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Cape Cod Real Estate

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.

5 Sebastian Way South Yarmouth, Cape Cod MA | $329,000 | 2BR/2BA Saltbox | JUST LISTED

    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 completely updated full baths.  Flexible floor plan with 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.  

See the listing here

Here are a few nice shots to whet your appetite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Houses

We are having an open house extravaganza this weekend!  Four wonderful properties featured from Barnstable Village to East Dennis.  If you are interested in viewing all open houses in the area click here.

 

9 Osborn Snow Drive, East Dennis | $2,200,000

 

    This home is not to be missed.  From the three gas fireplaces to warm your heart, to the 900 bottle wine cooler to keep your guests cool, this luxury home has every amenity and the views to match.  

Come and take a look Sunday 6/25 from 1-3pm

 

 

41 Deacon Court, Barnstable Village | $610,000

   

    With the feel of a country home including exposed beams and a warm gas hearth, this home will warm your heart too.  1.29 acres of beautifully manicured landscaping and so close to Barnstable Village this one is not to be missed.

Come and take a look Saturday 6/24 from 1-3pm

 

 

33 Aunt Janes Way, Bass River Yarmouth | $439,000

 

    A stroll away from the windmill on Bass River and one of the prettiest neighborhoods for a Sunday drive, ride or walk this home is a perfect opportunity for someone looking to modernize a home in a phenomenal location.

Come and take a look Sunday 6/25 10-12

 

 

14 Braun Road, West Yarmouth | $399,000

 

    This home has the livability of a ranch including a first floor master with the benefit of an addition in the back and an added master bedroom above the garage.  Spread your guests or family out in this 4 bedroom 3 bath.

Come and take a look Saturday 6/24 10-12

38 Mayflower Rd W Yarmouth MA | $279,000

38 Mayflower Road West Yarmouth, Cape Cod MA, JUST LISTED --- $279,000

Cute as a button! The essence of Cape Cod best describes this adorable cottage that is less than half mile to a warm Nantucket Sound beach. It offers wood floors, living room with fireplace, dining room, two first floor bedrooms, and two additional rooms upstairs that are currently used as bedrooms.  The yard with a wonderful outdoor shower offers a place to relax and enjoy friends while grilling your favorite summer foods. A very sweet cottage with all the charm the Cape has to offer.

 

Here are just a few photos to give you a taste but this home is an absolute gem! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zestimates as appraisals

We have been tracking an interesting development with the 'Zestimate' function of Zillow.  You can find an article here by Kenneth Harney in the Washington Post and another here by Rachel Koning Beals of Market Watch.  To briefly summarize Zillow.com uses a feature involving a proprietary algorithm that pulls sales data and other factors (again we aren't sure what these factors are exactly) and produces an estimate on the price of the property.  From Zillow's own definition found on their website "The Zestimate® home value is Zillow's estimated market value for an individual home and is calculated for about 100 million homes nationwide. It is a starting point in determining a home's value and is not an official appraisal. The Zestimate is automatically computed daily based on millions of public and user-submitted data points."

Currently a class action lawsuit has been filed in Cook County, Illinois that claims the Zestimates® look too much like official appraisals and are misleading consumers.  In addition the suit points out that no consent is given by the homeowner for an estimate to be posted online.    

Our take?  In the absolute simplest terms real estate is a market like any other and the market determines the price (not Zillow, not your neighbor and not even your real estate agent).  Take this example, a house lists at $400,000, five buyers appear on the first day and each offer full price for the house.  The seller allows for the 5 buyers to present their final and best offer which turns out to be $420,000.  In this case the high demand allowed for a higher sale price.  If the house appraised at $400K it likely would still have sold for $420K because the MARKET demand was so high.  The alternative: a house lists for $400,000 and is appraised for the same.  However, in this hypothetical market there are lots of houses just like this one for sale.  The house is eventually sold after a very long time for $375,000 because the high supply of similar homes and low demand from buyers influenced the price for the home - the MARKET dictated the sale price.  

Do we think we know about writing a sophisticated algorithm that analyses millions of data points and synthesizes the result into an estimate of value?  Absolutely not.  Do we know if the new town zoning law restricting improvements to land adjacent to a salt marsh affects the price of your undeveloped land?  You bet.

Why don't you give us a call and see if three decades of experience and two generations of tradition can help you in the real estate market here on Cape Cod. For a professional home valuation done by local agents click here.

 

 

Trends in home ownership

    One question that comes up frequently in conversations these days is "why is inventory so low right now?"  This is a great question to ask and informs much larger discussion about the economy, local real estate markets, and larger social trends.  But let's start at the beginning.

    When real estate agents talk about 'inventory' they are really speaking of the number of homes, lots, commercial properties etc... that are currently for sale.  Generally the unit in which inventory is expressed is time - in other words 'there are 8 months of inventory'.  The inventory is the supply (homes) available in the market and so has an effect on both the sale price as well as the amount of time that homes stay on the market.  In other words, potential buyers in a market with high inventory may not be motivated to make strong offers because they know that there are a lot of comparable homes they can buy.  Additionally buyers may spend more time shopping around because there are so many homes to see that match their criteria.  If you were a buyer in the early '80s or '90s you may have experienced a market like this (although regionally markets vary quite significantly). A more recent example of a high inventory market was a result of the great recession when the housing bubble burst.  In this instance the unprecedented level of foreclosures flooded the market with homes, when taken simultaneously with the concurrent financial instability, some homes spent years on the market.  The graph from the St. Louis Fed gives a nice snapshot of housing inventory from 1963-2017.

    The alternative to a high inventory market is, obviously, a low inventory market.  These are generally characterized by fewer days on the market and higher sale prices.  Potential buyers outnumber the available homes so bidding wars and offers over asking price are more common.  A great example of this is the market in San Francisco currently - the city is so desirable for a variety of reasons that home supply is inadequate to meet the demands of the market - the result, outrageous prices.  

    With this background let's return to our original question, 'why is inventory so low?'.  There is no short answer but we have a few theories and found this article by Connor Dougherty from the New York Times to be incredibly insightful.  In brief his theory is that people are not selling their homes but instead are choosing to stay in smaller, traditionally starter homes, or choosing to upgrade their existing homes rather than move for more space or amenities.  The economic impact of the great recession allowed many homeowners to refinance into incredibly low interest rates, as a result they are deciding to stay in their current homes rather than incur the expenses of a move with a higher interest rate.  Additionally the demographic of baby-boomers are largely at an age where many are still in the workforce (partially due to the great recession) and are are not quite ready to downsize. Because of the disproportionate affect of the boomers on the economy the availability of homes is low.

    Will this last forever? probably not, but here are some things to consider.  First, as the boomers age, they will begin to downsize with more frequency thereby increasing inventory.  Second, many millennials were young professionals early in their careers and family lives when the great recession hit.  They saw the result and suffered the consequences at a time in their lives when they were least equipped to deal with it.  Many lost jobs, moved back home or chose to continue renting rather than stick their necks out with a mortgage.  Additionally and for whatever reason, millennials are delaying starting families.  Given the size of this demographic this is surely impacting the market, we'll see how millennials will affect the real estate market as more and more of them graduate into adulthood.

If you are interested in learning how your home will compete in the market or your position as a buyer, contact us today.

 

When is the right time to sell your home?

Have you been tossing and turning at night wrestling with the decision to sell your home?  When is the right time to sell?  Am I going to regret not selling my home now?  Will the housing market slip back towards favoring buyers?  Deciding to sell your home can be a serious decision but don't be discouraged; keep these points in mind and you will be on the right track to making a good decision about whether to sell your home.

 

Equity

    Put simply, equity is how much of your home you actually own.  It is a funny thing to think about but mortgages, liens, home equity loans etc... all mean that something other than you (usually a bank) have an ownership interest in your home.  If you sell, all of these mortgages and liens need to be paid before you.  Getting a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent gives you an idea of the value of your home in the current market. Then you can calculate how much equity remains in your house for you to take away. 

 

Equity is not Net

    Unfortunately, your net profit from the sale of your home is not, simply put, net = sale price - mortgage.  Just to list a few of the often overlooked expenses for which sellers are responsible: Attorney's fees, broker's fees, title V septic inspections, and sales tax stamps all subtract from the overall proceeds of the sale.

 

 

 

Trends in the Market

    Everyone loves to predict the future so why should prospective sellers be any different?  Familiarizing yourself with the local market data as well as talking to a real estate agent about comparing your home to others in the area (comparative market analysis) will help you decide if now is a good time for you to sell.

 

 

Personal Needs

    One factor that should never be overlooked is simple reality.  When you (you have time) to sit down and rationally evaluate your current life situation, often the decision to sell or stay becomes more clear.  Are you expecting triplets and the one bedroom condominium suddenly seems like a closet?  Selling and upgrading is probably the right decision regardless of how much of the mortgage is paid off.  Are you tired of that old drab kitchen?  Perhaps new cabinets and fresh paint is all you need.

As always please contact us with any questions and put three decades of experience and two generations of tradition in your corner.

 

33 Aunt Janes Road South Yarmouth | FOR SALE | $469,000 | CAPE COD

33 Aunt Janes Road, South Yarmouth has just come on the market.  This home is in a fabulous location: quiet, convenient, and year round. Enjoy a stroll down scenic Pleasant Street and nearby River Street and enjoy the views of Bass River from Windmill Beach.  The large lot abuts two streets making it very accessible from two locations. The spacious floor plan includes room for separate living quarters making it an ideal home for both vacation home seekers and permanent home seekers. Opportunity knocks!  Materialize your ideas and reap the benefits of living in one of the most desirable areas of Yarmouth.

Please don't miss the introductory open house Sunday 5/28 from 1-3pm.  See you there!

Here are just a few photos and a photo tour of the home.

 

 

23 Millers Road South Dennis 02660 | FOR SALE | $309,000 | CAPE COD

23 Millers Road South Dennis 02660 | $309,000 

We are pleased to announce the sale of this impeccable home.  This is a quintessential Cape cottage with bright charm dripping from the walls and double the benefit with an adjacent lot being sold with the property. Meticulously maintained outside and in, this home features a two sided gas fireplace, central air conditioning, deck, full basement with interior access, beautiful landscaping, updated bathroom, recently painted interior and exterior. Turn-key ready with convenience to the beautiful Cape Cod Rail Trail, Route 6 & Patriot Square.

Here are a few snapshots but the home speaks for itself when you see it in person.  We think you will fall in love with this property as much as us.

  

 

 

 

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