Shawn Sullivan, Broker Associate, CRS's Blog
Many house hunters are so focused on finding the ideal house, yard, and neighborhood, that they sometimes sacrifice one of their main objectives: a short commute to work.
At first, a long drive to the office may seem like a small price to pay for finding your ideal house, but your outlook might change when the tedium of commuter gridlock becomes a daily burden.
Fortunately, there are ways to ease the stress of being stuck in rush-hour traffic twice a day.
Car pooling: By sharing driving responsibilities with one or two other people, you can reduce the overall stress of your trip to the office. You can also save money on gas, highway tolls, and parking fees. Assuming you find carpooling companions whose company you enjoy, time will pass a lot faster. Then, of course, there's the advantage of less wear and tear on your car. Although carpooling may not be as idyllic as living 15 or 20 minutes from work, it can be an effective way to ease the burden of back-and-forth driving.
Telecommuting: As technology advances and more and more people are adapting to it, the option of working from home is becoming increasingly popular. When you consider the many options there are for document sharing and communicating remotely, you may have a strong case for proposing a work-from-home arrangement with your employer. Even though it may be necessary to meet face-to-face with coworkers, colleagues, and clients a few days a week, the ability to split your work time between home and office can save you time, money, and aggravation. As long as you can maintain your productivity working from home, it may turn out to be a life-changing arrangement! Granted, it doesn't work for everyone, but it may be well worth looking into -- at least on a part-time basis.
Public Transportation: If you happen to live close to a train station, then public transportation might be the perfect solution to an otherwise long, tedious drive into the city. Instead of concentrating on road signs and traffic conditions, you can read a book, listen to your favorite music, or prepare for a meeting or presentation. You can also check your email, get a head start on your work day, or even sneak in a few minutes of sleep or meditation.
While the best option for many people is to buy a home that's within 30 minutes of their job or business, that may be difficult to accomplish for couples working in different locations. Long commutes can infringe on important aspects of your life, though, including family time, relaxation time, and being able to get things done around the house. Not having enough time to "recharge your battery," every day, can eventually take its toll on your health, your relationships, and your outlook on life. If finding a house close to work is not panning out, then alternatives like telecommuting, carpooling, and public transportation may be, at least, a partial solution.
15 Blueberry Hill Lane, Melrose, MA 02176
Ready to acquire your dream house? Before you embark on a home search, it often helps to establish a homebuying wish list. That way, you can narrow your house search and discover your dream home without delay.
Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you craft your homebuying wish list.
1. Home Size
Home sizes vary. As such, you'll want to consider your living situation closely to ensure you can find a house in a size that suits you perfectly.
Remember, a three-bedroom house may be too big for a single person. Much in the same vein, a one-bedroom home is unlikely to meet the needs of a family of five. But if you consider your living situation ahead of time, you can determine what size home to buy.
2. Home Location
Do you want to own a house that is located just minutes from your office in the city? Or, would you prefer a home in a small town? Think about where you want to live, and you can tailor your home search accordingly.
Keep in mind that home prices will vary based on location. Oftentimes, houses in or near major cities are more expensive than similar homes in small towns. At the same time, homes close to top schools or attractions may prove to be more expensive than others.
3. Home Exterior and Interior Features
Consider the home exterior and interior features that you want – you'll be glad you did. If you evaluate home exterior and interior must-haves, you can create priorities as you search for your dream house.
For instance, buying a house that features a central air unit may be a top priority if you plan to relocate to a warm-weather region. On the other hand, you might want to purchase a house that features an in-ground swimming pool, but you can live without this outdoor amenity if necessary.
A homebuying wish list is essential, regardless of where you choose to pursue houses. In addition, if you require extra help as you get ready to enter the housing market, you may want to employ a real estate agent.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. A real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about your homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you streamline your home search.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will provide expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she will set up home showings, help you submit offers on homes and handle homebuying negotiations. And if you ever have homebuying questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.
Make your dream of purchasing a home come true – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can create a wish list to help you accomplish your homebuying goals.
447-449 Fellsway East, Malden, MA 02148
Is your house leaky? According to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), household water leaks account for up to a trillion gallons of water wasted each year. According to their calculations, the average home leaks about ten thousand gallons annually or more than 90 gallons every single day. So how do you tell if your home is leaking?
First, pull out your water bills from the past year. Organize them by the months of colder weather when you’ll use less water for landscaping purposes and hotter weather when you’ll use more. In the winter months, December through February, the monthly average for a family of four should be under 12,000 gallons. If it’s more than that, you may have a leak.
Where does the leak come from?
The most common source of leaks is a worn toilet flapper or a dripping faucet. When you hear a hissing sound from the toilet tank, or it flushes randomly, you need to update the flapper. Dripping faucets start slowly, but unless you correct the problem, the leak only gets stronger. In fact, homeowners can save around ten percent on their water bills by merely fixing a few leaking fixtures.
How do you find them?
Turn off all the running water in your home, then read your water meter. Wait for two hours with no water use and then reread the meter. If the meter changes, it’s likely that you have a leak. Note that some water utilities have electronic meters with smartphone apps so you can track water leaks while you’re away from your home.
To determine if your toilet leaks, you’ll need some food coloring. Add one to two drops to your toilet’s tank. Wait for about 10 minutes to see if any of the colored water appears in the bowl. If you see it, that means your flapper does not seal properly and needs replacing. Once you’ve determined if it’s leaking, you should make sure to flush your toilet right away to completely expel the colored water from the tank to avoid staining your toilet bowl. A leaky faucet or showerhead is more straightforward. Often, you’ll see the drip coming from the fixture. Other times you’ll see a rust stain on the sink bowl or tub from the slowly dripping water. Other leaks can come from the connectors under sinks and behind toilets. If the valves are damp it could merely be condensation, so wipe them dry and leave them exposed to the air (leave cabinet doors open). Recheck them in an hour or two. Also, check for mold or mildew build-up since damp, leaky areas promote their growth.
Another area to find a hidden leak is in your landscaping. If your grass is greener in one area, or the ground sinks in when you step on it, you may have a broken sprinkler pipe. Landscaping and sprinkler professionals can trace the leak for you so that you can have it dug up and repaired.
How do you fix them?
If you’re handy, you can purchase a new flapper seal at your local hardware or DIY store. You’ll find instructions on YouTube, other websites or you can inquire about it while in the store. Leaky showerheads and sinks might need new gaskets, so start there. If your faucet’s fittings are inside walls, or it’s a complex system such as a touchless fixture, seek professional help in tracking down the leak and replacing seals and gaskets. Some leaks in valves and pipe joints only need plumber’s tape or pipe glue, but others might require replacing. To avoid flooding your home, let a professional handle the more complicated repairs.
For a referral to a plumbing or landscaping professional near you, ask your knowledgeable real estate agent.