If you are going to move to New England, Boston just seems like the logical choice, when it comes to picking a city. Not only is Boston the world’s 30th most economically powerful city, it boasts phenomenal schools, an extremely rich cultural scene, four fantastic sports teams, the country’s oldest public park, and Italian restaurants that have been around longer than you have been born. What’s not to love? Plus, it is situated close to skiing opportunities and has a thriving nightlife. This is a city that has something to offer anyone. Before you jump in and buy the first nice house you find though, there are a few questions you should ask your realtor first.
What is the Neighborhood Like?
Boston is not called the “City of Neighborhoods” for nothing. There are 21 officially designated neighborhoods here, and each one is unique. You may love the layout of the apartment in that low-rise building downtown, but if you are looking for a family neighborhood with a focus on community, the Victorian-era vibe of the South End or the row houses or single-family homes in the low-commercial areas may be more suitable.
Whether you prefer to be near the movers and shakers, other families, or singles with access to plenty of bars to mingle at, there is a neighborhood in Boston you are sure to fall in love with.
What Schools Are Nearby?
If you have children, or if the possibility of them is in your future, you will want to inquire about the schools. There are 145 schools operated by Boston Public Schools. You may want to find out the bus route or the average number of students per class at the school nearest the home you are looking at. You may also prefer to be near one of the city’s most prestigious “exam” schools, such as Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science.
What Are the Public Transportation Options?
Whether you are a one car household or if you are simply looking to reduce your carbon footprint, the availability of public transportation may play a role in your decision. Plus, traffic congestion and limited parking options can be concerns in some areas, like any other major city. Boston is very walkable, but the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority offers efficient rail, bus, and subway options. You may want to make sure you will have an easy commute to work.
Is the Selling Price Fair?
Your realtor should know what houses are selling for in the neighborhood you are interested in. He should also know if the home’s value has gone up or down in recent years, or since it was last purchased. If you are buying a starter home and know you will want something a little larger in a few years, this may play a pretty big role in your decision.
Has the Home Had Any Past Issues?
Unfortunately, sellers do not always disclose the dirty little secrets of their home. Although fixed now, some problems do have a way of returning. Your realtor should be able to do a little digging to find out if there is any previous flood or fire damage. You may want to inquire about previous electrical, roofing, foundation, plumbing, or pest problems.
What is the History of the Land?
The Boston area has a colorful Native American history. Americans colonists began engaging in war with the aboriginal people in 1675. King Phillip ordered countless villages to be attacked and burned. Many were forced in shackles to islands in the harbor while they were incarcerated. Many of the burial grounds are not publically known. If you would feel uneasy finding out your home is in a location associated with tragedy, you may want to ask your Boston realtor to find out the history of the land.
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