Ultimate Open House

The 2013 Ultimate Open House New Home Tour ‘No Brainer’ for Homebuyers


The 2013 Ultimate Open House New Home Tour presented by NW Natural and Standard TV and Appliance is poised to be one of the most exciting—and busy in years. The annual event, which runs two weekends, April 27-28 & May 4-5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free to the public and helps hundreds of savvy homebuyers navigate through the new home market—at most price points—in the five-county area.

“It’s an easy equation: lower rates, an improved housing market and a tight inventory all equal hungry homebuyers,” said Hallie Gentry, Home Builders Association of Metro Portland’s Director of Shows. “This year, the HBA is engaging attendees both onsite and online as they have the opportunity to visit fantastic new construction homes created by the area’s finest homebuilders. For homebuyers and real estate agents, The 2013 Ultimate Open House is a no-brainer.”

Idea Homes
From the hills of John’s Landing in southwest Portland to the prestigious Dolph Park neighborhood in northeast, two Ultimate Open House idea homes on the Tour will inspire its visitors, combining vintage appeal with the latest in cutting-edge, energy efficient products.

The Cleary Custom, built by Renaissance Homes, sits on land once thought of as unbuildable. The more than 2,800 square foot home boasts panoramic views of Portland, the Willamette River and the mountains. It is LEED Certified, wrapped with Polar Blanket insulation making this Vintage Collection home charming and cozy.

The Tillamook Vintage, is a lovingly restored home in this coveted close-in neighborhood. Originally built in 1916, the home had fallen into disrepair. Portland Development Group bought the house last year, and moved it five feet east onto a new foundation, allowing PDG to preserve all the stunning period woodwork. Today, the home boasts modern indoor and outdoor living spaces, plus energy efficient technology and appliances, while capturing the charm of the early 20th century.

Both idea homes and a majority of the homes on the Ultimate Open House Tour are energy performance score (EPS) rated. Shoppers can review Energy Trust’s Smart Homebuyer Checklist to compare the energy use, carbon impact and estimated utility costs of a newly built home before they buy.

Benefits Abound
New this year, the first five people to purchase one of the participating natural gas homes will get a free gourmet Gas Grill by Napoleon®—a $1,200 dollar value—courtesy of NW Natural. Ultimate Open House attendees are also encouraged to interact with the show via Facebook by liking their page as they visit the homes on the tour.  Attendees can easily find their way from house to house with an iPhone or Android smartphone app created by the HBA and NW Natural.

“The Ultimate Open House is a valuable resource for people looking to buy a house,” said Dave Williams, NW Natural vice president of utility services. “Show attendees will be able to see the latest natural gas features for the home, while supporting local builders and the HBA’s continued work in our community. We’re glad to be part of it once again.”

Portland Housing Trend
According to Realtor.com, while Portland is in an economic rebound mode, housing inventory is down close to 26 percent from last November and prices have risen close to five-and-a-half percent in the past 12 months. The Ultimate Open House New Home Tour makes it easy for homeowners to map out and walk through more than twenty new, beautifully built homes over the course of two spring weekends.


Grill like the Pros in your Own Backyard

“I love using gas grills because they are easier to heat and it’s much easier to control the flames with a gas grill than with a charcoal fire. Grilling is not just about lighting a fire.” -Bobby Flay , Author, Grill Master, Food Network

Grilling isn’t just for summer anymore either. It’s year round in the Pacific Northwest. There’s nothing like marinating a great protein and grilling it to perfection — such a real crowd pleaser. Today, both professional chefs and home cooks are grilling veggies, fruit, and just about anything, from pound cake to kabobs – it’s all “grate.”

Be one of the first five people to buy a natural gas home on the tour and you’ll win a P500 Prestige Series natural gas grill worth $1,200, courtesy of NW Natural.

Just think: years and years of outdoor cooking enjoyment in your own backyard.

To learn more about the Ultimate Open House New Home Tour and NW Natural Grill Promotion, go to www.nwnaturaloffers.com.

The Mobile App is Back


The Ultimate Open House New Home Tour is coming to a smart phone near you. The mobile app is back for 2013. This year, our goal is to make your mobile experience even more simple and quick than before. Our app will include photos, square footage, floor plans, price and mapping directions to homes on the tour. You’ll be able to search the app using a variety of descriptors. Bookmark your favorite homes, group them by location, and create a driving map from one to the other.

You’ll be able to email the builders or their realtors directly from the app, and, if you love a home, share it with your friends on social media.

Download the app before opening day for a sneak peak at the tour homes. On April 17, go to ultimateopenhouse.mobi on your iPhone or Android smart phone, and it will automatically take you to either the App Store or Android Market so you can download the app and check out the high efficiency natural gas homes.

So join the fun, and check back in soon on this blog for an invitation to our free BBQ events during the tour weekends of April 27-28 and May 4 -5, catered by NW Natural, at the Idea Homes.

Ultimate Open House Homebuyer Workshop



Thank you for your interest in the homebuyer workshop, but it has been canceled for this day and time.  Please contact Cobalt Mortgage for more information and to schedule an appointment with one of their representatives.


Voters Place High Value on Homeownership, Oppose Policies That Make It More Difficult to Own a Home


By an overwhelming margin, American voters strongly value homeownership and would oppose efforts to weaken or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction or diminish a federal role to help qualified home buyers obtain affordable 30-year mortgages, according to a new nationwide survey gauging likely voters’ attitudes towards homeownership and housing policy issues.

“The American electorate is sending a clear message that owning a home remains a cornerstone of the American Dream and preserving a federal commitment to homeownership is essential to maintain a thriving middle class and get housing and the economy back on track,” said Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies.

Conducted on Jan. 2-5 on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders by the Republican and Democratic polling firms of Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C., the comprehensive survey of 1,500 likely voters includes data from key political “swing areas,” including National Journal political analyst Charlie Cook’s swing House and Senate seats and Stuart Rothenberg’s presidential swing states. The survey, which has a margin of error of ±2.5 percent, is a follow-up to a similar national poll conducted last May.

The poll shows that three out of four voters – both owners and renters — believe it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to provide tax incentives to promote homeownership. This sentiment cuts across regional and party lines, with 84 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Independents agreeing with this statement.

Also, two-thirds of respondents say that the federal government should help home buyers to afford a long-term or 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

Moreover, 73 percent of voters oppose eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. These figures held firm across the political spectrum, with 77 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Independents against doing away with the mortgage interest deduction.

Meanwhile, 68 percent would be less likely to vote for a congressional candidate who proposed to abolish the deduction, a figure that was virtually identical across all party affiliations (69 percent of Independents and 68 percent of Democrats and Republicans).

A majority of voters are also against proposals to reduce the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction for interest paid for a second home, limit the deduction for those earning more than $250,000 per year, scale back the deduction for home owners with mortgages above $500,000 and do away with the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans.

“With the 2012 election season in full swing, candidates running for the White House and Congress would be wise to heed the will of the American voters, who have expressed broad support for government policies that encourage homeownership and oppose efforts to make it more difficult to get a home loan and to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners.

Among the poll’s other key findings:

  • 96 percent of home owners are happy with their decision to own and 84 percent who are “underwater,” or owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth, expressed the same sentiment.
  • 79 percent of home owners would advise a family member or close friend just starting out to buy a home, and 69 percent of those who are underwater on their mortgage would offer the same advice.
  • 74 percent said that despite the ups and downs in the housing market, owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make.
  • Homeownership and a retirement savings program are considered by voters to be their best long-term investments.
  • 78 percent of respondents said that owning their own home is very important to them.
  • Nearly seven out of 10 voters who are not currently home owners (68 percent) said it was a goal of theirs to buy a home.
  • Job uncertainty and saving for a downpayment and closing costs are the biggest barriers to buying a home.

The survey findings are consistent with the results of other public opinion surveys. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in June, 89 percent said that homeownership is an important part of the American Dream and more than 90 percent indicated that it is important for the federal government to continue the mortgage interest deduction.

According to a Pew Research Study conducted last March, 81 percent of respondents agree that buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make and 81 percent of renters surveyed said they would like to buy a house.

“Even in a down housing market, homeownership remains a core American value, with the vast majority of citizens who do not currently own a home saying they want to buy a home,” said Bob Nielsen, president of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Reno, Nev. “Those running for office in November need to understand that voters will not look kindly on any candidates who seek to dismantle the nation’s long-term commitment to homeownership.”

Poll results can be downloaded at www.nahb.org/homeownershippoll.

29 Percent of Renters and 19 Percent of Homeowners Are Considering Buying a Home in the Next Two Years


Despite the recession and declines in home prices, Americans still view homeownership as being important to the economy and the American family, according to the “Housing 360 Survey” conducted by Hanley Wood Products.

The survey found that despite the recession and housing crisis, homeownership is still very important—that both renters and homeowners feel it is a good time to buy a home and 19 percent of homeowners and 29 percent of renters are considering buying a home in the next two years. In fact, the survey findings support that up to two million potential home buying consumers are waiting to jump into the market when the time is right.

Walk through – from your home!


The Ultimate Open House is a feast for home-show gourmets.  

You can taste a little of everything, from classic Portland homes (with the benefit of the most up-to-date energy saving equipment) to contemporary suburban styling to urban condos.

And one of the best features is that you can do a lot of sampling from your home.  First, visit the home listing page. Check out the map to see the array of locations featuring Ultimate Open House homes.

Then focus on a neighborhood you like – or just check out a random sample of houses by clicking on the red boxes on the map.

You’ll see a photo of the house, and if you click on the blue link with the house or condo name, you’ll see more details.

One of the most entertaining features is the Virtual Walk Through . . . a series of interior and exterior shots that give you a feel for the sweet details of many of the homes.

Just move your cursor over the thumbnail photos.  You’ll get a good idea of the layout of the kitchen and the texture of the bathroom counters, the layout of the dining room and how a decorator has made the living room both stylish and comfortable.

Then plot your course for the day – or for the whole weekend. Find the homes you like and check them out in person.

And don’t forget the $800 credit, courtesy of the homebuilder, for the first 10 buyers of homes with natural gas furnaces and water heaters!

There’s something for folks with every type of taste and home-buying budget at the Ultimate Open House.  Have fun – and bon appétit!

Now you’re cookin’



For many of us, the kitchen is the most important room in the house.

It’s where we prepare nurturing food for family and friends.  It’s where we share stories over cups of tea.  It’s where we plan celebratory feasts and make soup for a friend who’s down with a cold.

Because these rooms mean so much to us, many homebuilders install the highest quality appliances in the kitchen.  That usually means a gas range.   And you’ll see plenty of these at the new homes in this year’s Ultimate Open House.

Professional chefs love gas cooking for so many reasons.  They can adjust the heat precisely – and immediately. No waiting for the burner to heat up or cool down.

And you can use your gas range even in a power outage.  Enjoy your hot chocolate by candlelight.

So before you start your tour of the Ultimate Open House, check out this see how this local chef makes a delicious meal of wine braised chicken and mushrooms. Then plan on trying it yourself in your new home.


Enjoy your tour – and the many great meals in your future.

Out & About with Drew Carney


Did you catch the Ultimate Open House on the morning news today? If not click here to see what you missed.

Jim Chapman of Legend Homes on Out & About with Drew Carney KGW

Lizzy Giles of Energy Trust on Out & About with Drew Carney KGW

Handyman Bob


Did you catch Ultimate Open House Chairman Tom Liesy on the Handyman Bob radio program today?  No well click here to listen up and hear what you missed.

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