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A space of one’s own

Posted by Rona Fischman January 19, 2010 02:01 PM

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Here’s something that first-time home buyers should keep in mind while house hunting. Parking. I frequently get asked how much a parking spot it worth. Unfortunately, the answer is “it depends.” It changes from town to town and from neighborhood to neighborhood, depending on town restrictions and density.

When there is snow on the ground, any problem parking areas get that much worse than any other time of year. Be it residential or commercial, parking gets scarcer and more coveted. If you find yourselves house hunting in warmer weather and on weekends only, you may grossly underestimate the parking hassle ahead of you the next snowy winter. Just like traffic patterns, you need to watch, you need to ask the neighbors and you need to know the area.

So, if you are planning to go house-hunting this spring it is a good idea to drive around now to see how much parking shrinks in the winter.

Also learning about the municipal parking rules is important to your enjoyment of a property.

Some quick examples: Somerville just went to total permit parking. Until recently, permit areas were mostly near MBTA and retail areas to discourage non-residents from parking there. Now, no one parks on a Somerville street without a permit or a guest pass, unless they are willing to risk a ticket.

Lots of towns have no overnight street parking in the winter only. Many towns have no overnight parking any time.

If you do not know about this when you buy, you may find yourselves unhappy about the parking situation down the road, so to speak. If you are the kind of person who likes to have friends over, spontaneously on a Saturday, you will be covering a lot of tickets for them in Somerville unless you bought a place with a lot of parking. If you have one space and two cars in Watertown, you have nowhere to put the other one all winter.

Today, we talk about parking follies. What are your issues with urban and near-urban parking? How much is a parking space worth in your neighborhood?


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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