Great schools, plenty of outdoor activities and close proximity to Portland are luring a growing number of homebuyers to the Clackamas County area — and our loan officer Susan Busch wants to help each one buy a home.
A longtime Canby resident and OCCU loan officer, she works with prospective homebuyers to help them prepare financially for the competitive Clackamas real estate market.
“Owning a home is the biggest investment of your lifetime. My personal goal is to help every single person get into a home,” says Busch, who worked as a real estate agent before joining the OCCU team.
Busch has lived in Canby for 34 years and has a deep appreciation for all the region has to offer. She raised her two sons there and can vouch for the quality of the local schools. Her family also has enjoyed the area’s proximity to the outdoors. Camping, kayaking and fishing are always within easy reach.
As prices in the Rose City continue to rise, more buyers are seeking homes in outlying communities such as Canby, Happy Valley and Oregon City, fueling intense competition. That can be daunting for potential buyers looking to enter the market.
“There are new homes going up in all our communities,” she says. “Oregon is just on fire. It’s as competitive here as everywhere.”
But things are looking up for buyers. The sizzling summer has had a dramatic cooling effect on the Portland housing market, which is now seeing slower sales, growing inventories and prices that aren’t climbing quite as quickly as last year.
If you’re looking for a bit of acreage in Canby or a home near Clackamas County’s thriving shopping center, now might be a good time to enter the market. Busch offers the following advice for buyers:
Chat with a loan officer first
Before you start hunting for that perfect home, it’s a good idea to sit down with Busch or another OCCU loan officer to discuss your financial situation. Even if you don’t think you’re ready to buy a home, a loan officer can help you assess where you’re at and create a roadmap for getting your finances in shape.
“We love to sit down with people early and chat with them about how they can get where they’re going,” she says. “It’s free, and it gives people hope. They realize, ‘I can probably buy a house.’ ”
Save as much as you can
Your savings are an important factor in determining whether you qualify for a mortgage. And it’s not just about saving for a down payment. Having a nest egg shows lenders you’ve got a handle on your bills and can absorb a larger house payment as well as any unexpected expenses that might arise.
In today’s hot market, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a must. Many sellers won’t even consider your offer if you don’t have your financing nailed down and your pre-approval letter in hand. Getting pre-approved not only gives you a clear idea of how much house you can afford, but it also helps speed up the buying process once your offer is accepted.
Get your documents ready
As you initiate the home loan process, you’ll want to have all of the necessary documents at your fingertips so you can produce them quickly. These include your tax returns and W-2s for the past two years, as well as current bank statements. It may also help to write a letter to your lender to explain any major changes in your income or financial situation, Busch says.
Thinking about buying a home in the Clackamas area? Apply for a home loan today to get the ball rolling.