A while back, I sold a Beacon Hill condo to one of my clients that needed extensive renovations. I just recently asked him what he learned and would he like his experience with my readers and  hopefully my future Boston condo for sale clients. So, fast forward to after going through all the building permits, demolition and preparing to move into his Boston Beacon Beacon Hill condominium. Needless to say, he was extremely excited to move into his new Beacon Hill condo…but he learned some valuable lessons, he’d like to share with you today.

Lesson #1 – Paying for the Punch List.

Once the Beacon Hill condo renovation is all “done,” it’s time to walk through with the contractor to create the punch list of items to be addressed before moving in. What he learned later is that you have to pay for the labor to address most of the items on the punch list. For instance, every nit-picky issue with the drywall he wanted fixed,  he had to pay for… He didn’t realize that. And ne didn’t realize how fast those little things add up.

Lesson #2 – Inspections take forever. 

Along the way, subcontractors—like plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.—call in city inspectors check and approve the work. It takes 3-4 days for the inspector to show up, then if there’s something wrong, it takes another week to fix the problem and get another inspection. After the entire Beacon Hill condo is done, the “final” inspector shows up. Typically, I’m told, this final inspection takes 30 minutes and the inspector is making sure things haven’t changed since the other inspections were completed. Well, this guy shows up with a stack of paper and took two hours to examine the Boston condo. He ended up flagging a couple additional issues that all the inspectors before him didn’t see fit to flag. A week later, we finally get full approval. You just have to roll with it, or it will drive you insane.

Lesson #3 – Make sure you have extra funds to pay missing invoices.

Turns out, we still had some loan funds available, which the lender disbursed to us.Good thing, because that will just about cover all the vendors that didn’t bill us during construction, like the dumpster provider.

His final few nuggets of wisdom for you, should you ever decide to renovate your Beacon Hill condo, remember to cancel your renters insurance, get back your rental security deposit, and cancel the builders risk policy. All the things we’ve already paid for but almost forgot about. And last, but not least, moving is a huge expense and it will take 8 hours, no less, even if you’re moving back into your own home.

Was it even worth it, you ask?

Resoundingly, yes, absolutely!  There’s a lot of pain involved—and screaming and yelling, ;)—but you have to let go of your expectations, roll with it, and once it’s over, you have a beautiful work of art that will be part of you for the rest of your life

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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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