Halloween Covid-Style in Lake Oswego

Halloweeners who dare can see this larger-than-life skeleton in Village on the Lake.

When it comes to the holidays, I’d like to improvise on Oregon’s tourism slogan to say, “Covid Holidays: They Look Different Here.”

We’ve already seen Lake Oswegans’ Covid renditions of birthday and graduation parties, weddings and anniversaries. The Fourth of July was basically canceled. And now we find ourselves on the verge of the big three: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The CDC guidelines discourage traditional trick-or-treating this year and instead encourage activities like carving pumpkins, virtual costume contests and Halloween scavenger hunts. While we no longer have little ones in the house, we remember, and realize no trick-or-treating may be a hard sell. To that end, I’m posting a Halloween scavenger hunt list below that might help. And neighbors might want to consider ways they can treat while at a safe social distance—one neighbor is planning a chute drop to deliver the goods; others might want to leave treats on the porch or at the end of the driveway. I heard of one gentleman who built a robot for safely handing out treats. And another expert suggests we trick-or-treat in reverse, meaning that those of us with treats go around leaving our candy on neighbors’ porches. The point is, as with the rest of Covid, Halloween is calling upon us all to get creative.

Here are a few other Halloween happenings in and around Lake Oswego:

MONSTER MASH. Taking a page from drive-thru birthdays and graduation celebrations, the City of Lake Oswego is hosting a free drive-thru version of its annual Monster Mash on Saturday, October 31 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit the Parks and Recreation website Halloween week to download a map that will guide you to eerie parks and facilities throughout the community. Cruise through the parking lots and pick up your pre-bagged goodies. Costumes are encouraged both for you and your cars!

You’ll find this creature in the First Addition.

NEIGHBORHOODS. While you’re out looking for Monster Mash spook-spots, you might want to also explore some of the Lake Oswego neighborhoods to add more thrills and chills to your ride.  That’s where one of my previous posts on decked-out Halloween neighborhoods might come in handy. Some of the areas to explore from the safety of your car are Cardinal Drive, Westlake, River Run and Village on the Lake. Just like Lake Oswegans joined in the early Covid ritual of placing teddy bears in the window for kids to spot on their daily walks, look for Lake Oswegans to join in what Pinterest is seeing as a trend this season—decorating their front doors to express holiday cheer while staying in. I know we have a wicked witch with a bad sense of direction who will be gracing ours.

OAKS PARK HAUNTED DRIVE-THROUGH. Speaking of drive-through events, Oaks Park is presenting a Haunted Drive-Through experience. Choose from five themed experiences that play out through a number of scenes and range from 2 to 4.5 on a scary scale of 1-5.  When your turn is up, you’ll be given a sanitized Bluetooth speaker and led to a parking spot where your first scene will unfold in front of you complete with actors, sound effects, lighting and special effects. When that scene ends, you’ll be instructed to start your car and move to the next spot where you story continues. Attendance is limited and prices vary depending on the time. Buy your tickets online in advance.

HOLIDAYS ON FRANKLIN STREET. If you feel like driving a bit, the residents of Franklin Street in Vancouver are planning their biggest Halloween display yet with lights, music and special effects. Decorations will be up starting October 3 but on Halloween weekend they will be offering drive-by trick-or-treating as well as what they are calling a “traditional experience.” 46`6 NW Franklin Street, Vancouver, Washington.

As promised, here’s the Halloween Scavenger Hunt Checklist. Happy Haunting!

Item to Find (1 point each) Check if found
Carved pumpkin
Flying witch
Spider Web
Blow-up Pumpkin
Decorated pumpkin
Halloween lights
Body parts poking out of the ground

Don’t get spooked about buying or selling your home during Covid. Give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’ve been helping people move in, out and on during Covid and I’d be happy to do the same for you!

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The Numbers Tell an Interesting Story About the Covid Housing Market

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. When it comes to studying the impact of COVID-19 on the housing market, the numbers say even more.

A recent survey by Sears Home Services found that 44% of us are less satisfied with our homes than at the beginning of the pandemic. That may explain why so many people are deciding to move, causing home sales to spike and inventory to drop.

Consider these statistics:

Before the wildfires took off, pending sales in the Portland metro area hit an all-time increase of 67% compared to the same period last year.

Comparing home sales activity during the three months from July 5, 2020 to October 5, 2020 to the same time period a year ago, pendings were up 14%. And 5 of the last 8 months have seen less than a two month’s inventory of homes on the market.

The mortgage rate is also helping to fuel this activity, sitting at a record low 2.90 for the average 30-year mortgage compared to 7.90 leading up to the 2000 election and 3.40 in 2012 and 3.48 in 2016.

The average sales price in the Portland metro area stands at $481,000 today which is a 241% increase over the average sales price of $198,900 back when George W. Bush and Al Gore were battling it out in the election.

When you look at where the sales are really booming, the numbers reflect what we’ve been hearing—Covid’s impact is felt differently depending where you fall on the economic spectrum.

According to the National Association of Realtors, higher end homes in the Western region are seeing the biggest increase in sales compared to a year ago. The change in sales for homes priced from 1 to $500,000 has decreased but starts to increase once you cross that threshold. Homes in the $500-$750K price range have seen a 12.9% in sales; $750-$1M a 20.2% increase and homes listed at $1 million and above are enjoying a 32.7% increase.

Circling back to that Sears Home Services survey, it seems our dissatisfaction with our homes has us dreaming of features we’d either like to add to our existing space or find in a new home. The top five things we are wishing for are: Home Gym (41%), Home Office (37%), Gaming Space (32%), Kitchen Space (31%) and Yard/Garden Space (28%).

If you find yourself in that 44% of Americans who are dissatisfied with your home and want to move to Lake Oswego, please give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’ve been helping people move in, move around and move out of Lake Oswego and the Portland metro area for over 30 years. Let me put my experience to work for you!

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5 Things a Good Realtor Should Be Telling You That You May Not Want to Hear

As in all walks of life, there are times when being a Realtor calls for having the “hard talk.” To be honest, that “hard talk” has sometimes cost me a sale. Whether I’m being honest with a potential client about the value of their home or advising a buyer not to buy a particular home, honesty does not always translate into me getting the listing or getting the commission. But it’s how I operate, and it’s what I think you should expect from any Realtor you work with.

Here are a few areas where you should expect your Realtor to “tell you like it is” and not necessarily “tell you what you want to hear.”

  1. True Market Value. It’s only natural that when it comes to selling our homes, we may see more value than is really there. Why? Because of the memories, the love, the time and money we’ve invested in our home. I’m guilty of it too. Which is why it’s so important to get a Realtor’s honest opinion as to the value of your home based on facts, not feelings. A good Realtor will look at comparative sales in order to arrive at a recommended listing price. That doesn’t mean comparing your next door neighbor’s 4 bedroom, 4,100 square foot house with your 2 bedroom, 1,800 square foot house. He or she will take everything into consideration: size, condition, age, location, when choosing what sales to compare yours to. The figure he or she arrives at may not be the one you had in mind, but it is the one that is driven by the data. And when it comes to time spent on the market, homes that are competitively priced, fly off the market sooner.
  2. Condition of Your Home. When we live with certain things day in and day out, we get used to them. Things like pet odor, dog hairs, accumulated clutter may escape our purview but will definitely influence how your home comes across to a potential buyer. I’ve had to have the hard talk many times with clients, explaining the need for a deep cleaning, painting, or landscaping. It’s never easy to bring up but it’s definitely a conversation a good Realtor should be having with his or her client.
  3. Tax Complications. When factoring in the profit you’ll be walking away with from the sale of your home, it’s important to take into consideration the tax consequences and how they may affect you. A good Realtor can walk you through some of those so you are not blindsided. For example, if you have a capital gain from the sale of your primary residence, you may qualify to exclude up to $250,000 of that gain from your income, or up to $ 500,000 if you file a joint return with your spouse. You can’t take advantage of those exclusions, however, if the home wasn’t your primary residence, you didn’t own or live in it for two out of the five years prior to selling, you already claimed the exclusion on another home you sold within the past two years, or if you acquired the home through a like-kind exchange within the past five years

A different set of complications occur with the sale of rental property. All that depreciation you were able to claim and write off your income taxes has to be recaptured upon the sale and taxed at that time which needs to be taken into consideration when determining whether to accept an offer.

While it’s best to consult with your accountant in these matters, your Realtor should at least be making you aware that these factors can play into just how much money you are putting into your pocket upon the sale of your home.

  1. When to Walk Away from a Home. As much as I love to make a sale, I value doing right by my client more. And sometimes that means advising a buyer not to buy a particular home. For example, recently I talked some clients out of buying a home for their daughter. It seemed like a good buy at first, but once the inspection report came in identifying all the work to be done, I advised them to walk away from this place and look for something a little more expensive that doesn’t require all that investment. In another situation, I reminded some clients who were considering a $1.325 million home that their original ceiling was $1.2 million. They were moving from California and wanted to use some of the proceeds from that sale, but preserve the rest for travel and other things they wanted to do. In the end, they agreed that it made more sense to stay within their budget and thanked me for holding them to their limit.
  2. When to Accept an Offer. On average, the Lake Oswego real estate market appreciates 5% per year compounded. But conditions can change depending on a variety of things, especially demand. Right now we are seeing a lot of internal movement–Portlanders moving to the suburbs, and Lake Oswegans moving up or down. And there are out-of-state buyers too, driving demand. However, sometimes, especially when a buyer has insisted on listing their house for more than what their Realtor recommends, offers may come in that are below the asking price and the seller’s initial expectations. In some circumstances, it’s best to wait it out. In others, it’s not. A good Realtor can help you sort out which is the best scenario for you. Considerations include: your post-sale plans, how much activity your house has received, how much activity there has been in your price range, your current financial situation. Again, it’s not always an easy conversation to have but one I am always willing to undertake should the occasion call for it. And that’s what you should expect from any good Realtor.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in and around Lake Oswego, please give me a call at 503.939.9801, check out my website, and/or fill out the form below. I’d love to put my 30+ years as a local Realtor to work helping you make your next move!

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Celebrate National Do Something Nice Day

Monday, October 5 is National Do Something Nice Day. It sounds like the perfect prescription for a country mired in divisive political battles on so many levels.

Besides being good for someone else, and good for the collective mental health of our country, turns out that acts of kindness are also good for your own health. Studies confirm that doing good boosts happiness and well-being and it doesn’t matter who you do the good deed for. From family member to stranger, even for yourself, the rewards you reap for kindness are blind to the recipient.

So the possibilities are endless. Look around—where, even on a small scale can you touch someone in a positive way?

My wife and I decided to get a head start on celebrating this holiday and distributed thank you cards to random neighbors who have provided some welcome entertainment on our daily Covid walks.

We left one in the mailbox of the family who has delighted us with their imaginative chalk art creations on their driveway. We pass by their home about once a week, and almost each time we’ve discovered a new theme: under-the-sea, outer space, stained glass. Who knows what inspired them! Maybe they were just bored. Maybe they wanted to give their kids a project to keep from going cabin crazy. Or maybe they wanted to entertain the passers-by who they knew would be grateful for anything that interjects a bit of discovery in a life that circumstances dictates needs to be fairly routine. That’s how their act of kindness touched us and we did what we could to touch back.

Another thank you card went to the home in the Rivergrove neighborhood that posts daily words of wisdom on an outdoor chalkboard. They usually have a humorous slant to them and we are always curious, when it’s our turn to walk down that street, what message will greet us. In talking with a neighbor, we discovered that this woman makes sure the messages get updated even when she’s gone. She apparently realizes what many of us need to be reminded of—what a difference one person can make, even with small acts of kindness.

The last card we dropped off went to neighbors in the Bryant Woods neighborhood who post two jokes on a tree in their front yard. Sometimes they’re funny enough that we take photos and send them to our kids. One of the better ones was a picture of a pilot parachuting outside one of his jet’s windows holding a sign that said, “I was your pilot but someone sneezed. Good luck!” Another was a photo of a bottle of Jack Daniels with a spray nozzle attached at the top and the message, “Anti-virus spray! Spray throat twice each hour.” We pass by this house once a week and they have yet to repeat. We applaud their dedication and their sense of humor.

The studies are right—each time we’ve dropped off one of our cards, we’ve felt a little better too. We like to think of kindness as a boomerang—you toss it out there and it comes back to you. Hopefully, our recipients felt the love. And hopefully, whomever you connect with next week does too.

And just a reminder: this Sunday, September 27 you can join in the Gallery Without Walls virtual celebration at 3:00 p.m. by signing up online. Tour the 14 new rotating pieces and listen to some of the artists talk about their work all from the comfort of your home!

Be sure to sign up to receive weekly updates on my blog of what is happening in Lake Oswego and all the reasons why you might want to live here! Click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column. 

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Tips for How to Win a Bidding War When Buying a House in Lake Oswego

With the current inventory, low mortgage rates and a heightened appreciation for the place we call home, bidding wars are becoming more common here in Lake Oswego. I’ve represented clients in a couple just within the last two weeks.

What can you do to increase your chances of having your bid be accepted in a multiple-offer scenario? Here are a few tips.

  1. Get pre-approval before starting your home search. Coming in armed with a pre-approval letter assuring the seller that you can qualify for the loan needed to purchase their home, definitely strengthens your case. In spite of the advantage that gives you when making an offer, a recent survey by realtor.com showed that only 52% of active homebuyers had obtained a pre-approval letter before beginning their home search. Besides giving you the advantage in a bidding war, meeting with a mortgage lender before looking for a home also helps you zone in on homes you know you can afford. It saves you valuable time when looking and could make the difference in whether you get the home you want when you find it.
  2. Come in with your best offer. In a competitive market like ours is proving to be, your first offer needs to be your best offer. Price speaks volumes to sellers so be sure your offer is heard loud and clear. If there is other interest in a home you have your heart set on, it is not the time to negotiate. You will probably only get one chance so make sure it’s your best one. The National Association of Realtors reported in July that not only are houses moving quickly, but they are also averaging three offers per home sold compared to two offers a year ago.
  3. Work with a professional Realtor. When navigating a hot market, it helps to have the hyper-local insight of an experienced Realtor to guide you in making an offer that is fair and also competitive. In many cases with multiple offers, the winning one offers over the asking price. How much over should you go? How can you protect yourself to ensure the value is there and will be in the future when you decide to sell? What’s the right number that will get you the house but that will also appraise? These are the kinds of questions a Realtor with knowledge of the local market can answer, helping you arrive at a number you feel comfortable with and that hopefully, will get you the house.
  4. Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch. You never know how even the playing field is when up against multiple offers. Someone could be offering all cash. Someone may be offering $30,000 over. But let’s say all things are equal. A letter explaining how much you love the home, what you love about it, why this home would be the perfect next move for you could be the tipping point. If that’s your style, it couldn’t hurt and I’ve had it work for some of my clients.

I’m here to help if you’re considering buying a home in Lake Oswego. Let me go to work for you! I’ve lived here and been a Realtor here for over 30 years so I know the market and I’d love to use that knowledge helping you find your next home. Call me at 503.939.9801, email me at costellok@hasson.com  and/or check out my website. I hope to hear from you!

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Six Ways You Can Help During This Wildfire Crisis

“How can I help?” That is what many Lake Oswego residents on Next Door, Facebook, and Twitter are asking.

And it fits our profile. I remember when our family home flooded back in 1996, neighbors and friends showed up at our door asking, “How can I help?”

The threat facing us now is a different kind, but equally concerning, and even though all of us have stories to share of how our lives have been impacted by COVID-19, a crisis like this taps into a resilience of community where the whole is greater than the parts.

That’s why you find a neighbor in Rivergrove offering RV parking and yard space for up to 10 small animals or 2 horses or cows. Or other neighbors putting together free activity kits for kids. So, if you are wondering how you can help, here are a few suggestions.

  1. The LO Hunt has taken in over 100 horses and is providing space in their fields for evacuees to park their RV’s and seek shelter. Volunteers have rushed to their aid with donations of food, water, horse supplies, and even 8 tons of hay from one anonymous donor. But the need is still great for cash donations which you can contribute here, as well as equestrian supplies and volunteer time to do everything from mucking (a nice word for removing manure from stalls), feeding, watering and barn maintenance. Click on the links for more information. The Club is located at 2725 Iron Mountain Blvd.
  2. The American Red Cross has received all kinds of material donations for evacuees and at this time is requesting cash. Click on this link and specify that the donation is for western wildfires relief. And if you’re thinking you’d like to offer a helping hand in times like these, sign up to be a Disaster Relief Volunteer.
  3. Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is another resource in need of your donations and your time. You can sign up to do both here.
  4. The Bridgeport Church has been collecting donations in support of firefighters including water, granola bars, protein bars and grab-and-go fruit. Check their facebook page for updates on future collection times.
  5. Do your due diligence. Captain Brandon Paxton with the Clackamas Fire Department suggests that one of the best ways to help out is to be prepared at whatever level of evacuation you are. Level 1 is Be ready with bags packed and valuable items identified and ready to go. Level 2 is Be set, and one of the recommendations Captain Paxton made is to create your own defensible space around your home by cleaning your gutters and removing any combustible materials from around your house. He also asked that we not leave sprinklers or water on in order to preserve water for the firefighters. Level 3 is to Go immediately. Firefighters ask that unless we are at a Level 3, we stay home as much as possible to keep roads open for residents who do need to evacuate quickly and safely.
  6. Keep up-to-date on wildfire information. A good resource is the Clackamas Fire Department’s facebook page.

Here’s to helping each other get through this trying time. Take care.



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Getting Creative in Lake Oswego During COVID-19

COVID-19 has required individuals and businesses to pivot to respond to the challenges that social distancing presents.

In the beginning, my business met the challenge with a new set of protocols including virtual tours, controlled showings with limited access and safety measures such as shoe removal, use of latex gloves and throwaway booties, sanitizing doorknobs and light switches.

Six months in and Lake Oswego businesses are still finding ways to reinvent themselves to weather this current health and economic storm. I wanted to shine a spotlight on a few of them.

LAKEWOOD CENTER FOR THE ARTS. One of the first annual casualties of the pandemic was the 57th Annual Festival of the Arts, usually held at the Lakewood Center and George Rogers Park in June. Instead, art supporters can view two of the six 2020 exhibits, Art in the Park and Artist’s Vision, on their Online Gallery. For an in-person experience, the Center is offering “Art in the Bubble,” a series of artist presentations and demonstrations and discussions centering around a theme. The talks are being held in Nicoletta’s Table & Marketplace banquet hall with the opportunity to enjoy a no-host happy hour before and dine in or takeout a delicious meal afterwards. Attendance is limited to 16, with groups seated 6 feet apart from each other and masks required. Tickets are free and sold online in groups of two but donations help to support programs like this. The first program features Contemporary Latin-American Artists on September 23.

Art Decked Out is a limited visual art event being held on evenings in September on the entryway deck where attendees can hear artists speak and demonstrate, followed by private showings (8 masked people at a time) of the Lakewood Center Entryway Gallery. The first event is Tuesday, September 15 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a focus on Intaglio printing. Attendees are invited to bring their own drinks or treats or place an advance order from Nicoletta’s and advised to bring their own lawn chairs. Admission is free, but donations encouraged.

TAVERN ON KRUSE. Back when sheltering in place first started, Tavern on Kruse was one of the first restaurants to start doing business differently. They were offering paid takeout meals twice a week to help support free meals for restaurant workers who had been laid off. This summer they have been experiencing near capacity thanks to their spacious outdoor patio seating where diners can safely socially distance. (Regularly scheduled outdoor jazz could also have something to do with it too). They are also offering “Finish-At-Home” entrees that promise gourmet quality that you can put the finishing touches on in just 10-15 minutes in your own kitchen. Orders must be placed by 3:00 p.m. the day PRIOR to pickup and picked up between 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. the day of. Featured entrees vary each day with options that include: Seared scallops and clam chowder, and molasses- brined pork chop.

LAKE OSWEGO PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT. One of this department’s first challenges was redesigning the Lake Oswego Farmer’s Market which I covered in an earlier blog. But more recently, the department proved that it just keeps reinventing with “Flicks at the Farm.” This physically distanced carpool cinema debuted at Luscher Farm the weekend of August 15-16 with movie-goers viewing Jumanji and Toy Story 4 on an inflatable screen in the field behind the community gardens. The Lakewood Center offered its own version of the movie drive-in experience with a showing of Night of the Living Dead in its parking lot accompanied by additional shrills and thrills from the performance group, Creatures of the Night.

LA PROVENCE. While this popular restaurant is now offering dine-in service, it also introduced some new options when that wasn’t an option which are still very popular. One is their Family Menu featuring a meal that can be reheated at home that includes delicious offerings like Beef Bourguignon for $35. Another is their Le Petit Market with items that are ready for you to take home and bake like croissants, cinnamon rolls and cookies. They come highly recommended!

ARTS COUNCIL OF LAKE OSWEGO. Despite COVID, the show must go on. While the ARTspace Gallery is now open for socially distanced viewing, pieces from the Plein Air exhibit can be viewed and purchased online. And the Arts Council is taking its annual Gallery Without Walls celebration online September 27 at 3:00 p.m. during which viewers can go on a virtual tour of the 14 new pieces and hear from some of the artists on their creative process. Register online.

Stay informed about what’s happening in Lake Oswego. Subscribe to my blog by clicking on the “Sign me up” button in the top right-hand column.

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5 Reasons Why Lake Oswego Is The Best Place To Be Right Now

When the pandemic first hit, it seemed like it was easier for all of us to count our blessings and find gratitude in the little things. Now six months in, and we’re staring at a glass half empty instead of half full.

Well, let me fill that glass up for you!

Here are 5 reasons to be grateful that you are living in Lake Oswego right now.

  1. My son moved to London right when the pandemic struck and has been fairly sequestered in his small apartment since then. A big “outing” consisted of being able to go to the park. Fortunately, things have improved in Europe and he was able to take his first trip this past week and has been checking in from the Greek Islands. As good as that sounds, he did call a couple days complaining about the wind—so much so that he and his girlfriend considered leaving. Checking my weather app right now I see winds from the northwest at 10 miles per hour so a nice refreshing breeze, if that. No complaints here!
  2. My daughter is in San Diego and when she calls at 7:30 p.m. in the evening, she complains that it’s so much lighter where we are than she is. That’s because the sun sets almost a half-hour earlier in San Diego than here. So we get to enjoy 30 more minutes of those precious summer evenings that I’ve extolled about before here. You won’t find me complaining!
  3. My niece lives in Southern California, a place where many of us travel on our fantasy vacations. Her texts the last week have lamented the heat while I sit here enjoying our high 70s to mid-80s gorgeous weather. Not hearing any complaints from my neighbors either who, when I pass on my morning walks, greet me with, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Yes, it is.
  4. My sister lives in Saratoga, California, a lovely small town where Silicon Valley types seek escape from all the hubbub. As lovely as it is, she can’t go outside right now because the air quality is considered unhealthy with an air quality index of 158 due to the fire in the Santa Cruz mountains. While we’ve had that problem here in 2017 with the Eagle Creek fires in the Columbia Gorge, right now our air quality is good with an index of 11. I’ll take it while I can get it!
  5. In Washington, D.C. several of the Smithsonian museums are closed including the American Art Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. While one in every six museums in the U.S. risks shuttering its doors due to the pandemic’s financial impact, we have been able to enjoy our Gallery Without Walls throughout the crisis because there are no doors to shut. These outdoor sculptures appear to be immune from Covid-19 as long as sponsorships continue to come in and for that I am grateful. If you’d like to support this project, check out the Arts Council of Lake Oswego website for details.

A couple other things I can add to my gratitude list—outdoor dining spaces while the weather continues to make that possible, pedestrian-friendly pathways and courteous neighbors who cross streets or step aside to allow socially distanced passage. I know these are crazy times so I invite you to join me in finding the gratitude in the things that we can. Keep safe everyone!

If I can help you discover more reasons to love Lake Oswego, please give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’m a Realtor here and would love to put my 30+ years’ experience to work helping make your next move your best one! 

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10 Things You Need to Know About Lake Oswego Easements

Springbrook Easement is one of 20 easements around Oswego Lake

My real estate clients are always delighted to hear that you don’t have to live on Oswego Lake to enjoy it.

So are my readers. My blog on “How You Can Enjoy Lake Oswego Without Buying a Waterfront Home” that I posted in 2011 is one of my most-visited entries.

What’s the secret? Well, besides the two swim parks on the lake that provide residents with swim access, and view lots that come with, well, a view, there are properties that come with deeded lake access privileges through easements. That means you can use the lake for swimming, boating, canoeing, paddle boarding, even if you don’t live on the lake! But there are some caveats.

Here’s what you need to know.

  1. There are 3,000 non-waterfront homes in Lake Oswego with deeded access to join one

    This home for sale at 2585 Dellwood Drive in Lake Oswego comes with deeded access to Palisades Park Community Club Easement.

    of the lakefront easements for boating and recreational use.

  2. There are 20 easements located all around the lake.
  3. These lake privileges date back to rights deeded by the Oregon Iron and Steel Company and are tied to actual property addresses. They cannot be transferred, sold, or purchased other than when a new homebuyer purchases that particular piece of property.
  4. The facilities vary from easement to easement. The Village on the Lake easement at 1565 Bayview Lane, for example offers a slide, diving board, water trampoline, two barbecues, picnic tables and chairs, community canoe and kayak, showers and changing area along with 25 boat slips, and 42 canoe/paddleboard racks. The Maple Circle easement at 16901 Maple Circle doesn’t have any boat slips but does have space for 18 canoe/kayak/paddleboards, picnic tables, benches and chairs.
  5. Fees also vary from easement to easement. Currently, initiation fees range from $5,000 at Springbrook Recreation at 2720 Summit Drive to $100 for the Lakewood Yacht Club at 300 Ridgeway; however, there can also be annual fees, powerboat fees, swim only fees, and fees for canoes, paddleboards and kayaks.
  6. Joining an easement does not guarantee that you will be able to secure a boat slip or storage rack for your canoe or paddleboard. There are waiting lists at many of these easements for those privileges so it’s important to look into that if you’re considering purchasing a home because of its easement rights. At the Goodin easement, for example, at 3050 Lakeview Boulevard, there is a waiting list of 44 members for a boat slip and 73 for a kayak or canoe rack.
  7. Just because you can’t secure a boat slip in your easement, as a member, you do have day-use rights and can drop your boat into the lake at the Lake Corporation marina as long as you meet the criteria listed on their website. You can also moor a boat at LO Landing, located in the two-story office building next to the LOC marina.  They may also have a waiting list, but typically their slips turn over more rapidly than those at the easements.  You can reach them at 503 545-8870 or lo500@comcast.net
  8. Just because you live close to an easement, doesn’t mean your home has deeded access. And some homes have deeded access to more than one easement like this listing of mine or this one. So be sure to check the easement maps provided on the Lake Corporation website to determine which one, if any, comes with your property.
  9. With the easement benefits come some responsibilities, like clean-up detail too, but these events provide yet another opportunity to get to know some of your neighbors.
  10. Easements can add true value to a home, enriching the quality of life you experience as a resident of Lake Oswego. Educated home buyers know to add that to their criteria if that’s important to them. While you might end up paying a little more for a house that comes with easement rights, you will likely make it up at the back end when you are ready to sell. And in the meantime, you’ll have years of enjoyment that current easement members consider well worth it!

If you would like to buy a home in Lake Oswego with easement rights, give me a call at 503.939.9801, and/or check out my website. I’d love to put my over 30 years’ experience as a Realtor to work for you and share my love of Lake Oswego and lake living with you as well!

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How to Squeeze Some Summer Vibes Out of What’s Left of a COVID Summer Vacation in Lake Oswego

The end of summer countdown has begun. Two more weeks if you have kids in school. Five more weeks if you’re counting until the first day of fall.

Either way, time is winding down for taking a few vacation days to take advantage of summer weather.

And that proves challenging during the current pandemic.

So more folks are looking at vacationing at home and wondering how they can create that mindset when they’ve been sheltering-in-place for so long.

For the doubters, let me pass along some words of wisdom from career and personal adviser Marty Nemko who says that “staycations provide a much better pleasure to pain ratio than a regular vacation.” Think about it! You don’t have to worry about the cost, missing your plane, losing your luggage, or getting rained out when you’ve planned a beach vacation!

Here are a few suggestions for squeezing some summer vacation vibes out of the time you have left while still at home in Lake Oswego.

  1. Plan a theme day or two. Wishing you were in Italy? Create a playlist of Italian songs, schedule an Italian film viewing (couple recommendations: Life is Beautiful, Roman Holiday), prepare an Italian meal finished off with some gelato or order takeout from one of Lake Oswego’s popular Italian restaurants like Nicoletta’s Table or Riccardo’s, and pick up a bottle of Italian wine at Baldwin’s Market and Parlor.
  2. Walk in a different direction. Since the shelter-in-place order first went into effect, we Lake Oswegans have been very grateful that the place where we have to shelter has so many places to walk. But now, six months in, some of the thrill may be gone. There’s no reason you can’t introduce the sense of adventure you carry with you when you travel away from home. Find a different route. A couple weeks ago, my wife and I were on the Iron Mountain trail that runs behind the Hunt Club, and instead of following it from the Hunt Club entrance to the Oswego Country Club entrance, we took the switchback at the top that empties out on Glen Eagles Road. Along the way we discovered the Prosser Iron Mine Interpretive Center and the Iron Mountain Overlook Platform. And we wound our way back home on an entirely new route we hadn’t traveled before. Discovery—you don’t have to leave home to enjoy it!
  3. Spa Day. A spa day may be a luxury you feel you can’t afford when on vacation, but it is a luxury you can afford on a staycation. Set the tone by lighting the candles and telling Alexa to play spa music. Take turns giving each other manicures and/or pedicures, have fun with a DIY facial peel, give each other the pleasure of a massage and then finish it off with a long soak in a warm bubble bath.
  4. Try a hybrid staycation that Nemko has coined a “projation,” or project vacation. Tackle something new—maybe it’s a recipe you’ve been meaning to try or a free course you can enroll in through the Lake Oswego Library’s online resources. Or making it’s just getting something off your To-Do list that has been nagging at you and will feel so good when it’s done.
  5. If you can’t get to Disneyland, bring Disneyland to you. While a trip to the theme park may not be in the cards for this year, there are still ways for you to enjoy the happiest place in the world at home. Gather everyone together for a virtual ride on some of the park’s most popular attractions on YouTube. Or get creative like this family who created “Yo ho Yo ho a quarantine’s life for me” ride in their own home. Best part? There’s no waiting in line!

I’m here if your end of summer plans include buying or selling your home. Give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’d love to put my 30+ years’ experience as a Realtor to work for you!

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