Blog :: 05-2013

Good News in April for Pioneer Valley Real Estate Market


Pioneer Valley Real Estate update for April is reporting an influx of buyers looking and sales down due to lack of inventory.      The interest rates are still at an all time low and this is one of the main reasons why the real estate market is continuing to do well.   You will continue to see positive news throughout this year and possibly into the next. 

In April, Franklin County, sales rose 37.5 percent from 24 to 33 and the median sales price fell 5.9 percent from $168,450 to $158,500. 

For more information about the latest local real estate news, check out the complete article with quotes from Pioneer Valley real estateagents.

Market Update - Economist from National Assoc of Realtors & Builders Assoc

Dr. Lawrence Yun - Economist for the National Association of Realtors and Dr. David Crowe - Economist with the Home Builders Association talk about the current national real estate market conditions. The overall news continues to be very positive.  When listening to the video, keep in mind that real estate is local and some of the statistics may not apply in your neighborhood.   

Bridge of Flowers Plant Sale this Saturday 9:00 a.m. - Get there early!

Bridge of Flowers Annual Plant Sale is this Saturday, May 18th, from 9am - noon at the Baptist Lot on the corner of Main & Water Streets in Shelburne Falls.

Fabulous plants will be available to buy and come from the best private gardens in the area and some from the bridge!  If you love to garden, you must attend this event.  I recommend you get their early.   See you Saturday morning!

All proceeds go to support the Bridge of Flowers.www.bridgeofflowersmass.org

8 Tips for Finding Your First Home

The following post comes from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Inc. agent, Kim Knapp. Kim is an experienced agent in Northern Florida and has a great team who has worked with countless first-time home buyers.
Here are her 8 tips to help make finding that first home go as smoothly as possible:
1. Research before you look.
Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you'd be willing to spend each month for housing.
2. Be realistic.
It's OK to be picky, but don't be unrealistic with your expectations. There's no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
3. Get your finances in order.
Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can't afford.
4. Don't ask too many people for opinions.
It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. You will be the one that will be ultimately living in the home and paying the mortgage payment.
5. Decide your moving timeline.
When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
6. Think long term.
Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you'll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
7. Insist on a home inspection.
If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.
8. Get help from a REALTOR®.
Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer's representative is working only for you. Buyer's reps are usually paid out of the seller's commission payment.

Massachusetts Pending Sales Are Up!

Pendings Sale for April
Despite the low inventory of homes for sale, buyers made a huge push in April to make offers on homes. In fact, the push was so huge that more single-family homes were put under agreement in April 2013 than in any month since MAR began tracking pending home sales data in January 2004. While condos didn't hit an all-time high, they did hit their 2nd highest total.
Here are the highlights:
  • Single-family pending home sales were up 32.8% compared to April 2012 - biggest increase since April 2010 (last month of tax credit)
  • 5,948 is the most homes ever put under agreement in any one month
  • Condo pending home sales were up 37.4% compared to April 2012
  • 2.435 is the 2nd most condos put under agreement in any single month (March 2005 - 2,501 units was the most)
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors

Coldwell Banker First Time Home Buyer Week - Great Tips and Videos

According the National Association of Realtors, nearly a third of real estate home buyers this year will be entering the housing market for the first time. As a first time buyer, you'll soon find out that there's so many roads that need to be navigated before moving into that first home.

That's why at Coldwell Banker Real Estate we're dedicating this entire week to helping the first time home buyer as they venture into the world of home ownership. Throughout the week on this blog as well as on the Coldwell Banker Facebook and Twitter profiles, we'll only be sharing content that's geared toward first time home buyers.
While we're producing all new content this week, the first time home buyer has been the focus of a number of posts we've already written. One of our most popular, and useful ones, is on 5 Tips for Saving for a Down Payment to help first time home buyers prepare financially for the big move.
Moving from the financial side of things to the emotional, Coldwell Banker Real Estate also conducted a study on the emotional impact of buying a home with your spouse and even consulted famed psychotherapist  Dr. Robi Ludwig, to help provide some insight.
Also, there's a tendency as a first time home buyer to jump on that first property that catches your eye, but there's really value in shopping around. Here's our post titled, Why First Time Home Buyers Should Shop Around.
The most provocative question posed in real estate this year came from one of our writers who was debating whether to enter the real estate market in 2013. The question she asked was: Is the F Word Stopping You from Becoming a First Time Home Buyer?
And finally, I wanted to share a lesson that I learned upon buying my first home and how I came to believe in working with a real estate professional.
We hope first time home buyers will find all the content being shared this week useful to their initial home shopping experience. But for those who've been through the process before, we want to hear from you and have you share what you wish you knew when you were a first time home buyer.
Join the conversation throughout First Time Home Buyer Week by following the hashtag #FirstHome and of course we welcome your opinions, insights and questions in the comments.
Here's to making 2013 the year you experience the joy of home ownership for the first time.

Grow Your Vegetables in Containers!

Mary Moss-Sprague, master gardener and author of Stand Up and Garden (Countryman Press, 2012), grows all her vegetables in containers after a disease ran rampant through her garden soil and decimated her tomato plants -- a non-problem with containers because they don't share soil. 

Tips for container gardening 

Containers: Any container will do, as long as it's deep enough for the plant (check the seed packet). Just drill ½-inch drainage holes in the bottom. 

Moss-Sprague suggests snagging 5-gallon food buckets from your grocery store or deli, or asking your neighborhood garden center for 5- to 7-gallon grower's pots -- both are free. Before using, wash out the container with a gallon of water mixed with a cup of chlorine bleach to kill off any lingering bacteria. 

Soil: All-purpose soil is pretty goof-proof. But don't use topsoil -- it won't work because it doesn't have the required nutrients. 

Plants: Read instructions on the seedling or seed packet first. The same rules for sun, watering, space, and hardiness zones apply to container vegetables. 

Top 10 container vegetables

1. Tomatoes: All kinds do well in pots. Try grape and cherry varieties for easy growing -- their small size makes them easy to handle. Put up a trellis because they love to climb.

Pros: Growing them in containers makes them a snap to water because it's easier to get under their leaves; cherry tomatoes produce quickly.
Cons: Don't seed directly in container -- young tomato plants need specific growing conditions to get started, which can be tricky; buy seedlings instead.
2. Peppers: Bell and chili peppers are good container contenders. Peppers can be picky when starting out, so plant seedlings instead of seeds.
Pros: Red mini bell peppers are quick producers -- about 2 months until they're ready to eat.
Cons: You'll need some patience -- regular peppers take up to 3 months to mature.
3. Lettuce: Any kind of lettuce will grow in pots. You can seed directly in the pot.
Pros: Huge selection to choose from, and you can plant different varieties in the same container -- a beautiful look.
Cons: They need full sun -- you might have to move your containers around to ensure good exposure.
4. Spinach: All different varieties really thrive in containers. Scatter the seeds and thin them out as they grow.
Pros: You can trim off the leaves when you want them and they'll just keep growing more.
Cons: Good drainage is really important for spinach; it prefers sunny days and cool nights.
5. Radishes: French Breakfast, White Icicle, and Short Cherry Bell are three varieties to try. Plant 1 to 2 inches between, and thin as they grow.
Pros: Super quick! About 25 days and they're ready to crunch.
Cons: They don't like heat -- if you live in a hot zone, look for varieties that are heat-resistant, or grow in the spring and fall.
6. Green onions: Very pretty and very easy to grow.
Pros: They don't take much room and are easy to manage -- they like sun, but be sure to wait until the danger of frost has passed before planting.
Cons: They take a couple of months until they're ready.
7. Carrots: Any type of carrot will work in containers -- when they're ready to harvest, soak the container with water first to making pulling easier.
Pros: There are many types to choose from; "kaleidoscope" mixes come with a variety of flavors and beautiful colors.
Cons: Some will take up to 80 days until they're ready; if you're an impatient gardener, look for quick-maturing types, such as Touchon and Little Finger.
8. Swiss chard: Seed directly in your container and trim leaves as needed -- they'll continue to produce. Chard is tastiest when it's young.
Pros: Very durable plant that tolerates warmth.
Cons: Getting your kids to eat it (unusual flavors).
9. Cucumbers: Another good plant for impatient gardeners, cukes add crunch to summer salads and sandwiches.
Pros: Quick to germinate and quick to grow.
Cons: They need sturdy support posts or a trellis so the plants have somewhere to climb. Or try smaller, less-heavy bush cucumbers.
10. Green beans: So easy to grow, you can put your kids in charge.
Pros: Quick growers and you'll have a bumper crop if you pick regularly -- they'll just keep growing more.
Cons: Climbing beans -- called pole beans -- grow 5 to 6 feet, so stick to bush beans, which hit 1-2 feet on sturdy, self-supporting stems.

Delightful Cottage in Wildwood Community, Goshen, Ma

Delightful Cottage nestled in the woods at the end of a private drive and part of a special 12 unit community known as Wildwood.   You have access to walking trails that are among 35 beautiful wooded acres.    The location is perfect and it is less than 30 minutes to Northampton.   The house is in move-in condition and many updates have been done.  It has a good size kitchen and living area with handsome stone fireplace with woodstove, a large wrap around deck, 2 bedrooms, 1 ½ baths and wood floors.  It is easy to heat and offer low maintenance living.    You are surrounded by gardens and the feel of living in the tree tops!  You will love it - come take a look today.  $125,000
Check out the visual tour:
Play VisualTour

Shelburne Falls Art Walk this Saturday May 4th! Join the Fun

Come to the Art Walk
The perfect weekend to attend the Art Walk in Shelburne Falls.  Walk around town, enjoy the Bridge of Flowers, shop at your favorite store and treat yourself to a nice dinner!  Follow the decorated shoes around town and enjoy the special event in the charming Village of Shelburne Falls.


Saturday, May 4th 
2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Recently, the Village of Shelburne Falls was designated a Cultural District by Massachusetts Cultural Council.  Come and see why!