Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Home Improvements for Resale and Cost vs Value Report

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Here’s an article from MSN on 10 of the best home improvements you can do for your dollar. I thought it was interesting enough, some obvious points in there, but then it also linked over to what I found to be a much more interesting site which reports, for Portland Oregon homes as well, a “cost vs. value repor for 2014” from

It’s actually pretty cool, select your region, Portland Oregon is there, and it gives average costs for specific remodeling projects and essentially what boils down to ROI for those improvements.

Obviously these numbers can vary greatly on a home to home basis, but this does give some pretty good insight as to what may increase the value the most for the lowest cost before selling your home (or of course, just with later resale, if ever, in mind).


Don’t Miss Buck’s Blowout Sale! May 6-8 … ANTIQUES! STOVES! THICK with finds & collectables!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


Although most of the national media coverage of the Rose City focuses on innovation (like food carts, green energy, and high-tech public transportation) Portland is also full of quirky places with a lot of history. One of our favorite spots is Buck’s Stove Palace at 6803 SE Foster Road in the Foster Powell neighborhood. This neighborhood gem is a veritable museum of classic wood stoves, antique heaters, and cook-stoves, and has been a vital part of the community for decades.

We’re excited to share that Buck of Buck’s Stove Palace – a vital piece of Southeast Portland History – is blowing out his Personal Private Stash of Antique and Collectible wood stoves after 35 years. This is an unbeatable opportunity to to find great pieces you won’t find ANYWHERE else. Buck’s been gathering and restoring the finest classic wood stoves around since 1974, hand-picking unusual items with his extraordinary eye for quality, interest, and value.

Straight from the Buck’s mouth: “I realizes now this is the time to liquidate my collection before I go to stove heaven, as our multiple storage facilities are overflowing.” Experience THE EVENT that will celebrate Buck, Buck’s Stove Palace, and Historical Phoenix Pharmacy, where the sale will be taking place May 6-8, 9am-9pm. Come to big sale, and find once-in-a-lifetime deals from a once-in-a-lifetime character. Buck will be discounting everything, old and new, including stoves, Antiques, and Collectibles, Machinery, and more. You’ll even get 10% Off New Stoves during Buck’s Blowout Sale.


Portland Homes Guide: Buck’s Stove Palace and Antiques

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Although most of the national media coverage of the Rose City focuses on innovation (like food carts, green energy, and high-tech public transportation) Portland is also full of quirky places with a lot of history. One of our favorite spots is Buck’s Stove Palace at 6803 SE Foster Road in the Foster Powell neighborhood. This neighborhood gem is a veritable museum of classic wood stoves, antique heaters, and cookstoves, and has been a vital part of the community for decades. Having been in business since 1974 and with over 35 years of experience there isn’t anything Buck and his team can’t do, find or replace!  Whether you’re looking to buy a new woodstove or simply need a replacement part, Buck’s has what you need and will deliver it with a smile. The shop also features the largest collection of antique stoves on the west coast.

If you ever have ANY question about purchasing, installing, repairing, or replace parts on a woodstove, the good people at Buck’s are your go-to resource. Got a fixer-upper? Buck’s refurbishes and restores classic stoves to heat you hearth and home in vintage style.  Buck’s Stove Palace is a national resource for Cawley LeMay and Norwegian Jotul Stoves.  The owner, Buck, has quite the personality (and charm) and is always ready to help you find your perfect stove match!

Have an old wood stove that isn’t DEQ certified? Before you sell your home you have to remove it and show a destruction certification!  Buck’s can do this for you with as little as 48 hour notice… only $225!


Portland Real Estate Home and Garden Guide: Tips for Early Spring Gardens in Portland

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The sun was out in full force today – up and down Hawthorne Boulevard groups of people in shorts, sandals, and happy dogs on leashes paraded and soaked up the light. Such warm temperatures have us here at the McDonald Group real estate blog looking forward to spring gardening, and making the plans and taking the necessary steps this early in the season to ensure a healthy, thriving garden throughout the year. Portland gardens tend to grow wild over the winter, so we’re looking forward to seeing everyone out in the yard, cleaning up the cool-weather ground cover and looking towards summer. Here are a few steps for jump-starting your garden early in Spring, and take advantage of the amazing sunlight that will be hitting this weekend in Portland!

  • Make note of tree limbs that should be removed or cabled, especially those that overhang structures – better safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your roof and garden from falling branches.
  • Remove last year’s perennial foliage and rake leaves, and toss everything into the compost pile.
  • Tune up tools so everything is ready when things start growing.
  • Thin and trim summer-blooming shrubs such as butterfly bush, hydrangea, and most roses, except for old-fashioned once bloomers.
  • Clear the planting area as soon as soil can be worked, removing sod or weeds and debris.
  • Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials such as hostas and daylilies by early spring.
  • Apply balanced fertilizer, fish emulsion, or other soil amendments recommended by soil-test results around trees and shrubs when new growth appears. Spread high-acid fertilizer and pine-needle mulch around acid-loving shrubs like azaleas and camellias. Begin fertilizing perennials when active growth resumes.
  • Start a compost pile, or use a compost bin, if you don’t have one already. Begin by collecting plant debris and leaves raked up from the garden. Chop these up first to speed decomposition. Add equal amounts “brown” (carbon-rich) materials like dried leaves and straw and “green” (nitrogen-rich) materials like grass clippings and weeds in even layers with water and a compost bioactivator. Turn regularly. Continue adding to the pile throughout the season for rich, homemade compost next spring.

Thanks to its warm summers and temperate winters, Portland is the ideal place for the gardener in all of us—particularly the rose gardener. Nicknamed “The City of Roses,” Portland harbors world-famous rose gardens, including the International Rose Test Garden, which overlooks downtown.


Portland Real Estate Insider: Tour of Remodeled Homes

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Just a quick reminder: The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland‘s annual Tour of Remodeled Homes is happening this weekend, March 12-1, 2011 from 10 to 5. Only $17.50 for both days, tickets can be purchased online or by calling 503-684-1880. This event is a great way to get inspired to remodel your next home in Portland, or to make your current house ready to be a successful sale in the Portland Real Estate Market.

The remodelers on this year’s tour are: Arciform; Cascade Restoration & Remodeling; Cooper Designbuilders; Fouch Building & Remodeling; JB Construction; Leitner Construction; Master Plan Remodeling; Metke Remodeling & Woodworking; Neil Kelly Design/Build Remodeling; Olsen Homes & Renovation/Paolo Design Group; Portland Remodel; Rio Renovation; SLS Remodel & Additions; Stanley Renovation & Design; and T.H.E. Remodel Group.

Interested in buying a remodeled home in Portland? The home tour will showcase Porland area homes for every budget and lifestyle. The National Home Builders Association estimates that Americans spent $216 billion in home remodeling in 2008. Remodeling accounts for 2 percent of the US economy and 40 percent of all residential construction! Best of all, Portland is an international leader in sustainable and green renovation, with more alternative energy upgrades and innovative, money-saving tools and techniques being developed every year. More interested in new construction in Portland? The Ultimate Open House Tour of New Homes event might be more your style, where Tom Liesy of TA Liesy Homes NW will be showcasing many of his amazing homes. Either event is bound to get you excited about the Portland home market – we know we are!


Portland Real Estate Green Tips: Free Solar Workshops for Northwest Portland Residents

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Here at the McDonald Group, we talk to a lot of people who would like to add solar energy to their homes but aren’t sure where to start. Next month, Northwest Portland residents interested in renovating their homes with solar technology can learn more about the process with free workshops and question and answer sessions organized by Solarize Northwest, a project formed by the Neighbors West-Northwest Coalition. At the Solarize Northwest workshops, the coalition is able to provide residents with estimates and tips for Portland-area solar installation. The contracted solar supplier will also visit houses of interested residents for free site estimates.  Those interested in taking part in the program must sign up for a site estimate by March 31.

The full schedule of workshops is on the Solarize Northwest website.

Upcoming Workshops:


Portland Real Estate Tips: Installing Rain Collection Barrels Can Save You Money and Save Our Rivers

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Ever looked outside on a rainy day and thought about capturing some of that water to use later? One local business, Portland Purple Water, is hoping to make that idea a widespread reality by installing rainwater collection devices for homes and businesses in Portland. At their most basic, rain barrels are simple rainwater collectors that capture and store a portion of the runoff from a roof downspout. Stored water can be used for non-potable purposes such as irrigating lawns, washing cars, or flushing toilets. Harvesting rainwater can lower your water bill, save energy and reduce demand on Portland’s drinking water systems.

Curious about how to get a rain barrel installed in your home? If you’re super handy, you can build your own rain barrel (You don’t need any permits to use collected rainwater outside the house!), otherwise, professionals can get you set up in no time. Rainwater collection has the potential to be a huge project in Oregon – a 1,000 square foot house catches 26,000 gallons of water in Portland – that’s water that could be used in a lot of ways! By capturing rainwater in a rain barrel or a rain garden, water-savers can make the city of Portland function more like a natural area where rain is a source of clean water and not a vehicle for transferring fertilizers and chemicals to our rivers and watersheds.

Interested in finding out where the water from your home property goes when it heads down the gutters? Check out the Oregon Environmental Council’s new site, type in the ZIP code of your home, business, or apartment and  you’ll find a page dedicated to the watershed and river that receives what you release from your property. We here at the McDonald Group realtors love our rivers, and we’re all in favor of green renovations that help keep the Pacific Northwest beautiful.


Portland Real Estate Guide: 2011 Tour of Remodeled Homes Gives Inspiration and Ideas

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

We love this event! The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland has announced the 2011 Tour of Remodeled Homes, an annual event that will tour 15 projects from innovative historic home remodels, vintage bungalow rejuvenations and a mid-century modern ranch. The show is March 12-13, and tickets are only $17.50. Sign up today to get great ideas for your own home, and you might be inspired to start searching the Portland Real Estate market for your next fixer-upper!

Interested in buying a remodeled home in Portland? The home tour will showcase Porland area homes for every budget and lifestyle. The National Home Builders Association estimates that Americans spent $216 billion in home remodeling in 2008. Remodeling accounts for 2 percent of the US economy and 40 percent of all residential construction! Best of all, Portland is an international leader in sustainable and green renovation, with more alternative energy upgrades and innovative, money-saving tools and techniques being developed every year. More interested in new construction in Portland? The Ultimate Open House Tour of New Homes event might be more your style, where Tom Liesy of TA Liesy Homes NW will be showcasing many of his amazing homes. Either event is bound to get you excited about the Portland home market – we know we are!



Gresham Real Estate Insider: Energy Trust of Oregon Offers FREE Home Evaluations

Friday, February 4th, 2011

If you live in Gresham, you’re eligibly for a FREE in-home water and energy evaluation. The city of Gresham is teaming up with Energy Trust of Oregon (who Gresham water customers are eligible for a free in-home water and energy assessment, thanks to the city and the Energy Trust of Oregon. Scheduling a free two-hour review of your home’s energy and water use from Energy Trust of Oregon can drastically cut down on your utility bills and save natural resources – up to 60 percent of energy used to heat and cool homes can be lost due to leaky ducts, inefficient equipment, poor insulation and air leaks, problems you may not know you have.

The free assessments are limited to Gresham residents who live in single-family homes, have a Gresham residential water account and heat their homes using Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas. To schedule an assessment, call the Energy Trust of Oregon at 866-368-7878.

Even when Portland is hit by a few weeks of rain and it seems like water will never run out, water shortages are projected to hit 36 states by 2013 – do your part now to make sure we’ve got plenty of water later! Oregon residential consumption has dropped almost 20% in the last decade, from an average of 85 gallons per person per day between 1988 and 1992 to 64 gallons per person per day in 2007. We can do even better.


Washington County Real Estate: New Cornelius Real Estate Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Check out the new Cornelius real estate neighborhood profile detailing the community of Cornelius – “Oregon’s Family Town” -  just west of Portland. Combining the best of urban accessibility and affordable, historical small-town comfort, Cornelius is the best of all worlds. Cornelius is a nature-lover’s haven, with nine city parks
and great fishing, sailing, swimming, bicycling, hiking and picnicking at nearby Henry Hagg Lake. If you’re looking for homes, apartments, or other real estate in Cornelius or other Portland Suburbs, check out the McDonald Group Cornelius real estate neighborhood profile. Relocating to a new area can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the best real estate agents in Portland on your side.

Contact the McDonald Group realtors today to find out about homes for sale in Cornelius. If you’re interested in Cornelius Portland and Portland area suburbs, don’t hesitate to contact the McDonald Group Realtors, your guide to Washington County Real Estate.



Portland Realtor Guide: Oregonians Can Now “Go Solar” for as little as $20 a month!

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Thanks to new regulations that took effect on New Year’s Day, Oregonians can now take advantage of lease offers from contractors to install solar panels and eliminate upfront costs. The Portland branch of SolarCity, a major national solar company providing residential solar panels, announced a lease program today that will allow Portland area homeowners and residents of the entire state of Oregon to install alternative-energy solar panels for low monthly payments. This new lease program allows homeowners to enjoy the energy-bill slashing qualities of solar instantly, rather than waiting for the payoff on the initial investment to kick in after a few years. If you’re buying a home in Portland, renovating a historic home, selling your home and looking for ways to make it competitive in the Portland real estate market, or just looking for ways to update your home and reduce your carbon footprint, this new deal is definitely worth a second look.

Oregon homeowners can now go solar for as little as $20 a month with no money down, thanks to the new contractor offers and state and federal tax credits, with no hidden costs. This means you can cut your total energy costs instantly, with money in your pocket, all while going green, How awesome is that?!

Customers of Portland General Electric and Pacific Power are eligible for the lease arrangement. In addition to the reduction of installation costs, new solar customers can also claim tax credits or apply for pilot programs that could pay a premium for energy they generate and consume. If you’re interested in installing solar panels on your home, just visit SolarCity’s website and enter your address, upload a photo of your home, and get quotes over the internet. You can also get more information at any Home Depot in Oregon. Under SolarCity’s program, the company guarantees a certain level of power generation from an installed system, promising to compensate the customers if panels underperform. If you end up selling your home in Portland, you can transfer their contracts to buyers. It seems like a great system overall.


Portland Real Estate Insider: Trees Add Monetary Value to Homes for Sale in Portland

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Everyone loves a home with mature, beautiful trees, but how much value does greenery add to homes for sale? As covered in a recent article published in Nursery Magazine, new research from the Pacific Northwest Research Station determined specific dollar values for neighborhood trees in Portland. This is great news for those of us that treasure the trees and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest, resources that can often be placed second to new construction and development. The main factors considered in determining these dollar values were “environmental and social amenities” including cleaner air, moderated storm runoff, reduction of environmental CO2, elevated property values, reduced heating and cooling costs, and improved human health. Similar studies in New York City determined that the five boroughs’ 600,000 street trees provide a financial benefit of $122 million a year, which totals more than five times the cost of maintaining them, but the Portland housing study is one of the first to look at the value of street trees on the Portland real estate market.

Across the board in Portland Neighborhoods, you can easily see a general correlation between trees and homes – bigger trees tend to be in higher valued neighborhoods. The researchers at the Pacific Northwest Research Station used actual house price sales to determine the monetary value of trees. They determined that trees added measurable value to homes for sale in Portland, just like a third bedroom or extra square-footage. On average, street trees add $8,870 to the price of homes for sale, the equivalent of 129 extra finished square feet. What’s more, street trees decreased the time on the market of homes for sale in Portland by nearly two days, and one single tree can raise the value of multiple houses. Overall, Portland’s trees have an added real estate value of $1.1 billion dollars! As part of Portland’s 5-year Grey to Green initiative, the city plans to plant 33,000 yard trees and 50,000 street trees by July 2013. Included in the Grey to Green budget is the Treebate program, which provides a utility-bill credit to homeowners who plant trees in their yards. Trees can further save money by reducing energy bills. Yard trees add shade and lowering air conditioning costs in the summer, and provide protection from the wind, lowering heating costs in the winter.

Earlier this year, CNN featured an interesting study done by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest and Southern Research Stations in the Portland area that found that areas with larger, taller, well-maintained trees had less neighborhood theft and overall crime than areas with smaller trees. It turns out that tall trees “can reduce crime by signaling to a potential criminal that a neighborhood is better cared for and, therefore, a criminal is more likely to be caught…Large yard trees also were associated with lower crime rates, most likely because they are less view-obstructing than smaller trees.” All of this is great news for people who love nature, and anyone who loves the beautiful city of Portland. All of the tree-related research findings help convince taxpayers and property owners that cities have a legitimate public interest in cultivating and protecting their trees.


Portland Real Estate Guide: Tips for Cutting Down on Winter Utility Bills

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

For most people in Portland, the coldest months mean higher utility bills, but there are steps you can take to prevent your energy and heating costs from skyrocketing this winter. In this age of high-end sustainable renovations, high-profile LEED certifications, and the seemingly never-ending marketing of the next popular Energy Star kitchen or home appliance, it sometimes feels like you need to spend a lot of money in order to cut back on energy use and save money. However, like many things in life, small changes can add up to a big difference, and some of the most important adjustments you can make in your home are downright cheap – leading to big savings this winter.

If you’re thinking of buying a new home, or are looking for ways to improve your home to make it more attractive on the Portland Real Estate market, energy-friendly changes can make a big difference, especially because they can result in direct savings on your winter utility bills. The Portland Real Estate market is filled with new construction homes that often come with great insulation and energy-saving appliances, but a lot of people are living in fixer-uppers and classic historical Portland homes that could use a bit of help in the cooler months.

- On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let in the sun’s warmth. Close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.


Portland Realtor Insider: Oregon’s Largest Solar Installation Approved

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Portland Real EstateLake County – also called “Oregon’s Outback” – sits in the Southeastern quadrant of Oregon state. A high desert region known for its cattle ranches, timber holdings, and the eponymous lakes, it is one of the largest and least populated areas in the region, and it’s about to get a lot more attention. After last week’s announcement of funding approval, Lake County will add “Major Producer of Oregon’s Solar Power” to its list of notable features. Element Power LLC, a solar contractor based out of Southwest Portland, received a permit from the Lake County Planning Commission for what will be the largest utility solar installation in Oregon in Christmas Valley in Lake County.

“Element Power is proud to develop Oregon’s largest solar farm and is excited to work with the Christmas Valley community to build this project,” said Nicole Hughes, senior project manager for Element Power. “The construction jobs, tax revenue, and investment that the project will bring to the area are an important contribution to the Lake County area.”

Before the solar installation can be realized, Element Power will need to raise more funding for the project, including a potential agreement with major northwest utilities suppliers. The solar installation is set to be constructed near a transmission line owned by the Bonneville Power Administration, and will produce 12 megawatts of solar electricity, enough to power approximately 6,000 homes.


Portland Realtor Guide: Portland Ranks #3 Among National Energy Efficiency Leaders

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Portland Real EstateEvery year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy releases their rankings of the most energy efficient states in America, and Oregon stepped up from last year’s fourth place ranking to nab the third place slot. It’s no secret that Oregon ranks among the best in therms of Sustainable Energy technology and alternative energy resources, but it’s heartening to see that Oregonians are also topping the list of efficient use of traditional energy sources. While solar, wind, and hydro electric technologies might change the direction of energy use in the future, smart use of existing resources is an immediate and significant way to proceed and preserve what we have. Many homeowners and business owners in Oregon are responsible for scaling back energy use, a move which saves money, resources, and creates a more efficient economy. The Portland Real Estate Market is loaded with homes for sale, and the most competitive homes for sale in Portland are those with energy efficient and green upgrades.

Oregon’s high ranking reflects a smart use of government programs to educate and promote energy efficiency efforts. Three percent of Oregon’s utility bills and a stable supply of funding from the state government goes towards Energy Trust of Oregon’s programs supporting energy efficiency statewide.These efforts include weatherization support for Oregon utility customers, tax benefits for efficient lighting upgrades of Oregon businesses, and ENERGY STAR® home appraisals that save customers up to 50% on their utility bills.

The first and second spots were grabbed by California and Massachusetts, respectively, and we’re sure Oregon can work its way to number one in the coming years. Want to help make that happen? Energy Trust of Oregon has a multitude of tips, support, and products to help you make your home or business more energy efficient. Looking for a place to start? Request a free energy efficient starter kit, complete with compact fluorescent light bulbs and energy-saving showerhead and faucet aerator. Interested in replace your old energy-guzzling appliances? You can turn those old dinosaurs into cash – and help reduce your energy bills drastically. If you need more help, you can schedule a free review of your home’s energy use from Energy Trust of Oregon – up to 60 percent of energy used to heat and cool homes can be lost due to leaky ducts, inefficient equipment, poor insulation and air leaks – and get started saving money and the environment.


Portland Real Estate Insider: Old Town Hotel Materials will be Creatively Recycled Into New Low-Income Housing

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Portland Real EstateHere at the McDonald Group Real Estate Blog, we’re always looking for Portlanders and Oregonians getting creative with new construction in real estate – especially when it involves sustainable recycling and green renovation. We just heard of an awesome project in Portland’s Old Town and thought we’d share it with you. Because real estate development space in Portland is limited due to our urban growth boundaries, renovated spaces and new development often take the place of damaged or dangerous buildings. This process has led to the renewal of areas throughout Portland, and it’s been fascinating to witness the gradual polishing of industrial areas and undeveloped parking spaces into creative use of space for both residential and commercial improvements. One of these projects will take place in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown district, where to West Hotel will be demolished to make room for the new Macdonald Center, a 42-unit apartment and outreach center that will provide housing to Old Town’s neediest residents on NW Sixth between Couch and Davis. The project will begin construction early next year, and will feature sustainable re-use of the West Hotel’s facade, materials, and structural elements.

In what is becoming a standard practice in large-scale new construction, the bricks of the West Hotel will be ground down to make the bricks for the new building. Some other architectural elements will also be salvaged for the new project, including the iron grating. This creative re-use will save money for the project’s mission, preserve resources, and integrate the new building into the architectural look and feel of the historic Old Town neighborhood. In order to preserve the architectural integrity of the neighboring buildings and make the most use of all of the West Hotel’s materials, the building will be taken town brick-by-brick, by hand. A wrecking-ball would cause too much unpredictable damage, so the take-down will proceed carefully and should take around two months.

We love the idea of re-purposing bricks and fire escapes, and can see a wide-spread implementation of such green practices throughout the Portland Real Estate market. So much of what is cool about Portland is the history behind our buildings and downtown areas. We applaud the Macdonald Center for the work it is doing for the local low-income community, and hope to see more and more new construction reusing materials and preserving the character of Portland area history.


Portland Real Estate Guide: Portland Fall Home and Garden Show at the Expo Center

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Portland Fall Home and Garden ShowFall is the best time to make a few home improvements and renovations to get ready for winter, and it’s also the best time to plant for Spring gardens! If you’ve ever lived in Portland, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the onslaught of bulb flowers – gorgeous irises and daffodils – that take over residential real estate and abandoned street corners all around town, filling Portland with color and Spring fever. You can contribute your own splash of floral beauty to the Spring explosion in Portland by planning some bulbs and Spring-blooming plants in your yard and garden, and if you need a bit of extra help or new idea be sure to check out the 2010 Portland Fall Home and Garden Show at the Portland Expo Center, beginning on September 30 and bringing tips, tricks, and discount supplies to the Portland metro area until October 3rd.

For just $10, Portland Fall Home and Garden Show attendees will be treated to DIY classes, exhibits featuring everything from including valuable information about the best products and services for renovation and new construction in the Pacific Northwest seasonal conditions. Both amateur gardeners and professional landscapers will find great information about new products, design ideas, and tips and tricks for making it through a wet and wild Portland winter. Remodeling tips and tricks will be available from renovation experts, including sustainability pros, historic specialists, and professional contractors. Whether you’re tackling the kitchen, bathroom, roof, basement, or backyard, or have a specific question about plumbing, air conditioning, or green remodeling, the Home and Garden Show at the Expo center is your one-stop shop. Design advice and ideas will be provided by some of the region’s best organizations and companies – including paint demonstrations from Behr paint and flooring demos from Home Depot experts. Seminars, classes, and one-on-one consultations will have you stocked up and ready to rush home and get started on projects that will improve the longevity, quality, and value of your home and garden.

Bargain Hunters will find paradise at the Builder’s Surplus Sale, where local contractors and builders bring their excess materials – including doors, plumbing, lighting, windows, closet organization, flooring materials, and tons of fun accessories – at ridiculously marked-down prices. Don’t miss your chance to snag the deal of the century on a new toilet or that perfect light fixture for your dining room. If you’re remodeling a home for sale in Portland, these prices could mean valuable savings on those improvements you need to make in order to compete in the Portland Real Estate market.


Portland Realtor Insider: Rooftop Gardening Trend “Grows” in Portland

Monday, September 20th, 2010

As the temperature drops, we’re all thinking about fall. At the McDonald Group, we love this time of year with all of the gorgeous colors in the trees, golden sunlight breaking through the dark clouds, and the swirling leaves that dance through the trees. For some people around the country, fall means getting ready to clear out the garden for the winter ahead, but a lot of people in Portland have found creative ways to keep their gardens growing all year long. One way Portland-area homeowners keep the green alive is by planting an ecoroof that thrives in the rainy season. What’s even better, Portland citizens are eligible for benefits from the Grey to Green initiative, the city’s effort to increase the number of ecoroofs in town by offering cash payments for home and business owners willing to make the swap.

Ecoroof gardeners can receive up to $5 per square foot, which makes the ecoroof both eco-friendly and cost-friendly.

If you haven’t heard of ecoroofs, they are truly a twenty-first century marvel. These resource-saving roofs made of a soil-filled structure where several strong root system-growing plants are cultivated to absorb water and lesson the burden on the city’s gutters and sewers. Other benefits include longevity – ecoroofs last about twice as long as traditional shingled roofs – less maintenance, and a reduced energy bill, as ecoroofs help to insulate a house, keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the cooler months .


Portland Realtor Green Guide: Eco-Home Tour On September 25 brings Sustainable Tips to Life

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Here on the McDonald Group Real Estate Blog, we’re often talking about Green home improvements, sustainable homes for sale in Portland, and the rise of eco-building in the Portland Real Estate market in general, but we talk to a lot of people who are still a bit confused about a lot of the technology and terminology behind the Green building revolution. If you’re one of those people who might not know as much as you’d like about Green homes, sustainable appliances, low-waste utilities, and other eco-friendly home improvements, there is an event coming up that might answer a lot of your questions. On Saturday, September 25th, the Build It Green! Home Tour and Info Fair will return to Portland for its ninth year, bringing information about sustainable remodels, green certification for new homes, and plenty of great tips for making the most of the green tools and incentives (including valuable tax rebates for green improvements) available to Portlanders.

The tour includes a visit to Portland’s first certified straw bale house You can tour Portland’s first-ever permitted straw bale house – noted for its incredible thermal efficiency, sound cancelling, and clean air free of insulation-related pollutants – and 21 other remodels and new homes, including a historic home that has been fully upgraded and certified by Clean Energy Works Portland.

Tour visitors will have the opportunity to learn about ecoroofs, water collection and conservation, solar paneling, water-saving landscaping, recycled building materials, alternative construction techniques, and more. Homeowners, energy experts, and eco-builders will be available to answer all of your questions about their homes and the technology behind green building and renovation. After the tour, gather more information at the free family-fun Green Info fair, featuring green vendors, sustainable renovation demonstrations, food and music. (more…)

Portland Real Estate Insider: 1 in 4 New Homes Sold in PDX are “Green”

Monday, September 13th, 2010

If you think Green homes are still a fringe phenomena in the Portland Real Estate market, get ready for a statistical shocker. Homes with green certification, such as the Portland-based Earth Advantage Institute U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes, the federal Department of Energy’s Energy Star program, and the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Standard, now make up one out of every four new homes for sale in Portland area real estate. 25% of the new home market? It’s obvious that sustainable home renovations and construction are not a passing fad – and can make the difference if you’re trying to sell a home in Portland.

The benefits of green home improvement and green new construction are many – it costs less to power, heat, and cool a house built to Green standards, the houses last longer because they are built with stronger, more sustainable materials, they are safer because they contain less chemical residues that have been proven to cause cancer, allergies, birth defects, and chronic diseases, and they are becoming more and more cost effective as the Portland real estate market increases demand for the materials and labor.

If you’re selling a home in Portland, green improvements can mean a world of difference in these hard economic times – green homes maintain their value much longer, and are also on average selling about 18 percent higher than their non-certified neighbors. What’s more, they are actually selling. Buyers are out there searching for sustainable, green certified homes in Portland, and are willing to pay for those improvements.


Portland Real Estate Tips: Is your house Eco-Healthy? Get a Checkup!

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Studies have shown that common pollutants in the home can lead to serious problems like asthma, allergies, and chronic disease, but it’s not hard to clean up your act and keep yourself and your family healthy. To help out, the Oregon Environmental Council, the oldest environmental group in the state, has recently put out a wonderful free Eco-Healthy Homes Checkup kit to check up on the health safety and sustainability of your home, complete with helpful tips. If you’re looking for green homes for sale in Portland, recently bought a home after navigating the Portland Real Estate market, or are trying to sell a home in Portland, you could definitely benefit from the tips and checkups in this free kit. Check out our overview of the tips in the package, and click here to receive your own copy free in the mail. It’s an informative, easy way to make a difference in the safety and value of your home – what else could be more worth your time and investment?

The Eco-Healthy Homes Checkup Kit begins with a comprehensive survey of each section of your home, including the area surrounding the house, living-areas and bedrooms, carpets, window coverings, paint, heat/air-conditioning, furniture, children’s rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, garbage and recycling, flooring, basement and laundry room, tools and cleaning supplies… and then continues with tips and articles about each of these areas.

The environmental health of your home is important because any products or chemicals in your home, school, and community, affect your body and the health of your family. You can get help in understanding the proper types, use, storage, and disposal of chemicals in your home, one of the most important factors in your health. The Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) has teamed up with science professionals and environmental experts to identify the leading causes of disease and the most harmful substances that are commonly encountered in the home.


Hillsboro Real Estate Insider: Possible Fee Reduction for Downtown Businesses

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Hillsboro Real Estate

Last week, I told you about an innovative program in Gresham real estate that is luring new businesses from Portland and elsewhere into expansion in the suburbs through elimination of costly start-up fees. It looks like Hillsboro real estate in commercial areas like the cute downtown could be jumping on that bandwagon. Facing the same problems as other Portland-area suburbs, Hillsboro is drumming up ways to attract small businesses to the downtown area in order to raise property values, increase the traffic to homes for sale in Hillsboro, and stimulate the local neighborhood economy. The idea currently on the table (which will be discussed at a town meeting tonight) would cut land use and planning fees in half for small businesses taking over vacant downtown storefronts.

The Hillsboro Planning Department is angling to make the most of money given to small businesses from the town’s storefront improvements grant program. The fee cut would only apply to projects that qualify for the grants, and would eliminate the seeming disparity between companies receiving money from the grant fund and immediately paying it back through fees. In essence, the proposed program would allow the current system to accomplish what it was established to do: liven Main Street in the Portland metro area.

Portland Green Real Estate Trends: New Affordable & Green, Architect-Designed Housing in Portland

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

You already know that Portland is a haven for sustainable living, but lot of people think that fully sustainable homes are only for the upper crust. Portland-based design group Minimalist+ is working to change that by bringing pre-fabricated and affordable stylish homes to the metro area. The houses are architect-designed, modern wonders that are assembled in local Portland warehouses, so little carbon is wasted on transportation. These little gems pop up in a matter of days using light panels, preserving surrounding trees and landscaping.

The houses come in two varieties:

Light Green: This option costs $160 per square foot, can be built in just two days, and is filled with cool green feautes like on-demand 60 gallon plus water heaters, efficient gas furnace, sustainable hardwood floors, energy-efficient stainless steel appliances, and laminate, vinyl, carpet, and ceramic tile finishes.


Inexpensive Ways to Save Electricity…And Money!

Friday, June 25th, 2010

In this age of high-end sustainable renovations, high-profile LEED certifications, and the seemingly never-ending marketing of the next popular Energy Star kitchen or home appliance, it sometimes feels like you need to spend a lot of money in order to cut back on energy use. However, like many things in life, small changes can add up to a big difference, and some of the most important adjustments you can make in your home are downright cheap.

If you’re thinking of buying a new home, or are looking for ways to improve your home to make it attractive to the Portland Real Estate market, energy-friendly changes can make a big difference. Did you know that adding more insulation to your attic and spraying expandable foam insulation where your home meets its foundation can lead to valuable energy credits on your electricity and gas bills? Here are some more inexpensive tips to use less energy in your home:

Invest in a programmable thermostat: This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bill. Programmable thermostats make it easy to reduce energy by switching to pre-programmed settings to regulate your home’s temperature depending on the season, or when you and your family are asleep or away from the house. You could save up to $180 on your annual energy bills by making small changes to the way you heat and cool your home, while staying comfortable year-round. Click here for resources on where to buy and how to program your thermostat for maximum energy savings.


Top Spots for Restoration Hardware and Supplies in Portland

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Whether you’re restoring a historic home for sale or you’ve just purchased a diamond in the rough that needs some polishing, Portland has some amazing resources for classic restoration hardware, fixtures, and furniture that are true to the spirit of Northwest style and sustainability. What better way to be green when you’re fixing up a classic home than to use salvaged antique materials? Here are some of The McDonald Group’s favorite spots for browsing through classic tiles, old neon signs, gorgeous sustainable lumber, rusted scrolled keys, and giant boxes of original tin ceiling plates. Remember to use gloves, those edges can be sharp!

The ReBuilding Center: The ReBuilding Center is a non-profit used building materials outlet, perfect for finding everything from rough cut lumber and bamboo poles to beautiful antique fixtures and hardware. Part thrift store, part treasure hunt, and part hardware store, this is the go-to place to find salvaged building and remodeling materials. There’s a reason you see bumper stickers around town that proclaim that drivers love this place. You have to be willing to dig a little, but everything is logically located and labeled, and the staff is fantastically friendly, so you’ll be sure to find inspiration for projects big and small. Plus, the prices are so low, you’ll leave with enough to keep your home improvement muse happy for weeks.

3625 N Mississippi Ave Portland, OR 97227
(503) 331-1877