I hear it all the time, “I’m moving the burbs.”
Okay, here are a few tips I’d like to share with my clients ready to make the leap to the ‘burbs:
• Look at commute times, even if the homeowners are not commuting right now. People may be headed back to the office after the new year or never, but the ease of commute always matters in the suburbs. Even if it’s not an issue for your current buyers, it may be for their future buyers.
• Make sure their financials are buttoned up. This is critical advice for any homebuyer, but especially true in the hot, hot suburbs where the competition is stiff and transactions are a bit more complicated than buying a 500-square-foot Midtown studio.
• Expect the unexpected when it comes to repairs. Most longtime urbanites have a lot to learn about the care and upkeep of a single-family home. No more can they call the super at 3 a.m. to deal with a leaky faucet or busted furnace. There’s also the surrounding land to landscape and tend. In the end, newly minted suburban homeowners will end up more knowledgeable about plumbing, electrical, and sewer systems than they ever thought possible. They’ll also need the cash reserves to stay on top of repairs, with some experts recommending as much as 5% of a home’s purchase price.
• Anticipate heartbreak and a long road ahead. Buyers entering hot markets should be emotionally prepared to miss out on a few opportunities. Bidding wars are called wars for a reason: they’re tough and arduous. The road to the perfect suburban retreat may be long, but it’ll be worth it.
• Last and certainly not least, buyers heading out into the suburbs should work with an experienced agent who knows the local communities inside and out. For city agents, that means a willingness to connect clients with a referral broker. That may seem like a great way to lose business, but relationships should always take precedence over money. Referring your buyers to a skilled broker in the suburb of their choice is an opportunity to make sure your clients are well taken care of throughout the process.
The downtown Boston real estate market isn’t dead, and suburban living will never lose its appeal. In 2021, maybe it’s no longer a matter of either-or.