Blog Alyssa Isenstein Krueger A Five Year Journey to Becoming a Homeowner

A Five Year Journey to Becoming a Homeowner

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, June 9, 2021

My super special buyer Ta’ Neshia contacted me in early April to see if I could help her complete her long journey of buying her first home. This single mom had spent the past five years working with the Portland Housing Center to build up her credit, save for a downpayment, and get educated about the home buying process. She finally reached mortgage ready status, and as a veteran, qualified for a VA loan. Once she started the process with getting pre-approved, she found out she qualified for a $90,000 N/NE Housing Strategy  Preference Policygrant as well as a $15,000 down payment grant through the local land trust non-profit Proud Ground because she is a veteran. So between her N/NE preference policy grant, her Proud Ground grant, her matched savings from Portland Housing Center, and her VA loan, she was able to string all of it together to be able to have the funds to finally buy a home.

Even with the Preference Policy Grant, her budget was on the very low end for Portland- under $400,000, and making matters more difficult, she had to buy a home within the Interstate Urban Renewal Area- which over the last 10 years homes have easily doubled or tripled in some cases in value. Ta’ Neshia said from the first time I met her that she was going to trust in the universe and felt strongly that despite her challenges on paper, it was going to all work out. Her kids are in middle school and really needed their own rooms, so finding a 3 bedroom home was a must. We looked at one townhouse that she could afford and she was willing to go for it, until she started thinking about actually living in the less then ideal space. A week later, a townhouse in the Bridgeton neighborhood right off Marine Drive and the Columbia River came on the market. We went to see it and I could tell she was in love. It had a great layout- 3 bedrooms plus a bonus space upstairs and a great kitchen, dining room, living room and garage that could easily be turned into living space on the ground level. The seller had purchased the unit from a contractor who had re-done the builder basic kitchen into a beautifully functional kitchen, and the seller added her own chic touches everywhere.

It was the second home we saw together and we both felt that this was meant to be her house after we spent time there. We wrote up an offer that same evening and crossed our fingers. Thankfully, my wonderful Living Room Realty colleague Virginia Barden was the listing agent, and I was able to convey to her that while Ta’ Neshia’s offer on paper probably didn’t look as “good” as an offer from another buyer between her down payment assistance grants, VA loan and the need for a 45 day minimum closing, that we could at least offer over asking, no repairs and a small cushion for an appraisal gap. The seller received three compelling offers and Virginia was able to give her seller the full picture on Ta’ Neshia and how hard she had worked to get to this point and how committed she was to this purchase. Thankfully the seller was moved by Ta’ Neshia’s story and  decided to put her money where her mouth was and accepted Ta’ Neshia’s offer.

It was such a pleasure and honor to be able to help Ta’ Neshia round out all her hard work and hand over keys. When it was all finished, Ta’ Neshia said one of the best things any buyer has ever said to me-  Thank you for being the best advocate I didn’t even know I needed.


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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