Blog :: 04-2016

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

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.  

###

 

Time To Prune!

As my backyard emerges from the mud and muck left over from a mild Northampton MA winter, I am reminded that it is probably time to start pruning some of the plants we planted last year in our small yard.

As both a realtor and wannabe gardener, this tends to be a tricky time of year for me as the spring buying and selling market takes off AND my yard and garden need attention. I have to be strategic about caring for my plants on their timeline, and not putting that project on the back burner. Fruit trees, flowering shrubs, and other perennials have specific needs for when to prune, mulch, fertilze, etc. Thankfully, a quick google search tends to turn up helpful information about the what, when, where and how of plant care. The following article from gardening.about.com has a wealth of important information for you fledgling gardeners! Spring has sprung!

 

HOW AND WHEN TO PRUNE WHICH PLANTS

 

(This article is a re-post from gardening.about.com, click on the link for the full article).

Most plants benefit from some sort of regular pruning and maintenance. The trick is in know when to prune what. A great many flowering and fruiting plants prefer to be pruned while they are dormant, in late winter through early spring. Some, like spring blooming trees and shrubs, will start setting new buds as soon as the old buds have fallen. These will need to be pruned shortly after flowering, or you risk pruning off the new buds with the old. And still other plants need to be continually pruned and deadheaded, to remain vigorous and in flower.

It's confusing, but rarely fatal. Pruning at the wrong time of year may result in less flowers and fruits, but it usually won't harm the plant in the long run. The exception to this is pruning too late in the season and encouraging a lot of tender, new growth that will be killed back with the onset of winter weather. To help you take the guess work out of pruning, here is a series of articles to help you learn when to prune the plants in your garden.
 


Pruning Tools

What ever plants you have, the first thing you need to consider is the best tool for the job. Sharp, clean tools not only make the job of pruning plants easier, they are crucial to keeping your plants healthy. The four basic tools required for pruning most plants are: hand pruners, loppers, shearers and saws. Here's a breakdown of which pruning tools are appropriate for your pruning tasks.

Flowering Trees, Shrubs and Vines

Perhaps the most confusing group of plants, when it comes to pruning times, is flowering trees and shrubs. A general rule of thumb is to prune summer and fall flowering trees and shrubs in the dormant season (late winter / early spring) and to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs soon after their flowers fade. The confusion comes with plants like hydrangeas, roses and clematis; some of these flower in spring, some in summer or fall, some flower repeatedly. Here are some guidelines for figuring out when your particular variety is best pruned.
When to Prune Spring Flowering Trees & Shrubs
When to Prune Which Clematis
When to Prune Hydrangeas
How and When to Prune Your Rose Bushes

Fruit Trees and Berry Plants

Most fruiting plants need to be pruned while they are dormant. You usually get one chance to set buds for next season's crop, so particular care is taken with fruit trees and berry plants. Most flowering plants grown for their ornamental value will still give you some sort of show, even if you've been lax about regular pruning. Fruit trees and berries will steadily decline unless they are pruned and tended. There are several reasons for this, including: suckers that direct energy away from fruiting branches, older branches susceptibility to diseases and pests and the habit of many fruiting plants to only produce on branches of a certain age. So if you are growing tree fruits or berries to harvest, pruning them should be given high priority.
Apple and Pear Trees
Peaches
Blueberries
Raspberries & Blackberries
Strawberries
When Your Home Orchard Stops Bearing Fruit

Evergreens

Gardeners don't often think about pruning evergreen trees, which is probably a good thing. Evergreen trees don't need to be pruned. It is not recommended that you use pruning to keep an evergreen tree's size in check. You will just stress and distort the tree by doing that. Better to choose a smaller, dwarf evergreen than trying to size down a large tree. However, there are times when you want an evergreen in your landscape to be a bit fuller and that can be accomplished with some well timed pruning. Keep in mind, the larger the tree, the more labor intensive this type of pruning will be, so do this while the tree is young.
Pruning Fir Trees in the Landscape

Perennial Bedding Plants

Perhaps the most labor intensive plants to prune are the non-woody perennials. The notion that you can plant perennials once and then have a maintenance-free garden forever is an incorrect notion. Most perennial plants, especially the flowering ones, not only need to be cut back entirely at some point before or after the growing season, they need regular pruning, shearing or deadheading. Which plants to prune when and how much to prune them is something you learn as you acquire experience gardening. It's part of the pleasure of gardening for most gardeners and it's the type of knowledge that varies from region to region. When and how to prune perennial plants probably makes up more garden chat than any other topic. The articles here will hopefully get you talking.
Perennial Plants to Prune in the Spring
Perennial Plants to Prune in the Fall
Pinching, Pruning and Deadheading

 

Paint it Black!

As an admitted design junkie, those of you who have read my blog before know that I am a huge fan of the Apartment Therapy website and blog. A good friend of mine, who has an amazing eye for design, recently traveled to Amsterdam. When she came back, she told me she intended to paint all of the woodwork on her windows black, like many of the houses she saw during her travels. This is a woman who means business. When she has a vision, she makes it happen. I was curious about this trend, and whether it would appeal to me as well. I happened upon this story on Apartment Therapy which makes the use of black paint as an accent look extremely appealing! I think the key is to choose one element in a room, which will make the rest of the room "pop".

As realtors, we here at Maple + Main Realty see trends come and go with some frequency. Paint is a great way to update a space without commiting to a large, expensive renovation. In addition, paint can be painted over if you tire of the look! And a fun trend such as limited use of black paint can freshen up a space and make it look as if you have done more extensive work than you have. 

Check out the article from Apartment Therapy here:

 

7 Things to Paint Black Today

 

There's a reason black is a classic: it's dark, it's beautiful, it matches with almost everything. And it's a great way to add a little contrast, drama and depth to an interior that needs a little extra pizazz. Here are seven weekend painting projects that will add a little bit of black -- and a whole lot of style -- to your home.

 

Your stairs.

Paint just the railing, or just the stairs, or both for a little extra impact.

 

 

Doors.
Add instant class to any space, without the trouble of painting a whole room.



 

 

The bathtub.
If you have an old cast iron tub, painting the outside is a great way to refresh your bathroom without remodeling. Ohmega Salvage has a great guide to this.



 

 

Kitchen cabinets.
Try just the upper cabinets, just the lower cabinets (the two-tone look is in) or go for broke and paint them all.



 

The fireplace.
Give the focal point of the room a little extra oomph.


 

The ceiling.

Painting your ceiling black is a bold choice that can make a large room seem cozier, and will make any room much more dramatic.





 

Bookcases.
If you love your bookcases, painting them black is a great way to set them off -- and draw attention to all those lovely volumes.





(Image credits: Design Sponge; SF Girl by Bay; Martha Stewart; My Domaine; Design Sponge; Apartment Therapy; Birgitta Drejer via Trendenser)

 

Painting Over Wallpaper

In the real estate market in the Northampton, MA area, many of the homes for sale are 100 years old or older. While houses of this age are generally full of charm and character - with age often comes a set of issues to deal with. Items such as possible presence of lead paint, asbestos wrapped heating pipes, floor tiles or exterior shakes, and old wallpaper over original plaster are among the issues found in older homes.

I recently sold a sweet, old farmhouse in Williamsburg, MA. The house was full of charm, character, and good vibes. The upstairs bedrooms, however, were wallpapered, and the plaster to which the wallpaper was adhered had shifted away from the walls and the lathe underneath. In a situation such as this, I would imagine that the only solution is the remove the plaster and the wallpaper - and recover it with new sheetrock and paint. There are times, however, when it is possible, and a good solution, to paint right over existing wallpaper. This article from Angie's List explains when and how this remedy would apply.

When you have to paint over wallpaper


 

 

Painting over wallpaper is acceptable if removal will damage the wall or the wall is already damaged. 

 

(Brandon Smith, Angie's List) Brandon Smith/Angie's List--TNS
By OSEYE BOYD
Angie's List (TNS)
Thursday, March 31, 2016

While painting over wallpaper isn't the best option, sometimes it's the only option.

Forget what you've heard: It's possible to paint over all wallpaper -- and not just the paintable type.

While it's always preferable to remove wallpaper before painting, it's not always possible. Sometimes, you'll find layer upon layer of wallpaper, or removal will cause significant wall damage, says Jeff Sellers, owner of Merrifield Paint and Design of Arlington, Virginia.

"In some of these older homes, when you start pulling paper off you really don't know what you're getting into," Sellers says. "You can get the paper off and find the wall is damaged, and that's why they put the wallpaper up. You never know why people put up wallpaper."

Sellers says the type of wallpaper is a good indicator of whether it will come off easily. Paper-backed wallpaper is more difficult to remove than vinyl. You'll likely need to use a scoring device and adhesive remover, which may prove laborious and result in possible wall damage.


How to paint over wallpaper

You may be tempted to slap some paint on the wall, but there's more to it. Without proper preparation, the wallpaper will eventually lift and begin to show through the paint -- and look like painted over wallpaper.

According to experts, the wall should be clean and dust free. Remove all loose ends. If unable to remove, glue or cut away, spot prime and fill holes with spackle. Prime the wallpaper with an oil-based primer and skim the wallpaper with drywall mud to cover seams from the wallpaper and create a smooth wall. After skimming, sand the wall and prime again. Be sure the wall is dust free before applying paint.

"What matters is that you use an oil-based primer to seal the wallpaper," says Carlos Mendoza of Carlos Mendoza Painting, in Spring, Texas. "That's what's going to seal the wallpaper."

Once you've prepped the wall, Mendoza recommends using satin finish paint instead of flat, which is porous. If you prefer, you can use flat paint. However, because it's porous, flat paint holds dirt and is difficult to clean.

"The satin finish does show imperfections, but as long as you keep the texture consistent, you should be OK," Mendoza says.

Avoid bubbling, lifting or other issues with the wallpaper by testing a couple of spots and allowing to dry completely before painting the entire wall, said Octave Villar, manager of Behr application laboratory in Santa Ana, California.