The Best Time to Buy a House in Boston

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Clever Real Estate

Updated 

April 7th, 2019

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One of the oldest and most historic cities in the US is also experiencing one of the most rapid urban revitalizations in the country. But there are still bargains to be found if you know how and when to find them.

Everything is cyclical and the housing market is no exception.

At times of high demand, prices go up because, well, there are more people bidding against each other. If you're a seller, this is the best time to list; every seller has a dream of a bidding war that drives offers five or even six figures over their asking price.

Of course, if you're a buyer, this isn't ideal. It's impossible to get a bargain if there's a guy right behind you willing to tack another ten grand (and another, and another) onto his offer.

So when do you want to be out there shopping for a place? Times of low demand. And just like there are times of the year when demand shoots through the roof, there are times of the year when demand hits rock bottom when those poor sellers put on an open house and only a couple people, or even less, show up.

This is the optimal time for you, the buyer, to swoop in. With no competition, no one to bid against, who knows how great of a bargain you could negotiate?

Of course, if you're really serious about negotiating the best possible bargain, you should probably partner with an experienced local real estate agent. Negotiating the price of a house is like putting in a swimming pool, or removing your appendix; sure, you could probably do it yourself, but we both know you'll get the best results if you turn to a professional. And a seasoned local agent has negotiated for dozens or hundreds of homes, so there's no better person to take the lead.

Clever Partner Agents are top performers in their local markets, so there's no one better equipped to get you the best possible price on your dream home.

The Best Time to Purchase a Home in Boston

The best time to buy a house in Boston is probably going to be in the fall. Boston homes closed for 3.7% lower than the yearlong average in the month of October, probably as a result of a slight hangover from the flurry of activity that usually takes place in late summer, as home buyers become desperate to close on a home before school starts again.

On the other hand, in the month of February, homes lingered on the market for a staggering 20 days longer than the yearlong average. Most sellers know that the longer your home languishes on the market, the lower their chances of making an eventual sale, so February sellers will likely be very motivated to negotiate.

Boston winters are notoriously harsh, but getting out there in February could net you a stellar bargain if you play your cards right.

The Best Places to Buy a Home in Boston

Charlestown

Charlestown has the 19th-century charm, brick lanes, and historic row houses of posher neighborhoods, but at half the price. If you're looking to buy a brick row home that was built back when original signers of the Constitution were still alive, but have a modest budget, this is the first neighborhood you should look into.

Roslindale

The hip neighborhood in Boston, with stylish bars and farmers markets. While it's still affordable, home prices here have been rising steadily year-to-year, so get in now if you're looking for a deal.

South End

Not only are they redeveloping the massive former Boston Flower Exchange into a mixed-use commercial hub, they're also building a “millennial resort” development. If that doesn't equal “investment opportunity,” what does?

East Boston

The key to this neighborhood is the massive former racetrack that had been rumored to be a finalist for Amazon's HQ2. Now that Boston's out of the running for that, the plan is to put in upwards of 10,000 housing units, along with office and retail space. First-time buyers should seriously consider getting in on the ground floor here.

Chelsea

Though not technically a part of Boston proper, this suburb has become the top alternative for people who find the Boston market a bit too pricey. With many small condo developments in the works, and a revamped transit system for people who need to commute to the city, Chelsea could soon be Boston's Brooklyn.

Four Ways to Get a Great Deal On a Home in Boston

Find a Great Boston Real Estate Agent

Finding an experienced local agent is the first step in having a painless, successful home buying experience. A good agent will advise you on everything from lenders to how much that all-important initial offer should be, and is your best advocate and protector out there in the jungles of the real estate market. They've seen it all, negotiated every possible type of deal, and know exactly what to expect every step of the way. You can certainly buy a home by yourself, but it'll go a lot smoother if you use an agent.

Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals

Of course, your agent can't find your dream home until you tell them what to look for. What kind of house do you need, and what kind of house do you want? Hopefully, those two answers overlap, and there in that overlap is the house you and your agent should look for.

Do you need a large yard for your dogs? Do you want a pool? What about parking? These are many questions to consider, and the more of them you can answer, the closer you'll get to your dream home.

Find a Lender and Secure Financing

First rule of financing: get a preapproval letter. A preapproval differs from a prequalification in that a preapproval is a document from your lender stating that you essentially have a mortgage in hand already, whereas a prequalification just means they've taken a look at your financials and that they look okay.

Your agent can help with this, as well as the rest of the labyrinthine process of securing financing. Just keep in mind it takes around 30 days to close on a house; plan accordingly.

Negotiate for the Best Possible Price

Now's the time when your agent's negotiating skills come into play. After sitting with you and talking numbers, they should bring their inside knowledge to the table. A good agent will not only know how much similar properties have sold for recently, but will have information about your specific property that can sway negotiations.

For instance, if they know that the seller is especially motivated, your agent might recommend playing hardball. On the other hand, if the seller has a specific number in mind, and won't take a penny less, your agent will recommend a softer approach.

If everything goes well, your offer gets accepted, and you're the proud owner of your dream home. Congratulations!

Clever Partner Agents are elite performers in their respective markets, and come from top brands. Contact us to set up a no-obligation consultation!

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