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Buying and owning a home

Buying and owning a home
guide

Buying and owning a home

Last updated 5/12/16

Boston is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. We can help you purchase and care for your home.

Get educated

The Boston Home Center offers guidance​, counseling, and​ financial support to first-time homebuyers and experienced homeowners.

CLASSES FOR HOMEBUYERS

Classes include Homebuyer 101, How to Buy a Condo, and more. Graduates of Homebuying 101 and Homeowner 201 can take part in our financial assistance program.

HOMEBUYER CLUB

As the next step after Homebuying 101, this club helps make sure you are prepared and qualified to purchase a home.

CLASSES FOR HOMEOWNERS

You can find classes for new homeowners, new condo owners, and more.

MAINTAINING A HOME

Learn about programs that offer interest-free loans for repairs and financial help to remove lead-based paint from your home.

Know the costs

Costs
What's in a mortgage payment?

Your monthly mortgage payment is made up of four parts: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

The principal is how much you borrowed from the bank. The interest is what the bank charges you for the loan. The taxes are based on your property’s value. The insurance covers your home if it gets damaged.

Financing and insurance

Through our financial assistance program, you can get money to put towards your down payment and closing costs.

If you have a mortgage, you must buy homeowners insurance. If your down payment is less than 20% of the price of your home, you may also need to pay for a private mortgage insurance policy.

Utilities and upkeep

Don’t underestimate the costs of maintaining a home. You can save money by making your home more energy efficient, or take advantage of one of our home repair programs.

Taxes and more

Contact: Assessing
PAY YOUR TAXES ONLINE

You can use our online system to pay for your real estate taxes in the City of Boston. Have questions? Contact the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center.

Pay taxes online

SEARCH PROPERTIES IN BOSTON

Look up data and location, ownership, and tax information on every property in Boston through our Assessing online tool.

RESIDENTIAL EXEMPTION

If you own and live in your home, you may be exempted from paying a portion of your tax bill. Find out if you qualify.

Spring in Boston

Energy

Contact: Environment

There are many ways to make your home more energy efficient and decrease your energy bills. Start with a free home energy assessment to see where you are and what to do next.

WHAT IS A HOME ENERGY ASSESSMENT?

Homeowners and landlords can lower their energy and water expenses by requesting a free home energy assessment. A home energy adviser will install energy-saving equipment —  like light bulbs —  and create a customized report and plan for you.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

There are dozens of ways you can improve your energy use. Get started with Greenovate’s list of ideas. Before you make any purchases, review all rebates, incentives, and financing options from Mass Save. If you are an older adult, you may qualify for Seniors Save, a program to replace aging heating systems before they break down.

Homes in Boston

Affordable housing

AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES

Learn about the City’s affordable housing opportunities through Neighborhood Development and Boston Redevelopment Authority.

SELLING AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Review the process to sell a deed-restricted affordable unit.

Resale process

Being a landlord

Landlords
Advice and assistance

The Boston Rental Housing Center provides information and help to Boston landlords and tenants dealing with issues over a rental home. Learn more about what property owners need to know about renting

Rental registration and safety

You need to register a private rental unit with the City every year. We conduct inspections on units every five years. If you’re a property owner who always complies with City and state law, you should consider the 5-year alternative inspection plan.

Ensure your rental unit is safe for all tenants and complies with the Massachusetts Lead LawYou may be eligible for financial assistance with a lead-based paint abatement.

Property owner responsibilities

If you’re a property owner, you need to make sure a rental unit is clean, safe, and sanitary for new tenants.

View responsibilities

Help for seniors

SENIOR HOME REPAIR

If you’re at least 62 years of age and own your home, you may qualify for special programs that offer loans for home repairs.

SENIORS SAVE

If you’re at least 60 years of age, Seniors Save can help replace aging heating systems before they break down and create an emergency situation.

SENIOR CITIZEN PROPERTY TAX WORK OFF

If you’re at least 60 years of age, qualified homeowners can volunteer for the City of Boston and get a property tax reduction of up to $1,000.

ELDERLY EXEMPTION

If you’re at least 65 years of age, this exemption provides up to $1,500 in relief to taxpayers who meet the income, whole estate, and residency requirements.

TAX DEFERRAL FOR ELDERLY

If you’re at least 65 years of age and having trouble paying your property tax bills, there’s a way to defer your taxes and remain in your home.

A close look at a home in Boston

Emergency help

Learn more about our programs to support homeowners in times of need.

FORECLOSURE PREVENTION

The Boston Home Center offers consumer outreach, information, and counseling to help homeowners avoid predatory lending and foreclosure.

WINTER HEATING HELP

Learn more about discounted utility rates, City and state programs, home improvement services, and other forms of assistance.