It can feel like you will never find a house within your price range. You search and search, but each month you find yourself writing that rent check, and wondering whether you will ever stop “throwing money away”.
Take Amy, whose story represents those I’ve heard from dozens of young homebuyers. She started off excited, looking at houses on Zillow and Redfin every day. But quickly she realized that she could barely afford anything in the whole metro area. She went to some open houses in her price range, and was overwhelmed by the compromises that she would have to make. Terrible neighborhoods, cramped bedrooms, and kitchens tat looked like they had not been updated since the 60s. Weekend after weekend she toured these depressing places, only to see people swooping in with all-cash offers above the asking price. If she couldn’t even get the places she didn’t want, how would she possibly be able to get her dream house?
The statistics are depressing. The average home search in America is 12 weeks, but in hot markets like Boston the process can take much, much longer. And that doesn’t even count the people who give up entirely!
Only Some People Make It From Renter To Homeowner
But there is hope. Thousands of other Boston area 20 and 30 year olds have felt the same despair, but managed to make something work. Amy for example, realized while you can’t put a house in a better neighborhood, you can remodel a kitchen. And a bathroom, and certainly an outdated paint job. Someone with the energy to make those cosmetic touch-ups can get an “ugly duckling” house that all of the rich luxury shoppers missed, and (maybe best of all) truly make it their home.
What it comes down to is how much you want it. If you are one of those people can set big goals and go after them, then you may be one of the few who escapes their landlord more quickly. Do you think you’re up for it?
If you want to walk through all of the steps yourself, here they are:
- Identify houses in your price range
- Remember that you might be able to make due with less space than you initially expected. Basements can be finished, curtains can be used to turn one room into two, etc
- Go to the open houses and take careful notes about what will need to be fixed
- Divide the list into things that will need to be done immediately, those that can be done within 6 months, and those that can wait a few years, after you’ve rebuilt your savings
- Getting in touch with five different contractors and get quotes for the repairs that you will need
If all of that sounds overwhelming, I understand! Fortunately, there is a simple first step you can take – completely free. Just add your email below to download an easy checklist that you can bring to your next open house to know whether it’s a good candidate for remodeling, plus updates as we collect the latest data for the Boston area:
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