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  • John Banholzer

8 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in Portland

Portland has one of the hottest real estate markets, with home values rising to record heights. Navigating this complicated market can seem scary and overwhelming – especially to a first-time home buyer. But, it doesn’t have to be.

Your first-time home buying experience in Portland can be much less stressful if you have all of your ducks in a row and the right players on your team. Summit Mortgage Corporation is here to provide you with the resources and knowledge to make buying your first home a breeze. Read on for our eight helpful tips for first-time home buyers looking to purchase in Portland.

Tip #1: Don’t Wait for a Better Time to Buy

As a first-time home buyer in the Portland area, you may be hesitant to take the plunge and buy a home. But, waiting to buy could cost you. Home values in the Portland area have continued to trend upward and have consistently been the hottest housing market in the country for the past seven months. The fact of the matter is that in the Portland real estate market, a great home in a great neighborhood (and at a great price) will not be available for very long.

Tip #2: Get Pre-Qualified

Before you begin your search, it’s important to GET PRE-QUALIFIED. Don’t let your dream home get snatched out from under you because you weren’t prepared to make an offer! Once you’re pre-qualified with Summit Mortgage Corporation, you’ll be set to make a competitive offer on a home with the backing of a local, reputable mortgage lender. It makes all the difference in convincing the seller that you’re the right person to buy their home.

Tip #3: Determine a Budget

Nail down a budget before you start your search. You’ll want to stay focused on what you can afford and not get distracted by homes that are out of your price range. Check out our online mortgage calculator to help you get a rough estimate of what you’ll be able to afford as a mortgage payment each month. As a first-time buyer, it’s important to know about all of the home loan options that may be available to you and how they can affect what you’ll be able to afford. Summit Mortgage Corporation is well-versed in all of the local mortgage programs available and loan products that are specific to qualified first-time home buyers. Contact us to learn more about possible options for your mortgage.

Tip #4: Use a Local Lender

While being pre-qualified for a mortgage is important, using a local lender can be just as crucial when you’re buying a home for the first time. When you use a local lender like Summit Mortgage Corporation, as opposed to a big national bank, you’ll be getting the expertise and customer service from a mortgage banker who knows the Portland area and the ins and outs of the local market.

Tip #5: Work With a Qualified Buyer’s Agent

Working with a real estate agent who is experienced with first-time home buyers and knows the market well is important when you’re looking for a home. We can recommend great buyer’s agents in the area to help you find your dream home at the right price. Contact us to learn more.

Tip #6: Be Flexible

Consider the suburbs! Portland saw the nation’s largest annual decrease in bottom-tier (less than $279,200) home inventory in the country. As a first-time home buyer, the Portland real estate market prices may not be as reasonable as some of the surrounding suburbs. There are plenty of great opportunities when you take into account suburban communities like Hillsboro, Beaverton, Oregon City, Tigard, Vancouver, and more.

On the same topic of flexibility, remember that no home is perfect. You may not be able to find a home with a rec room, hot tub, and spare bedroom all within your budget. You may find a great home that needs to have all of the rooms painted or recarpeted. Make a list of what’s most important to you when you’re looking for a first home and what you’re willing to negotiate on. And remember, details like paint colors and finishing touches can always be changed down the line.

Tip #7: Get to Know the Market

The Portland real estate market can be frustrating, particularly for a first-timer. Doing your research to learn a little bit more about trends and the market’s climate can give you a better idea of what to look for when you get to the point of searching for a first home.

Tip #8: Know Your Neighbors

With so many different neighborhoods in Portland and the greater Metro area, how do you choose? Do some research on the neighborhoods that interest you most. If the amount of options seems overwhelming, talk to a local real estate agent. They can get you all the details on the neighborhoods with the characteristics that are most important to you. While some neighborhoods, like the Pearl District and Alberta, have great shopping and dining options and other great amenities, they may be out of the typical first-time home buyer price range. While these are great neighborhoods, you may want to consider branching out in order to find a home within your purchase price comfort zone.

Buying a home can seem like a daunting process. But, with the right professional help and guidance, it can be an exciting endeavor. Contact me today to get started on the home buying process!

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