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Avoid the hot neighborhoods

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 2, 2013 10:27 AM

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In an overheated market, run away as fast as you can from the hip areas.

And above all else, don't be a fool and wind up in a bidding war for a spiffed up house or condo that has fresh paint, nice floors and trendy appliances.

It's much better to give your back a workout than your wallet, stripping wallpaper and sanding floors. It beats overpaying for cosmetics. Sorry, but that's about the dumbest thing you can do.

That was MWK's advice on the comment board of this blog the other day and it matches my philosophy to a T.

As he notes, the buyers on HGTV are not dealing with reality, or at least the reality of the Greater Boston market, which is radically different than most other metro markets.

"I manage to shower and shave and brush my teeth every day in an Avocado green bathroom, and I haven't died yet," MWK writes.

Three cheers for that. Here's more:

"I have to laugh when I watch the Real Estate shows on HGTV and I see these people looking at a perfectly nice kitchen with laminate countertops and white appliances and hear them say "I can't live with this, it will need to be ripped out immediately and we can't afford to do that".

Why should you be fighting with the "herd" for the 1-2% of houses which are in perfect shape, have beautiful granite kitchens and stainless appliances, and a bathroom with a rainfall shower and a separate soaking tub, on a tree-lined street walking distance from the commuter train in Arlington?

When I was looking at houses, it was also a crazy time. I looked exclusively at places that were on the market for more than 3 months when we first saw them. The house we live in now, we first saw in February, 2004 and it had been on the market for 9 months. We ended up buying it with all contigencies in place, for 20% below Asking Price.

Was it perfect in every way? No. That's why it was on the market for 9 months.

However, most of the issues were cosmetic and we've been addressing them as we can. Meanwhile, I manage to shower and shave and brush my teeth every day in an Avocado green bathroom, and I haven't died yet. We have plenty of space, a nice yard for the dogs, a short walk to the T and a reasonable mortgage that costs me less than it would cost me to rent a house in the same neighborhood."

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

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