Sometimes, real estate transactions are easy. They start with love letters and end with champagne and have puppy dogs and warm fuzzies all in-between. The inspections are clear, and financing is in-the-bag. All deadlines are met, and no one wants to strangle anyone else. Sometimes, deals are perfect.

But to be honest, what I really live for is turning around a challenging or even seemingly impossible transaction and leaving my clients with a great story to tell. And that’s exactly what we got with this Arbor Lodge cutie.

I met Peter and his adorable son one weekend while hosting an open house. He told me about his 4-year-old daughter (not pictured here) and his wife, Anna, and I felt super excited about the possibility of helping his family find a home. I, too, have young children (ages 1, 3 and 5), so I know all about the added stress of buying a home when kids’ needs are involved. Lucky for me, I got an email from Peter & Anna just a few days after the open house asking me to represent them, and soon after, we started looking at homes.

Peter & Anna needed at least three bedrooms, a large kitchen for cooking and baking, room for entertaining and a shared office space since both of them work from home. They didn’t want too much of a fixer since they have two young children, and they wanted to be in a neighborhood within walking distance to a park and other attractions. Even with a pretty specific list of requirements, we found them the perfect home relatively quickly. Their offer was accepted, and we began our inspections.

And that’s where almost (perfect) came in. The house itself was in great condition. It had recently been renovated by the owner after many years as a rental, and it felt warm and clean. But lurking underground was a leaking oil tank, and the sewer line was going downhill fast. On top of all that, the garage looked like this:

Arbor Lodge, Portland - Buyer's Agent, Lauren Dahl(And yes, that is lead-based paint. And lots of it.)

After many emails back-and-forth, several estimates and a bit of hair loss, we negotiated with the seller to have them decommission the oil tank and remediate the surrounding soil and to repair the broken section of the sewer line. The seller also agreed to pay some of the buyers’ closing costs so they could put more of their cash toward renovating the garage in the spring. All was smooth sailing, and we ALMOST (gets you every time!) had final clearance for closing when…duh duh duh…


Turns out, the appraiser flagged the peeling paint on the garage as a safety issue that had to be resolved before the loan could be funded. So there we were, days before the closing deadline with all documents in hand…but there was this teeny, tiny problem. The seller had already gone above and beyond in doing other requested (and costly) repairs, and the buyers didn’t want to wait for a repair to be done, anyway.

So at Peter’s suggestion, I called the lender and asked…”Uh, could my buyers just, like, promise they will fix it later?” And with that, our gears started turning. I ended up getting two contractor bids and negotiating an escrow hold-back of the funds to cover the garage repair AFTER closing. So, there was no money out-of-pocket for the seller, and the buyers got to move into their home as planned. And in a couple weeks, they will have a practically new garage. (Of course, there are more fine details of how this all went down, but you’ll just have to give me a call or email to learn more!)

This almost-perfect Arbor Lodge home will be perfect for this lovely family in a few short weeks when the garage is completed. I was honored to be a part of their story, and I’d love to be a part of yours!

Want to see more homes in Arbor Lodge? Check out my neighborhood page here!

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