A Smarter Home

Technological advances in the last 15 years or so has brought us smart phones, smart cars, and now, smart homes. The smart home industry has seen a recent uptick in interest, and while they may not all be necessary upgrades for your home, a few of these gadgets could be fun additions to your daily routine. Here’s a snapshot of what products are out there right now. 

Amazon Echo

Amazon released the first iteration of the Echo in 2014, and since then, it has made strides in connecting folks to their homes. A voice-activated device, the Echo is a fantastic control center for the other smart devices in your home. When you enter a room, ask Alexa to turn on your smart lights, and the room will be illuminated within seconds. If you have a smart garage door, you can ask Alexa to close it for you from the kitchen. With built-in speakers, you can easily play music through the various music streaming services available during a dinner party. 

Nest Learning Thermostat

The humble thermostat has finally been updated with the Nest Learning Thermostat. With the ability to learn your ideal temperature and know when nobody is home, the Nest can set up the perfect schedule for your air conditioning needs with very little work on your end. This will help make your home more comfortable while also helping you save money.

Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades

Gone are days of fiddling with strings to lower or raise your blinds with the Lutron Serena. With a push of a button, you can control the motorized shades from across the room, and let in a much or as little light as you want. 

Power outlet with integrated USB Ports

Perhaps the simplest and cheapest smart home upgrade you can do is change out your old power outlets with ones that have several built-in USB Ports. Easily charge your smart phones, tablets, and other USB enabled devices without having to deal with a power brick. 

Let me know if I missed one of your favorite smart home devices! If you have any real estate related questions, please give me a call.

Crafty Costumes

Halloween is creeping up on us and here are some fun and crafty DIY costumes for you to try out. If you do end up making any of these costumes, don’t forget to share it on social media by tagging @mrealtyhomes. If you’re looking to move into a haunted house (or a regular house), you know who to call!

Gumball Machine
White t-shirt
Fabric glue
Multicolor pom-poms
Red skirt or pants.

Simply glue the pom-poms securely all over the white t-shirt, and tuck it into the red pants or skirt!




Solar System
Galaxy printed shirt or dress
Eight or nine foam balls (depending on whether or not you’d like to include pluto, which you should)
Craft sewing needle that is at least as long as your largest foam ball
Acrylic paint
Black string or fishing line

Paint the foam balls like the planets, allow them to dry completely, then use the craft sewing needle to thread them onto the fishing line or string. Tie the chain of planets into a loop, then wear as a sash over your galaxy printed shirt or dress.



Large cowboy hat
Sheet of cardboard
Bubble wrap
One yard of felt
One yard of shiny fabric
Duct tape

Cut the cardboard into a donut shape, large enough to fit around the hat. Staple felt to the bottom of the cardboard, then cut out the felt underneath where your head goes. Add bubble wrap to fill in the top of the hat, using the duct tape to keep it in place. Next, add your tentacles by stapling different lengths and types of ribbon around the brim. If you have battery powered LED lights, you can add them with the ribbon to make this costume light up. Finally, staple the shiny fabric over the bubble wrap.



Large purple balloons
Safety pins
Black headband
Green felt

Blow up the balloons, and tie them in clusters to the string, then safety pin the grapevines to a plain shirt. Cut out leaf shapes from the felt, then staple them to your headband. To make this costume a raspberry, just use red balloons.



And for your furry friends, Ghost Dog
White sheet large enough to cover your dog
Black marker

Cut three round holes in the middle of the sheet, two for your dog’s eyes, and one large enough for your dog’s nose and mouth to fit through. Draw a circle around the holes. For added cuteness, give your dog a pumpkin candy basket to hold.

Cully — 4729 NE 78th Ave

$275,000 — 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath — 774 SF

Nestled in the blossoming Cully neighborhood on a quiet street near Roseway delights & Sacajawea off-leash park! Bright, sunny 1950 cottage maintains much of its original charm. Hardwood floors. Enjoy native plants, fruit trees, a sweet garden with strawberries, a rain barrel & a deck in the fenced yd. Attached garage. Appliances included. Updated furnace, insulation, fresh paint & some new windows. Room for more improvements & updates.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 8 Days on Market

A lush yard and established plantings adorn the front of the home, while an attached garage (with bike hooks) opens to the back yard and provides room for your car, tools, and toys.

Around back, a large grassy area and a raised deck call for relaxation amidst the fruit trees and strawberry garden. Rain barrels help make good use of rain water, and the disconnected downspouts come with a rebate on your water bill.

Besides the apple and pear trees, the site boasts vine maples, rhodies, disease resistant dogwoods, budlea (butterfly bush), a honey locust, a black willow, snake bark maple, a bamboo leaf oak, spirea, a raywood ash (turns burgundy in the fall) and a golden chain tree!
Inside, the living room is light and bright, with gleaming hardwood floors illuminated by generous windows. The cozy kitchen is equipped with ample storage, corner display shelves, a gas range, a pot rack, and a sun-splashed dining area.

A Guide for Every Buyer

Whether you are looking for a first home, investment property, or purchasing your dream home, buying real estate can, at times, be a difficult process to navigate.

Here are a few tips for any home or investment property buyer.
First Time Home Buyers:

  • Make a wish list. Talk/meet with your realtor and discuss what you are looking for in your home, and what neighborhoods you are interested in. Their job is to get to know you and meet your needs, so don’t be alarmed if they suggest an area or home you haven’t yet considered.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover. Same goes for a house. Visit the property in person, look around, and visualize the potential. When you buy a house, it’s not just a place to live, it’s an investment.
  • Consider all of the costs. Aside from the monthly mortgage payment, make sure you have a financial grasp and budget for what it takes to own a home.
  • Make a reasonable offer. When it comes to negotiating with the seller, the three most important matters are information, preparation, and realism.

Investment Properties/Flippers:

  • Find the right neighborhood. It’s important to know the dynamics of a neighborhood– are most homes owner occupied or do some rental properties exist? Location is also key when it comes to tenant retention and happiness.
  • Be aware of local rental regulations. It is a safe assumption that you’ll need to bring your property into accordance with local rental regulations prior to earning any income from the property.

Luxury Real Estate:

  • Learn about the search process. Many luxury homes go unlisted to protect the seller’s privacy. By hiring a local, luxury real estate specialist, you can use their connections to identify which homes are for sale, and meet your search criteria.
  • Consider the financing. The loan process for luxury homes typically takes longer than for smaller mortgages. Since it can take extra time, you will want to be pre-qualified early in your home search process.
  • Thoroughly inspect any property you are considering making an offer on. In many cases, luxury homes are larger and have amenities that may require specialized home inspectors.

Second Home or Vacation Property:

  • Choose your location/destination carefully. You’ll want a place for you and your loved ones to gather that is easily accessible and offers a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy.
  • Buy under your budget. If you are planning on hiring someone to maintain your house while you are at your primary residence such as landscaping, there will not be much wiggle room in your budget to afford it.
  • Understand the tax implications. A qualified real estate agent should be able to provide details about taxes in the area, and possibly even tips on ways to save, such as buying just outside the city limits.

Register for the Fourth Annual Catio Tour!

Catios Help Create Purrfect Backyard Habitats for Cats and Wildlife

cattioDear Backyard Habitat Builder,

Are you looking for a way to reduce your cat’s impact on wildlife in your backyard habitat? Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind event! The fourth annual Catio Tour will showcase eight of Portland’s coolest outdoor cat enclosures—including one on a floating home—on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hosted by the Audubon Society of Portland and the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, this self-guided tour seeks to inspire cat guardians to build or buy their own outdoor cat enclosure so their felines can exercise and soak up the sun safely. Backyard enclosures from DIY to designer keep cats safe from outdoor hazards while also protecting wildlife from cat predation.

There’s a $10 suggested minimum donation to attend.

Register Now!

The Catio Tour is part of Portland Audubon’s and the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon’s “Cats Safe at Home”™ campaign, which seeks to address the challenges associated with cat overpopulation in the Portland metropolitan area in a humane and environmentally responsible manner. Both organizations believe every cat deserves a safe home where it is loved, cared for and kept free from hazards.


PNW’s Best Museums

From rose gardens to aviation museums, and historical societies that bring light to years past through photos, postcards and articles, the Pacific Northwest boasts fantastic museums where we can learn more about our region or simply enjoy art. Check out the map for a list of museums near and far.

For more information, head over to FreeMuseumDay.org!

Chill Out!

Keeping cool in the summer can be a costly endeavor. Here are a some tips to save money while staying cool at home. Give me a call if you have any other home maintenance questions. I can get you in touch with the right people!

  • Open your windows at night to let cool air in and use fans to help aid in the process. Don’t forget to close the windows during the day to trap the cool air in!


  • Invest in some blinds or darkening curtains to help insulate and regulate the air inside while you’re away.


  • Big machines like your washer and dryer tend to give off a lot of heat, so do your laundry at night for maximum efficiency. With that in mind, get out and use your grill instead of your oven and stove when cooking.


  • If you have central air running through your home, you can maximize your AC usage while saving money by scheduling when it runs. Energy.gov suggests 78 +/- 1-2 when you’re at home, and bumping it up to 80 when you’re away. This of course can be adjusted to your comfort levels, but it’s a fantastic starting point. Don’t forget to change out your filters frequently during the summer.


  • The best thing you could do is to invest in exterior shades, like an awning or outdoor shutters. Awnings are an extremely effective way to reduce cooling costs.


These are just a few tips and tricks to chill out in your home while saving a bit of money. Stay cool!


Design at Your Fingertips

Thinking about redecorating your home? Try out these fantastic free apps to help jump-start the process. If you’d like a more personal approach, get in touch with me. I can put you in contact with some fantastic designers!

AutoDesk HomeStyler, free on iOS and Android
Decorating a space can be quite the task, but AutoDesk HomeStyler aims to make it just a bit easier. You can upload an image of an empty room and virtually reconfigure the space with furniture from stores like Wayfair, Pier 1, IKEA, and Target. It also links each piece you’ve chosen to its website, making the purchase a lot simpler.

Houzz, free on iOS and Android
If you’re into gorgeous furniture, and want to be up-to-date with the season’s newest design trends, Houzz is right up your alley. Like AutoDesk HomeStyler, you can shop within the app, but what sets it apart is the community aspect. Join the discussion board if you have a question about a DIY project, or answer questions about gardens if you’re well-versed in perennial conversations.

Project Color, free on iOS and Android
Project Color can help you get rid of your color wheel with every color available at the Home Depot’s paint center right at your fingertips. The app allows users to take a picture of a room, and paint it whatever color they choose. It’s smart enough to paint around existing items in the room like picture frames, bookshelves, or your TV.

Picnic Perfect

For whatever you do outside this summer– be it a hike in the gorge, a day at the beach, or a movie in the park– you and your companions will want to take a break from the action. So roll out a blanket, break out that basket, and tuck in to a wonderful, portable dining experience!

Here are four must-haves for the perfect picnic:

1. Fruit
It simply wouldn’t be summer without stone fruit, which practically begs to be included in your salads, side dishes, or beverages. Throw peach slices into sweet tea, or add cherries to your salsas to add sweetness and complexity. Watermelon, too, is one of summer’s delights– chop into cubes, add cilantro, feta, and lime for a wonderful, light side dish. Stop by your local farmer’s market and take home whatever is at the peak of the its season!

2. Seating
You and your guests are sure to appreciate the right seat when attending a movie in the park or a day at the river, so a sturdy blanket is a must. When it comes to seating, more is always better– speciality cushioned picnic blankets are ideal for practically any situation, but a normal blanket or towel with a shower liner underneath will keep everyone dry and comfortable.

3. Drinks
It’s hot out, you’re in the sun, and you’re thirsty. Experiment with juicing at home to make your own tasty beverages and cocktails! Confer with friends and neighbors to swap or glean harvests of plums, cherries, tomatoes, kale, lavender, and more! Make simple syrups to add to your favorite summertime drinks, or use the summer’s bounty as garnish for elegant cocktails.

4. The Basket
A picnic does not necessarily require a basket, per se, but the portable element of the picnic equation may sometimes seem daunting or troublesome. Not to worry however: there is no need to spend lavishly on specialty picnic sets. In whatever bag you find best suits your needs, pack cold foods at the bottom and hot foods at the top to control their temperatures. Wrap wine bottles in a dish towel, twist up the length of the bottle, and tie at the top for easy transportation. Make mason jars and napkins work double time as transportation for food, cutlery, and ultimately left-overs.

Check out the events map to learn about movies at the park in and around Portland this summer!

How to Stand out as a Buyer

We all know the Portland market is saturated with excited and competitive buyers. If you are thinking about taking the leap, here are a few key things to do to make you stand out as a buyer. As always, I am here to answer any of your real estate questions!
1. Know your price point.
Having a firm idea of what your minimum and maximum price points are can help make the search and subsequent processes a lot smoother.
2. Get pre-approved.
This is key to putting your best foot forward. It makes finding the right home for you at the set price point a lot easier for your real estate agent. Being pre-approved also makes you look like a better buyer to the seller and their listing agent.
3. Don’t do anything drastic that can affect your credit.
This means keeping your debts at a minimum and your credit stable. For example, don’t switch careers in the midst of your home search or don’t purchase anything with a huge price tag like a car on credit. These can negatively impact your standing as a buyer.
Be realistic about your search. Knowing what you want is important, but knowing what you can afford and what makes the most sense is critical for you in the short and long term.

Branch Out: Discover Portland’s Trees

Our city’s reputation once lay in its prolific population of stumps– now, as summertime comes to Portland again 165 years after the city’s incorporation, the trees that make Portland beautiful release their leaves and open their blossoms once again. Take this opportunity to visit and appreciate Portland’s historical, wonderful, and fruitful arbors. As always, if you have questions about the real estate market, I am happy to be of service!


The Hoyt Arboretum

Perched high in Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum showcases a collection of shrubs and trees from around the world and your own backyard. Stroll the shaded paths independently, or take advantage of guided tours around the park concerning subjects as varied as ethnobotany, creating natural dyes and native trees. Enjoy a quiet picnic in the designated picnicking area, or simply meditate on the Redwood observation deck– the arboretum allows you to take in the diversity and beauty of trees, whisking you far away from the city and into the natural world. Free, and accessible by TriMet Line 63. Prices for tours vary.


Heritage Trees of Portland

Explore Portland’s oldest trees and rediscover the history of your neighborhood through its trees. With 300 historical trees scattered throughout the city, there certainly is much to appreciate! Download the Heritage Trees app and take an unconventional tour of Portland– learn the history and significance of some of Portland’s oldest residents, where the growth of the city will take on a new meaning. PDXheritagetrees


Portland Fruit Tree Project – Community Orchards

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the world’s finest fruits– from cherries to peaches, Oregon’s fruit trees will soon be laden with the taste of summer. The Portland Fruit Tree project brings the farm into your neighborhood, inviting residents of the city’s various quadrants to participate in the care and harvest of a community orchard. Grow and pick delicious fruits straight off the branch, meet neighbors, and appreciate the trees that make summertime special. www.portlandfruit.org. Various Locations.

Listing Now Means Max Visibility

If you’ve been following our real estate market at all over the past couple years, you’ve heard the term “low inventory” quite a bit. Even if you haven’t, let me assure you:

There aren’t enough homes for sale right now.

In the industry, we often measure inventory in the number of months it would take to sell all the homes currently on the market. January is typically the month with the highest inventory (which held true for the past two years). Take a look at where our numbers are right now in comparison.

Given that we were already experiencing an inventory crunch, imagine what this year will be like with the listed properties nearly cut in half!

Buyers compete fiercely for attractively presented homes and my M Realty team has the best marketing in the business.

Later in the year we are likely to have a little more inventory. A lot of people wait until summer. But why wait until you have more competition. Right now sellers get maximum exposure, and compete with fewer homes on the market.

If you’re thinking of selling or have any questions at all about making a move, consider me your resource. I’m always available to help you and your loved ones with anything home-related.

I’d love to chat with you about your real estate plans and see how we might turn the current market climate to your advantage.

Homegrown Garden

Now is the perfect time to start your garden! Whether your thumbs have been green for years or you’re planning to play in the dirt for the first time, you’ll dig this guide.

#1. Focus on the trinity of gardening: soil, water, sunlight. Some quick research into what your planned plantings love makes a world of difference when it’s harvest time. Make yourself a cheat sheet for each of your future foods and be diligent!
#2. Start before the beginning. Get your hands dirty. The best soil will be soft and crumbly, not sandy, not wet and sticky. If your soil is leaning to one side of that scale, add sand or compost to balance it out. Fertilizer is your friend.

#3. Put on your garden planning hat. Once you know which of your plants will be on similar water schedules, group them together for shared sipping. Know where your light is coming from. Let the taller sun-loving residents like kale or cilantro throw some friendly shade for their shorter fair-complexioned neighbors.
#4. Grow what your belly wants. If you’re eagerly anticipating the yield of your efforts, you’re far more likely to nurture your garden. Arugula, spinach, kale, mizuna, bok choi, and mustard greens make for fabulous salads and savory side dishes. Peas are fast-growing, early season crops. Think of your favorites and find out if they grow well in our climate!
Everything tastes better when you’ve grown it yourself. That might not just be satisfaction either. There are certain vitamins and minerals (magnesium, for example) that don’t get replenished in soil. So that fresh dirt in your yard will sprout healthier produce than what you’re buying at the store from regularly farmed fields.
I’d be honored to sample any of your home-grown fruits and vegetables, but don’t feel like you need to wait to harvest season to give me a call. I’m always available to help you with any of your home and real estate needs!

Driving Destinations

Rolling pastures, quaint towns, world class wines and cheeses: sometimes the Willamette Valley can look a lot like France. To take your very own distinctly Oregon voyage, check out these fantastic Continental-inspired food and drink destinations.

  • Nestled in pastoral Carlton, the Carlton Bakery features artisanally made pastries and delicious breads. Start your day with a fresh, buttery croissant or pick up a baguette to take out on a picnic lunch. Price Varies. 305 W Main St, Carlton, OR 97111
  • In the gorgeous country outside the town of Newberg, the Bergstrom Winery is a must-visit. Look out over the gently rolling hills of this family-run vineyard, whose premium vines produce some of Oregon’s finest Pinot Noirs. Tastings are only $20, featuring a view that’s priceless. 18215 NE Calkins Ln, Newberg, OR 97132
  • Hungry? Let Red Hills Market introduce you to the exceptional quality and diversity of the Willamette Valley’s bounty. Sample local cheeses and charcuterie, or kick back on the patio with a wood-fired pizza. Entrees $9-15. 155 SW 7th St, Dundee, OR, 97115
  • Evening Land Vineyards of Dundee claims the best-rated wine ever produced in Oregon (98 Points by Wine Spectator). Try it at their tasting room in town, or venture out to the Vineyard itself to take a tour and see how world-class wines are created. Tasting Room, $20. 1326 N Hwy 99W Ste. 100, Dundee, OR 97115
  • April is a banner month for mushroom lovers–and Joel Palmer House has a menu to match your morel craving. This family-owned business resides within a historical home in Dayton- the perfect place to feast after tasting all the Willamette Valley has to offer. Three courses, Prix Fixe, $59. 600 Ferry St, Dayton, OR 97114

Guide to Listing Your Home

If you’re thinking about selling within the next few months, here are a few things to keep in mind. There is an increase in inventory during the summer—get your home listed before more hit the market and you’ll find yourself in a sea of serious buyers on the lookout for their dream homes. Springtime also brings in significant price increases, and your home will likely sell for the best value.

If you decide to sell soon, get in touch with me and follow this simple guide to get your home on the market this coming year!

Meet with me.
-Set listing plan
-Set list price of your home
-Schedule Trueview marketing

Begin or complete deferred projects.
-Clean-up landscaping
-Interior/exterior painting
-Unfinished DIY projects

De-clutter Home.
-Garage sale
-Donate items
-Begin packing

Choose your next destination.
-Conduct neighborhood research
-Are you upsizing or downsizing?
-Determine price range

-Final cleaning for photo and video shoot
-Review and approve marketing materials
-Prepare for Open Houses and showings