close to upper Division, so with some proximity to The Woodsmen, North Bar, food carts and the like.  It was a decent location.  The house had a wonderful open feeling from the living room, dining room and out onto a really spacious and lovely deck.  We were all drawn to those spaces.  The rest of the house, meh. It was fine, but the upstiars bedrooms were small and the finishes of the house weren't cohesive.  As a house, it wasn't anything special, but it was hard to deny the pull of those wonderful living spaces. My clients hung onto that house for awhile, until they were finally freed by someone else making an offer.

Sometimes though, I think buyers to buy a "package".  They buy a house that as a whole; location, floor plan, feel and features, makes sense for them.  There may be nothing in particular they love, but the whole thing works.

How about you?  What did you buy for?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How's the Market?

The Portland real estate market continues to show improvement, according to the recently released RMLS statistics.  We've been seeing pretty big increases in activity; the amount of pending and closed sales.  There were 21.7% more accepted offers in June 2012 than in June 2011, though  3.4% less than in May 2012.  Similarly, closed sales were up 14.6% in June 2012 when compared to June 2011, and up 7.0% higher in June 2012 than in May 2012.

Prices are showing slighter and slower gains, but are showing gains, nonetheless.  The median sales price rose 8.6% when comparing June 2012 to June 2011, with the median price in the Portland area being $242,000 as compared to $222,900 in June 2012.

Inventory, the number of homes available on the market, continues to decline such that we now have only 3.9 months of inventory.  That is, at our current rate of sales, it would take 3.9 months to sell all available properties.  This is the lowest our inventory has been since March, 2007.  Slowed foreclosures may in part be responsible for this dearth of houses.  In addition, there are many folks who would like to sell, but can't or don't want to sell short.  They are reluctant landlords, while waiting for the market to recover. Depending on when they bought, there could be a bit of a wait.

In the coming months, I expect we'll see some normal seasonal slowing in August and early September, followed by some healthy sales activity from mid-September to Thanksgiving.  There are often  pretty good deals to be had in the fall; folks who tried to sell in the spring, but somehow missed out.  Getting a sale closed before the holiday can be sort of a last ditch effort.  Many investors make a habit of buying in the fall.  Similarly, buyers who REALLY want to be in their new homes by Christmas can be pretty motivated buyers.  

I'd be glad to talk with you about what is happening in your neighborhood.  Give me a call at 503-312-8038 or email me at

Read the Portland area Market Report from RMLS


I've just listed this sweet bungalow nestled in Portland's Sunnyside neighborhood.  Sunnyside is a bustling neighborhood with lots of creativity and diversity, located between SE Stark and SE Hawthorne, and SE 49th and SE 28th avenues.  The neighborhood is home to Zupan's market, my favorite, HobNob Grill,  and so many yummy restaurants on SE Belmont.  Sunnyside is also home to the innovative "Dairy" project of the 1990's converted the old dairy site to stores, restaurant and condominiums.

The house I have listed is located at 3135 SE Alder Court.  The living room and dining room have hardwood floors and classic trim. A steep staircase leads to the upstairs bedroom. In addition there is a main floor bonus room.

The spacious kitchen has easy access to to the private, terraced and fenced back yard.

Listed at $239,900, this sweet and kind of funky bungalow is at a "hard to find" affordable price.  This house will be open  Sunday , July 15 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.  Contact me to take a look, or to see what at what price your place could sell.