Buying a House All Cash in Greater Boston: Pros and Cons of Buying All Cash in MA
Not everyone can afford to buy a house with cash, especially in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts. But if you can swing it, buying a home all-cash in Greater Boston can streamline the process and save on closing costs. That said, buying a home with cash has both advantages and disadvantages. You’ll need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of buying all-cash in Massachusetts to make the right decision.
Advantages of Buying a Home All-Cash in Greater Boston
All-cash buyers in Massachusetts have the upper hand, especially in a competitive real estate market. If you are able to buy a house with cash, you’ll be in a position to make a strong offer and streamline the buying process. Here’s what to expect when buying a house with cash in the Greater Boston area.
No Mortgage Payments
The most obvious advantage of buying a house with cash is that you don’t have to worry about a mortgage. Once the sale is complete, you’ll own the house outright without the monthly burden of principal, interest, and private mortgage insurance (PMI) premium payments. The money you save on interest can easily be used for other investments or give you more flexibility with your monthly budget.
Save $1 Million in Interest
No mortgage payment means no interest charges. That’s a distinct advantage now that the average mortgage interest rate in Massachusetts has climbed to nearly 8%. Consider how much you could save by paying in cash. For example, suppose that you buy a house in Boston for $900,000 (the current median sale price for homes in Boston) at 7.74% interest with a 20% down payment. You’ll pay over $1.1 million in interest over the course of the 30-year loan. Cash buyers in Greater Boston can save over a million dollars in interest charges by skipping the mortgage.
Negotiate a Better Sale Price
Sellers love to get a cash offer. Paying in cash allows buyers and sellers to skip the time-consuming mortgage underwriting process and complete the transaction quickly.
Many sellers accept cash offers at lower prices since they don’t have to worry about the uncertainties and longer timelines of traditional financing.
Beat the Competition
The American housing market is highly competitive, especially around major cities such as Boston. But these high real estate prices mean that all but the most well-equipped buyers have to go through traditional screening and underwriting processes for mortgage loans. Offering to pay in cash will allow you to rise above this competition. Making a cash offer for houses around Greater Boston means that sellers will take your offer more seriously than offers from buyers who rely on traditional lending.
Simplify the Closing Process
When you buy a house using a mortgage, you’ll have to go through a closing process and pay closing costs such as origination fees, appraisal fees, bank attorney fees, and other administrative fees. Typically, closing costs range from 3% to 6% of the home’s price — which can be quite high in major metropolitan areas like Greater Boston. Paying with cash eliminates a portion of these closing costs. With Greater Boston’s high real estate prices, you could save thousands on mortgage-related fees.
Disadvantages of Buying a Home All-Cash in Greater Boston
Despite the advantages, there are some distinct drawbacks to buying a home with cash, especially in an area with a high cost of living like Greater Boston. Here are some reasons you might avoid an all-cash payment and opt for some type of financing.
Housing Costs Are Prohibitively High
In Greater Boston, all-cash buyers will quickly discover the most obvious barrier to their purchase: the average home price. As of 2023, the median sale price for a single-family home had climbed to $900,000. It can be challenging for the average buyer to come up with this kind of money for a home in Greater Boston, even if they’re paying for a new home from the sale of another.
An All-Cash Purchase Can Deplete Your Savings
Cash home buyers have a competitive advantage, but it’s important to think about the future before undertaking such a massive investment. Chances are that paying cash for a home in Greater Boston will deplete your existing savings.Before you buy a home, make sure that you are prepared to cover unexpected life events. Most economic experts recommend that you have an emergency fund with at least three to six months’ worth of savings in case of job loss, medical emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Reduced Liquidity for Other Investments
As an all-cash buyer, you’ll avoid the high cost of interest fees over the life of your loan. But by investing such a large sum in your house, you’ll have less money to allocate to other investments. In other words, investing most of your cash in your home prevents you from diversifying across asset classes. You’ll lack the capital to invest in stocks, bonds, or other tangible assets. Considering that the stock market offers an average return of 10%, you may be financially better off taking out a mortgage and having more flexibility to invest.
Less Money Available for Home Improvements
Given the high price of houses in Greater Boston, it’s understandable that home buyers might opt to purchase a fixer-upper to stretch their budgets. But a typical home remodel can cost between $120 and $275 per square foot. Paying for a home with cash may deplete savings that could be used for these projects. That’s to say nothing of the potential cost of new appliances. If you pay for your house with cash, you may struggle to come up with the cash for new home appliances, yard equipment, or other essential items.
Alternatives to Paying Cash for a Home in Greater Boston
Buying a house with cash can be challenging in a market like Greater Boston, where the median home price is nearly $300,000 higher than the state median of $640,000. If you decide not to buy a house with all cash in Greater Boston, consider these alternatives.
Make a Large Down Payment
Making a large down payment allows you to reap many of the benefits of a cash purchase without depleting your savings. For instance, if you can make a 50% down payment, you’ll end up making smaller payments over the life of your loan and pay less in interest.
Choose a Shorter Loan Term
If your goal is to avoid long-term debt, you might consider a shorter mortgage. A 15-year mortgage will bring higher monthly payments than a typical 30-year loan, but it will cut the total amount of interest you’ll pay in half or more.
Plan for Refinancing
Are you considering a cash payment to avoid today’s high interest rates? Instead, you might simply commit to a loan with the hopes of refinancing once interest rates drop.
Beware that this is a gamble; there’s no guarantee that rates will drop (or by how much). But if they do, you can replace your existing mortgage with a new one or use the equity you’ve built for home improvements.
Making the Right Choice
Is buying a home all-cash in Greater Boston worth it? For the right house and property owner, absolutely. Cash purchases can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and streamline the closing process. But not everyone is able to make an all-cash offer on a Greater Boston-area property. When in doubt, seek advice from a real estate professional who can help you make the right choice about how to finance your home.