This is one of those "costs vs. time" situations.
It will be costly for a short-term rental with pets. Landlords like to have upfront pet fees (make sure most of the fee is refundable), deposits, etc.
If you're planning to purchase, will your hard money be tied up with deposits and fees? When you vacate after a short term rental, will you be forfeiting any of the fees?? You want to have as much cash on hand to show the lender. By the way . . . have you been pre-approved for your home loan? This is a VERY important step in the process of buying.
If you are thinking of a 'short stay' residential place, such as the Marriott, again -- check costs. I think it will be over $2,000 a month. Also, there may be a pet maximum allowed. So be sure to let people know you have three pets in tow.
Three months is VERY reasonable. The typical escrow period is 30-45 days. Your best bet, and one that is most cost effective, is to arrange for a weekend here in town, and look at property. You do NOT have to buy, but you may find some place you like that will work!
I've assisted quite a number of relocation buyers who did just that: Arrived in town for the weekend, and aggressively scoured the market. They found properties and went into contract.
I was here for the rest of the transaction, and assisted them (home inspection, appraisal, negotiating repairs, working with lenders, keeping them on track to close). Arranging for a long-distance move is something that you want PEACE OF MIND! And I've provided that to many, many relocation clients!
Buying a property can be complicated, and buying when you're not in town is very important to have someone you trust emphatically!
Be careful of Craigs List. Do NOT send anyone money . . . deal with LOCAL owners! I had a rental property that I own get "pirated" but alert people were kind enough to email me to let me know.
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Broker/Owner
EBA Portland, LLC
"Exclusive Buyer Agency" in Metro Portland