Game Plan for Buying a Home in Lake Oswego’s Low Inventory COVID Market

The housing market nationwide is experiencing a shortage of inventory and Lake Oswego is no exception. There were 33 new listings in December, but that was outpaced with the 75 sales that ate up some of the inventory. It seems the COVID trend to move to the suburbs has become yet another factor that makes Lake Oswego such a desirable place to call home.

We were down to just 0.8 months of inventory in Lake Oswego, way below the more than six-month inventory that signifies a buyer’s market.

Add to that the fact that new listings in the Portland metro area were down over 23% compared to November, and you can see why buying a home in this market can be challenging.

But you can navigate a tight housing market successfully if you follow these tips.

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Better yet, get fully approved. Assume that when you find the house you want, you will be competing for it with other buyers. Coming in with the assurance that you’ve already qualified for financing, makes you a much more attractive bidder than someone else who has not.
  2. Prioritize your “wish list.” In a tight housing market, there’s a good chance you may have to compromise on some of the features you want in a house. What’s negotiable—location, price, or amenities? Have that hard discussion before you’re put in a position of having to decide in a panic.
  3. Be patient. If you don’t have to buy right now, be patient. I have a few clients from out of state who were going to come up this month and I told them to wait as there isn’t enough of what they are looking for at this time. Spring is typically a time when more homes come on the market so holding off for a month or two could be your answer if you have that option.
  4. Be prepared for a bidding war. In a recent staff meeting, agents were talking of homes getting multiple offers, often in the 30s and 40s. When that happens, homes often go for more than the asking price, so it’s best to anticipate that and look at homes that aren’t at the top of your budget but that give you some wiggle room to bid higher than asking price.  
  5. Consider a backup offer. I’m a firm believer in backup offers, largely because two of the homes I have purchased for myself came about as a result of that. Deals fall through for all kinds of reasons, from contingencies not being met to financing issues, and in today’s hot market, sometimes buyers get hit with a big case of buyers’ remorse when they win the bidding war. Caught up in need to act fast, buyers can find themselves taking on more than they feel comfortable. Or perhaps they didn’t follow my earlier advice to consider homes below their budget in anticipation of a bidding war and discover they are maxed out after a home inspection that indicates lots of repairs needed. Whatever the case, if you find a property that is really special, you may want to put in a backup offer if your initial offer loses out to someone else. Realize, however, that you will also have to put some earnest money down even with a backup offer to show your commitment which ties that money up as long as you have that agreement. It does not preclude you from continuing to look for another home.
  6. Work with an experienced Realtor. From negotiating price in a bidding war to helping you decide whether a backup offer is a good plan or not, an experienced Realtor can increase your odds of success in a low housing inventory market. In addition, a well-connected Realtor like myself, hears of listings before they come on the market. In a tight market like today’s, that can be a real bonus if you are looking to buy a home in Lake Oswego.

If you are thinking of moving to Lake Oswego, or want to buy a home in Lake Oswego, please give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website . I have been a top Realtor in Lake Oswego for over 30 years and would love to put that experience to work for you. Let me help you navigate today’s market.

About lovelakeoswego

I feel pretty lucky—I live where I work and I love where I live. As a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I get to share that enthusiasm with clients every day. Through this blog, with the help of my freelance writer wife, Genita, I’d like to share that enthusiasm with you. The quality of life you’ll find in Lake Oswego belies its size—there is so much to experience here from a fireworks show over the lake on the 4th of July to the Festival of the Arts--one of the premier arts events in the region. So please check in each week for another reason why I love Lake Oswego and who knows—maybe you’ll fall in love too! If you’re interested in experiencing Lake Oswego personally, please feel free to contact me either on my cell at (503) 939-9801, via email at or check my website by clicking the link in the "Contact me" section in the right-hand column. I would love to show you around.
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