As a REALTOR® working throughout the Portland Metro area, I get lots of inquiries from people moving here from other states. Whatever state you come from, here are are some of the common questions I get:
1. Does it rain all the time? No, it actually doesn't rain all the time....especially in the summer months where we typically have very little rain. Ok..so we do get most of our rain in the winter months but I bet you didn't know that we actually get LESS rain on average per year than say the folks in New York. Yep..we get on average 3.4" compared to New York's 3.7". Our summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are mild compared to other parts of the country. I know while most of the country was under snow...we had rain. Oh yeah..I'll take the rain over shoveling snow every day!
2. Is it true that people from Portland dislike people that move there from another state..especially California? As a Oregon transplant myself, I can say that I heard this from someone that I was chatting with from Portland when I was living in Austin, TX. It was a concern for me, but I can honestly say I've encountered nothing of the sort! I've lived in all time zones and in different climates, and I love living in Portland!
3. How are the property taxes assessed? Here in Portland, a good guide to generally go by is that your property taxes will run 1-1.5% of the market value. When the market shifted and home values dropped, unfortunately, the taxes didn't drop with them. For a more detailed explanation about our tax system, check out this link to the Department of Revenue at Oregon.gov
4. Do you use Lawyers in a real estate transaction? Typically, here in Oregon Lawyers are not used in a regular real estate transaction. We use Title Companies as a neutral third party to the real estate transaction. Unlike other states, It's actually not common for the buyers and sellers to ever meet. All parties sign the documents seperately with the real estate agents and escrow officer making sure all things move as smoothly as possible.
5. I want to rent before buying. Can you help me find a rental? Again, unlike many states where you find rentals through your real estate agent, here in the Portland area most rentals are handled through Property Management Companies. As a real estate agent, I don't have any more access to rentals as you would, but I can give you the names of some Property Management companies. Craig's List can be a great source, but please know that with any public sites, there might be some scams..especially with rental properties.
6. Does Portland have state income and sales tax? We do have state income tax which depending on your income can be from 5-9% of every dollar of income earned. As far as the sales tax...we don't have any! So..when I go to St. Thomas, USVI, I don't get any better deals with the "duty free" thing, so buy local unless it's something I can't get here in Portland. This really comes in handy on those big ticket purchases! (added in 10/12/12..thanks Karen Anne).
Some other local tid-bits:
* Oregon is pronouned "Or-i-gun"..not Or-a-GON" and the Willamette River is pronounced "Will-AM-ette" not "Will-A-Metty".Believe me, I was corrected quickly!
* By law, you can't pump your own gas. Oh shucks! Here's an explanation of why.
* Bike riders are everywhere...so you need to be very alert when driving.
* Some of the best Pinot Noir wine in the world comes from right here in the Willamette Valley's wine country. You can spend a week going through all the wineries and still not get to them all!
* If you're a gardener, you'll be in garden heaven!
* Now..this might sound like an odd one, but from someone who grew up on Long Island, NY and lived in Austin, TX for several years, I can say that the humidity levels here are nothing compared to many other places. My hair hardly poofs out like it does when I go back east!
* Portlanders hardly use umbrellas. You'll only see them when it's downpouring heavily..but in general, we just go about our business without them.
* Of course...we also love our coffee! Between Starbucks, Stumptown, and Peets as the main shops, there are so many smaller coffee stands and drive ups all over. Yep..even bikini baristas!
If you're moving to the Portland area, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have! Of course I can help you find that perfect Portland home too!