Blog Alberta Arts They Bought a Very Old Oak Tree That Came With a Very New House

They Bought a Very Old Oak Tree That Came With a Very New House

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, October 1, 2019

Thirty-six days. That’s how long it took for my clients Shannon and David to decide to sell their house and buy a new house, to actually selling their house and buying a new home. Back in 2014 I sold Shannon and David a picture perfect 1909 bungalow a block off Alberta. After spending probably too much money updating the house, getting the yard landscaped and re-finishing the already finished basement, they were facing a quandary. As much as they loved their house, there were 2 issues that weren’t jiving with how they wanted to live in the house. Both Shannon and David work from home so they are both home all day every day. They each had a small bedroom that they used as their respective offices, but neither office space worked for their needs. The second issue was the kitchen is pretty small, and they wanted a kitchen that had more room to move around and that could hold a full size refrigerator and a portable ice maker. And here is a great article on portable ice maker reviews, that can help you understand the topic better. The dilemma came down to, did they want to put another gob of money into the house to get a better kitchen and live with the home offices situation, or sell the house and move. Less than 2 weeks after they contacted me to let me know they were thinking of selling their home and buying a different house, they got back to me with their final decision. They were going to go for it and sell their current home and buy another house. The biggest potential issue was that they needed the funds from their current house to buy their next home, so they were going to have to either write a contingent offer or potentially face renting for a while if their house sold quickly and they had not yet found a new home. Because their current house is so lovely in so many ways, I knew that it would be a piece of cake to sell. Really all I needed to do was have a photographer show up and take photos and the house should sell itself.

The day after they made their final decision, they gave me a list of some newer construction homes they had been eyeing. Their very favorite one- a house less than a mile away that they had apparently been stalking for a while, was graced with an oak tree with a trunk the size of an SUV and a canopy that spanned 3 city lots. And the house behind the oak tree was brand new and had been set far back from the street in order to let the tree continue living it’s life, seemed pretty cool too. The house had been on the market for nearly a year, which usually isn’t a great sign, but in this case, I think it was on the market for so long because it was waiting for Shannon and David to find it. The day after they came to their final decision, we went to check out the house with the giant oak tree and a few more newer construction homes in the general area.

We walked into the house graced by magnificent oak tree and it did not disappoint. The layout was open, and the kitchen was situated where you don’t see the kitchen when you walk through the front door into the main living space, and upstairs in addition to 3 good sized bedrooms, was a nice sized family room with soaring vaulted ceilings. The house is a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath, and 3 of the 4 bedrooms look out at the giant oak tree, and none of them share a wall, so with this setup, they could each have an office that was separate than the other, and have another bedroom for guests. After seeing the house, it was definitely head scratching as to why this house had been sitting on the market so long and had had a $125k price reduction from when it was first listed. That afternoon we saw a few more houses, none of which held a candle to the oak tree house. And by the end of the day they decided they really wanted to live under that magnificent oak tree.

I called the listing agent to ask why it had been on the market so long and he said that because they builder had to set the house at the back of the lot in order to keep the tree, the backyard was really small and the front yard was large and mainly taken up by that oak tree. So the very thing that prevented this house from selling was the very thing that was so attractive to Shannon and David. We wrote up a contingent offer the next day with a 6 week closing. Since their current home was not yet on the market, I put together a marketing plan including the market value range of their current home and let the seller know that we would be listing their house at the bottom of the range in order to get a great offer as quickly as possible. Thankfully the sellers accepted the contingent offer. A week later I had their home on the market, and as expected, we received a too good to pass up offer within a couple of days of it being on the market that was all cash, over asking and offered a relatively quick closing, Shannon and David accepted it and we canceled the open houses we had planned. Nineteen days after they accepted the offer on their house, we closed on their sweet old home. And thirty-two days after their contingent offer was accepted, Shannon and David closed on their new tree. And the house it came with.

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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