House Inspection

We put an offer on a house at 46 Fells Road Winchester. Today was inspection day. The house is only 16 years old so we weren’t really expecting any problems, and luckily only a couple of things came up :

There is some small amounts of water (rot) damage to some of the trim on the outside of the house, and one window.

There appears to be some sort of small leak in the roof of the family room. The most likely explanation is that there is a leak somewhere around the vents on the ridge line of the roof. Since it’s been raining here very hard for some days now this probably is about as bad as it’s going to get.

The really good news is that the basement was completely dry, which after all the rain is a good thing, and more than can be said for the basement in the house where I’m staying. Since I sleep in the basement there inch or so of water around my bed is not a good thing !

The rest of the house looked great and in fine condition. So we’ll go forward and sign the purchase and sales agreement tomorrow (Monday) and close in mid-June.

There are some more photos on my flicker page.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on May 14, 2006

Houshunting again

It’s been quite a while since my last entry, but in that time we’ve managed to sell our house in San Rafael (for a modest discount from what we were asking – but we’re happy). So now we really need to find a house here in the Boston area. We’ve refined our location choices quite a bit and are now pretty set on either Concord or Winchester. There’s one property in Concord which is pretty much our top choice for that area, so I went out today (and last weekend) to look at homes for sale in Winchester. Here’s a run down of my ‘findings’.

26 Cabot St A well maintained older house, and in a great neighbourhood on a nice quiet street. Unfortunately some years ago (I would estimate 20-30 at least) the owners sold half their lot and a second house was built. That effectively removed the rear garden of this house and makes in unattractive for us.

4 Grove St A really nice old victorian house, with a surprisingly good interior layout and a nice yard. It’s one detraction is that it’s close to a rather busy junction and street. It’s also listed as having only 2550 sq. ft interior – although it felt larger.

1 Fernway We looked at a slightly more expensive house further ‘up the hill’ from this property last week – so this was a ‘comparison’ oppurtunity. This house however really doesn’t match up to the other property, it’s much closer to the main road and has a much smaller yard. Although the other house at 29 Mccall Road is more expensive it probably offers better value.

21 Blossom Hill Road This is a cape that has been quite well renovated both inside and out. However they’ve done little to fix the basic problems with the cape design – not enough space upstairs. There’s no master bathroom upstairs, just one shared bathroom with a second bedroom. The other two bedrooms are on the ground floor level.

4 Ravine Road At a little over 1.5 million this house is out of our budget but we had some time to kill between houses so we took a look anyway. But… eeeekkk ! What a dreadfully poorly designed house, whilst some parts are really spacious the bedrooms were tiny for such a large house. The indoor ‘spa pool’ seemed almost to be on top of the kitchen ! My suggestion to my realtor was to find out who the architect was and stay a long way away from anything they had designed !

14 Ardley Road This was a great house, and although a little expensive for the square footage in comparison to some it’s a great location and a really nice house ! The problems ? Well… the sellers are returning to Australia and want a late summer close – I’m not sure if we want to wait that long. Also the selling realtor is intimating that there’s a lot of interest and I’m not sure if we want to get involved in a bidding war.

Michele’s coming out on Tuesday so we’ll look at some of these houses, and perhaps some others then and see where we’re heading.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on May 7, 2006


I went to a couple of Open Houses in Lexington this afternoon (I’d been feeling a little unwell, but thought the ‘fresh air’ would be good – it seems to have helped).

First stop was a pair of houses close to downtown. They were well laid out and well appointed properties, however they both suffered from the fact that two largeish adjacent plots had been redivided into three properties (the first had already sold). What was left were some nice houses on a very small amount of land (considerably less than we have in California), and although flat there was really no place for children to play etc. A pity because in all other respects the properties were very nice and in a good location.

The second home as a non-starter, it looked good in the photo and from the descriptions however it was really very small and very old inside. With some considerable interior updates it could be quite a nice house, but that’s probably more work than we want to sign up for right now.

The final home was on a nice lot but quite a long way from the town center of Lexington, it was also close enough to the 95/128 freeway to hear the traffic noise. Again it was an older property and although it had been updated it still felt a little ‘dated’.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 19, 2006

Newton, Sudbury, Acton & Andover

Househunting day again today.

I drove over to Newton this morning – it has a reasonable town center around the ‘T’ (commuter rail) station. It didn’t feel all that ‘great’ though – a bit too urban I think. Especially in comparison to towns like Concord. There are certainly some nice properties but they’re more expensive and I think the commute is probably a bit too long for the ‘value’ of the town.

After Newton I drove through Sudbury and looked at a few houses. Sudbury feels a lot like Lincoln, plenty of open space, but no real town center like Lincoln, it’s also small enough that it doesn’t have it’s own High School, in fact it shares it’s High School with Lincoln.

I then went on to look at open houses in Concord, Acton and Andover. More details below …

Read More…

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 12, 2006

Looking at Towns

I drove home via North Reading and Reading this evening. North Reading seems a little like Lincoln it’s mostly a houses on larger size lots and seems (in the dark at least) like there’s plenty of open space around. However like Lincoln it doesn’t really seem to have a town center, so it’s probably not a candidate.

Reading does have a town center however it’s not really ‘cute’ or ‘quaint’ so again I think it’s probably not on our list of candidate towns. I’ll be checking out Andover and Newton at the weekend.

In other news: I’ve managed to fix 3 bugs today and one of them successfully passed the check-in-test rules Avid has in place to try and make sure that the code shared between so many engineers stays in good shape.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 8, 2006

Concord and Lincoln

I went out to some open houses this afternoon in two more towns on our list of candidates : Concord & Lincoln.

Concord is one of the oldest towns in Massachusetts and has a lot of history relating to Independence, The Minutemen and battles with the British. It’s as a fairly large town with a nice downtown and a reasonable selection of houses in our budget. The open house I went to however wasn’t attractive – frankly a little expensive for what it was and not to my taste It was an older house from 1937 I’d prefer to look at houses that are either really old (and in Concord that can actually mean 250 years old) or pretty recent (10-15 years). The stuff in the middle is often not to Michele or my tastes. However whilst Concord has a nice town center it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of trails for running so it might not meet Michele’s criteria. There are more photos here. I went to second open house in Concord too – it was a much nicer house, larger, more to my taste and only 15 minutes walk from the town center. However it was expensive, had association fees of $400 per month and had next to zero yard. It also had one of the worst realtors showing it I’ve come across. She spent the entire 20 minutes I was there on the phone to someone else (I doubt a customer she was speaking French) and completely failed to attempt to engage me in any sort of sales dialogue ! Driving time from Concord to Boston is about 31 minutes and from Concord to Avid is 30 minutes

Unlike Concord, Lincoln has a lot of running trails – according to the (much nicer) realtor I spoke with there some 40% of the town is conservation land and has a large network of trails around the town and extending out to nearby Walden Pond. I would estimate there’s some 20-30 miles of trails. Unfortunately Lincoln has next to zero town center , just a handful of stores near the commuter rail station. The house I looked at was probably too small for our needs but had a nice level 1/2 acre lot. Newer houses in the town have a minimum of 2 acres according to town zoning laws. Driving times from Lincoln to Boston is 27 minutes and from Lincoln to Avid is 35 minutes.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 5, 2006


I went back to Peets in Lexington this morning for coffee and to take some photos.

It’s a little more expensive than other areas but probably still within reach. According to Google maps it’s a 27 minute drive to Avid and 23 minutes to downtown Boston.

Definately a candidate town but I’m not too sure that there’s a lot of ‘green spaces’ for Michele to go running.

Posted under House Hunting

This post was written by awk on March 5, 2006