New York Time’s Winter Home Checklist

By Ronda Kaysen, NYTs

For the most part, we hunker down in the winter, as the weather is often too cold and unpredictable to tackle major home improvement projects. Make sure your home is prepared for the harsh weather.

YOUR GROUNDS

Bring out the snow blower. Make sure your snow blower is in good working order before it snows. You do not want to be caught in the first major storm with only an orange shovel to dig you out, Send the snow blower to a small-engine repair company for a tune-up. Some companies will pick up and drop off your equipment for you. Expect to spend $60 to $200, depending on the size of your blower, according to Angie’s List. Make sure you have gasoline and motor oil.

Read more about the best snow blowers from Wirecutter.

Stock up on supplies. Stock up on ice melt before the Weather Channel tells you a storm is coming. Pet owners and parents should shop carefully, as the chemicals in ice melt can harm pets and people alike, if ingested. Look for brands free of salt or chloride. But even products billed as “pet safe” can still harm your pet, so wipe their paws and don’t let them lick treated snow. Ice-melting products can also damage your foliage, so use sparingly. Make sure your shovel survived last winter because you will need to dig out of stairways and narrow pathways, even if you have a blower.

Ice dams. When ice accumulates along the eaves of your roof, it can cause a dam that can damage gutters, shingles and siding. As water leaks into your house, it can wreak havoc on your paint, your floors and your insulation. Throughout the winter, inspect the exterior of your home regularly for signs of ice dams. Look for icicles, because the same forces create dams. Consider buying a roof rake. The $30 tool will help keep ice off your roof in the first place by removing fresh snow from your roof after a storm. Do not hack away at the ice, as that could harm you or your roof

INSIDE YOUR HOME

Heating systems. Check and change filters on your heating system, as filters need to be replaced anywhere from twice a year to once a month. Keep an eye on the water levels in your boiler to make sure they do not fall too low.

Frozen pipes. When water freezes in pipes, it expands, damaging or cracking the pipes. When the ice melts, and the pipe bursts, your home fills with water. Pipes near the outside of your home are at greatest risk, like outdoor faucets, pipes in an unheated garage or swimming pool supply lines. A few tips:

  • Shut off and drain outdoor faucets before the cold weather hits.
  • Insulate pipes where you can.
  • On cold days and nights, keep the cabinets below sinks open to let warm air in.
  • You can also run the faucet at a drip to keep water moving.
  • Keep the thermostat set at a steady temperature.
  • If you go away, set the thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees, according to the American Red Cross.

Generator. A portable generator can provide you with a lifeline in a blackout. Power it up every three months, and have it serviced twice a year (even if you never use it). Keep fuel and motor oil on hand in the event of a storm. Do not let fuel sit in the tank for long periods of time, as that can damage it. Check it regularly for corrosion and wear.

Winter storm prep. A heavy winter storm can leave you housebound for days. Stock up on wood for the fireplace, gas for the snow blower and canned food and bottled water, in case you lose power. Check your emergency supply kit for batteries, a radio, a first-aid kit and any medicines you may need. Check in on neighbors who may need help shoveling out (a little camaraderie in a storm goes a long way).

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 9:17 pm
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1800 SW Elizabeth | Portland Heights Jewel

Timeless Classic describes this Old Portland view home. Thoughtfully positioned in the heart of Portland Heights overlooking the city, this home has been remodeled to retain its original integrity. Amenities include period moldings, wood floors, eat-in kitchen, high ceilings and a gracious front porch. This residence combines the elegance of the past with the convenience of today. Close to shops, parks, the city, OHSU and NW Portland.
Posted on October 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm
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Design Spotlight: Wallpaper

Fearful of commitment? My listing features bold wallpaper in the main floor powder room. It is a stylish design choice to enhance spaces both small and large. For more information on this residence click here.

Posted on September 13, 2017 at 5:02 pm
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Incredible Value | Portland Heights Victorian

Posted on August 23, 2017 at 5:19 pm
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2970 NW Circle A Drive | $2,295,000

Posted on June 7, 2017 at 12:18 am
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Portland-area home prices push higher

By Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on March 28, 2017 at 8:31 AM, updated March 28, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Home prices in the Portland area, already at record levels, pushed higher in January.

Prices climbed 0.1 percent during what is usually a seasonally slow month, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, reaching a level 9.7 percent higher than a year earlier.

That’s second only to Seattle’s 11.3 percent increase, year over year, in the 20-city index.

The median home price in Portland was $350,000 in January, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. It climbed to $353,400 in February.

The limited supply of homes on the market has helped push prices higher. In Portland, the end of February saw just 3,109 homes on the market, according to RMLS.

Prices are rising fastest among the lowest-priced homes, where first-time homebuyers and investors are competing for deals, but middle- and high-priced homes are seeing similar increases.

Climbing prices continue to take a toll on affordability. Mortgage rates have stayed relatively low, helping would-be homeowners maintain their buying power.

Future increases, however, could put a damper on homebuying, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee.

“At some point, this process will force prices to level off and decline,” he said in a statement. “However, we don’t appear to be there yet.”

Despite the eye-popping annual increases, there are signs that Portland-area home prices are losing steam.

For six months, monthly home-price growth on a percentage basis has hovered near the national average.

Portland area puts brakes on rapidly rising home prices

Rapid increases in Portland metro home prices may have run out of steam in the second half of 2016.

— Elliot Njus

 

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm
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Luxury Homes Feature Cozy Winter Gardens – WSJ

This concept is intriguing, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Would you implement a winter garden in your house?

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 11:33 pm
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Kitchen Banquettes with Laid-Back Charm

  • Kitchen banquettes or breakfast nooks — however you refer to them, they have one thing in common: a delightful, cozy charm that invites you to sit and take five. But what gives these areas their easygoing appeal? Maybe it’s the combination of relaxed seating paired with the sociable kitchen location, or maybe it’s their association with casual restaurant diners.
  • Dining Nook
  • My listing at 1767 SW Prospect Drive features the perfect example of a “kitchen banquette with laid-back charm” – a wonderful place for homework to be completed, quick meals to be enjoyed, or a place for company to sit while food preparation is taking place.Kitchen
Posted on December 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm
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Incredible Value at 6210 SW Sheridan | $998,500

2Entry 2Office

Posted on September 11, 2016 at 11:41 pm
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Market Update- Home Sales Drop, but Prices Still Climbing

By Elliot Njus, the Oregonian / OregonLive

The Portland-area housing market cooled off in July, thought would-be buyers likely won't feel much relief. More homes went on the market while the number of sales slowed. Even so, the supply of homes for sale remained slim overall, and prices moved higher. The median home price rose to $391,000, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. The 2,776 homes sold in July represent a drop of nearly 20 percent from a year earlier, in part reflecting the slim supply of homes for sale. Pending sales were also down 5.5 percent from July 2015, suggesting the sales slump will continue into at least late summer. But homes listed on the market sold in an average of 30 days in July, two weeks faster than a year earlier. If sales continued at the same clip, every home on the market would sell in 1.9 months, well short of the six-month supply that indicates a market balanced between willing buyers and sellers. Current conditions indicate a strong seller's market, which is driving prices higher. Sales activity jumped in the North of 26 area of Washington County and the Tigard-Wilsonville area. But supply-constrained areas in North Portland, Hillsboro-Forest Grove, Gresham-Troutdale and Lake Oswego-West Linn all saw above-average price increases. 

Posted on August 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm
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