Things Other Realtors Won’t Tell You with Portland Real Estate Agent Lauren Goché
Every year, Portland Real Estate Agent Lauren Goché works with dozens of buyer clients. She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to navigating Portland’s real estate market!
In this video, Lauren drops some smart + savvy real estate knowledge about buying a home in Portland that maaaaybe other real estate agents aren’t telling you. Get ready for some real talk!
Takeaways from the video:
If you’re looking at houses and dreaming about buying one… you MUST get a pre-approval ASAP!
This is non-negotiable! And you need this from a good, solid lender. Not all lenders are the same (just like not all REALTORS® are the same) and you must with the cream of the crop. No exceptions!
When it comes to choosing your REALTOR®, you need to work with a specialist.
You deserve to work with someone who LOVES the neighborhoods you’re looking in, and who is an expert in the era of home you’re looking for and/or the architecture you want. You deserve a true expert. In fact, this is so important that if you call me and I’m not that person, I know that person and I’m going to connect you. It’s that important.
You need to trust your real estate agent. Period.
Don’t work with someone you don’t trust. Your REALTOR® should have your best interest at heart, and you need to listen to their advice to be successful.
If you’re buying a home, you shouldn’t have to offer on ten different homes.
You might hear crazy stories about how buyers had to offer on a dozen homes before they finally won, and this just shouldn’t be happening. You should only be making offers on things that you really have a chance of winning.
Your relationship with your REALTOR® should last beyond your transaction.
Who do you call when you need a plumber because your water main broke?! Your real estate agent is going to be with you past closing. They’re there to give you great references for contractors and advice, so this is really someone you should LIKE and TRUST! This can be (and really should be) a beautiful, long-term relationship!
It is really, really tough for buyers out in Portland right now. A really good REALTOR® who you love and trust is going to smooth that pathway for you and make it as easy and humanly possible to buy a home.
I’d love to help you buy a home in Portland. Let’s chat about what you’re looking for—get in touch with me here!
Where to Buy a House in the Portland Suburbs When You Want Land
Right now in the Portland area (and really in most cities) we’re seeing a major trend of people wanting a home with more space both inside and out. Of course, this is largely due to the pandemic and staying home so often. If you need to stay close to Portland but you want to find a home with more space, you’ll likely need to move out of the city and live in one of Portland’s suburbs.
Portland Real Estate Agent Lauren Goché has been hearing this from clients pretty much weekly since the pandemic began: People are moving to Portland but don’t want to be IN Portland. They want to be within a 45-minute commute to Portland. They also want to have 1-2 acres with maybe a cabin, and/or the possibility for multi-generational living. (In addition to the conditions the COVID-19 pandemic has created, Boomers are aging and many Gen Xers are wanting to house their aging parents.)
If you want more land in the Portland area, look in areas around Mt. Hood. Below, you’ll find recommendations on areas to look for properties where you can own more land.
But before we dive into all of that, a quick warning!
A lot of the time, Lauren will have her real estate clients get really excited about a cute cabin they found in the Mount Hood area, and it’ll be really (surprisingly) affordable. And this is likely because the cabin is on leased forestry land. This means that you will only own the cabin, NOT the actual land. It’s like owning a boat but not the water. This is just a bad investment. (If you have a ton of extra money to just toss at something and you’re ok to lose this money down the road then fine, but if you’re scraping it together to buy a property, this is a hard NO from Lauren!) In fact, she knows someone who had their family cabin on leased land for generations, and they lost it because the lease with the Bureau of Land Management ran out. It was devastating.
Ok, back to our scheduled programming. If you’re searching for a property with more land, here are the best areas to look around Mount Hood:
Corbett is gorgeous but expensive. This community is right on the Columbia River, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Corbett is about a 30-minute drive into the heart of Portland. Learn more about Corbett here.
Here’s an example of a property that recently sold (listing by
This small city has a really cute little downtown area, and you can live out of the town but still come in and find everything you need. Estacada is about a 40-minute drive into the heart of Portland.
Here’s an example of a property that recently sold in Estacada (listing by Duff Main of RE/MAX Equity Group
This small community is right in the foothills of the Cascade mountains, and why yes, Boring is home to the North American Bigfoot Center! Boring is also only about 30 minutes into the heart of Portland.
Sandy is in the foothills of the Cascade mountains, and it’s known as the western gateway to Mount Hood. You can enjoy small town vibes here, but it’s not too small—there’s a Fred Meyer, a movie theater, and tons of other amenities so you don’t have to go far when you need something. Sandy is 37 minutes into the heart of Portland.
Other Areas Outside of Portland Where You Can Find Homes with More Land
Canby is right along the Willamette River and Oregon Route 99E runs right through it, giving an easy option to get into Portland. Canby is about a 30-minute drive into the heart of Portland.
Scappoose is northwest of Portland, and right along the Washington border. It’s conveniently on a highway that’ll take you straight into Portland; you can be in Downtown Portland in just 26 minutes.
Here’s an example of a property that recently sold (listing by Debra Parmley
Molalla is south of Portland and this little city is surrounded by farmland. Molalla is a 40-minute drive into the heart of Portland.
Banks, Oregon is west of Portland, and this small community is surrounded by scenic farmland. Banks is only a 25-minute drive to the heart of Portland.
Areas in Washington State Close to Portland Where You Can Find Homes on More Land
Located right across the state line and along the Columbia River, Washougal is a city surrounded by parks and greenspace. Washougal is a 25-minute drive into the heart of Portland.
Camas is right in between Washougal and Vancouver and situated along the Columbia River. From Camas you’re just a 25-minute drive into Downtown Portland.
Would you like to learn more about buying a home in the Portland suburbs? Portland Real Estate Agent Lauren Goché is ready to help. Get in touch with her here!
What You Need to Know About Multi-Generational Living in Portland
Multi-generational living has become a lot more popular lately for a couple of big reasons:
- Boomers are aging and downsizing, which often means they move in with their adult kids.
- The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to need help with childcare due to working from home and remote schooling, and grandparents needed to be a part of a “bubble” to do this.
If you’re getting ready to combine households and embrace multi-generational living in Portland, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Look for homes with only one level, a primary suite on the main floor, an ADU, or a duplex. (But keep in mind that homes conducive to multi-generational living can be hard to find.)
Be prepared to search for your ideal home for a while, and be prepared to make some of your own renovations. For example, many people might want one-level living because of mobility issues of older family members. One-level living in Portland is really hard to find (we tend to encourage urban density here, and one-level living discourages urban density… that’s just math!).
Another popular feature to look out for is a home with a primary suite on the main floor. This is hard to find, although it does exist. Finding a home with an ADU on the main floor (or building this yourself) is another great option—grandparents can live in the ADU, while the younger folks live in the “main house” upstairs. Also, finding a duplex where you can live side by side might be the right situation for you.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, consider building an ADU in the backyard.
This is actually a very good option, and is likely to be a solid long-term answer to multi-generational living that will keep everyone happy. Many grandparents still want some independence, and this can be a great compromise.
Do keep in mind that there are several regulations concerning ADUs in Portland—you can’t just find a property with a big backyard and assume you can build what you want. You need to have the right setback from property lines, for example. You also need to avoid development fees (which can be $1,000s!) by signing an agreement that says you will not be using your ADU as a short-term rental for a certain amount of time. Also, having an ADU will make your taxes go up! Just make sure that you head into this type of situation with eyes wide open (and a real estate agent with hyper-local knowledge and expertise can help you out big time.)
Keep in mind long-term needs.
Typically when people look at homes with multi-generational living in mind, you need to think long-term. Your aging parent might be able to climb up the stairs now, but what about in 10-15 years? It can be hard to anticipate the future, but do your best to look into your crystal ball and consider what your parents’ needs might be like. (Talking to friends with older parents can be really helpful and offer valuable insight to things you might need to take into account.)
Some families combine finances to buy a home together.
Maybe your parents are finally selling the family home, you’re selling your starter home, and you’re all going to buy a house together! This is a completely possible situation and people are doing it more and more often. You just need to make sure you have a real estate agent who can help you navigate all of the moving parts, plus a great lender who will help you figure out the financial possibilities.
If you find a house that needs to be remodeled to suit your multi-generational living needs, you’ll need some cash flow.
As you’re looking for the right property, keep this in mind when you’re considering your budget and price point. Make sure you have enough money leftover for the renovations you need to do. You’ll also need to find a reputable contractor and make sure your shit is permitted! Again, a well-connected realtor will be able to help you make connections to contractors and get you headed in the right direction when it comes to permitting, etc.
Can I Buy Land in Portland and Put A Tiny House On It?
I get this question ALL the time. Get ready for some real talk!
Let’s just cut to the chase: You’re not going to be able to buy land in Portland and put a tiny house on it.
If you want to do this, you’ll need to be outside Portland’s city limits. And in fact, you’re mostly likely not going to be able to do this in ANY city in Oregon. You’ll very likely need to find specifically rural land if you want to put a tiny home on it.
Here’s another question I get all the time:
Is there a place where I can buy a plat of land in the Greater Portland area that’s within commuting distance to Portland?
Well, unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, the answer is no.
Banks don’t want to loan on just raw land. Basically, banks loan money that they feel strongly they’ll be able to get back, and raw land is a bad bet for them. The way they see it is what if you’re going to stop paying a mortgage, you’re going to keep paying the mortgage of the house you actually live in, and stop paying the mortgage of the land you don’t need. And of course, this doesn’t do the bank any good. Therefore, banks rarely loan money on raw land. (There are some builder loans, but they are so specific and restrictive that in this market, they just aren’t usually used.)
Another downside to raw land is that it usually doesn’t have utilities. It’s not going to have water, septic, or electricity, and it’s super expensive to bring all of those things in. There are some pieces of raw land out in the country where these utilities simply aren’t even available. If you do decide to go down this route, you need to do your due diligence and check in with the county to see what you can get.
If you have the cash, you can be prepared to spend at least $150,000 on JUST the land in order for it to be a lot that you can put a tiny home on. There are some lots out there that are like $40,000, but you can’t build on them. And if you have the cash, you need to work with a realtor who knows raw land really well—you can’t just use any old real estate agent unless you wanna get screwed! (I have some great agent recommendations if this is what you want to do—reach out and I’d be happy to connect you.)
On that note, you need an agent who has expertise in raw land and knows what they’re doing. Your agent needs to understand local building codes and laws, and there’s a fair amount of counties that don’t allow you to build something that’s going to be a short-term rental. (Don’t think you’re going to set up a tiny home and make it a cute Airbnb! That probably won’t be allowed!)
Ok, now let’s say you do get a good piece of land. Then you need to buy and/or build the tiny house. When people talk about tiny homes, they’re talking about a 200-square-foot home on wheels. Buying these start at about $60,000, and they still need a water hookup and a way to handle the sewage. However, what I see more commonly is people spend more like $150,000 to $350,000 just for the tiny home. (Check out this resource on Propel Studio about how much it costs to build a custom home.)
If you’ve read all of this and you STILL want to buy land for a tiny home, I can connect you with a local real estate expert with in-depth knowledge on raw land who can guide you through the process. Reach out to me here!
How to Buy a House in Portland When You’re Self Employed
If you’re self-employed and want to buy a house in 2021, you really need to read this before you file your taxes.
Getting a home loan when you’re a self-employed person can be a bit of a tricky combo. And of course, COVID-19 has complicated things even more.
Before we get too far in the weeds in all of this, there are 3 super important takeaways you need to know about right up front:
1. Do NOT make any major purchases right now. Yes, this includes that sexy crushed velvet Joybird sofa that caught your eye. These things can wait until you have the key to your new home.
2. Before you file taxes this year, you really, REALLY need to talk to your lender and/or tax person/accountant. Once you’re done reading this, shoot them an email about your plans. (Seriously. Don’t put this off if you’re serious about buying a home this year.)
3. Typically, advice from seasoned professionals is free. Don’t be afraid to check in with the pros for info on the best course of action, and don’t ever be afraid to seek out a second opinion. (Taking the time to educate yourself now can save you money and heartbreak in the future. It’s worth it.)
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to walk you through exactly what you need to do if you’re self-employed and want to buy a home this year.
But let me kickstart this with a story.
I was once chatting with a dear friend, and she casually mentioned that she was on the verge of quitting her full-time job and starting a small business. Then she added that she wanted to buy her dream Portland house a few months later.
I kind of freaked out when I heard this:
“If you quit your job and start a business, you won’t be able to get a home loan as a self-employed professional for a minimum of two years… but because of COVID-19, this is most likely going to be a minimum of five years! If you try to get a mortgage while you’re self-employed, you’d be screwed.”
My friend’s jaw dropped. “Wtf should I do, then?”
“You buy a house in Portland right the fuck now, honey. If you quit your job and strike out on your own right now, you will literally lose your opportunity to be a homeowner this year. Suck it up for a few more months, and let’s find you a home, NOW.”
As you can tell, I have some strong opinions about how to go about being a business owner or an independent contractor and purchasing a house. I work with self-employed people all the time, and as a real estate agent, I’m self-employed myself. It’s the best decision I ever made, and the freedom and creativity that being an entrepreneur allows is unparalleled. That being said, running your own business can have serious drawbacks, and buying a home as a self-employed person is one of them. If you’ve made it this far in reading this you’ve heard a lot of urgency from me, but that’s only because I know how devastating it can be to have to put your dreams on hold for years. But don’t sweat it, you’ve got this!
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Talk to your tax person.
Buying a home while you’re self-employed takes careful planning, foresight, and a smart tax person. You gotta have that taxable income, and a fair amount of it. Let your tax person know that you’re planning on buying a house this year, and they’ll be able to help you figure out what documentation you need, etc.
Aaaand it’s time for another story!
I know of a small business that takes in $200,000/year. However, this most recent year, they wrote off so many expenses that their personal income only shows that they made $12,000 this year. No bank is going to give you a loan if you say you make $12,000/year.
When you’re self-employed on a 1099, you have to make different decisions when you’re buying a house. You need to tell your tax person that you’re planning to buy a house this year, and you might need to not write off as many things this year. Yes, you’ll pay more income tax this way, but you’ll also be more likely to buy a house.
(Now, if you haven’t filed your taxes for a few years or are behind on paying them, that is a whole other can of worms. Believe me, a bank won’t give you a second glance for a home loan if you’ve been lax with your tax.)
Step 2: Talk to a lender to plan well in advance of what you actually plan to buy a home.
You usually need an average of at least two years of taxable income before a lender will even consider giving you a loan to buy a home (and this is why I freaked out on my friend when she was going to quit her job right before she bought her first house).
We all know that those first few years of starting a business can be brutal. And even if you kill it that first year and rake in tons of cash, you still don’t have the two years of self-employed tax history that lenders insist on. You’re right, it doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just the way it is, friends.
And of course, there are additional levels of complications thanks to COVID-19. Here’s what Jen Leon, one of my preferred PDX lenders, has to say about it:
“Every lender at this point in time is looking for a strong profit and loss statement, especially due to COVID. They want to ensure that earnings haven’t taken a backseat comparatively to previous tax returns that are filed. That’s been the biggest hiccup with self-employment – unfortunately every lender is going to use a conservative profit and loss with less income versus a strong tax return from 2019.”
And here’s some wise words from Adesina Cameron, another preferred local lender of mine, who can explain it all better than I can:
“It’s a smart idea for anyone to check in with a lender 2-3 years before they want to buy. But when you’re self employed, it’s critical that you work with a lender to have a plan to qualify for a mortgage. You want your lender and your tax person working together as a team to get you qualified. I often work with CPAs to make sure they understand how I calculate income BEFORE they file. Your CPA can share the draft taxes with your lender to see if letting go of a few deductions is worth it, because the tax savings is minimal, but the increased income is the difference in qualifying or not. During COVID-19, mortgages for the self employed have gotten even tougher. So if you keep sloppy books, or have been procrastinating in doing your 2020 bookkeeping, your lender will give you some encouragement and guidance to get your shit in order before they can pre-approve you.”
Step 3: Don’t write off every single business expense this year.
Your lender is going to be looking at TAXABLE income when they are qualifying you for a loan. The more you write off as expenses, the less your taxable income is. The problem is, when you become your own boss, you’re trying real hard to get every write-off possible in order to lessen your tax liability. As a result, your income will seem very, very low. And when you’re trying to impress your lender with how much you’re earning, you need the opposite to happen. You need your adjusted gross income to be nice and high!
Jen’s got a snippet of sage advice for self-employed folks out there:
“Love my self-employed clients, but I don’t love when they write off every donut purchase at Starbucks.”
Step 4: Pay your taxes.
The only thing guaranteed is death and taxes, right? Well, the taxes part is definitely essential in getting a loan to buy a home. Every single time you get paid, set aside a percentage that you and your tax person have agreed on so when tax time comes around, you’re prepared. This is big Virgo energy, and I promise you, it’s the easiest and least stressful way to go about it.
If you’re behind on your taxes, set up a payment plan with the IRS. Because in a lot of cases, if you’ve jumped through all the other hoops, you can still buy a house if you owe them $$$, just as long as you are currently on a payment plan. (Here’s a cheeky little trade secret for you: That’s how I managed to buy my first home. There are ways, y’all, you just gotta know how to find them, and you gotta plan ahead for them!)
“The best way to know if you have viable income is to have a lender review your tax returns and assess where income can be bolstered up and used to qualify for a home loan. This is ESPECIALLY critical BEFORE YOU FILE your tax returns to the IRS in a new year! This way, the tax return can be modified and adjusted before the IRS gets it. It may require you to pay more in taxes, but it can also mean homeownership.”
Got questions? Reach out and I’ll talk you through it, and if it’s beyond my expertise as a real estate agent I’ll happily refer you to one of my Portland, OR home loan nerds who can tell you all about getting a mortgage while self-employed.
What You Need to Know About Buying & Selling a Condo in Portland in 2021
Condos are a softer market in Portland right now, and there is much less demand for condos as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, people want more space (both inside and out), so that’s a big reason as to why condos aren’t popular right now. But also, people don’t want shared common areas—they don’t want to share an elevator, and may not even be allowed to use amenities like a pool, hot tub, fitness center, etc. If you’re in a condo and paying HOA dues that would normally cover using this stuff and suddenly you can’t safely use any of it, people are wondering what they’re paying for. People also need more room for their home offices, and lots of people also want private outdoor space.
Portlands Overall Median Price vs. Condo Median Price
For a little context, let’s compare Portland’s median sale price for all homes sold in Portland’s metro area to condos.
In December 2019, the median home price for all homes sold in Portland was $405,000. In December 2020, the median home price was at $455,000. The median sale price for homes sold in Portland’s metro area increased by 7.3% from 2019 to 2020.
In December 2019, the median CONDO sale price in Portland was at $323,450. In December 2020, the median condo sale price was at $320,000. This is a 1.1% decrease in price.
If you want to SELL your Portland condo right now, you’ll need to…
- Price it conservatively.
- You MUST have it professionally staged.
- Your condo needs to be marketed extremely well to stand out from the rest.
A good realtor will know how to advise you on pricing and timing, and they’ll be able to market your home right.
To give you more insight into what the condo market is like right now, I recently had a client who wanted to sell their condo in Portland’s Alphabet District and buy a single-family home (like everyone else right now).
They bought their condo in 2016 for $430,000, we listed it for $375,000, and they just sold it in December 2020 for $410,000 with 3 offers.
Even back when they bought their condo in 2016, I advised them that there was a high likelihood that they weren’t going to get their money out of it. So when they called me ready to sell, they knew exactly what to expect because of how I was able to advise them during the buying process. (And of course, whether or not a client heeds their realtor’s advice is of course up to them!)
Long story short, they did not sell their condo for as much as they bought it for, and that’s just how it is right now.
If you want to BUY a condo in Portland right now, you need to know that I cannot recommend it as a pure investment. If you want a secure place to live and that’s why you’re buying a condo that’s fine, but do not expect to buy it purely as a GOOD investment that will appreciate over time, and don’t count on a Portland condo to appreciation the way single-family housing is right now.
In huge cities, sometimes condos are all you can get so it’s fine, but not so much in Portland. Condos are often in our more urban areas, and in non-COVID times people want to live in denser neighborhoods because of all the amenities they get access to (live shows, bars, restaurants, shopping, gyms, etc.). Right now if you’re in one of these areas, you’re paying for conveniences that you don’t get to actually enjoy.
However, you CAN get a teeny tiny condo for like $250,000, and there’s not a chance in the world you can buy anything within an hour of Portland for that little. So if that’s your budget and you’re just looking to buy a place where you can build equity, that might be an option.
Have a question about Portland real estate? I’m here to help. Get in touch!
Curious to learn about buying a single-family home in Portland? Here’s what you need to know in 2021!
Portland’s Median Sale Price Went Up by 7.3% in 2020. Here’s What Buyers & Sellers Need to Know.
2020 turned our world upside down, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought its own unique challenges to Portland’s real estate market.
The median sale price for homes sold in Portland’s metro area increased by 7.3% from 2019 to 2020. In December 2019, the median home price was $405,000. In December 2020, the median home price was at $455,000.
There are a few major trends that emerged:
- Many city dwellers sold their condos in search of more space (aka they wanted to buy single-family homes).
- Owners of single-family homes often discovered they needed more space both inside and out, and people left the city in search of more land + more square footage.
- Work from home is here to stay. Many people who have been wanting to move to Portland finally can, because they can work from anywhere and their employer’s location was the only thing holding them back.
- Competition for single-family homes increased even more. If you want to buy a house in Portland, expect a bidding war.
What You Need to Know About Buying & Selling a Single-Family Home in Portland
Homes in Portland are selling like hotcakes. Everyone wants a single-family home these days.
If you want to buy a house in Portland, it’s going to be hard. Housing inventory is still at historic lows in Portland. You’ll be competing with lots of other buyers who want the same thing that you do (which is usually more space both inside and out), and you can expect the home you’ve just made an offer on to receive many other offers (with $$$ well above the list price).
This means that it’s more important than ever to prepare. You need to be working with an experienced real estate agent who is an expert in the neighborhood you want to buy in. They will be able to give you savvy advice on financing (which you need to get squared away immediately), advise you on whether or not a property is a smart investment, and of course, craft you a winning offer. (Also, as a buyer, you just reeeeeally cannot have contingencies right now if you want to win! A contingency could include many things, including needing to sell your home before you can buy one. Your realtor will be able to advise you on all of this.)
Let’s look at one of my latest home listings as an example of what’s going on in the housing market:
I listed this 2-bedroom, 1-bath bungalow in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood in December 2020 for $395,000. This 1,016-square-foot home ended up receiving 9 offers, and it sold for $475,000, with a final closing date in January 2021.
The winning offer was selected for a few reasons—they didn’t want any repairs, they worked with a reputable lender we knew we would count on, and it was the most money. (However, the most money doesn’t always win—you’ve got to have a solid deal all around.)
Bonus tip: In this market, if a house has been listed for more than 7 days and hasn’t gone pending, something’s up. It’s either not priced right or not marketed well, and it could also be a red flag that the house will be just as hard to sell in the future.
If you want to sell your house in Portland, keep in mind that just because it’s a hot market right now, your home is not guaranteed to inspire a bidding war. You still need to do your due diligence, and this means working with a real estate agent who knows their stuff. You must stage your home (it can be the difference between only receiving 3 offers and receiving 9, and more offers usually translates to more $$$).
You might also be wondering, if it’s so hard to buy a house in Portland right now, where are these people who are selling their homes going to go? Usually these sellers are “moving up” and using their equity to buy a bigger/more expensive home, or, like everyone else right now, they want more square footage + land and are moving out of the city to the suburbs.
Want to know about buying or selling a condo in Portland right now? Click here!
Ready to buy or sell your house in Portland! Get in touch with me here.
What You Need to Know About Moving from Brooklyn to Portland
Many New Yorkers are asking themselves this question, especially lately. Even before COVID-19, people were leaving New York City in search of homes with more square footage, a yard, and a lower cost of living.
Portland is the most affordable West Coast city, and in my experience, people from Brooklyn are especially drawn to Portland. Brooklyn and Portland have a comparable vibe in many ways, and you can find the things that you love about Brooklyn in Portland.
People in Brooklyn usually love to be in the middle of it all, and you can have that same city vibe in many of Portland’s neighborhoods as well. Below, I’ve highlighted the 2 Portland quadrants that are most comparable to living in Brooklyn. These Portland neighborhoods not only offer the homes and yards that Brooklynites crave, but there are destination restaurants, hip bars, rad indie coffee shops, grocery stores, trendy boutiques, and huge parks all easily within reach.
Now, before we show off Portland’s affordable real estate, keep in mind that at the end of September 2020, Brooklyn’s median sale price was at $835,000. At the end of September 2020, Portland’s median home price was at $451,000.
This home is in Portland’s Colonial Heights neighborhood and kind of in the middle of it all. It’s equidistant between cool businesses in both Hawthorne and Division so you have easy access to the city amenities you love, but you’re also in a neighborhood filled with greenspace. I could imagine my clients from Brooklyn loving this home!
This home is in Portland’s Irvington neighborhood, and this community is super close in, historic, tree-lined and filled with greenery, close to a cool park, and close to a bunch of stuff on Broadway. There’s lots of cool big old homes here and you can definitely find a home with a yard!
What You Need to Know About Moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland
People are leaving the San Francisco Bay Area because they simply cannot afford to live there anymore. Even people with incredibly well paying jobs in the tech industry, for example, are struggling to find an affordable place to live that makes sense. And with changing needs due to COVID-19, many would-be San Francisco residents are looking elsewhere. Suddenly, the thought of moving becomes more feasible due to so many more tech jobs (which is why many people live in San Francisco in the first place) moving to remote work.
Portland is the most affordable West Coast city, and the money you’d need to spend to buy a decent home in San Francisco goes so much further in Portland.
At the end of September 2020, Portland’s median home price was at $451,000.
In the Bay Area, here are the recent median price points:
- San Francisco – $1.6 million in September 2020
- Berkeley – $1.4 million in September 2020
- San Jose – $1.2 million in September 2020
- Oakland – $1 million Q3 2020
For a little more context, the median price point in September 2020 for a 2-bedroom in condo in San Francisco is $1.35 million. For a studio, the median was at $850,000.
I see a lot of people buying in Portland who are not only feeling priced out of their cities (especially Seattle), but intimidated by the fact that they would need to get a jumbo loan to afford a house. Jumbo loans are more common in San Francisco and people aren’t typically as intimidated by them, but it’s still something to consider.
Portland’s conforming loan number is $510,400. So anything listed above that means you need to have cash in hand (or do a jumbo loan).
In Alameda County (which includes Oakland and Berkeley), the conforming loan limit is $765,000. And for the County of San Francisco (which is where San Francisco is located), the conforming loan limit is also $765,000.
Portland is divided into 5 quadrants (I know, it doesn’t make sense…). In this post, I’m going to show you a home that is representative of each of the 5 quadrants. All of these are single-family homes that sold quickly and they’re all rad!
North Portland – Boise Neighborhood
Northwest Quadrant – Bonny Slope Neighborhood
Southwest Quadrant – Bridlemile Neighborhood
What You Need to Know About Moving from Seattle to Portland
Many people who are being priced out of Seattle are turning to Portland for greener pastures. Seattle’s median home price at the end of September 2020 was at $773,508, and Portland’s median home price was at $451,000.
Portland is the most affordable West Coast city, hands down.
Obviously, $773,508 vs. $451,000 is a huge difference, and your money can go so much further in Portland. Plus, many people who start the home buying process in Seattle are shocked when they started getting serious about looking at loans.
Portland’s conforming number is $510,400. So anything listed above that means you need to have cash in hand (or do a jumbo loan). The thing that is important to know is that in King County (where Seattle is located), Pierce County, and Snohomish County, the conforming loan limit is $741,750 in 2020. So anything over this amount, you have to have in cash (or again, do a jumbo loan).
Let’s say you have $300,000 in cash in Seattle. You can get a $1 million house with a conventional/conforming loan. (And if you have $300,000 in cash in Portland, you can get a $800,000 house with a conforming loan. If you have $200,000 in Portland, it = a $710,000 home.)
Long story short: If you’re coming from Seattle, you have more buying power in Portland.
Not only that, but Portland offers many of the same things that Seattle does. Think about why people love Seattle. They love the close proximity to the outdoors, they love the great foodie scene, they love access to a booming tech scene, and many people love to travel and have easy access to an international airport. Portland has all of this, too, and you can have access for a LOT less money. Especially with more and more companies switching to remote work, this opens up your potential for what city you’re going to live in a whole lot more.
People who have tried to buy a decent house in Seattle for $500,000 know that this just isn’t going to happen. Maybe you can find something in a neighboring suburb that needs some fixing up. In Portland, you can buy a rad home for $500,000.
A $500,000 budget in Portland is amazing!
Here are a couple of homes in Portland that show examples of what you can buy at Portland’s median price point and at Seattle’s median price point:
This 2-bedroom, 1-bath home is a solid example of what you can buy for $450,000 (Portland’s September 2020 median price point) in Portland, Oregon.
This historic 4-bedroom, 2-bath home is in Portland’s Alameda neighborhood, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. This is a great example of what you can buy at this price point in Portland (and remember that Seattle’s September 2020 median home price was at $817,000).