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Advice/suggestions for Brighton house purchase

 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:21 pm GMT    Post subject: Advice/suggestions for Brighton house purchase Reply with quote

We have a couple of choices and I would love to hear others' thoughts. Our budget is no more than 700K inclusive.

Choice 1: A 4BR/1ba duplex-style condo (1741 sq ft) about .6 miles outside our target area (we are Orthodox Jews and the Jewish neighborhood borders this neighborhood - we don't drive on our Sabbaths and holidays, so it needs to be reasonably close to our place(s) of worship, especially in the winter!) and 1.4 miles away from our synagogue, so about a 28 minute walk (which they do for morning prayers everyday in addition to the Sabbath/holidays). The price is such ($475K) that we can add another (or two) bathrooms and renovate the kitchen and maybe even finish the basement. The neighbors are nice. We would divide the yard in half. There is no parking other than on the street which is not impossible to find, but the winter will make it more work with shoveling and hoping to get a space in the evenings. Just talked to the realtor; no bids yet, but multiple showings this week, so we need to come to a decision soon. There are some Jewish families moving to this neighborhood, but there is no infrastructure (synagogues) at this time (there are discussions to create one in this new neighborhood).

Choice 2: A real fixer-upper single family (5BR/2.5ba) on the edge of Jewish neighborhood. We made a bid on it when it was FSBO, but when the inspector came through he found so many problems (asbestos, roof, major water damage, ancient furnace/oil tank, exterior walls had birds, asbestos, new sewer line under the house, ancient plumbing and electricity, rickety porch) in addition to the cosmetic changes (kitchen and 2.5 baths straight from the 60s) the estimate came in close to 200K. The owner (flippers) have done the roof, painting, refinishing floors, and one bathroom now and it is on the MLS for 599K. They bought the property for 510K when it was a FSBO and I know they don't want to lose money, but everyone I have heard come through the place is horrified by it. I want to offer 500-520K, but my realtor says they will be upset and blow me off. It has a tiny yard and they have carved up some of it for a off-street parking spot.

Choice 3: We missed the deadline for a 3BR/1.5ba single family home around the corner from our rental home (best location!) in good shape (oy!) that we liked. It has the potential to build the third floor (roughed in for three more BR and one more bath). It does not have a separate LR/DR which is a negative to us (we entertain 6-10 people almost every week), but it does have a driveway and nice yard. The family who won the bid has to sell their house. I toured their home and can't believe they will sell it in time (3 weeks). Should we wait and jump in should they not be able to sell? We can offer up to 670K since the kitchen is a pit and needs renovation. I don't think they can carry both mortgages.

Choice 4: Be patient and persevere. Spring will come and more houses will come on the market. Our lease is up at the end of June and anything we can afford will need some renovation (100+ year old homes in this neighborhood).

Your advice and/or sympathies are welcome!
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:27 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long have you lived in the area? A 28 minute walk in the winter (and another 28 back) would be enough to deter me from choice #1, especially after last winter.

For #2, I've read that water damage is one of the worst things you can have, I think because it can damage the foundation and walls, breed mold and mildew, invite termites, among other side effects. Would the $200K estimate have addressed all of the side effects and is it part of what the flippers addressed?

#3 and #4 are both essentially "wait." I would keep looking but not hold out for the spring. Something might come up before them (like #3) and inventory has been paltry for the last several spring seasons anyway, so waiting hasn't helped a whole lot in recent years. Eventually that will change, but not necessarily this year.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:31 am GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

admin wrote:
How long have you lived in the area? A 28 minute walk in the winter (and another 28 back) would be enough to deter me from choice #1, especially after last winter.


We have lived in Boston from 1999-2006 and just returned this fall. Yeah, I agree this is a very long walk, especially during/after a blizzard or if it is pouring.

admin wrote:
For #2, I've read that water damage is one of the worst things you can have, I think because it can damage the foundation and walls, breed mold and mildew, invite termites, among other side effects. Would the $200K estimate have addressed all of the side effects and is it part of what the flippers addressed?


We had a great inspector go through the house with a fine tooth comb. He thinks the 3rd floor walls/ceiling is certainly a write-off and the masonry is shot on that floor as well. Yes, the 200K estimate covers all of that, but of course, you never know what things really will cost. The flippers stopped the torrents of water by fixing the roof, but nothing else but painting over the water damage.

admin wrote:
#3 and #4 are both essentially "wait." I would keep looking but not hold out for the spring. Something might come up before them (like #3) and inventory has been paltry for the last several spring seasons anyway, so waiting hasn't helped a whole lot in recent years. Eventually that will change, but not necessarily this year.

- admin


We put in a back up offer on the 3rd house yesterday. We are waiting. Yes, inventory in this part of town is very low all the time and anything that is halfway decent is being snapped up. That's why I'm trying to figure out what to do. I don't think it will ever change here - too many people, not enough housing, lots of people happy to make money off the first and second group. We are putting "we wish to buy your house" postcards at houses we think are nice in the neighborhood.

Thanks for your advice!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:32 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
Yes, inventory in this part of town is very low all the time and anything that is halfway decent is being snapped up. That's why I'm trying to figure out what to do. I don't think it will ever change here - too many people, not enough housing, lots of people happy to make money off the first and second group.


I can see why you might think that if you left in 2006 and just returned now, but it's cyclical like everywhere. You just missed a down trend in demand. See Zillow's chart for Brighton prices which peaked in 2006 and were in a downward trend until 2012. Inventory for all of Greater Boston has been falling and getting worse over that same time frame, so this malady isn't unique to Brighton. Wait long enough and it probably will get better (that's the nature of cycles), but "long enough" could be many, many years, unfortunately. That makes deciding to buy now particularly rough because it means either an uncertain and potentially very long wait or accepting and accounting for the risk that you'll need to sell during a down cycle. I'm in the same boat. Good luck.

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