Monthly Archives: February 2012

  • Value and Space Are So Very Subjective

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      [caption id="attachment_481" align="alignleft" width="281"] NYC front yard on 10th st.
      (screen grab courtesy of Google Maps)[/caption] I was on vacation in New York City last week, taking a walking tour of the Greenwich Village and Chelsea neighborhoods. While on tour, the guide pointed out a street that had front yards - Actual front yards! - and was clearly excited about this 3-foot-deep patch of grass. My first instinct was to laugh, but after spending only a few days in the hustle and closeness of the city, I could see where her excitement was coming from. Space, in New York, is at a premium. It adds tremendous value to a home. It got me thinking about how our differences in experience can change our perspective and influence our wants and needs when we're looking for a home. In Portland, a high value is placed on homes that are walkable to shops and restaurants, particularly in certain close-in neighborhoods. Those houses have maintained value better during the real estate downturn because native Portlanders have collectively decided that we find it important to, at least occasionally, get out of our cars and enjoy even a peek of sunshine. It's not important for everyone, though. Recently I worked with some people who were relocating from a suburb outside of Atlanta. They were accustomed to large lots in gated communities, and were having a hard time seeing any value in the close-in neighborhoods that I mentioned above. In other words, perspective effects experience in nearly every situation in life. Including real estate. Portland was the 37th most expensive housing market in the country last year. Some transplant clients (Atlanta suburbs) think it is absurdly overpriced, while others (New York) thought they could get a fantastic bargain. Interestingly, nearly everyone comes to the have the same perspective about Portland after living here. People tend to fall in love with it, though it may take a couple of rainy seasons to do it. If you're looking to move into your next overpriced bargain of a perfect home, give me a call or email. Amy Seaholt, Oregon Broker, CDPE 503-936-8705
    • Plan to Make Your Spring Beautiful – Get Ideas Feb. 17 to 19 2012

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        Spring is coming, and no blustery wind can blow hard enough to keep it from greening our beautiful city. Though the days are still cold and (occasionally) rainy, now is the time to think about what you want to plant and plan for in the warmer days ahead.

        If you're in need of planning ideas, put Portland's Yard, Garden and Patio Show on your calendar. The show runs February 17 to 19 at the Oregon Convention Center. Dennis' 7 Dees landscaping hosts the event, which is one of the largest consumer gardening shows in the country. Look for gorgeous showcase gardens for inspiration, and days filled with seminars on how to make those showcase ideas come to life in your own yard.

        And if you're a brown-thumb, like me, it's still a wonderful place to get ideas for your dream garden - that I may have to hire somebody else to bring to fruition.

        If you'd like to buy a garden of your own - and a home to go with it - contact me: or 503-936-8705.

        Tickets to the Yard Garden and Patio Show can be purchased a the doors for $12. Kids 12 and under are free.

        - Amy Seaholt

      • When it Comes to Inspections, Wish for Rain

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          It was another sunny weekend here in Portland. Though I am definitely a fan of the fair weather on a personal level, professionally I secretly curse the lack of winter rain. Searching for a home in winter can have it's disadvantages - the inventory can be scarce as sellers wait until spring to put their homes on the market and gauging what a garden will do in the spring is nearly impossible. But there is one distinct advantage that makes me want to tell every client to buy in the winter: water.

          When the (normally) heavy Northwest rain falls, a homes water issues can become apparent, revealing issues that in summer may be nearly impossible to see. I have some clients, dear friends, who I helped with the purchase of their dream home in summer. They called me justifiably upset after the first rain the fall after they moved in. Inches of water in their basement. I felt horrible for them! The challenge is that there were few signs of a problem in the basement, save for slight water marking that is actually pretty common in older homes. And if the home has Portland Cement - that porous aggregate so common in homes around here - dry weather makes it even more difficult to tell if it's a big problem like my friends had, or a smaller issue of seeping. (I realize that this example is also about the failure of the sellers to disclose the water intrusion, which is unfortunately difficult to prove, though depending on the situation may be worth pursuing in court. Fodder for another post.)

          But there are the successful examples, too. I helped another friend purchase a home through Fannie Mae, who as a bank are not able to provide a detailed disclosure. The inspector found a roof leak because of staining on the living room ceiling. Once that dried in summer the problem may not have been apparent. Another client purchased a fixer where the walls seeped and mildew was beginning to grow. They were able to financially for the needed repairs. A good thing, because once summer rolled around the basement dried out and hid it's issues.

          You and you family should decide to purchase a home or investment property in whatever season works for you. Just know that every season has its benefits and drawbacks.

          One of the best things you can do is to hire well-recommended inspectors to investigate any issues with your prospective property. I like the guys over at Associated Master Inspectors, and Elena likes to use Home Inspections NW. While we can't unearth every problem, between good inspectors and Realtors, like Elena and I, who are willing to do as much homework as we can to find out the complete picture of a property's condition, you can do all you can to minimize surprises once you own the home.

          If you are thinking of buying a home any time soon - whether winter, spring, summer or fall - I'd be happy to help you unearth the right home for you and be aware of its condition when you buy it. Give me a call at 503-936-8705 or email

          -Amy Seaholt