Blog Stories The Needle in the Haystack

The Needle in the Haystack

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, May 14, 2018

I started working with Matthew and Carin in February of 2017 when we met to discuss listing their home in Arbor Lodge and then buying a new home. As we prepared their old  home to list, we started looking at homes reconnaissance style to get a sense of what was out there in the neighborhoods they were looking to buy in their price range. Once their home was listed in late April, they started their hunt in earnest. They had some very specific requirements relating to location and layout of the home, including the need to have a studio space separate from the house, the ability to have a separate bed/bath to be used as a short term rental and for visiting family, to be within a couple of school boundaries, had to have a foundation built like a tank, but most of all they really wanted as much yard as possible with as much dirt as possible for building a garden of Eden. Carin makes the best dill pickles you’ve ever tasted, so having room to grow those cucumbers was something I full heartedly supported. Last summer, they found a couple of homes they wrote offers on, but were outbid, and they found another home they thought they liked, had an offer accepted on, but when it came down to it, that house just didn’t sing to them. After their Arbor Lodge home sold, their buyers thankfully gave them a long rent back, but unfortunately Carin and Matthew didn’t find the right house, so they made the decision to find a rental. If seller/buyers are willing to move into a temporary place in between the sell and buy, it takes a huge stress weight off shoulders because then as buyers, they don’t feel like they have to buy something just because they don’t want to move into temporary housing.

Once they moved into the safety net of a temporary rental, that feeling of having to move right that minute eased. Of course they wanted to move, but given their chosen list of narrow requirements, not a lot of properties fit that bill. We looked at a lot of homes over a period of 12 months, while a number of them were close, none of them hit that sweet spot and the search began to feel like a hunt for the needle in the haystack. As these things tend to happen, I went on vacation over spring break, and dontcha know it? They found their house! One of my fabulous colleagues was watching my business while I was away and after my Carin and Matthew saw it, both they and my colleague were texting me with the unbelievable news- the magical unicorn was located. It seemed too good to be true, but after visiting the house a second time, Carin and Matthew were head over heels in love. They put their best foot forward and wrote as high as they could go with as generous terms as possible. Thankfully they found that rare seller who was more interested in selling the home to the right people, than selling to the highest bidder. You hear about the buyers offer letter working, and in this case, that was as true as can be as the other offer received was for quite a bit more. And thankfully the home was a late 1940’s solid as a rock build, with every possible update that one could possibly even think to do. The inspection was one of the absolute cleanest ones I’ve ever seen- with the worst thing being some electrical wire not in conduit in the basement. Carin and Matthew were more than happy to accept the home with no repairs or credits, and after a solid year of house hunting nearly every week, they closed on their dream home, and I’m looking forward to my jar of pickles in late summer.

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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