Blog Stories First Time Home Buyer, Future Investor

First Time Home Buyer, Future Investor

By Mel Marzahl, March 11, 2019

When I think about the story of this purchase, I realize the center of this story is not the charming Montavilla ranch. This story is about my client, Russell. He is a first time home buyer, arborist, future Portland real estate mogul, and all around cool guy to know.

Me and Russell at the signing for his first home!

I met Russell when my neighbor recommended his tree company and was immediately impressed with his knowledge and passion for his work. I hired him for a job at my own home, and for every tree need I’ve had since. He is now my go-to person for all things tree and shrub related and I recommend him to everyone in my area.

I learned about his interest in real estate after he did a few projects at my house. Russell had a very focused idea of what he wanted. He wanted to buy a house he could live in comfortably for a few years. However, his end goal was to eventually turn this house into a rental. He is interested in building wealth through real estate and was ready to start building his portfolio! Russell has an investor’s mindset and an eye for what will make a good rental.

I’m happy to say that after touring lots of homes in southeast Portland, we found one that was perfect! After less than 10 hours on the market, we had toured and submitted an offer on this property. The 2 bedroom, 800 sqft home in Montavilla fits his criteria perfectly. A well maintained, move-in ready home, with easy access to freeways for commuting, within walking distance to shops and restaurants on Stark, an attached garage Russell can convert to a woodworking studio. (One of his talents is making, and teaching others to make, beautiful wooden spoons, butter knives, and serving ware.) The house is also on a spacious lot with room for a garden and, of course, some trees!

Russell in front of his first home!

The sellers accepted Russell’s offer after waiting a few days to review all others that had come in. When writing his offer, he put his best foot forward because he knew this was the home he wanted. He didn’t want to miss out on such a great investment so he offered above asking, knowing the home was worth it. The sellers agreed to a small repair that needed doing, but the rest of the transaction was a breeze. We signed the closing docs on five years to the day he moved to Portland, and I couldn’t be more happy for him!

Congrats on your first home Russell!!!

Mel Marzahl



Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Mel became a passionate advocate for homeownership and investing in real estate after buying and selling her first home. What drew her to it was realizing the significant financial impact the right investment property can make and learning how much having a home to truly call your own can improve your quality of life. Her specialties are working with first-time home buyers and sellers yet she is fluent in all aspects of residential real estate. She is trained extensively in real estate negotiation, holding both the CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) and RENE (Real Estate Negotiations Expert) designations. Mel knows that with all the technology available to buyers and sellers, one of the best skills a REALTOR® can have is knowing how to be a collaborative negotiator to get the best outcome for their clients. After a decade-long career working in operations and client service for creative companies, Mel earned her Broker’s license and made the move to real estate. She listens to her client’s needs and aims to treat everyone involved in a transaction with honesty and integrity. She loves getting to know her clients, their wants, and needs to ensure they get the highest level of service Mel is known for. Mel brings creativity and an eye for detail to the table with a background in art and events. She enjoys a remodel or renovation project, has a soft spot for old craftsman homes, loves helping first-time buyers, and educating her clients on the selling and purchasing process. She believes in staying up to date on market trends, technology, and tools available to real estate agents. This gives her an edge when it comes to marketing properties and communicating with her clients. When Mel is not working in real estate she is volunteering with the Red Cross, gardening, hosting dinner parties, or relaxing at home on Bull Mountain with her husband, son, two big dogs, and a handful of chickens.
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