House Hunters Blog

Cars and Houses

Households with no cars were rare in 1996. Even among people who commuted to work solely by mass transit or bicycle, there was a car. When the house next door to me went up for sale in 1996, my new neighbor was a man in his 30s who did not have a driver’s license. He

By | 2018-05-06T12:44:37+00:00 May 16th, 2018|Categories: House Hunting, Market data and conditions|

How Old is That Roof?

When you look at a roof, can you see the difference between an old one and a new one? We can! Let us give you a couple of tips. Asphalt and fiberglass-asphalt shingle are the most common roofing materials you will see in this area. They are built with a dark underside covered with granules

By | 2018-04-24T14:23:26+00:00 May 9th, 2018|Categories: House Hunting, Problems and repair|Tags: |

Touch the Basement Wall, Powder Comes Down

If you see powdery mortar, don’t panic. We see brick or stone that needs pointing on almost any house hunting trip.  Repointing is normal maintenance for stone or brick foundations and chimneys. Over time, mortar deteriorates and becomes a powder. The powder falls out. It looks scary when you touch a foundation and see the

By | 2018-04-07T13:57:08+00:00 May 2nd, 2018|Categories: Problems and repair|Tags: , , |

No Bees, No Food

Is it time to go outside to enjoy the flowers and the trees and the birds and the bees? Did you enjoy fresh fruit, berries or nuts? If you do, thank a honey bee. Before you buy new plants and put them in the ground, there are things you can do to help the bees.

By | 2018-04-08T15:51:07+00:00 April 25th, 2018|Categories: sustainable house ideas|

Two-Income Trap

In The Two Income Trap, Ms Warren and Ms Warren Tyagi wisely advise families to prepare for emergencies ahead of time. I am thinking of copying the chapter “The Financial Fire Drill” and giving it to my clients before they start house hunting. They pose three questions: Can your family survive for six months without one

By | 2018-04-08T15:31:05+00:00 April 18th, 2018|Categories: Money and finance, Mortgage matters|

Changing things in a house. What costs too much?

When I wrote for Boston.com, I got this question: How does a buyer figure out which problems common in “compromise” houses are fixable and which should signal the call “run away! How can buyers in a price bracket (say $50k wide) maximize their housing purchase – are there solutions to problems that are common in

By | 2018-03-08T11:06:40+00:00 April 4th, 2018|Categories: buying process, Problems and repair|

House Repairs. When to run away.

A problem is not infinite if the house could be torn down and rebuilt.  But who wants to do that? Some house problems are not finite; but “infinite” is not the right term. What would be an infinite problem?   There are some houses that never should have been built. They cannot be leveled and another

Maintaining Old Houses

In the process of choosing a house or condo to buy, house-hunters find themselves in a lot of old houses. Some are totally renovated. Some have been repaired along the way. For recent renovations, look at both the materials and quality of the installation. With a maintained house, look for the quality of the repairs,

Spring Market Might be Good for Buyers, says Wall Street Journal

How does a seller’s market end? A seller-favoring market exists when there is more demand for housing than supply. Since about 2012 or 2013, buyers found fewer properties for sale than they did during the recession (when foreclosures added to the number of houses and condos for sale.) Limited supply created the seller-favoring market we’ve