• nextdoorrealtyteam

We work all across Greater Boston to make the real estate dreams of buyers and sellers come true. In this series we’ll be sharing with you the neighborhoods we work in, as well as the micro-neighborhoods within them that each have a unique culture and property appeal.

In West Roxbury the excitement of urban living meets the space and luxuries of suburbia. Sidewalk-lined residential neighborhoods encourage a tight knit community of homeowners and long-term residents. But not far away sits the vibrant Centre Street full of all the restaurants, shops, and city spaces that urban living has to offer.

West Roxbury was founded in 1630 (!!) and was used for a long time as farmland, which may explain the still stunning landscapes around town. In the nineteenth century West Roxbury was actually home to an experimental utopian community called Brook Farm, pioneered in part by famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne. The project fizzled but their main aim of working together to benefit the greater community lives on in the neighborhood. You can still visit the former farm, now a 179-acre park.

Nowadays West Roxbury is an ideal balance between the bustle of downtown Boston, just a 30-minute drive away, and the serenity of a quiet living space. Serviced by MBTA buses and the commuter rail, it’s easy to get into the city or to another neighborhood by public transit as well. For young families looking for a detached single-family home, and perhaps a yard, West Roxbury is an ideal location.

On the main drag you can catch a baseball game at Billings Field, grab a cocktail or a dinner out at West on Centre, and hunt in Reliable Trading Post for fun antiques. The West Roxbury library branch and community center are also right on Centre Street in close proximity to many of the neighborhoods nearby.

We’ve sold a number of single and multi-family homes in West Roxbury and would love to show you around this beautiful blend of urban and suburban living. Think West Roxbury could be your next home? Shoot us an e-mail at nextdoor@unlimitedsir.com and we can work on getting you there!


  • nextdoorrealtyteam

We’re going to be real with you: the best way to find a house isn’t by searching online; it’s by working with an agent! It may seem like a DIY moment, but realtors know about all kinds of properties that aren’t on the market yet and they have experience spotting red flags and negotiating for best prices. Plus your realtor pulls info from MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which is the hub that all these other sites get their info from.

BUT we also know you’re probably going to look online no matter what. So while we recommend that you work with a fabulous buyer’s agent (like us!) here are some websites you can use to get a feel for what you’re interested in and what price range makes sense for you.

Realtor.com

This is a great option for learning about the real estate market because it doesn’t just have listings; it also has a lot of practical information about mortgage rates, percentages of owner occupied homes in an area, and HOAs. For first time buyers especially this is a good place to go to familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs of the process. You can compare neighborhoods to see which area might be best for you and have some ideas to bring to the table when you meet with your realtor.

Trulia.com

On Trulia you can see which homes in a specific area are for sale, when open houses are going to be held, and what’s new to the market. A great feature of this website is that you can also see what’s recently been sold. Sure, that means you can’t buy that home, but it gives you a great sense of the price ranges of each neighborhood. Sometimes a competitive location can drive up prices; with this tool you can keep a tab on this ebb and flow and choose a location accordingly.

Zillow.com

Zillow is one of the most well-known resources and it has a lot of practical breakdowns on homes for sale. For example you can view foreclosures, new constructions, for sale by owner homes, etc. If you have something very specific in mind, like new construction only or a fixer upper, this can help narrow down your search by a factor other than price or location.

Viewing properties online can be a great way to get a sense of what you want in a home and can help you feel in control during a whirlwind process. We recommend you take those findings and bring them to a real estate agent who can help you weed out the good from the too-good-to-be true, to the downright bad!

It breaks down to this: we have your back, online real estate markets don’t. Interested in hearing more about why an agent is important in this world of DIY everything? Shoot us an e-mail at nextdoor@unlimitedsir.com and we’d be happy to share our expertise with you.


  • nextdoorrealtyteam

For many buyers, condos are the way to go these days. They can be easier to find (because there may be more on the market) and more accessible than single families and provide appropriate amenities for urban living. They also often come with a Homeowners Association (HOA) that residents pay into every month for upkeep, security, maintenance, and other needs. Like much of home ownership, there are good and some not-so-goods that go into being part of an HOA.

Pros

Maintenance - HOAs handle common areas of the property (parking lots, green space, hallways, laundry rooms), which takes the burden off your plate. That’s right, no more shoveling the sidewalk just to get to your car. And since the HOA members all live in the building, these areas will be well cared for and presentable.

Included Amenities/Utilities – Sometimes HOA payments go towards covering the cost of some utilities like gas or water, so you’re killing two birds with one stone in that payment! This also frequently covers trash collection, one of those pesky costs that sneaks up on homeowners.

Disputes - Homeowners Associations often handle disputes between neighbors. Hopefully this won’t be a problem for you, but if an issue does arise with a neighbor being noisy or not caring for their property, there’s a built-in mediator. And unlike a landlord, the HOA has a vested interest in keeping the residents equitable and happy.

Cons

Building Rules – Even though you own the home, you’re still under the HOA’s jurisdiction. They decide and control whether you can rent your home or have pets. They can also restrict you from doing things like painting your home a certain color or putting a garden in the backyard. You’re also required to adhere to their standards of neatness and presentability.

Foreclosure – Technically if you get behind on your fees the HOA sometimes has the power to foreclose on your home. However, this is an absolute last resort. Things would have to get very bad for them to take these steps. As long as your HOA fee is within your budget this shouldn’t be an issue.

Added Assessments – If the HOA votes to move forward with an improvement project (dire or otherwise) and they don’t have the funds for it, they can impose a special assessment on your HOA fee. That means that your HOA fee (and everyone else’s) will increase every month for an extended period to cover the cost of the work, whether you wanted the improvement or not.

For these reasons, it’s very important to read the HOA documents carefully—and have your real estate attorney look them over, too—before buying a condo and decide whether it;s a good fit for you. If you’re not sure, reach out to us at nextdoor@unlimitedsir.com and we can help you navigate these waters.