tyler j gramson

5 Solutions for First-Time Buyers on a Budget in Portland, Oregon

Becoming a homeowner for the first time in Portland, Oregon, might seem daunting in today’s market. Housing affordability hit record lows last year, and mortgage rates have been on the rise since 2021. Moreover, inventory shortages, particularly in starter homes and lower-priced condos, make the journey to homeownership a steep climb, with seasoned buyers often outbidding newcomers with cash-heavy offers.

But fear not! If you’re a first-time homebuyer eyeing your dream in Portland, we’ve got some friendly tricks up our sleeves to help make that homeownership dream a reality.

Get Creative with “House Hacking”

Ever considered house hacking? It’s like real estate’s secret superpower, letting homeowners generate income to offset expenses. In Portland, think of renting out that basement or transforming a detached garage into a cozy living space with a kitchenette.

This strategy has gained traction thanks to digital platforms that make income generation easier than ever. It might even help you qualify for a larger mortgage. Picture this: buying a property with immediate income potential, like a legal duplex or a home with a secondary suite, could sway a lender in your favor.

Plus, once you move in, your property could become a money-making machine. Offering parking spaces, renting out the pool or backyard for events, or even listing your garage on Neighbor Storage could help pay the mortgage!

Just remember, before diving into house hacking, know the local laws and HOA regulations. We can guide you to homes in Portland’s friendlier zoning areas.

Next week’s video is on House Hacking, where I will go more in depth to this strategy. I will link it here, and post it on the site and my socials.

Leverage Your Network for Financial Support

Don’t shy away from seeking financial help from your network. Family or friends might pitch in for your down payment or assist with closing or moving costs. Even co-signing a loan could bring down your interest rates, making monthly payments more manageable.

Fun fact: many homeowners, especially those under 30, receive help from their parents to afford homes in today’s market. Just ensure it’s a gift, not a loan, and get it in writing for your lender.

And here’s an idea: consider crowdfunding your down payment or asking for monetary gifts instead of traditional wedding presents. Your dream home might be just a heartfelt gift away!

Explore Special Programs and Assistance

There are grants and assistance programs designed specifically for first-time buyers in Oregon. These can ease your upfront mortgage costs. Grants for down payments or government-sponsored loans, like FHA loans requiring as little as 3.5% down, could be game-changers for you.

We can connect you with a lender and explore various assistance programs. Some may require specific lenders, while others need separate applications.

Expand Your Search Horizon

Finding a home within your budget might mean broadening your search in Portland. Explore neighboring areas or up-and-coming neighborhoods for hidden gems that fit your criteria.

Consider adjusting your wish list—do you really need two bathrooms right away? Maybe settling for one and planning an addition later could save you thousands. Also, homes needing minor touch-ups can be diamonds in the rough. With less competition, you might snag an affordable property and have the chance to personalize it over time.

Remember, your starter home is just the first step. By getting in now, you’re setting yourself up for future real estate success.

Join Forces with Friends or Family

Not keen on hosting strangers? How about co-purchasing with friends or family? It’s a rising trend in Portland as folks team up to tackle high living costs.

You could buy a home and rent a portion to a family member or buddy. Or dive into co-ownership, stepping onto the property ladder together. It might mean a bigger, more valuable home or a prime location, plus the joy of shared living with loved ones.

But—big “but”—sharing a mortgage with friends or family requires clear agreements. Without them, things might get messy. We’ll help you navigate these waters and find the perfect property for your unique situation.


Yes, buying your first home is tough, especially in Portland’s bustling market. But fear not. With our expert guidance, we’ll craft a plan to tackle those financial hurdles and find you a home that’s not just affordable but also perfect for your lifestyle.

Reach out to us for a free exploratory consultation and let’s kickstart your homeownership journey in the Portland area.

Moving Into a New Home? Here's What You Need to Know.

Hi, there!

I'm Tyler and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true. 

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5505 S Corbett Ave,
Portland, OR 97239



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Hi, there!

I'm Tyler and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true. 

schedule your free consultation


My Listings


All Articles