Blog :: 09-2014

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find posts about can't miss properties, local events, and more! Here at Maple and Main Realty we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the Northampton area. Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us

As a First-Timer, How to Commit to Homeownership

I thought the following piece on realtor.com was an interesting follow up to our last week's blog post about renting vs. home ownership.  When we realtors work with first time home buyer's, we often talk them through some (if not all) of the following list of topics:  speak to a bank about your finances to gain clarity about what you can comfortably afford, explain why it is beneficial to work with a buyer's agent vs. looking on one's own (real time info, having a dedicated advocate), realize that there is a certain amount of inherent risk in any home purchase, understand what our local market in the Northampton, MA area has to offer - and work towards adjusting your wish list to jive with the real list of options, have your ducks in a row to be ready to make a bid, and, lastly, enjoy your new home!  Anne Miller and Melissa Paul sum these topics up nicely in the following blog post...

Trouble Pulling the Trigger? Here's How to Commit to Homeownership

Trouble Pulling the Trigger? Heres How to Commit to Homeownership photo

You've saved for a down payment. You've pored over the local listings for months. Touring open houses has become part of your weekend ritual. But months, perhaps years, have passed and you are still in your rental.

For many first-time homebuyers, pulling the trigger on a purchase can be a frightening experience. Will you be happy there? Will you like your neighbors? Will you be tied down--house rich and cash poor? What if you lose your job? Will you hate your commute? In short, your fears stem from the unknown.Meanwhile, your current home is familiar. You've come to accept its shortcomings--the loud neighbors, the leaky ceiling, the scant street parking. It has few surprises.Take Paolo Forte, the eternal condo-shopper, who looked for years in Boston."I have actually seen condos come on the market, sell, and then be resold a second time," Forte said. "While I've been waiting, condo prices continue to rise, and I keep spending more money on rent."In Betsy Townsend's years as a REALTOR® in Boston's pricey Beacon Hill, she's seen everything."I find that people often hesitate to make the 'biggest purchase of their life' because they fear they will make a 'bad investment' and pay too much," Townsend said. "Sometimes people lose sight of the fact that they are looking for a place to live instead of just an investment."Still, there's hope. Your family, friends and co-workers took the leap and are reaping the benefits. Give these steps a try and you could be one of them:

Firm Up Your Finances

Anticipate the new costs that you will incur, such as taxes, homeowners insurance, utility bills and commuting. This will help determine the maximum price you can spend on a house. If your daily budget will change with a new home, consider a trial run living on that budget for a few weeks, to make sure you can. Enlisting the help of a financial expert will give you an objective view of your finances. Remember, the first year is the most difficult. After that you will begin receiving tax benefits.

Partner With an Agent

Even though the Internet gives you access to endless amounts of market information, don't be tempted to go it alone. Instead, interview several real estate agents and find one you like who listens to you. He or she can line up properties to view, answer many of your questions and make connections for you in your new community. Agents often have the inside track on new properties just coming on the market.

Accept Some Risk

Realize that there is uncertainty in everything, but no matter what happens, you will deal with it. Ask family and friends about their experiences and learn from them. Be sure to keep some cash reserves in the bank as a safety net. And remember, you have homeowner's insurance for a reason.

Fine Tune Your 'Must-Haves'

Is there a community that you absolutely must live in? Are you adamant about a garage, a fireplace or a finished basement? Make your list of what's vital. You may find that you are willing to sacrifice one feature if the rest are fabulous. If you are not crazy about the house, don't bid. It's important that you love it at the outset.

Be Ready to Bid

Regardless of the market, great houses do not stay available for long. One open house can lead to three offers. If you love it, be ready to make your best offer. If you are wavering, ask yourself, "How will I feel if I don't get this house?" You might just get it, and if not, at least you will know you tried.

Reap the Reward

Owning a home can be one of the most exciting and satisfying things you will do in your life. It's an investment that can pay you personal dividends as well as financial benefits.

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.

Melissa Paul contributed to this article.

via As a First-Timer, How to Commit to Homeownership -- realtor.com. By: Anne Miller

Net Worth of Homeowners vs. Renters

I recently found myself in a conversation with a new acquaintance, about the benefits of buying vs. renting a home.  The person I was speaking with, an adult in his mid-60's, and a lifelong New Yorker, had never owned a home!  This is not unusual for a New Yorker, of course, where housing prices are astronomical.  But he now lives here in Northampton, MA, and in this part of the country, the financial benefits of owning vs. renting arguably weigh in favor of buying.  Loan interest rates are still low (in the 4% range, depending on the product) - so it is a great time to be a home buyer.  Of course, it is a personal choice.  Some people prefer not to have the responsibility of home ownership.  For me, purchasing our first home was a wonderful milestone - and lead me to my current career.

I happened upon this interesting tidbit on the NAR (National Association of Realtors) blog this morning - and wanted to share it.

Net Worth of Homeowners vs. Renters

Posted in Economic Updates, In the past 15 years, the net worth of the typical homeowner has ranged between 31 and 46 times that of the net worth of the typical renter.Homeowner equity is a substantial component of homeowner wealth. The Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted once every three years, provides a snapshot of family income and net worth along with basic demographic details and more detailed information on where families keep the wealth they have accumulated.The most recent survey, conducted in 2013, offers a picture of the situation as home and equity prices normalized for most household balance sheets.Data shows that median homeowners had nearly $200,000 in net worth or 36 times that of the median renter who had just over $5,000. The median value of owners' homes was $170,000.Many households own a primary residence 65.2 percent. It is the most commonly held non-financial assets after vehicles 86.3 percent.

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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.

 

posted by Danielle Hale, Director of Housing Statistics on September 8, 2014 via Net Worth of Homeowners vs. Renters.

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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

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Third bedroom with built in window seat

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Perennial gardens

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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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