Bend Real Estate Strategies for 2021 in a Competitive Market

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Q&A with Mollie Hogan, Principal Broker, CRS

I’ve been hearing about the limited inventory in Bend. Does that mean it’s a good time to sell?

Yes, it’s a great time to sell. Prices have increased, and lower inventory means you are likely to receive an offer quickly. However, and this is an important caveat: you need to know where you are going because inventory is extremely limited throughout the Pacific Northwest. Many of our sellers are able to rent their homes back from the new owners for a short period of time after closing.

I want to stay in Bend. If I sell my home, will I have a hard time finding a home to purchase? 

Again, it’s best to have a plan. Not only is the inventory of available homes for sale in Bend at a historic low, but the rental market is extremely limited also.

I’m seeing a lot of new construction. What are the benefits of buying a new home?  

There are certainly a lot of new homes coming out of the ground right now. Because the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) was recently expanded, many beautiful lots became available to builders.

Unfortunately, many of the new homes you see are actually pre-sale custom homes that are already spoken for. As for “spec” homes being built right now, they may not be listed for sale until the builder has finalized all the costs associated with the construction of the home. This is because prices of goods, materials, and labor have varied a lot in the past year due to tariffs, fires that limited resources, and reduced availability because of the pandemic.

That said, owning a newly constructed home has peace-of-mind benefits like a builder’s warranty and the simple fact you don’t have to worry about home improvement projects or major repairs.

I had plans to buy a house this year, but should I be worried about buying at the “top of the market?”

There is no time like the present. Bend has always been a relocation destination and the pandemic has only accelerated migration to our “zoom town” in the past year. Because many people can work from home now, they have more flexibility to live and work where they want.

Should I list my home and rent?

If you have a place to go, and you want to take advantage of today’s buying frenzy, then now is a good time. But make sure you have a plan in place.

I want to make some improvements to my home that I can enjoy and will also increase the value of my home. What kind of improvements are buyers looking for right now?

Kitchen remodels have been a huge trend in the last year. With families working and learning from home and dining out limited, having a functional kitchen for providing multiple meals a day seven days a week has become a big priority for homeowners. 

Another big trend is that homeowners want their homes to have useful “flex spaces” and added storage. A room that could be adapted for use as a home office, learning space, workout room, or a guest room on any given day provides a better quality of life for people spending more time than ever at home.

Also, because we’re encouraged to socialize outside, many homeowners are upgrading outdoor areas including covered porches, patios, seating areas with firepits, and landscaping.

Bend is growing fast, and some areas are getting more congested. Are there places to consider for an in-area relocation?

Bend’s rapid growth has impacted travel within city limits and on our highways. On any given weekend there are cars lined up nearly bumper-to-bumper coming and going from our high desert mountain town. If you are craving more privacy and less congestion, considering “bedroom communities” to Bend like Redmond, Sisters, and LaPine might be a way for you to continue to enjoy the Central Oregon lifestyle.

Even with home values high, are there neighborhoods that provide value?

Value is in the eye of the beholder. It really is all about what matters to you. If you need breathing room and privacy, that could be totally different than if you would rather be a block or two from your local coffee shop. But, if you are referring to prices, then yes. The east side of Bend is generally less expensive than the west side, and many neighborhoods are being re-discovered as Bend grows.

I now work 100% remote and have always wanted to move to Bend. Now what?

Many Bend-ites are transplants and the ones who have experienced a smooth relocation are those who embraced the local culture and lifestyle from the beginning. They knew moving here was an opportunity to slow down and have a more laid-back experience. Although the pandemic has made immersion into a new community more challenging, there are still ways to “read the room,” and adapt to a kinder, more gentle pace. Also, one of the suggestions I make to new residents is to volunteer. It’s a great way to learn about the community, make friends, and feel more connected. 

Lastly, partner with an established Realtor who has deep knowledge of Central Oregon and strong relationships in the community. Also, understand that demand is high and inventory is limited. Having a patient attitude will help you find just the right home in Bend at the right time.

– Mollie

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