Tips for buying a home in Bend, Oregon

Home buying in Bend Oregon
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If you’re thinking about buying a home in Bend, fall is a good time. The weather is mild, the summer crowds have thinned and there’s still time to snag a gem before the snow hits.

Maybe it’s the crisp air or the prospect of skiing, but fall is also a popular season for buyers from high-priced markets like Portland, Seattle and California to seek a home in Deschutes County, beloved for its wide array of outdoor activities—from fishing and rafting to skiing and golf. Recently Money magazine even proclaimed Bend one of the best places to live.

Homes in the Bend area are especially attractive to buyers from hot urban housing markets, where prices have soared over the past few years, says OCCU’s Bend mortgage loan officer Chris Walker.

“Buyers in those areas—California in particular—couldn’t be happier to find a home that’s in the $400,000 to $500,000 range ,” Walker says. “Prices can be twice as much for a home in the markets they’re coming from.”

Walker understands the allure of Bend. He and his family moved to Bend from North Carolina three years ago in search of a better work-life balance and more time to enjoy the outdoors.

“We just love the availability of being able to do something 12 months out of the year,” he says. “We love the fact that you can drive half an hour or a few hours away and be at the coast or the mountains. You can get lost pretty easily, in a good way.”

For buyers seeking a home in Bend, here are some tips to help make the process easier:

Get to know the area

Many people seeking homes in Bend and the surrounding areas have been vacationing there for years. But visiting a place isn’t the same as living in it—even if you only plan on spending part of the year there. Before you buy, it’s smart to get to know the area from a non-tourist perspective. Visiting during the fall months and talking to locals about what it’s like to live in Bend can help give you a better idea of what to expect.

Consider your comfort zone

When you’re buying a home it’s not just about how much you qualify for. It’s about how much you’re comfortable spending.

“Whether you’re a first-time buyer or this is your second home, we still go through the same checkpoints,” says Walker, who helps buyers assess their financial landscape as they prepare for their next stage of homeownership. “What is it you’re comfortable taking on, liability-wise? What are you comfortable with payment-wise? What can you get approved for?”

Every buyer should ponder these questions before making the decision to buy, and talking to a local loan officer can help.

Consult a local loan officer

Working with a local mortgage officer is always a good idea—especially if you’re from out of town. Not only does their expertise come in handy when you’re making important decisions about your loan, but they can even give you an edge in a competitive market.

“In tight housing markets where bidding wars are common, buyers who need financing can strengthen their offers by working with a locally based mortgage broker or loan officer,” says The Wall Street Journal.

Compare jumbo loans

With a median price of $465,000, buying a home in Bend could require you to take out a jumbo loan. Jumbo loans can be used to finance higher-priced homes that exceed the standard mortgage limit. While most lenders require 20 to 30 percent down to qualify for a jumbo loan, OCCU’s jumbo loans are different. We can finance a higher-priced home for as little as 5 percent down, saving you thousands on your down payment.

Buying a second home can seem like a big undertaking, especially if you live out of town, so it’s important to know you’re in good hands. At OCCU, we’ll work with you to ensure the mortgage process goes as smoothly as possible so you can get into your new home in time to hit the snow.