Housing Market Improves in all 50 States

The number of U.S. housing markets showing improvement expanded for the sixth month in a row in February, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index. A total of 259 metropolitan areas in 50 states and the District of the Columbia have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 20 new metros joined the list and three were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis. “The fact that all 50 states now have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery has...

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MLS Tip ofthe Day

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Banker & Tradesman Residential RE seminar

Banker & Tradesman Residential RE seminar

The housing market has officially turned a corner – sales are up, prices are up! In fact, home sales in Massachusetts reached the highest level in six years in 2012. But now everyone is wondering, “Will this last?” There is a lot of talk about low inventory driving up prices, and whether the recovery is sustainable. We are teaming up with some of the most connected real estate analysts who can answer these questions. Join us for the Banker & Tradesman Residential Real Estate Outlook Seminar, where the brightest and most well-informed real estate industry insiders will gather to discuss the future of the local market. Be a part of this important gathering by registering...

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Dedicated Berkshire News Providers

Dedicated Berkshire News Providers

I like to remind myself every once and a while to take a second an appreciate something that I love that I usually take for granted….  Today it’s the fine Berkshire news I receive from Rural Intelligence and 24/7 Berkshire Nightlife.  I’ll admit I usually stumble upon the websites when I see an interesting article scroll through my Facebook page…. so think about liking them both to get the news delivered right to you too! Rural Intelligence is well written, interesting and reminds me how lucky I am to live and work in the Berkshires!  Oh, the things to do and see! Website | Facebook The Berkshires 24/7 is not the prettiest site around, I’ll admit, but the content!!  They do an outstanding job of keeping the Berkshire...

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E-mail Could Be Binding | Realtor Magazine

E-mail Could Be Binding | Realtor Magazine

Ouch. Reminder that Mass. broke ground with supreme court ruling that made email messages binding for home purchase. Do you use a disclaimer when negotiating electronically? Read Full Story   Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Successful Leaders Do 15 Things Automatically

Successful Leaders Do 15 Things Automatically

The Most Successful Leaders Do 15 Things Automatically, Every Day. From Forbes online I loved this article for the sheer simplicity of the suggestions …  and I don’t think it’s just about being a “great leader” but about how to work well with others to advance a common cause.  And, that in turn makes you a great leader, or colleague or boss or employee.  It’s an aim worth pursing and each of the 15 suggestions are simple, easy to employ and needed at different times. This month, I’m especially working on: “Challenging People to Think”: Come to the Think Tank 2/27/13, pretty please!! Learn, share, plan… TOGETHER. That’s why I created it!! The meeting will include a brief update on the...

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10 Unexpectedly Romantic Cities – Forbes

10 Unexpectedly Romantic Cities – Forbes

The ♥ Berkshires ♥ named romantic city in Forbes (they couldn’t pick just one) along with Brussels, Sydney, Cinque Terre Italty, Eze France, Madrid, Austin, DC, Pittsburg and Minneapolis. ♥ The Berkshires, Mass. We can’t pick just one city in the Berkshires as the most romantic because so many of are worthy of the title. In July and August, venture up to Tanglewood (the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) in the quiet town of Lenox to soak up the sweet melodies of the BSO. After, dinner at the intimate restaurant Wheatleigh is also a must. Here you can dine on the cuisine of chef Jeffrey Thompson while you soak up the beauty of the Berkshires from The Dining Room’s open-air portico. Lenox is also home to The Mount—Pulitzer...

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Real Estate Connect Videos Now Available

Real Estate Connect is an incredible biannual event held by Inman news.  This past event held in NYC last week was a great success, judging from the blog posts and buzz.  Inman has released some video highlights of the program, for anyone who is interested… Keynote: Chris Smith & Katie Lance: Diving into the Mind of Today’s “Free Agent” http://shar.es/WN7r4 [incredible ground-breaking data revealed] New Kids on the Block: 5 New Start-Ups To Keep an Eye On  http://shar.es/WNqMV Keynote: Fireside Chat with Evernote CEO, Phil Libin (and Chris Smith) http://shar.es/WNtrZ Keynote: Jason Baptiste – CEO of Onswipe “How Tablet Publishing is Transforming the Way We Consume Media” http://shar.es/WNttv  Share...

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Here we go again with Patent Infringement Issues

Here we go again with Patent Infringement Issues

After settling the patent infringment case about property map searching based on map, [Berkshire MLS paid selttlement to license this type of searching for all members], we learn of a new batch of lawsuits filed by Earthcomber (including NAR) They have patented technology that aides mobile device users in locating special interests nearby, by users manual entry of ZIP code or current intersection rather than through GPS or triangulation. Earthcomber files patent lawsuits against 12 real estate companies – AGBeat. Share...

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Let’s make sure they aren’t called Bored Meetings

A few interesting ways to make our Board Meetings more effective … Save time. Use a consent agenda to reduce reports by distributing them in advance and asking for one motion to accept the consent items. Consistent messaging. Take 5 minutes at the end of the meeting to decide on the main message that directors should communicate to members. Create an executive summary or ‘One Voice’ and distribute to directors so they deliver consistent messages after each meeting. Assess meeting effectiveness. Use the back of the agenda for 1 or 2 questions to ask before the meeting adjourns: a) Did the meeting advance the mission and serve the members; b) What can we do to improve our next board meeting?” Note: Bob Harris, CAE, offers free governance and...

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Berkshire Bank Donates Building to 1Berkshire

Berkshire Bank Donates Building to 1Berkshire

Berkshire Bank just annouced the news that our leadership heard at our Strategic Planning session late fall of 2011 – Berkshire Bank has donated its Allen Street, Pittfield building to 1Berkshire to house the countywide economic development agencies. The former Central Fire Station building will hold the offices of the collaborative efforts of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and Berkshire Creative in April. This collaboration of agencies and City Hall should be a powerful entity in our community, and with other organizations such as the Board of REALTORS in support, could truely hardness all of our collective power for prosperity. Berkshire Bank Donates Building to 1Berkshire / iBerkshires.com – The Berkshires online guide...

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The Best SmartPhone Apps

The Best SmartPhone Apps

I would say this site is worth every penny, but it is totally free!  And doesn’t hit you with pop-ups and an annoying “cost” for getting great information. Lifehacker’s App Directory is a constantly maintained and updated directory of the best applications and tools for computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and smartphones (Android and iPhone). Want to make sure you’ve got the best of the best installed on your system? Simply click on your platform-of-choice below to get started. Apps News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip – Lifehacker. Share...

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Brian Solis Sums It Up Again

Brian Solis Sums It Up Again

In a new blog post, Brian Solis sums up our technology / marketing headaches with social media. “Although the impact of technology on business and consumer behavior was widely reported, in-depth reports on what to do next or how this will affect their business specifically were scant at best. I’m sure you heard it from experts everywhere, “You need a Facebook brand page! Why are you not on Twitter yet? Have you checked-in on Foursquare? Hurry up and get set up on Google+. If you don’t get on social media, you’re going to go out of business!” And, here you are…still in business. ”   It’s a good read… Share...

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The Trouble with Salespeople Slideshow – Harvard Business Review – Harvard Business Review

A quick 9 slide report on the effective skill-sets of the three types of salespeople — Experts, Closers, and Consultants… the skill sets of those less successful, and the training needs of each type of personality to help increase successful closings. The Trouble with Salespeople Slideshow – Harvard Business Review – Harvard Business Review. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Berkshire County, MA Market Watch Report, By Sandy Carroll

Berkshire County, MA Market Watch Report, By Sandy Carroll

We’d like to share news about the current state of the Berkshire’s real estate market. Last year, the real estate market continued to settle since our all time record high of dollars transacted in 2005, and everyone has been trying to predict the exact “bottom of the market” to help made sound decisions. Berkshire County, Massachusetts land, multi-family and residential sales showed strong numbers in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the previous year. This strong pace slowed in 2nd quarter of 2011, and all markets except commercial showed losses when compared to the 2nd Quarter in 2010. The 3rd quarter sales reflect another adjustment and rebound that helped make up the 2nd quarter lags, yet was not enough to boost overall year-to-date sales...

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City of Pittsfield Ordinance Takes Effect 1/1/12

City of Pittsfield Ordinance Takes Effect 1/1/12

The implementation of City of Pittsfield Blight reglations is January 1, 2012. Owners of multifamily units, vacant properties or non-owner occupied residential properties (including foreclosed homes or single family rentals) shall register on an annual basis with the City of Pittsfield. There are many requirements to this new regulation, so please see the following information for more specifics. Further, we've received clarification that the exterior posting requirement is to only affect rental properties (any number of units). Please see the copy of the letter sent to known property owners, real estate agents and our board office. Included in the letter are hyperlinks directly to the online registration form, FAQs and the full ordinance.

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Help Families in Need At Thanksgiving

Help Families in Need At Thanksgiving

As the holidays quickly approach we reflect on all that we are so thankful for and our thoughts turn to those in Berkshire County who are less fortunate than ourselves.  REACT (Real Estate Agents Charitable Task Force) is sponsoring a Thanksgiving Gift Card distribution this year. The donation amount is $25 per card sponsored.  All funds collected will be used to purchase gift cards from BigY for distribution to food banks, veterans and human service agencies throughout the County. Your donation can be made here, by calling the Board Office at 413-442-8049 or by mailing a check to the Board Office:  99 West Street, Ste 200, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Please consider supporting this very worthwhile cause!  If you have any questions you can contact Sue at the Board...

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HEADS-UP! Realtor.com Makes Major Marketing Changes

HEADS-UP! Realtor.com Makes Major Marketing Changes

Realtor.com is making major changes to their lead generation products that surround free property displays.  This program is called “Connections” and agents can now purchase zipcode leads, for listings that are not enhanced with a paid product (agent or broker package). If you pay for an enhansed package, all leads will continue to go directly to you.  All members have the ability to “buy” zip code leads, provided they are in the same MLS. If you pay to enhance your listings on Realtor.com, your listings will not change (but you have additional marketing opportunities) If you do NOT pay to enhance your listing on Realtor.com, your free listing display will significantly change. Inman News had a great article about this with screen...

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Eternal Cosmic Wisdom

Eternal Cosmic Wisdom

Berkshire motivational speaker and ukulele player, Jerry Posner, recently released his latest book.  It is available on Amazon.com. Deep, lighthearted, profound and fun … all the the same time! But most of all – practical. – Jerry Posner Kindle Version Hardcover Version Share...

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Zillow Acquires IDX Vendor: Diverse Solutions

Zillow Acquires IDX Vendor: Diverse Solutions

Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z), today announced it has acquired substantially all the assets of Diverse Solutions, an Irvine, Calif.-based company that helps real estate agents market their businesses and improve their personal websites, for approximately $7.8 million in cash and stock. Diverse Solutions’ software services include providing listings content and property search functionality for the Web and mobile platforms. With this acquisition, Zillow® adds another key set of tools to help agents grow their businesses and enhance their online presence. What Does It Mean? In FBS Blog (FlexMLS) by Michael Wurzer Zillow announced today that it acquired IDX vendor Diverse Solutions for $7.8 million in cash and stock.  I’m interested in learning what others think...

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The End of Business as Usual

The End of Business as Usual

Normally, I don't promote a book that I haven't read yet, but I make an exception for Brian Solis' book, "The End of Business As Usual". I'm compelled to share this book, because I'm a big fan of Brian's brain... his website is full of free and compelling content and his take on business use of social media is incredibly on target. His posts always inspire me to think about technology and online interaction as it relates to our business of service - our customers, our clients and ourselves...

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Wind in the Berkshires

Wind in the Berkshires

Here is a flyer for the Wind Turbine Informational session that Nancy Kalodner / Tim Lovett mentioned at the Annual Meeting yesterday. An important topic that all homeowners and Realtors needs to understand thoroughly. Tonight, October 27th in Lenox.

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Gold Star Mother… MINE!

Gold Star Mother… MINE!

Another new piece of art added to my collection. Gold Star Mother is a moving oil painting by my brother Larry. He's a director living in Hermosa Beach, California and has directed hundreds of television commercials, many hours of television, award winning short films, and currently teaches at UCLA. He also paints and takes photographs on a daily basis. This piece is from his series of oil paintings titled “Soldiers” exhibited at the “Group W Artists” show in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

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MLS Statistics: Available as a WordPress Widget

I thought I'd share a few Wordpress widgets for FlexMLS users... below you can see a sample of some of the cool, dynamically generated content that is available for an annual fee, directly from our vendor. For complete information, please see the FlexMLS page dedicated to Wordpress widgets

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Best Blog is in Berkshire!

Best Blog is in Berkshire!

Our recent Massachusetts REALTOR Awards banquet offered a nice suprise… Marlene Goldstein, Broker-Owner of Berkshire County Homes Real Estate in  was named as runner up of ”Best Real Estate Blogs in MA”. Woot-woot to Marlene for offering home seller and buyers such great tips to help the in the transaction process! Berkshire Country Homes , LLC, 34 Silver Street, Great Barrington. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Sold & Pending Reporting for 3rd Quarter Stats

Sold & Pending Reporting for 3rd Quarter Stats

Calling all REALTORS – Please take a moment to enter all of your pending and closed real estate transaction data into the MLS database. I will be pulling data for a 3rd Quarter Market Report shortly and need all of the recent sales figures for the most accurate statistics possible. Thank you! (direct link to the 2nd quarter report) Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Berkshire County Kids’ Place benefit

Berkshire County Kids’ Place benefit

Berkshire County Kids’ Place benefit “Moonlight Magic, An Evening of Surprises and Fun”. This is a great event to help a very worthwhile cause will be held on Thursday, November 10th from 6pm-9pm  at Cranwell Resort.   For more information, please see their Moonlight Magic Event Flyer or contact REALTOR Paula McLean for details. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Volunteers Needed for The Breaking Bread Meal

Volunteers Needed for The Breaking Bread Meal

The Breaking Bread Meal for those in need will be held on October 20th at the Legion Hall in Sheffield on the corner of Rt 7 and Cooks Rd. We need help setting up starting at 1:00 and then need servers starting at 5:00. An hour of your time would be soooo helpful. Please call Suzann Ward 413-329-3031. Thanks A bunch! Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Academic Excellence at Richmond School

Academic Excellence at Richmond School

Good news to share about Richmond Consolidated School Congratulations to the students and the staff at Richmond School for outstanding performance on MCAS tests!  The Mass. Department of Education recently released the scores for the 3rd Grade MCAS testing that took place in the spring of 2011. Richmond’s 3rd grade ranked 2nd in the state with a score of 91 out of a possible 100 in English and 10th in Math with a score of 86 out a possible 100. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrint

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Fuze Meeting: Multi-Party HD Video Conferencing

Fuze Meeting: Multi-Party HD Video Conferencing

If you have a need to host multi-party online meetings that allow you to present material, interact with multiple attendees, track and record sessions, then this might be a good option to consider.

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