Blog :: 01-2013

The Sign of the Times

This sign announces Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont REALTORS new Amherst Office.  Yes, the Coldwell Banker tools and our local expertise is now open to a wider area of Hampshire County.  Located conveniently at the corner of College Street (Rte.9) and So. East Street in the "Amherst Crossing" retail/office center.

We are excited to be located in this exciting town of rich history, prestigious colleges and cultural attractions.  Our agents working in this exceptional area also live here, giving you the advantage of an experienced agent that can help you succeed with your next real estate decision. Call them today and see how their local knowledge and regional reach can assist you with your next move. (413) 461-3650

 

 

Welcome to the Davitt Associates

Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont REALTORS welcomes the Davitt Associates to our new Amherst Office, located at 383 College Street.

Paula & Rick Davitt  come to us with extensive experience listing and selling real estate in the Amherst and Belchertown areas.   Check out their website at www.davittassociates.com. for their complete listings, social medial links and service they provide.

OR, feel free to join them at their Open House this weekend.

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 at

62 South Washington in Belchertown from 1pm-2pm.

Click here for more information

Keeping your home safe

Protecting your home from burglers may seem like a no-brainer to some. Unfortunately for many homeowners, it takes an actual break-in for them to turn their attention to securing their homes against intruders. Here are a few preemptive steps that you can take in order to put your mind at ease.

1. Install a security system. Many modern homes come equipped with some form of security alarm. However, if you find yourself purchasing a home that doesn't already have a security system in place, you should consider your options for outfitting your home with one. There are many different types of security systems to choose from, and picking the most expensive plan doesn't always mean you are getting the most protection for your dollar. If you live in a rural area, for instance, focusing on a deterrent-based form of home security might better suit you than one that places police response as their most-prized feature. If it will take 15 minutes or more for a police officer to respond to your property, then you may need to consider a plan that places emphasis on loud alarms, or even a form of motion-sensor lighting to deter a break in. TopConsumerReviews.com has compiled an up-to-date list of some of the most comprehensive security plans on the market today. http://www.topconsumerreviews.com/home-security/ 2. Keep your doors and windows locked. Many break-ins don't actually require anything being "broken" in order for an intruder to gain access to your home. Keeping your windows and doors locked may seem like an obvious step, but you'd be surprised at the number of burglaries and home invasions that occur from homeowners ignoring this very practical safety measure. Also, if your home doesn't already come equipped with them, consider purchasing deadbolts for all of the exit doors in your home. Additionally, consider installing a peephole in your door if you don't already have one. Sometimes, all it takes is opening your door in response to a knock that can set off a home invasion. Never open your door to a stranger unless you are comfortable and secure in doing so. Don't feel foolish asking for credentials when opening your door to someone claiming to work for the water or gas company, either. Many times, a burgler can shut off certain things in your home from the outside to pave the way for knocking at your door, claiming to be there to help restore your services. 3. Alert a trusted neighbor when you go on vacation. Having a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers will give your home the appearance of being occupied, and will take the attention away from the wandering eyes of a potential burglar. Also, if the neighbor sees suspicious activity, it will give you an extra line of defense in the event that your security system and safety measures happen to fail. 4. Leave an electronic appliance on that is visible through a window. Many burglers prefer to do their work in your home while you are away. Leaving a television on in a room, or a light on in a window visible from the outside will give them the impression that your house is currently occupied. Many former burglers have stated that they avoid break-ins where there is an obvious risk of coming into contact with the homeowner. 5. Keep track of your spare keys. Putting a spare key to your home under the mat isn't the smartest option, and is in fact one of the first places many burglers check in order to ensure they can get into your house quickly and quietly. Consider hiding your spare key under a rock, away from the front door. This will ensure a tougher hunt for the potential burgler. 6. Landscaping. Many people haven't considered landscaping being an enabler of home invasions, but many landscaping options we use for our privacy concerns can actually end up HELPING a potential burgler gain access to your home. Privacy bushes and fences outside your first-floor bathroom window might seem like a good idea at first, until you consider that you are also giving a potential burgler an easily concealed place to work on entry into your home. Consider more sensible options, like window tinting or decorative cling wraps instead. If you must have a privacy hedge, consider one that loses it's concealment capabilities when viewed from the front yard. This will ensure that your neighbor cannot see you get out of the shower, but would severely limit the amount of concealment a burgler could take advantage of. For more information on how to secure your home, as well as tips for protecting yourself against home invasions, please visit the following links.

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/home-security-tips.htm http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_pressreleases/2010/burglary_is_probably_the_most_preventable_crime-az.asp http://www.crimedoctor.com/homeinvasion.htm

Energy Savings

Energy costs can really take a toll on our monthly bills. But you can take control of these costs with a few simple steps. And to help out, programs like Mass Save (Masssave.com) and www.energystar.gov will help homeowners save even more.

Did you know that even when you turn off appliances, such as your TV, they still use energy? With all the electronics in your house, the energy use can really add up in a year. A quick easy way to control these costs is to get an advanced power strip, where there are multiple plugs for electronics that need to always be on (i.e. your cable box) and those that don't (i.e. you TV). The power strip will automatically turn off those electronics that are in the "don't keep on" sockets when the electronic in the "master" socket is turned off. Mass Save estimates that you can save $30 annually by using one of these on your entertainment system.

Mass Save and Energy Star has a variety of other ways to save on energy from product savings (on things like light bulbs and power strips) to rebates for buying energy savings appliances. You can also get a free home energy assessment to help you get started on improving your home's energy savings. And if you are low income, there are programs to help you save on costs even more.

Each state has it's own energy savings programs, so even if you aren't from Massachusetts, there are resources available to you. Be sure you contact your state's energy department to find out more about ways to save.

It is Time to Buy?

Is it time to buy a home? According to a Gallup poll done on 1/17/2012, 67% of people polled say yes!

According to Gallup, "Overall, there is good reason for most Americans to think now is a good time to buy a house. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Home prices are down sharply, providing many incredible buys."

According to the November 2001 National Housing Survey conducted by Fannie Mae, buyers cited their major reasons for buying a home. Here are the results:

  • 80% Having a good place to raise children and provide a good education
  • 79% Having a physical structure where you and your family feel safe
  • 75% It allows you to have more space for your family
  • 69% It gives you control over what you do with your living space 69

So despite what has been a negative sentiment towards the housing market, buyers and the general public still think that homeownership is the way to go.  When looking for you next home in the Pioneer Valley, calll one of our Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont agents to assist you.

If you are looking for a home in Franklin County click HERE for a direct listing of all homes available.

If you are looking for a home in Hampshire County click HERE for a direct listing of all homes available.

 

Organization Tips

Ever feel like things pile up in your home? Maybe on the kitchen table or counter, your dresser, or nightstand? Well a little organization can turn your home from full of clutter to nice and neat without having to throw everything away. Here are a few things to keep in mind when improving the organization of your home.

  1. Everything needs a place - if every item in your home has a place to be stored, you are less likely to just drop it anywhere. If an item shouldn't be sitting on your counter top, then it should have a home.
  2. Maximize your storage space - If you feel like you are lacking storage space, think again. A closet with no shelves can't store as much, and those spaces you aren't using, like under your bed, can be transformed into storage places too. Setting up the places that you have to store items so they can be fully used is key to making sure everything can be stored.
  3. Label - If you can find where something goes, you are more likely to put it there. Having boxes stacked into a closet, and not knowing what's in there, doesn't help you organize. But having storage containers, shelves, drawers, etc that are labeled for easy finding does.
  4. Shelves and containers - Having the right assortment of storage is key. Not everything is stored well on a shelf and the same goes for in a container. Make sure you have a variety of what you need; everything from small to large containers, baskets, drawers, shelves and hooks. You want to make sure that where you are putting something can be easily found and accessed.
  5. Get into the routine - Old habits die hard so when you first organize you might find you still leave things hanging around. Getting into the new habit of putting things away can take time but an easy way to start is to set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to put everything where it belongs. Before you know it, you will be doing it throughout the day!

Regardless of whether you go all out on organization, or just do a little, you will find that with a couple of changes you can enjoy your space much more. And without all the clutter that has been left behind!