Selling a Home in Portland, OR

Selling a Home in Portland, OR

Abundant career opportunities and geographical features continue to make Portland, OR, one of the most exciting real estate markets in the nation. Known as “Rose City,” Portland is famous for its flourishing beer scene and spread of outdoorsy activities. Its rich food culture and many unique neighborhoods also offer something for everyone. Add in a reputation for being both walkable and bikeable, and it's easy to see why this city has become such a draw for real estate seekers.

Preparing your home to sell in Portland, OR

Even with elevated mortgage rates, the real estate landscape has remained very competitive in Portland, thanks to limitations for new constructions and a strong level of demand throughout the metro area. That means selling a home comes with a built-in advantage for sellers even as markets normalize following the pandemic. To fully take advantage of the trend while selling a home in Portland, OR, consider the following expert tips.

Interviewing Portland real estate agents

One of the first moves sellers should make is to contact local real estate agents. If you've never been on the selling side before, you might not know what to look for in an agent.

Instead of latching onto the first agent you find, it helps to get a referral through a friend or family member who has had a good experience with an agent. Most credible agents will also have a solid online presence, giving you ample opportunity to research before making contact.

When you sit down with an agent, asking a short list of important questions will help you decide whether an agent is right for you. For a little extra assurance, asking an agent for references from former clients can ensure an agent has the level of experience you're looking for.

Determine your home's value

Home values are constantly in flux, but a few fundamentals will give you an excellent idea of where you stand. As a go-to metric, recent comparable sales set the general range for most home listings. Square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms are the basics, but working with a Portland real estate agent will help you understand the unique market outlook for your home. If you are unsatisfied with the likely selling range, you can start looking at options that will increase your home's value and appeal.

Upgrades that will improve your home's marketability

If you're already prepared to sell, it's best to focus on small-scale upgrades that won't significantly delay your listing. For example, replacing dated light fixtures is a quick and cost-effective way to upgrade your living space. The same goes for replacing entry doors, doorknobs, and old mirrors that can catch the eye of a prospective homebuyer.

If you have more time, replacing an aging garage door will enhance your curb appeal. New garage doors also provide a robust ROI across various real estate markets.

Deciding whether you should stage your home

Not every home needs to be staged, yet there's a reason why so many home sellers take it on. More than 80% of buyers' agents believe that staging positively affects a buyer's ability to visualize the space as their own. With proper staging, buyers begin seeing a home instead of just a property, facilitating an emotional connection that can help serious buyers engage and want to make an offer. Staging also significantly boosts the quality of photos, which are one of the most critical components of any listing.

Understanding the basics of selling your Portland home

There are many moving parts during a home sale, which is why everyone needs a professional to guide them through the process. Some of the components of a sale you'll need to consider include:

Open houses and virtual tours

Home specs and photos will generate interest, but successful open houses and virtual tours turn interest into offers. Before an open house, homeowners should do everything they can to see the home through the eyes of a buyer, who is likely to be very critical.

Decluttering the space is an essential first step, although homeowners should also complete minor repairs and perform a deep clean before setting up an open house.

The same basic principles apply to a virtual tour, although you might want to give special consideration to the lighting. This is where changing out an old light fixture can help your home shine. Many homeowners even rent a storage unit to rid the space of as many unnecessary belongings as possible. The goal is to let potential buyers fill the place with their own thoughts and dreams without being weighed down by a lived-in reality.

Cash vs. traditional offers

Roughly 28% of homes so far in 2023 were sold to a cash buyer, marking the highest rate since 2014. With mortgage rates above recent historical trends, that number will likely stay high for the immediate future.

Cash purchases are typically preferred for many reasons, most notably for a streamlined closing process that provides ample confidence to the seller. The number of cash buyers in Portland is higher than normal compared to many other West Coast cities.

Even with more cash buyers than usual, home sellers shouldn't look at traditional offers as second-rate. A credentialed real estate agent will help a seller understand which traditional offers will pave the way to the desired outcome. A qualified buyer making a traditional offer can be as sound as a cash buyer.

Timing your home sale

Spring and early summer tend to be the best times to sell a house in most climates around the country, including Portland. Warmer weather makes for an easier move, and families are usually eager to settle into a new place before a new school year starts in the fall. The warmer seasons also allow sellers to fix up their exterior and maximize their curb appeal.

Terms to know for closing on a sale

The back-end process of a sale can make a homeowner nervous, though this is where the right agent will show their value. Some of the basics to understand include:

  • Appraisals. An independent surveyor comes to the property to ensure the home's value is close to the offering price. Although they're still used in cash offers, appraisals typically make sure buyers are not overborrowing to purchase the home.

  • Closing costs. Even though closing costs can often be negotiated, sellers can usually expect to pay attorney fees, prorated property taxes, agent commissions, and title fees. Closing costs vary, so it's best to talk with your agent early in the process about your responsibility.

  • Escrow. Escrow is simply a third-party account that facilitates the closing of a real estate transaction. It typically involves a good-faith deposit demonstrating a buyer's seriousness as the closing details are worked out. When certain predetermined conditions are met (e.g., inspections and appraisals), the funds can be released, and both parties can move forward.

Get started selling your home in Portland, OR

Market trends continue to favor home sellers in Portland despite the overall market cooling since the peak of the pandemic. Even though a seller might have an advantage due to limited inventory, homeowners still need an experienced agent who can seize opportunities and generate the best possible sale. When you're ready to sell a home in Portland, OR, contact expert broker Peter Cutile for the local market insight that can make all the difference.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Work With Peter

Navigating the sale or purchase of a home can be one of the biggest and most worrisome seasons of life. Peter's goal is that, by answering questions, providing education on the process, and being available, he will be able to help make that season a sweet and wonderful journey.

Follow Me on Instagram