In search of…Silverton rentals are hard to come by

January 2019 Posted in Business, Community

By Melissa Wagoner

Finding a place to rent in Silverton right now is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, according to Becky Craig, a Property Manager at Silverton Realty.

“It is nuts,” she said. “I cannot believe how expensive rental prices are right now. Not only are they increasing in price but the number of units we manage is decreasing.”

Silverton Realty manages close to 250 single-family and multi-family dwellings, giving Craig, who has been a property manager for four years, a unique insight into the state of the current rental market.

“Because the housing market is so high, we are having owners who are selling their homes,” she explained. “These are houses that they have been sitting on since the market crash and they are finally able to sell and (get) a good amount for them. This has driven rental prices up even further.”

This sales phenomenon has been seen in real estate offices across Silverton, including Harcourts NW Oregon Realty Group where owner Connie Hinsdale has been offering property management services since 2008.

“With a booming selling market many owners are choosing to take properties they currently had rented, and selling them,” she verified. “There are also buyers out there who are ‘waiting’ for the right home to come along to buy, but have chosen to move here while searching for it, and are renting in the meantime. We occasionally have sellers who want to sell, and have not yet found their replacement ‘dream home’ who are in the market for rentals.”

The bottleneck created by higher demand and lower supply has made it difficult for property managers to place all prospective renters, but it is especially difficult when clients have pets, a low credit score or a poor rental history.

“People love their pets,” Dixon Bledsoe, co-owner of Bledsoe Santana Team Realty, which recently began offering property management services, commented. “But if I have a house that I’m renting for $1,800 a month, I’m not real excited about five big dogs – and smoking is also a real issue. The other aspect is – what’s their credit score and their financial history?”

Bledsoe suggests that anyone looking to rent or buy should keep their available credit debt below 30 percent of their income and make all payments on time. He also cautioned against making a big purchase – or even shopping around for one – right before applying for a rental or a home loan.

“You don’t want to have a car dealer check your credit because you get dings,” he said.

But even for ideal renters – with good credit and rental history – there is no guarantee of placement because often the client’s budget does not match the price of the current market, according to Craig, who dreads telling potential clients she is unable to help them.

“There are so many people who want to live in Silverton, but either cannot afford it, or simply cannot find a space to rent in time,” she said. “It is especially hard to explain to someone who has maybe been out of the area for a while, or maybe never rented before, that the prices are what they are. There is often a deer in the headlights look when we ask them what their budget may be for a single family residence and in reality they would maybe be lucky to find a two bedroom apartment with the amount.”

But those prices – although a hike from previous years – are still comparable to what is being seen throughout the valley and Craig explains the increase is a culmination of many different factors, not just the market.

Not everyone feels that Silverton’s prices are unreasonable. Lynn and Bob Williams, who sold their home in Silverton in 2017 in order to downsize to a smaller space, were able to find a rental relatively quickly and believe the price they are paying to be fair for the quality and location of the apartment they found.

“We were going to be house poor and we were going to be living on Social Security,” Lynn explained of their decision to sell. “We looked at each other last year and said, ‘Why do we own this house?’ … We’ve talked to an investor and the proceeds from the house will last us the rest of our lives. I think it’s the perfect thing to do at our age.”

Although the Williams agree that there weren’t a lot of choices available, they believe persistence was key in their success.

This sentiment was echoed by Craig when she advised potential clients, “We do everything as a first come, first served. Get your applications turned in and wait… Don’t be too picky. In this market, there isn’t a lot of room for ‘waiting for a better house,’ because it may never be available.”

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