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      Blog :: 11-2014

      Buying a Boston Area Condo Involves Lifestyle Choices

      Existing home sales rose nationally throughout 2014 - and included in those numbers were a good many condominiums. If 2015 will find you investigating the market for a new home, it may be time to give condo living a serious thought. Buying a condo in the Boston area can provide many of the benefits of home ownership minus much of the worry that goes with keeping your property. Of course, whether buying a condo is the right housing solution depends on the buyer as well as the particular condo itself - but there are some generalities usually hold true.
      Most condominiums include a variety of amenities for the owners. There may be an on-site fitness center, or a pool. Owners may also have access to a club room, or even other features that some of the larger upscale developments offer, such as on-site shopping, hair salons and concierge services.
       
      Whether you call it an 'amenity' or not, never having to shovel snow, mow the lawn or worry about property upkeep is certainly welcomed by many. If you are buying a condo, you're usually buying everything from the drywall inwards - the rest is owned by the development.
      Those amenities don't come for free. Typically, you'll be required to make payments to the Homeowner's Association, or HOA. These fees can be tiny or considerable: ranging from a couple hundred dollars a year to as much as four figures a month. The variation in those numbers make it mandatory to include the HOA fees in your budget when you're shopping for a condo. Your savings on home insurance and property taxes can be given back in HOA fees.
       
      Many people are drawn to condo living principally because of the accompanying worry-free lifestyle. You get your own living space, are free to modify it, and are working towards owning it rather than just paying rent. However, this lifestyle isn't right for everyone: you sacrifice a degree of privacy, and don't have your own yard.
       
      The luxury of condo living will only be enjoyed if you're comfortable with the lifestyle that goes with buying a condo. Then, if you do think you might be a buying a condo in this winter, contact me or call me to review today's best inventory, here! 617-536-8000.

      House Plumbing Could Fall Victim in This Year's Early Chill

      It's easy to be caught off guard when the mercury drops before winter has even begun. And this year a visit from unusually early icy blasts of cold from up north has been the rule almost everywhere in the country. This Holiday Season, even local house owners who don't have to worry about their own Boston area house safety may be visiting relatives unprepared for the sudden December tundra; so it's a good time to go over the Red Cross cold weather Preventive Action guidelines:
       
      • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing (but: move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children). And keep garage doors closed!
      • In very cold weather, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
      • If you will be going away, leave the heat on in the house, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
      • Following those tried-and-true guidelines should mean you're home free. But if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Trace the culprit: likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters the house through the foundation. To thaw frozen pipes:
      • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device--no matter how tempting.
      • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice inside the pipe.
      • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too. 
      • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if it's not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, you'll have to call a licensed plumber.
       
      If you need a reference, contact me for this or any other Boston area house questions.  (617) 536-8000.
       

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