Finding and buying a home in Portland is an exciting experience, but it can also be challenging. We’ve compiled some information to help Portland newcomers overcome some of the hurdles in the home-buying process and point you in the right direction for additional information.

Fair Housing Act & Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of homes based on race color national origin religion sex handicap or familial status  

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) makes it illegal for anyone to pay or receive a fee because they agree to refer settlement service business to a particular person or organization.  In other words, your mortgage lender is forbidden from paying your real estate broker $250 for referring you to the lender for example.

Save yourself trouble by taking the time to figure out the mortgage you can afford and then get pre-approved. Keep in mind that you must consider current loan interest rates. Generally the lower the interest rate the more expensive a home you can afford to purchase. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to take out the highest loan that you qualify for.

For a general estimate of what type of home you can afford by going to You’ll be asked to answer a few questions and then the calculator will provide a general estimate of the maximum sale price you may qualify for under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Veterans Association (VA) and conventional loans. This tool also estimates your down payment closing costs total cash required at closing monthly mortgage payment other monthly housing costs and your remaining monthly income. Keep in mind that these are only estimates. See a lender for more details.

Hire someone to help

The details involved in buying a home particularly the financial ones can be complicated. The entire process can be made easier by finding a good real estate professional who can guide you through the entire process.

Choose a real estate broker who is well acquainted with your needs. Make sure they are familiar with the neighborhood you are considering, the quality of schools, safety, traffic volume and so on. A good realtor will save you hours of time and might have inside tips on houses that are fresh on the market. Realtors can also provide advice and tips when it comes time to make an offer on a home.

Do You Need a CPA?

Sometimes it can be a good idea to hire a licensed certified public accountant (CPA). CPAs can provide you with professional advice on personal finances and other matters including how to adjust your finances to help you meet your personal goals such as buying a house and other financial and legal needs.

CPAs can also help you with tax preparation and auditing services and help you develop an effective accounting system for your personal and household needs. Other services provided by CPAs include advice about how your financial situation will change based on life changes such as marriage or divorce retirement college and more. CPAs will give you useful advice and tips that you might not learn about any other way.

The most important factor of choosing a CPA is that you trust them with your personal financial information. Make sure that your CPA has the proper level of experience and training and don’t forget that you can ask for references. For additional information or to find a CPA contact the Oregon Society of CPAs at 503-641-7200 or view its website at or in Washington the Washington Society of CPAs at 425-644-4800 or

Banking in Metro Portland

The Portland area offers many banking options to suit your needs. In addition to a few local banks most major banks have branches in the metro Portland area as well. Banks in the area include Simple Bank Umpqua Bank Columbia Bank Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

Credit unions are popular in the Portland metro region.  Many provide the same services as banks including home loans but they are not-for-profit. Credit unions focus on serving their members by typically offering better interest rates on loans and savings accounts and lower fees for other services. Just a few of the many local credit unions in the area are: Unitus Community Credit Union Advantis Credit Union OnPoint Community Credit Union Rivermark Community Credit Union and IQ Credit Union in Vancouver.

Applying for a Mortgage: What You Need To Know

You can save time if you have the following items with you when you visit your lender. Depending on your lender you may be asked for other information.

1.    Social Security numbers for both you and your spouse if both of you are applying for the loan.
2.    Copies of your checking and savings account statements for the past six months.
3.    Evidence of any other assets such as bonds or stocks.
4.    Recent paycheck stub detailing your earnings.
5.    List of all credit card accounts and the approximate monthly amounts owed on each.
6.    Account numbers and balances due on outstanding loans such as car loans.
7.    Copies of your last two years of income tax statements.
8.    The name and address of someone who can verify your employment.

Metro Portland Area Housing Resources
Annual Free Credit Reports
Building Industry Association of Clark County 360-694-0933
Community Housing Resource Center 360-690-4496
Department of Housing & Urban Development 800-669-9777
Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland 503-684-1880
Home Forward 503-802-8300
Homebuyer Education Classes 503-595-3517
Homeownership Opportunities Website Northwest
Homeownership Program Search
Housing Authority of Clackamas County 503-655-8575
Housing Authority of Yamhill County 503-883-4300
Multifamily NW 503-213-1281
Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation 503-655-8974
NW Natural Free Appliance Inspection 800-422-4012
Open Door Counseling Center 503-640-9374
Oregon Housing & Community Services 503-986-2000
Oregon Property Buyer Advisory
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives 503-288-2923
Portland Housing Bureau 503-823-2375
Portland Housing Center 503-282-7744
Portland Maps
Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors 503-228-6595
Proud Ground 503-493-0293
Regional Multiple Listing Service 877-256-2169
Vancouver Housing Authority 360-694-2501
Washington County Housing Services 503-846-4794