Susan Agli, Broker, SRES, ALHS
Coldwell Banker Morris, Bend Oregon
There are some great purchasing opportunities in all of the areas you have selected. Short sales are not your best consideration just from a timing standpoint - they take a long time to close. Bank owned (they have been foreclosed and gone back to the bank) properties can be a good deal, provided there is no damage to the property that should need major repair. Banks will rarely do any repairs and usually the property is priced to take needed repairs into consideration. You may have to hire someone to do repairs or do them yourself. I am thinking that after a long move from Australia that does not sound too palatable.
Of course it all depends upon what your budget is, and what you can qualify to purchase. Your real first step is to speak to a reliable mortgage person to get prequalified for a loan so that when you find the house you want you can submit an offer with the knowledge you can afford it, which will also make the Seller comfortable.
Our office is in Lake Oswego and I live in Tualatin, and service the areas you are interested in looking. We also have a preferred broker relationship with one of the largest mortgage companies in the state to refer you to. If I can be of service in your search please don't hesitate to contact me.
Foreclosures are generally not big bargains, UNLESS they are in lousy condition, in which case they will go for less than a home in good condition, but of course that's true of all homes, not just foreclosures. The idea that one can save significant money by looking just for foreclosures is for those who still believe in the tooth fairy.
Also, others have mentioned but I can't stress enough that you need to identify a mortgage source here immediately. I can recommend two if you like: Mark Boeck at Windermere Mortgage MBoeck@Windermere.com or Kelly Parkment at NW Mortgage firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need recommendations for a whole host of other suppliers, most probably before you arrive, and our office keeps a current list of those who our customers have found to be reliable and fairly priced.
It sounds like you have done a lot of research online regarding the school districts, community styles within the cities you listed as well as information regarding short sales and foreclosures. There are truly a lot of great deals out there in all sale types (foreclosures, short sales, as well as non-distressed properties). A real estate broker is the best way to go to help determine if a home is a great deal or not with regards to market value as we can check the true comparable data of what is pending and sold in the areas, days on market, etc. The banks are getting better at pricing their bank-owned homes to get market value. Therefore, not all foreclosures are great deals anymore. The list prices are often lower as the banks are less willing to do improvements to the home and price accordingly. A non-distressed property that may be listed somewhat higher may have a very motivated owner who is also willing to adjust the price for needed repairs or have the repairs fixed as part of your agreement.
A good broker can also ask you and your family the right questions to help you determine the type of home you truly want. I live in Beaverton and have lived on the west side most of my life. I work within all of these cities. I would be happy to take you through various neighborhoods within those cities so you get a feel for what it would be like to live there. As mentioned in a previous answer, getting pre-qualified with a mortgage lender is truly one of the best first steps you can take. I would be happy to refer you to some great contacts I have, and I am sure Corri (mortgage lender from an earlier post) would also be happy to help you figure out the price of home you can afford.
Good luck with your home search. I hope your family finds just what you are looking for. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.
Real Estate Broker
Windermere Realty Group
(503) 522-5803 direct
All the best in your home search and and early welcome to Portland!
Prudential NW Properties
5 Centerpointe Dr. Suite 150
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
There are good deals among both foreclosed properties and short sales. But a good number of well-priced fair market sales also are out there, and they're going overlooked because many buyers are getting the mistaken impression that a property has to be a foreclosure or short sale to be good deal. That's not necessarily the case.
You should use an experienced, thorough broker who will provide you access to all properties available in these areas you want. I Am happy to answer any further questions if you have them.
Best of Luck... Craig