Home Buying

Condos for Sale in Boston and Brookline!

Do you want the satisfaction of owning your own place without all the responsibility? Then purchasing a condo may be right for you. Condos for sale by Longwood Residential are individual units located within a building or multi-family home. You must get approved for a mortgage just as you would when buying a private home. You pay association dues in addition to your mortgage. These fees are mostly for maintenance of common areas. While you’re responsible for maintenance inside your unit, your condo association takes care of things such as landscaping and shoveling snow.

Luxury condos, such as those operated by Longwood Residential, are run by a board of directors. The board votes on, and enforces, rules that affect residents. You will want to learn about the condo board’s reputation before buying a condo. Also, you should know how much of a reserve fund the association has on hand to handle exterior upkeep.

Mortgage Rates and Luxury Accommodations

In January 2017, Curbed Boston reported condo rates ranging from $263 to $1,467 per square foot. You will find that prices for Longwood condos typically fall into this range. We mostly operate luxury condos with amenities that you won’t find at many others in the Boston area. Some of the amenities at Longwood condos include:

  • Private fitness clubs
  • Concierge services
  • On-site, underground parking
  • Rooftop swimming pools
  • Party rooms
  • Business suites
  • Package services
  • Private balconies
  • Valet services
  • In-unit wash machine and dryer
  • On-site retail stores
  • On-site play areas for children

We offer one, two, and three-bedroom condo options as well as limited studio-sized units. Most of our condos are in neighborhoods that are within walking distance to many of the things you need. Our buildings are also located in areas with excellent access to public transportation.

Which Boston Neighborhood is Right for You?

Deciding you want to buy a condo is just the first step. It can be a bit more challenging to find the amenities, price range, and neighborhood, that is just right for you. Longwood Residential offers condos for sale in more than a dozen Boston neighborhoods. Whether you have your heart set on Back Bay, Roslindale, or The Fenway, we can help you find the best Boston condo for you and your family. Feel free to start your search here or contact our office for assistance. We look forward to working with you.

What is the Cost of Living in Boston?

cost of living bostonAccording to a June, 2017 report released by Best Places, Boston scored a 169.90 for overall cost of living. A score of 100 is the baseline for cities across the United States (the higher the better). High housing costs seem to contribute the most to this score. Although Boston scores high in several other areas as well, it’s the housing costs that really drive it up. They are highest in Boston proper as compared to the Boston/Cambridge/Newton metro area and Massachusetts as a whole. Setting down roots in the right neighborhood can make all the difference in housing costs.

Other Cost of Living Scores for Boston

Boston also scores above 100 in several other cost of living categories. These include:

  • Utilities, 149

  • Miscellaneous, 131

  • Health, 125

  • Grocery, 122

  • Transportation, 105

Many residents consider the cost of living in Boston worth it. The city offers excellent public transportation and a rich history, among other things. You always have the option of getting in on the tiny house craze to reduce your housing costs.

Average Rental Costs in Boston

cost of living bostonThe June 2017 Best Places report indicates that the average rent for a studio apartment in Boston is $1,245 per month. This compares to $898 for the rest of Massachusetts and $712 average for the entire United States. Other rental rates by size include:

  • 1 bedroom: $1,395 in Boston, $1,067 in Massachusetts, and $825 in the United States

  • 2 bedroom: $1,716 in Boston, $1,335 in Massachusetts, and $1,027 in the United States

  • 3 bedroom: $2,130 in Boston, $1,668 in Massachusetts, and $1,379 in the United States

These high rental rates might encourage some people to become homeowners sooner than they would have in a different area. At Longwood Residential, we offer competitively priced apartments, condominiums, and private homes. We may have exactly what you’re looking for, so give us a call or click to contact us and discuss your needs today!

 

Can I Buy A Home With No Money Down?

If you’re trying to buy a home, you may feel discouraged by the 20% down-payment that most lenders require. However, saving up for a 20% down payment on a six-figure home is simply unrealistic for many home buyers. You may qualify for a program that doesn’t require you to put any money down to purchase a home.

The most common programs include:

Credit Union Loans

Credit unions are owned by members instead of a board of directors. If you’re not already a member, consider researching local credit unions to see if you meet criteria. Some credit unions offer loans with no down-payment, to members with good credit who earn 80% or less of the median income for the area.

USDA loans

If you don’t need to live in Boston proper and are okay living in a town of less than 10,000 people, this loan could work for you. These are the criteria for a no-interest loan through the United States Department of Agriculture. The federal organization may also be able to help if you earn low or moderate income for your area.

VA loans

This program is for retired military members or their surviving spouse. You need an excellent credit score and a special appraisal to qualify for a Veteran’s Administration home loan with no money down.

Longwood Residential is Here to Help.

The city of Boston is currently on target to meet its goal of 53,000 new housing developments by 2030. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to match our clients with their perfect home. Consider attending one of our first-time home buyer seminars if you have never purchased a home. You may also want to think about other homeownership options, such as buying a condo. With determination, planning and having access to the right resources, home ownership can be a reality, much sooner than you think.

What is a short sale?

You’ve probably heard of the term “short sale” if you’re looking to buy a home. However, many people don’t have a clear understanding of what a short sale really is. When you agree to complete a short sale with a seller, it means that the lender has given them permission to sell their home to you for less than what’s owed on it. Common reasons for this include the borrower’s inability to continue making payments or depreciated value on the property.

From the lender’s perspective, agreeing to a short sale is better than having to foreclose on the property. For sellers, going through with a short sale has less of an impact on their credit rating than a foreclosure, and it allows them to get out of a mortgage they can no longer afford.

A Short Sale Must Be Approved by the Lender

Now that you understand what a short sale is, it’s important to realize that the process doesn’t transpire just because the seller wants it to. The lender must approve of the short sale first, since it means they must accept less for the property than what is owed on it. The seller needs to submit proper documentation to the lender, proving that they can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. Lenders tend to look more favorably on this practice, as opposed to someone just abandoning their property.

Benefits and Considerations of a Short Sale for Buyers

A short sale gives buyers the opportunity to acquire a home at fair market value without the same risk associated with purchasing a foreclosed property. However, it differs from a traditional real estate sale in several important ways:

  • It may take longer to complete a short sale because it’s more challenging to set a closing date -- lenders require significant documentation before agreeing to a short sale.

  • Buyers purchase the property “as-is,” which probably means they’ll have to invest additional money for repairs or remodeling.

  • The seller may have to pay some money at closing. If the buyer is unable or unwilling, the sale may fall through even though the lender approved it.

  • Inspection fees that a lender may cover in a traditional real estate sale are the buyer’s responsibility in a short sale.

Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent if You’re Interested in a Short Sale

Purchasing a home via short sale can save you money, but it’s also complex. An experienced agent will anticipate challenges and know how to overcome them. Longwood Residential is available to help you navigate the home buying process. Your agent will help you evaluate all options, including Longwood condos and short sales.

How does rent-to-own work?

When looking to buy a home, rent-to-own can help you secure a property, even if you have poor or insufficient credit. People who are struggling to sell their home, or who would like to sell it to someone who may not qualify for a traditional mortgage, can also benefit from a rent-to-own arrangement.

Details of a Rent-to-Own Contract

Many people confuse rent-to-own with a lease-option contract, which is entirely different. In a lease-option, the person occupying the home and making rent payments has the right of first refusal if the house goes up for sale. He or she does not promise to buy it. A rent-to-own deal is a legal contract to buy. A rent-to-own deal is a contract between buyer and seller that typically extends one to two years into the future. The main difference is that it gives the buyer time to obtain acceptable financing and save for a down payment.

Buyers and sellers should include the following information in a rent-to-own contract:

  • The full name of each party, the property address, and the date of the agreement

  • The terms, including amount of rent, payment due dates, grace period, and late penalties

  • The contract should indicate how much of the rent goes towards the purchase price

  • If necessary; a pet policy may be included, as well as a utilities payment schedule, who can reside in the home, and who is responsible for property maintenance during the rental period

The amount of the “option consideration fee,” which is separate from a security deposit, should also be included in the rent-to-own contract. This fee is paid out to the homeowner in exchange for a written agreement to not sell the home to anyone else. When the buyer changes over from renting to owning, the entire amount of the fees collected by the seller should be subtracted from the purchase price.

If you’re interested in rent-to-own as a buyer or seller, please contact one of the Longwood Residential professionals for assistance.

Where is the Best Place to Live in Boston?

According to the website Best Places, Boston is the historic and intellectual capital of the United States. Many residents choose to live in Boston for that reason alone. It’s hard to find Boston’s culture and tradition anywhere else. It can be more challenging to figure out where is the best place to live in Boston. With a cost of living 70 percent higher than the rest of the U.S. and an average home price of $499,000, renting or buying a condo is a better option for a lot of Boston residents.

Condos Available in More Than a Dozen Boston Neighborhoods

Longwood Residential offers Longwood condos for sale in 14 different neighborhoods within the Boston city limits. Our prices are in line with the average condo price in Boston. Limited real estate availability and the desire to save money on purchasing a home are the main reasons people consider condo ownership. Lifestyle is another important consideration. You don’t have to spend your valuable free time mowing and maintaining your lawn. Our staff handles these chores as part of your homeowner’s association dues.

Many of our multi-unit condo towers offer amenities such as valet parking, an exercise room, room service, package delivery, and on-site stores. You have the convenience of a hotel but you get to stay there permanently.

Apartments in Boston

For some people who choose to live in Boston, renting an apartment makes more sense. They need the flexibility to move when the lease is up and may not be able to afford a house or condo. Longwood Residential manages several luxury apartment complexes in Boston. Many have the same upscale amenities as our condos. Please contact us to learn more or arrange a tour.

What Is A Town House?

There are a lot of options when looking for a new place to live, which can be confusing. Besides a private residential home, you might be looking at an apartment, condo, or town house. People sometimes get confused about the differences between these types of housing. An apartment is a unit you rent, while a condo is similar except that you own it. Today we’re going to explore the question: what is a town house?

Town Houses Are Physically Attached to Each Other

You may have heard town houses referred to as row houses. That is because they are physically attached to the units on either side of them, by ‘shared walls.’ Many people prefer the town house at the end of a row, as they do not share a wall with two neighbors. These dwellings can be a single story or multiple stories high. You own your property as well as the land it sits on.

Is a Town House Right for Me?

If you buy a town house in a large complex, you may be required to contribute money each month towards general upkeep of common areas. This fee is called a HOA (Homeowners Association) fee. Most town house owners enjoy having a front and back yard, just as owners of private homes do. Although a town house owner is responsible for their yard, they don’t have as much exterior maintenance to worry about. Other benefits include greater security and on-site amenities. Examples might include a swimming pool, tennis court, and party room.

You may have slightly less privacy living in a town house. Another thing to consider is that you may not be able to decorate the exterior exactly as you like. However, many people find the trade-off for a better sense of security to be worth it. If you have questions or concerns before buying a town house or want to consider looking at a few Longwood condos instead, please contact our staff.

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Sign Up for Our First-Time Home Buyer Program

It’s an exciting time when you decide to buy your first house. It can also be overwhelming. When you rented an apartment, you filled out an application, paid a deposit, and moved in. While the owners checked your financial stability and rental history, applying for a mortgage is much more involved.

You probably have numerous questions in addition to how to qualify for a mortgage. Longwood Residential’s first-time home buyer program can start to address your concerns at our free information session, which we hold periodically. In the market for Longwood Condos but not sure where to start? We'll post our next seminar on Facebook, so follow us there!

What to Expect at Our Free Home Buying Seminars

Longwood Residential hosts these events at our office. We are conveniently located at 1404A Beacon Street in Brookline. Here are some of the helpful topics we plan to address:

  • High-level overview of buying a home and the local real estate market Foyer of luxury home

  • Best practices for getting your offer accepted

  • Evaluating your financing options

  • Differences between buying and renting

  • What to expect during your home inspection

  • Expectations for closing

We also leave plenty of time to answer any questions from attendees. We understand that everyone has a unique situation that won’t necessarily fit into the general information we provide. You are welcome to contact a member of our team, if you have any immediate questions for us regarding buying or selling your home.

Education should be the first step on your exciting journey toward home ownership

Anyone interested in the home buying process is welcome to attend our free events! We just ask that you RSVP to info@longwoodresidential.com, or call us at 617-396-3100. Space for our first-time home buyer programs are limited, so reserve your spot today!

What Are Condos?

If you’re just starting to look at Longwood condos, you may feel some confusion about the differences between a condo and other types of residences, such as an apartment or private home. The simple definition of a condo is that it’s a cross between these two. Your unit is located within a building with dozens or possibly hundreds of other units. However, you do not pay rent like you would for an apartment. You secure a mortgage and live in your condo until you decide to sell it, just like you would with a house.

Living in a Condo Can Be the Best of Both Worlds

condo poolWhen you own a private home, you alone are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep. This includes both inside and outside of the home. As a condo owner, you have the benefits of owning your own place with less responsibilities. Part of your monthly mortgage payment goes to association dues to help with the upkeep of common areas. As a mortgage holder at one of our Longwood condos in Boston, this could include the pool area, private fitness room, party room, and several other areas accessible to all residents.

You have very little freedom to decorate or renovate as you see fit when you live in an apartment. This isn’t true of life in a Longwood condo. Since you own the entire inside structure of your unit, you can do what you would like to make it feel like home. However, you can’t make any changes to supporting walls since that would affect neighbors on either side of you.

Contact Us to Learn More

Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you still have questions about living in a condo or would like to learn more about our current properties available.

Free Home Buying Seminar Thursday, February 23rd!

Join us at 6:00 PM on Thursday, February 23rd for a fun, informative and FREE Home Buying Seminar.  This short presentation - perfect for first-time homebuyers or anyone looking for a refresher on the process - will feature info and tips from real estate agents, lenders, home inspectors and real estate attorneys.  

 

Topics will include:

  • Overview of the home buying process
  • Snapshot of the local market
  • Secrets to get an accepted offer
  • Comparing financing options
  • Preparing for home ownership
  • Buying vs. renting
  • Home inspection process
  • What to expect at the closing table
  • Q&A

 

WHEN:  6:00 to 7:30 PM on Thursday, February 23rd 2017

WHERE:  Longwood Residential office @ 1404A Beacon Street in Brookline

WHO:  Anyone interested in the home buying process!

RSVP:  info@longwoodresidential.com (limited space!)

 

Food and refreshments will be served!

February 23 Home Buying Seminar - Flyer

RSVP:  info@longwoodresidential.com