4 Strategies to Avoid Overspending or Buying a Money Pit

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Nobody wants to mess up the largest purchase in their life. The median sales price in the Boston goes around $300,000 and the city has been named the nation’s third-hottest real estate market, second only to the City of Angels (L.A.) and Phoenix. Alas, there are also problems like low inventory (only 1,950 available units in August-October 2016) that induce bidding wars, crazy offers, and rising prices. So, even with a nice nest egg, what you need is a strategy. You want to become a proud owner of a new home and prevent problems from coming back to haunt you.

Basement first

Many buyers pay close attention to kitchens, new hubs of domestic life. However, basement could be the place where the real problems lie. Make it a focus of a pre-buy inspection in order to identify issues such as poor quality of construction, faults with plumbing and electrical systems, and ancient HVAC.

Likewise, keep your eyes open for water leaks and loose wires. Also, scout for mold, the four-lettered menace capable of striking fear in many buyers’ hearts. Be aware of strange odors and even the smallest of mold patches. Fixing things could cost a pretty penny and I guess you do not want both your rooms and family budget to end up underwater.

Test the waters

This brings us to the point that basement is an excellent place to uncover all sorts of water issues, although they could occur throughout the home. Some of the most common warning signs are damp smells and stains on the floor. In addition, all that buckling and cracked walls need in order to start springing a leak is a perfect rainstorm.

Lower portions of the walls could also point out to recurring problems with the standing water. Furthermore, it is a good idea to check the bathroom and kitchen fixtures in order to assess the quality of their maintenance. Finally, ensure that there are no corroded pipes, shabby caulking or sealing job, mildew and mold buildup, peeling paint, etc.

Drop it like it’s hot

Boston market may be hotter than a devil’s party in the Caribbean, but the inventory of available homes is ridiculously low. The year 2016, when there were over 9,000 units in the market, now seems like a distant dream. Unfortunately, the price tag you see could be just the result of the broker’s ploy. One notorious example is Unit 3 in Charlestown’s gaslight district, which was listed for $629,000.

So, conduct a thorough market research to get an accurate picture about competitive, realistic prices. Try to find as many targets as possible. The Land Down Under has excellent online service providers like Lifull that feature a diverse selection of units for sale and rent. In Boston, I utilized the renowned Zillow, which offers a very good number of units, a whopping 1,119.

Meet the founding fathers

Never mind the bells and whistles, as you must focus on what truly matters, the structural integrity of your home. First of all, the building must rest on a solid footing.  You will need an expert to take a look at the foundations, but you can hunt for smaller signs that may be heralds of bigger problems.

Go to the basement or crawl space and see how the foundations hold up. In case neither of these exist, observe from the outside. Deal busters come in the form of buckling, cracked foundation walls, and gaps of all shapes and sizes. At last, head inside and see whether there are cracks in the drywall of the main floor, as well as areas around doorways and windows.

Strike real gold

In cities like Boston, where buyers compete fiercely and sales are predicted to increase by 6.1%, pouring money down the drain is a grim reality. It is a kill-or-be-killed jungle out there and you have to seriously consider your time, labor, and money. The financial commitment of down payments and mortgages is already a burden so adding fuel to the fire with misjudgment is not advisable. There is a lot of fool’s gold and thousands of unknowns, but most of them come down to maintenance surprises, inflated prices, and unexpected costs down the road. Navigate the midfield of decisions without blowing the budget and losing nerve.