For Christie and Jonny Neuhoff, pulling off a Portland home purchase during the slow season needed a little luck, some hustle and a good measure of investigative reporting.
When the Neuhoffs decided to trade their Concordia/Alberta-area skinny home rental for a place of their own, Christie — armed with detailed spreadsheets — was on the case. She dug down deep to learn as much as she could about the ownership history, crime rates, school rankings and neighborhood family-friendliness of any home that came on the market and piqued her interest.
“I’m an intense person when it comes to research,” she says. “I probably did too much research, but that’s just my personality.”
The Neuhoffs loved their Northeast rental neighborhood: It was close to grocery stores and green spaces and had plenty of playmates for their 2-year-old daughter, Makaila. But with another daughter on the way, the time was ripe to relocate.
With the help of realtor Drew Burchette at Living Room Realty, they gently kicked off their housing search last September — typically a downtime for Portland real estate. They subscribed to Redfin updates and cruised the inner-Northeast quadrant, getting a feel for what was available and seeking telltale signs of family life: kids on bikes, toys in yards.
Nothing within their $450,000 budget appealed, so they expanded their search to as far east as the 120s and were surprised to discover some great homes just sitting on the market, including a white three-bedroom in the Rose City Park neighborhood, set on a quiet street close to grocery stores, parks and Makaila’s daycare.
It was just out of their budget, but Christie researched the home’s history anyway, carefully tracking the listing. When the price suddenly dropped by $20,000, she felt encouraged, but also skeptical.
More research — and reassurance from Burchette — allayed her concerns.
“I was scared we were buying some sort of lemon when the price dropped, because we thought it was a great house,” she says. “But we were just lucky in terms of timing.”
Their offer (the only one made) was accepted. The Neuhoffs broke their lease and moved in over Thanksgiving weekend, just before the winter storms.
Relocating during the holidays while preparing for a new baby was hectic, admits Christie. They’re still unpacking, and some needed updates to the 1930s home — goodbye, old carpet and popcorn ceilings, hello, extra half-bathroom and new front steps — will just have to wait.
The whole thing played out far faster than anticipated, says Christie, but also far more easily: “We’re so excited about where we live. We love our house, and we love this neighborhood.”
Even winter has had its charms: during the snowstorms, the Neuhoffs joined their neighbors at the Rose City Golf Course for some all-ages sledding. Come summertime, they’re told, they can expect block parties and plenty of kids underfoot.
“When I grew up, I lived in same house since I was 4,” says Christie. “My parents didn’t move around; my husband’s family did. He would love to not move around. You build a relationship with your community that way.”