Archive for the ‘Tips When Selling a Home’ Category

Scott’s October 2014 Portland Area Market Report by Area – UPDATED

Friday, November 14th, 2014

I have been tracking numbers for probably close to three years now and have gone through tons of changes in what I track and how I track it. Just this last year eliminating an emphasis on the distressed market as we are no longer in a heavily distressed market (though, I do still track distressed activity).

The biggest change however has come recently in starting to track all 13 individual RMLS “Areas” that make up the Portland Metro real estate market in addition to the overall Portland Metro market. This change has been a difficult one at best as I am often finding a need to fine tune things; then it must be fine tuned 14 times (13 markets plus the 1 overall Portland market).

As an example, in preparing this post I realized I was taking a daily “snapshot” of the previous week worth of sales activity to generate the portion of my reports that show:

  • Inventory in days
  • Average days on market for sold homes
  • Average price per square foot for solds
  • Average list price when sold
  • Average sale price
  • Average percent of list price paid

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What is the Current Average Home Sale Price in Your Area? Got it Right Here!

Friday, November 7th, 2014

In the last few months I’ve been switching up my real estate market tracking which previously only tracked the Portland metro and surrounding areas as a whole, lumping in Molalla with say N Portland, which shows the overall conditions in the Portland real estate market at large, but doesn’t get granular enough to help folks buying or selling a home in a given area.

That has now changed. I am now tracking, daily, each of the 13 individual RMLS markets in the Portland metro region. This still may not get granular enough for some, however being that these “areas” are defined by RMLS as “markets” it should help quite a bit.

So, home sale prices in a given area? Lets get on with it! These numbers represent all logged sales in the last week (from October 30th – November 6th):

RMLS Area 141 North Portland

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Real Estate Tracking Data & Reports: BIG Changes Coming; Area Reports, Pricing & Days on Market in Tow

Friday, March 7th, 2014

I just wanted to get an FYI out to everyone that I am currently working on revamping the tracking report as I get a lot of requests for area specific reports (people asking for my tracking reports for Happy Valley, or Lake Oswego real estate reports etc).

Additionally short sales and foreclosures have been edging ever closer to market pricing these days, often no longer the “steal of a deal” they once were and there are a lot less of them now. So, with that said, I am *considering* ditching that portion of the tracking data in favor of adding new data points like:

  • Median Sale Price Tracking
  • Average Sale Price Tracking
  • Days on Market for Pending Sales
  • Average Price Per Square Foot Tracking
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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 remodeling.hw.net.

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).

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Tax Forgiveness Act; Still Expired…Not Seeing Any Renewal News; Yet…

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Just a quick heads up [that honestly I should have done weeks ago], for anyone looking to short sale their home or are facing a foreclosure. For those not familiar with this act, or maybe not familiar with the need for this act, here’s how it works.

You short sale your home or get foreclosed on. The bank gets say $275,000 for your home (when you sell it on a short sale, or when they resell it as a foreclosure later), but you owed $375,000 on it, leaving a loss to the bank of $100,000.

Now, I know there are many people out there that think that $100,000 would be entirely the banks problem, and while that particular $100k is their problem, you as the seller have a not so new problem that just returned on December 31st due to this 2007 act not being renewed (yet?).

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On the verge of another real estate boom? The numbers we’re seeing are suggesting it’s possible

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), just released an article detailing some of the numbers for the national 2012 real estate market and they are very encouraging. First off, total home sales in 2012 were the highest we’ve seen in 5 years, and the annual rise in home prices was the highest since 2005 (that’s right, the height of the previous boom). Completed transactions were 12.8% higher for December 2012 than December 2011 and the annual total for 2012 was 9.2% higher for the year than 2011 representing the highest volume since 2007 and strongest increase since 2004. 

It seems on the road to recovery we’re actually seeing a new mini-boom at the moment. Local Realtor’s, like myself, in the Portland metro area can attest to that as we are regularly seeing multiple offer situations and homes that, when looking at the comparables seem overpriced, yet they get scooped up anyway and often at close to asking price. Inventory is low, rates are low so buyers are scrambling trying to find something while prices are still relatively low which is putting sellers in the drivers seat in the current market.

Scott McDonald – Realtor & Principal Broker

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Sellers do not have to sell at list price and in fact, they don’t have to sell at all

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

In reading through some of my daily articles on real estate I came across a Q&A about a foreclosure where a buyer was countered by the bank well above asking price and was asking if that was legal or not. I’m not going to bother linking to the site here as it was more of a forum then anything else, but it’s a decent topic to cover as I’ve come across this question with buyers/sellers myself a few times.

When a seller lists their home for sale they are in no way actually required to sell the home. Why? Well, it’s the same as anything else you list for sale, you can list / offer something for sale as much as you want, but no one can force you to sell (well, no one except for a court of law or judge). Heck, even on eBay you can refuse to sell once a buyer has won your auction, but you’re likely going to get negative feedback for it; but eBay, nor the buyer, can actually force you to sell the item.

However, in real estate sales if there is a signed contract agreeing to sell to X buyer and X buyer has upheld their end of the contract, refusing to sell at that point could easily land you in court. If however a home is just listed for sale, the seller has zero obligation to accept any offer, even at or over asking price and in fact they can (and sometimes do) counter offers over asking price.

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“Buying a Listing”, what sellers need to know about this practice

Monday, November 12th, 2012

It’s really common for a potential home seller to feel their home is worth more than it really is for a number of reasons:

  • Sentimental value
  • Work/money they have put into the home that the market, frankly, doesn’t care about
  • What they paid for it before the market slid off a cliff
  • Features they feel set it apart that are actually niche features and turn offs to potential buyers (for instance, pools in Portland are not widely considered a bonus, the majority of buyers consider them a problem)
  • Perceived features that are common with competing homes in the area
  • And of course, every seller wants to get as much for their home as possible, often, without regard for the reality of the current market

There are a number of other reasons, but these are the ones I see the most often.

I myself generally will not take an over-priced listing in most circumstances (there are exceptions from time to time) and the reason why is simple. If I list your home for $450,000 when I know it should be listed at $400,000 to get the attention of buyers and generate an offer, what’s going to happen to our relationship over the course of that homes time on the market? It’s going to decline, you, the seller, are going to think I stink as an agent. Eventually you’ll fire me and I’ll certainly never get a referral from you. Where as if I simply decline to take the listing, you (briefly!) wouldn’t exactly be thrilled with me of course and may even respect me for the honesty, but you wouldn’t have built up weeks or months worth of negative feelings towards me which certainly destroys any chance I would have of doing business with you in the future and again, would guarantee I would never receive a referral from you.

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Sellers: Beware of this sales tactic “I’ll sell your home or buy it myself” – Time to say it folks

Monday, November 12th, 2012

I first started hearing this ad from a local Realtor maybe 1-2 years ago (longer?) and I’ve heard it catching on recently with other agents promising the same. Here’s the truth of the matter folks, any Realtor can make this “guarantee” even if that Realtor is dead broke, bankrupt, going through foreclosure themselves and can’t even afford to put gas in their car, let alone finance anything. They can still make that “guarantee” to a seller and here’s why:

That “guarantee” requires the Realtor to agree to the list price of the home; if they don’t agree with the list price the seller wants, they will still list the home but they will not offer that guarantee.

When I started writing this blog entry I began getting into reasons Realtors will take over-priced listings and realized, that’s another subject and so another blog entry which I’ll post next. Sticking with this particular subject, lets say you have a home where the market comparables show it should sell for around $419,000 (which said Realtor may not show you, they may show you comparables that show a lower value…these comparables can be geared to a specific purpose). The Realtor will not agree to provide that guarantee at a list price of $419,000 (and certainly not above), what they will agree to for the guarantee is $399,000…or maybe $419,000 with a pre-agreed upon price reduction schedule down to $399,000 within say 2-6 weeks. This way, they know the home will sell and they will never have to be faced with having to buy the home, not because they are amazing agents, but because they are selling it for less than it’s worth and getting the sellers buy in on this price by offering a “guarantee” that other Realtors do not offer (giving sellers a false impression of competency).

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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!

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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 loveyourriver.org, 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.

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Portland Short Sale Real Estate: February Will Bring New Rules to Ease Short Sale Transactions

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Starting February 1st, there will be some new rules from the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program that should help ease the pain of buying or selling a short sale in Portland. First, “Once a sales contract has been initiated, loan servicers then have 30 days to approve or reject the transaction.”  This should speed up the rate at which it takes to close on a short sale.  Right now there are twice as many short sale listings than bank owned listings on the active market, but there are 2-3 times as many sale pending bank owned properties than short sale properties.  It’s pretty obvious what’s more attractive to buyers. Also, “Another big change: Loan servicers will no longer be restricted on paying second-lien holders, allowing them more freedom particularly when dealing with second-lien holders when borrowers owe less than $100,000. Loan servicers used to be restricted to paying second-lien holders no more than 6 percent of outstanding loan balance (with an overall limit of $6,000) in exchange for releasing subordinate liens. Second-lien holders have been another big obstacle to completing short sale transactions.”

What is a Short Sale? A Short Sale is when the seller is trying to sell their home for less than what is owed on it. If the seller will be unable to pay the difference at the time of closing then he will need to obtain the bank/lenders approval (“3rd party approval”) to “sell short” of what he owes before the home can be sold to another party. A home isn’t necessarily in pre-foreclosure for it to be a short sale; they may have been able to keep up with the payments avoiding the pre-foreclosure process.

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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.

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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.

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Mt. Hood Real Estate: Real Estate Agents Can Help You Navigate Forest Service Land Fees

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This time of year, many people dream of owning their own piece of land in the mountains to fully enjoy the sights and snows of winter. Mt. Hood real estate is booming, thanks to continuous redevelopment and new construction in the mountain communities. We’ve got the inside scoop on homes for sale in Mt. Hood and other winter wonderlands. Many cabins, winter homes, and ski chalets in the mountain towns are very inexpensive and can provide the perfect getaway in these magical winter months. However, one important thing to remember when considering buying Mt. Hood area homes for sale is new regulations that started in 2007 that changed the way the US Forest Service appraises the value of forest land, which can impact fees on existing cabin and ski properties within forest land. Under the new system, the Forest Service charges fees based on private real estate market value of the land, although the owners of properties on public forest land are not granted all of the privileges of cabin owners on private land. Currently, Congress is being asked to put a moratorium on the fees for 2010, as it did for 2009, to prevent the controversial fees from being implemented for another year. Mt. Hood real estate is still a great investment, but new legislation may impact the annual payments for properties, depending on the status of the land.

If you’re interested in buying some mountain property for a second home winter getaway, we can help you navigate these new fees, including finding a cabin on private land with all of the beauty and peaceful serenity of forest land properties. The Mount Hood Forest Homeowner’s Association is working on making sense of the future implementation of US Forestry Service land value appraisals, but until then, it can be a bit tricky. Let your Portland Real Estate agents help you find the winter escape you’re dreaming of. Contact us today for information on homes on and surrounding Mt. Hood, many of which are priced under $200,000! Call us today at the McDonald Group, your Portland Real Estate experts! (503) 577-9395

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Portland Realtor Guide: NEW University Park Neighborhood Profile at Your Road Map to Home

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Check out the New University Park Real Estate Neighborhood Guide detailing the charming University Park neighborhood in the “fifth quadrant,” North Portland. The neighborhood surrounds the historic University of Portland, and the area is bursting with youthful energy and up-and-coming development, where homes are affordable and community is strong. Combining the best of urban accessibility and small town atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to live. If you’re looking for homes, apartments, or condos for sale around the University Park District, check out our University Park Real Estate Neighborhood Guide filled with interesting historical facts, the best restaurants in North Portland, and the top parks and neighborhood resources. 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 to find out about homes and condos for sale in North Portland and the University Park Neighborhood!

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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.

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Portland Real Estate Insider: Portlanders Get Green With Rain Gardens and More

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

We’re not going to lie, Portland can be a rainy city. This time of year, the weather gets serious, but in the true creative spirit of Portland, residents are taking the meteorological lemons and turning them into lemonade. There are many ways to harness the rainwater so common to the Pacific Northwest, saving residents money, resources, and the environment along the way. Rain gardens – garden areas set up to catch rainfall coming off of roofs – are a creative utilization of the Portland weather, easing the burden on the Portland storm-water and sewer systems, and can lead to savings on utility bills. Installing Rain Gardens and other forms of rain water capture leads to discounts in the Storm Water Management portion of your water and sewer bill! Portland was one of the first American cities to attempt to reward and educate residents about storm-water management.

Many options are available to manage storm water on residential properties, and Portland offers technical advice and generous subsidies to curious residents. Options include:

• Disconnecting roof downspouts, allowing storm water to run across lawns and gardens. (Soil is typically more porous on the east side of town than the clay-filled soil common on the west side. Given this, Portland offers financial incentives for disconnecting down spouts only on the east side of the river, roughly between 42nd Avenue and 82nd Avenue. Homeowners and renters there can receive $53 for each downspout they disconnect.)

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Portland Real Estate Insider: Let’s Hear it for the Trees

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Portland Real EstateCNN’s “This Just In” blog today 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.”

It makes sense that this study was conducted in Portland, since we have so many areas with huge, mature trees and well-maintained neighborhood parking strips. Portlanders take pride in their trees and they also take pride in looking out for each others. Community is central to why many people choose to buy a home in the Portland Real Estate Market. Here at the McDonald Group realtors we know many home buyers are looking for well-landscaped yards, leafy neighborhoods, as well as safe communities, so it’s interesting to see evidence that suggests those characteristics might be linked.

Some of the most well-known leafy neighborhoods in Portland are the  Irvington Neighborhood, the City of Maywood Park, the Rose City Park Neighborhood, the Forest Heights Neighborhood, the Homestead Neighborhood, and Ladd’s Addition, though almost every Portland neighborhood boasts tree-lined avenues and shady foliage. Contact the McDonald Group Portland Real Estate Experts today to find the safest, greenest areas to buy homes for sale in Portland, and check out our photo tour of Portland’s beautiful trees dressed up in the colors of fall.

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Portland Realtor Guide: NEW City of Sherwood Neighborhood Guide at Your Road Map to Home

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Check out the new Sherwood Real Estate neighborhood guide detailing the city of Sherwood, Oregon,one of the best small towns located just southwest of Portland. Combining the best of urban accessibility, small-town living, and rural atmosphere, Sherwood, Oregon is the best of all worlds. If you’re looking for homes for sale or other real estate in Sherwood or other Portland Suburbs, check out our new Sherwood Real Estate neighborhood guide filled with the best restaurants in Sherwood, the best parks and green spaces, as well as city events and neighborhood resources. 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 to find out about homes for sale in Sherwood, Oregon, today!

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YourRoadMapToHome.com is your resource for McDonald Group Realtors, Portland’s premiere real estate agents. Find new construction, foreclosure/short-sell updates and Portland neighborhood info, as well as search properties easily here.

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.

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Thinking of Selling Your Home? Get a Market Snapshot of Your Neighborhood!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Want to see what your neighbor’s homes are listed at? Selling for?  Input your email and home address of the neighborhood you are interested in and get an at a glance report of what homes are  listed for sale, what’s sold, etc. You also receive a Market Snapshot Report every month ongoing!  (Click on the link you just passed up). It’s quick and easy! When you are ready to sell your home give me a call! -Kristie McDonald, Your Realtor

Portland Realtor Guide: NEW Richmond Neighborhood Profile at Your Road Map to Home

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Check out the new Richmond real estate and neighborhood guide detailing the neighborhood of Richmond in Southeast Portland, filled with quirky culture, classic Old Portland homes, and some of the best dining and shopping in town. The Richmond neighborhood is progressive and proud. Richmond includes parts of two of the most popular retail districts in town, Hawthorne and Divison Streets, complete with vintage stores, great brunch spots, and open parks.  Combining the best of urban accessibility and comfortable, small-neighborhood atmosphere, Richmond is quintessential Portland.

If you’re looking for homes, condos, or other real estate in Richmond or other Portland neighborhoods, check out the new Richmond real estate and neighborhood guide filled with the best restaurants nearby Richmond, top coffee spots, green spaces, and neighborhood resources. 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 to find out about homes for sale in Richmond.

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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.

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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.

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