Sales

Buying a Condo as an Investment: How Many Bedrooms is Best?

For some real estate investors, residential condominiums are the preferred type of investment property.  Some benefits include that condos typically are less expensive than whole buildings and there are fewer management responsibilities because condo associations typically handle day-to-day operational issues like snow removal.

But, how many bedrooms is the ideal size to buy as an investment property?

As always, the answer is “it depends”.  Some investors take a philosophical approach – for instance, some investors prefer 3 bedroom apartments since there has been increasing willingness for co-living arrangements, particularly because it tends to be much cheaper for renters to live with roommates in Boston.  Others focus more on economics and might prefer the smallest possible units to try to maximize their rent per square foot.
 


Source: CoStar Multi-Family Market Report, Boston-MA, dated 11/12/2019



Source: CoStar Multi-Family Market Report, Boston-MA, dated 11/12/2019



Source: LINK Boston Quarterly Sales Summary, Third Quarter 2019, Citywide Report


The data shows that the ideal condo size for YOU will depend on your investment goals and criteria.  Larger apartments (2-3 bedrooms) have shown a lower vacancy rate than smaller apartments over the past few years.  Rents are higher for larger apartments as well, but of course purchase prices and expenses will be higher.

If you have questions about buying a condo as an investment, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We would be happy to share more specific market reports and data.  We also provide free consultations to real estate investors to review investment goals and when ready, help find the best opportunities for you!

 

 

Boston Bound Student? It's College Tour Season!

Guest Blogger: Nathan Hartseil of First Home Mortgage

Got a College Student in Boston?
Rent costs have you doing a double take?
What if you bought a condo instead?

Many folks are incredulous when I tell them that they are able to purchase a single unit (condo, townhouse, single family) residence for their child here in Boston at the same “market best” terms that they might get themselves – and that these loans are available with as little as 3.5% down, up to the generous local limit of $688,850 (as of this writing, October 2019).

Perhaps your student works, but doesn’t make enough to support the unit on their own?

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration all allow a parent to “cosign” the mortgage – combining the income, assets, and qualifiers of both the student and the parent or family member on the mortgage application.

Perhaps your student is just starting out on their own, and you plan to visit often? Purchasing a “second” or “occasional” home in Boston, even without their help -  just 10% down assures that your student has a place to call home, and that you will always be able visit.

As long as your student (or parent, or disabled relative of any age) occupies the home as their primary residence for 1 full year, there are no restrictions (on the mortgage side) on roommates, future rentals, or any other customary uses…. A property that serves as a college home base can easily be converted to an income producing investment upon graduation.

What might this look like?

As of this publication, 30 year fixed rates are in the 3s-4s.  A 3-bedroom condo directly on the Green Line off student centric Commonwealth Avenue is currently available for $500,000.  Presuming a 760 credit score and a 5% down payment, Apr 4.05%:

Principal and interest: $2,268
Property Taxes: $268*
Condo Fees: $340
Mortgage Insurance: $100
Homeowner’s Insurance: $50-100

Total monthly expense: Around $3000

(*Boston also offers discounted taxes to primary residents, which will further reduce this expense by about $200, under the Property Tax Exemption Personal Exemption.)

With 2 paying roommates, your student’s expenses on monthly housing could be substantially reduced, while building equity to realize upon graduation.  If Boston’s popularity and average rents are any indication, holding the property as a rental could prove lucrative as well.

Ready to dive in to a search? Click here to get started. Or contact Cabot & Company to connect with an experienced agent to help guide you.

 

This is not a commitment to lend. Terms and conditions of programs, products and services are subject to change. All loans are subject to credit approval and property appraisal. Certain restrictions may apply on all programs. NOT ACCEPTING NEW YORK APPLICATIONS. First Home Mortgage Corporation of America, First Home Mortgage Services, Maryland First Home Mortgage Company, and First Home Mortgage Company of Maryland are d/b/a's of First Home Mortgage Corporation. First Home Mortgage Corporation is licensed in Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts Mortgage Lender and Broker (Lic. #MC71603), Michigan, Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department, Licensed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island Licensed Lender and Broker, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia. Equal Housing Lender. First Home Mortgage Corporation.

 

Advantages of Working with a Buyer's Agent

We are sometimes asked: Do I really need a buyer’s agent, or can I make an offer on a property on my own?  Certainly, it is possible to buy a home without the help of a buyer’s agent.  However, there are a number of advantages in working with an experienced agent.  Here are some reasons to work with a buyer’s agent:  

1. It’s Free For Buyers. Except in a few, very limited circumstances, the buyer’s agent’s commission in the Boston area is paid by the seller or seller’s agent.    

2. Buyers Get Representation. The seller’s agent represents the seller, and it is their obligation to act in the best interests of the seller.  Having a buyer’s agent ensures you have an experienced professional on your team to look out for YOUR best interests.

3. Market Data. A buyer’s agent can educate you on local market trends.  Buying a home represents a substantial investment – it is important to know about the market/area you are buying into.

4. Make Searching for Property Easy.  When working with a buyer’s agent, there’s no need to scroll through endless websites looking at properties that are no longer available.  A buyer’s agent can create a custom MLS (Multiple Listing Service) search tailored to your search criteria, so you can be notified as soon as new properties come on market. 

5. Help with Paperwork.  There are a number of forms and documents involved in purchasing a home.  A buyer’s agent will help you navigate through them.

6. Price Analysis. You want to make an offer, but is the property over-priced, underpriced or priced right in line with the market?  Your agent will create a comprehensive market analysis based on similar properties that have been sold, to help you determine what price to offer.  A seller’s agent is obligated to get their client (the seller) the highest possible price; again, it is important to have a professional looking out for your interests.

7. Negotiations. The purchase price is just one component of an offer.  A buyer’s agent will help guide you on the other terms that make up an offer, such as inspection contingencies, mortgage contingencies and timing – careful consideration of all offer terms help make sure your offer is as strong as possible. If issues come up during the purchase process (such as property defects identified during a home inspection), your buyer’s agent can also help negotiate for appropriate concessions from the seller.

8. Support throughout the Transaction. An experienced buyer’s agent can help make introductions to other industry professionals that may be necessary throughout the purchase process, such as lenders, attorneys, home inspectors and insurance agents.  Additionally, your agent will keep you apprised of upcoming deadlines and communicate with the involved parties to help keep your purchase on a smooth path towards closing.
 

If you would like to be connected with one of our experienced buyer’s agents, please contact us here.  

Just getting started with the home-buying process?  Feel free to start your search here.

 

 

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How to File for a Residential Exemption in Boston

If you own and live in your Boston property as your primary residence, you likely qualify for a residential exemption on your real estate taxes.  Through this exemption, the City releases you from paying part of your property taxes.  Last year, the residential exemption saved qualified homeowners up to $2,719.09 on their tax bill.

For Fiscal Year 2020, you have until April 1, 2020 to file the application.  For more information, including the application and other requirements, visit the City of Boston’s website here

There are a number of benefits to homeownership, and this exemption is one of them.  Be sure to take advantage!

 

 

 

Boston Condo Market Outlook - Fourth Quarter 2019

Boston Home Prices Are Up  •  Number of Sales is Down  •  Inventory is Low

Curbed Boston reported transactions in the downtown Boston luxury condo market during the Summer months saw significant prices jumps and average sales prices were up nearly 23% year over year in the Spring.  Downtown areas include Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, South Boston, the Seaport, North End, West End, Midtown, Fenway and Charlestown.  The average sale price was $4,395,698 which represents an increase of 22% annually and 22% quarterly. 

The average price per square foot was $1,965, up 18.3% annually and 22.8% quarterly.
The median sales price jumped to $3,510,3000, up 21% annually and 33.7% quarterly.

Reasons for housing prices and rents rising are “fueled by a growth in jobs downtown, foreign investors looking for a safe place to put their money, and young people pooling their resources and doubling, tripling, or quadrupling up” according to Barry Bluestone, Dean of Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. 

Keep in mind the helpful factor of Interest Rates at a steady low hovering at 3.0% - 4%.

In summary, prices are up, inventory is down and the future looks expensive!

 

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Important Utilites Contact Information for Move Ins

When moving into your new home you need to establish service with the following Utility companies:

Boston Utilities

National Grid
Gas (800) 732-3400

Eversource
Electricity (800) 592-2000

Verizon
Phone (800) 870-9999

Comcast
Phone, Cable, Internet
(617) 279-1958

 

 

Helpful Boston Numbers

 

Boston City Hall
(617) 635-4000

Boston Police Department
Non Emergency
(617) 343-4200

Boston Fire Department
Non Emergency
(617) 343-3550

Emergency Storm Center
(617) 635-3050

Poison Control and Prevention
(800) 222-1222

Animal Control (Dog Licenses)
(617) 635-5348

 

We recommend you reserve a parking spot for your moving truck by going to City of Boston Website

If you live in Boston and your car is registered in Massachusetts you can get a resident permit parking sticker to park on the street.

 

For more information please contact Cabot & Company at (617) 262-6200

 

Memorial Day Real Estate Trivia

General & President “Ike” Eisenhower Slept Here

It was September 21, 1953, seven weeks after an armistice ended the Korean War. Operation Moolah was in effect. Operation Moolah was a United States Air Force (USAF) effort during the Korean War to obtain (through defection from any Russian, Chinese or North Korean pilot) a fully capable Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter to deliver to America. The US had attempted to obtain a MiG for years because it was considered to be the best fighter aircraft of the 1950’s and Korean War. The performance of the MiG-15 outclassed and amazed its’ Western opponents.

That morning, North Korean fighter pilot No Kum Sok seized his opportunity to escape a dead end future in North Korea and find asylum in America. He climbed into the cockpit of a MiG-15 and flew it to Kimpo, an American air base near Seoul in South Korea.That same morning president Eisenhower flew out of Washington, D.C. to Boston before the reports about the MiG and the North Korean defector reached the White House.

Eisenhower stayed at the Annex to the Algonquin Club at 223 Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, Boston and was called by the White House that day and given the news “We got the MiG.” Eisenhower dictated in a personal and confidential letter to his longtime advisor and confidante, Walter Bedell Smith, Undersecretary of State “I am sorry I was not in Washington today to discuss the MiG incident with the entire staff.” He was not sorry, however, that he was staying on America’s grandest avenue at 223 Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, Boston.

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Great windows in your new home?

Renters:
When renting a condo you may expect to have some kind of window treatments. Most landlords put the basic blinds or roller shades which might not be attractive enough for you. You can customize your apartment by adding color with curtains. Simple, inexpensive and easy to install curtains can be found at many different stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, Pottery Barn, West Elm or even on Amazon.

Buyers:
Choosing the right window treatments for your newly purchased condo can be overwhelming.  First, make sure to check with the condo association’s rules to know what are the dos and don’ts. Many managed buildings have scheduled window cleanings during the year. If you are interested in getting as much light as possible, select a window shade that allows light to come through. Being on a lower floor you might want to consider having a top down bottom up shade, so you can cover the bottom of the window for privacy yet allowing light into your place by having the top portion of the window completely open. There are many options, therefore you may want to have a window expert come and explain all the different possibilities; many of them offer a complementary consultation for new home buyers.

Shopping for a new home? Check out all our listings, the spring market is going strong and many new listings are added every week.

 

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6 Mistakes to Avoid While Your Mortgage is in Process

The offer on your new home was accepted, your inspection went smoothly, the purchase and sale agreement has been signed, and now you are just waiting for your mortgage commitment letter. You are almost done, but don’t go shopping for that new furniture set just yet!

Most lenders recommend taking a financial pause. Here are some suggestions to avoid common mistakes that can prevent you from getting your mortgage:

 

1. Do not open any new lines of credit, including opening new credit cards, or taking out new loans.

2. Do not close existing credit accounts.

3. Do not make any large purchases, such as buying/leasing a new car, expensive furniture sets, etc.

4. Do not make significant job changes, such as quitting or changing your job.

5. Do not make large deposits or withdrawals from your bank account.

6. Do not pay your bills late.


If you have any questions, ALWAYS check with your loan officer.

Happy closing!

 

 

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Parking Spots for Sale in Boston

Ever wonder what it is like to own your own parking space in Boston? Just finding parking alone is time consuming, stressful and can often take a good amount of change out of your pocket if you are renting one daily.  Beat the weather, save time/money and please check out some of the open parking spaces within Back Bay, South End and Beacon Hill that can save you all the hassle, knowing you have a space waiting or you.
 

25 Savoy St., Tandem Parking Space - South End - $200,000
Tandem parking space in the Rollins Square Garage available in the South End between Washington St. and Harrison Ave. Easy access to I-93, beat the rush!  Click here for details

 

700 Harrison Ave., Single Parking Space - South End - $80,000
Single, garage parking space available in the 700 Harrison Ave. Condominiums, between E. Brookline St. and E. Canton St. Beat the weather with this parking space!  Click here for details

 

195 Beacon St., Single Parking Space - Back Bay - $345,000
Single parking space available in Back Bay on Beacon St., right near the Mass. Pike. Be right next to your work, and near the shops, restaurants and all that Back Bay has to offer. Easy walk to Fenway Park!  Click here for details

 

144 Charles St., Single Parking Space - South End - $350,000
Single, garage parking spaces available on Charles St. Own a parking space in one of the most challenging parking neighborhoods in Boston. Click here for details

 

35 Fay St., Single Parking Space - South End - $125,000
Single, garage parking space available on Fay St., right near E. Berkeley St. No need to clean off your car from snow with this parking space! Easy access to I-93, beat the rush!  Click here for details

 

Contact Andrew Bemben with any questions or to set up an appointment to discuss parking spaces for sale in Boston.

 

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