4 Common Problems First Time House Hunters Face (& How To Beat Them)


I recently had the opportunity to join leaders in the real estate industry at Boston Magazine’s Top Places to Live 2018 Panel. In addition to discussing the March 2018 issue, we had a great conversation about the trials first time home buyers face in Boston.

We did more than just commiserate over the challenges of finding the perfect home in this beautiful city. We were able to come up with the following solutions from our collective experience over the years working in the Boston real estate industry.

Problem #1: Buying your first home is incredibly overwhelming.

Boston is a great city. There’s no shortage of history, views, restaurants, schools, and everything else that makes a city liveable. All this means is that you have a lot of choice to make when comparing homes to buy in Boston. So how do you narrow it down?

Solution #1: Focus on the frame.

Looking for a good frame is a great place to start, especially if you’re considering a custom home. Strong frames can help save time down the road because they provide a solid foundation for the house. With a proper frame, a skilled design-build company can radically transform what you’ve bought into what you’ve always dreamed of living in.

Problem #2: It’s easy to go outside your budget.

Getting carried away is a real danger when going house hunting. Everyone on the panel (myself included) went through periods where we found ourselves in danger of blowing our budget. During times like these our panel all wished that we had done the following before stressing about money.

Solution #2: Decide on a budget before hand.

It sounds simple, but many people simply ignore this step. You should make sure that you have an agreed-upon budget that you can always fall back on as you begin to get excited about different options and possibilities. Doing this saved my family a lot of stress and time wasted lusting after houses outside of our budget, which brings us to our next problem…

Problem #3: Our expectations are artificially high.

You can probably blame this one on Instagram — anywhere you look you can find examples of beautiful, finished homes that look impossibly perfect. And while these sorts of luxury custom homes are definitely attainable, it’s important to keep in mind you’re looking at the finished results of a lot of time, hard work, and intensive process. Luckily, our experts discussed an often-overlooked tip for ending up the proud owner of a brag-worthy home.

Solution #3: Look for fixer-uppers.

Even the most unassuming house can be remodeled into an elegant home. Put your budget towards the location and surrounding amenities (in addition to a good frame) instead of a McMansion. This means that you can find affordable real estate that can later be remodeled into a truly personal custom home.

Problem #4: It’s harder than it looks to fix up a home.

If you’ve followed our advice so far you should be on the path to being the owner of a relatively modest fixer-upper in one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods. That just leaves the remodeling part. Easy, right? Not so fast…

Solution #4: Find professional partners to bring your dream home to life.

Starting a kitchen remodel is a difficult process, let alone your whole house! Invest your time and money in a skilled and proven contractor so that you don’t find yourself injured or your home ruined. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or whole home, it’s always worth it to use a professional. Think of how much you’ve already put into the house and what you need from it in the future — would you really want to skimp on something as important as your family’s home?

I had a fantastic time chatting about Boston real estate with some true industry leaders and am happy to be able to share these insider insights with our readers. Make sure you stay up to date with our blog for more insights into Boston real estate, home design, and more!


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