After working diligently for 13 years on upholstering and custom building furniture, Erin Lolcama of Exit Realty redirected her career in a massive way. The Portland native, born and raised in Northeast, turned her sights toward Portland’s real estate market. Now she feels more at home, finding homes for "her people."

The city’s booming popularity has made it a bit of a real estate enigma. Caught in the cross-hairs of a popped market bubble and the uncontrollable rise in the city’s population, Portland has become a unique hot spot. When compared to other growing cities around the country, apartment and home prices have remained surprisingly within reach.

“Between $200,00 and $250,000, it’s a really hot price bracket for first time buyers. It’s got a lot of competition,” said Lolcama about pricing in developing neighborhoods, some of which are cropping up further out than many ever imagined. So what’s the new boundary? 82nd Avenue, but it’s more popularly known as "the Mason Dixon line."

Driving around Southeast neighborhoods like Division, Hawthorne, and Foster-Powell, where Lolcama has one of her listings, it’s easy to see the constant demand for more housing. “They’re trying to fit everyone. As the city gets more and more populated people are getting more resourceful about where they go,” she says. The city’s "low inventory" has a lot to with the steady pricing and sustained prominence of the neighborhoods. “Homes don’t stay on the market for long. If they do, it’s not prices correctly.”

A lot of the credit goes to the devotedly followed "10-minute rule." Whether it’s intentional or not, as a realtor and lifetime resident, Lolcama agrees that in most neighborhoods east of the Willamette you’ll find pretty much everything you desire within walking distance.

So, what does this all mean for the potential home buyer? Lolcama offers some quick, and not-so-obvious tips, for those who are looking to up-size or simply want to invest in a property they can call their own.

Do research.
Before even stepping into the office of a realtor, Lolcama suggest doing some reflection on what it is that you truly want and need. Setting a comfortable and realistic budget can help dictate what is within reach. Consulting a mortgage broker and pre-qualifying for a loan can help any buyer set limits, avoid disappointment, and speed up the entire process once you are approved.

Be ready to compromise.
“It’s an educational process. I don’t want to tell them [clients] they can’t, I want them to realize what they can get for their budget. Maybe you don’t need that third room, or the garage, or the basement shop."

Cutting the fat can save you thousands and help you nab a more attainable abode in a desired neighborhood or within a particular style. Also, realizing your capabilities is helpful. Not handy? Do you see yourself getting more handy? Because the house isn’t going to get more fixed, it’ll get less fixed. Maybe a condo is a better alternative.

Rent vs. Buying
After figuring out the basics, take time to zoom out and think. Should I actually be looking to buy or rent? The renting market is highly competitive and harder to negotiate. Lolcama recommends not ruling out the possibility of condos, especially with budget and location restrictions. “Hit the pavement!” she says, before you get stuck bidding against hundreds of others on an apartment.

If you have any questions or would like to inquire about a property, contact Erin Lolcama at 971-506-4595