Wanda Mooney

buyers

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 

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.   

 

Ready to Make an Offer? Four Tips for Success

buyer tips make an offer home real estate

Once you find the perfect house to call your new home, making an offer can be an intimidating part of the buying process. In such a competitive market, you’ll want to make sure you make all the right moves to ultimately land your dream home.

Below are four helpful tips provided by Freddie Mac so you can feel more confident about making a competitive offer on your next home.

1. Determine Your Price

“You’ve found the perfect home and you’re ready to buy. Now what? Your real estate agent will be by your side, helping you determine an offer price that is fair.”

Based on your agent’s experience and key considerations (like similar homes recently sold in the same neighborhood, the condition of the property, and what you can afford), your agent will help you determine an offer to present.

If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage in advance, you’ll be that much more prepared for this step. Pre-approval will show home sellers you’re serious about buying and will allow you to make your offer with confidence as it relates to your budget, savings, expenses, and more.

2. Submit an Offer

“Once you’ve determined your price, your agent will draw up an offer, or purchase agreement, to submit to the seller’s real estate agent. This offer will include the purchase price and terms and conditions of the purchase.”

Talk with your agent to find out ways to make your offer stand out in this competitive market. 

3. Negotiate the Offer

“Oftentimes, the seller will counter the offer, typically asking for a higher purchase price or to adjust the closing date. In these cases, the seller’s agent will submit a counteroffer to your agent, detailing their desired changes, at this time, you can either accept the offer or decide if you want to counter.

Each time changes are made through a counteroffer, you or the seller have the option to accept, reject or counter it again. The contract is considered final when both parties sign the written offer.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, your agent can discuss any potential repairs with the seller’s agent.

4. Act Fast

The inventory of homes listed for sale today remains well below the 6-month supply that constitutes a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to be in competition for their dream homes. Presenting an offer as quickly as possible might make a big difference when you’re ready to move forward.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a bidding war in today’s low inventory environment. Your real estate agent will help guide you through every step of the process, so you don’t have to navigate it alone.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, let’s talk about your needs and what you’re looking for to make sure the process goes smoothly.

For more tips on buying a home, check out Wanda's Fall 2020 Buyers' Guide.

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

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

apply for mortgage real estate western massachusettsOnce you’ve found the right home and applied for a mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close on your home. You're undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new place, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, consult your lender – someone who will be able to tell you how your financial decisions will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage. They’re all important to know – or simply just good reminders – for the process.

1. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts.

Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

2. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home.

New debt comes with new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios. Higher ratios make for riskier loans, and then sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

3. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone.

When you co-sign, you’re obligated. With that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

4. Don’t Change Bank Accounts.

Remember, lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is significantly easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

5. Don’t Apply for New Credit.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be impacted. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

6. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts.

Many clients believe that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants of your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. The best plan is to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature.

Check out Wanda's Fall 2020 Guide to Buying a Home for more helpful information for home buyers.

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

Experts Forecast on the Real Estate Market for the Rest of 2020

real estate forecast economy recover 2020

Some of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds these days are: When will the economy recover, and what’s the outlook for the housing market? Based on recent data on the economy, unemployment, real estate, and more, many economists are indicating that an economic recovery is slowly taking place, but the extent of the recovery is largely dependent on the course of the virus over time.

Here’s a look at what some experts have to say about key areas that will power the housing market and the economy forward this year.

Bill Banfield, Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Quicken Loans: “No matter what you’re looking for, this is a great time to buy since the current low interest rates can stretch your spending power…With interest rates in the two’s available, a buyer can afford much more home than they could have just a few years ago.”

National Association of Realtors (NAR): “Homebuying demand is strong, which means that the rebound in sales as a result from the end of shelter in place measures is likely to be sustained in the coming months.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com: “The good news for potential buyers is: Competitive conditions should help bring more sellers to the housing market, so they have options to choose from.”  

George Ratiu, Senior Economist, realtor.com: “With the supply of homes expected to lag demand, prices will likely remain on an upward trajectory for the remainder of 2020.”

projections future home prices real estate forecast 2020Bottom Line

The experts are optimistic about the rest of the year. If you pressed pause on your 2020 real estate plans, let’s connect today to determine how you can re-engage in the process.

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

Buy in July Mortgage Special at Greenfield Savings Bank

This month, Greenfield Savings Bank is offering a mortgage special! You could receive a ¼ percent reduction on the interest rate of your new Greenfield Savings Bank Fixed-Rate Mortgage. To receive this reduction, apply for your mortgage before July 31st, 2020 and close on your mortgage before September 30th, 2020. The ¼ percent interest rate reduction is off the interest rate at the time of the application. To apply, visit the Greenfield Savings Bank mortgage center online or call for an appointment today at  (413) 774-3191 . Visit greenfieldsavings.com/mortgage/buy-in-july for more details!

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

Thinking of buying or selling? Contact Wanda today at 413-768-9848 or Wanda@WandaMooney.com

National Homeownership Month 2020: A Great Time to Buy

national homeownership month diversityDuring a time when people are spending more time at home than ever before, there is a new importance placed on homeownership and loving where you live. Homes are no longer a place to simply eat and sleep - they are offices, schools, gyms, and a place to feel safe and secure with family. June is National Homeownership Month and with interest rates at an all time low, now is a great time to buy. 

If you’re a first-time homebuyer or not sure where to start, I recommend checking out my Buyer’s Guide which has helpful articles such as “How Low Mortgage Rates Increase Your Purchasing Power” and “How to Make Your Dream of Homeownership a Reality.” After you’ve had a read-through of the guide, you can start virtually shopping with the user-friendly listing searches on my website. There’s advanced search options so you can filter by town, property type, or style. Or browse popular searches such as country homes or log homes.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, feel free to contact me by phone or email at 413-768-9848 or wanda@wandamooney.com.

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

 

April 2020 Pioneer Valley Single Family Homes Sales Report

monthly sales report real estate western mass

Sales of single family homes in Franklin County were down 28.3% and median price down 1.1% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. The sales were down in Hampshire and Hampden County. Median price was up in both Hampden and Hampshire Counties. 

The average days on market in the Pioneer Valley was down 29.4% from 85 days in April 2019 compared to 60 days in April 2020. Listings that are pending (under agreement to sell) were up down 23.1% from 568 listings pending in April 2019 to 437 listings pending sale in April 2020.

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

Information provided from the REALTOR Association of Pioneer Valley

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Wanda's New Website a Great Tool for Buying and Selling Homes!

Western mass real estate Wanda Mooney At a time when everyone needs to practice safe social distancing, business is being done virtually, and all areas of life seem to be altered, buying and selling a home has its “new normals” as well. That is why my new website makeover comes coincidentally at the right time for current and potential homeowners. The website's simplicity and user-friendliness makes it the perfect tool to look for real estate and learn about the area. 

If you’re interested in buying a home my website, WandaMooney.com, makes it easy to search listings, with a series of recommended searches to gear your search in the right direction (ex. Country Homes, Antique Homes, Village Homes, etc.) You can also create an advanced search using your own criteria. Sign up for property updates in your price range and never miss a new listing. All of the listings have extensive information about the property and high quality photos to get a realistic sense of the place. Some have walk-through videos as well! 

Listing search western mass As a seller, these tools are also helpful for promoting your home to potential buyers. Find out about my marketing strategies and how I will get your listing in front of the right buyers. At WandaMooney.com you can also download my seller and buyer guides with updated information specific to 2020. 

While you’re looking around, you can explore Franklin County by viewing pages dedicated to each town in the county. Then search by town to see what listings are available in that area. You’ll also find community videos about various local businesses and events. And of course, don’t forget to keep scrolling through this blog for information on area events, news, market updates, and tips for buyers and sellers. Feel free to leave a comment or a question, as well!

I hope you enjoy browsing around my new website. Please contact me with any questions or inquiries at wanda@wandamooney.com or 413-768-9848.

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Charming, Quality-Built Home For Sale in Greenfield

home for sale greenfield10 Ferrante Avenue, Greenfield

Quality built and superb workmanship with original period details makes this charming Greenfield home one you must see. Fine features include custom woodwork, glass door knobs, attractive moldings, french doors, beautiful fixtures and hardwood floors throughout. The exterior is surrounded by gorgeous lush gardens and patio area creating a secluded backyard oasis that is a rare find. You are greeted at the front door with a welcoming entrance leading to the first floor that has an eat-in kitchen, 1/4 bath, dining room, large living room with attractive fireplace with french doors to a fabulous sunroom. The second floor has 3 bedrooms, full bath and plenty of closet space. Your favorite room in the house will be the 3 season fully enclosed porch that overlooks the picturesque backyard. It is the perfect place to relax or entertain. This is considered one Greenfield's finest neighborhoods with easy access to I-91, shopping and Four Corners School.

Set up a showing appointment today with Wanda! Call 413-768-9848 or email Wanda@WandaMooney.com.

View the full listing here.

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