Susie Knows Katie & Sam

The Moran Fam Portland contingent recently got even bigger & better with the arrival of Katie & Sam. Katie, who’s my niece (and Matt’s cousin), is truly like my 3rd daughter which made the whole house hunting adventure all the more special. Helping Katie and her fiancé Sam was such a treat for me and my team … Here’s their story:

Quick bio/backstory: (What brought you to the area? Hobbies? Job? Portland natives?)
We moved from Seattle – a homecoming for me and a new experience for Sam – a Seattle native with family ties in Portland. We love living in the northwest where it’s a quick drive to see trees, rivers, or ocean, while also having access to amazing restaurants, and did we mention we have family in town?

What made you decide to hop into the market?
This move was part of our long-term plan and after two years of working remotely we realized that we could put our home-buying plan into action sooner than we had anticipated. We were glad to get in while interest rates were low, and although we knew we were up against a lot of competition with other buyers it felt like the right time to get in the market.

Previous neighborhood you lived:
Before moving to Portland we lived in the Green Lake, University District, Queen Anne, and most recently Laurelhurst neighborhoods of Seattle. We liked Laurelhurst (yes, Seattle has one too) because it was extremely walkable, it was close to a cool wetlands area, and we had quick access to University Village for groceries, restaurants, and shopping.

Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood

Neighborhood of new home?
Our new home is in the Richmond neighborhood of SE Portland. I grew up a block off of Hawthorne, so I was biased towards SE right off the bat. Sam agreed that mid / inner SE felt closest to the neighborhoods he loved in Seattle. The craftsman bungalows in Richmond felt familiar to each of the homes we grew up in, and it created an instant draw to the area.

Richmond neighborhood sits to the SW of Mt Tabor Park

What were you looking for in a home?
We were looking for a 2-3 bed, 1.5-2 bath house with a yard, garage, and enough storage space for our outdoor gear – the rest was negotiable. We scoured thousands of listings to try to figure out what was most important to us and realized we were looking for the right combo of a house with character and just rough enough around the edges that we could come in and make it our own without biting off more than we could chew or undoing someone else’s recent renovations. Access to walkable green space was important for both of us. We thought it’d be impossible to put words to our wants and needs but Team Moran read our minds and were able to help us craft our approach for narrowing down our search.

How did house-hunting go?
There were a couple of starts and stops in our home buying journey due to 2021 throwing a number of curveballs our way. Throughout the stormy waters Susie, Matt, and Josh remained available, helpful, and patient for when we were ready to really get down to business. We started viewing houses in earnest in the months leading up to buying our home but we weren’t ready to write an offer. Once we felt ready (both emotionally and logistically) to begin the offer writing process, we found a house we both clicked with and wrote our first offer in October. We were both convinced we’d have to go through the process a few times before the homeownership stars aligned. Susie, Matt & Josh were there to guide us through the offer writing process, helped us understand how to write our best offer, and the rest was a waiting game.

Any surprises in the process?
To our absolute surprise and delight – Susie and team made magic happen and our very first offer was accepted! We were beyond thrilled for how smooth the entire process went and Susie also helped us find an awesome lender. In addition to finding a house that checked all of our boxes – it even had a few wishlist items that we hadn’t even really called out: views, a fireplace, and hardwoods. A more recent surprise came this spring when we watched a gorgeous established star magnolia bloom in our front yard.

Do you have any house projects planned for the future?
When we said we wanted a house to put our mark on, we really meant it. Immediately after getting the keys in November we painted the entire place, redid the lighting in every room, and threw down a quick kitchen facelift.

Team Moran even helped us identify vendors and lent us equipment as we took on some immediate projects. Since our December move-in we’ve updated our porch, kicked off some yard work projects, and replaced the upstairs windows. Most recently we built a banquette in our kitchen and even painted lines in our basement for a half-size pickleball court. We plan to continue replacing the older windows in the house, set up a craft room in the basement, and then eventually add a bathroom upstairs.

What’s your favorite part about your new home and/or neighborhood?
We love being able to pop down the street for a cup at Good Coffee, groceries from Green Zebra, or takeout from the local food carts and nearby restaurants like Malka. Both of us have cousins living within walking distance and it’s special to be able to pop over and see family or have everyone over for dinner on short notice. The daily views from the house are really something else: sunsets over the West Hills from our deck, seeing the morning fog roll over Tabor, and falling asleep to the twinkling of downtown from our bedroom.

New views!

Any advice for future buyers?
My advice is to take time to do the research and self-reflection to hone in on what it is you’re looking for, then build the house vocabulary to communicate your must-haves, and then let Team Moran guide you through the rest. We couldn’t have asked for better representation of our thoughts and wishes, and we truly couldn’t have done it without Susie, Matt, and Josh!

Thanks for sharing your story, Katie and Sam. Welcome (back) to Portland & see ya on the pickleball court!

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