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I Wanted to Rent Forever, but Buying a Home Changed My Life

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Before 2020, my husband and I I didn’t plan to buy a house.. We were going to move around for our careers, investing in real estate funds in apartment buildings and renting them in different locations as needed.

But no one can predict the market and life changes rapidly. In the end, I pivoted and bought an urban condo in Southwest Hills, Portland, and closed it at a 3.9% interest rate.

My husband and I changed jobs every two years and traveled to different cities and states for work. I rented it in a charming historic area, a convenient location in a brand new apartment and a trendy location. We enjoyed moving around almost every year and investing in cars and various retirement accounts.

When the pandemic happened, it started to shift

I started an independent freelance journalism business in the fall of 2019, and before that I had already begun to move from home to work.

After living in Texas, my husband and I returned to Oregon. My husband works as a salesman and she started selling large quantities of raw materials for international cannabis companies. This wasn’t easy from Texas due to the stricter cannabis law.

At the end of 2021, I got a call from my favorite local newspaper publisher who was a reporter a few years ago. They lost the Star Reporter and wanted to reorganize the newsroom and bring me back as Deputy Editor-in-Chief.

Combine with Mass retirement And as many local news rooms were closed, I did a gig to help keep local news while continuing my freelance business.

My husband and I both started working full time from a one bedroom apartment

I set up an office in the dining area while he was manipulating the laptop at the counter. From time to time, one of us worked on the couch or called from a single bedroom.

He said he loves his job, but I realized so too. I am stable with full-time income and have the flexibility to write as much as I want for additional clients. Almost everything is completely mobile.

However, both salesmen and journalists make many calls.

It wasn’t working in our apartment anymore

Just a year ago we were completely happy in the studio. But for the first time, we had good reason to stay in one place and were able to maintain mobile flexibility in our career.

The tendency to work from home has solidified the idea of ​​moving to condominiums more permanently. The next time you change jobs, you can now choose to work from home from most places.

We started looking for a two bedroom house. At the one-bedroom location in the higher-ranked Lake Oswego, rents had risen by nearly 30%, despite suffering from mold. New studios can cost more than $ 2,000 a month, and homes with additional bedrooms for offices can easily cost $ 3,600 in the Portland area.

At that time, interest rates were historically low

There were two-bedroom condos on the market that were more comfortable and paid less monthly than two-bedroom apartments, including HOA rates.

With pre-approval of mortgages, we have begun to seriously consider open houses. We looked from the suburbs to the heart of downtown Portland and scrutinized the list of all neighborhoods. We wanted to make sure this property was a good investment for us and a good place to live.

In the end, I decided to go for an urban town home style condominium. The suburbs are highly competitive, the prices are high, and moderate condos provide sufficient funding for a variety of investments. This is one of the main reasons we have previously hesitated to buy a major home. You can also live in a nice neighborhood in Southwest Hills by buying a condo instead of a house. This is because it was cheaper than an equally nice single-family home.

Make sure you know what you need for your home

Instead of looking for a two-bedroom condo, we decided to look for a place to close at least one door that could be used as an office. We also needed 1.5 bathrooms and a minimum of 2 parking lots, including a covered garage.

Next, we considered a place where we could compromise. This was the key to winning bids against Boomer bidders.

The first compromise was the stairs. Condos with elevators offer easy access to HOAs ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 1,200 per month. Our HOA is less than half because we decided it was okay to lift up to the 3rd floor. Every day is a leg day!

I also decided to do a search during the winter. There will be less competition, but less inventory. It worked for us.

The first offer failed, but I put in a total of three offers and won two of them. Initially it secured an interest rate of 3.2%, but lost it and finally closed the third condo at 3.9%. Especially because it was a conventional loan for condominiums, the interest rate is a little higher than the interest rate of those who buy a house.

We love the small 2001 condo we decided on

Some custom updates are already installed and there is room for more refurbishment projects. It’s affordable, but it’s not the unupdated 100-year-old fixer upper that’s common in the markets around Oregon.

It is also a town home style corner unit on the top floor, so it shares only one wall and three side windows and is located only above the other one neighbor. Straddling 3 buildings, HOA has 11 units.

For us, that means we can walk to the Saturday Market and lend it to students or use it as Airbnb in the future.

This is far more customary than the original plan to invest directly in a real estate fund in an apartment complex. However, historically low interest rates and rising rents make it reasonable to invest in a primary condo first.

We are betting on the revitalization of downtown, returning money and heart to the cities we love and at least have chosen to call home a little more permanently.

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