Buying a house ..the initial first steps you need to take to buy a home in Portland Oregon

Real Estate Agent with Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon

(Cindy's Blog about Portland Real Estate & Stuff)

Buying a house ..the initial first steps you need to take to buy a home in Portland Oregon

You are at that point in your life where you're finally thinking about buying a new home. You most likely fall into three categories:

First Time Home Buyer: Your excited but yet nervous, you might know a little about the process from either reading online, or hearing about it through family & friends. You have questions...and lots of them!  This post is mostly about you,

* Move up Homeowner: Your house is probably getting too cramped..perhaps another child on the way. You now want to have that larger kitchen, bigger yard, or just need a different layout then your first home.

*Downsizing Homeowner: Your kids are all grown and out of the house and that 3000 square foot home with that huge yard and pool just isn't working for your lifesyle any longer. Your looking for that smaller more manageble home..or perhaps that loft downtown.


If you fall into the second or third category, you've already been through the process of buying a home, but the process of loan application and guidelines has most likely changed since you purchased your home, so there are still many things you'll need to know about today's market. I'll be writing another post for the home seller guidelines.

For that first time homebuyer there are just so many things you need to know, so here are some steps and links that will help you in this process.

Buying a house 101..the initial first steps you need to take:

Let me just say here that even though you have heard that it is impossible to get a loan today, I'm going to tell you differently. Yes, the guidelines are stricter than they were...but there are plenty of loan programs out there! The important step is to contact a lender. I have several trusted lenders that I work with if you need a good place to start.

      * Pre-Qualifying vs Pre-Approval: The very..and I mean very first thing you'll need to do when you    are ready to purchase a home is speak with a Lender. This will tell you if you are financially ready to purchase at this time..or if you need to work on your credit a bit more. When you are Pre-Qualified, this really doesn't mean to much in today's market.

      *A Pre-Qualifying letter just states that the lender has "glanced" at your assets and what you tell them are your liabilities. They'll give you an "estimate" of a loan amount. This is always subject to a credit check.

 I say that this really doesn't help you is because the lender can give you this "general" amount of a price range, but once they pull your credit...oops..there are a few dings on there and suddenly you're qualifies for a lower amount with perhaps a higher rate. It can be very disappointing to fall in love with a home..only to be told it's out of your price range.

    * Pre-Approval letter is much better. This is your golden ticket of sorts. This tells the Seller that you have already had all your credit checked, you've gone through the loan application process and have a  commitment of a loan for a certain amount. At this point the loan is usually subject to the appraisal and underwriting. This is also a reminder not to make any changes to your financials after this this can change things!

Once you have your Pre-Approval, now it's time to work with a REALTOR®. This is where I will sit down with you and go over your home search criteria. These are the location, how many bedrooms and baths you want, square footage, and any other ammenities that are important to you. Then we get out and find you your home!

Once you find that home you want to buy, you'll want to make an offer. You're REALTOR® will do a market analysis on the property if there's time, to give you a good price range of the homes selling in that neighborhood. Check out my post We made an offer on a what happens?.

I've put together several links of useful documents that will help you understand the process as well as learn some of the terminology.

Loan Application Checklist

Components of a Mortgage

Columbia Mortgage, Everything you need to know to get your home financing

Explanation of Escrow

Some questions to consider before buying a home

Agency Relationships

I hope this post was helpful to you! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. When you're ready to purchase a home, and are looking for a great REALTOR® to help you with this process...I would be happy to Google one for you!



Posted by


Knowledgeable, Approachable, Service Oriented

Cindy Westfall ABR,GRI

Premiere Property Group,LLC

5000 Meadows Rd., Ste. 150, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Cell: 503-819-5241      




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Disclaimer: All views on my blog are my own and may not reflect that of Premiere Property Group. All pictures and content are my own unless otherwise noted. Please No Copying without my permission.

 Cynthia Westfall is licensed in Oregon State


Comments (10)

Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Cindy - Great Post.  There are so many things a buyer needs to consider.  Thanks for making them aware.

Feb 06, 2011 02:13 PM
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Carla, Thanks! There is just so much that a  homebuyer needs to know ...especially the first timer before they make that decision..and then the first steps to take.

Feb 06, 2011 03:11 PM
Suesan Jenifer Therriault
JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team - Blakeslee, PA
"Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own".

Very well written post that is sure to benefit the buyer. There’s just so much to keep up with when purchasing a home. I’m sure the information you’re providing here will help keep things in perspective. 

Feb 06, 2011 04:27 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Your Homefinder Pro is like the Listingbook we use. Nicely done.

Feb 07, 2011 01:51 AM
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Suesan, Thanks, I know it can be overwhelming to get started and often a buyer doesn't really know where to start.

Feb 07, 2011 03:29 AM
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Thanks Jill, I think we all have our own version of HomefinderPro...or at least those of us that are affiliated with a larger company. It's really a great tool to be able to offer the homebuyer.

Feb 07, 2011 03:36 AM
Dave Sullivan
Real Estate One - Birmingham, MI
Michigan Realtor with an investor viewpoint

I want to buy a house, How do I get my Report Credit ready? You can make a few moves that can help you get a quick 50-80 points. How to improve your Credit Score quick before a loan. Most of the advise out there is wrong check my linked in page. I have twenty years in the business and I am certified by the FICO corporation. Most “credit Experts” give you advise that hurts your score and could take you months to recover from. Just follow some basic rules and your FICO score and credit history will jump from day one. Stop wasting money on Credit repair people that think they are experts because they had bad credit at one time and fixed it themselves trust me if those clowns can do it, anyone can.

Mar 18, 2012 10:26 PM
Eric Proulx - Kirkland, WA

Very important distinction between the pre-qualifying and pre-approval letters cindy! This information is essential to the home buying decision, helping prevent all of us newbies from jumping straight into the loan process without the proper knowledge.

May 10, 2012 01:58 AM
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Eric, Thanks! There is nothing worse than a buyer finding that perfect home, making and offer with a pre-qual letter...only to find out once the credit is actually pulled that they the home is out of their price range.

May 11, 2012 02:17 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Cindy, I printed this out so I can reread as well written blog on a buyer's initial steps in buying a home. Great link on Dave Sullivan's comment - TheCreditGuy.TV. Thank you, Cindy.

Jun 08, 2013 01:37 PM