When to begin searching for a house in Portland, OR?

Asked by hunts12, Portland, OR Fri Jul 19, 2013

We are currently renting in Portland and are thinking of buying a house sometime in Spring/Summer 2014. We've looked at some neighborhoods and have found ones we like and are fairly flexible with what the house itself is like as long as there's a nice yard and an updated kitchen. When we were searching for a rental home earlier this year many people were put off by how early we began our search and were mainly interested in people who could move in RIGHT THEN. It's obviously a different situation for buying a home, but how early is too early? Or too late?

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Heidi Corday, , Portland, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
it's never too early... I've dealt with many clients who have gone through economic cycles, not just seasons. You'll know when it's the right time.
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Marvin Von R…, Agent, Tigard, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
Wow so many good answers here I dont really need to throw my 2 cents in but if you will research my pots here, you will see Im a little anti real estate sales and often disagree with the NOW BUY NOW philosophy that you will hear from most 'sales' people. That said, this is a unique time in all of real estates history. Inventory is low, causing prices to start up again---thats what the media says and they get it from historical numbers but the numbers dont tell the 'rest of the story'.

Lets assume we were selling 2000 homes a month that were appreciating at 9% or more per year, then the market crashed taking us down to 5 homes a month and a 3% deflation. So 6 months ago those were the figures and as of last month we sold 10 homes! Thats 100% upturn in sales right? Actually it is but the 'rest of the picture' is its still abysmal compared to what it had been. Thats the way the media SPINS numbers.

Real estate has moved in different sectors which skews the big picture. First, cheap homes dropped and rates dropped but rents increased due to all the foreclosed familes needing to rent. At a certain point it made sense to snap up rentals because they would cah flow. That was the largest moving sector and we had some good appreciation and sales numbers. NOT the real world though. Short sales and Bank Owned or REO properties have kept the market in neutral. Regular sales by owners who are not in troiuble are increasing in value but still MANY of them do not have equit (and maybe never will) so they cant sell. Real estate today is like an oil country closing off a bunch of pipeline supply. Whats left running increases in price but was it really worth that? If the bankc unload millions of homes currently in trouble will prices go up or down? Its a crap shoot. Many will not agree with me on this. I could write about this for hours but bottom line is on certain properties in certain areas Id buy as fast as I could. Ive NEVER said that to buyers. Wish Id been buying rentals and fixers last year. Something to consider is INTEREST RATES . Will they stay low? Many say they have to or we will collapse. I say we have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel anyway and Pres Obummer is taking us down and out. Asw others mentioned. hether or nots this is the time to buy for you depends on many personal and financial factors. We cant answer it without knowing much more about you. Cant even come close.
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Dave Nickers…, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
As many have said, getting pre-approved and knowing what you can afford is the first step when I speak to people that are looking to buy. While it's fun to look at all the beautiful and amazing homes, knowing what you can afford is a great first step. From there you can narrow down what you want in a new home. I suggest that you write a list of must haves in your new home and want to haves. After you have a good idea of what you are looking for, find a good real estate professional to help you with your search. Once you have found that person, they will set up a search for you and your on your way to finding your new home.

Good luck with your home search. Please don't hesitate call if you have any questions.
Web Reference:  http://www.4-homes.com
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Linda Heinri…, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
Many buyers begin looking online and gaining a sense of the market, but as you have probably already seen the market is moving a fairly good pace, so you are constantly relearning. I meet with my buyers a few months in advance of their time frame to go over the process of making a purchase and have them meet with their financial person to at least have a ballpark of the price of home they can afford. Then once their application for a loan is completed we begin the search in earnest. For most buyers who have made a decision to make a move we find a home within 30 days. Then a 30-45 day close and you are moving into your dream home in 60-90 days (this is really the answer - 60-90 days out from when you want to make a move:).

It sounds like you are all settled into a rental, but that is the other suggestion I have for folks that are going into a rental in the short term, is to select an area where you want to ultimately make your purchase to ease the transition.

One other word of advise - if you are trying to time your purchase with a current lease, you should really look at what works for you. If you are ready to make a purchase now and have the financial capability, the cost of breaking a lease, will likely save you over the longer term, when compared to rising interest rates and prices. Sometimes there are other factors in the timing, but it is something to think about that may give you more flexibility.

Happy to provide a no obligation consultation if you get to that point.
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Dragos Tavir…, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
You can start looking at any time. I'm sure some of us will be willing to send you listings in the way you'd like just to keep you inform on the market trends but I'm sure there won't be many agents who would show you properties knowing that your intention is for spring/summer of next year. Or maybe some will do so if you let them know on how much you qualify. But we talk about of almost a full year time frame and the prices keep going up and the mortgage rates are also slightly do the same. What you qualify for now it might not be the same when you decide "that's the time". You sure can take a look in RMLS public page and keep you up to date with what happens in the area. And if the time comes you can interview with an agent to find the right place to live. All the best.
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Tom Inglesby, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
John had some great points below. The number one thing is you have to be ready to mentally move from renting to a home owner. With owning there are many costs. First you need to talk to a lender now and set up a plan on what you want to do? Rates are what will control how much you can afford? Rates in the past 12 months went from the lowest ever 3.3% to 4.5% today. Think if you bought last summer at 3.2% a $280,000 with 10% down the payment last summer would have been $1104, today with rates at 4.5% that payment would be $1279 and if you wait until next spring there is going to be another lender law called the Dodd -Frank law that will raise rates because this law will not allow points or fees for loans and that is how banks make their money. Lets say rates are up to 5% very possible the payment is $1355. So with out the raise in home values over the past 12 months and it has been 12% your payment with out any increase in the $280,000 purchase price your payment just went up $249.00 a month. So if you are trying to save money to reduce your payment say today you want to save another $5000 towards the down payment that only lowers you monthly payment an extra $74 which is a 5.5 years to make up that difference and if homes go up only 6% in the next 10 months that off sets the $5000 you saved. The only good reason to wait is if you trying to increase your credit score to get you a better interest rate because you had some issues. This time of year the market shifts and there are fewer listings and sales thru the end of the year. Usually the buyers slow down from looking now so there is not the spring madness that we had this year when most homes saw many offers some times more than 10 in price ranges under $600,000. So my only advice is meet with a lender and start talking about rates, homes prices and set your rental agreement to end and go on a month to month if you can. Good luck to you. Tom Inglesby, Broker, RE/MAX
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Janeese Jack…, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
It's probably too early to begin your search in earnest, however, it's never too early to start educating yourselves about the Portland marketplace. I would begin by developing a good relationship with both a mortgage broker or lender and a real estate broker. You'll want to speak with the mortgage person to determine for how much you will qualify and to brainstorm any steps that might need to be taken to repair credit issues or maximize buying potential! You'll also want to keep your eye on interest rates. You'll want to team with a professional Realtor to discuss the process and even begin receiving regular listings that match your criteria. That way you can keep your finger on the pulse of the local real estate market and be fully aware of what to expect for the amount of money you can and want to spend!! I just met with a new buyer today who will retire next year (summer 2014) and will receive a large severance package. We strategized on when to begin the physical search but we'll definitely start the virtual search right now. It does occasionally take some time to find the right match, others are lucky and identify the property straight away. It's great that you are thinking ahead!! Call or write if there's other information or help that you need.
All the best,
Janeese Jackson, Principal Broker
Real Estate Resource
Web Reference:  http://fabulousportland.com
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Shelby Bates…, Agent, Happy Valley, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
It's never too early to start looking for a home.
There are a lot of reasons to start looking early, the most important of which is to get a better appreciation for just how much your budget will buy you in various neighborhoods.

If you have already narrowed down your search to a few select areas, then I would definitely start going to open houses just to compare the neighborhoods and how far your dollars will go in each.

I have several buyers I'm working with now who very likely won't be buying for a year or more. I have them set up on automated searches so they can at least narrow their search and look online. These emails will come straight to your inbox and you can view or not at your leisure.

I also send out newsletters fairly frequently (like once a week or so) to let you know what's going on in the market, different loan programs available, etc. if you'd like to be added to my email list, and/or have an automated search set up for you, please feel free to contact me, and I'll get you going.

In the meantime, enjoy your search and freedom. It's always good to have a plan.

All the best
Shelby Bateson
Knipe Realty NW
Web Reference:  http://pdxdreamhome.com
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Jett Black, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
Of course, as you get closer to your target date, you'll want to meet with a Mortgage Broker or a Loan Officer at a bank to ensure you're pre-approved to purchase a home. Once you've established how much you can afford and a mortgage payment you're comfortable with, then that's the time to start looking.

Because we're currently in a buyer's market, and, will most likely still be in the Spring/Summer of 2014, you'll need to be prepared to move quickly as you'll probably be dealing with multiple offers and bidding wars in many neighborhoods as the inventory is quite low. But there are still homes on the market that aren't selling as quickly due to price and/or location.

If you are not already working with a Broker, and would like some assistance with getting started in the real estate purchasing process, please feel free to contact me at: jettblackpdx@yahoo.com

Jett Black
0 votes
Tamara Koedo…, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
The best time to start looking is after you have been pre-approved for a loan. Keep in mind that you may be approved for x number of dollars but not be comfortable with the payment being as high as what it would be at your approved amount. You will also need to determine what payment amount you are interested in. By getting pre-approved first, you won't waste time looking at homes either below or above your price range. I would be happy to recommend a couple of great loan officers.

Finding a good agent is an important part of the equation. The beauty of buying is you rarely have to pay any commission to the buyer agent who represents you. Generally the seller pays commission to both the buyer agent and the listing agent.

I would be happy to set you up on an automated search if you would like to email me your parameters. The listings will be sent to you the day they are listed, which is important in this hot market.

If you decide you are ready to interview agents for the job of finding your home and negotiating a successful sale, please feel free to contact me to set up an appointment at tamara@pdxecobroker.com.

Best of luck!

Tamara Koedoot
Premiere Property Group
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Kerry Zariwny, Agent, West Linn, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
There is no right correct answer to your question as it all depends. You may start looking and find a house right off the bat and you are done. Or is may take awhile before a house shows up that fits your parameters. You may find a seller that may want to rent back a couple weeks or it may be a vacant home that the seller is wanting to dump right now.The good thing is that you are renting (instead of owning a home). That means when "your" house shows up, you will be able to pull the trigger instead of waiting to sell your house. Statistically there are more homes for sale in the spring and summer so if that is when you are planning on moving, that is when I would start.

Hope this helps


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Angela Perni…, Agent, Portland, OR
Fri Jul 19, 2013
I don't think there is anything wrong with beginning a casual search early. By doing this, you have the opportunity to get a feel for the market so that, when the time comes, you are educated about how much home you can reasonably gett for your budget. Additionally, this process allows you the opportunity to find the agent who is a good fit for you. Remember, it is important to have your own agent since the sellers agents responsibility lie with the seller.

As an agent, I have several clients who will not purchase for a year or so. In these situations, I regularly email them properties to view online and they visit open houses when they appear. In some situations, I will show them homes but only if there is the possibility that they may shift their time frames (or if the home is vacant) because I do not want to disturb sellers unnecessarily.

Purchasing a home is an important decision so take your time and find an agent who will educate you throughout the process. For more information about me, you can visit my website at: http://angela.kniperealty.com/
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John G, Home Buyer, 85048
Fri Jul 19, 2013
I am regular home buyer like you, not an agent or broker. Based on my experience I can tell you, it takes 25-40 days to close the deal once you have filtered down to the home and neighborhood. Getting a home is tricky depending upon where you live. If there isn't much competition or bidding wars or there is a good, steady supply of homes in the market, you don't need to start looking for home right now.

Other consideration is, if you are buying a new home that is yet to be built, it will take few months, 4 to 9 months depending upon the builder.
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