6 Things That Should Make You Run The Other Way When Buying Real Estate In Boston

With home prices still rising, and with relatively low inventory and a lot of cash offers, the residential real estate market throughout the Greater Boston area is pretty tough for buyers right now, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. So the one thing you don’t want to do when buying real estate in Boston is rush in and wind up with a costly mistake.

NextHome Titletown Real Estate Boston MA Fixer Upper

Many properties might look good at first glance, but looks can often be mighty deceiving. And then, on the other hand, some glaring flaws really might not be that big a deal.

So what should you be on the lookout for when considering a potential purchase? If you are NOT looking for a fixer-upper or for any major repairs, then consider these 6 things that should make you run the other way when buying real estate in Boston.

1. Roof Problems

A quality, well maintained roof can last a long time, sometimes more than 30 years. But that quality roof didn’t come cheap, costing upwards of $30,000 depending upon the type of roof and materials used. So you must take a careful look at the roof before buying real estate in Boston.

Real estate pros suggest that you ask the seller how old the roof is and inspect the gutters to make sure the drainage systems are in good working order. Also, be on the lookout for dry rot – often caused by poor ventilation – which can cause sagging and crumbling. You may be able to see from the ground whether there are cracked or missing shingles. But it pays to get a roofer to conduct an inspection, either before you make the offer or during the contract phase of the negotiations.  Check to see if the inspector has a drone and would be able to fly it above the roof and capture some photos or video.

2. Major Plumbing Problems

It’s one thing if you’re an investor looking for amazing deals because of the amount of work that is needed.  It’s another if you’re simply looking for a place to live that’s near move-in ready.

Major plumbing issues should also make you run the other way when buying real estate in Boston. These too can entail some very costly repairs, as much as $50,000 for sewer lines and septic tanks. But the problem is that most of the plumbing, unlike the roof, is out of sight and usually not easily accessible.

You should definitely keep an eye out for visible evidence of problems – things such as water stains, sagging floors, and mildew. Also, make sure all drains drain well and toilets flush healthily, as well as ensuring all faucets have adequate water pressure. For the bigger and more costly things, you should have your plumber check everything out.

3. Electrical Issues

Electrical issues can be nearly as costly as plumbing problems, and they can pose far greater danger. It’s not uncommon to encounter outdated or inferior electrical work in older homes, which can cause big problems. If the electrical system hasn’t been updated in a few decades, it could be a fire hazard.

Replacing outdated, unsafe wiring isn’t cheap. Re-wiring an entire house can cost anywhere up to $20,000. So if you detect any major electrical issues when buying real estate in Boston, think twice about signing that Purchase & Sale Agreement.

4. Flood-Zone Location

Location is always important in buying real estate in Boston, but certain aspects of location are for more important than others. One of those highly important location considerations is whether the property is located in a flood zone, which may not always be readily apparent.

Industry experts recommend a careful look at flood-zone maps. Just because your dream house isn’t next to a beach or river doesn’t mean that it isn’t at risk of flooding. With climate change and the increasing unpredictability of storms, flood zones have become increasingly important. Buying a home in a high-risk flood zone can mean a dramatic increase in insurance costs, as well as more difficulty selling the home in the future. Depending on the particular flood zone and damage potential, insurance premiums can be hundreds or thousands of dollars higher annually.

5. Extreme Pricing

Another thing that should make you run the other way when buying real estate in Boston is extreme pricing. It should be a red flag when the property is priced either too high or too low, but especially when the price seems to be well below market value.

That low price could very well signal major structural repair issues, such as a roof needing to be replaced or a cracked and sinking foundation. Or, there could be zoning challenges or large past-due property tax bills and association dues that the seller is expecting you to absorb. And these are all good reasons to run the other way.

6. Sketchy Seller and/or Agent Behavior

Finally, you should beware of sketchy behavior on the part of the seller and/or her agent. Here are some of the things to look out for:

  • Missing paperwork
  • High-pressure sales tactics
  • Incentives to waive the inspection
  • Missing additions/renovations in the 3R Report
  • Title oddities or omissions
  • Any other off-putting behavior

Any of these could indicate an attempt to hide something.

A Local Agent to Decrease Your Risk

Yes, these 6 things that should make you run the other way when buying real estate in Boston. The difficulty, though, lies in knowing for sure whether you’ve really come across one (or more) of them. The price, for example, may be extremely low simply because the seller is desperate to make a fast sale. This is an area where your local real estate agent can be an immense help. Find out how our agents at NextHome Titletown Real Estate can help you make the right real estate purchasing decision. Contact us today! (617) 657-9811


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The property listing data and information set forth herein were provided to MLS Property Information Network, Inc. from third party sources, including sellers, lessors and public records, and were compiled by MLS Property Information Network, Inc. The property listing data and information are for the personal, non commercial use of consumers having a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing listed properties of the type displayed to them and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties which such consumers may have a good faith interest in purchasing or leasing. MLS Property Information Network, Inc. and its subscribers disclaim any and all representations and warranties as to the accuracy of the property listing data and information set forth herein.
MLS PIN data last updated at July 11, 2020 11:36 PM ET
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