Hillsboro school district (my hometown) is inferior to the Beaverton School District in terms of achievement, funding, etc. nearly across the board. Hillsboro has pockets of high-achieving schools, largely related to new development predominantly with high-tech families.
But Bethany in unincorporated Washington County (north of Beaverton) is really the bedroom community for Hillsboro employment. You'll likely end up there. Everyone here is correct that the Portland area market has bargains, but also keep in mind that where you're coming from likely has a weaker housing market than here. We've held up well. Most areas in the Portland area have still experienced year-over-year value gains, though anemic compared to recently double-digit escalation. Still, it's not quite the buyer's market that most of the rest of the country is experiencing and it's certainly not a declining-price/value market across the board like a lot of other places, due in part to our land use controls.
Look around and familiarize yourself with the area.. then call a qualified realtor, perhaps one of these fine individuals that also answered your question.
It all factors into resale..and resale has to be a consideration -- whether its 5 years/10 years ...
Take your time -- research the area, do the math -- Enjoy Portland!
All the best!
Rent is essentially always about buying a house for someone else and I hate to see that money go away- EVER! You can speed up your acclimation process (neighborhoods, commutes, etc.) with good interviews of co-workers and your Realtor. Rates are still hovering just above or below 6% which is traditionally a solid number. And we have so much inventory on the market right now that you could really drive a hard bargain - that may dissipate over the summer as seasonal movers transition in and out.
For more information about schools see these websites:
http://schooltree.org is a good site for information on class sizes, student teacher ratios and socio-economic type data. You can look at district-wide information or even get into specific school/grade level data.
http://www.ode.state.or.us is the Oregon Department of Educationâ€™s web site with wide ranging information. Going into theâ€ Reportsâ€ section should bring up information on districts and specific schools. This site is a little dry; all the data is here, but you have to dig around to find it.
http://www.oregonlive.com/education is from the Oregonian. On the left side of the web page under the graphic of the apple you will find PDFâ€™s that show teacher ratings, SAT scores, Federal School report cards, Oregon test scores, etc. This is presented very well and is a little less dry that the ODE site. They create a lot of charts, matrix type presentations, etc. You can pull it up by regional areas so you can easily see how one school compares to another in the immediate area.
http://nces.ed.gov is a national database of educational statistics. This site allows you to search for all schools in a specific location, or by a specific school name. Class size, ethnic make up, and other census-type data are available.
The state of Oregon gives assessment tests to all students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11. They are not the most perfect measure of one district versus another, but the best common yardstick we have.
As you look at school rating, I would throw in a little aside. One of the criteria the state uses in grading schools is the amount of improvement they have made from one year to another. At times, top districts receive only a satisfactory rating because they have not significantly increased over the previous period. When you are already at the top, itâ€™s hard to make the percentage gains they require. So look closely at the data and not just the verbal rating.
I also have Portland Monthly Magazine's Best Schools in 2007 article as a .pdf which is often helpful as well.
Also, the biggest reason to rent is to be sure you're in the area you like. We moved to the area shortly after I received my freshly minted MBA to take a job in Hillsboro, too. There are lots of nice areas and we worked with an agent and some family here but we never really got a "feel" for the area. Where would we like to shop? Where are the good restaurants? Where is the traffic worst? What kind of schools would we like our kids to be in? There's a lot you can research in advance but a lot that doesn't really "click" until you experience it for a bit.
The other reason to rent is that then you are buying a home from a position of strength. Is a home in your ideal neighborhood not available just yet? Do you dislike your agent? Is the seller on the home you want not willing to come down on price? Who cares! If you're renting, time is on your side and you can wait it all out and make the adjustments you need without feeling desperate.
While renting may mean that you're moving twice in a relatively short period of time, if you're looking for a home you hope to be happy in for several years, I highly recommend renting first.
Good luck and congrats!
I'm an Exclusive Buyer's Agent here in the Metro Portland area. I've had clients relocate one of the two ways. Most of them come out PRIOR to beginning their new position, and we spend a LOT of time and energy looking at homes, neighborhoods, even touring schools. Most of my clients wanted to move once, get settled in, get the family settled, then start their new job, etc.
Some clients moved into an apartment, and then wanted to begin their search right away. They did not like living in an apartment, and most of their household was in storage.
Many of my clients didn't want the hassle of having to uproot again only after a short time, and it's always the little things that's annoying -- even changing utilities, driver's license, mailing addresses, etc. Especially when they started to work full time, they didn't want to concentrate on house hunting, they wated to enjoy their weekends, time off, and didn't want to spend this house hunting.. Too much to deal with after starting a new job.
I relocated to the area in July 1990. I purchased first, moved once. Also, if you find a house that is ideal, but not in the same school, your child will have to change schools again too. Sometimes it's difficult to rent, have the child integrated, make friends and then maybe not be able to find a suitable property in that school area when you are ready to move.
Professionally, and personally, if you are serious about buying I'd say it's a much better idea to try to find a home first, move once, get settled . . . I work with a lot of relocation buyers. I take a lot of time to acclimate them to the various areas, and neighborhoods. I consider all things while showing property, including commutes, and schools in order to assure my clients will be well informed and knowledgable when they make their decision on a property. IF . . . they are unable to find a suitable property (which is rare, especially in today's "buyers' market"). . . . then they go to Plan B and rent.
Hope this helps! And welcome to the area. It was the best move I could have made, and I have enjoyed living here. I hope you will too!
I can provide personlized attention if you contact me:
Regards, Chris@HouseNow.com 541-284-2511
As far as what areas offer better schools or crime rates I would refer to facts rather than opinions. Through my property tracker program any home you find has a report on demographics, school ratings, and more. It's a very useful tool if you are new to the area.
I like Hillsboro and Bethany area codes 97229 and 97124. These two areas are seeing large growth of supporting semiconductor and solar companies. Light rail access, trendy shops and farmers market and they are close to Portland. This helps keep property prices stable with room for growth in the continued years as the area continues to have a high demand for housing employees of these large companies.
Of course like everyone else on this list I would love to sell you a home but more importantly help you make a good informed choice about the area and what is best for your lifestyle. If you are going to buy you should be able to stay in the home at least 2 years.
For more information about Hillsboro and Bethany feel free to contact me
Farah de Verteuil
John L Scott Market Center
I live and work in Hillsboro. If you are moving here to work you will need to get up to speed on the differences between Beaverton and Hillsboro and Portland. Tax rates, Schools, Crime etc... I have all of that for you. The very best schools in this area are going to be in Bethany in the Beaverton Schools. The K-12 in this area in some neighborhoods are all of the highest scoring in this region. This area is also very low property taxes there, It is not in Hillsboro or Beaverton (which can be a strength) and offers a 97229 Zip with Portland address. That and it is a newer area with low traffic and very low crime. Great place to call home.
You have about a 10 minute ride to All of the HIllsboro High tech by a non-freeeway back road drive and are close to Nike World campus..... and less than 10 miles to downtown PDX via gorgeous back roads!
If you are coming here I would rent on a short term basis and be ready to buy. Values are down on some homes and there are some exceptional bargains. So from now to June should be your best opportunity to catch somebody that needs a ready willing and able buyer.... but inventory is showing signs of tightening and Builders are just about done selling off a few new homes that have been sitting.
Check out my websites at http://www.BethanyHomes.info and http://www.nwhomecenter.com.
Call me and I will go over all of this with you. This is my area of expertise.
Congrats on the new job and lets get started! I also have a line on some short term furnished rentals that may work for you as well.
Dirk T Knudsen
#1 Ranked Re\Max Team in Oregon