In today’s Boston Real Estate Blog. I’d like to discuss the steps in the Boston real estate buying process.
First, you should put a lot of thought into acquiring downtown Boston real estate, let’s face it’s a huge purchase to make and one that’s likely to impact the rest of your life. Yet, many people simply overlook it when they start looking for a Boston condo for sale.
Unless you’re an industry insider, chances are you’ll never be aware of these crucial steps toward owning residential Boston real estate. To help homeowners come to grips with these critical elements, I’ll talk about the steps they see as the most important in finding and buying a home that most people simply ignore.
Some first-time Boston condo buyers don’t calculate what they can afford. Buyers should always start with a budget, what monthly payment are they comfortable with including all expenses. Payment shock can be overwhelming. With a very high in-demand market because of lack of inventory and record low-interest rates, buyers need to budget and be prepared before they enter the buying arena which is presently very competitive.
Accessing grant money assistance for the down payment and closing costs is one step in buying a Boston condo that most agents and buyers simply don’t know about. There are programs available in every state for both Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and conventional buyers. Even if buyers have the cash on hand, you may still benefit from accessing grant money. A good resource for buyers in all 50 states is The Federal Savings Bank.
At some point, I’ll expand on this in one of my next Boston real estate blog posts
When shopping for the perfect new Boston condominium for sale, buyers should carefully consider potentially hidden costs—the heating and cooling costs of a larger home can add to your bottom line. I remember when I purchased my first Boston condo it had electric baseboard heat that cost me a fortune in the winter. Ask your agent to obtain copies of recent utility bills from the sellers so that you can understand these expenses and add them to your monthly budget. The best way to prepare for unexpected home repairs is to get a home warranty.
“What’s your exit strategy?” Few agents ask their clients this question. If you responded, “We are only here until we have kids, you could then run analytics based on historic pricing for when you’ll exit.
Many Boston condo buyers focus only on the home and not their lifestyle needs, which are greatly influenced by location-controlling factors like walkability, safety, neighborhood amenities or neighborhood cultural events. The home is important, but, lifestyle is king.
Picking the right agent for you is essential. Oftentimes, Boston condo buyers are focused on finding the right home, and forget the other part of the equation includes finding a downtown Boston agent who will go to bat for you. Check the Boston real estate agent Google Reviews. After all, this is a big emotional and financial investment, so don’t settle for just anyone. You want that A+ team player.
You might be surprised to find that homeowners often forget to secure home insurance, especially when purchasing all cash since it’s not a requirement for closing escrow. But even Boston real estate buyers using financing often struggle to purchase the right insurance or don’t purchase enough coverage to cover the full amount of the loan. Talk with your lender first to confirm what you need before you go shopping.
I have encountered multiple accounts where a property did not have proper permitting, that never had a final permit inspection, or even had a permit application submitted. These properties had been sold multiple times with the buyers and their agents never catching the issue. I advise my clients to research the permit history.
One important step that is often overlooked when purchasing a Boston suburb home is the creation of a yearly maintenance account. Just like humans, our homes need yearly check-ups to ensure that any future catastrophes can be mitigated. Maintenance can come at a higher price the larger the home, and can also cost you thousands down the road if not repaired in a timely fashion.
Preparing for functional obsolescence is very important. By this, I mean educating a Boston condo buyer about the need to budget for future replacement or repair of various systems of the home. Also, the costs of maintaining a house if a buyer has not owned one before are very important. This is often not discussed but important in order to take care of the property properly. Buyers are so caught up in the emotion they often do not plan for this.
Who lived in the house or Boston condo before you and does the property have any bad stigma? From criminals to extremists, the bottom line is why would you not want to be in that home? The fear of not knowing who may come to your door for retribution would be a terrible thing to have to live with. This stuff is often found out after you have already bought the property and you start talking to the neighbors.
Be sure to check out the immediate neighborhood on foot or via bike on the Boston condo you want to purchase. Get out of the car and check out the neighborhood “vibe” at different times of the day. Check for noise levels from traffic or nearby commercial areas. Walk the streets on a warm day when neighbors are out to see if there are welcoming waves and smiles, and just to get a “feel” for how it would feel to live in that neighborhood.
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