Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision imperils private property rights; MESA a good law with bad implementation Reply

A look at the Massachusetts Priority Habitat GIS Map overlay that shows how of the valley has been designated a priority habitat.

A screenshot of Massachusetts Priority Habitat GIS Map overlay that shows how much of the Pioneer Valley that has been designated a priority habitat, which is shown in yellow. Click on the photo for a larger view.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently upheld a lower court’s ruling regarding the authority of Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, also known as MassWildlife, to designate certain areas as a priority habitat under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA), thereby limiting a private landowner’s use of their property without recognizing said landowner’s property rights.   More…

Deadline to file for real estate tax abatement is February 1 for Massachusetts homowners Reply

If you wish to dispute the valuation of your home, the deadline to file for an abatement is February 1.  If you are eligible for a tax exemption, you should apply for it within 3 months of receipt of your tax bill.

If you wish to dispute the valuation of your home, the deadline to file for an abatement is February 1. If you are eligible for a tax exemption, you should apply for it within 3 months of receipt of your tax bill.

If you think that your real estate taxes are too high based on an error in how your home is assessed, you can file for a request to have your taxes reduced.    The deadline to file for a real estate tax abatement is  February 1, 2014, which is this coming Saturday.  Therefore, one should get their application in by Friday.  However, one might also want to check with their town assessor’s office to see if they will accept abatement applications on the following Monday.

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Importance of annual heating system service made clear by recent boiler explosion Reply

A boiler explosion in Springfield is a stark reminder of the importance of servicing your boiler or furnace annually.

A boiler explosion in Springfield is a stark reminder of the importance of servicing your boiler or furnace annually.

Imagine that you are enjoying your Saturday morning in your home when an explosion from your basement knocks your house off of its foundation. This is what happened to a Springfield homeowner over the weekend and is a stark reminder of the importance of having your furnace or boiler serviced every year. More…

Affordable Housing, Student Housing, Tax rate increases among recent Pioneer Valley real estate news stories Reply

Amherst's town hall is a Richardsonian Romanesque building built in 1889. Call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 if you are planning on buying or selling a home in Amherst or surrounding communities.

Amherst’s town hall is a Richardsonian Romanesque building built in 1889. Call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 if you are planning on buying or selling a home in Amherst or surrounding communities.

There were a number of Pioneer valley real estate related news stories in several communities recently ranging from stories about affordable housing, schools, student housing, raises in community tax rates, green energy initiatives, and commercial building design. More…

Pioneer Valley communities continue land and historic preservation efforts Reply

A trail marker at a trailhead at Scarborough Brook Conservation Area in Belchertown.

A trail marker at a trailhead at Scarborough Brook Conservation Area in Belchertown.

Through funds from the commonwealth’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) and various state grant programs investment have been made ensure that the region’s natural resources and historic buildings are preserved for future generations.  One community in Franklin County also rallied together to preserve land that was marketed for development on their own. More…

Amherst Historical Society’s historic home tour a great way to enjoy an autumn day Reply

The Simeon Strong House, home of the Amherst Historical Society and Museum.

The Simeon Strong House, home of the Amherst Historical Society and Museum.

Over the weekend I went on an historic house tour put together by the Amherst Historical Society and sponsored by my office, which was how I was able to obtain a couple of free tickets.   The tour consisted of 6 homes that included several of Victorian era, an 18th century home that was later “married” to a newer home in the early 19th century, a mid-20th century home that is the residence of a college president, and one that was described in the brochure as a “saltbox” that was neither a saltbox nor historic, but was a nice contemporary nevertheless.  More…

Amherst selectmen approve $100 rental property registration fee; occupancy restriction seems to conflict with fair housing law Reply

Call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 if you are planning on buying or selling a home in Amherst or surround communities.

Call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 if you are planning on buying or selling a home in Amherst or surround communities.

The Amherst Board of Selectmen recently approved a rental registration fee of $100 that will go into effect January 1 and will need to be renewed annually, according to Masslive. The new fee is part of a rental housing bylaw that was approved by Town Meeting back in May, but the town’s occupancy restriction seems to conflict with Massachusetts fair housing laws as it targets single and young people. More…

Senator Warren urges delay of new flood insurance rates (VIDEO) Reply

Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her concerns recently regarding the new flood maps with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate recently at a Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy meeting. The Massachusetts senator urged her colleagues in Congress to delay the new flood insurance rates for one year in order to help homeowners hit with a new expense.

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Belchertown State School site redevelopment highlights the importance of due diligence when buying or selling real estate Reply

The lack of progress of the redevelopment of the former Belchertown State School is a basic case of a lack of due diligence.

The lack of progress redeveloping the former Belchertown State School site is a basic case of a lack of due diligence.

The redevelopment of the former Belchertown State School property is a classic case of what results when a buyer and a seller fails to conduct due diligence when buying or selling real estate.  Not only does a buyer need to investigate the property they are purchasing, but the seller needs to ensure a buyer’s ability to perform.  The quasi-governmental organization that owns the property has failed to perform adequate due diligence as a buyer and as a seller since taking ownership of the property in 2002, which has cost them money and has significantly slowed the process of redeveloping the site.  More…