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To the home buyers of Greater Boston, my sincerest apologies

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis January 19, 2011 08:41 AM

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Orangina cried foul on this one - and I'd have to say it was a good call.

I poked fun yesterday at our local buyers and sellers, arguing both are too demanding.

I'll let my comments on Greater Boston sellers stand - sorry, but they are a breed apart when it comes to low effort and high expectations - but I am having second thoughts on whether our buyers fit the same mold.

As evidence, I pointed to the four months the average buyer here is taking to look at 12 homes, compared to the three months buyers in other parts of the country spend eyeballing the same numbers of homes, according to a new survey by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

That's 25 percent more time spent looking at online listings and going to open houses than the average buyer in Phoenix or Boise.

Yet maybe something more than pickiness is at play here. Maybe, the choices for Greater Boston buyers are not so hot, especially compared to Sunbelt markets where new homes are a dime a dozen.

Here's what Orangina had to say.

"I disagree - Home buyers in MA are willing to accept issues in homes that would kill any chance of a sale in the south. Carpet the wrong color? Unattractive kitchen counters? Harwood floors need refinishing? Deck needs to be stained? Any of those would KILL a house sale in the south. But here, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference if the price per square foot is in line or just slightly below the comps."

That certainly rings true with me - based both on my own experiences in our perpetually overpriced Greater Boston market and the steady stream of complaints I get from buyers.

If you are looking below $300,000 within or just beyond Route 128, you are likely to see lots of dogs and few if any steals.

Looks like I got a little carried away with the topic.

So to the home buyers of Greater Boston, my sincerest, heartfelt apologies. Orangina is right - you sure don't have it easy in this market.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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