Tips on Buying a Boston high rise condo

The general consensus these days is that Boston condo for sale is becoming too expensive for many real estate buyers. It’s true that home prices have continued to increase at a noticeable rate over the past couple of years. It’s also true that condos are now price accelerating is slowing down as of late.

If you’ve been considering buying Boston high-rise Seaport condo or Midtown condo , we want to remove some of the guess work for you. Here’s our list of several items you need to know about buying a condo in downtown Boston

1. Boston High-Rise Condos and the Boston Suburb Real Estate Market

Condos are a great way for first-time buyers to make their way into the market. They’re also a great option for those entering retirement who may face a decrease in income or want to downsize and focus on quality of life.

When we look back at 2021 for both Boston suburb single-family homes and Boston condos, we can see that while overall, it’s still a strong seller’s market, the opportunities for condo buyers is far different than that of Boston sub home buyers.

Boston Condo for Sale Market – Almost a Buyers Market

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Boston Suburb Single-Family Market – Strong Sellers Market

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2. Boston Condo Perks and Amenities Can Mean Long-Term Savings

Boston high-rise condo prices can sometimes be lower than Boston single-family homes—depending on various factors, of course—they also offer perks and amenities typically not found when purchasing Boston single-family homes.

The obvious perk is a low home maintenance lifestyle. Not only will you not have yard work to contend with, the Boston Condo Association takes care costly updates and repairs. You’re spared the time and stress  involved, and in the long run, you’re also spared the cost of big ticket items, which translates to long-term savings. Of course, you’ll make up for this in paying monthly Boston condo fees, but it can still help your financial stability to avoid major one-time repair costs.

3. Boston Condos Offer More Lower Priced Housing Options

When we took a look at pricing and sales trends from the most recent Boston Multi-Listings (MLS) report, we found evidence that condos have not increased in price at the same rate as single-family homes.

When you take a closer look at the listings available in downtown Boston right now, at the time of this writing, the average Boston townhouse is significantly higher than Boston condos for sale.

4. Boston Condos Can Be a Good Investment

If you’re looking for a starter Boston condo for sale that you can eventually sell at a gain, look for a well-situated building in one of Boston’s downtown neighborhoods. Then check the condo fees and reserves. As prices go up over time, the value of your Boston condominium will grow, but if you’re paying high condo fees, it will be difficult to get a return on your property investment.

5. Condo Fees Vary Dramatically

While being part of a condo association can save you the troubles and cost that come with home maintenance, the cost of monthly fees run the gamut. Monthly condo fees can range from $200 to well past $2,000. It’s worth considering the impact of not just the monthly fee but what might be behind it. For example, an enticingly low monthly fee could indicate an Boston condo association holds you responsible for exterior maintenance, including the roof. On the other hand, a high-end monthly fee might mean you’re looking at a condo assocation that’s struggling to pay for a backlog of maintenance or repairs. They kept the condo fee too low for too long and now current owners are paying the price for past bad management.

6. Boston Condo Floor Plans Matter

Because Boston condos for sale are generally smaller than single-family homes, it’s a good idea to view several and pay close attention to the layout of each one.

As you do walk throughs, think about how you use spaces in your current home and how that might translate into the new space. Also look at flow and ease of movement within the space. The last thing you want is to get into a condo and find that navigation from one area to another several times each day irritates you. And let’s not forget about how much natural light you need—something especially important for many in the Pacific Northwest—or whether there might be privacy issues due to the positioning of windows.

7. Boston High-Rise Condos Have a More Complicated Buying Process

Many people aren’t aware that buying a Boston high-rise condo for sale tends to be more complicated than buying a house. This is because there are more entitles involved: the seller, the buyer, and the condo assocation.

This means it can take longer to get through the approval process with the lender. Not only will your lender need to approve you, they also need to approve the buildings condo association. Most lenders will finance condo purchases, but some programs, like the popular FHA loans, will only finance pre-approved condo buildings in a given area.

8. Make the Process Easier with a Boston Condo Experienced Broker

As we’ve said, buying a Boston condo is a different animal than buying a single-family home. For this reason, working with a licensed Boston real estate broker who has already walked many others through the complicated process is essential. Not only will they be able to answer your questions, but they’ll also know when to point out considerations your might not be aware of.

We’ve been helping people buy and sell Boston condominiums in the Metro area for 20 years. We know the ins and outs of the process, and we know what local lenders want to see. Let us help you find the right Beacon Hill or Back Bay condo for your lifestyle and needs and answer all your questions along the way. Give us a call today or chat with our bot on this site. We’d love to hear from you!

Updated: Boston Real Estate Blog 2022

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Tips on Buying a Boston high rise condo. Buying a Boston high rise condo for sale requires a little more vigilance and thought than buying a single-family home in the burbs.  

The following are some tips you should keep in mind when buying a downtown Boston high rise condo or a condo in a Beacon Hill historic building.

Check on the condo association’s reserve funds.

If the Boston high rise condo association doesn’t have enough reserves, it is not uncommon for a condo association to issue a special assessment for emergencies and/or much-needed capital improvements.

Mortgages for condos may involve some additional steps.

For Boston condos, the condo association/ high rise complex must also be approved for full loan/mortgage approval to be issued. This may require additional paperwork, approval from the condo association, and even some additional costs paid before closing.

You may need to make a bigger down payment or have extra cash in the bank. 

Lenders sometimes have extra requirements for Boston high rise condo buyers. You’ll want to ensure you have a budget that will be able to accommodate it. Given these considerations, getting preapproved will be a critical step in the condo-buying process. Once you’ve been preapproved, you can shop confidently using your budget as a guideline.

Boston’s condo ownership comes with rules.

It’s important that you understand what your unique responsibilities are to the overall high rise building and what rules the condo association has in place, For example, if you are a pet owner you will want to ensure pets are welcome before you decide on a specific condo Boston high-rise condo complex.

Think about the best floor you want to live on

f you’re looking at a high-rise condo, decide if you prefer the first-, middle- or top-floor living. Top floor condos are typically considered the best location in regard to noise reduction, isolation from neighbors, safety, and better views. However, how many floors up will you be traveling? Are there only stairs or is an elevator available within the building? Middle-floor living may allow you to minimize your heating bills by being sandwiched between the bottom and top floors. However, if the sound barrier is weak, noise from above and below could be an issue.

This becomes very important in certain neighborhoods like Beacon Hill where elevator access is very rare. Yes, a penthouse has nice views, but do you want to walk floor flights of stairs each day?

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

Consulting a real estate agent and a lender with condo experience can help you make an informed choice about the building and the individual unit.

Boston Real Estate for Sale