Buy or Rent?

Asked by Boston Lover, Boston, MA Tue Feb 8, 2011

Hello all,
I will be relocating to Boston in summer of 2011 for a 3 year medical school in Tufts (Chinatown). WIll it be a good investment to buy in Boston at this time? Will I make some money after 3 years when I sell? I would really appreciate your ideas. My budget is 300-400K.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


scott farmer, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hey Boston Lover,

Tufts, that's awesome. Check out the New York Times "Buy vs. Renting" calculator it's easy and has a lot of good information. Here is the link:… Paste to your browser window and add the information specific to your scenario and see what the results say.

Best of Luck to You,

Sandy Farmer
Realtor, GRI, CSSN
John Hall & Associates
Web Reference:
1 vote
Masha Sender…, Agent, Newton, MA
Sun Apr 17, 2011
There are a few areas of boston that have appreciated in value and are expected to appreciate more. Often then same areas are always in demand for rent, so I say buy... but with a great buyer agent who can give you lost of good analysis and advice (me!)
0 votes
CH Naamad, Agent, Boston, MA
Sun Apr 17, 2011
Actually, I say BUY!!!!
For you, it is a win win situation if you buy: Even if you do not make money on the property after you sell, you lived there for free for 3 years. Add the tax benefits, stability, quality of living (not knowing who and when will live nest to you, above you, etc, and what kind of tenant they may be???? Also, who knows what happens in 3 years?? You may want to keep it as an investment property in the rent $$ makes sense then!!!???
I would say Buy!!!
C.H. Naamad
Boston Luxury Residential
Cell: 617-407-9740
Web Reference:
0 votes
Vincent Murp…, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Mar 7, 2011
3 years you are most likely better off renting. The closing cost and selling cost get expensive. You would have a few tax bennies but that is about it. There are many apartments to fit your needs. Cheers
0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Thu Feb 17, 2011
Hard to say whether you would make money off holding a property for 3 years. If we all knew the answer it would be the golden ticket!! :) That said I think we would all argue there are areas of the boston market that have sustained values through one of the biggest real estate crisis' in history and continue to increase in value. However, it wouldn't hurt to take a short term rental for 3-4 months while you investigate neighborhoods and get your bearings, but not necessary.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Evan Roberts, Agent, Newton, MA
Fri Feb 11, 2011
I'd recommend renting first if your not familiar with Boston. Take a year to see what neighborhood(s) you like. Each neighborhood has something different to offer. Once you decide what neighborhood you want to live in, Boston is a great city to buy.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Tue Feb 8, 2011
To buy or rent is a decision only you can make--It’s all about costs and lifestyle. Costs—financing v. moving-in, mortgage v. rent, repairs v. upkeep. Lifestyle—stability v. mobility, predictability v. flexibility, equity v. freedom from debt. It used to be all about equity. Now, there are other variables to consider in the balancing of the buy/rent equation.
0 votes
Dave Griswol…, Agent, Bridgewater, NJ
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hi Boston, Your asking a question to Realtors, so naturally we'd say BuY Buy Buy.
Now we will write as an educated,knowledgable,and updated person and say to you.
Buying is always best in a down market.
You if careful, and decisive in your choice can stand to make not only income, but tax returns as well. If you buy near your medical school and perhaps buy either a 1 bedroom condo or a small 2 family something managable and you have some knowledge about repairs and maintence of a home, then YES you can make money in different ways.
1. you can if you bought a 2family rent one out and lower you mortgage payment
2. after you graduate you can continue to rent it out if the 2fam then 2 rent checks every month paying for your investment or if you bought say a 1 bedroom condo , and rented it out you'd help pay the mortgage and earn some equity.

After 3 yrs the market will be up and if you purchased something wisely and when your ready to sell you clean it out, paint it, and if needed carpet/flooring and some upgraded lighting,and if needed new kitchen appliances you'll make out quite nicely.

All the Best
Dave & Lisa
Web Reference:
0 votes
Patrick Lydon, , Boston, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Absolutely not.

The market is not appreciating enough to cover the transactional costs associated with buying

Your best case is a break even proposition and you have a high likelihood of losing money due to fees associated with the transaction.

Its simply not a long enough holding period.

If the market was super hot it may possibly make sense.
0 votes
Justin Ruzic…, Agent, Greenville, SC
Tue Feb 8, 2011
boston lover,
I like your question and thought process on use of your money. However i differ on the idea of Making $$ when I sell question. I know it is said your home is an asset, and when you complete your taxes it is in fact under asset columns, however your mortgage is a huge liability, which you get the benefit of on your taxes as well. If you are going to live in Boston, and Pay $2000/month for rent is it better than paying $3000/month for home ownership(mortgage, taxes, hoa, insurance,repairs) on a year to year analysis might be something to consider. Also will having a mortgage in 3 years and the potential of not being able to sell your home be a limiting factor on your mobility to find work?
ps. if you have found this answer to be helpful please mark it as best answer.
Thank you Justin Ruzicka
pps, here is a blog i wrote about budgeting and home ownership.…
0 votes
Sharon Seabu…, , Wakefield, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hello Boston Lover,

First off congratulations on Tufts Medical School acceptance. You will love it here. My only comment on renting vs. buying is depending on how long you are staying. Three years in this market is hard to really accumulate a great deal of equity in a property. However, if you are like most other people that come to Boston they normally stay longer than anticipated and certainly more in the Medical field.

A fiver year stay is a much better Return on you Investment (ROI). Renting for 3 years will be a costly expense but will give you the freedom to leave when you are done with no hard feelings.

My team can point you in a direction to rent and commute easily. We can certainly help you find a home in that price range within Tufts Chinatown area.

Best of Luck
Check out my website if you would like to look at some of your options.
0 votes
Melody Bohl, , Boston, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hi Boston Lover!
Welcome to a great city! I think you will enjoy your time here while in medical school. Boston has a lot to offer (when you are not studying!)

Yes, there are properties here in your price range. And interest rates are still low. Assuming your credit is good, you are in a great position to buy.

No one can say where property values will be in three years. But there are tax advantages to owning as opposed to renting. For a good decision tool, check this Smart Money article out:…

And who knows? Once you get here, you may want to stay longer than the initial three years for school!

I'd be happy to help you run some numbers, check out some properties, and determine what works best for you. Feel free to give me a call anytime.

All the best,
0 votes
Tean Wong, Agent, Boston, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
You asked a very good question. But unfortunately, the question is so generic and there is no good answer. The answer is case by case. I will will have to answer your question, I would prefer to have about 45 mins to talk to you and get to know your circumstances.

But in Boston, it is cheaper to buy than rent for a two bedroom unit. ( or even one bedroom in some case). If you are coming to Tufts, I would assume that you want to move in by June or late May. If you want to buy, you should start looking now. Closing takes from 6 to 8 weeks nowadays.
0 votes
Masha Sender…, Agent, Newton, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Chinatown is undergoing some redevelopment and property values are expected to go up as more new condos are built. Back Bay is expected to go up in value, and so is East Boston. There are also some good condos in Medford that may be worth considering, that are selling 5-10% lower than 4 years ago and there has been an increase in the prices. Renting is like throwing $ away. Even if a property does not go up in value, you'll be able to write off the mortgage interest every year vs. rent.
Hope this helps!
0 votes
Heidi Zizza, Agent, Framingham, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Dear Boston Lover, While no one can predict the future ( unless you maybe move to Salem) the real esate market outlook is positive. Even if you bought at 300k and sold at 300k or less you would still be in the green. A rental will be approximately 1500 monthly which is an $18,000 yearly expense times 3 years is $54,000 with no tax write offs. See my facebook page mdm realty to read a great article on the top 5 reasons why to buy!
0 votes
Nick Gervais, , Boston, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hi Boston Lover,

Welcome to Boston!

You ask a great question, but here's the thing...nobody can tell you that you will or will not make money on your investment because nobody has a crystal ball.

One option could be to purchase a property, live in it for 3 years, and then when you leave you could rent it out to cover your mortgage until you feel you're ready to sell in a market that you'll be able to profit from.

Tufts has a large turnover of students and if you purchase the right property, renting it out after you leave shouldnt be an issue.

You can sign up on the link below to view for properties for sale in Boston for free and even receive updates as properties come on the market.

If you would like to speak more about possibly purchasing or even renting, feel free to email me or call.

0 votes
Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Tue Feb 8, 2011
I will preface this by saying that I am not familiar with the Boston market, but generally speaking 3 years is NOT a good time frame for resale.

if you bought in a popular rental area (near medical school in city should be excellent) and knew that renting could pay your mortgage and taxes, it may be worth holding onto.
However, if you are not prepared to be a landlord and tie up your money then buying would not be a good option for you.
0 votes
John Mansfie…, , Westborough, MA
Tue Feb 8, 2011
Boston Lover... now is a good time to buy. The rates are still low and there is more to choose from. By the time you are going to be looking to sell, the market should be improved, therefore, prices will be higher again.

Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you with questions, or property info, or showings!
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more