massachusetts: Make friends with fences - 06/15/22 08:16 AM
This time of year, homeowners focus more on outside projects. If you are considering putting a fence around or in a section of your yard and are looking to put it on or near your property line, there are a few things you should consider.
First, be sure you know your property line(s). The only way to be 100% sure of your property lines is by the surveyors' pins or cement monuments. It is common for properties not to have the markers in the ground, or leaves or grass may have covered them. You can use a metal detector to try … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Gutters... or No Gutters??? - 05/24/22 06:54 AM
That is the question. Over the years, I have heard varying opinions from home inspectors regarding whether the home should have gutters. The two primary functions they talk about are to prevent water penetration into the basement and keep water from the entrances and walkways.
Some say it is an essential function of the house to keep the water away from the foundation. Others say proper grading by pitching the soil away from the foundation and moving plantings a foot or so away from the house will accomplish a similar effect. Regardless of their opinion of the need for gutters, they all … (3 comments)

massachusetts: Home Inspections... For informational purposes only... - 05/02/22 09:18 AM
A Home Inspection is a common practice in the home buying process. The purpose of the inspection is to allow the prospective buyer the opportunity to learn about the house they hope to own from a professional knowledgeable in all aspects of the home's construction and systems, preferably a licensed home inspector. However, a home inspection is not required to buy a home, but most contracts to purchase have a provision for an inspection contingency built-in.
The buyer has three options under most home inspection contingencies: They are fine with what they learned and move forward. They could withdraw and terminate the … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Trees... - 03/14/22 07:42 AM
You may wonder what trees have to do with buying and selling a home, but they are an essential part of real estate and should be considered when purchasing a home. In the winter months, especially, they tend to be given less thought, mainly because all but the evergreens are without leaves and it’s hard to visualize what the trees will look like with leaves. Once Spring and Summer come around, those bare trees will have leaves and can affect the lighting into the home, and when Autumn rolls around, those leaves will fall and you should know what fall cleanup … (2 comments)

massachusetts: Selling your home in the winter... - 03/11/22 09:17 AM
Selling a home in the winter can be beneficial. There are benefits of putting our house on the market in the winter and some tips to help you reach your goal of selling your home in the next few months.
Some believe selling your home is best in Spring and summer. Some will hold off putting their house on the market until Spring. Yes, Spring offers more cheerful surroundings. The grass is green. Trees are full of leaves and bushes, and flowers begin to bloom, adding much-welcomed color after the gray, brown, and while monotone of winter. Days are longer, the sun … (0 comments)

massachusetts: Let the light in... - 02/11/22 09:32 AM
Short days and cabin fever can bring on winter blues. Don't despair. There are ways to brighten up your home to get more light in. By doing this, it can help get you through the winter blues. Here are a few suggestions…. 
Taking screens off the windows will bring 30% more light into your home. It can also prolong the life span of your screens, and it's easier to clean them when they are off. Cleaning the window always helps. Consider washing the inside every few months and the outside once a year.
Changing light bulbs from incandescent to LEDs, going from warm … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Year End Numbers... - 01/24/22 07:12 AM
2021 was another banner year in Real Estate. Single-family home sales in the Pioneer Valley were up .7% over 2020, a record high year in its own right. However, Franklin County was slightly down 5%, with 616 single-family homes sold in 2021, whereas 649 sold in 2020. Hampshire County is down 2%, with 1,269 sold in 2021 compared to 1,272 in 2020.
The Median Price throughout the Valley was up 14%. Franklin County went from $245000 in 2020 to $281,500. Hampshire County $320,000 to $365,777. The original list to sale price was 101% on average.
Days on market, (from list date to accepted … (3 comments)

massachusetts: New Year's Resloution Continued... - 01/14/22 07:54 AM
If your goal is to purchase a home in 2022, what steps should you take in preparation for that move?
If your home purchase requires a loan, the first step should be to get pre-qualified to know what price point you should be looking in and have a clear understanding of what to expect and feel comfortable with your monthly payment.
Once you know the price range you are comfortable in, you should start thinking about what you want in a home, things like how far from work, your family & friends, and places you frequent to choose the locations/towns in your search. … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Condo Check In - 12/31/21 06:05 AM
When it comes to reporting the Real Estate activity numbers, I report on the single-family homes most of the time. Rarely reporting on the Condominium numbers. Mainly because there is so little activity here in the upper valley. It is not so much that there is little interest, because there is, but more because there are fewer condominium developments than in the lower valley.
To put this into perspective, condominium sales were up 28% in  Pioneer Valley, with 706 sold in 2020 to 908 in 2021 through November. Only 27 of those sales came from Franklin County, a 22% drop from 2020, … (1 comments)

massachusetts: The Gift That Keeps Giving... - 12/23/21 06:55 AM
Most people say home ownership is one of the most important things to them only second to a child's birth, their partner, and marriage. In many cases, getting to the point of purchasing a home takes time and money, especially their first home. The ability to qualify for a loan to buy a home is the first step in the process.
First-time buyers sometimes find it challenging to save enough money to have what they need for a down payment and closing costs. There is good news for those who would like to help a loved one purchase a home if they … (3 comments)

massachusetts: Deposits - 12/16/21 09:01 AM
There can be two types of deposits in a real estate transaction. There is the earnest money deposit, and if the buyer needs financing to purchase the property, they could be required to make a down payment, depending on the loan type, which can also be called a deposit. Though they are both deposits, they are for two different purposes and will not necessarily be or need to be the same amount.
The purpose of the earnest money deposit is to bind the agreement. It is held in escrow by the listing agency or sellers attorney as security for the seller and … (1 comments)

massachusetts: Preparing to close... - 12/13/21 08:21 AM
Once all the contingencies in the contract are met the last part of the buying and selling process is preparing to close. If the buyer is financing their purchase, they will receive a commitment letter from their lender outlining any final conditions to get the "clear to close."
A lot is going on behind the scenes. The buyer's attorney will order the title search to make sure the chain of ownership is clear. They will be preparing the settlement statement with the buyer and sellers expenses. They will order the payoff figure for the seller's mortgage, the final water reading, the (MLC) … (1 comments)

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)