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There’s nothing more exciting than buying your first home. It comes with a sense of accomplishment – saving up for a down payment and getting approved for a mortgage is no walk in the park. When buying a home in any market, our general belief is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong – which is why it’s crucial to come prepared.

Don’t let your dream home slip away. This buyers’ guide can help you find the perfect home. From basic requirements to open houses, this guide will help you anticipate each step in the buying process so that you can make informed decisions along the way.

Owning your home is a dream come true for many Americans. This first time home buyers’ guide will bring you a step closer to homeownership.

Familiarizing yourself with these steps to buying a house in Oregon will help you avoid buyers’ remorse.

Deciding to Buy

Before you start looking at homes, it’s worth asking why you want to buy one in the first place. This will help you set goals and make informed decisions as you go through the buying process.

There are several things to consider when deciding to buy:

  • Usage – Are you looking for a primary residence, a vacation home, or an investment property? This will help you choose a property that suits your purpose.
  • Length of stay – How long do you plan on occupying the property? Will this be your forever home or is it just a starter home, with plans of trading up to a bigger and better property in the future?

Most experts advise buyers to stay in their homes for at least five to six years, which is enough time to see the property appreciate in value as we recoup the costs of closing.

  • Budget – How much are you willing to spend on a home? It’s easy to get carried away during house hunting, with buyers willing to spend a little over budget for their dream home.

But this can leave you “house poor”, where you find yourself strapped for cash with most of your income going towards mortgage payments, repairs, maintenance, utilities, association fees, and other property-related expenses.

Knowing which factors affect your decision to buy can give you some direction when browsing listings and choosing a house.

Preparation for Buying

Now that you know what kind of property you’re looking for, you can start making preparations to fast-track the buying process. For some buyers, this part of the process can take months to years depending on their personal and financial circumstances.

Check your credit. Lenders will evaluate your loan application and determine interest rates with your credit score as reference. In the United States, credit scores range from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better your credit history – this makes you eligible for a higher loan amount and lower interest rates.

You can check your credit score here and here. Your credit score may vary depending on the credit reporting company you use.

Gather the necessary documents. When applying for a loan, you will need to produce copies of various documents to verify your income, credit, assets, debt, and employment history. Some of these documents include:

Gather the necessary documents. When applying for a loan, you will need to produce copies of various documents to verify your income, credit, assets, debt, and employment history. Some of these documents include:

  • Income tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • W-2s from past and current employers
  • Bank statements
  • Investment and retirement accounts
  • Gift letter (if using gift funds)

Loan applicants who are self-employed, non-citizens, and/or paying alimony or child support must produce additional documents. Click here for more details.

Save up for a down payment. For most conventional mortgages, buyers must produce 20% of the sales price as down payment. If you want to make a lower down payment, look into government-backed loans like Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) loans, which allow eligible borrowers to put less down.

Find a lender. It is generally advisable to speak with more than one lender that services your area. This will allow you to compare fees and rates. Choose the lender that offers the best terms.

Get pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved for a loan gives you an advantage during open houses and bidding wars, as it shows the seller that you’re in a financial position to buy a home and that your loan application is more likely to go through.

Finding a Buyer’s Agent

When buying real estate in any market, hiring the right agent is half the battle won. A real estate agent offers professional guidance and assistance during the home buying process. Working with an expert can simplify the process so that you can minimize errors, avoid delays, and end up with the home of your dreams.

To find the right partner, ask for one-on-one consultations before committing yourself to a contract. This will help you get a feel for the agent’s communication style and knowledge of the market.

As a local expert, I can help you navigate Portland’s real estate market. Get in touch with me, Brian Getman of PDX Property, to get started.

Looking for Homes Fit For Your Lifestyle

Have a list of wants and needs ready. You can be as specific as you like in terms of number of rooms, square footage, location, architectural style, and other property features.

This will help narrow down the search. With so many listings in the market, house hunting can be time-consuming, so it helps to have a clear idea of what you want in a home.

Portland and the surrounding areas offer a wide range of condos, townhomes, and single-family homes. Click here to browse our listings.

It’s worth taking time out of your busy schedule to attend open houses, especially if you intend to use the home as your primary residence.

Don’t go by real estate photos alone – visiting the property lets you see how accurate the listing photos are. It also gives you the opportunity to ask the seller’s representative any questions about the property.

Escrow and Appraisals

Escrow begins once the seller accepts your offer to purchase. During this phase of the buying process, you must:

  • Open an account to hold your deposit money
  • Obtain bank approval
  • Secure financing
  • Have inspections made
  • Purchase insurance
  • Do a walk-through of the property
  • Close the sale

Closing the Deal

Once your mortgage gets approved and all the conditions of the sale are met, you will go to a closing meeting to sign the final documents. Then you will receive the keys to the property. Your agent will schedule the closing meeting on your behalf.

Moving in

You can now occupy the property. Make your move to Portland as simple and stress-free as possible by choosing a reliable moving service. A relocation specialist will handle the logistics of the move for you. To find the best deal, inquire with more than one moving company and compare rates.

Make sure your things are packed. Consider selling or donating any items that are still in good condition, but no longer serve a purpose in your new home.

A guide to first-time home buyer programs in Oregon

First-time home buyer programs are designed to help hopeful homeowners who may be low to moderate-income earners secure their first property. In addition, the programs also help buyers secure mortgages in case their credit scores are less than ideal. There are also some programs that cater to individuals in certain professions, such as military, education, and law enforcement.

Purchasing a property can be stressful and challenging especially for first-time buyers, as there are a lot of steps, requirements, and important decisions to make. In order to encourage them into the real estate market, first-time home buyer programs offer special advantages to make the home buying process easier and more affordable.

Planning to buy your first home in Portland, Oregon? In this page, we’ll take a closer look at some of the advantages, qualification requirements, and other information about first-time home buyer programs available in Oregon as well as throughout the country.

Get in touch with us today

Are you ready to explore the housing market? Find your perfect place in Portland today. You can reach me, Brian Getman of PDX Property, here. You can also contact me at 503.628.9665 and [email protected]. Buy, sell, and invest with us. We can’t wait to hear from you!