Blog posts about Fixers & Investments

Me with Nest_1

It took me a long time to be able to say out loud, in a proud voice, that I am a Realtor. It took me many years and several re-habbed houses to begin calling myself a builder and creator, but finally I can do that, I own up to it, and will say so with capital letters “REALTOR,” this is what I do for a living.  I take ownership of the word.  It’s how I keep shoes on my kids, pay for their French fries and a roof above us.   Years ago, before I ever got into this business, I thought agents simply put a sign in the yard, wore kitten-heeled shoes and a tacky smile.  I thought this, because I met those sorts of agents when we began to market our first house way back when.  A house that we had spent months re-doing.   An old house that needed new everything.  Winter days when I hung upside down from skip sheathing on our roof,... More


Mike and Amy have been the best neighbors that my lender, Jen Bell,  could’ve ever asked for out in Damascus.  They keep an eye on each other, they help each other out, and they often sit by a fire and throw a few back.  The day has finally come when they’ll be moving out of Amy’s dad’s farmhouse they’ve rented and raised their kids in for the last 20+ years and move into their own home by Fernhill Park. They had no intentions of seeing this house, but one Saturday their daughter suggested they go to the open house and it was love at first sight.  Sitting high up on a raised lot, the completely gutted and remodeled Cape has views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen’s.  The top floor is the master bedroom and bathroom combo Amy has been dreaming of.  After living in the country for so long, they wanted to be in walking distance to restaurants and bars, but not right... More

We Love Women in the Trades 

As soon as I pulled up to this 1907 cutie my heart skipped a beat. Intuition told me, even before crossing the threshold, that this was going to be an ideal match for our client, a first time home buyer working as a commercial plumber’s Jedi-apprenti (apprentice). As a woman in the trades Kelly has no shortage of handy friends. Her community includes sparkies (electricians), chippies (carpenters), turd herders (aka plumbers, no offense intended) and itchies (insulators). In other words, if upon opening the door this joint was a fixer in need of elbow grease she’d have lots of help getting her up and running. When I opened the door a giant smile lit up on my face. The place was GORGEOUS! I knew we had to work hard to make this happen for our client. One of the first Realtors through the door and executing a well thought out, competitive offer, sent in on day one, spoke volumes to the seller. Early bird gets... More


Ever played cards against humanity?  If so I challenge you to decide which is the best card of the deck…for me it is a tie between “Sean Penn”, and “Farting and Walking Away”, which may be a metaphor for how I choose my favorite house, client/friend scenario – which is to say it is impossible. I love that my clients often times (like 99% of the time) become my friends.  It is so wonderful to be stuck in a car and a stressful situation and have it all work out in the end and gain another person that you enjoy spending time with.  In the case of Jane and Johana I feel as though this scenario was a jackpot for me.  Love these ladies, they make me laugh, cry and regain faith in humanity. Anyways they sold their third home and purchased their fourth home with me, so our fourth transaction, and I am thrilled.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you. Details; 5 beds 3... More

Color Expert

One of the first things new homeowners often do is paint.  Sometimes the actual “painting” task gets hired out.  However, most first time (and 2nd, 3rd 4th…) HomeBuyers usually choose their own colors. It all starts out as fun and games…going to the paint store, ogling all of the yummy colors… fun, fun, fun!  UNTIL… you start the “that looks nothing like the swatch” frustration.  Particularly for an exterior or even large rooms, basing your color choice on a tiny 1 inch square is challenging to say the least.  There is time back in forth to the paint store, re- sampling pints, waiting for it to dry, going back for the lighter shade (everyone always has to go back for the lighter shade) only to find out the lighter shade has an entirely different hue to it. Enter: The Color Expert.  You can still choose the colors you like (if you want to) but this expert will be able to tell you which color will... More

A Man on a Mission 


My good buddy Brian first mentioned buying a house less than two months ago. Who would have thought his decision to house hunt would have led us on such a fun, surprising, sometimes discouraging, but ultimately quick and victorious adventure! We toured homes that smelled like (well, you can imagine), a home that had used needles in the bathroom, a home that had squatters (actually IN the house when we attempted to tour- good thing that dog was friendly!), and countless truly uninhabitable homes. Finally we found the right one. This great house will allow Brian to show off his skills in restoration and construction, but also comes to him a beauty in its own right. It’s not hard to see the promise just below the hideous carpet! Brian moved fast and confidently to beat out other, even higher, offers and ended up closing in 8 short days. I can’t wait for the dinner parties, but also welcome the painting parties that may come first.... More


I just have to say that I love a solid “granny ranch.”  Obviously, as I bought one, AND seek them out to view as often as possible.  Luckily my adorable/rad/savvy client Eve likes them as well.  So when we looked at a bunch of fixers in the $200k and under range I nudged her to take a quick look at an adorable ranch that came up that was a bit beyond that price point.  Being the granny ranch junkie that she is (maybe why we get along well) – she quickly noted the good condition, great location, and value and took the leap to making an offer.  It was weird because it was an instance where we had a really strong offer – but the sellers decided to go with a first time home buyer with a family.  Which was fine with Eve, she never likes to take those kinds of homes away from first time home buyers…so away we went.  Well a couple weeks... More

collage Malden

A remodel on a dime. I did this house over the last three months to become a rental.  Yes, it is now a rental and will rent for $1600 a month.  My fingers are covered in band-aids, my ass is a little bigger (no time for the gym), and my liver most likely a “little” more taxed then a doctor would want.   I did this house using my hands and the hands of a few others.   And the thing is, I did all of this work, including the cost of materials and labor for less then $13,000.  If I can do it, a single mom with two children that lives on a budget with little  spare time, you can do it too!  Inside, outside, electrical, painting, plumbing, gutters, cabinets, walls, fixtures, floors, appliances etc…  The house is now done. So, I’m here too lend my services to you.  Whether you want to buy a house and make it way better, or have a home... More


So my decision to buy another house to rehab before I’ve finished the one I’m currently working on. Well, it is probably crazy. Shoot, if I had been able to be legally married, I probably would have gotten divorced during this last project.  We lived without a kitchen for 6 months and existed behind a  magic-zippered-sheet of plastic containing drywall dust.  Yep, we are doing it again.  Truthfully, I’m buying this house because it has a garage big enough for us to store all our big girl tools. When I told my partner, the house was closing today, she said, ” I can’t wait to start tearing out the kitchen and bathroom, and set up my shop in the garage.”  Meanwhile, she is working on someone else’s house today! More

Andy Finds A Home! 

Andy Locke

Andy is a busy guy! Full time teacher, soccer coach and he plays on a team too.  About a year ago Andy and I started looking at homes available in the Good Neighbor Next Door program.   GNND is available to teachers, fire fighters, police officers, doctors and nurses.  Only a select few homes are offered thru GNND, and most are in pretty rough shape.  But the benefits offered thru the HUD program can often make it worth the effort. Andy came pretty close to a purchase, but in the end, it just wasn’t the right house. Fast forward 9 months and while GNND was still a consideration, Andy really wanted to get into a home.  We opened up the search and started looking at all options.  In a short time he found a nice 60′s ranch in South Tabor -  original hardwood floors, two fireplaces , full semi finished basement, on an oversized lot.  Of course it was competitive with mulitple offers over full price. ... More