Oregon Taxes, Loans and Schools

Mortgage Loans

There are many good mortgage calculators but this one will estimate the monthly mortgage insurance payment for loans with less than 20% down. The monthly amount can be significant so it is important to figure it into the monthly payment. When you search for homes on this site,  MLS Searchable List page, and you have entered your search criteria and listings appear, just click on the house picture. The next page will contain all the information on that house along with a mortgage calculator. I wrote a Home Buyers Book that has a detailed chapter on home loans that will answer many of your questions.  Lending rules change often so be sure to ask a loan officer about your situation.

With 25 years of experience in the real estate business I firmly believe in using local lenders.  I have had good experiences with out-of-state and internet lenders, but they are few and far between.  We pride ourselves on great ‘stress free’ service.  To provide that, we need to be working with a lender we know and trust.  Here are two of my favorites.

Dollar Sign

 Jennifer Leon
Umpqua Bank
Phone: 503-219-6166
Fax: 503-287-3182
Email: Email Jennifer

Tim Vanderburg
Guild Mortgage
Direct: 503-452-0001
Mobile: 503-709-8928
E-mail: Email Tim

All loan approvals are credit driven and your interest rate is determined by your “FICO Score”. A FICO score is a number between 300 and 850, which is assigned by the credit reporting agencies. The better your credit history, the higher your FICO score. The higher the FICO number, the lower the interest rate. The best rates require a minimum score of 740. Loans can be obtained for lower scores (680 and below for FHA)  at slightly higher cost or interest rate.

Checking your credit report in advance is a good practice. Effective December, 2004, individuals living in the United States are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year. You can receive this free report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. This will allow you to get your report from any of the three major credit reporting agencies. One note is they do not give you the FICO score without paying extra.  There are three major credit reporting agencies in the US and you are entitled to a copy from each vendor.  When a credit report is pulled for a mortgage, the lender will pull all three reports and use the middle score (not the average) for the purpose of qualifying.

If you want your credit score, not just a credit report, you can purchase the credit score www.myfico.com or receive the score through your mortgage lender. FICO scores vary for different types of lending, consumer, auto, mortgage. To really get the right number you need to talk to a mortgage lender and ask for your full credit report and “mortgage” FICO score. The difference from an auto FICO and a Mortgage FICO can be 30 or more points.

Oregon Taxes

Oregon Property Taxes 

As one tax attorney said “Oregon has the most complicated property tax system in the country”. Property assessments track two values. One is the Real Market Value (RMV), which is the amount a property would sell for on January 1 of the prior year. RMV increases or decreases each year depending on the statistical averages of houses in the same zip code. The second value, and the one most commonly used to determine the tax paid, is the Tax Assessed Value. TAV can only increase by 3% per year. The value was set to 1995 levels in 1998 by a ballot measure known as Measure 50. Here is a great article and video published by the Oregonian in late 2015 that explains it further.

In the Portland Metro area mill-rates range from $16.00 per thousand to $24.00 per thousand. For example: a home assessed at $200,000 with a mill-rate of $15.00 would owe annual taxes of $3,000. Rates tend to be highest in Multnomah County and the City of Portland. They are lower in the suburbs located in Washington (west) and Clackamas (south and east) counties. Read more….

Oregon State Income Taxes in

State government is largely supported by personal income and corporate excise taxes. Local governments and schools are largely funded by property taxes. The state income tax is 9% with Social Security not being taxable if your income is under $20,000.  Here is an income tax calculator for quick reference.   A Good source of information is the Oregon Department of Revenue. They also provide an online brochure answering the most common questions concerning Oregon Taxes.

Sales Tax

Oregon is one of only 5 states in the nation that levies no sales tax or use tax. There have been numerous attempts to institute a sales tax but Oregonians continue to vote against the proposal.

Portland Oregon Schools

Oregon schools are funded by the state general budget.  Because of this the recession hit schools hard.  They had to endure 6 years of budget cuts which resulted in smaller staff and class offerings.  I am happy to report that the last two years have seen increases in the school budgets, but we are not back to where we were before the recession.  Despite these challenges we have stood by our schools and parental involvement is at a high point.  We have very few private schools and those that we do have are religious based.  In other words, if you move into an area within Portland Metro, your kids will do well.  East County and parts of North Portland have schools that are still struggling.  However the suburb schools are strong.   More information is available at the Oregon Education Department. If you would like to view the report card for a particular school go to State of Oregon site at: The School Report.  Portland Monthly Magazine does an annual review of schools for Portland and the Suburbs.  Another good source of information is www.GreatSchools.com For Private School Reviews read here.

The Oregon Statewide Assessment Test (OAT) is different from national, norm-referenced tests used in many districts and states. The Oregon Statewide Assessment is a criterion-referenced test. (Wikipedia defined). As a result, the types of scores produced from the OAT are somewhat different from those produced by national, norm-referenced tests, such as No Child Left Behind.

The annual Oregon school report cards differ from the No Child Left Behind ratings. The state judges schools on average student performances, while the federal rating scrutinize individual group such as limited English, minority, and special education students. If one of those groups doesn’t meet performance targets, the school is downgraded. You can view the NCLB results on the Department of Educations web site at:
No Child Left Behind results: AYP Report.

Any questions or comments just e-mail or phone and I’ll try to answer all of your questions.