- Real Estate
Buying Your 1st House: Notice the Trees
We all love seeing the rich colors of fall foliage, or the layering of freshly fallen snow on an evergreen. But in buying your first house, you should take care to notice the trees on your new home site for a variety of reasons.
Obviously, the arrangement of trees about your new property will affect your home’s aesthetics. Trees can provide privacy from neighboring properties, and can frame a charming back yard. In suitable arrangements, they can enhance the overall appearance and curb appeal of your residence. They can offer habitat for endearing songbirds, squirrels and owls. And, in concert with shrubs, flowers, ground cover and planting beds, they can create a marvel of romantic domesticity.
Trees can also aid in tempering your property’s environs and in saving you energy. Evergreens placed in the path of prevailing winter winds can shelter you from cold and draft. Deciduous trees along southern and western faces can offer relief from the hottest rays of summer sun, then shed their foliage to let in the desired low sun of colder months. Treelines can work as snow fences, modulating snowfall across your property.
But trees on your property can also cause you concern and harm. Older trees with dying and broken crowns (or ‘snags’) can snap to cause damage below, or may require substantial expense to top off or remove entirely. Growing trees close to walks, drives and foundations can sometimes wreak havoc with spreading roots, causing cracking, heaving or water penetration. Tall trees close to your house can also litter your roof and gutters with leaves, branchlets, seeds and fruit, requiring occasional gutter cleaning and additional wear (or even damage) of roof materials. Many decorative and fruiting trees shed leaves, blossoms, seeds and fruit that may, in your view, constitute litter and an annoying nuisance to clean from walks, drives, vehicles, decks or yard furniture. And be particularly watchful for any tree or shrub having leaves, seeds or fruit that may be toxic to children or pets.
In areas where brush fires present a hazard, all trees and tall shrubs should be kept a reasonable distance from your home, as a firebreak. And, throughout many parts of the country — especially the Southwest and Florida — you must be sure not to introduce any of a great number of invasive or exotic species of tree and shrub.
Finally, you should check with your new home’s community regulations regarding trees. Many communities now restrict how many and which large trees may be cleared from a new home site, or require replacement planting for any lost trees. Others limit newly planted trees to a controlled list of species.
- Buying Your 1st House: Start with Community
Buying Your 1st House Many first-time homeowners fall in love with a particular kitchen. Or they feel that a family room they’ve seen will be ideal for entertaining. Or a master suite is simply to die for. But the city, suburb,...
- Buying Your 1st House: Old vs. New
Begin by assessing whether you can obtain better value by building anew or simply improving on an already existing structure.
- Buying Your 1st House: Structural Concerns
Protect yourself as you contemplate one of life's greatest purchase decisions.
- Buying Your 1st House: Watch Your Step(s)
One of the best ways in which you can protect yourself and your family as you buy your first house is to simply watch your step(s). Steps and stairs can be either one of the greatest assets or one of the most severe detriments of a home. Annually...
- Buying Your 1st House: Protect Yourself
Protect yourself as you make your home choice Buying your first house can be a complex and daunting process, one laden with inherent financial risk. So how can you best protect yourself as you seek that first home? Here are some ways: As you start...
- Buying Your 1st House: Red Flags
Finding your ideal first house? Whether your first house will be a newly-constructed home or one that has had a previous owner, there are certain red flags you can look for, to protect yourself, your family and your investment. Avoid or be very...
- Buying Your 1st House: Energy Efficiency
Good for the planet; good for your wallet? Some of the significant expenses of your first home will be its annual energy costs. And, for both the planet’s sake and for that of your bank account, you may wish that your first home be as energy...
- Buying Your 1st House: Storage
Quaint, but will it hold everything? Most first time homebuyers know to look for good bedroom closets. But whether you are a single or a couple or a growing family, you should also look for a variety of other storage capabilities throughout your...
- Buying Your 1st House: More Red Flags
Relax and enjoy your first house As you look to acquire your first new or previously-owned house, there are many red flags to watch out for. Here are but a few that you might encounter before you even enter the house: Get the lay of the land;...