Good morning, I am interested in buying a condo in the Boston area as an international buyer. I am planning to pay cash and my budget is USD

Asked by Sadu, Boston, MA Thu Mar 28, 2013

350,000. Can you give me an overview of all the expenses I need to expect and a timeline of when they would be required leading up to and following the purchase transaction?

Thank you.

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Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Sun Apr 7, 2013
Here is a general idea of costs associated with purchasing a home. In MA, purchasing a home is a 2 contract process prior to closing on a property: Offer and Purchase and Sale (P&S). With each contract you will be expected to put down what is called a "good faith deposit." Traditionally at offer contract that is around $1,000 and at P&S (which happens about 10 days after the offer) it is traditionally 5% of the purchase price. This money will be held in escrow until closing and used toward the purchase (it is NOT an additional cost to the purchase price). You may want to retain an attorney for the P&S which can cost you anywhere from $500+ and if you conduct a home inspection on the property that will cost you anywhere from $300+ (depending on size of the property and the inspector) and there will be closing costs associated with the purchase that can range anywhere from $3,000+.

Feel free to give us a call anytime and we can walk through these on the phone.
Boston's Premier Buyer Brokerage
617 848 5407 x704
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Greer Swiston, Agent, Newton, MA
Thu Mar 28, 2013
All below are all great advice, but didn't actually answer your question did it? Just pointed you at ways to get at the answer. That is because the exact answer can vary depending on a number of situations.

That said ... a general ballpark would be:

You'd need to put earnest money down at the time of offer ... that could range from $500-$5000 depending on your negotiation strategy. ( Legally, it can be as little as $1 but that isn't commonly accepted in our market.)

In Massachusetts, we have a 2 phase offer process. After the initial offer is negotiated and accepted, there is a Purchase & Sale process. That could be as simple or complicated as you want to make it and would take anywhere from a day to 10 days to get through. Upon signing the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) then the expectation is that you will have put around 5-6% deposit into Escrow counting the money you already put as earnest money. (This amount can also vary).

Depending who you use as your buyer/closing attorney ... you'd probably be out another $2000 or so on closing fees (title search, processing paperwork, insurance binder) Depending on the complexity of the deal and the title issues ... you could close as quickly as 2-3 weeks upon an agreed upon deal at which point you'd need to pay the balance of the purchase price as well as any additional closing costs.

As a cash buyer, accredited proof of funds would be expected at the time of offer.

I hope that gives you a better idea of what you'd be up against. Of course, working with an experienced relocation agent, like myself and the other agents here who have responded to your question, could only expedite and facilitate a smooth tranaction(s) for you. I also know resources for property management, repairs, insurance ... etc that may be helpful to you if you do not plan to remain local after your purchase.

Good luck!
1 vote
Mario Pavli, Agent, Boston, MA
Fri Mar 29, 2013
Hi Sadu,

With a cash offer you could close as early as 10 days (if not sooner).

A 5% is due upon P&S signing.
Inspection is $500 (optional)
Atty Fees - Less than $1000
Taxes - Each property is different

Hope this helps. If I can help in any way please let me know.
1 vote
Martha Sesin, Agent, Belmont, CA
Thu Mar 28, 2013
Hello Sadu, one of my specialties is working with international buyers. I have received specialized training working with buyers as yourself. Also completed training "At home with diversity" There are many components to representing a buyer well and don't want to leave anything out. Please contact me directly and we can go over specifics. I have a network of professionals who are multi-lingual as well to assist you translating, in case English is your second language. You will be signing many important documents, when you buy a home so it's important you fully understand them.
1 vote
George Wood, , Brookline, MA
Thu Mar 28, 2013
Hello Sadu,

You have picked an exciting time to invest in Boston Real Estate. The market is performing beyond expectations and prices are on the rise. Competition is pretty fierce for properties as they come to market. That you are in a position to make a cash offer is really good news for you!

Because you can offer cash, not only will you be in a better position to "win" in a competitive-offer situation, but you will be spared the expense of an appraisal and many other fees that banks charge to originate a loan. I have recently been involved with several transactions similar to what you are describing. In those instances my clients hired a Real Estate Attorney to make sure the title was clear and review documents related to the transaction. I have a skilled attorney I work with often, but, since every property is different, I let him negotiate his own fees based on a realistic expectation of how much work he'll have to do. Things like title insurance are optional purchases as well, and the cost of those products varies from property to property as well.

You should expect a period of learning the market at first, and possibly some frustration depending on where you are looking. There are parts of the city where the majority of properties that come to market are receiving multiple offers within a day or so of coming onto the market. A skilled agent will have techniques that can help you navigate this market with greater success, but you may miss on a few before it all sinks in.

If you have any more questions, I'm happy to help and you can reach me through Trulia.

George Wood
1 vote
Michael Pall…, Agent, Boston, MA
Thu Mar 28, 2013
Namaste Sadu,

While I wish I could give you specifics in terms of a expenses and time frame for purchasing a home, a great deal depends on your own timing and your overall expectations.

The time frame in which you can purchase a home is much shorter in the case of an all-cash deal but nonetheless timing is very much dependent on the extent of the home search itself; the seller's ability to close quickly; and the availability of homes available in the location you desire.

Your expenses leading up to the actual closing (i.e., when you take legal possession of the home) would include closing costs; the price of the home inspection; and, of course, moving costs.

I am a Certified Relocation Specialist with my firm and well-versed in dealing with clients moving to the Greater Boston area from outside of the country. I would invite you to contact me directly to discuss your home-buying needs in more detail. You can call me directly at (617) 899-3162; Skype is also an option for easier communications.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Many thanks.

Michael A. Pallares, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (Boston)
1 vote
Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Greer's answer is almost complete.
She forgot the inspection costs.

(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.)
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Richard Shap…, , Framingham, MA
Thu Mar 28, 2013
You could probaly close in about 2 weeks or less when paying cash. Hire an attorney who will research title and close.
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Meri Galstian, Agent, Boston, MA
Thu Mar 28, 2013

If you are paying cash, closing can happen much quicker than the standard 30-60 days. Generally you can have an accepted offer within 24-48 hours of your offer to purchase. From there, you will need to conduct an inspection of the property and have the purchase & sale drafted by your attorney and executed which can all happen within a matter of days or a week, depending on how quickly everything is scheduled and falls into place. Realistically, you're probably looking at 10 days minimum though. Final stage is the closing where you will get your keys and transaction officially goes on record.

If you are looking for a Realtor to work with, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at or call my cell (617) 461-2891.

Meri Galstian
Boston Luxury Residential
0 votes
Kenzo Tatsuno, Agent, Waltham, MA
Thu Mar 28, 2013
Good answer below.

Please note that if you plan to keep your citizen status, there may be issues when it comes time to sell. If you are 100% cash buyer, then you will need to also use an international bank to track and fund the purchase. It is possible to get a mortgage if you plan to reside here, but restrictions will apply.

I am also a Coldwell Banker agent/relocation specialist and would be happy to work with you. Please visit the "about me" tab to view some testimonials and service areas (which include Boston & greater Boston)


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