Did you know well-placed furniture can open up rooms and make them seem larger than they are? Or that opening drapes and blinds and turning on all lights make a room seem bright and cheery?
It's a fact: acquiring the highest market value and elevating your home above others in the same price range often comes down to first impressions.
Here are some inexpensive ways to maximize your home's appeal
Cooper Realty’s amazing Realtor and Social Media Manager recently asked all of us here at CR to write a brief about our favorite neighborhood in or around Portland.
I’ve been the tardy one. Reason being; there are so many wonderful areas in and around Portland, that due to my fantastic job, I get to explore and be a part of with my buyers and sellers.
Therefore, I took a walk down memory lane and came to the conclusion that while Scott and I are blessed to live in The Alphabet District, which is a walkable, and eatable (is that a word?) my favorite neighborhood is The Pearl District.
I loved that I could walk out the front door of my building and what wasn’t there????? Starbucks was right across the street. There was a gourmet restaurant in our building. Our gym was two blocks away. Scott had to walk ½ a block to on the streetcar. Scott once commented to me (we lived on the 6th and 7th floor of the building) that because he worked on the 6th floor of a building downtown, that he lived the majority of his life six stories in the air. Safeway was four blocks away. Whole Foods was several street car stops up the street. There was a park adjoining our building’s property line. I spent many an afternoon, when not working, sitting in the grass reading or working on needlepoint. Another sweet memory is the friends we had in our condo building. We moved in as one of the building’s first residents along with a very small group of people. Imagine living in a 125 unit plus building with only four or five other neighbors….it was odd for a while. Anyway, we became the “adult dorm” even to the extent of having keys to each other’s homes. Need a stick of butter???? Don’t have it. Go upstairs or downstairs to one of our friends condo’s, not home? Well, we’d just go in and borrow, leave a note and replace it later. We are still close to several of our old “dorm” mates. The only reason we moved was we had a 1,500 SF loft with no bedroom (no privacy) and no patio(we couldn’t BBQ) and Scott wanted a house. And you all know, when Scott’s happy, we’re all happy!!!!! LOL!!!!!
So, Rachel, I’d have to say The Pearl. And, it might just be because of the fond memories of friends and family………
Although named after a insane asylum that moved over a century ago, Hawthorne Boulevard isn't a crazy place to call my favorite in Portland. At one end, an iconic bridge frames the Willamette River, where my favorite relay race, Hood to Coast, has a major team exchange of runners. At a few blocks into town at SE 9th, Helium Comedy Club features headliners like Greg Proops, Aisha Tyler, and Doug Benson. Heading up between 12th and 20th is one of Portland's most distinct mini-hoods, Ladd's Addition, with its diagonal streets, a central rose garden, and homes of various styles under a rich elm tree canopy. Those elms require annual inoculation from disease - poor trees!
At 30th, the Boulevard begins a 20-block stretch of small and large retail stores, restaurants, bars, cafes, liquor stores and weed shops. My personal favorite place for breakfast in the whole city is Cup and Saucer at 36th - the Tofu Scramble with their garden sausage is so tasty - and I'm not even vegetarian (side tip: get the vanilla scone along side). For lunch, a slice of pepperoni pizza and a beer at Oasis Cafe at 37th is a great small lunch. And for dinner and a show, McMenamin's Bagdad is a perfect place for their High Pasta and a first-run movie. You'll find everything on your list at Freddie's at 39th, but if you park on top on a clear day, you'll get a great view of Mt. St. Helens (where my grandpa took me to watch the explosion in 1980!) And I could spend hours at Powell's on Hawthorne - it's got every bit the heart of the downtown location with out all the... downtown.
Between 39th and 50th, the Boulevard shows signs of change. New apartment buildings and evolving properties have seen some long time businesses close to make room for larger apartments and taller development. And right at the intersection with 50th is the Sapphire Hotel - a cocktail bar in the bar of a former hotel. The Boulevard is beautifully framed to the east end by Mt. Tabor - one of 32 volcano cinder cone buttes in the metro area! Trimet bus number 14 makes frequent stops from end to end, and into downtown.
My very favorite neighborhood in Portland is the one that I both live and work in- Nob Hill. Growing up in the West Hills suburb of Portland, we attended Temple Beth Israel on 19th and Flanders and would spend Sunday afternoons grabbing lunch on 23rd and exploring all of the shops. I’ve lived in Nob Hill since 2012 and love the fact that there are so many great restaurants and bars and places to go within such a short walk. Living here I’m never at a shortage of things to do or places to go, and the fact that I can walk to the office is definitely an added benefit!
The Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood is an old farming community that was settled by pioneers, from the Oregon trail in the 1800’s, who were eager to take advantage of the Donation Land Claim Act. Powellhurst-Gilbert lies about 10 miles east of the city center and is incredibly diverse. There are an abundant mix of restaurants offering foreign cuisine and it is home to the Fubonne Shopping Center; the self-proclaimed largest Asian shopping center in Oregon! Powellhurst-Gilbert is in the David Douglas School District and has low crime relative to the rest of Multnomah County. The neighborhood has a community garden and 4 city parks that total over 21 acres. Powellhurst-Gilbert is adjacent to the over 600 acre Powell Butte Nature Park and also claims 23 acre Kelly Butte Nature Park as it’s own. Division, Powell & Holgate Streets feel very urban, but most of the area is residential space. People who live here have easy access to the city, yet still enjoy quiet streets and a slower pace.
Multnomah Village has been one of my favorite neighborhoods even before I moved to this small pocket of Portland. This community-oriented village, formed in the 1910s around a former depot of the Oregon Electric Railroad, offers the old look and charm with newer shops and restaurants. The "Village" lies between SW 45th Ave. in the west, SW Capitol Hill Rd. in the east, SW Vermont St. in the north, and I-5 in the south. This suburban area offers walking trails through the neighborhood including Gabriel Park that offers a dog park, tennis courts, skate park, and beautiful trails that lead you with a creek to the shops on Multnomah Blvd and Capitol Highway. At "First Friday" you can enjoy special events and late hours for eating and shopping. Village staples such as O’Connor’s, offering live music, and Marco's Café are both known for their locally sourced ingredients. If you are looking for a friendly recommendation of a must read novel, Annie Bloom's Books never disappoints. Medley Café and Tea House and Prosperity Pie Shoppe both offer great breakfast, brunch and lunch with gluten free options. If you walk down capitol highway you can explore all the gift and craft shops with a few twists. Eventually you will end in front of the Multnomah Arts Center that offers the community with a range of sports, activities and classes. If you decide to bring your furry friend to explore, you can go get a slice and a pint at the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. You can really get a feel for this neighborhood and its inhabitants by coming to Multnomah Days scheduled for August 19, 2017, which is a large block party with special activities and booths.
An important part of making an offer includes determining how much to offer for your earnest money deposit. The earnest money is offered to the seller as a sign of good faith and proof that the buyer has skin in the game. It reinforces to the seller that the buyer making the offer on their home is serious, and will complete the purchase once the offer has been initiated and all contingencies like inspections and appraisals have been satisfied. This earnest money deposit is customary and should be weighed seriously before submitting your offer since the seller may be able to keep your deposit money if you pull out of the deal for a reason that isn’t allowed under the purchase contract.
In Portland, the earnest money amount is typically between about $3,000 and $10,000. Cooper Realty recommends not going above $10,000 because that will take you out of small claims court if there is an earnest money dispute between the buyer and seller. Technically the earnest money amount can be as small as a penny- for the contract to be legally binding there must be some “consideration” attached. However, offering a more substantial earnest money deposit shows the seller that you are serious about purchasing the home.
The amount of earnest money you are offering is part of your down payment- think of it as a pre-payment of your down payment. So if your total down payment is $50,000 and you are providing $5,000 in earnest money, at closing you will pay the balance, or $45,000. During the transaction the earnest money sits in escrow, the neutral third party to the transaction, so that it is in safe, impartial hands until it is distributed at closing.
I love being a Realtor because I get to help people with one of the or the most important purchases or sells in their lifetime. I love the art of the transaction (not the paperwork-LOL), the negotiations and then there’s that special moment when it all comes together. Awww. Then there is that special day when a buyer gets their keys or the seller closes on the house sell. I love to call the seller to let them know that their house has SOLD or to meet the buyer at their new home to give them their keys. Oh happy day! I love my job because it’s a different thing or 100 new things every day and I get to learn….every day! When I wake up in the morning, I’m like; what’s going to come at me today?! Bring it on! One of the other things I love love love about my job is helping and coaching the Realtors at Cooper Realty. I love it when they have a success, big or small and I hurt when they have a disappointment. I love to see them grow, learn and succeed. They make me so proud. I can say that I most definitely found my calling almost 18 years ago.
I help my clients change their lives. I become a powerful partner to home buyers and sellers as a transactional technician, a skilled negotiator, and a voice of wisdom. My clients thrive in their homes that align with their values and lifestyle goals.
From the wine country of the Tualatin Valley to the forest wilderness of Mt. Hood foothills, and every neighborhood and city in between, the beauty of the region is my office. Portland has been my playground for my entire life, making it my workplace was just a natural fit. That I get to help my fellow citizens achieve their goals is a true joy and blessing.
I love being a Realtor because I love people!! Getting to work closely with my clients is what makes this job so rewarding to me. I love going on tours with buyers and helping them find, and then close on, their dream home is one of my favorite aspects of being a Realtor. Handing them the keys at the end of the transaction is such a special experience, for them and for me! Helping sellers get their house ready for sale and walking them through the transaction is so rewarding, and knowing that I am able to get them the most money for their home possible makes us all happy! Forming relationships with my clients is so important to me, so much so that I keep in touch with everyone after the transaction and have even formed some new friendships! I couldn’t be happier with my career choice of being a Realtor.
I love being a Realtor, because I enjoy sharing the exciting journey that comes with finding a new home! It feels great to share the knowledge I’ve spent so many years passionately learning and spending time getting to know what makes each of my clients unique, as we get to see all the cool housing options they might choose. After I’ve introduced them to enough potential matches, when they find the home they love, together we write creative, compelling offers that sellers have a hard time refusing! Being a part of winning teams, sharing those successes and helping people get the homes of their dreams is just a ton of fun!
I love being a realtor because I can help others realize their dreams. Whether I help a first time buyer achieve their goal of owning their first home, a home owner sell to downsize for a freer life or an investor secure real estate to increase their portfolio and income; I love being able to assist my clients in achieving their goals as easily as possible. Nothing is more exciting then seeing someone get the keys and open the door to their future for the first time. This career allows me to meet most caring, thoughtful and kind professionals that all have the same purpose in helping homeowners. This is why everyday I thrive on helping clients and give them the best representation possible.
I love being a realtor because I enjoy being able to contribute to my client’s success. Buying or selling a home marks a significant milestone in many people’s lives and it is extremely satisfying to be able to guide and assist my clients in reaching their goals.
Real Estate is the only career that I’ve had in which I can see immediate and fulfilling results from start to finish. I enjoy explaining the transaction process, looking for homes with clients, finding them a home they love and working toward closing. It’s about the individual journey for each of my clients, all of the fun we have and friendships that we make along the way. In the end, I love seeing so much happiness on people’s faces when I hand them the keys to their new home!
So you’ve got your offer accepted, made it through the inspection period, and hear from your agent that the final hurdle is the appraisal. What exactly does that mean?
The basic premise of the appraisal is for a third party, the appraiser, to value the home based on location, home features and recent comparable sales. They will perform an inspection of the home to judge condition and make sure there are no major flaws, such as a roof past its life span or extensive dry rot. Their major tool in coming to a good valuation is looking at homes that have very recently sold in a tight radius to the subject property. They try to use homes that are very similar to the subject property in things like size, number of bedrooms, year built, etc, as well as very close to the home, and that have sold very recently. They may need to make minor adjustments to make sure they are really comparing apples to apples.
The reason for the appraisal is to make sure that the buyer is not-overpaying for the property. In a hot market such as what we have in Portland, bidding wars often drive up the price of the home to values that are “too high” for the area and specs of the home. Just because multiple offers show that buyers are willing to pay that price, it does not mean that the house will appraise for that value if there aren’t any comparables to justify the higher point.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but just remember that the lender requires the appraisal because they are technically buying the property and want to make sure that it is a solid investment. They take out any emotional connection to the house, because if you do over-pay and can’t keep up with payments, they are the ones who would have to take possession of the house and try to re-sell it.
For the most part, both the buyer’s agent and the listing agent will make sure that the buyer does not put in an offer well above a realistic price, and that the seller does not accept an offer that will not be met in an appraisal (unless it is a cash offer, in which case an appraisal is not required). This means that most homes in the Portland metro area are appraising at value. However, if the home does appraise below the agreed upon sales price the buyer and seller must come to an agreement about how to make up the discrepancy. Either the buyer has to bring the difference to the transaction, the seller has to agree to lower the sales price, or the buyer and seller can meet somewhere in the middle.
If you've purchased a home with a Cooper Realty agent, you know how hard we will push you to get a home warranty! Know that we get absolutely nothing for suggesting you get a home warranty, it is just something that we feel strongly about! We've had enough clients save thousands of dollars that we definitely see the value in the cost!
At Cooper Realty we generally suggest Fidelity Home Warranty for our buyers, but there are other good companies out there as well. We've done our research though, and find that Fidelity is the best value and has great customer service!
The home warranty is a protection on the major systems of your home… plumbing, electrical, most appliances, furnace, etc. If anything goes wrong with them during the time you have the warranty (it is purchased in one year increments) you get charged a $65 service fee for the item to be diagnosed, and the item is either repaired or replaced. It is a great value and especially great during the first year- you have just spent a lot of money on the home, the last thing you need is a major expense!
One of our agents, Rachel Bernhardt, purchased her first home this summer and is currently in the process of getting a brand new range/oven for only $65 thanks to her home warranty! Some of the buttons were not working properly, and since they were not able to replace the part they are replacing the whole unit!
We have had another client whose furnace went out not long after she purchased her home, but since she had the home warranty she was able to avoid paying almost $5,000 and only had to pay the $65 service fee!
Let us know if you would like more information about why we love home warranties!
The perfect home simply doesn't exist. Why? Well, in a brand new home, the contractor often is not aware of shortcuts taken by his subcontractors, and government building and code inspectors do not have the time or the budget to inspect everything in every home, so most government inspectors simply do a spot-check of homes in new subdivisions. A home that has been lived in usually has damage that occurred from simply living in it, or additions or remodeling that weren't permitted. That's why buyers need a professional home inspection.
The purpose of a home inspection is to document the overall condition of the property at the time of the inspection and to ensure that its major systems and components (water heater, heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are installed properly and in proper working order. The home inspection is not a warranty since the home inspector is only there for a couple of hours and never saw the home or its systems being built, so he has no idea about any quality control processes. While some items identified during the course of a home inspection might seem like minor items individually, collectively they could add up to major headaches involving both time and money. If sellers know what to look for, they can resolve many minor items before the buyer's home inspection.
Below is a "check" list of items often found during the course of a home inspection. Completing repairs before the buyer's home inspection helps ensure that escrow progresses more smoothly. If you have a pre-listing inspection, some, but not all, of these concerns might show up in that inspection report. A pre-listing inspection usually is shorter than a standard buyer's inspection simply because descriptions of the house you've been living in are not necessary, and noting things like a hole in a screen window, or a small crack in a window corner, or a loose door hinge are not major items, all things considered, but collectively they can cause a prospective buyer to say, "No, thanks. Too many problems."
BEFORE THE INSPECTION
ROOFING & GUTTERS:
KITCHEN, UTILITY, & BATHROOMS:
INTERIOR & ATTIC:
1. Make sure all light switches are functional and any burned out lights are replaced.
HEATING & COOLING:
Q: What is radon?
A: Radon is a cancer-causing gas. You cannot see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, you’re at high risk for developing lung cancer. Some scientific studies of radon exposure indicate that children may be more sensitive to radon. This may be due to their higher respiration rate and their rapidly dividing cells, which may be more vulnerable to radiation damage.
Q: Is radon common in the Pacific Northwest?
A: Yes, very common! It is estimated that 1 out of 4 homes in Portland have elevated levels of radon, whereas the national average is closer to 1 out of 15 homes. Oregon sits on a lot of granite, which is how radon is formed.
Q: How does radon get in the home?
A: Air pressure inside your home is usually lower than the pressure in the soil around your home’s foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Your home then traps the radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements.
Q: How do you know if your home has radon?
A: A common way for home owners to test for radon in Portland involves using activated charcoal kits that are analyzed by laboratories. Short term tests range from between 2 to 7 days, while long term tests can take several months or longer. The longer the test duration, the more accurate your test results will be. Processing of the activated charcoal tests can take weeks for consumers, however, so may not be an option for a time sensitive real estate transaction.
Q: At what point is radon dangerous?
A: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) suggests fixing the problem if the radon level is 4 picocuries per liter, or pCi/L, or higher. However, radon levels less than 4 pCi/L can still pose a risk and, in many cases, may be recuded.
Q: How do you deal with radon in a home?
A: If you discover that you have elevated radon levels in Portland, you should compare multiple bids from qualified radon mitigation contractors to make sure you’re getting a good deal. The costs can vary depending on soil conditions and the home’s construction, but radon reduction systems in Portland generally cost between $1,600 and $5,000. The mitigation system is quick to install, does not affect the quality of life of the inhabitants, and lasts for many years.
Q: Does having radon lower the value of a home?
A: Not at all! Radon occurs fairly randomly, so a home with radon happens by chance, not because of a flaw in the home. A radon mitigation system can actually be a potential benefit to buyers!
I love Portland and hands down, spring and summer are the best seasons. Portland has been under gloom, mist and rain for months and the liquid sunshine starts to work its magic as leaves and flowers burst from the ground, bushes and trees. Restaurants throw open their windows and set up out door dining to take advantage of the beautiful days. My favorite restaurant for outdoor seating is Café Nell in NW Portland. The place is nestled in a residential section of The Alphabet District, so it’s slightly off the beaten path. The servers are great, the food is delicious and the drinks are strong. I love their happy hour and weekend brunches.
Speaking of leaves and flowers coming to life. Another great place in the city that’s a hidden secret and is a favorite place of mine is Lower MaClay Park in Forest Park. You can find this retreat of relaxation complete with a running stream at the dead end of NW Savier. You might find me hiding out down there during the summer working on a park bench.
Portland is beautiful this time of year and luckily the city has a large number of parks and outdoor areas to enjoy when the sun comes out. My favorite thing to do during the spring and summer is to explore the many hiking trails in and near the city. My handy guide 60 Hikes within 60 Miles sent me on one of my favorite adventures: McNeil Point Hike near Rhododendron. The hike goes through a cathedral forest into wildflower meadows and alpine ponds. The views of Mount Hood are spectacular!
My second favorite outdoor spot closer to Portland is Mt. Tabor Park because there are great views from the top looking back to the city. It’s an easy hike with lots of trees and a variety of plants. It’s fun to see the architecture of the open water reservoirs which are part of a historic district listed in the National Register that includes gatehouses, wrought-iron fences, walkways and lampposts!
Every year I look forward to spring and summer in Portland, We are fortunate that we have access to such beautiful nature right in the city. The flowers alone are something to behold. I love to go to the waterfront to see the cherry blossoms bloom in late March and early April. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden has beautiful grounds to walk with bridges and waterfalls along paved paths. Although you can see flowers through July, it is breath taking to see all the vibrant flowers in full bloom in late April and early May. And I can't forget our city's feature, the International Rose Test Garden. This garden that has about 10, 000 rose bushes and 650 varieties draws people from all over the world while they are blooming April through October. The peak of for the roses is in June which is the time of the rose festival.
Another thing that makes Portland so special is the many parks and trails that blend into the urban landscape and give access to our natural resources such as the Williamette and Columbia rivers. I love to go for a jog in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. This park is fun to explore with the different paved, gravel and dirt trails. It meets with the spring water bike trail and is near Sellwood Park where dogs and people run free and enjoy the sun on the river. This is also a great area to launch a kayak or paddle board to tour the Williamette River. Its a great way to see Portland from a different vantage point. Make sure to paddle on the east side of Ross Island where it is quiet and serene. You will meet amazing wild life. As you float along you will see nesting Bald Eagles and Blue Herons. The best part of Portland is that you can explore and find new things every day. So enjoy!
Sellwood Park is a gateway to so many wonderful things in Portland. It’s a great place to play catch or splash around with kids in the summer. Venture west and you’re at the oak-lined banks of the Willamette River for sunbathing or canoeing. Head north a moment to arrive at Oaks Amusement Park with throngs of laughing and screaming kids. The Springwater Trail connects through that wonderland and the nature preserve Oaks Bottom, where you can see all kinds of wildlife. From the park, a brief walk east through the historic neighborhood leads to shopping and restaurants on a scale that’s uniquely Portland.
When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.
If you weren’t aware, we have a celebrity working at Cooper Realty- our very own Joseph Lyons is the host of the popular variety show and podcast My Real Portland! Joe is a talented performer and storyteller with a passion for Portland happenings and history, which he brings together into both the live monthly show and an in-depth video series.
The naming of My Real Portland is quite clever- it began as a way for Joe to explore Portland through the lens of his own life experiences. His family has lived in the Portland area for generations and it is fascinating to hear Joe talk about them and their lives- driving around Portland with Joe he can point to a corner and say “that is where the apartment building that my great grandma used to live in was” or “I used to eat pizza there with my dad back in the 70’s”. Joe thrives on research, and he goes so much deeper than most people will, traveling to remote libraries to look up old newspaper articles or photos in order to put the pieces together on whatever mystery he is looking into. His stories are about Portland, but they are all based on a piece of personal history, which gives the videos a personal, intimate element and makes them so much more interesting for the audience. My Real Portland also ties in Joe’s real estate career, making it that much more clever.
Joe produced his first video under the My Real Portland Brand in 2016. At first it seems the story is focused on his Grandma’s Apartment building from 1942 but it also touches on the history of NE Portland, redlining, and the McMenamins Grand Lodge. Visit his YouTube Channel to watch for yourself ! His other videos follow a similar pattern of using a personal narrative to make connections to Portland as a whole.
Joe started mulling over the idea of starting a local show last year and came up with the idea of the My Real Portland variety show near the end of 2017. Continuing on the theme of weaving a personal story into the story of Portland, Joe invites a few guests each month to share their connections to Portland through their unique mediums and perspectives. The first show happened in March 2018 and featured Comedian Brandon Lyons, Storyteller Paul Iarrabino, Spellbound Flowers Owner Nico Bella, and Singer-Songwriter Joaquin Lopez.
As a way to share the show with those who can’t attend in person, Joe has a sound producer record the live shows and converts them into podcasts, which can be found on both Itunes and Google Play. The shows happen monthly at Jade Lounge in SE Portland and generally feature at least one comedian, storyteller and musician. All of us at Cooper Realty love the show and are so proud to be working with such a talented man as Joe Lyons!
Visit the or page for show updates!
There are many studies that site benefits of homeownership, from higher self-worth to living in a safer neighborhood to your children doing better in school. Here are 33 reasons to become a homeowner- can you think of more?