The Importance of a Great Backyard

Backyards are truly something to be enjoyed. They expand the living area of a house and are the location for making memories in solitude, as well as with friends and family. When I show houses and we walk outside to find a really great backyard, it is the cherry that tops the cake of a great house. Here are 8 ideas for creating that great backyard.

  1. Connect the indoors to the outdoors with big windows and easy access doors. From inside, you’ll enjoy looking out and having the opportunity to enjoy the yard every day of the year.
  2. Create an outdoor workspace. Trees and landscaping make a wonderful backdrop to Zoom meetings. In addition, working outside on a nice day is a bit of a gift that you can give to yourself. To do this, you’ll need strong wifi, an exterior electrical outlet, and a sturdy table.
  3. Let’s talk al fresco. I reguarly do large dinners for my family in my yard. When we gather there usually about 15 people. I put tables end to end to create one large dining table. I then use linens and my good china. It feels so luxurious! A covered area in which to dine, along with an outdoor heater, makes this possible any month of the year.
  4. Add some entertainment potential. Again, a good table for board games, and perhaps a mounted television to watch football and movies.
  5. Establish a wildlife habitat. I no longer feed the birds (there was a certain squirrel incident), but I do put out water. I have 5 birdbaths. If they go empty, the birds will literally sit on the rim and squack at me. Landscaping is also a great idea for attracting birds.
  6. Make your yard pet friendly by fencing it. Today the fencing choices are plentiful, including fences that barely obstruct your viewing of the entire yard.
  7. Just like the rest of the house, clutter is a big no no. Store the clutter elsewhere. Particularly when selling the house, it needs to be tidy.
  8. Privacy is super important. If you have a house that looks into your yard, plant a tree or a hedge. In my case, my husband built a privacy screen that goes about 20 feet. Just enough to block my neighbors windows.

I hope that you have found this helpful. Thanks again for reading the blotter!


Market Activity Jan 24-30, 2022

The market is still in what I would call “winter mode” with just 2 new listings. 15 pending sales, and 11 sold/closed transactions. The new listings number is a bit in accurate. This is because in reality houses and condos are selling so fast that they go into pending status prior to the market activity report being written. 12 of the 15 pending sales sold in less than a week. This means that the new listings are more accurately 14 or so. I pull the data usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I’ve also heard it said that the spring market really kicks off the weekend following the super bowl. Watch for the new listings to kick into gear in the next few weeks.

See below for further RMLS data.

New Listings Jan 24-30, 2022

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq Ft
16 Oriole LnDetached$599,950221520
15012 Twin Fir RdDetached$2,599,00053.53897

Pending Sales Jan 24-30, 2022

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq FtCDOM
45 Eagle Crest Dr #202Condo$215,0001167843
44 Eagle Crest Dr #39Condo$269,9002110850
16250 Pacific Hwy #45Condo$349,00022131145
525 Jean Rd 4501Condo$399,9003215003
5788 Kimball CtDetached$530,00041.511484
871 Country Club RdDetached$569,00031.514495
5309 West Sunset DrDetached$611,0004214495
5207 Coventry CtDetached$759,6983218583
351 3rd StAttached$924,90033.520423
837 Oak StDetached$999,95032.527965
580 Weidman CtDetached$1,100,00053.539525
12975 Elk Rock RdDetached$1,379,00053.545694
589 7th StDetached$1,549,00054.533873
21 D Ave #9Condo$2,000,80022.524110
13649 Goodall RdDetached$2,499,90044.5+.5528856

Sold/Closed Jan 24-30, 2022

AddressTypeList PriceSold PriceSq FeetDOM
572 State St 8CCondo$324,900$317,50091447
16250 Pacific Hwy #75Condo$355,000$350,000159329
1694 BonniebraeAttached$415,000$445,0008642
16191 Lake Forest BlvdDetached$550,000$550,00086414
1247 Cedar StDetached$550,000$600,0002,0229
6472 Dawn StDetached$695,000$624,0161032110
12363 Clara LnDetached$699,999$709,00013903
770 5th StDetached$975,000$975,000318045
1011 Spruce StDetached$1,049,000$1,019,00021014
6720 Childs RdDetached$2,395,000$2,200,000689864
1475 Oak TerrDetached$4,349,000$4,100,0003674114

Criteria:Homes in the 97034 and 97035 zip code, listed, pending or sold between the dates listed above as reported by the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS). DETACHD refers to Single Family Detached Residence, MFG refers to manufactured housing, and ATTACHD refers to single-family residences with some portion of the structure attached to another property, but not constituting CONDO ownership. DOM stands for days on market, or the number of days from when the listing became active and when it received an acceptable offer, with CDOM standing for “cumulative days on market” accounting for “refreshed” listings

The Best Playground, Ever

The playground at Hallinan Elementary School is, in my opinion, the best playground that I have experienced with both my kids and with my grand kids. It’s HUGE with so many slides, things to climb on, and a vast array of simple to complex physical challenges for kids.

Before I moved to Lake Oswego, over 20 years ago, I lived in SE Portland. I must have discovered this playground while showing houses in the neighborhood. After I found it, I began driving to Lake Oswego with my children to enjoy it with them.

Along with the playground, there is a huge field that has a walking path around it. When my kids got older, I could bring them there and take a walk while having a visual on them as they played.

Bear in mind that it’s only available when school is not in session. The school is located at 16800 Hawthorne Dr in the Hallinan neighborhood of Lake Oswego.

Get out there and enjoy the fresh air with your kids and your grand kids! And, as always, thanks for reading the blotter.


Market Activity Dec 6-12, 2021

While a bit slower than the market when we are not in the Holiday Season, real estate continues to chug along. Last week in Lake Oswego there were 8 new listings, 17 pending sales, and 13 sold/closed transactions. That is strong activity for this time of year.

See below for RMLS data.

New on the Market Dec 6-12, 2021

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq Ft
4000 Carman Dr #92Condo$349,00022999
16250 Pacific Hwy #75Condo$355,000321593
200 Burnham Rd #206Condo$358,000211199
4 Preakness CtAttached$550,000321985
8 Pheasant RunDetached$649,95042.51845
1720 Kilkenny DrDetached$685,00032.51348
17617 Sydni CtCondo$799,90052.52634
18000 Sarah Hill LnDetached$1,999,90042.53280

Pending Sales Dec 6-12, 2021

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq FtCDOM
100 Kerr Pkwy #19Condo$170,0001161752
100 Kerr Pkwy #51Condo$179,000116177
58 Galen StCondo$209,9002168925
9 Oswego SummitCondo$218,000117646
44 Eagle Crest Dr #36Condo$250,000219033
4000 Carman Dr #81Condo$289,0002211294
86 Kingsgate Rd E-203Condo$325,000229243
4429 Thunder Vista LnCondo$459,90022.52002111
1455 Hallinan StDetached$639,90032.513255
52 Northview CtAttached$649,90032.521983
17347 Ashley CtAttached$650,00042.5211734
13470 Peters RdAttached$799,50022.523244
5756 Ridgetop CtDetached$935,0004331625
1011 Spruce StDetached$1,049,00032.521014
425 Kenwood RdDetached$1,090,00032.535276
1500 Morning Sky CtDetached$1,148,00053.54402107
1155 Crestline CtDetached$1,995,000`54.5743873

Sold/Closed Dec 6-12, 2021

AddressTypeList PriceSold PriceSq FeetDOM
4 Touchstone #78Condo$224,999$212,000135130
324 Cervantes CircleCondo$229,000$241,0008323
204 Cervantes CircleCondo$305,000$332,00011383
5077 W Sunset DrAttached$500,000$500,000172047
4301 Lakeview BlvdDetached$635,000$617,0001,22319
1335 Laurel StDetached$850,000$699,000189862
3225 Tempest DrDetached$799,000$800,000223112
3795 Tempest DrDetached$815,000$860,000275319
6810 Childs RdDetached$950,000$935,00032822
14145 Redwood CtDetached$825,000$975,00025195
18 TouchstoneDetached$998,000$1,055,000437818
17561 Lake Haven DrDetached$500,000$1,720,00038790
456 Lake Bay CtDetached$1,600,000$1,725,00023932

Criteria:Homes in the 97034 and 97035 zip code, listed, pending or sold between the dates listed above as reported by the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS). DETACHD refers to Single Family Detached Residence, MFG refers to manufactured housing, and ATTACHD refers to single-family residences with some portion of the structure attached to another property, but not constituting CONDO ownership. DOM stands for days on market, or the number of days from when the listing became active and when it received an acceptable offer, with CDOM standing for “cumulative days on market” accounting for “refreshed” listings.

Tinseltown Trolley

The Lake Oswego Trolley is a favorite of mine. The trolley runs from State Street, along the Willamette River to the South waterfront in Portland. It’s a blast! One year, I packed a picnic and took my Mom for a trolley ride for her birthday.

The scenery is lovely. It meanders along through Dunthorpe ( a gorgeous neighborhood!) and has expansive views of the river. There is also a long tunnel that is pitch dark inside, except for the lights of the trolley.

This year the trolley is offering a Tinseltown experience. The event is December 10, 11, and 12. Departure times vary with 3 rides on Friday the 10th, 6 on Saturday the 11th. and 6 on Sunday the 12th. The cost is $20 for adults and $17 for youth (0-17). The trolley is decorated for the season and there is a special guest on board from the North Pole. For more details, click here.

What a fun holiday event for everyone!

Seasons greetings, and, as always, thanks for reading the blotter.


Worshipping options in and near Lake Oswego

I once worked with a family who was being transferred from another part of the country. One of the first questions that I was asked was, does it matter what church you belong to? It was the one and only time that I’ve ever gotten that question. And it’s a fair question.

My answer was then, and still is today, no. There is no social pressure to be affliated with an organized faith group. However, there are quite a few worship options should you be inclined to want to join one.

Lake Oswego has 25 christian churches, including a Mormon Temple. There is also a Jewish Synagogue. 2 miles South of Lake Oswego is the Cambodian Buddhist Society. Within 5 miles of Lake Oswego there is a Hindu Temple and 3 more Jewish Synagogues.

I hope you find this information helpful, and, as always, thank you for reading the blotter.


Market Activity July 5-11, 2021

Last weeks market activity appears to have been more balanced with 19 new listings, 18 pending sales, and 23 closed/sold properties. The fact that the pending numbers were fewer than the new listings my have been a result of the July 4th holiday. It’s too soon to know if this is some sort of trend.

See below for RMLS data.

New on the market July 5-11, 2021

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq Ft
200 CervantesCondo$289,00031.51138
12 Oswego SummitCondo$300,000221140
1 Peacock PlDetached$529,00032.51336
4980 Galen StAttached$589,00022.51552
18811 Reao CtDetached$639,90032.51916
6227 Wayzata CtDetached$649,99931.51232
15115 Quarry RdDetached$650,000432865
49 Da Vinci StDetached$739,000322351
18260 Indian Creek DrDetached$759,000322082
17730 Marylbrook DrDetached$850,00032.52951
4222 Cobb WayDetached$1,089,000432243
1739 Palisades Terrace DrDetached$1,095,00042.53654
1776 Oak StDetached$1,550,00043.54012
4531 West RdDetached$1,595,00033.53926
2165 Rodge Pointe DrDetached$2,100,000544749
1626 Englewood DrDetached$2,495,00042.5+.55581
13700 Fielding RdDetached$4,998,00054.5+.55802
14390 Uplands DrDetached$5,399,00044.57839
2470 Summit CtDetached$5,498,00043.5+.57180

Pending sales July 5-11, 2021

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq FtCDOM
47 Eagle Crest Dr #54Condo$180,0001167237
42 Cervantes Circle 4BCondo$250,00021.59128
86 Kingsgate Rd G101Condo$265,000228402
1367 Bonniebrae DrAttached$399,00021.510082
186 D AveAttached$650,00032.516377
5071 Tualata LnDetached$675,00033154051
18426 Sandpiper WayDetached$688,0004318845
5051 Tualata LnDetached$695,00042158137
217 Hidalgo StDetached$749,90032.5431237
32 Morningview CircleDetached$750,00032.527187
537 Country Club RdDetached$775,00032190193
4099 Coltsfoot LnDetached$830,00052.5314915
2440 Overlook DrDetached$839,90043385015
1503 Pine StDetached$875,0004328424
1724 Fern PlDetached$950,00033216021
12723 Adrian CtDetached$1,098,0004331904
915 Cedar StDetached$1,550,00043.532193
2254 Knaus RdDetached$3,950,00045.5743611

Closed/sold properties July 5-11, 2021

AddressTypeList PriceSold PriceSq FtCDOM
4619 Lakeview BlvdCondo$200,000$205,0007538
4 Touchstone #68Condo$219,000$245,00098458
4 Touchstone #124Condo$239,000$245,500135122
4000 Carman Dr B27Condo$269,000$300,0008692
103 Kingsgate RdDetached$525,000$525,00013525
1 Eagle Crest DrDetached$549,000$610,00012904
2710 SW Orchard Hill LnDetached$611,900$656,00020874
830 Laurel StDetached$645,000$685,00014003
20 Preakness CtAttached$625,000$700,00017905
14307 Camden LnDetached$719,000$740,00019320
2604 Glen Haven RdDetached$729,900$799,0002,1043
17310 Canyon DrDetached$750,000$805,0002716$3
18768 Wood Duck StDetached$925,000$965,00030164
1455 Nelson CtDetached$835,000$975,00022102
1585 Patton RdDetached$915,000$1,025,00033313
4137 Orchard WayDetached$975,000$1,052,00036802
3250 Westview CtDetached$1,200,000$1,161,0003928235
4379 Snowbrush CtDetached$1,050,000$1,161,00035962
640 9th StDetached$1,450,000$1,450,00033215
858 10th StDetached$1,650,000$1,650,00024106
1475 Chandler RdDetached$3,200,000$3,150,00045150
3230 Upper DrDetached$3,300,000$3,300,00053380
1190 Fairway RdDetached$5,495,000$5,200,00058559

Criteria:Homes in the 97034 and 97035 zip code, listed, pending or sold between the dates listed above as reported by the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS). DETACHD refers to Single Family Detached Residence, MFG refers to manufactured housing, and ATTACHD refers to single-family residences with some portion of the structure attached to another property, but not constituting CONDO ownership. DOM stands for days on market, or the number of days from when the listing became active and when it received an acceptable offer, with CDOM standing for “cumulative days on market” accounting for “refreshed” listings.

Market Activity February 15-22, 2021

I think that the fact that our current real estate market is lacking inventory is pretty well known. There are many more buyers trying to buy homes than there are homes for sale. Preparing this market activity report a first has happened. Last week in Lake Oswego there was just one new listing. In all of the many years that Linda and I have been writing the blotter, I don’t recall that this has happened before. Hopefully it’s just a fluke and in the coming weeks the inventory will start to build up to meet the spring demand. Last week there were also 12 properties that accepted offers and went into pending status, as well as 18 closed/sold houses.

See below for RMLS data explanations

New on the market February 15-22, 2021

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq Ft
4832 Redwing WayDetached$599,900321472

Pending sales February 15-21, 2021

AddressTypePriceBRBathsSq FtCDOM
100 Kerr Pkwy #5Condo$169,00011617171
3930 Lake Grove Ave 1BCondo$215,0002195811
4320 Botticelli ST #11Attached$309,90022.5+.5226018
16880 Cortez CtDetached$599,9003323133
5091 Tualata LnDetached$625,0003215006
853 E AveDetached$650,000217506
19603 River Run DrDetached$800,00042.526566
15606 Manchester DrDetached$849,90032.526563
1920 Park Forest AveDetached$1,125,00033267919
17884 Kelok RdDetached$1,229,00043.5412419
2230 Wembley Park RdDetached$1,785,00054.5460736
907 Terrace DrDetached$2,875,00064.5+.5+.57296128

Closed/Sold February 15-22, 2021

AddressTypeList PriceSold PriceSq FtCDOM
3872 Botticelli StCondo$289,900$293,0001171124
16250 Pacific Hwy #59Condo$319,000$319,0001,3059
5225 Jean Rd #510Condo$305,000$335,00011005
750 1st St E34Condo$335,000$335,00013503
16250 Pacific Hwy #73Condo$319,000$341,000130587
18667 Benfield AveDetached$485,000$529,00014145
17104 Canal CircleDetached$650,000$625,000141636
1427 Greentree CircleDetached$605,000$650,00022395
17160 Wall StDetached$850,000$888,00032462
2145 Summit DrDetached$1,000,000$1,000,000311148
4146 Chad DrDetached$1,099,900$1,030,0003637143
54 Wilbur StAttached$1,247,000$1,170,000360079
18460 Ray Ridge DrDetached$1,249,000$1,224,000376934
72 Nansen SummitDetached$1,369,000$1,240,00044857
978 10th StDetached$1,495,000$1,400,000257825
3175 Douglas CircleDetached$1,425,000$1,500,00054003
13594 Goodall RdDetached$1,700,000$1,700,00037320
16470 Phantom Bluff CtDetached$2,695,000$2,684,515518811

Criteria:Homes in the 97034 and 97035 zip code, listed, pending or sold between the dates listed above as reported by the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS). DETACHD refers to Single Family Detached Residence, MFG refers to manufactured housing, and ATTACHD refers to single-family residences with some portion of the structure attached to another property, but not constituting CONDO ownership. DOM stands for days on market, or the number of days from when the listing became active and when it received an acceptable offer, with CDOM standing for “cumulative days on market” accounting for “refreshed” listings

A bit About Condos

I have always felt that my real estate business goes in waves. There have been times when I was heavily working waterfront on the lake, times when all my business seemed to be new construction, and times when I seemed to be selling older houses. Today I am in a condo wave. I have two listings that are condos and this weekend I have written offers on two more condos. I am up to my ears in condos. I think it is the universe telling me that I need to write a blog post about condos. So here are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering buying a condo.

First, and in my opinion the most important, is that you are not just buying a home, you are buying into a community. Condominiums are governed by Home Owner’s Associations. Your home inspection will have all of the usual criteria for checking out the structure and the components, but you will also have an inspection of the HOA documents.

HOA documents include rules and regulations that tell you what is and what is not allowed. All usually have a clause for “nuisance” behavior, but some can be pretty restrictive. I have seen rules that don’t let you have anything showing inside of your window that could be objectionable. The two most common issues that you will want to be sure of is whether or not pets are allowed and whether or not rentals are allowed. You need to know these things going in and not after you own it.

Other important documents are about the financial health of the association. You want to see that they have money in reserve to take care of maintenance and repairs. This will include the current year’s budget, and also a reserve study. The reserve study projects into the future for replacement of big items like roofs and siding. While I know everyone hates to pay a monthly HOA fee, and often will rule out buying a condo because the fee seems too high, it is actually super important that the fees collected are enough to not just pay for the current maintenance like mowing the lawns and paying for garbage removal, but also are enough to over time add up to some rather significant amounts of savings. If proper saving isn’t done, then when the time comes to do major repairs the association will be forced to do a special assessment to cover the costs. A special assessment is much more financially painful than smaller amounts collected monthly over time.

You will also want to see the meeting notes from the HOA meetings of the last year. If there is a problem in the complex, they are likely talking about it at the meetings.

Financing of a condo can also be challenging when you go to get a mortgage. Most HOA’s restrict how many units can be rented out and this is important. Fannie Mae lending guidelines require that at least 50% of the units be owner occupied. For financing such as VA and FHA, the criteria to obtain these types of loans require that the Home Owner’s Association apply for the qualification. The VA loan application is a one time issue and runs with the complex forever once it’s approved. FHA is more complicated and must be renewed every few years at a cost of both time and money. So to have FHA approval it requires a Board of Directors that is motivated and on the ball.

Condos are terrific because they are generally less expensive than a house, require much less personal labor to up keep, and are ideal if you want a lifestyle where you can lock your door and be away for extended periods. With the cost of housing being a premium, they are truly the only option for many people.

There are also a really wide variety of condos. Some are super luxurious with top-of-the-line finishes and services. Others are bare bones and feel like what they once were, apartments. The least expensive condo for sale in Lake Oswego right now is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit on State Street. It has 829 square feet and is for sale for $170,000. The most expensive has 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, with 4911 square feet and is listed for $1,798,000.

If you have other questions, please contact any one of us. Linda, Whitney and I are all here to help.

Buying A Condo

Condos appeal to buyers for a couple of very specific reasons. First is the appeal of having all of the exterior maintenance taken care of for them. If you travel a lot, are physically unable to do yard work, or simply prefer having someone else take care of things, a condo might be a good fit in your life. The other significant reason people may choose a condo is it is a great first purchase. Condos can often be bought for significantly less than a detached home.

Lake Oswego has a very large assortment of condos. Mountain Park was one of the first planned communities in the U.S. and a big part of that plan was an assortment of condominiums. At the very top of Mountain Park is Oswego Summit with it’s 2 swimming pools and views of Mt. Hood. Then there are the luxury condos that have been built on the Willamette River, on the Lake, and in First Addition. These complexes are located in highly desirable areas and have features such as secured parking and large terraces.

Some quick stats:
There are currently 68 condos for sale in Lake Oswego priced from a low of $43,500 (932 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath) to a high of $1,895,000 (on the Willamette River with 4784 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths).

21 Condos are in escrow with accepted offers waiting to be closed.

54 condos have sold in the last 6 months.

At any given time you’ll find a good selection to choose from.

There are some specific things you need to think about if you are considering a condo purchase. When you make an offer, make sure it is subject to review of these items:

Ask to read the last 12 months of minutes from the Home Owner Association meetings. If there are problems in the complex, people will be talking about them at these meetings. This is probably the easiest way to find out issues.

Make your offer subject to obtaining and approving of financial statements for the HOA (Home Owner’s Association). You want to see that the HOA has been doing maintenance and upkeep. That they have reserves being built up on account for significant repairs such as roof replacement or paving. And you want to see that they are projecting future expenses and not just working on an emergency basis.

Ask the seller for full disclosure of any upcoming special assessments or any litigation that the HOA may be involved in.

When you have your home inspection done, have the inspector walk the complex and inspect it as well. Does he/she see dry rot on decks or worn roofing shingles? If so, find out if the HOA has plans to address correcting these issues.

Buying a condo is different from buying a house. You are buying into a community with shared responsibilities and obligations. You want to make sure the HOA will be a good fit for you and not throw any surprises your way after you move in.

There is a tendency to want to buy a condo with small HOA dues. The HOA dues are paid monthly, in most cases, and cover things like landscape maintenance and repair of the exterior of buildings. Sure, it’s nice to have small monthly expenses. But the problem with small HOA dues is that money is then not collected for future expenses. And when those expenses arise and there is not enough money in reserve, then all of the members of the HOA have to pony up and pay a special assessment. These assessments can be in the thousands of dollars. So do your homework and get to know the HOA before you buy. Don’t necessarily opt to buy a condo just because the HOA dues are small. Small monthly dues can mean big special assessments later.

Please let us know if you have any questions about condos. Linda and I are here to help.