When it is time to buy a new home, some people know (or think they know) exactly what that will be.
One client once said…”I want a small tudor, with not much maintenance, in Newton.” That same client spent some time looking and wound up with a large colonial with grounds, pool, and tennis courts in Wellesley. It was was very different from where they started, but the right choice for them. Their search was centered around the needs for their commute, their family, and the home that felt comfortable for them. In the end, it wasn’t exactly what they expected in the beginning, but they felt it was the right choice.
Frequently, that home search expands to neighboring towns, different sizes, different styles until they find the property that meets their goals, even goals that they didn’t recognize in the beginning of their search. Many, many clients come to “Boston” or “Cambridge” for school or a new job, and then the hunt begins. Some of these people will live in Boston or Cambridge, but many of them will be buying a “Boston life”. They will buy a property that meets the needs for their commute, their family, their daily routines, and their budget. That search can take them to many neighborhoods and towns until they find “the one”. We are with that client every step of the way. We firmly believe that a real estate agent that is only competent in one town or neighborhood is doing a disservice to their client.
When I moved back to Cambridge after graduating, a few job moves, and wanting to come home to where I found my people, I engaged a well-esteemed, experienced Cambridge real estate agent. She was a “top agent” in Cambridge. She thoroughly knew the Cambridge market and had a great reputation. But I found in working with her then, and in many of those “local experts” that I have met since, there were other aspects of expertise that could have served me well in my home search. Her perception of the Cambridge market was a little “behind the times”. An agent doesn’t have to be old or dated themselves, to hold onto a vision of the market that is not current.
I had a recent conversation with a top agent in Cambridge about the price/value of a townhouse in a Cambridge neighborhood and I made the comparison to an extremely similar townhouse 10 blocks away. She said….oh, that is such and such neighborhood and this is this neighborhood and that neighborhood is always worth more. Well, yes, I knew that was true….10 years ago? Certainly 20 years ago. But the influx of high paying positions in the Central and Kendall Square neighborhoods has rewritten these types of comparisons. My comment to the agent was….the buyers don’t know that. The buyers are using a different set of metrics to determine the value of that location than they did in the past.
The only way to know this is to be working with those buyers and intimately involved in their comparisons and decisions. One of the key comparisons that needs to be made is to alternative locations. The other shortcoming that disappointed me in my buyers’ agent and gives me strong motivation today, is that she only did Cambridge. That is the advice that people are often given. “Choose a local agent”. Absolutely choose someone who is competent in both the location and type of property that you are considering. But looking only in Cambridge probably wasn’t the best advice for me. And it isn’t the reality of the search for our clients today. I did very much want Cambridge. But I would have been well-served to also consider Brookline and Somerville at the time. I didn’t have knowledge of these towns, but there would have been good reasons that this would have worked for my lifestyle, commute, and budget. The agent’s career and real estate practice were completely set up around Cambridge.
Our real estate practice today is entirely set up around the needs of our clients and finding their place. Let’s talk about your move and find the optimum place for you.