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Old 10-03-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 181,921 times
Reputation: 178

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Hello,
Searching Trulia there do appear to be homes out there for under $150k around portland. Does anyone have any experience with this price range, whether as an investor or as a home? Where are good neighborhoods to look? Is this segment of the market dominated with investors looking to flip the homes, or mostly people wanting to live in these homes and improve the communities?

My wife and I have our first kid on the way, and are thus looking to settle down somewhere (we've been traveling for some time.) Portland is the only place west of Missouri that we're considering, but I worry if we move there that we won't be able to own our own home. I refuse to buy a home I can't reliably pay off within 15 years, and Portland appears to be the only place we're considering where this could be a problem. Both our parents are an 8 hour drive down I-5 to California, and that's also where we have all our non-junk stuff stored that we didn't just sell before traveling. So the ease and low cost of visiting parents along with being able to easily move our stuff is the main draw to Portland for us (we like the weather and proximity to the ocean/mountains too though.) I don't have any fancy requirements I'm looking for other than a reasonable degree of safety. I can deal with the schools being not the best, a bit of a commute, etc. I'm fine with neighborhoods that are getting cleaned up and have hope of being nice in the future. I'm fine with fixer uppers, sort of expect that in this price range and it being in a reasonably-safe/improving neighborhood. So anyway, I'd especially love input from those who've actually purchased in this range, but if anyone generally has info on cheaper neighborhoods that don't seem too bad I'd be appreciative of any info I can get so we can focus our expectations properly and figure out if Portland is the place for us! Thanks
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,831 posts, read 18,614,978 times
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As I do a quick search using an realtor's interactive search tool for homes between $125 and $150 I see a good selection east of I-205, the suburb of Milwaukie and a scattering south of Highway 26. That is where I would look. There is a house in the neighborhood of Linnton, a part of town I know well. It is on a steep hill and not really convenient to children's play grounds, although the neighborhood center at the base of the hill has child care. Skyline Grade School, Lincoln High School.

Have I looked at buying a house in that price range? No.

This is the low end of the Portland metro price range. While not necessarily in a rough neighborhood they may have issues. Were I you I would look at the recent school rating guide and try to find a house in a neighborhood with a strong grade school You will want to line up your own home inspector so that when you find one you are considering buying it won't be a money pit.

You really should look in the vicinity of your employer as what you save on a house purchase can be spent on a commute.

Best of luck to you and your family.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Portland
1,620 posts, read 2,007,850 times
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A quick look on Realtor.com shows 288 properties found $150,000 or under.

Happy hunting... 3 Bedroom Portland, OR Homes for Sale - Realtor.comĀ®
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
1,580 posts, read 2,254,758 times
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We bought a house in St. Johns North Portland, It's really up and coming, rent is skyrocketing because everything is within walking distance. We purchased this winter for $155,000. It's a 1780 sq two story built in 1949. It barely passed inspection.... BARELY. That is the biggest hurdle when buying these homes. If you have cash, then no need to worry, but since ours is through the VA, they were very hesitant. I have put about 25k into the house in about 8 months. It needed a new roof, the kitchen was total crap, nothing worked, plumbing was crap. the decks were dry rotted, we put alot of elbow work in ourselves and it was still 25k to get to the point we could rent it out. A lot of electrical work wasn't up to code that was almost 4k right there. The roof almost 10k the decks about 1.5k, kitchen remodel about 8k, 1.5 to have college kids paint the house. Then some interior paint and some odds and ends I was able to do myself. We are about to rent it out, and move to Clackamas County or Camas, WA. Portland schools are AWFUL and we don't care about mass transit or biking. The mortgage is only $860 a month @ 3.67 APR. We have already had responders to rent. We will be renting it out for $1400 in two weeks. Every situation is different. North Portland is ghetto in my opinion, I grew up by U of P off of Willamette and Chautauqua, that area is still nice, but a lot of North Portland is still the same old North Portland. I think I answered your question about flipping. I would be looking in North Portland it's already blowing up and you can find some really cheap houses. I can't really say anything about other neighborhoods. You can get some good finds around I-205 but that whole area is super sketchy. Especially Powell and division.... well i think its all sketchy in that area. I also noticed some sub 150k houses in the Argay area but Sandy Blvd 82nd to 181st is cesspool.. once again IN MY OPINION. Check the area out for yourself on a Saturday night at 10PM, visit some local convenient stores. That will give you an idea of the less polished and less distinguished citizens of that neighborhood. If you could afford 220k you would have a really really good chance of finding what your looking for. Maybe save up a good down payment. If there is one thing I have learned from years of moving and home buying, NEVER SETTLE. Choose a place you can live the rest of your life.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
425 posts, read 1,186,981 times
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Default Crime Mapper City of Portland and surrounding areas

We have used a Crime Mapper website for the Portland area that has been very interesting. By using it, we now know which areas we would be most comfortable in as we too look for a neighborhood to live in. You can just search for: Crime Mappers Portland OR and you will get the site. Good luck in your hunt! Exciting times ahead for you and your family!
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Nutmeg State
1,176 posts, read 2,370,194 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyAMG View Post
If there is one thing I have learned from years of moving and home buying, NEVER SETTLE. Choose a place you can live the rest of your life.
This is terrible advice. Does the term "starter house" not exist?

I bought a house for $126k last year. We live in the Mt. Scott/ Brentwood-Darlington area of SE Portland (also near Woodstock, which would be another place to look). For under $150k others are correct, and you will most likely have to look east of 72nd. Montavilla (in NE) would be my destination neighborhood if I were you. But there are plenty of other neighborhoods in the SE that are slowly making their was up the ladder (as you described). For $150 you should be able to find something that is livable without a lot of absolutely necessary remodeling. You won't find granite counter tops and updated bathrooms, but I hope you knew that already.

The crime in most Portland neighborhoods is pretty minimal (esp. for a big city). There are a few pockets of bad areas but they are usually only a few blocks, and then the next block will have nice houses. For this reason it is really important to pound the pavement and get out and see houses.

I think that there is a lot of buying for both investment and living right now.

It's a great time to buy and there is a lot of decent properties available at very cheap (for the west coast) prices.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
1,580 posts, read 2,254,758 times
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If I could do it all over again I would have never bought a "starter home." I would have bought a "home."
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
159 posts, read 181,921 times
Reputation: 178
Thank you both for the advice and neighborhoods to check out/avoid! In my own experience that I might as well add to the thread - I bought my first home when I was 21 and held on to it, through thick and thin (mostly thick!) until I realized 5 years later that it absolutely wasn't worth it. I let it go as a business decision, thankfully through great pressure on the bank I was able to just barely short sale it at the end of 2009 as opposed to foreclose. I had been one of those that bought with a very rosy picture of the housing market - it's the best investment you'll ever make, you can't lose money, sell it in 5 years (when the contract allows for it without massive penalty) and you'll have $100k in the bank, blah blah blah! Obviously in retrospect I happened upon a very very BAD time to buy ;) But I've definitely made peace with that because it opened my eyes that a home should never be looked at as an investment. A house can be an investment, and if done right it can even be a good investment - especially in times as these. But a home is somewhere you live, that's it. I will never again buy a home I couldn't at least put up with living in for 15 years, nor will I buy one that I can't pay off in 15 years. The self-perpetuating idea of these increasingly larger mortgages benefits nobody but banks and those with lucky timing. 30 years is just too long to be paying on a house in my opinion, and considering a couple moves and refi's 30 years is pretty optimistic anymore anyway.

So, I think there are starter homes and those do have a place, but it's unwise to be praying to move onto something else before you even sign the papers ;) Perhaps the rest of our lives is too long to accept living there, but the idea is definitely good - we should be able to live there a long time. Anyway, thanks again for the input, I'll poke around these neighborhoods when I get there!
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Nutmeg State
1,176 posts, read 2,370,194 times
Reputation: 635
I'm not saying buy a starter home and be looking to upgrade right away. I'm saying that idea of "don't settle or compromise on a house" is just ridiculous (and frankly that's a lot of the reason we got into the terrible financial situation we're in today: because too many people bought way too much house that they couldn't afford because they didn't want to (or felt they shouldn't have to) compromise).
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: California
5,735 posts, read 6,497,817 times
Reputation: 12000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
As I do a quick search using an realtor's interactive search tool for homes between $125 and $150 I see a good selection east of I-205, the suburb of Milwaukie and a scattering south of Highway 26. That is where I would look. There is a house in the neighborhood of Linnton, a part of town I know well. It is on a steep hill and not really convenient to children's play grounds, although the neighborhood center at the base of the hill has child care. Skyline Grade School, Lincoln High School.

Have I looked at buying a house in that price range? No.

This is the low end of the Portland metro price range. While not necessarily in a rough neighborhood they may have issues. Were I you I would look at the recent school rating guide and try to find a house in a neighborhood with a strong grade school You will want to line up your own home inspector so that when you find one you are considering buying it won't be a money pit.

You really should look in the vicinity of your employer as what you save on a house purchase can be spent on a commute.

Best of luck to you and your family.
Great advice for any first time buyer. Don't be afraid to use more than one inspector, such as plumber, chimney inspector, and electrician. If issues are found you can either walk or use it as a negotiating tool. And as Nell said, find your inspector first as they should be independant from the realtor. Once you sign on the dotted line it is your problem so don't let price be the only factor in your decision.
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