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Buying a Home in Boston

The realestate prices here are, well, high, and they can be anywhere from high, to insanely high. But there are the exceptions to the rule and I got lucky. My grandmother moved into a retirement home when my grandfather passed away and I had the chance to buy from her. I paid fair market value for the home, but knew what I was getting. My boyfriend has gone through a much different expereince and I have friends that have as well.

What I can safely say is that I got lucky.

Things canand will go fast. You need to have your pieces in place before you go forward. Because, after the initial offer things will progress very quickly.

You may feel like you are in a tennis match with, counter offers, final offers, etc. all happening within a day or less.

The purchase and sale agreement of the property all happen in a week or two. And even though mine was a done deal I have to say that I also felt like things rushed by. We don't give you much time to make these huge life decisions, and you will spend quite a while reading through pages and pages of legalspeak.

Make sure to talk those over with your agent or attorney.

Like I said, your pieces should be in place before you move forward. Your loan application will probably take forever.

Because it takes time, make sure that you start getting organized in terms of bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns etc. They will ask for all of the above, and it is better to have them on hand nd ready before they ask you for them. In fact it is a plus when it comes to getting apporved because it looks like you have everything together and that you are super organized.

Location, Location, Location People

I see a lot of people make the decision based on price alone and then hate the location.

I wasn't in the best location with my grandmother's house, but what I got was a sentimental touch that I wouldn't have gotten from any other first home. So this was less important to me, but it left me with a little bit of adjustments, more so than I would have done otherwise had I picked out a home.

The reason that I can say that is because I actually had another home selected, but when the opportunity came up I jumped on it. Had things not worked out for some reason I had everything locked into place for that property. But location is key. I was told to answer the question: What's the maximum time you're willing to commute?

And that is a rough estimate, but then you should add 50% to that.

Location, Location, Location People

Once you have that you have a radius that you can work from. Once you are there you can narrow your search area to certain locations and your agent can help you.

The more data you have to compare the better and you will be happier in the end. I felt like there wasn't anything else that would make me happy at that time and since I was able to recognize what is a good deal and what is overpriced or a potential money pit (thanks to the help of my father) I got lucky.

Whatever you do make sure that you research the difference between town water/sewer vs. private well / septic. I am adding these here because the further out you get the more it will play a role in the property you select. easements, town zoning laws if you plan to build or renovate in the future.

Checking FEMA flood maps can be a good idea too.

Other location-specific factors:

  • Is it on a busy, main street or side street? Corner lot ok? On a hill? Near something noisy like the highway or train tracks? Near a Superfund site? What kind of services do you get for your taxes (trash pickup, etc)?

Remember that you will also need to factor property taxes, insurance, closing costs, and maintenance costs into your financial calculations. All of which will add to the cost by a couple of percent. And as in my case, with a "turn-key, all you have to do is move in!" purchase you will need to at least something done.

All of which was done by my father.