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      Selling in the Spring? Advice on Getting Your Home Ready to List

      I asked everyone in the office to tell me the one thing people should do to their homes over the winter if they plan to sell in the spring.

      No surprise – they all said declutter. Seems obvious, right? But so many people avoid it – or feel like it’s too overwhelming. Here’s the thing though. A decluttered home feels cleaner, more spacious, and more inviting – therefore more appealing to prospective buyers. And consider this – if you declutter before you put your house on the market in the spring, you’ll have less stuff to move!

      Feel overwhelmed already? Here are a few suggestions.

      1.       Set a time limit – and an actual timer. Allow yourself to focus on getting rid of specific clutter for five minutes (or 10). Start with a pile of papers, say, and recycle everything that is not important. Junk mail. Ticket stubs. Scrap paper. Do nothing else but work for the allotted time, and when the timer goes off, you are done. Knowing it will end makes a big difference. When you are ready, do it again. .

      2.       Look at your closet. If you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away. Salvation Army, Goodwill, The Hospice Shop – there are any number of places that would be glad to take clothes off your hands, as long as they are in decent condition. Put them all in a bag and drop them off. Unless there’s a wedding dress you plan to give to your child, in which case you should have it stored.

      3.       Clean off one surface: a counter or a shelf. Get everything off it, and put it where it belongs, or throw it out. Clean the surface before anything goes back on it.

      Inspired yet? Here are some of the most helpful and probably most creative suggestions I’ve seen in a while.

      There are a few other things you can do, too:

      ·         Plant some spring bulbs.

      ·         Touch up paint, or repaint the front door.

      ·         Get a stool or a ladder, and dust the surfaces you can’t reach. Clean the hood of the stove.

      ·         Make the minor repairs you’ve been putting off.

      And most of all, talk with your agent for advice that’s specific to your home.  Good luck!



      Nuts and Bolts: FAQs for Village Hill's Upper Ridge


      Q. What is the Upper Ridge?

      A. It’s a phased 28-condominium project at Village Hill in Northampton, containing townhomes, flats, and single-family homes built or being built by Wright Builders. It’s now in its third phase, comprising townhomes and the Flats.

      The Flats is a classic Arts & Crafts style building offering one-level living, with two units per floor for a total of six units. A central elevator runs from the underground garage up to the top floor. The first Flats building has been completed; the second Flats building will be completed in 2016.

      The final phase of the Upper Ridge, with construction expected to begin in 2016, will include three single family homes – likely a Victorian, a bungalow, and a Craftsman-style, and one duplex, with one 2-bedroom unit and one 3-bedroom unit.

      Q. What does the monthly condominium fee cover, and how much is it?

      A. Fees vary depending on the type of home and location. Generally, condo fees cover master insurance, exterior maintenance, road maintenance, landscaping, refuse removal, and reserve funds.

      The fees for the Flats also cover common area cleaning and window washing, periodic garage cleaning, common electric for HVAC in the lobbies, lighting in the lobbies, and elevator maintenance and inspection fees. 

      Remember that fees are based on the purchase price of a unit, because according to state law, value, not square footage, drives condominium share. When a new unit receives a certificate of occupancy, the fees for all units are recalculated.

      Q. Who manages the property?

      A. Hampshire Property Management Group. HPMG is the first point of contact for owners.

      Q. Is there a condo association?

      A. Yes. When all four phases are complete, the Upper Ridge Condominium Association will be turned over to the unit owners, in keeping with the development’s bylaws.]. Until then, the association trustees are Mark Ledwell, Linda Gaudreau, and Jonathan Wright, all of Wright Builders. The Flats will have its own association, which has the same trustees as the Upper Ridge association, until there are owners there to take over that function.

      For more information about Village Hill, email Alyx Akers or give her a call at 413-320-6405. 




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        We've Moved!

        Stop in and see us! Our new office at 79 King St. in Northampton has lot of parking and is a very quick walk from the center of town. As always, if you want to talk about buying or selling a home or a condo in the Pioneer Valley, we're right here for you! 


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          Thinking Outside the Box

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          streetcarNorthampton has a wonderful mix of classic, historic, and contemporary homes -- you can see by the listings on Goggins' web site what I mean. There are even a few eclectic beauties tucked in here and there. When I am looking to see some new home concepts, one source I turn to is Houzz.com, which features dozens of eye-popping creations. In the age of reduce, reuse, recycle, a growing number of savvy, creative souls are thinking outside the box to build beautiful, unique, homes.

          Take, for instance, the sweet little house in Santa Cruz made from a streetcar -- one that once serviced the ocean-side city. Bright and colorful, it's a comfortable home that maintains its historic features. Train cars have been transformed as getaways, such as this cozy beach home in England.

          Then there are shipping containers: Corrugated, rectangular boxes of steel -- who would think you could make much of a house from these? This Quebec build makes a believer out of me. Some modern home owners just start with something simple, like a trailer, and have the building take shape from there. Then there is the tiny house that is a trailer!

          Perhaps my favorite is the floating home in Seattle. Chic, sharp, and elegant, it gives new meaning to "living on the water". But, if these types of houses are just not your style, perhaps something more subterranean is what you are looking for? Think of it as a metaphor for sticking your head in the sand, but in a good way.



          Calling all Village people

          Village Hill New Construction Home in Northampton MA

          With the last phase of building at Village Hill underway, this weekend is a great time to check out some of the homes there. An open house will be held at the Flats, 74 Village Hill Road, from noon to 2 Sunday.

          Village Hill, just a few minutes walk or drive from Smith College and downtown Northampton, is a great example of "new urbanism," with planned neighborhoods, a range of single family homes, duplexes, townhome, and apartments, and a few businesses at the front of the development. On the site of the former Northampton State Hospital, Village Hill is also a terrific example of thoughtful and well executed revitalization.

          It's also an exceptional neighborhood that offers the best of community life. Housing options incorporate green design and energy efficiency, whether LEED or Energy Star certified. With views of the Mill River, Mount Tom, and the Holyoke range, you're still just a short walk from downtown Northampton's terrific restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. If you are looking for real estate in Northampton, this communityis a great option.

          The Flats is a classic Arts & Crafts style building offering one-level living, with two units per floor for a total of six units. A central elevator runs from the underground garage up to the top floor.

          Built by Wright Builders, these solidly constructed, energy efficient homes offer great views from three sides, with lots of light and ventilation, along with plenty of other features including:

          ·         High efficiency heat and AC

          ·         Gas cooking with direct ventilation

          ·         Raised ceilings

          ·         Energy Star 3.0 compliance and LEED certification

          ·         Private balconies or patios

          Construction on a second Flats building just across from the first one has already begun; five of the six units there are available, with one already spoken for. Just three units are currently available at 74 Village Hill.

          Wright Builders is also constructing three single family homes that will function as condominiums up on Ford Crossing - likely a Victorian, a bungalow, and a Cratsman-style home. Other opportunities include a townhome to be built near Beech Tree Park, and a duplex next to the Flats. A single-level condo built by Pecoy Builders is still available on Musante Drive. But properties are going fast, so consider checking out the Flats and while you're there, take a walk around the neighborhood. It's lovely.

          For more information about Village Hill, email Alyx Akers or give her a call at 413-320-6405.


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            Cool Ranch: With the right dressing, your ranch-style home will be worth some green

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            Ranch style home in NorthamptonFull disclosure: my dream has been to start a company called “Cool Ranch” that does nothing but convert old, tired ranch houses into contemporary, design-forward homes. The problem is, what I’d like to do to most houses, few people could afford, and those that can want something bigger. That said, updating your ranch to be more contemporary, design-forward home doesn’t require a complete renovation.

            Ranch homes offer a variety of benefits as a design: most have no second floor so bedrooms are on the same floor as the kitchen, bathrooms, and living room. Ranch homes tend to be 1,500 square feet or less, so they are cheaper to own in terms of heating and cooling, and maintenance.

            Ranch Style Home on Deerfield Drive, Northampton, MAGoggins Real Estate, like many of the local agencies, has some terrific ranch-style homes for sale --  this one at 135 Deerfield Drive is a perfect example. They also tend to be more inexpensive (just check GogginsRealEstate.com and you’ll find 90% of the houses at around $200K are Ranch-style homes). So they are ideal for first-time home buyers, or empty-nesters looking to downsize.

            And since they are relatively affordable housing, if you budget correctly, you could update the look of your home and turn it into the house of your dreams.


            [houzz=http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/50079800/list/houzz-tour-ranch-house-changes-yield-big-results w=120]


            5 ideas for updating your Ranch:

            1. Convert the entrance from Ranch to Craftsman style

            2. Add an amazing deck

            3. Plant some colorful shrubs and trees

            4. Change up your color scheme

            5. Shed some new light on your house


            These are just a few ideas to get you started. Interested in finding a ranch to call your own? Text, email, or call me! 




            Sam Mead is a licensed agent with Goggins Real Estate

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