Blog Alyssa Isenstein Krueger Triumph Over the Beetles

Triumph Over the Beetles

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, November 2, 2020

Way back in May- just barely into the pandemic, my buyer Elizabeth contacted me to see about working together. She picked me because my profile photo has me holding my Italian Greyhound pup, Pinto, because Elizabeth also has an Italian Greyhound mix pup named Whiskey. She gave me the basics of what she was looking for, but what was really important was to be in her own home by election day. Given it was only May, that seemed like an achievable goal.

The first time I met Elizabeth in person was when I showed her a darling little house over in Brentwood Darlington that she loved. We then went to look at a couple more houses, but none fit the bill like the first house we saw. We wrote up a full priced offer which the sellers accepted right away. Then came the inspection. I usually have a pretty good eye for seeing what might come up in an inspection and can prepare my buyer. But if there is weird stuff going on in the crawlspace or up in the attic where I can’t see, I’m as blind to the house’s charms as my buyer. When Elizabeth and I showed up to the house to go over the report with the inspector, it became clearer by the moment by the look on her face that she was not that going to be buying this house. The house had been flipped a few years before, and the seller bought it either not having had an inspection, or not having a very good one. You see, most of the framing underneath the house was powdering away and crumbling because the house was so infested with wood boring beetles. And the chimney was supported by a few pebbles. And the whole roof structure needed to be replaced. And there was some other stuff too, but there was enough stuff wrong with the house even if the sellers agreed to fix all of it (which was looking easily in the $25k or higher range) it wasn’t a house Elizabeth felt good about buying anymore, so she terminated the transaction.

After that experience, she decided that she wanted to save up more and sort of see what happens with the world before going back into the market. Three months later Elizabeth felt ready again to hop back on the house buying horse. We looked at a couple of duds, and then a super cool rancher in NoPo that had been on the market for a couple of weeks had a price drop that put it within Elizabeth’s reach. It had been thoughtfully renovated and had a ginormous yard- something that she really, really wanted. It’s on a busy street, which even though the market in NoPo is fierce, probably kept this house on the market. Everything looked great about the house and no red flags jumped out, so we wrote up an offer that day and the sellers accepted a couple hours later. And then came that inspection. And once again, beetles. Beetles had eaten through a good chunk of some of the sill plates, had gotten into the sub flooring and some important beams. Though this time it wasn’t as bad as the other house, and other then the beetle damage, this house was in otherwise good shape. Elizabeth was really and truly in love with this one and the yard and the thought of terminating again was probably more anxiety producing to her then the beetles. We had originally written the offer with a 30 day close, but given the extensive work needed, we were able to get the inspection period extended while we waited for contractors to come out to get us bids. Once we had bids, the sellers agreed to do the work, so we wound up extending closing another month so the work could be done prior to closing.

The work finished up and we finally closed after a 2+ month long transaction. I handed over the keys the day before Halloween, which gave Elizabeth a couple of days to settle in just in time for the election.

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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