Pamela McArdle | Duxbury Real Estate, Marshfield Real Estate, Pembroke Real Estate


No matter what your age, buying a new home symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in your life. It's an exciting event, whether you're a first-time home buyer or a retiree looking to downsize. When you stumble upon a house in your price range that has the features and characteristics you've been searching for, it can be a life-changing moment!

Unfortunately, it's at this point that many people cast their good judgment to the wind! Although it's difficult to separate your emotions from the rational part of your brain, it's crucial that you try to make a balanced decision -- one that's based on your budget, your short-term needs, and your long-term goals.

Sometimes buyers can develop "tunnel vision" when they see a house with a white picket fence, a big backyard, or a cozy-looking eat-in kitchen. In some cases, people are irresistibly drawn to a house that reminds them of where they grew up. While all those elements can enhance a home's ambiance and charm, the most satisfying home-buying choices usually come from being able to look at "the big picture."

One vital step in the house-buying process that helps eliminate a lot of the risk is having the property carefully looked over by a certified house inspector. That way, even if your judgement is a little skewed by your emotional attachment to the house's architectural style or its resemblance to the house you grew up in, you can be reasonably sure it is structurally sound and free from any major defects. Although home inspectors can't look behind walls or accurately predict how long an HVAC system will last, they can provide you with valuable insights into the condition of the house, the stability of the foundation, and other aspects of the property. When you know the strengths and weaknesses of a house you're considering buying, you can make an informed decision that will be based, in large part, on a professional, objective opinion.

Other factors worth bringing into your decision might include the commuting distance to your job or business, the amount of privacy the property affords, the overall character of the neighborhood, and the proximity of the property to grocery stores, drug stores, other retail shops, entertainment, recreation, childcare, medical services, family, friends, and other necessities. When choosing a place to call home, you may also want to take note of how quiet (or noisy) the neighborhood is, its access to highways and transportation services, and the reputation and ranking of the local school district.

Additional information about desirable places to live can be gleaned from websites like Livability, U.S. News and World Report, Niche, Money Magazine, and the National Association of Realtors. To get expert guidance that relates to your specific circumstances and wish list, consider working with an experienced real estate agent. They'll help you navigate the market, negotiate on your behalf, and find the home that best suits your needs and lifestyle.


If you have more than a couple children or an extended family that likes to visit frequently, then owning a large home may be a good match for your lifestyle. While some people immediately assume that a large house would be too expensive, that's not necessarily the case. There are several factors which influence price -- including location, market conditions, and, of course, the house itself. An experienced real estate agent can provide you with the guidance to determine what type of house is best suited to your family's needs, your budget, and your goals. Advantages of a Big House If you love to throw big holiday parties and host family gatherings, then a spacious house can be the perfect setting for that kind of lifestyle -- especially, if overnight guests are part of the plan. Having extra bedrooms also provides space for things like home offices, exercise rooms, and children's play areas. Big homes are ideal for large families because they enable parents and children to pursue separate activities in different parts of the house without disturbing each other. Lots of bathrooms come in handy when you have a houseful of company or just a big family all wanting to use the bathroom at the same time! Side note: A challenge for some home owners is resisting the temptation to use spare rooms as repositories for obsolete electronics, out of date clothing, outgrown toys, old magazines, and other things of questionable value. (I'll reserve that topic for a future blog post!) Are Big Houses "High Maintenance"? The first potential disadvantage that comes to mind when discussing the pros and cons of a spacious home is the monumental task of keeping the house clean. If your budget allows it, a good residential cleaning service is an expense that's well worth the cost. As is the case with all professional services, there's a lot of variation between prices, guarantees, quality, and personalities. That's why it pays to get at least two or three estimates to help ensure you're receiving the most value for your money. Another set of costs to keep in mind when eyeing a large house is heating, cooling, and maintenance. If you're thinking about buying a big home, those things should be factored into your decision. Other details to notice when checking out homes for sale is the amount of insulation in the attic and the energy efficiency of the windows and doors. A knowledgeable home inspector can help you make sure the house is well insulated and energy efficient. Otherwise, you could find yourself saddled with enormous energy bills that could have otherwise been avoided. Ideally, a spacious home should have a climate control system that enables you to regulate different 'zones' individually. That way, you don't have to waste energy heating or cooling parts of the house that are essentially unoccupied at certain times. Programming your HVAC system to accommodate changing energy needs at night and during the work day is another way to help control potentially high utility bills in a large house.



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