home sales

Lighting Updates to Attract Home Buyers

One of the many services that we realtors provide our seller clients, is to preview their homes and make suggestions about affordable updates that can give a dated home, or room, a fresh appearance. It rarely makes sense for someone who is planning to sell their home to make a deep pocket investment such as a total kitchen or bathroom renovation. Style choices are subjective, and expensive renovations that a new buyer would want to "undo" can actually negatively affect the bottom-line sale price.  Sometimes a fresh coat of paint and some new light fixtures can go a long way towards making a space feel updated and attractive.

Since we do tend to have a fall upswing in home sales here in the Northampton area, now would be a good time to call your realtor for an opinion about which affordable updates to make before putting your house on the market. This recent article from the Boston Globe gives sound advice about light fixture choices:

Ask the Stager: Tips for choosing lighting that attracts buyers

   

Inspired by factories and older buildings, industrial-style fixtures are now used in contemporary kitchens.

Inspired by factories and older buildings, industrial-style fixtures are now used in contemporary kitchens. Tim Lee Photography/Staging by Staged To Move

Kara Woods - Globe Correspondent

August 15, 2017 11:00 pm

Updated interior lighting is one of the most efficient ways to get a potential buyer’s eyes to light up. Just like a fresh coat of “greige’’ (a color between beige and gray) paint, lighting has the power to change the entire feel of a room instantly. It’s an affordable fix with maximum impact.

We’re currently using the transitional style of lighting to get our clients’ homes showcase ready. A mix between traditional and contemporary, its streamlined and sophisticated look tends to appeal to the broadest audience.

Here are a few of my go-to transitional-style light fixtures:

Dining room/kitchen

The “orb,’’ or round fixture, is replacing the traditional six-candle chandelier. In addition to a dining room or kitchen, these fixtures also light up a foyer.

The Solaris 6-light sphere chandelier by Crystorama Lighting. —Photo by David Turner;Staging by Stage To Move

Kitchen pendants

When updating or installing kitchen pendants, it can be tricky to determine the size fixture you’ll need and how many will fit in the space. The rule of thumb is to space the lights 30 inches apart and 30 to 36 inches above the island surface.

Popular styles that will make your kitchen shine include:

Industrial 

Inspired by factories and older buildings, this style is now used in contemporary kitchens. Industrial-style lighting is common in Restoration Hardware designs.

Glass or clear pendants in a transitional style

Selected for its clean, linear lines, this style creates visual impact without taking up a lot of visual space. A favorite among stagers, potential buyers are able to move their eyes easily over, and through, the entire space. Stick with a polished nickel or chrome finish.

The kitchen pictured below had outdated bronze lantern-style fixtures that felt heavy and blocked the view of the large kitchen and eating area. When we installed these lighter glass fixtures, they opened up the space and showcased the full potential of this beautiful kitchen. (We also painted the cherry cabinets white, which also brightened the space.)

Bronze lantern-style fixtures that felt heavy were replaced with transitional-style glass fixtures, Birch Lane by Northport Pendant, that opened up the space. —Photo by Anthony Acocella; Staging by Staged To Move

Bathroom

Sconces

  • Stick with straight, clean lines and a polished nickel or chrome finish.
  • Avoid the glass shades that look like a bell — in other words, pronounced curves.
  • Stay away from sconces with mini shades.

Stick with clean, straight lines for bathroom sconces. Shown here is the Hewitt single sconce. —Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Overhead

  • Stick with the same rule of thumb as the sconces — opt for straight, box-like lines.
  • Stay away from curves or bell shapes.
  • Select polished nickel or chrome finishes. For overhead bathroom fixtures, select polished nickel or chrome finishes. Shown here is the Alcott triple sconce. —Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Hallway

This situation typically calls for a semi-flush-mount light, meaning there is a small gap between the ceiling and the fixture.

Hallway lighting typically calls for a semi-flush-mount light, meaning there is a small gap between the ceiling and the fixture. The fixture pictured here, by Progress Lighting, features a low-slung shade. —Courtesy of Progress Lighting

Final thoughts

A couple of things to keep in mind as you select lighting and prepare your home for sale:

1. Be sure to combine the new lighting with existing fixtures. For example, if the sconces in the hallway are brushed nickel, pick a semi-flush fixture in the same material so they coordinate.

2. Focus your staging budget on high-priority areas, which include the first floor (or public spaces), the master bedroom, and the master bath.

Kara Woods, an award-winning home staging and design professional who specializes in the luxury market, teaches at the Academy of Home Staging and serves as Northeast regional vice president of the Real Estate Stagers Association. Send comments and questions to Address@globe.com. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp.

Summer Projects Worth Doing!

Another Northampton summer is finally upon us. For many people this means, among other things, that new light may be shed upon various projects required to improve your home or property, which weren't apparent during the winter months. 

I love finding encouragement to support a hard won decision. We finally decided to green light our screened in porch construction after two years of hemming and hawing -- and we are super excited that we will have an outdoor space which keeps the bugs out! In addition, look at the words of wisdom I happened upon from the wonderful Apartment Therapy website below - this just happens to suggest that our decision was a good one!

Summer Projects That Will Give You Good Return on Investment

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

You don't have to do a total renovation to increase the value of your home. Simple home improvement projects — like landscaping, new doors or shutters, or just a new paint job — can do wonders, majorly transforming the look of your house and bumping up its value.

Landscaping

It's well-agreed that boosting your home's curb appeal will pay off when it's time to sell — though estimates range from 100 to 1,000 percent ROI. Regardless of the exact numbers, it's clear: You'll likely get out more than what you put in. Realtor.com has some ideas, ranging from weeding and maintenance to planting trees (which almost always add value).

Painting

A freshly painted home can get you a 5 to 10 percent premium when you go to sell. It's a no-brainer to paint over those rooms that are scuffed or really need it, but if you're looking to sell in the near future, you can also use paint to appeal to buyers and command a higher sale price for your home. For instance, a recent study from Zillow found that blue is a color likely to bump up the selling price of a space.

Decks and Patios

If you were thinking about getting a deck, patio or porch already, good news: It offers a 90.3 percent average return. You also get a good return if you revamp the deck you already have. You want to make sure all the boards, railings and stairs look sharp and are in safe working order. No one wants a deck that looks like a hazard to have their kids around. And adding things like lighting, planters and gates can up the value even more.

New Doors

Both garage door and entry door replacements have a high return on investment, at 80.7 percent and 98 percent, respectively. Spicing these up can increase the curb appeal over traditional, drab doors. It'll give your place something unique that other homes won't have.

by Sarah Landrum

Jun 23, 2017

What's with the Low Inventory of Homes for Sale in Northampton?

LOW INVENTORY OF SINGLE FAMILY HOMES FOR SALE

According the the MLSPIN (Pioneer Valley chapter of MLS), there were 61 single family homes listed for sale between March 1st and May 1st of 2016 alone. Here we are in mid April of 2017, and there are only 45 single family homes on the market in Northampton. Some of these are new construction opportunities, and some are already under agreement. 

Pictured Above, 32 Liberty Street in Northampton, MA

Agents within our office have anecdotes of packed open houses, with multiple offers being submitted and buyers being outbid on the few houses that have come on the market this spring. This article from realestate.boston.com confirms that housing inventory in Massachusetts is at an all-time low.

Whatever the factors are behind the dearth of new single-family listings - the fact is that now is a great time to sell! Buyers are eager to buy, interest rates are still low. So, if you are a seller thinking about possibly selling your home - the first step is to reach out to your agent to find out what our opinion of market value would be. There is no question that the demand is high, and many houses are selling for above asking price in this climate. Contact us today to set up your comparative market analysis!

45 Spaulding Street, Amherst MA

Charming, updated 5 bedroom farmhouse, spacious and beautiful yard with lovely plantings, heated workshop/studio. All of this just a stone's throw from Amherst center! Our listing at 45 Spaulding Street is a gem of a home. Listing agent Scott Rebmann with be hosting an open house this Sunday, September 11th from 12-2 pm. Come take a look! A home this special will not last long!

45 Spaulding Street, Amherst MA

View from the street

Cozy side porch

Updated farmhouse eat-in kitchen

Master bedroom

Adjacent studio/loft

 

Beautifully sited on a nearly 1/2 acre lot, this classic farmhouse has retained its period charm while having today's modern updates. A gorgeous side sunporch welcomes you into the expanded dining room/kitchen area, updated with new cabinets, a farmhouse sink and lovely butler's pantry. Beautiful hardwoods lead you to the living room and a bedroom/office and updated bath round out the main floor. Upstairs are 4 additional bedrooms and a hall bath. The rear deck overlooks the beautiful yard with perennial gardens and fruit trees. There's also a heated studio space with a loft, perfect for the artist, writer, or entrepreneur. Do you want chickens? There's even a newer chicken coop! The updates are numerous...newer slates on the roof with copper flashing, new kitchen/dining room, new upstairs windows, new insulation, new gas boiler and radiators...the list goes on and on. All of this and you're just moments from all of the shopping, dining and entertainment venues of downtown Amherst! Offered at $425,000. 

Spring Real Estate Market Stats

We are in the midst of our Pioneer Valley and Northampton MA area spring real estate market. Since it is widely known that more inventory of houses and condos for sale tend to become available starting in March in the Northampton, MA area -- we Realtors often find ourselves in conversations with friends, family and clients wondering "how is the market?".  To that end, I have included a blog post below from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) with statistics to address this widely asked question. 

While it seems home sales are on the rise, inventory has continued to dwindle. This suggests that homeowners are choosing to stay put and make improvements to their existing homes, rather than selling and moving into newer homes, thus leading to less inventory available to new home buyers.
 
For you stats lovers, read on for more info about real estate sales in Massachusetts.
 
 
 

March Closed Home Sales Hit another High for the Month

by Eric Berman - eberman@marealtor.com - 781-839-5507 | Apr 26, 2016

The number of homes for sale still down despite increase in new listings 

added to the market

 

WALTHAM, Mass. - April 26, 2016 - The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that heavy buyer activity in the first quarter pushed March closed home sales to a new high for the month. Median prices were back up after ticking down in February for the first time in nine months. Condominium sales also closed up with median prices essentially flat from 2015.

March Closed Sales:

Single-Family

March 2016

March 2015

%Change

Sales

3,452

2,801

+23.2%

Median Price

$329,505

$320,000

+3.0%

  • Most closed sales in the month of March since 2004
  • Closed sales have been up 14 out of the last 21 months
  • Median prices have been up for the 11 out of the last 12 months
 

Condominium

March 2016

March 2015

%Change

Sales

1,429

1,145

+24.8%

Median Price

$307,900

$307,000

+0.3

  • Most closed sales in the month of March since 2007
  • Closed sales have been up or flat nine of the last 13 months
  • Median prices have been up eight out of the last 12 months

"March has proved again this year that buyer activity in the first quarter of this year and the last few months of last year was very, very strong," said 2016 MAR President Annie Blatz, branch executive at Kinlin Grover Real Estate in Brewster. "We've seen a good increase in the number of new listings added to the market and it's a trend we really need to continue as were still faced with an ongoing shortage of homes."

 Inventory and Days on Market

Single-Family

March 2016

March 2015

%Change

Inventory

15,442

17,729

-12.9%

Months of Supply

3.1

4.4

-29.5%

Days on Market

117

127

-7.9%

New Listings

8,296

6,343

+30.8%

  • 50th straight month of year-over-year inventory decreases 

Condominium

March 2016

March 2015

%Change

Inventory

4,306

4,900

-12.1%

Months of Supply

2.3

3.0

-23.3%

Days on Market

85

98

-13.3%

New Listings

2,971

2,551

+16.5%

  • 63rd straight month of year-over-year inventory decreases

About the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®: 

Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade organization with more than 22,000+ members.  The term REALTOR® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.  

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