If you are on the fence about buying a home, here is something for you to consider.

Home ownership is certainly not for everyone. Testimonials from people I talk to on the street, in the grocery store, the coffee shop or any social scene tend to have a variety of feelings about the “American Dream”. For most of our lives, the American Dream has been pushed onto us as college, then marriage, then house, then family. Owning a house has become one of those very debatable subjects within the American Dream since Globalization has taken over. Globalization means many things but one subject it covers is job/employment mobility. People must be ready to get up and move to where ever their next job may be within a years time. With that in mind, the idea of making payments on a property for 30 years doesn’t make sense, so they decide to rent a place with the freedom to leave after their year commitment has expired.


If you consider yourself a numbers person, and are thinking of being in an area for 2-5 years, here is an interesting article to look at.


Buying a home beats Renting



Rebuilding the retaining wall at Lake Wyola, in Shutesbury MA

Here are some before and after shots of the retaining wall that was long overdue to be rebuilt. I certainly enjoy this project but it is not easy to build a flat wall with round stones.

 The before shots.


 The after shots.


Got creative with some Trap Rock Gravel.

Two more stones and the job will be complete

Finally took the time to rebuild the front walk at the house and in the process realized that I was about two stones short of a completed job. Other than the space left for the two stones, I think the walkway came out pretty nice.








Housing vs. Jobs

I was scrolling through the internet and came across this report, I thought it was interesting. Check it out for yourself.




Some interesting terms used in this report.

  • Mortgage availability, (the ability to qualify for a loan)
  • Jobs market, (unemployment rate, and job creation)
  • Mortgage rate, (are we heading to 3.5%?)
  • Underwater mortgages, (people owing more on their home then what they can sell it for)
  • Distressed market, (foreclosures and clearing of bad debts)

All of these are interesting terms, and I think it draws some comfort and discomfort in the market. With the mortgage rates at historic lows you would expect more people to be jumping into the housing market, however the stipulations attached to getting a loan are becoming harder and harder to meet making mortgage availability difficult for an average home buyer or first time home buyer, (average home buyer being someone who has some experience, maybe looking to sell and buy again).


Jobs are important as well, but we saw a very strong first quarter this year, (about 200,000-240,000 jobs per month added). I personally believe that people will start to settle down with jobs they can make a career out of, or areas that they can call home. With this happening there will be added stability to the employment and the discussion will shift from job creation to job stability, (hopefully keeping an unemployment rate between 3.5-5%)


The final matter is underwater mortgages and distressed homes. This is one of the things I appreciate about capitalism, the market will correct itself. There are people who gave loans when they shouldn’t have, and there are people who took loans when they shouldn’t have. This is certainly not an easy topic to talk about, but there are enormous lessons to be learned from all this and hopefully as a country we will learn and move forward. Venture capitalists will benefit the most from others mistakes, but I think they have put themselves in position to benefit through hard work, studying, and of course a little luck.


A balance of rain and sun.

It has been a very interesting Spring, for the weather, and it has led to some beautiful flowers in full bloom. The rain has been plentiful and the sun has made its presence felt as well. There really haven’t been any days that are in between and simply just cloudy. Typically a yard/garden/lawn will need about 2 inches of water per week to be healthy. Water and of course the sunlight helps the process. Since we have had several days of heavy rain, and then several days of heavy sun, the yards/lawns have grown at accelerated paces. Instead of having a cycle of 10-14 days between mows, it has been closer to 7-11 days between mows. I personally don’t mind it because I enjoy a healthy green yard over a dried out brown yard any day. These beautiful green lawns make the pioneer valley very enjoyable to live in.


Keep the rain coming, and keep the sun coming too!

This is for the UMass Students, new and old.

I thought this was a very interesting article. I have not had the opportunity to read any of his books but would be very interested in picking them up sometime. Here is a look at what I am talking about.


U Mass Graduate is financial wizard.


It is always refreshing to see someone from U Mass make national news. It is even more refreshing when they make it clear that they were involved in the Amherst area in some way, shape or form, (Zac is wearing a U Mass shirt on the cover of one of his books).


Paying for college has always been a challenge, and I wonder if his methods are really effective. They must be if he is able to get national recognition like this. Go U Mass.



Stability? Good investments? Cash is king!

I just saw this report and I thought it is very interesting. I have been discussing this topic with friends and gained a better understanding as to what is going on in the world, and why people are acting this way. Unfortunately I view this as the rich getting richer! This is what happens when people see opportunity and seize it.


Click here for the report I am talking about.


I think this is a sign that some of the bad debts are coming off of the market and the market as a whole continues to gain health again. The Pioneer Valley has not experienced as much volatility as the rest of the nation but we are experiencing some strains. As long as places like the Chamber of Commerce promote business and Kringle Candle creates jobs the area should be alright.


I also have seen growth in areas like Easthampton on the business side, after watching what was done to the Eastworks building I hope that more and more buildings will be utilized in that way. Either way I confidentially think the worst is behind us.

Going green… with an old stack of Newspapers?

Yes, you heard right, newspapers. This week I have been fortunate to work with a company using a product called Cel-Pak. This is material developed by a company in Belchertown, MA called National Fiber, (http://www.nationalfiber.com/index.htm) and the product is Cellulose insulation. Using recycled newspapers, and a fire retardant that also acts as a animal repellent, (no mice, no rats, no anything!) Cel-Pak can be installed into the wall cavities to provide a nice, thick, healthy, “green” insulation.


Imagine a newspaper that has been put through a shredder… then put through a shredder, again… and put through a shredder again and again, and then put inside your walls between the drywall and the sheathing, (outside wall). This product is brought in on pallets, and is wrapped in 100% recycled material. The product itself is 83% recycled because of the additive that makes it safe against pests and fires.


Going green feels great, what are you doing to go green?

Well… which is it? Spring, Summer or Winter?

Are we out of the Winter yet? Are we in the Summer? Neither, this is just Spring in New England!

I think it is funny that we can have a week of 75-80 degree weather, surrounded by weeks of 50-70 degree weather, only to have a week of 20-40 degree weather. In that order, one would think it was the fall and we were heading towards Winter. Nope, not the case, it is Spring time in New England. Poor students had 80 degree weather heading into Spring break, where the probably went somewhere where there was 80 degree weather so they left their winter clothes at home when they returned to school. Oh boy were they in for a rude awakening.

Well, truth be told, this is the actual temperature that we are supposed to have this time of year. On the down side, we have normal, cold, New England weather. On the up side, we have beautiful green yards again, it will soon be time to start grooming them again because areas have received nice warm days and plenty of moisture. If anyone was excited about the weather, they probably got out there and started doing some Spring cleaning. I know I did.  Now we have the opportunity to clean-up from the storms that have knocked down any weak branches that might have been in the air. We also have nice warm days to move the debris we didn’t get too.

Oh, and baseball season is right around the corner, CHEERS!!!

This is just a taste of the things Crossman Properties can do for you.

This is what it looked like after we arranged where the plants were going to go. It would do more Justice to see what it looked like before the plants arrived.This is what it looked like after we finished working. I think it looks much better don't you?

This is what it looked like after we finished working. I think it looks much better don't you?



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