There are no transfer taxes for Oregon, with the sole exception of Washington County. Real estate transactions in that particular area are subject to a transfer tax rate of $1 for every $1,000 of the sale price. This means that a $300,000 home will merit a tax of $300, which is typically split between the buyer and seller.
Even if you're lucky to live in a part of Oregon without transfer taxes, the costs of buying or selling a home can rack up quickly if you aren’t careful. That's why it’s best to find ways to shave off some of the overhead expenses.
For instance, you can work with Clever Real Estate to find an experienced agent that can negotiate the best possible deal for you. And the best part?
Our agents charge only a 1% listing fee (compared to the average 3%), and all eligible buyers can get up to 0.5% cash back after their transaction closes.
Let's take a closer look at the ins and outs of Oregon transfer tax so you can know what you might need to pay.
Who pays transfer taxes in Oregon: the buyer or the seller?
Unlike the majority of the country, Oregon holds a rather unique position when it comes to transfer taxes.
Oregon is one of the 13 states that don't require buyers or sellers to pay any transfer taxes when a piece of property exchanges hands — with one exception.
This one exception is for the residents of Washington County in Oregon who are unfortunately subject to transfer taxes.
The rest of the state, however, is exempt after an amendment passed back in November of 2012 called, The Oregon Real Estate Transfer Tax Amendment, Measure 79, also known as Initiative 5.
With this initiative, Oregon prohibited real estate transfer taxes throughout the state with one tiny clause excluding Washington County. In the past, transfer taxes have helped fund and transform the economy and community of Washington County, bringing in millions of dollars every year.
And it appears Washington County transfer taxes are going nowhere soon. In fact, the success of the Washington County taxes have prompted the Oregon Legislature to introduce bills restoring the transfer tax across the state. While the bills did not pass in 2020, the governor still plans to pursue the increases over the future, so tax rates may change at any time.
Regardless, if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Washington County, know that traditionally the transfer tax payment is split evenly between both buyer and seller.
Also keep in mind that once you close on a home in Washington County and the deed is recorded, you'll have only 15 days to pay the transfer tax before incurring a late penalty.
How much are transfer taxes in Oregon?
Again, if you live anywhere outside of Washington County in Oregon, congratulations, you don't have to pay a dime in transfer taxes.
But if you are within the boundaries of Washington County, you'll expect to pay $1 per every $1,000 on the purchase price of the home.
For example, if you want to purchase a home in the popular, burgeoning city of Portland, Oregon, which falls within the boundaries of Washington County, and pay the median selling price of $467,600, the total transfer tax will come to $467.60.
And remember, typically the buyer and seller split the transfer tax cost, so in actuality, you'll only be paying about $233.80.
Compared to the rest of Oregon who skip the cost altogether, this could seem like a lot, though compared to other state transfer tax rates, Washington County may actually seem relatively reasonable.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around transfer taxes — but there are other ways to save money and recoup some expenses. For instance, an experienced agent can negotiate for the other party to shoulder most, if not all, of the transfer taxes.
Even better, when you buy or sell with Clever, you get a local expert’s help for a very low cost. Sellers only pay a 1% listing fee (a far cry from the industry average of 3%), while buyers will be able to claim 0.5% cash back when the sale comes through.
Your accumulated savings will be more than enough to cover your share of the transfer dues.
Can you deduct transfer taxes?
No matter whether you're buying or selling a home, the entire process is inherently expensive. You'll always want to cut costs and avoid extra fees whenever possible.
However, lamentably, you typically cannot deduct transfer taxes as they are essentially the transaction fee in order to legally transfer the title of the home from seller to buyer.
Fortunately though, there is a bright side on how you can use transfer taxes to your benefit. As the seller, you can utilize transfer taxes to help offset capital gains tax during the home selling process.
In order to reduce the amount of taxation on any capital gain made from selling your home, you can add the transfer tax amount to your cost basis, which is the price amount you initially bought your home for.
In doing so, you'll ultimately reduce the total gain made on your home, thereby also reducing the amount that will be taxed, allowing you to save a few extra dollars throughout this entire process.
How to lower transfer taxes in Oregon
If you are on a tight budget and concerned about shelling out more money to pay for the transfer tax, you can consider modifying the asking price for your home. By lowering the asking price slightly, your transfer tax will also be reduced.
Another consideration to examine is using transfer tax as leverage in cost negotiations.
For instance, the seller could offer to pay the transfer tax in order to help close the deal faster or the buyer could offer to cover the cost in order for the seller to choose them over another buyer.
Oregon transfer tax summary
While Oregon’s transfer tax rules are straightforward, you will still benefit from working with a local real estate expert. Besides ensuring that you have the correct computation for your taxes, they can also negotiate with the other party to ensure that you get the best deal possible.
The easiest way to find an experienced real estate agent is by working with Clever. Our partner agents are from the best brokerages in the country and provide full-service assistance to ensure a smooth transaction.
What’s more, both buyers and sellers can save money by using our services due to our buyer cash back offer (0.5% cash back after the sale goes through) and our low listing fees (only 1%, compared to the nationwide average of 3%).