Introduction

Once in a while I try to stop, take a step back and ask myself: If I were a first-time Boston condo buyer, how would I dive into the complex and exciting task of buying real estate in downtown Boston?

Boston midtown real estate buyers today are inundated with choices and information, from the ubiquitous real-estate-agent-ad-on-a-TV-commercial, to 3D tours that launch from craigslist ads. With so much at your fingertips, here’s a quick rundown on what to do – and who to listen to – first.

1. Nail down your price range.

It’s not just about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, although you’ll want to do that, too. But banks and lenders are good at luring Beacon Hill home buyers into spending more than they intended. Being able to borrow $800,000 doesn’t mean you need a $800,000 condo.

2. Get the scoop on the Boston real estate market. 

Savvy real estate investors watch the numbers — time on market, months of inventory, median sales price, and more — for the Boston downtown condo market and a specific neighborhoods, like Boston Midtown, before they buy That’s real important  sales data is available for any downtown Boston neighborhood. You can send me an email at realtyford@yahoo.com and I can send you this data. No full name or phone number required. Privacy will be respected.

3. Know your Portland neighborhoods

A Boston condo for sale at Charles River Park may not be as swanky as that one in the Boston Seaport District, but have you look at the neighborhoods’ walkability scores? Where’s the nearest hospital? The internet can tell you a lot, but the best way to get to know the neighborhood where you’re thinking of buying a Boston condo for sale is to drive and walk around yourself.

4. Ask questions.

There are no stupid questions when it comes to making a commitment to buy your first Boston condo for sale. Real estate agents are great because we don’t mind being bothered by your phone calls and emails, whether you’re confused about the escrow process or have a question about the Boston Midtown real estate you looked at last week. You should also ask as many questions as possible of the sellers’ agent, your mortgage lender, and the home inspector!

5. Be realistic about home improvement.

You might be talked into buying a Boston condo for sale (either by yourself or by the do-it-yourself-er in the family) that needs some repair to be perfect. Ask yourselves: Do you have experience completing the needed tasks? Does your schedule allow time for these projects? I’m not saying that fixer-uppers can’t offer great deals that allow you to put your own personal touches on your home. Just think it through first. If you need sobering up, bring a contractor you trust through the Boston downtown condo with you.

6. Use a Boston real estate agent.

When you buy a downtown Boston condo for sale or anywhere, you want an experienced professional on your side. While there are plenty of online tools to help you find everything from home values to aerial photographs, you can’t beat a trusted downtown Boston real estate agent to guide you through the process.

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