Blog Alyssa Isenstein Krueger Happily Ever After in a Milwaukie Mid-Century

Happily Ever After in a Milwaukie Mid-Century

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, October 17, 2019

I met Rachel and Rubin this past March. They had a matched savings account, an IDA (individual development account,) from Portland Housing Center and they were ready to buy a house. To say these two are delightful is an understatement- they are DELIGHTFUL and it’s people like these two that make my job so much fun. They are both from Portland and have lots of family in the area and knew they wanted to live near at least some of their family. They honed in on Milwaukie and SE Portland, and we set off looking at houses.

They were definitely attracted to vintage homes- mid-centuries and bungalows and it wasn’t long before we found a house that they really liked- just east of 82nd. A darling bungalow that oozed with charm, and even more importantly to Rubin, with a yard and garden to write home about. There were a couple of things about the house that weren’t perfect for them- the bedrooms were small and the location wasn’t ideal for them, but they loved the house enough to compromise on those issues. They are very budget conscious and knew they didn’t want to spend a dollar more than $400k, so they wrote an offer at a  number they felt comfortable with. Another buyer wrote higher, and Rachel and Rubin got back-up position. At that time, they were disappointed they didn’t get the house, but were certainly not distraught. We picked up from there and kept looking at houses. A couple of weeks after they got back-up, I received a call from the listing agent letting me know that the first position buyers had backed out and did my buyers still want the house? I got in touch with them and gave them the good news, and their answer was an immediate yes. They moved into first position, and timelines were started. The next day we went back to the house just to make sure they still loved it, and while at the house, they felt the love again. But later that evening, the doubts began to creep in. Whenever a buyer expresses doubt about a house, I take that as a strong signal that this probably isn’t the right house for them, and the sooner they can back-out, the better for everyone. Calling listing agents to let them know my buyers are backing out is never pleasant for me, but I knew Rachel and Rubin were making the right decision. Thankfully that cute little house was back in contract within the week.

Right after they backed out of the sweet bungalow, we found another house in SE that was also charming but the biggest wow factor was that the house had a HUGE yard- something that was really important to them. The kitchen wasn’t great, but the yard was so nice that they felt that they could always remodel the kitchen at a later date. They wrote on that house, but so did a bunch of other buyers, and they lost out on that house. Again, they were disappointed, but certainly not crushed. Shortly after that experience, they decided that they wanted to take a break from house shopping for the summer- Rachel was going to take some intense courses towards becoming an accountant, and Rubin was hopefully looking at a job promotion, and they figured after the summer was over, they would be ready to resume the search. Sure enough, on the last day of August, they got in touch with me to let me know they were ready to house hunt again.

They had a short list of houses they wanted to see, so that week we went and saw a few more houses. And that’s when they found the ONE. A mid-century in the Ardenwald neighborhood in Milwaukie with a fireplace, 3 good sized bedrooms, an open kitchen, hard-wood floors and a double lot. And the house was listed nearly $35k below the other houses they had written offers on. And like the other houses they had written on, this house was also a hottie. But this time I could tell that if they didn’t get the house, they would be majorly disappointed- this house was perfect in every way for them. We wrote an offer that night, and within a couple of days, the house received 3 more offers. I had expressed how much Rachel and Rubin loved the house, and let the listing agent know to let me know if other offers came in, because Rachel and Rubin were more than willing to revise their offer upwards to get the house. Thankfully the listing agent was terrific, kept me in the loop, and with her sellers permission, told me they were fine with an escalation clause. We wrote up an addendum revising the offer, included an escalation clause, and boom, that did the trick. Interestingly, the house was listed at $360k, and even with 4 offers including our escalation, it only went for $9,500 over list. Because Rachel and Rubin are so delightful, the whole transaction was smooth with happy buyers and happy sellers in the end. The sellers are taking 2 weeks after closing to move out, and really all Rachel wanted was to be in the house by Halloween, and three days before Halloween I’ll be meeting them at the house to hand over the keys.

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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