If buying a home is one of the more complex transactions any of us will encounter in our lives, relocating to a new city and buying a home at the same time multiplies that complexity in countless additional ways. There are so many aspects to consider, tasks to juggle, and timelines to coordinate. It’s a big lift any way you look at it. I’m here to say that it can be done, and in a way that feels relatively manageable and controlled, considering all of the moving parts involved.
I have the pleasure of assisting clients in this position every year. In fact, about 15-20% of my business is working with relocating clients. Many of them are in the medical profession, but some are grandparents moving closer to their grandkids and others are working through a major life transition. I’m a highly detail-oriented person and I really enjoy the coordination and planning necessary to make this process as seamless as possible for my clients. I also know it can be a challenging time emotionally, and I bring a compassionate, no-pressure mindset to our working relationship and the process.
Everyone’s situation is different, of course, and there are always layers to consider, but I want to provide some key things to consider in this process:
- LAUNCH: Establishing a connection, learning about your needs, and establishing a working plan. Fortunately, this part is pretty straightforward and can be done over the course of one or more Zoom calls when we can get to know one another and figure out the best approach for your situation. We’ll leave that call with a clear plan of next steps and I will follow-up with an email full of additional information. I’ll also create custom search in our RMLS that will send you properties matching your criteria every morning. You can start looking through these to passively learn ‘your’ market and help manage expectations around how size, location, condition, age and amenities contribute to list prices and availability. The Portland market, like all west coast cities, is more expensive than many of the places from where people are moving, and re-calibrating expectations early on is an important step.
- TIMING: Not surprisingly, this is by far the most important aspect and one of the first things we need to establish. I find the best way to sketch this out is to work backwards from the date by which you must be in your home. Sometimes this is open-ended, but I find that this date is often related to a hard start date for a new job or the start of the school year. Once an offer has been accepted, it’s typically a 28-30 day transaction period until closing and possession, when you get keys and can officially start moving your belongings. The home search process itself can take 1-2 months, at a minimum, for you to find the perfect house and also have an offer accepted on it. Depending on your current location and proximity to Portland, the ease with scheduling tours can vary, but it’s a commitment to set aside time and funds to make some boots-on-the-ground visits. On these visits, I’m able to coordinate +/- 8 showings/day (a full day!) over the course of a long weekend, or even a long week, if necessary. I want to help you maximize your time here in Portland.
- SELECTION: Flexibility in timelines is one the strongest assets for a buyer. However, since it’s likely that you’ll only have 1-3 visits to Portland to search homes, your selection of homes will be likewise limited to what’s available on the market when you’re here in town. Of course, I’m able to provide video tours to help give some advance support before you’re able to make it to (or back to) Portland, but most folks won’t want to buy a home until they’ve set foot inside (and I wouldn’t recommend it). There’s no substitute for physically seeing a home in person, getting a feel for size, location, neighborhood, and all of the other tangible and intangible aspects to consider. While it might not be ideal, having a limited set of choices helps clarify things quickly.
- FINANCING: This is another fundamental first step, and one applies to all buyers. Connecting with a (preferably) local lender to discuss your situation and to learn what you can afford based on your budget, will give you a solid foundation from which to build your home search. Buyers who are also relocating are often dealing with the sale of their current home, and this adds a few layers of complexity around financing and timing, as well as the terms of your offer. These are things we’ll discuss in our first call, but I can also provide introductions to local lenders who can be a resource for you to get that step started. I can also connect with your local real estate broker to best understand your home sale situation.
These are just the first steps, of course, but I wanted to provide a brief roadmap as you consider what this process might look like. I’m always available for a call to chat more about your specific questions and needs. I love helping people make the move to Portland, so please let me know how I might be able to help you do so!