The Balestracci Group | Sutton Real Estate, Oxford Real Estate, Worcester Real Estate

The Northeast and New England are home to some of the most historic estates in the country. If you drive through almost any small town in New England you'll notice houses that proudly wear signs giving the year the home was built, with many dating back to the 1700s. Many of these homes have fortunately been preserved and opened to the public as museums. The area isn't just full of old colonials, either. Mansions in Rhode Island, estates in Vermont, tenement buildings in New York City, and even a few modern feats of architecture in Connecticut sprawl across the region. Here's a list of 10 must-see homes-turned-museums in the Northeast:

1. Mark Twain House, Connecticut

In 1873, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) and his recently wed wife, Olivia began work on their home in Hartford, Connecticut. Twain would go on to live what he described as the happiest and most productive years of his life. The museum holds many artifacts from Twain and his family, including his last pair of spectacles.

2. The Glass House, Connecticut

The Glass House is a 49-acre experiment in modern architecture that lies in New Canaan, Connecticut. The structures on the estate were built in 1949 with industrial age materials like steel and glass (the main house being comprised of glass).

3. The House of Seven Gables, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts is mainly associated with the Salem Witch Trials and various pop-culture references that tie it to the supernatural. Most of the witch trials of 1692 involved residents of neighboring Danvers (then Salem Village). The House of Seven Gables was built by a Salem sea captain named John Turner in 1668.

4. Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

As its name suggests, Old Sturbridge village is a reconstructed village that depicts an average New England village in the 1830s. It includes a school, country store, bank, a working farm, and several homes.

5. The Breakers, Rhode Island

The Breakers was constructed as the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893. It is a gilded age mansion on the ocean that represents the opulence and grandeur of its time.

6. Hildene, Vermont

The home of the Lincoln family built in Manchester, Vermont in 1905. It was constructed by Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln and was excluseively the home of Lincoln decendents until 1975.

7. Jackson House, New Hampshire

The Jackson House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is the oldest wood-framed house in New Hampshire. It was built ca. 1664 and has post-Medieval English architectural motifs.

8. Castle Tucker, Maine

Castle Tucker was built in 1807 in coastal Wiscasset, Maine. Visitors are offered a glimpse into the lives of the Tuckers, a well-known shipping family. Economic difficulties meant the home was seldom renovated and one of the most well-preserved Victorian era homes in the region.

9. Tenement Museum, New York

While many homes on the list tell the story of well-to-do families, the NYC tenement museum takes visitors through a multi-floor tenement building that housed over 7,000 working class immigrants.

10. Lyndhurst, New York

Lyndhurst, an estate overlooking the Hudson river in Tarrytown, New York, is an American Gothic revival mansion. It housed many prominent figures including a a New York City mayor and a railroad tycoon.

You've found the home of your dreams, can afford the regular mortgage payments and even accounted for your closing costs, too. Clearly, you're in a great position to cover the costs associated with your home consistently, right? Even the most diligent homebuyer may encounter unforeseen costs along the way. Fortunately, we're here to help you prepare for these miscellaneous expenses. Here's a closer look at three miscellaneous homebuyer costs that you'll need to consider before you purchase a residence: 1. Homeowners Association Fees Planning to move into a condo? You'll want to find out what the homeowners association (HOA) fees are before you close on your residence, as these costs can add up quickly. HOA expenses usually cover the costs associated with keeping your lawn clean and looking great, clearing snow from roads and driveways in winter and other condo community costs. As such, these fees may wind up costing you several hundred dollars each month – a hefty sum that every condo owner needs to know about. To find out if HOA fees will affect your monthly budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. This professional should be able to get in touch with a HOA and determine exactly how much you'll need to add to your budget each month to account for these costs. 2. Unexpected Income Changes Your income may change over the life of your mortgage, and as such, you should try to plan accordingly. For example, consider what may happen if your full-time work schedule is reduced to part-time hours. This may prove to be exceedingly difficult, particularly if you don't have a Plan B in place to pay your mortgage. When it comes to potential income changes, it always is better to err on the side of caution. And a homeowner who has an emergency fund in place may be able to cover regular mortgage costs even if his or her everyday wages are reduced. 3. Emergency Medical Bills Unfortunately, medical emergencies can arise without notice and wreak havoc on a homeowner's budget. But even though these emergencies can put a financial strain on a homeowner, this homeowner still will be responsible for making regular mortgage payments. Emergency medical bills, like unexpected income changes, should be accounted for as part of an emergency fund. Furthermore, homeowners who contribute to this fund monthly can accumulate finances that will be readily available in even the worst-case scenarios. Buying a home requires a significant financial investment, but homebuyers who prepare accordingly will be able to ensure that they can manage any financial hardships that could come their way. No homebuyer wants to consider financial hardships, but working with a resourceful and intelligent real estate agent may help you prepare for the worst. This real estate professional may be able to offer guidance and tips to help you budget for your new residence and ensure that you'll be prepared for any emergencies as well. Plan for your new home purchase as much as you can, and ultimately, you'll be better equipped to make regular mortgage payments and manage any financial hardships along the way.

Price isn't the only major factor that stops people from buying houses. In fact, there are adults who qualify for good fixed mortgage rates who opt not to buy a house. Part of the reason for this is history. As with any other life choice, past experiences living or owning a house matter.

What's keeping you from exiting rentals?

For example, if someone grew up watching his parents struggle to pay the mortgage to the point where his parents worked long hours, rarely spending time with him when he was a child, that person might attach home ownership to hard work, struggle and lack of work life balance. Avoiding poor work life balance for this guy could mean never buying a house.

In addition to price and past experiences, below are four other reasons why people choose to keep renting instead of buying a house. Although these four reasons are not all inclusive, they are major stalling agents:

  • Changing economies can create the fear that causes you to think that even if you could afford a house right now, a significant economic shift would easily put you in over your financial head
  • Adjustable rate mortgages can wreck as much damage on your ability to pay your mortgage as can a significant downward economic shift. With an adjustable rate mortgage, your monthly mortgage payment could start at $900 and shift upward to more than $1,200. A workaround for this is a fixed rate mortgage.
  • Job insecurity could be the result of a person going through two or more layoffs in less than 10 years. It goes without saying that a job layoff can put a person at great risk of not being able to afford a mortgage. To offset this fear, buy a house that requires no more than a third of your income. That way you could pay your mortgage if you took on part-time work until you found a permanent job.
  • Relationship changes like a divorce can also cause you to be cautious about owning a house, especially if you lost a previous house as part of a divorce.

Don't let fears keep you renting

You're right to think that owning a home will change your life. Where you might be wrong is in thinking that owning a house will drive you into prolonged debt or push you out of work life balance. You also might be surprised to discover that owning a house doesn't mean that you absolutely must take on unexpected repair expenses.

Should you buy a new house, you might enjoy seven years of repair free living. Regularly perform maintenance on your house from the first year that you own the home and decades  might pass before you have to deal with a major house repair.

If you're still afraid of potential repair expenses, engage in conversations with workers at your local home goods store. These workers could offer you free tips and advice on steps that you could take to deal with minor house repairs. Additionally, some home goods stores perform interior design work, saving you the time of finding an interior designer should you decide to upgrade your house.

Just don't talk yourself out of owning a house if that's what you really want to do. There are home ownership options that let you ease in owning a house. For instance, your pathway to home ownership could start with renting a house for a year through rent to own agreement.