Articles Tagged "Western Mass Real Estate News"


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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.  




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)


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
















       Celebrating 60 Years

     of Bringing You Home


We are delighted to welcome Brandy Lenzen to our Belchertown Team.  Born and raised in Upstate New York, Brandy Lenzen transferred to the Town of Ballston Spa to obtain her Degree in Business Administration. While enjoying what life had to offer she met her husband, who was currently Active Duty Military. Being a Navy wife, Brandy got to embark on her journey from New York to New Hampshire then to their last Homeport in Hawaii. Brandy became very active in the USS Louisville support group, known as the Family Readiness Group, a volunteer group to help Military families through the process of moving and coping with the everyday changes of the Military, landing the title of Secretary. During the last year being stationed in Hawaii Brandy was able to finish her Degree just before packing up and moving to New England. Being a Real Estate Agent allows Brandy to fulfill her passion for meeting new people and helping them with the process of finding the perfect home. Brandy has the knowledge and understanding of what it's like to pack up and move your family to a new home.  Brandy lives in Belchertown with her husband and very active 6-year-old son. When not working Brandy loves to travel, camp and relax by the ocean with her family.




Cell:  518-859-4280

45 North Main Street, Belchertown, MA 01007



The 10th anniversary of Amherst Survival Center's Empty Bowls event is coming up in just a few short weeks! On Monday, March 19, 2018, the center will be aiming to raise upwards of $20,000 for our neighbors in need with the help of ticket buyers and local sponsors.   Empty Bowls is an effort to support the folks in our area who need help with the basic essentials that so many of us are fortunate to have in abundance, such as food, water, and cold-weather clothing. However, the Amherst Survival Center moves even a step beyond just the basic necessities of life, and provides services such as job fairs, job skills classes, exercise sessions, and community support groups. 

With a $40 ticket purchase you will be welcomed to The Pub in Amherst for a delicious soup, chili, or stew dinner donated by local restaurants such as Johnny's Tavern, Black Sheep and Osteria Vespa. In addition to the soup, salad, and bread, $40 ticket buyers will leave the event with a beautiful, locally crafted, pottery bowl donated by Pioneer Valley artists. One notable artist to mention is Tiffany Hilton, who this year will be donating 150 hand thrown clay bowls to this worthy cause. It should be noted that there are also $30 tickets available, however these discounted tickets do not come with a locally crafted bowl.

For tickets click here. We are honored to once again be a sponsor for this heart-warming community event, and we hope to see you there at The Pub in Amherst center on Monday, March 19 from 4-8pm!

Happy soup-ing!


We're celebrating 500 Properties SOLD Year-to-Date!  The Jones Team appreciates your loyalty and trust throughout the years, as your business is important to us. 











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.


Visit our weekend open houses and meet some of our professional REALTORS.  May 20-21, 2017


We are delighted to welcome Miriam Sirota to our Northampton office at 238 Bridge Street!

Miriam comes to us from New York City where her seasoned experience, style, and broad-based knowledge made her one of the most popular brokers in the real estate industry.  A successful residential sales specialist for 23 years, Miriam brought her refined professional skills to The Pioneer Valley in 2015...the magnificent place she now calls home.


Miriam is a top broker because she is committed to satisfying her clientele and cares deeply for their needs. That means catering to each customer with close attention, patience and follow through until they find the home that best suits them, and tailoring a creative marketing and aggressive sales plan for every property owner to get the optimal results they deserve.


When it comes to innovation, Miriam makes the real estate process memorable and enjoyable with her stylish dress, people savvy and humorous approach. But Miriam is all business in facilitating and negotiating deals. As such, she has gained the attention and respect of clients and peers and an ongoing stream of referrals and repeat business.


Miriam graduated from Barnard College where she remains highly active mentoring current students. A former actress, she still enjoys performing and currently sings in a local Rockabilly band. Miriam also has a passion for collecting mid-century antiques and unusual oddities, and for animals, particularly her cuddly cats.  Miriam lives in Northampton with her fabulous husband who is a professor at The University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Contact Miriam Sirota at 917-701-8672

Email -



"In November 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) integrated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosures and regulations. Any transaction involving a mortgage will use new CFPB disclosure forms. The new TRID rules and forms took effect on October 3, 2015." According to NAR-Read more from the National Association of REALTORS. 


Simply put, the National Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, a product of the Dodd Frank Bill, has instituted their most recent phase of regulations. All of these changes were a result of the 2008 recession.  This last phase places more responsibility on banks (or lenders) for the accuracy of the figures they provide buyers at the time of application.  If they make any adjustments, they must disclose the new amounts to the buyer and wait at least three days before scheduling another closing date. Lenders have been diligently putting together their policies. 


We are being told by most lenders that closings should not be scheduled out less than 60 days. Some of our lenders have stated that final closing numbers will have to be to lenders 2 weeks before the actual closing date to be verified and mailed to the buyers.  Your Jones Group REALTOR® has received extensive training in all of these policy changes, and will communicate with lenders and attorneys throughout the transaction to ensure a smooth closing process.


Attorneys will understand their new role as will your REALTOR®.  Your Jones Group REALTOR® is working to understand the regulations throughout this transitional process. We understand your agent's communication with the lender and attorneys will be paramount to a smooth transition for you. 


Your Jones Group REALTOR® will guide you through the process of selling or purchasing your Western Mass Real Estate property with the upmost integrity and professionalism.  


Legendary Service, Every Client Every Time.



We are delighted to welcome Leona Thomas to our Amherst office as she will be joining the Hamel Team!  Leona Thomas is a long time  resident of Amherst and holds a B.S. from UMass and has a strong background in Healthcare Admissions and Marketing. Throughout her professional life, she has been dedicated to building, helping and nurturing relationships geared towards meeting the needs of families. Leona is looking forward to putting those skills to work in the real estate business. Leona is a 30-year resident of Amherst and lives with her husband, Lloyd and two sons in the Echo Hill neighborhood.

You may have seen Leona at one of the many open houses hosted by the Hamel Team. 

Contact Leona at 413-210-8601 or email her at

Stay tuned for upcoming open houses with Leona and The Hamel Team. 


OPEN HOUSES are an essential part of selling Homes. They are a great way for buyers to view a new listing to the market, or for taking that second look.  Our open houses are advertised through the internet, social media, local print media, and are well attended.

Recently we hosted several Greenleaves Over 55 Condominium open houses, and an offer was received on one of them shortly thereafter. Many REALTORS® may say, "I've never sold a home at an open house."  Well that is not the case! It is happening more and more, and an open house always piques one's interest.  We can see this through our website and other site analytics.  Once your property open house is placed on the internet, the hits, or views on the internet, increase.

The Boston Globe recently published an article all about Open House behavior of visitors, and why REALTORS® host them.  

This Globe article discusses the benefits of having weeknight open houses.  The Jones Team often hosts a Friday "commuter open house" for the convenience of the busy working buyer. A weeknight open house also offers a different view of the vibrancy of a neighborhood when everyone is home.  

Our team of 60+ REALTORS® are here to represent your property with the utmost accuracy, integrity and professionalism.  If you're thinking of selling your property, contact one of our three offices for a FREE Market Analysis.  We'll be happy to host your open house and get it SOLD!


More positive news to report!  Linda Rotti, Sales Manager with our Jones Amherst office was recently interviewed by the Springfield Republican. "The key for homeowners looking to sell is to price their homes to match the market," said Rotti.  According to figures released by the Realtor Association of the Pioneer Valley, sales of single-family homes across the region rose 17.7 percent in 2012. Read more from the Republican and view the graph.

Today's Daily Hampshire Gazette also writes on the market in 2012.  Again, our own Linda Rotti is interviewed. Read on...


The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS reports an increase in home prices in October, as well as sales up 22% from a year ago last October.  In the Pioneer Valley sales are up 33% from last October according the REALTOR Association of the Pioneer Valley. Read more…