Wanda Mooney

Blog :: 03-2021

Buy Land and Build in the Western Mass Hilltowns!

Spring is the perfect time of year to explore the option of buying land and building your dream home.  Before you begin the search for finding the right parcel, I recommend meeting with a building contractor or architect to discuss the process of constructing a home in addition to knowing the costs associated with building.  You will want to make sure it is within your budget before you begin your search.

If you plan on getting a construction loan to finance your home, make sure you meet with local lenders to get pre-qualified.  The process and rates are different than if you were to buy a home already constructed. They will provide a timeline as to how the funds are distributed based on the status of the construction.    

Prior to searching for land, make a list of what is most important to you.  Is it having a brook or mountain view, having an open meadow so you can garden or raise a few animals or just having a private wooded setting?  Once you have identified some land for sale you will want to view the surrounding properties to see what is nearby.  How close are you to neighbors?  Is there any development potential or do you hear road noise or businesses?  If you are new to the area, check out the communities in the Western Mass area and make sure the land is in a convenient location and that you can get high speed internet! 

Once you have selected a parcel and have an agreement to purchase you will want to meet with your builder and various contractors to inspect the property and get a sense of what the site costs will be.  They will also make sure your home can be constructed within the requirements of the zoning bylaws. 

Building your home can be a very stressful. But having the opportunity to create a place designed to fit your needs is so rewarding.  

Below are links to help you get started.  If you have any questions about the building process, you can contact Wanda Mooney at 413-768-9848 or email.  She has 28 years experience in selling land and also built her own home!  Learn more about Wanda here and review her credentials.

List of Builders, Contractors, Architects, and Engineers here

List of Local Lenders here

Search Land Listing here 

Explore the area here 

Support These Local Maple Syrup Farms in Western Massachusetts

maple syrup sugar house massachusettsSupporting Local Sugarhouses is Sweet!

While the state is still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, sugarhouses are still boiling their sap to make delicious maple syrup. Hager’s Farm Market in Shelburne has plenty of syrup available that is made directly from their farm at Hager Bros. Farm.  Visit Hager's Farm Market located at 1232 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne Falls. Go to hagersfarmmarket.com for more information.

Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant will also be open this weekend. At the start of the year, the restaurant owners, Todd and Michelle Olanyk, were not even sure if they would be opening the restaurant this sugaring season. They made the decision one week before opening on March 6th, and will be open for dine-in and takeout Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm until the end of the month. Although the restaurant doesn’t have the usual amount of business as in past years, the Olanyks are pleased to see their customers happy to be there and that they are choosing to buy local maple syrup. Customers can also purchase the maple syrup during the week by calling the restaurant at 413-625-2866. You can also follow Davenport Maple Farm on Facebook at facebook.com/DavenportMaple/.

Another local favorite maple farm is Sunrise Farms, a 5th generation family-owned and operated maple farm in Colrain, Mass. Their syrup is boiled in an electrical evaporator that is offset with renewable, zero carbon solar arrays right on the farm. Plus their maple syrup is certified organic, as well as the other delicious maple products they offer such as maple cream, candy, and sugar. Sunrise Farms offers curbside pickup at 87 Thayer Road in Greenfield or right at the farm at 24 Heath Branch Road in Colrain. They also offer shipping! Call Sunrise Farms at 1 413-624-3210 to place an order. Visit their website, sunrisefarmsmaple.com, for more information and to make an appointment. 

Discover more Massachusetts Maple Farms at massmaple.org!


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog

Buyers Get Ready

Buyers Get Ready

The inventory of homes for sale is at an all time low.  It has been reported nationally that the inventory of properties for sale in rural areas has seen a 44% drop compared to previous years.  We normally see low inventory during the winter months but never like this.  The combination of the winter season, recent spike in COVID and lack of homes for sellers to relocate to makes this year even worse.

Buyers need to be even more prepared than ever.  Spring will be here soon and I anticipate an influx of new listings hitting the market.

Here are a few tips to help you get ready:
1).   Pre-Qualification - If you are getting a mortgage make sure your pre-qualification is current and from a local lender.  If there are multiple offers, a seller will feel more comfortable working with a buyer who is getting their mortgage through a local lender compared to one from afar.

2).  Paying Cash - You will need to have proof of funds available that needs to accompany an offer.  I suggest to put whatever amount you have to buy a home in a separate account so you are not sharing your entire portfolio.  When you submit a copy make sure you cover up your account numbers.  

3).  Gift Money -  If you have a friend or family member gifting you cash to either purchase a home outright or with the down payment, make sure you have proper documentation to support this.

4). Write a Letter to the Seller - Selling a home can be very emotional for the homeowner. I suggest to write them a personal letter explaining why you love their home.  When a seller reviews the offers, sometimes a letter will help them make the final decision as to which one they feel comfortable accepting.

5) Multiple Offers -   When preparing your Offer to Purchase, I suggest you submit your best offer, as you may not get a second chance to change it.  I recently had a situation where the listing agent told me and my buyer that we would be informed if another offer came in and that agent failed to let us know.  You also need to know that the seller makes the final decision as to how multiple offers will be handled.  Sometimes they will want to go highest and best but sometimes they will just accept an offer and you will not have another chance.  This is a complicated process and your agent will advise the best way to proceed.

6). Take your Time -  I strongly recommend taking your time to find the right home.  Don’t buy out of fear that you will not find another place.  You are buying during a time when the prices are inflated, you want to make sure this home will be one you will enjoy for many years to come. There are always fluctuations in market values and when you buy at the height of a market, most likely, your home could drop in value in a few years. If you plan on remaining at the premises for a long period of time then these fluctuations don’t matter.

A list of lenders can be found here:  Local Lenders
Check out Wanda’s Buyer’s Guide here:  Buyers Guide     To search the MLS:  Search

If you have any additional questions about buying a home feel free to contact Wanda at 413-768-9838 or send email.  She will be happy to answer any questions to help you get started in the right direction.   


Burn Brush Safely This Season in Franklin County Massachusetts

brush burning open fire safetyMassachusetts allow residents to burn brush between January 15th and May 1st. However, there are certain regulations for where and how you can burn brush, as well as who is allowed to do it. You can apply for an Open Burn Permit through your local fire department. Many towns in Franklin County use the online system for residents to submit applications. This online application can be found at fcburnpermits.com. If your town does not use the online system, you can contact them by phone to inquire about how to obtain permission to burn brush. 

Go to fcburnpermits.com for a list of regulations around brush burning or for more specific information on how to get in touch with your local fire department. You can also go to mass.gov/service-details/open-burning-safety for more information on open burning and fire safety.


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog


6 Tips to Avoid Home Fires

fire safety avoid home firesSpring is finally in sight but we still have a few cold months ahead of us. In the cold weather, it can be nice to cozy up by the fire or to use heating devices in the home such as space or kerosene heaters or electric blankets. With any heat source there is always the risk of a fire. To avoid home fires and keep your household safe, follow these 6 steps:

1. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check them regularly.

Be sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors positioned strategically around the house - at the tops and bottoms of all stairs, outside of bedrooms, and on every level of the home. Check your detectors once a month.


2. Check your exits.

Be sure to have at least two ways to exit your home. None of the exits should ever be blocked in case a quick escape is necessary.


3. Keep a charged phone close to your bed.

This way you can quickly make a call to the fire department and emergency services in case of a fire.


4. Keep heating devices 3 feet away from anything flammable. 

This is because heating devices such as space or kerosene heaters can get so hot, the radiation can cause nearby items to combust.


5. Don’t overload an electrical circuit.

Especially when it comes to heating appliances, be sure to plug into different circuits so as not to overload one. Also, these appliances should not be plugged into extension cords, but rather into the circuit directly.


6. Clean the chimney.

Make sure the chimney is cleaned professionally once a year to avoid build up which can trap heat. When disposing of ashes, do so at least 10 feet away from the house and not even in the basement as this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. 


For more comprehensive information about fire safety for your home, reach out to your local fire department. Stay safe everyone! Spring will be here soon.


For more information about community happenings and real estate news visit Wanda's Blog at www.wandamooney.com/blog



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    Socially Distant At-Home Activity Ideas

    Social distancing can be tough this time of year, when it's cold outside and you're running out of ideas for indoor activities. If you're looking for some creative ways to occupy some time, check out this list of activities compiled by Mass.gov. Take virtual tours of far away landmarks, read stories, learn something new with free lessons, and more. Enjoy!

    kids computers tablets learningGeneral Resources

    Tour Yellowstone National Park 

    Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover 

    Discover virtual tours of farms 

    Take a digital fieldtrip and see the Louvre in Paris 

    Visit the Great Wall of China virtually 

    Take a trip around the British Museum online 

    Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss 

    Learn some history in these online classes 

    Learn some biology with these online lessons 

    Explore this digital history archive 

    Explore musical concepts with these games 

    Learn new things with these free lessons from universities and companies 

    Explore Scholastic's "Learn at Home" Resources :

            - Leisure and Learning at Home (MCB/DDS Focus) — PDF (PDF 100.54 KB)

            - Leisure and Learning at Home (MCB/DDS Focus) — RTF (RTF 363.71 KB)

    Audio Resources

    Podcast: Assistive Technology Update (Easterseals Crossroads) 

    Podcast: Ouch! (BBC) 

    Podcast: The Far Meridian (The Whisperforge) 

    Free Public-Domain Audiobooks (Librivox) 

    Audiobooks: Rakuten Overdrive 

    NOTE: Requires a library card at a supported library



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