The new office is in the Berkshire Plaza on Main Street.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Burnham Gold Real Estate threw a party and everybody came.
At least it seemed that way last Thursday as the real estate company was welcomed to North Adams with open arms.
"There are happenings in North Adams and we want to be a part of it," Kim Burnham said above the buzz of conversation at the office's grand opening reception. "We're hoping to bring real value back to the city, we're excited about this location."
The new office is at 33 Main St., in the Berkshire Plaza. The space was most recently being used for a gallery but has been split into two, with Burnham Gold taking over the front space looking out onto the plaza.
Kim Burnham and Rebecca Gold Cellana started the company in 2011, just a few years after the economic collapse cooled the housing market. But they had plenty of experience and confidence in North County.
Seven years later, they've opened their second location and have nine people working in the North Adams and 191 Water St., Williamstown, offices, and expect to expand by adding a couple more people. Primarily dealing in residential real estate, the agency is also moving more into commercial and land sales.
Real estate agents Erin Scott and Sarah Fleury talked up the possibilities in the city, Burnham said, and Greylock Works owners Salvatore Perry and Karla Rothstein further encouraged the move.
"North adams is going through a revitalization with everyone moving in, and tourists coming, and the mills," Fleury said. "I think this is a perfect time for us to be here and grow here ... I think North Adams is great place for real estate."
Real estate agent Seth Alden pointed to such venues as the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the proposed model railroad museum as attractions to the area for artists and new families.
"We have a quality of life that a lot of places don't offer other than the Berkshires," he said, adding that "especially watching all these mills come back to life as apartments or different avenues of income, it's really an exciting time. I think investors and young families will start to see that more and more in this area."
Burnham said the agency wants to bring "real value" back to the city.
"I think for too long, in my opinion, the city has been undervalued and I'd like to bring some real dollars back to the sellers," she said. "There are some really great properties in this city and some of them have been overlooked, in my opinion ...
"The hardest part of this job is putting a price on the real estate and we're going to do everything in our power to bring top dollar to our sellers."
Sarah Gaffey, a community development lender at MountainOne Bank, said the real estate market is definitely on the upswing. There's been a little lull over the holidays but it's been more active in the past weeks.
She expects that to pick up more with the release of Equity Builder Program funds, part of a federal program to help qualified first-time and low-income homeowners by homes.
"We're hoping to release the Equity Builder funds at the and of March, so once those are released that helps a lot of first-time homebuyers," Gaffey said.
Burnham Gold agents say their sales have been steady and that they are working to get more properties.
"We've got a ton of buyers waiting for that inventory to come on the market," Scott said. "I think it's pretty great as far as the economy goes ... people are buying and selling."
The crowded office reception was a mix of Williamstown Chamber of Commerce members and North Adams business people and community leaders, including several city councilors and the mayor, who were on hand to welcome the city's newest business.
"I'm really impressed by the turnout, which indicates a level of support for the business in general but for also for having a real estate office down here," Mayor Thomas Bernard said. "We're starting to see more interest in housing. So having these folks with the experience they have, the team based right here, is great."
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Sticking to Budget Can Boost Your Emergency Fund
Submitted by Edward Jones
During the coronavirus pandemic, our health concerns – for ourselves and our loved ones – have been at the top of our minds. But financial worries have been there, too, both for people whose employment has been affected and for investors anxious about the volatile financial markets.
And one aspect of every individual's total financial picture has become quite clear – the importance of an emergency fund.
In normal times, it's a good idea for you to keep three to six months' worth of living expenses in a liquid, low-risk account. Having an emergency fund available can help you cope with those large, unexpected costs, such as a major car repair or a costly medical bill.
Furthermore, if you have an adequate emergency fund, you won't have to dip into your long-term investments to pay for short-term needs. These investment vehicles, such as your IRA and 401(k), are designed for your retirement, so the more you can leave them intact, the more assets you are likely to have when you retire. And because they are intended for your retirement, they typically come with disincentives, including taxes and penalties, if you do tap into them early. (However, as part of the economic stimulus legislation known as the CARES Act, individuals can now take up to $100,000 from their 401(k) plans and IRAs without paying the 10 percent penalty that typically applies to investors younger than 59 1/2. If you take this type of withdrawal, you have up to three years to pay the taxes and, if you want, replace the funds, beyond the usual caps on annual contributions.)
Of course, life is expensive, so it's not always easy to put away money in a fund that you aren't going to use for your normal cash flow. That’s why it's so important to establish a budget and stick to it. When developing such a budget, you may find ways to cut down on your spending, freeing up money that could be used to build your emergency fund.
There are different ways to establish a budget, but they all typically involve identifying your income and expenses and separating your needs and wants. You can find various online budgeting tools to help you get started, but, ultimately, it's up to you to make your budget work. Nonetheless, you may be pleasantly surprised at how painless it is to follow a budget. For example, if you have budgeted a certain amount for food each month, you will need to avoid going to the grocery store several times a week, just to pick up "a few things" – because it doesn't really take that many visits for those few things to add up to hundreds of dollars. You will be much better off limiting your trips to the grocery, making a list of the items you need and adhering to these lists. After doing this for a few months, see how much you have saved – it may be much more than you would expect. Besides using these savings to strengthen your emergency fund, you could also deploy them toward longer-term investments designed to help you reach other objectives, such as retirement.
Saving money is always a good idea, and when you use your savings to build an emergency fund, you can help yourself prepare for the unexpected and make progress toward your long-term goals.
The governor noted that people had been demonstrating outside the State House last week over their frustration with the slow pace of the reopening, and that several protests had been going on peacefully all day Sunday.
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