Blog Buyer Sellwood Sweethearts Buy First Home

Sellwood Sweethearts Buy First Home

By Mel Marzahl, January 14, 2019

Greg and Catie, first time homebuyers

Greg and Catie spent a lot of time dreaming of what their first house might look like. They knew they wanted a three-bedroom home, ideally with two bathrooms. They also had some ideas about what the perfect location might be, but didn’t know which neighborhood they wanted to live in yet.

Lots of couples have a list of what they want in a home, but these two did something smart. Their list of qualities for their home and location centered around what they wanted their daily life to be like.

They wanted to be in a neighborhood with a friendly vibe, where they could walk from their home to their neighborhood café. Greg planned say hi to the barista, who knows his regular order, before catching the bus for a short commute to the office. Catie brought up hanging out in the backyard which would be fenced for the puppy they plan to adopt. After BBQing with friends, they’d move the party to their carefully curated basement tiki bar. They imagined friends and family from out of town staying over, being comfortable, and having their own bedroom and bath to use. Greg would have a room for his office/art studio, while Catie would have a garage to convert to her floral studio.

After really taking some time to imagine their life in their new home, their “Must Haves” list came together easily. As a result, the list for their first home and property went something like this:

  • Walking distance to restaurants, bars, cafes, and groceries.
  • Close to the river and parks.
  • Yard space for garden and outdoor entertaining
  • Garage
  • Basement with high ceiling
  • Three bedrooms, two baths
  • Open kitchen

Knowing all this, we looked in a few different areas. They looked at St Johns and Kenton first, but after spending an afternoon at Oaks Amusement Park, followed by a walk along the river at Sellwood park, and checking out some treasures at Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, they knew where they wanted to live.

Fast forward a couple months, and Greg and Catie are closing on their first ever home! The one they bought checks almost all the boxes! The few concessions they made, were the open kitchen and two baths. Instead, they bought their almost dream home at an awesome price that will allow them to remodel. Next, they’ll be adding a second bath to make a master suite, and opening up the kitchen to make it perfect.

Congrats Greg and Catie!

First time buyers in front of their first home in Sellwood.
Greg and Catie in front of their new home in Sellwood!
First time buyers, Catie and Greg, with their agent, Mel Marzahl, and mortgage broker
Greg and Catie (center) with realtor, Mel Marzahl (right) and mortgage broker, Carol Flanagan (left)

Mel Marzahl


A Pacific Northwest native, Mel became a passionate advocate for homeownership and investing in real estate after buying and selling her first home. What interested her most was realizing the significant financial impact the right investment property can make and learning how much having a home to truly call your own can improve your quality-of-life. After a decade long career working in operations and client service for creative companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mel earned her Oregon Broker’s license and made the move to real estate. Her philosophy in real estate is listen to her client’s needs and to treat everyone involved in a transaction with honesty and integrity. She loves getting to know her buyers and sellers, many of whom become friends, and ensuring they get the highest level of service she is known for. Her specialties are working with first time home buyers and sellers but is fluent in all aspects of residential real estate. She is also a CNE, or Certified Negotiations Expert, and knows that with all the technology available to buyers and sellers, one of the best skills a realtor can have is knowing how to be a collaborative negotiator in order to get the best for their clients. With a background in art and events, Mel brings creativity and an eye for detail to the table. She enjoys a remodel project, has a soft spot for Old Portland and 1900's craftsman houses, helping first time buyers, and educating her clients on the selling and purchasing process. She believes in staying up to date on Portland real estate trends, but also technology and tools available to agents. This gives her an edge when it comes to researching and marketing properties, as well as communicating with her clients. When Mel is not working in real estate she is volunteering with the Red Cross, gardening, hosting dinner parties, or relaxing at home on Bull Mountain with her husband, Mike, and two big dogs, Indy and Jackson.
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