Blog Buyer The trials and tribulations of a condo search

The trials and tribulations of a condo search

By Scott Shoji, September 23, 2019

Congratulations to my client Matt, who just recently completed his purchase of his condo in the Avenue Lofts!

Matt was the type of client you dream of as a REALTOR®. A referral from a past client of mine, he was patient, understanding, made quick decisions, and was extremely flexible. It was needed, because our initial run of trying to get into condos during his search hit road block after road block. This probably can best be illustrated below, in the possibly real journal entries of a REALTOR® (events may or may not have happened exactly as described):

Week 1 – Had several homes to see. Attempted to get into the Pinnacle Condominiums. Could not get the listing agent to pick up and buzz us in. Went to get Coffee. Good chats were had. Went back to try again. Finally picked up. Got into building. Discovered that the HOA put a Fob lock onto the place where the lockboxes were. No instructions how to get into the place where the lockboxes were, without a fob. Called listing agent back. She was as confused as I. We decided to come back another day. Matt was amazingly chill.

Week 2 – Had several more homes to see. Got back into the Pinnacle unit we had issues with last week. Got into the unit to find it was undergoing a whole paint job. It may have been started a while ago. It was definitely not complete. We passed. Tried to get into North Park Lofts. Was given a heads up by the listing agent that the call box may not work. It did not. We waited 20 minutes for someone to let us in the building. Had several interesting conversations with the nearby occupants of the park benches while we waited. Decided to pass. Looked at Matt, still was cool. How did I luck out on this one?

Week 3 – Just a few more homes to see. Nifty combo lock on a unit in one building. Unfortunately someone locked the door handle portion that was not affiliated with the combo lock. Could not get in. Had to come back another day and get in. Tried to get into a unit in the Avenue. Lockbox was not present. Listing agent did not return any phone calls. Did get into another unit in the same building that had black ceilings, very stylized decor, which included a wooden horse as a piece of art. Nice green screen of trees out the window and decent amount of in unit storage.  Matt seemed intrigued. I’ll take that over annoyed any day. At least we got into this one.

Week 3.5 – Got a call from Matt. “Let’s go for the Horsie one.” Boom! Horsie one it was. Here we go!

The unit was located in The Avenue Lofts, which is a historic condo conversion of the former Meier and Frank Warehouse, a 7-story building located at 14th & Irving. Originally built in 1923, with additions in 1956 and 1972, the building features 170 loft style one and two-story units, including 8 townhouses and 17 two-level penthouses. The conversion to condominiums was completed in the Fall of 2004. An open atrium is located in the center of the building on the 3rd floor, a Gym and Meeting room situated on the lower parking level. The best part of it (depending on your view point), is that the lobby hallway changes color.

Fast forward to putting him in contract, coordinating an inspection while I was out of state, getting through repairs and condo doc review, and coordinating a Buyer signing appointment while Matt was out of state for work, we somehow made it through in one piece. We luckily had Bill Dolan with Guild Mortgage in our corner working out the lending side of things for Matt, and he was the perfect person for this deal. Bill is a unit owner himself at the Avenue and was very knowledgeable of the building, the Pearl, and condos in general. I highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for someone a lender at the building or for condos in general.

Congrats Matt, you may not have decided to keep that Horse, but I feel you will put your own personal touch on your new home!





Scott Shoji

Broker | OR


Hello! My name is Scott Shoji and I am a licensed Oregon Real Estate Broker. I began my journey into Real Estate in 2005 specializing in new development mixed-use buildings & condos in Portland’s urban core. I was part of the sales teams for the Eliot Tower and The Westerly while at Debbie Thomas Real Estate, gaining first-hand knowledge of how a high-rise building is constructed from the ground up. Seeing all phases of the design, build, and sales process for condominium development helped frame my knowledge of the condo market. I am very familiar with most condo buildings in Portland and have published extensive market research on them for years. Before joining Living Room Realty, I worked with a top producing team that eventually became a boutique brokerage based out of the South Waterfront. This opportunity allowed me to expand my knowledge of not only the residential buildings in the area, but the ethos and vision of the community. I unequivocally loved being a condo owner and living in the heart of Downtown Portland where I took advantage of walking to farmers’ markets, concerts, festivals and food carts. Now living in a single-family home in the west-side suburbs of Portland, I enjoy watching my daughter ride her bike and my wife attempt to weed our garden. I feel like I can truly speak to the different experiences that each can offer and relate to buyers and sellers no matter what lifestyle they choose. I am a California transplant, having trekked North to earn degrees in English Literature & Business at the University of Oregon. (Go Ducks!) I have lived in Oregon on and off since 1996 and permanently made Portland my home in 2005. It is the love of this city that has welcomed me into its quirky arms that fuels my desire to help others find the same. Why Portland? The seasons! Leaves changing colors, the crisp winter air, lush green forests that convince you of another adventure. A thriving food scene where every other corner celebrates an up-and-coming chef, barista, or brewer. There is something so very accessible about Portland that charms and endears me. It feels intimate and easily accessed for a “big“ city. Where walking and cycling are embraced as popular modes of transportation and you are a short drive from the ocean, mountains, rivers and forests. What are you doing in your free time? You can usually find me artfully dodging or skillfully kicking rubber balls in my adult Dodgeball and Kickball leagues. I try and keep youthful at heart and these leagues help with that. Otherwise, I can be found tackling my untamable garden, improving my photography skills, or hiking the Pacific Northwest with my wife, Chelsea, and daughter, Elora and son, Auryn. Favorite Place Traveled To? This is probably a tie between Mürren, Switzerland, a picturesque mountain town deep in the Swiss Alps where I proposed to my wife, or Cambodia, where I experienced one of the most vibrant cultures traveling with my brother and sister. What can always be found close to you? A cup of black coffee and my computer. Why Real Estate? I have always loved the feeling of home. It is both a sense of place and a feeling of comfort. I find immense enjoyment in being able to help people find their home, whether that is handing over the keys to that very first home purchase, or helping someone take the next steps in life by selling the place that memories were made in. Not many careers can give that sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.
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