Those of you that have read this blog for a while know I always have one foot out the door to greener pastures, and one eye on how much more real estate you can buy around the world. I call it “Walkabout or Wanderlust”, and I’ve had a serious case of it over the years.
Recently, some clients of mine cashed in their chips on the San Francisco tables, bought a farm (no loan / no joke) in Portland, Oregon, and couldn’t be happier. As it turns out, their Realtor used to live here in San Francisco, taught English at SF State, wrote for Curbed, SF Gate, and occasionally theFrontSteps. She too cashed in her chips four years ago to discover how great life is outside of this city we all think we love so much, and she’s going to be writing a column about it here, for all of us to ponder. So, without further adieu, please welcome the first of many good blogs by Anna…
Hello San Francisco! Welcome to my personal blog series: The grass is greener in Portland, OR. You know, it really is- because it, like, rains here. And not as much as you may have heard, either. Weather reports of gloomy, moldy winters are exaggerated, probably by Portlanders themselves who wish to keep new people away and property values manageable. This of course is a pipe dream (we just legalized marijuana, by the way, so such dreams are more intense than ever); CNN Money projects Oregon as one of the most moved-to locations in the country—and it has been in the number 2 spot for the last 4 years. And Portland itself is on fire : as one of our biggest metro areas (for jobs, education, and population in general), new residents are arriving in droves here, pushing rents and home values higher.
So what does this mean to you, SF? I used to be you, so let me speak as one who knows. Portland now is a lot like SF then. You know the “then” I mean: pre-Twitter, Google bus, and Yelp, pre-median rents for a 1 BR at over $3000. San Francisco has become more expensive and crowded than ever, and many people I know who still live in the city complain of pricey new construction abounding, commuter traffic worse than ever, and a feeling of culture slipping away.
As a Realtor in Portland, I have had 6 clients in the past year from San Francisco, relocating to Portland for: more kid friendly environment, easier school system negotiations, less expensive real estate, better support for artists, less traffic, easier parking, more land available for gardening, and a “slower lifestyle.”
Portland can provide all that, along with the cool, educated, arty, intelligent, fairly liberal and certainly eco-minded sensibilities I associate with the San Francisco I fell in love with two decades ago. And check this out: your home in San Francisco is likely worth $900K or better. Lots better. Perhaps you read the recent SFGate article about the city’s dearth of listings leading to over-bidding madness? Here, the median home price for Dec of 2014 to mid-March, 2015 is $304K. Do you see the difference? It’s kinda ginormous. Believe me: You can go up to something uber-luxurious and spend less than $700K; or go modest and enjoy a big, beautiful home with a yard and parking, spending less than $500K. The below 4 bed, 2 bath is listed at $390,999 in inner SE Portland.
Check out this one, listing at $347,500- a sweet, well-located 2/1 with garage and separate quarters in back.
See? You can spend less than $350K and have an actual house. With a yard. And a garage! What will you do with the cash you save? How about save it? Or spend it: on anything other than your mortgage.
This blog will highlight then the pros and (to be fair) cons of selling your place in SF and moving to where the grass truly is greener. I’ll highlight properties I think might appeal to you, clients I help make the transition, and answer any questions any of you might have about making the move. And on the other end, Alex can help with anything you might wonder about the SF side of things: what your home is worth (lots); how long it will take to sell (a couple of days); what you need to do to get your place ready for market (varies).
Please feel free to post comments or questions- or story ideas even. From PDX to SF, with love.