Northampton Celebrates Supreme Court Decision!

We at Maple and Main Realty are thrilled about the momentous Supreme Court decision that same sex marriage bans are unconstitutional! Local Northampton leaders participated in a lively celebration of the decision on the steps of the First Churches in downtown Northampton MA as depicted in the photo below. Though 11 years after the Massachusetts ruling in support of same sex marriage, it's wonderful that the whole country will now recognize marriage between any couple. A happy day!

Local leaders, gay rights advocates celebrate Supreme Court decision

  • DAN LITTLE<br/>Jacqui Wallace, front right, sings with the Amherst Area Gospel Choir as people gathered Friday in front of First Churches in Northampton to celebrate the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

    Jacqui Wallace, front right, sings with the Amherst Area Gospel Choir as people gathered Friday in front of First Churches in Northampton to celebrate the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states

  • NORTHAMPTON -- At 10 a.m. Friday, people all over the country -- and the world -- were refreshing web pages and checking their smartphones for news updates, knowing that there was a good chance the U.S. Supreme Court was going to announce its decision about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

Lee Badgett, Director for the Center of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was camping in France and made sure she found a spot with cellphone service at 10 a.m. so she could check Twitter. J.M. Sorrell, a justice of the peace and organizer of Noho Pride, got a New York Times alert on her phone at 10:04 a.m. with the news. State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst, the first openly gay Massachusetts Senate president, was riding in a car heading from Greenfield to Boston when he saw the news on social media.

Gina Nortonsmith was helping her son, Quinn, 15, who was cleaning the gutters. She and her wife, Heidi Nortonsmith, were among the seven couples in the 2004 case that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

"I was holding the ladder for him and at 10 o'clock I told him he had to hold on," Gina Nortonsmith said. She went inside to see whether there had been an announcement.

"I screamed and screamed and screamed. I thought the neighbors would come running," she said with a big smile while sitting on her back porch in Northampton on Friday afternoon.

Quinn gave her a hug, she said, and her older son, Avery, 18, was awakened by her shrieks. 

Meanwhile, Heidi Nortonsmith said, she was checking the SCOTUS blog online in her office at the Northampton Survival Center. Then she got a call from her wife.

"I noticed the first things we said to each other weren't words," she said with a laugh, before imitating some of the shrieks of joy that she heard on the phone.

In the years since the first time a state government ruled to legalize gay marriage, the Nortonsmiths have had some similar celebratory moments -- such as when the Supreme Court two years ago declared unconstitutional the federal Defense of Marriage Act, an amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

As with the 2013 DOMA decision, the Supreme Court ruled Friday in a 5-4 decision that gay-marriage bans violate the equal rights provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

And while the decision's impact on the Nortonsmiths mostly relates to their ability to have their marriage recognized in other states, they were thinking of people in the 14 states where the same sexes would have the right to marry for the first time.

Gina Nortonsmith said that in 2004, after the legalization in Massachusetts, they got a letter from a woman in Alabama congratulating them on the victory.

"She couldn't see that it would ever happen in Alabama. I keep thinking of her," Gina Nortonsmith said. "The clerks may not like it, but tough nuggies -- that woman and everyone in Alabama now has that right."

'It will take some time'

In western Massachusetts, as in the rest of the nation, advocates, activists and local leaders celebrated the landmark decision, while acknowledging that the country still has a long way to go before people will be treated equally -- everywhere -- no matter their sexual orientation. 

Gina Nortonsmith said the right to marry is important because of what it represents. "The push for marriage wasn't based on the idea that everyone should get married. It's that people should be respected as citizens of the United States to decide what we want to do with our own lives," she said. 

Rosenberg, who plans to marry his partner, Bryon Hefner, said he was not surprised by the decision because the U.S. Constitution was originally based on the Massachusetts Constitution -- which affords equal protection under the law to all citizens.

"I was excited because they came to the same conclusion our own Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court came to, which is that there is a fundamental right to choose who to love and marry," he said. "We all have equal protection under the law, meaning we all have to be treated the same when you make a law."

And he expects that in those 14 states affected by Friday's ruling -- as he saw after the 2004 decision in Massachusetts -- not all residents, leaders and politicians will immediately get on board. "It will take some time," he said. There were only a few state legislators who backed the ruling in 2004, Rosenberg said, and now 80 percent of Massachusetts residents support same-sex marriage.

Sorrell, who was in Washington, D.C., in April for the oral arguments on the issue before the Supreme Court's, said she rubbed shoulders there with many Massachusetts activists, including lawyer Mary L. Bonauto, the civil rights project director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. She successfully argued for same-sex marriages in the Massachusetts case in 2004 -- Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health -- and in front of the Supreme Court in April.

Sorrell said she thought at the time, "Massachusetts spirits are here because we kind of started it." Now, she sees more signs of Massachusetts in the decision.

"It is reminiscent of the Goodridge decision -- it affirms the dignity and equality that should be part of what this democracy is about," she said.

Sorrell said she has been annoyed by a lot of the media coverage casting the same-sex marriage decision as a religious issue and featuring interviews with angry preachers. She said she has worked with synagogues and different churches as a justice of the peace, and found that there are supporters of gay rights in every denomination, including some rabbis and priests.

She called the dissenting justices' attempts to make it an issue of religious freedom "ugly."

"I don't know of any gay or lesbian running off to a church to tell them what to do," she said.

Sorrell became a justice of the peace in 2004 because she wanted to perform same-sex marriages, and many of her clients over the years have been out-of-staters who came to Massachusetts because they could not get married in their home states. Over the years, fewer couples have had to make the trip as more states legalized the unions, and now, no one will have to travel for a wedding if they don't want to, she said.

It's bad for her part-time business, she said, "but that's what I want."

The battle for equal rights isn't over, though, she said. For instance, the states where same-sex marriage is now legal do not have laws prohibiting workplace discrimination. A same-sex couple could get married in Michigan, Sorrell said, but if they put an announcement about it in the newspaper, it would be perfectly legal for their employers to fire them because of their sexual orientation.

Interview from France 

In a telephone interview from France, Badgett, who was vacationing with her wife, Elizabeth Silver, said only 20 states have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation and most do not protect transgender people from discrimination.

"The struggle is not over, clearly," Badgett said. "People will be celebrating this for a while and then I think they will have more time and energy to dedicate" to the next battle.

Badgett said the decision Friday, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, treats same-sex couples as humans, as opposed to "another kind of people."

"It seems like a really clear endorsement of the idea that same-sex couples not only have that right, but that it makes sense that they want that right," she said. It was similar to the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages. "Same-sex couples are really just like all those other people who wanted to get married and sought that right."

Mary Clare Higgins, the former Northampton mayor who now works at Community Action!, said Friday that she saluted Kennedy for splitting from the other more conservative "Reagan appointees" in his decision.

"It's great news, but it doesn't mean the fight is over," she said. "Some states are already trying to figure out ways around honoring this decision, and there are a lot of other things to fight for."

Gina Nortonsmith said that Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion enraged her. "It makes me mad that four justices don't see equality in the U.S. Constitution," she said.

Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith said they have never run into a problem in another state where their union was not recognized, but they will feel more secure now traveling around the country.

Even so, they will continue to carry their marriage license in and out of state in case someone questions that they are legally married. "The question is, when will it be that we don't feel like anyone will question us?" Heidi Nortonsmith said.

The couple had a commitment celebration in 1993, assuming that would be the only kind of wedding they would have. They were legally married in 2004, right around the time Heidi Nortonsmith became the Survival Center director.

She recalled the feeling of openness that came after the high-profile court case and their eventual marriage.

"I don't have to enter any situation, like a speaking engagement or with donors, without knowing if I can bring my full self to that engagement," Heidi Nortonsmith said. 

Now others all over the country can be closer to living with that kind of freedom. "That's huge, to think of each of these lives being able to be lived more fully and publicly," she said.

In eastern Massachusetts, officials also embraced the ruling, including Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who was the only sitting governor among more than 300 prominent Republicans who signed a brief in support of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case.

"For me, the issue of marriage equality is personal," said Baker, who has a brother who is gay and married.

Maura Healey, who became the nation's first openly gay attorney general when she was sworn in to office in January, led the filing with the Supreme Court of a brief in support of gay marriage on behalf of 16 states and the District of Columbia. Before doing so, she asked same-sex couples in Massachusetts and their families to tell their stories through social media. Hundreds did, she said.

"It works for our families. It works for our communities. It works for our state," Healey said. "The court's decision was correct ... and frankly it was about time."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

Who Needs a Buyer Agent? You do!

Before I became a realtor, I had no idea how real estate agency was structured, who represented whom, etc. When we were looking for our first home, all those years ago, sometimes there would be a second realtor at a showing in addition to our realtor, other times not. I never gave it much thought at the time.


As a realtor, I feel that having a buyer agent as your personal advocate and guide through the process of purchasing real estate is invaluable. Agency relationships can be confusing if you don't understand the structure, and I often take time with clients to explain these intricacies.

When a seller forms a listing contract with a seller or listing agent, they agree on a brokerage fee (same as a sales commission) for the sale of their property. The brokerage fee includes payment for both a seller agent and a buyer agent and is built into the purchase/sale price of the house. A buyer can proceed with the purchase on his or her own, without the help of a buyer agent, and some people choose to do this - but you may find yourself in unchartered territory in doing so.

The Benefits of Working with a Buyer Agent:

1.  You have an advocate who knows you, knows what you are looking for, and has their ear to the ground helping you to pinpoint houses that may be of interest.

2.  You have a professional advocate who knows the market, the geographical area, many other realtors and people in the area - so that he or she may help you fine tune your search.

3.  If you find yourself in bidding war, your agent can be invaluable in helping you make the most desirable offer to get the house you want.

4.  Your agent will help you negotiate a fair price for the home, and they will help you negotiate if any issues come to light during inspection.

5.  Your agent will stay on top of important dates such as the signing of the purchase and sales agreement, the finance commitment date (the date by which the bank states that you will officially be receiving your mortgage for the purchase of the home), and anything you need to do to prepare for your closing date. In addition, if you need more time for your inspection period, or your mortgage commitment date, your agent will help negotiate extensions for these deadlines, so that you are still protected within the sales agreement.

6.  You have a knowledgeable person who can recommend any number of resources for you in your move, whether it be related to the home you are purchasing, or the town/city you are moving to itself. From finding a home inspector, to finding a real estate attorney, contractors for your home, recommendations of local services, etc -- a buyer agent is a wealth of information.

7.  Your agent provides a buffer between you and the seller, so that when any question or issue comes up, they go to bat for you to get your questions answered, and your issues sorted out, to the best of their ability.

8.  A buyer agent will connect you directly to the MLS (Mulitple Listing Service), so that you can be aware of houses coming on the market in real time. Other real estate sites can have outdated information or even misinformation. This access to the MLS makes looking for a house much easier for the buyer.

9. You have a personal (and confidential) advocate who can explain every nuance in the process of locating and purchasing a home.

So, if you are looking for a home - ask around to find a buyer agent with whom you feel connected. You will be happy you did!



RECTANGLE Textiles Pop-Up Shop at Maple and Main Realty

We are excited to be hosting a pre-holiday Pop-Up shop at the Maple and Main Realty office (28 North Maple Street in Florence) next Thursday, December 11th from 5:30-7:30 pm - featuring local artist Adele Mattern's new line of textiles for the home, Rectangle Textiles (Facebook and Instagram as "Rectangle Textiles", www.rectangletextiles.com website to be launched soon!).  Special guest, Local Interior Designer Sally Staub will be on hand with photos of some her inspired interior design projects as well!  RSVP to Julie Starr.

photo 2

Rectangle Textiles is a contemporary line of home textiles: simple yet bold, handmade with natural dyes.  Local Artist Adele Mattern updates traditional techniques with fair trade and artisan groups to develop pillows, placemats, napkins, tablecloths and more.

Moving On After a Breakup

It seems that the statistics are on target, and many of us has either chosen to part ways with our significant other, or knows a number of people who have chosen to do so. As a person who has tried to be a support to the people in my life who have decided to make this life shift, and as a realtor (since often the reason for the sale and or purchase of a new home has to do with the dissolution of a long term relationship) - I found this piece on Apartment Therapy to be so relevant. We all want our homes to be a place of comfort and refuge. When we are licking our wounds from a recent split, it's so important to do our best to redefine the space we inhabit (and especially when it was shared with said ex) so that it can remain that place of comfort and refuge. If selling the home you shared with an ex isn't an option (as it often isn't for many people) - here are some great suggestions for things you can do to reclaim your home.


5 Redecorating Steps for the Recently Consciously Uncoupled

Eva's Sense of Clarity

Breakups are hard. It doesn't matter if you were the dumper or the dumpee, if you hyperventilate at the thought of your ex, or if you are firmly resigned. Either way, if you once lived as a couple, you now need to dismantle the evidence of the home you worked to create together. At times the process might be soul-crushing. Other times there are practical considerations. And ultimately, there's a new glorious opportunity. Here are five steps to regroup at home:

1. Yes, Perform Triage: Hide some of the prominent reminders of your ex, or obvious emotional triggers -- like photos of you kissing on the beach in Tulum last winter - or stuff that obviously belonged to the other person. Rip off the bandaid and get them out of sight - either send it packing, head to Goodwill, or tuck it deep in a storage bin. This is no time to wallow amongst the remnants of your immediate past.

-> Things Fall Apart: Living Alone in a Space After a Breakup

2. But Don't Overcompensate: Resist the urge to go all Left Eye Lopes on everything your ex touched. Your history as a couple is also inextricably tied to your own personal history as well. So pack up that stuff, but hold off on throwing it all out the window. There's always time to do it later, but for now, give yourself some time to get some perspective. Think of it as a time capsule to be dug up at a later date, to be examined under a more archeological eye that comes with time and distance. You might decide you still really like that Norwegian wool blanket you used to canoodle under, despite the fact that it was a gift from the ex.

3. Then Replenish Necessities: There's a practical side to all of this. If your ex owned the dining room table, and there's now a gaping hole where you used to eat your meals, you need to replace certain necessities that get used every day. It might be a microwave, or a vacuum cleaner, but you'll need it before long.

-> Breakup Shower: Would You Throw One? Would You Want One?

4. Let Yourself Indulge a Little: I'm not suggesting you hire Kelly Wearstler to gut and redecorate your apartment. But do things for yourself that weren't necessarily possible before, or weren't a priority. Hang up your favorite Michael Jackson poster, or hire someone to come and deep clean your home if you can afford it -- whatever little acts of kindness you can grant yourself during this transitional -- and perhaps unhappy -- time.

5. Finally Reclaim Your Taste: Turn your decorating "we" into a decorating "me." If your own style has been buried under an ugly wagon wheel coffee table, or you've forgotten how much you love black bedrooms, this is the moment to remember your individual needs and taste. Grab onto that knowledge with both hands, and don't let go. Figure out what you like and take the steps to make your home reflect that.

via 5 Redecorating Steps for the Recently Consciously Uncoupled | Apartment Therapy.

217 Prospect Street, Northampton MA

Northampton Home for Sale | MLS# 71740765

View from front of house

Nestled among an array of flowering and fruit trees sits this tidy and charming Craftsman-style home.  Enjoy an afternoon iced tea on the beautiful front porch or on the brick patio in the back, curl up with a good book in the cozy living room,  or cook up a gourmet meal for friends in the newly renovated kitchen.  The dining room is plenty spacious enough to accommodate a dinner party.  Although compact, this sweet home has a good deal of room inside.  On the second floor, there are 3 sizable bedrooms, a full bath with a claw foot tub, wainscoting and storage for toiletries.  In addition, there is a 4th room with a closet, and access to the attic.  At the moment, the 4th room is being used as a closet and dressing room - but could easily be transformed into a home office, nursery or place to do morning yoga and meditation.


On the third floor is a spacious bedroom, with additional storage, and ample room to add a full bath if you chose to turn this into a master suite.  The current owner has plans for an added powder room on the 1st floor, tucked away off the kitchen.  There are beautiful hardwood floors throughout the house, as well as a full basement with storage and laundry.  At the moment, a bit of water tends to pool in one corner of the basement during heavy rainstorms only.  It is likely an issue easily remedied by redirecting water from the gutter downspouts away from the house.  The boiler and hot water heater in good shape, and the electrical system has been updated to 200 AMPS of service.  There is some leftover active knob and tube wiring, but the current owner plans to have it removed before the sale of the house.


This house has been lovingly cared for, and updates throughout include a new kitchen, newer roof, updated electrical, recent interior and exterior paint and many replacement windows.  Located at 217 Prospect Street in Northampton, MA -- it is very close to town, the bike path, the YMCA and shopping.  You may contact Julie Starr or Julie Held directly for a showing, after the first showings at the open house this Sunday, September 14th from 12-2 pm.  Offered at $329,000.

Porch of Northampton Home | MLS# 71740765 Back porch

Back porch

Patio of Northampton Home | MLS# 71740765 Back patio off the driveway- 1 car garage at end of driveway

Back patio off the driveway- 1 car garage at end of driveway

Kitchen of Northampton Home for Sale | MLS# 71740765 Newly renovated kitchen

Newly renovated kitchen

Kitchen of Northampton Home | MLS# 71740765 Second view of kitchen

Second view of kitchen

Living room of Northampton Home | MLS# 71740765 Living room with french doors to main entrance, dining room is off living room

Living room with french doors to main entrance, dining room is off living room

Bathroom of Northampton Home | MLS# 71740765 Charming full bath w/ wainscoting and claw foot tub/shower

Charming full bath w/ wainscoting and claw foot tub/shower

Room of Northampton Home with attic access | MLS# 71740765 4th room with attic access

4th room with attic access

Master Bedroom of Northampton Home | MLS# 71740765 Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom


Check out full listing details here.

For more information. any real estate needs, or to schedule a showing, contact us today! Discover recent real estate listings in the Northampton, MA area here.


Beautiful Oasis on Crooked Ledge Road in Southampton, MA

Tudor-style stunner with beautiful light and a contemporary feel, set on 10+ private acres in Southampton, MA.  Custom eat-in kitchen with gleaming hardwood floors, granite counters, full pantry and top-of-the line appliances.  Enjoy meals underneath the flower-covered pergola on the deck just off the kitchen, overlooking the beautifully landscaped grounds and above ground swimming pool.  On the first floor is the master suite complete with cozy window seat, walk-in closet, full bath with deep-set tub and separate a shower. There are two additional bedrooms on the second floor, one with a window seat, the other with a cozy sleeping loft. Bonus family/media room with custom tongue and groove woodwork, built-in cabinetry, skylights and additional office space. Mechanical updates though out the house include; Buderus boiler, central vac, security system, wiring for sound system, generator hookup, new roof, freshly paved driveway and basement workshop. Enjoy the peaceful setting of the back yard from the deck or screen porch while entertaining or just relaxing.  Both overlook the perennial gardens, koi pond and above-ground pool, with the woods beyond.  Listed for $499,900.  For more information, contact Kate Iles. To see full details and photos, click here.


Southampton MA Home for Sale | MLS #71691628

View from the front of the house

Southampton MA Kitchen Interior | MLS #71691628

Custom Kitchen off of deck with pergola

Southampton MA Sitting Room | MLS #71691628

Living room off of deck, with gas fireplace

Southampton MA Bedroom with Loft | MLS #71691628

Bedroom with sleeping loft

Southampton MA Master Suite | MLS #71691628

Master Suite with window seat overlooking grounds

Southampton MA Media Room | MLS #71691628

Bonus media/room - could be a second master or guest room


Third bedroom with built in window seat


Perennial gardens


Koi Pond


For more information. any real estate needs, or to schedule a showing, contact us today! Discover recent real estate listings in the Northampton, MA area here.


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    Three County Fair Opens Today!

    Today at 4 pm, the gates open at the county fairgrounds in Northampton for the annual Three County Fair.  This year, the fair features a great line up of live music, performed by many favorite local bands - in addition to the usual fanfare.  If you are feeling melancholy about summer coming to an end, the fair is a fun last hurrah.  Read on for the Daily Hampshire Gazette's article outlining the many highlights of the historic event.

    Fine tuning: This year's Three County Fair adds music festival

    • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Matt Jackewich, of Easthampton, who works in maintenance at Three-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, waters flowers near the main gate Wednesday.JERREY ROBERTS Matt Jackewich, of Easthampton, who works in maintenance at Three-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, waters flowers near the main gate Wednesday. Purchase photo reprints 

    Among those setting up Wednesday in preparation for the fair's opening day Friday was volunteer Janet Mollison. She was overseeing exhibitors as they set up their displays of fruits and vegetables. About 50 exhibitors from age 4 to 80 will compete this year, she said.

    "The exhibit hall to me is a place where no matter your age or abilities, we can find something for you. There's a place for the kid with a bouquet of wildflowers," she gestured to where two girls were arranging vegetables on a table, centered around a giant cabbage. "These kids are setting up their vegetable displays, and they've been working on them all summer."

    While old standbys like the exhibit hall are ever popular, organizers have added something new this year that they hope will appeal to young adults, said Bruce Shallcross, general manager of the fair.

    A music festival called Fair Fest will be held from 2 to 10 p.m. Monday on two stages. "It's going to be awesome," Shallcross said, adding that local and regional bands will take to the stage for performances throughout the fair's four-day run, Friday through Labor Day.

    Exhibits galore

    In the exhibit hall Wednesday, Lou Chadwick of Second Chance Farm in Greenfield took red- and green-hued Gravenstein apples from a crate and carefully polished each one with a towel before arranging them in a diamond shape on the table.

    "We've been doing this for probably 30 years at different fairs, and we've been here for a good 15 years," said Chadwick, who also shows off his antique engine at the Antique Engine and Tractor Show at the fair.

    Meanwhile, outside under the hot sun, workers for Rockwell Amusements set up some of the 20 rides on the midway off Bridge Street. The circular skeleton of the Ferris wheel rotated slowly, even though there were no seats yet attached.

    Shallcross said the workers rolled into Northampton Sunday and have been setting up a variety of rides, including some for young children and many for the more adventurous fairgoers who enjoy adrenaline-inducing drops or being spun until they are green.

    The oldest, continually run agricultural fair in the country, according to Three-County Fair officials, is a mix of traditions such as the exhibit hall and livestock judging, and more modern entertainment, such as the roaring monster truck shows, demolition derby and wine tastings.

    Add the latest versions of food -- think deep-fried Oreos and an ice cream filled doughnut called the Moo-nut -- and you've got a fair.

    "Hopefully, if the weather is good, we'll have around 40,000 total attendance," Shallcross said. "Last year with the bad weather we probably had 32,000 to 33,000."

    The holiday weekend forecast is for partly cloudy weather with temperatures ranging from the high 70s to the high 80s, and thunderstorms possible Sunday.

    Shallcross said advance ticket sales have been good for fair entry as well as for the $5 grandstand tickets for demolition derbies scheduled for Friday and Sunday nights.

    Music festival born

    While busy staff and volunteers bustled around him with last minute preparations in the fair's office Wednesday, Shallcross said the impetus for organizing a music festival for Labor Day was the fact that attendance has declined over the years on the fair's last day.

    "Usually school starts the next day, so people leave early," he said. "So we said, 'Who will come out on a school night?' Young adults." And young adults in the Northampton area like live music.

    He hired Tom Schack, a musician who books bands at area bars, to set the lineup. On the outdoor stage, next to the Polish Kitchen booth, will be The Dire Honeys, The Sun Parade, Groove Shoes, The Mary Jane Jones, Fat Bradley and Bella's Bartok. In the arena, the bands will include Gone by Daylight, Rhythm Incorporated, Lux Deluxe, Mammal Dap, The Alchemystics, Outer Stylie, and headliner Potty Mouth. For the full lineup, visit the Three County Fair Fest Facebook page.

    Fair Fest entry is free with admission to the fair: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and veterans, and free for those 11 and younger.

    Live music has long had a place at the fair with the clubhouse featuring bands nightly, Shallcross said. In recent years, the fair has added "Preachin' the Blues," a series of blues performers on Sundays, and a Battle of the Bands featuring many young musicians, on Saturdays.

    "Over the past eight years, one thing we've developed is music," Shallcross said. "We don't have some of the more country stuff that other fairs have, but people in Northampton like music. That's something we have that's a little different."

    For more information. any real estate needs, or to schedule a showing, contact us today! Discover recent real estate listings in the Northampton, MA area here.

    The Three County Fair, 54 Fair St., is open Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For a full schedule for the fair, visit www.threecountyfair.com.

    How to Win the Bidding War on the Home You Want to Buy

    Have you ever noticed how things that are going on for you in work or in your personal life often seem to pop up in the media at that exact moment?  I have been assisting a buyer over the past 24 hours, in making an offer on a desirable property in Northampton.  We are in a bidding war, about to submit our "highest and best offer", along with the other buyers who submitted an offer on the same property.  A bidding war is essentially a blind auction.  We use the tools at our disposal, but we never know what the strength is of the competing offer.  My client and I have pored over the comparable properties which have sold recently, and discussed the pros/cons and projected resale value for the property.  However, at the end of the day. he can only offer an amount at which he won't be disappointed that he didn't offer more if he doesn't get it; or that he didn't offer less if he does get it.  Negotiating offers is not black and white.  To that end, I happened upon this informative piece on realtor.com today.

    How to Win the Bidding War on the Home You Want to Buy

    By: Michele Lerner  How to Win the Bidding War on the Home You Want photo

    If you are buying a home at the height of a citywide seller's market or simply want a sought-after house

    Competing against faceless prospective buyers may bring out the warrior in you, but before you decide to go all out in your battle, you need to step back and decide how much you really want that particular home.in a neighborhood with limited turnover, you may find yourself in the midst of a real estate bidding war.

    Should You Compete in a Bidding War?

    In the thick of competition you may forget your end goal is a home you love and can afford to own. If your offers have been turned down by several sellers because of competing buyers, then you may feel pushed to make an aggressive offer for the next home you like.

    You should stop yourself from competing just because you think the time is right to become a homeowner or to move up into a new place. Instead, think about whether you really want the particular house enough to fight for it.

    To guard against making an emotion-fueled offer for a house, take a hard look at your finances. While it may feel good at first to beat out other buyers and to purchase a property, it won't feel so great in a year or two when you are struggling to make the payments on a house beyond your means. Know your limits before you begin to bid.

    Prep for Battle

    Your first step before entering a bidding war should be to consult with a lender to understand the maximum amount you can borrow, to evaluate how much cash you have to spend while keeping enough money in a reserve fund.

    Next, make sure you hire an experienced REALTOR® who can share information about local market conditions and communicate with the seller's agent. You should rely on your REALTOR® for advice about how to handle a bidding war, but be sure to do your own research: visit a lot of homes in the area where you want to buy so you understand the value of various properties before you make an offer.

    Bidding War Strategies

    Your REALTOR® should work with you to craft an attractive offer based on the list price for the home, a comparative market analysis of similar homes, and knowledge gained from the sellers' agent about the sellers' motivations and preferences.

    In a bidding war, it's important to work with a REALTOR® who will move quickly to present your offer and any counteroffer, one who is easy to communicate with during the transaction.

    While you may assume money is the motivator that steers sellers to one buyer over another, there are other ways to make your offer attractive, such as these ideas:

    Solid financing: You may be competing against cash buyers, so make sure your loan pre-approval is in place and you have completed all required documentation other than identifying a specific property.

    Eliminate contingencies--carefully: If you own a home now, you may want to offer to buy another home without making your contract contingent on the sale of your current home. You take the risk of carrying two mortgages for a while, so make sure you can safely handle the payments. You can also decide to have an "information only" home inspection rather than making your offer contingent on the outcome of the inspection.

    Make the settlement date convenient for the sellers: Rather than negotiating on a closing date convenient to all sides, you can tell the sellers you will work with their schedule or rent back the property to them after the closing.

    Offer to pay all closing costs: You can reduce the sellers' out-of-pocket expenses by offering to pay their share of the settlement fees, but before you do this get an accurate estimate of what those costs will be and make sure you have the funds available to pay them.

    Personalize the transaction: Sometimes the tipping point for sellers who receive multiple offers is something emotional rather than financial. A personal letter describing your love of their home may tilt the scale in your favor.

    Try an escalation clause: Money talks, too, so you can add an escalation clause to your offer that increases your bid by a certain amount above other offers. Just make sure you set a limit on how high your offer will go.

    Control yourself: Remember that any offer is subject to an appraisal (unless you waive that contingency, but that's not recommended unless you have plenty of cash), so be careful not to bid above the market value of any property.

    For more information. any real estate needs, or to schedule a showing, contact us today! Discover recent real estate listings in the Northampton, MA area here.

    via How to Win the Bidding War on the Home You Want - Buy - realtor.com.

    Welcome Scott Rebmann!

    We are very happy to announce the newest Realtor/Associate Broker to join our ranks at Maple and Main Realty - welcome Scott Rebmann!  Scott has been working in Real Estate since 2009 and he is excited to be living and working in the field he loves right here in the heart of the Pioneer Valley.  Read on to find out more about Scott, and how he can assist you with your real estate needs.  You can also contact him directly at scott@mapleandmainrealty.com.


    After attending the a University of Missouri-Columbia, I spent 20 years in Tucson, AZ; where I explored my passion for food by owning and operating my own cafe and catering business.  Real estate beckoned and I discovered my love of historic homes; purchasing and renovating two beautiful properties in Tucson. In 2009 I moved to Washington, D.C. where I honed my customer service skills working with one of the metro areas top producing real estate teams. During this time, I would often visit friends and family in western Massachusetts and fell in love with the beauty and bounty of the area. Now I'm proud and happy to be in a place that truly feels like home. 

    As an associate broker, I feel that one of my greatest strengths is my love of the real estate contract. Yes, I said it...I love contracts!  I see myself as your real estate concierge...you get to fall in love with the house that you will call home and it's my job to help you navigate and negotiate your way through the process; making it as easy and enjoyable as possible.  My attention to detail and a great sense of perspective go a long way in creating a smooth experience. 


    1. Karen on

      Welcome. Lookin forward to working with you soon.

      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.