What’s Your Sense of Style?


When searching for properties on RMLS, you will first be asked to specify the type of property you are interested in finding. The main property categories include:

  • Attached- This refers to a townhome which is usually 2-story, part of an HOA, and includes ownership of the lot as well as the structure.
  • Condo- This refers to a dwelling in an HOA, wherein ownership includes the individual unit together with an undivided interest in common with all unit owners in the “common elements”, which are the land and those parts of the building or buildings intended for common use. Condo ownership is of the interior of the structure, and exterior maintenance is provided by the HOA.
  • Detached Single Family- This refers to a house on its own lot. Ownership is of the house, inside and out, and the lot itself. Technically, ownership extends up into the atmosphere as well!

When you choose one or more properties for more detailed information, the “style” of the detached homes will be included. Indicating a description of the style of a home for a Realtor is more of an art than a science. This is because a home will potentially contain elements of one style, and also elements of another, particularly if there has been any remodeling of the structure.

I thought it might be fun to give some detail on the characteristics of house styles, and want to thank Judie Teal who contributed data and photographs to RMLS, which RMLS is allowing me to mine and use for your informational pleasure.

There are many, many house styles from which to choose. Here are some significant ones applicable to the larger Portland area:

  • 2-Story- Two-level homoe with the main entrance on the lower level.2-Story: Two-level home with main entrance on lower level. (Photo)
  • Ranch: Long, low, rambling single-story with simple construction, usually a large picture window in front and an attached garage.
  • Daylight Ranch: Rambling home with a lower level basement that is partially above ground.
  • Split-Level: Two-story home split at the entry with one set of stairs going up and another going to the losplitjpgwer level. The entry is not considered a “floor” or story. (Photo)
  • Tri-Level (NOT to be confused with Split-Level): Usually a ranch style home with a full story added on one end… so, three full floors.
  • Bungalow: One to one & 1/2 story w/gabled roof & porch across front.
  • Cottage: Gabled roof line, but lower than the bungalow style, sash windows, and a plain front door. Front porch is either very small or non-existent.
  • Contemporary: Simple, Uncluttered lines with a non-traditional design. (Photo)contempjpg
  • Craftsman: Home has a low pitched gabled roof with wide eaves and exposed rafters. One or two story crftsmnjpgwith a decorative brace and full front porch. Inside there is usually an array of built-in wood cabinetry, often with glass & leaded glass features. (Photo)
  • Colonial: Two-story home with a steeply pitched roof, small casement windows, and often columns across the front.
  • Dutch Colonial: This variation has a gambrel or mansard roof and often a side wing. (Photo)


  • English: Steeply pitched roof, prominent cross gables and tall windows sometimes half-timbered. (Photo at top of post)
  • Tudor: Similar to the English home, with steeply pitched roof, low doors, small-paned windows and tudorjpgdecorative half-timbering. (Photo)
  • Victorian: Two stories with steep gables, ornate wood detail, Gothic style windows (pointed top), and brackets under eaves. Some also boast turrets.
  • A-frame: One or two story with peaked, high pitched roof line in the shape of an “A”.
  • Chalet: A rustic style home featuring projected roofs, large windows and raised foundation. (Photo)chaletjpg
  • georgianjpgGeorgian: A formal square box-like structure with a hipped roof, decorative crown or pediment over the front door with columns on each side, and/or cornice mouldings. (Photo)
  • Saltbox: Distinctive sloping roof line from the top of the gable which can plunge from 2 and 1/2 stories in the front too a single story in the rear.
  • Farmhouse: Simple, uncomplicated 2-story construction with a front porch, and sometimes wrap-around porch. (Photo)farmhsejpg
  • Old Portland (Four Square): Very Distinctive style popular in the early 20th century. Large & square oldpdxjpgtwo to two & 1/2 story with low hipped roof and deep overhang, large central dormer, full porch w/wide stairs. (Photo)

There are many more styles, but again, these represent the bulk of what you’ll find in the Portland area.

No Loans?

You hear it every day: “There are just no loans out there.  No one is lending.” Well, I’m here to tell you that this is just not true.  While it is true that all lenders have become more restrictive, and the news media asks “Where did all that money go?”, there are still indeed lenders staying focused on moving forward through the morass, and doing good business with qualified home buyers.

I think we all agree that the changes in qualifying standards are good for the community at large, and good for individual buyers. Sometimes it is also helpful to have a program that takes a holistic approach to the individual applicant.  There has been a lot of light shed on the downsides of 100% financing, but a buyer in good credit standing with a qualifying debt to income ratio along with other complying factors, first-timer or not, can really benefit from a good 100% program.

I work with a variety of lenders I trust in order to be able to recommend good lending sources to my clients.  I say this to make sure you understand I am not recommending any one lender, and encourage any buyer to check out all their options (there are more than you think!).  That said, I was struck by the program at KeyBank, as were my cohorts, and thought it worthy of some blog space. I am particularly encouraged when a lender in today’s economic climate makes a point of supporting the local community, and that is what we appear to have here.  I’ll give you some details below, and would be happy to point you to a contact person at KeyBank if you’d like more info. As always, if you are working with a Realtor, please do consult them for advice and recommendations on lenders they trust.

OK, here are the main points pertaining to the KeyBank 100% program:

  • Financing is 100% w/no mortgage insurance
  • 30-year fixed w/no prepayment penaltynewkeybank-032-blk-pc1
  • 620+ credit score
  • On the job for 2+ years
  • Primary residence only
  • Seller contribution allowed to a maximum of 3%
  • Must have at least $500. in the bank
  • Must also have one month’s PITI available (this, however, can come as a gift)
  • Fees are: $395./appraisal, $300./processing, $300./underwriting
  • Max 42% debt-to-income ratio
  • If self-employed, must give 2 years’ tax returns
  • Must have 2 years’ satisfactory rent or mortgage payment history
  • Rates vary all the time, but today I’m told you’re looking at approx 5.5%
  • (for more info, email me and I’ll put you in touch w/a rep for KeyBank)

Now, there is another component, and that is geographical area.  There are certain areas that have been identified as fitting into the program’s guidelines.  To find out if a property you are interested in fits the guidelines, enter an address here:   http://www.ffiec.gov/Geocode/default.aspx

Granted, in order to meet the guidelines in Lake Oswego, you are probably looking at homes in lower price ranges and/or condos in order to qualify. If a property of interest does not fit into the geographic guidelines, you can still take advantage of this program, but would most likely need to have an income of less than $52,000. according to the KeyBank rep. with whom I spoke.  This is a great program for first time buyers or those wishing to purchase a condo or starter home  in Lake Oswego!

I hope this info was helpful.  Please do feel free to contact me with any questions. There are still lots of programs out there with several lenders suited to those who meet credit and debt to income standards that vary with each institution.

Very Best,