massachusetts: So Much has Changed... - 10/08/21 09:03 AM
A lot has changed in the world of Real Estate over the years. As I move into my 36th year of helping buyers and sellers reach their goals of buying and selling their homes, I can't help but reflect on all that has changed. October 1, 1986, was the first day I began this incredible career and what a ride it has been.
In 1986, we had black and white MLS Books that we anxiously awaited to be delivered every two weeks. It had one photo per listing and bare-bones basic info. To get the new listings, we had to call the … (16 comments)

massachusetts: The Perc Test - 10/01/21 08:37 AM
If you own a home with a private sewer system and the system fails the Title 5 inspection because of the leach field, it will require a new one. The next step is a Perc Test to determine the location, size, and type of system needed to replace the old system.
"Perc" test is short for a Percolation Test. The purpose of the Perc Test is to allow the fluid's safe distribution to dissipate into the ground preventing it from entering any water supply.  To that end, it must also be placed over 100' from you and your neighbors well/water supply.
The Perc … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Letter to the Sellers - 04/30/21 08:12 AM
As the real estate market continues to be red hot, with many homes receiving multiple offers, buyers are looking for ways to encourage sellers to choose their offer. Recently we have seen an increase in the number of buyers who are writing letters to the seller requesting their letter accompany their offer submission.
Writing a letter to the seller seems like a nice thing to do, right? At face value, yes. Depending on what is written in the letter, it could create some unintended consequences. While it looks innocent and not done intentionally, it could put the seller and the seller's agent … (0 comments)

massachusetts: Percentages can be misleading... - 04/21/21 12:57 PM
Every month, the Realtor Association both local and State releases the monthly single-family and condo sales report. Among other statistics it covers the number of sales and the median price compared to the previous year. It is presented by county and the entire Pioneer Valley as a whole, covering all three counties.
The percentage posted can differ significantly from month to month. As a result, it may give a misleading picture of the market, especially in Franklin County, where the number of homes that sell in any given month is modest. For example, in February, the numbers show that Franklin County saw … (0 comments)

massachusetts: The Escalation Clause - 04/17/21 05:51 AM
In an ultra-competitive Real Estate market such as one we are experiencing, prospective buyers are looking for ways to be the one the seller chooses when competing with multiple offers. Some situations cannot be avoided, such as a cash buyer being chosen over a buyer with a low-down-payment requiring PMI. Most sellers will choose a cash buyer over one needing financing, especially loans that will require the seller's house to meet specific standards of loans requiring FHA, USDA, and VA backing, which adds another layer to the loan approval. Buyers are looking to get a leg up on their competition trying to … (4 comments)

massachusetts: Highest & Best OFFER - 03/31/21 07:39 AM
With the Real Estate market as competitive for buyers as it has been and continues to be, they could be asked to make their Highest and Best Offer by a specific date and time. So what does this mean?
The “Highest “is just that. It's the highest price the buyer is willing to pay. But, be wary of bids too high over the list price because if the buyer requires financing from a lender to purchase the home, the lender will require an appraisal. If it does not appraise at the amount agreed upon, either the seller will have to reduce the … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Evolution of the Code - 03/23/21 10:49 AM
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector requirements in Massachusetts. The regulations have changed over the years adopting new technologies and placement requirements to make us safer and prevent loss of life and property. 
One and two-family homes built before 1975 are permitted to have battery-operated smoke detectors. After 1975 they are required to have hardwired and interconnected smoke alarms with battery backup.
Changes were made to the code in 1997, 2008, 2011, and on December 1, 2016, the ten-year sealed battery requirement went into effect for homes built before 1975. The Carbon monoxide … (0 comments)

massachusetts: Spring Forward, Check Your Detectors - 03/17/21 07:22 AM
Changing the clocks in the spring and fall has created a tradition to prompt us to test our smoke detectors and change the batteries. Since the onset of this tradition, a lot has changed with smoke detectors, their technology, their placement requirements, and the addition of carbon monoxide detectors. These updates are designed to keep us safe and to minimize loss of life and damage to our homes.
The most recent change to the fire code in Massachusetts was regarding homes that sold after December 1, 2016, requiring homes built before January 1, 1975, be equipped with smoke detectors containing a 10-year … (3 comments)

massachusetts: Video & Recording Devices - 03/17/21 06:53 AM
Videos have become a welcomed addition to buying and selling homes, especially this past year during the pandemic. Buyers have found the ability to see pictures and videos very helpful in the home buying process. In many cases, it makes the difference of whether to make an appointment to see a house and, in some cases, making an offer sight-unseen based on the photos and videos.
As professionals representing the sale of the property, we receive permission from the seller to post photos and videos online and in print. If a buyer or a buyer's agent wants to take pictures, video, facetime, … (2 comments)

massachusetts: Sight Unseen - 03/03/21 10:04 AM
When selling your home, would you accept an offer from a buyer who has not physically walked through your house, the property or seen the neighborhood or surroundings? Would you accept an offer from a buyer sight unseen?
In the market we are currently in, where there are few homes for sale and more buyers than there are sellers, there are a few reasons why buyers are submitting offers "sight unseen." Some live out of the area and will not be able to view it in person. They rely on photos and videos. Others are concerned with COVID and do not want … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Off to a GREAT start - 02/24/21 10:12 AM
2021 is off to a great start in Real Estate here in the Valley. The January single-family home sales were strong. Overall, there was an increase in sales of 7.3% over January 2020. Franklin County saw a 33.3% increase, while Hampshire County only saw a 2.6% increase.
The median price overall was up 17.3% year over year. Franklin County up 34.4% from $200,000 to $268,500. Hampshire County up 25.6% from $267,500 to $336,000. Note: The median price reflects the middle range of the homes that sold. It does not mean the price of homes increased by that percentage. Though there has been … (2 comments)

massachusetts: Be Prepared - 02/17/21 09:02 AM
When winter storms, ice, and high winds result in power outages, we could be in serious trouble if we go without power for any length of time. So what is the best way to be prepared for an outage that would protect ourselves and our homes?
Besides having an emergency kit that includes battery-operated flashlights, candles, water, can and dry foods, and blankets, having a gas or propane generator to power the critical parts of your house is something to consider.
Sometimes we take for granted or forget how vital electricity is and what it powers. Especially in the winter, electricity is required … (2 comments)

massachusetts: Year-End Numbers Are Telling - 02/03/21 06:35 AM
The year-end numbers are quite telling. They show that the higher-end properties significantly contributed to the robust real estate market here in the Valley. Will we see this trend continue in 2021?
The median sales price of single-family homes sold in the Pioneer Valley in 2020 increased overall by 9.2% over 2019, going from $229,000 to $250,000. Franklin County went from $226,500 to $245,000. Hampshire County $291,500 to $319,900. Much of the increase in the median price has to do with the high-end sales.
In Franklin County, the single-family homes that sold between $300,000 - $400,000 in 2020 were 131, whereas, in 2019, … (1 comments)

massachusetts: A Step in the Right Direction - 01/14/21 08:46 AM
2021 has started off in the right direction in addressing the housing shortage in Massachusetts as there is good news on the legislative front. On January 7th, the House and Senate passed the Housing Choice bill, H. 5250, An Act enabling partnerships for growth, as part of the economic development package.
This legislation will enable cities and towns to adopt zoning related to housing development by a simple majority vote rather than a two-thirds supermajority as it currently stands.
Other important provisions in this 101-page bill will directly affect us here in the Valley. It includes 5 million dollars to fund broadband improvements … (4 comments)

massachusetts: Looking Forward - 01/12/21 12:46 PM
As we venture into 2021, there is much hope for the Pandemic to subside as the vaccination begins to roll out. It directly affects all of us, including real estate, and many are wondering what is instore for Real Estate in 2021. Will it be a continuation of 2020, or will we see some changes?
The National Association of Realtors surveyed 23 economic and housing market experts and other key US bureaus and compiled their responses for the 2020 Real Estate Forecast Summit last month. They forecasted key economic factors they believe will affect Real Estate in 2021 and 2022.
They predict the … (1 comments)

massachusetts: 2020 in Review - 01/12/21 12:34 PM
2020 was an unusual year for everyone. For many of us, we experienced things we have never had to deal with in our lifetime. The pandemic affected us all, but it did so in very different ways. Some got sick, others did not, and sadly some succumbed to it. We had and still have heroes working on the frontlines in healthcare, bankers making loans for PPP to grocery store workers who worked and still work tirelessly for us while others lost jobs, businesses closed and everything in between.
In real estate, we had to shut down for a few weeks at the … (1 comments)

massachusetts: November Numbers - 01/12/21 12:23 PM
November was another strong month in Real Estate here in the Valley. The sale of single family homes was up 11.3%, and the median price up 13.5% in all three counties combined compared to November of 2019. Franklin County saw a 37% increase in sales. The median price remained virtually the same, though year to date, it's up 7.2% from $226,750 in 2019 to $243,000 in 2020.
The lack of inventory continues to be a player in the marketplace. At the end of November, there were only 81 single family homes for sale in Franklin County, 108 in 2019. A decrease of … (0 comments)

massachusetts: Rural Migration - 01/12/21 11:56 AM
COVID has affected us all one way or another, good, bad, sad all the way to feeling lucky and grateful.
Here in the Valley we are fortunate to live in a beautiful rural community. The word is out, others are finding their way here more now than ever.
In the last six months, we have seen an increase in sales, unlike anything I've seen in all my years. We came somewhat close in 1989 and the early 2000s and there has been a continual growth in sales of single-family homes since 2013 and condominiums since 2009, but 2019 is off the charts.  Much … (5 comments)

massachusetts: Home for sale Ashfield Massachusetts in the hills of Franklin County - 03/19/13 09:36 AM
Home for sale Ashfield Massachusetts in the hills of Franklin County you will find this Very artistic …One-of-a-Kind Farm House surrounded by stunning landscape, striking perennial gardens with colorful plantings in bloom from spring to fall, stone walls and many wonderful surprises inside and out.
Situated in a picturesque setting on a lovely country road just outside the quaint village center of Ashfield and Ashfield Lake . This unique, well built and well kept 4 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home for sale in Ashfield Massachusetts in the hills of Franklin County has character and charm in every corner with built ins, beautiful wood and … (0 comments)

massachusetts: Showing after it's been Snowing. - 01/12/11 03:29 PM
Living here in Franklin County in one of the most beautiful parts of Massachusetts and New England the day after a Nor'easter is truly beautiful. Most everyone has spent the prior day in the house and/or out shoveling. All appointments and school were canceled while the snow came down in droves. Now that it's stopped, we're all shoveled out, driveways were snow blowed and plowed, cars cleaned off and just before cabin fever sets's time to get out and get back to life before the storm and go show that house you canceled the day before because of the storm.
Don't you find that showing … (6 comments)