Blog :: 10-2012

Homes for Sale in Franklin and Hampshire County, Mass

I have a large inventory of homes on the market located in Franklin and Hampshire County.  If you are looking for your first home, getaway place, farm or business venture - the perfect place could be right here.  If you have any questions about any of the properties listed for sale, feel free to give me a call at 413-337-8344 or email:

Wonderful Home for sale in Deerfield, Mass

Attractive Gambrel style home located in the Town of Deerfield and sited at the end of a private drive in a secluded setting with seasonal westerly views.   Newer Buderus heating system, fresh coat of paint, newer upper roof, and well insulated.    Features include eat-in kitchen, living room, 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, ample closet space, finished room in the basement and a detached 2-car garage.   Come take a look! $259,000

Check out the visual tour:

Play VisualTour

Antique Colonial on 12 Acres - Heath, Ma

Beautiful Antique Colonial on 12 acres that is tastefully renovated incorporating period details of yesterday with modern conveniences of today.  The kitchen is fabulous w/stone countertops & upscale stainless appliances.  There is a large family room with fireplace, formal dining room with fireplace, first floor bedroom or parlor, den, 3 additional bedrooms, office or sitting area, total of 7 fireplaces, wood floors, exposed beam, updated systems! Open land, barn, and views of protected land. $395,000
Check out the visual tour:

Play VisualTour

Shelburne Falls - Now a Cultural District

Shelburne Falls is now a "Cultural District".  This is wonderful news for the village.  It is truly a special place.  
Cinderella moment for Shelburne Falls

The village is one of 10 Massachusetts communities to be named a state "Cultural District," and state officials who came to celebrate in Buckland's Town Hall Thursday afternoon saw Shelburne Falls at its autumnal best: on a balmy day with the last fall blossoms on the Bridge of Flowers, with golden foliage, and the streets full of Hallmark School of Photography students on their annual photo-taking foray into town.

But Anita Walker, executive director of the state's Cultural Council, got to walk the town in a handpainted pair of "Art Walk" shoes that looked as though they were made for her. "When I came here last time, I thought this was an amazing place," said Walker. "Today I'm living every girl's dream: I'm wearing 'magical' shoes from the Art Walk," she said, modeling a stylish pair of lace-up high heels in primary colors.  During the village's quarterly Art Walks, shoes that are decorated by local artists are placed on paths to direct "foot traffic" to art studios, shops and galleries that stay open late that evening, when the streets are filled with people, roving musicians, artists and appetizers.  The shoes had been part of display in Town Hall, along with the Art Garden's recent exhibition on the Deerfield River and with artworks given to Shelburne Falls from its Sister City, the village of Mutianyu, China.  Walker said she was not only going to walk through Shelburne Falls in her Art Walk shoes, but she was going to wear them to other cultural districts across the state.

 "This is the only place -- probably on the planet -- where people make a destination of going where the potholes are. And they're beautiful," she added, referring to the Glacial Potholes tourist attraction in the Deerfield River. "Our best cultural districts are real, authentic places where you celebrate who you are, what you are doing."  "I brag about you every place I go," she told the 45 to 50 people who attended the luncheon celebration.  Shelburne selectmen's Chairman Robert Manners said the word "culture" stems from a Roman word meaning "to cultivate or grow," as in agriculture.  "Here we are today, celebrating the creation of the cultural district of Shelburne Falls," he said. "It's only fitting that we recognize this, for it's consistent in this area throughout time." He pointed out that American Indians had established the Salmon Falls Glacial Potholes area as a common fishing area and signed a peace treaty; later, the available water power made it a center of industry.  Manners said the sense of place involved "things that are not tangible, that are here for us to enjoy."
"This is a seed that we all take with us, to plant and grow elsewhere," he said.

State Sen. Stan Rosenberg, who represented the two towns composing the village of Shelburne Falls for many years, said he is glad the village was one of the first to be included in the new cultural district program. "The bootstrap mentality, of we-can-do-it, is represented by this community. This is just a formal recognition of the cultural past -- of what you already have here," he said. State Rep. Steve Kulik, who represents the towns, said he will work with the village leaders "to make sure this is not just a designation in name only."
Mary Vilbon, executive director of the Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, said that a new highway sign has been designed by an artist for Shelburne Falls, but that money is needed to pay for creating the road sign and installing it.  The village began applying for a cultural district designation over a year ago. Some of the other communities with this designation include Gloucester, Concord, Hyannis, Rockport, the Fenway district of Boston and the Upstreet district of Pittsfield.

The Cultural Designation Program was enacted by the Legislature in 2010, and participants hope it will open doors to more grants, more publicity, and more resources for boosting businesses.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

3.8% Medicare Tax - Not a Real Estate Transfer Tax

Rumors have spread about this 3.8% tax.  The National Association of REALTORS has done an excellent job explaining the details of the tax.  The video is only 6 minutes and explains the property owners that are effected by the tax.   I hope this information is helpful.  Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions.
Rumors about the 3.8% Medicare tax continue to circulate. Here's the definitive word on what's true and what's not on how the tax impacts real estate.
Ever since health care reform was enacted into law more than two years ago, rumors have been circulating on the Internet and in e-mails that the law contains a 3.8 percent tax on real estate. The tax doesn't target real estate and will in fact affect very few home sales, because it's a tax that will only affect high-income households that realize a substantial gain on an asset sale, including on a home sale, once other factors are taken into account. Maybe 2-3 percent of home sellers will be affected.
Nevertheless, the rumors persist and the latest version that's circulating falsely say NAR is advocating for the tax's repeal. But while NAR doesn't support the tax (it was added into the health care law at the last minute and never considered in hearings), it's not advocating for its repeal at this time.
The characterization of the 3.8 percent tax as a tax on real estate is an example of an Internet rumor, says Heather Elias, NAR's director of social business media. Elias and Linda Goold, NAR's director of tax policy, sat down for a discussion of how the tax works.

Economic Update - Mortgages & Housing

In each Economic Update, the Research staff analyzes recently released economic indicators and addresses what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today's update discusses housing starts and mortgage purchase applications.

§  There were two positive news releases for the housing market this morning; housing starts were up along with purchase applications for mortgages.
§  Single-family starts rose 11.0 in September over the August figure and 42.3% higher than a year ago.  The August number was also revised upward and permits for new construction of single-family units rose 7.6% in September.
§  The single family construction numbers are a positive sign for the market as they suggest that homebuilders feel confident in low inventories and are willing to delve back into the market despite tight financing that often requires self-funding of projects.  While construction is up, the 603,000 single family units started in September (seasonally adjusted at annual rates) was well below the 1.15 million units averaged annually from 1980 to 2007.
§  The purchase portion of the weekly mortgage applications index rose 1% on the heels of a 2% increase last week.   The refinance component fell 5% after a 2% decrease last week.
§  Purchase applications are headed in the right direction, but at low levels.  Lenders have complained of high refi volumes taxing their processes, so the decline on that side of the business should help homebuyers.  It may also help to reduce the spread between banks cost of capital and the rates that they loan at as a decline on the refi side would help to heat up competition for borrowers, passing on more the impact of QE3 to homebuyers.
§  Construction is up, which is a good sign of the sustainability of the low inventory levels which have driven price growth and buyer confidence.  In addition, growth of mortgage applications suggests that demand should remain robust through the end of the year and we may see some further improvement in rates to draw buyers out during the winter months.  However, lending conditions remain tight and an improvement on this front, hopefully with clarification on Basel III and Dodd-Frank (QM and QRM) as we approach January, should help to unlock more demand.
Ken Fears is the Manager of Regional Economics. He focuses on regional and local market trends found in the Local Market Reports and the Market Watch Reports . He also writes on developments in the mortgage industry and foreclosures.

Horse Farm for Sale, Westhampton, Ma

Massive 20,000sqft 2-story horse barn that offers many commercial possibilities for a home-based business or other.  It has 22 box stalls w/mahogany wood & iron doors, hay loft and multiple rooms that can be used for most anything.  How much would this building cost you to construct today?  It is a great value and must be seen!  In addition there is a renovated antique cape, paddock areas, potential magnificent building site w/views, all this on 50 acres. 10 min to Northampton. Great Location!
Check out the visual tour:
Play VisualTour

3rd Annual Pumpkinfest, Turners Falls, Mass

The third annual Pumpkinfest will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2012 on Avenue A in Turners Falls. The event is FREE to the public. Just bring cash for food, beer, and fun! The event runs from 3-9pm, with FREE shuttling from Turners Falls High School and Sheffield School! 

Costumes are also permitted - and encouraged!

Guests are encouraged to bring carved and painted pumpkins. They can be brought starting at 10am in front of St. Kaz on Avenue A. The other pumpkin station, located on 3rd St, opens at 12pm.  For more information contact Michael Nelson, Event Organizer at or 413-522-0712 or visit the Pumpkinfest facebook page.

Drive along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts

One thing I like about Facebook is when one of my friends post something about the area that I can share with all of you.  There is a great article about the Mohawk Trail that is in the travel section of New York Times web site that you might find interesting.

I lived on the Mohawk Trail in Charlemont, Mass for all of my childhood and teenage years.   Not only is it beautiful, but offers so many fun things to do like horseback riding, hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing and so much more.   During the fall season, I remember seeing bumper to bumper cars moving slowly along the Mohawk Trail while the tourists take a close look at the brilliant colors.   This is a special time of year and we all need to enjoy nature's most breathtaking landscape.   If you have no plans this weekend, visit my neck of the woods and take a drive along the Mohawk Trail.

Ashfield Fall Festival is this Weekend Ashfield, Ma

The Ashfield Fall Festival is happening this weekend!  If you never been, make the time and come enjoy the festivities.
I am looking forward to walking around, visiting with friends, and shopping for that special piece of artwork to add to my collection.  You will want to save your appetite because the food is fabulous especially fried dough with maple cream! 
There is something to do for whole family including great music and kids games.  The festival takes place up and down Ashfield's Main Street on October 6-7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - rain or shine. 
For more information check out Ashfield Falls Festival website for list of all the activities and list of over 50 exhibitors.  Look forward to seeing you there!