Filed Under Uncategorized · Tagged: Alameda, Alberta Arts, alberta arts bungalow, Alberta Arts Portland, American Bungalow, Beaumont, Bungalow, bungalow belt, cheap landscape, cheap landscaping, Close-in Portland, Concordia, Craftsman bungalow, Halpern, homes by halpern, interior designer bungalows Portland, Irvington, Kennedy School, Orly Halpern, Orly Halpern Bungalows, Portland bungalo, Portland bungalow, portland bungalow real estate, portland bungalows, Portland interior designer, portland oregon bungalo, Portland Oregon Bungalows, Portland Oregon homes, portland oregon real estate, portland real estate agent, portland realtor, portland remodel, REMAX signature properties, remodel bungalo, remodel bungalow, Wilshire
Consider a consultation with an interior designer for your next home remodeling project. Hire them for the whole job, or just to consult on certain aspects. Their experiences will save you time, money, and stress. We recently hired a designer to help with details for our newest home purchase in the Alberta Arts district of Portland Oregon. Initially, I questioned the added expense as our remodel budget was already stretched thin. However, after our first consultation it quickly became clear that our designer would help us avoid days of indecision on materials and paint colors, saving me a dozen or more trips to the local remodel and paint stores. She provided us with three sketches, three paint schemes, and three choices for material. Within the hour my wife and I had chosen the colors and material for the renovation.
We will invite her back once the work is complete and our POD has been unloaded to do another consultation regarding furniture & art placement. I’m confident she will save us even more time and money here, as we’ll be able to repurpose furniture we already own vs. most likely purchasing new furniture trying to get the look we could have had with proper placement. I’m a fan of identifying pieces of furniture I really want to purchase, but waiting until I craigslist those I’m done with before buying. Often times, the changeover can be done with little or no added expense.
We were very lucky to find someone on our first try who listened to what we really wanted, and delivered right on target. If you don’t have a great referral then I would suggest visiting with a few interior designers, and finding one you really connect with. Most of all, have fun with the process.
Best of luck,
Filed Under Uncategorized · Tagged: Alameda, Alberta Arts, cheap landscape, for sale portland oregon, homes by halpern, homes for sale portland or, homes portland oregon, Irvington, john l scott NE Portland oregon, Kennedy School, NE Portland, Orly Halpern, portland bath remodel, Portland Oregon Bungalows, Portland Oregon homes, portland oregon real estate, portland real estate agent, portland top realtor, remodel home to sell portland oregon
Here are a few tips I wanted to pass along for refreshing an outdated, dark, or cramped bathroom.
Adding a big mirror, or replacing your existing mirror with a larger one, adds light, provides a larger view, and makes a dim, cramped bathroom feel spacious, spa-like, and inviting.
Look for a framed mirror, or non-framed depending on your budget, the space provided, and your other decorations.
Push or pump button dispensers add quite a convenience to your bath/shower experience. By getting rid of the clutter of bottles lining your tub you’re creating space, but also not allowing soap rings and hard water stains to form along the base of the bottles. This makes shower cleaning easier (which means you will be more inclined to clean, and more often).
Shower dispensers can be found at a number of home improvement stores, and at a wide range of prices to fit your budget. Be weary of the ultra cheap as you will likely find yourself shopping for a more quality version after yours breaks in the first month.
New Faucet & Hardware:
Very important, and may be easier to install than you thought. Adding a new faucet (prices range from around $25-$150) can be a substantial improvement to the appearance of the restroom. Installation requires some know-how and very basics of plumbing, but the faucets most-likely come with instructions, and a few quick answers from an associate at the home improvement store will have you wrapping plumbers tape and slinging drain puddy in no time.
Also, look to updating your shower/bath fixtures (often sold in combinations for less than $150). Lastly, make sure that your towel rack, toilet paper roll, and any other fixtures do not detract from your newly updated items. If they clash, replace those with the same (or at least very similar) finishes. The combination of these fixes can bring your pre 1990′s home into the new millennium.
Filed Under First time home buyer · Tagged: eligible for home buyer tax credit, federal home buyer incentive, federal homebuyer incentives, Federal tax credit, first time hombuyers, First time home buyer, homes by halpern, Orly Despacio, Orly Halpern, Portland Oregon Bungalows, REMAX signature properties, Tax Credit, tax deduction, tax reduction
Tax Credit for Homebuyers
First-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit. Remember a tax credit is very different than a tax deduction – a tax credit is equivalent to money in your hand, as opposed to a tax deduction which only reduces your taxable income.
The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.
Tax Credit Versus Tax Deduction
It’s important to remember that the $8,000 tax credit is just that… a tax credit. The benefit of a tax credit is that it’s a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a homebuyer were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, they would owe nothing.
Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the homebuyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little income tax liability. For example, if a homebuyer is liable for $4,000 in income tax, he can offset that $4,000 with half of the tax credit… and still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!
According to the plan, the tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000.
To break down what this phaseout means to homebuyers who are over those amounts, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:
Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.
Example 2: Assume that an individual homebuyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,800.
Remember, these are general examples. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.
Homes that Qualify
The tax credit is applicable to any home that will be used as a principle residence. Based on that guideline, qualifying homes include single-family detached homes, as well as attached homes such as townhouses and condominiums. In addition, manufactured or homes and houseboats used for principle residence also qualify.
Higher Loan Amounts
More good news – there is an extension on the additional tier of conforming loan amounts which had been first established in 2008. This tier of home loans are those greater than $417,000, and with a maximum that depends on the area, but is not greater than $729,750. These loans will again be eligible for rates that are slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard “jumbo” loan rates.
Additional Housing-Related Provisions
Tax Incentives to Spur Energy Savings and Green Jobs — This provision is designed to help promote energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.
Landmark Energy Savings — This provision provides $5 Billion for energy efficient improvements for more than one million modest-income homes through weatherization. According to some estimates, this can help modest-income families save an average of $350 a year on heating and air conditioning bills.
Repairing Public Housing and Making Key Energy Efficiency Retrofits To HUD-Assisted Housing—This provision provides a total of $6.3 Billion for increasing energy efficiency in federally supported housing programs.Specifically, it establishes a new program to upgrade HUD-sponsored low-income housing (for elderly, disabled, and Section 8) to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and frames.
Expanding Housing Assistance—This provision increases support for several critical housing programs. It includes $2 Billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant properties.
More Help for Homeowners in the Future
Another thing to keep an eye on in the coming weeks is President Obama’s plan to help struggling borrowers before they are faced with a default on their mortgage.
According to reports, the Obama administration is discussing plans to help borrowers who are struggling to stay afloat, but who have not yet fallen behind on their payments. At this point, details are scarce; however, reports indicate that President Obama is looking to spend approximately $50 Billion to directly help homeowners before they face foreclosure and financial disaster.
While this is good news for individual homeowners, it will likely be good for the housing industry as a whole. That’s because, assisting struggling borrowers before they default should help stop the wave of foreclosures, which are estimated to top two million this year. That, in turn, will help stabilize home prices.
The Economic Stimulus Plan is huge, and impacts a number of industries. I’ve highlighted some of the major provisions that may impact you now and in the future.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I’d be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.
Information provided by Mike Popnoe of Strat-e-gy7 503.319.0335
Filed Under Bungalows · Tagged: Alameda, Alberta Arts, alberta arts bungalow, American Bungalow, Bungalow, bungalow belt, Craftsman bungalow, homes by halpern, Orly Halpern, Orly Halpern Bungalows, Portland oregon bungalow, Portland Oregon Bungalows, REMAX Portland Oregon, REMAX signature properties
Bungalows are very convenient for the homeowner in that all living areas are on a single story and there are no stairs between living areas. A bungalow is well suited to those who are mobility impaired, e.g. the elderly or those in wheelchairs.
Neighborhoods of only bungalows offer more privacy than similar neighborhoods with two-story houses. With bungalows, strategically planted trees and shrubs are usually sufficient to block the view of neighbors. With two-story houses, the extra height requires much taller trees to accomplish the same, and it may not be practical to place such tall trees close to the house to obscure the view from the second floor of the next door neighbor. On the other hand, even closely spaced bungalows make for quite low density neighborhoods, contributing to urban sprawl.
Cost and space considerations
On a per unit area basis (e.g. per square foot or per square metre), bungalows are more expensive to construct than two story houses because a larger foundation and roof area is required for the same living area. The larger foundation will often translate into larger lot size requirements as well. This is why bungalows are typically fully detached from other houses and do not share a common foundation nor party wall: if the homeowner can afford the extra expense of a bungalow relative to a two-story house, they can typically afford to be fully detached as well.
The smaller size however may be desirable for elderly people (perhaps with grown children) as it requires less cleaning, etc.
Though the ‘footprint’ of a bungalow is often a simple rectangle, any foundation is possible. For bungalows with brick walls, the windows are often positioned high and are right to the roof. This avoids the need for special arches or lintels to support the brick wall above the windows. In two-story houses, there is no choice but to continue the brick wall above the window (and the second story windows may be positioned high and right to the roof.)
While the concept of a bungalow is simple, there are a number of variations upon the term, often describing where floor-space is extended above, or below the primary floor.
A ranch bungalow is a bungalow organized so that bedrooms are on one side and “public” areas (kitchen, living/dining/family rooms) are on the other side. If there is an attached garage, the garage is on the public side of the house so that a direct entrance to the house is possible, when this is allowed by legislation. On narrower lots, public areas are at the front of the house and such an organization is typically not called a “ranch” bungalow. Such houses are often smaller and have only two bedrooms in the back.
A raised bungalow is one in which the basement is partially above ground. The benefit is that more light can enter the basement with above ground windows in the basement. A raised bungalow typically has a foyer at ground level that is half-way between the first floor and the basement. This further has the advantage of creating a foyer with a very high ceiling without the expense of raising the roof or creating a skylight. Raised bungalows often have the garage in the basement. Because the basement is not that deep, and the ground must slope downwards away from the house, the slope of the driveway is quite shallow. This avoids the disadvantage of steep driveways found in most other basement garages. Bungalows without basements can still be raised, but the advantages of raising the bungalow are much less.
A bungalow with loft comes with a second story loft. The loft may be extra space over the garage. It is often space to the side of a great room with a vaulted ceiling area. The house is still classified and marketed as a bungalow with loft because the main living areas of the house are on one floor. All the convenience of single floor living still applies and the loft is not expected to be accessed on a daily basis.
Some houses have extra bedrooms in the loft or attic area. Such houses are really “one and half” stories and not a bungalow, and are described in British English as a chalet bungalow or dormer bungalow. “Chalet Bungalow” is also used in British English for where the area enclosed within pitched roof contains rooms, even if this comprises a large part of the living area and is fully integrated into the fabric of the property.
True bungalows do not use the attic. Because the attic is not used, the roof pitch can be quite shallow, constrained only by snow load considerations.
American Craftsman Bungalow
The American Craftsman bungalow typified the common styles of the American Arts and Crafts movement — with common features usually including low-pitch roof lines on a gabled or hipped roof; deeply overhanging eaves; exposed rafters or decorative brackets under the eaves; and a front porch beneath an extension of the main roof.
The California Bungalow was a widely popular 1 1/2 story variation on the bungalow in America from 1910 to 1925. It was also widely popular in Australia within the period 1910-1940.
Filed Under Portland Neighborhoods, Uncategorized · Tagged: Alameda, Alberta, Irvington, Kennedy School, Mcmenamins, movies, NE, NE Portland, NE Portland bungalow, Portland Oregon Bungalows, portland oregon things to do
Just 10 minutes northeast of downtown, the McMenamin brothers have created yet another Portland treasure here. The 1915 Kennedy School was slated for demolition before the McMenamins intervened. Now a nostalgic retreat, each room features its own charming theme, complete with chalkboard. Have a drink at the Honors Bar, the Detention Bar, or the Cypress Room Bar. Check out the expansive menu at the Courtyard Restaurant. Catch a movie in the Theater Bar. Peruse the original artwork adorning the hallways and tour the Concordia Brewery. www.mcmenamins.com
Filed Under Uncategorized · Tagged: cheap, cheap landscape, cheap landscaping, Halpern, landscape to sell, landscaping, landscaping on a budget, landscaping on a small budget, NW plants, Orly, Orly Halpern, Portland, portland modern water features, Portland Oregon Bungalows, Portland Oregon homes, Portland plants, tree planting, yard
REALTOR.ORG/realtormag By Barbara Ballinger Published: 03/01/2007
Attractive landscaping is one of the best ways to make a good first impression on prospective buyers and show that a home is loved.
Though a well-designed landscape can be simple, it also can move far beyond a velvety lawn and colorful flower beds to encompass trees, shrubs, irrigation, hardscaping, and lighting. By making informed choices, home owners can tranform their properties, whether they’re selling or just moved in and plan to stay for years.
Before jumping into a landscaping-improvement project, it helps to have a general knowledge of what kind of plants would thrive on the property, says Steve Jones, (a.k.a. “The Plant Man”) owner of Greenwood Nursery in McMinnville, Tenn. Home owners should do some research to learn about their yard’s various components:
- Soil condition. To analyze soil, home owners should contact a local college extension service or buy a kit from a garden center. An analysis determines the pH balance. Most plants thrive in near-neutral pH conditions but some like slightly acidic soil, says Jones.
- Drainage. The type of soil — sandy, silty, clay, or loam — will affect drainage. For example, clay soil may drain poorly, which can prevent nutrients and oxygen from reaching plant roots, but soil can be modified, Jones says.
- Sunlight. Home owners should stand outside at different times of the day to see when, where, and how much sun strikes their yard, Jones says.
- Hardiness zone. Also referred to as climate zones, hardiness zones are a guide to help you know which plants will grow where you live, so you don’t plant materials that will soon die just because they can’t survive the region’s temperatures, according to BackyardGardener.com, which provides a hardiness zone map on its Web site.
Next Steps: Make a Budget, Hire Help
A budget will largely determine the scope of a project. If home owners want to replicate the cover photo from a recent Fine Gardening magazine, they should be prepared to pay dearly. Plants, soil, and all the extras that make a garden picture-perfect, can really add up, Jones says. For example, a single 8-foot-tall, 1-inch-caliper, shade-loving red maple may cost $60 to $70, he says.
But buyers should remember to factor in the cost of hiring a gardener, landscaper, or arborist. A gardener may be sufficient for home owners seeking to tidy up to improve curb appeal, while a landscape designer or architect is usually best for those who want to do more extensive work. Either professional can develop a master plan to enhance the exterior, make the site look attractive from the inside out, and keep materials safe from weather, insects, and animals. Many charge between $75 and $150 an hour — or more, depending on the area of the country and complexity of the project, says landscape designer Tim Thoelecke Jr. of American Academy of Landscape Design in Glenview, Ill.
For those planning long-term improvements to the property, rather than simple pre-sale enhancements, an arborist also can be brought on board to inspect the condition of trees, the lawn, and the drainage system, says Jones.
When budgeting for a landscaping overhaul, home owners should plan to spend about 10 percent of the value of the home, says Russell Cletta, senior landscape architect for Valley Crest Estate Gardens in Calabasas, Calif.
To achieve a grander look, a bigger budget of 15 percent may be necessary, Thoelecke says. But if you’re going far grander — perhaps duplicating the closely clipped lawn at the Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters Tournament — even more may be in order.
6 Practical Project Ideas
Here are some simple projects that experts say will make a big impact on the property’s appearance — and possibly boost resale value.
- - Plant trees. Trees look nice, cut down on heating and cooling costs, and can even help a home sell for more money, the USDA Forest Service says. Properly placing just three trees can save an average household between $100 and $250 in annual energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And a report from Arbor National Mortgage found that 84 percent of practitioners believe that a house on a treed lot would fetch at least 20 more than one on a lot without trees.
- - Go for year-round color. Rather than make do with empty beds and a brown lawn in winter, home owners can pick materials that remain green all year. Examples: evergreen arborvitae, junipers, and boxwood, says Jones.
- - Help the environment. There are dozens of ways to be a good environmental steward. A rain garden can retain water rather than send it into the nearest storm sewer. In drought-prone areas, xeriscape plants require less water. Large shade trees can screen a roof and windows from sun and block cold wind and air, Cletta says.
- Make your yard livable. A yard can be transformed into livable outdoor “rooms.” High on the wish list are well-equipped kitchens, sometimes with pizza ovens and fire pits, and the newest star — media rooms. Cletta installed a projection screen so one client could float in his pool and watch movies.
- - Just add water. Everyone loves water’s soothing sound, whether it cascades into a pond, fills a fountain, or churns in a hot tub.
- - Build a pergola. A pergola — a set of columns supporting a roof of trelliswork on which climbing plants can grow — adds architectural interest, vertical growing space, and shade.
For Home Owners on a Budget
Landscaping doesn’t have to cost as much as your house. To cut costs, a plan can be installed in stages, Thoelecke says.
There also are many affordable improvements home owners can make to enhance curb appeal. Start by trimming bushes and pruning dead limbs in front of windows to avoid blocking views, says Brian Huggler, ABR®, CRS®, associate broker with Huggler & Bashore in Lansing, Mich.
“If buyers can’t see a home, you can’t sell it,” adds Sandra Holmes, owner of Home Staging Concepts in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Other ideas from the experts:
- - Clear away lawn art, toys and other “clutter.”
- - Edge beds and add fresh mulch.
- - Paint or seal terraces and replace rotted wood.
- - Add a touch of color. A few pots of tulips in March work magic; red and white colors add the most punch, says Jones.
- - Use container gardens. Pots are an affordable, portable way to line a path, embellish an entry, grow herbs, and decorate indoor rooms when weather changes.