Home Buying in Portland>Question Details

Ashley, Other/Just Looking in Lents, Portland, OR

My husband and I are first time home buyers. We would like to have a home in PDX. Any recommended neighborhoods for the possibility of family growth?

Asked by Ashley, Lents, Portland, OR Wed Dec 30, 2009

Is it true that you have to have 20% down? What's a short sale?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Ashley,

If you're not currently working with an agent, please consider contacting me. Here's why: I offer a one-hour consult to buyers. This free, and done to help educate buyers (especially first time buyers) to the process of home buying. There is, indeed, a process to this . . . and if you've not sat down and talked with a Realtor(r) about the home buying process, you should!!

There's a handy-dandy guide I've written entitled "(10) Basic Steps to Buying Real Estate." It's a Real Estate 101 primer, and very informative.

I'm not trying NOT to answer your questions, but without knowing you and your family, it's very difficult (at least for me) to know what to recommend. Neighborhoods involve price ranges, and without knowing that . . . again difficult for me to recommend without knowing what you can afford, what your comfort level is with a monthly payment, etc.

You know that song "Getting To Know You" -- yup, it's like that! :-)

Please feel free to get in touch . . . I'd be happy to talk to you about your plans, and answer your questions in detail.


Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
EBA Portland, LLC
Exclusive Buyers' Agent
Assisting Buyers in Metro Portland since 1999
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 28, 2010
Just noticed my name is mentioned in this post. Would love to be a resource if there is anything that you have questions about as far as the loan goes. Good luck with your purchase!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 28, 2010
I would not buy in the City. In my opinion taxes are too high. The schools are failing in many areas with more closures coming. The County has a Business tax too. Portland has phenomenal Cultural Opportunities. Having said that you should probably investigate the West side in Washington County or East in Clackamas County.

There are great opportunities everywhere but that is what i see Ashley.


Web Reference: http://www.theknudsens.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
Hi Ashley,

Highland Hills is located in the SE side of Beaverton and is a wonderful neighborhood for raising a family. The school system is excellent at all three levels; elementary, middle and high school. I have a listing coming on the market soon which is a split level home and a great family home. It is on a quiet street with additional parking or for shooting hoops.

I do not know your dollar range but his will be in the high $200k range or maybe even at $300k. The price has not been established yet.

I have lived on the west side for ten years and the Beaverton, Bridlemile, Cedar Hills, Vista Hills, Sexton Mountain are all great family areas and wonderful schools.

Thank you Ashley.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Hi Ashley,

Honestly, a lot of it depends on what part of town you want to live in. NE/SE/N/SW, etc. Also, what's important to you? What type of area do you like, more suburban or more urban? Do you have kids and, if so, what ages are they? That would help determine what school district might make sense.

Along with Vince Kingston of Town & Country Mortgage, I specialize in first time home buyers. For almost seven years I've built my business on working with the specific needs of the first time home buyer. I can help you understand the ins and outs and everything you need to know.

To answer your question, no 20% is not a a required down payment. There are many other options. You'll need to talk to a mortgage broker or bank to get preapproved and figure out your best financing option.

Contact me and I can help you get started.


Jesse Knight
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
Hi Ashley,

Since it looks like you are already in the Lents area of portland, the neighborhoods I recommend that have great affordability and are moving in the right direction would be: 1. Foster/Powell 2. Woodstock 3. Montavilla in that order. You can certainly get a 3 bed home with a nice yard for 185-250k range. These are all very convenient to the Lents area, and just have lots of new homeowners and businesses moving there.

I've lived in SE for 10 years and these are my favorite neighborhoods for first time buyers on the East side. There are also some really great values in close-in North Portland.

The advice on the FHA loan is almost correct. The minimum down payment is 3.5%.

And my advice to you is to avoid short sales like the plague. They are far more trouble than they're worth. Just because its a short sale doesn't mean its a "special deal"... it just means that the current owner was allowed to borrow too much on it in the past.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 31, 2009
As usual, great answers!

By now you have lenders to choose from, understand short sales and can contact the Realtors below for help find just the right home.

But I warn you; Do NOT move to Tualatin unless you are ready to have children right now! There's something in the water here....I'm sure of it. I've never seen so many baby-bumps in a year.

Frankly, I may be endangering you right now with just this post. I emailed my daughter in Wyoming about 10 months ago and you guessed it....they had to run out and by baby fixings. Maybe there's collusion between the internet folks AND the water department.

Good luck with your search, Ashley. Buying a home can be the most rewarding thing you do in life. Until kids.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Hi Ashley, I can only add a little to the excellent answers below. But you asked about "short sales" and there's one thing that I think is important to a buyer. In a short sale, also known as a "preforeclosure," the seller is trying to avoid foreclosure by his bank, so that's why he has it for sale. I know alot of buyers start to look on their own online, and they see short sales are priced lower than comparable homes, and that makes them very enticing. And they can be a good deal. But you need to know that the listed price is "subject to the seller's bank approval" so it could change (and it won't go down!). Once the seller's bank reviews the offer, they do an appraisal of the home's value, and they can counter or even reject your offer. The process is backwards since they determine what price they'll sell for AFTER they get offers, but that's how it works and the banks have the control of that. That can be heartbreaking especially when you're 60-90 days into a transaction before you find that out. And there are many other pitfalls that can happen during a short sale transaction because of the process, and its way too much to get into here. A professional Realtor with short sale experience will walk you through if you decide to make a short sale offer.
I'd like to add a couple things to your "list" for your neighborhood likes and dislikes too. Portland Maps is a great resource (portlandmaps.com). And as far as neighborhoods, we can't tell you one over another but in your research, look at where the City of Portland and other government and commercial entities are going. Check out portlandonline for the City of Portland. Read the Portland Plan if you want to get really into what's coming. I had a Broker that used to say "follow Starbucks and McMenamins"! and that's probably a good one. Also look for special financing programs that encourage buyers to move to a particular area, such as better interest rates, property tax abatements and other incentives. There are several of these special financing programs available in Portland today. I guess it goes without saying, I would love to help you and your husband if you're looking for a Realtor!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Hi Ashley, you have a lot of really great answers here. Of course your price range/monthly payment will be the first step in determining the area for your family. Before I became a realtor, I worked in the Portland Public School district for a little over 10 years. I still have a lot of great relationships with the staff at several of the schools. Both my kids are also in PPS schools, 5th and 10th grade.

I work with a couple of really great Mortgage brokers if you need those resources. Visit my website when you get a chance at http://www.traceyhicks.com , go to the resources tab and both Mark Aalto and Jen Pedro are listed there. If you have any questions or want to talk about schools, houses or neighborhoods, just give me a call or drop me an email:)

Good Luck,

Tracey Hicks
Broker/Owner Dwell Realty
Web Reference: http://www.traceyhicks.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Ashley, Without knowing your price range, it's hard to recommend a neighborhood that would match. You've got to know your monthly mortgage budget. Once you know what you can afford, then you can focus on neighborhoods that you want to focus on. Not only your knowing your budget, perhaps you can purchase a condo in one neighborhood . . . but a detached home in another. You've got to get your loan/budget/finances in place first, then you and hubbie can start looking for neighborhood that not only meet your budget, but your wants and needs. You've heard the adage: location, location, location. And that's true. You are in the Lents neighborhood?? There are some nice areas that have bee the focus of Rose Community Development. Are you planning to stay in Lents? I work the eastside all the time.

BTW FHA guidelines now require 3.5% down.

A short sale is a property that the owner is currently trying to sell on the active market. The owner owes more than their mortgage on the property. The current market value might have been affected by the decline in property values . . . or the seller's ARM adjusted (combined with the decline in property values). In order to close on a short sale the lenders/mortgagees need to agree to absorb some of the loss, and sign-off on the sale in order to proceed to close. I say the lenders take it in the "shorts" -- but they the owner does come up "short" on pay off amounts.

I'd be happy to talk to you and your husband about what you're looking for, and what you might like to find in a house / neighborhood. I offer a free, one-hour consultation. IMHO all neighborhoods have the possibility of family growth ;-) We just need to know a little more information on what your present and future wants and needs will be.

Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
EBA Portland, LLC
Exclusive Buyers' Agent
Assisting Buyers in Metro Portland since 1999
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Hi Ashley,

You can get a FHA loan with as little as 3% down.

As for you choosing an area you need to create a check list.
At the top of the list is monthly payment you are comfortable with. This will determine purchase price and down payment needed. Next is commute to work and your value of that. Next schools for your kids, future kids or resale kids this is important. Next your life style and where you go and what you do. Next will be bed and baths other rooms and yard size that your life style requires. With this also be thinking about resale a 3 bed 2 bath is the most in demand.

Have a good idea of these items and then look at areas and houses that fit.

I can help you with the whole process. Make your First Call your only Call.

Kevin Sucher
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Hi Ashley,
You are going to love Portland, I did thevery first minute I set foot here and loving every day. When looking for Portland homes for sale, it's good to know what criteria you are looking for in a neighborhood. School districts, walkable to places of interests, home prices, large backyards...etc.
Here is a link to many of the Portland neighborhoods and information about them that will help with your decisions.

Here is a cute link of the Woodstock neighborhood still animated video I just created.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or if you would like homes that fit your criteria and preferred neighborhoods sent to your inbox.

Thank you.
Kevin Levy
M Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Hi, Ashley:

There are many things to be considered in order FOR YOU to determine what neighborhoods would be best for you. Some things to keep in mind regarding possibility for family growth are: number of bedrooms, whether or not you'll want a yard, whether for children or pets, what you're looking for in the school systems (best to do your own research for the areas you're interested in) - to mention just a few things you'll want to keep in mind as you determine what neighborhood will be best for you.

As for whether or not you need to have 20% down, there are various types of loans available, one of which is the FHA, which I don't believe requires 20% down. As was already recommended, the best, and most accurate, way to answer that question would be speak with a knowledgeable lender on that subject.

As for what a short sale is, the information already provided about that is true. Additionally, if one is interested in purchasing a short sale, he/she needs to plan on it taking time for the transaction to be completed. The reason is, since the house is already likely listed for less than what is owed on it, the seller will need authorization from the lender as to what they will be willing to accept - in order to minimize their losses as much as possible. So if one is interested in purchasing immediately, he/she might not have the time to wait around for the authorization to come through, unless a certain price has already been authorized by the lender.

Hope these points are of use to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
A short sale is when more is owed than the property is worth--As far as neigborhoods are concerned, do some of your own homework as well-- visit a neighborhood several times and at different times of day to get a sense of “belonging”. Check out area statistics; real estate professionals are prohibited from “steering”—enticing a buyer to purchase, or not, in specific neighborhoods; Choose what suits your lifestyle best based on current and anticipated wants and needs--a good Realtor will guide you through the process--don't forget to visit with any qualified loan officer(s) first to see exactly what your budget can handle.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
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