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When to start looking for a new house?

Asked by the, Sun Mar 30, 2008

I am moving across country for a job. The new job starts at the end of July. When should I start looking for a condo? How long does the process (making an offer through closing the deal) take? thanks!

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I recommend looking for an agent that 'gets' your lifestyle and can help you discover which neighborhood will feel most like home to you. Portland has some very distinct and wonderful neighborhoods and you'll want someone who lives in the city and can distinguish the subtle differences. You will also want to consider the location of your employer as it relates to commuting and transit.

As to the time it takes? I would get started right away. While it typically takes about 4 weeks from offer to closing, you'll want to see as much as possible before making a commitment.

One more thought... since you're relocating for your job, is it possible you may do this again someday? Be certain you buy a condo in an area that has an excellent track record for re-sale, so that down the road when you do decide to move on, you'll have made a wise investment and have little problem selling your condo.

Good luck to you! I LOVE PA!!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hello Nicole,
If you are wanting to purchase a condo, I strongly suggest calling me to go over financing guidelines, if you need it. Government loans are less strict on condo financing but there have been recent changes and there is an upcoming change for condo financing that has not been announced yet (coming June 2nd). Many have been caught off guard and we strive hard to keep up with the ever rapidly changing guidelines.

Call me with your scenario and I'll put together some options for you free of charge. It helps to know what to expect and in this market, you really need someone that knows what they are doing. You can email me at crystal@ambientlending.com or call me toll free 877-777-9763. We lend within the entire State of Oregon. http://www.ambientlending.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
Portland is a fantastic city with lots of offer and a variety of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own feel which is what makes Portland so great. Hooking up with a realtor who knows the city and all the neighborhoods is the best place to start. You can live here for 10 years and still not get to really know the neighborhoods. Whether you decide to rent for a while or buy right away - I'd recommend finding someone who can help you get to know the city.

Check out my website http://www.portlandneighborhoodmatch.com. It will give you some insight to Portland and some of the most well known neigbhorhoods.

The next thing you need to do if be introduced to a mortgage broker who can help determine what your budget should be. its best to check that off your list of to do's early.

As far as timing....thats all negotiable to be honest! Factors that play into this are lenders, inpsections, appraisals, and repair work that needs to be done and most importantly the sellers situation as far as moving out. I say typically you can count of 30 to 45 days from the day your offer is accepted to the day ou move in. Hope this helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
Like one of the previous posters, I agree that if you're moving to an unfamiliar area, you're better off to rent at first. The Portland residential market generally is not so hot that you'll be likely to miss building any equity if you don't buy right away. Give yourself a chance to meet some people, and get familiar with Portland, and with the other cities that surround Portland. There are so many communities and types of people around the Portland area. Buying a home should be a long-term decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 4, 2008
Hi Nicole -- you are smart to start early! I would recommend having someone start to send you emails of active listings so you can get an idea of the prices/areas for condos. If you can visit for a few days, have a Realtor take you on a tour of some of the different condo units and neighborhoods. This will help you narrow your choices. If you want to be completely moved-in and settled by the end of July, it would probably be wise to begin seriously looking (with the idea of buying) in May. If the condo is new/vacant, you should be able to close in less than a month. You couldn't pick a better time to buy a condo in Portland -- the inventory is high, the prices are down and sellers tend to be willing to negotiate. Welcome to Portland...
Web Reference: http://www.aimeevirnig.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 3, 2008
You need to get out here now so you can see what neighborhood suits your lifestyle. You did not say where the job was and the commute may be a concern. Do you drive? We have a very good public transit system. Most condos are losing value now and may not be the best investment, however, if you really like condos and are staying put for awhile, you may get a screaming deal. There are many available. Any competent Realtor and loan officer should get the deal done in less than 30 days after an accepted offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hello there,

You may have already had responses to your question but I have a three-year old home that I will put on the market come May with upgrades throughout. It looks out onto a wildlife preserve and is about 25 minutes to downtown Portland via car or the MAX http://(www.trimet.org). Low maintenance & HOA fee (they even take care of yard maintenance on the front yard!) If interested, please contact me at toitle31@yahoo.com Cheers, Kelley - good luck with Portland - I think you will love it here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
I must say, Nicole, that I agree completely with Jennifer Bukaty. This part of the country, like many, has a distinct tone and feel to it. Both cities and neighborhoods have diverse tones to them, and finding a Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Professional who compliment you are key to finding your best living situation.

Are you looking to come out here sometime soon to look at properties and what options are available to you? If so, I would like to meet with you and have the opportunity to refer a few great Realtors to you who know the market.. Realtors who I have worked with and do work with. Perhaps then we can form a team who will work for you even when you are many miles away! :-)

I look forward to hearing from you soon as you embark on this new journey! Best of luck to you.

Sarah Eubanks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
I am going to go against the grain on this one. If you are unfamiliar with the Portland area, then I would consider renting 3 - 6 months (more?), all the while checking out the options available (commute times, neighborhood amenities). The single-family home market here is reasonably stable right now, but the condo market is over-supplied and more units will be released in the coming months, so you have little to lose by waiting, researching, and making a solid decision. You can certainly get an agent to guide you through your options while you're renting, but there's nothing like spending time near units you might have interest in and talking with other owners about their experience.
Web Reference: http://www.repdx.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 1, 2008
Nicole, This is June Lizotte again. I gave the web site for my quality service rating as a .com instead of a .org. Just wanted to correct that. Go to http://www.qualityservice.org- type in June Lizotte and Oregon.
Web Reference: http://www.junelizotte.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
I agree with most of the earlier responses. I would suggest using the net to narrow down your area now, and then look for specific condos when you have your location decided upon.

As for lenders, I would work with a local lender. Lenders in your area might not be licensed in Oregon and are not familiar with the process or local requirements. One example is that we do not use attorneys in Oregon to buy real estate like you do in Philadelphia. A lender will also need an employment letter from your new employer here in Portland.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
Hi Nicole, You'll be pleased to know there are many condos in the Portland and surrounding area to choose from. If you would like to have access to my web site with your own secure login you can click on the link below. You can also benefit from my Buyer's Advantage Guarantee that allows both seller and buyer to benefit monitarily if we don't meet the promises of the gurarntee. Request the free brochure. Your search can start now on line to see what is available and get a feel for pricing, and features you can expect for that price. You can also start doing area research. If you would like a free relocation packet please email me and request it. I provide a lot of resources to save you time; helping you to identify which neighborhood would work for you; including sources for checking crime stats, sex offender location, stats and demographics, school report cards, city and neighborhood goals, growth and development plans, etc. Relocation is something I have a lot of experience with. To answer the second part of your question (the length of the transaction process) I would say, once you identify a property to purchase you can expect an average of about 30-45 days to close. The relocation package will provide you with a step by step explanation of the process from initial negotiations for an acceptable purchase price, through the inspection and objection period, processing of loan docs and signing closing docs at close of escrow , you'll understand the entire process. Have you chosen a mortgage broker yet? That would be your very first step in the process; find out what amount you are approved for. You should get that process started right away. Please email me via my web site for the referral of a lender who participates in my Buyer Advantage Guarantee Program. Congrats on your new job! Check out my quality service rating- collected from my past clients from an independent research firm at http://www.qualityservice.com. At that page type in my name June Lizotte and Oregon.
Web Reference: http://www.junelizotte.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
Hi Nicole - you'll love Portland! The process of actually closing on a condo will take approximately 30 days from the day you write the offer. (Depending on negotiations and whether or not you need additional time to close, it could add another week to 15 days on top of that.)

As for the actual search, I say begin your search NOW :) This is a GREAT time for buying condos in Portland because inventory is high - and that means power is in your hands. You can start by simply searching for condos in your price range and then doing more in-depth research into the neighborhoods/buildings you're finding listings. Obviously, depending on your job's location and your preferences on urban versus suburban, vintage building versus new, and square footage requirements, you'll be able to elimintate many condos right off the bat. But, once you're familiar with what the Portland market is offering, and once you hook up with an agent that understands what you're looking for and gets you right to the good stuff, you should be able to settle in and find something within a few days of being here in the city.

Many blessings,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
Hi Nicole,

You can start looking now and at your own pace using


and which is specific to Oregon real estate with daily downloads of new MLS data for the entire Portland metro area. We also use google mapping so you may have a handle on what is where.

Happy hunting, here to help :)

Web Reference: http://www.HouseNow.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
If your a condo buyer you have plenty of options. I would start now. Get with a good agent and research areas and things that are important to you. Make sure to get pre-qualified and know what you limits are. After that use some online tools which we can provide you with to research comps, sales, and new units coming on.

It is possible that by doing this you will have 2-3 areas selected and be comfortable with pricing and features of each area. Than you can be ready and armed with good data when you get here and the buying process will be easier and less stressful.

The process itself will take 30-45 days tops.

Call or email if I can put my #1 ranked team to work for you.


Dirk Knudsen
Re\Max Metro
Web Reference: http://www.nwhomecenter.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
Congratulations on your new job. Well, thanks to the internet, you can start right now.
You can do alot of research, and hopefully access enough information to allow you to narrow down the areas that may offer you properties that best fit you.

Since it sounds like you are a first time home buyer, you may want to talk with a mortgage lender where you live now, and see what you may qualify for. If it is a national company, they may be able to assist you with financing in Philly - or refer you to someone there.

Usually once you make an offer on a property it can close anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months. Alot depends on when the Seller can move, and other contingencies.

I'm sure you will get answers from experts in the Philadelphia area also.
All the best to you.
Enjoy the process - relax and ask all the questions you need in order for you to feel comfortable.
Web Reference: http://www.GoPackerUp.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 30, 2008
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