PPS Boundary Changes…An Update

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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!

Posted on February 25, 2016 at 7:37 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Education, Portland, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

5 Things Every Seller Should Do Before Listing

You’ve made the decision to sell your home, now you just call an agent and they put a sign in your front yard, right?  Sure, if you’re not worried about when it will sell or for how much.  If you’re looking for top dollar, though, you’ll have to put in a little more work than that.  A lot of sellers will meet with an agent assuming that the day they sign the listing agreement is the day advertisement of their home will begin.  It’s always frustrating to see a seller whose move is time-sensitive learns that their property won’t be ready to list for a few weeks.   There are definitely things that need to be done alongside your real estate agent, but putting in some prep work will cut down the time before you can list, and ultimately close and get moved!

Here are 5 things to do once you decide to sell:

  1. Determine the Equity in Your Home

ITA18FXIBLThe first thing you need to do is figure out how much is left on your mortgage balance.  You want to ensure that your payoff amount is less than what you’ll sell for, or else you won’t be making any money off your home! Then there are the costs of a transaction: commissions, prorated taxes for the year, etc. You’ll also have to think about where you’re moving.  Most people use the proceeds of their home’s sale for the down payment on a new house.  Will the equity in your home cover all that?  Call up your mortgage lender and ask their opinion.  They will be able to answer a lot of the preliminary questions you might have.

To figure out what your home is truly worth, you’ll need the expertise of a real estate agent who can perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for you.  If you just want to get a ball park idea of what your home is worth before meeting with an agent, you can look at market trends in your area.  Neighborhood News is really excellent; it’s free, updates monthly, and it will give you info on recently sold properties in your specific area. From there, you can see that other 2 bedroom homes are selling in your neighborhood for between $250K-$275K, for example, and determine if that will be enough for you.

BEWARE of online home estimates!  Sites like Zillow or Trulia (who was recently bought out by Zillow, so they are now pretty much one in the same) will give you an estimated value of your home, but it’s been found that they get within 5% of actual market value only about 50% of the time.  While you can use their estimate to get an idea of what you’re home is worth, don’t get caught up in that number.  Once you’ve determined that you can sell and you’ll still have some money left in your pocket, it’s time to move to the next step.

2. Declutter and Depersonalize

9ORZU6QN7SI’ve talked about this before but that’s because this is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to get your home ready to sell.  Take a look around your house.  Are there pictures of family and friends all over your walls?  Buyers don’t want to see them.  It’s hard to envision yourself in a house where there are signs of someone else’s life everywhere. Take anything that’s specific to you or your family: photos, trophies/awards, kids’ art, personalized/monogrammed items and store them.  You’re going to have to pack them for the move anyway!  If you’re not quite ready to see your wall sans family portrait, make a note now of everything that will have to be put away before your home starts being shown.  Especially for homes with children, this will be more things than you initially think!

Cluttered spaces are a big turn off as well.  As comfy as your oversized recliner is, the fact that it takes up half the floor space in your living room isn’t doing you any favors.  A good real estate agent will have access to a staging company that will be able to do most of the hard work for you, but before you make that call, it’s good to know what pieces you’ll need to put in storage.  Take this time to do some research on local storage companies.  That way, when the time does come to move out your bigger, bulkier furniture, you’ll already know who has the best deal.

3. Make Minor Repairs

6B70C91911You don’t need a professional to tell you that the doorknob you have to jiggle just so isn’t a selling point.  Make sure finishes are functional and don’t look dated.  Go through each room and replace anything that is staying with the house that wobbles or flickers.  Wood floors should probably be refinished and unless carpet is spotless, it should be replaced.  While you can offer a credit to the buyer to make your home more enticing, it’s a lot easier for someone to fall in love with the plush feel below their feet.

If your roof needs replacing, bite the bullet and just do it. The second you hire a real estate agent, they’re going to suggest you do it anyway. Roofs in disrepair can turn off a buyer faster than you can blink three times.  No one wants to worry whether the rain is going to leak through during the first big storm.

Landscaping and paint jobs shouldn’t be ignored, either!  My earlier post (which I linked to above, but here it is again) goes into much more detail about updates such as these. In short, buyers generally want something move-in ready.  The closer you are to that, the more buyers will be interested and the more they will be willing to pay.

4. Think About Throwing in Extras

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Sometimes a buyer will walk into a home and fall in love with some of the stuff you have inside.  Of course you’re probably not going to give them your bed, but certain things like appliances can sweeten the deal.  Is there anything that you would be willing to part with?  Maybe there’s a large bookcase in your den that was custom built to fit that wall.  There’s a good chance that you won’t want to bring that with you either because it’s too large and cumbersome, or because it’s a weird size that only works for that room in particular.  I was in a house recently that had a large freestanding island in the kitchen.  The seller planned to leave it behind because even though it wasn’t fixed to the house, it was so heavy that taking it along was impractical.  It fit really well with the general aesthetic of the house (very modern) and added a lot of counter space that otherwise would have been lacking in the home.

*On a quick side note, if you plan on leaving any furniture or appliances when you do move out, make sure the movers know not to take those things!  If those items are promised in the purchase agreement and aren’t there when the new owners show up, you’ll be in trouble!*

5. Find a Real Estate Agent You Trust

96E1A8F1CBYou’ve done your homework, made sure your house looks great, and now you’re really ready to sell!  Make sure you’re hiring an agent that you trust and that you’ll know can get the job done for you.  Interview different agents to find out who’s services fit best with your needs, and most importantly, find someone you like!  You’ll have to work closely with this person for a while so if they have a personality that clashes with yours, it could be an early red flag.  If you choose a Realtor®, know that we must abide by a strict code of ethics that are not required by other agents.

Now, the only thing left to do is list your house!

Posted on November 2, 2015 at 11:16 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Looking to Sell? Updates You Can't Afford to Skip.

There’s a reason good house flippers are so successful.  Sure, you might get some people who are willing to put in some sweat equity, but on the whole, buyers overwhelmingly want move-in ready homes.  Even something as simple as burned out light bulbs can be a deterrent to potential buyers.  That’s why your Real Estate agent generally will suggest improvements that can get you top dollar.  At the end of the day, your home is probably your biggest investment.  Don’t you want the best return possible?

Updating your home to sell doesn’t mean you have to drop $30,000 on a brand new kitchen.  If your house is pretty well maintained, some simple changes can be made to get a dramatic new look.  Here are 3 improvements you can make to max your ROI without breaking the bank:

  1. A Modest Bathroom
bathroom

Courtesy of mohomy.com

Time and time again, it’s been said that the best update to sell is a modest bathroom remodel.  Take a look at the bathroom(s) in your house.  Did you step into another decade?  Time for a face lift.  A fresh coat of paint can do wonders.  Choose a light color to open up a small space.  Remember at this point, you’re not designing for your aesthetic; you’ve already decided to sell.  Think light blues or grays–neutral colors that won’t scare potential buyers.  Same goes for the tile.  Subway tile is all the rage right now: it’s clean and modern, and variations can be found that fit within your budget.

A new vanity can breathe life into an old bathroom.  A full one including the top can be found at any home improvement store starting around $100.  To go along with your beautiful new vanity, make sure you’ve replaced the hardware (faucet, knobs, cabinet pulls, towel racks) with modern finishes.  Light fixtures should round out the new look.

If your tub and toilet are in good shape, a thorough cleaning should suffice.  If your tub’s got some stains that won’t come out but you don’t want to spring for a new one, there are options to do a refinishing on your tub to bring back that porcelain shine.  A quick Google search will give you professional and DIY options.

2.  Enhance Your Curb Appeal

Courtesy of StockSnap

Courtesy of StockSnap

You’ve no doubt heard the old adage, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” and that goes double for your home.  Your front yard is the first thing any buyer will see, so you don’t want to turn anyone off by having a less than stellar yard.  A warm, friendly entryway will bring people in and make them feel at home before they step through the front door.  Don’t have the money to hire a landscaper?  No problem.  First do a search for some inspiration.  When you think you’ve got an idea of what you want to do, hit up your local home and garden store to find some bright flowers and shrubs to give your walkway some pop.  Talk to the employees there.  They should be able to tell you which plants will give you the most bang for your buck.  Try to choose plants that don’t need a whole lot of maintenance–you’ll thank yourself in the weeks before the move, and buyers will appreciate not needing to hire a gardener.  Call up some friends and for the price of some lunch and maybe a couple bottles of wine or six-packs, you’ve got a planting party.

How’s the exterior paint?  If you’ve repainted recently (within the last 5 years or so) and it’s still in pretty good shape, you could probably get away without a full repaint.  You should still have either the paint color or some cans left over from the last time you painted.  Take that paint and go around the exterior, touching up any spots that have chipped over time.  Updating the trim can give you the same fresh look of new paint at a fraction of the cost.  Finally, take a look at the front door.  Is it giving off a warm, inviting vibe, or is it a barrier to the inside of your home?  Think of painting it a bold primary color to pull focus to the front of your home.

3. De-cluttering and Freshening Up the Interior

Courtesy of StockSnap

Courtesy of StockSnap

Hands down the most cost-effective way to improve the look of your home is to go through and de-clutter the space.  It’s totally free and can make a huge difference.  Take any family-specific items like photos or toys and make sure they are stored away.  It will be easier for buyers to picture themselves in the house if they’re not distracted by your family portrait.  If you’ve got bulky, ill-fitting furniture, think about storing it.  Simplicity is king when it comes to attracting buyers.  A lot of sellers don’t want to pay for staging, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the costs.  There are staging options for every budget; it’s up to you to do the research to find a company that works for you.  Staging can offer up to a 5% increase on the value of a home which would more than pay for the cost.

Painting walls warm, neutral colors is a great, cost-effective way to increase value.  Your child may love their bright orange bedroom, but it can be distracting to buyers.  Again, paint is inexpensive and can totally transform a space.  If your floors are in good shape, all you need is a deep clean.  Make sure wood floors are freshly cleaned and waxed.  Spring for a professional carpet cleaner, especially in high-traffic areas like living rooms.  Get tile grout deep cleaned.  It may be time-consuming, but clean grout can make old tile look new again.

With just a few updates, your home can sell quickly and get the outcome you desire.  Just remember to look at your home through the eyes of a buyer–don’t expect them to overlook things you wouldn’t.  Happy selling!

Posted on October 16, 2015 at 10:09 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Looking to Sell? Updates You Can’t Afford to Skip.

There’s a reason good house flippers are so successful.  Sure, you might get some people who are willing to put in some sweat equity, but on the whole, buyers overwhelmingly want move-in ready homes.  Even something as simple as burned out light bulbs can be a deterrent to potential buyers.  That’s why your Real Estate agent generally will suggest improvements that can get you top dollar.  At the end of the day, your home is probably your biggest investment.  Don’t you want the best return possible?

Updating your home to sell doesn’t mean you have to drop $30,000 on a brand new kitchen.  If your house is pretty well maintained, some simple changes can be made to get a dramatic new look.  Here are 3 improvements you can make to max your ROI without breaking the bank:

  1. A Modest Bathroom
bathroom

Courtesy of mohomy.com

Time and time again, it’s been said that the best update to sell is a modest bathroom remodel.  Take a look at the bathroom(s) in your house.  Did you step into another decade?  Time for a face lift.  A fresh coat of paint can do wonders.  Choose a light color to open up a small space.  Remember at this point, you’re not designing for your aesthetic; you’ve already decided to sell.  Think light blues or grays–neutral colors that won’t scare potential buyers.  Same goes for the tile.  Subway tile is all the rage right now: it’s clean and modern, and variations can be found that fit within your budget.

A new vanity can breathe life into an old bathroom.  A full one including the top can be found at any home improvement store starting around $100.  To go along with your beautiful new vanity, make sure you’ve replaced the hardware (faucet, knobs, cabinet pulls, towel racks) with modern finishes.  Light fixtures should round out the new look.

If your tub and toilet are in good shape, a thorough cleaning should suffice.  If your tub’s got some stains that won’t come out but you don’t want to spring for a new one, there are options to do a refinishing on your tub to bring back that porcelain shine.  A quick Google search will give you professional and DIY options.

2.  Enhance Your Curb Appeal

Courtesy of StockSnap

Courtesy of StockSnap

You’ve no doubt heard the old adage, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” and that goes double for your home.  Your front yard is the first thing any buyer will see, so you don’t want to turn anyone off by having a less than stellar yard.  A warm, friendly entryway will bring people in and make them feel at home before they step through the front door.  Don’t have the money to hire a landscaper?  No problem.  First do a search for some inspiration.  When you think you’ve got an idea of what you want to do, hit up your local home and garden store to find some bright flowers and shrubs to give your walkway some pop.  Talk to the employees there.  They should be able to tell you which plants will give you the most bang for your buck.  Try to choose plants that don’t need a whole lot of maintenance–you’ll thank yourself in the weeks before the move, and buyers will appreciate not needing to hire a gardener.  Call up some friends and for the price of some lunch and maybe a couple bottles of wine or six-packs, you’ve got a planting party.

How’s the exterior paint?  If you’ve repainted recently (within the last 5 years or so) and it’s still in pretty good shape, you could probably get away without a full repaint.  You should still have either the paint color or some cans left over from the last time you painted.  Take that paint and go around the exterior, touching up any spots that have chipped over time.  Updating the trim can give you the same fresh look of new paint at a fraction of the cost.  Finally, take a look at the front door.  Is it giving off a warm, inviting vibe, or is it a barrier to the inside of your home?  Think of painting it a bold primary color to pull focus to the front of your home.

3. De-cluttering and Freshening Up the Interior

Courtesy of StockSnap

Courtesy of StockSnap

Hands down the most cost-effective way to improve the look of your home is to go through and de-clutter the space.  It’s totally free and can make a huge difference.  Take any family-specific items like photos or toys and make sure they are stored away.  It will be easier for buyers to picture themselves in the house if they’re not distracted by your family portrait.  If you’ve got bulky, ill-fitting furniture, think about storing it.  Simplicity is king when it comes to attracting buyers.  A lot of sellers don’t want to pay for staging, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the costs.  There are staging options for every budget; it’s up to you to do the research to find a company that works for you.  Staging can offer up to a 5% increase on the value of a home which would more than pay for the cost.

Painting walls warm, neutral colors is a great, cost-effective way to increase value.  Your child may love their bright orange bedroom, but it can be distracting to buyers.  Again, paint is inexpensive and can totally transform a space.  If your floors are in good shape, all you need is a deep clean.  Make sure wood floors are freshly cleaned and waxed.  Spring for a professional carpet cleaner, especially in high-traffic areas like living rooms.  Get tile grout deep cleaned.  It may be time-consuming, but clean grout can make old tile look new again.

With just a few updates, your home can sell quickly and get the outcome you desire.  Just remember to look at your home through the eyes of a buyer–don’t expect them to overlook things you wouldn’t.  Happy selling!

Posted on October 16, 2015 at 10:09 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Real Estate | Tagged , ,

What the Heck is “Months of Inventory” Anyway?

If you’ve been anywhere near the Portland housing market lately, you’ve no doubt heard that months of inventory is at an all time low.  It’s definitely true, but what on earth does that mean?  Months of inventory, or absorption rate, is a way to measure how quickly homes are selling in a given market.

Months of inventory takes all the homes that are currently on the market and divides that number by how many homes have sold that month.  That number will tell you if no new listings went on the market how long it would take to run out of homes for sale.

Months of Inventory 6/2014-8/2015 for Multnomah County

Months of Inventory 6/2014-8/2015 for Multnomah County

So, from this chart, we can see that months of inventory (MOI) for August was 1.6.  Even though that is going up from the rest of summer, it is still incredibly low.  3-6 MOI is considered a balanced market, which means there is no real advantage for buyers or sellers.  More than 6 MOI is considered a buyers’ market.  In this situation, there are a lot of homes available and so buyers have the advantage of taking their time to make a decision.  A buyers’ market will sometimes result in lower prices for homes in order to stay competitive.  Less than 3 months of inventory is considered a sellers’ market, which is where Portland is at now.  Sellers who list their homes now may be able to get into a multiple offer situation which could potentially drive up prices.

This information is important whether you are buying or selling.  If you are currently looking for a home in an area that is a sellers’ market, know that now is the time to act.  Make sure your financing is all in order (a pre-approval letter from your lender is a must for making a viable offer) and be ready to make an offer that day.  Indecision is the killer of dreams in a sellers’ market.  Hopefully you’ve already established your whys with your broker so when that house that works for you comes along, you’ll know it.  You’ll have to ask yourself (and anyone else helping out in the decision) how you would feel if that house went under contract tomorrow.  If it’s something you think you’d be okay with, by all means take the time you need to figure out your next step.  If you can’t stand the idea of someone else living in that house though, don’t take too long to act.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, know that this could be a great time.  Even in a sellers’ market, however, pricing is incredibly important.  While prices on the whole may be going up, it is important to talk to your agent about what a fair list price would be.  If it is priced right, you could find yourself in a multiple offer situation, where a bidding war might push the price up.    A home that is priced too high won’t get this opportunity, and may detract buyers, as some who might be inclined to up their budget in a bidding war, may not even see your home if it’s initially out of their price range.  For instance, if your home is valued at $390,000 but you think it will sell for $405,000, no one whose max budget is $400,000 will see your property in the search.

Regardless of which side of the transaction you’ll be on, knowing current market trends in your neighborhood will help ensure that you get your desired outcome.  Talk to a real estate agent in your area to find out what the market looks like.  You can also visit my website to sign up for Neighborhood News, a monthly newsletter that gives you a snapshot of current market trends for a particular zip code.  Even if you’re not currently looking to buy or sell, it’s a great tool to keep tabs on what’s going on in your neighborhood.  Just click on the link at the top of my homepage!

Posted on September 22, 2015 at 8:10 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Portland, Real Estate | Tagged , ,

What the Heck is "Months of Inventory" Anyway?

If you’ve been anywhere near the Portland housing market lately, you’ve no doubt heard that months of inventory is at an all time low.  It’s definitely true, but what on earth does that mean?  Months of inventory, or absorption rate, is a way to measure how quickly homes are selling in a given market.

Months of inventory takes all the homes that are currently on the market and divides that number by how many homes have sold that month.  That number will tell you if no new listings went on the market how long it would take to run out of homes for sale.

Months of Inventory 6/2014-8/2015 for Multnomah County

Months of Inventory 6/2014-8/2015 for Multnomah County

So, from this chart, we can see that months of inventory (MOI) for August was 1.6.  Even though that is going up from the rest of summer, it is still incredibly low.  3-6 MOI is considered a balanced market, which means there is no real advantage for buyers or sellers.  More than 6 MOI is considered a buyers’ market.  In this situation, there are a lot of homes available and so buyers have the advantage of taking their time to make a decision.  A buyers’ market will sometimes result in lower prices for homes in order to stay competitive.  Less than 3 months of inventory is considered a sellers’ market, which is where Portland is at now.  Sellers who list their homes now may be able to get into a multiple offer situation which could potentially drive up prices.

This information is important whether you are buying or selling.  If you are currently looking for a home in an area that is a sellers’ market, know that now is the time to act.  Make sure your financing is all in order (a pre-approval letter from your lender is a must for making a viable offer) and be ready to make an offer that day.  Indecision is the killer of dreams in a sellers’ market.  Hopefully you’ve already established your whys with your broker so when that house that works for you comes along, you’ll know it.  You’ll have to ask yourself (and anyone else helping out in the decision) how you would feel if that house went under contract tomorrow.  If it’s something you think you’d be okay with, by all means take the time you need to figure out your next step.  If you can’t stand the idea of someone else living in that house though, don’t take too long to act.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, know that this could be a great time.  Even in a sellers’ market, however, pricing is incredibly important.  While prices on the whole may be going up, it is important to talk to your agent about what a fair list price would be.  If it is priced right, you could find yourself in a multiple offer situation, where a bidding war might push the price up.    A home that is priced too high won’t get this opportunity, and may detract buyers, as some who might be inclined to up their budget in a bidding war, may not even see your home if it’s initially out of their price range.  For instance, if your home is valued at $390,000 but you think it will sell for $405,000, no one whose max budget is $400,000 will see your property in the search.

Regardless of which side of the transaction you’ll be on, knowing current market trends in your neighborhood will help ensure that you get your desired outcome.  Talk to a real estate agent in your area to find out what the market looks like.  You can also visit my website to sign up for Neighborhood News, a monthly newsletter that gives you a snapshot of current market trends for a particular zip code.  Even if you’re not currently looking to buy or sell, it’s a great tool to keep tabs on what’s going on in your neighborhood.  Just click on the link at the top of my homepage!

Posted on September 22, 2015 at 8:10 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Portland, Real Estate | Tagged , ,

Possible Changes to PPS Boundary Lines

Earlier this week, I was at a class with the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors (PMAR) and we briefly touched on the subject of a potential redrawing of boundary lines for Portland public schools.  This piqued my interest and led me to do a little research on the situation, although I haven’t learned enough yet to really form my opinion.  I wanted to share some of the basic facts I’ve learned over the past couple days and give some insight into what this might mean for future home buyers.

Here are some of the facts I’ve gleaned over these last few days:

Portland Public Schools (PPS) and the District-Wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC), a community of 26 parent, teacher, principal, administrator and technical expert volunteers, have come together to make a decision about redrawing boundary lines for schools in the district.

The committee will send final proposals to Superintendent Carole Smith in early December and a final proposal from her will go to the school board in January 2016.  Changes to any boundaries will begin in Fall 2016.

The project is meant to reconfigure and right-size schools, as well as account for the projected 5000 student population growth over the next 10 years.

While all boundary lines are being looked at and considered, not all lines will necessarily change.

A huge issue stems from how much socioeconomic status should be considered when discussing these boundary lines, and how successful it will be in closing the achievement gap between students from higher and lower income families.  It’s not hard to see that schools in typically lower-income areas are affected by the lack of resources.  A great map shows the lack of equity in electives across the city’s middle schools.

So what does this mean for us?  Right now, the best thing we can do is stay informed on what’s going on.  The best resource for how DBRAC is progressing can be found on the PPS website.  In mid-October, proposals will be released to the community for feedback.  There will also be community meetings throughout October and November where the public can learn about the possible changes and comment on them.  We will also have the opportunity to share thoughts and comments through online survey as well as on Facebook and Twitter.  I strongly encourage anyone who has an opinion on this matter to make it to one of these meetings (the next one is Oct. 1).

If you’re currently looking for a new home, be aware that the current assigned school may not be the one assigned next school year.  Schools on a listing can only be deemed accurate at the time of publication.  If a house is specifically admirable because of the school your kids would be going to, make sure to do some research to figure out the likelihood you’ll still be zoned for the same school.  If you need specific information about where your children will go to school or if a boundary will change, contact the PPS Enrollment Office at 503-916-3205.

Posted on September 18, 2015 at 9:41 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Education, Portland, Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Moving with Pets

If you’re anything like me, your pet just might be the most important member of your family.  We give them food and attention, and in return we get the best, most unconditional love.  There’s nothing better for me than snuggling up with my dog on the couch at the end of a long day.

Great companions though they are, pets will add a few steps to the moving process.  A big move is stressful to humans–think of how confusing it must be for your pet.  Luckily, there are a few ways to ease the transition and make the change as seamless as possible for your furry (or feathered!) friends:

Get all your pets’ “gear” together, early.  Any pet owner knows that animals have a tendency to collect stuff almost as quickly as humans.  My dog has toys, treats, medication, food, walking gear, and that’s just the first things I can think of from my desk.  Decide what your pet will need in the urrounding the move and put it all together in a bag or a box that won’t get lost in the shuffle.  (Don’t forget to pack doggy bags for walks on the long drive!)

Decide if you need a new vet.  If you’re just moving across town, you might decide to stay with your vet.  However, if you’re moving out of state or even just a few towns over, you’ll need to find a new vet.  Take distance, reviews, and insurance/wellness plans into account when choosing a new veterinarian.

Obtain Vaccination and Medication Records.  Having up to date records will not only give you some peace of mind, but it will also be helpful if anything happens to your pet along the way.  This is especially important if you have a long drive ahead of you.  Having those records will allow an emergency vet to treat your animal immediately rather than have to wait for your old vet to get them sent over, or having to guess if the office is closed.  It’s a good idea to get an extra refill of any medication too, as you may not be able to get one until your pet has an exam from the new vet.

Update Your Pet’s Tags.  It’s a good idea to make sure your pet has tags with your current information on it.  If he’s microchipped, make sure to update that information as well.  In a stressful situation like a move, even the most well behaved of animals have a tendency to get out and run off.

On Moving Day, Keep Your Pets Leashed or Crated at All Times.  Again, animals will be more skittish, so keep an eye on them.  A crate or pet carrier can be a very calming place for a dog or cat since it is small and safe-feeling.

Keep Your Pet Entertained.  While it’s not a great idea to give your pet a big meal right before the move (as the stress may upset their stomach and make them sick), make sure they have something to eat and give them plenty of access to fresh water along the way.  If possible, giving them a toy to as a distraction is a great way to keep them calm.  On a long drive, make sure to schedule stops to give them a break from the moving vehicle and a chance to stretch their legs.  Keep them leashed during break times!

Get Your Pet Gear Unpacked First.  That box of stuff you packed with all your pet’s essentials should be one of the first things in your new place.  The faster your new house has some recognizable smells and comforts, the faster your pet will feel at home.

With just a little bit of extra preparation, moving with a pet can be a smooth transition, and before you know it, you and your little buddy will be enjoying everything your new home has to offer!

Do you have any other tips for moving with your pet?  Share them in the comments!

Posted on August 18, 2015 at 9:52 PM
Sianna Johnson | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged ,