Oregon Winter 2020

Table of Contents

The Home Depot’s slogan:

“You can do it. We can Help!” seems pithy and affirming but the government does not like it….Doesn’t like that you’re thinking of doing it yourself because usually that means Without A Permit.In truth, many home projects can be done legally without city inspections and professional contractors. Moving/installing cabinets, vanities and countertops, installing floors, painting, replacing doors — all of these are cool and fine if you want to DIY and tell the city absolutely nothing.


But what if…

You find yourself in need of a stand-alone mother-in-law unit for your back yard. You know, something simple — walls, roof, cute little window or two, with heat/electricity, maybe some plumbing thrown in there. You know, for the toilet and the sink and the little shower. Or maybe you have some extraneous guests/relatives moving in and not enough baths to handle the daily traffic. Seems like an easy enough thing to wall off part of the garage, laundry room, under-stair storage, basement, what-have-you, and just install a small bath. You know? Hey, no one ever parks in the garage. Sure would make a great bonus room for the kids! All of these or any of these could be great ideas, and you could probably knock them out in a couple of weekends with a couple of handy friends and a YouTube video.


I am myself a devout DIYer and pretty much everything I “know” I learned from a YouTube tutorial, but let me issue a word or three of caution. First, YouTube –and other DIY sources–do not know your city’s code. They do not care about your city’s code. They will not come to your aid when your future buyer notices a discrepancy between your house’s recorded 1500 square feet and the 3100 square feet that is the current reality. Or the 3 baths when the record shows only 2. Some buyers are Fine, Cool and Whatever with it. But many will balk and even demand that you go to the city, ‘fess to your remodeling sins and get a retroactive permit.

The cities love these requests and not because you came in to come clean, but because they can use this opportunity to punish, to teach you a lesson. Assign you some expensive penance. You will not only be required to open the walls so the plumbing can be seen and inspected, they may ask you for ALL the WALLS to be opened so that each line electrical can be seen. A single toilet in a basement may spur a requirement for an entirely new 2-tank septic system. A perfectly simple garage conversion done 10 years ago will need to meet the New code that was Just Updated last week. In short, the cost of getting away without a three-figure permit is almost always four figures.

Think of it like paying a mob boss for protection. You pay up front, you’ll never have a problem. You don’t pay, they’ll roll ya for thousands more than you owed.

Worth it?


Permit INFO: Newberg now has online permit applications, tracking of current projects and inspection scheduling at:

McMinnville has forms online at:

Yamhill County is using the state’s online portal for most permit application, tracking and inspection scheduling:

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Refer-a-Friend Rewards Program

Picture of Lisa Baker
Lisa Baker

Principal Broker | REALTOR
RE/MAX Equity Group

It’s time for something nice to arrive in your mailbox. Starbucks coffee, Subway sandwiches or dinner at Red Robin. Yes! It could happen to YOU!

Just refer your friends to me and I’ll not only take great care of them as they shop for a house or market their houses with me, but I will send You a gift card for something delicious, too!

Is that a great deal or what?!

Stuff to Love/Hate

Philosophical Question:

If Amazon Prime and Starbucks, Door Dash and Insta-Cart all fail, will you starve?

On to the “stuff”…

Stove Guard– This is indeed something to Love if you Hate cleaning the range. If yours is electric, you can always buy new drip bowls and have your range looking like new in an instant but the gas range requires elbow grease. Too much of it! And then there’s the two-step nature of the job — remove the stuck on crud and then the grease and then shine it up with the enamel cleaner. Yes, too much work! Enter Stove Guard, a lightweight non-flammable (so far) liner that fits over and around the elements, pulls off easily and cleans up nicely in the dishwasher. Truth be told, rinses clean in seconds–haven’t even needed the dishwasher! Sold by Amazon (what isn’t?!)

Alexa–I hate her. I love her. I hate her…Depends on the moment/the day. She disobeys…frequently. She feigns ignorance at times. My relationship with most of my tech could be summed up thusly: “It’s complicated.” Alexa– or Bixby or Echo or Siri –whatever the electronic persona operates your smart TV/phone/refrigerator/deep fat fryer–has upsides. She can set an alarm if you need a reminder — (or want someone else reminded as a sort of proxy nag), check the weather forecast, find semi-obscure old song lyrics, buy flowers and have them delivered, tell you what the capital of Kansas is, explain how come your back hurts (so many reasons!), and find you a recipe. You can tell her to pause or Turn it Down or rent a movie or buy one or Find TV Shows With Car Chases, or dog training or flower arranging. When confused in the face of a command she does not understand, she will suddenly default to Music No One Likes. No One. And then she will be slow to obey STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.

Plant Nanny– If your body is not getting the water it needs on a regular basis and you’re turning into a dried-up leaf, consider this naggy little app for your phone. It features an adorable little seedling that needs regular infusions of water. No, don’t pour water on your phone! Drink it, then record in the app the number of ounces you drank and watch the little critter grow healthy and lush and make happy little sounds. Neglect it, fail to drink water when prompted, and You Kill the Cutest Thing Since Baby Yoda!!!  You Terrible Person!

Fairlife Milk– For those who have realized that Happy Family take-out, while delicious and convenient, is not conducive to dietary health (who knew?!), there is Fairlife, a high-protein, low-sugar replacement for milk. In one bowl of cereal, add 13g of protein to your day painlessly without those nasty and disgusting protein powders or stick-to-your-teeth protein bars.

Refi/Buy Time

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to refi your mortgage, now may be that time. Interest rates are back down in the magical 3.5% range, so if your rate is in the 4s, you might want to check with your lender on whether it makes sense for you to take the plunge.

Need a trustworthy lender? Let me know and I’ll send you my short-list of local good eggs. Especially consider the refi option if you have a roof that needs replacing (or another significant repair).

If you refi, be sure to let your tax preparer know as there may be deductions associated with it. For those would-be buyers who’ve been waiting until they can qualify for more in a loan, the current mortgage rate is even better than cash because it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

If you haven’t asked a lender to run your numbers for a purchase in awhile, now is that time. It is true that real estate prices are still stinkin’ high, but a great mortgage can do a lot to mitigate those!

The Lights Are On… And Your House is On Fire

It’s one of those lights that suddenly blinks off for no reason. And then blinks back on just as you go to investigate.


Funky light-bulb?

Or maybe it’s a breaker that kicks off without any particular reason to do so. You wander out to the panel, flip the breaker back on, and all is well again in your well-ordered world. Only things may not be well at all. It may be time to call your friendly neighborhood electrician.

I know, seems like an over-reaction. And that’s what you’d think until the electrician finds the loose wire in your panel that’s been arcing over and over. It is now blackened and scary looking. As it turns out, a breaker that flips is doing so for your protection. You know, so an electrical fire doesn’t burn your house down.

‘Nuff said.