Which Exit are You? Revisited

May 23, 2011

First Catch

Back in January, 2010, I wrote about this encounter I witnessed in Brewster:

I overheard a conversation last week at “Soccer Totz.”  Two moms who had just met: “I’m exit 12 but I used to be exit 4. What exit are you?” Second mom replies, “I’m exit 10, then South.”  These moms are not cartographers nor traffic engineers, they are typical Cape Codders.  What exit you live near can determine your work, home, and social life!  Now the Cape is not that big, but the differences between Bourne and P’town are vast. And distance and time are directly related to the time of year and day, so the journey between the two can vary greatly.

So as you search for, or market, your Cape Cod home, work with a qualified Realtor to maximize the potential of your exit, community and soccer moms.

It still makes me smile to think about that. However lately I’ve been thinking more intensely about the importance, really critical significance, of where one raises one’s children.  Not only in which part of Cape Cod, but where and how a family is globally positioned. This musing extends to what experiences young people have while not in school, i.e. how they spend their summer vacations.

The rise of the leisure class allowed urban dwellers to leave the unhealthy, oppressively hot cities for vacation destinations such as the Catskills, the Adirondacks, the Hamptons and Cape Cod. Father may have remained at work during the week and joined the family on weekends. Often, vacationers relocated for the entire season, servants and babysitters in tow. The popularity of driving vacations and the advent of the motel, coupled with improved highways and cheap gas let American kids range across the U.S.. The experiences of these lucky kids, at camps and in cabins, swimming and playing tennis, with beach bonfires en masse have shaped their adult perceptions of what summer vacation should be for their own kids.

I work with many buyers who come to Cape Cod to buy a home based on their childhood experiences here. Occasionally, I meet retirees who vacationed
here with their young families and want to return after many years away, gathering extended family on the same beaches. Real estate isn’t just bricks and mortar, by any means. Particularly with a vacation home, the ideals brought to the process are a critical part of the search and decision-making process. The more things change, the more things stay the same, but it’s so important that the location be understood by the buyer agent as it exists today, to avoid pitfalls brought on by nostalgia.

This season, as economic woes drag on interminably, vacation rentals on Cape Cod are up as is the price of those rentals according to the Boston Globe. This has led to some vacation home owners not using their own properties during prime rental season, as well as year-round residents moving out of their homes for 8-10 weeks. When purchasing your vacation or investment home be certain of its value and appeal as a rental property, even if you don’t intend it to be a rental at the outset.

Cape Cod offers unique summer experiences for kids in every area, at every exit. Camps are educational or sports oriented, town programs offer a wide variety of activities, and outdoor music and arts events abound. How your kids spend their summer vacations matters, and owning a home here can be good for their souls as well as your real estate portfolio.


The 100th Post: Real Estate at the close of 2009

December 13, 2009

The Dennis Stroll is going on today, a wonderful day sponsored by Northside businesses, and a steady rain has moved in. While it’s been seasonably cold of late, it’s milder now and subject to the weather off the water.  The recent blue skies have welcomed friends and family to our home, and strolls on the winter beach have been bracing yet fun.  The “why” of a place is as important as any “how,” and why we live on Cape Cod is different and precious to each person, especially to those who experience all four seasons here in succession.  So although Maine claimed the moniker, Cape Cod can constitute “vacationland” 365 days if you remember to watch the sunset in Welfleet as you pick your child up from yoga, or eat your lunch in your truck at Corporation beach between jobs as a builder friend does.  I imagine wherever one lives, be it San Diego or Paris or anyplace considered by others to be a vacation spot you have to be a tourist in your own town every day to keep the magic going.

So who is coming to Cape Cod, and how much are they paying to do it?  Once again my pseudoscientific observations show these characteristics of sales for the past 14 days in Barnstable county:  there were 142 sales of single family homes.  Of these, 90 were under $400,000.  OK, that included 2 mobile homes.  A whopping 23 of the 142 sold at asking price or above ( 11) , as much as 150% above asking. Remember that this is measured from the last asking price, not the original price.  One of these, selling at 104.35% of asking price, was a cash transaction for $2,400,000 and 10 days on the market.  A second transaction, in Orleans, was a cash deal for $ 3,850,000 after only 49 days on the market.  In fact, purchases from that high to $885k, $825k, $746k and $770k were all cash in the past two weeks alone.  I had two multi-million dollar cash sales lately.  Since I make my money as a Realtor and not a statistician I can only guess that folks with wealth are tired of seeing it drained away by weak or unstable markets and are putting it into real estate, and second homes at that.

The number of homesellers entering the market has slowed a bit this month, which is understandable. You want to put your tree up and not hold an open house. But get ready for January to be a great time for all parties as inventory will enter the market and rates remain incredible low, in case you aren’t paying $3.8m in cash.

Warmth and comfort at this time to all of you and yours, and many thanks to all of you who have stayed along for 100 posts.

Lisa Morales, Realtor, Accredited Staging Professional 508-221-2286

Think you know about Cape Cod-style Architecture?

October 23, 2009

cape cod houseArchitecture Coach discusses Cape Cod homes. While about 80% of homes here are, I estimate, cottage, Cape or ranch style, there are some other interesting looks too. “From authentic vintage examples to more modern inspirations, Capes are still giving families a comfortable and attractive place to call home.” What does your ultimate Cape home look like?

Climate Change on Cape Cod: Why You Should Care

September 24, 2009

Let’s face it: there will be no Cape Cod real estate if the seas rise. And if you have oceanfront property, you’re on the front line. So it’s all of our responsibility to keep the waters cooler.

I came across this SMARTGuide to transportation on the Cape. There’s even a slick cd. If you complain about the endless traffic and the dreaded bridge, you need this. There ARE buses on the Cape! If you are staying in P’town and want to visit the National Seashore, leave the car in P’town and take the Flex Bus! The SMARTGuide has the schedules for the Plymouth and Brockton Bus, Fast Ferry, Boston Harbor Cruises, Cape Air, Capt. John Boats (Plymouth to P’town), Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch and more.

We have to care, ask the Chatham North Beach families who watched their homes wash away this year. As the world gathers soon, our own Cape’s existence is on the line. Bike, boat or walk, anything but drive here as a single person in a vehicle. I want to leave my home to future generations.

Cape Walk to End Homelessness: Sponsor Me!

September 12, 2009


I’m walking on October 4: Join Me! I’m on Team Cape Cod Realtors with Benita Pierce. If you can’t be there, please give at my site.

Thank you!

About HAC

Housing Assistance Corporation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the housing needs of all Cape Codders. HAC operates homeless shelters for adults and families, administers rental subsidies, offers education and training and develops new affordable housing. Our vision is a community where everyone has a safe, stable and decent place to live.

What Goes Up, Must Come Around

June 12, 2009

Ah, well, I’m leaving the last post to show you the vagaries of the real estate market. If you were terribly upset that you missed the $2.7m property in Brewster, you have another chance and MUST call me to broker it for you! The necessity of a competent buyer broker cannot be underestimated. Agreeing on a price is the tip of the iceburg. SO much more professional representation is required to get to a successful closing. This is why a large percentage of “For Sale by Owner” sales fall through. From MAR’s website, an article on unrepresented sellers (FSBOs):
From properly pricing and intelligently marketing your property to getting through the negotiations, paperwork and contingencies, real estate professionals are trained to ensure the process goes smoothly. Today, approximately nine out of every 10 home sellers in Massachusetts hire a real estate agent to help them complete the sale of their home. As your single most valuable asset, the sale of your home deserves to be treated with great care by an industry professional who is trained to sell it on your schedule and for the highest possible price. Why would you settle for less?

How Long Does it Take to Sell a $2.75 million Home?

June 6, 2009

c. T. French

c. T. French

18 days in a bidding war. This property in Brewster was snapped up. The last sale was in 2006 for $2.2 million. Not a special house, but a special location. Location, condition, price. You need two of the three which are in your control.

So how is the Cape market? Fantastic. In the past 14 days, 301 properties have come on the market at a maximum price of $6.2 million, 125 have sold with a maximum price of $3.35 million, and 216 have gone under contract. Demand is outstripping supply, and we know that that necessarily means increasing prices.

The arts and culture scene is warming with the weather. Don’t miss a satellite live performance of Phedre with Helen Mirren in London at Cape Cinema in Dennis on June 25.

As always, view property at my website and call me at 508.221.2286 with any questions. Happy shopping from your Cape Cod REALTOR!

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