Portland Condos for Sale: 2021 Buyers’ Guide

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We’re fully immersed in the summer real estate market in Portland now, and that means excellent opportunities to become a condo owner. Amid the hot seller’s market, condos make for an affordable choice in Portland. And the variety on the market – from style to price – might surprise you.

But how to navigate the condo market? Between HOA fees and rules, shopping for a condo can feel a little murky. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to buying a condo in Portland. Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or looking to downsize, our tips and insight will help you find your next perfect home.

Why Choose a Portland Condo?

While condo life isn’t for everyone, there are a ton of reasons why diehard condo lovers choose them. Certainly one of the most classic rationales has to be the low maintenance. When you buy a condo, you enter into an agreement with the condo association. That agreement will include monthly dues, a.k.a. HOA fees, that typically cover maintenance of the building and grounds. This arrangement makes an excellent choice for those who don’t want the responsibility of house maintenance.

Additionally, it might just save you money in the long run. Yes, you’re paying monthly fees. But when a big cost comes up – a roof replacement, for example – you won’t suddenly find yourself out thousands of dollars. If you’re concerned about HOA fees, take a moment to read our report on the Portland metro area’s status to familiarize yourself with what’s a reasonable rate.

Another reason to choose a condo? Amenities. Many buildings come with extras like gyms, pools, and communal areas for socializing. Such amenities would mean huge expenses as a single owner. Think about what amenities are most important to you as you enter into your home search!

The Buying Process for Condos Is Different – Here’s How

Since you’re entering into an agreement with other owners, the buying process for a condo can become slightly more complicated. You’ve got the buyer, the seller, and the Homeowners Association – so more entities in the mix. That doesn’t mean it’s out of reach though! Follow these steps to make the experience as smooth as possible.

  1. First of all, find a real estate agent with experience in condominiums. This is the very first step you should take to start off on the right foot. An agent with condo experience will be able to help digest the Homeowners Association’s rules and regulations with you. You want someone who’s done this so many times that it’s like a second language to them.
  2. Next, obtain financing. Financing for condos also becomes more complicated. Why? The lender needs to approve not only you but also the condo building and HOA. But you can get the ball rolling by reaching out to your lender ahead of time. Many buyers choose the route of the FHA loan, which offers a significantly lower downpayment at only 3.5%! If you choose this route, you (or your agent) should look up potential condos of the FHA’s list of approved buildings. That’ll take out some of the red tape.
  3. Now you’re ready to shop around – so shop around smartly. Use a home search website that uses accurate MLS data. Sites like portlandhomesforsale.com and Realtor.com are your best bet for the most up to date information – no wasting of your time.
  4. Make your offer. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to put in an offer. Here’s where that experienced agent really plays a crucial role again. You don’t necessarily get to see all the HOA rules before the offer stage. Make sure your agent writes your offer as dependent upon reviewing these regulations. That way, if you (or your savvy agent) find something suspect or just a rule that’s a deal breaker for you, you can back out with no penalty.
  5. Persevere through the escrow period. Once again, you’re entering into a binding relationship with multiple other folks here. So that means the escrow period may take longer. Hang in there!
  6. Congratulations! You’re the owner of a Portland condominium. Especially for first time homebuyers, transitioning to a condo is a huge step. Buying any type of property involves jumping through some hoops. But so worth it! And 2021 might just be a great time to buy a condo – more on that to come.

Top 5 Tips for Buying a Portland Condo

Now that we’ve walked you through the buying process, let’s take a look at what you can do to hone your search.

  1. For the best variety, search during summer and fall. Typically, the most condos go on the market during summer and fall. So now’s the time! Get out there and see what you can find.
  2. Ask yourself what you’re comfortable paying in HOA fees. To get an idea, try searching for various ranges of HOA fees, which you can do on portlandhomesforsale.com. This will help you get a feel for what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
  3. Speaking of, utilize those search tools! One of our favorite of portlandhomesforsale.com’s Vestor Filters™ is the best priced condo filter. This one adds on 5 years of taxes and HOA fees, giving you a nice snapshot of what the condo actually costs you in the long term. Or, are you looking for a specific amenity? Add your custom keywords to find exactly what your heart desires.
  4. Focus on the floor plan. Where available, check out floor plans and virtual tours. Since many condos have a lower square footage, the layout of the space becomes crucial!
  5. Lean on your experienced real estate agent. Don’t forget that the agent you choose should have extensive experience in condos. Let their experience be your guide! Luckily, plenty of our top 1% buyers agents fit the bill perfectly.

Summer 2021: A Fantastic Time to Buy a Condo in Portland

Portland’s real estate market has been notoriously tough on buyers all year – for single family homes at least. On the other hand, while the condo market has heated up to an extent this summer, it remains much more buyer-friendly. So get on this opportunity while the getting is hot! P.S. – our featured image above is for sale now, so check it out.

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