As we approach the end of November, there has been an increase in new home construction and builder confidence, while rates remain low and unemployment claims start to rise.
There are countless articles online that explain the various steps to buying a home, and many are tailored to Oregon home buyers. But real estate markets across the state have changed dramatically over the last couple of years. So we thought it was time for an updated list of steps to buying a home in Oregon.
First 5 Steps to Buying a Home in Oregon
This sequence of steps focuses on the preliminary stages of the home buying process, with an update on current real estate market conditions. Here are the first few steps to take when buying a home in Oregon during 2017 or 2018.
Step 1. Understand that the real estate market has shrunk.
In terms of available inventory, the Oregon housing market has shrunk dramatically over the last few years. Today, there just aren’t enough homes available to satisfy demand among buyers. So your first step to buying a home in Oregon is to understand the current supply-and-demand situation.
Most economists consider a “balanced” real estate market to have about five or six months worth of supply. But Oregon’s major cities (Eugene, Gresham, Portland and Salem) all had less than a three-month supply of homes for sale, as of summer 2017.
In the red-hot Portland real estate market, there was roughly a 1.5-month supply of homes when this article was published in August 2017.
The current inventory situation paves the way for the next step to buying a home in Oregon.
Step 2. Realize that home prices are still rising.
We are well past the midpoint of 2017. That means a lot of would-be home buyers in Oregon are trying to decide whether they should purchase this year or in 2018.
You’re the only person who can decide when the time is right to buy a house. With that being said, you should also realize that home prices across Oregon are rising steadily – and they are expected to continue rising well in the 2018.
According to the real estate information website Zillow, the median home price for Oregon climbed above $310,000 during the summer of 2017. That was an increase of 11% over the same time last year. Looking forward, they expect prices to rise by around 4.4% over the next 12 months (through August 2018).
Step 3. Have your financing lined up before entering the market.
Most home buyers in Oregon use mortgage loans to help finance their purchases. If you fall into this category, the next logical step to buying a house is to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. During this process, the lender will review your income, debt, and credit score to determine how much of a loan you could take on. (See: Basic home-buying requirements)
When it comes to buying a house in Oregon, a mortgage pre-approval can help you in two ways.
- First of all, it will help you narrow down the market to those homes you can actually afford. This will make you more efficient, which is important in a competitive real estate market.
- Secondly, having a pre-approval letter will increase your chance of success when it comes time to make an offer. Sellers across the state of Oregon expect this kind of thing from home buyers. So it’s essential to go into the market with some kind of financing strategy in place.
Note: Please contact us if you’d like to get pre-approved for a loan.
Step 4. Get a real estate agent on your side.
In a typical real estate transaction in Oregon, it’s generally the seller who pays the real estate agent commissions. So there’s really no reason for home buyers to navigate the process on their own.
Having an experienced real estate agent is always a good idea. But it’s especially important in a competitive real estate market like the ones we are seeing right now. This is one of the important preliminary steps to buying a home in Oregon.
Your agent will help you in many ways. Agents typically guide their clients through the house hunting process, and help them make smart offers based on recent sales activity. Your agent will also help you negotiate with the seller, which is something that requires a deft touch in a competitive real estate market.
Step 5. Be flexible and open-minded with the big picture in mind.
When buying a home in Oregon, you want to remain flexible and open-minded regarding the properties that are available. As we’ve already mentioned, inventory is tight in most cities across the state. So you might not get everything you want in a house. It also underscores the importance of being flexible and open to compromise.
You might have to compromise over the price of the home, while realizing that sellers tend to have more negotiating ability in a tight market. You might also have to compromise with the features of the home, such as the square footage or the location. That’s the reality of the current real estate market.
Have Mortgage Questions?
Our company has been helping Oregon home buyers with their mortgage financing needs for more than 27 years. We offer competitive rates on a variety of loan programs. We are also happy to answer any questions you might have about qualifying for a mortgage loan in Oregon. Please contact our knowledgeable staff to get started.