Cat looking out the window from its bed

Susie Knows First-time Home Buyers Sam + Amanda

Hi Friends!

Happy Summer! I hope this finds you healthy and I look forward to seeing you all in person sooner than later. In the meantime, I wanted to share this house hunting story that might put a smile on your face!

Meet Sam and Amanda. Here’s their story about buying a home during a worldwide shutdown.  

Backstory… 
I (Sam) have lived in Portland my entire life. While I’ve gotten out a few times, nothing beats the PNW lifestyle. I met my wife Amanda 6 years ago when she was volunteering at the children’s theater I was working at. Amanda moved here from Arizona, following a friend who promptly moved to Colorado. She fell in love with the parks, people, trees and me!

What made you decide to hop into the market?
After years of renting we decided we finally wanted some control. I’d dealt with nightmare landlords, Craigslist roommates and one major property management company for WAY too long.

Previous neighborhood you lived:
Creston Kenilworth. We loved certain aspects of our old neighborhood. If we went south out of our apartment it was parks, pubs and quiet neighborhoods. North, Powell Blvd and two competing strip clubs. Lots of noise, traffic and sirens.

Exterior gray house with a yellow door, driveway and several treess

Neighborhood of new home?
Our house is tucked right up into Kelly Butte. Beautiful forest RIGHT THERE! Tons of bird activity, very little traffic noise. We’ve got several walkable bars that we can’t wait to check out once everything re-opens. One exciting part about moving during the pandemic, we’ve had plenty of time to settle in and we’re going to have a lot to experience and explore when the world calms down.

What were you looking for in a home?
Our big priorities were more space and a yard. We were also looking for something that was move-in ready, but still needed some love. An almost fixer-upper.

Interior of a home with wood floors and open living space, kitchen and living room
Listing photo before the move in…

How did the house-hunting go? 
It was a wild, all-consuming rollercoaster. Checking the new listings daily if not hourly. Constant communication between each other and Susie. SO much learning. So much we knew we didn’t know, and so much we didn’t know we didn’t know. Luckily it’s 2020 and we have the internet, and luckily we had Susie. Susie’s breadth of knowledge is vast. We had gone to a couple open houses on our own, having no idea what we were looking for, what our process should be, walking out of homes saying, “That was a nice one.” After one day with Susie we were, “Okay, that was 1,500 square feet but only 700 is usable. Kitchen was nice but the bedrooms were tiny, we need to rethink our minimum bedroom size.” 

Kitchen with wood floors and counters on each side with a window over the sink on one side with a stove on the right side

Any surprises in the process?
Hahahahahahahaahaa, okay, so. Two days after our offer was accepted the governor shut down the state. Nobody knew what was going to happen. It was nothing but surprises. Now that we’re through it, the biggest surprise is probably how smoothly everything went. Susie and her team were still in contact with us daily, always available to answer questions.

The team over at Guild Mortgage were great, able to get us everything digitally. It wasn’t a perfect situation, we weren’t able to attend our inspection, everything was sent in a powerpoint presentation and a few things were missed. Susie Skyped into our signing, so it was just us and a notary, all wearing masks. But all in all, considering the circumstances, things went well and ultimately we bought a home that we love.

Cat looking out the window from its bed
“Obligatory cat shot”

Do you have any house projects planned for the future?
Oh yeah. We need new furniture (Ikea still isn’t open), we want to paint everything (Miller is also closed). We’ve managed to get the home theater set up in our low ceiling basement and have a little archery range in the backyard (my priorities). We’d like new cabinets in the kitchen and, fingers crossed, will be building a deck this summer to enjoy the butte. Lots to do, hopefully things will reopen soon (but not too soon!)

Basement with large screen on far war with a video game image projected on it. Woman sitting on couch playing the game.
“‘Home Theater’ Setup in the partially finished basement. Ceilings are very low in the basement so we had to get creative with our use of the space if we wanted it to be anything other than storage.”

What an adventure, Sam and Amanda! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and for the kind words. You were joys to work alongside with as we navigated this new chapter of real estate together! Cheers to you + Happy Summer to all!

P.S. Matt just listed this immaculate Rose City Park Tudor. Open House Saturday 11 am to 1 pm!

5824 NE Broadway St
Portland, OR 97213

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