Design on a Dime

Many of my home buying clients ask me questions such as “How much will it cost to remodel the kitchen?” or “What do you think it would cost to re-tile this bathroom?”. I always give them same answer – it depends. It depends on a number of different things:

  • Who you hire to oversee the project, if any. Maybe a general contractor is not needed?
  • What finishes you use. Will you purchase a slab of Carrara marble for the bathroom vanity or are you OK with quartz? Maybe a butcher block countertop from IKEA could work perfectly in the kitchen?
  • Who the contractors are that you will use. Sure, companies such as Hammer & Hand are very good at what they do, but they also charge a premium for their services.

Bottom line is, there are ways to cut financial corners without compromising the final outcome of the project. My advice is to pay with sweat equity rather than check equity.

Case in point, the main floor bathroom at my personal home was outdated and not at all suitable for a family of four. There was a pedestal sink that didn’t even have space for a bar of soap. The wainscoting was outdated and there was a laundry chute that was begging for one of our daughters to get stuck in.

With a vision, hard work & a few cuts & bruises we were able to transform the space quickly, and more importantly, on budget.

  • The vanity was purchased on Craig’s List for $200.
  • The quartz surface is a beautiful remnant which cost less than $500 including fabrication and installation.
  • My wife did the plumbing all her myself after a quick lesson from her dad and by watching YouTube videos.
  • At the end of the day, we spent around $3,000 with professional tiling of the shower & wall taking the majority of the expense.

Designing on a budget forces creativity and affords such a sense of accomplishment when the project is complete. We can’t wait for our next design on a dime project!

Calle Holmgren

Review from a Happy Homeseller

Our experience was nothing but positive!

We got the advice to interview a few real estate agents when selling our condo and buying a new home. This was great advice because Calle quickly stood out as the most professional, organized, driven, charismatic agent. Our experience was nothing but positive.

Calle worked hard to help us sell our condo way above what we thought it would go for.

He also patiently helped us find the exact right fit for our family when buying a new home.

My husband and I still can’t believe what Calle found us! In this crazy, competitive Portland market, he helped us land a home that checked all our boxes and was in our price range.

Calle consistently reminded us of our goals and needs as we navigated the tricky process of house hunting. He was incredibly responsive via phone, text, and email at all hours.

I’ve already shared his contact info with everyone who mentions buying/selling because I know Calle works tirelessly to take care of his clients.

I couldn’t recommend him more.

Calle Holmgren

It’s Time to Elevate Your Life!

My name is Marika Feibel and I’m a Broker with Inhabit Real Estate. I have developed a niche in the housing market for those who want to purchase a property with the intention of investing. Whether you are a first time home buyer, purchasing an investment property, or buying a vacation home, I can help you create a real estate portfolio that will engender revenue for years to come. My mission is to help clients achieve financial freedom through real estate while providing top-notch customer service. Real Estate is a fun, exciting adventure and I want you to feel comfortable every step of the way. Let me tell you a little more about this process.

What to expect as a seller:

Selling your home is all about timing and strategy. Elevate, a comprehensive plan I’ve created, uses proven systems for selling your home and getting the right price. Timing the sale of your home is super important. From our first meeting to signing the sales contract, it is critical that everything is done on the right timeline. 

Step One: Preparing Your Home  

I’ll visit you in your home so that we can discuss what’s necessary to get your home ready for market. This list could include: new interior paint, new carpet, fixing a leaky kitchen faucet, weekly yard maintenance while your home is on the market, etc. In getting your home ready to sell, the focus is on curb appeal and tidiness inside and out. These two things will peak potential buyer interest, getting them to your front door, and will allow them to imagine their belongings and their lives in your home. 

Step Two: Marketing

We’ll discuss Elevate’s sales and marketing plan for your home, as well as all the steps that I’ll take to get the listing date. 

Another important element is flexibility for showings. We’ll discuss your schedule to come up with the best strategy, allowing agents to bring potential buyers to your home with two hours notice. 

Step Three: Pricing

Pricing your home is very important. I’ll take time to look at your neighborhood recent home sales. Also, I’ll look online and go to a few of the homes in your neighborhood that are currently on the market to scope out your competition. 

Portland and the surrounding areas currently have a low inventory of homes, which means that if your home is priced spot on, you could create an influx of buyers. There are many buyers watching and waiting for their dream home to be listed. 

Step Four: Final Details

Once in contract, I offer an exceptional ability to close the deal. My experience and tenacity will shine through, which can mean the difference between having a transaction fall out of contract and closing the deal. 


“I have had the pleasure to work with Marika on both the sale and purchase of a home. I fully credit her diligent marketing skills, knowledge of industry trends, and the strategy during negotiation for the successful sale of my home. Marika has wonderful intuitive skills and worked tirelessly with me to find and purchase the property I envisioned as my next home. In addition, she continues to be a great resource and eagerly responds to my requests to view potential investment properties. I enthusiastically refer her out to others, and look forward to working with her again on future real estate transactions.”

-Rebecca Ostrom, Lake Oswego

“Marika is one of the most personal and attentive real estate agents in Portland. Not only is she a lifelong Oregonian, but her knowledge of the area, her understanding of the market and its inventory and real estate values positions her as one of the best. From  day one she was always representing our interests – whether it was a little thing in a home we were interested in that we might have overlooked, to keen insights on how to position our home for sale. Her ability to read the overall market contributes to her impressive fluency as a listing or buying agent. Overall, Marika is someone who excelled at her  job as being a steward and helping people through a very important journey without compromising the necessary  logic and analytical skills necessary to craft a winning offer.”

– Ruby gates, SE, tabor area

Successful Staging Story

Let’s go back to the summer of 2015 where I was hosting an open house in North Plains. Doing what I always do at my opens, I treat each potential buyer that walks into the open house as my personal guest, as though I’m having a party. It was busy with multiple buyers arriving at the same time. Not only was the cute farmhouse for sale but the property included acreage and a barn. I felt like a chicken with its head cut off running here and there tending to my guests (buyers) needs.

Six months rolled around and some buyers that I had met at the open house contacted me. They did not end up with the cute farmhouse in North Plains but opted for another house in Hillsboro that they found without me. But they wanted me to list their townhouse in Hillsboro! I felt honored that they remembered enough about me from my open house in North Plains to want me to help them sell their home.

As I arrived for the listing appointment, their place was in chaos because they were in the process of moving out. Immediately, I thought that a vacant listing needs staging! As we finalized our paperwork I discussed the need for staging. The wife was ready to move forward but the husband was resistant. He asked me to provide him with data on how staging might help sell his place. Not only did he not want staging, he also wanted the list price to be higher than my recommendation.

After much discussion, I convinced the sellers to have a complimentary staging consultation done. We were able to work out a reasonable staging fee with OnStage and the husband agreed to move forward with staging.

Moral of the story, we ended up with multiple offers in which the seller was able to get the price he wanted. And to show how important the staging was in selling the townhouse… the buyer ended up buying pieces for the upstairs loft because the furniture fit there so perfectly!

Sometimes it is hard to visualize how furniture will fit in a space. Whether staging with your own furniture or through a staging company, consider having it done. It is all about the first impression when buyers view your photos. If you can capture their attention the first time, they will likely want to view the home in person instead of moving onto the next listing on the internet.

I love working with my listing clients to get ready for the big day – the photo shoot. Each of my listings have been unique in how they have been staged. Sometimes my clients have great furniture pieces and we just add to those pieces to create an updated touch. When the home is vacant, I let the staging company work their magic by bringing in their own pieces.

Linda Nyman

 The staged townhome The staged townhome  This was the piece that the buyer ended up purchasing because it fit so well in the upstairs loft space! This was the piece that the buyer ended up purchasing because it fit so well in the upstairs loft space!

“We met Linda a few years ago at an open house and were very impressed.
When it came time to sell our house recently, we enlisted her help. She guided us through the entire process, including helping us get the house ready, and negotiated a great sale price for us in a multiple offer situation. I wish we had enlisted her aid when buying our new house instead of searching by ourselves!”

— Linda’s Clients

The Lanes Move to SE

A few weeks back I wrote about setting a new record at the Embassy, when representing Tim, Tiffany and their son Kesey in the sale of their NW condo. That was only half the story though…

Prior to putting their home on the market we had spent time in SE and NE Portland looking for their new home. We even made an offer on a Sellwood home that fortunately went to another buyer. I say fortunately because we found a house that was a much better fit for them – 4312 SE Salmon.

The only problem with SE Salmon was that there was already an offer on the home, and we would need to make our offer contingent upon the sale of Tim & Tiffany’s condo, which was not even on the market yet. In today’s fierce real estate market, getting a contingent offer accepted is no easy task. Well, we gave it our best shot and presented a contingent offer that would allow us a little bit of time to get their home on the market and an offer accepted. The seller, however, had already had an offer accepted on her next home and did not want to stack up too many dominoes with the fear that if one falls, so does the whole thing. In other words, she accepted another offer.

We were able to get into first Backup Position though, meaning that if the other buyer pulled out, we would be first in line. I explained to my client that the chances of the other buyer pulling out on such a nice house would be slim to none and to not get their hopes up. Right in the middle of my expectation management I got a phone call from the listing agent letting me know that the other buyer had a change of heart and won’t be moving here from Arizona after all, and that the home is ours if we want it. If we want it?! Are you kidding me? Tim and Tiffany were ecstatic to hear their backup offer had been pushed up into first place!

We immediately had to speed up the process of getting their home on the market because if they couldn’t get their condo sold, they wouldn’t be able to buy SE Salmon, which means the seller of SE Salmon wouldn’t be able to complete the purchase of her new home. Lots of moving targets but we were confident we could get it done.

Fast forward to December 12, 2016, one business day after we closed on the condo: Tim, Tiffany and their adorable little boy Kesey get the keys to their new home. We had pulled it off!

For me personally this was extra exciting as my family get to be neighbors with such an awesome family. The best part of all? It won’t be just the three of them living in the house… Prior to closing Tiffany found out Kesey is getting a sibling!

Calle Holmgren