I have spoken with Back Bay condo buyers who frequently tell me they’re okay with “doing some work” and not paying for another owner’s remodel. And many times, that’s a sound plan when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms. After all, these renovations are typically pretty straightforward, and they provide an instant bang for the buck. Buy a Back Bay condo with a tired, 1980s kitchen and bath, spruce them up, and you’ve added immediate value.

Back Bay condo buildings and condo association

However, there are certain property upgrades that should be appreciated and valued more than I think they are for Back Bay condo buyers. A chef’s kitchen with a CaesarStone counter and a slick, high-end soaking tub in the master suite are all fine and good. But what about the Back Bay condo building itself, what value is an upgraded foundation–or a substantially repaired one? Or a new furnace/ductwork; roof; seismic upgrades; repaired dry rot/termite damage; upgraded plumbing and electrical? Though you can’t necessarily see these sorts of repairs in slick marketing photos, they’re important building components that need periodic attention. As Back Bay condo buyer review the Back Bay condo meeting notes for potential or past building upgrades. Can’t stress it enough very important.

Back Bay condo and your future sale

A good portion of the aforementioned items can be fairly expensive. For example, the foundation repair/improvement work can be a significant cost.  And the seismic upgrades made at the front and rear of the building will also contribute to a more solid footing. Sure, we have a remodeled kitchen and bath in your unit, which is great, but future owners when go to sell won’t want to deal with these capital improvement repairs.

Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish

I’ve seen some good Back Bay condos sit on the market a while because owners were trying to recoup all the special assessment fee money they spent on certain structural items. It’s difficult to quantify how much money you can expect to recover on, say, the $20,000 roof you installed, or the $10,000 on plumbing and electrical upgrades. These items will certainly add value, but how much value will be up to the Back Bay condo buyers. In general, they’re the type of items you address as part of long-term property maintenance. And hopefully, the Back Bay condo buyer who likes your home will be savvy enough to appreciate the upgrades and repairs.

Back Bay condos for sale

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Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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