Credit Union Provides Advice to Homebuyers in Tough, “Hot” Market


PORTLAND, Oregon (KTVZ) – As potential buyers in Oregon and Southwest Washington continue to face fierce competition for increasingly expensive homes, OnPoint Community Credit Union offers advice on how to successfully buy a home in this bustling market.

According to data released by the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller index this week, a leading housing market tracker, house prices across the country have risen 19.8% since August 2020, the name’s issue reported the previous month. Demand for the dwindling number of new and existing homes also remains high, with Oregon’s home inventory for sale still at just over a month of inventory, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS). To put it in perspective, the housing market is considered balanced when there are four to six months of inventory.

“Soaring home prices and the historic shortage of new and existing homes have resulted in bidding wars and bids significantly above the original asking price,” said Andrew Emerson, vice president / mortgage, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “While this market can be overwhelming and even intimidating, the good news is that there are proactive steps you can take to ensure the best possible outcome.”

Below are seven strategies OnPoint recommended for homebuyers in a competitive market:

Understand your financial outlook

As you learn more about the home buying process, develop your understanding of your financial outlook. Starts with create or update your budget to understand where you are spending your money and how much you can spend while saving for the future. By describing your situation in this way, you will discover issues such as a low credit score or a high debt ratio that could affect your ability to buy a new home. If you need to make adjustments, work with your financial institution to create a plan to improve credit scores, pay off debt, and save.

In addition, ask your financial institution for educational resources such as OnPoint’s Balance program, which provides members with free access to confidential and free financial advice, helps work with creditors to develop a repayment plan and money management webinars, articles, financial calculators, checklists , quizzes and more.

Learn about the market and the process

The current environment has been created by many factors including low interest rates, unusually low house prices in Oregon relative to others on the West Coast, delays in new construction, increases rent and existing owners not selling, among others. Check out sites like or for more information on home prices and inventory. Talk to your real estate agent or mortgage loan officer about resources they can share to help you stay up to date.

Educating yourself about the process, the impact of credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, and how interest rates work can build confidence throughout the home buying process.

Define your goals

Before you start touring properties, make a list of your must-haves, your must-haves, and those you don’t need for your next home. Once you have a clear idea of ​​your financial situation, determine the maximum amount you are comfortable spending on a down payment, closing costs, and monthly mortgage payments. Whenever you find a property that interests you, review this number to make sure it stays within your budget and meets your needs.

Find the right lender

Buying a home in this housing market can be a daunting process, so it’s important to find a mortgage lender you trust. With such a competitive market, many new mortgage lenders are offering their services to the community. Don’t be afraid to shop around, bring cost spreadsheets from other lenders, and have them conduct a thorough pre-approval process and respond to inquiries promptly. Their performance could be the difference between whether your offer is accepted or not.

Have a pre-approval letter

One of the best ways to stay ahead of your competition is to get a pre-approval letter from your mortgage lender. As listing agents review multiple bids, checking your financial situation ahead of time can save them time and effort and give you a leg up on your fellow bidders.

Be prepared for a long process

While you need to move quickly in this market, buying a home is a big purchase. You don’t want to jump into a 30-year mortgage with a sense of urgency or panic. Prepare for a process of at least six months to find the right home for you. The competition remains tough, but don’t let that get you down. Turn every lost deal into a learning experience that will prepare you to make the best and most responsible decision.

Don’t be afraid to walk away

Even though your pre-approval letter may state that you can afford a house, avoid becoming “house poor” by really thinking about the impact of monthly payments and potential repairs on your family budget. Auction wars often cause buyers to bid more than the home’s value. Many may not realize that financial institutions will only lend against the appraised value of the home, and the difference will come right out of your pocket.

If you experience a sense of panic or urgency during the home buying process, slow down and review the maximum price you previously noted. Ask yourself, “What’s the rush? Prices are at an all time high, so don’t be afraid to walk away and keep looking for the home that fits your means.

Whether potential buyers are modernizing, downsizing, or getting started, OnPoint offers affordable local financing to meet everyone’s needs. Learn more on buying a new home, mortgage refinancing and home equity loan options with OnPoint.


OnPoint Community Credit Union is Oregon’s largest credit union, serving more than 455,000 members and with assets of $ 8.9 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union membership is available to anyone living or working in any of Oregon’s 28 counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and members of their immediate family. More information is available at or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.


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