When you purchase a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying. Imagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working mid-shower! This is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home. In Oregon, the inspection period is 10 business days after the sales agreement is signed. This time gives you, the buyer, a chance to have professionals take a look at the home and advise any repairs that it may need. Most commonly, there is a home inspection (a top-to-bottom inspection of the home), sewer scope (a camera is sent through the main sewer line to inspect it for obstructions or degradation), and a radon test (the Pacific NW and Portland have higher than average radon levels, so it may not be necessary in your area). However, not all inspectors are created equally. Just as in every profession, you’ll find good and bad inspectors. Usually your Realtor will have inspectors that they have worked with that they can recommend to you, but you should still do your homework. Before you hire a home inspector, here are a few questions to ask to make sure you’ve got someone that you will be happy with.
- What does your inspection cover? Not all inspections are the same. Different inspectors have different areas that they focus on, and a range of services. More often, now, we are seeing inspectors that act as a “one stop shop” for home, sewer, and radon. This is nice because you can set one appointment to get all your inspections done in a timely manner, especially if the home you’re buying is not vacant. Many inspectors also offer levels of inspections. A basic package is usually cost-effective and covers the State minimum requirements, and with increasing costs, you can add more detailed inspection. Also, be sure to ask if the inspection covers the garage. Many times if it a detached structure, the garage will cost extra. If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.
- Are you licensed or certified? If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. In Oregon, you’ll want someone who is licensed with the Construction Contract Board (CCB) and an Oregon Certified Home Inspector (OCHI). At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.
- What kind of report will you give me? You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection. Great inspectors will give you your report at the site and go over it with you in person, which is why it’s important to be at your home inspection. The report should contain plenty of pictures and a good amount of detail as to what the areas of concern are. This will not only paint a picture of the overall condition of the home, but can help you and your Realtor decide which, if any, repairs you are going to ask for in the repair addendum.
- Do you offer re-inspections? In situations where you’ve requested major repairs, it’s a good idea to have the inspector come back out to reinspect the areas of concern. Many home inspection companies provide a re-inspection at a discounted cost to just look at the repairs that have been made to see if they were properly completed.
At the end of the day, the home inspection is a tool for the buyer to ensure that the home they are purchasing isn’t hiding unsafe and costly conditions. In competitive markets like Portland, people will sometimes waive the inspection period to make their offer stronger, but I think that’s like buying a car without a test drive. Taking the time and spending a little bit upfront can not only save you money later, but it can keep you from making a bad investment.
If you’re looking for a home inspector in the Portland Metro area, contact me and I can refer you to a few excellent local inspectors!
I took a fantastic class this morning dealing with a new law that was recently passed: starting January 1, 2018, anyone wishing to sell their home within Portland city limits (with or without an agent) must get a home energy audit prior to listing, and must provide the report with the home energy score (HES) to any prospective buyers. The HES is on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being least efficient and 10 being most efficient. Scores are based on BTUs used, and the majority of your score comes from heating, water heating, and cooling.
There is a lot of talk about the impact that these scores are going to have on the real estate market, and a lot of confusion as to what this is going to mean for sellers. I’ve taken some of the more important information that I learned and put it into an infographic for easy reading and sharing:
It’s important to realize that the requirement to sell only applies to the City of Portland (so if you’re in the Metro area, but not Portland proper you don’t have to have one). You’ll also want to note that you don’t need to make any upgrades or repairs based on the report. All you have to do is get it done and provide copies.
This city ordinance is still in early stages: they haven’t yet worked out everything, and will have a rule-making session in July to nail down some of the finer details. For instance, we don’t yet know how long an energy audit will be valid (but my guess is probably a year). Also condos are an area of concern because there are too many variables when you have units on all sides. Chances are that condos will be an exemption, but we won’t find out until July.
Even if you’re not thinking of selling next year, knowing your HES has great benefits. For starters, you’ll get a really clear picture of the energy efficiency of your home. The last page of the report shows upgrades that would increase the efficiency. It is broken down into 2 categories: update now, and update later. Alongside these repairs, your report will give you the estimated annual savings by making the change.
I’ll update once we know more about this new ordinance, but as always, feel free to reach out with any questions you have!
I love an excuse to wear something silly and hit the town, so needless to say, St. Patrick’s Day ranks pretty high on my holiday list. While I could probably do without queasy green beer, there is something about everyone out celebrating together that just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside (or it could be the Guinness…probably the Guinness). Most big cities have at least one parade or party going on, and if you happen to be in Boston or New York, it’s pretty much a city-wide party. Portland, which pretty much has a constant stream of events year round, does not disappoint on March 17. Here are some activities for you to get your green on this weekend!
For the Drinkers:
Regardless of the history of St. Patrick and what the day originally represented, no one can deny that St. Paddy’s Day has through the years become a beer drinker’s holiday. Almost any bar or restaurant you enter this weekend will be offering green beer, Guinness specials, or Irish Car Bombs. Luckily, this year the holiday falls on a Friday, so if you want to get really crazy, hopefully you won’t have to work in the morning. Just be wary of all those uber surcharges when you try to get home! Here are some of the best watering holes to get your green on (click on the event name for a link to the website).
St. Patrick’s Day at McMenamins: Visit any of the over 50 locations in Oregon and Washington for an awesome celebration. Feast on Irish stew, enjoy a stout, and at certain locations, grab a specialty bottle of their Devil’s Bit whiskey! There will be bagpipes, and fun for all!
Various Bar Crawls: Bar crawls seem to be a Portland holiday staple. Dress yourself in head-to-toe green, grab a wristband, and enjoy specials at various locations throughout town. I’ve linked 3 different crawls happening this weekend. Try one, or if your liver can handle it, try them all! (but PLEASE don’t drive!!)
Paddy’s 3 day St. Patrick’s Festival: Paddy’s Bar and Grill is Portland’s oldest Irish pub. Their festival lasts all weekend and boasts traditional Irish food, drinks, and entertainment. Located in the heart of downtown, you can add this festival on to your other celebrations or camp out in the tent all weekend (but they probably won’t let you sleep there)! Paddy’s has partnered with the Children’s Cancer Association, so you can be sure that your beer money is being put to good use.
Irish Beer Festival at Kells Brewpub: Featuring a host of locally brewed Irish beers, Kells is the quintessential Irish pub. The Irish beer festival is located at the brewpub on NW 21st Ave. The full Irish Festival spans both the brewpub and their downtown location and will transport you straight back to the Emerald Isle with a weekend full of music, Irish dancing, and other festivities. A full schedule of events for both spots can be found here.
Irish Craft Ale Festival at Feckin Brewery: I don’t think I can say it any better than the website, “As well as great beer, there will be bagpipers, 12 live bands and Irish dancers. Irish food including haddock fish and chips Irish lamb stew and corned beef sandwiches.” I have a soft spot for Oregon City, Feckin’s, and fish and chips, so you’ll probably find me here for at least part of the weekend!
For the Fitness-Minded:
Whether you’re focused on swimsuit season, hate loud, drunk people, or just want to get your steps in before you guzzle down calories all weekend, there are a couple great events this weekend to get you moving!
Shamrock Run and Fitness Fair: The Shamrock Run the largest running and walking event in Oregon and is the third largest running event in the western United States. Thousands of Oregonians descend on Waterfront Park every year decked in green to tackle one of the many offered courses. The primary beneficiary of this event is Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, which means you’re sweating for a great cause! The races are all on Sunday, but even if you don’t want to join in, you can visit the Fitness Fair at the Oregon Convention Center Friday and Saturday. Shop from vendors, get fitness tips, and play games at this free event!
The Dirty Leprechaun 5K: Who doesn’t love a good mud run? Located at Lee Farms in Tualatin, the Dirty Leprechaun is a fun event for anyone who would rather dive through the mud and clear obstacles than cruise through the streets of Portland. If you’ve ever done a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash (or wanted to), this is the event for you!
For the Family:
While there’s no denying that St. Paddy’s Day is dominated by adult only events, there’s still options for all ages fun! Some of the above events are kid-friendly (McMenamins are all ages for at least most of the day, Kells Irish festival has areas where children are welcome, and of course the Leprechaun Lap at the Shamrock Run is for children), but these ones have focused children’s activities.
All Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Looking for an authentic Irish experience? Look no further than this festival. The yearly fundraiser skips over the typical drunken shenanigans and focuses on the promotion of Irish culture. Children’s activities, including face painting, a coloring contest and a professional puppet show, ensure that the kids won’t get bored. Round out your day and stay for the traditional Irish supper.
Sellwood-Moreland St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival: I probably could have listed this under fitness, but there’s way more to this festival than the 5k fun run. After the run, enjoy a neighborhood parade led by the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band. After the parade, head to St. Agatha’s for a festival of live music, Irish dancing, a kid’s carnival and hearty Irish fare. As a Catholic school alum, I have a special place in my heart events like these.
Murphy’s Furniture St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Just outside Portland proper, you’ll find this super-festive parade. A tradition in Hillsboro for the past 40 years, this hour-long parade through town is open to everyone! Groups need only to fill out a form and pay the $20 fee to be included in the parade. Ooh and ahh at the floats and classic cars as they pass you by. Chow down on the Corned Beef and Cabbage Lunch after the parade at the Hillsboro Civic Center. Proceeds from the day will support the Hillsboro Boys and Girls Club.
How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? 🍀
Around this time last year, I wrote a post with lots of holiday events in the Portland area. My parents are coming to town for Christmas this year, and so while I plan activities for their trip, I’m compiling a list that I’d like to share again!
Click the picture below to enlarge:
And here are those links in clickable form:
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Tell us in the comments!
Lovely 2 bed/2 bath home in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood.
Guys, I want to get a little personal here, and tell you about my neighborhood! While every neighborhood in Portland has it’s own charms (seriously, EVERY ONE has something cool to offer) there’s just something about Kenton. Nestled in the area just west of I-5 and on the north side of Lombard, this little neighborhood has had a quiet renaissance over the last few years. Now, you don’t even have to live in Oregon to know that many of Portland’s neighborhoods are going through big changes quickly. Kenton definitely hasn’t changed overnight like a lot of those, but it has definitely felt the effects of its surrounding neighborhoods. The result is a quiet, family friendly place that has found a way to keep the classic charms of the old company town while bringing in some new life with the addition of newer, more trendy restaurants and shops.
Kenton started out as a farming community, until it was turned into a company town by Swift Meat Packing Company in 1911. As the years went on, Kenton continued to grow and demanded more housing, as well as a park, library and schoolhouse. In 1913, the Historic Kenton Firehouse was dedicated and became one of the first city designed firehouses in Portland (the first in North Portland). It was shuttered in 1959, but found a new life in 1976 when it was declared a historical landmark. After that, it became a community center, and that is still its use today. In the basement, you’ll find the North Portland Tool Library, which is a huge asset to the community. The Kenton Neighborhood Association also conducts its monthly meetings in the firehouse. In the mid 1910s, the city of Portland annexed Kenton and it became the primary home for Portland’s stockyards, and was the center for the West Coast cattle trade.
In 1959, the Oregon Centennial was held in Kenton. To commemorate the occasion, a 31 foot statue of the mythical Paul Bunyan was erected at the north end of the business district. Still looking over us today, Paul brings many visitors to the area and is as much a resident (if not more so!) as any of us living here that aren’t made of concrete and steel. In 2009, Paul was put on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kenton Neighborhood Association is currently raising funds to repaint Paul, as he’s definitely had some wear and tear over the years.
Today, when you visit Kenton, you’ll find the neighborhood has wholeheartedly embraced its history. Stop in at Cason’s Fine Meats and you’ll see photos of the old stockyards and life in Kenton at the turn of the 20th century. While you’re there, be sure to grab something for the grill later, or enjoy some of the awesome pre-made food Theo Cason has to offer. Most days you can find him outside smoking meats on the sidewalk, always happy to chat. One of the newest additions to the N. Denver strip is Swift and Union, which got its name from the Swift and Union Meat Companies that once dominated the area. Stop in for a delicious dinner or pop by on the weekend to enjoy brunch. They’ve also got a berry cobbler that manages to smell EXACTLY like Fruity Pebbles (but tastes way better)!
Kenton is also home to the Portland International Raceway, which was built where Vanport was once located. Vanport has its own history which has had a lasting effect on the city as a whole. The Portland Expo Center finds its home in Kenton as well.
There’s a lot in the neighborhood that I haven’t gone over, but part of exploring a new area is doing the exploration for yourself! I’ve already talked a lot about Parkside, but Kenton Station and Kenton Club are staples of the area. There’s even an art gallery, Disjecta, and Twilight Theater Company to feed your cultural side. I love Kenton because its one of the more diverse areas of Portland. You’ll meet all sorts of people from all walks of life. The thing they’ll have in common is their friendliness!
What do you love about your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked through Kenton Park, saw Parkside nestled on the corner of Brandon and Willis, and thought, “I should try that place.” It took me an embarrassing amount of time to actually make my way in the door, but once I did, I only wished that I had stopped in sooner! Tucked under an apartment complex directly across the street from the park, it’s a quiet neighborhood pub that serves up great food and drinks in a cozy environment.
The first thing you notice even before you walk in the door is how beautiful the surroundings are. Now, I’m a Kenton resident, so I may be a little biased, but Kenton Park is really pretty to look at. There’s some huge, old trees, and on a particularly nice day (like today!) you can spend the whole day under the shade of one just people watching. If you want to watch from a bit of a distance, the Parkside patio is perfect. You can enjoy the scenery while sipping on a crisp craft beer or one of their signature cocktails. The Bees Knees is delicious, but very pink!
Once you step inside, you’ll find a fully stocked bar dimly lit with Edison bulbs, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and a gorgeous fireplace to cozy up to when it’s a little chillier outside. It is a small space to be sure, but they have made the most of the space they have, so it feels intimate, not crowded. Once you take a seat, a friendly server will hand you a simple menu and point you in the direction of the beer list: about 6 rotating taps listed on a blackboard hanging on a post in the middle of the room.
Parkside doesn’t fuss with a complicated menu. There’s just a few items, but they’re all excellent. The chicken pot pie has a perfectly light and flaky crust. It comes with a side salad full of fresh greens and a light drizzle of vinaigrette. The true piece de resistance of the menu though, is the pulled pork mac and cheese. It is really exceptional. I can’t recommend it enough!
One of my favorite things about this local haunt has to be the game selection. There’s a ton to choose from and no matter if there’s 2 or 10 of you, you’re sure to find a game that will be fun for everyone. Even better than board games? Happy hour is from 4-6 daily, and ALL DAY on Monday! Now, this isn’t a terribly expensive bar in the first place but during happy hour you can enjoy $3.50 draft beers, $5 glasses of wine, and $3 well drinks. That’s a great deal no matter where you are!
The next time you’re in Kenton, make a point to stop by Parkside. You’ll be glad you did!
All photos are from the Parkside Yelp page
With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one. I’ve seen this happen all over Portland. Inventory is so low that it’s scaring people on both sides of a transaction. This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell—whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood—there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.
1. Look to buy first
In most markets, it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property. Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying. Even if you don’t see anything on Zillow, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t find the right home. If you’re in a place where inventory is really low, you’ll have to act quickly if you find anything you love. As long as the home you’re selling is in good condition, it’ll probably sell quickly and you’ll be able to close on the new home contingent on your old home’s closing. It pays to be on the hunt before you’re on the market so you can keep track of market trends and have a good working knowledge of the inventory of that area. A great tool for this is Neighborhood News, which you can sign up for on my website. Just follow that link!
2. Think outside the box
Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale. Imagine if you got a similar letter. Wouldn’t it put you at ease to know there’s someone out there looking for a home like yours? This would also give you a leg up on everyone else furiously refreshing Zillow and Realtor.com for the newest listings.
3. Protect yourself legally
Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy. Real estate contracts afford buyers and sellers both opportunities to make sure the transaction is going to suit their needs. Just like you can make the purchase of a new home contingent on the sale of the old one, in most states, you can make the sale of your old home contingent on an accepted offer for a new one. This is where the value of a REALTOR® really comes into play. At Windermere, we have a whole class to take just on writing good contingencies!
If you or anyone you know is on the fence about selling, contact me! I’ll help you figure out if now is the right time for you and your family. We sure could use the inventory in the market!
Spring is my absolute favorite season. Growing up in Southern California I was always a summer lover, but since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I have a new appreciation for this transitional season. Down there, Spring doesn’t really exist. It never gets cold enough for winter to really take effect, so once March rolls around, it’s just some slightly warmer weather. When you actually experience winter, though, Spring is what pulls you out of the grey and gives you a new hope. I love the vibrant colors starting to pop up all over the city and the increase of people being outdoors and chasing the sunshine.
It seems like everyone in Oregon shares these sentiments. There’s never really a shortage of things to do here year-round, but Spring is the time that things really start to kick up. We’ll start seeing more events and festivals as we all warm up from the winter chill. I’ve put together a list of some upcoming events this Spring to get us out and moving!
1. Whale Watching Week–Oregon Coast, March 19-26
I LOVE Whale Watching Week. I try to get out to the Coast as much as I can (I AM a beach girl at heart, after all), and this biannual event is the perfect reason to head west. All up and down the Coast areas are manned with volunteers to help you spot whales as they head north. There’s nothing quite like it, and the best part is that it’s absolutely free (although in some spots you’ll have to pay the $5 parking fee)! Make a day of it, and head to one of Oregon’s amazing coastal towns for lunch or dinner. More than 20,000 whales are expected to pass by our shore, so check out Oregon State Parks’ website for more information and to find which of the 24 designated locations you want to watch from!
2. Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival–Woodburn, OR, March 18-May 1
Nothing says Spring quite like 40 acres of stunning tulips! Each year, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm opens their tulip fields to the public to explore. It’s an amazing sight to behold, and they change the layout each year, so there’s always something new to see. It’s great for just taking in the natural beauty of the flowers and the backdrop of Mt. Hood, vineyards, and fresh country air, but there’s plenty more to do while you’re there! You can pack a picnic lunch or dine at the food court on site, buy or pre-order bulbs for your own garden, take a train ride through the fields, and even get some wine tasting done. Admission is $5/person, with a car limit of $20, so grab some friends and make a day of it! Visit their website for more information, and to plan your trip.
3. Annual Spring Beer and Wine Fest–Portland, OR, March 25-26
Okay, so this one’s inside, but I had to include it because it’s such a quintessential part of ringing in Spring in Portland–this year is it’s 22nd year! Located at the convention center (so you can enjoy rain or shine!), the festival is open 12-10 PM Friday and Saturday. You can sample beer, wine, chocolate, and cheese from the region all under one roof! Children are allowed in until 9 PM both days, and kids under 13 get in for free. General admission is $10 for those of us $13+, but there’s all sorts of packages that you can buy which include drink tokens. The value package is a great deal: $25 for admission, a standard tasting glass, and 10 tasting tokens. Their site has all the information you need, including vendors and a list of musical acts that will be performing.
4. Cinco de Maya Fiesta–Portland, OR, May 5-8
In it’s 32nd year, Portland’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is the largest multicultural festival in the state of Oregon. It is located at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and is packed with food, fun, and cultural entertainment. You can get your thrills on carnival rides, cheer on luchadors at Lucha Libre Portland, or visit the 12 Artisans traveling all the way from Guadalajara to showcase their artwork at this year’s event. With tons of free things to do, and only $9 for admission, it’s not only a great time, but a wonderful learning experience for kids to learn about a different culture! For more info, visit their website.
5. Portland Rose Festival–Portland, OR, May 27-June 12
Getting a little farther ahead, the Rose Festival is how we in Portland usher in summer. Starting at the end of May, the CityFair opens up at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and begins the many events that take over Portland during the Festival. Fireworks will kick off the opening on May 27 and there’s tons to do over the following couple of weeks, culminating in the always popular Dragon Boat Races and the Grand Floral Parade June 11, where the newly crowned Rose Festival Queen will join the parade of all-floral floats. The parade starts at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, crosses the Burnside Bridge, and will end in Downtown Portland. It’s a beautiful sight, and as we celebrate over 100 years, a true piece of Portland history! Get all the info on the official website.
Bonus: Portland Farmer’s Markets
Springtime means farmer’s markets! Starting in Mid-March, the markets open and will run through the summer and fall. The Portland Farmers Market is a non-profit that runs 8 different markets throughout the city, but there are many others that are independently run. If you want the freshest fruits and veggies, jams, honeys, and plenty of other handcrafted goodies, look no further! The various markets run on different days of the week, so you can always find one on your day off.
I hope that this gives you some motivation to get out and get moving after this exceptionally cold and wet winter! What other springtime activities do you love? Share them in the comments!
A few months ago, I posted about the possible boundary changes that were coming to Portland Public Schools. Over the last months, the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC) has worked to put together a recommendation for Superintendent Carole Smith’s review. She is now in the process of putting together a proposal for the School Board, and if it is accepted, may be implemented as soon as this coming 2016-17 school year.
For a full report of the proposed changes, you can visit the PPS website . The report addresses criteria and implementation guidance for reconfiguring K-8 schools, criteria and implementation guidance for siting middle schools, and West Side boundary changes and program relocation to address overcrowding. The recommendations are quite thorough and it appears the many months of debate on what the best course of action will be have at the very least given Superintendent Smith a lot to consider.
At this point in time, the Superintendent is reaching out to the community to participate in two enrollment balancing meetings in the coming weeks. The first is tonight, 2/25 (late notice, I know, but there will be food and child care provided!) from 6-8 PM at Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Highway. This meeting will be held in Spanish with English interpretation to review the West Side boundary and program changes, including moving the K-5 Spanish immersion program from Ainsworth to East Sylvan. All are encouraged to attend, but the is hope is to hear from Spanish-speaking families that may not have had an opportunity to have their voices heard so far in the process.
The second meeting is Tuesday, 3/1, at Ockley Green, 6031 N. Montana Ave. Part of the DBRAC proposal is to make Ockley Green (which currently houses grades 4-8 of Chief Joseph/Ockley Green K-8) into a standalone middle school. This meeting will be cohosted with the Jefferson Cluster Middle School visioning group. Again, all are encouraged to attend, but the idea is to hear from those in the immediate community this change would impact. Food, childcare, and Spanish language interpretation will be provided.
If you have not had a chance to look at the proposed changes, do yourself a favor and take a look. There is a lot going on, but it’s worth it if you’ve got school-aged children, especially middle school. If there’s a chance you are moving to or within the city, it’s doubly important for you to know about these possible changes; as boundary lines change, your dream home may no longer put you at your kids’ dream school. Educate yourself, and make sure your voice is heard before it’s too late!