The True Cost of Owning a Portland Home

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Ready to take advantage of Portland’s real estate market and invest in a home? Now’s a great time to start thinking about the costs of home ownership — whether you’re paying in cash or taking out a mortgage. While your mortgage lender can help you figure out what kind of monthly payment you can afford, as a real estate agent, I also like to remind people to budget out the funds they’ll need to cover the regular expenses of owning a home.

The Cost to Own a Home in Portland, Oregon vs. the U.S.

In a list of 50 major US cities listed by bankrate.com in order of best places for first-time homebuyers, Portland landed right in the middle — between Pittsburgh and Providence. That’s just considering market tightness, job availability, and other livability functions, but there’s more to it than that! Let’s start by looking at the big three homeowner expenses: mortgage, property tax, and homeowners insurance.

Portland Mortgage, Property Tax, and Homeowners Insurance

The key to understanding your long-term home ownership costs is predictability. Unfortunately, property tax rates and homeowners’ insurance change over the years (most likely going up). One way to reduce the variables is to lock into a fixed-rate mortgage when you buy your Portland home. While variable-rate mortgages may seem attractive with a low starting rate, you never know what will happen in the future.

Starting with your mortgage rate, you can begin to figure out your other basic costs of owning a home in Portland. A good mortgage calculator will allow you to plug in all of the relevant data and see how much your monthly costs will be for a given home, including property taxes and homeowners insurance. Mortgage rates are determined by national trends, but property taxes and homeowners insurance are very much affected by what part of Portland you want to buy a home in.

Property Tax in Portland

As elsewhere in the US, each county, city, school district, and other special districts in Portland raise money through the property tax, so the exact rate varies from year to year and neighborhood to neighborhood. A good way to estimate your property tax is by going to the county website (Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington), which provides a history of assessed property taxes. These will give you an idea of what previous owners have paid each year in property taxes for the home. All you have to do is Google the website for the county and enter the address in the appropriate search box once you get there. For currently listed properties, PortlandHomesForSale.com also puts this information on its website. Not into doing research? Just ask an experienced buyer’s agent.

Homeowners Insurance in Portland

The age of your home, your own credit score and history, and the amount of deductible on the policy all play a major part in how much your monthly homeowners insurance premium in Portland will be. Portland has a decent average monthly homeowners insurance premium average ($67 monthly).

HOA Costs in Portland

Ah, the regular, predictable world of Homeowners Association fees! Insert sarcasm. Unfortunately, these can also change. Review the HOA documentation to ensure your HOA is in a strong financial situation and won’t have to hike up the rates to cover delayed maintenance suddenly. Some HOAs will even have caps on their annual increase amounts. You can know exactly what homeowners’ associations expect upfront regarding monthly dues, but you need to watch out as those rates could increase.

You should also know that HOAs are not just for condos anymore. According to one consulting firm, there are about 2,000 HOAs in the Portland area, and they’re becoming more prevalent among newly constructed homes.

Zillow released a report on the costs of housing associations in 2015, which one in five American homeowners belongs to, whether it’s an HOA, condo association, or mobile home park. According to the report, of those who paid HOA or condo association fees, 78% paid $200 per month or more. HOA costs have risen a lot since then.

Annual HOA Costs Have Risen Fast in Portland

Read our latest annual report on Portland, Oregon HOA costs.

Your real estate agent will be able to tell you whether the home or condo you’re looking at has a fee and how much it is. The good thing about HOAs is that they cover many home maintenance costs, which is our next category of home ownership costs!

Portland Home Maintenance

Got tools, yard care supplies, and the name of a good gutter repair person? You’re ready to own a home in Portland! Experienced homeowners know that these items should definitely be budgeted in your projected costs of owning a home:
– New roof (most homes need a replacement around the 20-year mark)
– HVAC, plumbing, and electrical system upgrades and repairs
– New appliances
– Remodels (for fun or to remove hazards such as mold and asbestos)
– Anything else you or your home inspector notices, from repainting to replacing old windows.
Fortunately, doing it yourself can add up to big savings, and most home maintenance adds to the resale value of your home. That doesn’t avoid the fact that you do need to set aside money for eventualities. You’ll be ready for anything if you can do a little every month.

Portland Monthly Utilities

If you already own or rent a home in Portland, you might know what utilities cost for you each month. If you don’t, there are numbers available online through the City of Portland. Here’s what we found for the early part of 2016:
– The typical water bill was $31.61.
– The typical sewer / storm water bill was $67.60.
– According to the website myenergy.com, the average electric bill in Portland was around $80.

Compare this with the increased rates found for 2023:

-The typical water bill is$56.22.

-The typical sewer/stormwater bill is $86.19

-According to a study done by OregonLive.com, the average electric bill in Portland is $122.60.

Keep in mind that moving to a bigger home typically means higher electric costs, and if you’re planning on adding more residents, all of these bills will go up significantly. Vice-a-versa if you’re downsizing and moving into a smaller home.

Portland Waste Removal Services

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to home care is a whole lot of garbage. And by that, we mean waste removal services. Thankfully, Portland has some set-in-stone costs for its waste removal services, making it easy to know how much you’ll be paying. Of course, if you have a bigger family or produce a lot of trash, you’ll pay more in removal fees.

Monthly waste collection is based on the size of your trash, making it somewhat easy to determine how much your waste removal will cost you. Thankfully, the city of Portland provides all fees associated with waste collection to make this much easier to gauge. 

 

20-gallon

35-gallon

60-gallon

90-gallon

Monthly Cost

$33.95

$39.00

$43.55

$49.90

Weight Limit

60 lbs.

85 lbs.

135 lbs.

175 lbs.

Updated Fall 2023

Thankfully, recycling and compost are included as part of the waste pickup fees. You can find the details for container sizing and weight on their website

There are some special waste removal circumstances that can incur extra fees. Those include the following: 

 

Extra trash

Extra yard waste

Holiday tree removal

Cost

$5.85 per bag or can

$3.95 per bag, bundle, or can

$5.25 per tree

Weight/size limit

32-gallons / 55 pounds

32-gallon paper yard waste bag / 45 pounds

6 feet maximum height

Instructions

Set next to your garbage bin on your garbage collection day.

Set next to your green compost bin.

Set next to your green compost bin.

You can also request a new, clean garbage bin for a fee of $16.50.

Landscaping and Lawn Care

Another part of homeownership is taking care of your lawn. Maintaining and improving on your lawn can come with some serious costs, and we’re not just talking about when you decide to overhaul your begonias! Not only should you try and keep your lawn well-maintained for home value reasons, but if you’re part of HOA they may have requirements for lawn care, so keep that in mind.

In general, if you’re looking to do your own lawn maintenance, the overall cost depends on how large your lawn is. You also need to consider the upfront investment in the form of a lawnmower, weedwhacker, and other tools. If you’re looking to outsource your lawn care, you can save on the cost of home appliances, but you will have to factor in the weekly or bi-weekly cost of lawn mowing and lawn care. Since the price depends on the agency you work through, it’s hard to pin down an exact number for lawn care, but expect at least minimum wage per hour of work. 

Work with an Experienced Portland Buyers Agent

Getting a realistic picture of what you’ll be paying allows you to find a home that’s within your budget, preventing stress down the road. Now, that’s the way to start home shopping on the right foot! Contact our top 1% Portland buyers’ agent team to find the home that’s right for you. Give us a call today at 503-773-0000 or chat with the bot on this site. We’d love to connect today!

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