Buying your Home in Portland, Oregon
The best thing you can do before buying a home is to educate yourself as much as possible about the home buying process and to surround yourself with skilled professionals. To do this, here are the steps that we recommend.
1) Figure Out Your Finances
The first thing you need to do is to identify how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a home. Since most homes involve bank or credit union financing, please read our home loan faq to prepare yourself and then go shopping for a home loan. Once you've found a mortgage broker or loan officer that you want to work with, then you will want to get a letter from them stating that you are pre-approved. Having a pre-approval letter will help strengthen your negotiating position once you find a home that you want.
2) Hire A Buyer's Agent
Purchasing a home is the single largest financial investment most people ever make. It's important that you have someone acting as your advocate and who is negotiating exclusively on your behalf. A good buyer's agent can advise you on the many issues that can come up during the purchase process such as inspections, pricing, zoning, permits, neighborhood values, schools, and property taxes.
Many people have asked, why can't I just call the agent on the flyer in front of the house? The answer is that while you certainly can call the listing agent who provides the marketing flyers, it is a very dangerous idea to let them write your contract to buy the house because the listing agent is hired by the seller and is representing the seller's interests, not yours.
You may now be wondering, how much does it cost to hire a buyer's agent? Strangely enough, it's free to the buyer. How is that possible? Due to the history of real estate in the United States, the tradition is that the buyer's agent is paid out of the seller's proceeds, thus the buyer's agent commission comes out of the seller's pocket. Why would the seller pay for someone whose job is to negotiate a lower price on their house? That's a good question, and the short answer is that's just the way it works. If you'd like to discuss it in depth, then please feel free to contact us.
3) Search for a Home
Finding the right home to purchase can be a challenge, and the Internet is an excellent place to start. However, due to the limited budget that most of us have, and the large number of available homes, it can be difficult to identify the home that is uniquely suited to your needs.
A great place to start is by identifying those features of your current home you like, as well as those you'd like to change. Once you've established your priorities, you can use this list to effectively guide your home search.
Our website offers a number of advanced tools to search the Portland MLS listings including options to search by city, zipcode, MLS number, or our map search tool. Once you've identified the ares that you like, then we recommend you register as a customer and setup a saved search for the price and areas that you are looking in so that you can get e-mailed when new listings come on the market.
4) Schedule a Home Tour
Once you've identified properties that you are interested in, then just click 'inquire' on the property listing page, or give us a call, or click 'request a showing' for any of the properties that you've found. For the most effecient use of time, we recommend identifying several properties for consideration and then you can try to visit them at the same time to help you compare the different benefits each home has to offer.
If you still have questions and would like to learn more about the home buying process, please e-mail us or give us a call at (800) 293-3929 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. Or if you're not yet sold on hiring a buyer's agent, here's five more reasons.
Five Reasons to work with a Buyer's Agent
- Peace of mind - Hiring a real estate specialist ensures that you have a knowledgeable advocate throughout the home purchase process.
- Know all the facts - Realtors have access to private information about properties not available to the general public.
- Lower your risk - There are many risks involved in purchasing a home and an experienced Realtor can help you minimize those risks.
- Easy access to properties - Working with a real estate broker makes it easy to visit many different
properties while you search for your home.
- Up to date information - The housing market is constantly changing and a Realtor can provide you with the latest market research to ensure that you're getting fair value.