Summer Selling Starts in January

It’s hard to believe, but selling your home by summer 2013 can mean starting at the beginning of the new year. Starting preparations in January helps create an easy and smooth selling experience so you can focus on the next step. On average, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to get your home ready to go on the market. That might include two to four weeks for minor repairs and freshening to get top value, and another two weeks for our marketing team in the M Media Truck to capture the story of your home and create all of the amazing materials to show your home to its best advantage. Professional staging needs to be squeezed in there too.

That means your home would be ready for the market in February or early March, which is an ideal time to start marketing a home in Portland. Buyers are usually waiting eagerly for new listings in the late winter and early spring. Sellers who wait until May or June to list their homes have a lot more competition in the marketplace, which can sometimes mean a lower sales price.

Based on the average days on market for homes in Portland, your home could receive an offer in two to six weeks, depending on a variety of factors. That gets us into April. The transaction could close by May, and you would be ready to move on to the next step by June.

Starting in January allows you to take the time you need to sell and prepare for what comes after. Let’s strategieze about the best timing and how to sell your home in 2013.

What’s happening with home prices

The Year in Review:

What a wild year it has been in Portland real estate. In popular neighborhoods, we’ve seen multiple offers and many homes selling in a week or less. So many homes sold last year that a shrinking supply of listings led to even more competition among buyers. Sellers thought it was a bad time to sell, so most people held off on listing their homes. Skinny inventory resulted in rising prices.

Have we seen the bottom of the market? It sure looks that way. Especially in the close-in neighborhoods, and many of the popular neighborhoods farther out, too.

On the other hand, despite the rising competition among buyers, some homes stayed on the market a long time, as you may have noticed.


the house didn’t have what most buyers wanted, or
it wasn’t marketed well, or
it wasn’t staged or priced right, or
it had some quirk or oddity or location issue.

For these reasons, it didn’t sell. It stayed on the market for a couple of months or many more, and if the sellers were motivated, they made the necessary adjustments, and they stuck with it until their turn eventually came up.

A divided market. The market this year has been divided into homes that sold almost immediately (quick-sellers), and homes that didn’t sell for months or longer (lingerers). In my 25 years in this business, I’ve seen divided markets before. The good news is, I know quite a few ways to turn a lingerer into a quick-seller.

What’s it been like for buyers? Buyers have had trouble finding homes to look at. There are very few homes for sale. My buyers keep a close watch on the Looking Glass home searches I send them. They are looking day and night. When a house is new on the market, the house show “green” for 24 hours and they jump on those first. When they see something good, guess what? A bunch of other buyers have noticed it too, and we line up with other brokers and their clients waiting to get in for showings. It really is like that. Multiple offers? We are talking 4, 6, even 10 offers if the house looks like a good deal. Of course this drives up the price. It can be a roller coaster for my buyer clients, but more often than not, if my buyers write an offer they get the house.

For sellers? The quick-sellers were of course very pleased and grateful to have a good offer from an earnest buyer, or even multiple offers.

Prices. We are in a rising market. The prices of the quick-selling homes are rising. In fact, it’s important to be careful not to under-price.

For the lingerer houses it’s still been a rough ride. With the right adjustments, those houses have sold in 2012 too. I have outstanding tools to identify the factors that have created a lingering house and turn it into a quick-seller. One difficulty, perhaps not obvious to people outside of the real estate profession, is that homes that stay on the market longer tend to sell for less.  There are many reasons, but a home that sells quickly usually sells for substantially more than a home that is on the market a long time. That’s why we evaluate pricing very carefully. Having the right price encourages buyers to make offers right away.

So there is your (very) short course on the answer to “what’s up with prices?” I’d love to tell you more. Let’s talk about your plans for 2013. Contact me if you’d like to learn more about your home’s value or making a purchase, or any other real estate questions. Happy 2013!

Kerns — 2114 NE Everett

$306,000 — 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath — 1810 SF

Sunny, spacious, charming 1923 bungalow. Near hot new cafes like Luce, as well as Whole Foods, Laurelhurst Theater, Screen Door, 28th Ave, food carts and more. Light pours in! Beautiful hardwoods. Big kitchen & bedrooms. Bonus area in attic. Sunny garden spots. Buckman school! Bike-friendly cute detached garage on east side.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 91 Days on Market

Concordia — 6335 NE 26th Ave

$362,500 — 3 Bedrooms, 1.1 Baths — 2428 SF

Mid Century Modern in Concordia near New Seasons & Kennedy School. Spacious and open living & dining with “Modern” details. Lots of light with big windows everywhere. Classic “racetrack” ceiling. Big party room w fplc. New high eff gas furnace. Storms. Patio (or inexpensively depave it for sunny garden!). Either Jefferson or Madison HS.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 28 Days on Market

Roseway — 7625 NE Stanton

$272,000 — 3 Bedrooms, 1 Bath — 2013 SF

Beautiful Cape Cod with character. Hardwoods! Tucked away on charming street 6 blks from Roseway Theater & cafes (Pho Vinh & more!). Near parks & k-8 school. Updated kitchen opens to big, sunny yard w garden & privacy. Double living rm + formal dining. Spa tub & separate shower. Listing agent related to seller. Sqft includes 193sf garage.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 3 Days on Market

Hawthorne — 3554 SE Alder

$389,000 — 3 Bedrooms, 2.1 Baths — 1846 SF

Tiny House + Big House! Amazing opportunity to get into Hawthorne/Belmont & Sunnsyside Env School! Legally rent out 1 house to make it affordable! Exceptionally bright, charming 1-level studio cottage (ADU), PLUS 3 bdrm 1.5 bath *fixer* bungalow with refinished wood floors, open stair, big kitchen & all 3 bdrms up. Updated furnace, roof, more. Walkscore 95!

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 160 Days on Market

Near cafes and shops, in the heart of the Belmont District. Perfect for frequent guests, rental, or home office.

Near Laurelhurst Park, the library and the Belmont and Hawthorne District cafes and Hawthorne New Seasons too!

Cottage plus fixer 3 bedroom bungalow. The big house has beautiful refinished fir floors. Great big kitchen ready for your re-visioning, with a vintage range. Three bedrooms, all upstairs. 1.5 baths.

Plus, reap the benefits of the utterly adorable guest cottage in the back (official ADU!), sunny deck, and garden. Contact me for showing information.

Hawthorne — 1605 SE 22nd

$410,000 — 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths — 2426 SF

Bike-friendly Heart of Hawthorne retreat in Colonial Heights w attached garage/Artist studio. Fabulous organic gardens! Vintage oak floors w/inlay & built-ins. Lots of space! City views from upstairs skylight. Tremendous potential in tall bsmt. Beautiful built-in cedar sauna. Major upgrades include roof, central air, sewer, more. Near cafes, New Seasons!

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 71 Days on Market

Brooklyn — 920 SE Franklin

$390,000 — 3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths — 3057 SF

Gorgeous craftsman bungalow 3 level. DUPLEX + 3rd kitchen & bath in bsmt. Near PSU, OHSU, New Seasons, new Max. Sunny 1200 sf main floor 2 bdrm w/fplc, wrap-around porch, hdwd, natural woodwk & built-ins. Lg bright loft-like upper flat. Easy restore to single family. Big yd w/garden.Garage. Seller is listing agent.

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 151 Days on Market

Beautiful 1913 craftsman duplex for sale.  Natural woodwork! Hardwood floors and fireplace. Built-ins.  Big kitchen in large main floor 2 bedroom flat.  Sweet upstairs loft-like apartment too. And semi-finished basement with 3rd kitchen and bath.

Wraparound porch, garage, big back yard, and oversized garage.

Bike friendly and close to Brooklyn neighborhood cafes and Clinton Bike Blvd, People’s Food Co-op and New Seasons. Springwater Corridor and Esplanade too!

A few minutes to PSU/downtown, more.  House next door is going to be beautiful–still in the design phase.

Historic low rates, again…

I can only say I am amazed that mortgage rates have dropped this low again.

I’m hearing about 4.25% and 4.5% fixed rates. Today, Wednesday the 10th, I am hearing about rates for 30 year fixed loans with normal fees, under 4%. Even for investment purchases. Buyers who are able are moving forward with purchases to take advantage of the rates. Let me know if you want to know more. I can refer you to several reputable sources to get pre-approved for a purchase loan or a refinance. If you are self employed, the low rates will help you get financing. If you have to take an interest rate increase now because of credit or self employment, it won’t hurt as much because the starting rates are so low. If you’ve been considering buying a home in Portland Oregon, or a doing refi, call me. Now is the time.

Near the bike boulevard, on 1/4 acre — 4545 SE Brooklyn

$461,500 — 3 Bedrooms, 2.1 Baths — 3690 SF

Gorgeous Mid-Century w space to stretch out, inside & out. Character. Charm. Stunning pecan flrs. Lovely updated kitchen w island. Sunroom opens to huge outdoors. Large bdrms. Daylight lower fam rm & 2 more poss bdrms + ofc, shop or art studio, bath. Secluded 1/4 acre. Room to garden or build granny cottage. Quiet culdesac nr Clinton Bikeway & cool cafes

Listed by: Laurie Sonnenfeld @ M Realty LLC

SOLD — 11 Days on Market

Stunning Mid Century Classic on 1/4 Acre Lot Near Bike Boulevard.

This house is lovely. Gorgeous pecan hardwood floors. Lots and lots of elbow room. Big bedrooms, and two more possible in the daylight lower level.

Big workshop just right for an art studio or work at home space, with a separate entrance. Or perhaps turn it into an in-law quarters. It already has a great bath.

This is my brand new website… welcome!  It has a fancy new home search feature I hope you will enjoy. Thanks for dropping by.