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Give Thanks for Greater Boston Real Estate, Warts and All

Here's the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends and people you would not otherwise notice. Follow him on Twitter and check out his ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets, 2.0.



Imperfection is an integral, though seldom discussed aspect of real estate. In fact, real estate may be the only industry where a myriad of consultants are engaged to tell the buyer how imperfect the product they are buying is. And even though, in today's market, new Boston-area listings can create lines longer than Black Friday Doorbusters, most of them are—shall we say—less than perfect.

So this Thanksgiving let's give thanks to all the things that made future homes imperfect: the weak locations, weird layouts, and head-high windows. Let's give thanks to alley views and ground floors. Tomorrow, drumstick in hand, show your sincere appreciation for condos that looked like they had it all, but in the end just didn't. The ones that lacked parking or came sans laundry, the ones without air-conditioning, or the fourth-floor walk-ups that didn't have an elevator.

Surely, real estate can feel so imperfect that at times the pursuit of a dream home feels like a compromise. But if you bought, chances are you found something just perfect for you. So let's display the attitude of gratitude for every condo that sold: the outdated homes that found state-of-the-art purchasers; the homes on busy thoroughfares that stopped buyers in their tracks; the ugly ducklings that found their one true buyer love. This Thanksgiving, let's remember that real estate is about as imperfect as it is unique and let's be thankful for it.

Applaud every home that you thought would never sell, but did anyway: the homes with ultra-high condo fees, or ultra-low owner occupancy or the ones with forthcoming assessments. Let's be grateful for the less than museum quality homes that transported buyers to a different era, an era with amenities like not too much closet space or pink bathrooms or, unfortunately, lead paint and snowman furnaces. Let's give thanks to the overpriced listings that made other homes look like bargains and underpriced listings that caused multiple offers. And don't forget to be thankful for the fixer uppers, "as-is" homes and handyman specials. They might have been letdowns at the time, but today they are probably beautiful flips.

Thanksgiving is the biggest homecoming of the year. So, for this one, let's remember that sometimes it ain't perfect, but it's always home sweet home.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]