Thinking about moving to Portland, Oregon and buying a home? In order to find the best Portland neighborhood and home for you, I put together this list of questions you’ll want to ask yourself. Considering your personal wants, needs, desires, lifestyle, commute, etc. will all be big factors as you start to narrow down on where you want to live!
If you’re moving to Portland and want to buy a home, here are 7 questions to ask yourself:
Are schools important to you?
If people have kids or are planning to have kids, they always want to know about local schools. “Where are the good schools in Portland? Where are the BEST schools?” The thing is, finding the right or best school for you and your family means something different to everyone. You’ll find lots of helpful info to navigate this in our blog post “How to Find a School in Portland (When You Know School Ratings Are Racist & Classist).”
How important is it to live in a walkable neighborhood?
For some people, it’s super important that they can take a stroll and end up at their favorite coffee shop. Some people want walkable access to food and bars, but maybe they still want to live on a tree-lined street that’s a few blocks away from things. Whether or not a place is “walkable” is going to be a little different for everyone, and in my experience, “walkable” has 2 common definitions: One definition of “walkable” means that you can walk to coffee shops, bars, shops, etc. Another common definition is that there are sidewalks and you can walk your dog. Make sure you define what this means to you!
Where do you work and what does that commute look like?
Do you need your commute to be 10 minutes, or is a 30-minute commute ok for you? Do you want to take public transit, and do you want to take it during COVID-19? Something else to consider is that a house you’re looking at might be on a transit line, but it might involve too many transfers to your workplace to make sense. Another thing to consider is whether you want to ride your bike to work (this is a popular option in Portland). Certain neighborhoods are going to have a ton of hills, and some people hate hills! Looking at a map doesn’t tell you everything, so be sure to take this into consideration.
What is your car situation?
It is absolutely possible to live without a car in Portland. But of course, how reliant you can be on public transit will depend on what neighborhood you live in. Maybe you and your partner have a one car household, and one person uses the car to commute and the other will take public transit. Make sure you think about your lifestyle and how a car factors into that.
What type of house do you want?
Do you prefer early 1900 bungalows? One-level ranches? Modern condos that are practically brand new? The type of home you want to buy will largely determine what Portland neighborhood you will be able to buy a home in. And, Portland’s history and how the city grew has determined what types of houses and architecture you’ll find where.
Portland was originally a lumber town and a big fur trading post in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and because of this, there are some super old houses all around the river. As Portland continued to grow, things spread west and east, then during the 1930s and ‘40s, there were a ton of homes built around the shipyard in neighborhoods like St. John and North Portland.
Also consider whether or not you have the desire to keep up with having an older home. Owning an older home in a very wet climate will take ongoing maintenance—are you ok with constant projects and upkeep? (Homeownership in Portland is like 90% water management!) Or maybe new construction is more your style. Know thyself!
Do you have a pet?
If you have a dog you’ll want a yard, or at least you’ll want to be close to a dog park. Portland is a very dog-friendly city, so you won’t struggle to find things to do with your pup. Check out my blog post “Where To Get Drunk With Your Dog in Portland” for ideas on where to go!
Are you ready for the weather?
I grew up in the area but in my 20s I just couldn’t handle the weather in Portland anymore. It rains a lot and there are many gray days (but we don’t have to worry about snow too often… it snows like maybe once a year on average). Anyway, I moved to Southern California and Mexico for a decade, then I moved back to Portland. It was them that I realized you just need the right gear and you’ll be fine. Get some good waterproof shoes, some cozy sportswear (we have some awesome sportswear brands located in Portland including Columbia), and a natural sunlight lamp and you’ll be good to go.
Partnering with a smart and savvy Portland real estate agent will make all the difference as you decide which neighborhood to live in and what home to buy. I can help you buy a home in Portland—get in touch with me here!