Blog Alyssa Isenstein Krueger The Perfect Little House in the Shadow of Mt Tabor

The Perfect Little House in the Shadow of Mt Tabor

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, December 29, 2020

My clients Elizabeth and Tom contacted me in early October. They were getting all their ducks in a row to start the home buying process within the first 6 months of 2021. After we spoke, Elizabeth got in touch with a great lender and it was after she spoke with the lender that they realized they were actually a lot closer to making home ownership a reality then they had anticipated. Once pre-approved, they realized that with rates below 3%, buying a home sooner then later to take advantage of the low low low rates was within their reach. Besides staying within their budget, location was the most important feature, and they knew they wanted to be as close-in as possible, preferably west of 82nd and within walking distance of places you would want to walk to and near transit so once the pandemic ends Elizabeth could easily get downtown to her job at Mercy Corps.

On our first outing to see homes, we saw a few homes and found a couple that they really liked. One in particular, in Madison South just a few spits east of 82nd seemed to check all the boxes. It was a home that has just been flipped, so from what I could see when we saw the house in person, it looked ok. There are always 2 parts of a house that I can’t see during a showing, and it’s those 2 parts that tend to have the most issues. The crawl space and attic. I always warn my clients up front that the crawl space and attic will make or break a house. Armed with the knowledge that the house was a flip and that I could not see the attic or crawl space, they decided to take their chances and write up an offer. For a house listed under $400k that looked to be in decent shape on the interior and had a nice floor plan, surprisingly it only had one offer. This is usually a sign of not great things, but hey- it meant no competition and since it had just been listed, they wrote their offer at just list price and not over asking. Their offer was accepted and we scheduled the inspection to happen within a couple of days. When we arrived at the house to go over the report with the inspector, I could tell by the look on my inspectors face that the house was a dud and all my concerns about it just having been flipped were validated. The crawl space and attic were total wrecks. Rats had chewed through a ton of the wiring, had made nests everywhere, even in the house ductwork. Rodent feces was out the wahoo and all the other terrible things that happen when rats move in were present. It was so bad that our inspector wasn’t able to inspect the whole crawl space or attic. We were all incredulous that the flippers who listed this house didn’t even bother to do any clean up or even try to cover it up. And it just added more fodder for my hesitancy in recommending recently flipped houses to first time buyers. My buyers terminated that very afternoon.

A couple of days later a cupcake little mid-century ranchalow just west of 82nd on the east side of Mt. Tabor in the SE part of Montavilla came on the market. Painted a perfect light blue/teal with scalloped siding frosting the front of the house, the curb appeal was delicious. This one hit all the same boxes as the Montavilla house, and this one felt even more warm and cozy. This house was not a flip and had been well taken care of by the previous owners. After sleeping on it, and before they even had their earnest money back in their pockets after terminating on the first house they had been in transaction with, they decided to go for it. This house did receive multiple offers and Elizabeth and Tom were able to rise to the top with a small escalation clause. For the second time in a week, they had an offer accepted on a great house. This house sailed through the inspection, and with just a couple of needed repairs that we were able to negotiate, the transaction was smooth from start to finish.

Alyssa Isenstein Krueger



I am living the dream. Working as a real estate broker in my home town brings this native Portland gal joy beyond measure. 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, and our chickens, Rosie, Lola, Squishy, Duck and Prince. I am an obsessive gardener/plant fiend and love that we live in a climate where I can grow eucalyptus trees (I have 5 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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