Rising costs of tuition can be mitigated by investing in real estate Reply

College costs are rising faster than prior years.  In the past two years alone tuition for a 4-year university public schools has risen 15% and 10% for private schools.   New graduates are also assuming more debt making it harder for echo-boomers to buy a home.   Investing in a second home near your student’s college offers a solution to these challenges. More…

Amherst planning committee explores numerous controls over rental properties Reply

Off-campus student housing has prompted proposed amendments to Amherst’s zoning bylaws addressing rental housing. (photo: University of Massachusetts, Amherst Old Chapel and library)

A subcommittee of the Amherst Planning Board is exploring amendments to the town’s zoning bylaws that will place more controls More…

Elimination of the mortgage interest deduction bad news for homeowners Reply

Republicans recently rejected language in their party’s platform committing to the preservation of the mortgage interest deduction (MID).   According to the Wall Street Journal, one of reasons cited by GOP was that it would make tax reform more difficult.

The presumptive Republican Party nominee for the presidency is campaigning on reforming the tax code, which includes the elimination of or limits to MID for high income earners.  At a private fundraiser in Florida, Romney said that he would eliminate MID for second homes. More…

Eminent domain an imminent solution to foreclosure crisis? Reply

Last month, Judge Michael Posner upheld Springfield’s foreclosure ordinances after several banks sued the city.  The ordinances require that banks engage in mediation with homeowners in danger of foreclosure, require that banks maintain vacant properties, and require that the banks put up a $10,000 bond to ensure the maintenance of those vacated properties.

The City of Homes isn’t the only city that has passed ordinances regarding foreclosed properties, nor is it the first.    Boston, New Haven, Las Vegas, Chicago, Oakland are just a few cities across the country that have passed similar ordinances. More…

Sherwin Williams ColorSnap® app makes choosing paint colors easier Reply

Smartphone apps can be great tools for buying or selling a home.

Choosing a paint color for a room can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. The trip to the hardware store alone to pick up the paint chips with the various shades of grey―or any other color that you may be considering can take a big chunk out of your day.

Sherwin Williams just made things a little bit easier with a new smartphone application available for IPhone, Blackberry, and Android. The app is called ColorSnap® and it allows you to simply take a photo of a wall with your phone and identify the exact color of that wall and then adjust it to suit your needs. More…

Pioneer Valley July home sale data continues upward trend Reply

The Pioneer Valley real estate market continues to improve.

The REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley (RAPV) recently announced that July single-family home sales are up 9%, but median sales prices are down .8%.  These sales figures compare sales from July 2011 to July 2012 and reflect an upward trend as seen with previous months. More…

Western Mass Attractions: Pelham Town Hall Complex Reply

On the second floor of the 1743 town hall in Pelham, MA a meeting room is set up where Daniel Shays and others met to discuss their grievances with state and local officials.

I recently took a drive up to the Pelham Town Hall Complex at the corner of Route 202 and Amherst Road. In my opinion, this is one of the most significant and under-appreciated historic sites in western Massachusetts. More…

Valley Advocate offers overview of candidates for Hampshire County Register of Deeds Reply

For the first time in 23 years, Hampshire County voters will be electing their next Register of Deeds. Whenever a real estate transaction occurs, the deed is recorded at a Registry of Deeds.

There are four candidates for the $90,000 per year job. The Valley Advocate recently published a good overview of the candidates that is worth a look.

When a home buyer meets with their attorney to sign their closing documents, they don’t officially own their new home until those documents are recorded at the Registry. More…

A bill addressing short sales could help prevent declining home values and declining personal wealth Reply

A new bill has been submitted that will require lenders to respond to short sale requests in a timely manner.

Short sales are when a homeowner sells a property for less than what is owed to the bank.  I have handled a few short sales and they are not fun.   I even had a situation where the bank took so long to respond that the buyer walked away from the transaction.   The bank then sold the property for less than the offer that was being considered, much to my chagrin. More…

Changes to Community Preservation Act increase funding, allow for flexibility Reply

Recent changes to the commonwealth’s Community Preservation Act(CPA) have added funds to the program and have provided for increased flexibility for the cities and towns that have adopted it.

Community Preservation Act funds were used with other resources to build this affordable housing complex in Amherst, MA

More…