RIP and the Race Against the Clock

April 2018:

RIP is the acronym for a new zoning change in the city of Portland titled Residential Infill Project.  Unfortunate name and as it turns out a huge constraint on our building plans.  This zoning overlay is in the process of going through changes with the Planning and Sustainability commission and is set to go in front of the Portland city commissioners in early spring and public hearings will be held in early summer.  The proposed changes will increase the number of units that can be built on a lot (duplexes, triplexes and ADUs), but will restrict the size of the units based on the lot area and a set ratio.  Right now the ratios are being determined and are not finalized.

When we first started looking into building the proposed ratio for our lot size would be .50.  This would restrict our new home to approximately 800 square feet.  If the RIP changes go into effect before our building permit is submitted to the city we would be greatly constrained on our new home and would most likely not choose to build at that size.  Once we had the clock ticking every decision coming from the city or our designer felt like it was taking forever.  My husband and I went into overdrive to get our lot division in the works and beat the clock.

Update February 2019: The city committee is still in the process of determining the details of the RIP.  There have been many changes since the first draft hit the public space and there seem to be more coming.

Learn more about the RIP details and timelines at


Lot Confirmation vs Lot Division

March 2018:

My husband is very interested in real estate.  This makes for easy dinner conversation as in the real estate world there is always something new to learn and a situation that hasn’t come up before. Over dinner one evening we began discussing the many lots in our neighborhood that are being divided into two lots and the new homes being built.  We live in the Humbolt neighborhood, right next the commercial strip on Mississippi Avenue.  There is a need for higher density here as there are many Portlanders want to live near an active business area and our neighborhood is especially desirable because of our proximity to the MAX line and I-5.  That conversation got his imagination working and within a month we were beginning the process to build a new home on our lot.

The first step we took was to visit the city’s Bureau of Development Services. The BDS offers late hours on Thursday nights to answer homeowner questions on projects they wish to take on. Our first meeting at the BDS turned out to be filled with incorrect information.  The representative we met with took a look at our lot and told us we could go through the much less time consuming and less costly process of doing a lot confirmation instead of a lot division.  Come to find out after a number of visits and discussions with our design firm a lot confirmation will increase the size of our lot based on historical lot lines, but will not allow for the ability to build a second home. Lesson learned, the desk at BDS is to get answers to very simple questions and projects.  The city of Portland let us know that the average time for a lot division to be completed is 9 to 12 months.  Now the long process to dividing our lot begins!

You Can See Russia From Here

Not really, but you do have sweeping South East views from the living room, bedroom and private deck. Enjoy views of the city, Willamette river and Mt. Hood. This spacious one bedroom plus den condo is in the LEED Silver Encore Condos. Sophisticated kitchen with gas appliances, quartz countertops and island. High ceilings and hardwood floors throughout make the space feel light and bright. Large master bedroom with custom walk in closet. Parking and storage included. Walk to all the best in the Pearl and take advantage of the Fields Park as your backyard!

949 NW Overton St #1213, Portland OR 97209

OFFERED AT $575,000

1 BEDROOM | 1 BATH | 1,032 SQFT
MLS# 18632877 | TAXES: $6,436 | HOA: $385

Tax Reform and Homeowners

Lets talk about taxes.  This is one of the most asked about topics I have gotten in the past few months.  The large tax reform bill will directly effect homeowners.  As of yesterday afternoon the Senate budget committee has voted to send their version of the tax bill to the Senate floor later this week for a vote.  The House version of the bill passed last week.
The tax bill proposes big changes to the the ability for homeowners to deduct real estate taxes and decreases the amount of the mortgage interest deduction.  The Senate bill eliminates the SALT (State and Local Taxes) deduction all together, while the House bill caps this at $10,000.  The Senate bill will continue to allow taxpayers to deduct mortgage debt up to $1 million, while the House version caps it at $500,000.
Both bills also aim to change the definition of capital gains for the purpose of selling a primary residence.  The current law requires a homeowner to live in the house for 2 out of the last 5 years to qualify for the exemption.  Both the House and Senate bills increase this to 5 out of the list 8 years.
This is a moving and changing document.  Republican legislators are aiming to have the bill completed and passed by the end of the year.  The articles below give a great layout of the additional differences between the two bills and how they differ in dollars to you.