Have you ever had to plan a big event? Whether it was a birthday party, business gathering, or anniversary celebration—it takes a considerable amount of planning and effort to pull things off. You need to coordinate a time and date, set the budget, send out invitations, book a caterer, order the cake, choose a venue, get decorations, etc. It can get overwhelming very quickly!
But imagine if you went into it with no vision of what you want. You’d stare at the caterer’s menu for hours asking yourself, “How many people are coming? Do we have any vegetarians? Vegans? Do we want sushi? What if nobody likes to eat fish? Can we afford this?”
It makes planning terribly difficult.
When you’re about to enter into the buying/selling process of your Boston home, you don’t want to go in without a sense of direction. Even if you’re an experienced veteran who’s looking to buy your third or fourth home, entering the Boston real estate market isn’t going to be easy.
But it doesn’t have to be painful, either!
To make this process go as smoothly as possible (for everyone) here is what your Boston real estate agent needs from you to make the experience better for everyone.
Know Where You Want to Live
Boston is a city comprised of several different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a distinct personality and flair. If you are not sure where in Boston you want to live, the best thing to do is to check the neighborhoods out a bit before you meet with a realtor. Discover which areas offer the best restaurants with your favorite cuisine. Attend a community event, check out a show at a local venue, visit the library, or spend a day exploring the parks or green spaces.
Discover which areas offer the amenities that fit your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how much you like your home––if you don’t love your neighborhood, it is unlikely that you’ll be happy there overall. A real estate agent’s job is to help you find your next dream home. The more information you can provide them with, the better they can do their job.
Not only does it help your real estate agent to know where you want to live, but it also helps you. It is in your best interest to work directly with a realtor who is an expert in your preferred neighborhood. Expert knowledge of the history of the area and the properties within it can be invaluable during your search.
Know Your Must-Haves
In an ideal world, every home you live in would have every amenity you need, plus every amenity you want. While real estate agents will do everything in their power to make that happen, the truth is most times you don’t always get every single item on your “want” list. As a result, you must be able to differentiate between the amenities you would like to have and the amenities you absolutely must have.
The items on the must have list are going to vary from person to person. Your real estate agent has no way of knowing your must have items unless you tell them. Think about the things you cannot live without, and write them down. Will you be happy in a walk-up, or is an elevator essential for you? How important is it to you to have an open floor plan or an incredible view? What about the appliances, cabinets, and countertops?
After you have compiled this list, visit several open houses with your list in hand. Are your must-have amenities available within a single property? Are the properties that meet your requirements within your price range?
You do know your price range, right?
Know Your Budget
Speaking of the pocketbook, one of the first steps in buying a new home is deciding your budget. It can be frustrating to spend your time at open houses, searching through listings, and finally finding a home you want––only to discover you don’t have the budget for it. On the other hand, if you are just estimating your budget, you may be ruling out properties you would love from a mistaken belief that they are outside of your budget.
The only way to actually know your price range is to talk with a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. If you don’t have a lender already in mind, we can recommend one for you that will fit your specific financial needs.
There are other factors to consider when determining your budget. For example, do you need to sell another property buying buying your next place? If the property sells for less than the original listing price, how will that impact your budget?
One final note on the budget: If you are in the market for a condo, do not forget that you will have additional monthly expenses, such as condo fees. Do not leave those out when determining your budget.
The Bottom Line
The Boston real estate market, just like Boston itself, is unlike any other place in the country. As a result, it is crucial for you to work with a Boston real estate expert when you buy or sell your Boston property. For your real estate agent to help you, however, you need to help them by providing as much relevant information as possible.
Once your real estate agent knows where you want to live, which amenities you absolutely must have, and your budget they can get started finding you the property you want, in the location you want, at the price you want.
To see a timeline of what this process will be like––from finding to financing—download our Buyer’s Guide. It includes all of the details you need to know before you step out into this new adventure.