Blog Alyssa Isenstein Krueger A Real Tiny House For a Cat Lady's Dream Life

A Real Tiny House For a Cat Lady’s Dream Life

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, December 11, 2019

I started in real estate back in the wonder year of 2007 when I got a job at a non-profit home builder HOST Development. My background was in community development and affordable housing, and my new job at HOST was to do community outreach and sell homes built by the non-profit builder to first time buyers who made at or below the area’s median family income. When I started working at HOST, I was eased into my job by our most fabulous office/computer/everything wrangler Holly. Holly had purchased a HOST home herself, and liked the company so much she was hired as our office manager. Fast forward a couple of years and the Great Recession hit, and being the smart and savvy person she is, Holly jumped the HOST ship when the writing was on the wall, and found a job working for the State of Oregon. I rode that ship out until the last lifeboat left in 2009, and while it was sort of traumatic to lose a salaried job in the height of the recession, the biggest gift that job gave me was the realization of how much I love working one on one with buyers and sellers.

It’s been over 10 years since HOST closed their doors, and Holly is now a fancy tech person doing what she loves at a company that aligns with her values and skills. A few years ago Holly sold her old HOST home and rented apartments around town with her 2 cats. But once you’ve owned your own home, it can be hard to make that transition to being a renter in a building with other people who don’t share your wake/sleep  hours, as well as being at the whim of a landlord in terms of what you are going to pay for your housing. So the itch for homeownership grew stronger and a few months ago Holly reached out to me because she had some questions about a few houses that had caught her eye. I gave her the skinny and she decided to pass. And then a sweet little cupcake of a bungalow came on the market that was sadly too underpriced. It was definitely swoon worthy and gave Holly butterflies, but unfortunately for Holly, lots of folks who were willing to pay more for it also had butterflies, so that ship sailed. Holly seemed to feel that was her last chance at a cute house closer-in under $300k, so she declared that she had closed the book on house hunting. I knew she would be back at it, and since Holly is such a fabulous person, even her cat sitter was on the lookout for the perfect Holly house. In late October she texted me a link to a tiny house- only 520 sf in the Roseway neighborhood that her cat sitter had sent her and by the time we tried to go look at it, it had gone pending. But then as luck would have it, that sale failed and it came back on the market.

While it was teeny tiny, the listing photos made it look quite spacious, so we went to see it and lo and behold, it was even lovelier in person. A few years back someone had bought it, gutted it, re-built half the house and created the most efficient, cute and warm 1 bedroom 520 sf house ever. The house had zero inches of wasted space, built-in’s everywhere, decent sized kitchen and bedroom, windows galore, and enough of a yard that Holly can flex her gardening prowess. We wrote up the offer, went through a small counter, and had a smooth transaction. Holly had considered buying a tiny-house on wheels but as cute and efficient as those homes are, they are not that efficient in providing a permanent spot to plant roots as they are considered mobile homes, and it’s hard to find a spot to legally park them where you are guaranteed to stay in one place for the long term. This house in Roseway is only slightly bigger than the tiny homes we all think of, but it sits on it’s own lot on a real foundation and isn’t going anywhere, and for the foreseeable future, neither are Holly and her cats.

Alyssa Isenstein Krueger

Broker | OR


I am living the dream. Working as a real estate broker in my home town brings this native Portland gal joy beyond measure. Check Out My Reviews! I took the round-about-road towards this career. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in NY two decades ago with a degree in liberal arts/creative writing, I returned to my hometown of PDX and got a job in a legendary record store of days gone by, worked as a music and culture writer for Portland’s oldest weekly publication while pursuing a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University. Armed with my masters degree, I moved into the realm of affordable housing, community development, and urban planning, and then rounded the corner with a long stay in arts management then back around the bend when I got my real estate license and went to work for a non-profit housing builder at the cusp of the market crash in 2007. In the time between that market crash and the ensuing madness, I’ve stayed on top of the market like a dog guarding a bone. Using a magical combination of experience, instinct, and market data, I know what homes are worth, I know how to write a terrific offer, and I know how to help a seller market a home and receive and accept a great offer. Mutual trust and tender relationship building is the basis and foundation of my real estate practice. I use my skills as an active listener, creative solution finder and ace negotiator to get my clients the best price on a home, win the multiple offer roulette, and have as smooth and easy transaction as possible. Timely and responsive communication is the most important aspect of building trust and I don’t take that part lightly.  I am a stickler for details and nothing pleases me more than guiding a client through the home buying or selling process (and sometimes both at the same time). My role is one of advocate, advisor, partner, transaction organizer, and counselor. I am a partner broker with Portland Housing Center and relish the opportunity to work with eager first time home buyers. I have a knack for seeing the potential in almost any home and love to help clients see past what is and help them envision what can be. I have a decade of first-hand experience renovating and caressing my bungalow in Ladd’s Addition and had the honor of having my own home featured in a story in the Oregonian’s Homes and Gardens section. I can feel the love for any and almost all homes, but my heart goes all aflutter when entering a museum quality time capsule house -- the solid mid-century ones with the original pink or green tiled bathrooms, those charming early 1900’s farmhouses with the original kitchen cabinets and fir countertops, the cozy bungalows with the built-ins still intact. When I’m not working with clients, you’ll find me hanging with my two boys, Kalman and Saul, and my husband Robert, a Fine Art Conservator with his own business, Cascadia Art Conservation Center.  Retired racing greyhounds have been my constant companions since 1997, and our family includes Peanut the greyhound, Pinto the South Korean Italian greyhound, our 2 cats Spaghetti and Will, and our chickens, Rosie, Lil' Peck, Penelope and Nugget. I am an obsessive gardener/plant fiend and love that we live in a climate where I can grow eucalyptus trees (I have 3 in my yard including a couple I started from seed) alongside blueberry bushes (6 in my yard). Given some free time, you’ll find me junking at an estate sale, dreaming of high brow junk, low brow art, making things, sewing, reading and dreaming of tropical locales.  
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