Buying Portland condos is a unique proposition in and of itself. It is very different than buying a home and there are different items you should be aware of. Consider these seven things before you start shopping for your first Portland condo or loft.
Choosing a neighborhood for your condo building comes with a lot of variables like, do you have a car? Can you walk to work? Do I want to be near certain amenities like favorite restaurants, bars or coffee shops? Obviously these are also considerations you make when choosing a neighborhood for your home, however when speaking of condos usually these amenities are right at your doorsteps. Also there are far fewer options for condo neighborhoods, so really knowing what is important to you will help you decide where to hone your search in on. Some of the more popular condo neighborhoods in Portland are the Pearl District, South Waterfront, Downtown and the NW District aka Nob Hill.
Size & Bedrooms
The majority of condos in Portland are 1 bedroom units, so knowing how much room you need is key. 1 bedroom condos can range in square footage from 500 sq. ft to 1500 sq. ft. There is a large discrepancy between pricing of these units so understanding how much space you need will help you stay on budget and simplify the search. If you think you need 2 bedrooms but intend to use the second bedroom as an office you may find that a 1 bedroom + den unit will be suitable for your needs. These units will be listed in the MLS as 1 bedroom condos, so ask your realtor to filter the listings for you during your search.
Pets & Parks
Even though Portland is a pet friendly city, not all buildings allow pets so be sure you make this need known upfront, as to eliminate those buildings that restrict pets from your search. Also if you have dogs specifically be sure to consider how close the condo building is to parks. Portland’s condo neighborhoods all have good parks, however the Pearl District is known for its off-leash Dog park called the Fields Park. It is located on the north side of the Pearl District, so if being close to that is important, then this will help you narrow your search to a few neighboring buildings like the Encore Condos, Pinnacle Condos, Metropolitan Condos, Lexus Condos and the all new Cosmopolitan Condos.
View From The Portland Condos
So maybe by now you have narrowed your search to a few buildings that fit your needs, but you still need to consider the view that is important to you. An east facing view typically has views of Mt. Hood and other mountains and provides glorious sunrises. While west facing units look out over the west hills and more specifically the beautiful Forest Park and are known for stunning sunsets.
Now depending on where you are within the city, north and south facing condos have views of Downtown or adjacent neighborhoods. If a river view is a must, then you are in luck and have tons of options. Both the Pearl District and South Waterfront offer a variety of buildings that have amazing Willamette River views. Be warned, they do come at a price!
You may not purchase your Portland condos with the idea that you will be renting it out, however rental caps is still an important piece to the decision. Life happens and you never know when you might need to make a change. It is always good to have options and selling may not be the best thing at that given time depending on the market conditions. Also, knowing where the building stands with relation to the rental cap will help you understand who your potential neighbors might be.
Home Owners Association
All Portland Condos buildings are regulated by HOA’s, each offer differing amenities at varying prices. The HOA fee might cover things like reserves, maintenance, management, shared space, utilities and even sometimes cable. The fees are usually determined by the size of the unit can range from a couple hundred dollars up to the thousands.
It is always a great idea to check the HOA minutes to make sure there aren’t any known issues with the building or the management. Signs of future assessments and litigation would show up in the minutes months before they came about.
There are a few buildings that have a concierge service in each of the condo neighborhoods. A concierge is someone in the lobby of the building that manages door entry, mail and messages among other duties. They serve as a friendly presence to greet you and your guests as you come and go and offer another layer of security for the building. It is possible to search Portland condos based upon concierge service so be sure to make that known if this is a requirement for your condo search.