Buyer Guide

Buying property involves a seemingly endless number of details. This guide is designed to make the process easier to navigate and understand.
3. YOUR SEARCH CRITERIA

 

Focus your vision using these criteria.

 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Use the following questions to focus your vision.

  • What towns are you drawn to? Rural or with a vibrant town center? If rural, how far from town is acceptable?
  • What school district?
  • How important is commute time, whether to work or school?
  • If you’re a weekender, how important is drive time to your primary residence?
  • How close do you want to be to recreational activities like hiking and skiing, or cultural venues like Tanglewood and theaters?
  • Consider water source: Private well, town water, or a private water company.
  • Consider: Town sewer vs septic system.
  • Consider: Not all towns have high speed internet. Some now have broadband, while a few have only satellite internet. Some have DSL or cable. What type of internet do you need?

 

Helpful Hint:

Get a feel for the area by walking the town centers, and driving around the countryside.

 

 

STYLE, AGE & CONDITION

The Berkshires has diverse housing stock—from antique farmhouses and colonials to mid-century and 1980s contemporaries to newer construction. Some homes are move-in ready, while many have deferred maintenance issues, and others require extensive renovations.

  • What style and vintage do you prefer?
  • Is “move in ready” important? Are you willing to make cosmetic updates? Mechanical updates? Are you willing to take on a major renovation?

 

Helpful Hint:

When you visit a home for the first time, be objective and put your filters on. You’re not buying the decor. You can change the stained shag carpet and the Pepto-bismol wall color. Those formica counters and that avocado green refrigerator can go!

You will almost always paint, decorate, and make minor improvements to suit your personal needs and taste.

If you don’t have a good imagination, ask your REALTOR® for help envisioning how the property could work for you, or bring in a designer or builder.

 

HOUSE AMENITIES

  • Do you seek one-level living?
  • Do you require a master?
  • Must it have a bathroom?
  • Open floor plan, or intimate and cozy? Any must-haves like a mudroom, office, space for guests/inlaws?
  • Do you prefer wood floors or carpet?
  • How important is natural light to you?
  • Is a screened porch a must? Deck or patio?
  • How important is having a fireplace or wood/propane/pellet stove?
  • Are you looking for a property with green features such as energy efficient windows, passive/active solar design or reclaimed materials, or do you want a property conducive to adding them?
  • Homes typically are heated either by hot water baseboard (boiler) or forced air heat (furnace). Some have electric baseboard. Newer or renovated homes may offer radiant heat in some areas. Split units are becoming more and more prevalent. What are your preferences?
  • Air conditioning. In the Berkshires, relatively few homes feature air conditioning. Is it important to you?
  • Most of the time, older homes are fueled by oil, some contemporaries with electric. Natural gas is found only in a couple of village centers. Newer and renovated homes may feature propane fuel, or even solar. What are your heating fuel preferences?
  • What are your preferences regarding where laundry is located?
  • Some houses are built on a slab or have only a crawl space. Is a basement important? Must it be finished or have the potential to be finished? What about interior/exterior access?
  • What about off-street parking? Garage? If so, how large? Attached or detached? Finished? Extra space for storage or workshop?

 

LAND

  • Is a large, level yard important so kids/grandkids can play? Or do you prefer being tucked in the woods with little or no grass to mow?
  • Surprisingly, there are relatively few “view properties” in the Berkshires. How important are big views?
  • Do you want to garden? Do you seek natural features like ponds or streams?
  • How much privacy from other homes do you desire?
  • How sensitive are you to road noise? Do you want to maintain and plow a long driveway?
  • Is a pool an asset or a liability?

 

Guides written by Barney Stein,

LVRE agent since 2007

3. YOUR SEARCH CRITERIA

 
Focus your vision using these criteria.

 

 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Use the following questions to focus your vision.

  • What towns are you drawn to? Rural or with a vibrant town center? If rural, how far from town is acceptable?
  • What school district?
  • How important is commute time, whether to work or school?
  • If you’re a weekender, how important is drive time to your primary residence?
  • How close do you want to be to recreational activities like hiking and skiing, or cultural venues like Tanglewood and theaters?
  • Consider water source: Private well, town water, or a private water company.
  • Consider: Town sewer vs septic system.
  • Consider: Not all towns have high speed internet. Some now have broadband, while a few have only satellite internet. Some have DSL or cable. What type of internet do you need?

Helpful Hint:

Get a feel for the area by walking the town centers, and driving around the countryside.

 

 

STYLE, AGE & CONDITION

The Berkshires has diverse housing stock—from antique farmhouses and colonials to mid-century and 1980s contemporaries to newer construction. Some homes are move-in ready, while many have deferred maintenance issues, and others require extensive renovations.

  • What style and vintage do you prefer?
  • Is “move in ready” important? Are you willing to make cosmetic updates? Mechanical updates? Are you willing to take on a major renovation?

 

Helpful Hint:

When you visit a home for the first time, be objective and put your filters on. You’re not buying the decor. You can change the stained shag carpet and the Pepto-bismol wall color. Those formica counters and that avocado green refrigerator can go!

You will almost always paint, decorate, and make minor improvements to suit your personal needs and taste.

If you don’t have a good imagination, ask your REALTOR® for help envisioning how the property could work for you, or bring in a designer or builder.

 

HOUSE AMENITIES

  • Do you seek one-level living?
  • Do you require a master?
  • Must it have a bathroom?
  • Open floor plan, or intimate and cozy? Any must-haves like a mudroom, office, space for guests/inlaws?
  • Do you prefer wood floors or carpet?
  • How important is natural light to you?
  • Is a screened porch a must? Deck or patio?
  • How important is having a fireplace or wood/propane/pellet stove?
  • Are you looking for a property with green features such as energy efficient windows, passive/active solar design or reclaimed materials, or do you want a property conducive to adding them?
  • Homes typically are heated either by hot water baseboard (boiler) or forced air heat (furnace). Some have electric baseboard. Newer or renovated homes may offer radiant heat in some areas. Split units are becoming more and more prevalent. What are your preferences?
  • Air conditioning. In the Berkshires, relatively few homes feature air conditioning. Is it important to you?
  • Most of the time, older homes are fueled by oil, some contemporaries with electric. Natural gas is found only in a couple of village centers. Newer and renovated homes may feature propane fuel, or even solar. What are your heating fuel preferences?
  • What are your preferences regarding where laundry is located?
  • Some houses are built on a slab or have only a crawl space. Is a basement important? Must it be finished or have the potential to be finished? What about interior/exterior access?
  • What about off-street parking? Garage? If so, how large? Attached or detached? Finished? Extra space for storage or workshop?

 

LAND

  • Is a large, level yard important so kids/grandkids can play? Or do you prefer being tucked in the woods with little or no grass to mow?
  • Surprisingly, there are relatively few “view properties” in the Berkshires. How important are big views?
  • Do you want to garden? Do you seek natural features like ponds or streams?
  • How much privacy from other homes do you desire?
  • How sensitive are you to road noise? Do you want to maintain and plow a long driveway?
  • Is a pool an asset or a liability?

Guides written by Barney Stein,

LVRE agent since 2007

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