More About Helen

My Story

I bought my first house when I was in my early 20’s, up in a suburb of Seattle. It was a 1914 house, with fuses, old plumbing, no real kitchen and lots of updating needed!  My husband’s dad had built and remodeled houses, and he had worked with his dad, so he just knew what needed to be done.  We worked on that house ourselves for several years, redoing the wiring, plumbing, adding a bathroom, adding a full 3 story brick fireplace and chimney, taking out walls, adding french doors and a bay window, and a huge shops outside with big playroom upstairs…plus alot more!  We did all the work ourselves, and it turned out really beautiful!  During that time we also built a big house on a lake for my parents, doing all the work ourselves, and did remodeling, adding shops into stores and alot of other construction and building.  From the time they were young, our 3 girls helped us do what they could, and they learned from the ground up!  We taught them to use saws by the time they were 9, and do all kinds of things you wouldn’t think kids could do!  All these skills I learned back then, I use in real estate now, because I really understand how a house is put together, what problems come up, and can help both buyers and sellers evaluate issues they encounter.

In 1989 I decided to start home schooling my girls.  I also started my own homeschool, called Imagination on Tap.  I taught 30 kids, grades K through 8.  It was alot of fun.  We did hands on, creative, classes that were lots of fun.  I loved being a teacher, it came naturally to me!  I also use all my teaching skills in real estate. You have to be able to explain all kinds of things to both buyers and sellers, you have to be able to organize your thoughts, and express them in a simple way so people can understand, to break complex things into easy to understand parts, and to negotiate repairs and other things in a clear, straightforward, strong manner, so that it makes sense to others.

In 1993 we moved to Portland, bought a huge fixer 4400SF on Bull Mountain in Tigard, and I began a new chapter of my life!  The kids were all involved in remodeling.  I was homeschooling them, and along with school, we worked on the house!  I also worked part time at Home Depot for 5 years, teaching home remodeling classes in every department, even writing and teaching the 2 hour Home Depot University Electrical Class!  I learned so much from all the contractors that worked there, the classes I took, and even the customers…because they asked me questions, and I had to get answers.  I worked in all the departments, starting in electrical, and taught all the classes in the school in the front of the store whenever I was needed.  I would substitute for Lars whenever he was busy or away- He was the one who first wrote and designed all the classes for the Home Depot stores.  All this knowledge and experience has also helped me in real estate, because what I didn’t learn by doing on my own projects, I learned by teaching and working at Home Depot!

In 1998 I decided to get my real estate license.  I had always loved houses, I loved working with people, and had kind of always dreamed of being a realtor!   I worked for Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker and Equity. Everyone in these offices seemed to be doing what they had always been doing- for years and years and years! But the world was changing, and fast! People were getting cell phones, using the internet, having access to fax machines etc. We were told to do open houses, not because they help sell the house, but because that is what realtors do to get the listing! And to get buyers! That did not make sense to me. Why do something that does not really work? We were told that the company would pay for the advertising- so we could put our listings in all the black and white newspapers and those little home sale brochures that come out once a month and are outdated by the time they come out, and then the company would take half of our commission! And that was why realtors had to charge so much!

I realized that things were changing- and we, as realtors, had to change also. I decided to get rid of the things that we all knew did not sell houses and that just wasted time and money; and then I would pass on the savings to my clients. I also realized that housing prices had come up so much in the past 5-10 years- but realtors were still charging the same 6% and 7% commissions they did when houses were under $100,000!  I made up a business plan, to do 1.5% full service listings, to use the internet to advertise, to build a website that taught people about the neighborhoods and suburbs that were in the Portland metro area, and to implement any new technology as it came out!  But I had to find a company that would let me do that.  Oregon First was that company!

I found a good company that did not take half your commission, and that was willing to let me try out my idea. That company was Oregon First. It was a wonderful company to work for- they were on top of everything- extremely involved in what was going on- and they taught me a lot. I was their top producer month after month, and the top in sales for the whole year in 2005. But other agents in the company began to get calls asking them if they would do 1.5% Listings. They did not like that. So I was told that I could not advertise the 1.5% anymore! That went against everything I believed in- so I decided it was time to start my own company. That was how Portland Creative Realtors was born!

How my Family got involved

I found a good company that did not take half your commission, and that was willing to let me try out my idea. That company was Oregon First. It was a wonderful company to work for- they were on top of everything- extremely involved in what was going on- and they taught me a lot. I was their top producer month after month, and the top in sales for the whole year in 2005. But other agents in the company began to get calls asking them if they would do 1.5% Listings. They did not like that. So I was told that I could not advertise the 1.5% anymore! That went against everything I believed in- so I decided it was time to start my own company. That was how Portland Creative Realtors was born!

Also, my husband is my web guy- and he does an awesome job. It is up to him to keep all the new listings updated on our website- and make sure it is all running right! He is my best friend and my partner!

Becoming a Realtor

In 1998 I decided to get my real estate license.  I had always loved houses, I loved working with people, and had kind of always dreamed of being a realtor!   I worked for Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker and Equity. Everyone in these offices seemed to be doing what they had always been doing- for years and years and years! But the world was changing, and fast! People were getting cell phones, using the internet, having access to fax machines etc. We were told to do open houses, not because they help sell the house, but because that is what realtors do to get the listing! And to get buyers! That did not make sense to me. Why do something that does not really work? We were told that the company would pay for the advertising- so we could put our listings in all the black and white newspapers and those little home sale brochures that come out once a month and are outdated by the time they come out, and then the company would take half of our commission! And that was why realtors had to charge so much!

I realized that things were changing- and we, as realtors, had to change also. I decided to get rid of the things that we all knew did not sell houses and that just wasted time and money; and then I would pass on the savings to my clients. I also realized that housing prices had come up so much in the past 5-10 years- but realtors were still charging the same 6% and 7% commissions they did when houses were under $100,000!  I made up a business plan, to do 1.5% full service listings, to use the internet to advertise, to build a website that taught people about the neighborhoods and suburbs that were in the Portland metro area, and to implement any new technology as it came out!  But I had to find a company that would let me do that.  Oregon First was that company!

I found a good company that did not take half your commission, and that was willing to let me try out my idea. That company was Oregon First. It was a wonderful company to work for- they were on top of everything- extremely involved in what was going on- and they taught me a lot. I was their top producer month after month, and the top in sales for the whole year in 2005. But other agents in the company began to get calls asking them if they would do 1.5% Listings. They did not like that. So I was told that I could not advertise the 1.5% anymore! That went against everything I believed in- so I decided it was time to start my own company. That was how Portland Creative Realtors was born!

How my Family got Involved

When I was working at Oregon First, my youngest daughter, Hayley, was just finishing up high school. She home schooled, so went along with me when I previewed houses, helped me with the files and books and other things, and fell in love with real estate!  When she turned 18 I asked her what she wanted to do with her life, and she announced she wanted to be a realtor and work with me!  It was the best gift I could ever have imagined getting!   She went to school and got her license within 2 months of turning 18, and we became partners!  She and I sold 35 houses together that first year in 2005, and I was consistently the top selling agent for Oregon First.  By the end of the year, I was told I couldn’t do 1.5% Listings anymore, so I knew it was time to start my own company!

How I work with buyers

How I work with Buyers

I also love working with buyers! Each time I go into a house, it is an exciting adventure! Each home is usually shown off at its best- it is always fun to see other peoples taste and style- and I have always loved people, and helping them. So its fun trying to put myself in your place and help you find a house- in your price range- that you can fall in love with! I have become an expert with the Portland neighborhoods- each one has its own unique flavor and personality- and I love to help people learn about the different areas so they can choose the one they would be happiest in.

I call myself The Creative Realtor because I am creative in the way I look at houses. I can see the potential- but, because of my extensive remodeling and building experience, I can also see serious problems that would be hard or expensive to work with. I’ve been a Real Estate agent for 10 years, and have lived in the Portland metro area for 15- so I know the, prices, what is a good deal, where the safe areas are, the up and coming areas, etc.

I have done lots of remodeling my whole life- started when I was in my early 20s with a 1914 house that we completely redid- from the plumbing to the electrical to adding windows, building a full brick fireplace and chimney, taking out walls, adding additions and a building complete huge separate shop! Then we built a huge house for my parents up in Seattle on the Lake- we did all the labor! I learned a lot- and have been doing it ever since.

I also worked at the Tigard Home Depot for 5 years, 3 of them in the Electrical Dept. I wrote and taught classes on electrical, plumbing, tile, flooring etc etc-sometimes teaching full 8 hours days! I even wrote and taught the 2 hour Home Depot University Electrical Class! I learned a lot while I was working there-from both the other associates and my customers- and I can use all these things that I have practiced and learned when I help you look for a house. I am not an expert-and would certainly never think to take the place of a certified home inspector- but I have a good sense as to what can be easily fixed and what could be a serious problem. This can help you when you are looking at homes, trying to narrow them down and figure out which ones would be a good fit for your remodeling skills.

I have a good sense of the market- and what houses and areas will have the most chance of giving you good future equity- It is fun and challenging to look at each house and analyze it in every way- whether it fits your personality and needs, your remodeling skills, your family and future plans etc. I can not think of anything better than helping someone find a real home that they are going to love and make their own!

I also have an awesome search tool on my website- I call it Auto-Search-Send. You sign up for whichever neighborhoods in the Portland Metro area that you like, plus price range and size- and it will email you listings from those neighborhoods -as soon as they come out! You do not have to be constantly searching every day to find new listings. Then when you see one you want to take a look at, you can email me right from the program, tell me you would like to look at the house- and I can get right on it and show it to you. This is by PDX Homequest. They also have an option that lets you do searches right from my website by clicking on a little house that shows where the neighborhood is, or by the name of the neighborhood. It will bring up all the houses in that neighborhood that are for sale. Again- you can call me or email me, and I will meet you there as soon as possible! If for some reason I can not. I have a Daughter and Son-in-law! We work together as a team, to make sure our clients are well taken care of.

One last thing, I only take on so many clients. I always want to make sure that if I am working with a buyer, I will have the time to devote to him when he needs it!

Why the 1.5% listing program is such a big part of our business

My 1.5% Listing Program

Below you will find a description of what I do as far as selling your house-what my business plan is and how I carry it out. I wrote this plan 3 years ago when I started doing 1.5% listings, and it is still working very well. Every month we seem to discover some new way of promoting our listings on the internet- and we try everything we find. Some work, some do not. I have not listed them all here- but can explain all the different ways we can try selling your house. After watching what was going on in real estate, I came up with a plan that works really well.

My main goal is to get people to my website. If they go to my website, they will call me or email me, ask me questions, and then I can offer to show them the house. This ups your chance of only paying 1.5%. The way I get people to go to my website is that all my advertising is geared that way. I have 20 or more photos of your house on my website – so in all my advertising, flyers, Craigs List etc, I have people Click to see extra photos. Most people want to see extra pictures, so it is a natural step. Here are some of the things I do:

  1. I co-List all my listings with one of my daughters. So you have two of us working for you- and we both have cell phones that we keep with us all the time! We make sure to answer clients questions as soon as possible, call people back, and schedule showings at the earliest time the buyer can look. This is extremely important, because a lot of agents just have an answering machine, or a talking house recording or maybe an unlicensed assistant, taking messages. People in our society want to have immediate action and response- and cell phones make that possible.
  2. I take lots of quality photos of your home, I have taken up to 80 of one house! We 8 of them on the realtor RMLS website, and the at least 20 more of them on my website. I’ve been doing photography for over 30 years- have a Cannon Rebel, a high quality digital and digital movie camera. I am very picky about my photography- the pictures are what bring the buyers! I edit all photos with Adobe Photoshop or Fireworks-(which works best for photos shown on the internet), and I do my flyers on Adobe Illustrator- so my flyers and photos are very professional.
  3. I am a writer by trade and my ads are quite descriptive. The photography and descriptions of the home are what bring the buyers- and I make sure mine are top quality!
  4. We put your house out on Craigs List twice a week. This is part of my business plan for getting you the 1.5% listing price! All our listings are also featured on realtor.com- with a huge write-up, extra photos and a link to my website to see extra photos.
  5. I will show your home for you if you have a buyer that is interested. This takes the pressure off you, and allows the buyer to feel free to check out your home thoroughly, without feeling uncomfortable that he is imposing on you! And if you find the buyer, or if the buyer finds me and does not use another agent, you will only have to pay me a total of 1.5%, which is the listing fee that we agreed upon! And I have to do all the paper work for both sides! We sell about 25% of our homes ourselves, without another agent involved- which means a lot of savings for you!
  6. I will put an RMLS lock box on your home and have a professional sign put up with a flyer box. I use all the awesome photos I took to create high quality color flyers and we keep your flyer box full!
  7. I will do all the paper work. There are alot of things to take care of when you are selling your home- and “Time is of the Essence!” Someone needs to stay on top of all the deadlines, and make sure everything gets out on time- or the deal could fall through!
  8. If another agent sells your home, you will have to pay him 2.5% which is a total of 4% instead of 6% or 7%. On a $400,000 home- that adds up to a savings of $10,000 to $14,000.
  9. I will make sure buyers are pre-qualified, stay on top of the inspections, repair addendums, negotiations between buyer and seller, keep in touch with the other realtor, the loan guy and the title company- to make sure your home will close when it should.
  10. I also do lots of other creative advertising- and get alot of action that way. We use trulia.com PDX Homequest Virtual Flyers that are sent out to the search engines and other internet sources. We are always trying new things. My houses usually sell quickly- If we price them right, and I do high quality photos and advertising- your home should sell easily!

So, as you can see, I am a little bit different than most realtors! I do alot online- it works quite well, because you are able to see lots of color photos, maps etc, and you can give me feedback as to what you like. That helps me narrow the market down for you. In fact, if you email me your price range, location wanted, size, # bedrooms, style of home or condo and anything else that is important to you- I will research it for you and send you some listings that fit your needs- with lots of pictures that you can look through so you will get a good idea of what the house is like. Then if you’d like to see any of them, we can set up an appointment to go check them out! Make sure that you send me your full email address, though, so that I can link it to listings- that way you will be able to click on the pictures.

Phone Number: 503-998-4429

Email Helen at helen.hoyt@comcast.net

Contact Us

Our Team!