What to Know When Buying a Home in the Big City



Buying a new home anywhere comes with its uncertainties, but if this new home happens to be located in a major U.S. city you can expect to meet a whole new set of circumstances to arise.

 

Whether you are a home buyer in San Diego, Boston, Chicago, or New York City here are the most important aspects of the big city buying process to consider.

 

Getting Around

 

Location, location, location. Living in the city typically means you’ll be footsteps away from everything you need. But it also helps to have a great public transportation system.

 

Learn about the nearest bus stops, trains, and subway stations in your immediate area. Are they within walking distance from your front door?

 

If this is a big plus for you, make sure your realtor is aware so they can show you properties that are near these conveniences.

 

Is There Parking?

 

The second part of the “Getting Around” discussion involves parking. If you own a car, or two cars, you need to understand your parking privileges at your new property. Is there a garage? Street parking? Are freeway or main roads easy to access?

 

Most importantly, will the parking situation cost you an arm and a leg? If you’re purchasing a condominium you may have limited parking for two vehicles and be required to buy a space in a remote garage.

 

Higher HOA Fees

 

Homeowner’s association fees can quickly add up, especially if you’ll be handing over a lofty monthly mortgage payment. Cities that lead the way in HOA costs are Miami, Riverside, Ft. Myers, San Francisco, and Honolulu. New York is in a league of its own with a whopping $575 per month HOA fee.

 

Understand exactly what amenities and protections your HOA fee covers and whether you believe it’s worthwhile.

 

Quality of Schools

 

Finding high-quality schools in the big city can be a difficult task. You’ll need to figure out where the best schooling options for your kids are located in relation to your home and how much these schools will cost you.

 

In many cases, you’ll be forced to send your kids outside of the local school district for a better education. This requires finding daily transportation to and from home and paying higher fees for their schooling as well.

 

Lack of Housing Options

 

Big cities usually lack inventory. You could go to bid on your dream home, get outbid and be relegated to finding a new property in a completely different area.

 

The best properties go quickly when they’re for sale at reasonable prices.

 

Get a Proper Home Inspection

 

Many properties in the eastern U.S. were built before modern building codes were written. You’ll need to ensure that your home isn’t chock full of asbestos, lead paint, or any other potentially harmful substances.

 

This is most evident in major cities like New York, Philadelphia, or Boston.

 

Prepare for New Adventures

 

Once you get past the home buying process, living in the city can be really fun. You’re typically surrounded by good restaurants, entertainment options, parks, and countless activities.

 

Get out of the house, meet the locals, and enjoy the experience.