When buying a Boston Beacon Hill condo for sale make sure your home inspector check these items out

If you’re in the process of purchasing a Boston Beacon Hill condo for sale, you and your buyer’s agent will look at many Beacon Hill condos for sale before finally deciding on the one. This can be an emotion filled process as you have so many things to consider.  Hopefully if you see a Boston condo for sale that you really like and you have zero construction knowledge, your agent and home inspector can help you identify some common issues associated with the home so that you are aware of the conditions of the property.  If you work with an agent with enough construction knowledge, you won’t have to wait till you put in an offer and pay $400-500 for an inspection to find out the house needs major components replaced.

If during the first showing of the Boston condo for sale, you and your agent couldn’t go through everything because you only have 30 minutes before you have to go see another Beacon Hill condo showing appointment, make sure you go back there for a second showing so you can look through things.  Now that our Boston condos market is heading into the spring market, you will have to schedule the second showing well in advance  because of buyer competition.

Items to review with your home inspector and Beacon Hill broker

1. Roof

Perform a visual inspection from the ground. You should be able to see what the roof looks like in most cases without a ladder.  Is it an asphalt tile roof?  Concrete tile roof?  If the roof is old, you will see the age as the roof will probably show discoloration, lack of granules, thick moss, and/or other physical damages. Most asphalt roofs last between 20-40 years.  Concrete tile roofs last about 50 years but they are rarer in the Pacific Northwest.  Replacing the roof is a big cost to a home buyer. If you are only replacing the shingles, it can cost about $10K for a 1500-2000 sf house. If you’re replacing sheathing, and underlayment, the cost will be much higher.  In many cases, a complete new roof can easily cost you $20K on a 3 bedroom house.  If the price point of the house you are looking at is already at the top of your budget and in the top range of its comparable homes in the neighborhood, maybe you don’t even want to put an offer in if you have this knowledge that this house will need a new roof.

2. Furnace

First find out whether it’s a gas furnace or electric furnace. The expected lifespan is different. Also maintenance can extend or reduce the lifespan of a furnace.  Many Beacon Hill homeowners don’t realize they need to replace the filter every year or so or else it will overwork the furnace thereby reducing its lifespan.  If you look on the furnace, there is usually some information on when it was built. If not, pull the manual out and see when it’s dated. Chances are the date on the manual is the date of the manufacturing of the furnace.  If the furnace is old, it raises a concern.  You may need to look into hiring a furnace specialist inspector.  General inspectors don’t inspect furnaces in depth.  If you have a bad furnace, it needs to be negotiated with the seller.

3. Drainage

In the Boston metro, we have our fair share of snow and rain.  Because of the rain, a good drainage systems that can divert rainwater away from the condominium building.  Make sure downspouts don’t pour water onto the ground close to the Beacon Hill building especially if you’re buying a ground floor or below Beacon Hill condo. 

4. Basement Water Damage

If you’re buying a Beacon Hill town house, many older homes have basements.  All basements are subject to some stress and potential damage from built up hydro pressure in the soil behind the concrete walls. There are many ways of waterproofing basements but you won’t be able to see what’s in the ground.  Buying a Beacon Hill house with a sump pump in the basement is an excellent idea.  If not, make sure you smell the basement and look for any water damages.  That includes discoloration of drywalls if finished. If unfinished, you may be able to spot past water damages on the concrete.

5. Mold

Look for any mold growth.  Mold usually grow in the basement.  Needless to say, buying a Beacon Hill condos for sale with mold is a bad idea.

6. Proper Construction Permit

I can’t believe how many Boston Beacon Hill homes I have looked into as a real estate agent have had some building permit issues.  If you are a buyer, you will want the seller to take care of this prior to closing.

View Beacon Hill condos for sale 2019. Updated in real time.

View Beacon Hill apartments for rent 2019. Updated in real time

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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