Living in Astoria, Oregon: Community History and Features

Located at the mouth of Columbia River near the Pacific Ocean, Astoria is one of the most important towns on the Oregon Coast—both now and long ago. It has a long, influential history as a frontier outpost, founded by the Pacific Fur Company and named after its owner, John Jacob Astor. Built in 1811 as Fort Astoria, the town was the first American settlement on the Pacific coast and a key post for American trade and exploration.
Featured Image – Astoria, Oregon waterfront
In fact, Fort Astoria was so well-situated that the British also took interest in the settlement and its fur trade. When the Pacific Fur Company began to flounder during the war of 1812, the British North West Company bought Fort Astoria, renamed it Fort George, and raised a Union Jack over the outpost. Through Fort George, the British were able to control the fur trade until the mid-1840s, when American pioneers from the Oregon Trail began to settle in and around the town. The British finally lost control of the region after the Oregon Treaty of 1846, turning Fort George into Astoria once more.
Astoria remained a destination for immigrants throughout the 19th century, especially after the transcontinental railroad was completed. As a port city on a major river, it had easy access to both the ocean and the interior. This ideal location drew settlers and boosted the town’s economy, which had expanded to include fishing and canneries. Even after a fire destroyed Astoria’s downtown in 1883, and again in 1922, the city remained successful. The downtown was rebuilt with classic 1920s architecture, a style you can still see along the main street today.
This charming downtown makes Astoria feel rooted in history. Museums and old buildings are everywhere, including lovely Victorian homes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You can explore one of these regal, historic homes by visiting the Flavel House Museum, a beautiful restoration of Captain George Flavel’s Queen Anne-style house, now a local landmark or visit the famous crowning momument, the Astoria Column to get a picturesque view of the city and the surrounding areas.
You can also contact our office to tour some of the current historic homes for sale if living in Astoria is something you’re considering. For example, this Italianate Victorian from 1901 has been so tenderly cared for that it retains many of its original details, like panel doors and stained glass windows.
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Astoria Oregon Home for Sale
Or this wonderful “John Wicks” Victorian from 1904, perched on a quiet corner lot in East Astoria with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, parlor areas for gathering, and a formal dining room.
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Astoria Oregon real estate
If you prefer to have a little more space yet still want to be near Astoria, check out this lodge-style home with over 1 mile of river frontage, including The Young’s River and The Klaskanine River.
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lodge style home oregon
Astoria isn’t just a paradise for history buffs, though. While the city has existed for more than 200 years, its culture and amenities are anything but old and outdated. You can find modern galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, and handcrafted brew pubs throughout the downtown area. Visit the Museum of Whimsy to see a quirky collection of unusual and fascinating things or see a show at the elegant Liberty Theater.
Since Astoria is situated on the mouth of a river, it’s also a nice city for anyone who loves both freshwater and saltwater activities. For instance, you can go crabbing or fishing for sturgeon or halibut, either on your own or with a chartered boat. You can even get a fishing kayak and catch salmon while exploring the Columbia River, just like Lewis and Clark.
If you love seafood but not fishing, simply visit local restaurants like Bridgewater Bistro or the Silver Salmon Grille for delicious seafood dishes, prepared straight from the ocean or river. You can also stop for amazing beer-battered fish and chips at the Bowpicker, across from the Columbia River Maritime Museum. It’s a local favorite, so make sure you arrive early to beat the crowds.
Astoria is also known for its excellent breweries: Buoy, Hondo’s, Wet Dog, and Fort George. Besides serving well-crafted local beer, their brew pubs are great gathering places for locals and visitors alike. They’re especially popular meeting spots during Astoria’s many festivals, like the annual Astoria Regetta and FisherPoets Gathering. These events really bring out the city’s community spirit—but even a casual visit to a pub can lead to good conversation and friendship. Whether you get involved in a festival, go fishing on a chartered boat, or simply drink beer at the nearby brewery, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to build relationships and have fun if you live in charming Astoria.
View listings and learn more about Astoria, Oregon on our community page.


Upcoming February Art Walks Around Oregon

First Thursday in Portland’s Pearl District with Artist Jan Rimerman
Jan Rimerman has been drawing & painting since she can remember. She grew up in an artistic and creative family who allowed her the freedom and supplies to pursue her passion.
Her inspiration comes from observing nature’s evolution of changing forms in light & shadow in and on water. Growing up in the forests & along the shores of the Pacific Northwest gives Jan an appreciation of each interactive waterscape. This Stone and Water Collection was created in her studios in West Linn, Oregon and on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
This series represents the evolution of thought and history over time. Water flows over stones making them smooth while revealing life and symbols from the past. There is the sparkle of hope and life in ripples of the water. The various textures and layers of color unveil hidden images that are revealed in the different lights of the day & season. The work presents a new perspective each time it’s viewed.
Color, texture, form, light & shadow are part of the intentional creative process. An under painting of black powdered charcoal gelled onto heavy watercolor paper lends the finished painting a hint of textural mystery. Molding paste gives a physical three dimensional aspect. As many as 22 layers of transparent fluid acrylic paint are applied on top of the initial foundation. This creates the illusion that the waves in the water are actually moving.
Rimerman studied art at the City University in London, at Willamette University, Portland State University and at the University of Washington. She studied closely with Carl Hall and Robert Hess at Willamette University in Salem and has a great respect for both artists. Her work is found in ten books, magazines & on greeting cards. Her work is exhibited in various shows in the Pacific Northwest. It is also found at the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery, the Coos Art Museum & at the Blackfish Gallery in La Conner, WA.
When not in the studio or traveling, Jan curates shows for the Justice Center Windows in downtown Portland, US Bank, the Arts Council of Lake Oswego & the Lakewood Center Gallery. Jan is active in promoting the arts while raising awareness for the World Wildlife Fund and an orphanage in Tibet.
In an Open Studio event in May, Rimerman and stone sculptor Dave Haslett will be raising awareness and funds for the Western Pond Turtle.
For more information: www.janrimerman.com
Please join us Thursday, February 2nd at our Pearl District Office (1321 NW Hoyt Street, Portland, OR) from 5 – 8 PM, to enjoy Jan’s art, as well as wine and appetizers.
First Friday in Bend with Artist Kenneth Marunowski

Ken Marunowski is an artist on the move. Painting his way across the country in 2016, from Central Oregon’s High Desert to New Hampshire’s White Mountains and then across the sea to Provence, France, as an Artist Fellow at the Marchutz School of Fine Art. Ken celebrates his return to Bend, with a show of expressive landscapes. Plein air works and studio paintings based on favorite plein air works, these pieces attest to Ken’s love for the landscape and expressive paint handling.
In addition to his work as an artist, Ken, a Ph.D. in literacy and rhetorical studies, offers professional writing services to fellow artists. Visit www.kennethmarunowski.com.
Please join us Friday, February 3rd at our Downtown Bend Office (821 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR) from 5 – 8 PM, to view Ken’s artwork, while enjoying complimentary wine and apps.
Third Thursday in Lake Oswego with Artist Joy Cha

After many years of working as a graphic designer in branding, packaging and entertainment industry in Los Angeles, Joy decided to return to her true passion – story telling through art – which was her real reason for majoring in fine arts in the first place.
She moved to rainy Portland three days before Christmas, 2014, seeking inspiration among tall Douglas firs, the beautiful Cascades and magical Oregon Coast. She mainly works with oil, acrylic and gouache, exploring ideas of hope and symbolism. To see more of Joy’s work, visit www.joychastudio.com.
When not painting or designing, she and her stealth border collie roam the Pacific Northwest beaches and trails looking for adventures like no other.
Please join us Thursday, February 16th at our Lake Oswego Office (310 N State Street, Suite 102, Lake Oswego, OR) from 4-7 PM, to enjoy artwork by Joy, as well as wine and appetizers.


Upcoming February Art Walks Around Bend

First Thursday in Portland’s Pearl District with Artist Jan Rimerman
Jan Rimerman has been drawing & painting since she can remember. She grew up in an artistic and creative family who allowed her the freedom and supplies to pursue her passion.
Her inspiration comes from observing nature’s evolution of changing forms in light & shadow in and on water. Growing up in the forests & along the shores of the Pacific Northwest gives Jan an appreciation of each interactive waterscape. This Stone and Water Collection was created in her studios in West Linn, Oregon and on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
This series represents the evolution of thought and history over time. Water flows over stones making them smooth while revealing life and symbols from the past. There is the sparkle of hope and life in ripples of the water. The various textures and layers of color unveil hidden images that are revealed in the different lights of the day & season. The work presents a new perspective each time it’s viewed.
Color, texture, form, light & shadow are part of the intentional creative process. An under painting of black powdered charcoal gelled onto heavy watercolor paper lends the finished painting a hint of textural mystery. Molding paste gives a physical three dimensional aspect. As many as 22 layers of transparent fluid acrylic paint are applied on top of the initial foundation. This creates the illusion that the waves in the water are actually moving.
Rimerman studied art at the City University in London, at Willamette University, Portland State University and at the University of Washington. She studied closely with Carl Hall and Robert Hess at Willamette University in Salem and has a great respect for both artists. Her work is found in ten books, magazines & on greeting cards. Her work is exhibited in various shows in the Pacific Northwest. It is also found at the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery, the Coos Art Museum & at the Blackfish Gallery in La Conner, WA.
When not in the studio or traveling, Jan curates shows for the Justice Center Windows in downtown Portland, US Bank, the Arts Council of Lake Oswego & the Lakewood Center Gallery. Jan is active in promoting the arts while raising awareness for the World Wildlife Fund and an orphanage in Tibet.
In an Open Studio event in May, Rimerman and stone sculptor Dave Haslett will be raising awareness and funds for the Western Pond Turtle.
For more information: www.janrimerman.com
Please join us Thursday, February 2nd at our Pearl District Office (1321 NW Hoyt Street, Portland, OR) from 5 – 8 PM, to enjoy Jan’s art, as well as wine and appetizers.
First Friday in Bend with Artist Kenneth Marunowski

Ken Marunowski is an artist on the move. Painting his way across the country in 2016, from Central Oregon’s High Desert to New Hampshire’s White Mountains and then across the sea to Provence, France, as an Artist Fellow at the Marchutz School of Fine Art. Ken celebrates his return to Bend, with a show of expressive landscapes. Plein air works and studio paintings based on favorite plein air works, these pieces attest to Ken’s love for the landscape and expressive paint handling.
In addition to his work as an artist, Ken, a Ph.D. in literacy and rhetorical studies, offers professional writing services to fellow artists. Visit www.kennethmarunowski.com.
Please join us Friday, February 3rd at our Downtown Bend Office (821 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR) from 5 – 8 PM, to view Ken’s artwork, while enjoying complimentary wine and apps.
Third Thursday in Lake Oswego with Artist Joy Cha

After many years of working as a graphic designer in branding, packaging and entertainment industry in Los Angeles, Joy decided to return to her true passion – story telling through art – which was her real reason for majoring in fine arts in the first place.
She moved to rainy Portland three days before Christmas, 2014, seeking inspiration among tall Douglas firs, the beautiful Cascades and magical Oregon Coast. She mainly works with oil, acrylic and gouache, exploring ideas of hope and symbolism. To see more of Joy’s work, visit www.joychastudio.com.
When not painting or designing, she and her stealth border collie roam the Pacific Northwest beaches and trails looking for adventures like no other.
Please join us Thursday, February 16th at our Lake Oswego Office (310 N State Street, Suite 102, Lake Oswego, OR) from 4-7 PM, to enjoy artwork by Joy, as well as wine and appetizers.


NorthWest Crossing Neighborhood in Bend, Oregon

Located in beautiful Bend, the NorthWest Crossing neighborhood has been carefully designed to be sustainable and community-focused. Known as NWX among locals, the neighborhood was originally an old tree farm with 500 acres of ponderosa pines. This land belonged to a timber company, which once owned five mills in Bend. After its last mill closed in 1994, the company began looking into real estate opportunities, just as Bend’s population was beginning to boom.
Featured Image – NorthWest Crossing Home
The company’s ponderosa tree farm was only 1.5 miles from downtown Bend, and the land was nearly flat. In essence, it was the perfect place for a new neighborhood. This opportunity became a reality in 1999, when two developers partnered to build a community in NorthWest Crossing. Their master plan revolved around sustainability and preservation. In particular, they wanted to keep the gorgeous ponderosa pines on the property, and would even redesign a home to save a tree.
As a result, real estate in NorthWest Crossing has the atmosphere of a well-established neighborhood, despite being relatively new. Mature ponderosa pines tower over the streets and parks, lining the horizon with their green branches. This abundance of trees in NorthWest Crossing isn’t just an aesthetic feature; it’s a key part of the community’s vision of sustainable living.
The sustainability of Northwest Crossing is evident in many other ways, too. If you support environmental preservation and have a green lifestyle, you’ll love how the community has been thoughtfully designed with those values in mind. Here are few ways living sustainably is easier when you have a home in NorthWest Crossing.
NorthWest Crossing park

Eco-Friendly Home Building

Each home in NorthWest Crossing has been built according to the high standards set by Earth Advantage, a home building program that focuses on issues like recycling, landscaping, water, energy efficiency, building materials and indoor air quality. This means your home will have environmental concerns at its foundation. It will be energy efficient through details like duct sealing, tree shading and high-efficiency windows, lighting and appliances. You’ll also know that it was built efficiently, including proper disposal of building supplies. These eco-friendly principles won’t only apply to your home—your neighbors will have homes that were sustainably built, too.

Pedestrian-Friendly

The developers of NorthWest Crossing wanted residents to have convenient access to necessities like shops, schools and medical care, so they including those facilities within the residential area. In other words, you don’t need to leave the community to do your errands. You can walk your kids to school, get fresh vegetables at the NorthWest Crossing Farmers Market, and pick up a baguette at the local bakery without getting into your car. The sidewalks are wide and lined with attractive landscaping and park benches, so you feel invited to go out walking or cycling.
NorthWest Crossing Bend Oregon
Even traffic has been organized to accommodate pedestrians. Instead of a large road with a traffic light, the neighborhood has a roundabout, which cuts down on pollution and slows cars down. This means less noise, fresher air and more safety for pedestrians. This roundabout was the first in Bend and has since become a model for other roundabouts in the city.

Green Spaces

A sustainable community wouldn’t be complete without plenty of green spaces for relaxation and connection with nature. Located on the edge of the Willamette National Forest, NorthWest Crossing is connected to the West Bend Trail System and has convenient access to wilderness areas, as well as community-centered parks. You can visit Sunset View Park for a great workout in nature, using the exercise equipment that’s been installed next to the park’s trail. For a family outing, you can go to the 2-acre Lewis and Clark Park, which includes a rock wall, basketball court, and playground for all ages. In the summer, you might enjoy sitting in Compass Park for their outdoor cinema series, Munch and Movies. Finally, you can hang out with friends and their dogs in Discovery Park, which includes a three-acre lake, a picnic shelter and an off-leash dog park, as well as an active community garden.
NorthWest Crossing is a vibrant neighborhood you’d want to live in, especially since it has so many beautiful homes to choose from. There’s a good mix of bungalows, Northwest Craftsman, and Mid-Century Modern homes, giving every architectural taste something to love. Check out our listings to find your dream home in NorthWest Crossing.


The History of Farming in Oregon

Oregon has historically been a magnet for farmers. The state has lush forests and fertile soil for raising crops and animals, as well as a temperate climate that’s well-suited for agriculture. These conditions have inspired many to start farming in Oregon, coming from all kinds of backgrounds. From keen-minded investors to creative botanists, agriculture in Oregon has been shaped by a variety of people united by their hard work and dedication to farming.
In particular, the Hudson’s Bay Company, Oregon Trail pioneers and innovators have had the most influence over how agriculture has developed in Oregon. Thanks to their vision, the state now has a thriving agricultural industry, producing over $5 billion in crops every year.
Featured Image – Alfalfa farm with beautiful Cascade Mountain views

Hudson’s Bay Company

The Hudson’s Bay Company was a major economic player in the Northwest in the early 19th century, before the Oregon Trail became popular. At first, the HBC was mainly focused on furs, lumber and fish, but by the 1820s, they controlled almost all trade in the Pacific Northwest—including agriculture.
The company maintained a strong presence through its headquarters at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, which it established in 1824. The HBC wanted Fort Vancouver to be self-sufficient, so the company began to invest in farming operations. Grain fields, gardens and orchards were planted, and livestock like cattle and sheep were brought in from California or from other Hudson’s Bay posts. Dairies were built on Sauvie Island, close to Fort Vancouver, to supply traders and HBC employees with milk, butter and cheese.
These agricultural efforts were a great success, allowing the company to effectively monopolize regional trade and settlement. With little to no competition, the HBC was able to exert some control over who settled in the area. The company had a policy of discouraging Americans from settling north of the Columbia River, and land for farming was mainly given to retired Hudson’s Bay employees, especially in the Willamette Basin.
However, the company’s dominance didn’t last forever. Its power over the region started to diminish in the 1840s, as thousands of Oregon Trail pioneers poured into the area. Most settled south of the Columbia River, drawn to the fertile soil of the Willamette Valley. Although they resented the company’s power, they were set on staying. They created their own farms and businesses, eventually causing the company to lose its influence in Oregon.
Historic Tom Mcall River Ranch
Oregon Farm and Ranch

Oregon Trail Pioneers

After surviving the 2,170-mile Oregon Trail, pioneers had to begin a life in Oregon essentially from scratch. Many chose to pursue farming, particularly after seeing the success of the farms supporting Fort Vancouver. Many crops flourished in the cool weather and abundance of rain. For example, orchards with hazelnuts and cherries produced large yearly yields.
Still, pioneers didn’t have easy access to seeds and seedlings at first. Agricultural trade was dominated by the HBC until 1847, when a pioneer nurseryman named Henderson Luelling traveled from Iowa to Oregon with his wife, eight children, and over 700 fruit tree sprouts. Traveling across the continent with a nursery was ultimately worth the effort. After setting up a nursery near Milwaukie, Oregon, Luelling became the go-to businessman for Oregon farmers. His nursery allowed pioneers to bypass the HBC and get their homestead orchards going. Even now, the success of certain crops in Oregon, such as pears, can be traced back to Luelling’s nursery.
Not all agricultural efforts were so immediately successful, however. The climate of the region did vary, and getting certain crops to thrive required some adaptation and experimentation. Gradually, pioneer farmers found the perfect places and methods for growing various crops. For example, the marshy land of Gaston, Cipole, and Lake Labish was great for growing onions, and the Willamette Valley became wine country. Some farmers stuck with staple crops like wheat, corn and potatoes, while others loved innovation and molded the future of food and farming.
Thunder Ranch in Oakridge, Oregon
Thunder Ranch

Innovators

Agricultural innovation in Oregon is perhaps most obvious in the cherry industry. The state is the birthplace of the Bing cherry, now one of the most popular cherry varieties in the world. It was first cultivated by Seth Luelling, the brother of Henderson Luelling. He first came to Oregon in 1847 to help out in his brother’s nursery, then took over the business himself ten years later. He used the business as a way to develop and introduce new varieties of cherries, grapes, rhubarb and golden prunes. His biggest success, the Bing cherry, quickly spread beyond Oregon to the rest the world, becoming the main variety grown in countries such as Chile.
The modern maraschino cherry was also born in Oregon, developed by Ernest H. Wiegand, a horticulture professor at Oregon State University. In 1919, Wiegand was enlisted to help find a way to preserve the Queen Anne cherry, which grew wonderfully in Oregon but turned mushy when preserved. Wiegand worked hard on this problem from 1925 to 1931, trying to find a new preservation process. He ultimately came up with revolutionary solution—adding calcium salts to the cherry brine—which has since become the current standard in the maraschino cherry industry. His research also made Oregon into a world competitor in the industry, both for production and research.
Innovating farmers and horticulturists like Luelling and Wiegand are still part of Oregon’s agricultural industry, helping the state remain at the top of agricultural production in America. If their stories and discoveries have inspired you, take a look at these farms and ranches we currently have for sale and consider adding your own story to Oregon’s farming history.


Reasons to Buy a Home on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is like no other place in the world. There’s so much to love that after vacationing there, you might find yourself thinking about buying a house on the coast. It’s not a bad idea, either. Here are a number of reasons why having a home on the Oregon Coast can be awesome!
Featured Image – Oregon Coast estate

Amazing Natural Beauty

If you’ve visited the Oregon Coast, you already know how beautiful the area is. Driving along Highway 101, you see breathtaking view after view of beaches, lighthouses, and rocky shorelines. Anywhere you stop, you’re met with gorgeous scenery. From shining tide pools to lush coastal forests, there’s beauty at every turn. Some of these sights are world famous, too. For example, National Geographic has called Cannon Beach one of the most beautiful places in the world.
When you own a home on the coast, you get to experience this natural beauty every day on your property. You can find an estate with sweeping panoramic views of the ocean and watch the sun set behind rock islands and peaceful meadows. You could spot whales while sitting in your living room or step out your door to stroll along one of the finest beaches in America. Buying a coastal home in Oregon is your ticket to experiencing this natural beauty every day, right from your house.
Beautiful views from this Oregon Coast home – View More Photos
Oregon Coast views from dining room

Art and Culture

Although many towns on the Oregon Coast are small, they’re flourishing with art and cultural activities. Artists are drawn to towns like Astoria and Cannon Beach, which have thriving arts communities. You can find art galleries scattered through these towns, featuring some of the best paintings and sculptures in the Northwest. If you’re an artist yourself, you can easily find a unique home that’s perfect for creating art on the coast.
In addition to art, there are regular cultural events all along the coast, ranging from culinary, wine and kite festivals to volleyball tournaments. You can join the surfing community, participate in a town-wide treasure hunt, or volunteer to count whales during the annual whale watching weeks. The beach inspires all kinds of activities, so you might discover a new favorite hobby just by living on the coast.

Food

If you’re a foodie, you won’t be disappointed by the delicious food you’ll find at restaurants dotting the coast. The seafood is fresh from the ocean, making dishes like clam chowder and shrimp grits unforgettably good. You’re not limited to only seafood, though. You can find unique eateries and a variety of cuisine in every town. Try out eating brunch at a seaside cafe with fresh baked goods and locally roasted coffee, or spend an evening at a brew pub by the beach, drinking tasty local beer.

Close to Portland

Homes on the Oregon Coast have the peacefulness of rural life, but they’re close enough to Portland for a day or weekend trip to the city. In other words, you’ll be able to easily attend famous concerts, visit five-star restaurants, and go shopping at large malls in Portland. Excellent healthcare is just a short drive away, along with other specialized services. You might even be able to telecommute for a Portland-based company with occasional visits to the office.

Incredible Homes

Many houses along the Oregon Coast are one-of-a-kind. From oceanfront estates to elegant Victorian cottages in Astoria, it’s easy to find a coastal home you love. Many have lovely views of the ocean with plenty of windows and cozy places to sit. Browse through our Oregon Coast listings, and you’re sure to find a place you’d want to call home.


5 Simple Mortgage Lending Tips for Homebuyers

The home buying experience can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. On one hand you’re searching for your dream property, a place where you might spend a number of years raising your family and enjoying the community around you. And on the other hand, you have to deal with the mortgage process and making sure you understand fully what you’re getting into so you don’t make any bad decisions.
Our brokers get asked a lot of questions about this topic and so we put together a simple list of 5 mortgage lending tips that may help a homebuyer feel less stressed out about what could potentially be the most important purchase of their life.
Featured Image – Homes in Central Oregon

Know your credit score and history

Before you start your mortgage application, review your credit score and history to see if there is anything negative that could cause your loan to not be approved. Your credit score is one of the first things lenders look at, and if it’s not high enough, you may be automatically rejected. Your bank or another resource might offer free basic reports, which will let you know if there are any major issues like possible credit fraud that could really hammer your score.
If you’ve been paying your bills on time, have minimal debt, and there are no other score lowering factors in your history, then this will be an easy glance over before focusing on other aspects of your mortgage. But if you’re just on the edge of a decent score because of a few minor issues, knowing how to clean up those negatives factors will help get your mortgage approval back on track.

Save money

The more money you can save for a down payment, fees, and any other expenses that come with buying a home, the more likely you are to get an approval for the mortgage you want. Zero-down mortgages are hard to find and not always the smartest way to purchase your dream home. Lenders will usually set their own requirements for what percentage you have to put down, but if you shoot for 20%, you’ll not have to deal with PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) which adds a premium to your payment every month until there is at least that much equity invested into the property. The rules change if you’re approved for a VA loan, available to verterans, and it’s best to discuss all of your options with your lender.

Avoid new debt

If you’ve started planning on buying a home in the near future, it’s best you avoid adding any new debt to your household and continue to pay off any debt that you may have. The less you owe to creditors the better. A low debt-to-income percentage will yield much better results when it comes to approving your mortgage and remove one less stress factor during the home buying process.

Get pre-approved and lock in your interest rate

When you’re pre-approved for a loan, you can start shopping with a little peace of mind. With interest rates occasionally fluctuating, it can be easy to feel like you have to rush your decision in order to get the best rate possible. There are lender programs now that allow you to lock in the current interest rate for 90 days prior to finding a home and even reduce your rate before you close if the interest rates drop during that period.

Ask questions

Buying a home, for most people, is the most expensive purchase they’ve ever made. It also can be one of the most intimidating processes that comes with a lot of fine print. Once you’ve made the decision to start working towards getting approved for a mortgage, start educating yourself on anything that may be confusing by asking real estate experts and other homebuyers who have a lot more experience with the home buying process. There is nothing worse than finding out about an unexpected fee after signing the dotted line or knowing you could’ve done something different that would’ve saved you a lot of time and stress.
The real estate sales associate you choose will be one of the best resources you can use to make your home buying experience go smoothly. CSIR has over 200 of the best brokers who are extremely knowledgeable in everything from what neighborhoods are best for what you’re looking for to understanding all of the paperwork and fees that come with a mortgage. They’ll help you understand the fine print, compare lenders, and find answers to any questions that you might have while helping you find your perfect house.
To find out more about how you can lock in your interest rate and get any other questions answered while you look for your dream home, contact one of our preferred lenders.


Multnomah Village: Portland, Oregon Neighborhood

Although Multnomah Village is miles away from the ocean, it feels like a charming seaside hamlet. The streets are lined with unique shops, homey restaurants, and interesting sights, a perfect area for strolling—especially during the holidays. Known as “the village in the heart of Portland,” it has a quaint atmosphere despite being only minutes away from the city center. The community is tight-knit and welcoming, and those who settle down here tend to stay.
Featured Image – Portland, Oregon
The community of Multnomah Village goes back to the early 1900s, when the Oregon Electric Railway built a depot in the area. Before then, the land was mostly made up of dense forests, rolling hills and dairy farms. With the new railway station, Multnomah was suddenly just 15 minutes away from downtown Portland. This short commute attracted families who wanted to live in a peaceful area close to the city’s opportunities. Single-family homes began to pop up around Multnomah, along with grocery stores, schools, a post office, a movie house, and other neighborhood amenities.
By the 1950s, the village was a thriving residential area with large grocery stores and shopping centers. New parks were created to give the growing neighborhood places to relax in nature. Gabriel Park opened in 1950, with 91 acres of walking paths and sports fields. Four years later, Custer Park opened to the east, with playgrounds for children and areas for picnicking. Both have stayed popular through the years. Gabriel Park, in particular, has grown to include a community garden and orchard, which includes more than 40 fruit trees tended by volunteers.
These developments coincided with the rapid growth of nearby Portland. As the city burgeoned, it grew closer to Multnomah and began to slowly annex the neighborhood. By 1960, Multnomah Village was officially part of Portland. Nevertheless, Multnomah maintained its small-town charm despite being part of a city. The streets were still quiet and lined with trees.
Although Multnomah has changed over the years, it’s never lost its village atmosphere and sense of community. You can see this neighborhood pride in full display during the annual Multnomah Days street festival and parade. During this festival, you can enjoy a pancake breakfast, listen to live music, get your face painted, and basically have an awesome time celebrating the local community.
The neighborhood spirit of Multnomah has remained strong partly thanks to the Multnomah Arts Center, a popular gathering spot among locals. Originally a school back in 1913, the Arts Center is now a place to take art and music classes of all kinds. From drawing and photography to dancing and theater, the range of programs at the Multnomah Arts Center is broad enough for anyone to find something new to learn. You can also visit the gallery at the Arts Center to admire and possibly purchase recent artwork from artists in Portland.
The many unique, community-centered shops in Multnomah Village are also key to the neighborhood’s success. Rambling houses and historic buildings have been transformed into pubs, bookshops, clothing boutiques, coffee shops, jewelry stores and more. For example, Marcos Cafe and Espresso Bar was originally built in 1913 as the Thomas Bungalow Grocery. The building has changed hands several times, housing everything from a dance hall to several bakeries, until it finally settled on this neighborhood cafe in 1983. It’s been a local landmark ever since with simple, delicious dishes of locally-sourced food.
After strolling the wide sidewalks of Multnomah Village for an afternoon, you might find yourself planning another trip to the area. The local stores and restaurants could become your favorite places to shop and eat, especially after going to an art class or community event. Multnomah is definitely a great neighborhood to visit for day—or live for a lifetime.
Browse our Multnomah Village listings where you can find your next home in this great community.


Things to Do in Sisters, Oregon

Sisters is a quaint little town that’s quickly becoming one of the most popular places to live in Central Oregon. Its population has more than doubled in the past ten years, as more and more people fall in love with the town’s year-round charm and friendliness. Though still small, the town has many activities and resources close by, making it a perfect vacation spot or community for anyone who loves the outdoors with plenty of things to do.
Featured Image – Sisters, Oregon
Located on the edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness, Sisters has convenient access to a range of outdoor activities, from horseback riding to whitewater rafting. Trails go straight from the city limits into the wilderness, so you don’t even have to drive to a trailhead. You can visit all the best waterfalls in the area, or stay in town and go golfing at Aspen Lakes Golf Course, where you’ll get incredible mountain views between each swing. Whether you go hiking in summer or skiing and snowshoeing in winter, you’ll have opportunities for outdoor fun in Sisters year-round.
Property around Sisters
sisters oregon
Sisters is an especially awesome community for cyclists. The League of American Bicyclists have given the town a silver rating for bicycle friendliness, and Sisters Country is one of the best areas for mountain biking in Oregon. It has three “scenic bikeways,” or cycling routes that are known for their excellent roads and amazing beauty. One climbs up McKenzie Pass to McKenzie Bridge, with breathtaking 360 degree views at Dee Wright Observatory; another takes you from Sisters to Smith Rock State Park, going past ranches and farmland along the way; and the last, the Metolius Loops, gives you fantastic views of Mount Jefferson and the Metolius River.
Need a good bike? Stop at Blazin’ Saddles Bike Shop in Sisters to buy or rent your dream bike. Their experienced staff can also give you tips for cycling in the area, as well as repair and accessorize your current bike so it’s trail-ready. The store is a kind of hub for local cyclists, with regular events to help you connect with other passionate cyclists. You’ll not only walk out with a better ride, but also a better connection to the local community.
Before or after hitting the trail, you can feel welcome bringing your bike to downtown Sisters for satisfying food and drinks. For example, you can grab nice coffee and relax by a stone fireplace at Sisters Coffee House, or chow down on old-fashioned burgers and homemade ice cream at Sno Cap. For evening ambiance and “crazy good comfort food,” you can go to The Porch, located in a charming little house a few blocks off the main street. Sisters even has local beer brewed at Three Creeks Brewing Company, including an award-winning Brown Porter made with Belgian chocolate.
Downtown Sisters is also a great place to go shopping. It’s a vibrant area with unique stores that both locals and visitors love. For instance, the town has a thriving independent book store, Paulina Springs Books, which has a loyal following and a staff of dedicated book lovers. One store that draws visitors from far away is the Stichin’ Post, a heaven for quilters and knitters. Their selection of fabrics, yarn, supplies and books is incredible for such a small town. If you collect antiques, you’ll also love Kalamazoo’s Antique Mall, which is packed with old-fashioned treasures. Beacham’s Clock Shop is worth a visit, too. It’s owner, Ed Beacham, is a world-famous clock maker who can create and repair all kinds of clocks, from small mantel clocks to imposing grandfather clocks. You can browse the rows of beautiful handmade clocks and hear them all going off at the same time when the hour strikes.
Quilt Sisters Oregon
Even if you don’t like shopping, Sisters has an old west charm and friendliness that’s easy to love. The community is tight-knit and active, as demonstrated by the local newspaper and annual events like the Sisters Fresh Hops Festival and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. If you settle down in Sisters with a lovely house, there are many ways to get involved, build relationships, and enjoy this beautiful piece of Oregon.
Check out homes for sale in Sisters on our community page.
Cascade Mountain Views
Sisters Oregon Home


Dunthorpe, Oregon Neighborhood and Real Estate

Although Dunthorpe is only a short commute away from downtown Portland, it feels tucked away in nature, far from the city. The neighborhood is known for its gorgeous estates, beautiful natural areas and excellent schools. With the Willamette River on one side and Tyron Creek State Park on the other, there are many scenic walking trails and green spaces to enjoy in the area. This peaceful environment makes Dunthorpe a perfect neighborhood for anyone who likes the quiet and privacy of a secluded community, yet still wants to be close to the comforts and liveliness of a major city.
Featured Image – Dunthorpe, Oregon Real Estate
The majority of Dunthorpe is made up of large, stunning houses surrounded by wilderness. In addition to public parks and gardens, each home has at least a half acre of land with beautiful landscaping. For example, the Percy Smith Estate in Dunthorpe has nearly three acres of extensive gardens, designed by landscape architect Craig Kiest. The gardens have an amazing variety of plants and trees, including 40 different Japanese maples, copper beech, gingko, Japanese umbrella pine and large firs, dating back to when the house was built in the roaring twenties.
Percy Smith Estate – View More Photos
Dunthorpe Real Estate
This incredible garden isn’t the only one in Dunthorpe. Every home in the neighborhood has lovely grounds for relaxing and entertaining, as well as for cultivating rare and beautiful plants. In other words, residents of Dunthorpe are steeped in natural scenery, both on and around their property. To get inspiration for their own land, they need only to visit a neighbor or spend time at one of the nearby natural areas.
Elk Rock Garden of Bishop’s Close is one estate in Dunthorpe that’s definitely worth visiting. Originally the home of Peter and Laurie Kerr, the estate has one of the greatest gardens in the Northwest. It was designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York’s Central Park) and is known for its many magnolia trees, wandering paths, and graceful streams. It also has a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood from its vantage point on a bluff by the Willamette River.
Tryon Creek State Park is another piece of wilderness in Dunthorpe that you can wander in. With 645 acres of hiking trails and wildlife, you can spend days of walking, cycling, or horseback riding in Tryon Creek and still not see everything. With some luck, you’ll spot a coyote, raccoon, beaver or endangered salamander while hiking its trails. It also has a great Nature Center, fantastic summer and winter camps, and regular events for families, like guided walks through the forest paired with stories for children. If you prefer more independence, you can download self-guided activities from their website, too.
Dunthorpe living – View More Photos
Dunthorpe Oregon Home
Just north of Tryon Creek, you can visit the excellent Lewis and Clark College, a renowned liberal arts college and law school, especially for environmental law. The forested grounds of the campus are absolutely beautiful and include a a historic manor house, Fir Acres, designed in the 1920s by Herman Brookman. In fact, according to the Princeton Review and Travel + Leisure, Lewis and Clark has one of America’s most beautiful campuses. You can stroll along the pathways, soak in the academic atmosphere, and admire the architecture of this noteworthy college.
Students in Dunthorpe have access to top-notch education even before they enter renowned colleges like Lewis and Clark. Families in the area can send their kids to Riverdale School District, which is consistently rated as outstanding. Like the nearby Lake Oswego school district, Riverdale is a model of excellent academic achievement in Oregon. If you move here with your family, you’ll not only have hundreds of acres of nature to explore, but also a safe community with first-rate schools and unique homes for your children to grow up in.
Interested in learning more about Dunthorpe and the real estate for sale there? Check out our community page and start searching for your dream home.