I've put a fair amount of thought into what I want and why I want to buy. I've been saving 27% of my take-home salary (and now that I'm renting a room from a friend, I'm saving 42%) towards the down payment. I have been watching the market and have already made (and lost!) my first attempt to buy.
In the three-plus weeks I've been back I've done lots of driving, biking, and walking around looking at neighborhoods and absorbing being back in Portland.
I even visited the condo group I've been
Anyway, Sunday night I came home from the condo association's open meeting just feeling so disappointed and not at all sure I should take the plunge and make an offer. I saw a little house online that was in a great location (not as great as the condos), four miles from downtown Portland, 0.9 miles due east from three of my friends' households, 1.3 miles from one of my favorite breakfast spots, and 2 miles or less from several other really great locations. The price was even lower than the condo I'd been so set on, with a quarter the taxes and no built-in HOAs.
I was a little concerned I was acting in a rebound mode, and wondered if it would be indecorous to buy so soon after spending time with the condo people, but I arranged to see the house midday Monday. As far as I can tell it would cost about what I was paying in rent for all my fixed expenses (mortgage, interest, utilities, taxes, insurance), and I would be able to continue to allocate about a third of my take-home pay toward an emergency fund and home maintenance/projects/mortgage paydown.
The house is small (I actually laughed when I got inside and saw what an amazing job the photographer had done to make it look bigger than it is), but it's big enough for me. It's not perfect but I can see living there for the foreseeable future, and would likely be able to resell or rent it out without a lot of problems. The neighborhood has some really interesting businesses in it and is still being discovered by the city residents.
So to sum up: I'm making an offer today.