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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Big Step: Buying A House

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 9:26 AM

After working diligently for 13 years on upholstering and custom building furniture, Erin Lolcama of Exit Realty redirected her career in a massive way. The Portland native, born-and-raised in Northeast, turned her sights toward PDX’s real estate market. Now she feels more at home, finding homes for ‘her people.’

The city’s booming popularity has made it a bit of a real estate enigma. Caught in the cross-hairs of a popped market bubble and the uncontrollable rise in the city’s population, Portland has become a unique hot spot.

When compared to other growing cities around the country, apartment and home prices have remained surprisingly within reach.

“Between 200,00 and $250,000, it’s a really hot price bracket for first time buyers. It’s got a lot of competition,” said Lolcama about the pricing in some of the developing neighborhoods. Some of these neighborhoods are even cropping up further out than many ever imagined. So what’s the new boundary? 82nd Avenue but it’s more popularly known as the Mason Dixon line.

Horror stories of developments throughout the U.S. saturating the markets created unprecedented, and largely unforeseen, issues like the demand for jobs or unpredictable mortgage and interest rates.

But not here in Portland. Driving around in Southeast neighborhoods like Division, Hawthorne and Foster-Powell, where Lolcama has one of her listings, it’s easy to see the constant demand for more housing.

“They’re trying to fit everyone. As the city gets more and more populated people are getting more resourceful about where they go,” says Lolcama.

The city’s ‘low-inventory’ has a lot to with the steady pricing and sustained prominence of the neighborhoods.

“Home’s don’t stay on the market for long, if they do, it’s not price correctly,” said Lolcama.

A lot of the credit goes to the devotedly followed 10-minute rule. Whether it’s intentional or not, as a Realtor and life-time resident of PDX, Lolcama agrees that in most neighborhoods East of the Willamette you’ll find pretty much everything you desire within walking distance.

So, what does this all mean for the potential homebuyer? Lolcama’s offers some quick, and not-so-obvious tips, for those who are looking to up-size or simply want to invest in a property they can call their own.

-Do research

Before even stepping into the office of a realtor, Lolcama suggest doing some reflection on what it is that you truly want and need. Setting a comfortable and realistic budget can help dictate what is within reach. Consulting a mortgage broker and pre-qualifying for a loan can help any buyer set limits, avoid disappointed and speed up the entire process once you are approved.

-Be ready to compromise

“It’s an educational process. I don’t want to tell them[clients] they can’t. I want them to realize what they can get for their budget. Maybe you don’t need that third room or the garage or the basement shop,” said Lolcama.

Cutting the fat can save you thousands and help you nab a more attainable abode in a desired neighborhood or with a particular style. Also, realizing your capabilities is helpful. Not handy? Does you see yourself getting more handy? Because the house isn’t gonna get more fixed, it’ll get less fixed, says Lolcama. Maybe a condo is a better alternative.

-Rent vs. Buying

After figuring out the basics, take time to zoom out and think. Should I actually be looking to buy or rent? The renting market is highly competitive and harder to negotiate since rent brokers all but exist in PDX. But Lolcama recommends not ruling out the possibility of condos especially with budget and location restriction.

“Hit the pavement!” says Lolcama before you get stuck biding against hundreds of others on an apartment.

If you have any questions or would like to inquire about a property, contact Erin Lolcama at 971-506-4595

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