Kathy Kelley's Blog
If you’re hunting for a new home, it can be tempting to make an appointment to view as many as possible. However, it can be a better use of your time to narrow down the search beforehand and eliminate houses from your list based on some at-home research. That way you can use those extra hours for fine-tuning your home search and make sure you visit only the houses that will suit your every need.
In this article, we’ll teach you some ways to research a home, neighborhood and town before you take the time to visit.
Things to Research about Your Potential New Neighborhood
So you’ve found a listing that looks nice. Your next step should be to find out as much as possible about the area the home is in to make sure it suits your needs.
A good first step is to head over to Google Maps to find out which amenities are in the area. Schools, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, parks… the list goes on. This is also a good time to map out how long it will take you on average to drive to work from this house and to see if it will lead you through any high-traffic areas that might affect your daily schedule.
You can also research other homes in the area to see if the house is selling higher or lower than average. This will give you a question to ask the real estate agent if you choose to reach out for further information.
Another step to take on Google for this home is to look up statistics for things like neighborhood crime, ratings for the school district, and the state of local businesses.
Is the area up-and-coming with healthy businesses and low crime? If so, it could be worth pursuing further.
If you’re planning on having children or already do, the quality of the education could be of importance to you.
Finally, get an idea of the local tax rates so you know how much you’ll owe the government for your property and excise taxes.
Researching the house itself
If you’re comfortable with the town and neighborhood, there’s still some research you can do online before you schedule a showing.
See if you can find out if the house belongs to a homeowner’s association. Look up their rules and fees to see if they’re agreeable to you and your family’s lifestyle and plans for the future.
Look up the sale history for the home. If there are several recent sales, this could be a sign of problems with the home or neighborhood. Similarly, if the price has increased or decreased dramatically more than nearby houses, consider asking the real estate agent why this is.
Finally, see if you can view the number of days the home has been on on the market, commonly abbreviated as “DOM.” This will give you some insight as to how desirable the home and neighborhood are.
Once you have all of the information at your disposal, you’ll be in a position to decide whether or not to schedule an appointment to view the home.
85 Kingsbury St, Wellesley, MA 02481
Since they see a lot more traffic than their inset counterparts, homes on the corner lot receive a lot of flak. As a result of these rumors, homebuyers might feel their hopes fall as they encounter the otherwise perfect house situated on these open properties. Much to their relief, however, many find that there is actually a lot to love about homes on the corner. To help you see if this is the right property for you, here’s a rundown of all the benefits of living on a corner lot.
More Parking for Your Guests
Upon buying a corner property, you may have access to two long stretches of road for parking. With that, you can have plenty of guests over at any given time, knowing you have all the space in the world for them to park their vehicles. You can also cozy your own cars up to the curb as needed to clear out the driveway for other activities.
Bigger Side Yards Along the Street
Everyone loves more yard space and corner lots come with plenty extra at the side to abide by the city code. Many city’s setback rules often require that the side of the house sit between 10 to 25 feet from the road. This provides much more room to run and play, not only at the side of your house but along the front and back as well.
Better Views of the Neighborhood
Without another house to the side, homes on the corner often have a much wider view from both the front and back porches. They also tend to have more light coming from all sides, making the space look and feel much larger. This creates a better view for those who love to observe all the action in their neighborhood and gaze upon the surrounding landscape.
Ample Chances to Meet Your Neighbors
There is no doubt that corner houses have a lot more traffic breezing by at all hours of the day. People on foot, bicycles, and in cars constantly putter by on their way to all the day’s activities. As they cruise on by, you can meet quite a few by giving a wave and a quick hello. When time allows, they may stop for a brief chat, giving you a chance to make connections with your neighbors and even gain a few friends along the way.
If you love having more room all around, enjoying excellent views, and meeting new people, then a home on a corner lot might be right up your alley. So, keep your options open as you look for the perfect residence because you never know what type of lot your dream home will come on.
Plants can enhance the look and feel of your home, and some can even improve your indoor air quality. But if you have pets, you need to be selective about the plants you bring into your home. Choosing the right plants allows you to enjoy a lush indoor herb garden or a striking bowl of succulents without worrying about your pet's health. Choose one of the plants below to ensure you can beautify your space risk and worry-free.
Pet Friendly Indoor Plants
- Spider Plants: Lush, full and capable of spawning dozens of offspring at a time, spider plants add a delightful splash of green to any location in your home. Long a favorite of veterinarians, spider plants are safe, easy to grow and can even help improve the air quality in your home, according to Architectural Digest.
- Indoor herb garden: Many of the same culinary herbs humans enjoy are safe for pets. Liven up your kitchen and your meals with an indoor herb garden using some pet safe herbs, including mint, chamomile, thyme and basil. You can also add catnip, but this will attract your cats to your herbs, even in its natural, undried state.
- Air plants and succulents: Add air plants of any type and choose from a wide variety of succulents, the vast majority and the most common varieties are pet safe. Avoid jade plant and aloe, but other popular succulents, like Christmas cactus, Hens and Chicks and Echeverias are all pet friendly. Place in a terrarium or enclosure to keep pets away; succulents have short roots, and a curious pet could easily dislodge them, killing the plant you've been caring for and enjoying.
Dangerous Plants if you Have Pets
There are plenty of plants that are hazardous to pets and that should be enjoyed in another setting, not your home. Check any plant you are considering bringing home for pet-friendliness -- and avoid the plants below; these are considered dangerous to animals:
- Lily, most varieties
- Tulips and daffodils (potted, the bulbs are the dangerous parts)
- Philodendron, most varieties
- Snake Plant
Choosing the right plants lets you enjoy the benefits of greenery indoors, without risk; choose from the first list above to ensure you add a colorful accent to your home without worrying about your pet's health. If you're not sure about a plant, check the ASPCA list of toxic plants to ensure the pieces you bring into your home are truly safe.
When you decide to make an offer on a home, your mind may be flooded with dozens of questions and concerns -- several of which may involve money matters, while others are about the condition of the house.
However, if you've had the house professionally inspected and made sure your income is sufficient to absorb monthly expenses, than you've already taken steps to prevent or at least minimize future challenges.
Since buying a home is such a big investment and there are so many emotional factors that could influence your decision, it's essential to stay focused, adhere to a budget, and be aware of what you need in order to be satisfied with your purchase.
The Financial Side of Things: Even though a mortgage broker or loan officer may approve you for a large mortgage, only you can determine whether you'd be comfortable making those monthly payments. In addition to the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and school taxes, there are also other expenses to consider and include in the equation. If you're moving into a larger house, for example, the cost of heating and/or cooling your home may be higher than you're used to. Poorly insulated houses can also have a negative impact on home energy costs.
Another key factor to think about when you're figuring out the affordability of a potential new home is property maintenance, the cost of HVAC service, and miscellaneous expenses, such as appliance repairs, plumbing leaks, and electrical services. Some neighborhoods, residential developments, and condos also require a monthly Homeowner Association (HOA) fee, which can potentially put a burden on your cash flow situation. A good rule of thumb, of course, is to avoid spending beyond your means. While nobody would dispute the logic of that advice, it's often a lot easier said than done -- especially on an ongoing, consistent basis.
Non-Financial Priorities: The only way to know what you truly want and need in a new home is to clarify your goals, requirements, and wishes. Making lists, discussing it with your partner, and visiting lots of homes for sale will help give you the ideas, the inspiration, and helpful points of comparison you need. Online real estate listings and home improvement websites can also provide a wealth of practical ideas.
In addition to having enough bedrooms and bathrooms to meet your family's needs, it's also important to feel comfortable with the quality of the school district, the amount of noise in the neighborhood, and the traffic level on nearby streets. Proximity to recreation, shopping, and other amenities can also make the difference between your ideal home and one which doesn't quite make the grade. Privacy (or the lack, thereof) is also a major issue which can impact your satisfaction with a real estate purchase. While it's good to approach home buying with a sense of optimism, the best time to weigh all the pros and cons is before you sign the final papers at the closing table!