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April
19

Listing your home in a seller's market?  Now is truly the time to sell! Inventory is at historical lows, and there are many buyers who would love to call the Valley Home.  This puts some sellers in a position to be fortunate enough to receive multiple offers. This is an ideal scenario for sellers for many obvious reasons. It could put you in a position to sell for more than your asking price, and it also gives you the flexibility to be selective.

However, when selecting an offer, the highest price might not be the best offer. In fact, offers consist of many different terms, and some may be more favorable to your particular situation. When evaluating multiple offers, be sure to consider the following factors with your Jones Group REALTOR®:

Financing
A buyer who is putting down all cash or a large down payment could present less risk than a buyer who is financing a mortgage. Regardless of what the buyer offers, they still will need to secure financing to close on the transaction. You and your Jones REALTOR® should carefully review a buyer's pre-approval letter before accepting the offer.

Earnest Money
Buyers put down an earnest deposit with their offer to show they're serious about purchasing the property. The earnest deposit varies - earnest money protects you in the event the buyer decides to walk away for reasons not covered in the contract.

Inspection Contingencies 
Inspection contingencies are usually a standard part of an offer. A home inspection is the most common contingency, but buyers may include others like radon testing, mold inspection, or sewer inspections. These contingencies give buyers the opportunity to back out or renegotiate based on the results of these inspections. If you have an offer from a buyer who is willing to waive the inspection contingency, it could lead to a quicker home sale. While we at Jones Group REALTORS® never encourage buyers to waive inspections, we are seeing more people do so to make their offer more attractive. Additionally, we are seeing some buyers have an inspection for informational purposes in that they will not renegotiate the price should any issues be discovered by their home inspector.

Appraisal Contingencies
Many buyers include an appraisal contingency which allows them to back out or renegotiate if the home appraises for less than the asking price. Lenders typically won't finance more than the appraised value of the property. If the buyer is willing to waive the appraisal contingency, he or she is willing to pay the difference out of pocket.

Receiving multiple offers is a great situation, but it can add some additional complexities to your sale. At the end of the day, it's up to you to choose the right offer. Your Jones Group REALTOR® will educate you about the pros and cons associated with each one.

If you are interested in learning more about the value of your property in our market and the process of selling, whether it's this year or next, connect with the experience of a Jones Group REALTOR today. 

 

December
10

The holiday season is upon us and in the spirit of giving our Jones Group Northampton Team participated in the Hot Chocolate Run benefiting Safe Passage. Safe Passage provides emergency shelter in a confidential location for those in need, as well as counseling, advocacy, peer support, and legal services.  You may make donations at safepassage.org

Our Jones Group Amherst Team is please to join the Amherst Survival Center's Warm Winter Items for Kids Drive.  Donations of new hats, gloves/mittens and scarves for children up to age 17 may be made at the 200 Triangle Street location in Amherst through January. 

October
21

POST & BEAM WATERFRONT

Leverett, Massachusetts

Magnificent waterfront antique post-and-beam home nestled on the picturesque banks of the Sawmill River. Breathtaking views from every window of this 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath with bonus room and den! The great room boasts a 6ft high fireplace with period detail, high ceilings, original wide plank wood flooring and multiple French doors that open to decks overlooking the river. Spiral staircase down to den (not included in the square footage) that looks out on the river and swim platform. Enjoy the oversized porch with outdoor fireplace that you can relax and dine on, all with lulling sounds of the river, the rapids and waterfall. 300ft of riverfront property! Updated systems but teaming with character, this 1-acre property is ONE OF A KIND!! Detached garage, stone patio with firepit, full attic, oversized primary bedroom with en-suite and huge walk-in closet. This 1800's Millhouse equipped with original wheels and stone dams is antique filled and could come furnished!

Leverett is convenient to Amherst and Northampton. The Amtrak Vermonter services Northampton and travels from St. Albans, Vermont to Washington, DC.  You are 2 hours from Boston and 3 hours from New York City. Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT is 45 minutes south.

Offered at $595,000

MLS# 72910619  

Listed by Lauren Niles, 718-781-3566.

View the Video Tour!

83 N Leverett Rd, Leverett from Aspect Six on Vimeo.

July
26

Our Northampton office MOVED to 351 Pleasant Street, Suite A, in the heart of Northampton with convenient parking. Stop by and see us at our new HOME.

As the largest independent and family-owned real estate agency in the region with 50+ professional REALTORS®, the philosophy of providing exceptional service has gained the company a loyal following and a fine reputation in the community for over 60 years. Today, more than ever, Jones Group REALTORS® strives to provide the finest in real estate services available by offering a comprehensive marketing approach to the sale of property and quality representation in the purchase of property.

Meet our Northampton Team!

October
9

By Henry Higgins

On behalf of Jones Group REALTORS®, we hope that your family and friends are in good health and spirits given our current circumstances.  Throughout this time, Jones Group agents have been working diligently to assist clients with all of their real estate needs.  As with many areas of our lives, Covid-19 has caused various changes and trends to emerge.  One that many people have noticed, and is in fact true, is the exodus from large cities to suburban or even rural areas.  The New York Times wrote a piece mentioning that "Closed sales in New York City was down 54% compared to the same period last year, and median prices fell 17.7%."  According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, the average selling price of a condominium dropped 7% this year in the city of Boston.

On the other side of the equation, the average asking price of a home in Hampshire County has increased to $349,000, up from the 2019 average $322,000. In Amherst, prices have increased over the same time period from $409,000 to $449,000.  In Northampton, there was a similar increase, with average prices rising from $407,000 to $418,000. The decrease in city prices and subsequent increase in suburban prices such as Amherst tell a story.  Prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, people are gradually leaving the cities and looking to buy homes in more suburban areas, such as our own here in Western Massachusetts. If you already live here, it is no surprise that folks who live in cities want to move here.  We have excellent schools, culture, and the turning of the leaves remind us that we inhabit a bucolic corner of the world.  We also have luxuries that many city-dwellers long for: space, peace and quiet, and a sense of community that may be difficult to find elsewhere. Additionally, we're fortunate to live near an abundance of hiking and biking trails along farmland and pristine conservation land. It is unlikely you will sit in traffic here, unless you find yourself stuck behind a tractor.  Though this time period has been markedly uncertain, one thing that we hope will come of it is families finding a home in our neck of the woods where they can plant their roots and live in a place they come to know and love. 

If you are interested in relocating to Western Massachusetts, please contact our Relocation Department at 413-549-3700. We're in partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World - Member companies are recognized for their expertise, and superior knowledge of their local markets. At the Jones Group we have a continued commitment to quality customer experience and we are looking forward to partnering with you soon. We welcome new neighbors!

July
2

By Henry Higgins

Despite the incredible changes the world has seen over the past several months, the real estate industry has been proceeding normally, with slight adjustments to our protocol.  New guidelines have been put in place in regards to our operations, such as increased measures to protect the health of clients as well as our agents. For open houses, we have been offering virtual tours in the form of video walk-throughs.  Other measures include wearing gloves and masks if inside a property, as well as disinfecting when leaving.  We have also been adhering to social distancing measures, maintaining the six-foot policy issued by the CDC, as well as limiting the number of buyers that may tour the home.  The Covid-19 pandemic was in some ways a catalyst for a technological shift within the industry that was likely to have happened over a few years had the pandemic not occurred. The industry has shifted rapidly to adopt essentially virtual transactions, utilizing tools such as 360 virtual tours, Matterport and video slideshows. Our agent, Luke Dunn of the Stiles Dunn Team, offers Matterport and drone services through his company Valley Views Productions. Jones Group REALTORS® has consistently been a leader in adopting and integrating new technologies, and during these times we continue to seek out the best services and tools for our sellers and buyers.  

As a result of Covid-19 we are seeing fewer houses on the market, however many buyers are pre-qualified and ready to move.  The market trend has been that homes are slow to come on the market and supply is down from  normal standards. There is high demand and it is expected that eventually inventory will rise to meet that demand.  If priced well, homes are selling rather quickly with multiple offers.  Additionally, we are seeing buyers coming from metropolitan areas that are now looking to settle in a more rural area, such as our beautiful Pioneer Valley.  Our Northampton agent, Miriam Sirota, has 20+ years of experience as a top New York City REALTOR®. Our Jones Team is in partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, an outstanding Relocation company.

Often buyers are looking for turn-key properties, underscoring the importance of updating and maintaining your property.  Staying at Home these past few months has emphasized the importance of having a comfortable living situation with many family members vying for space and privacy. This will increase the number of people looking for "move-up" houses, as folks may be looking for more space to house in-laws, students who are now learning remotely, or folks who are now working from home and need more office space. As we have figured out over the past few months in the Pioneer Valley, space is a scarce commodity, and it is only becoming more valuable. Here the Hamel Team are helping sellers get their Home ready to market using Covid safety protocols.

Despite the challenges that 2020 has brought us, at the Jones Group our agents are still using their experience and expertise to meet their clients' needs.  

LEGENDARY SERVICE, EVERY CLIENT, EVERY TIME.

 

February
18

By Henry Higgins

The idea of buying a home can be one of the most exciting yet daunting decisions to be made in one's life. Although it is of course recommended to reach out to a qualified Jones Group REALTOR® to assist you in the process, there are a few pieces of wisdom that are customary in the industry to help you begin. These steps will ensure a seamless transition to buying once you are ready. 

CREDIT REPORT

For many, the purchase of a home is contingent on a mortgage from a bank, and a mortgage from a bank is contingent upon the banks' approval.  Up to a year before you begin the home buying process, it's a good idea to pull your credit report to get a sense of where you stand and check for any errors. If there are errors, it could take a few months to have your report fixed.

REDUCE DEBT

Saving up for a down payment can be even more challenging if you are making payments on other debts. It can be helpful to either consolidate your debts, or to pay down your small debts first to create a snowball effect, leaving you with more money to pay on your bigger debts since the smaller ones have been paid.   Do NOT make any large purchases before you apply for a mortgage loan.

BUDGET

When you begin the home buying process, it is extremely critical to assess your budget and finances as a whole.  A spreadsheet program is a fantastic tool to track your finances. Keep track of your income, assets and liabilities, and see what is left over to begin to save for a down payment.   Also, take stock of what you do on a daily routine - those coffees and meals out add up quickly!

DETERMINE HOME PURCHASE BUDGET   

One of the traps that homebuyers fall into is they purchase the maximum amount of house they can afford. This is not always the best idea.  Don't stretch yourself too thin financially, or become "house poor" as people say. You do not want a monthly payment eating up all of your income that could be used for other things such as saving for emergencies, home maintenance, retirement, or traveling.  Use an online loan calculator to determine a monthly payment you will be comfortable with.  Also, just because a bank determines that you are qualified for a specific loan amount doesn't mean that is the amount you should take; nobody wants to be barely staying afloat financially due to a burdensome mortgage. 

SEARCH

After you have properly gauged your financial health, contact your bank to get preapproved for a loan – this preapproval  letter (preferred over prequalification) is important to have in hand when making an offer.  Begin your search taking into account towns, neighborhoods, schools, parks, tax rates, proximity to emergency services and any other amenities that are important to you.  When you are ready and have a location as well as a price in mind, reach out to an agent at Jones Group REALTORS® who will be more than happy to assist you in your search. 

60+ YEARS OF SOLID, DEPENDABLE SERVICE

 

 

January
17

By Henry Higgins

Planning to sell your home? Spring is just around the corner and that means getting your home prepared to sell in a hot market.  Having your home in its peak condition is necessary if you want to realize the maximum value.   Here at Jones Group Realtors, we can help you determine where you should begin, plus we can refer any number of top professionals to help you with needed tasks.  With perseverance, your home will be ready to sell.

INSIDE 

 

  • The easiest thing to do is to declutter your home, especially kitchen and bath counters, plus closets.  We can recommend staging companies who may help maximize your home's space, and we also know of many professionals who help with cleanout of properties who may place your items for consignment, resale, repurpose or recycle.  
  • The inside of your home should be warm and inviting to potential buyers. One of the best things you can do for your home is to add a fresh coat of paint in rooms that may need it, preferably in light neutral colors. These colors will make your home feel fresh and clean, while appealing to a wide range of buyers. To brighten up the space, consider replacing all of your light bulbs with matching warm LED bulbs.
  • Clean, clean, clean is a mantra within the industry and a theme that I will often touch on in this blog.  Speaking of cleanliness, it's a good idea to shampoo your carpeting, or perhaps even replace it if necessary.  Though the memories of playing outside with your kids and dogs may be ingrained in the carpet (literally) potential buyers will not approach it with the same sentimental value.  Aside from the carpets, it is also important to take care of any hardwood or linoleum floors as well.  For hardwood, it is recommended to refinish if necessary or perhaps a good buffing will do.  For linoleum, a thorough cleaning should do the trick. In both cases, if the floors are in dire straits, it is recommended to replace them.  Here are some current flooring trends from Realtor.com. 
  • Make sure to give your windows a good scrubbing. We are happy to recommend some professionals who will clean all of your windows inside and out.  You will be amazed at the difference in the light in your home.
  • In the areas that get a lot of water traffic in such as the bathroom and kitchen, it's important that you scan the area carefully and remove any rust or mildew. These areas also may happen to have loose caulking or grout from years of use, so make sure attention is paid to those areas.
  • In the basement, be sure to clean your hot water heater and drain the sediment that may have collected. If necessary, change the furnace filter as well.  It's not unwise to go ahead and have your furnace serviced before you put your home on the market. 
  • Most importantly, make sure that any lingering odors are dealt with, including pet odors.  Buyers may judge with their nose as much as they do with their eyes. 

OUTSIDE

Now that the inside is sparkling, let's discuss what you can do to make the outside of your home wow buyers and increase its curb appeal.

  • With snow on the ground, it's important to make sure your driveway and walkways are thoroughly plowed and salted.  Make sure your entry is inviting and tidy.  There should be a convenient place for buyers to place their boots and shoes upon entering the home.
  • Once the grass has returned, you'll want to clean up the yard, mow the lawn and trim and shape the shrubs.  Next, get into the details of your landscape by edging the walkways and gardens, and add fresh mulch.  Make sure all the weeds are pulled before you mulch! If your garden or lawn has bare spots, consider adding plantings. Not only is it a great way to cover the bare spot, it will add color and life as well. If your walkways or stone walls have accumulated moss, they can be cleaned with a pressure washer (this job is actually fun.)
  • Make certain that the exterior of your home, such as trim, gutters, and eaves are all cleaned and/or touched up prior to listing the home.  Power washing a home can make it appear shiny and new.  These are some of the first things a buyer notices when they arrive at the property. 

Here at Jones Group Realtors, we're here to help you relieve the stress of selling and make for a smooth transition. You can check out all of our happy client reviews – we always give 110% with a smile. 

60+ YEARS OF SOLID, DEPENDABLE SERVICE 

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