Real estate agents following their own advice, capitalizing on Portland’s hot market by selling their own homes


Like all real estate agents, Shannon Montgomery is well aware of Portland metro’s hot market. The inventory of homes for sale has dipped to its lowest level ever recorded. Sellers of desirable residential properties are receiving quick offers, sometimes more than the asking price.

And the sale price continues to climb: A buyer paid a median of $15,000 more in May compared to April, according to the latest Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) report.

Montgomery is managing her role with her usual mix of professional skills and support for her clients. This time, however, she’s the client.

She has listed her home at 3885 N.E. Wistaria Dr. in Portland’s Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood for sale at $1,995,000.

Other real estate professionals who are telling clients that now is the time to sell are also following their own advice.

  • 1234 S.W. 18th Ave. #210 in Portland’s Goose Hollow is listed at $425,000 by owner Subramaniam Seetharaman of Mapa Realty NW. The contemporary-style condo, built in 2008 in the Jefferson complex, has two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and 1,001 square feet of living space plus a large, west-facing terrace.
  • 2225 N.E. Everett St. in Portland’s Kerns neighborhood is listed at $495,000. The bungalow, built in 1923 on a 4,791-square-foot lot, has two bedrooms, one bathroom and 2,252 square feet of living space. There is “dormer space on the third level and a large unfinished basement,” said owner and listing agent Nick Rulli of John L Scott Portland SW.
  • 6920 S.W. 7th Ave. in Portland’s Hillsdale is listed at $599,00. The two-story house, built in 1871 on a 4,791-square-foot lot, has three bedrooms, a bonus room, two bathrooms and 1,728 square feet of living space plus an additional 450 square feet in the unfinished basement and a deck, said owner and listing agent Alli Lindeman of Premiere Property Group.
  • 3233 N.E. 53rd Ave. in Portland’s Rose City Park neighborhood is listed at $639,000. The bungalow, built in 1926 on a 4,791-square-foot lot, has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and 2,096 square feet of living space with a family room in the basement, said owner and listing agent Huong Ta of More Realty.

What’s the advantage of real estate agents representing themselves as the seller?

Unlike a first-timer conducting a For Sale By Owner, real estate professionals have training and experience navigating the complex path from preparing a property for the market through closing day when a deed legally changes hands.

Real estate agents can also pocket about half of the commission, less brokerage fees, or around 2.5% of the sale price if they represent themselves as the owner.

The disadvantage of agents selling their personal residence? Emotions. It’s hard to detach when a home shopper criticizes a place that’s yours. And despite their experience, agents share the same doubts of any seller.

“What’s it like to sell my own home as a real estate professional?” asked Montgomery, who is being assisted by colleague Danielle Duggan of Premiere Property Group. “Gosh, do I mention the sleepless nights? Do I talk about obsessing over every last detail prior to go-live? Do I talk about crunching numbers?”

After staging the home to sell, she joked that she had a reaction common to sellers: Why wasn’t my home this clean when we lived here?

She said she doesn’t believe it’s easier or harder for a real estate professional to sell their own home.

The worries of if it will sell are shared by the agent and the owner. There are also the same late-night questions: Is this the right time? Is this the right decision for our family? Are we ready to let go of the kids’ childhood home?

Buyers should not be impacted if the seller is a licensed real estate agent following the rules, said Jeremy Rogers, Oregon Realtors association’s director of Legal Affairs.

“Real estate licensees are bound by their legal and ethical duties to all parties in a transaction … to deal honestly and in good faith,” he said.

Real estate agents representing themselves must disclose that fact in all advertising and on the first written agreement between the buyer and seller. The sale also must be processed in the same manner as other transactions, which includes supervision by a broker and the processing of all documents and funds, Rogers added.

“From the perspective of the buyer, the experience shouldn’t be too much different if the seller is self-represented than it would be if the seller was working with another agent,” he said. “This is because presumably the buyer has their own agent to help them look out for their interests in the transaction.”

Deciding to part with a home, even in a seller’s market, is more than financial.

Montgomery and her husband, Stuart Montgomery, bought their almost half-acre property on Northeast Wistaria Drive 16 years ago when their four children were young. The house has five bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and 5,313 square feet of living space.

Now, the kids are grown and have moved away and the couple have decided to sell their stately English Tudor Revival-style house with grand rooms, hardwood floors and history.

When they move on from the 1931 Yaws Mansion, also affectionately known as the Wreath House, they will be taking memories with them: Of kids streaming through the updated kitchen, end-of-season sports celebrations, fundraisers for Grant High School and family nights in the media room or the backyard around the gas fire pit.

“The oversized kitchen island has hosted pumpkin-carving contests and cookie-baking marathons,” she recalled. “A favorite old memory is from a November night when we had dinner for 30 at round tables with only candles for lighting.”

Making meals at home was easier with a six-burner gas cooktop, two sinks and two full-sized dishwashers, one specifically designed for large pots and pans.

She compared her home to “holding a piece of memorabilia” in her hand and spoke of the benefit of renting a storage unit instead of making difficult, on-the-spot decisions on which items to keep or give away.

In the end, she and her husband believe it is the time to sell. “Our children are grown,” said Montgomery, “and we are ready for life’s next adventures.”

— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072 | @janeteastman

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