Boston downtown condo buyers often find themselves in a catch-22. They want to buy a condominium in a neighborhood they love, but how will they know they love it until they’ve lived there?
It’s a real problem, considering that there are several different neighborhoods in downtown Boston alone, each lying within one of the five major quadrants: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast and North Boston. On top of that, Boston has many suburbs and unincorporated communities that our real estate team covers as well.
Where should you get started? Online is simplest and you avoid traffic. After some preliminary research you may want to drive around and visit some of the neighborhood amenities. Finally, once you have a good idea of what you might like, contact our Boston Beacon Hill team. They are happy to show you around, all Boston proper neighborhoods and beyond and can add their own researched insights into your Boston downtown home search efforts. In fact, if you’d like to start with meeting the Boston Downtown Buyers Team, we can do that too and help point you to some neighborhoods that match your price range and some of the amenities you’re looking for (i.e. transportation access, shops and restaurants, home styles, etc.)
There are some things you can’t learn by simply spending some time in a place, and that’s where the internet comes in really handy. Whether you want to learn about local schools, crime rates, or the likelihood that your street will flood in a storm, Boston has tools for that.
Here are my top real estate agent recommended idea for DIY research. Of course, if you’re too busy or don’t feel like figuring it all out, you can always ask your buyers’ agent!
1. Bostonreb.com Visit our website daily for the most updated information on several downtown Boston neighborhoods. Learn price per sq ft, average sales price, days-on-market and much more.
2. Walk Score. This website is definitely advertising driven – look out for ads disguised as helpful links! – but there is good information here based on data collected on the ease of walking and biking around. Scroll down for a list of the most walkable neighborhoods in downtown Boston. You’ll be surprised to learn that some are ranked low, and some very high. An example neighborhoods, like Beacon Hill and Boston Midtown are ranked among the best in the nation for walkability!
3. Niche.com Here’s an easy-to-use website that gives an overview of user-collected data on neighborhoods, as well as information that might be more reliable if you look elsewhere, such as the home value indexes. Still, some of the written reviews can be helpful if for some reason you’re unable to visit the neighborhood yourself!
4. Boston School Report Cards. If you have school-age children, the state of Oregon requires districts to put out report cards on their schools. Use Boston maps or niche.com to find the school your child would be enrolled in, then go to the Boston.gov portal to find out how that school is graded.