How We are Handling the Second Wave of COVID-19

November 16, 2020 Update

As we all know, COVID-19 is on the rise in Oregon and Governor Brown has instituted a statewide freeze.  At Inhabit, we are committed to keeping the health and safety of our clients and agents at the forefront of everything we do.  Strict office policies are in place to ensure a safe work environment.  We also updated all of our client engagement protocols so the health and safety of our clients come first.  Last March, we launched our Couch Concierge service that brings the entire home buying and selling process to our clients.  Everything from virtual open houses, live video showings with our agents, to virtual contracts and closings.

Here is a recap of how we continue to tailor and improve our services during COVID-19:

Our sellers shouldn’t worry about canceled open houses.  We will create a digital marketing campaign that brings your house to potential buyers all without risking anyone’s health or safety.  Our agents will tailor a showing plan that you feel the most comfortable with.

We have a lot of active buyers right now.  To short-list property options, we offer live video tours.  Your agent will walk you through the property showing you every nook and cranny with honest feedback on quality or construction issues they see– all from the safety of your home.   

In-person tours of your “must-see” homes are still an option in most cases when necessary, but with precautions we take very seriously.  Our agents are following the recommended 6 ft of social distancing, mask-wearing, and strict hand-washing and disinfecting policies.  We will not show homes to anyone that has cold or flu symptoms or has had any exposure to COVID-19 within 2 weeks of the showing.  As your agent, we promise you the same courtesy and will pair you with another Inhabit team member to safely show you the home if we are under the weather or are concerned about personal exposure.  Your agent will provide our COVID-19 Safe Showing Policies for your review prior to visiting any property in-person so you can make the best decision for your health and safety.

As a small business, we put the care of our clients and agents first.  We are all in this together. We promise to use integrity and knowledge as our guiding force.

Here’s to peace, health, and prosperity for all of us in the coming months.

Eric 

Listing Your Home From Afar: The Beauty of the Internet and a Hard Working Agent!

Have you pondered selling your investment property but are not sure how to make it happen since you live outside of Portland, and do not plan to travel during the pandemic? My client was in this exact situation. Having recently finished school, and returning to her home out of state during the “stay home” order, she thought that it might be time to sell her Portland condo of 5 years. 

Living Room (Before)

Over our initial phone call, we discussed the processes of Facetime, Docusign, and the importance of very regular phone calls to make sure we were on the same page and schedule. I agreed that I would make myself available to assist in organizing the cleaning and repairs necessary for tidying up and listing, since it would not be possible for her to be here for the majority of the transaction. My client called in the house and carpet cleaners, and I met them to give them access and check them out. We also decided that the interior would look much better with a fresh coat of paint. This turned out to be the biggest expense and the piece of the equation that took the most time, so if you are planning to sell, please factor this into your schedule and budget if necessary. The results were tangible and attractive!

Bedroom (Before)

You may be wondering about staging also. The entry price for a simple staging of a smaller space starts at around $1500. Since my client was not working, and was gearing up to pay back student loans starting in September, I wanted to help ease the burden of any extra expense. This way, if any repairs were to arise during inspection, she would still have room to breathe. It just so happened that a friend had some extra furniture right next door, and some lovely folks volunteered their time to help stage one bedroom and a living room. This will not be an option for most people. However, we often find that good things happen once we make a decision and have faith that we will make it to the finish line.

Bedroom (After)

Due to our excellent two-way communication, and my organization of the parties involved, the condo was actually cleaned, painted, staged, and photographed in a week. Yes, there were some very long, eventful days. The end result was a home that received 4 offers in less than a week, 3 above listing price! The final logistics included my client and her co-seller needing separate appointments to sign the closing paperwork, as my client was busy taking her boards, and not in her hometown. No worries here. A few days of pre-planning were necessary. The title company worked with my folks to arrange separate signing appointments, when and where convenient for them at the time. 

If you have special circumstances that surround a purchase or sale, we can brainstorm together. With a little bit of technology and strategy, we can work together to free you from something you no longer need, or get you into your dream home.

Something to Look Forward to this Summer in PDX

This is a blog post I have looked forward to writing!  It’s all about simple pleasures these days.  Sauvie Island, for most Portlanders, evokes a special feeling.  It’s a short 10 miles from downtown, but crossing the Sauvie Island bridge and seeing sprawling farmland crowned by the four cascade mountain view (yes, on clear days you can see the top of Mt. Rainier too)–makes you exhale immediately.  For some it’s biking, beach combing, fishing, kayaking or hiking, but the collective draw is the farms.  Picking berries, stone fruit and flowers, hayrides, summer concerts, sipping wine and beer while dining on food cart delicacies and leaving with food grown by hardworking local farmers.  Summer isn’t complete in Portland without a day on Sauvie Island.

This year I had the ultimate pleasure of helping very dear friends of mine realize their dream of owning a farm on Sauvie Island. It was a complicated and emotional transaction for all, but the end result was relieved and happy clients!  Kruger’s Farm is now owned by an amazing local Sauvie Island family and has been renamed Topaz Farm.  Kat and Jim are two of the smartest, hardworking people I know and their vision for the farm is going to blow your mind.  Think farm-to-plate brunches and dinners, sipping wine, beer, local coffee or strawberry rhubarb lemonade while shopping in the farm store that features their own produce, as well as other Sauvie Island and local products.  They have in-house chefs that create pasta, kale chips, pastries, pies, sandwiches, otter pops, etc., for the farm store using their produce.  They use organic farming practices and plan to be an educational farm.  They’ve partnered with the Sauvie Island Center to create camp and field trip opportunities for our schools.  They are creating a bee wheel garden (the first of its kind on the west coast) and have all kinds of plans for future enrichment programs.  They’ve accomplished all this just since they purchased the farm in January.  Can you imagine what the future holds?!!

Of course COVID-19 has changed a few things, but visiting a farm and getting outside isn’t one of them.  Don’t we all need a change of scenery!  There are some things that are on hold right now and Topaz Farm is following a very strict COVID-19 policy to keep their customers and employees safe.  Follow them on Instagram or Facebook to stay up-to-date on berry picking calendars, farm-to-plate dinners and possibly a creative summer concert series.

When you visit Topaz Farm you will likely meet the whole family.  Their daughters Maggie and Odessa work right alongside of their parents.  Kat’s brother, Peter is working tirelessly to build all sorts of new farm features (clever mobile farm store displays, new pens for the animals, etc).  I know they will be pleased to make your acquaintance (tell ‘em we sent ya!)

My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the farm on opening day, May 27th.  Enjoy some of the photos from our visit.

       

 

COVID-19 Update from Inhabit’s Owner

March 31, 2020

The coronavirus is impacting everyone and every business in some way and the real estate industry is no exception.  In many ways we are lucky because our shift to doing things virtually isn’t as big a leap as some businesses are facing.  As a matter of fact, for many years we’ve been able to handle most of the home buying and selling transactions electronically.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Inhabit is committed to keeping the health and safety of our clients and agents at the forefront of everything we do.  Even before Governor Brown initiated Oregon’s shelter-in-place order, Inhabit launched our Couch Concierge service that brings the entire home buying and selling process to our clients.  Everything from virtual open houses, live video showings with our agents, to virtual contracts and closings.

Our listing clients shouldn’t worry about canceled open houses.  We will create a digital marketing campaign that brings your house to potential buyers all without risking anyone’s health or safety.  Our agents will tailor a showing plan that you feel the most comfortable with.

For our buyers, we are hosting live video tours.  Our agents will walk you through the property showing you every nook and cranny with honest feedback on quality or construction issues they see.  

In-person tours are still an option in many cases when necessary, but with precautions we take very seriously.  We recommend live video tours for anyone that has cold or flu symptoms or concerned about a possible COVID-19 exposure.  This goes for clients, as well as, agents.  Our agents are following the recommended 6 ft of social distancing and strict hand-washing and disinfecting policies.  Our agents provide our COVID-19 Safe Showing policies to clients for review prior to visiting any property in-person so you can make the best decision for your health and safety.

We are a small business that puts the care of our clients and agents first.  I started this company six years ago because I knew there was a better, more innovative way to serve clients.  This is an industry that one-size definitely does not fit all.  Inhabit has always been forward-looking and our size allows us to be nimble in creating services that address changing needs and goals.  We are here to give you the best real estate advice possible, now and into the future.

Yours in health and prosperity!

Eric

Celebrating 5 Years Inhabiting our Flagship Office in SE Portland

Celebrating 5 Years Inhabiting our Flagship Office in SE Portland

5 years ago, Inhabit Real Estate decided to put down stakes on SE Division Street at the epicenter of it all.  It was during a time that the neighborhood was experiencing tremendous growth and the landscape of the street was transforming a little too rapidly for some.  A sea of mixed-use, 4-story apartment buildings sprung up between existing shops and restaurants.  The renewed energy brought in some anchor tenants that literally transformed the entire neighborhood vibe.  Today, it’s an area that literally buzzes with energy.  The street is lined with noteworthy eateries and was dubbed one of the “10 Best Foodie Streets in America” by Food and Wine Magazine.  The restaurants, unique shopping, and local vibe make it a worthy destination in Portland.  We happily claim our spot nestled between the Whiskey Soda Lounge and Bula Kava House at 31st and Division.

As a small, Portland-based company, our goal was to celebrate everything local in our design.  We partnered with Maven Interiors, an award-winning local design company and Christopher McDonald (our good friend and amazing carpenter/ contractor) to do the build-out. We challenged the design team to create something that was unique, sustainable and had a hand-crafted feel.  We wanted our storefront to add to the streetscape and our presence embraced by the community.

Here’s a brief tour of some of the “local” aspects of our office…

One of the first things you will notice as soon as you walk in the office is a huge mural of an abstract Portland map that we commissioned local artist Jerry Inscoe to create for us.  The red peg indicates “you are here”.

We looked for opportunities to infuse art in unexpected ways.  Our interior doors, for example, became blank canvases. We asked Jerry Inscoe to collaborate with local artist Jennifer Mercede to bring our doors to life in an otherwise uninspired corridor.  Jerry airbrushed abstract backgrounds and Jennifer painted things reminiscent of Portland (Doug firs, bubbler fountains, bicycles, etc) in a whimsical doodle fashion on top.  The contrasting styles of the artists resulted in one-of-a-kind creations.

We turned to Portland’s own Schoolhouse Electric for all of our office pendants lights and Pratt and Larson Tile for our handmade kitchen backsplash.

The bathroom wallpaper is the work of local designers at MAKELIKE, a graphic design collective in SE Portland.  We loved continuing the unexpected whimsy in the loo.

All of our office partitions and workstations were custom designed by Maven Interiors and hand built by Chris McDonald.  The materials used are untraditional, just like us.  We are different by design.

The next time you find yourself on SE Division Street, please stop by for a tour and a cup of coffee.  We would be happy to make your acquaintance.

Why 2019 Could be a Great Year to Sell Your Home

With the Feds increasing interest rates already 3 times the last 12 months (and a possible 4th predicted); it’s understandable that people could be hesitant to make any real estate moves. Mortgage rates tend to mirror interest rates, but with some caveats. Mortgage rates are based on the current market, your financial status and the property you are trying to purchase. Mortgage rates hit a 7-year high in November, 2018 at just under 5% as reported by Freddy Mac, but as of February the rates have lowered to the mid to low 4% range. These rates are still incredible if you consider the historic high of 18% in 1981.

 

Housing markets and volatility will vary depending on where you live. Thankfully, Portland is still a growing and sought after destination which helps keep our market volatility more steady. So why would selling in 2019 be better than 2020 or 2021? Our housing market has a cycle of its own that is influenced by the economy. Typically the cycle is somewhere between 10-16 years. Some experts are predicting the next recession happening in 2020 or 2021. That prediction would be in line with our typical cycle length since the last housing “crash” was in 2008.

 

If you are unsure what to do, here are some compelling things to think about…

Reasons to Sell in 2019:

  1. Do you have plans to make a move in the next 3 years?
  2. Do you have considerable equity in your home? The higher your down payment on a new home, the better your interest rate.
  3. Interest rates are predicted to rise again in the next year
  4. New home buyers are entering the market. Based on a recent Trulia survey, millennials are the largest buying group with 1 out of 5 reporting they will buy a home in the next 12 months.
  5. If you are getting close to retirement and the equity in your home is a big part of your financial picture, then waiting out the next economic cycle might not be the best plan.

Reasons not to Sell in 2019:

  1. You haven’t owned your current home for long enough to build up enough equity. If you’ve owned for less than 2 years, then paying capital gains on your profit is a deterrent as well.
  2. You are happy with your home and believe it can meet your needs for the next 5 years or more, then staying put and waiting until the next cycle is probably in your best interest.

 

I created Inhabit to be a trusted resource for guiding people on how to get the most out of their largest and most important asset. Our overarching goal is to be a trusted advisor and build relationships that withstand all the market ups and downs.

If you want help assessing what you should do to get the most out of your real estate investment, I’m just a phone call away.

 

Portland Fixer Dreams

I recently had the pleasure of helping my wonderful client, Dave through the home buying process. Like any savvy buyer, Dave was looking for the best possible house for the best price. What set Dave’s experience apart, however, was that he planned to fix up whatever home he ended up purchasing, so the aesthetics of the home itself weren’t of much importance. 

He went into the process thinking that he might need to see dozens of homes before finding one that he would be happy with. To ensure that his time was well spent, I took his wishlist and translated that into a highly curated list of properties for him to see – as a result, Dave found his perfect home after seeing just three properties! 

The first two were fixer-uppers. One ticked most of the boxes and needed mostly cosmetic updates, but it didn’t quite feel right to Dave. 

The second one felt as though we had walked onto the set of a horror film and was way more work than Dave wanted to take on. 

Then we found the “Glass Slipper”, a perfect fit. While the location was a tad further out than what Dave had originally wanted, it was only 10 blocks from some of his closest friends and offered a short trek to the airport that perfectly suited him with his frequent travel for work. While the design and fixtures in the house were dated, the house itself came back with a clean inspection and the updates could all be completed without too much work. 

I’m so happy for Dave and so excited to see how he takes his new home to the next level! 

Home for the Holidays

There’s nothing more gratifying or fulfilling than when you’re able to help a loved one with the purchase of their new home. When my brother, Henry, reached out to me when he was in the process of downsizing from his current residence and was looking into buying a condo. Serendipitous that the condo market had stagnated somewhat, making his position as a buyer all the better. 

Not only did we locate a condo below his anticipated price range but it also had a deeded parking space and was right across the street from where a good friend of his lives. 

What better way to start off the holiday season than that? Congrats Henry! 

Albert and Charles’ New Home

Congratulations on your new home, Albert and Charles! 

Albert, a friend and fellow rugby player with the Portland Lumberjacks, had lived in his one bedroom, classic Buckman condo for 11 years and he, and his partner, Charles, were at the point where they needed more space to grow as a family. 

With dreams of barbecues in the backyard, relaxing evenings spent in the hot tub, and sharing meals with their family & friends in the dining room, they started their house hunting process. 

This would be Charles’ first time as a homeowner, and more importantly their first home together, so we wanted to make this as exciting and positive an experience as possible. We saw quite a few properties: mold castles, critter dens, and our fair share of ‘underwhelming’; they had all but resigned themselves to the prospect of a “fixer” that still left a lot to be desired. 

One Sunday I got a text from Albert saying they wanted me to go and see a home they had checked out at an open house. I went over and was delighted to find the home was pristine and preserved with tasteful fixtures and Albert’s most important criteria: level floors. 

The home was “priced to sell” with warning signs of multiple offers. Knowing that this was the right home for them, Albert and Charles made the decision to submit a bid above ask and the seller responded with an accepted offer. 

I can’t wait to see how they make it their own! 

Finding Love on Love Street

It has been said that one has to “kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”. In this case, the frogs my client Keith kissed were homes in Woodstock, and the prince he finally found was the home at 4026 SE Liebe Street.

Having initially lost Liebe Street, meaning “Love Street” in German, during a bidding war, she came back to Keith when the first buyer decided they were not a good match.
Keith, having patiently waited for his turn, embraced her with open arms. Between the huge, light-filled living room with views of downtown, the retro kitchen, the office space and the basement perfect for Keith’s pottery, it truly was a match made in heaven!

Congratulations on your purchase Keith, and thank you for entrusting me with your investment!

Calle Holmgren