Rufo Realty's Blog
22 MILL STREET, Arlington, MA 02476
48 BRYON ROAD, Boston, MA 02467
House hunting can be time-consuming. With so many houses currently on the market and so little time to spend visiting homes, it’s important to narrow down your search as much as possible before attending a showing.
Fortunately, in today’s digital world, it’s possible to learn a great deal of important information right from your phone or computer.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you some advice on researching the homes you’re thinking about making an offer on. We’ll talk about researching the neighborhood, and--of course--the house itself.
Putting together all the stats on the home
Let’s start with, arguably, the most important thing to research: the house itself. When you want to learn about a home, the best place to look is usually the real estate listing. Since most of us discover homes through listings, odds are you’re already on this page. However, there’s a lot of information in a listing, so take the time to go through it and gleam whatever you can from the home’s description.
Next, Google the house address and click on listings from other real estate sites. Oftentimes, a house that has been sold before will have multiple listings across the internet with different data.
Once you’ve scoured the listings, head over to the county assessor’s website to look at records of the home’s ownership. This will tell you who bought and sold the home and when. There’s much you can learn from this data, especially if a home is being sold frequently. You can also use this information to contact previous owners to ask them questions about the home that the current owner might not know the answer to.
Snooping around the neighborhood
If the house is nearby, simply driving through the neighborhood can tell you a lot. You can visit the neighborhood during rush hour to see what the traffic is like, for example.
However, it isn’t always practical to take the time to visit a house that you aren’t sure you’re interested in. So, what’s the next best thing? Google Maps.
Visit the neighborhood on Google Maps to see what’s in the area. Are there a lot of closed businesses? That could be a sign of a neighborhood in decline. Check for nearby things like parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could influence your buying decision.
Next, use Google’s “street view” feature and explore the neighborhood. You can see what kind of shape the other homes are in, and find out the condition of infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.
Note addresses of comparable homes in the neighborhood and look up their purchase prices. This will give you an idea of whether the home is being priced appropriately.
If you’re having trouble finding information on a home, such as sale records, try contacting the local assessor. They should be able to point you to a database that will help you in your search.
48 BRYON ROAD, Boston, MA 02467
Although it may seem like putting the cart before the horse, a strong case can be made for purchasing your retirement home before your golden years. In fact, with some deft financial planning, it may be worthwhile to buy your retirement home decades in advance. That may seem counterintuitive, but maybe other folks have been doing it backward. Whether you are a Millennial, Gen Xer, or Baby Boomer, the best time to plan ahead is right now. Consider these strategies.
Why Buying Now Saves Retirement Dollars
The Gen X crowd was born between 1965-1979, making them 40- and 50-somethings. Those are generally prime financial years. In many cases, they’re nearing the end of a mortgage and are probably enjoying the fruits of many years of savings. This means having equity and resources at their disposal to make a move on a property now.
The argument for paying off an existing home loan or doubling-up if it’s reasonably low rests on data that the home values continue to rise. Consider these incremental increases in median home sales pricing.
The median price routinely topped $300,000 in 2019, and the robust economy, coupled with an inventory shortfall, is expected to drive prices upward. If you were to have purchased your retirement home just 10 years ago, your savings would have amounted to nearly $100,000, plus lower interest payments. Those are real retirement dollars.
Why Buying Your Retirement Home First Makes Sense
One of the strategies savvy Millennials are employing is to purchase an “investment property” rather than a primary residence first. That may seem like thinking way outside the box, but the math and lifestyle considerations can make it a smart play.
This demographic runs between 23 and 38 years old, and they have grown up in a vastly different culture than their predecessors. Some are straight out of college struggling with student loan debt, and even the top end of the age bracket has members still evolving their careers in many cases. These factors tend to position Millennials for ongoing relocation as they take advantage of emerging opportunities. Rather than be burdened with buying and selling a home, it’s easier to rent.
Financially sharp Millennials, among others, have purchased properties in culturally rich areas that lend themselves to college students and tourism. The strategy is to enlist the help of a real estate professional who oversees renting, upkeep, and allow the asset to pay for itself. In many cases, it may even yield a profit. When retirement age arrives, there can be ample revenue to do a full remodel and just pay the taxes while you collect a pension or social security.
Although buying a retirement home prior to punching out for the last time may seem odd at first, it’s in your best interest to run the numbers both ways. Consider all the moving parts and detailed costs to make an informed decision about your best time to but a retirement home.