Market Report: Dalton Jan-June 2019

Despite the concerns about a slight uptick in taxes, sales have remained consistent in Dalton if we compare them to the closed sales in 2018.

Dalton is a wonderful area and offers a great school system.

See below for the full report for the first half of the year for all closed, residential sales in Dalton. A total of 33 homes were sold.

Dalton Closed Sales Jan - June 2019

Sorry for the rather dry post this week but I do like to keep everyone in the loop for what is happening for sales in Berkshire County.

As always, if you have a town of interest that you would like me to feature in our next market report, just let me know!

Hoping everyone is enjoying this amazing summer weather!

Tanya

Buyers Tip: Home Inspection .."Should I go? "

I cannot express how important it is not only to have a home inspection prior to buying a home, but also how critical it is to be present for the home inspection as the buyer.

It is also very important to choose the right home inspector. I will create another post to talk about this topic as well.

Some of the things that your home inspector will cover during the home inspection are the following:

  1. Checking the mechanicals such as the heating system and electrical units.

  2. Checking for any safety issues that might be of concern such as handrails, open electrical boxes, etc.

  3. Looking at the structure and foundation of the house. This can be a very costly repair and one that you would certainly want to know about well before the end of your inspection period.

  4. Looking for any evidence of water penetration into the foundation .

  5. Checking for signs of pest infestation. ( ask your home inspector if this is included as their inspection or if there might be an additional cost)

  6. You may also ask about having the radon levels tested. If your inspector provides this service, ask them to go over it with you and explain how the test works .

So, hopefully you can see from the list above that they cover quite a lot. Again, wouldn’t you want to know what you are getting into before committing to buying the home?

There are other very important reasons to be present for your home inspection.

Being physically there as the home inspector goes through the house gives you the chance to ask the home inspector questions about the ins and outs what they find. Does the house perhaps have a heating system that you have never seen before? Is there some new high tech thermostat that is all new to you?

Please keep in mind that every state works differently. If you are in another region your home inspection process may work differently. If you are out of the Berkshire area, be sure to ask your realtor for the ins and outs of what to expect during a home inspection.

You may be surprised to know that I actually still love watching all of the HG TV shows. The other night I saw an episode where the buyer showed up to meet the realtor and asked “ How did our home inspection go on the house we are buying? What did the home inspector say???” This clearly showed that in that area, neither the buyer’s agent nor the buyer was present for the home inspection. Whaaaatttt???? All that I can say is that I like how we do things here :) Not that I am biased of course.

Hoping this post brought you some new info and tips on the home buying process.

Have a wonderful day !

Tanya

Market Report : Pittsfield Residential Sales Jan-May 2019

So I had to run this report even just for my own curiosity. It has been such a crazy market in Pittsfield this year with multiple offers often on the first day hitting the market.

So in total there were 164 closed sales in the first 5 months!!!! Great for sellers, but so tough on buyers.

Please take note when reading this report the two columns regarding selling price vs listing price. In many cases, selling prices significantly higher then the listing price.

See link below to open this month’s market report.

Pittsfield Residential Sales Jan-May 2019

As always if you have a town that you would like featured in the next market report just let me know :) Or if you would like one sent to you directly I am more than happy to run one for you.

Have a great week everyone!

Tanya

You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.

WINSTON CHURCHILL


Motivation Minute: Just Do It

Some days, you have to just get yourself to take the first step….. literally.

Today was a day like that for me.

Yesterday I ate like a garbage disposal, had some wine, and certainly did not hydrate before going to bed.

That all added up to feeling pretty darn awful during my morning run. However, I told myself that if I could just take the first step, that I would likely feel better as I ran.

Well…. not so much. To be totally honest with you, I felt 100% horrible the entire run. Eating just 5 minutes before my run also did not help very much. I have to make a mental note of that one. lol

So, I guess my point of this post is this. Some days, your workouts are just not going to go well. Sometimes you will do your entire workout and just feel crumby. Some days, you will be looking at the clock every stinking minute waiting for “ just enough” time to have passed. Sometimes done is better than perfect. ( I am finally just now catching onto this at age 46 and it was a game changer for me) You will see that clearly when you catch typos and spelling errors on future posts. lol

However , with all of that said, if you just get up and move your body even for 10 minutes you can say you did it! Even better, keep a log of your workouts on your wall calendar ( hoping some of you still keep one even with all of this technology) Then, when the month comes to an end, you can look at it and see how you did . If you didn’t do so well , can you figure out why and what you can do to plan for those obstacles next month?

The best part of keeping a log on a monthly wall calendar you ask????

You get to turn the page on to the next month and START FRESH!!!! You only need to look in the past if you choose to :)

Hoping this post was helpful to some of you . Have a wonderful week and let me know if there are topics you would like to see covered in the future on real estate or real life!

Tanya

Market Report: Lee , Sept 2018- April 2019

Total sales, 28 closed sales in Lee for this time period .

Be sure to look at the last page to see the averages for selling prices and days on the market.

I was not surprised to see that the average selling price was $280,000. Once again, the new “ Sweet Spot” for price range is $280,000 and below and seems to be regardless of the town.

Click the link below to see the PDF of this report.

Lee Closed Sales Sept 2018-April 2019

As always, message me if you have any questions or if you would like a market report for your town!

Tanya

Persistence overshadows even talent as the most valuable resource shaping the quality of life.
— Tony Robbins

Buyer Tip: Questions to Ask When Buying a Condo

Even if you have owned a home before, buying a condominium is a whole different ball game. There are lots of benefits to owning a condo vs a private residence if you are looking for lower maintenance living .

There are also major differences that are important to know about. In particular, questions to ask before making a condo purchase.

What I find interesting is that sometimes, the condo fees that cover maintenance etc are almost equal to what you would pay out for someone to maintain your private property. The big difference? You don’t have to remember to call the lawn care person, the snow plow driver, and contractor to do any outside repairs etc. There is something to be said for not having to worry about making those calls and hiring all of the various contractors that maintain a property.

See below for questions to ask when looking at condos for your purchase:

  1. What are the monthly condo fees and what do they cover? ( snow removal, lawn care, etc?) I have sold condos that even include the heat and basic cable as part of the monthly fee which is terrific.

  2. Who is responsible for the following items should they be in disrepair or need replacement?

    • Exterior of building. (siding, paint, roofing, windows, etc)

    • Mechanicals: (furnace, AC Units, hot water tanks, electrical ). Don’t ever assume that these items are covered by the association.

  3. What are the rules and regulations of the community? There should be a “ Rules and Regs” document that the listing agent should have on hand. Do they allow pets? Are there restrictions on renting should you ever decide to move but hold it as an investment property ? Some have restrictions on how many times per calendar year you can rent your condo. This is in protection of the other residents and property value to avoid creating a “ swinging door” scenario where it becomes more of a hotel with guests coming in and out frequently.

  4. Have there been any “ special assessments” on the property ? This can happen if a condo development needs a major repair item ( roof, heating system , etc) and there was not enough money in the reserve account. The residents will be whacked with a “ special assessment” that may need to be paid in full or in quarterly payments.

  5. Ask what the condo complex has in their “ Reserve Fund” . This is important because of what I just mentioned above. If the condos have been there for many years, there should be plenty in reserves unless they just had a major project completed.

  6. How many homeowners are full time residents of the community? What percentage are owned by investors? This is a common scenario in the Berkshires as condo living is very appealing to anyone wanting to “ Fly South” for the winter but enjoy our amazing summer weather . Also a good item to keep in mind if you are someone who likes to have a community of people living around you in the winter. If only 5% of the condo owners are there in the winter, it could feel a bit isolated.

For many, condo living is a great way to go if you are looking for low maintenance or seasonal living in the Berkshires. We have a very nice amount of options for condo communities in the Berkshires at all price points . As always, feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions about this post or if you would like to know more about what we currently have available for condominiums in the Berkshires.

Have a great day!

Tanya

413-441-1874 ( text or call) / tanya@tanyashepardson.com

Seller Tip: Pre-Listing Steps

If you really put the time and effort into getting your home ready to hit the market, it will be worth every minute of the work and sweat. This could be an incredibly long post so I will do my best to put the highlights in so that it doesn’t become too long winded.

Let me start by saying that this “ Prep Phase” may be a few weeks to months. I have worked with families in the past that worked for over a year getting their home ready to hit the market . Sometimes families that have lived in a home for 30 plus years have a good deal of organizing and “ clearing out” to do. Make sure that the realtor that you have chosen is willing to advise you, work with you, and be patient during this process. This is not a “ one and done” project typically.

Some of the top “ To Do’s” that I would recommend putting on your list would be the following:

  1. Create either a hand written list or word document itemizing all of the improvements that you have made on your home since ownership. If you can’t remember the dates that’s ok. They still need to be on the list.

  2. If you have a basement, is it fairly well cleared out? It’s ok to have things in the basement but buyers should be able to safely walk through it and all of your mechanicals should be easy to access ( i.e. electrical box, furnace, oil tank ) I have come into homes to find oil tanks covered with personal items, clothes, etc …yikes!

  3. Have a pre-listing inspection ! I cannot recommend this enough. You can ask your realtor for a list of names of local home inspectors that they would recommend. The purpose of doing this is to be well aware of items that may come up in the buyers home inspection that you may not even be aware of. You can then decide whether you want to repair those items prior to listing your home, adjust the sales price, or offer to escrow money to the buyer at closing for the repair. Some buyers may even opt to buy your home inspection report and pay a small fee for the inspector to meet with them personally to go over the report.

  4. If you have public sewer, have a sewer line scope and be sure to get an invoice from the contractor who did the scope stating that the line looked clear. If you are on private septic, we will save that prep info for another post.

  5. Collect your utility costs for the prior 12 months . Even if you can give your realtor the average cost per month for electric and heating costs this is hugely helpful and a common request from buyers. If you have solar panels, create a list of your savings and rental agreement ( if you don’t own the panels)

  6. Have your furnace serviced! Especially if your system is oil based, be sure that you have a service tech come, clean, and check it once a year. Also, be sure that they LEAVE A SERVICE TICKET. That way, it shows the buyer that they were actually there. They can also opt to call them and continue service with them if they buy the home by having their contact information on the ticket. Just because you have it serviced does not always mean a ticket was written for the work done. October is a great month to have this done.

  7. Make a list or write a quick note about what you favorite parts of living in your home have been . Is it something about the home? Neighborhood? Proximity to shops etc? These may be highlights that your realtor wouldn’t know without you conveying those details to them.

  8. Check your “ Curb Appeal” How does your home and yard look from the street? Is your garden overgrown? Is your walkway filled with weeds? Is there a good deal of debris around your yard and garage? Does your exterior need a paint job or power wash if you have vinyl siding?

Last but not least, decide how much energy you are willing to put into getting your home ready. It can be a lot of work but it can give you such a huge return!

As always, questions on this post drop me a text or email!

Tanya

Market Report: Dalton Sales First Quarter 2019

This report was a quick one to run. There were 16 total closed sales in Dalton for January through March. The properties featured are single family homes. I did not include condos, multi-family, or land sales.

As always some key things to look at in the report are the following:

  • Average Days on the Market

  • Original Listing Price vs Final Selling Price (% difference)

  • Location of home

If you have any questions about the report or have another town in the Berkshires that you would like to see featured in the next market report, just let me know.

First Quarter Sales: Dalton

Have a great day!

Tanya

Seller Tip: Interviewing Your Realtor

I want to open this post by saying that hiring a realtor to sell your home should be like any other interview for a job. This is such an important job and you want to make sure that the realtor that you choose is not only the best choice for selling your home but is also the best choice for you and you will be working so closely together during the process.

I personally work mostly by personally referral ( i.e. family, friends, and past clients refer business to me that have already worked with me ) Based on this, I would recommend asking your most trusted friends and co-workers for a name of a realtor that they would recommend. If you’re not sure where to start on this and don’t live in Berkshire County, you can still reach out to me as we have a huge network of realtors that we refer business to and can find the best fit for you.

Once you have chosen a realtor or several to meet with, there are some questions that I would recommend asking them and things to look for on their first visit:

  1. Are they full time? Make sure that they are truly dedicated to the business and have the time to focus on your sale. ( a side note, 16 years ago I had to start in the business part time to build it up so not to say that there aren’t wonderful “ rising stars” that are part time. Just be sure to ask them who will cover showings and appts if they aren’t available. They may have a great team that can work with them on your property)

  2. Is your home in an area that they are familiar with? I am fairly adamant about this and have always made it a practice to refer business out if I have requests in areas that I really can’t service ( i.e. areas that I am not familiar with the neighborhoods, school systems, shops and highlights) We aren’t doing any favors by taking listings in areas that we aren’t well versed in.

  3. What is their marketing plan? Make sure that your expectations meet theirs. Will they be holding Open Houses or is your property best suited for private appointments?

  4. Express to them what your expectations are for communication and how you prefer to be contacted. The biggest complaint that I hear from clients is the following :” They put the sign up in my yard and then I never heard from them again” How often would you like to hear from your realtor? Once a week, once a month, every day? How would you prefer for them to stay connected with you? I have so many clients now that really prefer a text to anything else but I certainly also have clients that love to get an actual phone call.

  5. Go with your GUT! Is it a good match person to person? You will be working VERY closely with this person and likely have your most valuable asset in their hands. If you can’t wait for them to leave after this interview, IT IS NOT THE RIGHT FIT!

  6. Lastly, ask BEFORE signing the contract what the termination policy is. There should be a mutual option for either the listing agent or the client to opt out of the contract . Is there a penalty fee? If you find that a month into the listing your realtor is not delivering what they had promised ( even if the listing hasn’t sold are they doing everything in their power to sell it?) Make sure to ask these questions now so that you have eyes wide open as to what your options are.

Hoping that you found these tips useful :) There is a video as well that pairs with this post. Just go to “ Tanyas Channel “

I am also always happy to answer any additional questions that you might have after reading this post. You can shoot me an email or text anytime!

Tanya

Motivation Minute: Getting Fresh Air Every Day

So, let me start by telling you something about myself that you may not know. I HATE BEING COLD !!!

When I say that I hate being cold, that is an understatement. I am the one that spends evenings at home with three layers of clothing sitting in my chair with a foot heater in front of me.

With all of that said, I did make a promise to myself before the winter started that no matter how cold it got, that I would force myself to walk up the road with the pup EVERY SINGLE day …. even if our walk consisted of taking 25 steps past the driveway and then turning around. Luckily, since he is a dog, he doesn’t chastise me for my wimpy ways on these brief walks. Many times if I’m lucky my two teenage boys will also join me for the walk and in that case, I do have to put my big girl pants on and at least make it up 5-6 driveways on the street.

The whole point of this “ experiment” was to see how it affected my mood by getting fresh air every day. If you are a Berkshire resident and reading this post ( or even a Northeasterner) then you know that our winters can be VERY long. Just when we think we see a sprout of green grass or a crocus popping up, we may find the next morning that it is covered in about a foot of snow.

I cannot tell you the difference it has made to get this “ Fresh Air Fix” every day. Surprisingly in addition to it making me feel good it had the following other bonuses :


  • Became a great way to clear my head after work

  • Gave me an opportunity to have some of the best chats with my boys with no distractions

  • A chance to see and meet my neighbors

  • Time to be out in nature and see some amazing sunsets, rainbows, and storms blowing in.


So, have I sold you on the idea yet????? I hope so because it took me a long time ( if you know my age then you know how long) to figure this out.

Hoping you enjoyed this post and that it adds a little bit of happiness to your life


Tanya

Buyer Tip: Making The Offer

So, you have found “ The One”!!!!! This part is hugely exciting and chances are, you knew it was the one after only a few minutes of being inside.

Now put your seat belt on as this part can get pretty darn stressful.

You now have a great realtor that is ready to fight for you and write the offer correct?

A few things to know about writing the offer:

  • It can become highly stressful and emotional so please know this before even getting into the negotiations

  • Decide on what your absolute “ Top” number is BEFORE you start the negotiations. I cannot stress this enough as it will keep you on track and when the whirlwind of back and forth with the seller begins, you may lose sight of where your limit is. It can also become highly emotional both for the seller and the buyer.

  • Decide how you will feel if you lose the house to a competing offer. This may seem like a silly thing to think about but I will tell you that sometimes when I ask this question, depending on the house the responses can range from “ I am totally ok with someone else getting the house. There were a lot of components that I didn’t love about it” to the opposite end such as “ I would be absolutely devastated. This is THE ONE!” This changes the advice that I would give a buyer regarding how high to go on their offer etc.

  • Remember that even after you make an offer and let’s hope it is accepted, you will still have time to negotiate inspection issues (unless you are in a state where the inspection period works differently) In our area, you are also allowed time to renegotiate the price if major inspection issues arise. I will get more into this in another post as there are several ways to negotiate inspection issues.

  • When you do have an accepted offer, ask your realtor what the next steps are that have to be done in the next 24 hours, 7 days, and two weeks. I am a huge fan of giving my clients a “ Calendar of Contingencies” so that they can see right on paper ( or in an email) what their deadlines are.

As always, I could go on and on with these topics. This is just some of the top tips that I would want any buyer to have in their pocket for this part of the process.

Happy House Hunting !

Tanya

Buyers Tip: Looking At Homes

So, you have now hired a realtor and are ready to start looking at homes! ( or land, investment properties, etc)

This I would say is by far the most fun part of the process. I still am never sick of looking at homes. Nice homes , small homes, and even the ones that might be in rough condition to start or the old “ Diamond in the Rough”

I am also a huge fan of taking notes as you look at each property. Believe it or not, they can begin to get jumbled together after you have seen a few in a row. My general rule of thumb is , 5 homes in one day at the most.

So now you have your notebook, what should you write down? Perhaps write down the “ highlights” of the house and also the “ negatives” Can you see yourself living in the home?

It has been said that most buyers know within the first few minutes of walking into a home that it is “ The One” Side note, depending on the market. We are entering a time now when the inventory is on the lower side so this may require buyers to be a little more creative with which homes they will consider. If you see a home that you can check most of your “ Must Have’s” , can you make the home work for you? Can you tweek it and make some changes so that it is a place that you can see yourself in 10 years?

Another VERY important component of looking at homes is to survey the area around the home. What do the abutting properties look like? Will they help support the value of the home or bring it down? Is the home that you are looking at the “ King of the Hill”?

Take time to drive around the neighborhood at various times of the day and see what you think.

Remember also that even if you drive by a “ For Sale By Owner” , you can still give your realtor a call and ask to see it ! Just give them the address and they will set up the showing for you so that you are sure to have an advocate and someone looking out for your best interests!

If there was something else that you can think of that I didn’t touch on in this post, always you can reach me via email, text, or phone . If you know me, you know if I can , I am always happy to help . If I don’t have an answer to your question, I will do what I can to find one :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tanya