While our great national feast of Thanksgiving is an excellent time to gather 'round with loved ones, it is also one fraught with the potential for arguments and recriminations. The old adage is never to bring up politics, religion or money so as to keep the peace all the way through the pumpkin pie. Perhaps someday, at least in these parts, real estate will join that pantheon of verboten topics. Until it does, we humbly offer these seven rules for talking about renting and owning (and home-hunting) in the Boston area. They are designed to head off envy and anger, and to leave everyone feeling that much better about themselves—or at least no worse.
Never discuss the deal you're getting on rent unless it's not unique.
In our hyper-competitive rental and (especially) sales market, it's all but pointless to tell someone about the unicorn you landed. It makes a prospective tenant or buyer feel that much more hopeless about his or her search. Share the great news only if it can be replicated.
If you bought before 2000, do not dispense advice about buying now.
As we now know, housing appreciation was strongest in regions such as Boston during the 1990s and basically fell off in the new century, never mind what you hear. If you bought in, say, 1996, you look like some kind of financial wizard now. Really, though, it was just luck. People buying now, who may never see that sort of appreciation, don't need to hear about yours.
Do not mention the friend/co-worker/acquaintance who left the area for Houston, the Midwest, Denver, etc.
Bully for them. Your relatives or friends are trying to settle down here, not there. And here is a lot more expensive and a lot more interesting whatever the severity of winter, thank you very much.
Never question why someone in his or her 30s or 40s rents rather than owns.
The 37-year-old professional sitting across from you at the table does not need a lecture on the (supposed) benefits of ownership vs. tenancy. Not when the average downtown Boston condo hovers around $1,000,000 and when, even farther out, $500 a square foot is considered an absolute steal.
Do share stories of deals, prescient buys, great experiences with contractors, with brokers, etc.
O.K., this one's all about confidence-building! If you have had a great housing-hunt experience and it is imitate-able (see Rule No. 1), then share away. This is the single, best way of talking about Boston-area housing during Thanksgiving.
No one wants to hear about the help you got with your downpayment or how you paid cash.
Oh, so mummy and daddy dropped X-amount on your behalf, eh? Oh, how wonderful. Unless you squirreled away $250K on your own through eating ramen noodles for a year and good, old-fashioned hard work, your story of writing that massive check/transferring all that cash/winning that bidding war is just obnoxious as holy hell. Pretend like it was the ramen noodles and hard work.
Do not discuss gentrification, pro or con.
Please, leave Starbucks out of this.
· Is It Even Worth It Anymore to Buy a Home in the Boston Area? [Curbed Boston]
· Average Downtown Boston Condo Price Nears $1M [Curbed Boston]
· 7 Things to Watch For in Greater Boston Real Estate This Fall [Curbed Boston]
· What the New Starbucks in Southie Would Mean [Curbed Boston]
· A Boston Buyer on the Current Market: 'This Is Just Stupid' [Curbed Boston]