3 Keys to Buying a Home in Portland- While you can find 101 ways to buy a house and article after article on the proper way to purchase a home, there really are three major keys I wish everyone would know about buying a house. While it buying property hasn’t really changed over the last 50 years, the way we get to our homes and the way we negotiate hats. It still is beneficial to have a real estate agent facilitate the transaction although not necessary, and it’s important to be able to afford the home before making an offer. With those two key points in mind, here are three major keys to buying a home in Portland.

#1. Have your own representation.3 Keys to Buying a Home in Portland

It costs you absolutely nothing to have your own agent when it comes to buying real estate. There are typically two real estate agents involved in every transaction, the listing agent and the selling agent or buying agent. I know that that term might sound counterintuitive but it’s the agent that actually brought the buyer in order to sell the property, hence the name, the selling agent.

The agent that is representing the seller is actually the listing agent. This agent is the one that is marketing the home, listing it on the MLS, and works solely for the seller or homeowner of the property. This agent’s primary goal is to sell that property. So then, does it make sense to use that agent when you’re ready to buy? Not necessarily. That agent will get the full commission on the sale of the property whereas if you use your own agent, that percentage of commission get split between the agents. You can see why most listing agents also want to bring the buyer or represent the buyer.

But this is why it’s absolutely free for buyers to use their own agent. That agent will get paid a split commission from whichever home they choose so it’s super important for the buyer to have your own representation. This agent is working on your behalf, not the seller and even though they get paid from the sale of the property, they will get the commission regardless of which home you choose. Your goals, priorities, and confidential financial situation are all allowing your cards to be held on your side giving you, the buyer, leverage over the transaction.

#2. Get preapproved before looking at homes.

I can tell you one of the most frustrating things for a lot of first-time homebuyers is that they look for homes first, find one they love, and get emotionally attached to, only to realize they can’t afford it. While it might be very easy and tempting to look at homes, if you don’t know how much you can actually afford, it only leads to frustration and discouragement.

If you are serious about buying a home, sit down with the lender and discuss how much you can afford. This is more than simply a prequalification. This is not just entering a few numbers in on a mortgage calculator online. This is a real investigation into your finances, your income, your debt to income ratio, liabilities, and assets to determine how much in a monthly mortgage payment you can afford. Then, and only then, should you start looking at homes within that price range.

My big suggestion is to look at homes at least 5% to 10% less than your maximum so you have a little wiggle room during the month and extra that you might want to put into the home once you purchase it.

Related: How much should you put down on a house?

#3. Get a home inspection.

Once you know how much you are approved for and you know what type of home you want to buy, make an offer but then never neglect the home inspection process. Even on brand-new homes it’s a good idea to have a home inspection so that you know everything about this property. Remember, this is the biggest investment you’ll probably ever make and it only makes sense to know as much as you can about it.

You have the right to choose whomever you want as your home inspector but your real estate agent will probably have a reputable resource to choose from. A company that inspector to the home asking questions about the property, appliances, and how much life each of the items and materials have left on them. This will give you a good idea on how to save for future repairs and replacements.

For more information on buying a home, specifically your first home in the Portland metro area, I urge you to contact my favorite mortgage rep Mark Charlton. As an expert in Portland area home loans, he can find the best program and term for your needs and your budget and then you can start on finding the perfect Portland home. Contact me for all Portland real estate.

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