sellers

Cost vs. Value: Is Your Home Renovation Worth It?

Deciding Whether to Renovate

Renovated Kitchen Western MassachusettsHow do you know whether it’s worth it to make a renovation to your home? Perhaps you want to improve the quality of living at your home, but don’t necessarily want to sell in the near future. Maybe you are planning to sell soon and want to increase your resale value. No matter what your reason, below is a helpful table which compares the average costs of specific home renovations to the resale value and cost recouped for New England.

Reach out to Wanda Mooney to discuss which renovations will provide the highest return for your home based on when you plan to sell. Email Wanda at Wanda@WandaMooney.com or call (413) 768-9848. 

New England Home Renovation Cost vs Value ReportNew England Home Renovation Cost vs Value Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Builders in Western Massachusetts

Once you have made the decision to renovate, check out these local businesses who can help you in your home renovations.

Bathroom Renovation Western MassachusettsWright Builders, Inc: Wright Builders is a Western Massachusetts' sustainable, high performance and zero net energy construction expert. With nearly 45 years of high-performance building practices; from planning, to design, to construction, their expertise and commitment to excellence will bring your home, workplace, institutional or commercial project from concept to fruition. They have ongoing partnerships with the EPA's ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPlus programs to enhance the quality of the living and work environments they create with you. Contact Wright Builders at (413) 586-8287 or info@wright-builders.com.

Scott DiGeorge/DiGeorge Builders: Based out of Bernardston, Mass, DiGeorge Builders provides excellent service in custom building and remodeling. Contact Scott DiGeorge at (413) 648-0584. 

JPH Building, Inc: JPH Building is a full service residential and light commercial building company. Located in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts and founded by Jay Heilman, a master craftsman with over twenty years of experience. Contact JPH Building at (413) 775-3305 or Jay@jphbuilding.com

AIP Builders: AIP or Aging in Place Builders specializes in renovations which help the elderly or those with disabilities to renovate their home in a way which allows them to continue to live comfortably in their home. They are a family owned and operated business based out of Northfield, MA. Contact AIP Builders at (413) 225-3047.

 

(Source: https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/new-england/)

 

Should You Keep Your Home on the Market in the Winter?

Your home is still listed for sale. You might be thinking it is best to take it off the market and re-list in the spring. However if you are serious about selling, rethink removing it from the market for the following 4 reasons.

1.  If you remove your home from the market, you will have less completion on the market place, which means buyers will have less to pick from. You actually might sell at a higher price in the winter than if you wait until spring when you'll have greater competition.

2.   The winter months are the best time for buyers to make a purchase. They normally have more time to look around before the spring, when life gets busy with kids getting out of school and summer vacations being planned.

3.  Buyers want to already be in their new home in winter so they can enjoy the start of the spring and summer season.

4.  Bad weather is no longer an issue for buyers like it used to be in the past, traveling to view different homes. Nine out of ten homebuyers search for their homes online at their workplaces, on their smart phones, and from the comfort of their homes after dark.

I have sold many of my listings during the winter. My sellers were glad they listened to my advice about keeping their homes on the market. Don’t let the winter season discourage you from trying to sell your home.  

Happy Winter Selling!

September Real Estate Market Report for Pioneer Valley

Franklin County sales were down 9.9% and the median price down 5.5% in September, 2018 compared to September, 2017.  The sales were also down in both Hampshire and Hampden County. 

Inventory of single family homes fell in Pioneer Valley 14.3 percent from 2,107 single family listings at the end of September 2017, to 1,806 single family listings at the end of September, 2018.  

The average days on market increase 3.7%  from 63 days in September, 2017 to 66 days in September, 2018. Listings which are pending (under agreement to sell) are down 5.2%  from 520 in September, 2017 to 493 in September, 2018.

 

The sale reports are provided from the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August, 2018 Sales Report for Single Family Homes in Western Mass

Pioneer Valley single-family home sales in August, 2017 had 699 closed transactions and 659 in August, 2018, down 5.7%.  Franklin County had 90 closed transactions in August, 2017 and 74 in August, 2018, down 17.8%.    

Pioneer Valley average days of market was down to 56 days in August 2018 vs. 63 days in August 2017.  Pending sales are up and inventory of homes for sale remains down.

For more information regarding single family sales in August review the following provided by the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Staging Tips Before You Show Your Home

Did you know that a staged property usually sells for more money and in less time than an unstaged property? In a recent article by House Logic, “81 Staging Tips That Helps Buyers Fall in Love,” an example of this is shown with two condo listings. Both units were in the same complex and were the same size and layout. One of the units was staged and the other was not. The staged unit sold for $30,000 more than the unstaged one. While staging your home does not guarantee you more money, putting that extra effort in before showing your home can go a long way.

The article continues on to share some helpful tips to prepare each room of your house for showing. Here are some tips that I found to be most important:

1. Depersonalize your home.

It is important that buyers can envision themselves living there. Remove family portraits, refrigerator decorations, and other memorabilia around the home. Instead, hang interesting artwork on the walls or set out a tea set or a board game in the living room so that buyers see what life would be like in your home.

2. Declutter.

This can be a great way to start packing up the house! Clear all countertops, tables, and other surfaces, leaving only one or two decorative items such as a vase. Take away a few pieces of furniture, especially in the living room. Clean out the cupboards, leaving only one matching set of dishes and a few glasses. Clean and organize the pantry. The goal is to make the rooms feel larger and to show the full potential for storage areas such as cabinets and closets.

3. Scrub.

Deep clean your entire home or hire a cleaning service to do it for you. Be sure to remove all dirt and grime from walls, backsplashes, and cabinets, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you have a pet, remove all pet hair, stains, and odors. Make your home so clean it shines!

4. Repair and Refresh.

Replace any old tiling or use paint instead. Fix leaky faucets or running toilets. Fill in nicks or holes in walls and add a fresh coat of paint. Replace any broken or torn window screens and any damaged or aging hardwood floors.

5. Don’t forget about the exterior!

Most buyers drive by houses first before setting up showing appointments. Make sure that their first impression is a positive one. Mow the lawn, trim the shrubs and trees. Power-wash the outside of your home, driveway, and porch. Store any yard equipment or toys out of sight, but leave out something welcoming such as porch furniture or a hammock. Revive the grass with fresh sod or new seed. Brighten up the yard with colorful flowers. Then take a step back and look- make sure things look clean!

Then on the day of showing, add some seasonal touches, such as sizzling cinnamon in the fall or flowers during the spring and summer. Tidy up whatever else may be lingering and then take off while potential buyers admire your beautiful, clean home.

As an accredited staging professional, I have received specific training in staging homes. I work with all my clients to make sure their home is staged properly before it hits the market. 

Read the full article on House Logic.

More tips by me for making a positive first impression.

 

 

Do You Have These 9 Items Ready as You Prep Your Home for Sale?

9 Items to Prepare Your Home For SaleRecently I came across an article in Coldwell Banker’s blog about 9 overlooked items necessary to prepare your home for sale, by David Marine. I found the list to be very helpful since we often are so focused on the big, cosmetic tasks, that we skip some of the details behind the scenes. Here are some things you should be sure to have done before putting your house on the market:

1. Survey

Keep a current copy of your home’s survey and be sure to give your listing agent a copy, as well. This document will provide important information to buyers, such as property lines, easements, conservation buffers, etc.

2. Floorplan or Appraisal Sketch

Whether deciding on furniture placement or parking space, a floorplan is crucial for a buyer to know property dimensions. It is suggested to have an appraisal sketch done to confirm exact square footage of a home, rather than using tax records.

3. Utility Bills

Review your utility bills to give buyers an average cost for heating and cooling your home. This helps them figure out total costs of owning the home.

4. Termite Bond

A termite bond is a protection plan in the case of a termite infestation. In many markets where termites are common, buyers are interested in knowing the termite bond policy.

5. Pest Control

If your propety requires any type of pest control maintenance, have all of the details ready. Include how much you pay, how often maintenance is done, and who your provider is.

6. Insurance

Buyers are interested in knowing the seller’s current home insurance provider, since sometimes it can be easier for them to go through the same provider, rather than trying to acquire a new one.

7. Product Manuals and Warranty Documents

For any home appliances that will remain in the home, such as water heaters, ceiling fans, refrigerators, etc., have the manuals and warranty information ready.

8. Service Providers

Have a list of all vendors and service providers. The buyer may eventually opt to find their own providers, however they will appreciate having help available initially.

9. Covenants and Restrictions, Neighborhood Rules and Information

This information is very important to new owners. You can find it by contacting your neighborhood association or going to your municipality’s website.

If you really want to go above and beyond as a seller, once you have all this information, store it in handy binder or folder that can be easily passed on to the buyer. While it may seem like a lot to compile, it will be less stressful to do it before putting your home on the market and can even move your sale along faster.

Read the full article here.

Contact me today for help in preparing your home for sale!

Source: Marine, David. “9 Overlooked Items to Prep Your Home for Sale.” Coldwell Banker Blue Matter, 7 Dec. 2017, www.coldwellbanker.com/blog/9-overlooked-items-to-prep-your-home-for-sale/.

 

Benefits of Listing Your Home During The Winter

Your home is still listed for sale. You might be thinking it is best to take it off the market and re-list in the spring. However if you are serious about selling, rethink removing it from the market for the following 4 reasons.

1.  If you remove your home from the market, you will have less completion on the market place, which means buyers will have less to pick from. You actually might sell at a higher price in the winter than if you wait until spring when you'll have greater competition.

2.   The winter months are the best time for buyers to make a purchase. They normally have more time to look around before the spring, when life gets busy with kids getting out of school and summer vacations being planned.

3.  Buyers want to already be in their new home in winter so they can enjoy the start of the spring and summer season.

4.  Bad weather is no longer an issue for buyers like it used to be in the past, traveling to view different homes. Nine out of ten homebuyers search for their homes online at their workplaces, on their smart phones, and from the comfort of their homes after dark.

I have sold many of my listings during the winter. My sellers were glad they listened to my advice about keeping their homes on the market. Don’t let the winter season discourage you from trying to sell your home.  

Happy Winter Selling!

 

Pioneer Valley Moving Into Seller's Market

An article recently published by Mass Live announced that the Pioneer Valley is moving into a “seller’s market”.  This means that the real estate market is currently favoring sellers, rather than buyers. The lack of homes for sale puts pressure on buyers to move quickly in their purchasing actions, or else risk losing out on getting the house they wanted.

According to the article, sales of single-family homes in June 2017 are fewer than in June 2016, while the median sales price rose. Also, the average number of days a home is on the market for June 2017 has decreased compared to June 2016. Specifically in Franklin County, sales are down 1.3 percent with 75 sales in June 2016 and 74 sales in June 2017 and the median price rose 16.3 percent from $224,000 to $260,500.

So what does all this mean for you? In a seller’s market, desirable houses sell quickly. If you are pursuing a new home, act in a timely manner. On the other hand, if you have been thinking of putting your home on the market, now is a good time to do so. However, sellers sometimes get overexcited in a seller’s market and might ask too high of a price. This leads to their house sitting on the market for too long. Make sure to maintain reason when listing your home.

For more advice on how to act in a seller’s market of if you are thinking of buying or selling, get in touch with Wanda Mooney at (413) 768-9848 or wanda@wandamooney.com.

To read the full article on masslive.com click here.

Selling? Be Ready for a Home Inspection

 

You now have a buyer for your home and they have scheduled a home inspection.   

This article provides insight as to what you can expect and how to prepare your home for a thorough inspection.

 

Selling Your House - Better Be Prepared for a Home Inspection

You’ve got a contract on your home for sale—congratulations! But before you pop the cork on the champagne, you’ve got to go through an ordeal that could make or break that sweet deal: a home inspection.

The home inspection is a contingency written into most offers, meaning that if the buyers aren’t happy with the result, they can cancel the sale without losing their earnest money deposit, or reopen negotiations and ask for a price reduction.

So it’s important to prepare yourself and your home for this important step of the process. How? Hey, we’re glad you asked! Let’s start at the beginning.

Will there always be a home inspection?

If your buyers are planning to tear down your home and build their own dream house, you might feel a pang of regret, but at least you won’t need to worry about the quality and condition of your property. These buyers are trying to get the lowest price possible and, if they think a clean contract without an inspection contingency will make them an attractive buyer in a competitive market, they’ll often forgo an inspection contingency.  

But most buyers who are planning to live in your home want to know what they’re getting into. They want to know which systems work, and which don’t. They want to know how much money they’ll need to plow into the purchase, and which items you, dear seller, are willing to fix or replace to seal the deal.

The results of home inspections can give buyers peace of mind, or a tool they can use to bargain down the price. In the worst case, people with buyer’s remorse will use results of a home inspection to back out of the deal without penalty.

Sound scary? Don’t fret just yet. That first home inspection will let you know everything that’s wrong with your home. Armed with that information, you can fix problems before the next buyer shows up, adjust the price to reflect necessary repairs, or simply have a ready response when the issue comes up again.

Inspectors will look at everything

A home inspection is no quick once-over. Inspectors have a 1,600-item checklist, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors. Yep, you read that right—1,600. 

“If we can get to it, we’ll inspect it,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Here are just some of the areas of the home your inspector is checking, and what a home inspector is looking for:

  • Grounds: Standing water, faulty grading, sick or dying trees and shrubs, crumbling paths and walls
  • Structure: Foundation integrity, rotting or out-of-plumb window and door frames
  • Roof: Defects in shingles, flashing, and fascia; loose and hanging gutters; defects in chimneys and skylights
  • Exterior: Cracks or rot; dents or bowing in vinyl; blistering or flaking paint; adequate clearing between siding and earth
  • Window, doors, trim: Rotting frames, peeling caulk, damaged glass
  • Interior rooms: Water-stained ceilings, adequate insulation, and sufficient heating vents
  • Kitchen: Proper venting, no leaks under the sink, and cabinet doors and drawers operate properly
  • Bathrooms: Toilets flush properly, showers spray, and tubs are securely fastened
  • Plumbing: Drains flow properly; water has proper temperature and pressure
  • Electrical: Proper electrical panels and working light switches and outlets

How can you prepare?

The home inspection isn’t a test that you need to study for. But there are some things you can do before a home inspection to make the process go more smoothly.

  • Clean and de-clutter your home: Yes, inspectors will look way beyond the superficial sparkle of a clean home. But you want to make sure they have easy access to attics, basements, and electrical panels—and aren’t tripping over your kids’ toys while trying to do their job. Think of it as an early start to your packing.
  • Get your paperwork together: You should create a file with documentation of all maintenance and repairs you’ve done on your home. If you’ve had an insurance claim on your house, keep those papers together, too, so you can prove that you took care of the problem.
  • Provide complete access to your home: Make sure you unlock gates and doors to a shed or garage that doesn’t have lockbox access.

You could consider getting a pre-inspection to eliminate any surprises; some sellers choose to hire their own inspector to give the house a once-over and point out any problems, so they can fix them before the buyer’s home inspector arrives on the scene.

But be careful with this tactic.

“It’s not a good idea,” says Bill Golden, an Atlanta-area real estate agent. “If you have five different inspectors inspect the home, you’ll get five different lists of items they’re concerned about. Just because your inspector didn’t have a problem with something doesn’t mean the buyer’s inspector won’t.”

More important, if your inspector points out a problem, you’re obligated to disclose it to buyers.

“This could be a potential turn-off to buyers,” Golden says.

Do yourself a favor, and leave

Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, give the inspector your cellphone number, grab your car keys, and go to a movie or out to lunch when the home inspector shows up. Your anxiety will only make everyone uncomfortable, which isn’t a productive atmosphere during an inspection.

“Inspectors and buyers are not at all comfortable with the seller being present during an inspection,” Golden says. “They need to be able to freely inspect and discuss any and everything they come across. You may think you are being helpful by being present, but you are not; you are impeding the process.”

“A home inspector’s job is to point out each and every deficiency and safety violation they see,” Golden says. “Arguing with the buyers about an inspector’s findings is not helpful.”

“It may be agreeing to fix an item, it may mean giving them some money toward a repair, or it may simply be providing documentation,” Golden says.

An experienced real estate agent knows how to interpret inspection reports, which issues are vital to address, and which are red herrings designed to reopen price negotiations.

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning freelancer who's written about real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, and many others.

 

15 Years vs. 30 Year Mortgage - What's the Best Option?

If you are planning on buying a home or refinancing and would like to know the difference between a 15 vs. 30 year mortgage, this article explains the benefits of both. You do save an enormous amount of money if you can afford larger payments and pay off your home in 15 years or you can go 30 years and make extra principle payments. You can calculate the mortgage payments at www.BankRate.com or ask your lender to show you the difference. Feel free to give me a call at 413-337-8344 or send me an email at wanda@wandamooney.com if you have any guidance. 

15 or 30 years: What’s the difference?

At first glance, the difference between a 15-year and 30-year mortgage seems obvious: The former stretches your home loan payments over 15 years, the latter over 30. But you already knew that.

But here’s something you might not know: Since a longer loan life means you can make smaller payments, a recent survey found that 86% of home loan applicants opt for a 30-year mortgage.

Here’s how the numbers play out: If you purchase a $300,000 home with a 20% down payment, a 30-year (fixed-rate) loan at the going interest rate (currently 3.68%), it will cost you $1,102 per month for 30 years. Get that same loan for 15 years, you’ll be rewarded with a slightly lower interest rate (currently 2.69%), but you’ll have to cough up $1,622—$502 more per month.

Bottom line? If you can’t afford large monthly payments or are worried about not being able to in the future due to job loss, sporadic income, health issues, or whatever other curveballs might come your way, it’s understandable that you’d opt for a 30-year mortgage rather than 15. The peace of mind alone could be priceless.

Benefits of a 15-year mortgage

What many homeowners forget to factor in is that a 15-year mortgage may cost more now, but it will save you major cash in interest payments down the road.

“A 15-year loan will save you a ton of money,” says Casey Fleming, author of “The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage.”

You might be surprised by just how much, so let’s continue with the above example: For a $300,000 home purchased with a 20% down payment, a 30-year mortgage at today’s average interest rate (3.68%) will end up costing you a total of $456,708—that’s in interest and principal—by the time those 30 years are up. By contrast, a 15-year loan at today’s average interest rate (2.69%) will ultimately cost you only $351,933.

In other words, a 15-year mortgage will ultimately save you $104,775 in interest payments—serious money, which might add up to a very good reason to tighten your belt and give it a try. You can run your own numbers with realtor.com®’s mortgage calculator to figure out which approach is right for you.

How to save money on a 30-year mortgage

If you can’t afford making the higher payments on a 15-year mortgage but like the idea of saving on interest, there are other ways to make that happen, even if you have a 30-year loan.

For one, most lenders don’t prohibit borrowers from paying off a loan early, so there’s no reason you can’t pay off a 30-year loan in just 15 years (or 20, or 25, or whatever you can manage). So if you do find yourself with extra money one month due to a bonus or tax refund, consider putting it toward paying off your mortgage early. You’ll save a huge chunk in interest without sacrificing the sense of security that comes with knowing you can easily afford to make your monthly mortgage payments—and maybe occasionally a little extra.

Article posted on Realtor.com and written by Jamie Wiebe