Author Archives: Jaime Potts

What’s up with the “U” signs on some Portland buildings?

Have you noticed these signs on buildings throughout Portland?

What are they? Our best guess was secret lairs for Uber Drivers.

The signs are actually put up by the Portland Fire Marshal to mark properties that may be unsafe for firefighters. A building gets a U sign if a fire inspector and city engineer determine together that it does not meet fire codes.

This does not mean the buildings are unsafe to inhabit. A building can be up to building code but not comply with the fire code for various reasons.



Clumping Bamboo & Leyland Cypress are Great for Adding Privacy to your Home and Yard!

Here are a few Resources:

Clumping Bamboo –
Leyland Cypress and fast growing trees –

Make a Day of it! Some local nurseries & nearby restaurants:

Tony’s Nursery
Then maybe lunch or dinner at the Z Haus Brewing?

Birds and Bees Nursery
Stop in for a bite and cold beverage

Cornell Farms
Have breakfast or lunch across the road at the Oregon College of Art and Craft Café.

Get your House ready for Spring with These Home Improvement Tips!

Whether or not you intend to sell your house this year, Winter can be very hard on the exterior of your home.  The rain that keeps our beloved Pacific Northwest so lush and green can cause some major damage.  These helpful tips will help you get your home ready for Spring.

Check your Gutters and Roof

This is a great time to make sure your gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and debris!  Gutters tend to clog at the elbow, luckily this piece is easy to remove. Once the gutters are clear, check that they are securely attached and that water is draining away from your foundation.  Improper gutter drainage is a leading cause of moisture in your basement.  Taking the time to make sure they are clear of debris can save you from costly foundation repairs further down the road.

While you’re up there, take a cursory look at your roof.  Address any issues (missing shingles, moss, etc) that will reduce its effectiveness.

Concrete Cracks

Check for cracks in the foundation, concrete patios and walkways.  Cracked concrete allows moisture to undermine the structural integrity of your home over time.  Inspect for cracks and fix them before Spring rains make them a larger issue.  Concrete crack filler or silicone caulk are inexpensive ways to quickly repair small cracks.  If your basement walls have multiple cracks, consider painting the foundation with a specialized sealant.  This will prevent water from seeping in and creating a potentially dangerous mold problem.

Here is a great website filled with information regarding mold prevention!


Just like cracks in concrete, gaps in the windows can let in water and pests.  Spring is the ideal time to scrape old caulk out and re-do it.  Also, check for any rot in the trim and window sills.  Repair as needed.  Clean your windows and open them up.  Get some fresh air in your home!

Move Firewood

Many people keep their firewood stacked neatly against their house, tucked under the eaves to keep it dry and easily accessible.  Its time to get the wood away from your house.  Not only is it possible to damage your siding, but the damp dark stack of firewood is a breeding ground for insects and pests.  Ideally, firewood should be stored off the ground and two feet from the exterior of your house.

Spruce it up

For an instant face lift and improved curb appeal, rent a pressure washer.  Debris, mold, mildew and moss have a tendency to accumulate over the winter.  Leaving your deck, walkways, driveway and house looking dirty.   Pick a nice day to clean all these surfaces.  You will be instantly pleased by the improvement!

Spring is also the ideal time to freshen up your exterior.  Consider repainting your front door and trim for a high impact/low cost change.  Plant some new flowers, shrubbery or herbs to perk up your yard!  Use compacted soil to fill in any low or sunken spots that have developed over the winter.

Have you been dreaming all winter of starting your own organic garden?  Now is a great time to start!  Check out this helpful article.



Competing in Portlands HOT sellers market

Competing in Portland’s Hot Real Estate Market

Portland is one of the fastest growing housing markets in the United States. For the third year in a row, Oregon is the top moving destination according to a study conducted by United Van Lines. Many of these transplants are relocating to the Portland Metro Area. Cashing out of costlier housing markets and taking advantage of the relative affordability of Portland. With this influx of cash buyers and limited stock, how do you compete in a hot seller’s market?

Have your finances in order

Know how much you are able to spend on your new home. Don’t forget about the closing and inspection costs when deciding how much money to borrow. Find a mortgage professional and secure a strong pre-approval letter before you begin your search. This will allow you to move quickly when you find the house you want to make an offer on. Sellers have traditionally preferred cash offers due to a perceived expediency in closing and reduced risk of the deal falling apart in the loan process. You can put sellers at ease by having your finances in order at the time of the offer.

Be Realistic

Your Realtor can help you by providing you the closing prices of comparable houses in the neighborhood you are looking. Due to a low inventory, many houses are selling for over asking price. Kelly Stafford, owner of Home Sweet Home Realty, crunched the numbers for HSH’s 2015 sales and on average the winning bids were 11% over list price. This knowledge has been very useful for HSH Realty’s buyer clients. Allowing HSH clients to make strong and realistic offers.

If you are approved for a $300,000 loan don’t overlook houses listed for less. Sometimes it is worth buying a house with some minor issues that may be a turn off to buyers. You can avoid a costly bidding war and put the money you saved towards improving the house. Most importantly, don’t be discouraged if your offer is not accepted. New houses get listed every day. Stay on top of new listings and be ready to make multiple offers. You will get one!

Be Flexible

One of the best strategies for competing in Portland’s Hot Real Estate Market is to be flexible with your terms when writing an offer on a house. There are more factors than money when it comes to closing the deal. Your Realtor can help you gain a competitive edge over other buyers (yes, even cash buyers) by figuring out what is really important to the sellers. Have they found their next house? Offering an extended closing time or free rent back may make your offer stand out. Do the sellers want to close fast? You may consider waiving the financing contingency or reducing the inspection period. Though, as this article points out, it is a risk to waive the Inspection Clause completely.

Make it Personal

Buying and selling a home is an emotional process. One of the simplest things you can do to stand out when making an offer will cost you nothing! Write a letter or make a video of yourself for the sellers. Tell them about yourself and how owning their home would change your life. Are you looking to raise a family? Have you recently relocated to the area? Let them know that you think their home is special. Sellers appreciate knowing that the next person to own their home will love and care for it as they have. This technique can definitely give you an edge, especially when competing against investors.


Looking to Buy or Sell? We would love to help! Contact one of our great Home Sweet Home Realtors at 503-515-2986 or online at