Living in California, buying in Oregon, planning for retirment

Asked by Martin Croskery, Belmont, CA Fri Dec 7, 2012

My wife and I currently live in the San Francisco bay area. We presently rent here but after a recent 17% rent increase decided to look at purchasing. However, we got very quickly disheartened with the prices and the construction quality of what was available here.

My plans for retirement had been made some time ago and that was to move out of California to either Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA. Now that we have had a look at the quality and the price of what is available here in the Bay area we have decided that maybe buying somewhere and renting in Portland until we reitre is maybe the best option.

So, some questions. As residents of California, do we qualify for first time homebuyer programs in the State of Oregon? Is it easier to buy and rent an apartment or single family home in Portland?

Also, what areas of Portland are quiet but maybe 20 minutes or so away from the main city that we may be interested in looking at?

Thanks for any advice you can pass on


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Tom Inglesby’s answer
Tom Inglesby, Agent, Portland, OR
Wed Dec 12, 2012
The first person to talk with is a mortgage broker here in Portland. Many buyers do come up and buy property to move to later. Rents are good in the 1500 sq ft 3 br 2 bath homes 7 years old sold for $275,000 now you can buy for $205,000 and rent for $1500 in Hillsboro close to light rail. If you budget is $350,000 you are in a different range of renters they might be executives who want to rent for a year or someone who went thru a short sale and has a good job but lost their house do to a lay off but have other wise good credit and income and can afford $2000 or more in rent. We are seeing great location homes renting for over $3000 a month and many years ago this would never happen so you rental possibilities are endless and you can have a management company handle it all for you. Let me know if you would like some help with good rental areas that will command higher rents. Location is always the word to look for in buying any real estate. Condos have new HOA rules about rentals and when you get 15-20% rentals in the complex, lenders will not loan in those complexes so it is putting pressure on sellers not to be able to sell to an investor. A single family home will appreciate the best. You might buy today and rent out and beat inflation with low interest rates and then resell and buy newer 10 years from now since homes are being built more energy efficent. Good Luck to you and I would love to help you.
Tom Inglesby, Broker RE/MAX Equity Group.
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Corri Klebaum, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Clackamas, OR
Fri Dec 7, 2012
There are many moving parts to putting a loan package together. Your great credit will help afford better rates with any given program but income and assets will also determine which mortgage product best fits your needs. My best advice would be to find a local mortgage professional to walk you through the process of pre-qualifying. From there you can better determine your price range to cast your net in the right direction.

My initial questions would be:Are you or your spouse a Veteran? How much do you have to put down? What is most important to you where your mortgage is concerned?

Depending on your lifestyle 20 minutes out of town will give you plenty of diversity to chose from. Your week here will help but having been through a few "Relos" myself with my husband's career it doesn't hurt to take a little extra time in deciding.
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Marvin Von R…, Agent, Tigard, OR
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Some advice now that I know a little more---do NOT buy anything other than a regular house. NO condo. NO attached housing. NO loft or apartment. They are the first to go down and the last to go up. More important is that many of the Homeowners Associations are weak from lack of dues because so many foreclosed units are not paying. Some HOAs are in lawsuits for a variety of reasons. Yes, you can get a unit for $68,000 that used to be $175,000 but I wouldnt take them for $25,000. Many people disagree with me about this.

Also, I believe that hundreds of thousands of bank owned houses will NOT be put on the market for sale. Now the BIG FUNDS want to be mass rental owners and have that return on investment. They want the OWNERSHIP. Ive only come to that recently after studying articles from fund managers and speaking to some large managers of pensions funds. I believe prices will go lower for a time but then with NO INVENTORY because the banks wont be selling---certain single family home price ranges will go up. I would buy cheaper rental houses to hold onto. Its going to be YEARS before the rental market will be soft, if at all. Rents will go up to the maximum Joe Public can afford.

Id really concentrate on where you want to personally end up. Of course the areas can change a lot over the next ten years. With that fixed part of your equation, the rest will be easier.
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Martin Crosk…, Home Buyer, Belmont, CA
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Thanks for all the great replies.

Right now, a possible retirement date would be 2022 (Barring the end of the world this Dec 22) We would like to buy and rent something until we get there.

Sorry to hear about the sales tax!!

I'm not saying that the construction here is poor, it just looks cheap for what you are paying for the finished product!!

We will probably come up in January or february and have a good look around for 7 days or so and get a feel about the place. i have a work colleague who has already purchased two condos in Beaverton in the past year and is happily renting them out and will move there when he retires.

We both have excellent credit history and would be looking around the $300 -$350k price range. we are both very excited to see that there is a Planet gRanite opening up in portland soon, this is our local gym and where my wife works.

Again, thanks and i will reply to you all personally when i get time to this weekend
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Dear Sir, I own a house 20 minutes SE of downtown Portland. I have just finished a complete update. Too many improvements to list, but here are a few: all new windows & doors, insulation under the house and in the attic. Complete new kitchen with Jenn-Air appliances. All new slate laminate-flooring, carpet only in one bedroom, of three. Complete remodel of both bathrooms--custom, you've got to see them to believe them. I, too, am planning a visit this month or next and think your wife and yourself should consider coordinating your visit to take a look. This may be what you are looking for--it would certainly demand high rent. I am retired and do not want to deal with that anymore. I live in the North SF Bay Area. Not sure how contact works here, hope to hear from you. Ms. Reid
Flag Fri Jan 10, 2014
Marc DeSantis, , Portland, OR
Fri Dec 7, 2012
There are great loan options for first time homebuyers here in Oregon. Being a current resident in California should have little impact on what is available. There are a few NO down payment loans, but you must fit in the box and meet certain parameters. You can do an FHA purchase loan for as little as 3.5% down. The first step in the home buying process is to talk to a realtor and a lender. If you have any questions regarding getting a home loan feel free to contact me. I would love to help.
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Marvin Von R…, Agent, Tigard, OR
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Im a Santa Cruz transplant. While styles are different, I dont think construction quality is---at least not newer construction though Califs codes are almost insanely tight. We have a lot of much older construction here than in many parts of your area but with that comes charm.

Its almost impossible to answer your question about living elsewhere and renting here. We we would have to know the others areas you are considering. Rents in Oregon have been skyrocketing (Though usually much lower than Calif rents) because of increased demand from thousands of owners losing their homes to foreclosure. Cost of living here is less than Calif, unless we finally vote in sales tax and continue to spend billions on useless projects and inferior work that needs to be done over but I wont get on that soapbox.

Especially if you are using cash to buy, now is a very good time to score a home that has been taken back by the banks or is to be SHORT SOLD by the defaulted owner.

Portland is surrounded by many townships, most are contiguous, that are pleasant and interesting. Pretty much all around east, south and west of the city, as the river is the northern border. Tigard, Beaverton, Wilsonville, Gresham, etc. They will have a huge mix of styles, ages, prices. Medical is a great concern for me and the Portland area is known for many incredible hospitals and specialist doctors. Ive been all over Calif and 37 other states and Portland is my second favorite place to be. Im in Tigard, a bit south west of the city limits. Of course Santa Cruz is dear to my heart but SO expensive I couldnt go buy my old house back!

This site is pretty much a fishing pond for thousand of real estate people so Ill put in my shameless self promotion---

I value houses for banks who are taking properties back. It not full, licensed appraisal but we have to adhere to same guidelines and Im appraisal trained by several large banks. I value homes every day and have for the last 3 years, and have a better idea of area values than real estate brokers who dont. (In general---there are always exceptions) Ive valued close to three thousand homes. I know the trends, where we expect growth, etc. I specialize in being a 'buyers broker' to represent your interest only for a purchase and Ive been in the business 33 years. Contact me at stillalender at gmail dot com for more information to help with your decisions. Shameless self promotion over!
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Linda Heinri…, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Fri Dec 7, 2012
I can honestly say that you will love Portland! I know even with rent controls the rents in the city are high as my son moved there last year. His monthly rental would buy a very nice home in Oregon.

Is your goal to rent out the home you purchase here until your retirement in the future? Or are you making your move a little earlier than planned? What year are you retiring? I would suggest engaging a good Realtor that works with out of State buyers and can help you sift through the mass of information out there to identify neighborhoods that would be a good match for you.

Prices continue to rise in the Portland Metro area and I expect that trend to continue in the coming new year as new listings will be based off of sales prices from the last half of 2012, which were higher than those that took place in the first half of the year, so now is a great time to buy. Plus, we are already seeing many Californians headed this way - even multiple families making a group move.

Have you been to Portland before? Do you have any plans to be in the area? I am here to help if you decide to take the next step.
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Tracey Hicks, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Hi Martin! I live in NW, zip code 97210 and love it. Close enough to downtown but not too far away. Multnomah Village area is also great. Rent in Portland has also gone up a bit, but still manageable.

Do you mean is it easy to rent out your house if you buy it and want to rent it out at some point? If that's what you're asking, yes-it is right now, that may change over time, but I think there will always be a rental market in Portland, people come here to see if they love it, they love it and stay;)

Our website has a home search or if you want more particulars, just let me know!

Good Luck, you'll love Portland if you don't already.

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