Buying a Portland home in 2018? Five things to do before the New Year

portland home buyer agent

As real estate agents, we know full well that buying a Portland home can be stressful. Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy to nip most of that stress in the bud: Preparation.

Many home buyers decide they are ready to quit renting, or sell their current home and move into something that works better for them, and then they’re off to the races. Stress is the result, so let’s look at some ways to slow the process down, break it up into stages, and ultimately get the right home for the right price.

1. Know your reasons. This one’s easy, right? Nobody buys a home without a good reason. Well, you would be surprised at how many people get into the process without actually defining what it is they want out of a home. Investment? Space to raise a family? Good schools?Better neighbors? Write it down. It will actually impact the home you end up buying. If you’re buying a home with another person, this is a conversation the two of you should have, or together with your real estate agent. It’s not a bad idea to write down some goals for your next five, ten and twenty years, and how owning a home fits into those goals (or doesn’t – maybe you’ll be surprised!).

2. The next thing to do is find a great buyers’ agent. You may have noticed that I’ve already mentioned a real estate agent — this step can easily be put first. Our job isn’t just to help you buy a home, after all. We’re here to help you with your next stage in life, whether it’s becoming a first time homeowner or selling your home so you can travel the world. A great buyers agent knows the area you’re buying in, knows about the types of homes you want (new construction, fixer opportunities, or mid-century moderns), and actually cares that you’re happy with your new home. Check for verified online reviews (Zillow is better than Yelp or Google because most agents are on Zillow and Zillow verifies the home sales, so you know it isn’t their mom on Yelp or Google leaving a review for them). There are other online review verification companies out there, we use one as well and you can browse our verified real estate agent reviews here. Check for additional certificates and designations. This means that your buyer’s agent wants to continually get better and educate themselves on all the nuances of the business, that they have a commitment to being the best buyers representative they can be. My exclusive buyer’s agent Kami Price has an impressive array of verified reviews and additional certificates and designations, of course we’d be honored if you considered her in your search process as well.

Can you find a great home without using a real estate agent? Sure. That’s what the internet’s for, right? Will it be the right home for you, will you pay the right price on it, and will the sales contract serve your best interest and not the sellers’? Well, maybe not.

3. Get pre-approved for a loan. Again, we strongly suggest you ask your real estate agent for their recommendations. Getting a great rate is important, but is only one important consideration, there are others. Good buyer’s agents know the banks that have trouble with closing on time or fail to complete the loan altogether because they don’t property vet buyers in the pre-approval process. In both of those situations you can be stuck in a home sales contract and expected to perform. It can be devastating if your lender fails to issue you a loan or close the sale on time.

Pre-approval is just the first step, but it allows home sellers to take you seriously when you make an offer. “Loan approval” is the next level of confidence from the lender; it means they haven’t just checked your credit score but they’ve also verified your income and given you a more accurate picture of what they can lend.

4. Budget for your home purchase. The amount the lender is offering you is not the amount you can afford. Should I repeat that last sentence? It is very important. Your buyers’ agent can help you factor in the cost of the down payment and closing costs, and set a price range to begin your Portland home search, but only you know all the elements of your budget and what it will look like and feel like to add in that mortgage cost.

5. Budget for homeownership. You’ll want to factor in homeownership costs like insurance, maintenance, and increasing property taxes, as well as any other costs that will change when you move to a new city or neighborhood. Everyday expenses could be higher or lower depending on whether you moved into our outside of Portland! Know what you can afford to pay before you fall in love with a home, then realize you can’t afford it.

There is the right home out there for you, at the right price, in the Portland neighborhood you love. Winter is a great and low-key time to start looking. Complete these five steps, and contact our buyers team today!

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November 6, 2017
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111. Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team.  For our Clark County, Washington buying and selling services go here.