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Snow, snowbirds, and empty nests

Posted by Rona Fischman February 22, 2011 01:51 PM

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After a couple of snowfalls, my husband and I didn’t much like owning a house. By Groundhog’s Day, the ice storm pushed us to the brink.
Scott wrote about snow damage and many of you responded. During the snow, it was about roof damage and ice. Now, during the melt, attention turns to the basements. From the first flakes until it is all gone, street and sidewalk ice has been a fact of life.

It is unusual for us to have weekly snow between Christmas and Groundhog’s Day. Intrepid souls -- like I am -- developed new muscles this year, shovel in hand. Those who are using blowers -- or hiring people to use blowers -- carried high expenses. Condo owners pay that collectively; house owners pay it all themselves. I saved a little money because I quit my gym on January 4th and haven’t missed it. But, I lost a lot of time. It seems that everyone’s schedules are haywire now, because of rescheduled events and missed time at work.

What about homeowners who leave town for vacation or longer winter retreats? They had the expense of hiring someone to clear the walks and also the worry of not being here to watch for damage.

Let’s face it. This is a tough winter. Will it push more single family homes onto the market this spring?

The thought that we may have a “Groundhog’s Shadow Inventory” this spring actually fills me with delight. There has been a low inventory of nice single-family homes for sale near Boston. As a buyer’s agent, it would make my life better if my clients had more choices.

The notion of this winter-created inventory occurred to me at my client appreciation event, celebrating Mid-Winter. At the party, I heard from Dianne’s clients who moved from a large house in Lexington to a professionally run town-house condo complex in Arlington. They are just so happy to have avoided this winter in Lexington. They even drove past their house a couple of times to confirm their choice. They don’t miss the old place, and the work, a bit.

Do you think this winter will drive empty nesters and snowbirds into condos? Are you thinking of a move? To a condo? To warmer climes?

(And yes, I know the California readers are about to gloat… Broker Mike, are you there?)

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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