Full transparency, I am the Owner of Bend Relocation Services, and our main bread and butter is finding rentals for people moving to Bend. I have lived in Bend for 10 years and started my business 7 years ago. I think it’s important to disclose this so there is no doubt of any hidden agendas. My clients hire me to teach them about Bend so they can make educated decisions regarding their move. I help them find the right neighborhood, the right rental, schools, referrals, etc. I am not writing this as a plug or to get your business. I am writing this because I have witnessed so many people who think they know all the answers based on what they have heard or read, only to realize that they were misinformed.
Renting vs. buying is the most frequently asked question I get from people who are moving to Central Oregon. So, here is my answer based on both personal and professional experience.
There is no denying that between the deficiency in rentals, and with the prices, rentals are commanding, it’s hard to justify paying more than a mortgage payment to rent a house in Bend. For many, renting feels like a waste of money, and only defers the ability to feel settled. Moving sucks. Who wants to move into a rental knowing that within a year or two, you will have to move again when you buy a home?
As someone who has watched the real estate market explode and knowing that Bend is only going to grow bigger, and get better, I agree that investing in Bend real estate is a smart move. Having said this, buying a house in Bend when you are unfamiliar with the city, is a huge gamble. If you ask 10 people which neighborhood or school is the “best”, you will likely get 10 different answers because what’s a good fit for them isn’t necessarily a good fit for you. The “best” is completely subjective and very personal. If you are going through the trouble of moving all this way, give yourself the best chance for success. It’s much easier to back out of a rental than to back out of a mortgage. Give yourself the gift of time to explore the city, get familiar with all the neighborhoods, get an understanding of the real estate market, and decide what feels like home to you. Renting a house is a test run to see if you even like living in Bend.