As a lifelong Portland resident and a real estate investor, I’m often asked what draws people here? Why do people want to move to this rainy town? And there are a lot of reasons: the culture, the jobs, the opening to the Pacific, Powell’s bookstore. Especially Powell’s bookstore (or maybe that’s just me). 

When talking about Portland real estate, I always see the light turn on in people’s heads. If this is a great market, they think, I can probably make money fixing and flipping houses. 

And they’re right, for the most part. Real estate investing in Portland Oregon can be a very good career. Right now, market trends show that there are a lot of houses for sale, and a lot of sellers, but also a lot of buyers. The uneven recession, the pandemic economy, and pent-up demand can help the smart investor find real opportunities.  

There is opportunity in the wave of distressed houses that will come from the recession (and other market factors), and people who haven’t been impacted who are ready to buy. This means potential growth here in Rip City. If you learn, work hard, and give yourself the best tools for success, you can make a difference flipping houses here in Portland. You can be part of the life of this weird, wet, wonderful town. 

real estate investing portland oregon

Understanding Real Estate Investing in Portland, Oregon

While every market has seen its ups and downs over the last few decades, through recessions and recoveries, through viruses and vacancies, Portland has remained remarkably steady. It hasn’t seen the kind of out-of-control growth that pushed a lot of independent real estate investors out of places like San Francisco. Instead, it has had a consistent rate of foreclosures, distressed stock, and new buyers to keep people in our business doing very well. 

It’s worth looking at some of the underlying reasons. 

A Mixed Economy

One of the reasons Portland has been so steady is the closeness of some major employers, such as Nike and Columbia. These are behemoths, and their role as an engine of job creation has not sputtered out. So even as traditional industries died away, there were new ones to take its place. 

Not only that but there are even newer ones. In 2018, Inc magazine declared Portland the next big startup hub. That means jobs, though it obviously hasn’t developed as exciting as expected. As of this writing, the top 100 Portland startups have nearly 1000 open positions. That’s a good, but not a great number. 

The truth is, Portland is still partly a lumber/shipping/manufacturing town, but those industries are slowly going away, leading to an unsteady economic climate for some people. That potentially means more distressed and foreclosed houses in the near future. And that means opportunity. 

More Distressed Houses

Right now, there are 161 foreclosed houses listed on Zillow for Portland, a number that will fluctuate, but that has been on an upward trend since the pandemic. Where there are foreclosures, there are distressed properties: people looking to sell before foreclosure. 

That’s a great investing opportunity, offering the seller a fair cash settlement, helping them to move on with their lives, and gaining a new property. 

So who is going to buy it? People who are still coming to Portland. 

A Steady Stream of Newcomers

Portland, along with Seattle and Vancouver, make up the part of North America that is most closely connected with East Asia. A long and proud history of immigration makes this region economically unique. International business and shipping hubs are here, which means a steady supply of people moving in and out. 

Of course, that’s changed due to immigration restrictions related to the virus and other aspects of the political culture. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people flocking in. Some experts report that there is “a big uptick” in people moving here from out of state. As places like New York seem less appealing, more natural and spacious-seeming cities emerge. Portland is poised to be the beneficiary of national housing trends. 

Not only that, but it attracts people who want to live out west but can’t afford LA or the Bay Area. It means that people priced out of those crazy markets want a place to live that is a lot more lifestyle-friendly. That’s Portland. 

What else does that mean? It means businesses want to have offices here. It means start-up businesses that appeal to new people will be moving here. And that means even more people moving here, which means more pressure on the market. 

And that means more potential for your business. 

It’s Just…Portland

This isn’t exactly a quantifiable argument, but people just want to live here. There are great jobs, but life doesn’t seem to revolve around work as it does in the Bay Area. It’s tech-friendly but rugged. It just feels like a port city, which it is. Flannel is never ironic. The Trailblazers are good and fun. It’s a place where people want to live. 

So that means real estate investing in Oregon is easy, right? Nope. There are some unique challenges you need to know. 

The Challenges of Real Estate Investing in Portland

After all that, you might still be asking if it is a good time to invest in real estate. And I’d say yes it is. But you do need to be aware of a few things, some universal, some unique to Portland. 

Most of these involve getting leads. See, the biggest challenge in this business, outside of choosing hard money lenders, is getting really good leads. A lot of people are staying put. That’s increasing competition because there is a smaller traditional pool. 

But there is a large pool of people struggling right now too, and hoping to sell. So what you want to do is find these people before other investors do. The ideal is to get a lead that has low competition and a high chance at conversion. 

In Portland, that’s never going to be the most common method, the foreclosure auction. See, Portland foreclosure auctions have a lot of rules designed to protect the homeowner. You might pay a lot for a house and then end up not owning it if the original owner can pay what they owe. 

There’s also a pretty small supply of homes available in the auction. Foreclosure laws are somewhat loose here, so people have a lot of leeway. 

What does that mean? It means there are people who are looking to sell before foreclosure. That’s the distressed housing stock. That’s why you need to find them. The best way to succeed in the Portland housing market is to get to distressed properties before they enter the bureaucracy of the foreclosure market. 

Luckily, there’s a way. 

The Best Way To Find Qualified Leads in Portland, Oregon

I used to pound the pavement and pore through the papers, hoping to find a Portlander ready to sell but who wasn’t yet on the market. That wasn’t super easy. You know when it became easier? When I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee.

See, HomeVestors® has an unparalleled lead generation machine. Everyone knows them. Everyone knows “we buy ugly houses®”. Their marketing is outstanding, so when a Portland homeowner needs to sell fast, and they contact HomeVestors®. Then I get the lead: someone ready and willing to sell for cash. 

Here I’m helping these sellers out. I’m helping the city grow. I’m able to make a good living. That’s because I have the right tools and a sense of pride in Portland. I love living here, and want to help make it happen for people. If you want a chance to succeed at real estate investing in Portland Oregon, request information about becoming a franchisee today. Keep Portland weird. 


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.


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