The Seasons are Changing
Winter is kind of a big deal in New England, including for the housing market. The season of snow and ice is also the season high fuel prices, road maintenance association costs, and housing inspection difficulties.
When I worked in a geographic area surrounded by second home ski houses, the beginning and end of winter created spikes in the real estate business. In the late fall there were many buyers trying to get into their ski house in time to remodel it before ski season went into full swing.
The end of winter saw people buying the ski house they had rented, or admired across town, and saw owners selling a ski house they had outgrown. While I certainly enjoy sitting in a nice cozy record vault when the weather outside is frightful,
I have seen disappointed parties to contracts execute extension after extension because inspections or repairs couldn’t be completed due to weather restrictions. Owners need to make sure they keep their houses heated against freezing of pipes, so a new buyer is often looking at paying for a proration of fuel at closing. With the fluctuations in fuel prices, that extra cost can cause some sticker shock.
It is also not uncommon for some neighborhoods on private roads to have entered into an agreement for plowing, which could incur another item on a settlement statement at closing.
The whole process works best if all parties are understanding of and upfront about the additional challenges of buying and selling real estate around a New England winter.
Written by Morgan Jones, Esquire