8 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Portland

Couple looks at a laptop, surrounded by moving boxes in their new home.
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 area have continued to trend upward and Portland has 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 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 have great shopping and dining options (check out the Pearl District and Alberta!), they may be out of the average price range for a first-time home buyer. While these are popular neighborhoods, you may want to consider branching out in order to find a home within your purchase price comfort zone. Learn more about some of the communities we call home in Oregon and Washington.

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


14 Responses to “8 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Portland”

  1. Travis

    Great Tips,

    I am a new loan officer out of Portland and I just wanted to thank you for the valuable insight. This will defiantly help me with my clients!


  2. John

    I thought the tip to stick to a budget could be really helpful. It states that you shouldn’t get distracted by homes out of your price range. This makes sense to me since I think it could be dangerous to be tempted by a home that is out of your price range even if it has the amenities you want. I don’t think those amenities would be worth it in the long run if you’re constantly having to stress about whether or not you can continue to make your home payments.

  3. Marcus Coons

    I loved when you talked about how you need to work with a real estate agent that has experience with first-time home buyers. It makes sense that choosing someone like this can help you have someone that has been down that road before and knows how to lead you to the best house for your needs. My wife and I are finally ready to buy a house, so I’ll make sure to follow your advice in order to get the type house we want.

  4. Barbera Peters

    My sister and I are wanting to buy a home together so that we can raise our kids together as single moms in the same house but this is our first time every looking at homes. You mentioned a great tip for us to keep in mind which was about being flexible since the prices on the market can be reasonable as long as you take the time to search. That was a great point for me to keep in mind and I should pass this along to my sister.

  5. Alexandria Martinez

    My mother is thinking about buying a home from a collection of houses for sale near her and wants some tips. I like that you brought up a budget. Staying within a planned budget will make it easier to say no to an overpriced house.

  6. Hannah Schroeder

    My sister and her husband are thinking about getting a house, but they’ve never bought one before and they don’t know where to begin. I like that you talked about getting a real estate agent who’s experienced with first-time homebuyers. I think an agent who has worked with first-time homebuyers would really help my sister and brother-in-law.

  7. Vivian Black

    I like that you mentioned how it would be essential for first-time buyers to get a real estate agent to guide them through the process and explain to them the market. That would be very helpful too since most of the first-time buyers like myself have no idea on how the market works. Additionally, being able to have a shoulder to lean on and some on that has your back throughout buying your first home is a big relief. That is why I’m making sure that I’ll be able to get myself a reliable Realtor to help make my first home purchase a lot easier. Thanks!

  8. Oscar O'Malley

    I really like that you mentioned that getting pre-qualified will help make you more competitive when looking to buy a home. My wife and I are looking to buy our first home and didn’t really know where to start. Thanks for the information-I’ll be sure to look into getting pre-qualified for a loan.

  9. Jack Duff

    I like that you mentioned to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. That way, when the time comes to buy your home, you will be prepared with the funds needed. I want to buy my first home next year, so I am looking for tips on how to get started. I will definitely give this a try, thanks!

  10. Ashley Turns

    Thanks for pointing out that we should get pre-qualified with a lender so that we can be sure we’re prepared when making an offer. My husband and I are in need of a bigger house since we have another kid on the way, and we are wondering how to go about the process of buying one. We will definitely have to make sure that we get pre-qualified before we start looking at homes for sale so that we are ready to make an offer when necessary.

  11. Celestia Stratheimer

    I do appreciate it when you suggested not hesitating and proceeding to buy a house the moment a person confirms that it is the right one for them as the property value tends to increase and can cost the person a lot more. That is something that I will surely take note of as I plan on getting a new house for my family by the end of the season. Since I have a budget to follow, every single advice that will help me save will be truly appreciated. Thank you for this one.

  12. Ria Amelia Lawrence

    It sure got my attention when you suggested researching the market trends and climate in the community that I am interested in so as to be sure that we know what to look for when we buy a home. Although it is as you said, the real estate market can be tricky and frustrating. That is the reason why I think it will be best to hire a real estate agent for our home buying project. That way, we will have someone who already knows the market. Thanks for sharing!


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