Ready to list or buy a Boston condo for sale? Here are some of your burning questions, answered.

What’s the best way to search for Boston condos for sale?

While some people might like to drive around looking for “for sale” signs, while others attend Sunday Open Houses most people these days prefer to shop for Boston condos for sale online. But which site to use? Zillow often doesn’t have the latest data from the MLS, and Realtor.com isn’t the most user-friendly. Enter www.bostonreb.com

Do listing agents all provide the same services and rates?

No, a hundred times no. All real estate commissions are negotiable and the services vary wildly. We strive to provide full service, increased marketing, all while charging a reasonable commission rate. You can see everything we offer here.

Why do you recommend that home shoppers use a buyers’ agent?

Buyers’ agents know Boston neighborhoods as well as — or sometimes better than — the people who live there. My buyer’s team helps my clients make intelligent decisions about their new home and investment. In the real estate transaction, they are the agent that acts on the behalf of you, the buyer — not the sellers or their agent, not the lender or anyone else, just you. They put their negotiation powers to work to cut down on closing costs, make sure your new Boston downtown condo is in the condition you expect, and be moved in as soon as possible. Typically you never pay the buyer’s agent a dime, they accept the commission rate offered by the seller.

What is my real estate agent required to disclose about a home before they sell it?

Disclosures involves information about the physical home, information about the property, sewer, water, electrical, etc. is information that the buyer has a right to be informed of. The real estate agent typically does not make separate disclosures about the home, they take the seller’s disclosures and pass those on to a buyer.

What real estate agents and the sellers they represent aren’t required to tell you are the non-material facts — things like crime data.

To find out this information and more, head to bostonreb.com. Whether you’re looking for data about crime in the neighborhood or just curious about the name of the stream that runs near the property, this website by the City of Boston makes it very easy to do your own research. Simply punch in a physical address and click through a dozen or more maps that describe everything you might want to know.

Can I afford a condominium in Boston?

Right now the median home price in downtown Boston is close to $1M — but whether that number is in your price range is not really the answer to the question. It’s the median (middle) because there are homes for sale in Boston above and below that price. Historically Boston’s housing affordability (which is a scale that compares income to home prices) has been better than other major metros, according to the MLS.

Most people can’t afford to overpay for a home and that’s where having a great real estate agent comes in. Across Boston neighborhoods, you’ll get a very different home for the same amount of money. Where do you want to live? Do your research and keep an open mind. I am confident that we can find a home for just about every price range.

If I list my home for more than its value, will I get more for it?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, no! Unless you get very, very lucky, your home will likely just sit there (this happens today, even in the hottest of markets). Once your home stays on the market for more than the average (right now about 57 days), you’ll start to lose money because potential buyers will be scared off even if you do lower the price.

A far better strategy is to price your home according to the going rate in your market (which a good real estate agent will be able to figure out) and generate several competing offers. You’ll be able to choose amongst the best offers or counteroffer to get the price you want. It takes more effort on the part of your agent — but that’s how we earn our commissions!

When does closing happen?

After a final offer is accepted on a Boston condo for sale, the parties will agree upon a time frame that is acceptable for closing the deal. In this time all of the inspections, appraisals, and paperwork signing need to happen, so it’s important that both the buyer and seller are available and meet all deadlines. That gives the escrow company time to get the paperwork to the lender, and the lender time to get the money to escrow.

What’s the best way to stay informed about the Boston real estate market?

I highly recommend the monthly Market Action Report from the MLS. You can sign up to receive it via email at realtyford@yahoo.com
If hard data isn’t your thing, keep reading my blog (you can subscribe by email)! In addition to covering everything from home staging to mortgage rates, I break down the MLS information regularly to give you all the latest Portland real estate market data in a format you can understand.

Do you have more questions? Contact your top downtown Boston condo team today.

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