Monday, January 26, 2009

Monthly Market Update for Portland's East Side (areas 141,142 & 143)

December 2008 Market Statistics for North, Northest and Southeast Portland
(zip codes 97202, 97203, 97211, 97212, 97213, 97214, 97215, 97217, 97218, 97232)

Active Residential Listings 969
Pending Residential Sales 104
Sold / Closed Listings 140
Median Sold Price $300,000
Average Active Listing Price $366,000
Average Sold Price $318,000
Average Price/Square Foot $158
Sold/Listing Price Difference 96%
Days on Market 54

I'll be posting market updates every month on this blog. If you'd like me to drill down to your neighborhood information, just let me know - I can customize this down to one zip code.

Have a great week!

Monthly Market Update for West Portland (area 148)

December 2008 Market Statistics for West Portland
(zip codes 97201, 97204, 97205, 97209, 97210, 97219, 97221, 97223, 97225)

Active Residential Listings 777
Pending Residential Sales 55
Sold / Closed Listings 53
Median Sold Price $357,000
Average Active Listing Price $646,000
Average Sold Price $400,000
Average Price/Square Foot $164
Sold/Listing Price % 92%
Days on Market 90

Looks kind of bleak, but here's the good news:
The phone has been ringing off the hook in January. Our principal broker reports that there have been 4 transactions per day crossing her desk, and things are starting to budge. I have had about eight people call me to list their homes and I'm working with approximately five active buyers. This was not the case in December! (as you could tell by my blog filled with cooking and partying pictures)

So stay tuned for January's numbers. I predict an upswing, and I'll also go on record to predict a beautiful spring thaw in our market, and real estate moving at a regular pace come fall.

I'll be posting market updates every month on this blog - and will do the close-in east side as well. If you'd like me to drill down to your neighborhood information, just let me know - I can customize this down to one zip code.

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Great, Green Moving idea

Moving with reusable plastic bins instead of disposable cardboard boxes.

Green moves are available locally in NYC.

This video has inspired me to look for a similar option in Portland. If one doesn't exist here, I'd be surprised. If not, it's a great idea to throw out there to some energetic entrepreneur.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


LOST starts tonight! Any and all of you are invited over every Wednesday night to watch him with me. I mean it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back to Business

You'd think I hadn't worked since Christmas, what with all the cooking posts and pictures of family. Real Estate slowed to a crawl with the snow storm, and it's often very quiet between Christmas and New Years. But I worked that week, and got a fun new client into a beautiful Riverfront condominium.

I also put a new construction deal together, and the builder was quite generous! The family is moving here from the Philippines, along with her mom, who will take care of the kids while the parents work. Sweet deal! They bought a house just about a block from the kids' school. Grandma can see them walk to and from school while standing in their doorway! (they picked out a beautiful deep blue/green for the exterior, and we picked out all the doors and windows on Saturday!)

Lately, I've been showing around a friend of my daughter's, who is a medical student here in Portland. She's going to buy a house to live in, and rent out rooms to other med students for the next couple of years. If all goes well, the others will pay the mortgage, and she'll pay a very reduced rate, while gaining all the tax credits and appreciation.

We did the same thing for our boys when they went to college. We picked up a five-bedroom house in Eugene, and have rented it for the last four years. Our youngest has one year to go, and I'm hopeful that we can sell it for a decent profit after he graduates. If not, it certainly "pencils," and we can actually keep it as a rental and earn a little something each month. That is, if we can find renters who don't want a kegger every weekend...

So if I were asked who should buy a house in this market, I would suggest to parents of kids in college that it's a smart time to pick up your first rental. (There's a loan called the "kiddie condo loan," that lets the parents co-sign but the kid gets to be on the loan and doesn't have to qualify.) In Portland you can find a decent three-bedroom for less than $250,000, and that should pencil out nicely with current rental rates.

Or to first-time homebuyers, the prices are about as low as they're going to go, as are interest rates. All you need is about 3.5% for a down payment plus closing costs. (This is just a guideline! I'm not a lender, but I can refer you to a great one) The little house above is listed for $325,000. That principal/interest on that loan is probably no more than rent on a nice 2BR apartment.

If you're moving up, consider this. You may have to accept less on your current home than you'd like. Let's say you thought it was worth $400,000, but you have to sell it for 5% less. That's $20K. The house of your dreams is $550,000, but you get to buy it for 5% less. That's $27.5K. You come out ahead by 7.5K by moving up in this market. That goes a long way towards closing costs or moving expenses.

There are so many good reasons to buy in this market!

What a great start to the new year, being so busy! Maybe that'll help me turn off my "holiday appetite!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pam's Talent

While I was staying with my sister last week, I wandered into her sewing room and found this quilt fabric laid out. She was moving the squares around to make just the right combinations of Mary Engelbreit fabrics and it was fun trying to put the perfect contrasting center piece on each large block. After switching them around, we put them all back, having decided she had already done it perfectly.

I knew her closet held the finished projects (those that hadn't already been given away. She has made many a quilt for friend and family, and the amount of work and her generosity are incredible) so I asked her to show me her stash. Look at the stack of quilts!

I had to pull them out and play with them (and grab my camera!) Look at all the color combinations! And the stitching, if you can see it, is often in a shape that matches the quilt. (like snowflakes on a Christmas quilt, etc)

I love the primary colors - and look at the stitching!

This one perfectly matches the colors in her hallway, and it hangs over the railing at the top of the stairs. (She gave me a Christmas quilt a couple of years ago in this same pattern)

These colors look so drab, thanks to my lousy photography skiills and the old camera that I take when I travel. But trust me, they're rich and gorgeous in person.

Pam's first quilt. I almost thought you could play checkers on it! It's a table runner - she makes all quilts in all sizes, from placemat to bed-sized quilts. Her house is filled with her handiwork, and it changes by season! (Whereas I'm lucky if I can find my two store bought valentine decortations)

I love all these bright ones! She's a fall colors girl, and I like them loud. No surprise there.

Valentine's day and Fourth of July!

Squirrels and pumpkins! All out of the softest flannel. This one is going to be so great when fall rolls around. (It's not done yet! She always has a few going at once.)

Christmas - this one was so beautiful but it's another bad photo.

Look! One of the quilts has just gotten packed into my suitcase!!

And here it is, home in my living room! (And if you look closely, you'll see another of Pam's creations on my piano bench!) I told you she was generous!

Actually, her biggest talent, even bigger than quilting (and putting up with me for all these years) is teaching kindergarten! For 32 years!!!

A few more pics for my fam...

Feel free to ignore this if you don't know the Brandstetters or the Rileys!

Look at these adorable troublemakers! Nate is Joe all over again. (And since I hadn't seen the nieces and nephews in a few years, he was the biggest surprise!) Brent has the "I'm in college and I can get away with murder," look going, doesn't he?

Here is my very oldest and dearest friend, Laura, and her husband John. I love them more than words can say! They were having the most stressful weekend ever and yet they came out to dinner with us during an ice storm!

Only in Sparta will you find a 14 year old in the bar with her partying folks. Sophie drank POP, I tell ya! On the right is our new friend, Andrea, who is Joe's oldest friend Steve's girlfriend. It was a blast seeing them both and we laughed for hours on end! And Steve's lawyerly advice on what to do in case of a DUI was priceless!

Here's Steve, with Laura and John & Bri. Andrea and Steve don't always dress like that in Sparta, although Steve is now very important, they had just come from a wedding.

Our youngest niece, Sophie! Enjoying an amazing pasta dish - and she needed all those carbs because she went off to a big, important dance competition right after this trip. How'd it go, Soph?

Where's Heidi? Bummer, she couldn't come home from Hawaii to the 6 degree weather. We missed you, Heidi! See, you even made the family photos we took!

Pam, Laura and Joe. Such a cute shot! Like father, like daughter!

Cousin Kathy and her oldest and dearest, Julie. Julie is the younger sister to my other oldest and dearest friend, Betsy! Good old Sparta is one big circle! (It also helps that there were only 6,258 people in town when I was growing up! Now there are over nine thousand!)

Here, Pam helps me to hold in my stomach for the picture.

It was so good to see Steve again. These two have an incredible history. I'm afraid to hear it, LOL, but it should be written. I'm sure it would be a bestseller.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


This would have saved me $25 last month.
(I bought three of the four vampire books)

It's like Netflix, but for readers! Especially for someone in a book club who buys, rather than borrows the books, it seems like a good deal! You have to be a two book a month person, or better, but I usually qualify.

I think I'm going to give it a try. The first month is half price!

New Years Resolution?

Since I had to fly out to the Midwest on New Year's Day, and thoughts of the trip dominated my last few days of 2008, I haven't given much thought to Resolutions.

Instead of making yet another new year's resolution aimed at self-improvement, consider what Sally Swift, the managing producer of The Splendid Table, often does. She picks a cookbook that's new to her and cooks her way through it during the coming year. She says it's a fun and simple way to learn a new cuisine. Select the book, stock your pantry with the staples unique to the cuisine you'll be "studying" and you're good to go. I love this idea! Time for a cookbook shopping trip...I'm thinking of Indian food - Norris and I both love it.

Of course, self-improvement isn't a bad thing, and I've made myself a few promises along that line. We'll see what the new year brings. All that Indian food might do damage to one of them, but as my old friend Mimi says, "Everything in Moderation!"

Wishing everyone peace, prosperity and good health!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm obsessed

with this...

Gosh, I love Food Day on Tuesdays, and this one takes the cake! Enjoy!

Realtors to Media: Get Your Down-Payment Facts Straight

A good article that cuts to the chase on today's lending standards. Note that first time homebuyers also have incentives, based on their income.

January 05, 2009 10:39 AM ET | Luke Mullins

As banks jack up their lending standards in the face of higher delinquencies, there have been numerous stories in the press about what borrowers need to put down these days in order to get a mortgage. But according to the National Association of Realtors, some journalists are getting the facts wrong.

In an attempt to correct what it considers 'misinformation in the media,' NAR recently issued the following release:

There is some misinformation in the media lately about the required size of a down payment for a mortgage in today’s market, and the blog world is abuzz with misperceptions. Not all so-called experts are knowledgeable in this area, and some experts are being misunderstood.

The facts:

1. An individual may be required to put down 20 percent based on that person’s financial situation. But that is not an across-the-board requirement for all borrowers.

2. A borrower who puts down less than 20 percent is required to obtain mortgage insurance.

3. Even in a declining market, a borrower is required to make at least a 5 or 10 percent down payment.

4. FHA requires a 3.5 percent down payment by borrowers, so long as they meet a 31 percent housing cost-to-income ratio. In other words, anyone who stays within their budget and who can afford a 3.5 percent down payment (even with family help) can become a homeowner.

PLEASE NOTE: FHA market share has grown roughly tenfold in the past year to an estimated 30 percent of new mortgage originations.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Brandstetter & Riley Reunion

The Brandstetters
Pam. Cary, Joe, Bri (in order of age! I'm second from the top)

The kids (who were able to make it to Sparta)
Nate, Ben, Sophie, Laura, Brent

Cousin Kevin, Pam, Connie, Sophie, Ben and Laura

Bri and Kevin - looking at old family photos

My old High School boyfriend, Jamie!
(who later became my cousin, LOL, when his mom married my uncle)

Cousin Kathy, Pam and Bri

Bri's ex-wife, Brent and Sophie's mom, Connie.

Tish and Reenie, my cousins

Tim, Tim and Bob, the cousins' husbands, all Sparta boys!

Kevin and Tish (my godchild!)

And a bunch of miscellaneous family shots.

More photos to come, once I get home and have access to my photo reader...