Blog :: 11-2016

Northampton Holiday Stroll 2016

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The 2016 Northampton Holiday Stroll takes place Friday, December 9, 2016 from 5-8pm. Main Street, Northampton will be closed down to vehicles from the Academy of Music to Strong Avenue. Attendees can enjoy music, hay rides, food and drink from local cafes, face painting, street entertainers and so much more!

Get there early for even more fun! In addition to the following schedule of events, there are also many ongoing activities which can be found here:

3pm – Get an early start to the Stroll with the Smiffenpoofs!

4pm -  Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

4-8pm - Smith College Museum of Art -- Free Second Friday

  • 4:15-4:45pm Smith College Campus School Chorus performs at the SCMA
  • 4-6pm  Art making for all ages - Journey Journals: make your own travel sketchbook
  • 6-6:30 Guided conversation exploring a work of art in the SCMA
  • Plus Holiday Shopping at SCMA all day long (10am-8pm)!

5pm - Sticks & Bricks Holiday Trunk Show!  Stroll on down for one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts by local artists (head to Market Street, just under the railroad bridge on your left!)

5-6:30pm - Sam the Minuteman!  Look for him walking up and down Main Street.

5:30pm (or so) - Local's burger eating contest!  In Main Street, near Local

6pm   - Local Chorus inside UU Church
           – Smithereens, 6-7pm; Location tbd
           - ringing of the Smith College carillion

6pm - Valley Rock Choir!  Location tbd

6-7:30 - Live greek music in the street in front of Filos Greek Taverna

6-8pm - Book launch and First Annual Bad Rap Contest at the Parlor Room: Celebrate the publishing of 'The Pencil Bandits' by local youth author Henry Reade and enter the first annual Bad Rap Contest.  Anything goes; just for fun!  15 and under category; prizes awarded.  Bring your friends! 

6:15pm – Mayor Narkewicz - book reading (a selection from Wind in the Willows) at 
Broadside Bookshop

6:30pm – Nota Bene – inside Silverscape

6:30pm - Pioneer Valley Capella; location tbd

6:30pm – Celtic Heels performance – in the street in front of City Hall

7pm – Spirit of the Heart martial arts demonstration; in front of City Hall

7-10pm - Rise Up and Sing -- Hope & Courage Sing-along; Northampton Friends Meetinghouse, 43 Center St.

7:30pm – Community carol sing-along with Jonathan Harvey (Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus) in the Unitarian Universalist Church

7:30pm – Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the Nutcracker at the Academy of Music



Pamela Sclafani is the Marketing Manager for Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont. She lives in the Pioneer Valley and enjoys everything it has to offer, gorgeous scenery, hills and mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, the change of seasons, and the close proximity to Boston and New York.


Looking to Buy a Home? Do you have your pre-approval letter?

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Guest Post by: Lacie Banks, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont Realtors

The pre-approval letter is generated after a buyer has consulted with a lending institution and provided basic information, such as income, assets, debt, and permission to pull your credit score to determine what type of mortgage you may qualify for and the mortgage amount.

When you are so interested in a property that you would like to submit an Offer to Purchase on it, most real estate agents and sellers will require a pre-approval letter from a bank or mortgage company if you are going to mortgage part of the sale price. If you are paying cash, a seller will ask for a proof-of-funds. The pre-approval letter or proof-of-funds needs to be submitted with the Offer before the seller is willing to take their house off the market during the Home Inspection period. 

A good buyer’s agent will require a pre-approval from a bank before investing a lot of time showing property that a buyer may not be able to afford. A good listing agent will require that the prospective buyer be financially approved to purchase the property before asking the seller to prepare the house for a showing. It's just a normal part of the house hunting process now.


Lacie Banks

"Move to Experience Life's Possibilities."

Lacie is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont Realtors. Connect with Lacie:

Email: LacieBanks@cbumr

Phone: 413-695-9608


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    Breaking Down Coldwell Banker's Smart Home Staging Kit

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    According to research by Coldwell Banker, consumers are most interested in smart home technology that can help them in three areas: security, temperature and lighting – so, of course, those three categories are covered in the Smart Home Staging Kit. Not only did Coldwell Banker define what makes a home smart and  curate the first-ever Smart Home Staging Kit  – we also invited our partner brands to speak on the main stage at our annual Gen Blue conference in Miami to teach us more about what really makes a home ‘smart’.

    From left to right: Mike Soucie of Nest, Melissa Andresko of Lutron, David Siroty of Coldwell Banker, Tejash Unadkat of August and Lindsey Turrentine of CNET

    Our panel of experts from smart home brands August, Nest and Lutron – all of which have products in the Smart Home Staging Kit – shared their insights with Coldwell Banker agents during the Smarter Staging & Selling session. Now we’ll let you in on the inside scoop:

    “The August Smart Lock is user friendly for three reasons: you can let friends and family into your home remotely, a majority of users install the Smart Lock in less than ten minutes because of its simplicity and it is installed on the inside of your door. That last feature really makes August unique. From the outside, your home remains exactly the same, but because the device is installed on the inside you can use your phone to lock and unlock your home.”

    Tejash Unadkat, August

    “At Nest, we want to create a home that takes care of itself and the people inside. Heating and cooling make up fifty percent of our energy costs. Energy savings and comfort were the main drivers behind developing the Nest thermostat and we created it with the intention of saving customers money. The Nest is intuitive – it learns the user’s habits and preferences with the ultimate goal of creating cost savings and comfort.”

    Mike Soucie, Nest


    “Lutron created the original lighting dimmer switch back in the 1950s as a way to create ambiance in the home. Today’s lighting technology is about convenience and comfort. This means turning your lights on and off remotely. Lighting also makes you feel better and makes your room look better. The same room can be used to host a dinner party, have cocktails with friends or help your kids with their homework – but the lighting is what makes the room more versatile depending on your needs.”

    Melissa Andresko, Lutron

    Now that our friends at August, Nest and Lutron have given us the inside scoop; you may ask where you can get a Smart Home Staging Kit. Home owners can purchase the complete smart home staging kit or purchase items individually. Consumers can also request for professional installation by The best part? Once the kit has been installed in your home it can be marketed as a smart home.

    Interested in buying your own kit? Be sure to visit and speak to a Coldwell Banker agent to take advantage of the exclusive promotional pricing!


    Athena Snow, Senior Manager, Public Relations for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. 


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      6 Easy Ways to Save on Painting Projects

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      Guest Post by Andrea Davis

      Applying a fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to revitalize the look and feel of your home. But the price and labor of a painting update can be intimidating for some homeowners. Here are six ways you can you save time and money on your next painting project.

      Tip #1: Check Local Recycling Centers

      US News & World Report notes that recycling and hazardous waste centers take in old, unused cans of paint from local residents and businesses. Paint has a long shelf life, so it’s not uncommon to find usable paint at these centers. Best of all, paint from recycling centers is usually free.

      Tip #2: Illuminate the Walls

      Professional painters often bring their own spotlights and clamp lights to jobs. A clamp light or similar illumination tool will help spot mistakes before the job is done. Addressing mistakes as you go will save you time and money later.

      Tip #3: Use a Primer

      A primer as your base layer will help your paint adhere to untreated surfaces like raw wood or unfinished drywall. The use of primer is also good if you’re dealing with stained or rough surfaces that might require multiple coats of paint to gain an even finish.

      Tip #4: Buy Better Paint

      Professional painting services rarely opt for cheap paint, unless specifically directed to do so by the customer. Most cheap paints won’t shine as brightly or look as smooth as higher-quality alternatives. Using lower quality paints will also require multiple coats of paint to achieve a finished look, which can increase costs. Most high-quality paints, including those which feature a primer in the mixture, go on in one coat. They will cost more per can, but completing your job will require less paint.

      Tip #5: Don’t Rush to Select a Color

      Consider how your color will work with your space before making a purchase. Being sure about your color choice will save you time and money. Rushing into a color selection can result in a touch up or repainting altogether.

      Tip #6: Know Your Finishes

      Lastly, make sure you pick the right finish for the room. Here are the four major finishes:

      • Flat: Great for interior walls and ceilings.
      • Eggshell: Ideal for living rooms, bedrooms and dining room walls as it is easy to wash and touch up.
      • Satin: The easy-to-clean nature of satin finishes makes it perfect for high-traffic areas of the home.
      • Semi-Gloss/Gloss: Reserve this finish for trim, molding, cabinets, kitchens and bathrooms due to its great coverage and washable, durable nature.

      Follow these simple tips and you’ll not only find yourself saving money at the hardware store or with your professional painters, but you’ll also save time by not having to repaint or frequently touch up your newly painted surfaces.

      Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. 

      5 Steps to Buying Your First Home in Western Massachusetts

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      The Pioneer Valley is a wonderful place to live! With mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, great restaurants, nightlight, theatre, museums, and shopping, the towns in Western Massachusetts have New England charm with big city activities.  If you’re thinking about buying a home in Franklin or Hampshire County, a little preparation will go a long way.

      1. First and foremost, know your credit score. There is only one official free credit report website according to, and that is

      How much can you afford? To understand your finances, the importance of credit, how much you’ll need for a down payment and closing costs, mortgage rates, and the Western Massachusetts housing market, check out this website: http://market

      2. Shop for a loan. Look to commercial banks, mortgage companies, and/or credit unions. This website,, will help you shop, compare, and negotiate a mortgage that’s right for you.

      If you are a first time home buyer, look into the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Your down payment may be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. Get more information here:

      3. Shop for a home. Coldwell Banker is here to help! We’ve been helping people find the home of their dreams for 110 years. Start with our website: and search for the home of your dreams, and a Realtor in your community.

      When you’re ready to make an offer, your Coldwell Banker Realtor will advise you on negotiation strategies and be there to provide objective advice that protects your best interest in the transaction. Our Realtors work with lenders, home sellers, and other real estate agents every day and will use their knowledge and experience to assist you.

      4. After your offer is accepted, get a home inspection, and shop for homeowners insurance. Lenders typically require proof of homeowner’s insurance. 

      5. The Closing. Your Coldwell Banker Realtor will be there for you every step of the way. Knowing the process before the closing might make you feel a little less nervous. After all, this could be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has resources to help:


      Pamela Sclafani is the Marketing Manager for Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont. She lives in the Pioneer Valley and enjoys everything it has to offer, gorgeous scenery, hills and mountains for hiking, lakes for paddle boarding, the change of seasons, and the close proximity to Boston and New York.