It could happen to you…

I have a few rentals and for two of them, I pay the water bill. A couple of times in the past I’ve received what I consider freakishly high water bills. The City of Portland has been really good to deal with. They have even sent me a letter pointing out the bill seemed excessive. IF you can get to the bottom of what is causing the problem and you fix it, they will sometimes adjust your past bills – no guarantee but worth investigating. They suggest you turn off all water and then check your meter, if it’s still running you’ve got a problem. It can be a toilet that’s running or a small hole in one of the pipes. All that said, the current problem with my rental has NOT been resolved and the last water bill was $944.00 – ouch!

Posted on March 28, 2019 at 4:17 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Neighborhoods |

You might have heard of a Walk Score, but did you know…

I am constantly amazed by how much information there is out there! Here are a few websites (and apps) that can be helpful when you are buying or selling a home or just want to know a little more about your neighborhood or the city you live in:

Walc is an app. If you want to take a leisurely stroll in a neighborhood you can check it out before you step out your front door.

Walkscore:  this site gives you not only your home’s walk score but your bike and transit score as well. I use it all the time! you have a chance to read school report cards with reviews from teachers, parents and students. Pull up any recent local crimes from vandalism to car break ins.

Gravy is an app that gives you the rundown on events from rock concerts to church suppers.

Last but not least – If you’ve never been to this site you just have to go. You will find specific information about permits, crime, taxes and more for the City of Portland!

Posted on July 14, 2018 at 11:25 am
Sally Baker | Posted in Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Neighborhoods, 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 |

Plumbers…be ready for next time!

We were lucky and didn’t have any frozen or broken pipes. If you do, I think the best course of action is to call a plumber. If you know or suspect you have a frozen pipe and don’t want to call a plumber: turn off the faucet and look for bulges, cracks or frost on the pipe that feeds it. If you don’t see those signs, run a damp cloth over the pipe; the frozen section will usually frost over. Use a hair dryer or heating pad to melt the clog. IF the pipe is cracked, it will leak or burst when the clog thaws. That being said, I still think your best bet is to – CALL A PLUMBER! Also, if you are looking for any kind of contractor I might just have a good suggestion for you, give me a call.

Posted on February 21, 2017 at 8:13 am
Sally Baker | Posted in Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Real Estate, real estate market activity |


I think I’ve said a version of this before, but cleaning your gutters is one of the most important things you can do for your house. In Oregon, all that the water seems to want to do is get inside especially in our basements and crawlspaces. So either clean those gutters or have them cleaned.

If you have lots of trees you might have to have it done multiple times during a year. While you’re at it, be sure you’re downspouts are properly connected and diverting the water away from your home. It is so common to have water intrusion issues come up when you are buying or selling a home. A little maintenance can avoid some of those issues.

Posted on December 26, 2016 at 11:32 am
Sally Baker | Posted in Blog Roll, Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Neighborhoods, Portland Real Estate |


The sales agreement was 6 pages, it’s now 10; when my mother sold real estate it was one page. Typically, when someone bought a house we did a home inspection and made sure if there was an oil tank, it had been decommissioned. Now there are more steps to the process and the home inspection is far more thorough. The rules and protocols for testing oil tanks are more comprehensive. Testing for radon is common.

It’s standard to do a sewer scope to see how the sewer line is functioning. A wee camera is inserted in the line which reveals anything from all is well, there is a little root intrusion to wow I can’t believe the line still functions! If necessary, there are now more options for replacement and repair. Here’s additional information all about sewers.

Posted on October 21, 2016 at 7:38 am
Sally Baker | Posted in Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Real Estate |

The Rebuilding Center

If you’re thinking about doing a project…
You might want to drop by the Rebuilding Center. Even if you don’t need any building materials you might have something to donate. They are a nonprofit whose goal of selling reclaimed and salvaged materials is a great fit for Portland’s sensibilities.

Every day, eight tons of building materials move through the Rebuilding Center warehouse, with all donations and sales serving our mission to reduce waste and build local community.

They accept donations of unwanted building materials and also demolish derelict buildings to get the materials that stock their shelves. What an incredible resource!! Check it out here.

Posted on October 9, 2016 at 2:35 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Green Living, Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Neighborhoods, Portland Real Estate, Remodeling |

Does the front of your house need a little face lift?

When we remodeled our house we also had a new concrete walkway poured to our front door. That’s the good news. The bad news is – now I notice other things that look a little tired. So, we had our grass reseeded and a little path redone. I’m thinking the front and garage doors need a fresh coat of paint. Well, you get the idea.

We’re going to do these little upgrades because they just need doing. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the next year or two you might want to know what to do and what kind of return do you get on your investment?? I came across this website that has tons of data and it breaks it down by regions. It covers everything from a bathroom remodel to adding insulation in your attic. I believe that these studies are helpful but of course, each case is different.

If you are thinking of selling your house in the next couple years and are trying to decide what to do and what not to do, give me a call. I’d love to help!

Posted on October 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Real Estate |

Splish Splash

A little while ago I featured the kitchen remodel of one of my buyers. She bought a wonderful home in NE and gutted the kitchen. After tackling that, she decided she was going to start on her bathroom. She gutted that as well and it looks just marvelous – my pictures don’t do it justice.

By the way, that is why I hire a professional photographer when I list a house!!! Below are the results plus a picture of how it looked when she bought the house. She obviously has good taste and a good contractor.



Posted on July 9, 2016 at 12:25 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Blog Roll, Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Remodeling | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Moss on your roof??

One thing I know for sure, moss on your roof is never a good thing!

If you are selling your home and you have moss on your roof, most appraisers will require it be removed before the sale closes. More importantly, it will shorten the life of your roof. So what is the best solution? I know it’s not a good idea to pressure wash your roof – it removes the granules which are there to protect the shingles. You also don’t want to scrape off the moss – you might inadvertently crack or break a shingle.

I’ve had at least 6 cases where diligent homeowners power washed their roofs and along with taking off granules – they took about 15 years off the life of the roof! I had moss on my roof and recently had it treated.  The process takes awhile, the moss dies and then is washed away by the rain. I went online and did a little research. This website has a very good overview of different methods so if the time comes, you will be better informed.

Posted on June 27, 2016 at 3:41 pm
Sally Baker | Posted in Blog Roll, Home Maintenance, Homeowners, Portland Real Estate | Tagged , , ,