Considering downsizing from a detached family home that’s too large for your current needs? You’re in the right place!
This blog post builds on the tool introduced in Episode 8 of my vlog. The tool takes you through key financial, social or emotional, and practical pros and cons of downsizing. To get your free copy, please call, text or email me.
While it’s helpful to consider the question in a more general way using my tool, there’s no substitute for getting a clear picture of replacement home options available to downsizers. That’s the purpose of this post – a guided virtual tour of representative properties that are currently active or pending on Portland’s west side.
Unfortunately, I can’t download listing photos and include them here without the advance written permission of listing agents and sellers. To comply with copyright law, this post relies instead on hyperlinks. Prepare for some heavy clicking!
To help you navigate this long-ish post and pick and choose content, I’ve organized it into 3 sections corresponding to the 3 main alternatives to aging in place in your large family home.
- Downsize to a smaller, 1-level detached home
a. Turnkey new or newish builds at a remove
b. Vintage ranches – close in or further out in 55+ communities
- Downsize to a 1-level or ground level townhouse or condo
a. 1-level townhouses – dated close in or new and upscale further out
b. Age-in-place-friendly condos on the west side
- Sell your Portland home and buy elsewhere in Oregon, the US or abroad
Option 1: Downsize to a smaller, 1-level detached home
Turnkey new or newish builds at a remove
There seem to be more new or newish 1-level homes available in suburbs farther away from downtown Portland. Land prices are lower there so there’s less incentive to build a large family home upward, with half the total square footage contained in a 2nd story. Here are 3 listings of this type.
- Click here to see a cute pending neo-Craftsman built in 2001 in Hillsboro’s Orenco Station with 2 BRs, 2 BAs, 1434 SF, an easy-care back patio and a list price of $499,999. You can walk to the MAX station, neighborhood farmer’s market, shops, and dining in 15 minute or less.
- Click here to see an example of the new Pahlisch homes in south Hillsboro (97213). With 3 BRs, 2 BAs, 1746 SF and sleek finishes, this one sold in May of 2020 for just under $524K after 5 days on the market.
- Click here to see a lot map and sample floor plans for Wilsonville’s new Stafford Meadows subdivision. Upscale homes built by West Hills Homes NW start at 2000 SF and $800K.
Vintage ranches – close in or further out in 55+ communities
Many 1-level homes under 2000 SF on the west side are ranch style built in the 50’, 60’s and 70’s. They’re common in desirable close-in neighborhoods like Cedar Mill, Cedar Hills and the West Slope. The lettered list below takes you through some of the downsides of ranches if you’re planning to age in place. After the lettered list, you’ll find links to 3 active or pending listings of this kind.
a. They may be dated, meaning lots of projects.
b. Or if they’ve been improved, the remodel may not be to your taste or in accord with universal design principles, such as no steps and curbless showers with benches and grab bars. To complicate matters and add to your remodel cost, they can have challenging bones for aging in place. For example, the footprint of many ranch master baths is too small for a walker or wheel chair – meaning taking down a wall and borrowing space from another room when remodeling. The same can be true of narrow hallways.
c. They can lack architectural interest and a gracious feeling. For example, the front door may open directly into the sitting room.
d. They may have just 1 or 1.5 bathrooms.
e. They may have a single garage.
f. Lots may be larger than you want.
g. You’ll be competing with many other buyers and need to move very quickly when the right property comes on the market.
- Click here to see a petite (1034 SF) currently active 3-BR, 2-BA home with a great Beaverton location, location, location. The suburban street is peaceful but only 15 minutes on foot to City Library, City Park, the farmer’s market and the Elsie Stuhr Center. Evelyn Schiffler Park is a 5-minute walk away.
- Click here to see a thoughtfully renovated 3-BR, 2-BA charmer listed at $439K in close-in West Portland near Barbur Rd and Hwy 5 for easy access to town. The roof has been raised to create interesting exterior lines, clerestory windows, and vaulted ceilings with skylights that bring light and spaciousness to the great room despite the home’s compact size (1093 SF). Handsome, easy-care landscaping on the small lot includes a patio off the kitchen for outdoor entertaining. Re: con g above, a submission deadline was set for just 5 days after the list date. Multiple offers were received and the house went pending on day 5.
- Click here to see a pending $459K home purpose-built for aging in place in Tigard’s King City Highlands, a 55+ community. The 1395-SF footprint of this 2-BR, 2-BA home includes an entry hall, family room adjoining the chef’s kitchen and laundry room. Like many other 55+ communities, this one has common spaces for getting to know neighbors. Monthly HOA fees of about $77 pay for greenways, walking paths and a clubhouse with library, exercise classes, movie nights, card games and potlucks.
Not included in the more generic list above, here are potential cons of 55+ communities:
h. They tend to be located in neighborhoods that are further from downtown and therefore less desirable. Like its nearby Tigard rival, Summerfield, King City Highlands is a good 3-4 miles southwest of Hwy 217 out Pacific Hwy 99.
i. Some may balk at age-segregated communities, preferring the interest and vitality of a more diverse neighborhood.
Option 2: Downsize to a 1-level or ground level townhouse or condo
1-level townhouses – dated close in or new and upscale further out
With land prices high in close-in west side neighborhoods, there’s a strong incentive to build larger and pricier attached homes that expand upward to 2 or 3 levels. The rare 1-level townhouse is likely to have been built in the 60’s and 70’s and to need some TLC. Some of the most gracious 1-levels of this vintage that really shine with remodeling can be found in Beaverton’s Four Seasons and Highland Park neighborhoods or the western edge of Raleigh Hills. Generally priced in the high $300’s, none are currently pending or active in these locations. Higher-end and newer properties can be found in Bethany (for example in the 55+ Claremont community – see listing #3 below) or further afield (for example, in Wilsonville’s Charbonneau – see listing #4 below).
- Click here to see an active 3-BR, 2-BA, 1360-SF unit priced at $349.9K in the Westbrook community a 20-minute walk west of downtown Beaverton. Though dated, it features an entry hall, laundry room and gas fireplace. Known for being close-knit, Westbrook offers a pool, clubhouse and space for home gardens in exchange for monthly HOA fees of $344.
- Click here to see an active 3-BR, 2-BA, 1276-SF unit with detached garage priced at $289.9K in desirable Maplewood. Though dark and dated in its present state, the townhouse offers a great wooded setting just 10 mins on foot to Maplewood Coffee & Tea (in the neighborhood’s restored and repurposed 1911 post office) and about 20 mins to the heart of Multnomah Village. HOA fees of $427/month are on the high side and there are no common spaces beyond the grounds.
- Click here to see a 2-BR, 2.5-BA turnkey townhouse with 1876 SF built in 1998 in Bethany’s 55+ golf course community. Though not 1-level, it’s age-in-place-friendly with a master on the main. First listed last October at $429,950, it was relisted 2/12/21 at $419,900. Paid quarterly, annual HOA fees of $3,664 cover swimming, tennis, clubhouse and commons. Golf is extra.
- Click here to see a thoughtfully planned and handsomely finished 3-BR, 2-BA, 1671-SF unit in Wilsonville’s Charbonneau. Built in 2018, the townhouse went pending after 2 days on the market at $559.9K. It features high tray ceilings, an open plan, built-ins, a generous covered deck, clerestory windows (for good light and privacy in a multi-family setting) and double attached garage. All homeowners are members of the community country club, which offers fee-based tennis, golf and strength training as well as classes and social gatherings in the clubhouse. Monthly HOA fees of $335 also cover maintenance of a marina on the Willamette River and a network of parks, trails and lakes. The community is about 20 miles and 25 mins by car from downtown Portland.
Age-in-place-friendly condos on the west side
There are some low-rise condo communities on the west side where most or all units are on ground level. There are also some mid-rise or multi-level condo communities without elevators that can work for aging in place if a ground-level unit happens to come on the market. In addition, there are plenty of active listings in mid- and high-rise condo buildings served by elevators in downtown Portland.
In the interest of keeping down the length of this post, I’ll bypass those options, focusing instead on the few multi-story buildings with elevators in west side suburbs.
In descending order by price for 2-BR units, notable examples include Ventana in Forest Heights (around $530K), Village Lofts in Multnomah Village (around $500K), the Promenade in Bethany (high $300’s) The Quartet in West Sylvan-Haven (the high $200’s), and Raleigh Park Plaza in Raleigh Hills (the mid $200’s). All but The Quartet have active or pending listings for 2-BR, 2BA units (see below).
- Click here and here to see two handsome pending condos in Forest Height’s Ventana community. Built in 2014, the first has 1465 SF and went pending at $529K, a bargain compared to its last sale price of $560K in 2017. Built in 2008, the second has 1553 SF and went pending at $490K with no price reductions. (BTW, there’s a 2-level 2136-SF townhouse with master on the main priced at $539K in the next door community of Hartford Woods that went pending 2/8/21 but came back on the market 4 days later. Click here to have a look.)
- Click here to see a currently active 1541-SF penthouse condo in a 4-story mid-rise built in 2007 just steps from all that Multnomah Village has to offer. Originally listed in October at $545K, the current list price of $499.9 is a real bargain considering that the seller paid $540K for the unit in 2007. (BTW, a 1-BR, 1-BA unit with 834 SF is also active in the same building at $300K after a $30K price reduction. Click here to see it.)
- Click here to see a currently active 2-BR, 1.5-BA unit with 1256 SF in Bethany’s 4-story Promenade. Built in 2001 and overlooking a large green, the unit is listed at $380K and has HOA fees of $374/month for trash, water and grounds maintenance.
- Click here to see a 1305 SF unit that went pending at $239.9K in Raleigh Park Plaza. It happens to be located on the ground level but the building has an elevator. HOA fees of $414/month cover maintenance of the onsite pool and grounds as well as sewer, trash and water. Though set back from busy Scholls Ferry Rd, there’s plenty of shopping and dining a short walk away, including New Seasons.
- Click here for a great example of what a 1-level 2-BR, 2-BA, 1324-SF, lakeside condo built in the early 80’s can become with some reno TLC. The units in Tigard’s River Lake Village look like the vintage low-rise townhouses discussed in the preceding section. But rather than owning the land below the unit, as is the case with a townhouse, each resident owns his or her condo from the walls in and a proportional share of the community’s common space. Listed at $344K, the property went pending in just 6 days, fell out of escrow, and went pending a 2nd time after 10 days. Apparently a flip, it’s owned by a realtor who paid $205K for it a few months back.
Option 3: Sell your Portland home and buy elsewhere in Oregon, the US or abroad
As a Metro realtor, I can’t be of much help with finding replacement homes outside the area, state or country beyond using the Keller Williams global referral network to connect you to a top-notch realtor in the new location.
I can help you list and sell your Portland home! If you relocate to an area with lower housing prices, you’ll reap a handsome equity gain and more financial flexibility. The timing of downsizing is likely to be important in realizing these advantages. As explained in Episode 8 of my vlog, we may be at or near the top of the market and Portland and the country face the prospect of a “great senior sell-off” in coming years as Baby Boomers continue to age.
Moving out of Portland also offers the opportunity to choose a new climate and lifestyle. On the downside, it entails a big life change and the loss of family and community ties here.