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There’s a certain amount of risk in buying a home and it can be scary to walk into a property not knowing what issues may have been left off the MLS or if the sellers will be easy and reasonable to work with. But it doesn’t all have to be guesswork. The next time you attend an open house, be sure to watch out for these red flags.

A Poorly Cared for Property

If you notice right off the bat that the home doesn’t look loved, be on your guard. Poorly maintained landscaping, a messy interior, or rooms that haven’t been cleaned can indicate that the sellers haven’t taken good care of the property. Dirty floors might not seem like a huge deal, they can be cleaned after all, but that could indicate disregard for larger issues like an aging roof or amateur repairs that could prove dangerous.

Moisture Problems

This is a biggie. If you see any standing water or dampness in the basement, start asking some serious questions. Boston homes are very old and often experience water issues due to porous foundations. But excessive moisture in a basement can lead to rust on boilers, furnaces, and hot water tanks which can cause them to not work properly and to need costly replacement parts. Buckled floors, stains on the ceiling, and the smell of mold or mildew are also signs of a moisture problem in this house. Find out whether the seller has addressed this issue, and if they haven’t, it might be time to hightail it out of there.

A Disorganized Seller

This could be on the part of the seller or the seller’s agent, but it can cause massive problems down the line. If you notice disorganization in the seller/seller agent’s manners, scheduling challenges, difficulty getting them on the phone, or you find them unfriendly and unaccommodating, be careful as you proceed. Buying a home is stressful enough; you don’t want to have to also deal with erratic or aggressive sellers.

Outdated Electrical

This is another major problem of the older homes in the Boston area, but it’s easier to check for than you think. Look for the electrical outlets in each room. Older homes often only have two prong outlets instead of three (your laptop is not going to be into that) and sometimes there are only one or two outlets in a room. Not only is this problematic on an outlet usage level, if you want to make major renovations in a home with outdated electrical you may be required to revamp the electric work in the entire house to do so.

The best way to avoid red flags like these is to work with a buyer’s agent who can spot problems in a property a mile away. Great news is, there’s us! Give Nextdoor Realty Team a ring at 617-942-1741 or email us at to learn how we can help you through the buying process from the word “go.”

  • Writer's picturenextdoorrealtyteam

This is a scary time, but we’re so impressed with the way Bostonians have taken social distancing seriously. While it’s rough not to be able to swing by J.P. Licks for a scoop of ice cream or stock up on fresh produce at the Roslindale Farmers Market, it will be worth it for the health of our community. In the meantime we’ve come up with a few ways to keep you busy while you’re social distancing, and you can do some of them from your couch!

Explore Boston Virtually

Boston’s museums and attractions may be closed for the moment, but you can explore many of them online from the safety of your own home, including the Frederick Law Olmstead Museum in Brookline. The online tour, via Google Arts & Culture shows early designs for some of Jamaica Plain’s most beautiful green spaces, including Franklin Park and the Arnold Arboretum. You can also virtually explore the works heisted from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or investigate the newest exhibition at the Museum of African American History.

Make Neighborhood Memories

Doctors have recommended going out for regular walks and fresh air to keep yourself grounded during this period. Take this opportunity to stroll through your neighborhood with a camera. You can snap photos of your neighbors (from a safe 6-foot distance), your favorite local art and green spaces and spots where you’ve made wonderful memories in this area. If you’re planning on selling your home and moving somewhere new, you’ll have a stockpile of physical memories of your time here. If you’re not, you have beautiful photos of the neighborhood you love. Win-win.

Clean and Organize Your Home

We know, this one isn’t very exciting. But cleaning and organizing your space has been proven to be a very calming activity, it allows you to have control over something in a very chaotic time. It also preps your home for sale when the spring market gears up. Do as little or as much as you want, maybe it’s just reorganizing your closet, maybe it’s a whole house deep clean. A little can go a long way. Not sure where to start? Check out our spring-cleaning tips highlighting the areas that most often need a refresh.

Get Into that Landscaping Groove

Planting flowers around your property or in a window box for your condo is a triple threat during social distancing. It gets you outside and in the sunshine, maintains an appropriate 6-foot distance from others, and adds instant curb appeal to your home. What’s not to love? Many hardware stores and outlets like Home Depot are still open and are operating garden centers under safe conditions so you can pick out your plants. Or you can order seeds delivered to your home and start from scratch. In a month you’ll be the envy of the spring flowering neighborhood!

Cook Local Food

Each neighborhood in Boston has a unique history often tied to a particular cultural group. Jamaica Plain boasts a vibrant Hispanic community, so why not give empanadas or arepas a try? Roslindale was known as a baking hub in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a good excuse to give a simple no-rise bread recipe a whirl or get really wild and try your hand at croissants. Post in your neighborhood Nextdoor or Facebook groups looking for family recipes to try. Cooking food with roots in your neighborhood can allow you to feel connected even when we’re apart. Plus, it’s delicious.

How are you staying positive and busy during social distancing? Connect with us on your Facebook and Instagram pages to let us know!

  • Writer's picturenextdoorrealtyteam

Being cooped up in these weeks just as the spring market was really poised to take off has some advantages. For example, you have time to spring clean your property and toss out or donate the items you no longer need. This may not sound like fun now, but a neat and organized home will be more appealing to buyers when the spring market does hit full-force (even if that’s in the summer this year, thanks to COVID-19)—and this tidying up could help you stand out from other properties, resulting in selling your home faster.

These are a few areas you can target during your Marie Kondo moment:

Basement and Attic

These storage spaces often become catchalls for items that you haven’t decided what you want to do with just yet. Well, now is the time! Decide: “Do I keep this or that—even if I haven’t used this Flowbee in 10 years? Or, do I set it aside to take to Goodwill?” It’s amazing how quickly things can pile up in a well-lived-in home. But extra storage is a huge selling bonus, and if buyers see an organized basement that they can easily stroll through, it’s easier for them to visualize what that space could become once they move in.


We agree, it’s very impressive that you ran on the track team all three years of middle school, but do you really need the too-small T-shirts to commemorate that time? Closets are another area where things tend to pile up, and organizational measures like the shoe rack, toy bins, etc. tend to go by the wayside. Now’s the time to purge the Lego sets that have gone out of style (looking at you, Pirates of the Caribbean), the clothes that no longer fit, and the fish food for the pet you never ended up getting. Voila, now buyers can see how big those closets really are!


In this one, we’re looking out for your pride as much as your ROI. Prospective buyers want to see everything, including the inside of your kitchen cabinets. Now is the time to organize that small avalanche of mismatched Tupperware (we’re not sure our insurance covers Tupperware-related injuries), and to sort through the pots and pans (let’s be honest, we know you only use 20% of them). Just like that your home becomes aspirational. Ina Garten would feel right at home whipping something up in that organized kitchen.


The pristine edition of “Moby-Dick” does make you look smart, but how many times have you actually read it? We won’t judge, it’s a lot of whale facts even for a New Englander. Bookshelves not only get overwhelmed with books we thought we’d read when we were feeling ambitious, they also get clogged with papers, family photos, loose recipes, notebooks, trinkets, you name it. By boxing up a few items for charity the books you really love will be able to breathe again and your newly organized shelves will bring a chic factor to your home.


Perhaps most important on this list is to clean out your phonebook. We want to make sure you can find our name and number in a flash when it’s time to list your property! Reach out anytime, we can’t wait to hear how your spring cleaning went: or 617-942-1741.

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