8 Home Buying Tips

Buying a home? These eight tips can help make your house-hunting experience positive and rewarding.

1. Location counts. You’ve probably heard the old real estate joke about “location, location, location,” but the point still bears repeating. Location is crucial. How far are you really willing to commute to your place of employment? How good are the local schools, shopping centers, public transportation, seniors services and other public amenities? Will your new home be next to a vacant lot or a commercial property? Even a picture-perfect dream home can be a mistake if it’s in an undesirable location, and a poor-location home can be a particularly bad choice if you anticipate reselling the home within a few years.

2. Make a list. Do you (and your spouse, if you’re married) really know what you need and want in your home? You’ll save yourself many hours of shopping (and potentially arguing) if you make a list ahead of time. Zero in on the features you must have, would like to have, definitely don’t want and would prefer not to have. Your goal is to find the right home for your family without falling in love with one that doesn’t suit your needs. Tip: Start compiling your wish list by thinking about what you like and dislike about your current home.

3. Do your homework. Not long ago, consumers had very little access to information about recent home sales prices, market trends, homes on the market, neighborhood statistics and the home-buying process. Today, all this information and more is available on the Web. Go surfing. Get educated. Become empowered.

4. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Your top-dollar home price is a function of your household income, your creditworthiness, interest rates, the type of loan you select and how much ready cash you have for the down payment and closing costs, among other factors. Rather than guessing or estimating how much you can afford to spend, ask a lender or mortgage broker to give you a full assessment and a letter stating how much you’re qualified to borrow. The true amount may be much more or much less than you think.

5. Use a checklist. Touring multiple homes is a confusing experience for most people. Rather than relying on memory, make notes about the homes you visit. Turn your priorities into a personalized home-shopping checklist and use it track the features of each home.

6. Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. House-hunting can be tiring, especially if you’re relocating to a distant community and want to see a dozen homes in one day. There’s no sense in torturing your feet unnecessarily.

7. Be prepared to make an offer. House-hunting can also be frustrating, especially if you know in your heart you’re not really emotionally or financially ready to buy a home. If you’re not ready, don’t put yourself through the exercise. If you are ready, go through a blank purchase contract ahead of time so you’ll know what decisions you’ll face when you make an offer.

8. Relax. Granted, buying a home is a major life-altering event. But it’s not worth making yourself insanely crazy or super-duper stressed. Save time at the end of your house-hunting expedition to unwind, calm your thoughts and emotions and keep the whole experience in perspective.

For more real estate information visit: http://mportlandrealestate.com

Growing Community in Bethany

Standing on the large, covered Craftsman-style front porch of the model at Arbor Oaks in the Bethany neighborhood, with a view of the close-by protected wetlands, it’s easy to picture yourself lounging with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper on a sunny, summer morning.

The gracious, wood-frame porch, which runs the full width of the front of the home, is an example of the expanded living spaces created in the new plans being offered by Arbor Custom Homes. With a large two-car garage set below, the builder is able to deliver more square footage on a smaller footprint.

“People still want square footage,” said Jennifer Walsh, broker and community manager at Arbor Oaks. “By putting the garage underneath, you can have your larger, open great room concepts and also that awesome front porch that’s covered. “It has that charming, Craftsman look, which is really inviting.”

Inside the Sablewood model, the main floor is a well-connected series of smart and open spaces. Wide-plank hardwoods cover the entry and dining room. A big, granite-topped island anchors the great room, brightened by a wall of windows to the rear. A convenient butler’s pantry connects the gourmet kitchen to the dining room.

Second-level bedrooms are large and serviced by a full bath with dual sinks, a laundry room and a big linen closet.

Random Bethany Neighborhood Video:

The master suite features a box-beam ceiling with crown molding and a bath with soaking tub, separate shower, water closet and a walk-in wardrobe.

Steps to a third level reveal a surprise — a flexible rumpus room with a skylight. It’s another unexpected space afforded by building up instead of out.

“We have buyers who say, ‘I want a big garage. I want a big family room,’ ” Walsh said. “Now you have that, and storage all over the place.”

The 2,937-square-foot Sablewood has three bedrooms, three baths and a convertible den and attic room. It’s priced at $439,900.

View more Homes for Sale in NW Portland.

Growing community

Located just off Northwest Springville Road in Washington County, Arbor Oaks is a large master-planned community of 230 homes that will grow to more than 500 homes when completed over the next several years. It features a community pool and boasts an adjacent elementary school — Springville K-8 — rated “outstanding” by the Oregon Department of Education.

The project is also close to Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus, Westview High School and a 32-acre Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation complex.

Natural light illuminates architectural extras in the great room, including art niches, built-in bookshelves and detailed woodwork on the fireplace and stairway newel post.
Arbor Oaks just opened 55 new lots on the west side of the property, where the rolling, hilly topography is perfect for a few new daylight basement plans that Arbor Custom Homes now is offering.

“We had a lot of anticipation with this new phase that just opened,” Walsh said. “The confidence is starting to come out. Buyers are loving being right by the school, and they’re loving North Bethany and the fact that there’s more to come.”

The community offers a variety of home styles, from 1,707-square-foot courtyard terraces starting at $289,900 to manor-style homes ranging to nearly 4,000 square feet and priced from $624,900. Base prices for the daylight basement plans featuring four bedrooms and four baths range from $439,900 to $550,900.

Some of the smaller units include front and back landscaping, perfect for a lock-and-leave lifestyle.

“We have a variety of styles and a variety of price points, which makes for a really nice mix,” Walsh said. “We can find something to fit almost anyone. It’s nice to have options.”

All of the homes at Arbor Oaks are built with energy efficiency in mind, and Arbor Custom Homes’ “Arbor Green” program is designed to promote the overall long-term physical, environmental and financial health of its buyers.

“We’re really implementing healthier living and more durable, efficient products,” Walsh said.

Originally published on Oregon Live.