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Home » Blog » The 2020 Guide to Buying a Home in Coastal Oregon

The 2020 Guide to Buying a Home in Coastal Oregon

home buying guide when buying a house in oregon

The Southern Oregon Coast is, without a doubt, one of the West’s hidden and most underrated gems. In this part of the country, the land is wilder and lusher, the trails raw and rugged, and the landscape some of the most dramatic you will ever see. The coastline in particular has breathtaking views you will want etched on your mind forever.

It is therefore no wonder why some people have decided to settle down in the Southern Oregon Coast. After all, why display a picture or a painting of the region in your house when you can make the place your home?

Are you in the early stages of planning your move? You are in the right place. Whether you are a first-time home buyer in Oregon or otherwise, use and bookmark this home buying guide. It contains relevant information on Coastal Oregon homes for sale and all the things to know about buying a house in Oregon.

What to do before shopping for a home

We understand— exploring homes for sale in the Oregon Coast can be an exciting adventure. Going to open houses and learning about what is out there in the market brings to mind lots of possibilities. But before you jump into the home buying process, it is important you are sufficiently prepared.

There are five main things you need to do before you start shopping for a home:

  1. Learn as much as you can about Oregon Coast real estate

    What is the Oregon Coast real estate market like? What are the different communities that make up the market? What are your real estate options in the area? How much are homes in Coastal Oregon generally worth? Are home values stable, or are they steadily increasing or decreasing?

    You don’t have to be a real estate expert by the time you start shopping for homes. Having a general idea about the market will suffice. It will help you in other aspects, such as determining your budget and how much house you can afford, narrowing down communities and neighborhoods you would like to explore, and identifying the property type that fits your needs and lifestyle.

  2. Prepare your finances

    The next thing to do is prepare yourself financially for the home purchase. This involves making sure your credit score and debt-to-income ratio are within the acceptable range. If not, you will have to take certain steps to improve your credit score and your chances of securing a pre-approval letter from your preferred bank or lending institution.

    Another thing to prepare for is the down payment. Oftentimes, people consider 20 percent to be the most acceptable number. The reality, however, is more flexible. The amount you put down can depend on the mortgage type you decide to get. As such, your down payment can be anywhere from three to five percent. If you are buying a home with a VA loan, there is no need to make a down payment.

  3. Are you a first-time home buyer and Oregon resident? You can open a First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account. It can help you cover your down payment as well as other home buying expenses such as closing costs and appraisal fees. More importantly, you can deduct up to $5,000 from your taxable income every year.

  4. Find a real estate agent
    The experience and expertise of a real estate agent will always come in handy whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned real estate investor. Make sure to work with a real estate agent who specializes in the communities and property types you are interested in.

    Finding the right real estate agent, however, can be a challenge. If you know any friends, family members, or colleagues that have recently bought a home in Coastal Oregon, reach out to them for references. If this isn’t the case, start your search by typing “Coastal Oregon real estate agents” in the search bar of your preferred browser.

    Don’t hire the first real estate agent you encounter. Invite several for interviews to see which one is the best fit to your needs. There are also certain qualities that will prove to be helpful in your home search.

    Since you are already here, you might want to put our real estate team under your consideration. Get to know Marie and Bret, read client testimonials, and get in touch with us. We might be the Coastal Oregon real estate experts you are looking for.

  5. Explore your mortgage options
    There are different types of mortgage loans out there. Before you apply for one, shop around to see which plan works best for you.

    Two of the most popular are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate In the former, the interest rate will remain fixed throughout the loan term. Meanwhile, the latter type involves interest rates that fluctuate depending on market conditions.

    And then there are federal loan programs. You can get an FHA loan, which is characterized by easier requirements, or a VA loan if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you are interested in purchasing real estate in a rural or semi-rural area in Coastal Oregon, getting a USDA loan is worth considering.

    The state of Oregon also offers programs for first-time home buyers. In addition to the First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account, there is the Oregon Bond Residential Loan Program, which is characterized by two options: CashAdvantage and RateAdvantage. Both offer low interest rates and no prepayment penalties.

    Another option is to get one of Oregon’s Down Payment Assistance Programs. If you are qualified, you can get up to $15,000 worth of assistance for down payment and closing costs.

    Once you have everything in order, you can proceed to the next steps to buying a house in Oregon.

Choosing the right home

It is time for the part of the home buying process you are most looking forward to. As you look at Coastal Oregon homes for sale to find your dream home, bear in mind the following considerations.

  1. Not all beach towns and cities in Coastal Oregon are alike

    In terms of geographical features, the communities along the Oregon Coast share more or less the same qualities. In spirit, characteristics, and offerings, however, there will always be differences. To make your home search more efficient, it is important to know where in Coastal Oregon you want to live and concentrate there. If you have yet to decide, let us give you a brief introduction to some of Oregon Coast’s beach communities.

    If the mildest weather in the region is what you are after, the city of Brookings in Curry County should be on your list. The atmosphere is laid-back and family-friendly. Some of Coastal Oregon’s best outdoor destinations are also located here. Homes for sale in Brookings, Oregon are diverse not only in types but architectural types as well.

    Located adjacent to Brookings is the town of Harbor, right along the banks of Chetco River. It is quieter than Brookings and offers easy access to all of its neighbors attractions and high points. Real estate options here include ranch homes, spacious single-family residences, and waterfront properties. <Read: Annual events in Brookings-Harbor>

    Gold Beach is rated as one of Coastal Oregon’s best beach towns. It is about 40 miles from the California border and the official seat of Curry County. This town is for the relaxed and carefree, with the popular activities being dining, beach combing, and hiking.

    The oldest settlement in the Oregon Coast, Port Orford is a sleepy fishing town surrounded by some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the region. Elegant architectural styles are popular in residential real estate here. <Read: The best fishing spots in Port Orford.>

    Bandon in Coos County is one of Oregon Coast’s most famous beach towns. Its history is well-preserved, its arts community lively, its sceneries unforgettable, and its neighborhoods wide-ranging in housing options to offer. <Read: Living in Bandon, Oregon: Exploring the camping spots>

  2. Include upkeep and maintenance costs in your budget

    When setting your budget, do not forget to factor in the possible upkeep and maintenance costs. While the figure is largely dependent on the house you will purchase, you can use average homeowner costs in the area as a realistic estimate.

    Another way to determine how much you need to allot for upkeep and maintenance is the so-called “one percent rule.” Say the property you intend to purchase has a price of $425,000. Set aside $4,250 (which is one percent of the price) for upkeep and maintenance costs. There are many other ways to set an estimate, some of which you can find here.

  3. Learn about state regulations, local land-use rules, and other setbacks

    In order to conserve and preserve land and resources in Oregon, the state has a collection of rules and regulations that must be followed by everyone living here. One of these is the Oregon Beach Bill which declares that land within 16 feet of the average low tide mark is considered public. This is something to keep in mind especially if you envision a waterfront home with a private beach in the Southern Oregon Coast.

    Use this index for a general overview of local land-use laws and guidelines. Meanwhile, this page will help you zoom in on land-use laws and regulations per county.

  4. Hire a home inspector who knows the coast

    Home inspections are a must when you are buying a home. But more importantly, you need somebody who is well-versed in Oregon Coast real estate. If you are purchasing a beach property, it is absolutely essential you find a local and licensed home inspector who is also an expert on coastal properties.

    Why is it necessary? Not all properties are the same, and the knowledge of a home inspector might only be limited to the types of homes they usually inspect. There are several things that make Oregon Coast real estate and beach properties different (i.e. they are exposed to the elements), therefore requiring a specialist’s eye and expertise.

    Click here to learn about how to find the right home inspector.

  5. Invest in the right kind of home insurance

    A standard home insurance policy might not be enough for a home in the Southern Oregon Coast. To protect your home and your investment adequately, make sure to explore different kinds of home insurance and policies you might want to add.

    Think of disaster insurance, such as for floods and earthquakes. If you plan on renting out your property as a vacation rental, you might also want to look into liability coverage.

For more information on how to buy a home, check out our home buying guide here. Interested in purchasing a waterfront home? You might find this blog article helpful.

Moving to the Southern Oregon Coast

Now that you are familiar with the prep work and factors to consider, here is a short refresher on what to expect when you finally move to the Southern Oregon Coast.


The Southern Oregon Coast shares much of the same weather that prevails throughout the entire Oregon Coast region, only that temperatures are relatively milder. That said, the Southern Oregon Coast gets the most precipitation every year, notably during wintertime.

It is also common for some communities along the southern coast to have their own microclimates.

For instance, the town of Brookings is notable for its Mediterranean climate. Winters here are cool and sunny but marked by periods of intense rain. Meanwhile, summertime is characterized by dry and mild weather, with summer rainfall only averaging about an inch. Despite all this, winters and summers in Brookings are comparatively warmer than in the rest of the Oregon Coast.


As its name suggests, the Southern Oregon Coast is the southernmost region of the Oregon Coast. It starts from the Oregon-California border and extends all the way to Reedsport, its northernmost settlement. In between, you will find the major towns of North Bend, Coos Bay, Bandon, Port Orford, Gold Beach, and Brookings.

Contrary to the North and Central coastal regions, the Southern Oregon Coast is distinctive for its mountainous and dramatic landscape. Sea cliffs shaped by powerful waves mark the coastline. That said, you will still find long stretches of uninterrupted beach.

If you are a fan of forests, you will find plenty to love in the Southern Oregon Coast. In the region, you will find huge swathes of pristine forest, where trees such as coastal redwood and Douglas-fir tower and try to reach the sky. Hiking here is quite an experience.


Oregon is one of the very few states in the United States that don’t charge sales tax on purchases. That said, there are still several things to bear in mind.

  • Personal income tax: Residents are required to pay a 5 to 9 percent personal income tax depending on their bracket. Married couples have the option to file joint tax returns, but do note that the tax brackets will be doubled.
  • Property tax: All privately owned real property, from houses to land, are subject to property tax. The rate depends on county assessors. That said, some residents can defer property tax payments. Click here to see if you are eligible for this.
  • Inheritance and estate taxes: For deaths that occurred on or after January 1, 2012, the following documents must be filed: Form OR 706, 150-104-001, and Oregon Estate Transfer Tax Return.
  • Fiduciary income tax: The income of trusts and estates are subject to fiduciary income tax, which is collected by the state. It can play out in two scenarios. One, it can be taxed to the beneficiaries or the grantor of the trust or estate. Second, it can be taxed directly to the trust or estate.

For more information on taxes in Oregon, including how to file or make refund claims, check out the Oregon Department of Revenue’s official website.

Things to do in the Southern Oregon Coast

When it comes to outdoor recreation and activities, the Southern Oregon Coast is second to none in the state. Explore the region’s wilderness or take pleasure in experiencing the local art, dining, shopping, and events. The choices are endless.

Here are some of the things you can enjoy in the Southern Oregon Coast:

Live in wild and beautiful paradise

Moving to the Southern Oregon Coast might be the best decision you will ever make. And it would be our pleasure to guide you every step of the way.

Let us help you explore your housing options in the region, such as Brookings Oregon real estate. Get in touch with Marie (541.661.3056, realtormcurtis(at)gmail(dotted)com) or Bret (541.661.3301, bret(dotted)curtis(at)yahoo(dotted)com) or through this page to learn more about Southern Oregon Coast real estate.

Got Questions?Ask Us!

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