Buying On Cape Cod

Open Houses April 21 and 22

We have three excellent open houses this weekend and, with the first prediction of clear skies in some time, will be a great weekend to get out and preview your dream home!

New Price |  9 Osborn Snow Drive, East Dennis | Sunday 1-3

Location is everything and this home has it all - expansive views of Quivet Neck conservation land as far as Cape Cod Bay, lush grounds that set the tone for the Cape Cod lifestyle and all only a stroll to Cold Storage and Sea Street Beaches. The gracious interiors cover 6600 square feet which include separate living quarters and a large private office that makes this home ideal for a professional home office. Every inch was custom crafted with low maintenance in mind. Boasting a fabulous chef's kitchen and oversized deck, entertaining is a breeze. Delight your clients with delicious treats prepared in the brick oven while enjoying the sweeping views and wine on the deck or by the fire pits. This special place features 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, sparkling wood, tile, vaulted ceilings, This is truly private and in an exceptional neighborhood. Bring your personal touches.

 

Brand new to market |  1685 Hyannis Rd, Barnstable Village | Saturday 1-3pm

Two homes on one lot! Charm best describes the tastefully renovated gracious antique main house on a 1.67 acre estate setting smack dab in Barnstable Village less than a mile from Millway beach with lovely three bedrooms, three baths. The detached one bedroom guest cottage along with the main house makes this versatile property perfect for large gatherings & summer soirees. Your imagination will explode when you encounter the outdoor fire pit, travertine patio, gardens, greenhouse and fruit trees. All this just a minute to coffee shops, restaurants, post office, galleries, and village market. Step inside the main house to find sparkling floors, gourmet kitchen, nooks and crannies at every turn. Send guests to the cottage with its beautiful floors, window wrapped den and enjoy your space. This is a sensational property with room for expansion. How about a tennis court, swimming pool, or bocce ball court? The possibilities are endless. The renovations undertaken since 2003 included new kitchen, baths, windows, furnace, hot water heaters, roof, painted interior and exterior, to name a few. The landscaping is beautiful and allows for simplicity or formality. This is one of a kind property to be proud of and to love.

 

New Price |  438 Main St, Osterville | Saturday 10-12

Set yourself apart from the ordinary. This unique & refined home is to be enjoyed in summer and year long. Just minutes to Fancy's Market, library, post office, galleries, coffee & brunch; or to Dowses Beach for sunny walk or cooling dip; or launch a kayak down East Bay to Centerville River. This home is tastefully renovated with versatile floor plan ideal for entertaining. The heart of the home features a family room/kitchen combination that spills onto the large gracious sun room, deck & patio. The living room with lovely bay window is set apart allowing for intimate chats. Two bedrooms each have private baths. There is an additional large sleeping area with half bath for visitors. The home is air conditioned throughout. Plenty of parking for guests. Take part in what life is all about.

 

If you are interested in any of these homes or to learn more about any other open houses on the Cape, contact us today.

Ask Agnes: Buying and Selling on Cape Cod - Part 4

After examining the process of selling on Cape Cod, it is now time for a buyer's perspective.  For more information on selling your home, start at Part 1 of the series here.

"OK Agnes, I am ready to buy a home on the Cape...uummmm...help?"

"That's wonderful news!  Owning a home is a dream many people want to realize and we take great pride in helping them do it.  I'll approach from the perspective of first-time homebuyers and hit relevant points for all buyers along the way."

"Got it."

"The first thing you should do is learn how much you can spend on a home.  Most people finance (get a mortgage) for real estate transactions and even if you will be buying in cash you still need to set your limits.  In the case of financing, talk to a local bank or mortgage broker who will lead you through the process of getting pre-qualified.  In short a bank evaluates your total income, liabilities and assets to help you decide how much home you can afford.  You should always do this before you even think about looking for houses for two reasons (really the same reason but with two points).  First, don't waste your time dreaming of gold-plated faucets and kids playing on the dock by looking at $900,000 waterfront homes if you won't be able to afford one.  And, just as crucially, don't waste your time looking at $200,000 homes thinking that is all you can afford when, in reality, you could qualify for a $350,000 purchase price.  Over the years we have seen both situations and with rates as low as they are these days, people are often surprised at how much they can actually afford.  When you have an idea of a reasonable price range you and your realtor can move to the next steps."

"OK.  I talked to a bank and qualify for a $350,000 purchase price. How do we get started?"

Luxury Harwich Screen Grab"Well this is an exciting point in your search for a home.  And we proceed in a lot of different ways depending on the client.  Some people are very engaged in the search and spend a lot of time driving around to find appealing neighborhoods, as well as looking online for homes of interest.  A great place to start is on our website. By signing up you can save searches and your favorite homes (check out the screen grab at left) as well as get in touch with us for an in-person viewing of listings you find interesting.  Other clients are very hands off and prefer a more curated approach in which we, as agents, present properties we think are a good match.  It is important to have a good conversation with your agent early in the process so that you are both clear on which style you prefer. We love working with both types of clients (and everything in between) and take pride in that 88% of our business comes from repeat customers or referrals from past clients."

"I've started looking, but holy cow there is a lot out there."

"First, start with locations.  If you currently live and work in Brewster why not start by searching for homes there?  Then you can narrow price range and refine the search (i.e. including garages or minimum number of bedrooms) to suit your needs.  Also you can use our 'What's New' search to keep an eye out for anything that pops up on the market that you may like but otherwise doesn't match your criteria (like a house on the Dennis and Harwich line that is two minutes from Brewster, but is otherwise exactly what you want).

Well thanks Agnes, you have given us a lot to think about and hope that some of these suggestions for buyers are useful to our readers too.  Feel free to contact us with questions about buying (or selling) on the Cape and stay tuned as our next installment will go into finding your dream home and getting an offer accepted.

Open Houses Weekend 2/24-2/25

We have 3 great open houses this weekend that you won't want to miss.

With 9 Osborn Snow Drive, East Dennis, location is everything and this home has it all - expansive views of Quivet Neck conservation land as far as Cape Cod Bay and lush grounds that have character and set the tone for the Cape Cod lifestyle. The gracious interiors cover 6600 square feet which include separate living quarters and a large private office that makes this home ideal for corporate retreats. Every inch was custom crafted with low maintenance in mind. Boasting a fabulous chef's kitchen and oversized deck, entertaining is a breeze. Delight your clients with delicious treats prepared in the brick oven while enjoying the sweeping views and wine on the deck or by the fire pits. This special place features 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, sparkling wood, tile, and lush carpeting, vaulted ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows. This is truly private and in an exceptional neighborhood. Bring your personal touches. $2,075,000.

 

Just new to the market 438 Main St, Osterville, is a unique refined residence a short stroll to Osterville Village for Fancy's Market, library, post office, coffee, and brunch or to Dowes Beach for a sunny walk or cooling dip. This renovated charmer has a versatile floor plan. The heart of the home features a family room kitchen combination that spills onto the large gracious sun room that was added in 2012 with deck and patio on either side. The living room with lovely bay window is set apart allowing for quiet contemplation and intimate chats. Each bedroom has a private bath. There is extra sleeping area with half bath for visitors. The home is air conditioned throughout and has a fantastic outdoor shower. This adaptable home is to be enjoyed in summer and all year long. $699,000

 

Also new to market and having the versatility of both residential and general commercial zoning, 485 Main St, West Dennis, was also known as the Rose Victorian Gift Shop for many years.  Built in 1877 this striking Folk Victorian home features five bedrooms, 3 baths, a large carriage house of consistent architecture, two storage 'barns,' plus a privy. It is sited along Main Street a walk to the Village Center. Charm and grace best describe the tree lined street setting and interior with its inlaid wood floors, high ceilings, plaster ceiling medallions and many other period features. The General Commercial zoning allows for a wide variety of uses. Bring your ideas and make this property sparkle once more! $399,000

Market Trends and Analysis - Part 4

    Our goal in this series is it to help you understand how we interpret markets on the Cape and how this informs our recommendations when developing pricing strategies.  For our final installment we will evaluate the Cape Cod market for the past 3 years (starting in October 2014).  

    First the inventory of single family homes has been dropping over the past few years.  This factor coupled with rising median sales prices and fewer days on market indicate an accelerating market in Barnstable County.  Another interesting factor to note is the significant decrease in homes for sale over the past year and that 2017 did not show as stark a seasonal bump in inventory as is typical.  Additionally the affordability index is trending towards less affordability on Cape Cod.  

    What's our take? If you are thinking of buying, our advice is not to wait.  Interest rates are at historic lows and, if the current market trend continues, homes will continue to become gradually more expensive.  The long-term news isn't all bad, though - there are numerous local, state, and federal initiatives in the works which plan to ease the affordability pinch here on the Cape.  For more information, check out this local housing forum featuring none other than our own Ned Chatelain.  But you don't have to wait for new programs to buy something - give us a call and we can put you in touch with the top-notch mortgage brokers we work with who can walk you through low-downpayment and no-downpayment mortgages, first time home-buyer programs, or local lending incentives that can make the difference between buying this year or buying in three years.

     On the other hand, If you are thinking of selling, this is good news for you.  The Spring is an excellent time to get your house on the market and winter is the best time to get it ready.  Give us a call today if you are interested in a home valuation and comparative market analysis.

Market Trends and Analysis - Part 2

    Our goal in this series it to help you understand how we interpret markets on the Cape and how this informs our recommendations when developing pricing strategies.  In this installment we will be evaluating a specific market - homes in Brewster between $300k and $500k.  We chose this market because it includes the current median sales price in Barnstable County of $380,000. 

    From August 1, 2017 until October 26th (when we ran the numbers) only 25 homes have sold in this price range in Brewster.  Remarkably, the median sales price is ...$380,000, and the average days on market is 66.  As a result we note that in the past three months houses in Brewster sell more quickly than the average in Barnstable County.  Furthermore Brewster shows signs favoring sellers.  We see this in the fact that homes sell relatively quickly and return a higher % of original list price than Barnstable County overall (please see Part 1 for this graph and explanation).  When looking at the last 3 weeks we also note that fewer price reductions are needed before homes are selling.  Other points of interest that we consider - though don't have time to discuss fully - include absorption rate, total listings and withdrawn listings.

    We look forward to introducing part 3 of this series when we compare markets with specific features (water!).  If you are curious about how your home will compete in your local market please contact us today or click here to get a home valuation.

Add value to your home through exterior improvements

  As the days get shorter and the prospect of fall becomes ever more apparent, outdoor landscaping improvements seem less daunting.  Cooler weather makes outdoor projects more enjoyable and undertaking even simple jobs can add significantly to the curb appeal of your home.  The National Association of Realtors published a report relating to the benefits of outdoor remodeling projects that you can find here and while many of their suggestions are valid in the national market we pulled out the one we find most pertinent to Cape Cod.

LAWN CARE AND MAINTENANCE is by far the most important and cost effective thing you can do to add value to your home. We can not stress enough the importance of keeping your landscaping neat.  You needn't spend a fortune to re-sod your lawn, install irrigation, repave your driveway and invest in mature plantings in order to reap gains on the sale price of your home.  For the cost of a used lawn mower (often free) and an hour once or twice a week you can add value to your property and enjoy a more pleasing atmosphere in the mean time. One of the most important aspects of cost-effective landscape care is matching it to the condition of your home.  On Cape Cod a lot of small cottages have 'Cape Cod lawns' - which is a nice way of saying mostly pine needles and some tenacious tufts of grass here and there - and, if paired with a clean, weed-free shell driveway and well pruned shrubs, requires minimum  investment in landscaping improvement.  However, newer homes with poorly maintained landscaping (spots on the lawn, overgrowth, rotting fences) significantly detract from the curb appeal and, ultimately, sale price of your home.  If it is in the budget, having trusted and professional landscapers on a yearly maintenance schedule is a great way to be sure your landscaping looks its best as they can take care of fall cleanup, spring planting, regular pruning, trimming and mowing and much more.  Let's see a few examples:

429 Bragg's Lane in Barnstable, is an updated home with appropriately matched and maintained landscaping.  The plantings in front are below the windows and the lawn is well maintained, which is appropriate for the condition of the home.   Also shown is a cute patio in the backyard.  While not always needed or fitting, adding tasteful exterior living space can definitely add value to your home, and this simple patio is a great example of that.  Unfortunately this home just sold for $480K but if you are interested in other Barnstable homes check this out.

5 Sebastian Way in South Yarmouth, is an example of a house with appropriate and simple landscaping.  The minimal plantings in front are still growing into their spaces , the hydrangeas are well pruned and blooming, and the lawn (a good example of a Cape Cod lawn), is trimmed with the flower beds neatly mulched and ringed in front.  As a cute summer getaway or year-round residence, this home also benefits from a simple fire-pit ringed with bricks.  Well matched and well maintained beats neglected every time.  Yarmouth is a beautiful town and there are plenty of other Yarmouth listing to be seen here.

As a final point regarding soft-scaping, the late summer and early fall is a great time to reseed your lawn on Cape Cod.  The ground is warm and yet the scorching summer sun is in the past so seedlings have a chance to get established before the winter.  Believe it or not, many grasses will survive a winter covered in snow more easily than a summer baked in sun - so time to reseed ladies and gentlemen.

If you need help contacting trusted local landscapers or have questions about buying or selling a home please give us a call today.

Cape Cod Open Houses August 12th and 13th

 

We have three excellent open houses this weekend as well as numerous others throughout the Cape.  We are featuring the wonderful property on 9 Osborn Snow Drive, East Dennis.  From the fruit orchard, to the steam shower, the outdoor pizza oven and the sprawling deck, everything about this home exudes luxury.  Perfect for entertaining family and friends this spacious home will knock your socks off.  $2,075,000.

 

Additionally, at 28 O'Connor Lane, South Dennis, we have a beautiful 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch including a partially finished walk-out basement, 1 car garage, first floor master bedroom with en suite bathroom, bright sun-room and new engineered wood floors.  This is close to the shopping at Patriot Square, route 6, the newly updated Cape Cod Rail Trail and so much more. $369,000

 

 

Finally, at 5 Sebastian Way, South Yarmouth, a beautifully kept 3 bedroom 2 bath saltbox is not to be missed.  This one has a fresh kitchen and two updated full baths, a back deck and an outdoor shower to rinse off after a full day at one of the many beautiful Yarmouth beaches.  $329,000

 

 

For a list of all upcoming open houses in the Cape Cod area, please follow this link.  And, as always, don't hesitate to contact us with any questions

Homeownership on Cape Cod Part III

We have just introduced a new informational page on the website, 'Homeownership on Cape Cod'.  We will be adding more information to it in the future, but for now here is the third part of that page with some useful information regarding basements, sump pumps and dirt roads.  As always contact us for information about both buying and selling on Cape Cod.

 

Basements and Sump Pumps

   Cape Cod's proximity to the ocean is part of what makes it such a treasured and wonderful place to live.  The water that makes up our aquifer floats on the saltwater and, when the groundwater is high, can be seen in basements.  When the Cape was first settled basements were dug by hand and, as a result, often were shallow or limited to root cellars under only a portion of the house and many antiques on Cape Cod still feature these stonewalled and circular cellars close to kitchens.  As development progressed and heating requirements changed from hearths to furnaces, the 'Cape Cod Basement' was born.  In these instances a small section of the basement is accessible from an exterior bulkhead and is often deep enough to stand in.  These smaller areas sometimes feature furnaces, water heaters, oil tanks, washing machines or dryers - whereas the rest of the basement is frequently an earthen floor and only small enough in which to crawl, affectionately known as a 'crawl space'.  Another commonly seen aspect of basements on Cape Cod are sump pumps which act to keep the groundwater below the floor of the basement.  Like any appliance these should be maintained and specifically checked after significant rain storms and during the spring.  

 

Dirt Roads and Wooden Bridges

    The Cape’s rural past still has other remnants including dirt roads, wooden bridges and low bridges.  Picturesque examples of wooden bridges can be seen crossing Bell’s Neck Road and North Road (the walking bridge pictured at right) in Harwich, and the bridge to Lieutenant’s Island in Welfleet.  

   

    Living on a dirt road comes with the advantages that the traffic is limited generally to locals and the poetic benefit of being able to say ‘turn down the dirt road’ when inviting friends to dinner.  

 

Homeownership on Cape Cod Part II

We have just introduced a new informational page on the website, 'Homeownership on Cape Cod'.  We will be adding more information to it in the future, but for now here is the second part of that page with some useful information on septic systems, building norms and utilities.  As always contact us for information about both buying and selling on Cape Cod.

 

Cape Cod Homeownership

Septic Systems

    One very common and sometimes befuddling aspect of local homeownership on Cape Cod relates to septic systems.  Put simply these are systems that collect wastewater from the home, separate solids from liquids, and leech the liquids back through a natural soil filter into the ground.  For more information on septic systems please check out some of these useful links

Local Building and Construction in Brief

    Regarding construction on Cape Cod, the traditional 'Cape' style house (pictured with red painted clapboards) stems from a New England style of utter utilitarianism.  The fairly high pitched roof prevented the crushing weight of heavy snowfall from collapsing the building and the upstairs bedrooms meant the heat would rise upstairs to make sleeping more comfortable.  You can find 'Half Capes' and full Capes all over, though many have seen additions or dormers added to increase usable space.  Most construction on Cape Cod is wooden framed with cedar shingles or clapboards for siding and pitched asphalt roofs.  Some homes also have red cedar shingling on the roof.  We have a graphic here, that does a phenomenal job of illustrating the elements of homes.  

Utilities

    A fact of life on Cape Cod (as with anywhere) is the occasional power outage.  Cape Cod, being a peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean, receives a number of storms during the year, particularly during the winter.  Affectionately known as Nor'easters from the direction of the wind, these storms can cause some damage to the unprepared house.

Upcoming Cape Cod open houses

We have some excellent open houses this weekend.  From a just listed charmer in South Yarmouth to a luxury home in East Dennis overlooking beautiful Quivet Neck, we invite any and every buyer to come and take a look.  For a list of all upcoming open houses in the Cape Cod are, please follow this link.

 

9 Osborn Snow Drive, East Dennis | $2,075,000

This is a beautiful example of a luxury home on Cape Cod that fits beautifully with the antique charm of East Dennis.  Incredibly private and featuring low maintenance siding, decking and gutters this house is and will continue to look beautiful for years to come.  Enjoy its many distinctive indoor and outdoor entertaining areas including an expansive deck, fire pit, wood paneled den and more.  This one is not to be missed.

 

 

28 Oconnor Lane, South Dennis | $369,000

**Price Reduced** This 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch has a large comfortably carpeted 3 season room in the back adding to the ample living space and a partially finished walk out basement with lots of natural light.  With proximity to the Wixon School, Patriot Square and Route 6, this home features both convenience and quiet.

 

 

5 Sebastian Way, South Yarmouth | $329,000

Don't miss out on this well-kept, immaculately maintained 2+ bedroom saltbox at the end of a dead-end street in super-convenient South Yarmouth. Fresh kitchen and 2 updated full baths. Flexible floor plan with loft, cathedral living room, and en-suite master. Level, low maintenance yard, with deck and outdoor shower. .4 miles from grocery, pharmacy, post office, restaurants, dry goods, and more. 1.2 miles to beach. Convenient to Route 6 - you've got it all.

As always, please contact us if we can help you in any way.