Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We are so lame and they are so cool

We have stupid reality shows and the Japanese have this.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Housing Post #1 - is it supposed to happen like this?

So, Steve and I recently decided to get into the real estate market. The market left us behind 5 or so years ago when everyone was buying houses with no money down, no inspection, etc., for crazy money and bizarre loan schemes. We were happy where we were living, were happy paying low rent and spending our hard earned money on booze, food, and entertainment.

However, we regularly cruised neighborhoods and pulled leaflets out of every for sale sign that attracted us. We dreamed of winning the lottery so we could buy the house of our dreams. Right. Silly boys.

We talked to our first realtor 3 weeks ago. Nice guy, Portland Alternative Realty. I liked him enough. Steve got a "meh" vibe. So, I remembered that I had a friend who's partner opened her own realty office. EXIT Realty. Jen, it's Nancy's partner (Nancy of DCI fame). We met with her two Thursdays ago. We chatted, she seemed nice, knowledgeable (35+ years in the Portland market), and Steve got a good vibe. Great.

She started sending us listings in our price range and minor wants (it was all about price and location for us). Some in St John's, some in NE, some in SE (next to the scary Apostolic Christian compound). We would send her back notes on the ones we liked and she created a list of 9 houses we were to look at on our first trip out together on Saturday.

We saw some nice homes. All in our price range, some in the right neighborhoods, but not quite right for one reason or another. My favorite before 5 pm Saturday was an attached townhouse on Multnomah Ave in the Lloyd district (technically Sullivan's Gulch). Banked owned foreclosure property, run down, needing some work, but good potential for a 3-4 year turnaround. Not crazy about the work and cost, but it wasn't a terrible option.

Then we saw our house. Really.

The last house on our first tour was a great house on SE Tacoma (2800 block). Just east of 99E. Nice wooden fencing. 3 bedrooms, 2.1 bathrooms, nice floor plan, fireplace, outside deck, well kept yard which overlooks the 5th green and 6th tee of the Eastmoreland Golf Course. Master bedroom balcony overlooking the same vista. Double garage plus parking for 5 or 6 other cars. Right price. Not our target location, but too much house not to seriously like it.

So, we came home. Went out to dinner with Matt and Kellie. Talked about it and decided to go for it. Crazy.

Steve called our realtor (Pam) this morning and told her we were interested in making an offer. She said she'd start the paperwork. Steve called me at work today and we filled out the loan application online over the phone (Steve typed, I answered his questions). I left work at 5 pm. Pam met us at our house at 6 pm. We talked it over and decided to definitely go for it. We initialed 900 times (or so it seemed) on all these offer docs, disclosure agreements, etc. She left our house at 7:30 pm. Her plan was to talk to the listing agent to arrange a time to present our offer herself to the sellers. Because it was Sunday and late, we expected to hear back tomorrow.

After she left, we talked about moving and decorating, packing, and weekly visits to the garbage dump. Then we started talking about alternatives: what if they say no? do we wait to get back in the search? do we slow down this crazy 36 hour train? do we think about the problem property in Lloyd? Oh, well, it was nice to dream.
Pam called at 9 or so. They accepted our offer.

Check it out!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

N.C. Biscuits have arrived

This past Thursday, Steve and I began the process of buying a house. We met with a Credit Union mortgage adviser and then met a realtor. In between, we found some time to have breakfast. This post is all about the breakfast (real estate posts to follow later).

The spot next to the Triple Nickel has been many things since we moved into the neighborhood: a kid's clothing store, a skate shop, and a coffee shop. The latest business to move in is Pine State Biscuits. They used to have a booth at the PSU farmer's market, but now they have set up shop.
I read something about it on a recent post on PortlandFoodandDrink.com blog.
The food is great. The biscuits are crunchy and flaky and moist and tasty. Steve ordered the egg, cheese, and sausage biscuit while I ordered the egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich. Delicious!
They have gravy, grits, honey, and pimento spread to go with the biscuits. They also have buttermilk fried chicken. I know!
Prepare yourself, Noland. Their pièce de résistance is "The Reggie": a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and topped with country sausage gravy. Oh my. The deluxe comes with a fried egg. Esquire recently dubbed this very sandwich one of the best sandwiches in the country.
Although the place is small (only four tables and a bar that seats 5 or so), the food is worth it. We highly recommend it.