When buying a home, better start taking heed of Mother Nature

  • Flooding: This is pretty basic, and it starts with looking out for a sump pump in the basement and signs of water damage, from damaged linoleum to a faint water mark two or three feet up the wall. You don’t have to be in a flood plain to wake up one morning and find your basement full of water – an intense rainstorm can do tremendous damage depending on the characteristics of the site your house sits on. Then again, it may be nice to have a scenic river cutting through town, but how often does it overflow its banks and what is the condition of that cute old, 19th century dam? It might not be such a pretty picture after all.
  • Ocean living – not what it used to be: You couldn’t pay me enough now to live in a house on the beach. Now don’t get me wrong, I grew up, like many New Englanders, vacationing on the seashore, but as global warming escalates, you are simply putting yourself on the front lines. Added to that, you will end up paying thousands each year in home insurance if you live on the Cape and other coastal areas – and the price is only going up with each big storm.
  • Earthquakes: OK, we haven’t had a big one in New England recently. But maybe all that simply means is that we are overdue for a big tumbler. Two major quakes hit the area in the 17th and 18th centuries and, according to earthquake experts, it may be only a matter of time before another one hits again – though of course time, in this case could mean decades, or another century, but no matter. If we finally get a big one, all those quaint 19th century brick homes in the Back Bay and South End will be particularly vulnerable, sitting on fill earthquake specialists say is especially hazardous during a good shaking.
  • Power outages: As I noted in my post Monday, some communities are more vulnerable to storm-related outages than others. To quote: As you look at a community’s school’s and other services, also check
    out whether the town runs its own electric utility or relies on one of
    the big power companies, NStar and National Grid.

    If it does, there’s a good bet that your lights will be coming on
    much faster than those of your friends in the town next door serviced by
    one the big utilities.While the big utilities lumbered for a week to get the lights back on after Irene, towns with their own electric utilities had everyone powered back up in a matter of hours to a day or two at the most. Wellesley, Belmont, Concord, as well as Braintree, Taunton and North Attleboro, all towns with their own municipal utilities, turned out to be beacons of lights during the last storm

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