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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 

November
18

By Henry Higgins

To many, winter means that the party is over and it is time to hunker down for a few months before we come back out and look if we can see our shadows. But it doesn't have to be that way!  Winter can be just as, if not more fun than the rest of the seasons especially during the holidays. In my opinion, making the most out of the cold puts winter in the running for the best season. When else can you have fun, and feel like you are living in "The Polar Express." Winter possesses a magic that the other seasons fall short of. In Western Massachusetts, our proximity to the mountains and our culture makes it a great place to be. Here is a list of a few things for you and your family to do this season. 

In Northampton, on Saturday December 1st we enjoy the Holiday Stroll as the city shuts down its main corridor to allow for citizens and vendors to gather on Main street and explore by foot. This is a great event to walk around and experience the holiday charm and take in the sights and sounds with your neighbors, friends and family. Local vendors and restaurants have tables set up so you can shop and eat your way around town! It's a great way to support our local businesses.

Friday, December 6th, the Amherst community comes together for the Lighting of the Merry Maple tree on the Amherst Town Common.  The event is hosted by the Amherst Business Improvement District and Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and features the Amherst Regional Middle School Chorus singing on the town hall steps, carriage rides from Muddy Brook Farm and ends with Santa arriving with the UMass Marching Band. Show up at 3 for apple cider and treats and stay until 8 culminating in the lighting of the Maple. Check out this video. 

For those of you who are looking to get some holiday shopping done, check out the first annual red ticket month in downtown Amherst with the Amherst BID and Amherst Chamber of Commerce. For every $25 spent at participating businesses in Amherst, they will give you a red ticket and on December 21st, the red tickets will go into a pool and be drawn for prizes. There will be five drawn total, with the first 4 being a prize of $250, while the last one will be a prize of $1000. Additionally, on December 7th, participating businesses will be a part of the 20% off day. December 7th also features a Santa and Elf Stroll beginning at 12PM!

Also in Northampton, the Chabad-Lubavitch features the lighting of the Grand Menorah on Sunday December 2nd at 4PM. This year, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will be in attendance. According the the Chabad-Lubavitch, the event features "Sufganiyot, hot cocoa, hot latkes, live music and singing w/ Brian Bender, dancing, friends and — of course — the annual lighting of the Giant Menorah!". The menorah that will be lit will stand 10 feet tall and is one of 10,000 public Menorahs worldwide that stand to signify a universal message of religious freedom.                                                                                               

If you are looking for local gifts for your family, stop into the Northampton Winter Craft fair from December 7th-8th at Northampton High School. The event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County. The craft fair features 90 local artisans, live music, a children's book sale, and food from Hillside Organic Pizza. The price of admission to this event is $5 for adults and free for children. It's a fun way to support local artisans while helping a wonderful cause.

Though the frigid air may make you want to stay inside, remember that there are many great events taking place here in Western Massachusetts that you do not want to miss. Bundle up and enjoy - Happy Holidays everyone!

 

September
30

By Henry Higgins

Despite the warm summer days coming to an end, there is still plenty of fun in store for your family here in Western Massachusetts. There are many exciting and interesting events this fall, besides the obligatory apple-picking, football games, and hayrides. For starters, head to Mike's Maze in South Deerfield. Mike's Maze is famous for their elaborate corn field designs, and this year they are sporting a groovy display of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, a nod to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. According to their website you can "take part in our many Attractions; ride on a horse drawn wagon, fire the mighty potato cannons, pick out your own Halloween pumpkin, and stay for lunch at the Corn Cafe, serving farm fresh food all day." Additionally, this years "Cornstock" features far out trivia for adults as well as instruments for kids to play in Mike's Music Garden. Mike's Maze is an impressive exhibition that will be sure to impress. 

When people think of Fall, they often picture apple-picking. There is no shortage of orchards to choose from here in Western Massachusetts. In Franklin County, you can choose from Apex Orchards in Shelburne Falls, Clarkdale Orchards in Deerfield, or Pine Hill Orchard in Colrain. In Hampshire county, pickers can choose from Sunset Farm in Amherst, Park Hill Orchards in Easthampton, and the University of Massachusetts Cold Spring Orchard in Belchertown. Apple picking is a great way to get the whole family outdoors, support local business, and you get to take home locally grown apples at the end! 

As I mentioned above, Hayrides and Haunted houses are integral to the fall experience. For residents of Franklin County, check out the Hicks Family Farm in Charlemont. This year they feature a haunted corn maze as well as a pumpkin patch. For Hampshire County residents, check out McCrays Farm in South Hadley. McCrays features haunted a few different hay rides, ranked by level of frightfulness, as well as a haunted house that is regarded as one of the best (or worst) in the area. For more information, visit http://www.fearonthefarm.com/. Another hayride attraction in Hampshire county is DementedFX in Holyoke. Ranked as the #1 haunted attraction in Massachusetts, this place is sure to knock your socks off. DementedFX has events from September 27th-November 2nd. 

If you're looking for something a bit more laid back, check out the Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival in Stockbridge. The Harvest takes place on October 12th and encompasses the entire 20 acre garden campus. The Harvest has activities for children, hay rides, live entertainment, over 100 regional artisans and vendors, as well as a farmers market and plant sales. This event is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy the bucolic atmosphere of the Berkshires. Check out https://www.berkshirebotanical.org/about for more information. 

Fall is a pleasant time to get out and enjoy what we have here in Western Massachusetts. Don't wait; before you know it you will be looking out your window at the snow falling wishing you did more!

June
27

By Henry Higgins

The summer months are upon us here in Western Massachusetts, and with the warm weather comes exciting festivals and events for all ages. Events can be found all over the Valley, ranging from concerts, historic festivals and fairs that have been around since ships were made of wood. Events such as these draw crowds from all of New England, and it's no wonder. Who wouldn't want to eat good food, drink craft beer, listen to great music, and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the happy valley?   We do summer right here. No glitz or glam, just good times with good people. Now, let me get into the actual events.   

The biggest and most recognizable event of the Pioneer Valley is the Green River Festival. This event boasts some serious artists: Lucinda Williams, Suitcase Junket, and Angelique Kidjo just to name a few. The festival is hosted at Greenfield Community College from July 13-15. Tickets are $129.99 for the Weekend, $34.99 for Friday evening, $69.99 for Saturday, and $64.99 for Sunday.

Another festival that draws a hefty crowd is the Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival in Florence. The festival turns 25 years old this year, and continues to sport Highland dancers, Celtic Music, and plenty of kilts! The festival is on July 21st and admission prices range from $5-$16, and kids under 6 get in for free.

A fair that will also remind you of days gone by is the Three County Fair in Northampton. Also known as the Tri-County fair, this event is the oldest agricultural fair in the country, beginning in 1818. The fair has run continuously for 200 years, and continues to grow every year. The fair features the classics such as fair food and rides, but with its agriculture focus it also has restored tractors, and of course farm animals for the kids. At night, the fair turns its attention to the Demolition Derby, two hours of non-stop entertainment. The fair runs from August 30th-September 2nd. Admission price is $12 for those over the age of 12, and those under the age of 12 and above 65 get in free.

Instead of melting away this summer, get out and enjoy what the Valley has to offer! Be sure to keep up with our blog during the summer, as we will be mentioning other events as they approach! 

March
21

By Henry Higgins

As old man winter heads north, Western Massachusetts begins to come out of hibernation. With the rebirth of spring comes april showers, may flowers, and a glimpse into the warm months ahead. When the ground thaws out, so do the people. Spring time in Western Massachusetts means farmers' markets, parades, and spring festivals which draw crowds from around New England and beyond. In Northampton, be sure to catch the annual pride parade. The pride parade is a festival that celebrates love, freedom of choice, and the leaps and bounds of social progress that started right here in the north east. The pride parade began in 1982 and marches right through downtown Northampton. 

Northampton also boasts the Paradise City Arts Festival, a seriously impressive display of local, as well as artists from around the country, ranging from woodworkers to metalworkers to pottery and more. Come and explore the beauty of what area craftspeople have to offer. According to Yankee Magazine "The Northampton visual arts scene explodes at the Paradise City Arts Festival, an extravaganza of 200-plus top-notch craftspeople and fine artists that's been dazzling shoppers since 1995." The Paradise City Arts Festival runs May 25, 26, and 27. Price of admission is $14, and is located at the Three County Fair Grounds in Northampton off of Route 9.

Northampton doesn't have all the fun though. Right across the river, Amherst hosts the Daffodil Run, a fun and exciting 5k that brings together the community to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Be sure to look out for the Jones Group Team, who will be participating in the walk. The walk begins and ends at Kendrick park in the center of Amherst. A bit later into spring, Amherst hosts "The Taste of Amherst." According to the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, "The event, organized jointly by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID), and presented by Atkins Farms Country Market, is filled with food, family, and fun!." According to Amherst locals, the Taste of Amherst is an awesome event where many restaurants from Amherst convene on the common and offer a wide array of culinary options." Amherst Locals are also excited that the event has been extended a day.

Additionally, folks interested in heading to Amherst can also check out the Amherst Town Fair, sponsored by the Amherst Rotary Club, which occurs May 22-27. Here you can find all the typical fair events, from fried dough to rides for everyone in the family. Amherst Town Fair is featured on the Amherst Town Common.  (Photo from Amherst BID)

October
11

The Jones family recently held their 60 year celebration of living and working in Amherst and beyond at the Amherst Golf Club on September 27th with many friends, family and colleagues. The community event was co-hosted with the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

Jones Group REALTORS® began in 1958 when Denison H. Jones founded the company from the living room of his Amherst home.  In 1970 D. H. Jones Real Estate Company had grown and moved into its current 200 Triangle Street offices in Amherst. In 1992 Gerald L. Jones assumed ownership of the company, while Andrew Jones and Wendy Jones Boisseau assumed leadership and management of Jones Properties. For sixty years Jones Group REALTORS® has grown with three locations in the center of Amherst, Belchertown and Northampton, and with more than 60 experienced real estate professionals all with vast knowledge and deep roots extending throughout the Valley.  Jones Group REALTORS® is in partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a network of independent real estate brokerages spanning 70 countries and including more than 130,000 real estate professionals who, collectively, sell more property than any of the large national brands. Locally owned and fiercely independent, the Jones name has become known for service excellence and providing a truly local perspective on real estate in the Five College Area and Upper Pioneer Valley.

          

September
24

Henry HiggensBy Henry Higgins

As summer draws to a close and cooler temperatures begin to creep in, your yard might be yearning for a boost of color and texture. The summer bloomers have done their work in making your yard look beautiful, and now it is their turn to rest and let the fall bloomers steal the show. Fall can be a wonderful time to plant: for one, the act of planting itself won't be horribly unpleasant as it can be in the summertime, and it also has distinct planting benefits that the summer does not. The cooler autumn air is much easier on the plants, and yet the soil is still warm allowing the plants to root and grow until the first frost. Fall also surpasses spring for good days to plant, as in spring unpredictable rain and weather can make working the soil difficult. Fall planting can also be better for your pocketbook, as local garden centers start to hold sales to get rid of their inventory before the colder weather sets in. So now that I've told you why fall is the best time to plant, allow me to give you some insight into what you should plant to give life to your garden.

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. The cooler temperatures limit stress on the plant, and the warm soil allows them to establish a strong root system before the cooler weather approaches. Some of my favorite shrubs include: Mountain Fire Pieris (also referred to as Mountain Fire Lily of the Valley), a deciduous shrub that has deep red leaf that transitions into a deep green. Limelight Hydrangea, also a deciduous shrub, blooms as white and then transitions to a pink/red. Last but not least is Japanese Beautyberry. Beautyberry is a shrub that produces a copious show of purple berries in fall that appear after the pink flowers fade away.  The foliage is deep green, tinged with purple. The purpling is most pronounced in fall when the berries appear. In terms of trees, the maples steal the show in the fall. The "Autumn Fiesta" Sugar Maple turns to a deep orange/red, although experts say it shows much more orange than other Sugar Maples. Another Maple that attracts attention in the fall is the "October Glory" Red Maple. There are many other trees that attract attention in fall besides Maples, such as Sweetgum, Oaks, and Sourwood trees.

If you enjoy planting vegetables in the spring, then you will absolutely enjoy planting "cool weather" vegetables in the fall. Fall weather is much more predictable, a plus for the gardener and the plants. Examples of vegetables that love to be planted in the fall include beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and turnips! Seeds should be planted about 12 to 14 weeks back from your average first frost. Or, if you're impatient like me, visit a local garden store and buy "starts" that have been grown in a nursery. Don't forget to enrich your soil with a compost or aged manure to add micronutrients and give your vegetables the best opportunity for success.

You will guarantee beauty in the spring by planting spring bulbs in the fall. All spring bulbs require a period of cold dormancy to allow them to bloom. To pre-chill, set bulbs in their bags in the refrigerator for 6-10 weeks. Be careful not to put them close to fruit, especially apples, as ripening fruit gives off ethylene gas, which can kill or damage the flower inside of the bulb. Examples of beautiful spring bulbs include: Daffodils, Alliums, Fritillaries, and Snowdrops. Luckily, those bulbs are also bulbs that deer don't like to nibble allowing you to preserve your garden in the spring. Other bulbs that might not be so lucky are Tulips, Dahlias, Crocus, and Iris. Spring bulbs don't like wet feet. Make sure that the area you plant them in is an area that water doesn't accumulate. Also, pay attention to the heights of bulbs in your planting arrangement. Make sure to not plant tall bulbs in front of short!

Fall is a wonderful time. The weather is beautiful, the kids are back in school, the forest transitions into a myriad of deep, rich tones, and with the right plants, your garden will be looking fantastic.

Henry Higgins is an Intern studying Economics at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

September
18

We are delighted to invite our friends, neighbors, clients and colleagues to our 60th Anniversay Celebration!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Celebrating 60 Years

     of Bringing You Home

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