Attention Westfield Residents – Single-Stream Recycling is HERE!

Are you a resident of Westfield? Then this post is for you!

In an attempt to reduce trash costs and increase recycling for our City, single-stream recycling will begin this Monday –

January 5th, 2015.

It’s time to start putting your TRASH in the burgundy cart and your RECYCLING in the grey cart.

Earlier this month you should have received a packet containing instructions and a large sticker.

REMEMBER: to put this sticker on the cover of your GREY cart. This sticker contains a handy reminder of what CAN and CANNOT be recycled in this bin.

Place this on top of your GREY recycling cart
Place this on top of your GREY recycling cart

You can mix all your recycling in this one cart. BUT, how much will actually fit in the 96-gallon cart when it’s all mixed together and piled in there?? Well, for a family of 4 my family uses 4 bins on any given pick-up week – sometimes more! I’m not sure exactly how much of this will fit in and still close the cover… so here’s our plan:

Helpful tips and advice on a yellow office noteTori’s Tip: If you have a lot of recycling -like our family-  you may want to continue to “store” the paper/cardboard recycling in the old blue bins until your scheduled pick-up day. That way if you have limited space for one week all your messy recycling will be in the cart, simply place as much paper/cardboard in the grey cart as will fit for that week. It’s a lot cleaner to store the extra paper recycling until the next pick-up then your milk jugs, cans, and bottles.

Together we can reduce trash costs for our City by recycling more items. This system should make recycling more efficient and convenient for everyone. You will make less trips to the street and there should be no empty blue bins being blown into the streets of our windy city!

Still looking to reduce your recycling? Try this:

Tori’s Tip: Do you burn a wood stove in the winter? Store up all those TP and PT inserts and fill them with crushed newspaper – instant kindling! We’ve been doing this for years and it works great. We keep a bin of that in the garage too!

Remember: January 5th is the start date!

  • So this week start putting your trash in the BURGUNDY cart!
  • Put that big sticker on your GREY cart
  • And start recycling into your GREY cart!
  • NOTE: Pull both to the street on your usual pick-up day and set them

at least 3 FEET APART

so that the trucks can pick them up easily without hitting the other carts.

recycle2

For questions call the city at : 413-572-6226 or go to : City of Westfield

Tax Credits- You don’t want to miss this one!

Tax Credit Rewards Homeowners Who Make Home Energy Improvements

If you installed energy-efficient home improvements in 2014, you may be eligible for a $500 tax credit. Among the home improvements that might qualify for the tax credit:

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • HVAC systems
  • Water Heaters
  • Roofs
  • Skylights
  • Biomass stoves

Tax credits are valuable because they offset the tax you owe, dollar for dollar. For example, if you owed $10,000 in taxes, a $500 tax credit would reduce what you owe to $9,500.

The Residential Energy Tax Credit had expired at the end of 2013, but just last week, Congress renewed it through 2014. That means you may be able to claim the tax credit when you file your 2014 federal taxes. Congress did not extend the tax credit through 2015.

Warning: It may take a while for the IRS to update its website with information about the renewal, and to post a 2014 version of Form 5695, which you’ll use to claim the credit.

Check the Energy Star website to see if the specific energy-efficiency home improvements you made qualify for the credit. Give that site a few weeks to get updated with the latest information, as well.

The Fine Print

In general, you’ll get a 10 percent tax credit for installing energy-efficiency improvements. But, your tax credit is capped for some items. For example, you can’t claim more than $200 for windows, and a new air conditioner will earn you no more than a $300 tax credit.

There’s also a lifetime cap of $500, so if you took the tax credit in prior years, you have to subtract the credit you claimed from $500. For example, if you took $400 in 2013, you can only take the remaining $100 in 2014.

The cost to install your energy-efficiency improvements may, or may not, be included. For example, window installation is included, but insulation installation is not.

This tax credit applies only to your main principal residence.

This is great news for home owners. Check with your accountant to see if your improvements qualify.

3% Down Payment is Coming Back!

Here’s a wonderful Christmas present for the First-time Homebuyers out there who have been unable to purchase a home because they lack the down payment funds necessary to qualify for a mortgage –

3% Down Payment is Coming Back!

Beginning in 2015, better credit borrowers will have the opportunity to apply for a Fannie or Freddie loan rather than an FHA loan — offering a lower down payment and lower mortgage insurance cost.

Fannie & Freddie will permit loans with as high as a 97 percent loan to value ratio if the borrower meets the following conditions.

  1. Must be secured by a single family owner occupied property.
  2. Only 30 year fixed-rate loans are eligible.
  3. At least one borrower must be a first time home-buyer
  4. Median income eligibility levels apply.
  5. Homeowner education required

This is great news for First-Time Home Buyers and Sellers too!

I would love to assist you in your home-buying journey – and this new financing option may be just what you’ve been waiting for –

Why pay rent when you can own!

Considering Selling?

If you are considering selling – this news is good for you too!

This change in guidelines opens up a whole new group of buyers who will be eligible to purchase your home.

Contact me today to discuss the many benefits you have when purchasing or listing your home with me.

We can make this happen for you!

5 Deal-Killing Winter Staging Mistakes

‘Tis the season…to stage with smarts.  Here are five all-too-common winter staging decisions that can crush a winter sale and a few suggestions for cutting them off at the pass:

1. Over-Holidaying

Yes, we’ve reached one of the jolliest seasons of them all and that comes with the urge to get in the spirit. For sellers there is a dangerous line between spirited and off-putting holiday decor. Remember that you can never know the preferences of prospective buyers. So, decorate in a way that won’t deter anyone and make sure the tinsel doesn’t outshine the home.

A bit over done…

Tastefully decorated and not over-crowded.

Potential buyers can envision their tree here with ease.

2. De-Heating

Remember a showing is about both look and feel. If your are in the habit of having the heat off when you’re not home, make sure to heat it up before home tours. Potential buyers won’t hang around an unheated home long and this little distraction could cause them to miss your home’s best features.

3. Pet Pandering

It’s cold outside and that means cats, pups, and other family friends are more likely to be inside with their toys.  Plan early on for what happens to pets during a showing and make a special checklist to make sure the toys, hair, and other accessories are stored in a way that doesn’t ruin the showing.

4. The Missing Doormat

It seems simple, but this can be big. The doormat is essential for the winter season. You don’t want to return home to wet muddy footprints in every room or end up with stains on those nice hardwood floors.

5. Under-Repairing

Winter repairs take more effort than in any other season in most areas. Make sure the cold or changing weather doesn’t deter your potential buyers from securing a sale. Just as only serious sellers list during the winter, only serious buyers are on the market. Those buyers are patient and your staging has to be enough to move them off of a very cold fence.

These are five serious winter staging mistakes courtesy of the trulia research team. Get your home in top shape during the winter season.

Homes sell all year, make yours stand out with strong staging and a balanced, warm glow.

Feature City – Westfield 01085

Located in southwestern Massachusetts, Westfield is a peaceful college town with a population of just over 40,500. Here are some beautiful homes currently available in the Westfield area.

Click on any photo to learn more about each property.

Call any time. I’d be happy to show them to you.

739 Holyoke Rd, Westfield, MA 01085

739 Holyoke Rd- Move right into this well-maintained, centrally located 3 BR Ranch style home featuring hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen, +/-2 y/o Weil-McLain hot water/boiler, LR w/fireplace, and a spacious fenced yard complete with patio, landscaping, and a gardener’s shed/playhouse. This home offers lots of natural light including the partially finished basement which boasts a built-in bar, built-in workbench, storage and easy access walk-out entry.

134 Glenwood Dr, Westfield, MA 01085

134 Glenwood Dr – The hectic nature of your busy day falls away as you drive up Glenwood Drive – growing more private & secluded as you go. You grab the groceries & close up the garage, walking through the open floor plan family room to the updated kitchen.

52 Day Ave, Westfield, MA 01085

52 Day Ave-  Move right into this stunning Queen Anne Victorian set in a very convenient location ~ close to everything!. This home still has the charm of yesteryear but has been tastefully remodeled and updated. Features include; Updated granite kitchen, replacement windows, historic fireplace, formal dining room w/custom window seat, living room w/attractive built-ins, one car detached garage, gas heat, four season sun room, front porch & rear deck. The yard is beautifully landscaped & maintained and features a Coy fish pond w/water fountain and an outside fire pit.

141 Sandy Hill Rd, Westfield, MA 01085

141 Sandy Hill Rd This Fantastic, Bright and Sunny, Brick L-Ranch is Priced to SELL! This One Owner Home features a Large Living Room with Fireplace, Country Kitchen open to Dining Room with 2nd Fireplace, Three Spacious Bedrooms, Hardwood Floors, Plenty of Storage Space, Lovely Front Porch, Large Stone Patio, Oversized Garage and so much more! Additional Living Space in Family Room in lower level. Located on a 1.42 acre lot, in a Neighborhood location.

Contact me for a showing of any of these gorgeous properties today!

What’s New on the Market

1 739 Holyoke Rd, Westfield, MA

New to market this Featured Property is Move-in Ready!

Move right into this well-maintained, centrally located 3 BR Ranch style home featuring hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen, +/-2 y/o Weil-McLain hot water/boiler, LR w/fireplace, and a spacious fenced yard complete with patio, landscaping, and a gardener’s shed/playhouse. This home offers lots of natural light including the partially finished basement which boasts a built-in bar, built-in workbench, storage and easy access walk-out entry. Depart from the side entrance to an airy (15’x22′) paved patio/breezeway and continue into an attached over-sized garage featuring another built-in workbench and a newer (+/-1 y/o) garage door opener. This home is a must see!

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