Zestimates: Don’t get me started!

Well, it would be an exaggeration to say Zillow is the bane of my existence, but it’s kinda true! Sometimes their Zestimates are high, sometimes they’re low, and sometimes they get it right. Pretty reliable, huh?

Here are a few things that come into play:

  • Zillow has never been in your house. They don’t know if you just spent $100,000 on a kitchen remodel, have the original kitchen, or did a little sprucing with paint and formica.
  • They pull some of their data from the tax records which are often inaccurate. So, they might not only have the wrong amount of square footage BUT again, they haven’t been in your house so is the basement finished or a leaky mess with low ceilings??
  • I recently had a client whose Zestimate was more than $200,000 over what the house actually sold for in this really hot market. Also, I recently sold a wee little house for more than $40,000 over the Zestimate.

So what does all that mean? Zillow definitely serves a purpose, but that being said, I would never take their word for what a house is worth, and you shouldn’t either. If you want to know more, you should talk to a real estate agent that comes to your home and compares it to current comparable houses in your neighborhood. That is my job, and I would like you to call me, of course.

Posted on June 30, 2018 at 11:25 am
Sally Baker | Posted in Homeowners, Portland Real Estate |

Yikes! It’s almost tax time!

As I’m sure you know 2017 brought us new tax laws. If there has ever been a time that you want to talk to your tax consultant preemptively it is now. Of course everyone’s tax situation is different but a couple things that affect real estate are:

  1. The final tax bill has a limit on deductible mortgage debt of $750,000 for new loans taken out after 12/14/2017.
  2. The final tax bill allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. The limit applies for both single and married filers.

Again, be sure talk to your tax preparer so you understand how the changes affect you!!

Posted on March 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Homeowners, Mortgages, Portland Real Estate |

Portland’s Home Energy Score

I have mentioned that as of the first of 2018 the City of Portland is requiring that you have a Home Energy Audit prior to putting your house on the market. I decided to have an audit done on our house to be more familiar with how the process works.

The scoring system is from 1 – 10 with 10 being the best. If you live in an older home, especially if it is large, the likelihood of getting a score over 4 is probably low.

The cost seems to be in a range of $150 – $300 depending on the size of the house and the company you use; and, it will probably take between 45-90 minutes.

IF you have done any upgrades such as: insulation, new furnace, water heater, new windows it is helpful to let them know upfront. Also, for instance, if it’s something they can’t see – like insulation – having a receipt to substantiate it could be necessary. Additionally, they will suggest some things that you might do to increase your energy score.

IF you are thinking about selling your house OR would just like to have one done for your own edification, give me a call. I am certainly no expert, but we can talk it through, and I can help point you in the right direction!! By the way, we got a 5 and are making a few of the inexpensive changes they suggested!!

Posted on March 7, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Green Living, Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Neighborhoods, Portland Real Estate |

RMLS’ market stats

RMLS’s latest Market Action is out!

Interested in the latest real estate stats in Portland? Last month’s numbers are in. Click HERE.

I would love to hear from you! Send me an email or give me a call, and let’s chat!

Posted on February 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Portland Neighborhoods, Portland Real Estate, real estate market activity |

Who doesn’t love a transformation?

One of the very best parts of my job is visiting people that I helped find a home. Not only do I get to catch up with what they’re doing and find out how much they love their house – I get to see what they’ve done to the house to make it home.

In this case, my buyer bought their house in 2013 and completely redid the kitchen and bathroom. They didn’t stop there; the next project was gutting the upstairs and transforming a large, modest bedroom into a fabulous master suite. The entire space is custom including the cabinetry in the bathroom and bedroom. Now, instead of just a bedroom there is a deluxe bathroom, built-in desk and cabinets and a skylight. In addition to how much this adds to the livability of the home it was a very wise investment.



Posted on February 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Homeowners, Portland Real Estate, Remodeling |

Market activity

Market Activity

According to RMLS’s latest Market Action report, “the Portland metro area saw mixed numbers this December, but new listings made gains compared to December 2016.” What are you seeing out there?

Interested in the latest real estate stats in Portland? Last month’s numbers are in. Click HERE.

I would love to hear from you! Send me an email or give me a call, and let’s chat!

Posted on January 27, 2018 at 5:17 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Portland Real Estate |

2018 Economic Forecast

Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, recently completed his national housing forecast which details his predictions for the 2018 housing market, and here’s what he has to say:

Wondering what this means for you? Give me a call.

Posted on January 16, 2018 at 9:55 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Homeowners, Interest Rates, Mortgages, Portland Neighborhoods, Portland Real Estate, real estate market activity |

Economic report

The Gardner Report  | Oregon and Southwest Washington Q3 2017

The following analysis of the Oregon and Southwest Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


The State of Oregon has added 37,400 new jobs over the past 12 months, with solid gains in Construction (+11,600), Education & Health Services (+9,000), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (+8,000) sectors. Year-over-year, employment in Oregon has risen 2.0%.

In September, the state unemployment rate was 4.2%—up from 3.7% at the end of the second quarter but down from 4.9% in September 2016. The civilian labor force continues to grow and I fully anticipate that the state’s economy will perform well in 2018, though somewhat slower than 2017.


  • Third quarter home sales dropped by a very modest 1.5% when compared to the same period last year, with a total of 18,724 homes sold.
  • Sales rose the fastest in Klickitat County, which had a 34.3% increase over the third quarter of 2016. There were also noticeable sales increases in Lincoln, Polk, Klamath, Clatsop, and Hood River Counties. Home sales fell the most in Tillamook, Washington, and Wasco Counties.
  • Year-over-year sales rose in 13 counties, but dropped in the other 13.
  • The low level of available inventory continues to affect the market, causing sales to slow.
Annual Change in Home Sales


  • The average home price in the region rose 9.4% year-over-year to $368,292. This is also up 1.5% from the second quarter of 2017.
  • Skamania County led the market with the strongest annual price growth. Homes there sold for 31.4% more than a year ago.
  • All counties other than Wasco County experienced rising prices when compared to the third quarter of 2016, and a majority saw significant, double-digit increases.
  • Interest rates in the third quarter dropped by one tenth of a point from Q2, which likely allowed home price growth to rise at a faster rate than earlier in the year.
Annual Change in Home Sale Prices


  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the region dropped by 14 days compared to the third quarter of 2016, and was down 9 days from the second quarter of this year.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region last quarter was 67 days.
  • Only four counties saw the length of time it took to sell a home rise compared to a year ago, but I do not see this as a major issue.
  • Homes sold the fastest in Washington and Multnomah Counties, where it took an average of just 21 and 24 days, respectively, for homes to sell.
Average Days on Market


The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. Housing markets throughout Oregon continue to benefit greatly from the healthy regional economy.

The Oregon/SW Washington housing market remains remarkably strong and, given that inventory levels are unlikely to increase as we head toward the end of the year, sellers remain in the driver’s seat. I have, therefore, moved the needle slightly more toward sellers for the third quarter.


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on December 6, 2017 at 11:01 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Homeowners, Mortgages, Portland Real Estate, real estate market activity |

Share the warmth

Share the Warmth…

As part of Windermere’s long-standing commitment to help those in need, my office will be collecting coats and blankets NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 15, M–F, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

I invite you to join me in the effort.

Help me share the warmth this winter by bringing new or gently used adult-sized coats and twin-sized blankets. If you like, I’d be happy to stop by and pick them up. Contact me today.

Posted on November 29, 2017 at 10:58 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Portland Neighborhoods |

To each his own…

To each his own…

Okay, here is something about vacation and work! While we were on vacation I was overwhelmed by all the amazing architecture and design. Let’s face it, they just a have a wee bit more history than we do!! A part of me was trying to decide which I liked best. What I ultimately decided is, I love it all for different reasons. Sort of like real estate – how can you compare a charming craftsman bungalow to a sleek mid-century modern????

Do you have a favorite style? What is it?

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Portland Real Estate |