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Unread 01-28-2010, 08:54 PM
8 posts, read 7,208 times
Reputation: 10
Smile Good neighborhood to buy?

Hi, I was hoping for some direction on where to buy a condo/townhouse. Id like to stay in the city proper, near "good" public transportation, a walking neighborhood (wont have car) single, no kids, middle aged, liberal. ,animal loving ISO of somewhere not too young, not too old, not too pretenious, Im always a big fan of "up and coming" or even a bit gritty. Maybe an area with smaller buildings. Im looking at maybe 150k..is that doable?And I know this weather question has probably been asked a billion times..but is the Portland rain downpours, misting or showers? Ive checked a few sites but it gives totals but doesnt tell me if I can walk without rain gear!! Many Thanks
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Unread 01-29-2010, 11:25 AM
Location: Portland, Oregon
9 posts, read 14,440 times
Reputation: 21
First, let me respond to the rain question- the answer is yes... all of the above. Our weather cycles have everything to do with the winter storms that form over the Pacific in the Gulf of Alaska, and on the movement of the jet stream that delivers those storms to the West Coast. Some years the bulk of the storms hit north, in Washington and Canada, sometimes to the south when you hear about floods and mudslides in California, and sometimes right into Oregon.

Often days have periods of showers. When the bigger storms move through, we'll have downpours. Sometimes it's just mist. The main point is that change is frequent. I have played golf in mixed sunshine on the 30th of December (not this year). I've gotten drenched in May. It is always changing.

On the condo front, $150k is doable, 280-700 sq ft is a number of area near the core of the city on the west side. And price isn't your only cost factor- there are also property taxes and HOA fees. Some units are in buildings that have tax abatements for being on the Historic Register. That can save up to $2-300/month.

Here are 5 places from 150-185 asking price. (This link is only good for two weeks or 100 viewings). The first one is in NW at 20th and Flanders. Great tree-lined walking neighborhood; half a block to one of the best bread bakeries in Portland (Ken's), a block to a park, 3 minutes to the MAX Line, close to a Trader Joe's and lots of restaurants and shops.

The second one is pretty much near the heart of downtown. Lot's of convenience and access- also lots of activity.

The third one is in the Pearl. Potentially the greatest valuation upside over the next 5 years because of its location. Bank owned so could probably get an even better buy.

Fourth is in the South Waterfront, a development that suffered from bad timing. This building is extremely well finished, as are the others in the complex, because they had hoped that doctors and support persons from the OHSU research hospital up the hill would fill the buildings up. This is a great value; however taxes are a bit high. Over time, if this area lives up to its planned growth (and eventually it will) this unit will also have good upside potential. This are is right on the river and on the streetcar line, and so is accessible to downtown etc. but currently feels a little lonely.

The last on, in the Zinc condo, is in a great neighborhood in NW as well as the first one. The first one was a block off of the NW 21st shops and restaurants; this one is a block from the NW 23rd shops and restaurants.

So, something to think about...
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Unread 01-29-2010, 02:00 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
5,554 posts, read 5,943,821 times
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I did a quick search on a popular RE website, core area condo no parking under $200,000. All of the buildings I mention (unless commented otherwise) are in transit friendly neighborhoods.

I wouldn't buy those on NW Nato Parkway or Uptown Terrace (transit a hike in both cases), they are troubled conversions from rentals. Personally I wouldn't buy any condo that is a recent (last 10 years) converted apartment, too many developer short cuts. Similarly I wouldn't buy any condo built by a developer who has been sued for construction quality issues, even on other buildings.

The Four Seasons is currently addressing building envelope issues, look to see how that is being paid for. This is a prime example of buildings converted from apartments. After the work is complete this building, construction wise, might be a nice place to live. Great neighborhood.

The units at 1900 SW River Drive and SW River Parkway (the John Ross) deserve serious consideration for reasons mentioned by earlier writer. The building at 1125 NW 9TH AVE (Pearl) is a conversion going back a few years but is worthy of a look.

The Zink, 722 NW 24TH AVE, is too recent a conversion to pass judgement on. A LOT would depend on the reputation of the developer/contractor. Great neighborhood.

The building at 4th & Flanders suffers from being close to social service agencies helping the homeless.

Most of the others I clicked on are the size of a closet, IMHO. These tiny units would be good for student housing in the future BUT a good building severely limits the # of rentals so forget that option. Those on SW Cardinal are an example. Do not buy anything on the basis that you can rent at a later date.

Whatever you think you want make sure your offer is contingent on your review of MINTUES AND LETTERS TO THE HOA for the last two years, in addition to review of the covenants.

If you are willing to go opt for a bus route only there is one on the market in the Quintet (6605 W BURNSIDE RD) that is worth a look.

Last edited by Nell Plotts; 01-29-2010 at 02:15 PM..
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Unread 01-29-2010, 10:22 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
5,554 posts, read 5,943,821 times
Reputation: 2086
You need to know that I have lived most of my life in NW Portland, although I am currently living in Seattle metro. I am approaching my 70th year and know almost every crack in the sidewalk in NW, Goose Hollow and downtown. I knew NW when John Reed of The Reds fame lived there.

Condos under $200 seem to sell well however I think they are very small and if there is any chance of your needing more living space in the next 10 years I wouldn't buy because the transaction costs are so high. That said, when my current home sells we will buy a condo.

There is nothing currently available in Forestry Commons (NW Upshur & 28th) but it is well located for transit and employment, and great if you have a dog because Forrest Park is so close. Many home owners nearby have lived there for 20 years. The Commons has always been a condo, is older but is well maintained.

The brick 'garden apartments' (as they say in 'Jersey) that have been recently converted to condos were built before WWII, those on Raleigh are really small. Caution, again, about conversion from rentals in a hot RE market.

When in the market for a condo it is not only location but condition, covenants and financial condition.
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