Although I try to keep this blog pretty geographically neutral, many of you know that I currently reside in the Portland, Oregon area. Although we aren’t planning to stay here that much longer, it’s a great place to live and we almost hate to leave. But we have made personal commitments to move closer to our family. In the meantime, my new hobby is going to be learning more about the local Portland real estate market. Hopefully I can better understand which cheaper neighborhoods are on the upswing and also look for houses for potential rentals. It also gives me something to do before we find new jobs and can therefore start looking for houses for ourselves.
Besides comparing mortgage payments and the market rates for rent, I also need to figure out:
- Local property tax rates
- Average home insurance costs
- Average Vacancy rates
- Home warranty costs
- How to find foreclosure listings and auctions
- Property manager recommendations and rates
- (anything I’m missing?)
I’m probably not going to contact any real estate agents or mortgage brokers just yet, as I don’t want to waste their time. I’m going to hit the Open House circuit on weekends and maybe talk to For Sale By Owner houses. Pretty much keep it low key, but hopefully educational too. Also, I’ve discovered that while people tend not to like talking about money and salaries, they are much more willing to talk about houses!