295 South Street, Northampton MA

Set back from the road in Northampton, MA, sits this beautiful 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home at 295 South Street.  We invite you to click on the hotlink and take a tour of this charming family home, within walking distance to Northampton Center.  Please note, there are actually two year round porches – off of the master bedroom and living room respectively – as well as a three season porch off of the kitchen.

The house has been in the same family for over 40 years.  While a new owner would likely want to make cosmetic updates, this house has great bones, a lovely slate roof in great condition, the heat and hot water systems have been maintained and are in good working order, the house has a large, beautiful and quiet lot behind the house – which abuts town land and the Mill River.  There are lovely original architectural details, hardwood floors and windows throughout.  There is a full, dry walk out basement and a full attic.  You can see from the video footage that the house has great curb appeal!

The house is currently listed for $375,000 and the sellers are motivated.  They want to pass their beloved family home onto a new family who will appreciate it’s inherent charm and beauty, and also appreciate that it is priced with the need for cosmetic updates in mind.

Contact Julie Starr for a showing at juliestarr@mapleandmainrealty.com.

172 Greenleaf Drive, Florence MA

172 Greenleaf Drive in Florence MA is a spacious 3500+ square foot contemporary style home, located a mere 10 minutes from downtown Northampton, MA.   This lovely 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house sits on a quiet street on a 1.08 acre lot.  The home includes a 2-car attached garage, and cook’s kitchen; with a professional Viking range and Ashfield stone counter tops.  On the first level, the living room, complete with fireplace, opens up to a peaceful deck overlooking the backyard.  The soaring ceilings and large windows allow for a beautiful light-filled living space.  The laundry is located on the second floor in one of the two full baths.  There are 4 bedrooms on the second floor, including a Master suite, with a walk-in closet and full bath.  The walk-out finished basement has additional living space, a built in media center, as well as a dark room which could be converted back to a half bath.  The backyard is beautifully landscaped, including a Goshen stone patio, with lawn and garden beds overlooking the wooded area behind.  This efficient home was built in 1994.  It has a three-zone forced hot air oil heating system, as well as central A/C.  172 Greenleaf Drive is offered at $599,000.  Please allow some advance notice to schedule a showing with Susan Mayhew, the listing agent. Front yard IMG_7444_edited Cook’s kitchen IMG_7367_edited IMG_7372_edited Dining room IMG_7348_edited Living room IMG_7379_edited   Master bedroom IMG_7430_edited   Walk out basement to Goshen stone patio in back IMG_7455_edited

More on Decluttering

How to efficiently — and regularly — rid your home of the things you don’t want

Many of us have a problem with clutter. It can be so hard to get rid of things. Often the difficulty comes down to deciding whether something really is clutter. The struggle can be internal (“I could use this some day”), or with various family members (“Are you kidding me? That was my Aunt Agatha’s!”)If you are desperate to clear things out of your house, a good place to start is the stuff everyone can agree needs to go. In our family no one wants to hold on to outgrown clothing, dead batteries, returnable bottles and cans, and books we’ve read but don’t love enough to keep. So why can’t we get them out of the house? Why are they piled by the door or on the end of the table, stashed in the back of the pantry or moldering in bags in the garage? Why!I was thinking about this as we cleaned the garage last week, and then again when I unloaded a table outside our laundry room and noted the various bags of things I had carefully gathered and sorted and then forgot about for weeks on end. I realized we need to come up with a few systems for getting this stuff out of the house. We need some exit strategies.

Home Sales Increasing

This information, posted recently on National Association of Realtors website, describes improving trends in real estate sales in the United States.  While this national news doesn’t necessarily reflect local real estate trends exactly – it is in keeping with our earlier post of May 21st, about housing in the Pioneer Valley and Northampton area.   At any rate, inventory is increasing and sales activity is improving!

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2014) – Existing-home sales rose strongly in May and inventory gains continued to help moderate price growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four regions of the country experienced sales gains compared to a month earlier.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million in May from an upwardly-revised 4.66 million in April, but remain 5.0 percent below the 5.15 million-unit level in May 2013. The 4.9 percent month-over-month gain in May was the highest monthly rise since August 2011 (5.5 percent).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said current sales activity is rebounding after the lackluster first quarter. “Home buyers are benefiting from slower price growth due to the much-needed, rising inventory levels seen since the beginning of the year,” he said. “Moreover, sales were helped by the improving job market and the temporary but slight decline in mortgage rates.”

Total housing inventory2 at the end of May climbed 2.2 percent to 2.28 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down slightly from 5.7 months in April. Unsold inventory is 6.0 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.15 million existing homes available for sale.

The median existing-home price3 for all housing types in May was $213,400, which is 5.1 percent above May 2013. “Rising inventory bodes well for slower price growth and greater affordability, but the amount of homes for sale is still modestly below a balanced market. Therefore, new home construction is still needed to keep prices and housing supply healthy in the long run,” Yun added.

Earlier this month, NAR reported new home construction activity is currently insufficient in most of the U.S., and some states could face persistent housing shortages and affordability issues unless housing starts increase to match up with local job creation.

Distressed homes4 – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 11 percent of May sales, down from 18 percent in May 2013. Eight percent of May sales were foreclosures and three percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in May, while short sales were discounted 11 percent.

Summer Events

We are 5 days into summer – and, so far, the weather is cooperating beautifully!  Each year I look forward to the many cultural events offered in the Pioneer Valley during the summertime.  I thought it would be fun and useful to compile a list of upcoming events here on our blog:

1.  Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.  June through August.  Becket, MA

2.  The Blanford Fair, August 29th – September 1st.  Blanford, MA

3.  The Brimfield Antique Show.  July 8th-13th, September 2nd – 7th.

4.  The Borrowed Talents Craft Fair and Show.  July 27th and 28th.  Chicopee, MA

5.  The Cummington Fair, August 21st – 24th.  Cummington, MA

6.  The Green River Festival.  July 12th-13th.  Greenfield, MA

7.  The Franklin County Fair, September 4-7th.  Greenfield, MA

8.  The Heath Fair, August 15th – 17th.  Heath, MA

9.  The Three County Fair.  August 29th – September 1st.  Northampton MA

10.  The Stockbridge Summer Arts and Crafts Show.  August 16th – 17th.  Stockbridge, MA

11.  The Big E,  September 12th – 28th.  Springfield, MA

12.  The Westfield Fair, August 16th – 18th.  Westfield, MA

13.  Transperformance “Off the Map”.  August 26th.  Look Park, Florence, MA

14.  Florence Music on the Porch Series.  Thursdays through August.  Florence, MA

15.  Don’t miss the Family Fourth Celebration at Look Park in Florence this Saturday, June 28th!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

371 Main Street in Ashfield MA

DSCN0393 Right in the center of scenic Ashfield MA sits this diamond-in-the-rough, 317 Main Street.  A 5 bedroom, 2 bath, 2866 sf family home on nearly an acre of land.  The original house was built in 1780, while a large addition was added roughly 100 years later.  The architectural style is Colonial revival with a farmhouse flare.  While the house will need some work, it has many lovely architectural details:  slate roof (in good condition!), built in cabinetry, tin ceilings, original wood floors, a beadboard pantry and an wonderful country sink, a front porch as well as a porch off of the second floor – all set upon a 0.96 acre lot in the heart of downtown Ashfield.   DSCN0392     Home to many artists and artisans – Ashfield is a lovely hill town with a charming downtown center, boasting The Double Edge Theatre, Elmer’s Store and restaurant, Ashfield Lake, and the DAR State Forest is just down the road.  Ashfield is home of the wonderful Ashfield Fall Festival, a major destination for locals.  The 30 minute drive to Ashfield from Northampton is the epitome New England charm and beauty – rolling hills, lakes, farmland and stone walls abound.  This wonderful and historic home in the heart of Ashfield is listed for $129,000.  For more information or to set up a showing, please contact Katie Lyons katielyons@mapleandmainrealty.com.

Let’s Get Moving

Having just gone through the process of moving house, I thought moving would be a good subject to touch upon.  We had an unusually long time period to prepare for our move – 5 months!  Most closings take place in 6-8 weeks.  Our buyers weren’t in a rush, and neither were we – so we agreed to put off closing until springtime.  Since we had managed to fill our (former) 3500+ sf house, including the basement and the attic, with stuff — it was good to have time to sort through everything. Here are the steps I would recommend in preparing for your move: 1.  Go through the entire house and decide which items you want to sell, which you want to recycle and which you want to keep.  It may be a good idea to use color coded stickers to help you remember which items are destined for which location. 2.  For the items you want to sell, I had good results with Craigs List.  I spent some time on Ebay and Craigslist researching pricing for the items before I listed them.  Be prepared to lose money on most items – resale value for furniture (aside from valuable antiques) isn’t great. 3.  Check out the Northampton DPW website for a list of recycling events for items you want to get rid of – while avoiding the landfill if possible. 4.  If you have an overwhelming number of items to rid yourself of, it may be a good idea to contact a local auction house to see what they might be willing to take, and for what commission.  We worked with Kimballs Auction House. 5.  For clothing in good condition, the local consignment stores in town are a great resource.  For clothing that may have less retail value, Goodwill, Salvation Army and The Hartsprings Foundation are all great.  Hartsprings does street side pick up in many Northampton neighborhoods. 6.  Once you have found a home for all of the items you want to get rid of, it’s time to start packing.  We got quotes from 3-4 local movers.  I would say that price isn’t the only component to consider, I would recommend going with the company which has the best reviews. 7.  Advice on packing…. One Room At A Time!  Try to set a realistic time schedule for your self.  Perhaps one room per day? 8.  LABEL YOUR BOXES CLEARLY!  Make sure your movers put proper boxes in the proper rooms when they reach the new location – this way you avoid having to RE-move the boxes once you get there. 9.  Do a lot of deep breathing, try to get enough sleep, don’t take it out on your partner when you get irritated : ) Enjoy your new home!

Good Bugs for Green Thumbs

Driving to and from Ashfield these past weeks to attend showings and inspections at our listing at 74 Ranney Corner Road, I have continually been blown away by the immense beauty of the Pioneer Valley witnessed on that drive.  So many native plants are in bloom, it seems almost every color of the rainbow is represented.  I have not yet been successful in developing a green thumb myself, but I know many people who take pride in growing the wide array flowers and vegetables that our local soil enables us to grow.  To that end, I was struck by this piece in the Daily Hampshire Gazette this week, discussing beneficial insects (with a bonus list of plant sales and garden tours at the end).  I felt compelled to share it here.

Get Growing: Beneficial insects

Even the youngest gardener knows that lady bugs are good guys, otherwise known as beneficial insects. And most gardeners of any age are becoming more aware of the crucial role bees play as pollinators. But there are other beneficial bugs with which you may not be familiar: parasitic wasps, hover flies, lacewings and tachinid flies.

In the past week I’ve gotten information from two different sources on attracting beneficial insects to your garden. First the National Garden Bureau sent an email to garden writers across the country. Then Renee’s Seeds sent a similar notice. In both cases the writers emphasized plants you can grow to attract these helpful insects to your garden.

Of course, there is no point in trying to lure beneficial insects to your garden if you insist on using pesticides. Chemicals kill good guys as well as bad guys.

Ladybugs, or more accurately ladybird beetles, devour aphids which sap the juices from the tender buds of all kinds of plants. They are actually the hardest to attract to your garden because once the aphids have been destroyed, the beetles move on to another banquet. Be sure to find a picture of a ladybird beetle larva so you don’t eliminate them by mistake. They aren’t pretty like their parents.

Lacewings, primarily the larval stage, are also hungry eaters of aphids. In fact, one of their nicknames is “aphid lion.” They also devour insect eggs, thrips, mites, mealybugs, whiteflies and small caterpillars. Their parents can be attracted to your garden by planting sunflowers and members of the carrot family. Among the parasitic wasps, the most well-known is one that lays the eggs in that dread tomato hornworm. They are distinctive oval white eggs laid down the back of the caterpillar. If you see a tomato hornworm with the unusual egg decoration, don’t kill it. Let the wasp larvae kill it instead. There are dozens of other parasitic wasps that can lured to your garden if you plant members of the sunflower or daisy family. Try planting dill, cilantro, parsley, asters, goldenrods and sunflowers. Yes, these can be planted right among your vegetables as long as you space the plants well.

Tachinid flies have similar tastes to the wasps: members of the carrot, sunflower and mint families. You might need to sacrifice a few dill or parsley plants but the flies will repay you by eating many types of caterpillars, squash bugs, Japanese beetles and sawfly larvae.

Hover flies looks like skinny honey bees with stripes. Of all things they love sweet alyssum best. So go ahead and plant that edging of white or purple sweet alyssum in your vegetable garden as well as your ornamental garden. The hover flies will thank you by taking care of scales, thrips, mites and those pesky aphids. They also like buckwheat flowers (buckwheat is a great cover crop with lovely white flowers), catmint, yarrow and cilantro flowers. Hover flies are also called syrphid flies or sweat bees.

You won’t mistake a hover fly for a bumblebee, but many of us forget that these bumbling tanks of the bee family are wonderful pollinatorsm who, unlike the fussier honeybees, aren’t deterred by cold, cloudy or even rainy conditions, so they keep on working in orchards and gardens while the honeybees remain in their hives. Bumblebees love lots of flowers especially clover, mint, coneflowers, asters and sunflowers. They also love the nectar of tomatoes for which they are particularly effective pollinators. The National Garden Bureau, Renee’s Seeds and this garden writer all acknowledge the information provided by the Home Garden Seed Association of Maxwell, California. (www.ezfromseed.org)

PLANT SALES: The majority of the local nonprofit plant sales were held earlier this month, but there are still opportunities to buy local plants while supporting nonprofit groups. Here is the final list:

∎ May 24: Amherst: 4-H plant sale, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Amherst Farmers Supply, 320 S. Pleasant St. Hanging plants, patio pots, vegetable plants, flowering plants, herbs and perennials. Leverett: Leverett Historical Society’s Plant and Garden Book Sale, 9 a.m. to noon, Leverett Town Hall. To donate plants or books or to help contact Dawn Marvin Ward at 367-9562 or Julie at 367-2656. South Hadley: Mount Holyoke College Talbott Arboretum, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Benefits purchases for the greenhouse and campus grounds.

∎ May 31: Amherst: Grace Episcopal Church on the Town Common, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Plants, including house plants, garden tools, decorative pots and books. Proceeds finance landscaping at the church. To donate plants call the church office at 256-6754.

∎ June 7: Leverett: Leverett Elementary School, time to be announced. Nasturtium hanging baskets, decorated flower pots, marigold seeds and garden ornaments. All grown or produced by the school’s children in the greenhouse program.

GARDEN TOURS: The first garden tour of the 2014 season is the 21st anniversary tour sponsored by the Friends of Forbes Library in Northampton. The date is June 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, in advance; $20, day of tour, available at Forbes Library, Cooper’s Corner, State Street Fruit Store, Bay State Perennial Farm and Hadley Garden Center. The only other tour about which I have been notified is the Amherst Historical Society on June 28. More details to come on that tour in June. If any other group is sponsoring a tour, please email me at valleygardens@comcast.net.

Fun and Useful D I Y projects

While we at Maple and Main Realty are in the business of selling homes, we certainly like to pass along interesting advice about household related information as well.  I find that few things feel as good as a successful DIY project.  Finding a new purpose for some junk lying around the house while making something useful and attractive with your own hands – what could be better?  I came upon this blog post from one of my favorites, Apartment Therapy, and just had to share it.

 

Do It Yourself: 10 Things to Make Instead of Buy

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Over the years, we’ve shared a lot of money-saving projects, large and small. If you can make something at home easily and cheaply, why wouldn’t you? Save some cash and flex those DIY muscles with these ten ideas for things to make rather than buy, from the Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn archives.

  1. Household cleaners. Ban chemicals from your home once and for all, and save pennies too with these recipes for eco-friendly cleaning products.
  2. Toothpaste. Hey, why not?
  3. Curtains. There are loads of tutorials on this easy sewing job (hey, it’s just a bunch of straight lines) around the web, so have a look for your favorite and get to work. Bonus: here are some tips on making them that much better.
  4. pegboard shelf. Practical, beautiful and versatile, this would look great in a kitchen or home office.
  5. Pesto. This is something I’m always surprised to see people buying in the grocery stone. It’s just so easy to make your own, not to mention that I’ve never met a jarred variety I liked. Tip: pesto freezes perfectly, so make a big batch and freeze in ice cube trays for future individual servings.
  6. headboard. This is one piece of furniture that can be pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. There are infinite ideas out there — just pick one and get creative with it.
  7. Floor cushionsWindow seat cushionsToss cushions. All of the cushions!
  8. Pendant lights. Lighting can eat into a decorating budget pretty quickly, but luckily there are loads of inspiring DIY ideas out there.
  9. Planters. ‘Tis the season, after all!
  10. Bread. An oldie but a goodie. No kneading or breadmaker required.

What do you make yourself instead of buying?

(Image credits: Martha Stewart)

(Blog Credit: Eleanor Busing)

Positive Real Estate Market Trends for the Pioneer Valley

 

 

According to a recent press release on the RAPV website, we are seeing some (mostly) positive trends in real estate for the Pioneer Valley.

 

See the details below:

 

Sales—Up 8% percent from 299 in April 2013, to 323 in April 2014.

 

Median Price— Up 2.8 percent from $180,000 in April 2013, to $185,000 in April 2014.

 

Inventory of available property—Inventory is up 5.5 percent from 2,342 single family list-ings at the end of April 2013, to 2,471 single family listings at the end of April 2014.

 

Supply—At the end of April 2013 there were 7.8 months of supply at the current rate of sale. At the end of April 2014 there were 7.6 months of supply at current rate of sale.

 

Days on Market—The average days on market is up 15.6 percent from 141 days in April 2013 to 163 in April 2014.

 

Pending Sales—Listings which are under agreement to sell are down 5.2 percent—from 592 in April 2013 to 561 in April 2014.

 

A Five-Year View—The median price is up 2.2 percent—from $181,000 in April 2009 to $185,000 in April 2014

 

Mortgage Rates 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.6 points for the week ending April 24, 2014. Last year at this time the 30-year FRM averaged 3.40 percent with an average 0.8 points. (Source: FreddieMac.com)

 

If you are thinking about selling your home, contact one our agents at Maple and Main Realty.  Armed with the information we will provide about the likely market value of your home, you will be able to decide if and when the time is right to list your home for sale on the open market.