Desirable Division-Clinton Duplex-SOLD!

Thinking of selling an investment property in Portland, but live out of state?  A great couple, Ethan(architect) and Erin (landscape designer), were in your shoes when they contacted me in early July.

Erin and Ethan absolutely love Portland, but life and family brought them back to New York, and they found their trips to Portland were no longer delicious forays into the food and art scene and visits with friends, but arduous work trips dedicated to maintenance of their much-adored duplex. Ethan wanted to reinvest proceeds into a property in New York, but many fond memories there left him conflicted.  The duplex had been his first purchase, and his time there marked many personal milestones, including meeting his wife Erin, the birth of their first child, and the commencement of their business partnership.

When Erin’s brother and tenant announced that he would need more space with a second baby on the way, Ethan and Erin decided to contact their neighborhood brokerage, Inhabit, to inquire about the current real estate market and their property value.  We chatted and instantly had something in common, as I am also a landlord in Portland with a personal connection to my property (living adjacently) and eased their fears about selling while out of town.  After they signed with me, they found out the brother-in-law/tenant was also going on vacation for two weeks, and he gave us free reign to clean, stage, and show his unit, a realtor’s dream when listing rental properties.

A week and half before it went “live” on the market, Ethan and Erin flew in to Portland to pack up some of their leftover mementos and did some final prep for the sale with my guidance.  I toured the property with them and made staging edits along with a detailed “to-do” list. I connected them with professional cleaners, roofers, and other contractors that colleagues and I have vetted over years for their diligence and affordable pricing. We rolled up our sleeves and de-cluttered, organized, packed tchotchkes and moved furniture.  In a pinch, I even stored some of their brother’s in laws furniture temporarily in my own home, checked on the property regularly and watered their beautifully landscaped yard tri-weekly, while it was unoccupied.

Long story short, the place sparkled and shined, and it launched wonderfully. After two whirlwind open houses, it went pending quickly (after receiving a total of 15 offers!) and closed for $76,000 over the list price. Ethan and Erin were ecstatic, title sent a courier to their home in New York so they could sign, and their proceeds distributed less than 30 days later, at the end of August.

So take note, out of state property owners! You too can have a very successful sale with a full service Realtor in Portland. I go the extra mile and partner with my clients along every step of the way to bring them the fastest sale and the highest price.

Moving near or far? Call Starr!

-Starr Gartner

Move some dirt around!

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion. Or as my parents say, “When in doubt, move some dirt around!”

And tending to the garden is all that and more- it’s good for the soul and the environment and I love spending warm, dry days in the yard with my friends and family, enjoying the fruits of our labor and the peace nature brings us all.

Which brings me to a very happy, important announcement……I connected my dear friend (and fellow MPH graduate-what what!!) with her first home – a mid-century home in town with a killer yard – veggie beds, compost bin and all!

Congratulations on your new home Rachelle and happy gardening!


Two Portland-area chefs cooked to win!

 Two Top Chef Finalists are from Portland

Will Portland’s next claim to fame be the home of Bravo TV’s Top Chef (Season 12) winner?

In last night’s episode, two out of three Top Chef Finalists are from Portland – Gregory Gourdet and Doug Adams! You may know Gregory Gourdet’s Asian influenced menu from Departure, the 15th-floor restaurant in downtown Portland’s the Nines hotel; Or Doug Adams, the Chef de Cuisine of Paley’s Imperial restaurant and Portland Penny Diner. The third finalist is Mei Lin, a female chef from West Hollywood’s Ink. Culinary Arts is a male dominated industry. There has only been one female winner in Top Chef history!

Check out the Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist’s recap of last night’s episode to find out which Top Chef finalists advanced to next week’s season finale showdown!

Starr Gartner

Portland’s 1st Annual Dumpling Week!

Get Ready For…

Portland’s 1st Annual Dumpling Week!

February 1-7, 2015

The Oregonian is hosting Portland’s 1st Annual Dumpling Week! Cultures around the world have their various twists on the dumpling-a small savory ball of dough that may be boiled, fried, or baked in a casserole. Over 19 restaurants around the Portland metro area are participating-including fantastic restaurants in Inhabit’s immediate vicinity-Bollywood Theater, Son of a Biscuit and Xico, to name a few!

The full list of participating restaurants is as follows:

  • Aviary
  • Bollywood Theater
  • Boxer Ramen
  • Country Cat
  • Departure
  • Grassa
  • Imperial
  • Kachka
  • Kenny’s & Zuke’s
  • Lincoln
  • Little Bird
  • Mama Chow’s
  • Ox
  • Paley’s Place
  • Salt & Straw
  • Son of a Biscuit
  • St. Jack
  • Viking Soul Food
  • Xico

Starr Gartner

To Rent or to Buy…That is the Question: Market Insights from Starr Gartner

 To Rent or To Buy? Inhabit Portland Real Estate

Happy New Year! 2015 is forecasted to be a great year for the economy and real estate.  The U.S. dollar is the strongest it’s been since 2006, trading at $1.19 per Euro and the GDP increased 5% in the third quarter.  In Portland, rising rents are shrinking the amount of time (2.2 years, down from 3 in 2013) it takes for homeowners to gain a financial advantage.   Homes rise in value on average from 4% to 6% a year and mortgage rates are incredibly low!  Depending on your financial position, it’s a great time to buy vs. rent.  Check out the following financial and lifestyle advantages and considerations to homeownership.

Financial Advantages

  • Equity!!!  Buying a home is a great way to build wealth. You build equity as your pay down your loan. On average, homes rise in value between 4% to 6% per year. Even if your home doesn’t increase in value, you’ll be building equity as you pay down your mortgage. As a renter, you’ll never see your rent money again. You’re are paying down your landlord’s mortgage.
  • Tax Breaks.   Homeowners can deduct their mortgage interest payments and property taxes when they itemize their federal income taxes. These deductions offset the cost of your housing.
  • Fixed Mortgage payments.  With a fixed-rate mortgage, your principal and interest payments remain the same for the duration of the loan. However, your homeowners’ insurance and property taxes may change each year.
  • Wanderlust? Unexpected relocation? Investing Bug?   If you buy a home and choose to leave it, you can either sell it or rent it out and generate income. This works best if you can cover your mortgage (or more) with rental payments. With this in mind, it pays to choose a home that will make a good rental property in the future.

Lifestyle Advantages

  • Community.  Once you commit to owning a home, you are more likely to become more involved in your community because you know you’ll be there for years. You can get to know your neighbors, join a neighborhood association, or volunteer for projects that benefit the community or the local school.
  • Privacy.  Depending on the property type, you may have more privacy in a home. You can’t pick your neighbors, but at least you won’t share a wall or ceiling and floor with them. Of course this isn’t true if you already rent a single family home (where you may have a yard and/or fencing) or purchase a condo (where you might share walls, ceilings and floors).
  • Freedom.  You want a roommate? Miss having a furry friend? If you rent, there are occupancy and pet restrictions, noise restrictions, use restrictions.  Homeownership,  you have the freedom to do what you want to do.
  •  Security.  Your home is yours. You don’t have the move if the landlord changes his mind (rent increases, decides to sell or rent to his nephew, etc.)
  • Style expression.  With a rental you are often limited with what types of changes you can make. If you own your home, you can express your style inside and out. Want to paint your house pepto-bismol pink? Go ahead. Add a satellite dish to your roof? No problem. Because you own the home, you don’t need permission from anyone-unless you belong to a homeowners association that dictates certain rules for changes to the home.
  • Remodeling. In addition to making cosmetic changes to your home, you may also make construction changes. For instance, if you love your neighborhood, but have a teeny-tiny kitchen, you may opt to remodel and expand the kitchen rather than purchase another home.


Base your decision to rent or buy on your net income rather than your gross income. Payment estimates should include principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners’ insurance (“PITI”). Home ownership means you can’t decide one day you just don’t want to pay for it without major financial repercussions or a plan of action. You must continue to make payments and rent or sell the house.

There is also home maintenance to consider. As a homeowner, you must spend time and money keeping your home in good repair. It is recommended to keep a cash reserve equal to two mortgage payments in addition to an emergency savings account to cover unexpected expenses, such as appliances that break, a service contract on your furnace, or the need to replace your windows or roof.

Starr Gartner

Farmer’s Market Fresh

PSU’s Farmer’s Market Now Open Year-Round

By Starr Gartner

Grab your re-usable bags and beloved rain gear. Inhabiters are happy to report flagship Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University is now open year-round! Enjoy local, winter access to farm to table goods including, but not limited to, fresh vegetables, meat, dairy, pastries and local wines.

On November 6th, the market announced it will remain open every Saturday from January 3, 2015, to February 28, 2015, from 9 am to 2 pm. The winter market will maintain one block, from Montgomery to Harrison, and will expand back to two blocks in March, when it resumes regular business hours of 8:30 am to 2pm.

For more information and market history, visit Portland Farmer’s market blog.