Fall 2017 Market Update

Autumn has arrived in Portland and the cooler temperatures are also extending to our local real estate market. Not to worry, I’m here to help you navigate it successfully. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the next 2 to 6 months, now is a great time to start forming your strategy, and I love to help with this kind of planning.

Overall, the local market has cooled off somewhat over the summer and into fall. We currently have the largest number of homes on the market since January of 2015. This is rather unusual, as we typically see a decrease in inventory going into fall and extending into winter. The present increase in available homes is largely due to houses either being overpriced or having unaddressed issues that make buyers uncomfortable.

Some homes are selling quickly and for top value, for full price or higher, depending on neighborhood, setting, pricing, condition, and how well the house is marketed and prepared for showing. But overall homes are selling at the slowest rate since January of 2015 and more than half the properties on the market are dropping their prices after going live. The average amount of time a home spends on the market is now up to 37 days.

But this isn’t a doom and gloom post. Well presented homes with strategic and accurate pricing, prep, and marketing are still capturing the interest of multiple buyers, bolstering the final selling price. For sellers it’s all about finding the perfect strategy for your home, your neighborhood, staging and marketing to reach the right buyers.

Buying? If you’re considering buying (and maybe took the summer off due to competition), now is a great time to start looking again. We have more inventory than we’ve had in years, there are fewer competing buyers, and prices are not going up as quickly and some prices have come down. Let’s find the ideal home for you before the end of the year!

I’m always available to pull the most recent market data and chat with you about your real estate goals. It’s truly no trouble at all. I love learning about your specific objectives and helping you achieve them. Please consider me at your service for anything related to your home!

Hawthorne — 2443 SE 35th Place

$682,000 — 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths — 3014 SF

Abundant light & character fill this 1910 Craftsman Old-Portland near the coolest SE cafes! Big bright dining rm w stunning windows, leaded glass, built-ins, window seat & box beams. Updated kitchen opens to fantastic oversized sunny yard. Updated plumbing, electric, furnace, central air, water heater, wood windows, more. Open feeling with warmth and great flow for gatherings. Bikescore 100! City says driveway could be added in front.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 28 Days on Market

Buy with friends for instant community!

Coming soon — sneak peek!

Have you wished for more community in your life, and maybe even thought about living with others? But you want your own space? Here are a couple of options!

First, two 1-level 3plexes in Woodstock, next door to each other with a large garden space in between for a total of 6 units. Buy one or both properties with friends for instant, affordable community, with individual apartments for less than $200,000 each apartment for all six!

Each group of three attached cottages has a 2-bedroom apartment and two 1-bedroom apartments, all on the ground floor for great accessibility. It will be on the market by this Thursday July 6. 

Lots of options, including keeping one apartment for common shared space or an onsite support person, cook and gardener if desired. Located on a neighborhood street of single family homes, it’s only a block from a busline. 

Easy owner occupied financing. (Because the 2 triplexes are each on separate lots, they may be financed with conventional or FHA financing. If they were all on one lot they would require commercial financing because there would be more than 4 units.)

If this sort of thing interests you contact me right away for more info. I am also working on a boomer or mixed generation community to be built. The land for this other project backs up to a beautiful forested area. Tiny homes or attached cottages? Musician or artist studio space might be included.

2 triplexes for sale in Woodstock! Buy one or buy both.     









Pa’lante! Fiery Salsa and Latin Jazz

Please forward and share!

Pa’lante Live! This Saturday, June 24, from 4 to 7 pm.

Scroll down for more upcoming dates!

Come out and dance! 
[su_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/222625560″ autoplay=”yes”]

Pa’lante at the Streets of Tanasbourne‘s 

Family Game Night. 
19350 NW Emma Way, in Hillsboro (Off Cornell west of 185th) at the fountain plaza. 

RSVP and like us on Facebook


More Pa’lante dates:

Friday July 21, 6:30 pm  Get out of town! Pa’lante at Dayton Friday Nights in the town square of rural Dayton, Oregon, about 45 to 60 minutes from Portland. 

They loved us last year and we’re thrilled they invited us back again this year.  Bring a picnic and a blanket or lawn chairs. http://www.daytonoregon.org/fridaynights/

Monday July 31, 6:30  Portland Urban Parks Concert! 

Holladay Park, at NE 11th and NE Holladay Street, near Lloyd Center

Thursday, August 17, 7 pm

Ardenwald Park, 3667 SE Roswell St, in the north end of Milwaukie, a little south of Johnson Creek Blvd.The park is across the street from the new Ardenwald Elementary school in the heart of the Ardenwald Neighborhood.

Family friendly park setting.

Saturday September 16, 6 pm

Benefit for Rafiki Village Project

House concert setting in a large and wonderful space in the Hawthorne area.  Mumbo Jumbo opens. 

More to be announced. 

For details for all events, and to keep up with newly added performances, 

please like Pa’lante’s facebook page 


Leaky basement? Adapting to this rainy year.

Wow what a winter we’ve had. 

If you haven’t had water in your basement or crawl space before, this may have been the year that you did. In fact, if you have a crawl space instead of a basement and you haven’t looked in it lately, it would be a good idea to check it during or after the next heavy rain and see if it is dry. 

I’ve gathered some resources for you for moisture issues and I may post more of them in upcoming newsletters, but feel free to email me if you need the whole list sooner rather than later. I am not an expert in these areas; most of what I have learned is gleaned from listening to hundreds of home inspections over the years. I like to learn something new at every home inspection. 

First the basics. Keep your gutters clean and your downspouts unclogged. Go outside in a heavy rain and look at how they are flowing. Are the gutters overflowing? All the water should be flowing down the downspouts without backing up or spilling over. This can mean cleaning your gutters and downspouts more than once or twice a year. If your downspouts are disconnected from the storm sewer, the water should be directed away from house, first touching the ground at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house or going into a “drywell” in the ground or other storm management system.

www.theconservationfoundation.org rain garden design

Some people use rain gardens or beautifully arranged pebbles to guide the water away from the house. 

If your downspouts are still connected to the storm sewer, and you suspect they are backing up or broken, you might try checking out Grumpy’s Drains. One of their specialties is clearing rain drains, the drains that go from your downspouts to the street or storm sewer. 

Another drainage company my clients have gotten help from in the past is Ability Plus Drainage (Greg Brimhall). They, like many drainage contractors, get very busy at times like these and can be challenging to reach and schedule with.  But keep trying. This company is very knowledgeable and can sometimes design creative solutions that are more affordable than a complete waterproofing job, including french drains and other methods.

If keeping stormwater away from your house doesn’t do the job, many contractors will recommend a sump pump. These have a variety of features, and sometimes more than one is needed, so do the research before having one put in. Other steps may include sealing the foundation from the exterior, which usually involves digging down to get access to the foundation. 

Keeping water out of your basement or crawl space is an important step in preventing mold in your home and resolved basement moisture problem is a plus for resale. Check with me for a list of contractors for this or other projects. I’d be happy to help. 

Portland’s New Home Energy Scores

New Portland Energy Score Policy 

This won’t take effect for a year and it will probably be a good thing in the long run. It affects sellers and buyers. A seller will need to pay for a report about the
home’s “energy score”  before putting their home on the market. The report will allow buyers to get an objective look at how efficient a home is before they even go look at it.

It may be a little bumpy in the beginning like any new policy but it will be interesting to see how it all turns out! In the long run it will probably encourage sellers to do more energy retrofitting before they list their home. 


Event Rescheduled!


CREATE COMMUNITY–Gathering empowers us.

I’m hosting a cozy gathering at my Hawthorne storefront office near 15th and SE Hawthorne, tentatively rescheduled for sometime in January. 

In these times, being in community and spending time together with new and old friends is more important than ever. Along with live music, we’ll have a chance to vision a bit about how we would like to build stronger communities, and stay empowered, and we’ll play with other inspirations for the coming year too.

Masterful blues and folk guitarist Howard Wade will play. We’ll have hot cider, coffee, beer from John Harris’ wonderful Ecliptic Brewery and lots of snacks. Please stop in if you can and stay for part or all of the evening. Anandi is co-hosting with me and will bring warm and fun items available from her store up the street, Karuna Contemplative Living. Gathering can help empower us. I hope to see you!

Address: 1465 SE Hawthorne, Portland OR 97214

Time: 7 to 9 pm

I have found that parking is easier just south of Hawthorne in Ladd’s on Maple or Holly streets.

**Rescheduled to sometime in January!



How’s the Market? December 2016

How’s the market? As always, it depends on your plans. Inventory is still low. We don’t have enough houses for sale to meet the buyer demand.  But interest rates have been going up since the election. The fed is expected to raise the bank’s rate this week which down the road could impact mortgage rates further. In my experience, when rates rise, prices may eventually soften because buyers will not be able to afford as much of a loan.

So if you are considering selling, call me sooner rather than later to discuss a plan.

Buying? The note above makes it sounds like buyers should wait because prices may soften. But if you are financing a purchase and rates rise, you will probably get more house by buying sooner than by waiting. If you are a cash buyer, then you could wait it out and see if prices soften. Confused? Happy to clarify, just give me a call.

Some homes are not selling as quickly as they were earlier this fall, and we have seen some price reductions this fall. Savvy buyers are considering these “leftover” homes that are sometimes ripe for a price reduction or have a motivated seller. 

Homes that are marketed with panache are attracting the people who will love (and buy) them. Homes that are appropriately priced, prepared and marketed are still eliciting multiple offers. Here’s an example of one of M’s listings that sold over asking price, and in less than a week.

We are working with many buyers who are looking for their dream home.  Call me if you’d like to get your home treated with our superior and unique marketing service called TrueView. I’d love to hear about your real estate goals and help you determine the best way to meet them.



6828 SE Ash St – $750,000

Sold in 3 days, $30k over asking!

Beds: 3 | Baths: 2.1 | 2,719 sqft.
This fantastic Mt Tabor contemporary home has been beautifully updated! Enjoy quick access to tons of SE Portland dining and entertainment options, while the nearby I-84 and I-205 are perfect for commuters. Neat landscaping decorates the front yard, welcoming guests to the home. A two-car garage offers tons of space for parking and storage. Entertain with ease in the backyard, where a sizable deck overlooks the lovely garden. A large patio sweeps around the side, leading to fruit trees and another garden space!








Adventures in Milwaukie and Oak Grove!

Christmas Ships in Milwaukie Bay, Milwaukie Oregon, coming around again this Saturday at Milwaukie Riverfront Park.

Adventures in Milwaukie and Oak Grove

Did you know Milwaukie and Oak Grove are just south of Sellwood?

Both Milwaukie and Oak Grove have many beautiful woodsy areas with larger lots and a mix of vintage homes from the 1910s through the 1940s, and many mid century and new homes as well. There is a long stretch of waterfront homes along the Willamette Riverin Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge. A little known haven for many artists and musicians, Oak Grove continues to grow a warm but informal sense of community, where many artists and musicians have been developing their crafts for years. Neighborhood street fairs, open mikes, art shows, potluck groups and more make Oak Grove a sweet place to call home. The end of the line light rail station at Park and McLoughlin is making Oak Grove even more convenient. Many cyclists are moving to the area because the new Trolley Trail bike and pedestrian way connects to the Springwater Corridor and easy and direct routes to downtown.

Outside of rush hour, the beautiful bayfront Milwaukie Riverfront Park is a short 15 minute drive from Hawthorne and SE Martin Luther King Blvd. Getting to town by bike is easy too! And the Portland Metro area welcomed the MAX Orange Line a year and a half ago–a 7.3 mile stretch of easy-to-access public transit aiming to alleviate congestion on the McLouglin/Highway 99E Corridor and serve a growing residential community. The new transit option has opened up more home buying opportunities on the east side of the river, particularly in up-and-coming Milwaukie and Oak Grove!

Prices are up in this blossoming area, but there are still good deals to be had in both Milwaukie and Oak Grove. With large lots and big trees, this area can feel like a welcome retreat, yet it is 5 minutes to Sellwood cafes and shops. I’ve been selling homes in this area for quite a long time and I have some favorite areas and hideaways, so don’t hesitate to ask me if you’d like to know more.

Perhaps unbeknownst to many folks, Milwaukie is home to a world class comic book publishing house, Dark Horse Comics, and the purveyor of organic ingredients, Bob’s Red Mill. A fantastic large farmers’ market meets every Sunday in the warmer months along with a First Friday celebration that fills downtown with people. It includes salsa dancing at one end and varying live music at the other, with sidewalk cafes, booths, and more. The lively downtown scene is seeing an uptick in new businesses.  With the Orange Line providing an easy way to get into city without the hassle of traffic, Milwaukie or Oak Grove may just be the the right option for you!

With lower home prices on average than Portland, both Milwaukie and Oak Grove might belong on your radar next time you’re poised to enter the market. I know this area very well. If you’d like to know more about homes in this burgeoning real estate market, give me a call. I am always happy to help!


MAX Orange Line Map

The Cost of Waiting


You’ve heard that “time is money” and it actually applies to our current real estate market. If you’re considering buying someday soon, there’s a definite cost to waiting.

For most people, the true cost of purchasing a home boils down to the property’s purchase price and the interest rate you can secure for your loan. This past year both those factors have been on the rise:

Rates have been rising since the 2016 election.

That might not sound like it would have a significant impact, but let’s take a look at an example of a $250,000 home with a 1% increase in interest rates. Those increases are likely to result in an extra $188.50 in your monthly payment, according to one of the mortgage pro’s we work with. That’s $2,262 a year and a total of $67,860 extra over the life of a 30-year loan. This is, by no means, reason to panic. But it’s absolutely something to consider if you’re thinking of buying in the near future. Looking for a $500,000 home? Double those numbers. (Of course the impact will vary depending on the percentage you put down).

What’s important here? If you’re not ready, don’t let these factors sway you. But if you’re on the fence, it might be wise to consider hopping into the market.

Are you thinking about a move? I’d love to answer any questions you have and help you formulate the best strategy for getting you into your ideal home!

Mt Tabor — 7644 SE Clay

$401,000 — 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath — 923 SF

East Tabor eco-friendly garden retreat near the Park! Huge glorious trees, & sun for pesticide-free & organic gardens too! Updated bath & cool checkerboard kitchen. Loft space above garage. Two bdrms + study opens to patio & sunny backyard w abundant berries, natives, herbs, rain barrels, view of park, & tiny art shed. Majestic Giant Sequoia and Western Red Cedar trees. Sewer 2008. Newer metal roof & newer furnace!

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 6 Days on Market

Pa’lante at The Pink Rose for Cinco de Mayo! Please join me…

This Thursday! Please join me for Latin Jazz. Let’s hang out!

5:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday May 5.

Pa’lante’s Latin Jazz Quintet will play

at the sweet outdoor patio at Pink Rose Restaurant**

1300 NW Lovejoy (the streetcar stops next door!)

There is room to dance and a special Cinco de Mayo menu.

Pa’lante is my husband Nick Gefroh’s 9 piece salsa, Afro Cuban and Latin jazz band. This is the quintet version which is also highly danceable. More at this link. And scroll down for upcoming Pa’lante gigs.

 Pa’lante Latin Jazz Quintet at Pink Rose Restaurant’s Grand Opening.  

**Pink Rose is a cause related business supporting Discoveries of Hope Foundation, which donates to work on autism and breast cancer.


Saturday June 4, 6:30-7:30, Rose Festival Rose City Stage

Friday August 5, National Night Out & Downtown Neighborhood Association in the South Park Blocks

Friday August 26, Dayton Friday Nights series finale

Sunday August 28, Hawthorne Street Fair

and more on the way!

This weekend: Singing Activists, Community Radio, and Native Plants

Emma’s Revolution, one of my favorite progressive political folk music groups is performing at a House Concert in Garden Home Friday night April 15th, where seating is limited. But I’m honored and pleased that they will also be performing live on my folk music program on Portland’s Community Radio Station, KBOO 90.7 fm on Friday the 15th. We’ll be streaming live here.  My program, called “Movin On” airs from 12:05 pm to 1:30 pm and Emma’s Revolution will join me between 12:15 and 12:30 for about 40 minutes of talk and live music. They are funny, feminist, fervent, and a joy to listen to and they share a lot of information and at the core of there songs you find optimism and empowerment. Think rousing musical activist anthems, like Pete Seeger or Holly Near. Tune in and join us.




Beaumont-Wilshire — 3911 NE 36th Ave

$512,500 — 3 Bedrooms, 1 Bath — 2076 SF

Coveted Wilshire, near huge park, 4 cafe districts + New Seasons! Bright, open bungalow in lovely setting. Sunny, spacious living room with gleaming hardwoods flows into stunning kitchen. Large master w/lush green view. Family rm + den & wet bar. Outdoor living: big yard w/sunny patio & play structure. New plumbing, furnace, w.h., windows & more. Highly-rated, high-achieving Alameda, Beaumont, Grant schools.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 4 Days on Market

A block from gorgeous Wilshire Park!