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Snow research for home buyers

Posted by Rona Fischman December 28, 2010 12:23 PM

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While on break from shoveling, I reflect on snow emergencies as an opportunity for home buyers.

Snow days are a great time to meet neighbors or check out a neighborhood. I bought in the winter, so I practice what I preach. Back then, we had a snowstorm shortly after we signed the Offer. We dug out early and walked over to see how the new neighborhood looked.

We met our next door neighbor. He had a sensible attitude about shoveling and seemed easy enough to get along with. There were children on the street. There were elderly people who had sufficient help to get their walks cleared. All good. The snow piles were high, but people were not being territorial about where the piles were placed. Really good. Parking was tight, but serviceable for the street.

On a City level, the plow came by while we were there. The street was already passable and the snow had stopped by that time. We were moving to a street that the City didn’t neglect! Really good.

Our City has fussy snow-shoveling rules, with large fines. However, we were committed to living there, so that did not dissuade us. All-in-all, we were satisfied, as buyers, that snow conditions were acceptable at the new place.

City issues that we didn’t check out: Snow plows face one way. That side of the street has snow piled in the driveway. A few towns and cities shift the direction annually or monthly, but most don’t. I didn’t check out that inequity before I bought. (However, I think my neighbor would have mentioned it if we were on the plow side of the street.) Every year, the debate rages in town about whether our permanent plow direction should be changed.

Some towns don’t have sidewalks. That’s another plus for homeowners this time of year. Towns like Acton have some issues with plows hitting mailboxes and basketball poles, based on their snow information on the town site. Quincy reminds residents to clear the storm drains.The Arlington site mentions that fire hydrants should be cleared by neighbors.
Can you find good snow information on your town site?

Then, there’s the endless debate over “shoveler’s rights” verses “no one owns the street.” Every year. No one is going to win that one.

Should I publish this again in May, when snow amnesia sets in?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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