Beantown, The Hub, and The City on the Hill. You know Boston by a lot of different names. What about home?
For many, there’s nothing better than owning a slice of downtown. Where else can you dine at the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the country, catch a Red Sox game, and ride a duck boat all in the same day? Ranked as one of the most economically powerful cities in the world, and 2nd most livable in the U.S., it’s hard to go wrong.
Are you a first-time buyer looking to put down roots in Boston Proper? Buckle up buttercup, it’s going to be a wild ride. The truth is, there’s nothing easy about buying in Boston right now. With little inventory, high demand, and historically low interest rates, jockeying for an urban perch requires some serious know-how.
As a local real estate investor and Realtor®, I am well versed in navigating competitive markets and will go above and beyond to assist you throughout every step of the process. As a primer, read through my seven tips below to learn how you can gain a competitive edge.
Start building an agile team.
For most people, buying a condo requires a team of experts. Transactions often include real estate agents, lawyers, lenders, and other specialists like a home inspector. Get your Realtor involved as early as possible so that you can leverage their connections. The goal is to build a competent team with a proven track record. You will be relying on this team to work together, advocate on your behalf and to help you move through the real estate transaction as smoothly as possible. In a quick market, do not under value the importance of having an agile real estate agent and lender that can work swiftly to get your offer to the table.
2. Get your financing ducks in a row.
If you’re serious about buying, you need to get a handle on your finances. The first step is to get pre-approved for a loan. You may already have an idea about what you can afford, but you need a clear picture of how the bank sees you. A mortgage broker will assess your income, assets, and credit and provide you with a max loan amount. Next, you’ll want to crunch the numbers and decide what you are comfortable spending. (Tip: make sure you have a comprehensive look at the costs of acquiring and owning a condo by factoring things like HOA fees, PMI, taxes, insurance, closing costs, repairs/improvements, etc.). How will a condo purchase bode with your other financial commitments? Make sure to map out all of your expenses to determine your true budget.
3. Start pounding the pavement.
While your real estate agent can be a great resource, you’ll want to do as much research on the market as you can. Ultimately, this is your purchase, and you need to be educated and armed with the information that YOU need to move forward with an offer. Do your homework by researching neighborhoods and attending as many open houses as you can. Yes, this may mean prioritizing house hunting over Sunday brunch!
4. Be ready to pounce.
Time is of the essence. New things are coming on the market every week. Stay on top of what’s fresh by subscribing to online alerts and also check for new listings on a daily basis. Make it a priority to see properties the first day that they hit the market or at the first available showing. Reach out to your lender, and have them waiting in the wings to provide an updated pre-approval letter. If you like what you see, then jump on it quickly. Speed is critical, so make yourself available to sign an offer following the showing.
5. Know what you are getting into.
Although it seems obvious, you need to have a clear understanding about what you are getting into before purchasing your Boston abode. Boston is no spring chicken. Most buildings are old, requiring on-going maintenance. Aside from the unit itself, take inventory of the basement and note of the infrastructure elements. Try to garner as much information about the exterior, electrical, plumbing, heating systems etc., and how much life is left in these big-ticket items. Aside from the building itself, learn as much as you can about the condo association and gain insight about its financial standing, policies, and future plans.
6. If you’re serious, put in a serious offer.
The offer is where all your hard work and research comes together. You’ll want to pair up with your real estate agent to make an initial offer that is founded on market research. It is common for listings to turn into multiple-offer situations. Be prepared to go over asking price and to have a top budget in mind. If you lose out on a condo, at least you know you did your best without overspending.
7. Don’t get overly emotional.
Buying a condo is exciting, but it can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. While it’s fun to start planning/dreaming about your new home, it’s easy to get disappointed when things don’t work out. Your offer may not be accepted or the deal may fall through for reasons out of your control. Stay positive and get back in the game!
Even in the most competitive situations, you can come out on top. By executing these seven tips you will be in a solid position to secure your new home. If you’re in the market for a condo, single family or multi-family in Boston or the greater Boston area, please contact me to learn how I can help you reach your goal.