Starting Your Home Search in Central Oregon

I’m not surprised that you’re considering buying a property in Central Oregon. This is an awesome place to live! (But don’t take my word for it –- just ask the folks at Forbes, Business Week, Sunset magazine, Money magazine, Outside magazine, Bike magazine, Ski magazine, and USA Today and many other publications, who in the past several years have all touted the area as one of the best places in America to live).

Before Your Purchase

The toughest thing about your search in Central Oregon may be deciding on which locale to call home. Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Tumalo, Sunriver, La Pine, Prineville, Madras and Culver are all popular communities within the vibrant tri-county area –- and all have very distinctive personalities, not to mention climates. (Remember, we’re located in the high desert within close proximity of the Cascade Mountains, which creates some pretty dramatic differences in climate and terrain from town to town).
That’s where I come in. I’m available to search the entire inventory of the Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service in our quest to find your perfect home, and I know this area well.
But before we go too far, you’ll want to meet with a mortgage professional to determine the size and type of loan that best suits your needs (unless, of course, you plan on paying cash for your new home).
Once that’s done, you’ll know the price range we should focus on during your search. But take note: This is a critical step that is too often overlooked until too far into the process. Especially these days, with the industry-wide tightening of mortgage-qualification requirements, you’ll want to know exactly how much you’re prepared — and able — to spend from the get-go. Plus, if you aren’t equipped with a lender’s pre-approval letter when it comes time to make your offer, you may hit a real stumbling block — many sellers require that a buyer provide a pre-approval letter before they will even review an offer on their property.
Another thing you’ll want to do before you begin: review the following two documents, which were created to ensure that you are a well-educated buyer:
Oregon Disclosure Pamphlet–- describes the duties and responsibilities of real estate licensees in Oregon; and outlines the three types of agency relationships: the Listing Agent, Buyer’s Agent & Disclosed Limited Agency
Oregon Property Buyer Advisory–- details the home-buying process; provides a comprehensive list of many of the issues that are pertinent to homebuyers in Oregon; and includes valuable resources that can be helpful in learning more about these issues.

The Purchase Process

Once you’ve found a home and are ready to write an offer, I’ll prepare and review the eight-page sales agreement with you in-depth. I’ll also handle all the contract negotiation with the seller’s agent, until an agreement is reached.
Then, after escrow has been opened and while the preliminary title report is being prepared, you’ll be provided a time frame in which to order a home inspection. No, home inspections aren’t required by law in Oregon, and some buyers do opt to skip them as a cost-saving measure (especially on newer homes), but experience has taught me that this is money well spent (usually about $350-$450).
You, as the buyer, may choose to accept the property with the revealed problem(s). However, any defect uncovered during an inspection provides the buyer with additional negotiating power:

  • You may assess the cost of addressing the problem(s) and adjust your offer price accordingly;
  • Or you may ask the seller to address the issue(s) and require them to make any necessary repairs before close of escrow.
  • Or you may terminate the contract if the inspection reveals any issue that’s unacceptable to you.

Meanwhile, after your loan application has been submitted, your lender will order an appraisal of the property to ensure that the value of the home isn’t lower than your purchase price and/or the loan amount (and if it is, the offer will have to be adjusted accordingly). As the closing date approaches, your lender will work with its underwriting department to finalize the loan. I’ll stay in contact with your lender throughout the process to make sure that the loan is proceeding on track.
At the same time, the title company is researching the history of the property to ensure that will be able to provide you with clear title before closing (and if there are issues, I’ll be there to help you review and address them).

Special Circumstances

If you’re purchasing a home on acreage, there will be a few additional issues we’ll need to address too (for example, well, septic system, irrigation, outbuildings, fencing, easements). Make sure these areas don’t get shortchanged -– they are a critical component of your property!)
If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll want to work with someone who is available to walk you through the process and is prepared to answer your many questions and address any concerns you may have. I’m there to guide you every step of the way.
If you’re interested in purchasing a bank-owned home or short sale, you’ll want to work with someone who understands the ins and outs of these transactions — which require an understanding of how a financial institution’s involvement in real estate sales inherently changes the game (sometimes a little; sometimes a lot).