Home Buying in Boston>Question Details

Elisabeth, Home Buyer in Boston, MA

I am looking for a first home in the South End, Back Bay, or Waterfront areas in Boston. It must be

Asked by Elisabeth, Boston, MA Sat Feb 16, 2008

two-bedroom, at least 1.5 baths, at least 1,000 sq. ft., pet-friendly and in a safe neighborhood. Major points for an open kitchen, a duplex, and/or private patio or large deck. My price range is $500k to $700k. Most places fitting this description seem to be listed in the $620k-$680k range. My questions are:

1. How far below the listing price can I bid without offending the seller? I am willing to negotiate, but I am not sure how low a potential buyer can undercut the listing price on an initial bid.

2. How specific are my criteria? How often do listings fitting (most of) my criteria pop up in the designated neighborhoods? I must move into a new place by the end of June. Will there be a sufficient number of places coming on the market, or should I really just look at what's available now?

Help the community by answering this question:


February 2008? Its hard to get that nice feeling of being helpful when the question was asked almost 3 years ago.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 19, 2010
2+ years after Elisabeth posted the question...I wonder if she is even looking at this thread anymore?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 25, 2010
Call me 203-589-9223. I can go out with you and look at properties in your price range. Thanks!
Web Reference: http://www.rossnovak.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 25, 2010
Hi Elisabeth,

Have you heard of NAEBA (National Association of Exclusive Buyer's Agent). I am a member and would highly recommend that as a buyer you choose an Exclusive Buyer's Agent. I would love to meet with you for a free home buying consultation and give you the opportunity to interview me and see if you think we would enjoy working together. We would discuss agency relationships, how a broker gets compensated, buyer advocacy, fiduciary duties to the buyer, and most importantly how it is my passion to save my buyers money in their home purchase.

Feel free to call me if you have any questions.

Melissa Addis, ABR
Exclusive Buyer's Agent
Buyer's Choice Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 11, 2010
You can search everything on http://www.territoryre.com

as for negotiating a discount it really has to be evaluated property by property. If you want an analysis for a specific property we can help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
First of all--do you have a real estate agent? An experienced agent can guide you about what to offer in relation to the list price. I would say that there are a few factors: how long the property has been on the market, the expectations of the seller and how they have been coached by their agent to respond to "lowball" offers. Everyone is different about their reaction to such lowball offers. Everyone has different interpretations of what is "fair" in negotiations. Hopefully, the property that you put a bid on has a seller that will play ball with you if you come in low.

As far as finding all your criteria, yes more will come on the market in the near future. If you go "under contact by the end of April, you should be able to close by the end of June.

Good luck.

Howard Koor
RE/MAX Premiere Associates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 2, 2008
Elisabeth, I just want to second Karen's wise opinion on finding an experienced professional who literally lists and sells in the specific neighborhoods you're searching for. As a city agent, I see a lot of suburban agents coming into the city as buyers agents and while many are extremely competent, I've always been puzzled by how they can offer truly professional advice without knowing the specific nuances of a neighborhood that isn't their own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 1, 2008
Hi Elisabeth,

Many of the questions that you have are quite common in our changing real estate industry.
It is wise to connect with a Realtor that has experience in sales as well as the community you are looking.

That Realtor will be able to determine a reasonable offer, based on amount of time on market, it's actual value (determined by a market analysis) etc.

Over the next few weeks there will be many properties coming on the market.
There are many questions that I would have for a potential buyer client that would help determine the best stradegy for approaching the process and then specific places.

If you need more information, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to send you in the right direction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 1, 2008
Hi Elisabeth,

I think the other professionals here have given you some pretty good answers relative to how to approach an offer with a seller. Keep in mind that real estate whether you're a buyer or seller can often be an irrational and emotional experience on either side and the simple answer is: it really depends on the seller and how good of a listing agent he has. If the listing agent has been partially responsible for an unrealistic price then they'll be defensive about protecting that opinion. If on the other hand they're pragmatic and have a lot of experience they can guide their seller through a reasonable negotiation rather than any hurt feelings.

Specific to your second question, I sell in downtown Boston, primarily the South End and Back Bay and I can tell you that as of this week (March 1st) the two-bedroom 600-700K range (specifically in the South End) is a very active one with a number of properties selling quickly. The only honest advice I can give you about your criteria is perhaps being open to less than 1000 square feet if those are the neighborhoods you're considering. I've had many clients over the years who establish 1000 sf as a baseline for a two bedroom when in reality a) the actual footprint of most South End townhouses ranges from 550-900 square feet so you'd have to find a duplex (2-floor) unit to meet your minimum and b) if an apartment is well-designed with no wasted spaces, often 800 sf feels as big as 1000 sf. Most important, and unfortunately most realistically, the vast majority of 2-bedrooms in the South End with the criteria you outlined would be closer to 700K and even higher in the Back Bay (the same holds true for the Waterfront). So perhaps, being open to 850 sf, pet-friendly and some outside space would offer you a wider range of choices in the South End specifically.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 1, 2008
Hi Elisabeth, every situation is different. For instance, I have been working with a few buyers who have been making offers 20% below asking price on bank owned properties. But I have also had starting offers on my listings that have been within 10% of asking price. You woun't know what the answer will be until you get more information and that won't happen until just before you make an offer.
Web Reference: http://www.bowenboston.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 16, 2008
There is absolutely no correct answer to your question. I think it might be more advantageous to you to think of the home-buying process a little differently. Once you have determined how much you can comfortably afford on a monthly basis - start looking at things that are roughly in that range. Each property has a market story to go with it - not to mention that each Realtor associated with a given property has a different style of marketing. Some price with a negotiating cusion, some use "enticing pricing" and try to generate a lot of activity and a quick sale. My advice would be to get a dyn-o-mite Buyer's Agent (no charge to you) and tour with them. When you find something you really like - they should create a comparative market analysis and provide you with a range of value. Eliminate guessing what will offend the seller and try to stick with pure data. Then make your offer confidently. If you would like me to refer you to a good buyer's agent in that area feel free to contact me. Also- check out the Buyer FAQ on my website. It will answer many questions for you...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 16, 2008
Hi Elizabeth,

There a few things to consider when answering how low of an offer should be presented.
When working with a Realtor, we look at how long it has been on the market, when the seller bought it, what has sold in the area... etc

I do suggest that you get very familiar with the current inventory. Then when listings come on, and there will be many, you will feel confident that what you are buying the perfect place.

Let me know if I can be of help.

Where are you moving from? Do you need parking? Do you have children?

Thank you
Web Reference: http://WWW.KPSELLS.COM
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 16, 2008
You really need to work with a broker in the south end. Not every property that is available will show up on MLS.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 16, 2008
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