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Selling On Cape Cod

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 an, 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 3

    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.  In this installment we will be evaluating a specific market - single family homes on the water, Barnstable to Orleans (Homes on Water Bodies & Homes on Beaches). Immediately we notice some relevant trends.

    First the median sales price for these homes is much higher than the Barnstable County median at $1,200,000, yet take far longer to sell with a median days on market of 95 (and an average of 231).  To be fair these are expensive waterfront homes, occupy a smaller market niche, and ultimately take longer to sell.  We also see, based on the bar graph at left, that the group of fastest selling homes (43 days or less) sell for 94% of the asking price - as compared to Brewster in Part 2, those fastest selling homes did so in 25 days or less with 99% of the asking price. 

    Getting back to the waterfront case study, the homes that take longest to sell require price reductions on the order of 12% off the original asking price and only sell for 79% of the original asking price.  What we see here is that people tend to price waterfront homes very aggressively (high) and require significant reductions before they sell.  Furthermore these homes are sold for far less than the original asking price as well as the current asking price - something to think about if you are in the market for a $1,000,000 home on the water.  Consider also that many of these sellers have a price in mind and are willing, can afford, and believe that waiting will get their asking price; however, as is evident in the data, waiting longer does not return a higher sale price.

    We discovered one more interesting thing here.  When analyzing certain markets it is useful to know how square footage affects sale price - and it may not be what you think.  In this market (and this is not always the case) the larger the home the fewer dollars per square foot ($/sqft) it returns.  Using the trend line on the graph we would predict that a 9000sqft home would sell for about $500/sqft whereas a 1000sqft home would sell for closer to $600/sqft.  Mind this is a loose relationship but it is a trend that reappears in many markets.  The takeaway?  Larger waterfront homes are having a harder time selling than smaller ones - price reductions may be warranted earlier in developing a sales strategy.

  Check back next time for our final part in the series: some long term analyses.

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.

Market Trends and Analysis - Part 1

    We always try to understand the real estate market on Cape Cod in a variety of ways and to explain our understanding to our clients.  For the first installment of this series we will be looking at Barnstable County as a whole and explaining an interesting trend that carries over into many markets on Cape Cod.  Our goal is to help you understand how we interpret the market here on the Cape and how it informs our decisions when developing pricing strategies.

    To begin we found residential property sales from $100,000 to $2,000,000 for the past 365 days and calculated the median days on market and sales price.  In this case median days on market is 55, median sales price is $380,000.  Why median and not average? When describing a set of data that is not normally distributed (a bell curve), average is not necessarily the best way to describe the central tendency of the data.  The median says that 50% of homes that sold were equal to or greater than that price, and the other 50% were less than or equal to that price.  This helps us get a better picture than the average for what a typical house sells for on Cape Cod (since only a few expensive homes will pull this average up).  Also for the days on market the same discrepancy is apparent: median is 55 days, average 100 days.  The average in this case is skewed above what is typical because some houses take a very long time to sell.  So we stick with median for these cases.

    The other thing we find is that the longer a house stays on the market, the less money it makes...in two ways.  Notice the graph at right.  The pairs of bars represent the fastest selling homes (selling in less than 26 days), the middle (26-118 days) and the slowest selling homes (more than 118 days).  The red bars are the current price as a percent of the original list price.  The blue bars are the sale price as a percent of the original list price. What we see is that the fastest selling houses don't reduce in price (red = 100%) and sell for very near the original asking price (98%).  The next set of homes reduce their current price to 97% of original and sell for only 94% of the original.  The last group reduce the price yet again and sell for even less than the original asking price.  The trend is towards weaker offers generating lower sales prices.

    The lesson is three fold.  First, by pricing your home well from the start you are increasing your chances of getting a better offer.  Second, leaving your home at a high price for too long tends to return lower offers - a principle which is more pronounced the longer your house spends on the market. Finally, by using qualified local real estate agents who understand the local markets you are maximizing your chances of pricing your home correctly from day one.  One final point, agents do not determine the price of your home, the market does.  

    If you are curious about how your home will compete in the 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.

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.

 

Spring Cleanup adds value to your home | Real Estate | Cape Cod

Maximize the Sale Price of Your Home this Spring

    Potential sellers always ask us about the best ways to maximize the sale price of their home.  Even before we begin the conversation we frequently see defeat in their eyes because they expect us to name big big ticket items like kitchens, roofs, or bathrooms.  While these can indeed help to maximize return we think these three low-cost projects are an excellent use of homeowner resources.  

1. Landscaping

    We understand, trying to maintain a yard on Cape Cod is asking a lot. Pitch pine needles and salt spray are not conducive to green and lush grass, but who says you have to have perfect grass to have curb appeal?  Using local plants that thrive on the Cape is a great way to improve the health of the local ecosystem as well as make your home feel like it fits into the landscape.  Check out the link here for more information on local species.  Furthermore simple clean-up tasks like edging and mulching your flowers, cutting your grass, and removing downed trees and branches all improve the look and feel of your home.

2. Wash and Paint

    Now don't get too excited, we understand that painting trim and siding is an expensive job for a professional and time consuming for the owner-enthusiast.  However peeling paint can be an immediate turn off to potential buyers so here is our recommendation - wash the house and touch-up the paint.  Washing doesn't have to involve a professional company - a garden hose and sturdy brush will clean much of what needs to be taken care of.  Rain splatters dirt around the foundation and shaded areas provide excellent habitat for mildew, moss, or lichen.  Pay special attention to removing mildew in corners and on or around gutters.   

  Painting can seem onerous as well but the good news is that it really isn't that bad.  Keeping up with flakes and chips every spring adds years to the life of a paint job and makes your home look well-tended and loved (which adds a lot of value).  Open a paint can (that matches the color please) and spend a few minutes a day walking around and retouching. 

3. Do That 'Honey-Do'

    All homeowner's have a project in the yard that makes them say,  'I really do need to get this done'.  Weeding paths, planting flower boxes, fixing broken fence rails, repairing screens or cracked glass, etc... stop procrastinating and do it already.  Those little projects are on your list and they will be on a buyer's as well.  No one wants something preventing the sale of their home, so take care of that nagging thing today.  

 

 

  One example is 9 Osborn Snow Drive, East Dennis.  While we all wish we could have such a spectacular luxury home we can still learn a lot from its neat and tidy planted gardens and ornamental plants that are BELOW the windows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Here is another wonderful home, 41 Deacon Court, Barnstable.  Notice the neatly kept crushed stone driveway, low plants and maintained paint.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Here is a beautiful example of a new listing coming soon to the market.  23 Millers Road South Dennis.  We choose it as our stellar example of a perfectly maintained Cape Ranch.  

 

 

 

 

CAPE COD SECOND HOME OWNERSHIP

Seasonal/Recreational/Occasional Use Homes also known as Second Homes

Have you ever wondered as you are driving around the Cape, how many homes are not primary residences?  It is a surprise to find out how different the percent of second homes is in the various towns.  Below are the percentages noted in the 2010 US Census Demographic Profile Data.      

  • Sandwich            13          
  • Bourne                20.6
  • Falmouth             32.3
  • Mashpee             34.5
  • Barnstable           22
  • Yarmouth             31
  • Dennis                 50.9
  • Brewster              39.6
  • Harwich               40.5
  • Chatham              52.9
  • Orleans                38
  • Eastham              55.8
  • Wellfleet               64
  • Truro                    64.6
  • Provincetown        52.8

SELLING A HOME?

 

 

Another winter is upon us.  If you are selling a home in winter the weather is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is getting folks into the property safely.  The opportunity is being able to showcase a warm home during the cozy winter months. Keep safety first priority with the property free of snow and ice.  Cape Codders may be hardy but not to the point of walking through three feet of snow.   Holding an open house in winter with cookies baking and a fire blazing is the perfect way to entice buyers to love the home. 

 

Enjoy winter and the opportunity it presents. Be safe and check out this winter wonderland of a house just click on the photo below.

Appraisal Basics

Planning financing?

If you are planning on securing funding from a bank or other lending institution for the purchase of your home, that institution will require an appraisal by a third-party. This appraisal will be used to establish an independent opinion of the value of the home, which assures the bank that their loan is adequately secured.

 

Four levels of certification

Appraisers in Massachusetts arecertified at four levels by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Appraisers.

1. The first level is as a trainee. These appraisers operate under the supervision of a Certified Appraiser and cannot inspect a property without him or her present.

2. Licensed Appraisers can independently appraise any residential property up to $1,000,000, but cannot appraise homes of greater value without the supervision of a Certified Residential Appraisers.

3. Certified Residentialappraisers can appraise any residential property.

4. The final and highest level of certification is Certified General Appraiser. Since these appraisers are in high demand to appraise commercial property, they are rarely used to appraise residential property.

 

Appraisal vs. Comparative Market Analysis

Appraisers use a process very similar to a Realtors Comparative Market Analysis to arrive at a value for your home. They ideally look for three identical homes sold on the same day to use for their comparison -- this is clearly impossible, so they generally use comparable sales within similar areas, within the past year.

 

How we handle appraisals

If you list your property with us, we make sure to attend any bank appraisal of your home. While it is not necessary for the listing agent to attend the appraisal, we feel strongly that professional representation of the seller at the appraisal is a valuable means of advocating for our clients. We work as closely as possible with the appraiser to ensure that they are well-appraised of any significant factors which affect the value of the home, but which may not appear in the appraisers database of recent sales. For example, major town improvements to the neighborhood, recent improvements made to the home or property, or pending sales in the area are all significant factors which affect the value of your home, but which may not be readily available to the appraiser. We make sure that they are aware of these factors to ensure that the home is valued as accurately as possible. Furthermore, we only recommend lenders who we know use local and experienced appraisers. The choice of lender is yours to make, and the appraiser is hired by the lending institution, but we are always available to make recommendations or answer questions you may have.

 

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Client Testimonials

If we decide to move on the Cape, we will almost certainly ask Ed and Agnes if they are willing to help us both sell our current home and find a new one. They are a pleasure to work with.

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